Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 49 Skype! December 29, 2014

Family pic 2014
Tuesday everyone was preparing for Christmas day. Here they have "posadas" which is a Catholic/Mexican tradition at Christmas time where families throw parties outside of their homes and invite friends, family, and neighbors. What makes it different from any other party is that they brake a bunch of piñatas in the street and the kids go home with bags of candy. They also make "ponche" which is like a Mexican version of apple cider but made with fruit like apples, guavas, peaches, pears, and sugar cane. The market at this time is absolutely filled with all sorts of piñatas. Christmas just isn't Christmas without hundreds of piñatas!
Piñatas in the market
Tuesday as we were walking to an appointment we passed a truck full of live turkeys. Turkey dinner doesn't get any fresher than that! Also, the streets are filled with poinsettia trees (called "noche buenas" in Spanish which is also the phrase they use here for Christmas Eve). Turns out the trees have always been there but I hadn't ever noticed because it isn't until December that the leaves turn a vibrant red. They make this concrete jungle I live in just a tad prettier!

Wednesday....Feliz Noche Buena!! (Christmas Eve) It rained all day Christmas Eve and it was FREEZING! But, while everyone else here was dying, I was loving it! The cold made it feel a little more like the Christmas I know. Here in Mexico Christmas, like every other holiday, starts the beginning of an all night party which means lots of music, dancing, and "borrachos" (drunks). For that reason, we had to be in the house at 6:30 PM. Our neighbors are definite partiers...they were partying ALL NIGHT. Women, children, men, old people, everyone!
Humble Christmas 
Thursday....Feliz Navidad!! There isn't anything quite like waking up to the angelic voices of your drunk Mexican neighbors singing love songs...Merry Christmas to us! We got invited over to the Ayala Family's (my converts) for lunch and they fed us all sorts of traditional christmas Mexican food. First: Romeros.
Romeros is basically grass in "mole" with potatoes. The only part I'm a fan of is the mole...the grass? Not so much. But, if any of you would like to relive Christmas Mexican some mole from the Mexican market, add some freshly picked grass from your front yard, and you're set! Second: pozole. I've talked about pozole before but it's basically a sort of corn kernel soup. (pork and hominy stew) I'm a big fan of it! Third: pierna (leg). Pig's like Mexican version of baked ham in the states. Fourth: Bacalao. Bacalao is a mixture of who knows what. I do know however that it has green olives and shrimp...the rest is a mystery.
After being fed by a few other families (I felt like I was going to explode) we headed over to the Lopez family's house to Skype our families. Talking to your family after so long is the best! I first introduced them to the Lopez family and for some reason I got really emotional and started crying. My family is doing great! I brought my guitar and we sang some Christmas carols which was a blast! Unfortunately we were interrupted some 20 times because the electricity kept going out on our street....but it was amazing nonetheless. I love my family! Only 4 more months until I get to Skype them again! And only 5 more months until I see them in person!
(note from mom: "Meeting" Hermana Lopez made me cry too. It's nice to know someone in Mexico loves her so much)
Friday we were able to find a few new investigators one of which is a 15 year-old boy named Abraham. He's not the typical teenager though...he's actually one of the most respectful and sweet kids I've met here. His prayers are hilarious sometimes because he talks to God as if he were giving a speech. For example: "Please allow me to overcome any temptation that may come my way. Temptations can be spiritually and physically endangering and could cause harm that could be lethal." It's pretty funny but in a sweet way because since he's never prayed before he tries to talk to God in the most formal and respectful way possible.

Culture note: One of about every American missionary´s pet peeves about being here...sidewalk/street washing. Let me explain. The people here wash everything with a broom: windows, walls, cars, and worst of all...the streets and sidewalks. About once a week the people here fill up a bucket with soapy water, scoop handfuls of water out onto the street, and sweep the water around with a broom to "clean" the street. It's been so long that I don't even remember what we clean with in the States!! When I get home and you see me washing the street with a broom...well you'll understand why.

Culture note: public wouldn't believe it here! There are a few types... There are taxis from both the state of Mexico and the District. State taxis don't have a meter so you're able to bargain (or what I do...wait until we arrive, speak in broken Spanish, hand him the amount of money I want to pay, and with a big smile say "Gracias!" in the most American accent I can pull every time!) District taxis have meters so there's no bargaining. There are "combis". Combis are normally white Volkswagen buses that drive back and forth between destinations. They put a sign in the front window so that we know where they're headed. When you flag them down they stop and the door flies open. You get in and pass 7 pesos to the front where it's put through a little hole in a wall separating us form the driver. When you want to get off you have to yell that you're getting off, the door opens, and out you go. There are "micros". Micros are like giant milk man trucks but with windows. They work almost like combis but they're bigger, slower, and they only cost 5 pesos. People say they're also a little more dangerous...there are stories of men that get on, and, holding the driver at gun point, change the route and kidnap everyone on board... But no worries! We're safe! When you want to get off of a micro you simply push a button on the ceiling, the doors open, and you hop off as it comes to a rolling stop. There are "mototaxis". Mototaxis are little 'people trailers' pulled by a motorcycle. We usually take them for short distances and if we're in a hurry. There are also "bicitaxis" which is about the same but the driver is using a pedal bike. Bus stops don't exist here! You simply have to flag down any passing bus and you're good to go!

