Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Week 10: Chemical Bomb

This week a chemical bomb went off near where we live. I think they said it was ammonia? When we walked out of our apartment my companion was saying she felt dizzy. After a few minutes I was coughing sooooo bad and thought for sure I was dying and my companion said her throat really hurt. It was really smoky and I wondered why, but we just figured it was a fire or something. Then everyone was walking around with masks on and there were ambulances everywhere. It made teaching very difficult with the mask over my face!

Me in my mask

In an area that we teach there are chickens, chicks and roosters and some weird bird looking thing running around everywhere. I love it! I caught a little chick and was so happy. My companion wouldn’t let me take it home though. I think she’s afraid the ants will eat it. lol. 

Adorable Chick

This week was the Relief Society anniversary. We all wore white blouses and blue skirts and they gave us these little fun badge things and we sang in the choir. Singing is not one of my favorite things. We had to go to practice twice this week and each time for like two hours. I was dying. I’ve got work to do man! lol It’s great because the people here love to sing and love to sing LOUD! The only problem is that most of them didn’t have a piano, so they don’t know the notes. So our choir was a little less then perfect...or a little less then good. lol But they sing with heart and I guess that’s all that matters, right?

Relief Society Anniversary

We had a meeting with the mission president this week for my 12-week progress. It is such a pain because we have to drive eight hours to get to Guadalajara for a 3-hour meeting and then eight hours back!!! Ugh. I look like a giant in this picture but it’s because I am in front more. I am a very normal height here. I thought Bryce and Dallin would like to know that. I’m actually taller then quite a few women, and even some guys. Craziness!


I got to see my MTC companions (Hermana Burns and Durnford) this week! I was so extremely happy! I’ve missed them so much! It was fun to catch up and see how they are doing. Sadly it sounds like everyone in the district is really struggling. I think everyone is having difficulties mainly with the companions. I think it’s because the culture here is just so different that it’s hard to get used to living with someone who grew up in a totally different world. I have problems with my companion sometimes, but I think I was really lucky! I’ve noticed generally that they are very sensitive and like to talk about feelings. Two things I am not. lol So my companion is struggling with me. I’m her first American companion.

MTC Companions

This is some special Guadalajara food. It’s kind of weird, but everyone loves it. Most of the time I just tell everyone I absolutely LOVE the food. Hopefully that will be the truth one day. lol

Guadalajara Special

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 9: Second Month - First Baptism

This week was great! We had divisions and I was with one of the sister training leaders. She was great and I learned so much. The area was beautiful and green, and the weather wasn’t fire hot. People are now starting to laugh at me because I’m red. lol 

My companion told me that when I was gone for divisions, the lessons weren’t the same. The people missed me and they weren’t as open and friendly. That made me feel so good! They have no idea what I’m saying and I have no idea what they are saying, but they still like me. :)  

People stare at me all the time! I’m really getting sick of it and so is my companion. It makes me extremely uncomfortable. But then people like to talk to me and ask me where I’m from, which gives me the opportunity to talk about the gospel. So I guess it isn’t all bad.

"I don't understand why people stare at me"

For lunch they give you so much food. I asked one of the elders how I can tell them I don’t eat much. He said under no circumstances could you do that. They will just get offended and then give you more. This week on divisions my companion said she couldn’t eat much. The lady was like “nonsense” and then she just piled more on! So I just have to grin and bear it and pray that I don’t throw up. Lol

I experienced my first earth tremble. It was actually pretty big and it lasted about a minute. We were at home and the house started to shake. My first thought was “man these people really need to figure out how to make better houses, this is ridiculous.” Then my companion pulled me outside and I realized the ground was shaking! It was pretty weird, but kind of fun. I hope not to experience another one. 

2-Month Mark

Saturday was my 2-month mark. How crazy is that? On my 2-month mark we had a baptism - my first one! His name is Jehoshaphat and he is absolutely great! I’m so excited for him. He’s really quiet, so it’s sometimes hard to know how he’s feeling. But you could tell how happy he was on his baptism day. Then on Sunday he was trying to figure out how to join seminary! How awesome is that? When someone has a desire to join seminary and continue learning that’s when you know they have a true testimony. He wants to serve a mission and isn’t embarrassed to share what he believes at school. No one else in his family wanted to be baptized, so I hope he can be strong. His mom supports him in his decision and comes to church with him.

Jehoshaphat, me & my companion

Jehoshaphat & his mom

I almost had a complete missionary scandal this week. We had dinner with one of the members and afterwards her grandson happened to stop by just before we began the lesson. His name is Fernando (or Ferdinand?). He had taken lessons when he was ten and almost was baptized. Since then he likes studying religions from around the world. He was training for the air force but got into a really bad accident. The doctors said it was a miracle that he made it out alive and then continued to heal so fast (he was normal within 2 months and training). He said that was a moment in his life that he knows God was watching over him.

