Monday, April 21, 2014

Earthquakes and Eating Ants


Another week gone and only one week left in this change. I can't believe I've only been here for a month. I feel like it's been so much longer. 

Let's see...this week we had an earthquake! We were sitting doing our studies and I felt like I was moving but I was sitting down. I noticed that the table was moving too. It took my comps a few seconds to recognize it but we definitely figured it out. When we first got to the mission, we got this little pamphlet on what to do during Earthquakes so the first thing Hermana Martinec and I did was run for our pamphlets...bahaha. It wasn't even that big and all the pamphet said was to stay calm. Or at least that's all I could understand since it was in Spanish. I'm not sure how long it lasted but after I felt a little dizzy. I think it was worse in other areas but we are safe and sound. 

We have some really great families in our ward that I just love. We ate at our Ward Mission Leader's house this week and his wife prepared an American meal for us...fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slaw and bread. It was so cute of her to do that. We ate at another families house this Sunday and they are so hilarious. The husband is trying to learn English and I love when he tries to speak. He always tells us that we are 'off the chains!' I don't know how to tell him that nobody actually says that in America...haha. Oh, he said that he really wants some playing cards from Las Vegas so if anyone wants to send me some to give to him, he would really appreciate it. :)

We got some rain this week. The first rain of the season. It was near the end of the night and we got soaked! But the air was so much cooler that night and I could sleep more comfortably. It rained again one other night, too. It was much appreciated. Everyone says that May and June are the hottest months and then it starts the rainy season and it gets cooler. Can't wait for that. 

Oh...about eating ants. So we have ants in our house...I'm pretty sure it's impossible to not have them. I'm just glad it's not cockroaches. Anyway, the yesterday, Hermana Garcia made french toast and eggs for us for breakfast. So yummy and so nice. We left the plate sitting out for less than an hour and had a napkin over it. There weren't any ants in sight. Well, I went and grabbed another piece to eat and took a bite. Then the skin on my hands felt like it was moving and I looked down and my hands were COVERED in ants...and so was the bread that I just took a bite out of!!!!!!!!!! AHHHH! I freaked out and spit the chewed piece out and threw the other part away, washed my hands and brushed my teeth for like 10 minutes. The rest of the day I felt like ants were crawling in my throat, but I'm pretty sure it was just my least I hope. 
The Easter Bunny came to Mexico! haha MOM--I got my easter package and WE LOVE THE SHORTS SO MUCH. They are the coolest. My zone leader was jealous and said he wanted some, too. Yesterday morning I left some of the candy on my companion's beds while they were getting ready so we could feel like it was Easter. We didn't do much in church about Easter, we didn't even sing any of the Easter hymns. There was one talk on the resurrection though. 

Christen asked in an email what traditions they have here in Mexico. Well, this last week is called Semana Santa and EVERYONE goes on vacations so the work was a little slow. Also, there were a lot more drunk people on the streets. It's weird because all the borrachos seem to know English. It's super hilarious to hear 'Hey baby...where you go?' I've also received several marriage if I can't find anyone to marry in the US...haha, just kidding. But seriously. Also, in different parts of the country, they reenact the crucifixion. I don't like this...they actually have someone who prepares all year to act like the Savior and they are literally nailed to a cross but apparently they don't die. The reason I don't like this is because Christ already suffered for us...the atonement was performed so we won't have to suffer like He did if we will repent.

ALSO...we had a baptism this week!! Adrian was baptized on Saturday and confirmed a member of the church on Sunday. The baptism was really nice and we actually had several members from the ward come to support. I can't tell you how much member support means to missionaries. I was super worried because no one was there at 7 (when we were supposed to start) but I realized that Mormon Standard time in on another level here. Mexican Mormon Standard time. It started at about 7:40 but we have people there and it was so nice. Adrian was really happy and I was so happy for him. He is starting a new life! Clean from sin and relieved of guilt. What a great blessing! He was talking about serving a mission...that would be so cool! The ward has really helped in welcoming him. 

There is always so much to tell you and not enough time! Ahh!. Today we have a zone gathering at the church. The zone leaders told us that this family from the stake wanted to make us stake so I was super excited. We wore our shorts because we were going to play volleyball, too. So we get there and guess what we are eating? Like literally a big pig leg. still had some of the skin AND hair on it (I didn't eat that part). The meat tasted good, though. Oh Mexico...I love this place. 

Although it didn't really feel like Easter yesterday, I studied about the atonement and resurrection in my personal studies. How grateful I am for the Savior. I know that he came into this world in the humblest of circumstances to do the greatest work. He lived a perfect life and suffered ALL things because he loves us. He loves every single one of us. He knows each of us perfectly...and he knows how to help each of us perfectly. Although I can't fully comprehend the magnitude of His sacrifice, I know that He loves me. What an amazing blessing. I hope everyone had a lovely Easter and you were able to reflect on the blessings you have received from the miracle of the atonement and resurrection of the Savior. 

