Monday, April 27, 2015

It's Really Hot

It's so hottttttttt here! Hna. Corriveau and I officially moved our beds into the front room of our house because our bedroom is like an oven and we would wake up sweating to death! We can sleep a lot better now that we have our beds out in the front. I literally sweat SOOOO much...I have to carry a towel with me or sweat gets in my eyes. It's really gross. I think I get the sweatiness trait from Pop. Haha. There have been a few days where we are walking and we think...are we in the Sahara desert? But we are trying to drink lots of water!

I've been keeping my foot wrapped up and it is still hurting but not as bad. I was a little worried that it might have been fractured, so I went to get an x-ray today and nothing is wrong. But it is still pretty bruised up. But the work will go on and I am just glad nothing is wrong with it!

OH...HAPPY BIRTHDAY EASTON. I thought about you on Friday, and Hna. Corriveau and I were going to buy a piece of cake to celebrate, but we had eaten way too much so we passed. But hopefully you had a good day. 

So Mexicans are super weird and have all these weird beliefs about health. I fell and EVERYONE is telling me what I should do to fix my foot. The best suggestion was that I needed to get a massage and have the person put my ovaries back into place because when I fell, they fell too, and they need to be adjusted. The weird thing was that it was an hermano in the ward. I looked at him with my mouth dropped open like...what did you just say? My OVARIES fell? hahahahaha I was dying. 

This week we did divisions with two companionships. I really like doing divisions because I get to know the sisters more. The first divisions we did were with Hna. Avila and Hna. Veylupek. Hna. Avila knows the Bastians and I went with her, and her companion went with Hna. Corriveau to our area. It was fun to be with Hna. Avila. She is a great missionary. Her companion is brand new and learning the language so it has been a little difficult (NATURALLY!). Hna. Avila knew the language pretty well before she got here so it wasn't too hard for her in the beginning. We all know that I really had a rough go in the beginning, so I gave her some suggestions on how to help her companion, even though I know she is doing a great job because she is awesome. We had a really good day and found this really awesome family of 4 in her area. They were so nice and all accepted to be baptized! It's weird because I know that they aren't in my area and I may never see them again, but I felt a love for them and I will make sure to ask Hna. Avila how they are progressing. 

When we stay with the sisters, we usually prepare a short spiritual message to share with them. Pop sent me a letter a long time ago when I was really sad about the language that helped me a lot. It tells the story of President Hinckley and gives some great fatherly advice. I have it printed out and it is always in my scriptures and I have shared it with several missionaries. I left that for Hna. Corriveau to share with Hna. Veylupek and she said that she loved it. She was like, 'Who is this guy? I love him!' and Hna. Corriveau was like...Michael Durham! haha. So thanks, Pop. That letter has helped more than one sad, struggling new missionary. :)

We also did divisions with the other sisters in our ward. They are in a trio so I went with two of them (Hna. Peterson and Hna. Hernandez) in their area, and Hna. Corriveau went with Hna. Canales in our area. It was so fun to be with them. Hna. Hernandez loves me because she said that my eyes are really pretty. She made me some delicious food from Honduras and was teaching me words that are different there than here in Mexico. Hna. Peterson is from my generation and is really cool. I didn't get to know her in the MTC because she was from a different district, but I really like her a lot and we had a good day in their area. We took a moto-taxi because we had to climb this big hill and since my foot was hurt we decided to ride up in that. Ok, maybe also because we just didn't want to climb the whole mountain. We visited several of their investigators and menos activos. At the end of the day, my foot was super swollen! That is why I thought something worse had happened to it. But it's fine. It'll probably just get amputated after the mission. 

We take this transportation called combis and they are like big vans. Since our area is so big, we have to take them a lot. One day this really white lady gets on and whenever we see Gueras like us we always get excited. But she spoke really good Spanish. We asked her where she was from and she said she was from Holland. And we were like...then why are you here?!?! She apparently has lived in Mexico for 30 years or something and she told us that she also was a missionary. We thought she was really cool because she spoke like 5 languages, but then she started preaching to us and I was like...ok, not as cool as I thought. I tried giving her a Book of Mormon and she rejected me so fast and was like...I only believe in the Bible, but then she was trying to give us these other books about the Bible and I don't even know because I stopped paying attention after awhile. It was super awkward because she talked really loud and everyone in the combi was looking at us like...oh dang, show down of the missionaries. Um, no. She doesn't even belong to a church...she just decided to be a missionary and just preaches what she believes. How is that ok? Not sure, but whatever. I should have known she was crazy since she voluntarily lives in Alpuyeca. hahaha. 

