Monday, August 25, 2014

{Week 37} Polanco - August 25, 2014

I like food of the breakfast variety. There are cheap convenience stores on every corner, and it's just too easy to get junk food here, so food of the breakfast type would be great. And I'm looking forward to the ketchup chips!
No, I'm fairly certain that we don't have a carbon monoxide detector. We don't even have gas in our house. We have light and water. That's it. :)
So this morning we went shopping in the tianguies! My lovely brown skirt got ruined by the iron (long story) and most of my shirts are stained... so we went to the tianguies - where I found three new skirts super cheap, a couple shirts and a new sweater! Yay! When we visit Mexico after my mission I'll have to take ya'll to the tianguies. Pretty much the best thing ever.
And Chelle and Logan! I still need your favorite scriptures! Por favor!
And Mom and Dad, Happy Anniversary! I'm so happy you're my parents :) I've been telling a bunch of people lately that my parents are going to complete 25 years this week. You're amazing.

So Elder Duque was the only one that had cambios in our district - the new elder is Elder Martinez from Columbia, and he's brand new. So that means we now have two Elders Martinez from Columbia in our ward! It's pretty funny. And our district grew... they split the ward of Hnas Ingram and Bennett, so Elder Hunsaker is in my district now and is training... an American! I can't remember his name, but he doesn't speak Spanish yet, and I'm thinking it'll be difficult with an American comp. But we have our comps for a reason!

So this week has been interesting. We found several new people to teach... and then never found them again. And all the people we had last week have also gone into hiding. So we've been working hard, but haven't been seeing as many results.

But Adolfo is amazing! He got baptized! He was super happy, and super calm (Kept saying 'I feel good' lol) And the spirit was so strong during his baptism. Afterwards he said the closing prayer and it was so humble - he just kept thanking our Heavenly Father. He sounded like he was about to cry. Then afterwards when we congratulated him by shaking his hand he had tears in his eyes and just kept saying thank you. It was amazing. He's been friends and neighbors his whole life with some members, and they always invited him to listen and to come to church, but he always said no (although he did go to some YSA dances a few times). Then his life got messed up - smoking and drinking... he was super alcoholic for a long time. Did some bad stuff and led a really sad life. Then... he found a group like AA, that helped him stop drinking and got him to believe in God. He completely turned his life around. Hasn't had a drop in 6 years, and now he runs the group, helping others. When we knocked on his door, he was so prepared. He loved everything we taught him, and is reading the Book of Mormon and loves it. He loved going to the temple, and he has paid his tithing twice. He's also giving us a ton of references. The last weekend of every month he always leaves for a camp with his AA group, and the Elder's told us that in Priesthood class, he was worried about that because 'I have to come to church so that I'll be ready to go to the temple in a year!' He is seriously golden. It has been such a blessing to know him and teach him, and right now I just hope his children (he has 4) will be willing to listen to us now! His older 3 kids are a bit rebellious, and haven't been interested yet. His youngest, Issac (6), is such a sweetie and always comes to church too and loves it. After the baptism of his dad he ran and gave us both a huge hug before we could stop him (we can't hug boys). But it was seriously amazing to see how the Lord has prepared Adolfo, and I feel so blessed to have been a part of his baptism.
Hna Mercedes, Hno Castro (Adolfo's fellow-shipper who baptized him), Adolfo, me, and Issac.

It's amazing to see the small and tender miracles that happen all the time here. We've had some recent lessons with both investigators and less actives where we have felt the spirit really strong. And things have changed, so now we don't teach the doctrine of Christ in the first lesson, we teach the Restoration. And it's been really powerful to see the people listen so closely when we teach about Joseph Smith. That story is truly amazing! I never get tired of teaching it, and the spirit is always so strong.

This is truly the true church, and miracles happen all the time. Hna Mercedes was the first member of her family and got baptized at age 14. A year later her mom and one of her brothers were baptized too. Her other brother isn't interested (yet!) and her dad has listened a few time but hasn't been baptized either. But last week she was told that her Grandma just got baptized! And her dad is listening to the missionaries!

This is the true church. People that we contact are always telling us that ''they're all the same. All the churches teach about God, they just do it in different ways. Many paths, one destination.'' but I KNOW (and I tell them all the time) that la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias isn't just a church, but the kingdom of God established on earth, and that we truly do have prophets and apostles, the priesthood, and all the things we need in this day to return to live with our Heavenly Father.

