Monday, June 29, 2015

Achey Back but I'm Alive

I hope everyone had a great week. 

This week wasn't too crazy for Hna. Corriveau and I. We only did divisions once, but it was really awesome because I got to do divisions with HNA. GARCIA!! It was so fun to be with her again and teach together and see how much she has progressed since being with her. She also caught me up on all the news from Iguala and told me that Luis's son, Luis, was preparing to be baptized!! He is 9 and when we were teaching Luis (dad), he didn't really have much interest. To be honest, I think we were just so focused on helping Luis that we didn't spend too much time insisting with him. He didn't want to go to church but Luis always said that with time, he would want to go and well, he did! Apparently he got baptized this last Saturday! She also said that the sister of Luis is preparing to be baptized. We taught her RIGHT before I left Iguala, and I remember feeling like she was super golden and needed the gospel in her life. The spirit was so strong in the lesson with her but I was never able to see her again. But I felt so happy to know that the little seeds that I helped plant were blooming and that more people are joining the church. Luis is doing great and is the ward mission leader now! I am not sure if I mentioned that before. SO COOL!

Taurino was going to get baptized this week, but he still needed one more assistance in church. He didn't go last week because his watch stopped working and by the time he knew what time it was, he was late. He said, "It doesn't make sense to go if I miss the most important part!" referring to the sacrament. Well, can't argue with that. He did pass his interview for his baptism and he is very excited. He always called sins 'pescados' which actually means fishes. Pecado is the word for sin. He says, "when I leave the water, all my pescados will stay in the water and I will be clean!" It is sad though, because he lives alone and has a lot of sicknesses. He has really bad arthritis and other things wrong and he feels really bad about it...but we just explain to him that one day he will have a perfect body. He is awesome and we are excited for his baptism on Saturday. 

We also will have another baptism of a little girl on Saturday, too. Allison is a little girl of a less active family. Her mom is more active than her dad, but they have been having a lot of problems in the last year and she just recently turned 9. Since her family didn't really make her baptism a priority and the ward didn't do anything, either, we are taking it into our own hands and making sure she is baptized. We had mentioned it several times to the bishop and to the parents and they all just "kept forgetting" so now that she is nine, she is our responsibility. Sometimes, everyone here thinks the missionaries do everything...but whatever. She is a really cute girl and her sister actually just got a mission call to serve in Monterrey. We asked her how she felt about her baptism and she said...I'm just waiting! poor thing. But we are going to make it a special day for her and also for Tau Tau. 

Remember Amada and Francisco? Ok...Francisco is the one who is crazy with the Bible and he got baptized in the church but was never confirmed. We have been working with them for the last 2 1/2 months. Amada is literally the coolest. We love her. She totally knows that the church is true and she ALWAYS reads her Book of Mormon. I gave her my gospel principles book and she LOVES it and was telling me everything that she learned yesterday in church. We went to visit them this week and Francisco started saying something like the Book of Mormon was just the same as the Bible and so we explained yet again the Book of Mormon and what it is and how it ISN'T the same as the Bible, and I really don't know what happened but we asked him if he believed that it was a true book and he said yes. I wasn't sure if he heard correctly because he has trouble hearing so I asked him again, and again he said yes. I asked if he believed if the church was the true church and again he said yes. I asked him if he believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet and he said yes. I was in shock and I started to laugh! He asked me if I didn't believe him and I told him that I did and Amada was like, "She is just so shocked and happy!" Yep. I can't tell you how much time and effort we have put into teaching them. Amada has accepted really easily the gospel, but Francisco was being a stumbling block for her to progress because if he doesn't go to church, she doesn't go. But we finally had a breakthrough and they are both getting ready for their baptism. If it’s the last thing I do in Mexico...I am making sure they are baptized AND confirmed members of the church. Amada bought a subscription to the Liahona the other day and is literally so happy when she is at church. I love it. 

So about my back. Well, I ended up going to the doctor to get it checked out because it was hurting still and I was worried that something was wrong with the discs. We went to the hospital and took some x-rays and everything was fine with the spine (thank goodness) and the doctor said that it is muscle pain, so he prescribed me medicine and told me I should probably do physical therapy but I said...I have 5 weeks left...not gonna happen. He told me to limit the amount of walking and carry less in my bag and gave me some stretches to do to help relax and strengthen the muscles. I am mostly just taking ibuprofen and not carrying a lot in my bag. I am just grateful that nothing is wrong with my spine! Just keep praying for my back!

