Monday, March 31, 2014

{Week 16} Aculco - March 31, 2014

Hi  :)
So, I didn't get to see the broadcast. For some reason we weren't allowed... But this weekend we will get to watch all sessions of conference, and I'll get to watch in English, which I am very excited for.

Me :) I don't know if this pic will work for my missionary plaque,
but I always forget to take others. If you wait, eventually I'll send a better one.

I got the pouch letters from Carlee and Denyse. Thanks! And Smalls, that letter made my day. Seriously hilarious. I laughed so hard, and tried to translate for my comp, but she didn't get it. Yeah, you can wear my clothes. I honestly don't remember what I have there. Only you can't wear my tear away sweats and provincial basketball shirt. And anything else you wear please put back!

So I just found out that my area is right at the end of our mission. Two sides of it are the South Mission. And I live in  ---, Iztacalco, Distrito Federal.
Today we went shopping! But I didn't buy anything... I looked but the only dress that I liked my comp snatched up first. We have this ginormous amazing mall about 10min bus ride from my area, and we go there a lot on Pday to bowl, eat in the food court, shop... It's kind of funny because on Pday we always stay together as a district or zone, but we still seem to split into two groups - Americans and Latinos. So being Canadian I don't fit in anywhere! Just kidding. I usually hang with the Latinos - it's good Spanish practice to hang with them.
And now for some miracles!!
Last week I forgot to say this. There was a lady in our ward who was ancient and the sweetest old lady - Hna Marina. Well anyway, she died, so we went to the funeral Saturday morning. And while there, waiting for it to start, this lady called to us from the gate (there are big walls and gates around all the church buildings) because she needed to use the bathroom! So we let her in, showed her to the bathroom, then waited, and when she came out we ambushed her - we took her to a room and started to teach her the first lesson. It turned into a super spiritual lesson where we were able to help her feel more peaceful about all the problems in her life. Turns out she lives in a different mission though, so we passed on her reference and they're teaching her now. But she came to our English class later and told us that she is taking the lessons! We ended up missing the funeral, but whatever - we were able to help this lady.

And there is this guy - Rafael - that sells pan (bread) on a street corner close to our house. This pan is more like donut, croissant type things - big and sweet and delicious. We pass him every night on our way to our house. A couple nights ago we started to chat more with him, but he works all day, everyday so we never could make an appointment. The other night we stopped to chat with him, and he told us about the troubles of the day, and how he still had like 70 pieces of pan, and was going to lose it all because it was so late and he still had so much, and he can't sell day old pan... anyway we felt bad, so I suggested to my comp that we buy some pan. It's not much, but it was the best we could do to help him right then. As soon as the pan was in our hands, and before we had a chance to pay, a flood of people descended and practically cleaned out his pan. Afterwards he wouldn't accept our payment, and instead thanked us. He said he didn't know what it was, but we bring a type of peace with us. And then he agreed to give us a proper appointment, where we can actually talk with him about the gospel rather than just 5 minutes every night. It was amazing. And then when we got to the house, Hna San was on her way to buy some pan from him too. It was great.

So Armando didn't come to church. But we taught him after, and I think he really wants to change his life. He's been having a lot of difficulties with the Word of Wisdom (Palabra de Sabiduria) but he is doing great otherwise. But because he missed church, we can't baptize him this Saturday. But possible the next one...the 12 of April. We have another investigator - Julia - and she's getting baptized that day too. She came to church yesterday and loved it. And Rosa and Paulino... turns out she is already married, and Paulino is just her boyfriend... they didn't come to church and we're not really sure what's going to happen with them... but we have an appointment with Rosa's daughter tomorrow, so maybe that will turn out to be something... I dunno!

