Tuesday, September 30, 2014
During these past two and a half months of training Hna. Pacheco I've been reminded a lot of my own training nearly ten months ago. It's like it happened just yesterday. . .
21 years old, Brian was extremely interested in religion for someone his age. We had just finished teaching about prophets, he had just finished explaining how Hna. Torres and I would become worshiped saints for the work that we were doing as missionaries... I will be anxiously awaiting that recognition en el ultimo día. Anyways, we decided that it was time to end the lesson so we invited Brian to give the closing prayer. As always, we taught that prayer should be just like a normal conversation instead of recited sentences. Brian took that a little too seriously...
"Buenas tardes Padre Celestial, que tal?...
.... que tenga bonita día. Amen"
Good afternoon Heavenly Father, what's up?...
...have a great day. Amen
We walked side by side in casual conversation, making our way to our next appointment. A strange man passed by us like millions of other strangers do each day, but as he did, without taking a pause, said, "Con todo respecto, que chulas muñecas!"
English translation: With all do respect, what beautiful dolls!
Flashback #3 Clueless flirting
We had passed by countless time trying to find the Lopez family (less actives) at home but always found it filled with all dogs and no people. Finally, we found one of their sons home and were able to teach him. He seemed quite interested too. Ready to learn more about the Book of Mormon and understand it better.
My comp then began marking his Book of Mormon for him to read for our next lesson. While she did that he turned to me: "So do you like to watch TV? The Big Bang Theory? How about movies? Do you like reading? There is a great library downtown. Do you like dancing?" I was sadly and hopelessly ignorant of what he was doing. Not understanding a word of his Spanish but smiling anyways. He continued: "I work for this restaurant. Great food! You should come sometime and I'll pay." Then turning to Hna. Torres, "You can come too."
My last week of training, a little over a month since "Brian's prayer." We hadn't seen Brian since that last lesson about prophets and Catholic saints, but as we were walking to the church building he pulled up in his motorcycle. It went a little like this:
"What a coincidence seeing you again! ... yeah I've been really busy with school and work... ..when can we meet up again? ... yeah Thursday works great, but how about another day too? ...how about to go out for a cup of coffee, the movies, something like that? ..Can you guys do that? ....no,.. okay,.... well it was great seeing you again!"
He didn't show up that Thursday.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
|"Have you done anything good in the World today?"|
|A REALLY full bus of mexicans|
I don't really know what ethnicity i am now...
|Feet of a Disciple.|
Welcome to El Barrio Las Fuentes. Us missionaries will be your guides to salvation
Every day I realize more and more that it's going to be really hard for me to leave Mexico. I love the people, language, culture, and FOOD! This past week, with the independence of Mexico, I was thrown even more into the country and it's awesomeness. We had a stake activity Friday. "Noche Mexicana." Basically everything incredible about Mexico wrapped up into a few hours. But before I get ahead of myself, let me say one thing:
I ATE ELOTE!!!
For those who are unfamiliar with the term "elote" let me enlighten you. I'm sure we are all great fans of the joyful movie "Nacho Libre." If you are not, repent. In this knee slapper of a film there are quite a few scenes in which Jack Black and his sidekick are eating corn on a stick. That, my friends, is elote. I have waited 10 months to finally try it, and last week it happened. Quite literally it is boiled corn on a stick, covered in mayonnaise and chili. It's actually pretty good. Mision Mexico Tijuana: Accomplished.
Something you can say about nearly every country except for America is that they can dance well. Mexico is definitely one of those countries and if you want to get a bunch of Mexican Elders trunky, just lock them all together in a room playing really good dancing music. It was hilarious for me to watch how, with every song played, they would simultaneously cry out in desperation. I had to join them too. I've never been a big fan of the classic stake dances of the U.S.. Pretty boring in my opinion. Everyone either jumps up and down, or if the song is slow, shuffle their weight from one foot to another in a very Frankenstein-like manner. This disgust for the "white-girl-dance" is what lead me to enroll in a dance class at BYU. Now I'm finally in a country that likes to dance, and dance WELL, and I can't even join in the fun. That is true torture. The bright side of things is that now I have a handful of Mexican dance-tutors to choose from for after the mish.
