Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Week 23! "Jungle Paradise"

From 6/16/14

Hola Family and Friends!!

Hola from my new area!!!  This week was AMAZING...I am in paradise!! My dream has always been to serve in the jungle--judge me. But since being here in the mission, I have decided that I have to go to the following areas: a little pueblo (town), the jungle, the coast, and the city. I've already checked off the city (in my last area) and here in this area I've checked off two more: Jungle and Pueblo.

There's farming and fields and cows, horses, sheep, geese, everything. I AM IN THE COOLEST AREA of our zone!!  I guess we are the furthest north zone in our mission. Our area borders the Mexico City mission.

So much info, I'm going to write out a bit so you can feel all the feelings I feel:

Our area is over an hour long. We take mini buses called "combi"s to get from one proselyting spot to the next, and our area includes many exotic places. They are UNREAL!! I feel like I am on vacation. Haha, just joking! You know that. Literally, we took a combi up into the mountainside and from the top we could see so many towns below.

There's everything from poor colonias with houses made of tarps and sticks to a "Beverly Hills" style area. A lot of homes are vacation/weekend homes, so some of our higher end areas are desolate and lonely.

We have been meeting in a 'house of prayer' on Sundays because the chapel has been under construction for 7 months now. This week it was announced that our casa de oracion would be no more. The chapel finally finished and will be open next Sunday! What a nice treat. The  church has been renting a house and our whole ward meets there and divides into primary, relief society and different classes throughout the different rooms of the house.

This week was an adventure in getting to know investigators and members and the area. It was a little bit difficult physically because my poor companion has had insomnia for the past three weeks. Last week she slept for maybe an hour at a time, then wakes up for an hour, and goes back to sleep. She has been running on four hours of sleep each day this week. :(

I was pretty sure I was dying too. I had a fever off and on for three days. The worst was Tuesday night, my fever got really high so I decided to take ibuprofen to break the fever. Chills, nausea, and other fun nausea related things, body aches and strong migraines. Many members said that I might have had dengue, but who knows. It just felt like death. I asked for a blessing from the elders after our Capacitacion de Zona which helped!

One miracle I felt was that the Lord really blessed us physically to give us enough strength to get through each day. He really protected, strengthened and blessed us this week which was a huge blessing.

1) Everyone thinks that for sure I am Mexican or Latin American. So I lied to everyone in my last area last week and told them that I AM Mexican and I'm from Veracruz. I spoke in pure Spanish to them even when they spoke a little English to my comp. I am the master commander. I even got away with that a bit on Sunday. Our ward has two companionships. Mine and two other Hermanas. We are all Americans but I think I can pass off undercover as a native.

1.5) People also think that because I am from Las Vegas, I have a lot of money and party every day. Truth? I am very poor, and stay home any chance I get. VEGAS LIFE.
2) Tuesday it rained so hard and fast at night that we swam home. The streets were so flooded. First time I felt endangered on my mission was when the lighting touched down and electrocuted the telephone lines right above us as we stood in a river of water. I never swam so fast in mah life. We booked it to a member's house 10 minutes away and stayed there for a couple hours until the rain slowed down.
3) We have met some really really special people in this area. One is a less active couple that have not come to church for four years because they didn't know where the church was. They live probably two hours away walking and combi driving included, they are about 70 years old, and they didn't know who to communicate to. We contacted them by phone as we looked though our ward directory and they were elated!!!
From that moment we called them they waited outside to meet us. They waited for so long just to have a short conversation. They expressed their gratitude and concern that they have not come to church in so long.
They committed to come on Sunday and DID! They left their home a few hours early to walk to church. We met up with them and by that time, Hno C was wiped out. We still had to walk 15 minutes away to get to the church, but they had the best attitudes ever.
The sad part was that our ward, which is huge, which is full of faithful members of the church, didn't blink twice about them coming. No one greeted them, talked to them, fellowshipped them. Nada. It helped me open my eyes to see how many times I did the same thing in my ward to people before coming on the mission. I wished I had greeted people more and stepped out of my comfort zone to help them feel more comfortable.
Being to church for the first time on Sunday helped me understand how less active members and investigators feel when they have the courage to go for the first time. I felt pretty lost. It was all new. I am grateful to have seen that perspective yesterday and now will try to help people feel more welcome and comfortable in church.
"We had an amazing week!! There is too much good to say about it! I just absolutely love and admire Hna N. I appreciate her work ethic and that from the first day, she really stretches herself to use each moment the way the Lord would want. Because of her example, I am learning much more about my purpose as a missionary.
We had first lessons with many new investigators this week who are so special! The majority are references from ward members who have accompanied us to almost each lesson with those investigators. Many members here are excited and willing to labor in missionary work and our ward mission leader is a great blessing to us.
Tuesday afternoon, we were on our way to an appointment with a less active member, named M. He lives a little bit out of the way, in a sense that not many members or investigators live close by. It turned out that he wasn't home, and there wasn't anyone else there to see--so we made our way back to the highway.
Just as we were leaving the fraccionamiento, the security told us that M had just arrived 10 minutes beforehand and that he should be home. We debated on whether or not to climb the hills back to his house, but we felt like we should. On the way, we saw a woman waiting by the side of the road and felt like we should talk to her. But she got into her car with her boyfriend just before we approached her. They waited in their car until we passed by them. 'Mo' and her boyfriend, 'C', introduced themselves to us and we talked about the gospel with them. They invited us to teach them in their home afterward. They were the reason why we went to that area! We were invited openly into their home and invited them to baptism. Even though they are unsure about religion, they said they were willing to be baptized if they knew that this is God's true church. It was so amazing to have met them and teach them right away.
There are so many tender mercies we have seen. One family has dedicated to read at least one chapter of the Book of Mormon each night with their kids and have kept up with their personal commitment. Another new investigator came to church with her children and has also taught them to pray each morning and night and when they bless the food. Her husband is not too interested in the gospel, but he did tell us how greatly he was impacted by seeing and hearing his children pray. His daughter, 'Me', is five years old. He told us that one night he heard her praying for him & that he would be protected at work. It was incredible to see how this father's countenance softened as he talked about his family and how the gospel has helped them--even though he is not actively listening and taking the lessons. MIRACLES.
I am learning so much here and I'm grateful to be in this area. I have a strong testimony that the Lord loves His servants and that He labors with us. He has and is preparing the hearts of all His willing children to receive the gospel."
Con Amor,
Hermana Fernelius

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