Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Week Ocho In Mexico

I feel like so much happened this week! I got to see Hermana Turek on Friday. It turns out that I'm in a better area than I thought. She said that she gets hit on SO MUCH. I mean, I get lots of honks and occasionally a car will stop and I get an "Hola Senorita," but that's nothing to what she was telling me she gets. I guess my area is a little better off than the other areas, but I never would've guessed that. None of the other new missionaries in the mission have seen houses comparable to what we're used to in the U.S., while I have seen a few.
Our bathroom.... one foot in the shower 
and one in front of the toilet... 
It's so small that I can  touch both walls.

This morning we played volleyball, basketball, and soccer (futbol). I don't think I'll ever get used to calling soccer, futbol. Football is the game I march at during halftime. ;) It was super fun! Volleyball is my favorite to play. I like futbol too, but I'm not very good at it. All the male kind here are amazing at it.... even the little kids jaja.

It's hard not to feel very discouraged as a missionary because you are physically and emotionally exhausted. My district leader told me exactly what I needed to hear and I'm grateful that the Lord gives us the answers we need through other people. I know Satan is trying to get me down, he doesn't want me here. My district leader had me read an excerpt from a book we have called "Adjusting to Missionary Life." It talks about how our experience of being in a new country is comparable to the lives of new converts, because the church is a new world to them. "At first this trip is exciting, our mistakes even amusing, then it becomes frustrating and eventually, the frustration turns into anger. And it's at these stages of frustration and anger that we leave. We go back to the world from which we came, where we knew who we were, where we contributed, and where we could speak the language." That's exactly how I feel and it's comforting to know at least that maybe because of my experience I can help someone else.

My companion plays church music every morning when we exercise and one of the songs goes like this, "It's like a symphony, just keep listening. Pretty soon you'll start to figure out your part. Everyone plays a piece, and there are melodies." I love it because I know that even though I feel like I don't fit in here, I'm here for a reason. If nothing else, I know I'm supposed to be here at this time. And I know eventually I'll find my place, where I can contribute.

Even some of the most amazing missionaries felt discouraged and even depressed at times. Like Ammon and his brethren in the Book of Mormon. Even President Hinckley. I like how he said "The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired."

I've definitely learned a lot about service here. I'm usually not much of a service-giver, not because I don't want to do service, but because I feel like I can't really do much to help others. However, I feel like that's all I want to do here. I'm amazed with how much love I've developed for the people here, even though I barely know most of them. We visited a less active man who I had not met until our lesson with him. I don't think I've ever felt such love for someone I didn't kow. I felt a portion of the love that Heavenly Father has for him. I can't even imagine how much love Heavenly Father has for all of His children--it's uncomprehendable. I know that He loves and cares about us more than anything and that we are His work and glory. I want to live to be worthy of His love.

I think the hardest thing as a missionary is that everyone has their agency. Don't get me wrong, I know agency is such a great gift. But it's so hard when you feel such a love for someone and you know they'll be so happy when they attend church and read their scriptures, but they're not doing those things. I wish I could just give people my testimony and that they'd desire to be strong in the gospel. I can't imagine how hard it must be for our Heavenly Father when we know what we should be doing but we don't do it.

Every sidewalk here, it seems, has bike treads or dog prints permanently in the cement. I've always thought that was funny. Well, this week, I accidentally walked on wet cement and I didn't notice until my companion said something. We went back a few days later to see if they were still there and they were! So my picture with them! I've made my mark in Mexico! ;)

So I realized this week that we don't go tracting and we don't have a certain number of people we have to talk to throughout the day, like most other missions. We usually just go around to less-actives or investigators houses and if they're home, we teach them. We don't hardly have set appointments with people. It's weird cause it's different than what I was expecting. Also, you don't always have to accept food. The main meal here is lunch, so that's when we eat with members. You just eat everything on your plate and if you want more, you can have more, but it's not rude to say no. I usually get more because I love food in general, especially here. :)
Frijoles.... beans, corn tortillas and cheese. Me gusta mucho!

You know what I really miss? Dryers. The first thing I want to do when I get home is wash and dry my clothes. Jajaja.

I taught a lesson all by myself this week. It was super scary, but the Spirit was super strong and it made me feel so good! I love this gospel. I love that this gospel is centered on Jesus Christ. I know He loves us, as does our Heavenly Father, and that as we strive to become more like Him, we are blessed.

2 Nephi 25:26 & 27: "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. And now behold, my people, ye are a stiffnecked people; wherefore I have spoken plainly unto you, that ye cannot misunderstand. And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law."

I know that this church is true. I know it with all of my heart. I know it because the Holy Ghost has testified unto me of its truth. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." (Romans1:16)

Feliz Navidad! Remember the Savior as we celebrate His birth and life. :)

Hermana Sara Slaughter

I love the doggies here

and the cats
and the horses!

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