Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Week 39

Muddy Pictures!

Another week has flown by in the mission field! This week was super cool to be honest as we were able to get to know a few more of the members and have a lot more lessons this week. Last week was a rough one since we were rejected quite a bit, but I can see how our perseverance is paying off!

The weather has started to change to colder weather, but mostly just in the mornings and nights. During the day, it still feels hot. I still laugh though since it only gets down to like 60-70 at night and in the mornings, but I've been putting on gloves and a jacket because it feels super chilly! Especially when riding the bikes since a cold breeze hits us.

Thanks for teaching me how to sew Mom! I had to do it for the first time to fix my rain jacket:P

We found a ton of new people this week which was great! We still haven't seen too much progression in our investigators, but we are being really patient and continue to work hard. 

My District Leader Elder Salcedo and me on exchanges:D
He's such a cool guy, his parents are Mexican, but they live in Chicago now:P

I want to talk about an experience that happened yesterday that I'll never forget. So the Sisters in my District had a baptism planned for Sunday at 4 after church, which ends at 12. After church ended, I found out that they had been trying to empty the font since it was full of old dirty water that hadn't been drained. I guess the water pump had broken and so the water couldn't drain down the bottom. There was a lot of discussion of what we could do, but ultimately the time was short and so we decided to start emptying it by hand with buckets. Elder Covarubias (another Elder in my district) had shorts with him for some reason...what a miracle....and so he changed and got in to start filling buckets. We passed them along one by one to fill up a big garbage tub which we wheeled outside and emptied in the grass. It was quite the process and took over and hour to empty it and then we had to clean it and start filling it up again. It all turned out fine for the baptism which was for an investigator named Rafael. What a blessing it was to be a part of this project that was for the best of causes, a baptism!

Oh and also yesterday was our Ward Conference where I played the piano in sacrament meeting for the first time since the young adult who usually plays didn't know how to play the hymns that were chosen. She normally asks the Bishopbric to change them when that happens, but since the Stake President had chosen the hymns, they wouldn't change them. I was nearby and volunteered to try my best, even though I hadn't practiced those hymns either. I literally played through the hymns with just my right hand since I'm still learning, but by some miracle I was able to make it through with hardly any mistakes using the one hand. I knew that developing the talent of playing the piano would come in handy and I am going to continue to built my abilities to bless the lives of others and also because I enjoy playing:)

My hair when I woke up one morning...
Didn't even touch it haha
Before and after haircuts, it's hard to find time to cut it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Week 38

Alright well another week has zoomed by here in Cadereyta, Nuevo Leon! I have to admit, this has been a hard week full of problems and challenges, but I am amazed to see how the Lord is always there for us, and that the only way we can become who he wants us to be is through the tests and trials. I had it good in my last area which is funny since I thought it was a rough way of living when I arrived, but I'm seeing it differently now. I have been able to learn a lot though. For example, I've learned how to fix a flat tire on a bike, how to wash clothes by hand, how to flush a toilet when it can't open the valve to let water in. (It's easy, just fill a bucket with water, push down the flusher, and pour in water) That and lot's more practical things that will help the rest of my life.

The proselyting has been difficult this week as we faced a ton of rejection, but the kind that isn't straight forward. What I mean by that is many people are nice and set appointments with us, but almost every single one fell through. It was a little depressing at times, but we pressed forward with faith. Oh, last Tuesday I had exchanges with my Zone Leader Elder Shakespeare (nice name, huh?) and I went with him to his area. It was a super exhausting day as we rode up and down hills all day in their huge area, but we were able to see miracles. We found a family of 7 who were a contact they had weeks ago. They accepted us in ,even though they were eating, and had a ton of questions and opened up with their problems within the family. I see a lot of potential in this family and hope they complete their commitments so that they can progress as individuals and a family in the gospel.

At the end of the exchanges, our Zone Leaders set a goal with us to each do 10 personal contacts every day with the promise that if we did so, we would see miracles in our area. We began being diligent in completing this goal, but if anything it seemed to get only worse at first. However, with patience and longsuffering, we were able to see a miracle occur. We had showed up to an appointment with a family and the parents were drinking outside, so we were hesitant to go in to teach them, but something urged us to continue and so we did. As the lesson went on, there still seemed to be nothing good coming out of us being there, as the father rambled on about how bad and disrespectful his children are in front of them. I decided to end the lesson quickly and leave since it didn't seem to be getting anywhere given the circumstances. We walked down two blocks when suddenly their daughter Silvia came running after us with a jacket my companion had forgotten. We thanked her and began to chat for a little while and I was amazed to see her open up to us with a completely different attitude. Quickly she showed a lot of curiosity about the church and even excitement to find out more and go see for herself! The best part is that across the street from her lives a wonderful Mormon family that has a daughter close to Silvia's age! I know that nothing that happened that night was coincidence and that we had indeed witnessed a miracle, as the Lord had promised us through his servants. I know that this is the Lord's work and he will manifest himself to those who press forward with faith.

As far as the weather goes, it has continued to stay "chilly" and by that I mean 70ish degrees during the day. Hey it's cold compared to what we had been experiencing! Also the rain has been off and on, not too bad to be honest, but the worst part is all the mud and puddles that throw mud all over us as we ride around our area on bikes. Speaking of which I was able to change bikes since my first one was super heavy and hard to use. Now I have a super light bike that is a little old, but it sure flies! I honestly feel so blessed and love my life here in the mission. Here's to another week in the Lord's work!