Sunday Bryan got confirmed! His mom couldn't come so he came all by himself! He also saved up and bought me a small gift...he said it was in case I got changed from the area. Coming from the kid who can barely save enough money to put food on the table...THAT meant a lot to me! In sacrament meeting we had sweet bread in place of normal bread for sacrament...that's the 5th Sunday in a row! Maybe that's why we're having so many people at church! Hermana Lopez (my convert) gave the class in Relief Society and did a better job than the RS President herself! But shhhh! haha For only having a few months as a member...she did AMAZING!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 48 Feliz Navidad! December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas from Ingram and Lopez (in their hand embroidered muumuus)

Tuesday Hermana Lopez and I headed to changes. Hna Lopez actually ended up with Hermana Bennett (my last companion) and I ended up with Hermana Santos. My new companion is super sweet. She's 22 and she's from Tamaulipas Mexico. She talks in the tiniest little voice...she doesn´t have a mean bone in her. She already graduated from college in communications. Before the mission she worked as a sort of local newscaster for her town. I´m sure going to miss Hermana Lopez....we had a lot of success together but I'm ready for another successful cycle with Hermana Santos.
My new companion Hermana Santos
Wednesday and Thursday were pretty long days...we couldn't find anyone on their house...and the time seemed to drag. But you keep pushing through! Thursday in the afternoon NO ONE was home! We passed for everyone without any luck. After about 2 hours of searching I had thought to try and find a little 10-year-old boy that hadn't been baptized. They NEVER EVER let missionaries inside...NEVER! So, we had never been able to teach the kid. But, I felt like we should we started walking down his street and about 10 feet from the door he came out. Right in that exact moment! And, for the first time in almost a year, they let the missionaries in! I don´t think that that was coincidence! Long story short, we are now preparing him for baptism! Little miracles!
Hermana Luque played the piano for our duet
Friday was the "Cena Navideña" (Christmas Dinner) as a ward and it was an absolute blast. My comp. and I got there a little early to help prepare the food. (They were expecting somewhere around 250 people so we had to make a lot of food.) A TON of people came including almost all of our converts. It's the best thing in the world when converts get involved in the ward! We began with a few musical numbers and then it was my turn. Hermana Luque (from Argentina) and I had prepared a flute/piano duet... "What Child is This" and the ward loved it. It was a blast! I really feel at home with the ward here. I've seen this ward come so makes me so happy!!!
Always a treat when President Stutznegger comes to church
Sunday was a GREAT day! The president and his wife visited our ward and brought their son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. I was so happy to see them there. All of our investigators showed up and loved the church. The president's daughter-in-law had prepared a special musical number on the piano to Silent Night and it was amazing. NOBODY here in Mexico plays an instrument and they don't sing either. So..musical numbers don't exist, no one even knows what they are. To have her play was amazing and the spirit was super strong...they all loved it. After a few more speakers, President spoke and just about made everyone cry. It's a huge sacrifice as missionaries for us to be here and leave everything behind. But to me, it's an even bigger sacrifice for him and his wife to be here for 3 years. What a great example!
Bryan's baptism
After church Bryan got baptized and one of the best parts of it all was that my convert, Luis Lopez, was able to baptize him. He was SO so so excited to be able to baptize he could barely hold it in. Who knew he would come so far so fast! Bryan is a great little kid. He's 11 years old and works harder than I've seen any other kid work before. About 4 months ago, his mom broke her ankle which put her completely out of work. No work here means no food on the table...literally. So, Bryan, an 11 year-old boy, started to work to support his family and to put food on the table. An 11-year-old!! That would never pass in the states! But he's such a great example and works so hard to help his family. So now, he and his mom are members and are able to see the blessings as a family. What a miracle!!

