Monday, July 27, 2015

I'm Being Transferred....


I literally can't believe this is the last time I will be in a ciber in Mexico writing you. This keyboard is literally the worst so hopefully I can finish writing this before I throw it out in the street.

I know that I will be coming home soon, but it still doesn't feel real. I don't think it will hit me until I am on the plane. 

We went to Iguala last week and visited my beloved friends and...well, family that I have there. It was not enough time. Just not enough. I truly have come to love so many wonderful people here.

It wouldn't have been a normal week in Alpuyeca if we didn't have an infestation of some kind of critter. We were infested with MAGGOTS this week. Our trash wasn't even that old and the trash man only comes around once a week so we really couldn't have prevented it. I was washing some garments in the morning and felt something on my foot and looked down and realized that the patio was COVERED in them. I took a video that I will show you in about a week. 

I have learned so many things on my mission. Here is a list of just 18 things that I have learn...they are in no particular order. 

1) Spanish
2) A bucket is a very useful can flush the toilet with it, wash your clothes, take a shower and many other things...
3) The Lord loves ALL His children
4) ANYONE can change through the atonement of Christ. ANYONE. 
5) The language of the spirit is universal. 
6) I don't have to be the best...I just have to do my best and the Lord will make up the difference
7) Planning is important
8) The scriptures can help us with ANY problem we have
10) Satan knows our weaknesses and will do anything to remind us of those, but the Lord knows us better and can help us become stronger despite our shortcomings.
11) Humility is essential in the Lord's work. As well as patience, diligence, charity, faith, hope, and all those Christ like attributes. I feel like I have learned so much about these and have learned them from working with so many different types of people. 
12) I needed to be here at this time in my life. Without any doubt.
13) I could eat enchiladas and tacos all day everyday
14) When we are serving, we are happy
15) Prayer is so real.
16) Living the gospel improves lives...physically, emotionally, financially, and of course spiritually
17) Obedience is the key to a happy life
18) The church is SO VERY TRUE. I already knew that one, but it has been confirmed to me time and time again. I love this gospel with all of my heart. 

I am so grateful for my testimony. It is something that I treasure. I can't truly describe in words everything that I have learned and felt on my mission, but I know without a doubt that God exists, that He LOVES His children and that He has given us everything we need in order to be happy. I know that He guides our life if we let Him. I know that Christ is our savior. I know that He knows us PERSONALLY. He knows how to help us be better and will help us if we let Him. I know that Satan works so hard to destroy the work of the Lord...and this just confirms to me even more that this is so true. The gospel has been restored. We have a living prophet who guides us!! HOW AWESOME! I have learned that being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires sacrifice, but it is worth EVERY sacrifice.

Testifico que estas cosas son verdaderas. 

Les amo un BUEN! 

Can't wait to see you all soon.

Nos vemos al rato!

Con amor, 
Hermana Durham


Celeste...this little girl would NOT smile when I first got to she loves us.

Familia them all.

Joaquin and Dania...they are secretly American. He is our ward mission leader.

Monday, July 20, 2015

I Literally Hate Satan

Hey family,

I have some really sad news. 

All week we were visiting Francisco and Amada. We went every day to make sure they were ready for their baptism. They were so excited. They asked us to help them plant a tree in their garden so they could always remember us even after we were gone. We went Wednesday morning to plant the tree and we were talking about the temple and how in one year they will be able to go. We left feeling so happy and excited. I truly came to love them and the change we saw in them was truly miraculous. 

On Thursday we had interviews with President and Hermana Avila. Can I just reiterate that they are literally the best. Everytime I am with them I just feel the love of the Savior. Hna. Avila interviewed us about our language goals...because we are supposed to set goals to help the Latins learn English. We talked about those goals for just a minute and then she gave us some counsel about going home. She said she started crying in the morning because she saw our pictures in the group going home and she has come to love us so much already that she doesn't want us to leave. She talked about marriage, of course, and actually mentioned several things that I just needed to hear. We were all crying by the end of the interview. I really love her.