We went to visit a sister in the ward whose son is in the mission. She is a convert of like 6 years and her mom just recently died. She has had several challenges but she is super faithful. We went to go visit her neighbor to see if she was interested in listening to our message and her friend was like, 'I'm doing laundry! I don't have time.' and Hna. Rosario looked at me and was like...Hopefully when Christ comes, we don't say 'Sorry, I'm too busy! I'm washing my clothes!' I was like, I know, right?! If people only knew that we are really representatives of Christ, they would probably treat us differently. But that is just how it goes sometimes.

On Sunday, we had several investigators in church, but what made us even happier was that there were SO MANY MENOS ACTIVOS and all of them we had visited this week and committed to coming to church. It was awesome. There were like 8 that came...but 5 of them were with their whole families! It was crazy. This one that we had visited a few weeks ago called us out of Relief Society to talk to us. He is a dad of a little girl who just recently got baptized and when we went, we only talked to her and his wife and he kind of hid from us. He called us out to apologize for being rude and to tell us that he really appreciated what we do. He said that he really admires us for our work helping people come closer to Christ. He said he just didn't feel worthy to talk to us because he feels like a sinner. We assured him that we weren't offended and that he definitely is worthy to talk to us and to come to church. He said that because of us, he feels like he needs to start coming back to church more consistently. My eyes started tearing up because it was so sweet. I didn't even remember that he didn't want to talk to us. That happens all the time so it doesn't even phase me anymore. But he wanted to apologize. It just shows that he is changing and wanting to be better. How cool!

The work is moving along here in good old Alpuyeca. We are so busy that the weeks are flying by! I love being here and I am grateful for the gospel in my life. It is the best, isn't it? 

I hope you all have a great week! Love you!

Hermana Durham

 I have like 3 different colors on my arm. It's ombre...that's still in style, right?? haha

Hna. Corriveau forgot her tag and I always carry an extra one just in case so we were both Hermana Durham for a few hours. haha. 

FOOD BABY. We literally ate like a whole chicken. The tupperware is the dessert that I just couldn't finish. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Humpty Dumpty

Hello family. 

This week was weird. Mostly because we were out of our area for 3 days for divisions, but it was really fun to be with the other sisters!

Like I mentioned last week, we were in Cuautla doing divisions with 2 companionships and since it is really far away from our area, we did them both back to back. 

On Monday night we stayed with Hna. Garcia and Hna. Neuberger and it was so fun. I love Hna. Garcia so much. I obviously went with her for divisions on Tuesday, and it was awesome to be able to teach with her again. I told her that I was redeeming myself because when we were together I hardly spoke in the lessons. She told me that my Spanish is really good and that it was good when I got here but I just didn't give myself any credit. She might be right, but all I remember was that I cried all the time and didn't want to say anything. haha.I can't believe that she is going home so soon, but I told her to clean out a room in her house because I am moving in when I get back and we are going to be BFFs forever. :) 

On Tuesday night we stayed with the sisters in the other companionship. They are in a trio and their house beautiful. Hna. Corriveau and I didn't want to leave. It was huge and clean and had no cockroaches. It was so great and we slept like babies that night. The next day, I went with Hna. Zamora who was in Pradera with me for 5 months, and Hna. Corriveau went with the other two. It was fun being with her. She is also going home in 3 weeks with Hna. Garcia. I will tell you that it is super strange seeing all of your friends and old companions go home! It was really great to be with these sisters and I learned a lot from them. 

We returned home Wednesday night super exhausted but happy to find that we didn't have too many dead cockroaches in the house. I think the bug spray is really working well because we haven't seen too many since that horrible day and if we have, they are dead, which is so much better than being alive. 

On Thursday we planned and worked like normal. We have an investigator named Max and he is really awesome, but his parents...well, mostly his dad, likes to confuse him. When he is with us, he tells us that it all makes sense, that he wants to get baptized and everything but then the next time we go, he has all these doubts. We went on Thursday and helped him a lot, and then we went yesterday and he committed to praying to receive his answer if Joseph Smith was a true prophet and if President Monson is the prophet today. I really don't know why it is so hard to believe that there are prophets in this day and age. What a blessing it is to know that there is someone who can literally talk to God and help us! But we are having pacience with Max and I know that he will get baptized soon. Just pray for him!

