Monday, June 23, 2014

Can You Teach Me English?

A man in the ciber cafe just asked me if I could teach him English in my spare time. Spare time doesn't exist here, sorry. I can teach you the gospel, though! It's way more exciting than English, I promise.
Also, Mike, Sarah and Emma last week!!!!!
Hello Beautiful Family,
So remember how I talked about having good health on the mission? Well, I didn't jynx myself, but my poor companion got the GRIPA this week. Gripa is a cold but it sounds a lot more menacing in spanish. It started last Monday but was the worst on Wednesday. We went out to work like normal but she was sneezing, coughing, her eyes were watering like crazy and she just didn't feel good. So we headed back home and she slept the whole day. I studied and wrote some letters and stared at the wall. It was pretty boring. Our ward mission leader's wife brought us my favorite enchiladas verdes so we didn't starve and later that night she came back with her husband and he gave Hna. Hernandez a blessing. She felt well enough to work the next morning. Also, everyone here is convinced that if you drink cold water you will get sick and die. Ok, maybe not die, but everyone was telling me that my companion shouldn't drink cold water because it's very dangerous. I'm over here like, I could eat Sonic Ice all day and I never got sick from that. It's ok.
On Thursday we went out with an hermana (Tomy) in our ward who is in a wheel chair. She had a friend that she wanted us to meet who is super catholic and really has no interest but it's all good. She was nice and offered us water. We were heading to another appointment with Tomy when all of a sudden...I HAD to go to the bathroom. I don't know what it was because I hadn't eaten anything strange that day or the day before, but I can tell you honestly this was the first day that I actually thought I was going to poop my pants in the street. I suggested rather urgently that we head back to Tomy's house. We booked it to her house and I ran into the bathroom just in time to figure out that her roommate was taking a shower RIGHT NEXT to the toilet. And the bathrooms in Mexico aren't super private...there was like a shower curtain separating us. But at this point I didn't care. She got to hear it all. Once I was finished, I realized that the toilet is one that doesn't flush on it's own so I had to get two buckets of water to pour into the bowl. It slightly painful...literally and figuratively. Oh the joys of the mission.
Also, funny story. I have a picture of the family (the one with everyone right after my farwell talk) and I showed my zone leader last week. He asked me if Pop was a bishop and I said 'yes, but why do you ask?' and he told me that he has the face of a bishop. haha...Pop, even in pictures you can see the weight of your calling.
Speaking of bishops, in sacrament meeting yesterday, my bishop called specific individuals out about preparing to serve missions. Young single adults, Single adult women and couples. It was a little uncomfortable. I was sitting behind one of the YSAs and she was like 'umm....what?!' But one cool thing is that his son and another young man in our ward got their mission calls and opened them after church. Both will be serving in Mexico (Monterrey East and Vera Cruz). Here, the mission call is sent to the bishop and not to the individual. I'm glad it's not like that at home.
The elders in our ward had a baptism so my companion and I went to support. Right before it started, my mission leader was like 'Hermana, I need you to give a talk while Myr is changing about missionary work and ask for references'. I was like 'Oh you mean my companion, right?' He was all '! No tenga miedo!' Ok, this is going to be short. Luckily, though, I gave the thought in la comida earlier that day on missionary work (miracles) so I had a scripture and shared some thoughts and asked for references. The funny thing was, the only people in the baptism were the missionaries and the ward missionaries that already help us a ton. But it was good practice and my companion said she could understand everything that I said, so that is encouraging
More on the spanish subject. We did divisions on Saturday...this is where my companion and I go out with members of the ward so that we can teach more lessons. I went with a sister named Lulu. She speaks English and is actually an English teacher here. We went to visit a less active (also named Lulu) who also speaks English. She lived her whole live in Arizona but has been back in Mexico for about 6 years. She told me she prefers to be taught in English. It was actually kind of hard. I said the opening prayer and I kept switching back and forth between Spanish and English. I'm not fluent by any means, but there are certain words and phrases I use a lot so it was hard to remember what they mean in English. Lulu said that I speak really well for only being in Mexico for 3 months. Then we went and contacted a friend of hers and the lady told me that I speak really well and that by the time I return home frrom my mission, I'm going to be Mexican and won't be able to speak English. Hooray! I've been a lot better at reminding myself that I have only been here for a short amount of time and that I still have a lot of time to learn. I don't understand everything yet, but I understand enough. And apparently people understand me so that is great. My vocabulary is a little limited to gospel terms, but I'm sure it will grow as time moves on.
I'm realizing this email is super long. Oh well.
This morning in my Book of Mormon reading, I read the story of Alma and his people that fled the wicked Kind Noah and established the church. They were good people and living righteously, but the Lord 'saw it fit to chasten his people' and test their patience and faith. The people of Alma were in bondage to the Lamanites/Amulon. Amulon was one of the wicked priest of King Noah and for some reason he didn't like Alma (I don't really know why because all Alma did was run away from King Noah and establish the church but whatever). He put heavy burdens on the people and was super rude. The people of Alma prayed really hard and Amulon said that they couldn't pray or they would be killed. They kept praying, but in their hearts. Because they were so faithful and patient, the Lord made their burdens light. They were still in bondage, but they had hope. They continued in faith and the Lord helped them flee their captivity and find the people of Kind Mosiah.
How many of us have thought 'I am doing everything I am supposed to. I go to church, pay my tithing, say my prayers, do my visiting teaching. Why is my life so hard? Why do I have this burden?' I know I have. I love this story in the Book of Mormon because it gives us the answer to why. Our purpose here in this life is to prepare to meet God after we die and to one day become like him. Here on earth we need to progress, grow, learn, be tested etc. etc. How are we going to be able to become like God one day if we never had to deal with hard things? How are we supposed to develop a stronger relationship with our Savior if we never have the need to rely wholly on His grace and mercy? The Lord needs to know that we will be faithful. He wants to help us and the cool thing is -- He knows what is best for us. He gives us challenges and trials for specific reasons and we will become the people we are supposed to if we endure them well.
And that is the endure with patience and faith. It is one thing to endure...but another to do it WELL...with the faith, hope and patience that the Lord will make everything right. Honestly, the Lord knows what's up. If we pray to Him for help and do all we can to be happy, He will lighten our burdens and eventually deliever us out of bondage.
I'm so grateful for this gospel. We have the secret to a happy life: THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. As we live the gospel righteously and do all we can, yes we will still have burdens and hard trials, but we will have the faith and hope that one day, all will be made right through Christ. We need to try hard and do all we can do...we can't just say we believe, but we need to live like we believe. I really hope all of you are doing well. I pray everyday for my family and friends, that they will remain firm in this gospel because I KNOW it is the only way they will be truly happy in this life. I am so grateful for my Savior and this gospel.
I love you all. Have a happy week!!!!
Love, Hermana Durham

I tried taking a picture with the kids of my ward mission leader. They kept putting their faces super close together so there wasn't any space for me. This was the best I got. Haha...luckily my huge zit on my chin made the cut. Enjoy!

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