While we're on the subject of Mexico and food, I ate bugs last week. Grasshoppers to be specific. It's a Mexican snack more in the southern part of the country. You fry'em, toss a little lemon juice on top and Bon Appétit! Taste just like sunflower seeds.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
80's songs have a way of saying exactly what I'm thinking. Often, as we are walking in the street, or after something strange happens, lyrics to 80's songs come popping into my head and I can't help but sing them. My companions have no idea what I'm saying, but it certainly helps me express myself.
Lately... actually, all of these past two transfers, I have found my self singing the chorus to one of my personal favorites "All I need is a miracle, all I need is you."
We've been struggling a little bit out here in the desert of Las Fuentes. It's been quite dry literally and spiritually and I've been praying that this "drought" could end soon. After 2 months of waiting, this past week we had a little drizzle.
Clementina & Fabiola: Hace 2 semanas Sonia, our recent convert came up to us during Relief Society and told us that she had a friend that she wanted to take us to. That Wednesday we followed her to the house of Clementina, without questions she and her daughter Fabiola let us in, we taught lesson 1, and they accepted a baptismal date.
Pedro: As well, two weeks ago he showed up at church with another recent convert, Cipriano. We made an appointment to visit him Thursday, lesson 1, another accepted baptismal date.
Claudia: After a failed attempt to visit a contact, we were walking, trying to think of where else we could go when a man who had casually sat in on one of our lessons about 3 months ago (but said he had no interest) called out to us and said that he had mentioned our visit to his wife and she wanted to see us. Now she has a baptismal date too.
Blanca: We went to visit an investigator named Marta. She wasn't home, but there was Blanca. As we walked in, the first thing she said was (my translation into English) "Hey, I want you guys to start coming to my house to teach my family." Just like that. And I thought, "...well if you insist...."
Sometimes it's good to be thirsty. Helps you enjoy the water more.
P.S. FELIZ DÍA DE INDEPENDENCIA MÉXICO!!!!
Misión MÉxico Tijuana
Friday, September 12, 2014
Life would be a lot easier if I wasn't a missionary.
Usually I consider myself a pretty optimistic person. Always finding something to laugh at or a reason to smile. Being sure to always write about the good stuff that happens in the mission. that's been going on for the past 10 months now.
I've decided it's time for a reality check.
The mission is not all fuzzy feelings, miracles, and baptisms. I believe every RM and devoted fan of "The Best Two Years" would agree with me in that statement. Far too often we tell those future missionaries, "Oh, the mission will be the best time of your life! It will be hard, but so fantastic!" Why don't we ever talk more about the hard parts? Why don't we talk about the rejection? Or mention all the tearful prayers in the bathroom so your companion doesn't hear? How about those ward members that think your inadequate, or being stood up for appointments. And then there are your investigators, who you've learned to love and worked so hard for, that tell you they don't want any more to deal with you. Why do we avoid mentioning these moments?
Others then say, "The missionaries have such a great portion of the Spirit with them." But forget to add how hard we have to wok to be worthy of that Spirit. I have never before been so self-conscious of my sins. Take away every little thing that could impede me from having the companionship of the Spirit. It's exhausting. "Should I have said something different?" "Is it bad that I'm slightly enjoying overhearing the neighbors playing Bruno Mars "Treasure". "I shouldn't talk so much to the members after church, we should go contact instead." "Am I praying right?" "Is this the right lesson to teach?" The list goes on and on. The call is to be a representative of Jesus Christ. The only perfect being to ever walk the earth. How easy it is to pose the question, "What more do I lack?"
And so, as I walk in the blistering sun, dust covering my aching feet as we walk away from the tenth "Soy catolica" of the day, don't be surprised when I say that often the thought comes into my mind, "Life would be a lot easier if I wasn't a missionary." But let me tell you, that thought is always quickly followed by another.