Friday was the weirdest and worst day. I woke up early in the morning with stomach pains and couldn't really sleep. When we woke up for the day, I had diarrhea but's not that big of a deal. It was just weird because Hna. Corriveau didn't have any stomach problems and we ate the same things the day before. She was telling me that I should stay in, but I was feeling better and we left for the day to meet up with the RSP to do some visits with her. So I put on my trusty Crocs and we were walking down this hill where there is always water. I know that my Crocs are slippery so I am always very careful with water, but this time I stepped wrong on the little stream and humpty d

umpty had a great fall. My foot hurt so bad and I just sat there on the ground saying 'I hate my life' and Hna. Corriveau half laughing half worried told me, 'I told you you should have just stayed in the house!' So I got up but could hardly walk. Also, I fell on my other knee and got it all scraped up and had mud all over me. We...well, I, wobble to the church and the Relief Society President was there in her car (thank goodness). She was also a former mission president's wife, so she told me that I shouldn't walk on it for the day, put ice on it and rest. I called my district leader and he told me the same thing. We went to a few visits since we were in her car and then she bought us some roasted chicken and took us home. So I was in my bed all day with ice on my foot. It got really swollen and bruised and my knee is scraped up, but with rest and ibuprofen, the next day I could go out and work. I just walked a little slow and with a limp, but it's cool. I was so mad, though. I hate falling. Remember how I didn't learn how to ride a bike until I was 9 because I didn't want to fall? I have literally fallen down on the ground maybe like 4 times in my whole life. But to make myself feel better, I told my companion that maybe something bad was going to happen to us that day and that is why I was sick in the morning, and since that didn't keep me inside, I had to fall and twist my ankle! Whatever the reason, I was really bored and felt really stupid.

Saturday was a good day, though. We found another escogija! Her name is Gris and she has listened to the missionaries forever but never could get baptized because she isn't married to her husband! But guess what? She told us that she has plans to get married and wants to get baptized and raise her kids in the church! Woo hoo! So we may be having a double wedding with Katya and Gris (they are sister in laws...well, almost) and a double baptism! 

I gave a talk yesterday in church and talked about the importance of obedience. I used the talk by President Uchtdorf from last women's conference called Living the Gospel Joyfully! I love that talk. If you haven't read it, do it. I think it went well. I was thinking the other day that it is going to be really weird speaking in English all the time when I get home. Especially in church. It seems really awkward to talk in English. Hna. Corriveau and I were saying we are really grateful we don't have to say "Sister" because it sounds really weird. Hermana is way less weird to say. 

When we were confined to the house on Friday, Hna. Corriveau and I were talking about “Meet the Mormons” and about how happy we are to be Mormons. Literally, it is the best. I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church is so cool and also SO TRUE! I am happy and have purpose to my life. I have challenges and problems, but my life is so much better with the gospel. I just love it. 

If you get a chance this week, I would like to challenge you all to think about why you are a member of the church. Why are you happy being a Mormon and then send it to me in a letter because that would make me happy. 

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!


Hermana Durham

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Attack of the Cockroaches

Ok, so Hna Corriveau and I need to move. We hit our last wits end last night. Let me tell you about it. 

So Sunday morning there was a HUGE cockroach on the wall in the room where I keep my clothes. I was too freaked out to try and kill it because did I mention that THEY FLY?! Yeah, so I just left it there and hoped that it would find its way back outside. Well, we returned from working all day and IT WAS STILL THERE hanging out on the wall. We had got some permetrin (it's like powerful bug killer stuff) and we put it in a spray bottle and I sprayed the cockroach on the wall and IT STARTED FLYING AT ME!!!! I was screaming SO loud and Hna. Corriveau came in and killed it. Then, this is the worst part. There is a hole in the wall in the room that I live in, and I am pretty sure cockroaches and maybe a rat live in there. So I started spraying the hole, too. And my literal worst nightmare happened and cockroaches just started running out of the hole. I feel terror as I write this. You know that mice game in Chuck E Cheese where they come out of the hole and you have to smash them down - that was what happened except Hna. Corriveau did all the smashing. Did I mention that I love her? It was like in Men In Black when the bugs just run out of the wall. Ugh. Also, I couldn't sleep last night because I kept feeling cockroaches on me and I kept dreaming about them. Actually, I think I woke up and yelled out because I thought one was on me, but it was just my imagination. When we got up, we went into the room where we sprayed the bug killer stuff and there were literally 8 dead cockroaches. Also, 2 dead ones in the shower and 1 in our room. Then, my poor companion was changing and she grabbed her garments and a cockroach ran out of where she keeps her garments. She screamed so loud and said, I'M DONE! WE ARE NOT COMING BACK TO THIS HOUSE EVER AGAIN. But it was a testimony that my Heavenly Father loves me because it happened to her. She actually told me it's better that it happened to her than me. The church is true, people. That's the only thing keeping me going in that house. But trust me, we are making it a priority to find another house. ASAP.

