Monday, January 26, 2015

{Week 59} Polanco - January 26, 2015

Hi Family!

That's really sad about Teina - she was always super positive on our basketball team and was always really supportive and helpful. It's sad she's gone, but if there is one thing I have learned here it's that the Plan of Salvation is real, and that we really will see and be with our loved ones after this life. I've always believed it, but I've gained such a testimony of God's plan for us - I know that He loves us and really does have a plan for us. And if we put our trust in Him and do as He asks, everything will be okay.  Alma 40:12

Dad, thanks for working so hard for us. I'm always praying for you all and that you'll all be safe. I honestly don't miss you all that much...only on Monday :)

I've still got a cough... they tell me that the sun and the cold make me worse... so I'm pretty much hooped because I'm in the street all day long and in the morning and night it's chilly and in the afternoon it is super hot with a ton of sun! The other problem is that the houses here are cold - no heating. A lot of the time it's colder inside than outside. And sleeping all night in the cold doesn't really help...

The craziest thing I've eaten... we ate some pig tongues the other day. It was good, but... weird lol. And I've also eaten champulinas (I think that's what they're called). They're basically roasted crickets... yum... They taste like salty chips, but I really don't like the texture of cricket legs and bodies in my mouth... nasty.

I still don't have a sombrero, but I'm working on that. I also really want to buy one of those twirly skirts that they dance with here :) But I haven't got a clue where I could find one of those.

And as for changes... those will be next week, and I will be training a greenie! So that means I'll be having changes for sure.... the only question is if I'll be training here in P-- or if I'll open an area with my greenie. If I stay in P-- to train, I'll have ONE YEAR in this area! Who knows! But ''I'll go where He wants me to go!'' I'm excited :) and just a little bit nervous!

So this was another rather difficult week... we taught Antonio, but he's pretty Catholic... we'll see what happens. And we found one girl - Adriana. She's another friend of Adolfo. And she's great - a single mom of 2 kids and she loved our message. And then on Sunday after church, we went on splits with two girls from our ward who are preparing for the mission, and we found 5 NEW INVESTIGATORS! The only problem, is that they're all super busy this week (work, vacations, children's events... etc.) So it's going to be a bit difficult to visit them all this week... but we'll work on that! I went with Cynthia and we found: Leopoldo is a 70ish year old doctor that talks a lot and reads more. He's pretty thrilled about the Book of Mormon and is planning to read it all! Marisa is 46 and Carlos is her 24 year old son. They are both super excited to be learning about the Restoration and told us ''We're going to work on this - we want to know if it's true''. And Marta and her 10 year old daughter Jimena are the other ones we found. I haven't met them yet because Hna Luque found them with Isabel, but she says that they're great. So yay! Miracles!

I'm going to miss Hna Luque. She's been amazing to work with. I've learned lots from her - she has such a love for everyone and has this way of seeing the best in everybody. I love her! She's my best friend from Argentina :)

I love you all and hope you have a great week! Good luck with your exams girls! My prayers are with you :)
Be good, say your prayers, and read your scriptures!

love - Hermana Taylor

We had a ward bonfire in our church parking lot. Nobody here knows what a S'more is and they had already cooked the hotdogs instead of roasting them over the fire. lol Too funny.

Monday, January 19, 2015

{Week 58} Polanco - January 19, 2015

So I have good news! The mail works! I finally got that Christmas advent calender that you sent me. It's beautiful! I love it :) It got here a bit late, but whatever!  (It was sent Sept. 22)

Jordy, thanks for your letter! Picture this... you and me in our new house together eating popcorn! lol And I have to tell you! YOU ARE AMAZING! When I saw that picture you did, I just about cried it was so beautiful. Can't wait to see the real thing! And Luque thinks it's amazing too. And she studied art and says that you are amazing. Actually she said ''¡su hermana es una genia!''

The picture Jordyn drew in Art class.

So you wanted to know how hard my mission is physically... at the beginning of my mission I was completely exhausted all the time. But now I've gotten used to it. I'm not nearly as tired now at the end of the day. The only days I feel really tired are the days when no one's home and we walk in the street all day. My area right now is really long and skinny. It's a rectangle - 3 blocks by 40 blocks. So we're walking from one end to the other all day long. And we've learned to walk really fast - I think I always walked fast, but here we're practically running lol. Sometimes when members come with us and walk at a normal speed they get left in the dust. So then we try to walk slow to accommodate, but we feel like we're being lazy or something when we walk slow!

The other day, we were singing a hymn (''El fin se acerca'') with a less active family. I don't remember what it's called in English, but it talks about how the end is near and we have to be prepared - and it's a faster song. We were about halfway through, when Hna Luque accidentally tried to change the melody - she forgot what hymn we were singing or something. It was only for a split second that she did it, but it sent both of us into peals of laughter! We were laughing so hard we were crying! It was so funny! Finally we calmed down and tried to start singing again, but three words into the song we busted up again. The family didn't get the joke but just laughed along with us.