Interviews with President were great, too. We talked about attributes of Christ and he asked me what attribute of Christ I have seen in my companion and I started BAWLING because I love Hna. Corriveau so much. haha. I have truly come to love her and I told president that I knew it was inspiration that we were together. The interviews were good and he gave me some good suggestions about enduring to the end and going home...although I didn't want to ask him all his consejos until my last interview with him! He is so nice, though. 

That night, we headed over to Amada and Francisco's house to teach about missionary work because that is all we needed to teach them before their baptism. We got there and Francisco says, "I have some bad news and some good news" and then told us that they decided not to get baptized. I literally thought he was joking because he likes to joke around with me. I was seriously, let's start the lesson now! But then he said it again and I looked at my companion and asked her in English if he was being serious and she shook her head. I couldn't believe it. We had planned the baptism so perfectly, we had visited them EVERY DAY and we felt so strongly that they knew the church is true. I was so confused. We started asking them questions and trying to figure out what happened. They assisted a different church before so I felt like it had something to do with the other church.

I was asking Francisco what happened and he told us that the night before he was praying to really know if he should get baptized and he heard a voice in his head that said that we were deceiving him. I looked right at him, very hurt, and asked him if he really believed that. Then he proceeded to say that we weren't doing it on purpose, that we were deceived by the Book of Mormon and that the Book of Mormon is deceiving everyone. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Just a few days before we were talking about the Book of Mormon and how he knew it was true. We testified, we shared experiences and we testified some more. We told him that Satan ALWAYS tries to make us go astray before we do something good and this is what was happening. I had an impression to share a scripture in the Bible that talks about the fruits of the spirit and how they are feelings of peace, joy, love, etc. I asked him first how he felt when he had that impression that we were deceived. He said he felt anguish and sorrow. So then I shared that scripture from HIS Bible and testified that if it had been God speaking to him, he would NOT have felt those feelings. He would have felt peace and joy, love and humility. But even then he wouldn't change. Amada started saying that she was already baptized and didn't need to get baptized again and it literally was like the first day we met them. I felt like we had unbrainwashed them and then someone came back and undid everything we had worked so hard to do. 

We invited them to pray one more time and to tell us in the morning what they thought and we left. I seriously felt like someone had ripped out my heart and thrown it on the ground...but at the same time, I felt a peace. It was weird. I wasn't crying or felt horrible, I felt peace that Hna. Corriveau and I had done everything we could. We got home and called the Relief Society President to let her know and she told us something that made sense. She said that she knew they had felt the spirit and knew the church is true. There really was a change in them. But she thinks that someone from their other church must have gone and offered them some kind of economic help or something because it wouldn't just be that something changed everything that they had come to learn in one day. 

We called them on Friday and they still said no. They didn't want to get baptized. Well...we were sad, but we knew that we did what we needed to and we have hope that one day they will repent and get baptized. 

We did watch Meet the Mormons that night as a ward activity and although I felt sad that the baptism fell through...I felt SO STINKIN HAPPY TO BE MORMON! I honestly know, without any doubt, that being a member of this church and living the gospel is the ONLY WAY TO BE HAPPY!! Literally, I love the gospel. I told Francisco that if when I die, I come to find out that I really was deceived and this wasn't true, I will still be happy because I lived a good life. But good thing I DO KNOW THIS IS TRUE! There is no way...absolutely NO WAY I would be here on a mission if I didn't know this was true. I know it is true and I am happy about it. 

I guess these things happen. Satan is the worst but what can you do? I just need to keep working hard until the end to help others come to know that it is true, too. 

The work is real and I am grateful to be here. 

I also can't believe that next week will be the LAST TIME I WRITE YOU FROM MEXICO!!

Have a great week!


Hermana Durham

Monday, July 13, 2015

Calling All Priesthood Holders

This week was good. I can't believe how fast the time is going!!!! We are trying to take advantage of the pdays we have left and do fun things. Last week we went to TAXCO with Nestor and Ana...two members in our ward who are sooooo good to us! Literally, they are the best! We really love the members in this ward. 

