Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Hello everyone :)
My second week was even better than the first.
Yesterday in church, I had to give a talk..scary! It went well and suprisingly I wasn't tooooo nervous. Sundays are my favorite because #1) there´s air conditioning in our chapel but more important #2) I feel the spirit so strong during church and it helps me reflect on my week. Church helps me remember why I came here, and that even though it's incredibly hard and I struggled a lot this week, I made the decisión to serve the Lord, and that he will not let me fail. I was studying this morning about the 2,000 stripling warriors in Alma 56. In verse 46, "Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall;then let us go forth" He´s not gonna let me fail! Sometimes I feel like I'm gonna fail, especially because the spanish is so hard right now, and I just want to be a good missionary! But I read this and just remember that the Lord is on my side, he's called me to be his servant, and all is ok :)
I don't want to complain about the weather in every email, but it is seriously hotter than I could've ever imagined here. I shower in the morning after our run, and within 5 minutes I'm sweaty! However, I already have a nice tan line on my feet from my shoes, I´ll be latina in now time (: not.
We taught a less active man this week named Pascual Cruz. He´s a hard core drinker, and he stopped drinking before his baptism for a while but has started again. It was so sad, he just cried the whole lesson about how he feels alone..His family wants nothing to do with him, he lives in his brother´s front yard in homemade tent like thingy..and it was tough to know what to tell him. As I was writing in my journal that night, it made me think about my family..how grateful I am that I don't have to deal with that. How grareful I am for my family. How grateful I am that my parents are faithful to the gospel and taught me the gospel from a young age. I feel truly blessed (: I really do.
feeling pretty popular, my forehead is in this picture on lds.org of President Uchtdorf´s visit to the MTC for Easter. Pretty exciting right?!
news/president-uchtdorf- delivers-easter-message-to- missionaries?lang=eng&cid= HPFR051614143
Pictures. #1) my hammock! Sleeping in a hammock is hard, for me at least..I think because I'm huge..but I'm getting better. It was really weird at first, because we sleep opposite of the way the hammock hangs because it's better for your back.
Picture #2) This is the outside of our incredibly ugly house..
I love you all muchísimo!
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
It feels un poco como I´m living in a dream. This week I told my companion, I still have a hard time believing I´m actually here! Her response, don´t worry Hermana, everyone feels like that in the beginning! :) I love it. I love Mérida, and I´m doing fabulous.
To make my emails hopefully a Little less scattered, I might be kinda weird and follow somewhat of an outline every week because otherwise they are so everywhere. First, Things I´ve learned/ Things that are surprising/ confirmed truths of things I Heard before the misión about mexico/ new or weird things! Ok? ok. Also, I will try and always include a funny story and something spiritual of course :)
First off...6 months ago the first American sisters arrived in our misión, how cool is that? Before that, it was only elders, and of course all of the latinos! It is kinda new for everyone to have White sisters, but the latina sisters are soooo nice to us and beg us to teach them Spanish! I´m teaching my companion a Little and she enjoys it, very hard though for them to learn.
Ok, the list will probs be longggg this week. I really learned a lot.
1. I learned just not to ask what I´m eating. We went to the chapel the other night to grab something and they were having a mother´s day party dinner thing, and of course they scooped us up 2 huge plates to take home..So we walked home and ate it right before we planned..I ate it all because I was starving and the part that I liked the most was covered in Green sauce. Immediately after I finished, I looked up at Hermana Tozcano (my companion, she is wonderfullll) and told her that it tasted good but I feel kinda sick. She then said, do you want to know what you just ate? Looking over at her plate realizing she had not eaten hers, of course I said yes...Pig skin. I mean it was good, buttttt I was sick for the next 2 days. I mean sickkk.. Welcome to Mexico Hermana Maki :)
2. Companionships are inspired. I know that President Garcia prays long and hard about who to pair together, and I´m so grateful to be with my trainer, Hermana Tozcano. She is soooo patient, funny, Smart, all of it! Even better? She´s from Mexico, doesn´t know English, so I´m learning LOTS of Spanish and am being forced to speak it and learn how to understand the language very quickly. I´ve come a long way in a week.
3. The people here are the nicest people ever. I can´t count how many presents I received my first week, mostly from investigators, people we meet on the Street. Soap, books, chocolate, etc. It´s awesome. Whether they want to hear your message or not, the people here know we are messengers sent from God and for that reason have tons of respect and love. Of course, they are some crazies, but they´re great too.
4. There are a lot of drunks here, and they always want to hold our hands. It´s prettttyyyy weird. One of our investigators, Jose Luis, has a huge drinking problema and has since he was 12! But, we taught himnight (out on the sidewalk actually) and when we asked him how he felt about the Plan of Salvation, he said "It´s true. I know it´s true." That moment for me was huge, because I love watching people come to know of the truth and realize that the Atonement can help them completely turn their life around, and Jose Luis realized that during that lesson.
He also came to church yesterday all dressed up and showered, it was fabulous. He can´t drink right now because he just had some teeth pulled and is sick, so we may or may not be praying right now that Jose Luis stays sick...FOREVER. Kidding..but really.