I'm reading Jesus the Christ again, and although I learned a lot the first time, I feel like I'm getting tons more out of it this time. I KNOW without a doubt that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and he truly loves us and cares for us. And that if we do our part, we really can receive forgiveness, and become perfected in Christ.

I love you all, and hope you have a wonderful week. Be good. Say your prayers. And read the scriptures. I never understood how important these small things are, but I know they are essential to help us in this life and the next.

Love you all tons!
-Hermana Taylor

Also, tonight we're going to have a FHE with a member family that's having a ton of problems. It's the mom and dad, and their three kids and their families.There is going to be about 20 people. AND they have a ton of problems... as in one of them recently beat up the other, and the one who got beaten up is now contemplating murder... and everyone in the family is divided into different sides of the problem...lots of problems. And tonight they've all agreed to come together for a FHE. And we get to teach. Any suggestions? What's a scripture or talk of song or church video that has helped our family to be united?

Monday, August 18, 2014

{Week 36} Polanco - August 18, 2014

Thank you so much everyone for your favourite scriptures! I loved them all :)
I have a ton to write about today and not a lot of time to do it...
Me at the Mexico City Temple.

First of all: on Tuesday we went to the temple! Ana Maria who recently got baptized has been wanting to go with us for forever, so we went on Tuesday. We happened to mention to Adolfo that we were going, and when we went to the church to meet up, there he was waiting for us! So he came along, and they both loved it. Ana Maria cried through the whole tour at the visitor's center, and Adolfo didn't cry, but was pretty emotional too. The Spirit was strong and they didn't want to leave! It was great! And Adolfo should be getting baptized Sunday! He's doing great, and keeps telling us how happy he feels. On Sunday when he came to church, he brought his tithing and got us to help him fill out the forms! He's great!
Visitors' Center! With Ana Maria, her daughter, and Adolfo.

And we didn't have cambios! So that means we'll be together for another 6 weeks. We're super happy about that, and are looking forward to working hard and helping a lot of people!

Hermana Mercedes and I at the Visitors' Center.

Note:  I asked Hna Taylor if she got a microwave this week because I had seen this picture posted on Facebook by Hna Stutznegger.  Hna S. said that missionary apartments are allowed microwaves and this mission had none.  So 92 microwaves arrived last week.  Her response was . . .
We did get microwaves! That was pretty much awesome :)
Microondas! Microwaves!

On Saturday, we found a new family to teach - Ismael and Louisa and they have 10 kids! So we taught the parents because the kids weren't around, and Ismael showed us his tattoo of Jesus on his arm...  The lesson was good and they liked it, and they have some really interesting comments about everything. Then on Sunday, they came to church and brought one of their daughters! They work in the Tiangies, so we didn't think they were going to make it, and we really didn't expect to see them, but then they came! We had 6 investigators in church!

Mary and Yocelin - they are our crazy and super stressful miracle. Hna Gurley and Lopez have the area next to mine, and were teaching these two sisters - 15 and 16 years. And they were supposed to get baptized on Sunday, but they still don't have permission from their aunt and uncle (they live with them).  And on Wednesday the stake president found out they were going to get baptized in a different ward, and made them give us the girls. So now we're trying to help them gain a stronger testimony of the gospel (because they never prayed about it before!) and we're working to baptize them this Saturday. Hope it works out! They need your prayers! They're great girls that have a had a lot of problems in their life but they do love the gospel.

And last night we did an activity with our ward - it was training them to be fellowshippers, but we called it FHE so more would come. And we had a great group, felt the spirit, got them excited, and a bunch gave us references at the end! And then we took a ton of group photos. It was great!
Me with a group of people from the ward...

Me with another group of people from the ward....

Me with a family that I love from my ward... recent converts of 3 monthsish.

Me with even more people from my ward...

 The 6 missionaries from my ward with the family M. They are amazing! Love them!

And... today we had permisison to got to Teotihuacan! The pyramids! That's why I barely have time to write (I'm typing at superman speed right now). It took a long time to get there and a long time to get back, but it was super cool and a great view!
The Pyramid of the Sun - there was a row of shops leading up to it with people vending their real fake merchandise. Pretty cool stuff! but pricey....

Selfie of me almost at the top.

Me on top of the Pyramid of the Sun - the Pyramid of the Moon is in the back. My comp was too tired after the sun, so we didn't get to climb the moon.

Climbing down.  Hna Bennett and Hna Mercedes on the stairs... and Hna Ingram in the top right.