One day we were at the church for a lesson with Julia, the day we invited her to be baptized on the 12th, and she brought her 2 year old daughter. To keep her daughter occupied, Hna Cruz gave her her name tag, because she has fun stickers on the back. We were having the lesson in the room with the baptismal font, and we had opened it so Julia could see it, and for some reason there was water in the font, and then Julia's daughter threw Hna Cruz's name tag in the font! So after the lesson I volunteered to fish it out. I hiked up my skirt and went swimming!! Sort of... the closest I'll get to swimming here. I tried to pick it up with my toes, but it was too flat so, I ended up having to reach in with my arm. I got my shirt wet so I was soaking for the rest of the day. But it was fun! and cold! what an adventure! lol

But anyway, stuff here is going great. I'm a bit depressed we haven't had a baptism yet... this mission is very much about the numbers. They're constantly stressing the need to have 55 lessons and 1 baptism every week, and if you don't you're being disobedient and get planched by the DL, ZL, AP, or Pres. ('Planchar' is a Spanish verb that means 'to straighten' - like your hair, or ironing, but we apply it to being 'straightened out' too, although that's not actually correct. The English speakers have taken it a step farther and say 'planched' for 'scolded'...) but anyway, it's a bit discouraging.

But we're working hard and I'm praying that Armando and Julia can be ready to be baptized the 12th! The 15th is cambios (transfers), and the end of my 12weeks of training.

It's great here. It's hot here. And it's been raining and hailing a lot lately... my comp is amazed by the hail. Apparently doesn't exist in Veracruz...
Hermana Cruz and hail.

Be good, say your prayers, and... and seriously. Say your prayers. Prayer is amazing. I've never prayed so much in my life.
Love you all!
-Hermana Taylor

Monday, March 24, 2014

{Week 15} Aculco - March 24, 2014

First of all... Happy Birthday Richelle and Katia! I was thinking of you both on your special day and told lots of people it was my sister's cumpleanos. I cut the picture of our family out from the front of our calender. It's small so fits in my scriptures, and I love showing people my family!

To answer your questions mom, we lost Ana when we were in the hospital. She also got a new job and now works over an hour away until late at night. We phoned her a lot and set all sorts of appointments, but she never showed except once. She told us that she loves this church and thinks it is true, but doesn't have time right now to deal with it. It was really sad. We still text her every now and then, and keep trying to book citas, but she's so busy she still never shows :( I hope that one day she is able to learn more and be baptized, but I don't think it will be while I'm here.

I haven't seen the puppies in a while, but their mom is stinkin ugly, so I don't think they have much hope of being cuter. And we haven't been chased, but there are dogs everywhere. They all just kind of hang out on the street close to their respective houses. We've gotten to know a couple of the dogs because there are a few that are always in exactly the same spot. And the other day I saw my first dead dog here! It looked like it was walking and just fell down dead. The dogs here are actually really cool. There are a lot of fancy breeds like poodles and German shepherds and Afghanistan somethings. And about a billion chihuahuas. And tons of the dogs wear those little doggy outfits. The owners say it's cuz the dogs are cold, but personally I think they're going to die from heatstroke.
And it's never cold here anymore. It the morning I might wear a light sweater while studying, but that's the only time I need one. It has started to rain though. Random showers that come down hard. It's fun! We were in a lesson during one of them, and had both forgotten umbrellas or jackets, so the sister gave us each a huge plastic bag which we wore tent style over our heads and bags, and we went out like that. It was pretty ridiculous, and then we tried to contact a guy but he just laughed at us. It was pretty funny looking! At the next house the lady gave us each an umbrella. We get a ton of gifts here. People just randomly give us stuff. I've gotten an umbrella, a really ugly ring and necklace, a headband, perfume, random little trinkets... People are nice!
My favorite things about Mexico... Honestly I don't know! The food is good, the weather is nice, my ward is good, my district is great... I love it here!

Elders, Jesus and us.

And Jesus is amazing. He gave us a reference for a common law couple, Rosa and Paulino, and 5 minutes into our first lesson, they asked us when they could be baptized. They're getting married soon, and they have a baptismal date for April 6th, along with one of our other investigators, Armando. They're all wonderful and all came to church for the first time on Sunday. We currently have about 5 other investigators too, but they aren't really progressing. But seriously, the people here are great!