5. New for me: The people here really only eat once a day. We eat a small breakfast in our apartment...study, teach, and then at two we have lunch with a member..and it is HUGE. 2-3 plates full of food, and as a missionary you of course have to eat it all. My 2nd day, I had Enchiladas Yucatecas..and there were 8 on my plate. Talk about a lot of food my friends, but so delicious. And then, dinner doesnt really exist. When we get back to our house at 9, we´ll have a Little something something aroundand then off to bed! Lunch is huge and then holds you over until the next day at two where you prepare to almost die again from so much food.
6. I am going teach an English class everyat the church! Last Saturday was the first one and It is way fun. One thing I love about the people here is that literally everyone is dying to learn English. Our Ward misión leader writes down everything on a Little 3X5 card that he wants to know in English and then I help him. It´s a great missionary opportunity too, we tell everyone in the streets about the class so they´ll come!
I included A picutre of kinda what my área looks like, it´s called García Ginerés in Mérida
I will send more pictures next week, running out of time!
I love you all so much, I love this Gospel, and I´m indeed grateful for each and every one of you in my life! Until next week,
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
No, not week #5, apostle #5..yep.
I want everyone to picture in their mind general conference. Which apostle just comes out with a bang, every single time. Which apostle practically yells from the pulpit and usually points his finger a lot too? Ok...think about it...
Elder Holland! What a blessing to be able to hear him speak at the MTCnight. You think you've heard Elder Holland throw it down a time or two at conference? Come to the MTC when he speaks, it's a whole different world. He warned us ahead of time that he would probably get a little worked up, and he definitely did.haha. It was so great!
A couple things he said that struck me..the first one is less serious and just kinda made me laugh. He went on and on about how he just cannot live with the thought of return missionaries going inactive. "I just cannot live with that. If ANY of you in this room return home and go inactive, I WILL hunt you down and put my knee down your throat." Exact quote, and I'm not exaggerating. But also, he talked about our purpose as missionaries from Preach my Gospel. We are to invite and help others to come unto Christ, and how can I invite others to go somewhere I'm not? If we're inviting them to come unto Christ, we had better be where Christ is. Deep stuff..got me thinkin' for sure.
This week was yet another great week, and I'm a bit sad that it's my last week in the MTC but excited to fly to Mexico on Monday morning!
This week, none other than Sister Kiersten Lind in Alaska sent me an awesome package with lots of good stuff, and the next day Bob and Lola Boyce had half a dozen of my favorite cupcakes delivered from the cocoa bean! I made sure to share with my companion (: and one of our investigators too.
The Spanish is coming along well..only a few more lessons here and then it's REAL! Ah..can't believe it.
No good pictrues, this week..lo siento. We've been too busy to do anything but go to class, teach, and prepare for Monday! (some sleep here and there too)
Just know that I love you all, the church is true, and to all the mothers, aunts, and grandmas reading this, have a wonderful Mother's Day!
Until next week (:
Sunday, May 4, 2014
It's funny the emotions you feel in the MTC..the 1st few days are confusing and scary, and then after about week 3 you feel like you've been here for like a year, yet it's gone by so fast. I feel like a grandma around here when the new missionaries show up each , when really, this is only the beginning (: Loving every day more and more..
My travel plans came today for México! I fly from LA to México City and then down to Mérida, looks like about a 14 hour day, leaving atin the morning from the MTC a week from ! I'm really starting to get excited..trying not to be nervous. It's definitely making me reflect on my time in the MTC and how much I've learned and grown here..what a great place.
Lots happened this week: here goes yet another real scattered information-filled update from me (:
First and foremost, Elder Christofferson came this week fornight's devotional! That brings the apostle count to 4...not sure if we're really awesome missionaries and they feel we deserve this, or the opposite and we need some wisdom and chastising from apostles of the Lord, I'm going with the first one (: Nonetheless, it was so fabulous. I've always loved the way Elder Christofferson speaks because it's as if you're sitting at his kitchen table. Just so laid back and kind of like a conversation. He spoke about trust and asked the question. "How many of us can God trust?" Also, he said, "It is greater to be trusted than to be loved." (If I remember correctly he was quoting Elder Packer on that one) Wow though, how profound is that. I would hope that our Heavenly Father can trust all of us as His children to represent him and be good examples to those around us.
Lemme think..what else happened this week...I remember feeling really down toward the beginning of the week and just plain exhausted (I've been having a hard time sleeping) and really didn't want to go teach Hely, one of our investigators from Guatemala. However, I prayed with Hermana Keaton before the lesson and put it in the Lord's hands and asked for his help. I truly believe that lesson was one of the most spiritual and tender moments I've had during my time here. Hely gave the most sincere, heartfelt prayer I have ever heard come out of somebody's mouth. With tears streaming down her face, (and mine) a small something told me, "This. This is what makes it all worth it." On those bad days, the hard days, the long days, the "my companion is being annoying days" it's those moments that make it all worth it. I can't wait to have those same experiences in México. Can't wait.
I also just really can't believe that tomorrow marks one month since I started the mission. Where did the time go? I can't imagine being anywhere else than here, serving the Lord and his wonderful children.