Feliz Navidad!!
Hermana Ingram
Fun at changes

We helped build a house this week!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Week 47 Mission Christmas Party and Service December 15, 2014

Photo cred: Sister Stutznegger
Hola amigos y familiares,

Wednesday we met as a mission in the Stake Center for our mission Christmas party. We began with a devotional and each zone sang a Christmas hymn. We also watched the "El es la Dádiva" video that the church just came out with. From there we started our mission talent show. Some of the talents included: singing, playing the piano, dancing, funny nativity skits, rapping, etc. It's crazy what a bunch of missionaries can come up with for a talent show!
Photo cred: Sister Stutznegger
Hermana Lopez and I performed in the talent show too...I played the guitar and she sang Silent Night. It was actually a lot of fun...and my comp. has a really good voice so it turned out super well. We all changed and there were all kinds of sports going on: basketball, soccer, flag football, and I brought a tennis ball to play wall ball. We walked outside to eat lunch and I immediately picked up a football and one of the Elders ran up about 10 feet in front of me and put out his arms to receive the pass as if I were a 3 year-old. I told him to back up and he took 1 step back...annoyed I reached back and threw it pretty hard at him. He wasn't even able to catch it and he had a look of pure shock on his face. Well, I told you to back up didn't I??!! We also ended up watching "Frozen". It turned out to be a pretty fun day over all!
My MTC district reunited
Later Wednesday night some of the missionaries in our zone came back to the church and we brought 2 big thermoses of hot cocoa and a few bags of bread. We took it to a medical clinic a few streets down and passed out food to everyone waiting outside to get into the hospital (probably around 100 people). Their faces lit up as we passed out hot cocoa in the cold. Afterwards we gathered together and sang Christmas hymns. The people loved it and kids watched us in amazement with their mouths open wide. Then we walked around and talked with the people and handed out Christmas cards. I remember one lady in particular who was sitting on the street with her head in her hands. I knelt down and touched her shoulder. Surprised, she looked up and I handed her a Christmas card and wished her a Merry Christmas. She started to bawl and thanked me. The people waiting are usually very sick or have loved ones inside who are sick. I don't know what she was going through in particular but I could tell she was very grateful. It was a great experience. It's amazing how such small acts of kindness can have such a big impact on people.

Burning a shirt in honor of one year
Thursday.....HAPPY YEAR MARK!!! A year ago I was walking into the MTC and saying my last goodbyes to life as I knew it! Crazy! Now here I am a year later in the middle of Mexico City! It's amazing how time seems to fly!!
Chicken feet for lunch
Thursday everyone spent the time praying to their Virgin Marys. Mexico City is just about 100% Catholic and they absolutely adore the Virgin Mary. They call her "La Virgin Guadalupe". In just about every street they have built little glass and cement boxes with 5 foot tall virgin Marys decorated with flashing lights and surrounded by candles and other saints. Any time they are in the street and they pass a virgin, they make sure to cross themselves. It's interesting coming from the most Mormon place on Earth to the most Catholic place on Earth. But what an experience!

Friday...Happy Day of the Virgin! Virgin day is probably one of the most celebrated days in Mexico: it's the day they celebrate the Virgin Mary. Thursday we had weekly planning in the Stake Center (which is near on of the main streets here called the Zaragoza) and as we were leaving we could see people walking down the Zaragoza. We walked a little closer and saw thousands and thousands of men, women, and children walking. Most of them were sporting some sort of Virgin Mary attire: shirt, cape, etc. Many others had big Virgin Mary paintings onto their backs with rope. And for probably every 10 people there were men carrying huge (life size) Mary statues. I've never seen anything like it. We went back to work and were able to ask some members about what we had seen. Turns out they were all walking to a place called "La Villa" to see one of Mexico City's biggest Virgin Mary statues. And to show their faith and devotion they walk the journey from all over. Some even make the walk from other states for days and days just to see it. And Friday is an entire day dedicated to her. Which is why we couldn't leave to work. All night you could hear the explosions of fire works and people chanting in the streets. By the time we got home Thursday night people were already gathered around their virgin boxes praying, singing, and chanting. What a culture difference!
One of my favorite ladies in Mexico (a non-member)
Saturday we went and visited one of our recent converts and right away we noticed that the right side of her face was SUPER cut up and bloody. It looked like someone had taken a small knife and had slashed her face a few times. Of course we asked her right away what had happened and I didn't expect her answer. Apparently she was walking through the Tianguis with her mom and kids and her mom accidentally bumped a lady (the Tianguis is incredibly crowded so it's normal to bump someone or be bumped by someone) and this lady turned around and punched her mom in the face. So, she stepped in front to defend her mom and the lady kicked her full on in the knee. As she bent over in pain the crazy lady grabbed her by the face and began to dig her nails into her face...and she wouldn't let go! Trying to defend herself she reached one of her hands out and that's when the lady started to bite her finger. She was a crazy crazy lady! The police came and broke it up and she was left with a bloody face and a bitten finger... How crazy is that!
Picture with Hombre Araña (Spiderman of course)
Later Saturday night we taught our investigator named Laura. Her husband is in jail, she's pregnant, has two kids, she can't find a job and it's Christmas. She has absolutely nothing to give her kids. They don't even have the money to eat sometimes. She was crying...and to be honest I wanted to cry too. Saturday I had been thinking about spending my 2nd Christmas here in the mission and I had started to feel bad for myself. I miss my family and I miss Christmas at home: Christmas trees, lights, music, decorations, EVERYTHING! And Saturday morning I wanted to throw a pity party for myself! But talking to Laura made me realize that I have it good! I have absolutely nothing to complain about!

