Called To Serve


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Everyday life in the mission!!

This is a fair warning!!  I invite you to scan as you so desire!  Because it has been so long since I last blogged, you may not have time to look at it all!!  I PROMISE to get better at posting on a more regular  basis!  My plan was to post a blog every 6-7 weeks after each transfer.  However, as our prophet has now changed the age of eligibility for missionaries, we are finding that transfers are coming more sporadically,  AND more often!  We, for sure, still have a transfer every 6 weeks, but often we have them in between, as well!  That means we get extra busy and find it hard to squeeze in "extra-curricular activities,"i.e. blogging, at times! more excuses!!  Since it was March when I last posted, things will not be in any chronological order, but HOPEFULLY, it will tell a story, just the same!   

It is hard to know what to share.  My audience is increasing and varied!!    This blog started out as a way to keep in touch with interested friends and extended family without needing to write individually to everyone.  Since it's initial beginning, however, I have been told by many of our elders that their Moms have found this site and are enjoying it.  WELCOME!!  I am glad to have you here, catching a glimpse of the Puebla North Mission.  I have not purposefully tried to keep you from viewing this, but didn't quite know how to spread the word, once the site was created.   Also, as our missionaries now leave to go home, we are telling them about a face book page that we have created just for them, so they can keep in touch with each other.  On that page, we have  posted this site so they can come here, also, if they want.  Because this information is given to "salientes", many of our Latin speaking elders cannot read what I am writing.  So, hopefully, if I have enough pictures, they can enjoy this site as well!  So, to missionaries,  parents of missionaries, friends, and family members...feel free to view what is of interest to you, and leave the rest for another viewer!!  And, to all...may you know of our love for this wonderful opportunity that we are having.   May we help those, searching for truth and happiness, find it in the gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ. we labor and work hard in this work, may you know that we are, also,  having a lot of fun along the way!  It is a privilege to rub shoulders with these great missionaries who have been called to the Mexico Puebla North Mission! It is our greatest joy to spend lots of time with them!!  Thank you to any of you responsible for raising these wonderful, young people! 


Homemade pottery everywhere!

LOTS OF little churches EVERYWHERE you go!!

Waiting on the side of the road for his owner to take care of business in town!

To market!  To market!
We were driving on a main highway and had to come to a stop to wait for these people to cross the street in front of us!
Meat, anyone?
Enjoying the pyramids with our children when they come to visit!
Here, we are sitting on the Pyramid of the Moon, with the Pyramid of the Sun in the distance!
When any of our children come to visit, we enjoy taking them to a place where they can experience eating a Torta!  We were told about this great place to buy tortas!  They make the bread in their little store and make the sandwiches fresh, as they are ordered.  This is, fortunately, out of our mission, so we won't go there on a regular basis!!  If it were in our mission and closer by, we would probably go there more than we should!  This is a sandwich that we SHARED with FOUR people!!!  Here is Ralph eating a 4th of the sandwich!!!  This is a fun little "hole in the wall" cafe in Atlixco!

This is where the sandwich is being prepared.  The big glob to the far left is the Mexican cheese.  This is the amount that will be put on our sandwich!  In other words...clogged we come!!!  That is the reason to be grateful that we do not live close enough to be tempted on a regular basi!s

Atlixco is a beautiful little pueblo in Mexico.  Not only are they known for their good tortas,  but they are known to be the flower capitol of Mexico!!  When we were in Atlixco to have a sandwich with our daughter and her husband, we walked to the town center afterwards to enjoy the beautiful flower gardens!  They were spectacular!!!  At Christmas time they are known for their beautiful poinsettas that they grow and distribute all over Mexico, for sure, and probably to the states!  

Can you tell what you are looking at?  I couldn't either when I looked out my window a few weeks ago.   This photo was taken just outside our house from our car port, going out onto the street in front of our house! It looked as though someone had come into our neighborhood and dumped sand all over and turned it into a beach!!  When I called my husband to come and look, he immediately said he was going to get on the internet and see if Mt. Popo had erupted during the night!  Sure enough, a volcano that is about 40 minutes away from us and that we enjoy looking at from one of our bedroom windows on a clear day, had erupted in the night.  I think it is now settling down again, but for about a week, the air was heavy and thick, and both in and out of the house, everything had a sandy feel to it!



Our American Nuevos!



Taking turns ironing a shirt for their trip home to see their families after TWO years!


This is a picture up in a small pueblo called Chignahuapan.  We have a small branch here.  These are two great missionaries, standing with my husband and an eight year old, just before the 8 year old goes into the lake to be baptized.  The missionary next to my husband has recently returned home after serving an honorable mission.  We loved him as one of our own, and appreciated the great work he did up in that area!

Oh how I wish you could see the entire backdrop to this photo!!!  Here are the missionaries standing  at the base of a waterfall!!  It is spectacular!!!  We had gathered just outside of Tetela, another one of our small branches, to witness a baptism.  Just as described in the Book of Mormon about the "waters of baptism" where Alma hid his faithful followers away, I could NOW picture how this could happen!  We were far removed from other people.  It would be very easy to have hidden from King Noah!

The baptism!

