Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A bit of frustration, A LOT of personal growth

  We are just so thankful for all your prayers, letters, and support for Emma while she's been on her mission.

Hey guys!
Okay, so this next Sunday we have three baptism dates! They're not for-sure for-sure for-sure, but we're going to work so hard this week to make sure that they happen. They're for Estefania, Ernesto, and the daughter of Maria Guadelupe. What we're praying for is that Maria Guadelupe will want to get baptized WITH her daughter. Please pray for these four people! We've had a frustrating cycle, six weeks of trying desperately to find, sun-up to sun-down. Not going to lie, I'm pretty tired! But we hope we're going to see the fruits of our struggles this week! If not, we can say that we gave it our all, and my next six weeks here I will have lots of people to work with for all the finding we did. We found a guy last Monday when we went out to work at night that will for sure get baptized! Antonio. Already has 2 lessons and came to church yesterday. He just needs to come to church a few more weeks and he can get baptized! We found yet another golden family who is SO willing, but isn't married. We have three families who want to get baptized but can't for that reason, so it's sad. We're working on it! We had probably our record for the most lessons IN-HOUSE this week, so that's a super good sign because once we meet with people in their house it's an almost-sure sign they'll progress, so we have lots of possibles for the future! Honestly I'm happy to say we have lots of people who are progressing, and for that I am so grateful. I sure hope I get to stay in Palmas my next change! We've tried to stay balanced this change, too, and complete EVERY goal - sufficient lessons taught to recent converts, less-actives, members, and lessons with member present. I've definitely seen lots of blessings from this, a lot of members becoming stronger. All in all, a cambio of a bit of frustration, but a LOT of personal growth. I'm so happy that I've had all the experiences I've had here, and thank you all so much for your encouraging emails - they help so much! Thank you all for your prayers, I can't wait to tell you all next week what happens with TRANSFERS! 
Love you!
Hermana LeSueur

A part of Emma's letter to me this week, sounds like she's been a little homesick again lately:

I've starting printing off your emails in the morning and so I don't take time reading them later! Oh momma, I miss ya. P-day is the best but it's also a little hard to "leave home" again, haha. Sister Judd is American, from Virginia, has to live here for her husband's work like a lot of people in the ward. It's a little crazy because there are a lot of families that are just living here for some reason or another, like in the English ward that has their service right after ours. I guess it would seem like that would make me feel better, but it's actually a little difficult because it IS similar to home sometimes at church (besides the fact that it's Spanish), it's actually easier for me when everything's completely different and not even comparable to home, ya know? But yeah, the bishop and the bishop's wife both served in the US and can speak English, also our ward mission leader is from Idaho and has been here a year and a half with his cute family for his work. Being in their house to eat the other day was fun, but also hard because for a second it was like I stepped into Utah! Suddenly a normal, Utah-like house and little kids playing and it was a little crazy, and I admit I got a little sad. Also we ate with some of the senior missionaries yesterday, and the sister is JUST like grandma. She has 15 grandkids, her oldest is her 19-year-old granddaughter who's engaged. Sister Cathy Tobler. She's been here in Mexico the same amount of time as me. She talks and acts just like Grandma Pam! She doesn't know Spanish so I spoke English with her and it was fun. Where we actually live and work is nothing like home, though, so that's good. We work solely in this little tiny town that is straight-up MEXICO. It's just these random times when I'm eating with members and such that it's a little hard! Haha,

And a sweet note to her brother after he broke his ankle mid-basketball season: 

Hello Brother! I just want you to know that I miss you a lot. I feel super sad that your b-ball season had to end so fast! Buddy, I know we both struggle with worrying about things. I remember being in New York as a family and you and I were both going through some hard times. I actually had a really hard week with worries here in Mexico - I'm 19 and it's still hard! I don't know if you had a hard week too, but regardless I wanted to send you a little not to remind you I'm always thinking about and praying for my Sammy Boy. Sometimes we worry about the littlest things and things that seem to be so easy for other people just aren't for us. I've felt so many times like no one understands how I feel. I'm especially feeling that here with my companion from Guatemala who has a very different way of looking at the world and simply will never understand how I feel trying to speak a language that's not mine. What I need to remind myself is that JESUS KNOWS. He's felt it. And because of this - and the fact that He's perfect - He'll let us know EXACTLY how we can feel better, if we just ask Him to sit with us for a second to talk it out. I hope your week was good, my boy. I hope you're happy and still reading the scriptures. I've never been a hugger and you're not either, but I can't WAIT to hug my tall Sammy in just 11 months! I love you more than you know, brother.
Hermana Emmie 
Emma and her companion Sis Bravo
Hermanas LeSueur and Bravo with ward member Sis Judd