Our investigators and Jesus.

And the food... I like it. Every Sunday we eat with our landlady with the Elders too, and we all help to prepare the food. It's always a ton of fun and is probably my favorite food.

 The Elders, Hma Cruz, and Hna San all cooking in Hna Sans kitchen.

Our ward hasn't been giving us much support lately. They always cancel or forget our appointments, and nobody (except Jesus) has references for us. So we've been working with our obispo (bishop) and lider missional a lot lately, and things are starting to look up! We had 42 lessons last week - the mission goal is 55 every week. This was the most I've ever taught, so that was pretty awesome!!

And last Pday we went with our zone to this outdoor exercise place that had exercise equipment, tennis courts, soccer fields, a pool, and...Basketball courts! So I got to play basketball for the first time which was a ton of fun. But no one had told my comp and I what the activity was, just to wear normal clothes, so we were in jeans while everyone else was in shorts. Basketball in jeans in the boiling sun wasn't great... but it was fun to play! And I got sunburned! Personally I don't understand how since I'm in the sun for hours everyday, but got sunburned after only 2 hours. Either way, it was a good time.

And Spanish... is coming along. I understand a bit more everyday, but sometimes I feel like I should understand way more than I do. But I keep working and studying hard. My goal is to be able to understand and communicate almost everything by the time our new pres comes. And for General conference, all the Americans (and Canadians) get to watch in English - easier to receive revelation in your own language. But I don't know about the Women's conference... Anyways, I love it here and love you all.

Be good, say your prayers, and eat some lasagna for me! I miss pasta!
Love you,
-Hermana Taylor

We all decorate the covers of our agendas using pictures from the Liahona.

She sent us a picture of her ward boundaries, which I'm not including, (I couldn't read it anyway - all Spanish or something!) but this was her caption:
My ward. The pen separates the Elders area and ours. We have the fat side. I live where the orange peel is.

Monday, March 17, 2014

{Week 14} Aculco - March 17, 2014

I got more letters from you all!!  Mom your talk at DOTS (Depend on the Savior - New Beginnings) was very nice.  I appreciated hearing all the missionary stories.  I also got letters from Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie Kathryn!  And please tell them thanks for me - especially Auntie Kathryn. Her letter came just when I needed it most, with some advice about the language.  I've been getting really frustrated with the language.  I just want to be able to speak and understand everyone right now!  And then her letter came when I was feeling super down.  It was pretty simple advice but it was an answer to prayer.
My first English class went well!  It was fun to be 'the expert' for once, because here I generally have no idea what is going on.  We didn't have a lot of people because of another conflicting activity, but we've adjusted the times so it should be better now. And my landlady has started teaching me Spanish for half an hour every night, which is really nice.
And Dad!!  Thanks for the email.  I love hearing from all of you.  I love you all and although the mission is super hard and filled with disappointments because none of our investigators came to church this week which means we won't be baptizing anyone in March (they have to have 3 consecutive Sundays first) there are a lot of blessings and miracles too.  I've already learned a ton, and I look forward to learning more for the rest of the time!
And the house looks great!!  I showed my comp and she was amazed, although disappointed that there wasn't any snow.  People keep asking me if they can come visit me in Canada so they can see the snow.  They're always dumbstruck when I tell them it gets to minus 40 sometimes.
We have a new investigator!  His name is Gael, and he's 9.  He's in a less active family, so we teach him and his older brother Andres all the time.  Andres has told us he wants to serve a mission, so we're helping to reactivate him.  The problem is that their family always goes to the coast on the weekend so they never come to church...
And Jesus is awesome.  He has a ton of references for us, and last week we had a Noche de Hogar ('Night of Home'... but it means FHE) in his house with 2 of our investigators, the elders, and one of their investigators.  It was really good.  We watched finding faith in Christ and played some games and had some treats!  It was a good time!  And Jesus has a keyboard, so I plunked out some tunes which was fun.  He and I taught Hna Cruz the basics for piano because she has no background at all in music.  And did you know that in Spanish, the notes are 'do, re, mi' not 'a, b, c'!!  So that was a little confusing for me.
But I'm having a really good time here.  The weather is beautiful, and I'm definitely getting a tan.  The crocs are my favorite. They're so soft and light. I wear the brown ones pretty much everyday.

