Friday, March 7, 2014

Week 4 in Mexico! "Making French Toast"

From Monday, February 3, 2014

Hi Family and friends!!!! 

I LOVED ALL YOUR EMAILS THIS WEEK! Thank you so much for emailing and for sending pictures too!! I was actually praying this week to see pictures of the family so, BOOM, prayer=answered. 

I LOVE MY LITTLE EMMA! Just had to throw that in there too. But for real, I talk about our family to everyone, it even helps a ton to talk about Emma to mothers because I can relate to them more and they open up when I talk about how fun it is to have little ones around the house and how cool moms are and then I sneak in how families can be eternal and so on. ;) It's awesome. Well, thank you so much again!!! 

I am going to print up the emails and read them more carefully today and respond more personally for next week. I don't have much time on the computer, and it's not even the mission rules that keep us from writing emails, it's just the fact that we have so much to do on p-days (it's not even funny) that we run out of time and our p-day ends at 6 pm. Besides that it really ends at around 4:30 because we have district meetings in the evening. So seriously please forgive me for not writing personally, and I'll try to respond better next week! And Happy Happy Birthday to Jamison, Momma, and Tiffany! I love you guys!!

"Our ward is beginning to get more involved in missionary work and helping us with member-present lessons, referrals, and helping to build unity with the members each Sunday. I've noticed that in ward council meetings, the ward leaders are really starting to open up to us and they have much more confidence in us, especially the Bishop and ward mission leader. I'm realizing just how crucial it is to work with the members and leaders of the ward because without their efforts, all that we do is limited greatly and our investigators' progression is also affected. So, the good news is that the ward's enthusiasm for missionary is growing week by week and it's helping us with our efforts here.  

We are also really really excited for the coming weeks because three of our investigators are going to be baptized. I can't express how happy I am for them in making this decision! It's really been a privilege to work with each one of them. "O" [the 16 year old young man that sought us out when I first arrived here], "C" and "D" are so prepared to join the church. From the moment we met them, they were anxious to learn more about the gospel and have kept their commitments and constantly look for ways to improve and grow. I know they will be strong members of the church all their lives and will be a great example for their families and loved ones. 

By the second week of teaching O, he already told Hna P and me that he wants to serve a mission. How amazing is that!! C has also told us that during the week she counts the days until Sunday because she loves the church so much. One night this week I had a dream that C was going through the temple for the first time. It really helped me to see her and all of our investigators in a different way, to see them as their Heavenly Father sees them. To help each of them, and love them with an eternal perspective of their divine, infinite worth. 

That's been one of the lessons I've learned this week, to see others as they may become when they have a strong testimony of the gospel. I know that every person right now on this earth was faithful and chose to follow Jesus Christ in the Premortal life. They were all so valiant that they were reserved to come to the earth in these latter-days. I'm grateful for Heavenly Father's trust in me to be His missionary and help His children return to live with Him again one day. There are so many people that are prepared right now to hear the gospel just like C, D, and O. I hope to find all those that I promised I would help before coming to earth so that they may find joy in the gospel too! I love being a missionary! :)"

So that's the fun stuff that we have going on! Lots of new investigators, and starting the 15th of February, we are going to have baptisms every Saturday for like 4 weeks!!! AHHH!!!! I'm really so excited for them! 

My companion and I are doing well. It's amazing how similar we are in the way we think and the things we do. The only thing I can think of that is different between us, is that I love little kids (I didn't in the past so much but now I do) and my companion....really does not. That's a nice way to put it. If a little kids starts running around during a lesson, she has this look on her face like she's ready to drop kick them hahaha. 

Something that made me laugh so hard yesterday was a story Sis P told me. She said that in her home, they show tough love. They wrestle instead of hugging. haha. So something her dad's done in the past to kids that are misbehaving is ask them, do you want to see God? "SURE!!! woo" Then he picks the kid up into the air by their face/head....HAHAHAHA I already know Hermana P is going to be the best mom ever :) 

What else...

1) So we wash clothes by hand. Not a big deal. Just wanted to let you know the clothesline & clothespins I brought out here in the mission field was a pretty good idea. 

