Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Happy Birthday momma, April 30th!!!! I love you!
I recieved a package of Valentine treats and notes that I really loved. Thank you so much family!!! Also you sent me a knee brace and an ankle brace, thank you!! But I haven't recieved the backpack yet... it's probably because I am 6 hours from Tuxtla and we have to wait until the zone leaders travel to Tuxtla to have our packages from there.
This week we taught Blanca more, and now she has almost all of the lessons. We invited her to baptism but she told us about the scriptured, one faith, one Lord, and one baptism and said she would be "playing" with God if she were to be baptized again. So we explained everything about the authority and the restoration and I know very well that she can understand because she is very intelligent. But for some reason or another she just won't budge! I don't know what to do. We invited her to church and passed by her house to go with her but she was working in her garden and washing her clothes (all by hand)... that fell through too.
Our other investigator Rubi returned to Guatemala and so we told her before she left to search for the church and the missionaries there. She told us she would but that her entire family is very catholic.
On Sunday we found one of our contacts and we started to teach her. She had SO many questions that by the end we had taught the whole plan of salvation and we invited her to baptism. She said yes but then started asking us more questions. She was fascinated to learn that before this life we were spirits, and that there is life after this. She asked us all about the spirit world and about the 3 degrees of glory. I realized while we were teaching her that we were only reminding her of the plan she once knew before this life. And she got excited as she remembered.
When you are the missionary teaching all these things to the people, your own testimony flourishes, and becomes strong. You become extremely zealous for your religion because you absolutely KNOW that it is the only one true. Especially in Mexico where there are SO MANY religions walking through the street. It's like I have got to tell them so that they won't have to keep walking in error and so that they can have the blessings that we enjoy.
Today we were walking down the street when a little niño was walking in front of us with his school uniform on. He had on his bright green pants and his white polo as they all use here. And it was just the cutest thing. I am going to MISS these people something fierce.
There is a little rat that lives in our house and we have tried everything to get him out, but he is always there. One morning we were peacefully studying when we heard rustling from the garbage. My companion looked at me in horror and slowly walked over to close the garbage before he could leave. But of course he is so fast and got away as we were both screaming. One day we'll get him! There are also lots of cucarachas and lizards. They are all looking for shelter from the rain. I put my yoghurt on the counter for 1 second and the next thing you know there are antenas peeking out of the top and there is cucaracha eating your yoghurt!
One of the recent converts here just recieved his priesthood and he is going on the ward temple trip to tuxtla!!! We are so excited for him. His name is Jaime and he is 17. The cool thing about him is he LOVES the missionary work. He works with us and we give him cards to contact and he loves it. He took us to his friends house to teach hiim the first lesson and it was sooo awesome! The members here give lots of references and there is a volleyball court next to the church- for that reason Jaime learned about the church. We get lots of references from playing volleyball with the members and the friends they bring. IT ROCKS!!
Here in xochimilco they use combies to travel to the centro and back. Those things zip around so fast they remind me of that little bus from Harry Potter that shrinks and grows to fit in between the buildings. The door opens and closes real fast and you have to be on your feet!! ha haa.
Well I love you so much family!! We still don't know when we will be talking. I'll let you know.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Wooo hooo familia!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TALMAGE!!!!!! I love you my little buddy Talmage with all my heart!! Even his fire red hair and his little brown chair :)
Here we are 30 minutes from Guatemala, in a place called Xochimilco, Tapachula. It is a little pueblo in the middle of a JUNGLE. AND THERE ARE RIVERS IN THE STREET!!! That's right, it rains RIVERS in the steet!! It rains SOOO hard here- huge droplets of water. And every time it rains it's a frog strangling gully washer. AND I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS PLACE!!! God knew that I would love it so much! And so to prepare for more rain (that the people say comes in May) we went to the Centro today and I bought some really good rain boots. I just forget using my umbrella because there is so much lightning and I don't want to risk it. Also here in Xochimilco it is SO HUMID that you are in a CONSTANT sweat. And I love it!! It makes me feel like I am working harder... ha ha.
My companion is a little angel from Guatemala, Hermana Robles, and she just finished her training!! We are the second pair of sister missionaries ever in this area. The first pair was Hermana Robles and her trainer (Hermana Davidson from Arizona).
We are constantly teaching Guatemalan's who are here to work and without papers. They are a God-fearing and humble people. We found a Guatemalan house keeper who works for the bishop in his house. We went and taught her the restoration. It was a little hard for her to understand, and so we are going back to help her. But what she did understand is that she needs to read the book of mormon and pray to know it's true. She also understands the way that her answer will come.