And funny story!  We had a contact, who after the first lesson asked my comp to marry him.  She said no.  We're letting the elders teach him now.
And when you send me my ipod, could you put the songs from my Young Women's CD on it please.  Thank you!
My comp is great, and we're working hard, but still not much success.  Half of our appointments call to cancel each day, and the other half usually just forget and aren't there when we arrive.  And when we ask if people have references, almost everyone says no.  Help the missionaries!  Everyone knows someone that could be blessed by having the gospel in their life.  We're all a little scared or whatever to share the gospel, but please, give the missionaries a hand and help share the gospel.
I love you all!!
Be good, say your prayers, and spread the gospel!!
Hermana Taylor
This is us at the civil wedding of Miguel and Gabriella.  I don't know if you remember but Miguel was the investigator and Gabriella his less active member wife.  Their baby is Abril. This was during the time Hna Gutierrez was in the hospital and I was on splits with Hna Aguilar and Hna Bennett.

Monday, March 10, 2014

{Week 13} Aculco - March 10, 2014

It's been crazy!  And I need to catch you up two weeks!!  Ahh!
Us at the zoo!
The zoo was lots of fun.  It was Hna Aguilar, Hna Gutierrez and me, and a member family that came with us and drove us.  It was a good time!  Then Hna G left the next day - I was sad to see her go, but I know it's for the best. 
Goodbye to Hna G in our landlady's house. We live above here.

Hna Aguilar and I worked the rest of the week and found some new investigators... not sure how interested they are though.  We also went on splits twice with a lady in our ward and her daughter.  The daughter Daniela (17) and I went and searched out a whole bunch of less actives and contacted a bazillion people while Hna A and Claudia (the mom) took care of our appointments.  That was a lot of fun.  One contact we had is named Angelica, and she was super interested in The Book of Mormon.  We've been teaching her, but we think she's more interested in just learning, not changing.  But she is reading the BoM and has finally started to pray with us... she wouldn't do that for a long time.

Tuesday was cambios (transfers - new comps and all that) but on Monday we got a call that the pres wanted to do cambios that night to make things easier for sending Hna A home... so Monday I got my new comp, Hna Cruz.  She's great.  I love her!  She's 21, and is from Veracruz, so is Mexican . She likes to work hard and likes things neat and tidy... pretty much my dream comp!  We get along pretty great, and have a lot of laughs during the week.  A couple times we had some confusion with the language barrier, but we're working those out as I learn Spanish!  And I'm learning tons... but I still have trouble understanding sometimes, and some people can't understand me.  Apparently my accent is bad... but I can't really tell the difference.  We're working on that.
Hermana Cruz!
So on Monday we went Bowling, and Hna Aguilar's friends all came because it was her last Monday.  Hna Ingram's comp is one of her friends, that's why she was there.  And Elder Torres came...Elder Torres and Hna Aguilar met on the mission, had an attraction, told President Morales, and were sent to different areas for safety.  Basically they're going to get married some day, and they were being super careful not to mess up on the mission.  But he came to the party which was sweet.  His comp Elder Uresti was there too (of course) and had fun mocking my Spanish lol.
All of us bowling - you can figure out who is who!
We've been working super hard this week.  But even with working hard, we're not having much success, and frankly we were starting to get depressed.  We're exhausted by the end of each day because we've walked so much, but our numbers aren't showing how hard we're working because appointments keep falling through and members keep cancelling on us.  Saturday was really hard.  We had 10 appointments, but only 2 of them actually happened, and everyone that we searched out was busy, didn't want to listen... stuff like that.  We had started to fast Sat for success, and we've been praying really hard, but nothing was happening.  Here, you eat at 2, then fast until the next day at 2.  So Saturday night we were starving and depressed.  Then on Sunday, about an hour before we ended our fast, we received a reference for someone who is apparently escogido (literally means 'chosen', translates like 'golden investigator'), then the Elders had a baptism, so that lifted our spirits, then we were happy because 6 of our less actives came to church, and one of them suddenly has a billion references for us!  We contacted a whole bunch of them, and a lot of them seem really interested!  Basically, I've gained a huge testimony of fasting and prayer.  It works!  Our mission scripture is Alma 17:2-3 and talks about fasting and prayer.