Sunday Susana got confirmed and Laura and Yaeli also go baptized. They were happier than ever!

Hasta próxima semana,
Hermana Ingram

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 46 December 8, 2014

46 weeks in Mexico City and 6 weeks in the MTC add up to 52 weeks. Hermana Ingram has officially been out for 1 year this week!
Christmas in Mexico

Tuesday was a LONG day! Monday night my companion was throwing up all night...which meant that Tuesday was definitely a no go to work. In the morning we took a taxi to one of the mission doctors and he blamed it on stress....she's throwing up her guts because of stress?? He told her to read a little stress booklet and to call him the next day with a report on how she was feeling. The doctors here....the other day one of the missionaries went to the doctor for stomach pain and he diagnosed her with salmonella and prescribed her with medicine! To no surprise, she didn't end up having salmonella at all...crazy!!! Anyway, we stayed in the house all day which meant lots of studying for me!

Wednesday my comp. woke up feeling a lot better so we were able to go out and work. Susana (our investigator with a broken foot) passed her baptismal interview which was exciting.

Quick cultural note: I have never seen more Jello in my entire life. It's ridiculous. You can find jello on just about every street corner here in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They make the jello in little cups, flip them out onto a small sheet of paper and then line them up on carts to sell. Does it taste good? No way! But everyone here loves it. They even come onto the buses and metros carrying little glass boxes full of jello cups.

Thursday was a pretty normal day. We were walking in the street when an orange splattered right in front of us. Somebody tried to hit us with an orange! We've grown so accustomed to little incidents like that and have learned that it is better to act like nothing happened. So, we kept walking. But that was definitely a first!

Thursday night we helped the Ayala's paint their house. It's a custom here to repaint your house before you buy a Christmas tree which means that just about everyone is painting their houses right now. By the end of the year everyone's paint is chipping off so it's pretty necessary.

Drunk men come up to us every what's one more? Never did I think that I would grow so accustomed to it...but I am! I guess that's what happens as a missionary in Mexico! I remember first getting here and feeling pure fear at the sight of a drunk man on the street. I always thought the worst. Now, almost a year later it's actually an entertaining experience. They come up to us and we are able to have a conversation. I'd say that about 90% of them recognize us as missionaries and beg us to help them quit drinking. The smell of alcohol is normally overwhelming. Saturday a skinny man walked up to us and, as always, asked us to help him to quit drinking. He stepped back, clasped his hands together, closed his eyes, tilted his head upwards, and said, "Pray for me!",and stood there waiting for us to pray for him. He finally realized that we weren't saying anything and got a little angry. He put his hand out toward us and angrily said, "I command you to leave Satan!" as if we were possessed or something. Honestly, I couldn't help but laugh...that doesn't happen everyday!

Our investigator Susana got baptized on Sunday! She was SO happy! And we had a problem I've never had before...the water ended up being boiling hot! So hot that neither her nor the guy who baptized her could get in the water. We normally have a problem with the water being ice cold! 

Overall we are seeing a lot of success here in our area. We are working harder than ever! We have honestly been able to see miracles here! It's amazing! Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers!

Hermana Ingram
Revolution Day Memorial in Central

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week 45 Happy Thanksgiving! December 1, 2014

¡Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias!

Thursday morning at about 9:00 my comp. and I met up with Hermana Benson and Nance and our convert Gerardo took us to meet up with the rest of the Hermanas at the mission offices.
20 Hermanas in one Combi
From the offices a combi (small Volkswagen bus taxi) picked all 20 of the Hermanas up and drove us to the President's house for a Thanksgiving Day dinner. Turkey, ham, rolls, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce...does it get any better?!

I was definitely a little sad knowing that my family was eating together in St. George...corn pudding, Lion House rolls, homemade pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin roll, etc.... But it's going to taste that much better next year! I brought my guitar with me and we all sat and sang...that was a blast! President Stutznegger and I played and sang "Para Bailar La Bamba" which was funny. My comp. is actually a really good singer so we spend a lot of time singing and playing.

Before leaving President Stutznegger gave us each a flu shot and we all packed back into the combi and headed to the Metro station. What a blast!!
The BEST mission presidents in the world!
Sunday we went to church, ate, and then came back to the church to prepare everything for Blanca and Rafael's baptism. Before the baptism ended, Blanca got up to share her feelings about the baptism and she couldn't help but cry. She kept saying that everything changed when the two "angeles" came into her life. She couldn't stop telling everyone how happy she was. It's truly amazing to see the happiness that the gospel brings people in their lives. And to be a first hand witness? Or better yet the means by which people find that happiness? There is literally nothing like it.