Monday, February 16, 2015

Beatboxing and speaking Spanish in my sleep

About five months later, I would like to revise my definition of Mexico. Mexico is:
Yelling street vendors. Huge stray dogs. A million different smells at once, all with an undertone of "sewer." Pastel and neon-colored boxy houses. Corn. Spicy powder on literally everything. Humidity. Lizards. Jesus on the cross in every available space. Shrines for the Virgin on every corner. Silver teeth. Raw chicken being sold everywhere you look. Drunk guys who band together, never shower, and sleep on the sidewalk all day every day. Loud music that is always playing. Newspapers with a front page that consists of a dead person and porn. Fresh juice, always. Soup before every single meal. Peaches and mango as dessert. Out-houses. Soccer. Bright lipstick. That one area you avoid because it's where some select members of the town always go to the bathroom. Oxxo instead of 7-11. Mazapán, peanut. Margarine, not butter. Shoe-shiners. Tamales on-the-go (being pedaled around on a bike). Combies and camiones. Rice with bananas. Mole. Tortilla machines, stacks of tortillas wrapped in brown paper. Whole families, grandparents cousins and all, living together in one or two rooms. Everyone smoking. Master house painters. Awful soap operas. Tacos al pastor. Pay phones. Catholic by tradition. Everyone sleeping in late every day because school starts in the afternoon. Cheetos, Doritos, and Fritos that are 100% different than in the states, different flavors and different textures. Lala milk. People opening their window to talk instead of coming to the door. Never ever carpet, always concrete. Businesses that attempt to have an English name (who wants to head over to "Cute Girl?":). Motorcycles that stop for no one. No traffic laws. Little tiny 7-11-type stores literally every 3 or 4 houses that have the exact same selection of chips and drinks. Oranges always on-hand. Clothes drying on the rooftops. School uniforms. Bakeries, bakeries, bakeries. Little family-owned paper stores. Piñatas for every occasion. I LOVE IT. It's my home now, crazy as that is! Also, this week was better! We didn't spend tons and tons of time contacting because people kept a lot more of their commitments - we taught a lot of solid lessons this week. Some highlights:
Tuesday, Hermana Bravo told me in the morning that I was speaking Spanish, laughing way hard, and BEATBOXING in my sleep. No, she didn't use that exact word...but she demonstrated. Also, I remember I was dreaming something about being a rapper, so makes sense... Also, we taught Ernesto a few times, and he surprised us all by asking about serving a mission! Keep in mind, this is a kid who told us he didn't believe in God only a few weeks ago... I ate food de Argentina with a member, super good. Hermana Bravo found a Woody doll in the street and kept it, and the funniest thing I heard all week was when she randomly said in English "I love you, Woody" in the sweetest voice in the world. Also, she had a really random funny moment when we were contacting some soccer-playing niños, and she kept poking the kid in the chest and talking about how 'special' his jersey was, jejejeje. Saturday was, of course, dedicated to getting people to church, and in a moment of discouragement I was praying SO hard that the next lady we were going to visit would, by some miracle, accept, even though she didn't seem very likely. Well, she did, and she's now progressing! She even through into her acceptance that she loves listening to me speak Spanish and she feels something really special when she listens. A guy told me this week that I have a French-sounding Spanish accent, and also for about the 5th time someone asked if I was from Germany. Here I am, love me. Here's the low-down on our progressing investigators:
Estefania, has a baptismal date, but might not be able to come to church next week...please pray that she will! She's awesome, even went out a bought herself a dress for church yesterday!
Ernesto, pray that we can arrive at the point where he will be ready to consider baptism this week.
Liliana, pray that she'll open up to us and give church another chance, because she wasn't thrilled about it the first time.
Marcos and Isabella - our miracle, the family that's always excited to see us and gathers the family to talk. Pray that they'll continue reading the Book of Mormon and that they'll make it to church this week!
Saul, pray that he'll answer the phone, that we'll make contact with him and that he'll recognize our invitation for what it is. He's a little depressed because the returned missionary in the ward he wanted to marry is getting married to someone else...
Hilaria, pray that her kids will get excited to come to church this week, because they're the key!
Maria Guadelupe, pray that she'll realize that this is the right path for her family to take, and most importantly, THEY'LL FOLLOW IF SHE LEADS. 
Sorry for my email last week being a bit of a downer! This mission is a crazy, cool thing, and I realize that heartache is an inevitable part of it. I want you all to know that I'm trying my best. I'm so far from perfect, but slowly but surely I'm becoming better, I'm becoming stronger. I love you all so much. I know that this is the church, this is the organization, in which God wants us to be. I've said it many times, it's a piece of His kingdom on the Earth. I love it, I love my Savior, I love my mission, I love you all so very much. Have the best week!
Beeeeg Keeees, Leeeeeeetle Keeeeees
Hermana LeSueur