And we had interviews! That was fun - interviews are always fun. I love President and Hermana Stutznegger - they are amazing and have helped us all so much! We can all feel the love that they have for us. Hermana Lopez went home. That made me sad, but it's ok. And several months ago, Elder Gilbert from the MTC (he's serving in the North mission) went home too. So that's two from my MTC district that went home. But when we went to the pyramids a couple weeks ago, one of the elders that we met there is also from the North mission and was one of Elder Gilbert's companions, and he told me that Elder Gilbert will be coming back on the mission in March. So that's awesome!

And on Sunday we went to temple with a couple recent converts in our area - Elders Gerken and Martinez baptized them, but they're in our area now, so we went to the temple and they loved it! And they brought the grandma, who is VERY Catholic, but she liked it too, and we could see that she felt the spirit. We've been trying to teach her, but her schedule hasn't given us a chance yet.

No one came to church on Sunday... and we had to drop almost everyone due to different circumstances. So that's sad, but we're working hard at finding new people right now. Elder Evans and I teach English classes every Friday, and we've been handing out flyers to all our contacts so that they'll come, and one of them actually did and then gave us an appointment! We haven't taught him yet, but we have an appointment this week with Antonio. And we just keep contacting a lot and looking for references. And we'll continue to do so!

Honestly, it's been a harder week... not a lot of people accepted us this week. But sometimes that happens and all we can do is work as hard as we can and have faith that there are people out there waiting for us. I know that there are, we just haven't found them yet.

I love you all tons. I'm loving every minute of my time here. I'm learning lots. I've still got a long way to go, but I've never felt so strongly the Lord's love, or seen so many tender mercies in my life. I know Christ lives, I know He loves us, and I know that He will always help us. Alma 26:12
Be good, say your prayers, and put your trust in the Lord.

With lots of love,
-Hermana Taylor

Monday, January 12, 2015

{Week 57} Polanco - January 12, 2015

Dear Dad, Mom, Richelle, Logan, Jordyn, Carlee, Jennafer, Katia, Mackenzie, and Addison, and whoever else reads these letters:

I cannot believe I've been a missionary for 13 months! That means I go home in 5 months! I feel like I just got here... and I'm going to keep working like I still have 18 months to go. Last night I had a dream that I finished my mission and went home, but I couldn't remember how to speak English and was speaking Spanish in my dream and you all couldn't understand me. And in my dream I missed the mission so much that I decided to serve another one! And this time I was called to Ecuador! And I woke up in the middle of my second mission - and for a few seconds I thought I was in Ecuador, not Mexico lol.

Cambios are February 3 - and 5 sisters are going to come! They are the first new sisters to come to the mission in 11 months! So we're all pretty excited. Two of my companions, Hna Cruz and Hna Bravo, will be going home in February.

Jordyn, I could barely see your drawing in the picture, but from what I could see, it was amazing! Hna Luque thinks so too. And we both think that you are so grown up and beautiful!

Dad, sorry you've been sick. I've had a nasty cough lately. I feel fine, and my throat doesn't even hurt, but every 10 seconds I have to cough. And it sounds like a fake made up cough, but it's real. It's been rather annoying.

And Mom, I did get a new backpack! My last one broke - it was Hna Aguilar's and now Hna Luque is using it. Hna Luque is funny - she doesn't like to buy stuff, so most of the stuff she has people gave her or she saved from the garbage and then fixed it. My new backpack I bought in the tianguis for 80 pesos and is really nice - I'm planning to use it for hiking after the mission.

So this Sunday was stake conference - it was really good! Pres Stutznegger and his wife spoke, as well as the temple president. I really enjoyed it! I remember my first Sunday in Mexico was Stake Conference, and I didn't understand anything. It's amazing how much the Lord has blessed me. Learning Spanish so fast was definitely a gift from Him, and I am so grateful for all the ways He's helped me during my mission.
Stake Conference (photo creds to Hna Stutznegger!)

That's so exciting that Janae's off! You'll have to get me her email so I can write her. I love her so much and I know she'll be a great missionary.

January 6th was 3 Kings day... the 3 Wisemen come in the night and leave toys in the shoes of the children. And everyone eats this bread called Rosca - it's bread formed in a circle, with several little plastic dolls baked in it. Everyone takes turns cutting a slice out, and whoever gets the doll apparently has to buy tamales for everyone lol. Apparently it represents when they hid baby Jesus in Egypt to keep him safe from the king. It was fun and the bread was good! But I forgot to take a picture of it :(Hna Luque and I bought one and the loser had to shower first every day that week. I lost. And the sad part is that we had run out of gas and we didn't have time to buy more all week, so it was COLD water. But we just bought gas again so all is well.
Rosca (photo creds to Elder Smith, who didn't forget to take pictures!)
Plastic doll representing Baby Jesus.