To be honest, the mission is absolutely exhausting. There are days when I wake up and wonder how in the world I'm going to continue this for another 6 months. Each day is tiring but amazingly we always manage to find a way to pull through. I can't believe I've been doing this for almost an entire year times it seems so robotic: wake up, exercise, shower, get ready, personal study, companionship study, language study, leave, teach and preach, eat, more teach and preach, go home, plan, study, go to bed, and repeat. Every single day. It's hard sometimes...but at the same time there isn't anything better I could be doing.

Well, I know it's a little late.. BUT since it was Thanksgiving I want to tell everyone how grateful I am for them. I'm grateful for my super awesome mom and all the things she does for me. She's practically wonder woman for crying out loud! My dad for being such a hard worker. My sister Hannah for being the craziest, funniest, most spontaneous sister in the world. My brother Harrison for his great smile! I've heard he's become quite the ladies man since I've been gone ;) My little brother Hayden for being the thoughtful kind kid he is. I'm SO grateful for my family! I'm grateful for a soft bed, hot showers, clean water, a stove, ice, cars, cleaning supplies, dish washers, refrigerators, running water, washers, dryers, trees, flowers, mountains, snow, EVERYTHING! The list could go on for miles! Don't forget to be grateful everyone!
Thanksgiving Dinner at the mission home

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 44 November 24, 2014

So guess what I picked up on Tuesday??!! A flute!!! I'm pretty excited about it...and the ward already wants me to do a musical number for I guess I'll do it ;)

Thursday we woke up early and headed over to the stake center. Elder Pieper (of the 70) came to tour the mission and we combined our zone with another to hear from him. He talked a lot about the priesthood, about how we can better prepare our converts to live with God one day. It doesn't end with baptism! Afterwards we were fed and I was chosen along with 9 other missionaries to meet with him. I was pretty excited. He basically asked me my reasoning behind serving a mission, what I liked most about being here, etc. He then told me to tell my parents "thank you" for letting me be here in the middle of Mexico City. So, mom and dad, Elder Pieper says, "Thank you!" Thanks for letting me be here and for raising me the way you did! If it weren't for you two, there's no way I would be here having the experience of a life time!
The squirrels have no fear
We finished the day by teaching some of our investigators. Remember Laura? The daughter of Ernesto and Maria Ayala (convert family)? Well, she's 7 months pregnant, has two daughters under the age of 8, and her husband just got put in jail for 5 years. A long time ago she told us she wanted nothing to do with us or the church...but right now she's an absolute wreck. We walked in, sat down with her, and she completely broke down in tears telling us that she couldn't do it anymore...that she'd rather take her life and just end the suffering. You know what's amazing? We, as representatives of Jesus Christ, are able to promise that by following Christ and doing our part, we can find an unimaginable happiness. And that's exactly what we did. We promised her those blessings. Now we're hoping and praying that this time she progresses!
Our investigator's son...He plays in a hard core rock band
Friday we spent most of the day preparing everything for Karime's baptism. We quickly taught a few investigators and headed to a member's house to help her make a cake. As we were making, or should I say,"decorating" the pre-made cake, she asked us if we had ever made a cake before. We replied "yes" and added that we usually made them from scratch and baked them in the oven. She stopped what she was doing, turned to us and said, "No. No. No. Girls, we live in modern times now. Technology allows us to be able to buy cakes that are already made. There is no need to waste our time making them ourselves." (in a "were you born in the cave man times" sort of tone) I thought it was pretty funny.
Karime's Baptism
We went to the church and started setting up for the baptism. While the font was filling up, we ran to the market and picked up some fresh flowers and a vase for the table display. I'm sure going to miss the convenience of this city! It ended up being a great baptism and Karime and her dad, Gerardo, were super happy.

Sunday every one of our investigators game to church and Irma, Ramón, and Karime all got confirmed! The ward was so happy! I seriously love this area and these people! The mission is great!

That's about it for this week. Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers! Love you all to the moon and back!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 43 Glad I'm Not an Elder ;) November 17, 2014

Monday was our last day as a zone (most of the zone got switched out including my district leader and zone leader) so we met in the morning to have a short meeting and take some pictures. We had a pretty normal P-day and at 7:00PM we headed to the stake enter for a ward FHE. We had competitions building towers out of spaghetti, a yard of string, tape and a marshmallow. We had 12 minutes to build it and whoever was able to put their marshmallow the highest on their tower won. I was put with some old ladies but we actually ended up winning! You would've thought they had won gold in the Olympics or something!
Picture of our zone before major changes 
Tuesday I officially completed 11 months in the mission! TIME FLIES! My comp. and I didn't have changes but decided to stop by to see how things went (changes are held in our church so it's just a 5 minute walk). Elder Hixon is officially my new district leader (he was in the MTC with us) and we are pretty excited about it. He's a really hard worker.