2) It's funny that mom mentioned that she watched Napoleon Dynamite because one of the girls in our ward sketched my portrait (<--I have no idea how to spell that) and I look like the sketch of Trisha from the movie.  Not kidding...not an exaggeration. (<-no idea how to spell that either) It actually did a number on my self esteem when she gave me the picture...I was flattered and hurt at the same time. haha. (When she passed me the picture the first thing I thought of was how much I wanted to show it to Benjamin. He understands -_-)

3) I have learned the proper way to make tortillas. One of our favorite investigators, D, has a business outside of her home where she sells lots of great food. She showed Hermana P and me how to make tortillas because there's no way I'm leaving Mexico without having that experience. And last night I learned how to make tamales with the C Family. Clearly, we have lots of favorites and the C family is one of those! :) They are so so great and they take such great care of the missionaries. Hno C celebrated his 50th birthday and invited us over for lunch and then dinner later. It was really fun! He lived in the US many years ago and can speak pretty great English. He loves to practice his English with me whenever we go over :) 

We were helping Hna C cook while her husband was blasting 80's music in the house. I actually felt like I was home! It was a sweet blessing because Sundays are pretty tough for us. I think it's because its the end of the week for us and we are just so exhausted in every way, so yesterday was a real treat! 

Since I'm talking about food, there are two things that I will not eat here in Mexico, everything else is good or I just lie about it and eat it anyway, can you guess what those two things are? FRIJOLES and SALSA VERDE. Talk about nasty. If someone brings out a bowl of beans I am literally praying so hard it hurts. The good thing is that we don't eat salsa verde too much and if it is served it's on the side of the plate. People here are very super duper sensitive about their food. If an hermana cooks dinner for us (which is at 3:00pm) it's like she is offering her very soul to you on a plate. And to say no to food or second portions is like rejecting the family themselves. I DONT GET IT: IT'S JUST A BOWL OF FRIJOLES: I LOVE YOU JUST NOT THIS FOOD! 

Seriously though, I'm so grateful that members are willing to feed us. But which is better, eating something I physically can't hold down (gagging the whole time) in front of the family or discreetly setting it aside on the plate and praying they won't notice/not taking something I don't like therefore not wasting their food? I think not wasting food is better, but some families would prefer that I gag the whole time...And I've done that on more than one occasion already..hahaha. But really the food here is pretty dang good, in case anyone was wondering. It's just frijoles that K.I.L.L. me every. single. time. (pray for me)

4) Oaxaca is pronounced Wa-hawk-uh. Now try saying Popocatepetl. Or Cuahnahuac (K-wow-nah-walk). Or Tlaltizapan...I still don't know how to say that one. It doesn't sound like how you think. Another reason why the Spanish life is hard for me!! :) Learning Spanish is one thing. Then learning expressions here in Cuernavaca is a different story. Like if someone shouts "aguas" it means be careful or look out. "A poco" is an expression to say "really?" or "no way!" "Chafa" is like saying "how rotten". "¡Que chafa!"..There are so many and they are really unique. I love it!

5) More food stories: The only "American" thing I've made for my companion is french toast. The first time I made it, she was a little confused as to why I dipped the bread in egg. Earlier in the day she said she wanted french toast, at least that's what I understood...but later I realized she meant that she wanted an egg sandwich. Big difference. So Hna. P was super confused when I made french toast for her, but since she tried it with maple syrup, it's now her go-to food. Whenever we're home and she's hungry she asks for some. And the only other thing I've made for her is spaghetti which isn't amazing or anything but she loves it. :') It makes me feel special--like I can actually cook!

6) One of our less active members is named Lehi Abinidi. Tough name to have and be less active. Which reminds me, an Hna in my MTC district told me that a less active member she knew was named Mahonri Moriancumer. . o_O. . Another interesting name...We have a new investigator named L. He's 19 and does Karate. He and his cousin D are so fun to teach and they even invited us and other elders and sisters to take a karate class for free one of these days. Woo! We taught them the first lesson on the Restoration and they were willing to study the Book of Mormon and pray about our message. That same night as Hna P and I went to another appointment, L called us. He asked us to pray for him because he had a test to take the next day and needed to pass. Hna P and I thought that was really funny, but at the same time great that he trusted in our faith and in prayer. I don't know if he passed or not but you can bet that we prayed hard for him that night or at least that he wouldn't fail. 

So that's all for this week. 

I'm doing really well! The only thing that really frustrates me is the language but I'm learning to be more diligent and more patient also. It's really been a blessing to see how the gospel changes people's lives and blesses families and I know that's true. 

I love you all and I hope you have a great week! Keep reading the scriptures every day and pray for opportunities to share the gospel because they are everywhere. Help the missionaries in our ward because the work is so hard without the members. They need you and are serving to help the ward and to help each member grow as much as the investigators and nonmembers. I love you all!!!!!

Con Amor,

Hermana Fernelius

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