Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Fasting can cause a lot of really awkward situations.  We fast every week.... which makes awkward moments on a weekly bases.
Last week, in such a moment, Hna Aviles and I arrived at the house of a new investigator (remember the breaking-into-the-car contact?  Yeah, we finally got an appointment with her).  Like every other day in Mexico, it was pretty hot and naturally our investigator offered us a glass of water (which is Spanish for soda) to cool off.  We said no gracias, that we were just fine, but while she went off to take a quick shower, she sent in her cousin with two large glasses of Manzanita Sol.
Awkward.  If you consider it bad manners in the US to not eat/drink what you're offered, it is REALLY bad manners here below the boarder.
What could we do?  The cousin went back into the kitchen and left us alone in the living room with a puzzle to solve.  We began searching for anything to dump the soda into.  A hose plant being the ideal choice, but alas, there were none to be found.  Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a open window.  Quickly, but silently I dashed to the window, and with a prayer in my heart, peeked outside for salvation.  God heard my prayer and a potted plant was found sitting directly below the opened window.  Slinking over to my companion I shared my discovery and we plotted our next move.
It was a flawless plan.  I placed myself in the sofa to keep watch on the activity in the kitchen while Hna. Aviles moved over to the chair in front of the open window.  As I played guard duty, Hna. Aviles, with Manzanita in hand, slyly slipped her arm through the window behind her to dump the soda in the plant.  In and out again for my glass and within seconds the deed was done and we could breath freely again.

The investigator didn´t suspect a thing.  But I would love to have seen the faces of the people outside who past by to find my companion´s arm hanging out the window with glass in hand.  

Monday, March 30, 2015

Elliott Ricardo Chinas Pena

Elliott and his family were a reference from another ward.  My second week here in Ensenada we went to visit them and the very next day they showed up at church.  Elliott (9 years old) lives with his mom and one of his sisters.  His other sister lives in another part of Mexico and his dad is Marine, which means that he is off at sea for three months at a time and comes home for about a week.  When we stated visiting Elliott and his family, that was the reason why his mom, Leticia, was always depressed.  All day long she was in the house, her kids at school, husband at work, and with nothing to do.  But as she began to learn about the gospel, you could see a light begin to grow in her eyes. 

Since then they have become a solid family in the ward.  Participating in every activity and eating up all that the gospel has to give them.  Leticia has even shared the gospel with several of her friends.  Now just has to wait until her "husband" gets home so they can get married and she can be baptized.


But meanwhile, Elliott was baptized!  Super excited, he told me after his baptism, "my sins were up to here! (pointing to his forehead) and now I don't have any!!!"  He's going to serve a mission some day.... :)

In other news, I have the opportunity each week to go on exchanges with the other sisters working her in Ensenada.  Last Friday I spent the day in the only Hermana area with bikes in Ensenada.  First time in all of my mission to ride a bike... in a skirt.  Stick on a pair of leggings underneath and a Hanna Montana helmet on top and your set to go.  

I felt like I was in a video game.  10 points to hop the speed bump.  15 if you can wave hi to the kids hanging out of the pickup truck passing by. 30 to weave around the dead dog.  50 if you can squeeze between the buses.  What a rush.  Would it be too cheesy if I said I felt so ALIVE!?  Or that's how it felt for the first 10 minutes.  Then I began to realize that I wasn't in such great physical condition as I thought...  With my head held high I can say that I never once crashed, but we might have needed to take a couple breathing breaks.  At the end of the day I rode the bike standing.  I'm fairly certain that the torn up bike seat made a few bruises where the sun don't shine.  The next day I woke up with wobbly legs.  To those of mis amigos who served missiones on bikes, my respects.

If you can't beat 'em, join ém

I haven't had too many dog stories during my mission.  One happened around my three month mark (of which I've already written about), and the other about two months ago.