This week is going to be really weird! Today is President and Sister Kusch's last day on the mission. President and Sister Avila get here about 6pm. Hna. Corriveau and I will literally be in Cuernavaca all week. We have divisions tomorrow and then Wednesday we will have consejo and we will be able to meet President Avila! Then we are doing divisions on Thursday, and on Friday we have a zone conference in we packed a suitcase for the week! So crazy but it should be fun!!! 

I hope you all have a great week and a HAPPY 4th of JULY! We will be having 2 baptisms that day so it will be a good day for us, too!!! And I will definitely be wearing RED WHITE AND BLUE. 

Love you all!!

Hermana Durham

We made pie de limon! I will make it for you when I get home. It's super yummy!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pain in the...


So last week, as I was lying down to go to sleep, my back twinged and started hurting. It was weird because I literally did no physical activity...just laid down on my bed to go to sleep. It was hurting Monday but nothing too bad but then Tuesday, as we were walking to the District Meeting, I felt as though someone stabbed me in the left lower back and it hurt really bad. I got some naproxen and started taking it according to the rules of the mission and asked for a blessing. It hurt really bad to bend my head down and move normally but it wasn't TOO bad. (This story will continue throughout the email). 

First off...HAPPY FATHER'S DAY YESTERDAY TO MY PAPA and GRANDPA and my BROTHERS! Thanks for being the best.

Also...changes happened early because President and Sister Kusch are leaving SOO SOON so they had them on Wednesday of last week and....well....HNA CORRIVEAU AND I WILL BE STAYING TOGETHER!!! We are so happy. We figured we would stay together but there is always a chance you can get changed. Hna. Corriveau did her happy dance and we are super pumped for the LAST 6 WEEKS OF OUR MISSION TOGETHER! (Can you tell I am just a little excited about it?) Also, my companion Hna. Garcia is now in my zone so I get to see her before I leave, and my other companion Hna. Skonnard is training! So proud! She will be a GREAT trainer. 

Tuesday was a good day other than my back. We went and visited Max again, our old friend that we had stopped visiting for a while because he wouldn't ask his parents to be baptized. He said that he wants to be baptized and so we challenged him again to talk to his dad. We talked to his mom while we were there and she basically said that if his dad is ok with it, she is ok with it. But Max was at church on Sunday. We also weren't quite sure if our investigator Adriana really understood the restoration and how she felt about her baptism, but we went and taught the restoration again and she expressed that it made her excited to know that the church has been restored but that she is nervous to commit to baptism because people talk about having more challenges after being baptized. We addressed her concerns and she felt better about it. She also came to church on Sunday!

Wednesday, my back was hurting pretty bad in the morning so I called Hna. Kusch and she told me to keep taking the medicine like I was doing and that if it didn't get better, to call her and she would talk to the doctor in Mexico. I wasn't feeling too good, but whatever...the work goes on and we had people to see. We went to visit a contact we made in the street who literally lives on the TOPPPPP of this really big hill. I will admit, the whole time climbing, I was thinking...she isn't even going to be there! Because it is rare when contacts on the street are actually in their house when we go to the appointment we set the first time. Plus the address was literally...a house, all the way up the hill with a banana tree in front of door and no house number. hahaha. Literally that is what we work off of here. It was hot and my back was hurting, but my companion kept me positive and by the time we got up there, we actually found the banana tree and Sofia was there! We taught her a lesson and she accepted to hear more and to be baptized! We will work with her and see how it goes, but she seemed really interested. Of course, she didn't go to church this Sunday, but sometimes the seeds we plant take some time to bloom. 

We visited Gris and finalized all the details for her baptism on Friday. We taught about the temple and she has that as her goal in a year. She wants an eternal family and we hope that with her example, she can get her husband to start coming back to church. She is literally so prepared and has such a testimony of the gospel. 

Thursday, my back was mas o menos ok. It was a little sore but I could work just fine. We visited a reference from a member in our ward who sells bread in the streets. He is the best at getting references because he talks to EVERYONE about the gospel and we were able to find a new investigator who seems really interested! We also visited Taurino and he is the best. He is progressing well and is so excited for his baptism. 