The other day one of our investigators called us to give us their email address. So, I pulled out a piece of paper and a pen and told her I was ready for her to spell it out for me. She began by describing shapes. I thought maybe she had misunderstood my question so I repeated, "Can you spell it out for me?" and she did the exact same thing. That's when I realized that she didn't know her letters by name...she knew them by shape. For example she was trying to tell me to write a "b" by telling me to draw a circle and then draw a line on the left side. Isn't that crazy?

Irma and Ramón both had their entrevistas on Wednesday and passed with flying colors!

You know what's super comforting? When you're walking through the streets of Mexico City at 8:00 at night and every old lady you see calls you over to tell you that you are for sure going to get robbed. What do you even say to that?! Ok thanks?? No worries....we haven't been assaulted...yet...;)
The dog named Guera (white girl) She's like the Mexican version of Chloe (Hailey's dog at home)
Friday was a LONG day. So a little background info: Thursday we passed for Irma and Ramón and they weren't home. So we passed later to check on them and Ramón answered the door. I asked him how he was and he seemed a little of to me. I asked if he was ready for Sunday (their baptism) and he replied, "Well I guess we'll see what happens in between now and Sunday." It freaked me out a little. We made an appointment the next day and I went home with a sort of uneasy feeling. Anyway, we met with them Friday, sat down, and Ramón pulled out some notes he had made and began asking us questions he had written down. He started asking some pretty controversial questions... He had been searching all sorts of things on the Internet with brought a ton of doubts. They went from being 100% sure to about 0% sure. Satan works so hard! I was pretty upset. After an hour and half...still no improvement. After all that work?! I was so upset that I walked to our next appointment without even saying a word. You can't even imagine the pure disappointment and frustration you feel as a missionary after something like that. We went and talked to the ward mission leader to tell him about what had happened. We taught a few more lessons and we both got the strongest impression that we should go back with Irma and Ramón and teach them the story of Peter walking on water. I called Irma to see if they were home and she informed me that Ramón had left and that he wouldn't be back until 10:30 that night. So, we decided not to go. While walking to our next appointment we once again got the strongest impression that we needed to go back to their house. So, we did. We knocked their door and Ramón answered. Turns out he had felt the need to come back from work (which he never does) . We knew that there had been a reason to go back! We went in, sang "I need thee every hour" and shared a message with them. We then added that faith requires knowledge and immediately Alma 32:21 came to mind "Faith is not a perfect knowledge of things" and that seemed to get to him. I then shared Ether 12:6 that talks about not receiving a testimony until after the trial of your faith. It seemed to work because he paused and said, "I'm losing the faith aren't I?" They both sat there sort of stunned. It's amazing how much the spirit helps you out in moments like those. After much thought they both decided that they would follow through with the baptism. It was a miracle and I left happier than ever. My comp. turned to me and jokingly said, "Why don't we just sleep over at their house? You know, to make sure nothing happens." I laughed because it actually was a pretty good suggestion. We got home absolutely exhausted but so grateful for how the day had turned out.

Saturday was another long but successful day. We headed over to a member's house and made some cool baptism programs for Sunday and after a few more visits we went to lunch. Immediately upon seeing the Elders we could tell that something was up. They told us about their very eventful morning: Apparently that morning they had gone to a house to clean it out for some new Elders that are going to come to the area. Elder G. walked into the bathroom to a toilet filled to the rim with months and months worth of old poop. The water didn't work in the toilet (most don't here) so he grabbed a bucket, filled it with water, and began pouring it down the toilet. Meanwhile, Elder H. decided to clean out the fridge and emptied 2 cartons of sour milk down the toilet as well. After emptying about 6 buckets full of water down the toilet, the problem was solved and the toilet was clean. No more than 5 minutes later came a knock at the door and the Elders opened to a not so happy family. "Our house is flooding!"....... Turns out the poop, the sour milk, the 6 buckets of water, and everything else they had flushed down the toilet had come rushing out of the drains in their house and had started to flood their house. That would explain exactly why they were just a little unhappy. So, Elder G. had to spend the next 3 hours cleaning a poop covered Mexican family's floor. And that's not even the worst part. To unclog the drain he had to stick his entire arm down a poop-filled pipe and pull out wads of toilet paper. I don't know how he did it...he's a real trooper. Elder G. left that house with poop splattered all over his white missionary shirt. The funny part of it all is that as we were recounting the story to the Lopez family, Hno. Lopez kept using the "s" word in place of "poop"...he had no idea it was a bad word. I was crying I was laughing so hard!
This week's service project...a mountain of dishes
Sunday was great. We started the day off with Stake Conference and all of our investigators showed up all by themselves. They broadcast the stake conference from the US and Elder Andersen spoke in Spanish to everyone. There was one point in his talk where he was quoiting someone and instead of saying "ohos" (eyes) he said "oyos" (holes). "She looked me straight in my holes and said..." Everyone in the congregation started laughing... Is that even allowed?! jaja Afterwards we headed to lunch and then to help Hermana Lopez make taquitos for our baptism. We then headed to the church to start to set up for the baptism. We set out chairs, tables, programs, flower arrangements, pictures of Jesus, music, etc. and waited for people to show up. Of course and by no surprise everyone showed up an hour late....but we ended up having about 50 people show up. Let me remind you that when I got here 6 months ago, only about 50 people showed up to sacrament meeting. Now, we have about 150 in sacrament meeting and 50 in a baptism! I am falling in love with this area. We're seeing miracles! And all of our investigators came to our baptism plus Irma's kids and extended family. It was awesome! What a great opportunity to share the gospel. An Hermana from the ward helped us out and picked up a picture of the temple to give them and they loved it.