Yesterday we finished our grammar book, and we got to one of the hardest verb tenses..I was getting SUPER frustrated and for the life of me could not understand how/when to use it. As I felt myself getting more and more upset...I wasn't even sure what to do. My teacher then told us, "I'm going to be an investigator, and I want you to teach me about the Plan of Salvation using this verb tense we just learned. I can tell you need a minute to take a break so I'm going to go into the other room, and when you're ready, come get me." He left the room, and I just broke down and began sobbing. My companion is so sweet, she just rubbed my back and listened to me complain and cry. Not gonna lie, I was pretty proud of myself for making it a whole month before my first breakdown...but still..it just wasn't pretty. I was so frustrated because most of the language is coming fairly easy and I understand almost everything we're learning..but this one I just couldn't get. After a few minutes of this, I wiped away my tears, said a prayer with Hermana Keaton, and we asked Hermano Whittaker to come back in, we were ready to teach! (I pretended I was ready, at least) However, he knows us too well and after looking at me, he said, "Ok, we're not gonna do that, let's go to a scripture." I'm grateful for the teachers here. They've helped me tremendously. They know our needs, they know how to help us, and lemme tell ya, they are the most patient people I've ever met. At times like yesterday, when we're getting frustrated, oftentimes Hermano Whittaker takes a walk with us around the west campus for 5 or 10 minutes just to clear our brains and get some fresh air..and it's funny how he always knows exactlywhen we need it.
One more P-day and I'm off to Mérida. I saw Brady Sawyer on main campus today. He´s going to Las Vegas in two weeks! Cool stuff.
Thanks everyone for the letters and DearElders this week, they always come when I need some encouragement and definitely brighten my day. Also, thank you so much momma for the homemade cookies!
I love you all so much,
Hermana Maki (:
Sorry that the pictures are always sideways! Cool story though; since we're on west campus, there's a little shopping center/strip mall thing right down the road called Brigham's Landing and they have the Cocoa Bean, Great Harvest, Jamba Juice, etc etc..Anyway, on P-day we're allowed to go down there, so of course we went to the cocoa bean today!! It was so great, and a nice treat. It was one of the Hermana's birthday in my zone so I got one for her too (: Ok, that's all..
Until next week!
Talk about crazy fast week! I can't believe it's already p-day again..I just read over my email from last week and realized how scattered it is and how much random information is just thrown in there..I apologize, can't tell ya that it's gonna change though..there's just so much to pack into such a short period of time. Just get used to it I guess (:
Ok, wow.. Remember how I said that Elder Anderson came last Tuesday? yeah. Ok so then, President Uchtdorf showed up for the Easter Devotional on Sunday morning..wait what? It is UNHEARD of for a member of the First Presidency to come, they're just so busy! People were freakingggg out..Ok so then, as if this isn't enough, this past Tuesday night....Elder Dallin H. Oaks shows up! Seriously you guys, it was nuts. Three apostles of the Lord-8 days. I still can't believe it.. I know I'm probably being dramatic right now but seriously?
I think my favorite talk was Elder Uchtdorf. He talked about Christ for the majority of the talk and it was super powerful, and he also touched on fear for a little while and it was pretty profound. He knew and elder who got up every morning, pointed at himself in the mirror, and said "I fear no man." And that elder then would leave his apartment, go teach people, and talk to everybody he saw during the day. He wasn't afraid to open his mouth and share the gospel. i want to be that kind of missionary.
Remember hearing me complain about my mission call being in April? Yeah...not complaining anymore. Heavenly Father knows his children and knows what they need.
We watched a video during the Sunday night devotional (not with an apostle, I think they wanted to give us a break)..anyway it was called "Because of Him." it's on Lds.org and Youtube and has a great message about Jesus Christ..I've watched it 3 times this week because I love it so much! and then once you watch it, share it on Facebook so your friends can see it too (:
Rachel Camp asked me in her email this week if these lessons I've been teaching everyday to our investigators are in Spanish..and just so she, and everyone else knows in case you didn't, they sure are (: We taught our first spanish lesson on the 2nd day here, and lemme just tell ya, I've seen quite a bit of improvement in our lessons over the past 3 weeks. I have to send a weekly report to the branch president and after tallying everything up this week, I realized we've taught 20 lessons in the past 6 days. Most of them are between 35-55 minutes.
Not only am I learning the language of Spanish, I'm also learning the language of the Spirit. That is what will guide you right. As we invite the spirit into our lives, the guidance and direction that comes is absolutely amazing. There have been times during our lessons where I have NO idea what to say or how to make the Spanish come out, but as I rely on the Spirit, the words come, just like it says in D&C 84:85.
1. Hermana Keaton with the easter bags we made for the elders in our zone!
2. My "Happy Easter from Hermana Maki picture!"
p.s. sorry that one of them is sideways.
I love you all, and I super appreciate the kind emails and letters I've received this week. I really enjoy printing out my emails and then just sitting there smiling/laughing the whole time I read them. I appreciate the love and support I feel from everybody back home each week. Love you all so much,