Azteca is a big area, therefore we earnestly search for any shortcut we can find that's manageable in a skirt.  Thus this story came to be.  We were running late for a lesson and Hna. Aviles and I were new in Azteca and still trying to find our way around.  We came across a large, empty field, innocently lying there, waiting to be walked upon.  There might have been a sign saying "Private property.  Prohibited to walk upon."  Perhaps it was there...  I don't remember too well...

We made it half way through until giant dogs of every species came chasing after us.  I'm pretty sure that one of them was Fluffy from the Sorcerers Stone.  Barking, growling, saliva flying everywhere they came right up on our heels.  And we just kept on walking.  My heart beating right out of my chest, but my feet as calm as a Sunday afternoon stroll. One of them bit the skirt of my companion.  And I responded by opening my umbrella in it's face. HA! 

And that's how we continued.  Slowly walking, trying to not provoke them more, until we came to the end of the field,... and maybe passing by another "Prohibited" sign.... maybe.  Like I said, my memory doesn't serve me too well.  But the dogs knew there limit and didn't follow us beyond that point.  ...And we haven't made that shortcut since.

As for more recent news: in a desperate search for new investigators, our zone got together last Friday and put up a couple of stands in the famous Globos of Ensenada (it's like a giant garage sell.  you can go there and find anything you can imagine really cheap).  We looked like a bunch of T.J.'s (testigos de jehova).  Talking to anybody we could about their families, genealogy, the restoration, the gift of tongues.   Strange people, strange experiences.  A couple of English tourists came up and asked to take a picture of me thinking I was part of the tour I supposed.  They also asked if I was Mexican (goal!)

Fun fact:  Nobody knows why, but there is a Japanese statue in our area.  Random, but great for picture taking.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Another Drop in the Ocean

We´ve been struggling a little here in Azteca these past weeks.  We have some great investigators that will be getting baptized in these next few weeks, but can´t seem to find new people to teach.  Lots of canceled appointments, 14 or more contacts a day, but no one interested in the good news.  We´ve even resorted to knocking doors... but few stories of success.

You know, the typical.

Having just been told from a new investigator that they didn´t want us to visit them anymore, we were walking through a neighborhood looking for somebody new to teach.  We came across a lady struggling to break into her car, having accidentally locked her keys inside.  Like typical missionaries we offered our help, and like typical strangers seeing two gals in skirts, she said thanks but that she could handle it (who´s going to make girls in skirts work?... story of my mission).  She and her neighbor (who was not wearing a skirt) continued working on her car while we awkwardly stood there watching.  Refusing to leave until we contacted her, but not knowing how to draw her attention away from her car.  Finally, tired of waiting I said, ¨Pues, nosotros sabemos que Dios pude hacer cualquier cosa.  Aun abrir su carro si quiere.  Cree que podríamos hacer una oración y pedir por su ayuda?¨  She said okay to the prayer and so standing there, in the middle of the street, while her neighbor continued shoving a metal stick into her car door, I said a prayer.  And as I finished the prayer... the car door didn´t open.  Talk about an awko-taco.  So I continued to contact the lady, hoping that she would realize that the prayer supposedly failed.  But as I contacted the neighbor continued to work on the car door, and after a minute or two, POP!  The door opened.

The lady didn´t accept a return appointment.  Actually, I´m not even sure she made the connection of the prayer and opened door.  But for me, it was a tiny miracle that strengthened my companion´s and mine testimonies.    
¨you´ll only find this in mexico¨

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I've been doing this for too long...

Something really strange has happened to me.  I've hit a road block.  I quite literally can't think of anything interesting or enlightening to write this week.... and as a self proclaimed creative writer I feel quite ashamed about that.  I guess doing the same thing day in and day out has made everything seem... normal.  And very difficult to remember something abnormal to share.  I wake up, study, contact, teach, walk, plan, and sleep each day.  Sure every day is unique... but as Syndrom from The Incredibles said, "And when everyone's special... no one will be."  Regardless, I promise that next week I'll have something incredibly amazing for you all to read... but while you're waiting on that just know that the church is true, the work is good, chili adds more flavor, and here's a montage of pictures from the last 6 months (mas o menos) of my mission.