Taxco was super fun. We took a cable car up to this awesome hotel in the mountains to see the really awesome view. The weather is perfect there and we had so much fun!

Today, Nestor and Ana took us and the other sisters to the GRUTAS! It is like this huge cave/cavern thing that is super cool! It was so much fun and we loved it!

We did divisions with the sisters in Tepotzlan this week so we were able to see Hna. Avila one more time before we meet up in the offices to go weird. It was fun and Tepotzlan also has awesome weather and we didn't want to leave!

We visited Taurino this week and the first thing he said to us when we got there was...I want to go to the temple! We were like, ok! Haha. Adrian, the member that gave him as a reference told him about the Mexico City Temple open house and he said he wants to go. We explained what the temple is and we really hope that he gets to go! 

Friday was the best day ever. Literally we saw so many miracles. A member who never is in Alpuyeca just happened to pass by while we were just about to walk down the short cut to the centro to take a taxi to Miacatlan (a part of our area) and we saved a ton of money and plus he and his wife took us to a really awesome reference that they had to give us and he seems really interested in learning about the church! Then we visited Max and he is awesome. He is going to get baptized after he turns 18, but we are still teaching him so he will be super prepared for the new missionaries that get here after us.

We ate with the Bishop and I will tell you, I am very grateful for Bishop Montes. He is a really good guy and does what he can to help. I think we as missionaries always put really high expectations for the leaders of the wards and the members because we are dedicating 100% of our time to preaching the gospel and for some reason we expect them to do the same, but I have learned that if they do their best, even if it isn't "up to our expectations" that is enough. 

Then we went to Amada and Francisco's house because they were going to have their baptismal interviews and guess what? They invited a friend over to hear our message and she is super cool! She accepted baptism and was totally blown away by the message of the restoration. She was like, "So THAT is why there are so many churches! It all makes so much sense!" It was literally the best. Also, Amada is seriously so cool and helped teach the lesson. They both passed their interviews and are good to go for next week!

We had a baptism on Saturday! Allisson got was a happy and sad experience for us and I will explain why. We invited a bunch of people to come to the baptism, including ALL the family of Allisson...they are a HUGE family that all live close by and we figured they would be able to come. We think/know that the parents don't have the best relationship with the other members of the family for problems that they are having, but it isn't the little girl’s fault so we figured they would still come. Well, it was supposed to start at 4 and nobody but us and the bishop were there. The bishop was going to baptize her but all of a sudden we were worried about having witnesses because you need two priesthood holders to be witnesses of the baptism. The father of Allisson doesn't have the priesthood but we thought for sure her uncle would be there. We called to make sure and he told us that he wouldn't be coming! We asked him to come anyway but he said they couldn't. So we started to call ANY priesthood holder we could think of that lives close to the church. No one could do it. We finally got a hold of Victor, a young man that lives close by and he agreed to come. Then we called Hno. Torres...the one I mentioned last week that we visited with his wife who are older? Remember? Well...he is still officially the best person in the world because I called him and said "Hno. Torres, would you be willing to come be a witness at a baptism?" He said, "When?" I said..."right now...?" and he said, "Give me 20 minutes, Hermanas!" I almost started crying I was so grateful. He also directed the service and did a great job. It was a happy day because Allisson was able to make a sacred covenant, but it was sad because we almost didn't have a baptism for a lack of priesthood holders. 

I am so grateful, though, for the priesthood holders that are ALWAYS willing to magnify their calling. I am so grateful for members who go and support. I am so grateful that I always had a worthy priesthood holder in my house growing up to bless me when I needed it, to serve my family and the church and other people. 

