Then spake Jesus saying, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12

Thursday, September 25, 2014

September 22- I made it out of the city!!!!

Lovin’ my new space. I finally graduated out of the city, and I have pics to prove it!

This new area is so different. The people here have not heard of the church or seen the missionaries around, like in my other area. The ward is a lot smaller (there were about 80 people yesterday). The members are great, just like in the other area. In my other area, every single member of the family worked all day, so it was hard to catch a time to see people and hard to bring along members to the lessons. Here, the people have a little bit more resources and time. People aren’t that receptive in the streets, but we’ve met some great people anyway!!!

My new companion’s name is Hermana Hernandez, and she is a good worker and likes to play pranks (like telling me when I arrived that we have a car. Haha!!). She’s from Distrito Federal like Hermana Moran!!
(next week I’ll send a pic)

Edited to Add:

Idk who Benito Juarez is but whenever a guy has their hair combed and gelled they call it "the Benito Juarez" so he's pretty famous. He probably has a significance much more important than his hair but since I don't have access to Wikipedia, y'all will have to check it out for yourself

Thursday, September 18, 2014

September 15- House of the Lord, Holiness to the Lord

On Tuesday we went to the temple. It was my 5th and favorite time going through a session. It literally changed me. I know that it is the House of God. I know that it is ordained of God to help us become better. In order to give us the revelation He wants to give us, we have to make that separation between heaven and earth more flimsy, more thin, more translucent. We have to do it. We have to work for it. How? Being obedient so that we’re not stained by the world. So that rather than saying with our lips that we trust God, we say with our actions that we trust Him. I know this Church is the one directed currently by our Savior Jesus Christ. That it has the completeness of spiritual knowledge that we all sense we need. That we all seek. And that we will only find here.

August 18- The word Obedience, like the word Repentance

Both of these words used to kinda bother me. Hearing about obedience made me feel mildly claustrophobic, and hearing about repentance made me feel sad.
Well here is a quote about repentance

Without repentance, there is no real progress or improvement in life.Pretending there is no sin does not lessen its burden and pain. Sufferingfor sin does not by itself change anything for the better. Only repentanceleads to the sunlit uplands of a better life.  Rather than interrupting the celebration, the gift of repentance is the cause for true celebration.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson

And for obedience, I am going to share my own wise words haha. I want to write about obedience because the Church focuses a lot of obedience, and sometimes we don’t understand why.

Commandments are advice from Someone who wants to help us be happy, and literally knows everything, so they are the biggest blessings ever. Imagine if we didn´t have them… Or if we had commandments from someone who wanted us to be happy, but didn´t know everything... Or if we had commandments from someone who knows everything, but who uses us for his benefit.

We are so lucky that even though we live in a world that can be confusing, we have a perfect map so that we don´t get lost spiritually. In order to have that map, we have to go to church, read the scriptures, pray, fast, get baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and go through the temple. If we don´t do these things we won´t know the commandments (have the map) and we´ll be left to our own wisdom. Which is so sad when we have the opportunity to be led by God. I know that obedience is the way to happiness in this life and the life to come, everyone, and that´s why we talk about it so much in the church. 

It also:
  • Shows you trust God
  • Shows you love God
  • Brings you closer to Him and helps you get to know Him
  • Gives Him excuses to bless you (He´s always looking for excuses to bless you)
  • Lets you figure out if what people tell you is true (John 7:17)
  • Makes you more sensitive to the Spirit
  • Helps you see your divine potential

Obedience is a character trait of people who trust God more than themselves.

August 11th - Keep in mind that 30 pesos equals about $2.50

Here’s some fun things I saw this week:

This week I have a sincere invitation for everyone: Try to be humble with the people around you. We´re all on different paths, and there are things you have learned that they haven’t yet. But there are things they have learned that you haven´t yet learned. Always try to suck all the good out of every situation you´re in and leave all the bad behind. I have a great companion that is teaching me through her example (she swears it has nothing to do with her years of Taekwondo but I know better haha) that the only person and the only attitude, you can control is yourself and your own, so do it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

July 28th

Hi everyone!!! This week I ate tongue:

There was also another sighting of the Bob Marley dog.

And other wildlife

It was a pretty chill week.

Oh, except when the taxi driver crossed himself when I bore my testimony. Am I really that diabolical? I didn´t know I was such a threat. There was also the instance where we were running home (we kind of end up running home a lot because we have to be home at 9 and we are always in the lessons until the last minute aha) and my skirt almost fell off!!! I have this one skirt that the zipper always likes to come undone, and since we were running I didn´t feel it! Hahah luckily it was dark and I noticed and stopped, yelling at my companion, “Hermana!” right before we turned the corner where it´s all lit up because there´s a convenience store and always a big group of dudes. It´s really too bad the phrase “Awkwaaard” doesn´t exist in Spanish.