Pyramid of the Sun


Anyways, love you all and hope you have a great week! And in case you were wondering, my favorite scripture is found... in the Scriptures! Right now I have so many I don't think I could choose just one!

Be good, say your prayers, share the gospel.
Love you!
-Hna Taylor

Monday, August 11, 2014

{Week 35} Polanco - August 11, 2014

To answer your questions...
Yes, we eat lots of cilantro. And my new favorite food is gorditas. That means fattys when it's translated, but they are so good! It's like a really fat tortilla, that is cut open like a pita pocket and stuffed with meat, cheese, onions, lettuce, chili (of course) and whatever else you feel like sticking in it! They are amazing and I love them. There is a street stand that sells them pretty cheap so Hna Mercedes and I like to stop by there on Mondays to buy some.
Helping a member cook - seafood and catsup and yumminess! This is called Cibichi (I think thats how you spell it) and we eat it on tostados (like taco chips).
The funniest thing that happened this week... most of the houses are one to two floors tall, and have many families living in them. So rather than knock on the front door, we throw pebbles up to the window of the family we want to talk to. And the other night, it was about 8:00, and we went to visit a less active family. And we were so tired, we couldn't get the pebbles up to the first floor window! Hna Mercedes tried about 3 times, and they kept bouncing of this tiny little ledge that was just below the window. The odds of hitting that tiny ledge 3 times in a row are pretty small, so it was hilarious when she did it three times, and we were dying laughing. So then I tried, and I hit the tiny ledge too! and I hit it two times! We had to sit down on the curb for a minute we were laughing so hard. Then finally we got the pebble up to the window. It was pretty funny... had to be there.

And it still rains just about everyday. The morning is usually stinkin hot, so I don't wear my sweater in the morning. And there are hardly any people in their houses in the morning in our area, so we usually are just walking around all morning in the sun looking for people to teach. But sometimes we can knock on every door in the street and only talk to 5 or 6 people in the morning. Then it generally cools down and rains around 3:00 - 4:00pm. Then it's just a nice temperature in the evening. And we have a billion people, investigators and less actives, that we can visit in the evening, so we're usually running around trying to get a bunch of lessons in to make up for the morning.

And my area is a lot safer, but there are still catcalls. There are three groups of drunks that are always in the same spot, and they always have something to say. Unfortunately we can't really avoid them because they are always in the main roads. And there are the random people who will drive or bike past us and yell things. And the other day, these two really drunk guys were funny, they were saying ''¡no llores guerra! ¡MaƱana puedes regresar a su paiz, pero para hoy quedate conmigo! ¡Nosotros los mexicanos te amo mucho! ¡No llores guerra!'' (Don't cry white girl! In the morning you can go back to your country, but for today just stay with me! Us Mexicans really love you! Don't cry white girl!) I wasn't crying, so not sure what they meant... but they were just so drunk it was funny.

The most beautiful thing I saw this week... a baptism! Not ours, but still really special. Yohan is 8 and lives across the street from the church. A few weeks ago they did an activity for the primary, and he snuck in. We were there to meet an investigator, and started talking to him. We found out he wasn't a member, but he's always watched the kids at the church out his window, and always wanted to come. He said he felt like those kids were different somehow. So we sent the Elders to his house since it was their area, and his parents gave him permission to be taught. And he got baptized yesterday! And the last two weeks his mom has started coming to church too. And the class in RS about 'eternal marriage' helped her decide that she wants to get married to her husband. And after her son's baptism, she decided she wanted to be baptized too! So because of this little 8 year old boy, a family is learning about the gospel! It's amazing! And Yohan is a really sweet boy - love him!
Us with Yohan and his mom, Osmara, right after the baptism.
As for what I saw that made me shake my head and think ''only in Mexico City!!'' .... the chapel is right on a bigger avenue, like Mayor M Drive only 10 times busier. And at night there is always a lineup of prostitutes right in front of the church. It's a bit awkward... And there is pornography EVERYWHERE. This city is very carnally minded.
This is our church building (and Hna Mercedes).

But on a brighter note! Adolfo came to church, and brought his 21 year old daughter! And they both really liked it. Adolfo is dead certain that this is the true church, and should be getting baptized the 24th! And we're going to start teaching his daughter this week. It's funny, because Hna Mercedes is always asking Adolfo how he feels about this or that, and he always says 'I feel good!' But he says it so calmly and matter-of-factly that she has trouble believing him, so she's always asking if he's sure. It's pretty funny.