We had a scare on Sunday. We were waiting for Amada and Francisco to show up and they never came! Half way during the sacrament meeting, we called them and they were home and said they didn't come because it was late. They were acting weird and when I asked about their baptism, Amada sounded unsure. I was so worried! We went to visit them after church to figure out what was going on, and Amada had to go to the doctor for something in the morning and got back late and she said she was embarrassed to go to church if she missed the sacrament. We asked her how she felt about her baptism and she said she didn't think she could get baptized because she failed and didn't go to church this Sunday. We reassured her that she could still get baptized and that the Lord knows our hearts and that if she strived to be better, everything would be fine! She felt better after that and we planned the baptism and they both seem very excited! We are excited, too! I have come to love them so much! It is crazy how the gospel changes people. When we first met them, they were not very open and weren't very willing to listen, but with time, they have become some of my favorite people.

Well, time is coming to a close! But Hna.Corriveau and I are working hard and trying to do all we can to leave this ward better than we found it. I know that the Lord is directing this work and I know that I am in the right place at the right time. THE CHURCH IS TRUE! I love the gospel so much. 

I love you all!!!

Hermana Durham

Our FAVORITE FOOD!!! Enchiladas verdes con cesina! And a coke. :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Y Tu Companero?

Hello family!

This week was crazy. We were only in our area 1 full day but lots of good things happened. 

On Monday we headed out to Cuernavaca. We have consejo de liderazgo on Wednesday so we went to do divisions with sisters in Cuernavaca to take advantage of being there. We bought some things for our families in the center of Cuerna and spent the day enjoying the nice weather. 

On Tuesday we did divisions with Hna. Neuberger and Hna. Mejia. I went with Hna. Mejia this time and we went to visit one of their progressing investigators. He opened the door and I looked at his shirt and saw DURHAM on it! Haha. I think it must have come from North Carolina or something. It said DURHAM SCHOOL SERVICES. I took a picture with him, of course. He was so nice and he told me that he didn't know how to read before the sisters started visiting him, but since he started reading the Book of Mormon, he can read! Cool, huh?

On Wednesday we met President and Hermana Avila and their son Samuel. They are literally the coolest and I love them so much already! At the beginning of consejo, we were eating breakfast and they asked us if we had any questions and so we were just asking them about their lives. Of course I asked them how they met! I love hearing stories like that. President Avila is a convert and joined the church because Hna. Avila shared the gospel with him. It is a cute story and they are so cute together. Hna. Avila is literally an angel...she reminds me a lot of mom...just a sweet little loving mom. She gave us all hugs and was so excited to finally meet us. Our meeting was so good, too. They taught us about a new teaching style and how to teach with the spirit. I literally felt the spirit so strongly and learned so much. I am so excited to work with them for the short amount of time I have left. Also, their son Samuel is the cutest. He is 26 and has Down's Syndrome. They said that he always wanted to serve a mission, especially when his two brothers went on their missions. They never knew how they would help him serve a mission. When they got their call, they felt like it was a dream come true for Sammy because he would be able to be a missionary. He was soooo excited to get here and LOVES giving the Elders hugs.

We did divisions with another companionship of sisters because we had a zone conference in Cuernavaca on Friday and so after the consejo we went to Bello Horizonte to be with Hna. Moran and Hna. Canaan. They are awesome! We got SOAKED in the rain that day, though. We were on the way to the food and it just started POURING. Of course we didn't have umbrellas but even if we did, it wouldn't have made a difference. The Hermana that we ate with made us change our shirts and gave us new shirts to put on so we didn't get sick. haha. Hna. Moran and I went with a member to a few citas and when we passed by her house, she gave us sweaters and new socks and shoes to wear! Well, my shoes are plastic (gotta love crocs!) so she gave me some funny nylon socks that looked super ghetto but they worked! It was a fun adventure and good day. 

I really like doing divisions with the sisters. I always come out learning something new. We have some seriously awesome hermanas in our mission who have strong testimonies of the gospel. They inspire me to be a better missionary. 

We had our zone conference with President Avila and it was basically just a get to know you session like we did in consejo. The first question that was asked was "how did you meet?" we got the story again. It was so fun to get to know them. Hna. Avila said to me, "You are one of the missionaries leaving soon, right? I was looking at the pictures this morning and I got so sad to know that you are leaving so soon!!!" She is literally the nicest person. They showed us some pictures of their family and when they were in the MTC and then they showed a picture of them with President and Sister Kusch in the airport the day they got there. I saw the picture and started crying! I don't know what came over me, but I am just so grateful for them and all they did for me in the mission! And for my new President and Hna. I am super lucky. 

