Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Double stuffed conversion

Ive been in Mexico for over a month now, supposedly doing mission work, yet I havent mentioned anything about our investigatores.  For all you know, I could have been down here for the past few weeks spending everyday eating tortillas and enchiladas.  Well I am proud to set the record straight and let you know that I have been working.  And to prove it, I will now introduce to you my first baptisms!!!!!

We had our first lesson with Claudia and Susana Montes my third day in Mexico.  They were a reference from their brother who has been a member for a few years now.  He has always tried to get them to take the missionary lessons but they have never been interested.  However, a week before I arrived they attended a Christmas concert put on by the missionaries, felt the Spirit, and decided that they wanted to know more.  
It has been so neat to be able to see every step of their progression, from lesson one and the First Vision, to attending church, and that lovely moment talking about the Law of Chastity.  They have been so accepting of it all, it made me wonder a few times if they really were gaining testimonies or just said yes to things to make us happy.  But we had their baptisms last Saturday and let me tell you, we had lots of apprehensions about how everything would work out.  One of the obstacles was finding white clothes that would fit them (they have a lot of personality and therefore need a lot of... body to keep it all contained).  But everything at the baptism went smoothly.  The Spirit was strong, and I could see tears in their eyes.  The best part was hearing Claudias closing prayer.  It was so plain, but very sincere and just PERFECT!!  And hearing their thoughts on how they felt afterwards just made my week... which actually was horrible lesson wise.

Hermana Torres, Claudia, Susana, and me.
Montes' siblings

They are the kindest most friendly ladies ever.  Every time we visit they give us food, health tips, presents for Christmas.  We really are their friends... actually, more like daughters.  I especially love them for how they have treated me and my language handicap.  When I teach they focus on what im trying to say instead of how I sound.  If I make a mistake they lovingly help me correct it and we continue with the lesson.  
We always joke around with them, even with my messed up Spanish, but its still fun.  One of their favorite things to tease me about (especially after teaching the law of chastity) is that right after my mission I will go to Spain or Paris and get married quick as lighting... I dont fully understand what makes them think that but I roll with the punches. 

People keep congratulating me on my first baptisms,but they dont feel like mine at all.  Well, they werent.  I was just lucky enough to be alongside them and watch the process.  And I am so excited to continue to see them grow and learn in the church.  

The work is moving forward people.  Its exciting, its hard, its love.  Do what you can to help it and I promise you will see the blessings come.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Spiritual Tan Lines

Time for a question answer session...
Q:  How do you feel about walking around?
A:  I love it.  Tijuana is very beautiful in its our special way and I love getting to walk around and see the colorful houses covering the mountains, tennishoes hanging from telephone wires, and even the graffeti covering the walls.  Not to mention all the taco stands we get to pass by and smell (one of which I got to try last week.  TAN RICO!!).  I´m glad we are a walking mission, but it does get frustrating when we walk muy lejos for a lesson to find that no one is home.  That´s when Heavenly Father sends us a stunning sunset to keep us company as we continue to another appointment.  I´m proud to say that due to all the walking in the sun I am officially a real missionary now.  Tan lines included.  My companion complains about getting a tan line from the straps on her shoes but I´m all for it!  Bring it on!  I was so happy the other day when I took off my shoes and washed my feet to find that the lines weren´t from dirt and dust but my actual skin. I´m ligit now!
Q:  How is the language coming?
A:  Slowly.  But in this manner my patience is improving.  It´s still very frustrating when I can´t say exactly what I want, but I accept it now.  I can understand most of what I hear, or depending on the speed of talking, follow the general topic.  I´m really good at pretending to laugh at the appropriate times when everyone else understands the joke but me...  It´s much more difficult for me to talk.  I know a decent amount of vocabulary but grammar kills me.  The order of words is always changing and don´t even get me started on conjugating verbs.  In the next life I´m going to search out whoever it was that thought it would be a fun idea to make six different ways to say one word... and then another six for past tense and so on... and when I meet them I´m going to give them a piece of my mortal mind.  And then we´ll hug it out and I´ll forgive them with my immortal heart.  But seriously, it´s ridiculous.
Q:  Do you like the food... is it too spicy?
A:  I love the food, and the food I don´t love I´m trying to slowly get accustomed to it.  There are a couple of drinks that are sort of funky and were tough to force down the first time.  But each additional sip gets better.  Everyone is pretty good at not giving me too much spice.  They bring out two types of salsa.  The usual for my companion and a baby version especially for the American.  But that doesn´t stop me from trying it.  After all, chili makes you speak better Spanish right? 
I was never a big fan of Mexican food in the U.S. but now I realize that that was because it wasn´t real Mexican food.  The stuff down here is much better.  Tacos are HEAVEN!  And don´t even get me started on enchiladas.  Hermana Torres and I have a long list of all the places we´ve passed by that we´ve smelled and have to try.  The only problem is that they have no portion control. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Fun People I Love

