Monday, June 30, 2014

Week 24 World Cup y mas June 30, 2014

Familia Lopez
Just another week in...La Ciudad de México!

What a LOOOOONNNNGGG week! The only thing we've been doing is buscando, buscando, and some more buscando. But we found 4 new investigators out of all of that searching so I guess you could say it was worth it!

We've been contacting like CRAZY! We are supposed to contact 15 per day but some days we end up with 20 or more. Contacting is definitely a test of your faith because out of the 80 or so people we talk to in a week, only about 35 end up even accepting an appointment, and maybe 3 end up progressing. Reasons: people give us fake addresses, say they don't have time for us, men just wanting to flirt with 2 white americans...I could go on and on. BUT...this week 2 of our new investigators came from contacts.

Belen: She lives on one of the "peligrosa" streets (one of our most dangerous streets in the area that we avoid walking down past 7:00PM). We were walking home one night when I got the feeling that we should knock some of the doors. One door in particular really stood out and I remember a younger girl answering the door wearing a long sleeved shirt. I remember noticing that her hands were covered in tattoos and her face with piercings and thinking, "I want to help this girl out." She told us that she didn't have time for us but that we could come back "otro día". It was the same old other day excuse that we hear all too often but I had a feeling that we needed to be really persistent with her. We returned day after day after day...and...nothing. It wasn't until this week that she finally agreed to come with us to the church for a lesson where she accepted a baptismal invitation and a date (we invite people to be baptized in the first lesson and set a date [3 to 5 weeks later] in the second). I knew there was a reason we weren't supposed to give up on her!

Sunday was SO stressful! Let me rephrase...Sundays are ALWAYS stressful! But...we knew this one would be worse...because we knew the World Cup game would start exactly when church services would start...which would mean that attendance would take a nose dive. We checked Saturday night that all of our investigators would be at church the next day. Sunday came, not only did our investigators not show up, the whole ward didn't even show up! So...we left after sacrament meeting in search for a miracle. We couldn't find our investigators so...I decided to knock on an old contact's door and see if he would come to church with us in the spur of the moment. And...he came!! And after church he accepted a baptismal date too!

World Cup here in Mexico is like the Super Bowl game in the United States x 1,000,000! You don't even have to be watching the game to know who's winning and what the score is because when Mexico scores you can literally hear a roar of cheers coming from all of Mexico cheering at the same time and a series of fire works. It's insane! And when they win...boy do they celebrate! EVERYONE (men, women, and children) leave their homes and they all gather and party for the rest of the night. When they lose...well that's another story...the entire country of Mexico is grumpy! And they all get DRUNK DRUNK DRUNK...probably to drown out their sorrows or something. It was a blast contacting Sunday night...we had a few drunk grown men cry to us about the game...they insisted we give them a message from God to help them out...hilarious! haha

Rogilio: Rogilio actually contacted us. Normally any man that contacts us does it for the same reason: to flirt. But he asked us if we were "mensajeras de Dios" and told us he wanted to hear our message. He couldn't meet with us until the next week so we set an appointment and went on our way. He's the man we passed for on Sunday who came to church with us last minute.

The Lopez family just keep getting better and better! We got permission to go to the temple with them on Saturday and it only strengthened their desire to be baptized. (The main reason they wanted to go was to buy a hymn book and scriptures) We got to take a tour of the visitors center and the whole family was crying by the end of it...they are golden!
It's when I find people like them that I realize that maybe there really is a reason I'm on a mission! They're like my little Mexican family!

But that's all for this week! I love you all to the moon and back! Keep up the good work!


Hermana Ingram

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 23 GOLDEN June 23, 2014

Hola familia y amigos!

Another week came and went! Time really does fly on the mission!
Not much happened this week...

Our recent convert, Liliana,  got confirmed this Sunday (which just so happened to be her birthday). She was super excited that she got to get the gift of the Holy Ghost on her birthday...she kept telling us that it was the greatest gift anyone could have given her on her birthday.
We bought Liliana a cake for her birthday. She was BEYOND happy!
We´ve mostly spent the week searching for new investigators...which means a lot of contacting in the streets and a lot of door-knocking. The tricky part is getting people to actually listen and accept an appointment! The women usually just keep walking saying, ¨otro día¨. The men on the other hand....well....they REALLY want to hear from us (if you know what I mean) haha. When we knock doors we get a lot of people that open their door, see us, cross themselves, mumble a few words about the Virgin Mary, and slam the door in our faces...ya we've gotten really used to that and for some reason it cracks me up every time. haha.