Freddy's baptism. Hna Burgoa, Elder Arcia, Freddy, Elder Sibrian, Hna San (the lady
we live with), Hna Cruz, me, and Valerie and Andrea.
The less active that provided the references is named Jesus (hey-sus) and is hilarious.  We've been working with him a lot lately.  He's 55ish, and really smart.  I was so happy when he came to church.  He's been introducing us to all his friends, which is awesome!!

Me with a puppy! One of Jesus friends had puppies! Elder Arcia in the back.

And I'm going to have an English class with Elder Arcia!  He's from Utah and is Elder Sibrian's new comp - Elder Zapeda had cambios.  They're in my ward and are great.
Elders Sibrian and Zapeda.

I love it here.  The people are amazing, the weather is beautiful, and my Spanish gets better every day.  I know the church is true and this is where I need to be.  I love you all so much!
Be good, say your prayers, and give the birthday girls a hug for me!
Love you all,
Hermana Taylor

And now for some more pictures . . .

There is grafiti everywhere here. This is my favorite! It's close to my house.

Us on Monday at the food court. There's a mall close by where we hang out on Pday to bowl, shop, eat, stuff like that -Elders Perrea, Torres, Uresti, Hnas Ingram, me, Mendoza, Aguilar, Ingrams comp (don't remember her name), Mendoza and Mercedes.

A bunch of the hermanas in my district - all the Latino ones.
Hnas Mendoza, Mercedes, Aguilar, me, Cardenaz. And Elder Perrea, the DL

Zone leaders, Meyers and Ranghold (or something like that) and us. And Elder Ramos is the one lying down.
And some pictures from the zoo . . .

There was a place filled with butterflies . Hna G LOVES mariposas (butterflys).

Camels!! There weren't any moose but this is second best.

Emu!  I love emus.

A type of cactus called nopales. We eat these a lot. They're good!
The hippo was awesome!
That's all folks!  Love you all!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

{Week 12} Aculco - March 3, 2014

It's been an awesome week and a super busy P-day.  I have pretty much no time right now.  Sorry for the lame letter but I love you all!  I may or may not have time to write later tonight.  If not, you'll get a super long letter next week.  I love you all and thanks Chelle for finally sending pics!!  My new comp is named Hermana Cruz. That's all I know. We're going to do cambios pretty much right now. But I love you all and I finally got your hearts today which I loved. (I mailed that Jan. 17 - over 6 weeks for her to get a regular letter.)  And I got a letter from Danielle Jacklin!  Tell her thanks for me.  It's been a crazy week though... goodbyes to Hna G, we went to chapultapec (the zoo), went bowling, went on splits with a lady in our ward and her daughter twice, taught a bunch and contacted even more.  I've learned tons from Hna Aguilar and I'm sad to see her go.  I love you all!!!  The mission rocks!

Be good, say your prayers, and stuff!
Hermana Taylor

PS - Jordy and Jenna!!!! Happy Birthday!!! I love you both so much and tell everyone about you all.

PPS - I'd like my ipod shuffle back and speakers . . . It's the only thing I regeret sending home.
And more contacts would be amazing. I've started wearing them again and I didn't realize how much I love them and miss them.
And letters!!! I love letters and would love some more please if possible!!!

Bowling!!!  (thanks Hna Ingram for the photo!)