Man, I miss my girl-- but she sure loves MEXICO!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Hey all!
So. This week was hard. Super hard! Haha, it's one of those times where we completely wear ourselves out physically and emotionally every single day, and at the end of it, the people just don't want to accept. I think we had the record of lessons falling through this week, so that was sad, but we did find lots of new people for this week. The Familia Ledesma was a bit of a let-down, because we literally had the whole ward praying for them, and we visited and taught and the mom suddenly starting ranting to us about how she doesn't believe in God! It was so weird and random and sad and we tried our best but they're not progressing. Weird and random and a bit sad pretty much describes the week - so many not-fun surprises, like we had a super awful lesson with some recent converts that spouted from the mom asking some hard questions about the sacrament and then in response my companion asked if she had a testimony of Joseph Smith and the mom and my companion ended up super offended and it was just so sad because they're my favorite family! our other family of recent converts forgot about our lesson, and we always look forward to our lesson with them every week, so that was sad too. We worked all week with the awesome and baptism-ready Estefania and confirmed about five times that she was going to meet us in Puerta 3 to go to church with us on Sunday, and we went and she never showed up! These are just a few of the not-so-fun things that happened this week that really just caught us off-guard. I'm learning so much about PATIENCE, quite honestly. Sometimes we just have to "wait on the Lord." Of course there are lots of things we can improve and we're working on lots of goals, but at the same time I can truly say I gave it my all this week and for that I know that Heavenly Father will bless us. Please pray for Estefania, Saul, Annie, Maria Guadelupe, and the boyfriend and son of another recent convert, Brenda, who we're teaching also. I can't believe I left home six months ago! I officially have less than a year left. I love you all, I'm so grateful for this opportunity. I can feel myself changing for the better, and even better I can see the people we're teaching changing for the better. That's just what living the Gospel does. I know it's true. I had a cool spiritual experience this week - my companion and I decided that we were going to convert each other - that is, teach each other from square one AS missionaries, as us, with our own needs and problems. this morning, Hermana Bravo taught me the rest of the Restoration and I couldn't help but start bawling as she was explaining that I COULD KNOW FOR MYSELF through the Spirit if these things were true. I've received the answer so many times, but yet again, I felt that inexplicable feeling of happiness. I remembered the moment after my baptism, when all my silly little-girl anxieties melted away and i felt that same undeniable feeling. I've probably said it before, because i say it all the time, but I encourage you all to ASK. Again. And again. AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE, every time. I love this church. I love it, and I know that it's a slice of God's kingdom on the Earth. It's where He wants us to be. I love you ALL SO MUCH, have a safe and happy week!
bEEEG Keeees Lieeeetle Keeees
Hermana LeSueur

Emma's new zone.  Our Stake President's niece is in her zone!