We did divisions with the other sisters in Alpuyeca on Friday. I woke up feeling fine. I went to their area with Hna. Canales, and Hna. Corriveau went with Hna. Chynoweth. I worked all morning fine, with a little bother but when we got to the food, I have NO idea what happened but I just had so much pain in my lower back. We sat down to eat and it was so hard to sit and even hurt to breathe. I didn't say anything to the sister we were eating with because usually the members freak out and try to give whatever remedy or diagnosis that they can (all of good intentions) but it is just nice to avoid the drama. We got a call from Hna. Corriveau during the food that they were going to head back to bring Hna. Chynoweth home because she was having stomach problems (the mission life is so good to us sometimes. haha) and I was secretly happy because I was in a lot of pain at this time. We were going to all go to the baptism for Gris at 6, but Hna. Corriveau and I just went with an Hermana. We got to the church, we went to start setting up for the baptism and I couldn't bend my neck or move very well. The members would walk in and I would smile like I was fine and then they would leave and I would grimace in pain. haha. Finally, the sister who came with us saw me and asked what was wrong and I was almost crying at this point, but I didn't want to be a problem because we still had a baptism! She bought me a water thinking it could be something with my kidneys and I just tried to take it easy, although I didn't sit down for fear of not being able to get back up. haha. 

Despite all the pain, the baptism was beautiful. Gris's whole family (well, in-laws) came to support her and it was a great day. Hna. Corriveau and I sang “Come Thou Fount” in Spanish and her husband cried. Also, Gris bore her testimony at the end and said that she had been waiting for this day for a long time and she testified of the truthfulness of the gospel and how she has goals to have an eternal family. We definitely were crying. She is awesome!!!

Well, when I got home that night, I called Hna. Kusch and she had me call the mission doctor in Mexico who is American (His name is Dr. Stephens and he said that his best friend in grade school was named Paul Durham from SLC). I described the pain and he said that I probably had an inflamed disc in my back and really tense muscles and he prescribed me some medicine to help with the pain and muscle relaxation, but I couldn't get the medicine that night because it was late and we couldn't leave the house. I can't even describe how horrible that night was. I literally couldn't sleep a wink and was so uncomfortable. The next day I could barely move. We painfully made our way to the pharmacy that morning and I just laid in bed all day waiting for the medicine to kick in. I felt so bad because we couldn't work but I literally couldn't move. It hurt to sit to go to the bathroom. You know...staying home on the mission is the worst. I would have rather been out working, sweating, contacting, anything...than being in the house in bed all day. The doctor said that the medicine wouldn't kick in for a while and it would be Sunday or Monday until I was smiling again. Great. 

Yesterday we went to church...we gave talks. I used Elder Clayton's talk from conference a lot. I was still in pain but I think the medicine was affecting me weird, but we made it through the day. We had 5 investigators in church and we are super excited for this change! We hope we can baptize every week!

This morning my back was still pretty painful but the medicine is taking an effect now. It is still hard to bend my head but I know it will get better!! Just pray really hard for me. Whether it gets better or not, I am still working. Only 6 more weeks. I told Hna. Corriveau she might need to push me in a wheelchair but that we will baptize everyone while doing it! haha. Just kidding, I don't need a wheelchair. My legs work fine, it's just my back. 

Sorry if this sounded at all like I am complaining. Back problems stink. I thought about Katie and Gramps and Pop on Saturday. 

I love you all. This week was great and I know that next week will be even better. Can you believe that 6 weeks is all that I have left? I can't. It really hasn't hit me yet! I am so happy right now and I am glad that I am here in Alpuyeca and with Hna. Corriveau. I know that this gospel is true and I am so glad I am a missionary! It is worth the pain. haha. 

The gospel is true. Live it. 

Love you all,

Hermana Durham

Our little District. We didn't have any changes and I am so happy!


Hna. Fernelius! She is home now!

Hna. Avila!! She was transferred but we will still have divisions together!

My last agenda...

See you all in 6 weeks!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Lulu and Nacho

Hello Family, 

Well, this week was filled with divisions, weird animals stories, sunburns, cool investigators and all the other normal missionary things that happen. 

So On Tuesday we had our zone meeting and Hna. Corriveau and I directed a bunch of role plays on how to teach better. It was good but it would have been better if the zone leaders had told us before we got there! haha. Luckily we are used to teaching on the spot and we had received the training from President and Sister Kusch at consejo. It was a good meeting though. I really like my zone. I have been blessed to have pretty good leaders throughout my whole mission. 

We went back to the house because they gave us a bunch of materials that we needed to drop off and my companion went back into the room and started screaming, "Hermana!!!! COME QUICK!!" I figured it was some kind of bug since, well, our house is full of little critters. I went back into the room and she pointed into the window. There is a little room with our boiler in it next to the two bedrooms in our house. It is outside but closed off. Like it has 4 walls and a door that opens up to one of the bedrooms in our house. The walls are really high and there is a little roof over it but a space between the wall and the roof. So I look through the window and what do I see? A HUGE IGUANA!!!!!!!!!! My companion has like a phobia of reptiles and was freaking out. I thought it was so hilarious. I mean, cockroaches, anys, cats, OF COURSE we would have an Iguana. We called out District Leader to ask if they were dangerous and he said that they are and that we should call an hermano in our ward to take it out. Well, I didn't feel in danger since it was closed into this little room and we needed to leave so we decided to just leave it and take care of it when we got back from divisions on Wednesday. 

