hola familia!!Wow it's been a CRAZY week here in Juarez. To start off, they feed you SO MUCH FOOD here in the city it is not even funny. We showed up to a member's house to have lunch, and to start off I wasn't even hungry. The sister started serving up the food on a giant plate. Well I thought it would be fine until she kept dishing, and dishing, and dishing, and DISHING!! Oh my goodness, it was like the food challenge of my life! Anyway, it was quite a miracle that I finished...I also had a really neat experience. This day I realized how God fearing a lot of the people here really are. We walke up to a house with no door, you could see right in. An old man inside heard that the hermanas were coming. He hobbled out towards us with a cane, grasped my hands, and cried out, "pray for me, pray for me, because I cannot see." My heart broke and next I met his wife. She was just the sweetest old lady you've ever met. She was having severe pains in her stomach, and I told her to sit down for a minute, so she did. They are not members, and are VERY strong catholics. We explained the restoration as simply and as clearly as we could, but it was like they just didn't understand. But I loved them with all my heart.Mom you asked a quesiton about the catholics here. The catholics haven't stopped fiesta-ing since Christmas. Just the other night they were shooting off fireworks. That means lots of drinking and who knows what else. In almost every house we walk into, there is a shrine in the corner for the picture of Maria, the plastic cross with Jesus hanging from it, and lots of old flowers and candles and creepy doctor dolls. My companion says that the people here often worship these idols. There are many families who are very strong in their catholic faith until their dying day, but there are others who treat it as only a culture for partying. It is the culture here in Mexico.They celebrate when the catholics do and they wear crosses around their necks, but they don't go to church and don't really live their faith. And when you ask them they say, "I am catholic, but in my own way." That means they talk the talk but don't walk the walk. But as my companion says, you can't be a catholic and live by the bible at the same time." And it's so true. Where in the bible does it mention "Guadalupe" or "the Santos" or that we should worship idols? Who knows....Yesterday and the day before I was able to play my violin for Elder Oaks! Let me tell you, it was quite the experience. The first meeting was with the WHOLE mission here in Chiapas, all the missionaries. We made a giant line, and he shook every missionaries hand. I played Abide with me (the one with Hermana George from facebook) with a small missionary choir. After I played, Elder Oaks put his hands together, shaking them in the air, and whsipered, thank you. I just smiled and my heart filled with joy that I was able to play my violin for an apostle of the Lord. The meeting was something else, as he had a translator at his side, translating everything he said. It was so neat!! He told the Elders to get home and get married. He told us that we need to encourage those "frail little creatures" (those are his EXACT words) to GET ON IT and GET MARRIED. Wow it was the strongest mandate I have ever heard from him. It was something else... He said it was his first time visitng Tuxtla Gutierrez, although he has assigned SEVERAL missionaries to the Tuxtla Gutierrez mission!! I thought that was so neat! He also explained the process of how they choose the place of assignment for missionaries. He said sometimes he has to go back and meditate a little bit more to make sure that that is the place that this missionary needs to go, but that he rarely changes the place. I thought that was interesting...The second meeting that I played for was for the all the young single adults from 3 different stakes here in Tuxtla. When he entered, I was the first one that he shook hands with, and he said, " Hello again." ha ha. The whole time we were playing the prelude (me and the other violinist- I sent you pics of her once), he was out in the crowd shaking everyone's hand. It was really a sweet experience. As we played the last song, he took his seat and just listened. He sat forward in his chair and watched intently. I looked up and smiled at him many times, and he was always looking directly at me, smiling back. It was pretty neat.Well I love you family, gabby and mom, good luck in AFRICA!!LoveHermana Cook
Monday, March 2, 2015
And...... I'M GOING BACK TO VILLAFLORES!!! I think with Hermana Buendia. I will send you pics of her soon.
On Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 5:37 PM, Sariah Cook <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: