Friday, March 7, 2014

Mexico Week 7! "Blind, Deaf, Lame Missionaries..."

From Monday, February 24, 2014


Another week that has passed by so quickly!! Tuesday was my 2 month birthday of being on a mission! Can you believe that? Anyway, I miss ya'll and I'm glad to hear you're doing well. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATTHEW!! Don't party too hard tomorrow ;) I love you lots and am grateful for your example to me especially now that I'm in the mission field. When I first got here, my Spanish was super hard to understand. One guy asked me where I was from and I said USA and he responded 'oh, I thought you were from Brazil because of your accent' (heck to the yes) I thought that was awesome, I responded no and then told him that you served in Brazil. That made him curious about missionaries and we started talking about the gospel. BOOM- Anyway hope you have fun tomorrow. 

So, this week....waaasss.. interesting. 

1) I have a cold and a pretty bad cough. Also, I have pink eye in both eyes. Also, I have ear infections in both ears. But the work goes on. JOY. 

The beginning of this week, Hermana P's legs started to swell. It was like this every morning and every night for five days when she finally gave in and called Hermana Kusch. Hna P has not had any changes in diet (e.g. too much sodium), no falls or fractures, no allergies, no urinary infections, has been drinking lots of water, walking the same distance daily, and so on. The only thing she could think of was to elevate her feet whenever possible to help with the swelling. 

When we spoke to Hna Kusch and explained all this, she said, hmm, that's strange isn't it? Which freaked us out a bit. She recommended that we visit the doctor in our area. He ran a general examination and finally said, hmm that's strange isn't it? MORE FREAKED OUT. He didn't know what was wrong either. He ordered some further examinations and we'll know the results later today. But really it was startling because her legs were swollen to the point of elephant of legs. Even her arms and stomach were swollen. 

It's really strange but we're both doing a lot better today. One companion hobbling in the street--swollen from head to foot, and the other blind and deaf preaching the gospel. That's power. haha

2) I already wrote this to Benjamin but this week we ran into a less active member who looked just like Ben. After we talked to him, we turned the corner and I cried like. a. baby. My companion cried with me. It was really pathetic. But we're good now :)

3) I'm thinking about writing a segment every week of "Food Experiences in Mexico". What do you think? I'm going to be positive from here on out about the food, because it really isn't bad and complaining is no bueno. So yesterday, I faced one of my greatest fears with food thus far. A super sweet hermana brought out a gigantic bowl of straight up beans. I prayed. Ate it. And....enjoyed it? HALLELUJAH. I am beginning to change. Your prayers are felt and answered!!! haha

4) Today our Zone and a few other districts got together and had a massive water balloon fight and played soccer. It was pretty fun (to watch) haha. 

5) I might send a photo of this or maybe not (I look really weird in it). But something that I love is the graffiti here in our area. There are some murals that are so beautiful and artistic. When people want to advertise an event, sometimes they spray paint it onto a designated wall for advertisements but it's really cool!! There are others though that make me laugh. There are some super 'thug' graffitiers in our area and one notorious person by the name of homework. He signs his name all over everywhere. There was another graffiti mark that said Taco. and one I saw today and took a photo with said GATO. So hard core.

6) 10 Mexican pesos is roughly one American dollar. We buy cereal that is 56 pesos but in the US it's more like 5 dollars. Not bad.

7) I keep forgetting to write this but for sure next month I will be training a new missionary--most likely an American. President Kusch told me this the first day I got here but the day is finally approaching. It's funny because Hna P and I have just gotten to feel confident in our area and in about three weeks it'll all be different! Change is good though and we are both getting ready for March. There are just so many new missionaries (elders and sisters) that have and will arrive these next couple months that just about every missionary that has finished their entrenamiento will be training. I'm definitely excited and nervous at the same time! But I know everything will work out!

So here's what up with the work here!!:

"This week was good! It was one of the fastest weeks of my mission thus far. The time passes by so quickly! We are facing a few roadblocks with our progressing investigators. We have three investigators that we know are ready for baptism but they don't feel ready to be baptized and/or they can't be baptized: O's father still hasn't give us permission for his baptism. He has 'verbally' given his consent but refused to sign the form to give permission for his son's baptism. He thinks O is too young to make his own decision and that he needs more time to be sure about it. This has been really upsetting for O, but he continues to come to church on Sundays, mutual, seminary, lessons, and other youth activities. He is our 'active non-member'. :) We are in contact with him almost everyday and he continues to progress. Hopefully within the next week his father will give consent for him to be baptized. Until then, we are all keeping the faith that things will change for the better. A scripture theme for this week is, we know the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. The best part about situations like this is that the Lord is in charge, and as we do our part and O does his, the Lord will work miracles to bring about His purposes. 

Our other two investigators (that we know are ready for baptism) are C and D. This past lesson we felt prompted to go through the baptismal interview questions with them. C told us that she wants to strengthen her testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson. This is what's keeping her from accepting her baptismal date. She is reading the manual from Gospel Principles, the Book of Mormon and is researching more about her question as to whether the church is true or not. She says she thinks it's true, but she wants to know that it is. We've been trying to help her the best we can. We know that she will feel that confirming feeling even stronger after her baptism. She is the type of person that gives her 100% when she knows that something is right, so she really wants to be sure about her decision to be baptized first. We also went through the baptismal questions with her granddaughter, D. She answered 'correctly' to each question, but still isn't sure about baptism. Hna P asked her directly, do you know that this church is true? To which she replied no. She says she wants an answer and has been praying for that confirmation, but like C, she hasn't recognized that answer yet. They are both progressing so beautifully and keeping their commitments, & want to feel that solid YES the church is true but haven't recognized it yet. We are doing our best to help them, and we know that the Lord will answer their sincere prayers. 

Every other investigator we have with baptismal dates is progressing with the exception of consistent church attendance. One week they come, the other they don't. Off and on every month. Sometimes, we are unsure what to do. They are progressing in every other aspect: praying, reading the scriptures, and so on - but aren't progressing with church attendance. Sometimes we head into a lesson ready to 'drop' the investigator but them feel constrained to do so because we see that they want to progress and try to keep commitments. This has been difficult for me to know what to do with our investigators. Likewise, we don't want to just struggle week to week to lead an investigator to their baptism just to see them fall away as inactive members. 

We have met and visited with many many less active families/members the past two weeks who have confided in us that they don't have a testimony. Period. Several have said that they don't know why they were baptized. The trend with each one is the same. They went to church for two weeks, were baptized, then fell away from activity. They have enough faith to start coming to church and had enough faith to be baptized, but then stopped nourishing that testimony and have fallen away. It is clearly inspired that an investigator needs to come to church for at least 5 weeks before their baptism. We've seen that those who can keep that simple commitment of church attendance are strong members after their baptism---while the grand majority of those who came to church as often as they wanted to before their baptism are now inactive. 

There is a lot of work to do here in our area. A lot a lot. We have a lot of help as far as our district & zone leaders and our sister training leaders also. They are all so supportive and helpful. We really appreciate them and love them all. 

We are keeping the faith and working hard, and we know that the Lord of the Vineyard labors with us, His servants. The best part is that our best efforts are never a failure when we are on the Lord's errand."

So that's what has been going on this week! I am loving and enjoying every minute of the mission because it really is so special! I love being a missionary :) The people here in Mexico are really so awesome and I love them. I love the unique traditions and culture here. Some people treat us like their family without hardly knowing us, but that's just how they are. They have hearts of gold and loving serving and helping others. 

I also love meeting people that are happy in the most humble circumstances. This week we taught a woman (non member) whose family are all less active members of the church. We found her sitting on the sidewalk in the street and contacted her and she invited us to teach her in her home on Saturday. When we got to her home, I was reminded of all the blessings we have in our lives. Her home is small and has one room. It is right next to a man-made 'river' which is actually the sewer. She has 7 children, and they were all barefoot in very humble circumstances. The water has to be drawn outside and her house is open and connected to many other humble neighbors. We taught her outside the message of the Restoration. When we told her of the first vision and of Joseph Smith, my companion asked her what she thought about the prophet Joseph Smith, and she said, well, It has to be true. I'm sure that it's true, right? That was neat, because she was humble and prepared to hear the truth. I loved that experience. My companion and I left with such a good feeling! :)

Con amor,

Hermana Fernelius

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