Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 22

Chili-mac on a tostada. Oh yeah!

This week was super busy and super hot, but it was super great as well! First of all, this transfer period has been zooming, I can't believe transfers are a week from tomorrow, which means I might be moving areas or getting a new companion! I honestly don't know how I will feel about whatever happens because I have grown to love my area, my investigators, my members and most importantly my companion, but at the same time I feel that a change could be good for me because I have in some ways gotten a little too comfortable I think. It's been nice finally starting to feel comfortable, but I know that only when things are more challenging is there more growth and I honestly want to grow into the missionary the Lord wants me to become, therefore I am open and willing to accept and give my all to whatever directions I am given. Of course if I do leave I would miss all the people I have come to love here a ton, but it's part of the mission experience and life in general. Luckily I have the knowledge that saying goodbye is never for good, because I know I will see them all again someday, whether it be in this life or the next:)

My district!

Alright time for an update on my investigators real quick. First of all Keren is really close to being ready for baptism, and in fact we are going to go over the interview questions with her today to find out if she is ready to be baptized this Sunday! I am a little worried since she still sometimes has doubts or doesn't feel like she is good enough, but I have confidence that the spirit will help guide her to make the right decision. Plus in the end it is better for her to feel completely ready, then to push her into this covenant, because it's sacred and of an eternal importance.

Then there is Kerena and Ismael. Like I said before, they weren't able to make it last Sunday, and when we visited them, Ismael shared with us how he felt horrible inside afterwards and told us he never wants to feel that again so he is going to do his best to make it to church from now on. That was really cool to hear because I know that was the spirit impressing upon him the importance of attending:) Awaiting his arrival yesterday was very nerve-racking because the doors shut for sacrament to begin and he still hadn't arrived. I began to pray my heart out because I wanted nothing more than for him to be able to make it, so that he doesn't have to feel the guilt inside that he felt before. After the sacrament ended and they opened the doors again, a usual late crowd came in and my heart dropped as I was still left disappointed. After a few more minutes my companion told me he had to use the bathroom so we went outside the doors only to find Ismael, Kerena and his 4 kids entering!! I could see that they had had a hard time getting all their kids dressed and out the door as they were a little disoriented, but I was filled with joy that they had still determined to make it. I was super happy the rest of the day as we brought the 3 kids to primary, Kerena and Ismael to Gospel Principles and afterwards to Relief Society and Priesthood:D They are a very special family and I can see them becoming a very strong Mormon family in their future!

Next Alfonso who was a surprise investigator because he showed up a couple weeks ago and had already attended the church for a while where he lived before and literally told us he is in our hands during our first lesson because he is completely ready to do whatever is needed to progress in this gospel! Since we have been teaching him in his work place since he is very busy with a new business, and he amazes me every time with his comments, questions and genuine desire to know. I am confident he will be ready for baptism relatively soon and am super happy for him!
Cindy and Luis are progressing nicely outside of attending church as they still have only attended once, but I am optimistic that they will be able to make it a priority in their lives as they have shared their true desires to follow the steps of the gospel to be able to be baptized and eventually sealed as a family:)

Ugly Tie Day with the missionaries both living and dead (ex-missionaries in the ward.)

Outside of that we met a new part member family this week who are super nice and the husband who isn't a member is willing to take the lessons and find out for himself if the church is true. His name is Guillermo and his wife, who is a member, is named Maria. The crazy thing is that he is only 21 years old, which means he's not far from my age but yet he already has a wife and a little 1 year old girl. It's wonderful to be able to find people who are ready to receive the gospel and I hope he will be able to do the things we ask and more importantly find out for himself through prayer and revelation that the church is true and begin his new life that comes with baptism and church membership.

Also this week was SUPER HOT again...nothing new, but we were still able to work hard and continue helping people come closer to Christ:) Oh and probably my favorite part of the week was when we took Luis (one of our converts from the Villela family) to teach a few lessons with us. It was super cool to hear his inputs during the lessons, but the coolest thing was when we were talking with him in the street about his interests and plans. Ironically not even thinking about a mission, I asked him where he planned to study after high school and in what career area. He responded "Well first my mission of course, and then I think I am going to get into construction." Oh what joy filled my heart to hear that he is already thinking about and planning for his mission at the age of 16 having only a few months of membership!!! That experience has motivated me immensely and helped me learn first hand how my efforts in my mission truly do have an effect on the people I meet here as well as their future families and converts. I know I won't always be able to see the direct results of my efforts, so I am super thankful for having been able to experience this and it's something I will always cherish. 

I made chili-mac!

Then we decided to put the most American food there is on tostadas and tortillas,  just to be contradictory

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Week 21

Enjoying a trompoburger (hamburger with a special meat called Trompo) after a hard days work!!!