We also found a little old grandmother who has been catholic all her life. Her name is Blanca. Wow does she have some false doctrine and ideas inside. And she talks SO MUCH. Well we have been teaching her and she likes what we teach. She kept talking about the Americas and the Mayans (who are her ancestors she says) and the promised land!!!!!!! She also talks about how she communicates with the "living Mayans." So we thought wow this is perfect to give her an introduction to the book of mormon. So we explained it all and she told us she would read it and pray to ask God if it's true. We also asked her if she had any questions about the church or something she heard from the gente (the people). Because here in MExico, they TALK. A LOT. A lot of false doctrine goes around about the mormons, and you can see it on their faces when you talk to them in the streets. The minute you say mormon their facial expression changes and they don't like you (ha ha only sometimes) So she told us about how she had heard all about how we practice polygamy. And so we explained it all to her and now she has less problems. I am feeling really quite comfortable speaking in Spanish. Most gospel stuff comes easy to me. Just like Pres. Peterson told me, at 6 months in the field you should start to feel comfortable with almost all gospel stuff. I will keep you updated with the hermana Blanca.
My little compañerita is still learning a few things, and I am happy to help her learn. I love her. God sent her to me.
This week we had the experience of eating cow stomach.... It was very interesting and to tell you the truth I did NOT like it very much. But I chocked it down and tried to chew as best I could but it was TOUGH. It was like you were chewing on a tongue of some sort that just wouldn't separate... The flavor wasn't all bad it was just the texture.
We visited a less active family this week. Their baby was there on the floor in a little cradle as we taught the lesson. Then the daughter informed us that their dog had had rabies the day before, and so the doctor gave it a shot and all was good. But I couldn't believe that the poor baby was there on the floor with their dog running around that had had rabies. I still wouldn't trust a dog who got the shot.... because it was still acting a little weird, chasing around mosquitos...
Well I love you family, keep pressing forward and STUDY the scriptures. Continue to LEARN the stories of the BIBLE and the BOOK OF MORMON.
Woo hoo I am getting transfered to the hottest part of Chiapas, TAPACHULA!!! Tapachula is literally on the border of Guatamala!!!! And I AM SOOOOO EXCITED!!!
I have absolutely LOVED it here in Villaflores, and especially with Hermana Buendia. It'll be hard to leave but at the same time I wonder what lies ahead for me right there on the Guatemalan front!
Wow, many miracles have happened in just a short time. One night when we arrived to our home, we prayed for a miracle baptism before the end of the transfer. And this is what occured...
We were searching for people from the list of less actives when we found someone else, who had attended church for 2 months straight a few years ago. Her name is Violeta. She also listened to the Elders for some time when she was living in the other place. We found her on Thursday of the last week and taught her the restoration the next day. It was a beautiful lesson although she told us that all she could accept was the Bible. During the lesson I knew that I knew her and her daughter before this life... that was the feeling that came.
We returned a lot and taught her more. She recognized what we taught from what she knew from when she listened to the Elders. We invited her to be baptized and she started to cry. She accepted for the following Saturday, the 11th of April!!!! We taught her husband one night as well, but he wasn't so accepting.
Her husband told her that he could not accept Joseph Smith as a prophet. And do you know what she told him? "I am going to read my book of mormon. I am going to have MY book of mormon." WOW. We returned the next day to find she had read the introduction, the testimony of the 3 and 8 witnesses, and 1 Nephi chapter 1. She told us that she felt it was true as she read and that she was ready to defend anyway who told her otherwise. She told us that she knows that mormons are the most criticized religion and that she is ready to defend the attacks that surely will come. She is converted. We asked her if she would like to teach Gospel Principles in church and she accepted us. She is very intelligent. She knows God and the Biblia.
Hermana Alondra went with us to teach a few things to Violeta. Alondra stayed a little longer to talk and teach, because we had to leave. During this time Violeta told Alondra that she is not married to her husband... Alondra told us later in the day, after we had everything ready- her white clothes, her cedula, her interview, the baptismal program, the talks, the musical number... Everything fell through.
So we returned to tell Violeta that she couldn't be baptized. But I knew that she would stand firm because she has a testimony. She says she is so happy, and she knows that she will be baptized even though it will be very hard. I will explain why.
Violeta will always be my sister, and although she can't be baptized until she either marries her husband or separates from him, I will always remember this experience that I have had. She is a psychologist and a teacher, and she works hard to provide for her one daughter. She has had a hard life. She grew up with her other siblings, smoking, drinking, and partying until she searched for God. She met a guy in the Pentocostis church when she was 28 and started to date him. Her mom didn't like him and forbid her from the house where she was living. And so she went to live with this guy. And now they have been together for 10 years and have had many problems.
I pray for Violeta and I wait the day when she can make the great escape that she needs to make and be baptized.
