Monday, November 17, 2014

La Gripa!

Hola Familia!!


La Gripa: pronunciation: GREE-PA. At this time of the year in Mexico, many people contract this sickness, similar to the common cold in the United States. Lately we have been knocking on lots of doors and then we get rejected because, "Yo tengo la GRIPA!!" ("I have the stuffed nose and the sneezing and the hacking and I cant talk...") ha ha. I think the name of "gripa" is hilarious!! It sounds like the grim reeper or something!! And it{s even funnier that people have it right now because it{s dying hot here!! But really it{s their "cold season." Anyway, don't worry, I don{t have la gripa... 

To answer some of your questions... yes we have a house of prayer here. It{s very nice compared to some of the houses here. The building is fairly new but the church has been here in Villaflores for about 30 years. Here there are so many different churches I can{t name them all, but the main one is catholic. There{s lots of Jehovah Witness, pentacostals, and seventh day adventists. It{s an interesting mix of beliefs, and lots of confusion about the God head and the trinity and Mary and all that... Also, Villaflores is about 2 hours from the city, Tuxtla, and about 6 hours from the sea. The fish we eat comes from lake Angostura in a big vending truck that drives through the town.

I didn{t know this but a little part of Oaxaca is part of my mission mom and dad!! My companion (who yes, is very experienced) served there for a time. She has a picture of her in the most beautiful Oaxacan dress with her companion!! Maybe I will get to serve in Oaxaca as well, who knows.

We went to the rancho for the second time and taught the plan of salvation. It was a great lesson, and the spirit was there! The wife of the man who runs the rancho is getting baptized on the 29th of November!! I{m so excited for this family to be together in the gospel. Dad you would love this ranch, they have these wooden chairs with deer skin stretched over them to sit on. They have this sic like igloo made out of clay that they smoke meat and cook meals in. They have this giant basin filled deep with water and FISH!! I'm not sure what type of fish though... This rancho is literally in the jungle and it is GORGEOUS!! Next time we visit to teach I will get a picture because it will take your breath away!!! 

Okay we had the funnest time this week!! A little girl named Alondra had her fifth birthday!! She is the daughter of hermana Brenda, who I told you about in the last weeks letter. Because her momma is a little short on pesos, we decided to buy her a cupcake. We put some candles in it and we went to their casa with the candles lit and singing feliz compleanos. It was the sweetest thing ever!! You should have seen the look on her face when we gave her that cupcake!!! It was like Christmas morning!! We had cupcakes with the whole family and helped them sweep up their floor. You have got to see the pictures I got with this sweet family and with Alondra. I will send them in just a sec. They are PRICELESS!! I love Alondra so much, she loves us too, everytime we go over, she always says, "hermanas, hermanas, hermanas!!!" Brenda's husband Carlos is still not wanting to shake his alcohol problem, although we have had many lessons with him and Brenda to try and help him stop. It{s really sad, but we continue to comfort Brenda through this hard time. We ate there the other day, and we had jalapeños on the salad!! I was crying!! My companion too and she is from Mexico!!! Also she lived in ciudad Juarez for four years!! 

Update on Ivan and Hugo... We had the most amazing lesson with Ivan. It was so incredible. Every investigator has a story, and it{s so fun to learn what that story is and how the gospel can help them in their lives. We taught Ivan about the plan of salvation. It was so amazing, because it was as if he remembered his life in the premortal world, and as we taught one principle, a light would turn on in his head and he would teach the rest of that principle!!!!! We were talking about how we lived with God before this life and how we were spirits. Then directly after that he said, "Oh yeah, and we came to this earth for our spirits to have a body. And after that when we die we separate from our body again and return with God." And my companion and I just looked at each other like, "How in the world could he know this?" We had never taught the plan of salvatino before, only the restoration and temples and the scriptures and prayer, and baptism. It was amazing, basically he filled in our sentences about the premortal life and about what happens after we die. It was so amazing, he has a testimony of the restoration and of the book of mormon and now of the plan of salvation. I{m so happy for him. It{s like my comp and I are his mothers and he is our little boy. Well, Ivan has a girlfriend his brother Hugo tells us that whenever he isn{t home for a lesson, he is probably hanging out with his girlfriend.... My companion and i just hope that his love for God is stronger than his love for her.... We want him to be baptized but it{s hard when he{s never home to teach a lesson. But Hugo is on track to be baptized for the 6 of December. I am so excited for him and I love him so much, he is so full of excitement and a testimony of the gospel although he knows so little. 