But everything will be ok because this little 3 year old in the ciber just gave me a beso on the cheek. 

Ok, our week. This week was good. We did divisions on Tuesday with one companionship in our zone and it was so fun. We stayed the night and went with them the next day for just half the day. I went with Hna. AlbiƱa who is from Chile and she is SO cool. I love her accent, too. She and her companions (they are in a trio) have a ward that didn't have missionaries for the last year and there are a lot of menos activos. We went to go visit a few people and we actually talked to a less active lady that really wants to come back to church. She told us that she was so happy we came by and that she really needs the peace and happiness that the gospel brings in her life again. We also went looking for a family and found a complete family of 5! They all accepted a baptismal date and we were so excited! It was fun just spending time with her and getting to know her better. The sisters in our mission are so awesome, and I feel very blessed to have the chance to get to know the ones that are assigned to me better.

We also went to the offices this week to FINALLY get my visa stuff worked out. And guess who was there?! MIS HIJAS! Hna. Skonnard came to finish her stuff, so she and Hna. Garcia were in the offices and I was so excited to see them both. They are doing great in Iguala! I also got to see Elder Montierth from the MTC and it was fun to catch up with him. I can't believe it's been over a year since we got to Mexico. Where has the time gone?

Did I mention that I am the STL for Hna. Garcia, my trainer?!?! She is serving in a zone that is totally far from us, but by divine inspiration we were assigned her area and another area in this zone. And I will get to see her today. We are doing divisions with her tomorrow, and Wednesday with the other set of sisters so we won't hardly be in our area this week, but it will be fun to be with them! I had faith that I would be with her again before she finished her mission and the Lord made it happen! We will be reunited in about an hour!!

Let me just tell you about Katya. I told you about her last week, but I am not sure if I mentioned that she isn't married. Well, she isn't. Her boyfriend is an inactive member of the church and we are trying to get him to start coming back. We were worried about the married thing, but we talked to her about the law of chastity and she said that she would pray and talk to her boyfriend and see what he said, but that she would be willing to move out (they live together) in order to be baptized. We went yesterday after church to talk with her and she told us that the other day she was praying for the way to be opened for her to keep this commandment and the strength to talk to her boyfriend about it. She said that literally 5 minutes after she prayed, Fernando walked in from work and said, 'Do you want to get married?' and she said, 'Do you?' and he said that he did want to marry her and that she just needed to pick the date! She said that it was such an immediate answer to her prayer and it just strengthened her testimony even more that this is the true church. So we should be having a wedding AND baptism in a few weeks!

We also have been finding a lot of people to teach. But I will tell you, sometimes it is frustrating. Yesterday we were teaching a family and I felt like they totally understood everything. They agreed that little babies shouldn't be baptized, and we explained very clearly the authority of the priesthood, but when we challenged them to baptism they were like...well, we were baptized when we were babies in the Catholic Church. I kind of wanted to scream, but I kept my calm and reminded them that less than 4 minutes ago they had said they didn't agree that babies should be baptized. We eventually got them to accept a date to be baptized, but we were so exhausted after that lesson. We really hope to help them progress and work with them because it is a complete family of 4! We are praying and fasted yesterday to find complete families, so we hope they are one of the families being prepared for the gospel. 

Despite all the cockroaches, we are happy to be here in Alpuyeca together. Hna. Corriveau and I get along really well and I am grateful for all she is teaching me. Our area is really full of so many prepared people and we are working hard to find them and help them make eternal covenants with our Heavenly Father. Also, the members really love us. Our new BFF is Sol. She is the sister-in-law (soon to be) of Katya and she is the best. The other day we went over and she ended up giving us each a pair of shoes, skirts, lip gloss and perfume. She is so nice and I am grateful for her because she introduced us to Katya and best of all, always gives us references. She is literally the best. And there are so many other members here that really are great. 