Before we left the house, we used the bathroom and Hna. Corriveau was walking in and looked up into the window above the bathroom and screamed again...and we saw ANOTHER IGUANA!!! Hahaha. I was laughing so hard. So of course I took a bunch of videos and pictures and we named them...Nacho and Lulu. Then we headed out to work before going to Cuernavaca. 

We did divisions with two sisters who are going home in less than a week! They are awesome and inspired me because, although they have such little time, they were putting forth their best effort in finding people to bless and teach. We did an activity with their zone in the zocalo of Cuerna handing out copies of the Book of Mormon. It was a really cool experience. I will admit, at first I thought it was weird because just standing around handing things out is what the TJs do here, but Hna. Skinner and I took 18 copies of the Book of Mormon and started out walking to find people. We found several people who were genuinely interested in having a copy and we were able to get their addresses to give to other missionaries. I found that as I testified again and again of the truthfulness of that book, I felt a joy and a lightness of the many books I was carrying. We had said a prayer to find people who really wanted to hear the message. We found some that weren't so interested, but we found more that were happy to accept a copy and a visit in their home. I love the gospel and I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON. Seriously, it is the best book on earth and I am grateful for the power that it brings to my life. 

On Wednesday, we returned back home and the Iguanas were still there. So we called Hna. Oscar in our ward to come and help us! He came over with a friend and they grabbed the two Iguanas by their necks! Don't worry, I have it all on video and you can all watch it when you get home. It was so hilarious and we were sleeping a little more calmly knowing that we didn't have Jurassic Park happening in our boiler room. The crazy thing is that it was a male and female so I wonder if we would have left them in there for longer, they would have had babies! Who knows...

We had Stake Conference this weekend with Elder Villalobos from the 70. It was really good. I love Stake conferences, especially when general authorities come because they always say so many good things. The sad thing is that not everyone goes. BUT 4 of our investigators came which was totally a miracle because our area is FAR from the stake center. I was so happy to see them all. Gris is getting ready to be baptized this Friday and is so prepared. SHe didn't get baptized with Katya because she hadn't been attending church for a few months and even though she has attended many times before, we felt like she needed to attend a few more times before her baptism. She had her baby blessed on Sunday and is so ready. I love her a lot. 

We saw President and Sister Kusch for the last time here on the mission yesterday at Stake Conference. WE got a hug from PResident. He is literally the best. We were chatting with Sister Kusch for a little while and it was fun. I am excited to hang out with them after the mission. You know I will be going up to see them and eat delicious Mexican food. Also, we saw President in the hall right before we left and he said..."you two are the best. GROUP HUG!" And gave Hna. Corriveau and I a group hug. It was probably one of the best moments of my mission. President is literally the coolest guy ever. He is so down to earth and real. I have loved being under his supervision while here in Mexico. 

We are working hard. It is sometimes really hard to find new people being out of our area so much, but we have some awesome investigators that are really progressing. We are working hard here in Alpuyeca. It has been so hot and I got really burned this week, so I might need an appointment with the dermatologist when I get home to make sure I don't have skin cancer. Also, I sweat so bad. A member came with us the other day and she looked at me and was like...YOU SWEAT SO MUCH! Thanks for the I am mopping my sweat with a hankie. haha. But life is good. 

I love the gospel so much. I have been reading the General Conference talks over again and each time I read a new one, I am filled with gratitude that we have living prophets that guide us. I LOVE THE CHURCH! I am grateful for the spirit in our lives and I love the pure, simple truths that teach us all we need to know to return to our Heavenly Father's presence. 

I love you all. Have a great and happy week!


Hermana Durham

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Squeeling Piglet

This week was really good. 

