Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Back in the U.S. of A.

Okay, now before you freak out about the title let me give some background information.   No, I have not been deported.  No, I wasnt sent home.  On the contrary, I got to replenish my tank of spirituality.  About twoish weeks ago, with my handy-dandy passport and visa, I was able to go to the San Diego Temple.  I would have written about it sooner but there were more facinating things to write about like baptizms and Easter.  So I've been holding it in reserve to stun and amaze all.

Barrio Paraiso was having a temple trip that weekend for all the members that had visas.  Hna. Olsen and I had never been to the San Diego Temple and were talking about how much we would love to go when Hna. Diaz (compañera de Hna. Olsen) suggested that we have intercambios that day.  So we called up the president (he's on speed dial) asked for permission, he said yes, found us a family to take us over, and BOOM!  Temple trip for the Sister missionaries!  

So that Saturday morning (April 12) we jumped in a van full of youth and headed toward the border.  Although it is quite odd to think how close we really are to America, it certainly is a blessing in shortening transportation hours.  Hna. Olsen and I were giddy with the thought that once again we were going to be in our homeland.  And once we crossed and saw all the signs written in English, our brains did backflips.   

I don't have any more time to write, but all in all it was a beautiful day.  And now the San Diego Temple is officially one of my favorites
San Diego Temple

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Struck Gold

Out here in the "mish" we dont have much to talk about except for our investigatores.  So whenever we have a moment to chat, we tend to swap stories about contacts, converts, and all the crazys we meet.  Often the subject of the Chosen Ones comes up and missionaries begin to share the stories of how they found (or were found by) people that were highly prepared by Heavenly Father to hear the gospel.

Josefa is a chosen one.

A little over 4 weeks ago Hna. Torres and I were a little desperate for investigatores.  So we decided to take a stroll through the area book and reanalyze some of the former investigatores from the long forgotten past.  There is where we found the old teaching record of Josefa.  Really, she wasnt even an investigator, just a contact.  But they had written a note that they couldnt continue to teach her because she was leaving for a vacation in Porto Rico and to check back with her in about 3 months.  Well, it had been three months, and she lived close by, so we decided to check it out and see if she was still interested. 

Yeah, she was interested.  She told us in the first lesson that she had been searching for years for the truth.  She had realized on her own that the beliefs of other religions were confusing and didnt make sense.  She told us that she was willing to do absolutely anything that God wanted her to do if she knew that it was, in fact, from Him.  Accepted eagerly baptism...with the condition that we would come back to teach her more.  Claro que si!  

From there on out it was easy sailing.  We came, we taught, she listened eagerly and accepted todo.  She had a scripture case with a religious text of a different church and as soon as we gave her a Book of Mormon she took out the other book and replaced it with the BOM, un himnario, and all of the pamphlets we had given her.  Her prayers were music to the ears.  She went to the Relief Society General Conference and ALL sessions of General Conference last weekend.  Not to mention invited all of her family and friends to her baptism.  

She refers to us as her Angelitas hermanitas.  One day we went to visit her and she had made us a full dinner, not knowing any other manner to thank us for everything we had done for her.  She is constantly giving us old clothes of her grandchildren or lip gloss and other knickknacks.  And is currently making Hna. Maldonado and I skirts.  She is a chosen one.  She keeps trying to figure out different ways to thank us.... but really we are the ones who are grateful just to have known her and teach her.

I could say so much more about this wonderful lady, but my time is up.  Just know that I have now had the privilege of teaching an angel.

Josefa "The Golden Investigator"

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hermana Maldonado

Three weeks ago we had transfers and I got a lovely new compañera named Hermana Maldonado.  I believe it is about time for me to talk a little bit about her.

Unlike my trainer, Hermana Maldonado is pure Mexican.  She doesnt know much English so obviously we only speak Spanish together which has helped me progress in the language.  However, she LOVES the English language. She says that it sounds so elegant to her..... she clearly hasnt ever been to Detroit... or the south.  Her music is all English EFY songs and MoTab and she often talks about how much she wants to learn English... to which I respond by only speaking English for the next 5 minutes ha ha.

Although she has never been there, she loves America.  The music, chocolate, places.  Her sueno is to be married in the San Diego Temple to a tall American lad.  I have been commissioned to find her future spouse at BYU when I return home from my mission.

We both LOVE cars.  Old and new.

We are addicted to Pïcas Fresas.  What are Picas Fresas?  A Mexican candy that is covered in chili.  Yeah, it happened people.  I have been converted to the chili candy.

She is my second companion who has an identical twin.

She is 21 and halfway through her mission.

Her favorite quote is  Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and WORK.

She is exactly a head shorter than me.  The difference between the length of our legs is quite hilarious. When she cant reach the cereal she wants I grab it for her.  We actually make a cute looking couple. 

She is always laughing, joking around, and has a smile on her face.  Its great.  People often comment on how we, as a companionship, talk with such gozo about what we are teaching.  She knows how to get people to feel comfortable and laugh.

Well thats about all I have time for to write.  She is great.  We work well together and we have helped each other grow.

2nd Companion - Hermana Maldonado

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nice to meet you too........?

Some of you might have heard that the greetings south of the US are a little more friendly then us Americans are use to.  A handshake is always accompanied by a kiss on the cheek.  This did not phase me when I arrived to Mexico because it seemed to be only something done between women.

Flashback to my third week in Mexico.

We had to go and pay the rent lady.  An event that I fully expected to have no participation in because my Spanish was still quite pathetic.  However, small talk started up and she began to ask me the classic questions like, where you from, how old are you, the usual.  When I mentioned that I only had three weeks in Mexico, her son, who had been chill-in out on the couch, butted in the conversation saying that my Spanish was really good for such little time.  Turned out that he was fluent in Spanish and English, so we began talking and I explained what we did as missionaries and what not while my companion paid the rent.  

Time came that he had to leave and he went to his mom and kissed her on the cheek to say goodbye.  My thoughts were, Oh thats so sweet, he loves his mommy.  But didnt think anything else of it.  Then he turned to my companion and I to say goodbye as well.  Another typical Mexico and below custom, you say goodbye to everyone in the room individually.  Sitting in my chair I reached out my hand with the words Mucho Gusto about to come out, but as he shook my hand his face started to move in closer as well.  Thats when time started to move in slow motion.  

All I could remember was not being able to move (cuz I was sitting in a huge chair) and thinking in my head, OH NO, OH NO, OH NO, WHATS HAPPENING? WHAT DO I DO? IS THIS A SIN?  I couldnt pull away because it is EXTREMELY offensive if you dont shake hands or say goodbye to people.  And although it felt like it was in slow motion, it all happened so fast.  On the sidelines my companion was repeating over and over, NO NO NO! NO PODEMOS! NO PODEMOS!  But she was too late.  He kissed my cheek.  Im still not sure if it was a sin or not ha ha.  As a missionary these things become so foreign to us.  Not to mention he was about the same age as me AND had some serious 5 o'clock shadow going on.  The sensation of that fuzz lingered on my cheek for sever minutes after he left.  

Ever since then I have been very careful to stay away from possible situations like that.  It nearly happened again about a month later.. but with a man quite significantly older... like in his 70s and who weighed about four times me.  No thank you.