I honestly love the gospel. This church is so true it's not even funny. I am grateful to be a missionary, and even on those days where I get really burned from the sun (because that also happened this week) and my feet hurt from walking so much and I come home to a cockroach filled house, I still's so worth it. Maybe not in the actual moment, but definitely as I look back on it all. :) 

I hope you all have the best week ever. Read your scriptures, say your prayers, go to church and I promise that EVERYTHING will work out. I wish I could write you every little miracle and detail about my life here because there are so many hilarious, miraculous, fabulous things that I experience everyday that I wish I could share. But just know that it's the best and the church is true and that Heavenly Father loves all of his children. He really, truly does.

Love you all!

Hermana Durham

 You probably can't see but there are cows in the background. This is how we find people, "walk all the way down until you see the vacas and then turn right past the chicken coop and we are the second house on the left". I love Mexico.

Monday, April 6, 2015

14 Months and Lots of Bugs

Well, I am just loving my life here in Alpuyeca. Except for a few things. It is really hot. Not as bad as Iguala, but I sweat so much it's really gross. Also, our house. Oh, our lovely house is so gross. Let's just say that...I need to start getting over my fear of cockroaches real fast because we find them everyday everywhere. I want to cry, but luckily my companion is an angel and kills them for me. And we have a slight bee problem and lots of ants...and it isn't because we don't clean. We are going to try and find a new house, but the pickins in Alpuyeca aren't very promising...

This many things happened! I love my companion so much and we have so much fun together and we are working hard and are seeing so many miracles here in this area. On Sunday, a menos activo came to church and brought her sister-in-law with her for the first time. We talked to her and challenged her to baptism and she was so excited and accepted! We went to visit her, and she had read the pamphlet we left her and the intro to the Book of Mormon and she was like, "I am reading a book called Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Is that ok?" We were, yes! Also, who are you and where can we find 10 more of you? We love her and she came to conference and really loves the church! We have also found a bunch of new people and have several progressing investigators. It will be a challenge because we will start doing divisions this week, so we won't be in our area very much BUT we are going to focus a lot on helping them progress. 

On Wednesday we had consejo de la mision and it was super awesome because we learned so much. I feel really grateful to be able to learn from President and Sister Kusch. President said something that made me a little teary eyed. He said to us, "the miracle of our mission is all of you." And I thought that was so sweet. I love being with them because you can really feel their love for us. 

Thursday was a great day. My companion is so hilarious and while we were planning the night before, she was telling me that we were going to eat with the ward mission leader and his wife and she said, "And...we are going to America." She thinks that our ward mission leader and his wife are secretly American because they look and dress and act like it. haha. And their house is SUPER nice. Also, that was the day that we went with Katya (the super escogija that is reading the teachings of Joseph Smith) and we found several people to teach. 

On Friday we had interviews with President. My LAST interview with him, which is super sad but it was really good. He gave me some advice about what I should do when I get home from the mission, and we talked about the progress in the area and with my companion. I can't believe that his mission is coming to a close, and I am sure that it will be so weird for him to go back home, but also a big relief. I can't imagine what it is like being a mission president and having to deal with so many problems. I also can't believe that MY mission is almost done, too. Well, 4 months to go, but that is like nothing.

We celebrated 14 months watching conference in English and it was the best. Honestly, I love conference so much and didn't want it to end. Some of my favorite talks were from Elder Clayton, Elder Uchtdorf, and Elder Nielson. But really all of the talks were the best. There was a LOT of talk about marriage and the plan of salvation. I loved the talk from Sister Burton about Fathers. I thought it was so needed and so beautiful. We need fathers and I can testify of that truth. 

I honestly love the church. It is so perfect. Hna. Corriveau and I went to conference with a few questions in mind, and during the course of the 4 sessions each one of our questions was answered. Isn't that the best? The gospel is for everyone, but so personal. I learned so many things and I am so excited to read the talks over again!

I love you all so much! Honestly, I am so happy to be here. Except for the cockroaches, but that is just a small detail. I am so blessed to be a missionary during this time. The church is true. That is all there is to it. 

I hope you all had a happy Easter and ate chocolate bunnies for me. My package hasn't arrived yet so my Easter was chocolate-less. Except we bought chocolate chip cookies to celebrate. Yay!

Love you all!

Hermana Durham

Me with the cows. Also, can you tell how much I am sweating, because it's a lot. 

14 months!!!!