¡FAMILIA Y AMIGOS!
Colorful casas. Bottled water. Insane drivers. Independence Day fireworks. Questionable meat. Delish enchiladas. Public transportation. Speed walking 24/7. Tons of people. Barking dogs. Crazy smells constantly. Constantly lost. "Soy Catolica." Broken English. Special K. Jello. Mo-Tab. Sweet ´lil kids. Un-refrigerated milk. Constant kisses on the cheek. "No ´holas.´" "LeSueur" "LeSoor" "LeSewer" "LeSewewer" "Lesughh." English lessons. "Together Forever." Chilly mornings. 8 pesos. McDonald´s, Carl´s Jr., Burger King, Costco, Walmart, Subway, Starbucks, IHOP, Applebee´s, California Pizza Kitchen all within 30 mins. Rules. Rules. Rules. Baptisms. Baptisms. BAPTISMS.
No, seriously. It is KNOWN as "la gran mision" - the strictest mission with the highest standard of obedience and apparently the highest baptism rate in the world. Jajajajaja. If I would have come a little over a year ago things would have been a lot more intense. The mish prez before Whitehead was pretty strict, aka, Hermanas and Elderes couldnt smile at each other when shaking hands, they had to fast every Sunday, they couldn´t email anyone of the opposite sex (which actually was just changed a month ago!). These days it´s still comparatively strict, only Mo-Tab allowed (except on P-day when they just recently decided EFY music is okay). Lots of other little rules such as you have to do nightly planning and studying with your shoes on and no eating, you have to wake up at 6:25instead of 6:30, never ever are zone activities allowed, no watching the distribution center movies for longer than thirty minutes at a time, you have to be always standing RIGHT next to your companion facing the same direction and participating in the same conversation, etc. And you know what, I think it´s a great thing. Really! One of the funnier things that´s happened though was that one of the APs started criticizing the missionaries from "The District," saying "You know, they´re good missionaries. But we are the Gran Mision. We don´t eat cereal while we study."
Fam, I LIVE IN MEXICO NOW! I´ve been asked quite a few times if it´s like I imagined it would be...the answer is YES! I have a companion who is from Chihuahua, Mexico, and this is her last six weeks! She doesn´t speak English, which is pretty rough, but I´d heard before that this might happen so I was at least somewhat mentally prepared. Hermana Salinas and I are the first sister missionaries allowed in this area for almost 10 years, I´m not sure why! It´s called Lomas Verdes, and we have one half while Elder White and Hansen have the other half. It is HUGE! It´s also one of the wealthier parts of Mexico. We´re about 15 minutes from the city. We live in this little extension of a member´s house, Hermana Gloria. It´s the kind of thing where you wash your clothes by hand and such, and that took up more of today than I thought it would! Since Hermana Salinas is new to this area also, most of this week has been traveling around our area with various members, visiting members´ homes, and STREET CONTACTING. I have so much love for these people, truly. I´m getting better at contacting, I can honestly say I´m not really afraid to approach people and start talking! Everyone is so incredibly nice, in the many many many people we´ve talked to this week I can only think of one or two that have straight up said "no thank you." They don´t know how to say "no" here! They´re all Catholic, of course, but they gladly give us name and address/phone number most every time. We were told they might sometimes be lying, yeah, but goodness they´re so sweet when they do! Jajaja. Everyone we talk to at least has a big smile and spares a minute to talk. What´s crazy is that Hermana Salinas told me that the people here are snooty and aren´t as accepting and nice as in her other areas. Cool moment the other day...tried to say a prayer in English with Hermana Salinas because she´s trying to learn English, and I failed! Spanish words by accident...I guess it´s because I´m immersed in the language! Oh, also, remember that one old lady from Nacho Libre at the part when Nacho goes to the sick guy´s house? That lady is EVERYWHERE. Also, those sticks of corn are all the rage. Goodness gracious, I KNOW that I will love it here. I KNOW this will be some of the most memorable eighteen months of my life. I wrote on Thursday: "I´ve already seen and learned so much. Heavenly Father has blessed me with the ability to continue to move forward with a smile, which hasn´t always been the easiest for me. He has seriously placed a smile on my face. He has given me gumption, He has given me strength to walk for miles and miles, and He has given me an endlessly patient companion and lots of understanding people. I AM THE LUCKIEST IN THE WORLD."
On Friday I wrote:
"Yesterday we contacted a lot because we went to Carlos´ casa for lunch and then needed to stick around and wait to meet him. It was a really cool area (Concordio). Really nice and seemingly interest people. I, yesterday, took it a bit more upon myself to share simple testimony or thought when prompted when contacting. I ended up sharing the reason for my being in Mexico a few times, in hopes it would help the people know how important this is to me, and they seemed gratefulo. I felt I should tell an older lady as we were about to part ways that this gospel is the way to find true happiness in this life. Yesterday, as we walked and talked, I felt the missionary purpose becoming part of me. It´s not about me, it´s about HIM. It´s about THEM. Move your feet, tunnel vision - the Lord and investigator alone. It´s not for glory, it´s what´s RIGHT. I HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO SHARE WHAT I KNOW."
Yesterday, I decided to make a little list of tender mercies of the week before we went to church. I want to share them with you, they include a lot of silly details of the week:
-The many members that have tried to speak English with me when I´ve struggled
-That comfy first night in the mission home
-Enchiladas (oh, ps...had my first REAL TACOS TODAY!)
-The man, Javier, I contacted yesterday almost all by myself! I shared everything I wanted to, and gave him a Restoration pamphlet, and when we got on the bus with him he was reading it!
-Even though we couldn´t find Hortencia (a potential who gave us her address), we found a really cute little family near the address she gave that I would love to teach
-My baby blanket
-Pictures of my MTC district
-Sweet houses, picturesque
-Carlos paying for our taxi ride home without our knowing
-Mama de Rodrigo helping me with my Spanish
-Ability to remember my studies when contacting
-Carlos reminding us to listen when I was getting caught up in doing repetitive contacting
-The 3 cute notes my companion has left for me
-The cute little girl we met in Concordia who practiced her English with me
-Hermana Salinas for running with me even though she hates it
-Mexico´s Walmart, aka FRESKO´S - able to find all my normal stuff
-They provided us with a DVD player to listen to CD´s and watch church movies in casa!
So much more I need to say, so many more details I need to give, but...
GUYS. I´M SUPPOSED TO BE HERE. It´s rough, yeah! But the Lord has helped me push through, and through Him I´ll learn the language, learn how to listen, learn how to better invite these people to come unto Christ. There are moments when I just look at the people we´re contacting and think, "IF ONLY YOU KNEW WHAT THIS MESSAGE MEANS!" I want you all to know that I recognize the urgency of the work, I know of its importance. I know that this church is 100 percent TRUE. Thanks for all your emails this week, I didn´t have time to get through them all but know I love you all with all of my heart and I so so SO appreciate your loving words! I miss you, and I love you, but I´M STAYIN´ RIGHT HERE.
Beeeeg keeeees lil keeeeeeees,
|Her high school friend Jessica, who is going to Sweden|
|She was sooo happy to see her cousin and childhood best friend Christian, who is heading to New York|
|A handshake for Emma's good friend and neighbor Mitch, he's going to the Philippines|
FIRST MEXICO PICTURES
|Her cutest companion, Sister Salinas|
|Emma's colorful apartment|
|She's calling this week number "juan"|