Last week, after we got done writing, we went to a Park in Cuernavaca called Chapultepec. It is really pretty with a lot of trees and animals of all kinds. We saw monkeys, ducks, birds, and snakes. We were walking around and we found a petting zoo section where we saw some little piglets. My companion got so excited and said that she wanted to hold one of the piglets. I was, I am NOT touching that, but if you want to...let's go! We paid 10 pesos and it was actually really good because we got to feed this cute little cow, some chivos, I held a cute little bunny and there were some BURROS! haha. The best part was that we literally spent 10 minutes trying to lure out this little piglet (the mama pig was HIDEOUS so we needed it to come out of the pen). I had the job of holding the bait and the camera to get ready to snap a picture. Hna. Corriveau grabbed the piglet and it started SQUEELING SO LOUD. She freaked out but not before I snapped a picture and got a video of it. I wish I could send videos but it wouldn't load. You'll just have to see it in 2 months. Literally one of the funniest things I ever saw. We took some more pictures and then went to Carl's Jr. Don't judge me. 

We were basically out of our area for 3 days because we went to Cuernavaca to do divisions on Monday night to Tuesday and then Wednesday we had consejo. Divisions went well, we did them with Hna. Neuberger and her new companion Hna. Mejia. They are kind of opening the area so we had fun getting a little lost, but Hna. Mejia and I found a family to teach that are super cool! 

I got the package mom sent me on Tuesday night. Thank you so much. I needed those hankies. And Hna. Corriveau wears her shirt every night to bed. :)

Wednesday was probably the best day ever. Remember when I told you I called President to get permission for the divisions we were going to do? And we talked about Thrifty? He basically hinted to me that we would be getting Thrifty Ice Cream after consejo and so when we got to consejo, he announced that after, we would ALL be going. I was so excited. The consejo was so good. Only President and Sister Kusch talked to us about improving our teaching skills and how we can use different ways to teach certain subjects. During one of the breaks we took, we cut President's tie...a tradition that we do when a missionary goes home. We each took a snip of it and then Hna. Kusch cut the whole thing off. We sang a verse of God Be with You til We Meet Again. At the end, they gave their testimonies and it was beautiful. We put together a little book of letters for them and I wrote a poem. I read them the poem at the end of the meeting and they cried. It was a Kylie Durham original so of course it made us laugh and cry. I will send a picture of it. 

I am going to miss them SOO much. We had a BBQ and while we were eating, I asked Hna. Kusch an inspired question..."How did you know that President Kusch was the one?" and that started the whole story of how they met and President got in on telling the story to make sure all the details were correct. They are the cutest and we were cracking up. 

Then we headed to THRIFTY where everyone ordered ice cream and it was so much fun. The Sister Training Leaders bought President and Sister Kusch the typical shirts from Mexico and I also gave them the shirts with my face on it and they thought they were so cool. I will get to see them one more time at Stake Conference next week and then I probably won't see them until October. I am so lucky to have had them as my mission president and wife. They are the greatest. 

We got home and only had a few days to work in our area, but KATYA got baptized!!! We had her baptismal service on Friday. She showed up a little late and I was a little worried, but it all went well. Her husband came to support her and she was so happy. She was confirmed on Sunday!

We are still working with our investigators that are progressing and trying to find new ones. Fabian is literally so great. We taught him on Friday after the baptism and he said, "Who wouldn't want to be in this church? Who wouldn't want to have the light that you have?" Every time we teach him, we feel the spirit and the sincerity that he has in finding the truth. 

Church was really good yesterday. The testimonies were super powerful. I really love being a member of the church. I have been studying the conference talks from this last conference and every time I read them, I KNOW that we have the true church. 

Here is a quote from President Packer's talk that I loved:

"I bear witness that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God. He stands at the head of the Church. Through His Atonement and the power of the priesthood, families which are begun in mortality can be together through the eternities. The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, He has promised that He would atone. And when He atoned, that settled that. There are so many of us who are thrashing around, as it were, with feelings of guilt, not knowing quite how to escape. You escape by accepting the Atonement of Christ, and all that was heartache can turn to beauty and love and eternity.
I am so grateful for the blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the power of procreation, for the power of redemption, for the Atonement—the Atonement which can wash clean every stain no matter how difficult or how long or how many times repeated. The Atonement can put you free again to move forward, cleanly and worthily, to pursue that path that you have chosen in life.
I bear witness that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Atonement is not a general thing that is for the whole Church. The Atonement is individual, and if you have something that is bothering you—sometimes so long ago you can hardly remember it—put the Atonement to work. It will clean it up, and you, as does He, will remember your sins no more. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
I know that is true. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ saves lives. I know that Christ paid the price for us all to be happy and to be clean. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary during this time. I have never felt so much joy in my life as I have during these times on my mission where I have been able to help others come to realize that they are truly God's children. 

The church is true. And it's the ONLY true and living church on the earth. I love being a member of it. 

Love you all! Have a great week!!

Hermana Durham