Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 5, 2014

Wow! What a week!

It's wonderful here in Mexico. On Monday our flight got delayed in Houston for almost 2 hours. The poor President, his wife and the AP's. They were at the airport in Puebla until 11. We were supposed to land at 8:30. When we finally landed, we were all beyond excited and couldn't believe we had made it. After we made it through customs and met those waiting for us, they took us to the mission home. They were kind enough to give us a background and warning on the mission on the way to the house. The house is amazing by the way! It's huge! and super nice. They told us that there's only 15 American sisters in the mission out of over 200 missionaries! Awesome right?! We really are paving the way for other American sisters.
The next morning they let us sleep in since we didn't get to sleep until midnight. In the morning we got the meet the Secretaries. They were very nice, which was great because half of us were terrified. I kept getting told by the American elders to eat as much of breakfast and lunch as I could because once I got to my area I would wish I had. Looking back, they were totally right. I already miss Hermana Christensen's cooking. We got an orientation about the rules, our companions, and how President Christensen wants us to do our work. Which is mainly referrals and street contacting. After the orientation and lunch, the President took us to the chapel where they were doing transfers. There were missionaries....EVERYWHERE! They were all speaking Spanish and it was all I could do to not look terrified. We went into the chapel and sat in the front row. They took care of a couple of items of business, sang a song, introduced us, and then everyone got up and moved to the sides of the room. They listed the names of the new companionships and the new companions would hug each other, take a picture, and then sit down. Some of the missionaries were super excited about their new companions. It was suprisingly intense to wait for your name to be called. My new companion is Hermana Manjarres. When they called our names and started towards each other, I heard one of the secretaries say my name, I looked over and he was making arm movements, I thought he wanted me to raise my hands so that she could find I did. It was then that he said to jump up and down like I was excited. Oops.
I love my new companion. She's amazing. She's been so kind and patient with me. Luckily, she speaks some English, so we can communicate fairly well. She's so funny and loving. I can't believe I have her as my companion, I swear I got the best. She refuses to let me sit back and not talk which is great but horrible at the same time. It's kinda funny because she's just as new to the area as I am and so we get lost...alot. It's a lot of fun though.
My new area is in the ourskirts of Puebla city. It's alot like the Bronks or the ourskirts of Manhattan. We live in an area that is the middle class area of Puebla. When we first got here we didn't have anything...seriously nothing. It was awesome! =) It took us a couple of days and the ward mission leader to figure out our boiler. We didn't have any hot water for a couple of days, my first shower here was very, very, very cold. The kind where you stop breathing while standing in the water. Pretty cool eh? We couldn't get it to light for the life of us. It just so happens that it was because we hadn't turned on the gas...yeah...I know.
   I really like it here. It's really hard work, especially when the most you can say is your name, that you're a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints, Good morning, Good afternoon, and Good evening. My companion was surprised that I kept greeting everyone we passed in the street. It was the only thing I could say so...I might as well say it. As it turns out, there's this member family that I ablsolutely love. They're the Vazques family. They are so sweet and refuse to let me be shy and quiet and not talk so I'm forced to be social with them. It's really nice cause I'm too scared to talk otherwise. Anyways, their 15 year old son Daniel was telling us that earlier in the week he had been having a bad day and when we passed him and greeted him, he realized that we were missionaries and his day brightened. Isn't that awesome? A little kindness can go a long way.
Being fluent in English has already started to be a blessing. The Sister Vasquez has a neice who's studying languages in the Univeristy in Puebla. We've already arranged for an appointment so that she can practice her English and so that we can teach her. I'm so excited! 
Guess what? I was only here for two days before I got to have a weird experience! Because I'm about as American looking as they get, I get alot of attention from people on the street, especially the men. O.O My second name here is "American!" We were waiting for a Sister in the ward because we were having lunch with her and she had offered to come pick us up and this man walks up and in slow, broken, and very slurred English asks if I'm American. Of course I say yes, and we start talking a little bit. He had spent some time in New York and so he knew some English. He asked why I was here in Mexico and my companion explains that we're missionaries. I think he was talking about his religion because he said that he has GRAND faith and pulls out a Saint card. The sister we had been waiting for walked up and greets us and he greeted her with a big wet kiss on the cheek. I know. I felt bad for her too. Since we had to leave I took the opportunity to give him a pass along card. I said, "You say that you have grand faith?" He responded with grabbing my hand and holding it to his chest with both hands as if to say, "Can't you feel it?" I later found out that he was very drunk...this explains alot.
I am also proud to say that I have been here one week and have already received a proposal of marriage. His name was Gabriel and was very excited to meet an American. He spoke some English also and walked with us a little ways on our way home. Although he was very nice. I told him that my heart belonged to Jesus Christ. He wasn't phased but I figured it was worth a shot.
Oh! On Saturday we were visiting the Sisters in the ward so that we could introduce ourselves and get to know them. We totally got caught in a rainstorm! At first it just sprinkled and then it got a little worse and then it just down poured. We were soaked in minutes. It was awesome! I was soooo excited. We also had a little friend follow us. He was a sweet little dog that I named Harry. He followed us everywhere. My companion and the member we had with us didn't care for him much but I did. Dogs need love too! =)
There's a family that we've started teaching. They have a little daughter who has a lot of problems but they have a desire to change. Which is a miracle in and of itself! I can't wait to start teaching them about the Atonement and how Christ can help them with everything!
My first Sunday in the ward was nice. It was fast Sunday so I didn't have to speak...phew! Just kidding. The members have such strong testimonies and there's never an awkward silence while waiting for someone to walk up to the pulpit to bear their testimonies. The members are also so giving and kind. They've taken such good care of us.
I know it's not that important but I got my wish and I now do my laundry by hand! It takes...forever. It's good though, it gives time to ponder and for your companion to take a nap. =)
Hermana Christensen called on Sunday to check up on how all the new American sisters were doing. I found out that Hermana Ibarra, my companion in the CCM was doing fine, as far as Hermana Christensen could tell but Hermana Wells was having a hard time. Her and her companion got eaten alive by bedbugs. They had to move in with some other sisters while their apartment got taken care of. I feel so bad. I think she's doing alright though.

I'm learning quickly that although I'm absolutely terrified to talk to people here, if I just do it, the Lord will help. He does every time. I must admit that I'm sick of being scared to talk to people. I've decided, no more! I'm going to do my best to make a lot of street contacts...we'll see how it goes.

I love you all! I'll see you on Saturday when I skype for Mothers Day! :D
Hermana Parslow and her new companion Hermana Manjarres

Right after transfers, Carlie looks a little nervous!!

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