He’s interested in taking lessons again. But sadly the area where he lives is the Elders area. :( That’s probably better though, because it’s difficult for sisters to teach guys. You always have to have members with you. I’m so excited for him and I feel like God has been preparing him these past 11 years and I think that he is ready to accept the gospel in his life. Okay, so now for the scandal. I told you that girls always kiss girls right? What I didn’t know is that girls and guys kiss as well when they’re young and close to the same age. So when we were saying good-bye he went to give me a kiss on the cheek! I was thinking, “What is this? They DEFINITELY did not teach me about this in the MTC!” But don’t worry, scandal avoided. I stopped him. Afterwards my companion taught me that you always stand a far distance away from guys when you shake hands because that’s very common. I was thinking “Thanks, now you tell me!” lol

Last week a family took us to the street vendors for dinner. I didn’t eat because President told us not to eat at them because they are not clean. While everyone else was eating a guy came up and starting talking to me. He had lived in Wisconsin for a while so he knew English. I got to share the gospel with him and I invited him to church. I thought it was a blessing of exact obedience, but afterwards my companion told me that she thought he was interested in me, not the gospel. I felt stupid. :(  But this week he came to church and today we are having a lesson with him! :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 8: Ants, ants, ants, ants, ants...


First, things I liked from the conference: Quintin L Cook, Dieter F Uchtdorf (probably my favorite talk), M Russell Ballard (you guys should buy a pmg and study it like he advised in his talk), Jean A Stevens, David A Bednar (the burdens in our life are what give us the opportunity to rely more on Christ), Thomas S. Monson (I just love him-his talk was one of my absolute favorites as well). You guys should all pick something from conference that you need to work on and then improve it! They aren’t just fun talks to listen to, we need to apply them and use them to help change our lives. :)

Bertha, her granddaughter, me & my companion

Bertha is one of the members. She comes and teaches with us a lot and she is extremely friendly. We spend a lot of time with her family because her daughter is less active. They are so nice and fun! The little girl is Betha´s granddaughter. She is so cute and loves talking to me. Most of the time I just smile and say “si” because I have absolutely no idea what she is saying to me, but she’s okay with that because she loves to talk. lol The other day she found my sparkly hand sanitizer and has fallen in love with it and the way it smells.

Family Home Evening with Bertha's family & neighbors

Monday we had family home evening with Bertha’s family. They invited tons of people: their neighbors (investigators), other neighbors (hopefully future investigators), and some family. It was so much fun with all of the little kids! We played games, had little prizes (this nasty spicy candy that everyone loves - I gave mine to my companion later), watched a little Bible movie, and had a yummy meal. It was a great opportunity to socialize and let families become more comfortable with us.

Yummy Food!

Bryce, Dad, and Dallin would never be able to live here! They never use the ovens, which means no brownies, cake, or cookies. lol They usually don’t have snacks unless they buy it from the store. We usually have some type of jello if we have a dessert after the meal, but it’s rare. Dessert is a luxury here because they don’t have much money.

My District

Surprisingly we have more sisters then elders and more Americans then natives. How crazy is that? They say that never happens. All of the missionaries are encouraged to learn English. It’s in the pmg (Preach My Gospel book). It says that it will bless them later. All missionaries need to try and learn English and at the end of their mission they take a test. 

Doing my laundry

These past two weeks I have become best friends with the ants. We eat, sleep, bathe, use the bathroom, study, teach, and do everything together. But the other day they crossed the line. THEY ATE MY CADBURRY EGGS AND SOUR CANDY!!!! I was so mad. I was saving it for Easter! Then they were all over my stuff - like a million of them. And then I found they were in my retainer! I sadly had a girly moment and kind of freaked out, but my companion saved me. Two nights ago, my companion said, “oh come here.” There was a cute little lizard in the bathroom and she said it was eating the ants for us! We were so happy and decided it was our friend. Then the next morning at 7 am I went to take a shower. I was half asleep and I looked down and there was the lizard…dead…with a million little ants eating it! THEY KILLED THE LIZARD!!!!! I had another freak out moment and my companion again had to save me. lol It was sooo gross. Ew ew ew! Poor lizard friend...I hate ants.

