Hola mi familia y amigos!! :D
I absolutely loved hearing from you all. It makes my p-day everyday. I literally die every time it's time to go to the computer lab (TALL) and write you guys! It's basically the only time I'm ever excited to go to the computer lab (the rest of the time is language study and that gets to be . . . a bit old and overwhelming).
I'd like to apologize in advanced if I don't get the time to respond each week. It's always crazy and random, so for once in my life, I have to fly by the seat of my pants and be okay with it. I'm rolling my eyes right now for those of you who couldn't hear the sarcasm in my text. ;)
GAH. This week. Let me tell you--
Thank you all for your well wishes and support during my traumatic . . . adjustment? I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and I'm lowkey worried about when I actually head out into the field and basically have to go through it all all over again. O.o but one moment at a time. Breathe!
So Thursday (9th Feb. 2017), after writing all of you, we had a lesson for our "investigator" that night, and she threw a total curve ball at us. We'd plan to teach her about life after death, but because she lost her job due to hearing our message, we had to completely chuck our notes out the window and go by the Spirit and what little Spanish we did know. And it was AMAZING. I've gotten past the point of really stressing about Spanish in lessons, because all that matters is that the investigator feels the Spirit and knows that our message is true BECAUSE OF THE SPIRIT. I'm not the teacher; I'm just the instrument in God's hands. That's been a rough lesson to keep in my head, because I've gotten SO impatient with my language skills (or lack thereof). Our investigator-gone-teacher told me afterwards that she feels an amazing spirit from me and that I'm an incredible woman. That I can accomplish my goals and do anything because of my faith in the Lord. That was a huge confidence boost, and I appreciate her so much. Gah. When I had confided in her about my frustration and lack of ability in Spanish, she shared a scripture with me, that I totally bawled over as I read it. It's Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness, I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." The Lord has most certainly shown me all of my weaknesses, and some that I didn't even realize I had, but I can feel Him strengthening me, especially when I stop trying to do things my way and just try to give my will over to Him. I've really felt like my two weeks here have been like a tug-of-war between the-natural-man-me and the-have-faith-in-God-me. It's quite tiring sometimes, and I just sit outside and mentally talk with myself. "Y'know, if you just gave it over to the Lord and quit trying to do things YOUR way, you would more than likely have an easier time." But, where's the fun in that? ;)
Friday (10th Feb. 2017) I definitely felt inadequate this day. I feel like that's probably every day, but I wrote it in my journal on this day, so it was probably a huge level of inadequacy. I've definitely learned that I really took my life for granted at home, and that I take everything the Lord has, is, and will give me. I've learned that I'm super proud to be an American and to know how to speak English. I'd never thought my heritage was that . . . great, but I've definitely come to realize that it is.
Okay, okay. OKAY. I knew that once I talked about how awesome my elders were, they'd do something to screw it up. Friday and Saturday (11th Feb. 2017), they just got under my skin SO bad. We had a musical number that needed to be performed on Sunday, they told me and my companion last minute, and then they wouldn't really make the effort to practice. They didn't want to sacrifice their meal or gym time to practice, and I was getting SO mad. SO mad that Hermana Kurene and I had to go outside on multiple occasions in order for me to cool off. Erg. I definitely noticed the difference, because every time I'd try to study, I couldn't. The Spirit wasn't there because I was so frustrated. But, after much internal debating, I decided to just chill, pray for the Spirit and apologize for my not giving them the benefit of the doubt, and move on. I also came to the realization that I only have one option out here: to get it together. There's no way I'm coming home; it's not a possibility in my head anymore. Even though, quite frequently, I can't see myself moving forward, I definitely can't see myself going back. So, I may as well just get it together and move forward, because I don't have any other option.
Sunday (12th Feb 2017), we did our musical number and it went great. I played the piano and everyone else sang, and whether we were "good" or not, the Spirit was there. And that's all that matters. We had our District Meeting and I was able to voice my frustrations and apologize for the contention. It brought our district closer together to share with one another our thoughts, and it definitely started this week of pretty swell. In that meeting, they brought up an incident that had happened in their home about an elder being bullied. And I was even MORE dumbfounded when their solution was to just avoid the situation altogether. Like, WHAT? You DEFEND them! If you're not stopping it, then you are a part of it! I was so dumbfounded, and I instantly jumped in and suggested they defend the poor kid. I'm glad that they said they would, but geez! So, my goal was to befriend this elder and I'm so incredibly blessed that I did. His journey to coming out on a mission is incredible, and his desire to set the example of a worthy priesthood holder absolutely astounds me. My elders may not have anything good to say about him, but to me, he is incredible. His journey, his desire, his purpose . . . just wow. He's certainly mature in age and in his relationship with God. He's incredible. Anyway, we told Presidente Bennett as well as Hermana Burton (the mental health advisor; she told his branch president) and we've made it a goal to check in with this elder and let him know that he was people who do love and care about him. Coming out on a mission is hard enough without being bullied and tried unnecessarily. Gah. My blood is still burning from the news.