Tianguis from above
I'm so happy!!! I can't even explain it! We are seeing so many miracles and we're seeing such a difference here. The mission really has changed my life in so many ways and I'm so grateful for the experiences I am having here.

Random thought: Remember the story about Moses and the staff and how if the people simply looked they would be healed? It was just too darn easy! Can you believe that some people refused to look and be healed?! They didn't believe it would do anything! But it did! Well, our day Moses isn't walking around with a serpent on a staff...BUT how many times have the prophets promised us blessings from doing even the smallest of things? Family scripture reading for example. Why don't we take 5 minutes out of our day to study the scriptures as a family or even individually? Can't you see how easy that is? But why don't we do it? Perhaps because it's just too easy? We think we don't have time? We had a long day at work and we're tired? We can come up with a million reasons why... Would we have lifted our heads and looked at the serpent on the staff in Moses' time?? We're missing out on thousands of promised blessings!

Until next you all!
Hermana Ingram
Huge carnival in our area to celebrate "Día de San Martín" a Catholic saint

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 42 Week of Milagros! November 10, 2014

Stairwell of the bell tower

Now for last week's adventure... We woke up early, got ready, and headed to Center. We walked to the metro station and got there just as Metro rush hour was beginning. You can't imagine how many people are on the metro at 8 in the morning. It is absolutely insane. People are plastered against the metro windows and walls...that's how squeezed in they are. I don't even know how they all fit to be honest! We made sure we went to the women only section and squeezed our way in. I've never been so grateful to be tall in all my life because I was about two heads taller than everyone and didn't have to be face to face with anyone. My comp on the other hand wasn't so fortunate... After a few stops we followed the crowd of thousands to the exit into Zocalo. Imagine being in a dark underground metro station with thousands of Mexicans, walking up a tunnel of stairs, and stepping into a bright, sunny, European scene of Zocalo. You feel like you're walking into a different world!! It's breathtaking. My purpose in going to center was to buy a new pair of shoes (all of mine had holes in them) but we decided to make the most of being in center by visiting a few places.
Bell tower of the main cathedral
We signed up for a tour of the Main Cathedral's bell towers and signed up at noon knowing that they would be ringing every bell. We climbed flights of ancient stairs and just before noon waited for the moment...the clock struck 12:00 and the bells (made in the 1500s) started ringing. It's pretty awesome because you feel like your insides are shaking or something.
Mariachi's everywhere!
We made sure to go and see the angel of independence too. I was able to find a pair of Toms and I love them! Near the angel we found a little area called Garivaldi which is famous for their Mariachi bands. To get the full experience I'm sure you have to go in the night but we were able to find a Mariachi and they played us the song "Cielito Lindo". I LOVE MARIACHI BANDS!!
Comida in Zocalo on the balcony. Pasta!! Real Food!!!
We headed back to Zocalo looking for a place to eat and got attacked by about 10 different men begging us to come to their restaurant. We ended up eating at a restaurant on the balcony of a 5 story building with a perfect view of Zocalo and the main cathedral. It was perfect. Sadly, the day had to end and we headed back home and to a zone meeting. But a great adventure!!!
Angel de Independencia
Wednesday we had a meeting with Hermana Stutznegger and all of the Sister missionaries and it went pretty well. I want to get it into the heads of the sisters here that we have such a huge potential and that we shouldn't settle for good! We can be great!! It's not easy...but SO possible!! We've got to go for the extra mile here!