Well, we FINALLY got back to our area Friday night. It was good to be back. On Saturday, we obviously dressed in RED WHITE AND BLUE to celebrate the 4th of July. Saturday was a great day. We went to visit Taurino first thing to make sure that he was ready for his baptism! He was so excited to see us and had everything ready to be baptized! Oh, the little girl, Allison, had to postpone her baptism because her sister decided last minute to go to the temple to receive her endowment so she will be baptized next week. 

After we visited Taurino, we went to visit Max and when we got there his dad was there. We decided to ask his dad for permission so that Max could get baptized. And let me just tell you that he was one of the rudest human beings I have ever met. He flat out said that he didn't agree, that Max is only getting baptized for his girlfriend, that the church isn't true, that Max doesn't know anything and that he is a rebellious many things. It took EVERYTHING inside of me to not get angry. We bore our testimonies and Max also told his dad that he wants to do it. We were all crying because we love Max so much and we know he had pure intentions to be baptized and his dad just looked at us with his smug look on his face and said...No. I felt the spirit so strong and I thought that maybe he would feel it too and soften his heart, but no. We left feeling so sad. Max said, "Don't worry Hermanas, I will get baptized in 2 months when I turn 18 and I will send you the pictures." All I care about is if he gets baptized. 

We felt sad but then we went with Amada and Francisco and felt so much better. The change that we have seen in them has been tremendous. Seriously, when we first went to visit them, they were both very closed off and didn't want anything to do with us, but with a lot of patience and love and a whole lot of the spirit, they have gained testimonies of the gospel! We did the pre interview for their baptism and they did great. They are so ready to get baptized and will be baptized in two weeks. Also, their daughter, who was baptized 7 years ago and hasn't gone to church since her baptism...came to church on Sunday!! I don't know what we did, but they have all really opened up and Francisco told us that he is not thinking about ever missing church again...unless he is dying. haha. 

So the best part of Saturday was TAURINO'S BAPTISM! We heated up the water because he has arthritis and he told us we were going to kill him if the water was cold. haha. So we were filling up the font and not even half way through...the water runs out! ONLY IN MEXICO! So we had to fill the font with the water from the well underneath the ground and because it is rainy season, the water came out BROWN. :( just like Iguala. We were so sad and I went to apologize to Taurino and he said, "The river is dirty, too...and Jesus got baptized in the river! It's fine!" haha. I love Taurino. It was such a cool experience because he was a REFERENCE from a MEMBER! And the member was able to baptize him. The baptism went really well and Taurino was confirmed yesterday a member of the church. He is so much happier than when we first met him. He has a new light about him!

Yesterday we went to visit a family in the ward, Hno. Torres and his wife Susana. They are both members and have been members for 47 years! They are literally the best. They have a daughter who lives in Provo so Hna. Corriveau and I are going to visit her when we go to Utah in August. She is not married and Susana was cracking us up because she was telling us how she always asks her daughter, "¿Y tu compañero?!" (and your husband??) She is so concerned for her daughter because she is like 40 and isn't married. We loved hearing their story of their conversion and it was good to be with them. We hadn't ever visited them but they treated us like their own daughters. Hna. Susana told me that she thinks I am going to get married soon after I get home and Hna. Corriveau looked at her and said, "¿Y MI compañero?" and she just laughed. She also invited us to come back and visit her one day with our families because her house is literally HUGE but she said, "I expect to see you MARRIED, ok?" haha. 

Anyway, this week was good. I can't believe how fast time is flying and we are trying to enjoy every minute of the mission we have left. I hope you all have a great week! The church is true!


Hermana Durham

 I saw Hna. Hoffman for the first time in over a year!

Our generation! And this is only half of us!
Hna. Peterson!
Hna. Hoffman and Elder Montierth. Taking it back to the MTC days.