Monday (13th Feb. 2017) still gives me the creeps. I was paired up with one of my elders to do role playing, and when he tried to teach, I couldn't feel the Spirit. I had such a difficult time, because I knew he was trying super hard, but he was "playing it cool,"; not acting like a missionary. And I was told not to commit to pray unless I felt the Spirit. I felt bad having to explain to him why I refused, and I felt bad that he gives me . . . uncomfortable vibes, but I had to be honest. Or else he wouldn't grow. And neither would I. Anyway, I think--or at least I hope--my talking to him helped him. He seems to take things more seriously, but who knows?
Tuesday (14th Feb. 2017) HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, EVERYONE! It was actually really nice not to be surrounded by a bunch of couples or a bunch of mooey gooey nonsense like what would happen in high school. I was so relieved. :) We taught a new "investigator" today, and I just absolutely LOVE her! Oh my gosh! She grew up Catholic, and she's used to repeating prayers and doing the . . . Trinity Cross (?) prayer? Sorry, Whitney, if I got that wrong, but I hope you all get what I mean. Haha! Anyway, we taught her the importance of having personal prayer with Heavenly Father, and that it is a commandment from God to pray. Just like our own parents, Heavenly Father wants to hear from us and know that we trust Him. Prayer has always had a near-and-dear place in my heart, and I was so happy to teach her. Afterwards, she prayed her first personal prayer, and my heart was so full. Gah! Today was yet another day of my elders and myself getting on my nerves, but that is life I suppose. We also welcomed the new missionaries today (that's our service project, which my the way, is BOMB! Better than cleaning bathrooms or the comedor!) THEY ARE THE CUTEST THINGS EVER! And helping them is so much fun. :) We also got a whole box of pizza from the comedor, because last week, we didn't have enough time to eat and then go to our devotional, so we thought it best to get some pizza beforehand. Pizza Tuesdays are the best. Also, my elders performed a blessing on our teacher, because she was feeling really, really sick. To sit there and witness the amazing power of the priesthood had me in tears. The Spirit was so strong, and I honestly am just in love with the priesthood. I've never felt it as real and as strong as I have here. Wow, it was amazing . . .
Oh Wednesday (15th Feb. 2017). The day started off great. Hermana Kurene and I got up on time, got to everything on time. I felt like I was on top of the world. Then, I had a role-playing lesson with one of my elders and it all went down hill. We had to explain the Plan of Salvation in 3 MINUTES. So, I tried to, but then the elder would ask questions, and I'd have to answer those and blah, blah, blah. So, I obviously didn't get to teach the lesson in the short amount of time given. I didn't think much of it until he said, "You shouldn't use words you can't explain." (i.e. Atonement, priesthood, etc.) And I was already feeling inadequate about the language as it was and that just completely tore me a part. OOOO, I was so mad and frustrated and hurt and upset. So, I pulled him aside and told him that I did not appreciate his words towards me and that I was already struggling enough as it was without his condescending attitude. Needless to say, there's a level of awareness (I wouldn't go as far as to say respect) that I've felt from him since, and there haven't been any further words exchanged since. Ooo, it still burns me up just writing about it.
Anyway, I have to say, Dad, you were right all those times in high school when you said that I need to learn how to study. Being here and trying to learn Spanish has been so difficult (in case you couldn't tell from all the times I've said that ;D ). I'm so used to just understanding a concept right off the bat. I've hardly ever needed to study, because I either knew it or I knew it enough that I could just wing it. I can't do that here, and it's definitely a hard lesson that I am still and probably will still learn for the rest of my mission. I've been praying and trying to get some form of study skills down, but it's a slow process, that requires patience, of which I do not have.
Today (16th Feb. 2017) so far, we've gone to the temple again, and this time, I really enjoyed it. Last time was still good; I just couldn't do anything and the worker helping me didn't have the patience to help me, so she did everything for me. Luckily, this time, I got a sweet hermana who asked if I wanted to do my session in Spanish or English. I told her that I would love to do it in Spanish if she'd take it slow. It was a much better and much more enjoyable trip. Other than the fact that I accidentally elbowed an hermana in the head, but besides that, it went swell. ;)
Oh! One of our devotionals hit my heart so hard (it was Elder Holland, so of course it was good)! It talked about Peter, and how he was called as the senior apostle and needed to continue the Church after Christ died. He didn't know how to run the church or what to do, so he went back to what he was familiar with, what he knew best: fishing. So, when they go back and fish, and Christ appears to them again, and Peter swims to his Savior and Best Friend, and Christ asks him 3 times if Peter loves Him, he obviously felt inadequate and unable to accomplish the task he was called to. And Christ said for him to leave behind his fishing nets and become fishers of men. Elder Holland likened it unto us, and I really took it hard. I have to leave behind my old life forever. My mission doesn't consist of this 18 month time period here in Mexico. My mission is forever. My mission will affect my life forever. This is my new life, and as scary as that is for me and as totally caught off-guard as I am, I can't go back. I won't go back. And I want to be like Peter and leave my fishing net (life at home, family, friends, thoughts that don't pertain to my mission) and be a fisher of men. That's what's kept me going these past couple of days, especially with all the frustrating things that have been thrown at me.