The other day we were walking to an appointment with some investigators and we were running a little late. We were walking along a narrow side walk so we were forced to walk in a single file line....and we were booking it. I got to the house, stopped, turned around, and my companion was NO WHERE in sight... My heart sank and I quickly got out the phone, ready to call my district leader. My first thought was that she had been stolen and I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to have to call my mission president and tell him that I had lost my companion! I started walking back to where I came from...3 blocks...and nothing. She was GONE! I kept walking and walking literally about to have a panic attack...and that's when I saw her...she was talking to a few people on the street. Apparently the people had gotten her attention while we were walking and asked her who we were and what we did. She had tried to get my attention but I hadn't heard her and had went on my way... haha. She assumed that in a few minutes I would turn around and notice...little did she know I would continue walking for another 8 blocks before I noticed! As we walked back to the investigator's house, the people across the street were laughing and yelling "you thought you lost her didn't you!" They had seen the whole thing play out...and I bet they could tell I was absolutely panicked..haha.
Mole: This is a very traditional plate here in Mexico. Corn tortillas covered in mole, chicken, cheese, and crema (kind of like sour cream) There are a lot of different types of mole. This is brewn mole and it's made out of a bout 20 different types of ground cup chili and, if it's brown, the key ingredient is chocolate....yes, I said chocolate. It takes a few tries to get used to but I've grown to really like it. 
It is definitely the rainy season here! It starts at about 5:00PM and doesn't end until the next morning at about 6:00AM. You'd think it would slow down the work but it's actually pretty helpful. Who doesn't want to let two wet, cold, suffering, white girls in their house?? And even better....we come with a life-changing message! haha

We started teaching the Family Lopez about 2 weeks word: GOLDEN. For example: their entire family came to church this Sunday and as I was setting up chairs for class the mom came up to me with a tithing slip and asked me to explain to her how to fill it out. P.S. we haven't taught them tithing quite yet. I explained it to her but told her that she didn't need to worry about it until after her baptism...she looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Los diezmos son importantes! Es un mandamiento! Vamos a pagar nuestro diezmo!" (Tithes are important! It is a commandment! We will pay our tithing!) They are amazing! They're the type of people that make all the hard times in the mission totally worth it!

That's about all for this week. I love you all to the moon and back! Keep up the good work!

¡Viva México!

Hermana Ingram

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 22 Trabajan Duro! June 16, 2014

Hermana Bennett and Hermana Ingram
¡Hola de la Cuidad de México¡

This week was pretty awesome!

We have been carrying around with us a list of about 100 less actives in our ward and every day we try to search for at least two of them. The majority of the people no longer live in the area but it´s good because we end up contacting the new families in the houses. They other day we passed for a less active that we have never been able to find but with a lot of luck she ended up letting us in her home. She had an afro of blonde curly hair and was wearing more gold rings, bracelets, and necklaces, than I have ever seen. We sat down, presented ourselves, and she followed by giving us her life story. She went on to tell us that she had left the church because she had started practicing witch craft and that she was practicing "magica blanca" (white magic). That was the last thing I expected her to say. When she offered to show us some of her magic....that's when we packed our bags and got out of there! Hopefully we'll be able to get the local witch to come back to church!

Every one thinks I'm from Brazil here! It's crazy! We contacted a lady sitting in the street the other day and she immediately started busting up laughing. I thought she would get over it but she laughed for a good 5 minutes straight. I guess she thought that we were from Spain and had really weird Spanish accents. The whole time we were talking to her, tears of laughter were streaming down her face. As we walked away we could still here her laughing for a good couple hundred feet...oh the people we run into... We also got followed by a drunk man on a bike yesterday. I knew he was drunk because he was all over the road and about every 30 seconds he would crash or just fall over like a stiff board and laugh really hard about it. It was hilarious.
The view down my street
We've been able to find a lot of less active families this past week; one of which is the Contreras Family. We had been stopping by their house everyday for a week without any luck when finally they answered and we were invited in. We got to know them better, presented ourselves, and taught about faith. We made another appointment for the next day and decided to teach them about keeping the sabbath day holy (they hadn't been to church in over 5 years). We came back the next day and the entire family was standing out in the middle of the street waiting for us. Usually we knock and everyone hides! haha Or a little kid answers and says, "My mom and dad told me to tell you that they aren't here right now..." haha We taught el día de reposo and tied it into the end of the lesson every family member was crying. The dad, with tears running down his cheeks, shook my hand and said, "Vamos a ir a la capilla cada domingo hasta que nosotros morimos. Gracias." It was really great to see the entire family at church yesterday with big smiles on their faces. Did I mention we had a full chapel again?? 30 menos activos!