Friday was awesome. We started the day by visiting our investigators which is my favorite thing on earth. We at lunch and then headed to the church to start filling up the font. As we were walking I called the bishop to see if someone would meet me with the keys and the baptismal clothes and to open the closet to turn on the water. He paused and told me that he had given the keys to his secretary and that he had left to Veracruz for the weekend and that he didn't know what to tell me. Frustrating. I called the other ward and they too had traveled to Veracruz to go to the temple. That's when I started to panic. How in the world was I supposed to fill up the font?! We got there, opened up the church and God had answered my prayers...for the fist time ever the closet was unlocked...I could finally breathe. I called some Elders and they were able to bring me clothes. We set up chairs, set out programs we had made, played hymns and waited for everyone to arrive. Everyone showed up, we got Gerardo and Pedro (the man who was going to baptize him) changed, took pictures, and right as we were about to start, the ward mission leader showed up and said we weren't going anywhere until Pedro showed him a current temple recommend. (I had already checked that part.) So we had to wait an entire hour for Pedro to drive home and grab his temple recommend. He showed it and we were finally able to start. I wasn't very happy...but prayed for patience with that man. The baptism was by far the best baptism I've had yet. My comp gave a musical number (A Poor Wayfaring Man), we had a few messages, he got baptized, I shared a message while we waited, he came back (everyone had tears in their eyes the spirit was so strong), he shared his thoughts, and we ended with mole sandwiches that Hna. Lopez had made. I have never felt so happy about a baptism yet. The bishop and ward mission leader weren't happy about it being on a week day and told us that no one would show up. I took that as a challenge and a TON of people ended up being there including 4 investigators. Yes!!!!
Bautismo de Gerardo
Friday night after the baptism we headed to Yina's house and got to work chipping away the paint on her walls. I love service projects!! While we worked she made Atoli de chocolate and we were able to sneak out and buy bread for everyone to go with the atoli. What a great day.
Scraping paint service project
Saturday we left the house at about 8:30 AM and headed to Irma's house to pick them up and go to get them married. We took the metro to go to Los Reyes. We arrived and entered a government building, went up some stairs, and found the section called Matrimionios (decorated with bride and groom Barbie and Ken...not at all tacky). They sat down and filled out paperwork in front of a very serious type-writing lady. We needed 4 witnesses so we went out into the streets on the search for 4 willing strangers. We had a lot of luck and the first family we asked accpeted and came with us. We began talking to them and turns out they were members! What are the odds?! So they each signed the 20 sum odd papers and added their fingerprints. They were so happy. We entered the judge's room and he continued by interrogating them to make sure they knew what they were getting themselves into and that they were doing it for the right reasons and officially married them as husband and wife. Right before they kissed the judges phone went off with some hipster Mexican was just like a movie!
Wedding of Irma and Ramón
We headed back to the Metro and as we were waiting Ramon commented on how excited he was to be able to get married in a year in the temple. That completely caught me of guard! We haven't even talked about baptism with him! I told him he had to get baptized and he said, "Well of course! When can I and what do I have to do?!" I told him he could get baptized with his wife and he said, "absolutely!" Irma was SO happy and gave him the biggest most excited hug ever. I've never quite put a baptismal date like that but it was awesome! Miracles!! Later in the day I ran into Gerardo (the guy who had just gotten baptized) and he stopped me and said, "You want to know something? There may be a storm sometimes but the calm always comes daughter wants to get baptized. What does she have to do?" I couldn't believe it. I thought there was no way we'd ever see that girl get baptized! More miracles!

We headed to ward council yesterday morning and the ward mission leader finally said the words I've been waiting so long to hear "Our future leaders of the ward aren't going to come from the members with a lot of time...they're going to come from the converts of Hermana Ingram." He continued by telling us thank you for our work and how he has really seen a difference in the ward. I couldn't help but shed a few tears. After all the hard times with that man, all the prayers I've said, all of the!! All of our investigators showed up to church yesterday which always for some reason makes me tear up. Gerardo got confirmed. And, after church we met up with our investigators and some members to go to the temple. We got there at 4:00 and everyone showed up but Irma and Ramón. I called Irma and she told me that they weren't coming anymore that they had gotten into a fight and that Ramón didn't want anything to do with the church anymore. What!!?? I talked Irma into coming without her husband and sat there confused. I got the impression that I should call again and talk to Ramón and he answered and I was able to talk him into coming too. Irma got to the church first and started crying. I felt really bad for her. Ramón showed up and you could tell he was sad too. It kind of freaked me out. Satan works so hard!!! Anyways, I went with Irma and Ramón with the relief society president and my comp went with the others. We all got there in one piece and we took a tour of the visitor's center (all 6 of the investigators that came LOVED it) and afterwards we let them all do their own thing. They couldn't get enough of it. After few hours we gathered everyone up and headed back to the big Christ. They all looked happy as ever. As we were leaving Ramón stopped me with his arm around Irma and said, "The peace is back. Don't worry Hermana Ingram, we are going to prepare ourselves to get married in that building," as he pointed to the temple. YES!!! What a great day!
Temple trip with investigators
The mission is amazing. You literally see miracles! Hard work and obedience ALWAYS pays off!! I love you all! I can definitely feel your thoughts and prayers!!

Hermana Ingram
Skulls from Dia de los Muertos

Latino Americano building

Angel de Independencia

Bell tower bell

Bella Artes

Left over dis de los muertos in Centro
Mariachi man