This week was HOT! It stayed up in the high 90´s low 100´s all week, but next week it´s supposed to be purely low to mid 100´s! We are in what they call the ¨Canicula¨ which is 40 days of endless heat and sun:P Needless to say this week was a little rough with the heat, but nevertheless we worked hard and were able to have a lot of cool experiences.
First of all this week I noticed how far my abilities to speak the language have grown. I am feeling more confident in being able to at least get across what I am wanting to say, whether or not in the most correct way I would say no. I am amazed to think how fast I´ve been learning it and a lot of investigators and members pointed it out this week when I would be talking with them and then they would ask how long I´ve been out on my mission. When I say 5 months, they are super surprised to hear and always ask me how I learned so fast. My answer is yeah of course I worked hard and continue to work hard on my language skills, but there´s absolutely no way I could be where I am without the help of the Lord and the gift of tongues. I really can´t take credit, all I can say is I am extremely grateful for the many blessings I have received and I hope I can pay at least a little bit back to my Heavenly Father through diligent work.

We found a couch!

We´ve continued to be very busy with all our many investigators, less active members and other activities to attend to. This Friday our ward had a talent show and my district with the help of some members, performed a play that starts in the pre-existence and is primarily about two young men named Fulano (me) and Mangano (Elder Pasapera). I played Fulano, who is a lot like me because he was born into the church and ends up serving a mission. Elder Pasapera played Mangano who is a pretty normal guy with problems in his family. In the play Mangano and I are friends in the pre-existence and I promise to find him when we enter the earth:) We end up meeting when I change schools and I decide to invite him to learn about the gospel. I end up baptizing him and we leave on missions together! It was super fun and I am grateful for my previous acting experience because I had to memorize and practice for the show outside of my regular missionary work, which is to say basically there wasn´t time for practice, but it turned out great for how little time practicing we had and the ward had a blast laughing and enjoying the performance.

Opening scene with God, Jesus and Satan in the grand council

Our investigators are all doing great. I am sad and a little disappointed in two of our star families, Ana and Luis, and Kerena and Ismael, because they didn´t make it to church even though we talked with them all week about it and they seemed excited and encouraged. But it´s something I have experienced and will continue experiencing because everyone has their agency and sometimes things just don´t work out. What I´m not going to do is give up on them because they are super special and I can see great blessings to come in their lives. Luckily Keren, our farthest along investigator, made it to church and so did her little brother Gael! She now has been 6 times:) and this is Gael´s first time, he´s 11. We are working hard to help Keren feel ready for baptism because she has a lot of doubts and insecurities still, but she isn´t giving up and neither are we, I have faith that she is going to continue progressing and be able to receive many blessings in her life including baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost:D I´m excited for another hard but rewarding week! 

We ran out of pancake mix so I made french toast!!:)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 20


I can´t believe another week has passed by! The time flies when I am working hard and enjoying all the amazing experiences I have:) This week was very busy since our area has been opening up like crazy with people to teach to the point where some days we almost have to run to get to our appointments which we have to place every half hour to fit them all in sometimes! I feel super blessed to be here with my amazing companion, in my amazing ward with all my amazing investigators.

I´ll start with Cindy and Luis. They weren't able to make it to church this week because Luis has to work every third Sunday and Cindy doesn't feel comfortable carrying her two young children around in church, which is very understandable, especially since the church is still very new to her. She was able to make it to a relief society activity last Friday though!! Also we have a family home evening planned with Cindy, Luis and their two kids with a member family tonight, super exciting!! Also we recently taught them about the Book of Mormon and they started reading the introduction and testimonies. We are going to continue working hard to include members to help them form relationships in the church at the same time as they are forming personal testimonies, so that they will in the best position to succeed in following the savior the rest of their lives:)

Ismael is also doing super great. I don´t know if I mentioned this last time, but he had heard I want to learn how to play the piano, and he owns a keyboard that he never uses, so he lent it to my companion and I! We have been using it a lot and are super grateful for his kindness:) Elder Toledano already knows how to play pretty well, but he´s pretty rusty, so it´s good for him to be able to practice too. As far as Ismael´s progression, he is doing awesome! During one of our lessons this week, he told us about an experience he had. Last week in church during Elders quorum they taught about prayer and fasting and Ismael had taken it to heart and decided to use prayer to help in a rough situation. When it was time to go grocery shopping for the week, he was worried they wouldn't be able to buy all the supplies they needed, and remembering the teachings in class, he decided to pray for help. To his amazement, when it came time to shop, the little money they had went super far and they were able to purchase more than enough to get by through the week, and even to buy a cake for his son´s birthday. He told us that this experience led him to believe personally that all that we had been teaching him and the church are true!:D I am super happy for him and was amazed as well to hear his story. The challenge with him right now is that he wants his family to progress with him and his wife is a little hesitant as of yet. She agreed to come to church this week, but wasn't able to make it, but we aren't going to give up on her. She is a really nice person and listens to the lessons intently, I think she´s still just a little uncomfortable with attending church. We are going to try to involve members more in the lessons with them in hopes to help her feel more comfortable.