And we had a great lesson with Alejandra about the Restoration, and at the end she just sat there holding the picture of the first vision and crying quietly. We asked her how she was feeling and she said 'really good. It would be amazing to see them like that'. Then she said the closing prayer and in it told her Heavenly Father that she feels like these things are true and she wants to get baptized. It was amazing! The spirit was so strong! But then she didn't come to church... Saturday night we went to visit her and she couldn't visit because she was 'having a fight with her husband' and then Sunday we went to get her to come to church and no one answered. We know her husband is very Catholic, so we're a bit worried... we're going to try to find her again tonight.

And the other day we knocked one door, and the lady let us come in! Her name is Guadelupe, and she told us she had been praying for help all day, and then we knocked on her door! She didn't go into details, but she has a problem in her life right now that's really worrying her. But she loved our message, the only problem is she's scared to get baptized because what if she messes up afterwards? So we talked with her a while about that. We also taught her kids! She has 4 - Alejandra (12), Karla (10), Andrea (8), and Benjamin (4). And they are probably the best behaved kids I've met in Mexico. They sat there and listened to us and answered questions! Love this little family. The Dad was working, but we have an appointment for later on this week to teach the whole family. They didn't come to church, but that's because they left on vacation! Seriously! Everyone is leaving on vacation right now! But they're great and we have some high hopes for them.

And the other week there was a Young Women activity where they were sewing. I stole (with permission) some of the scraps, and used them to make an agenda cover! I worked on it 15 minutes every night for a couple days, and I love it!
My agenda cover! It says ''Venid a Cristo''
And I was wondering if ya'll could send me your favorite scripture and why :) por favor!

So... yeah! Mexico is great! Investigators are progressing, and the Spirit is strong!
Love you all tons - be good, say your prayers, and go hiking for me! Those Waterton pictures make me want to hike something!
Love you people!
-Hermana Taylor

Us with some of my favorite kids. Natalia is almost 8, Luis is almost 9, and Jared is 3. They live in a tiny house on the roof of another house. Love them all!

And Jenna... just wanted to mention.... On Sundays we almost always eat with the Family M, whose oldest son is 13, with two daughters - 11 and 9. And on Sunday I showed them all the pictures of my family, and the 13year old son asked me a question about you, and then his sisters were teasing him through the whole meal that he had a crush on you. It was pretty funny!
Les amo muchisimo!

Monday, August 4, 2014

{Week 34} Polanco - August 4, 2014

The house and grass looks great! There were a ton of people there, and ya'll did some great work - and actually laying sod is fun, so I would have liked to be there too. :)

I got my shoes! And my music! It's great - Hna Mercedes and I were both getting sick of the three EFY CD's that she had - nice to have some new stuff!

This week has been great. We had 50 lessons (new record for me) and have several new investigators.

Kevin, Javier and Diego went to Cuba for 2 weeks. When they come back, we'll see if they want to keep listening, but they haven't been keeping their commitments, so... we'll probably have to drop them.

Maria is the only one who came to church - she's 50ish and has been studying with Jehovah's Witnesses for the last 6 months. When we started to teach her, she liked it, but she still likes the other church too. And when we invited her to baptism, she said she would, but also realized she has to choose between the two churches. So she's been praying hard and came to our sacrament meeting then left for the other church's meeting. She said she'd pray hard and go to both, and try to see which is the true church. It's a bit tricky because she doesn't know how to read, so she can't just read The Book of Mormon and pray about it. But we've been reading with her, as well as some church members who drop by to read chapters with her. She's great and I love her, and Tuesday we have an appointment with her and we'll see if she's gotten her answer!

And Alejandra! She's amazing - we contacted her in the street Saturday morning, and she gave us an appointment for Saturday night. When we got there, she had a huge triple combination (BoM, D&C, PoGP) sitting on the table. So we thought she was a member, and she said no, but she saw this book in the tianguis, and just felt like she had to buy it. She said she tried reading the story of Ester but didn't get it. We were like 'do you mean Ether?' and were able to explain a bit about the BoM. Then she told us that she recently woke up from a 6 month induced coma, and is terrified of death. She's 40 and looks 65. She told us that just before she went into the coma, two young men in shirt and tie, one from Utah and one from Mexico, came and read part of the Book of Mormon to the lady she was sharing a room with, and so when she was put into the coma, the last thoughts she had were about the words the missionaries had read. She said that she saw us once before across the street, and she had tried to cross the street to talk to us, but her husband wouldn't let her because they were late for something. She told us she just felt drawn to us, like something inside her was telling her she needed to talk to us. She told all of this to us, and we were all crying, and the lesson hadn't even officially started yet. It was amazing. And she was so excited with our message! We taught her the Doctrine of Christ, and I have never had anyone pay such close attention. After I taught her about baptism, Hna Mercedes asked a question, and she was able to repeat almost everything I had said, and practically bore us her testimony about how she needed to get baptized and how that would help her in her life. It was amazing - a miracle la verdad. The only problem... her husband is super Catholic, and won't like her desire to be baptized.