I love you all!!

Love, Hermana Durham

Our ward had a talent show. We were at the chapel for Adrian's baptismal interview so we got to see a little bit of it. Our bishopric dressed up and dances like the Minions. SO HILARIOUS. 

La Familia Losada. The husband is the one learning English. 

Eating the big meat pig leg thing. 
Modeling our shorts!!

Adrian's baptism! The man who baptized him was the one who made me do the spiritual thought in ward council last week.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Peace and Blessings

Hello everyone!

So this week was full of interesting things. We did divisions with the Sister Training Leaders. Hna. Martinec went to their area and Hermana Sanchez came to our area. She was fearless and really good at talking with people. I hope I can get to that point. She is from Mexico so she obviously can speak Spanish. I told her that I'm scared to speak and she said that the only way to get over that is by speaking and trying. I will say that I definitely tried more this week. Hermana Garcia forced me to talk, actually. We would be contacting and she would just be silent and it would be awkward so I had to say something. Spanish is my biggest obstacle right now. I know that the only way to improve is by speaking. Yesterday at church, one of the counselors in the bishopric was talking to us and asked me how my Spanish was coming along. I told him that it was so-so and he told me that I need to speak more in order to improve. We went into ward counsel and guess who he chose to give the spiritual thought? I should have seen it coming. I was freaking out but I didn't cry! haha. I gave a scripture about diligence and how we need diligence in missionary work. It was short and I know I made errors but I did it. I hope I won't have to do that again for a while!

So about the title of my email. I think it was Tuesday or Wednesday and my stomach was hurting. It was the weirdest thing. It would hurt really really bad and I would feel like I needed to throw up for like 5-10 minutes, then it would go away for a little bit and then it would come back. This was happening all day after we ate. So we were on this street trying to find a reference and I needed to stop for a minute. I was crouched down on the side of the road wanting to die but decided that I could keep walking. We were making our way up this hill and this man and woman walked by us. She stopped and asked my companions if I was ok. They told her that my stomach hurt and so she turned to me and said 'We are sisters in the gospel. Can I pray for you?' I looked at my companions for comfirmation that this was ok and they were both laughing (well, Hna. Garcia was trying to call our district leader to tell him I wasn't feeling well but she was also laughing). I didn't know what to do but I figured that a prayer wouldn't hurt. I thought she would just go home and pray for me. Nope. She proceeded to put her hands in the air, close her eyes, and I guess...give me a blessing. I was SO CONFUSED. The only thing I could really understand was when she yelled 'SANA' which means 'be healed' or something. My companions said she was like calling the devil out of me. There were both dying laughing and I was half laughing half whincing in pain. After she was done she looked at me and asked me if I felt better. I didn't but I told her 'un pocito' and she was like 'YOU ARE HEALED' and kept saying that as her and her husband walked away.  

So come to find out later that Hermana Garcia and Hermana Martinec knew this lady because she gave Hma. Garcia a 'blessing' before! Her name is Rafaela and her husband's name is Paz (or peace). I'm pretty sure that those aren't their real names though. Anyway, it was an interesting experience but unfortunately I wasn't healed and felt sick the rest of the night.

We have a really great lesson with one of our investigators who is on date for baptism. His name is Adrian. He is 21 years old and actually comes to church! What?! But seriously, he is renewing my faith that there are people that are prepared to hear the gospel. He said that he was feeling pretty bad. He decided to read some of the Book of Mormon and he read about the atonement and how Christ suffered for our sins. He thought 'can He forgive my sins?' After he thought that, he said he felt really good. He felt peace. We explained that was the spirit testifying to him that the Lord truly can forgive us of our sins and that it is through baptism we can receive that forgiveness. Adrian is truly prepared for the gospel. I had been feeling like everyone we talk to doesn't care to listen, or wants to listen but doesn't want to change. I was starting to lose a little bit of hope but this experience taught me that there are people who are prepared. It's just a matter of finding them. We should be having his baptism this Saturday

We also had a follow up meeting for trainers and trainees this week with President Kusch and Hermana Kusch. It was nice to see them and hear their counsel. I will be honest, the last 4 weeks have not been easy. I feel like I'm not doing enough because I can't communicate, but I was reminded that the Lord called me to this mission for a reason and that He will help me with what I need help with. I just need to get over my fears. That's much easier said than done but I am trying to trust more in Him. I know this is the work of the Lord and that He will help me. 