Was it Jess who told me to make sure I include the funny stories? We are teaching a family with kids who are literally CrAzY. Haha really. But I love them so much. Especially the youngest, who is 6, and Mister Tough Guy. Those types of kids always win my heart. (Beef, how are Pray and Beraka??????) We´re mostly just teaching the mom because even thought we always invite them, the teenagers scatter and the kids keep playing. The other day we were teaching her, and one of her sons was sitting on the floor ripping apart a book. He´s like 8 so I guess he just doesn´t know how to control his energy. I mean, Jonah and Isaac were having airsoft wars in thongs at 8 years old, so really who is more savage?  Haha but on Saturday I asked my companion, “How can I help him like church; what can I bring?”, and she says, “Your illustrated Book of Mormon!” and I just have this visual of him sitting on the floor in the chapel tearing it apart 5 pages at at time.

The greeting here is put your cheeks side by side and give a kiss. But we only do that with the women, it´s strictly handshakes with the men. But the other day we went to visit a future investigator (someone we had met who gave us their address to come visit them), named Mario. Well we realized that the other guy in the house was his partner, so we decided to head out. But as we were saying goodbye, he gave us the cheek-kiss goodbye like a ninja! Hahaha my companion, (this actually happened awhile ago with my companion who had 10 months in the mission) was freaking out. “Oh no! I kissed a boy!” Hahahaha. I told her if anyone was gonna give her a sneak-attack, she should be glad it was Mario, our gay friend!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

21 July- Dear family :D

Thank you for the emails!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is soooooooo good to hear from you guys and to know that you´re not mad at me for not having written… Seriously. I always want to write to you guys but an hour a week is not enough to accomplish my goal. I want to tell you about my experiences but after I reply to emails (and I don´t even reply to all of them!) my time is up. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Whenever you want to write to me and tell me how you are and how your kids are, or send me a photo, I´ll love it J
For everyone who knows Gizmo, I thought of you this week:

The Mexican Gizmo

Haha, and this Gizmo has puppies!

Haha super cute.
This week was literally full of miracles. I can see our bodies and our minds being led by the Spirit just like I always hoped, and it is crazy. At first, the sacrifices of the mission—¨It is  expected that you devote this year and a half to the Lord, leaving behind all personal matters¨ —were harder. Now, starting to see and feel the fruits of my efforts, has taught me an eternal principle: that we live in an eternity, an eternity that we can´t always understand with our mortal minds. Say I´m gonna cook Nona´s famous molasses cookies. Am I gonna spend all night and all my money baking a million different batches, trying to remember the exact quantities in the recipe? Or am I gonna call Nona? So we can struggle and struggle and get hurt and hurt others, trying to find the way to happiness, or we can just trust the person who understands: God.

21 July- She did it :)

When we showed up at the house to go to the baptismal interview with Isis and her grandparents, she said she wasn´t going. And her voice Boom it was convincing, I believed her. Once again, I really didn´t know what was best or how to help her. I knew she was scared of the interview, but I didn´t know how to reassure her. I just knew that if she let her fear win this time, she would feel that much weaker the next time something that scared her came her way.

Before saying anything else, Hermana Moran said, “Isis, we´re not gonna force you to do anything. Thisis your choice.” Then she started talking to and reassuring her and building her up. We even went to Farmacia Guadalajara, bought another bottle, and did the egg experiment again. Even though Elder Rodriguez was waiting to give the interview. After an hour, Hermana Moran said “Alright, I think we´re ready, let´s go do this thing.”

This is the step I don´t think I ever would have thought of doing. But sometimes we all need that push from someone else. I think of all the things I have done in my life that scared me, and how often I had people there to give me that final push. If the people around me would have said, “Are you suuuuure?”, maybe I wouldn´t have done it, but instead it´s (literally, if it´s when we´re cliff-jumping) “1-2-3, Go!”
Seeing Isis´ face after the interview was something you can´t put a price on. If she wouldn´t have gone to the that interview, the little self-esteem she has would have plummeted. And I don´t know when she would ever have gotten baptized. It´s so much harder to start over after a failed attempt; she really would not have believed in herself or her abilities. Looking back now, I can´t believe I doubted about pushing her to go to the interview! She needed this, and God helped her, as simple as that. Satan was working on her like he always will, but God gave Isis the strength the face her fears, and He gave her Hermana Moran to help her. The joy I saw in Isis after that interview—it taught me that when I´m a mom and a foster mom, I can never doubt or give up. The joy of my children is dependent on whether or not they overcome their hurdles, and at times that will depend 99.9% on my faith in the Lord, my belief in my kid, and my ability to help them see who they really are—a child of God.

The week ended with the first baptism I´ve been a part of in the mission. She was sooo happy.