And the other cool story from this week, yesterday we contacted this lady in the street named Lourdes. Hna Mercedes was funny - she said 'Hola! Can we come visit you in your house right now?' and Lourdes said 'I'm actually going to buy the tortillas right now...' and Hna Mercedes said 'We'll come with you!' So we went with her to buy the tortillas, and along the way she asked us 'So... who are you guys?' So we introduced ourselves, then went back to her house with her. She's an older lady, and her house just happened to be stuffed with all her kids and grandkids who had come to visit for Sunday dinner. They welcomed us in right away, sat us at the table and gave us food! So we spent 10 minutes talking and chatting and getting to know them all - building trust and all that - and then the topic turned to religion! They're a Catholic family, but only Lourdes and her husband are active in the religion. The others claim Catholic because that's what their family is, and one lady was Christian. I was like - 'It's so nice to meet you all! Is it ok if we say a prayer in your house?' and they all got excited - 'Yeah! that would be great!' so I said a prayer, and smoothly transitioned into the message of the Restoration. Normally we always teach the Doctrine of Christ first, but we both felt prompted to teach the restoration. It went really well, and they were all really into it - asking questions, making comments, etc. And when I recited the first vision, it was silent. A few had their mouths open in amazement, and one lady gasped when I said Joseph Smith saw two personages. Then they were all making comments like - 'I've got goosebumps' 'that's amazing' 'I feel like crying!' They could feel the Spirit so strong! It was amazing. But... only the parents and one of the women live in our area. the others all live in Chalco, or Pueblo (which are pretty far away). And, the whole family is leaving on vacation for 2 weeks. So we set an appointment for 2 weeks in the future, and I hope it works out!

And I recently gained a testimony of persistence! After every lesson, we ask everyone if they know anyone that would be blessed by this message, or who needs some faith in their life, or something like that. And we have this one less active, and every time we ask her, she gets mad. 'I don't know anyone, my family is all Catholic, stop asking me, because they're never going to accept, and if they did it would just be a game, but baptism isn't a game... etc.' And she always goes on for about 10 min. So after about 10 different lessons over the last 2 months with her always saying the same thing, I really didn't want to ask her again. But Hna Mercedes had more faith than I did, and asked her once more if she know someone that we could teach. And cool as a cucumber, she told us she thinks her aunt would like to listen to us, and gave us an appointment to come back and talk to her aunt. Easy as pie! Honestly, persistence and diligence. Just keep inviting, and one day they'll say yes!

Random facts from the last few weeks -

Battle Hymn of the Republic is the new favorite or something, because we've sung it about a billion times the last few weeks. In church, in meetings with missionaries, and when we ask members what hymn they'd like to sing before a lesson, they keep choosing this hymn! I love it and all, but every time we sing it I can't help but get the 'little bunny fufu' lyrics stuck in my head.

People come up with the funniest excuses not to talk to us. I'm feeding my kids, I'm bathing my kids, and I'm washing dishes are some of the favorites. But sometimes we get funnier ones. 'I'm in the shower' - how are they in the shower if they're talking to us through the front door? Or when kids answer, and we ask if their parents are home and they say yes! and go running off, then come back and tell us 'my mom says she's not home'. And yesterday, the kid told us his mom was in the shower. So we came back 3 hours later, and he told us she was still in the shower... Silly people! And we try all sorts of ways to get around their excuses - 'what are you cooking? will you teach us? can we help?' or 'we'll wash the dishes for you!' Some tell us that they work, so they're never home... then come up with some lame excuse for why they happen to be in their home at that moment. Lots of fun to knock on doors!

But yeah! It's been a great week! Stress due to investigators like normal, but lots of blessing too! I love Mexico!
Be good, say your prayers, and all that jazz :)

-Hna Taylor