Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Week 43! "Halloween is Spooky Here Too!"

From 11/3/14


Feliz Día de Muertos! And Halloween too! Mi gente aquí celebran los dos. So that basically means that we celebrated Halloween for three days straight. My companion and I both agree that the best time to visit Mexico is from Sept to November. There are beautiful traditions that they celebrate here in Mexico. We have yet to see how a Mexican Christmas is, but I'm sure that it is another holiday rich with traditions.

From what I understand, here is a run down of how Día de Muertos goes:

One Catholic Church tradition here is that they encourage their members to create an altar for their deceased ancestors where they place an offering for the dead. Normally the offering is flowers, candles, pan (bread) de muertos, and the favorite food/drink of the dead laid out. Many create a pathway of flowers from the door outside to the altar for the dead to find their way to the offering inside. In the cemeteries on November 2nd, people place more offerings on the headstones and play music, eat and party there. :) Party is also called pachanga. Children dress up in costumes of skulls and the dead and go house to house. People give them fruit, candy, and bread as a treat. It's different [than what we do] but the same. It's really cool.

Halloween was the first night here that it actually felt like Autumn back home. Seasons don't exist here, it's summer or spring year round. But Halloween was spooky :) It was dark, windy, cold, and the moon was out. It felt like just like Fall!

Other random tidbits:
  • A less active member gave us a drink called Ponche. You pronounce it just like it's written. Ponche is Punch. Homemade fruit punch. It's probably not very healthy. She told us that she made it by caramelizing fruit, pineapple, apple, pear, cranberries, oranges, guayaba, and raisins, in sugar. Then she added juice from those fruits, and I think some more sugar. BUT IT WAS REALLY GOOD. 
  • Enchiladas are super easy to make and happen to be my favorite. I will make it when I return!! That and pozole. That stuff is REAL good. 
  • I have eaten chicken feet. Once, and never again. Put that on the list of fried pig skin, cow stomach, cow head, and I think I ate goat one time too. YUMMY
  • We contacted a reference from the mission offices. When we received the reference of this man, the elders told us, "P is super escogido! He's going to accept a baptismal date and be a great investigator! Go visit him, he's excited to learn more." We went to the address of this man's house 2 times and he was never there. We went again this week and a bunch of awkwardness went down. We enter the business and a woman addresses us. "What do you need?" A man was sitting behind her and I assumed that it was P. "Hi we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We received a reference for someone named P who lives here and wants to know more about our message." Then, from behind the woman, the man straight up tells his wife, "digales que no estoy" or "tell them I'm not here". My face--> :O It was really awkward from there because I guess he thought that we didn't understand Spanish that well. Buuut.. we do, so it was weird getting out of that situation. It was the equivalent of knocking on someone's door, then hearing them say 'go away, no one's home'...but in person....right in front of him. Joy! 
  • Tuesday all the missionaries in our stake got together for our seasonal shots to prevent the flu! Yay. I am currently dealing with sickness right now as a result from the shot. Ironic right?
Truth be told, Hermana C and I had a really awesome week. Like awesome. It was exhausting, but when we look back, we are super happy. We've been working with the missionaries in our area and have had a blast! The companionships here have been working hard and we see changes in the branch because of their efforts. This Sunday we had 6 investigators in church and we were missing 4! It was so wonderful to see these individuals at church because it means that they really are repenting and preparing for their baptisms. It was especially awesome because L and her husband came!! :) I will write a little more about them below:

Monday night we went to L's house to teach her the next commandment of the law of chastity. As we began our lesson with a prayer, the first comment she said to us was, "I'm not getting married! That's what is going to keep me from getting baptized. I accept everything. I will follow every commandment. I will do everything, but I can't get married."

She commented to us in past lessons that she's afraid of marriage because every marriage she knows has fallen apart and ended in divorce. Even in her own family with her sisters. On the other hand, her friends that are unmarried live happily and don't fight or have strong challenges in their relationships. She really loves her boyfriend and she loves her family. She's expressed great interest and a strong testimony in eternal families, she really wants that too. So it was kind of funny because she said no to it and then told us, I know I need to. I know it's the right way to live. I know that God will bless me for be married to my boyfriend. He actually wants to marry her too.