Just a little note to me from Emma that I thought was cute:

oh, momma, thanks so much for worrying...i definitely got your letter! and i loved it! i printed it and read it over and over on my bed while my companion slept a bit until we went out to work again (6 o clock we go out to work on p-day, i bet that's the same as your mission?) 
i still haven't gotten my package or my Christmas card, but thank you so much in advance! if you could send me the Christmas card digitally i would love it! mom i'm sorry things can be hard with being stake young women president. like you said awhile ago, though, it makes me feel closer to you that we're doing hard things together! this week we were asked to go help the stake young women's president with an activity where we had to teach the girls how to be missionaries. she told us to show up way too early so we helped her set up and do the food and such and it was so funny to be helping with stuff like that...i was just thinking about you and your calling and all the fun activities i know you've already done! with about a minute's notice i had to play the piano in front of everyone and explain how to be a missionary to your inactive family. it's so funny how i can just do that kind of stuff without batting an eye, now. every day i'm called upon to do the scariest things, but i just do them and things work out fine! i'm definitely progressing in so many ways, and for that i am grateful, and i know you are too momma!
it's so funny because that's exactly what's always been scary for me and i literally do things like the piano and speaking thing like 20 times a day! and it's purely my calling, quite honestly...it's purely the strength of the lord. i was telling my companion this morning how it's funny that i was nervous to get baptized because i would be in front of people and now i'm a missionary! it's crazy what the mission does for you! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

364 days to keep watching and learning

My family. My sweet, sweet family!
First of all, I love you SO SO much, and I miss you. Seriously. Second: as of yesterday, I have exactly 365 (364, now) days left in my misión. NOW begins my year! Is that crazy or what? I guess you could say "see ya in a bit!" - which is scary. So much to do in these 365 days! No doubt it will be some of the craziest 365 days of my life. The most unique. The most FULL. The days that will change me and shape my life.
Okay, so as of this week, we have collected a pretty solid investigator pool, almost solely from contacting in the Street! We have lots of faith. We've been finding tons of new people every day, and it makes me so happy to see my full planner!
Here are a few who are progressing:
Galilea is an awesome 14-year-old girl who's been praying about the Book of Mormon and feels she hasn't received her answer  She's coming to church this Sunday
Estefanía is a 22-year-old single mom who has a baptism date! She's a reference from some other missionaries, and she's great. We had some really good lessons with her this week. The thing is, somehow we lost contact with her yesterday and Saturday, we went to pick her up for church and she wasn't there. Weird.
Hilaria is a single mom also, of two Little girls who LOVED going to church with us. She patiently listens but isn't completely open, especially to something that's not the Bible.
Patricia is a Young mom of two, a Street contact who's really quiet but way nice. The problema is, she just barely got ajob that makes it hard to listen to us. She has the desire though, and told us she's willing to meet with us even if it has to be a bit late or a bit early. We have high hopes.
Maria Guadelupe also has two daughters. She's been to church four times now, and we've taught her everything. She doesn't want to be baptized. I think she wants her whole family to be  baptized with her, and they don't want to, so she feeds us all sorts of excuses every lesson.
Familia Ledesma - the miracle of the week! They were a Street contact as well. We were teaching with a member, we finished a lesson late and decided to see if possibly the appointment we made with Joseline and Adriana Ledesma was serious. They were waiting, along with the dad. The Spirit was SO strong. We almost immediately began lesson one. I decided to tell them to close their eyes as I recited the first visión, and when they opened up their eyes after I could see a change. The member we had with us testified, and it was super powerful. We are SO excited for this family!
So there you have it, a few of our investigators we're excited about. If you could keep them in your prayers I would be forever grateful, along with our investigator Saul who had a baptism date and has now decided he's too afraid of what his family will think if he gets baptized and doesn't want to follow through. I'm loving Palmas and my sweet companion. I have never felt such great joy in my life! I have seen the change this Gospel can make in the lives of our brothers and sisters, and I'm so grateful that I have 364 more days to keep watching and learning. I love you all!
Beeeeeg Keeeees, Leeeeeeetle Keeeeees
Hermana LeSueur
Since she didn't send any pictures, here is a pre-mission picture that I LOVE of her.  What a beauty inside and out!