So I hope enough suspense has been built up from last week to really get you excited about this weeks post.  If not... thanks.  I love you too.  Regardless, as I said las week, my ward (Paraiso) is a little... special.  Lots of unique members.  So I thought that this week I would mention a few of them.  Names have been changes for my own enjoyment of making up new ones.

Hermana Science Fiction

This darling hermana has many ideas, strange ideas about the gospel.  What will happen in the Second Coming and how we will look after resurrected.  When she was younger she had to have surgery and she firmly believes that during the surgery they inserted a chip that monitors her.  Why?  Because she knows things... and they need to watch her to make sure she doesnt spill the beans about their secrets.  Now how does she know there is a chip inside of her?  She can feel and hear electricity.  Her house is surrounded by intenas... watching her, making her body hurt with all the electricity.  She is quite the character.  Her hearing isnt very good, which I now realize how ironic it is considering how she claims to hear electricity.  Regardless, due to her bad hearing, we always have to yell at her to make her understand.  It is quite a strange experiance yelling a prayer in a horribly obvious American accent.  But she yells right back at us, claiming that she still cant hear.  She also refuses to believe that I understand spanish.  Entonces, because she knows a decent amount of english, she will talk to my companion first in spanish, and then reexplain everything in english to me... es un poco frustrating.  Oh, and she likes to call me Hermana Barbie....... I dont even understand...

Hermano Highway

Is a recent convert and absolutely adores the sister missionaries.  Every time we go visit, as soon as we finish the closing prayer we migrate to the kitchen for hot chocolate and cake, doughnuts, cookies, pizza, something!  And when we leave he stuffs a grocery bag full of more goodies.  Once he gave us a literal bread basket.  No joke, the basket was made out of bread and filled with cookies.  It was heaven... and horrible temptation to have in our house.  He is also quite the gentleman.  About 60 or so years old, he is very worried about our welfare.  He always insists on walking us back to our apartment if its close to 8 o'clock y cosas así.  Since we have to have another woman with us every time we go to teach him, we always bring Hermana Soap.  We are secretly hoping that through our lessons they can have a charming little courtship.  Honestly, they are perfect for each other.  Hey, as missionaries we cant date... but they never said that we couldnt play matchmaker.  After all, our goal as missionaries is to put people on the path of the temple right?....matrimony included.  They only downside to visiting Hermano Highway is that he talks 90 miles per hour and hardly opens his mouth.  I never have any hope of understanding what he says.  Perhaps, after my mission, and several more years of studying Spanish, I will be able to return and have an actual conversation with him.

Well, no time left to mention the many other ..unique.. members of the ward.  But let me tell you, despite their qwirks, they feed us well.  Everyday we have lunch with a member and portions are crazy here!  I have no hope to loose weight.  In fact, Im afraid Im going to blow up here.  Not only are portions huge, but if you dont eat everything they give you they get offended.  You have to lick the plate clean.  No crumbs
, no sauce, nada.  And the same goes for drinks.  And when we arent eating with them, they are just handing us food.  We hardly ever have to actually buy food.  Members keep sending us off with more and more and more.... Im starting to seriously consider getting a tapeworm.  Im going to need it.
Tijuana - My Home Town Now

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Chille helps you speak Spanish

Time, as always, is short.  So I am sad to say that once again, my email wont be as long as you might hope.  But you have something to look forward to because I am dedicating next week to talk about my.... special ward.  Oh yeah, feel the suspense. 

my first SPICY burro

Bowling on new years!!!!