"His life could have been a lot easier too."
The Savior had a choice too. He had is agency. He could have chosen another life. But He remembered His calling. He was rejected, spit upon, laughed at, and scorned. Let's not forget that at one point, after experiencing so much rejection, He even turned to His apostles and asked them if they would leave Him too. And as for being worthy of the Spirit, His whole life mission depended on it. Not one single mistake could He make.
Yes, my life could be a lot easier if I wasn't on a mission. It could be a lot easier to sit at home, eat cookies, and see what's new on Pintrest.
The mission is hard, because His life was hard. The only things we can expect from a mission are not soccer jerseys, foreign candy, and a second language. If we plan on stepping in His shoes, picking up His calling, and slapping His name on our chest every morning we better also expect to experience a little of the emotional, physical, and spiritual turmoil that He had to experience. It's not fun. It's not easy. But it's love. Love for Him and what He did for you and every other person that has and will ever live.
If I learned anything during my time in Jerusalem it's that Christ was a lot more human than we think He was. He wasn't perfect because He was naturally born that way. He had a choice. I have a choice. There's a reason why we've chosen this path. It's hard. But it's also the best thing worth doing in this life.
"Behold this is my work and my glory, to bring to past the immortality and eternal life of man."
After 10 months my shoes finally quit on me. They're really great and help me with my flat feet so I did my best to try and save them. First I attempted krazy glue but that didn't work. Next step was the Plasti Loka that they use for patching up holes in the plumbing. Thats what the green stuff is. To avoid the apearance of gum on my shoe I decided to cover it up with good ole' sharpie. Today we headed out and I was so sure that the Plasti loka would hold, but not five minutes of walking and it ripped open again. It's hopeless.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Raise your hand if youve ever been to Yellow Stone Park in Jacksonville, WY. Now, if you raised your hand try to remember if you went to see Old Faithful. That hole in the ground that people go to watch water spurt out of. Its pretty neat to watch from a safe distance and with an ice cream cone in your hand. Grand forces of Mother Earth at work.
Imagine that coming out of my mouth.
I didnt even make it to the toilet. As soon as Yellow shirt stepped out of the way there was no holding it back. My eyes quickly located the shape of a toilet and I just aimed for it. Hoping that the majority would make it into the bowl as I dropped to my knees. Not even bothering to close the door behind me. Old chicken wings, tortillas, ...used toilet paper surrounding me in that tiny, 3 by 4 cement bathroom. Who cared. Evil things had to get out of my stomach, and when I was done, with the little dignity I had left, wiped off my face with something that looked relatively clean, fixed a few stray hairs, and opened the door which I can only assume my companion so kindly closed for me. As we walked out of the tienda I did my best to look really interested in all the piles of eggs and socks, hoping to give the impression that we entered the tienda with other intenciones than emptying my panza.
Just like before, I felt fine as we entered the street once more and headed in the direction to visit the now baptized, but then investigator, Sonia. As we arrived I asked for a glass of water to help me chew the Pepto Bismol pills that my companion had bought me while I was.... occupied, in the tienda. Medecine taken, we began to teach one of the most comfortable lessons ever, The Law of Chastity. My comp started it off and I soon followed in with the doctrine. As the Spanish words were coming out of my mouth, I felt that usually friendly, pink medicine turn on me. I felt my face loose color once more and quickly finished my part as elegantly and calmly as possible before excusing myself to the bathroom and letting Hna. Bautista finish of the lesson.
Three times a charm people.
I dont think you need any more details than that. I did my thing, calmly returned to the lesson, and we continued through the day. In every lesson people mentioned how much paler I looked than my normal white girlishness. I was miserable in every lesson despues (after) and nearly singing holy praises when we finally got home. Attached is the lovely picture that my comp took as she laughed at my pitiful state.
|"Death on a Stick"|
So there it is. The one, and only, time I got sick in Mexico. Knock on wood. I hope you all have enjoyed this trillogy nearly as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Perhaps I will make it into a movie when I get back. It could do better than Twilight, thats for sure.