Me after a good days work. This is how we end each day. Sweaty, dusty, and exhausted.
"See that ye serve Him with all your heart might mind and strength."
*we got special permission to play a musical number at the BEACH BAPTISM of some elders in our district. We didn't know the kid but the Elders invited us because they know I play an instrument. Hna Hancock and I arranged a harmonized Nearer my God to Thee. We played it on the beach right before they entered the ocean to baptize the kid. Powerful. We were only there for like 45 minutes total. We had time to snap a small handful of pics and off to teach the gospel we ran!
*me and my trusty uke
Last Monday after we had left the internet cafe to get to work we went to an appointment we had with an American foreign exchange student who was studying here in Mexico for a year. Turns out she was hanging out with her German foreign exchange student buddy and we ended up teaching them both! We also brought two future missionaries from the ward to come with us so there we were, 3 Americans, 2 Mexicans, and 1 German. All VERY different personalities, cultures, backgrounds, situations.
But for just a moment we could all connect on one thing. God. We talked about our beliefs in Him. We discussed God, prayer, and we introduced the Book of Mormon. There were a lot of great questions asked. It was cool to connect and bond with so many different kinds of people all in one moment. In the end we found out they were headed back to their countries in the next few weeks but it was a good seed planted.
We invited the German kid to say the closing prayer, he said it in his native tongue of German. It was really beautiful. Sometimes as churches and as people we let the differences come between us but what I've found is it is always better to focus on what you have in common. Love and respect for all. Its a beautiful thing.
So a large part of my mission is the coast. Gorgeous beaches and popular tourist locations are a significant chunk of the Oaxaca Mission but in my whole year and a half they've never sent me to the coast. I've never seen the ocean or even gotten close to it.
Our area that we're in right now turns out to be like 15 minutes from the coast. Haha I had no idea. The Elders called us half way through the week and informed us they were having a baptism on the beach. WHAT. They invited us and our investigators to come. We prepared a special musical number on my ukulele and it turned out to be really cool. We arranged a creative harmony of Nearer my God to Thee and it was pretty dang beautiful if I do say so myself.
The baptism was quick and simple but super special. It was a teenager and the only member in his family. It was special to see the glow and the excitement in his eyes. We played the special musical number right before they entered the ocean and the sweet and relaxed sound of the uke, PLUS the sound of the crashing waves just blew everyone away. It was something real special. The spirit seemed to create a little bubble of love and smiles as we praised God with song. After the song they waded out into the water all in white. Everyone smiled as he came out of the water. It was a special experience, and an experience I will never forget.
So last night we were just sitting at our desks setting goals for the week to come and evaluated how things went this last week when my companions face turns white and she points behind me. She said one word, tarantula. I looked behind me to see our little hairy friend crawling its way towards the door.
We of course screamed and stood on our chairs. We began to call our neighbors because we had no idea how to kill it or what to do with it. No one was answering. We than began taking a million videos and pictures of the poor hairy thing. After a fair amount of paparazzi we had successfully disoriented and blinded the poor thing with all the flash. It wandered around and tried to make its way under the door but didn't fit because it was too fat. ew.
Our neighbors finally answered the phone and Isis our neighbor came over. She's our age so there we were, three 19-20 year old women trying to kill a giant hairy spider and not die. Turns out they're not poisonous, but if they touch you it can irritate your skin and cause intense rash and itching.
"Don't get too close!" shouted the neighbor, "They can jump!!" Great. After some more screaming and running around the house we formulated a plan. We would throw a towel over it and then smash it with a rock! Hna Hancock was in charge of the throwing of the towel, I was in charge of the smashing with a rock, and the neighbor was in charge of coaxing the thing out of hiding and into an open area.
The plan was going perfectly until I dropped the rock in the wrong place and the spider came running out from under the towel. Terrifying. We then got it corned and I grabbed a stick and smashed it to death. It was all very exciting!
Its leg fell off somewhere along the way and I taped it in my journal. Just so my posterity knows what it was like to serve a mission in Oaxaca. Haha so crazy. When I get home I'll be sure to show the series of videos we took. So great.
*found this little guy hanging out in our house last night...