There are pretty much no mirrors here. We have a tiny broken one we can use for makeup, but that’s it. People don’t really have mirrors in their houses. I guess it’s a good thing, because I kind of look like a hobo everyday. It’s sooo hot! This is one of the hottest areas in the mission. I don’t wear much makeup because it just melts off, and my hair consists of different up-dos. I’m becoming pretty creative with putting my hair up. lol I’m very glad that no one has mirrors. It would just make me depressed.

My companion told me that way before we met each other she had dreamed of me a few times. She said she had no idea why, until she saw me the first time and knew we were going to be companions. I think it was the Lords way of preparing her for me, letting her know that I’m kind of really broken and will need a lot of help! lol 

There are fruit trees everywhere and people give us mangos all the time. People just pick up fruit off the ground, wash it, and eat it. 

At lunch people always give me a ton of food! They don’t put the food on the table. They put it on a plate and serve it to you. I think they think that once you become a missionary your stomach grows two sizes. The other day I absolutely could not finish a meal. They gave me sooooo much. I think the mom thought I didn’t like the meal, even though I assured her it was really good. I felt so bad. I need to learn how to say that I don’t eat very much.

Everyone here kisses each other on the cheek. Way weird! It’s still something I’m not used to. My companion thinks it’s weird that we don’t do it in the U.S. 

Last thing. Every day people yelling outside wake me up. They are selling some type of breakfast or something. I can’t understand, but it reminds me of a part in the Monty Python movie...you have to think of it yourselves. lol

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 7: Language Barrier

My mission president and wife are super nice and they speak English. Thank goodness! We have 230 missionaries serving in our mission and 60 are hermanas. I am only the fourth set of American sister missionaries to come to our mission! I’m like a pioneer. :)

Life is going great! I’m loving Mexico. The best way I can think to describe it is that it's similar to Michigan City...but ten times more intense. There are absolutely NO white people here - Syd lies. So people stare at me a lot, because I kind of really stick out. lol And people here are a lot more open with their compliments. You’ll walk down the street and someone will say “beautiful ladies”. They all love my eye color because my eyes are hazel and not brown. But I don’t mind people telling me, even though I usually can’t understand and they have to say it like ten times.

I’ve decided the most difficult part is trying to understand what in the world people are saying. They talk so ridiculously fast and they slur all of the words together. During lessons I don’t really talk much because I have NO idea what they are saying! Usually I can put words together well enough that they will understand me and what point I want to get across, but I have no idea what they are saying. By the end of the day my head always hurts.

Me & My Companion

My companion is Hermana Suarez, and I’m the second missionary that she has trained. She has been in the field for 11 months and I’m her first American companion. She speaks absolutely NO English...that makes things a little difficult. She is super duper nice and she’s 19 years old. She kind of reminds me of Syd, because she loves to talk. It’s not uncommon for us to have a two-hour lesson, which absolutely KILLS me because lessons should be no more then 45 minutes. I guess that’s good because she can teach even though I have no idea what’s going on! lol 

Life here is pretty different. People are scary drivers. Oh my goodness! You know how I freak out when we drive on the sides of mountains and cliffs? This is so much worse. lol I’m surprised that there aren’t a thousand accidents every day. Life is a lot more relaxed here. Everyone says hi to each other. We never call before going to someone’s house - we just drop by, which is kind of weird but they think it’s completely normal. Showers here are cold and you hand wash all your clothes. Part of the wall in our apartment isn’t there, so mosquitoes freely get in and eat us alive during the night. It’s crazy how poor everyone is. Most people live in apartments. If you live in a house it usually doesn’t have all of it’s walls and they just use other things or leave it open. I kind of feel like a spoiled brat when I walk around and see the living conditions and yet how happy and giving people still are. It’s amazing. I’ve definitely simplified my wardrobe, because I feel ridiculous with all of my jewelry. 

We get about 850 pesos every 15 or 16 days, which is about 65 dollars. This week we had to spend 600+ pesos for a three-day exchange. Then every day we had to take a few buses and taxies to get places - which left no money for food or anything else! The members normally feed us for lunch. The meals ALWAYS have tortillas, and they are quite different and fun. But then for breakfast and dinner we just don’t eat anything. Kind of depressing. Then we ran out of water (and you can’t drink water here) so that was unfortunate. After a few days I remembered I have a filter water bottle. But yeah, very different. I’m getting used to the whole never eating thing. On the bright side I’m losing weight! :D I was hoping to lose weight on my mission.  I’m just not sure if this is the healthiest way? lol 

Conference was great because I got to listen to it in English!!! I think my favorite session was Sunday morning. My favorite talk was probably President Uchtdorf. I absolutely loved Conference and loved hearing the words they had to say. It was exactly what I needed to hear to have a little boost. :)

The name of my area is Lazaro Cardenas Michoacan if you want to google it!