Hermana C and I knew that we might have to teach this commandment a little more clearly to L in order for her to make a clear decision too. 

The morning before her lesson, as companions we talked about the real reason why we obey the law of chastity. We do that a lot.  We prayerfully try to answer the why? to commandments as if we were investigators too. Hermana C said some awesomeness that I probably won't write correctly. She said, it's not just a temporal law on physical chastity. God has given each one of us a part of His procreative power that enables us to work with Him and our spouse to bring spirits into this world. We reverence and protect this gift from God by keeping His divine laws that govern it. This is a part of who we can be and what we can do in the Celestial Kingdom with the blessings of eternal families there. It really is so much more than a 'rule' in the church.

We really felt that as we taught L, and she herself expressed her desire to be married to her husband. AHH :)) She has accepted every commandment we have taught her. She is the COOLEST.

Our lesson with her this week on tithing and fasting was also really awesome. Then this Sunday-yesterday- she came to church! With her boyfriend, R! And her son! Ahhh!! She is a tom boy, but she got all slicked up and her boyfriend too. It was so cool to see their family altogether. J, her son, had a fun time in nursery. He's 3 years old and had a blast which made his parents very happy. [All the stuff you do in nursery matters dad! :) It helped a family feel more welcome at church!]. We taught them all together later Sunday afternoon and invited R to be baptized. He accepted also. L was so happy! :)

We've also started teaching a less active family, and they came to church this Sunday!! The first time I saw the brother of this family, I freaked out a little. He looks JUST like Matthew. Yup, so I've found Amy here (hna P), Benjamin, and now Matthew. Just about every companion reminds me of Tiffany, entonces there's that. We are going to teach this family again tonight in about an hour. His wife is not a member of the church but came yesterday with their baby! We are really excited to teach them!

What else...there's so much I don't know what to say. We went to teach an investigator, Ml and his mom, Mm on Saturday. Ml had a few friends over when we came by who were drinking and smoking. We spoke with his mom for a minute until Ml could come in and talk with us. Hermana C said, I think that we should teach him about the Word of Wisdom (which is a commandment on physical and spiritual health), but I wasn't sure how we would do that because this was the second formal lesson with them.

The first lesson, we try to introduce the gospel, our purpose as missionaries and invite them to be baptized. The next lesson usually focuses on the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. BUT we rolled with it according to our plan that morning. We talked about the commitment we had left with them before and shared the video of the restoration. Then we talked about how they felt. In not so many words, Ml told us that he knew the church was true and his mom also. The Spirit was present in that room and it was so neat to hear how their testimonies are growing. We then introduced the word of wisdom. Because they recognized their own testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, they committed to obeying this law of health.

It was neat to hear them make goals themselves of how to stop drinking coffee, tea, alcohol and smoking. The mom said, wow, I drink coffee in the morning, at lunch, and at night, but I think I can reduce it to 1 cup a day. After that I can go without drinking. I'll just tell myself that my headaches aren't from not drinking coffee. I'll just tell myself that I'm fine, and I'll be okay. :)

This week I've been able to see how the gospel truly changed lives. Knowing who and whose we are changes our lives. Maybe I wasn't the best missionary back home to my friends and family, but I hope that maybe one person will have the desire and courage to talk to the missionaries of the church and open their hearts to hear the good news of the gospel.

I know that my Redeemer lives. I know the church has been restored through the prophet Jospeh Smith. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's authorized servant and representative on the earth today and that he leads and directs us through revelation from the Lord.

I am grateful for prayer. We can know for ourselves of the truthfulness of these things by offering a sincere prayer, just like Joseph Smith did. And like him, our prayers will also be answered. Our lives can improve, our happiness can be enduring, our faith can be strengthened and the love of our Heavenly Father has for us can abound in our hearts.

I love my Savior and I will forever be grateful for His atoning sacrifice for me. Alma 29:10 is what I feel when others accept the gospel, and I felt that this week as I watched many partake of the sacrament for the first time:

"And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me."

I hope you all have a wonderful week. LOVE YOU ALL :)

Con Amor,

Hermana Fernelius

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