Alright, now for the funny stuff ;D
So, on the bus last week, while we were waiting for insurance stuff to get handled after the accident, the wind started to pick up. Hermana Kurene was like, "Wow! Wind!" and I just said, "Rapido!" and she turned to me, with the most innocent look on her face, and said, "Is that wind?" I died so hard. So funny!
Hermana Kurene had said that she was hungry, and not even 2 seconds later did a bug fly in her mouth right as she closed it. I keep joking that she'd asked for it.
Then, at lunch, Hermana Kurene and I got up to leave, and Elder Cottrell held out his hand towards me and said, "Hermana Huber! You're leaving me!?" "Uh, yeah." "Nooooooooooooooooooo!" XD
Oh. My. Gosh. So, I touched on this a little bit (I think), but Elder Cottrell has a tendency to use "Christmas!" or "The left side of Christmas!" when something goes wrong or whatever. And when our teacher said that we had to teach a lesson in 2 minutes, he yelled out, "WHAT!? NO!!" and she turned to him, dead serious, and said, "Feliz Navidad, Elder." *pew pew pew* ROASTED! But don't worry, he'll "bounce back," ;) (yet another Elder Cottrell term).
Okay, so you know how I said that I accidentally elbowed a hermana in the head at the temple? Well, when Hermana Kurene and I were doing a handshake, I accidentally came back and elbowed another hermana in the chest, and it didn't even register until after I finished the handshake and heard her say, "Owww." I was so sorry!! Ah. Me and my elbows.
So, apparently, the entire session last week, Elder Peterson's fly was down, and when he and his companion, Elder Cottrell, were changing, Elder Peterson said, "Dude, Cottrell . . . " "Uh, yeah?" "My fly was down the entire session." "Christmas!" XD
We were told that we were getting new "investigators" this week, and all of the elders were like, "But, what about Regina!?" "Regina!" "REGINA!" and the teacher who had played Regina turned to them with her same dead-serious look on her face and said, "Regina died." XD Still one of the best things ever, only second to when she roasted Elder Cottrell.
So, on the way back to our casa after gym, Hermana Kurene had dropped her ket to the casa (this was her third time) and I just had to laugh so hard. Then, after we got to the casa, we went to get our laundry, and I guess she thought I was behind her but I was off doing something else (who knows what?) and all I could hear her say was, "I forget my card, forget my companion . . . " XD
Okay. Y'know when I talked about how Hermana Kurene tripped last week after I was so tempted to shove her off the ledge? Well, she tripped again! In the exact same spot, on the exact same day of the week, at the exact same time, in the exact same situation! I still die over that one.
"Everything we read is so much bigger in Mexico." Me "Probably because they have poor eye sight . . . like me." Hermana Kurene "I have 20/20 vision." I say as I adjust my glasses. In total innocence and believing, Hermana Kurene said, "Ah yeah . . . " XD she's so funny and gullible. (It's like having another Nicole or Kendra ;) )
So, we were walking to the TALL lab, and these elders passed by and said, "Hey! He can dunk!" Later, Hermana Kurene said, "Awe man! I should have told them, 'Hey! She can dump--' Awe...no. Dunk. DUNK!" I laughed so hard for a solid 15 minutes, and when we walked into a building to get waterbottles filled up, I couldn't stop teasing her and laughing. Then, I realized there was a meeting going on and I had to go outside because I couldn't contain myself. XD I just prayed they didn't listen to me!
So, I was paired up with Elder Cottrell, and he was pretending to be a bishop and we were getting to know each other. It was just an interesting situation overall, and it still makes me laugh. He also tried to trick me by tapping my right shoulder as he went on my left side, but I was too tired to even look, so it backfired. THEN, oh my heck, THEN I was practicing our lesson with my companion, and he looked over at the wrong time! I had asked if Hermana Kurene (who was playing our investigator) would offer the prayer. Then, I broke character and made a face and said, "Don't you DARE say no to me!" And he'd witnessed the whole thing and I just died! "Don't look at me when I'm teaching, Elder Cottrell!" "Whoa, sorry!" Haha!
OH MY GOSH! Okay, today at the temple, we were taking pictures before our session, and this little Mexican man who has totally stole my heart came up to the fence and started talking to us! He GAVE US HIS NUMBER and WANTS TO MEET THE MISSIONARIES! HOLY SNAP, RIGHT!? And it was the perfect moment in time, because I'd honestly been questioning why I had the desire to serve a mission when it was so hard. It's so worth it, and it's given me the motivation and love to work harder at Spanish. Oh my heavens, best day ever! :D
I love you all, and I appreciate your support, love, and emails. It definitely helps me to get through another 7 days of . . . life. Gosh, it's hard to believe I'm working on my third week. I've almost been gone a month. And it feels like forever, but at the same time, the time has gone by so fast!
As they say at the CCM,
"A week at the CCM is like a day, and a day at the CCM is like a week." AMEN.
Hermana Huber :)