Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 7

My companion Elder Toledano and Me

Alright so this week has been pretty crazy! I found out that the family we were going to baptize yesterday actually haven't been married yet and so we had to postpone their date for now. Apparently, to get married here, you have to go to an official place and it's not much of a big deal. The problem is you have to pay a fee of around 1500 pesos and they can't afford that right now. My companion Elder Toledano and I decided to do a fundraiser for them. We are going to find out how to make these special Mexican pastries and have the family sell them in their store (their house is also a little corner shop´which is unusually common here even though there are 7 Eleven and oxxo's everywhere also.) It's going to be a lot of work but we have a lot of help once we get it all figured out and it'll be worth it when they get married and their whole family is able to be baptized.

We have one other baptism date for next Sunday and that one seems to be going through. It's for this 73 year-old man named Graciano Garcia who is very ready for baptism. He had his baptismal interview yesterday and our District Leader Elder Burnette agrees that he is ready as well. I can't wait for my very first Convert Baptism! Other than that we have been doing a lot of contacting and trying to find more people to teach. We have a couple people we have taught a few lessons with and one of them I am pretty hopeful for because he has been keeping his commitments.

This week has been really hard too with the crazy weather, little bit of budgeting issues and some feelings of self doubt. First of all the weather has been everything from high 90's and blazing hot, to a couple of big storms these last couple nights. Last night was by far the worst. We were walking home through the normal street market that we live right next to and all of a sudden the wind picked up. It started pouring and lightning flashed across the sky. It was so intense it started blowing all the booths over and everyone started panicking and running. The worst part was the rain blasted our faces so we could hardly see as we tried to weave through the chaos. I honestly felt like I was in a disaster movie!! Luckily our house was fairly close and we made it home completely fine, other than being soaked. I felt really sorry for all the people in the market who were suffering and my companion and I said a prayer for them. During our prayer, right as I was asking Heavenly Father to help´the people stuck outside in the storm, I was interrupted by a pounding on our door. I quickly ended the prayer and we opened the door to a family of 4 who's kids were crying and terrified. We let them come in and talked for a while. One of their sons is super afraid of the lightning and so they were desperate to find refuge for a few minutes. I remembered I had some cookies hidden away so I gave them to the kids which helped calm them down for a little as we waited for the storm to pass. After the worst of the storm was over, the family left and we got their information to come visit with them later on. I never expected myself to be part of the answer to our prayer, but I am thankful for the small way we were able to help and maybe this will lead to a new family to bring into the gospel. Also it rained so bad that it started flooding into our house through the back door and also a window upstairs. We had to use a mop to soak up the water and squeeze it by hand into a pitcher over and over. Luckily the rain slowed enough to where it stopped flooding in and we were able to finish cleaning it up. All in all it was a crazy experience, but nothing we couldn't handle and I'm happy to be able to experience these challenges because they are helping me to be humbled and also understand what a lot of these people go through.

Another noteworthy experience was a crazy big feast we had on Thursday, at a member named Hermano Roke's house. My whole District was there and there were mountains of ribs, roasted chicken and salchichas (like hot dogs but way better) and tortillas, salsa and guacamole. It was an amazing meal and really cool to have us all in one place like that. I found out this week that my Area was actually only part of a ward and that my whole District of 9 (soon to be 8 when a member of a trio of missionaries leaves Wednesday) oversees the same ward. I guess that's because this ward has a lot of success and needs the man power to keep up with it. I'm really grateful to be a part of this ward as my training location because I've heard there are some very small wards that are tough to work with. Yesterday was the first actual Sacrament meeting I had with the ward and it's pretty huge! Pretty close to as big as my home ward in Springfield.

Alright a little about my struggles only to show the reality that a mission isn't an easy thing, even though it is definitely worth any troubles or hard times it brings. The first is I've been experiencing some feelings of self doubt and inadequacy at times. This is mostly because of the language, but also because I have been struggling with comparing myself to others. For example my companion. He is a super awesome missionary with a huge testimony and a lot of knowledge. Next to him I feel as though I'll never be able to be good enough at times. Luckily I spent some time reading this manual we are given about adjusting to missionary life and I learned a lot about how to overcome all this. First of all I need to stop worrying about being able to progress enough with the language or gospel or lessons. My ability to speak the language is already improving a lot and as long as I work hard and do my best, I'll be able to get to where I need to be so I can fully serve God's children in their own language. Also I need to stop comparing myself to others because we are all different. We all started in different spots, we all grow at different rates and we all have varied experiences and time out on the mission and so there's no reason to try to compare anything. I just need to be grateful and work with the talents that have been given to me.

Another thing that has been hard is trying to figure out how to budget my money effectively. I've never really had to worry about money in the past, and so this is a really good experience for me to learn. It's not that I don't have enough to get by or anything like that. I have everything I need, but I'm learning how to rule out things that I really can live without and focusing on the necessities. It's been difficult as I'm trying to adjust to everything and don't really know anything yet since this is just my beginning area, but I'm super grateful for these experiences I'm having.

Overall, I really do enjoy the mission life and don't want to let anything get in the way of me enjoying it now, because I know that when it's over, I'll miss it more than anything and if I don't enjoy it now, I'll regret it later and my overall experience will suffer. I have already changed a lot and have been trying really hard to continue to become more like our perfect example Jesus Christ every day. I truly to love my mission and wouldn't rather be anywhere else but here, giving my full time and attention to the Lord:) 

My bedroom. Thank goodness there is a fan!!

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