Keren, who is our farthest progressed investigator, is still going through some problems with her family. We are trying to be patient with her and show our love and support as she endures her trials. I have faith that the Lord will help her through them as she continues to try to change her life for the better.

Anyways I don´t have much time, but basically it´s been super crazy this week with how busy we've been. Also there was a baptism in our ward which was super cool. It´s been straight up sunny and hot all week this week, but still hasn't quite reached the worst of it, but this week it's supposed to get over 100 again, woo! Oh I had an interesting experience with a drunk, he´s someone we already knew, but he stopped us in the street just as we were about to return home one night at 9, and he talked to us for over a half hour about random crazy things and how he was with God or something, honestly I didn't understand half of it, but it was really funny the way he made smiling facial expressions in the most strange moments in his stories. It was a little frustrating to have returned home late that night, but it was an interesting experience for sure! Anyways time to start another week fresh!

Vampire Minion!

I dropped my freezer mug :(

Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 19

Ready to fight the sun!

Another week in the mission field has zoomed by! This week was super amazing with lots of experiences and growth. My area is really exciting right now because of the amazing people we have found who are super ready to receive the gospel. The first is Keren whom I've talked about before, but this week I saw an amazing growth in her. She started asking more question and started reading the Libro de Mormon despite the fact that she isn't all that educated and struggles to understand it. She began with the introduction and underlines all the words or phrases she didn't understand and began asking us for help when we came by. Also she's been looking for a job because she wants to start being more self-sufficient and help support her family and eventually be able to start a family of her own. It's amazing to see how the gospel has motivated her to improve her life despite the circumstances she's living in. We had a baptismal date for this Sunday, but we talked with her and decided to push it back a week or two because we still have a good amount of lessons left to teach and also we don't want to rush her into it and she doesn't feel ready. Honestly the baptismal date isn't important compared to her true and long lasting conversion.

Next is our golden couple Cindy and Luis who are progressing along nicely. We had a really cool experience when we stopped by early one morning to ask if we could change our appointment time later that day, and Cindy after telling us that her husband wouldn't be home if we came any later, asked if we had time right then to come in and share our lesson. It was 11 in the morning and they looked as if they had just woken up and yet they asked us if we could teach them. That's something that's rare to find, people who ask us to teach them instead of the other way around. We taught them about the first vision and restoration through Joseph Smith and they listened intently and didn't question his experience or anything, like we've all too often had happen, and they accepted the invitation to pray about it for themselves! Also they agreed to come to church this Sunday. We set up a member to bring them and everything and they showed up all dressed up with their two little boys, and fit right in:) I'm super excited for them and truly am grateful to have been led to them.

Then there is Ismael who we've only been able to teach on Fridays because of his job, but we also taught him about the restoration and first vision. During this lesson he made a comment that made me feel the Spirit super strong. He told us how he's been to a lot of different churches who all taught great things, but that none of them had an overall grasp or talked about each aspect of the gospel and plan of God like we do. He was able to recognize the difference between our church and others he's learned about and the Spirit strongly testified in the room that the church is true. He also committed to come to church and since he has a car, he said he could drive himself, but that he didn't know where the church is. We asked a member to help guide him to the church and he was able to make it:) He stayed all 3 hours and seemed to really enjoy it. Plus a lot of members were talking with him and helping him feel right at home. I'm super grateful to be in a ward where the members are all willing to be involved in the missionary work and are very nice and reach out to everyone!

Also I funny or interesting I should say experience was that my companion Elder Toledano is a father now! Not really...but he told me he felt like it because he was asked to bless someones baby (or present I don't remember what it's called) in sacrament meeting. The mother who asked him is really young and has gotten to know a lot of different missionaries and so out of her love and respect for missionaries, she asked my companion to perform the blessing even though she is new to the ward and doesn't know him. I stood in the circle as well to hold the baby and it was a cool experience, and something I definitely won't forget.

Me trying to eat healthy. My companion didn't approve though. He thinks I'm crazy!

My breakfast looked yummy so I took a picture.

The weather has started to heat up again and I fear the worst is on it's way! It'll be an interesting next couple months for sure! Oh and I have my first interesting food story to tell real fast. So there is a family that are recent converts and they are moving this week, but before they left they sold a bunch of their stuff in the markets and also made food to make a little extra money for their move as well. 

My collection, so far, of minion chips that I find in the streets from chip bags!!!

They made this kind of soup with meat called "Menudo" which is something only found here in Monterrey. When we visited her, she asked if we wanted to try some since both my companion and I haven't had it before. We agreed and were excited to try it. When it was served it looked a little strange because the meat looked squishy and was floating. I tried not to judge it by it's looks and went for it, but after the first bite, I knew it would be hard to finish. It tasted and felt exactly like what I would expect octopus to be like and so that's what I thought it was, Later I asked my companion what type of meat it was and found out it was stomach! I'm proud of myself for eating it all for sure and it's something I will remember always! 

The Sunday markets make me sad...I guess it's a blessing so that I don't buy a ton of useless stuff haha!