I will let you know how everything goes in Tapachula. I leave from Villaflores tonight and from Tuxtla tomorrow morning.
I love you family,
Hola familia!!! Happy Pascua yesterday!!
Wow I saw the pics of mom and Gabby in Africa and they are AMAZING!!! WOW!!!! I think they are having the time of their lives!! What beautiful people they are with.
We went to visit an hermana who is very catholic and there she has Maria in the corner of her house. Well, as we entered, out jumped a ferocious dog from behind the door, barking wildly and so I just prayed and my companion and I ran for the door to leave just as soon as we had entered. Wooh. I was scared sick but then the daughter came out and wrestled the dog back behind the door. Wooh... Then we taught a lesson on the Book of Mormon. She said she will pray about baptism.
Afterwards we went to eat at a members home and they asked me if I wanted something but I didn't understand what the something was, and so I said yes. Next thing I know I was eating cow liver and thinking, "what in the world is this?" It wasn't my favorite but it wasn't too terrible. ha ha.
The other night we were at a mini store to buy some things, and there was a chamaco (teenager) buying beer. I gave him a card of "Gracias a que El vive" and told him of Jesus Christ. He just looked at me. And then he left. I think it made him think a little bit more about his life.
This week we found an investigador named Violeta. She is a pschologist and attended church for 2 months in a row and she liked it. She is pentacostis. She likes to have us over to teach her. Well we taught her and her husband the restoration and the book of mormon and the plan of salvation, all in one week. They are very interested but they have SO many questions. Lessons with them are really quite fun! One of their questions was if we believe in hell. And from there we explained more of the plan of salvation.
This past week they gave all the missionaries a pill that supposedly gets rid of whatever parasite you might have. Well I took it today and nothing has happened so far.... I guess we'll see.
The families we have been teaching lately are having a hard time coming to church (hermana Pati and her family, Alexis and his family, and Ana and her family). The zone leader called our zone to repentance and told us we have to stop teaching every investigator that is not doing what they are supposed to and search for those who will. So this week we have been searching for the "chosen" as they call it.
I love you family. I don't know about you guys, but what I learned from conference was the importancia of the marriage and the family. I really enjoyed Presidente Packer's talk. I think President Monson is a little down health wise, seeing as he only spoke once and he didn't do his normal jokes and laughing. But I loved his message just the same, and I am so grateful to have a living prophet and apostles. This had never meant so much to me until I preached it everyday.
I love you family, and Godspeed.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Hola mama and Gabby in Africa, and Dad, Gracee, and Talmage in the U.S.!!
This week we found a beautiful family very very poor. They live in a one room house of cement with a tin roof. The husband is 29 and his wife is 17, and they are about to have their first baby. They are named Pedro and Jessica. I am not sure they are married... We taught them the trinity (because EVERYONE here is SO confused about that...) but Jessica just couldn't understand very well. Well anyways we returned to teach them together yesterday but Pedro was really drunk. So we left.
This week for the catholics is more like a party than Easter...
Well we have been teaching a beautiful family and all of them excepted baptismal dates. Paula, the mom, is single but she has 3 beautiful children, Paula, Elis, and Oracia, or "Nachito." Well we taught them the plan of salvation the other night, and then Nachito offered the most beautiful prayer. He said, "please bless my daddy is really far away. Also please send an angel to protect my sisters as they go to school...") and I thought it was so sweet. It reminded me of my brother praying for his older sisters. I love you Talmage :)
We have found another new investigator named Mario. Actually we have contacted him quite a bit because he works in a paper shop which we visit a lot to get copies and stuff like that. Well lately he has opened up a little more to us and started asking us why God never answers his prayers. First off we taught him how to pray, because he said he wasn't sure how but that he always asks God for things. Then we taught him about the Lord's timing and the Lord's will and gave him a talk on the grace of God through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We also gave him a book of mormon and we are going to teach him the restoration tonight. IT's interesting how we have been teaching him. We have to teach him in his shop and whenever someone walks in we have to pause so that he can help that customer. But I will keep you updated on him, because he has a lot of potential.
Every time I share the message of the restoration of the gospel it is a blessing. It is so marvelous to share such a message unique to the world, and which I know to be true with all my heart. As we taught another little family, and as I shared the restoration with them, my heart filled with a grand joy, and I wouldn't have rather done anything else in the world.
The feelings that come from the spirit when you teach the restoration of the gospel are feelings that cannot be described. To know what it feels like you have to share it.
For all of you who are wondering about my foot, it is doing awesome. I call it a miracle. I have had no pain since and the Lord has protected me as I walk. I give thanks to God for the opportunity to be a missionary every day.
I love you so much my family forever.