Once a quarter, we have Zone Conferences.  Because we only have 124 missionaries right now, we are able to divide our zones into 6 zones.  At each zone conference, I feed these hungry missionaries.  This is a glimpse at our last conference while they were all eating.  It takes a little bit of creativity as we usually have no refrigerator, OFTEN no oven or stove, but always a sink in a church kitchen!  So, I have LOTS of crockpots, a few large coolers, and  thank goodness for Costco!!!  If anyone wants to recommend a menu for next zone conference, keeping my constraints in mind...I'd LOVE your thoughts!!  Thank you!!  For those of you who have missionary children, you might see he/her in one of these photos!   I took random shots at each conference as they ate, but I KNOW I was unable to capture them all!

At the time of these photos, we had 7 sister missionaries!  The one in the light blue sweater has recently completed her mission and returned home.  We have been told that before the end of the year, we will have up to 100 sister missionaries, including 50 American missionaries and 50 more Latin Americans!!  We have NEVER had American sister missionaries in our mission, so we really look forward to adding that new dimension to our mission!!  Not sure if we will have 100 by the end of the year, but we ARE off to a good start!!  At our next transfer we will have 3 more Latin American speakers, and 3 more are coming the following transfer!

Some of the missionaries who showed up before one of the zone conferences began were so good to offer to help me in one of the church kitchens.  Aren't they great?!!!

Our 5 other sweet missionary sisters!

We do lots of eating at our home, also.   We have Zone leader councils (the leaders of each zone) who meet with us once a month for training.  I feed them breakfast and a big meal at the end of the day.  We also have transfers.  The new missionaries stay at our home.  The Americans sleep at our home and spend the next day with us.  The Latin Americans come in in the morning from Mexico City and spend only a day for their orientation.  So, for each of those trainings, they also get breakfast and a big meal later in the day.  Below are some random eating shots that make it all worth the effort to prepare the food!  We feed HUNGRY AND APPRECIATIVE missionaries!

Now THIS makes it all worth the effort!!  Here is one of our office secretaries.  He has just made up a waffle!  I couldn't help but want to capture his face.  He was grinning from ear to ear as he walked out of the kitchen!  He acted as if he was in heaven!!
Enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers...American style!

After a day's worth of meetings, these missionaries were just finishing up dessert.  They look like happy campers.  But notice in the background!  My husband is sound asleep on the couch, with his laptop on his lap!  He had not been feeling very well over the course of that week, and was exhausted on this Friday afternoon when meetings wer finally over!!  I couldn't help but smile!  It shows how comfortable he feels with HIS missionaries.  You'd think he was just having a brief catnap while his noisy children finished up eating!   
A close up view!

This was DARLING!!!  I only wish that I could show you the video that I took!  After eating, some of the zone leaders spontaneously put their arms around each other and broke out in song!  They put on a beautiful performance of  "I'll Find You There, My Friend."  One of the elders (not in view, other than his hand) was directing them in their singing!  They were so cute and having such a great time!  Friday afternoon down time, I suppose, before getting back to work!


I can't take all the credit for the cooking!  Here are our office secretaries grilling hamburgers and hot dogs at the Zone Leaders Council.  The missionaries are always so willing to offer and to help in anyway that I need them!

One of our assistants drying the dishes!
When we're helping, we're happy!  This Zone Leader is ALWAYS willing to help!

One of our assistants stripping the beds after a good night's sleep for the nuevos!
Advice for the parents of missionaries!!  NEVER underestimate the value of a package sent to your missionary!  I sent 7 missionaries out from our home and when I would mail some of the packages, I wondered if I was being ridiculous to spend the kind of money I was for candy and "junk!"  I had the blessing of watching one of the elders open a package from home one day, and it was such a JOY to see!  EVERY little thing he found in his package was exciting!  He commented on their creativity and how random the things were, yet he LOVED everything he got!  He couldn't wait to share his treats with his companion and other missionaries there with him!  Oh how glad I am that I didn't get practical when I was mailing packages to my missionaries!   I was able to finally see how much it meant to my children through this missionaries eyes!! Keep those packages coming, Mom and Dad!!

This is one of our great missionaries tending to a bad cut!  We spend quite a bit of time trying to keep missionaries healthy as well as trying to get them better!!  They are all such good sports and complain just enough to get the needed care and treatment, but in no time, they are always back out doing the work!  I am so proud of each of them!

Recently, we have become serious about teaching English as a second language to our Latin American missionaries.  Elder Valenzuela, a new member of the First Quorum of Seventy, was on a mission tour in our mission a few months ago.  He shared with us that English is the language of the Restoration and that it is important for the Latin American missionaries to be able to speak English.  He challenged us to help each other in this effort.  If the Latin Americans can speak English, it will also bless their lives in the work place as they return back home seeking employment.  Because most of our Latin American elders have American companions, we have been able to instigate a program that will allow them time each day to work on English as a second language.  However, right not, we do not have any American sisters.  So, every Saturday, I am teaching the sisters English.  Here we are in our first class!

Excited about new missionaries coming!

Feeling overworked, perhaps?
Here they are, at it AGAIN!!!  We have 17 new missionaries, both Americans and Latin Americans coming in next week!  This is my husband and his two assistants looking at the transfer board that has a picture and information about EACH missionary in our mission and where they live at the moment and who their companions are!  They and I need to determine who will train the new missionaries and who will go where!  It is quite the process!  Pizza on the desk to help us work a little better!  

I'll be back in 6-7 weeks...HOPEFULLY!  Hasta Luego!