I cannot believe how smart the younger kids are here! We contacted this 12 year old boy in the street last week named Gil. We had our first lesson with him a few days ago, and it too was absolutely incredible!! God gave me the gift of tongues in this lesson, because I don{t even remember the things I said, or even how to say them now. This little boy, listened to us talk about God and Jesus and the Holy ghost like no one I have seen listen before. He listened actively even though there were distractions in the street (like always always). He seemed to have the wisdom and patience of someone far beyond his years, because after we asked him what he is searching for in life he said this: "What is my purpose in this life?" oh. my. goodness. he is 12 years old!!!! Man alive he blew me away!!! That{s the age old question that so many people don{t know. So many people are searching for the truth and they are only half satisfied with the church they are attending, whether it be catholic or Jehovah's witness, or whatever! It{s because this church is the only true one!! Well, we didn{t have much time, but since he loves to read, we left him wiht the pamphlet on the plan of salvation and scheduled our next appointment to teach it to him. IT{s tonight and I CAN{T WAIT!!!! we are inviting him to baptism tonight as well... i will keep you updated on him next week...he closed that last lesson with a prayer (which we taught him how to pray in the first lesson) and asked God that very question, "what is my purpose in this life?" and I know God is going to give that boy an answer, because wow, what faith he has!! (he is catholic btw)

We teach lessons in the most awesome places!! We taught an older man named florentino with his wife who is a member RIGHT NEXT to the river in the dirt!! florentino has had a really rough life with a dark past, but when we taught him by that river about repentance, I felt God{s love for him and i knew that the power of the atonement is far greater than any of the darkest times of his life. he has already changed so much, because he is willing to listen to the truth, and he is searching for it. every time we go to the river for a lesson with him and his wife, he is just laying in the dirt because he works hard every day, and he{s exhausted. he also has a problem with alcohol, but not lately it seems. This man is always willing to talk about Jesus. He reminds me so much of the man talked about in the poem, "the touch of the Masters hand." In the movie of this poem, (which i love) it shows a homeless man traveling through his life day after day living off a "mess of pottage, a glass of wine, a game, and he travels on..." He feels like it{s too late for any hope for himself, and he{s about to jump off a bridge into oncoming traffic on the freeway, when someone reaches out, and touches his shoulder. The man turns around to see the Savior. At that moment he realizes that he is never too late to change, and that if he will take the Saviors{ hand, he can be cleansed from sin and live with him once more! Just as a master luthier can make a beautiful melody out of an old, beat up violin, the Savior can heal our broken hearts and souls if we are willing and have faith in his atoning sacrifice. I testified to this man, florentino by the river that God and Jesus Christ will forgive him if he will only repent. The guy has a long way to go and he is a little confused about the trinity, but we are willing to work with him and help him come unto Christ.

Another lesson we taught in my favorite place- the streets of Mexico!! Literally, i sat in the street and my companion sat on the curb and we taught an 11 year old girl named Tania who still has that light in her eyes, and the submissiveness of a child. We taught her that death is not the end of our lives and that she can pray to her Heavenly Father while she is on this earth. What a privilege we have to help her on her way to eternal life. 

I am convinced that missionary work is the best calling in the church!!

grace and gabby and talmage, mom, and dad, i love you

hermana cook 

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