(Oh and my adapter to upload photos broke on the way here...so I can't send any this week, sorry!)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 37

This week has been insane to be honest and I can't believe how fast it flew by. First of all, the climate changed and it's finally a little bit cooler out. The last couple evenings it actually felt cold out, which is funny because the temperature was still 73 degrees...that just goes to show how hot it's been and how I've adapted to it. It also rained a few times, mostly at night, but that left big puddles and mud everywhere! As much as I love playing in the mud, it's not so fun when it stains your white shirt....after one day of getting my shirt all muddy, I learned from another elder to put on a rain jacket so that it only gets your pants muddy, which are easier to clean. It was still fairly hot out and wasn't raining so that's why I hadn't put one on, but you live and learn!

Actually something funny happened Sunday with the mud. We left early since it had rained again and we wanted to avoid getting mud on our suits. When approaching the dirt path we usually use, which was then a mud path, we decided to try to go around a little longer way. I didn't think much of the decision, only that it'd be a little easier since the mud path didn't look too bad, but later found out that it was an important decision. After arriving early still and helping prepare the sacrament, the other elders in our ward arrived a little late, and they were muddy. Well, we found out they took the mud path and got stuck because it was so bad! Luckily, they were able to get out of it, but the sisters weren't as fortunate since they got stuck and couldn't remove their bikes from the mud. Partway through the sacrament meeting they called our District Leader and he left with a member to go and help them. Needless to say, the mud that had seemed so innocent upon entering, turned out to be a huge obstacle that dirtied up and even kept them from being able to continue on.

I feel we can easily make an analogy of this. Sometimes we make decisions that might not appear important at first, but later we may find that they had made a huge impact. Also, a decision might seem better at first glance since it brings us quicker to where we want to go, but we shouldn't ever choose a path that is dangerous, even if it only appears like "a little mud". I know that wasn't the best analogy, so feel free to think of a better one and let me know. I did learn a lot from that experience though.

The work has been a little hard since we are starting from scratch, but we are being diligent and not letting a little discouragement get us down because we have faith that there are those waiting for us to find them in our area. I wish there was more time and I could remember my weeks more clearly, but things have been crazy here lately and so my mind is a little disorganized. I am going to try and organize my thoughts a little more next week, but for now I just want to say, thank you for all the love and support!

A huge lizard in front of our house!

We arrived at a house full of huge weeds about 3 feet high and we finally got to cleaning it up a little this week, but it was a super muddy task for sure! :D

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week 36

My son (new companion) Elder Torres:D

I don't even know where to start to be honest because so much has happened and changed for me this week. As I mentioned last week, I finally changed from my first area I was in for 7 months! I found out Tuesday that I am training a new missionary!!! And the best part is I got sent to one of the only areas in the mission that uses bicycles, which is in a city called Carereyta, but my ward is called the Espigas ward. We have 6 missionaries here, 4 Elders and 2 Sisters. My new kid (we call the missionaries we train our children:) is named Elder Torres. He is from the state Sonora which is not too far from here. It's in Mexico, south of Arizona. He is super cool and full of energy, which is just what I wanted because a missionary like that I can work with! My area isn't too big as far as the amount of streets, actually I think it's smaller than my last area by a little, but the neighborhoods are pretty far apart, so it's definitely good that we have bikes.

My new house! It doesn't look like much, but it's actually a lot better than my last one.
instance, it has tile flooring instead of a cement floor and it has a working boiler,
so hot showers through the winter. W

This Sunday was Stake Conference here, so we weren't able to get to know too many members yet, but we've already met quite a few from the meals they provide and also a recent convert named Edgar, who we had a lesson with. He's 17 and has been baptized for 3 months now, but wow is he flying! He already knows a ton about the Church, the Gospel, and much more. He's already been to the temple to do baptisms for the dead and attends church every week. He's in a very important time in his life because he has important decisions to make, like whether to serve a mission. He told us how he has a girlfriend who is a member and that she wants to get married instead of him serving a mission, but that she would wait for him if he left to serve anyways. We expressed how much our missions have done for us and our families already, and that he shouldn't make the decision based on what we say or his girlfriend, but to speak directly with his Heavenly Father as to what he should do because he knows us and our circumstances better than anyone, and knows what is best for us.

The weather has been pretty nice lately, it only rained once and it was only during the night, but it left a ton of puddles which got us super muddy since we left in bikes to work that day, but I didn't complain, I love getting muddy! :D 

Muddy shoes, pants, and bag:P

Oh, also our area had been closed the last transfer and so we arrived with basically nothing to work with. I'm fine with it though because it just means we have to work that much harder to get the area going again with lessons and investigators. We've already found one older couple who had never talked with Mormon missionaries before and were very receptive and willing to do all that we invited them to do, including attending church! They are named Yolanda and Jesus, and I have high hopes for them. 

We also didn't have a map to start out, so we basically wandered around the first couple days until we found a local map in a print shop, so that was fun! Also, I didn't think they celebrate Halloween here, but it turns out they do! Not as much as in the United States, but there were a decent amount of kids out and about in costumes. Sadly none of the doors we knocked on gave us candy:( Luckily today the members who gave us lunch gave us a bunch of their leftover candy, so I'm not complaining: Well, I wish I could talk more, but time flies and there's always so much to do. I love you all and am so grateful for all your prayers, love, and support I can feel. Have a wonderful week!

Halloween candy a member gifted us :)
A sugar skull a member gave me for Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead).

My new work area (Where the magic happens) :D