14 July- Straight from my journal

On Tuesday we had a miracle!!!!!!! Isis felt the Spirit!!!!!!!! Isis smiled (for real), Isis actually felt happiness, actually understood the beauty of this message, actually saw the beauty around her.
It was all because of Hermana Moran. I told her about Isis´ problems beforehand, and we brought a glass bottle, a hard-boiled egg, and some matches. We asked Isis if she wanted to get baptized, and the turmoil inside of her was literally painful to watch. So many times she had told us she wanted to be baptized, and so many times she had told us ¨No, nevermind.¨ You could see her fear and unconfidence eating her up inside.
Hermana Moran said that sometimes the things we want seem imposible to achieve. She took the egg and acted super secretive, drawing Isis on the egg, the whole time Isis getting curious, and when Hermana Moran showed it to Isis, she loved it!
We set the egg on top of the bottle, and it clearly could not fit inside. We said how Isis wanted to be baptized, but she just didn´t see how she could fit. ¨But there´s something called A Lot Of Faith,¨ said Hermana Moran, and she lit a match, ¨and with A Lot Of Faith, the egg can fit.¨ She put the match in the bottle, the paper lit on fire, a few seconds later she putt he egg on top of the bottle, and it got sucked in. It was the first time Isis believed she could get baptized. She was mesmerized. You could see a deep relief fill her and change her countenance upon seeing it was posible. It was honestly a beautiful moment to witness.
But I knew Isis, and thanks goodness Hermana Moran listened with her heart, with her attention, her all, when I told her about Isis. Because believing it was posible, that was only the first step for Isis, even though it was a huge one.
So Hermana Moran knew our work wasn´t finished. So she got up and said, ¨Sometimes in life we´re a Little unstable,¨ swaying from side to side and making her voice go from high to low. Isis loved it. She knew we were talking about her, but she didn´t feel bad because we were saying it could happen to anyone. ¨So we need something to help us stick to out decisions.¨ She had Isis write out a contract, and Isis got into it. She chose a date for her baptism! And wrote out that she would prepare for that day, and signed it.
“Remember how you entered the bottle, Isis?”
“A Lot of Faith.”
“Awesome. How are you going to get A Lot of Faith?”
“I don´t know.”
“Your faith is like a fish, Isis.”
“What happens if you don´t feed a fish?”
“It dies.”
“What happens if you forget to feed your faith?”
“Oh. It dies.”
“How can you feed you faith, Isis?”
“If we give you your very own Book of Mormon, will you feed your faith by Reading one scripture every day?”
“I guess so.” (This is a resounding yes from Isis.)
“Today you have faith. How are you going to make sure you have faith tomorrow?”
“Read a scripture.”
“Awesome!! You have a desire to get baptized, Isis, but it takes A Lot of Faith. Will you feed your faith?”
“Let´s practice now.”
So we put her name all pretty inside a Book of Mormon and read one verse. Which she was able to understand easily! Which amazed me because before I thought she had a learning disability because of the super emotionally-disconnected way she acts toward everyone.
I had never seen Isis happy before today. I know that´s what the Spirit can do. There is no way to be truly, extremely happy without God, and there is no way to be truly, extremely unhappy with God. It was the coolest thing to see Isis excited about something. To see her accept a baptismal date after everything I´ve been through with her. To be able to reach her. And most of all, to see her happy for the first time!!!!!!!

The day of her baptism we gave her a fish haha! We literally searched the city for a dang beta fish, I don´t get why it was that hard to find a fish?

7 July- Isis

I have so much to say to you about this little girl named Isis, that basically I just dedicated the blog this month to her. She´s 8 years old, but her parents are not members, so she is considered a convert. Her parents have never wanted to take care of her, so she has always lived with her grandparents. She´s suffered a lot because of her parents. Every once in a while they show up, but never to stay. Isis wears the scars like a giant flier on her forehead. Since the first time I went to teach her two months ago, I knew that she was struggling. When bad things happen, like when her grandma got hurt, she laughs. She hates praying because she doesn´t believe in God. She hates singing. What kind of little girl doesn´t like singing?! Sometimes she laughs uncontrollably and sometimes she can´t hear a word you´re saying. One day she will say that she really wants to get baptized; the next she will say she hates church. She will invite you to come to her house to teach her, but when you get there she will act like the Pied Piper is after her. Isis has tested my patience and my ability to love, but I know she was put in my life for a reason. She has given me the opportunity to prepare myself for the foster kids I want to have. She has taught me that there actually is only one thing we all need—and that really is love. She has taught me that when all the rest of the love there is out there fails, the love of God does NOT fail. From her I have learned that people can change, that sometimes big problems are actually big shadows of little problems. She has taught me that fear is powerful, and that sometimes we can´t jump by  ourselves, but we´re praying inside that someone will come along to take our hand and give us the push we need to fly. From her I have learned that God knows and loves each of us, no matter how difficult we are. That there will not come a day He will not have our back 200%.
That He can´t catch us until we jump.
From her I have learned that miracles are possible.