On Wednesday we had to go to Immigration to do some visa stuff for Hna Luque. (She goes home in April!) That was fun, because Hna Gurley had to go as well with her comp, so while they were busy doing the visa stuff we got to chat for a bit. Immigration is downtown Mexico, and it is way different over there. Really pretty and clean... There were missionaries from the North mission and the South mission there as well, so we got to chat with them for a bit.

So our investigators are doing really well... Jorge is progressing really well, but we can't put a baptismal date with him because he has to clean up some crazy stuff from his past first. Estefania and Jesus couldn't come to church, but they're reading and praying and are planning to get married this week or the next so that they can get baptized. And Adolfo introduced us to another friend - Margarita (Maggie). She's amazing and smokes a ton, but is super excited to get baptized. We're working of the Word of Wisdom with her, and I know that she can do it! She's super sweet and LOVED church on Sunday. Thanks to Adolfo, 1 of his friends has gotten baptized and 5 more are taking the lessons right now - we're teaching 2, the Elders are teaching 1, and the other 2 are in another ward. It's been so great to see Adolfo sharing his testimony with the whole world! And Josefina also loved Stake Conference. She's been doing so great and loves everything about the gospel. I love her so much!

We recently read 2 Nefi 4 as a zone. I've read it tons before, but lately we've been sharing it with tons of our investigators, new members, less actives, and actives. It's really powerful and I love the message that it gives. When Nefi wrote it, his dad had just died and his brothers were very rebellious. I love how he says that the Lord has been his support, and has helped him to overcome all of his trials. I have seen the hand of Lord here in the lives of so many people. When we put our faith in Him and do as He asks, we honestly see miracles in our lives! It's been amazing to see the Lord help the people who trust in Him. It's also been really sad to see the people who decide to put their trust in their own knowledge and ideas. It never works, and they always end up worse off. The Lord doesn't ask us much, just obedience and faith. And when we do our part, He WILL come through with His part. Elder Holland said that ''some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.'' I know that to be true. Trust in Him, and he will never let you down.

And yeah! That's about alll! I don't have any pictures this week... Hope you all have an amazing week. Good luck with your exams girls! I'll be praying for you! Espero que disfruten su dia y que lo pasen muy bonito. Be good, say your prayers, and study hard for those exams!

Con mucho amor,
-Hermana Taylor

Monday, January 5, 2015

{Week 56} Polanco - January 5, 2015

Our church was at 10:30, but this year we go to church at 8! That means that we leave the house at 7:15 to give us time to pass by for all the investigators! (The majority of them didn't answer/were sleeping on Sunday.)

I have very little time, because once again, we got permission to go to the pyramids! Teotihuacan! They are super cool, and this time was a lot better. We went with Hna Ingram and her comp Santos.

The last time I went we took so long to get there that when we arrived we only had time to climb the Pyramid of the Sun and then we had to go. This time we left super early (7:30) and took a more direct route. We got there around 10, and first went to the Pyramids of Quetzacoatl - the feathered serpent. While there, we ran into 4 missionaries from the north mission (they know Sonntag and Gilbert and Koahler from the MTC) and they were being guided by a member of the church who was giving them the normal tour, but comparing all of it to the Book of Mormon - so we joined in and loved it! He explained that the church has archeoligos that came and studied, and they and some seventies came up with a few conclusiones and that's where he based everything he told us. They believe that the Jaredites built Teotihuacan, but it was actually known as the city of Moron. And the pyramids are the remains of their temple - one giant outdoor temple. And then later, the Lamanites found it and that's when they did the human sacrifices there. And then the Aztecs arrived later and continued on with the human sacrifice tradition. And it was so cool how he explained it! The Pyramid of the Sun is apparently where they did the sealings, and the Pyramid of Quetzocoatl is where the Holy of Holies was. And all the little ruins that they thought were houses are actually the ordinance rooms of the temple. It was the coolest thing ever and completely changed my perspective of the place. He finished the whole thing with a clever reminder that we shouldn't think about it now, but that we need to get married after the mission. It was fun and we all enjoyed it a ton.
With our tour guide.

Then we climbed the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon - and they were both really cool too. Then we bargained a bit with the vendors there and bought some souveniers! That was fun - I bought a ring for 100 pesos - originally it was at 200 so I got him to drop the price a ton! We had a blast!

New Years we had to return to the house at 6, and we couldn't leave. On the first we could leave but only for the food. We slept, studied, chatted... lots of fun!

AND!!! Edgar is progressing really well... and he's got a girlfriend! Lorena is his girlfriend and is a member and is the president of the primary, and is helping him a ton. So that makes us happy :)

And did I ever mention that I got bitten by a dog? The good thing is that it was Pday so I was in jeans - but I almost never wear jeans on Pday. But for some reason I did this time and so when the dog bit my calf, he couldn't really get through my jeans! So I just had a tiny bit of a scratch and a drop or two of blood rather than a mangled calf. It was a member's dog.

I love you all a ton. Sorry that once again it's a shorter letter... but it was a good day and we enjoyed it a ton! Be good, say your prayers, and eat some mashed potatoes and gravy for me!

Love, Hna Taylor