Called To Serve


Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Missionary Work is Alive and Well!!

 If I don't hurry it will be time for another transfer!  I don't know how it is that the days can sometimes feel so long, yet all of a sudden another week has come and gone, and another month, and it has now been six months since we arrived here in the mission!!  It is amazing how quickly time seems to be passing by!

We always love greeting our new missionaries and this time was no exception.  We are amazed and impressed with the caliber of missionaries that are coming to us!  It certainly keeps us on our toes in order to feel like we have something of value to offer them!!

Two of our American missionaries who had been serving in the states after leaving the MTC while waiting for their visas FINALLY got to come to Puebla!  They came in on Friday night and the rest of our visa waiters came in the following Monday.  They enjoyed getting back together at our home for a training once everyone arrived on Monday.

Our new missionaries coming from the states.  They were all at the MTC then had to scatter throughout the states and wait for their visas!  They are all excited to finally be here!

Our one and only missionary coming from the MTC in Mexico City this time stands between Ralph and I.  Our two assistants are at both ends, one from Peru and the other from Ecuador.

This past transfer brought an interesting opportunity for me.   I have felt very restless recently, feeling anxious about not being able to learn the language and not having a real missionary experience.  I have found that I am really not as immersed in the language as I thought I would be because much of my time is spent alone making grocery lists, shopping for groceries, and preparing meals for large crowds.  Although I don't mind doing that for our missionaries,  it was becoming clear to me that I needed more of a missionary experience than that before I leave in three years!!  I wanted to be able to report on more than the fact that I am grateful to have Costco in Puebla!!  As I started having these restless nudgings of the spirit, I finally got bold enough to approach Ralph.  I knew I better be sure about what I wanted to propose because I KNEW Ralph would jump on my proposal in a second!!  As it happens,  three of our sister missionaries ended up being put together in a companionship because three of our NEW sister missionaries were unable to come at transfer time due to visa problems.  So, I decided if it were possible, I would LOVE to be a "real" missionary during the next six weeks.  I was a little reluctant to suggest such an opportunity because these three sisters are all Latin Americans, speaking very little, if any, English.  I knew it would take me out of my comfort zone, and I wasn't sure if I had the faith and courage to do such a thing.  But, I could not deny the impressions I was having to take advantage of this unique opportunity, so I approached Ralph with a suggestion.  He was eager to make this work and between the two of us, we put together a proposal to bring before the Hermanas!  They were such good sports to act happy to do this with me.  This is what we came up with.   Since the sisters live close enough for me to drive to their house each day, I meet up with these three every morning.   I have been assigned to one of these sisters as my MY COMPANION!!  Upon arrival, we begin with a hymn, prayer, and recite Doctrine and Covenants 4 by memory (in Spanish), then we divide into twos.  My companion and I have companionship study and language study together, then we are off for the day to share the gospel.  I am gone from 9:30 AM- 9:30 PM five days a week.  Each Sunday I go to the ward where these Hermanas live and serve and then I take the rest of the day off so Ralph and I can be in touch with our children and do other family and missionary business.  Then I take P-day with Ralph, and at 5:00 PM on Friday night, I am done for the day so Ralph and I can have our date night that is highly encouraged from the missionary department!  It has worked so well!  My Spanish is still coming along VERY SLOWLY, but somehow I contribute in each lesson that we teach and everyone seems to be very patient and helpful!  I notice the "gift of tongues" is prevalent whenever I need to contribute in a lesson, but my conversational Spanish is very bad!!  It has been an amazing experience.  I don't think I have ever done anything so hard in my life, and yet so rewarding!  I have a clearer understanding and appreciation of what my children did for two years while serving missions and what our missionaries are expected to do here in Puebla on their missions.  With no complaints, but MANY inconveniences and hardships, they serve the Lord happily!   To have the opportunity to continue to try to learn the langauge and to share the gospel, along side my other responsibilities as a mission president's wife has, indeed, been an answer to prayer and fasting.

My new companion!

The three sweet hermanas that I meet up with every day!

One of the "sweet" experiences that I have had is to teach a few people how to make chocolate chip cookies!  Apparently home made cookies are not very familiar to the people here in Puebla.  (I can't speak for all of Mexico.)  When I served my companion some chocolate chip cookies for lunch one day she asked what they were called and was very fascinated by the fact that I MADE them!!  She said she would like to learn how to make them sometime.  So, I decided to teach her how to make cookies so that we could then deliver them to a family we have been teaching.  The cookies were such a hit with this family that they asked if they could also learn how to make them.  Fortunately, they have an oven which is fairly unique as well!

This family makes fresh tamales every night and sells them every morning in the streets of Puebla in order to put food on their table.  They thought the chocolate chip cookies might be something else they could sell on the streets.  So, I purchased measuring cups, measuring spoons, etc. so they would have  all the things they would need to make cookies if they decided that's what they wanted to do.  We had a great experience and since then they have been baking up a storm!!  What they are doing with them, I'm not sure, but they are LOVING making cookies!

My companion learning how to make chocolate chip cookies!

Knocking at the door to teach a family how to make cookies.  Note in front of me are the vending bikes that their family of 7 uses to sell the tamales each morning in the streets of Puebla that they make every night.

Preparing the cookie dough for chocolate chip cookies!!

Mom and daughter taking turns using an electric beater.  They had never used one before!  The mother and I are holding the bowl while the daughter mixes the cookies because there was no table by the ONLY outlet in the kitchen.  Eventually the Dad realized our inconvenience and graciously went and brought a little wooden table from somewhere for us to use.

After showing them how to make cookies and placing them on a cookie sheet, it was now their turn to do the next batch.  Note the little wooden table that was brought in for us to use.

Washing the dishes after making cookies, in their kitchen, which sits outside.  The wall you see is the outside kitchen wall. 
Making tamales!  This is a big table in their living room because their kitchen is very little.  Behind the dad is a queen sized bed that serves as a couch during the day and a bed at night.  There are two other rooms in the house with beds besides this room and the little kitchen.  As you walk out of this room, you go outside to the kitchen sink, then turn the corner from the sink  to enter the kitchen.  
Some of the family busy making tamales in the evening, preparing to sell them the next morning.

Speaking of living conditions...My eyes were wide open when I arrived one morning help my companions in the morning when one of them was very sick.  I was amazed when I witnessed the other two missionaries getting ready for the day.  They went outside to fill two buckets with water, then came in and plugged them in their living room by plug outlets.  They then dropped an iron coil into the water to heat the water for 40 minutes.  At that time, one at a time goes in with the two buckets and "showers"!!  That is their water!!  As soon as a bucket empties, they hand it out so the next bucket of water can start the heating process again for the next shower!!  When we first moved here I couldn't believe that our water heater was outside!!  That means whenever the wind blows hard (and it does often during the rainy season during the months of May-October), the pilot light blows out and Ralph and I wake up to cold water for a shower.  We then have to be "inconvenienced" by going downstairs and outside to light the flame and wait for 40 minutes for the water to heat up!  If we do not have 40 minutes to wait, then we get a cold shower!!  After seeing this, I shall NEVER complain again about MY INCONVENIENCE!!

I now know how the hermanas wash their clothes every P-day!  To think I was amazed that our laundry room was detached from the rest of the house.  I thought it rather funny and inconvenient to walk outside on a stormy, rainy day (which happens daily May-October) to get to my laundry room!  I will never complain again!  I feel grateful and a little selfish for the very nice conditions that I am living in! 

What do you do with your clean clothes after they are washed?  Why, of course, you hang them out to dry!!!