Let me just say I really like my companions. They are hilarious. Hna. Garcia always makes me laugh...and she is always falling. More like tripping. I don't know why. But both of them are super great and help me lighten up when I feel down. Hna. Garcia thinks I have a ghetto spirit because I'm so spunky...and ghetto. How many other people have told me that? Like a billion. Haha. Also, our district leader, Elder Matos always makes really funny faces and I can imitate them really well and she always makes me do the face. That probably isn't funny to anyone who reads this because you don't know what the face is, but trust me, it's funny. 

We also had a cool experience in street contacting. We started talking to this lady and her family and she didn't seem very interested. She told us that she was catholic. We explained who were are and our message. Just as she was about to leave she asked 'what is a mormon anyway?' and we explained that we are called Mormon because of the Book of Mormon. Hermana Garcia explained what it was and I gave her a copy. She was so curious and was flipping through the book and asking more questions. It was super cool to see that change once we brought up the Book of Mormon. That book has power. I have really started loving it. It truly contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ...the secret to true happiness!! It is truly convincing evidence that the gospel of Jesus Christ is again restored to the earth. Everyone should read it. 

Well, that's all for this week. PEACE AND BLESSINGS TO YOU ALL. 


Hermana Durham

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference


So last week we went to Centro in Cuernavaca for p-day. We emailed first and then went and looked around the center. I fell in love. They have all these little shops with handcrafted things. Emily -- you would go crazy. I wanted to buy everything I saw but resisted. One day I'm going back and buying everything, though. When I'm rich and can actually speak spanish. :)

This week was another busy one. Get used to hearing that. Tuesday we had a special conference to watch the dedication of the CCM in Mexico. Elder Oak's dedicated it back in 2013 and it was recorded because he wanted all missionaries in Mexico to watch it. It was really cool to learn about how the Lord truly is guiding his work. Elder Oaks also mentioned that having a testimony is not true conversion. To be truly converted is to do and become. I got to see my companions from the MTC at the conference and Elder Montierth (one of the elders from my MTC district). The first thing he said to me was 'You are still white as ever'. Ok people...give me some time. The shoe tan line is really coming in strong. 

We are teaching and working with many investigators but not many of them are progressing because they won't come to church. It's really frustrating. But we are trying to keep our heads up. One of the problems is that there are a lot of churches here that go out and 'preach' to people...similar to what we do. However, the difference between us and them is that 1) we have the fulness of the gospel and 2) we are asking people to do more than just listen. We are inviting them to come unto Christ by helping them make baptism. We are asking them to receive an answer for themselves and in order to do that, they need to read the Book of Mormon, Pray and come to church. People here love to listen but they don't want to change. So we are trying to find the people who want to change. In one of the talks in conference yesterday said that those who are truly seeking to find the truth will do everything they can to obtain it. So our search for those people who are prepared continues...

Speaking of conference...I LOVED IT. It goes by way too fast as a missionary. I was able to watch it in English and it was lovely. Some of my favorite talks were: Elder Holland (of course), Elder Bednar, Elder Eyring, Elder Ballard...ok maybe all of them. 

But did you all hear Elder Ballard's? Following up on his request for members to pray to find one person to share the gospel with? I'll admit, I didn't do that before the mission, but I've repented and now I'm realizing how important members are in this work. So you should all totally do that. And study preach my gospel!

I also loved all the talks about obedience. Man, this world is wicked. We need all the help and blessings we can get. We are given commandments to bless us. People don't always think that. They think commandments are just another way to tell us what to do. But it's a way to exercise our agency and faith and receive blessings. 

Something Emily wrote to me last week and something that I learned from Elder Eyring's talk is that blessings for being obedient don't always come immediately (also, consequences for sin don't always come immediately either) but they always come. God is bound to bless us but He blesses us in His time and when it is best for us. This is because we need to build faith. I am definitely working on building my faith as a missionary. Every day my faith is tested as I walk out the door searching for people who want to accept the gospel. People ignore us, don't keep committments, etc and I have to walk up and down big hills...oh and I don't know a lot of spanish. Every night I get home tired with bug bites, dirty legs and achy feet, but I marvel that I was able to make it. How did I get through the day? I am not seeing 'success' like I think I should see it...with buckets of people wanting to accept the gospel, but I am seeing it every night when we get home safe and we've done all we could during the day. In time I know the Lord will bless us with success, but I also recognize He is blessing me every day with little things. 

Ok, that's all for this week. I love you all. Here are some pictures from the special conference on Tuesday. The first is with Hna. Garcia, Hna. Junca, and Hna. Thompson. The second is our zone. The third and fourth is our companionship. Hna. Garcia told us we had to carry her since she is our trainer. She is crazy and I love her. 


Hermana Durham