We've been teaching a 14 year-old girl named Liliana and her baptismal date was for Sunday. Saturday we set everything up with the ward mission leader so that there would be water in the font and baptismal clothes and invited all of the members in the ward. Everything was good and ready to go. We talked to her Saturday night reminding her to bring her things and went back to the apartments. The next day, we left early and passed by for our investigators and walked them all to church. When we got there and looked to see who was in the congregation I immediately noticed that Liliana wasn't there. That's when one of the members walked up to me and told me that when she had gone to pass by for Liliana that morning, Liliana had told her that she had a sore throat and that she wasn't going to get baptized that day. My heart sank... Everything was prepared! I went and sat down with our investigators trying to act like I was happy. After the first hour I went outside and called my district leader to tell him what had happened. He told me that I needed to go to Liliana's house and get her to the church and to do whatever it took to get her there. When we got to Liliana's house we knocked on the door and her little brother answered, telling us that Liliana couldn't talk to us because she was sick and asleep. We told him it was SUPER important and he went back in the house to try and get her up for us. Two minutes later, the mom came stomping up to us....ANGRY. (The mom is practically anti) She angrily told us that Liliana was sick and to never come back...EVER! I wasn't even going to try and reason with that lady! I called the district leader again and he told me not to worry..Liliana was going to get baptized. After church the elders came to the church and we went back to Liliana's house....I was scared out of my mind! We knocked on the door and Liliana answered. The elders gave her a blessing to help her feel better and we started to talk to her and her dad about her baptism...for WHOLE HOURS! The answer was the, no, and no. I thought that there was no way she was going to get baptized...we all knelt down and said one last prayer. When we ended the prayer, her and her dad both said, "Let's go...right now...Liliana is getting" I have no idea what changed...but we gathered up all of the neighbors and friends possible and took 3 taxis out to the church and had a baptism. What a miracle! Stressful but awesome!!! You know what I'm looking forward to most about being home in a year? Peaceful Sundays! haha
Liliana's Baptism
I'm feeling a little bit like an outcast here right now. I'm pretty sure my comp and I are the only people in all of Mexico who aren't watching the world cup, wearing Mexico soccer jerseys, and drinking beer. Every house and every store has their TV showing the world cup at all hours of the day. Have you ever tried to ask a Mexican to turn their TV off for a lesson about God? Well, if you haven't...I wouldn't suggest trying it!

¡Es todo por esta semana pero muchísimas gracias por toda! Continúen a seguir adelante! ¡Trabajan duro! ¡Les amo!


Hermana Ingram

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 21 Hallelujah! June 9, 2014

First haircut on my mission.....and yes, that is a man :)

This week has been great! We've been finding a lot of new people recently who are pretty interested in our message.

Isabel and Samuel are an older couple that live in one of the most dangerous areas in my area (we are recommended not to walk down their street at all). So, when we teach them we usually try and dress in our simplest clothes and make sure to take all of our jewelry off...we've been fine so far so I guess it's working. The first time we taught them we taught the restoration and I started talking about prophets and how we have a prophet today named Thomas S. Monson when Samuel stood up, walked across the room, and brought back with him a book. He sat down, opened the book, and turning to his wife began listing off the prophets in the Bible. He finished listing them off and said, "But they're all dead! But listen....they might be dead but we have a living prophet today..." Then he very slowly and intensely said, "Thomas....S......Monson..." It was actually pretty funny and totally made our week.
In front of my new apartment
Sunday, an 18 year old boy named Martin showed up to church, dressed in rags, saying that he wanted to see what it was like. He stayed for all three hours and we set up an appointment with him for that night. Later that night, he showed up to our lesson dressed in a tuxedo! In my mind I was thinking, "He might as well get baptized tomorrow!" We finished the lesson and asked him when we could teach him again only to be told that he wanted absolutely nothing to do with the church, that he was catholic, and that he wasn't about to change. I was shocked... This Sunday we were sitting in sacrament meeting and guess who showed up? Martin. He stayed for all three hours and after church he came up to talk to us. In just a week he had read half of the book of Mormon and said something I never expected him to say: "I know that this is the true church. What do I need to do to be baptized?" I could barely speak I was so surprised!
For the first time on my mission I actually have hot water!
I think we might've found our 'Familia de Oro'...knock on wood! We've been trying to get a hold of them for 2 weeks and finally got to teach them. We got talking and I felt prompted to bring up eternal families. The whole family started crying..and the spirit was SO strong in that room. They couldn't come to church this week but said that they will come the next week as a family. I'm really crossing my fingers on this one!

I had to give another talk this week! Every time I come into a new area I get asked to give a talk...apparently they like to pick on the tall Americana! I'm not going to lie though...I am starting to actually like giving talks...but don't get any ideas back at home ;)

The other day we were walking in the streets when we passed a very sad looking man. He got our attention and we went over to talk to him. He asked us if we preached the word of God and when we said yes his face lit up and he told us he had a few friends down the road that would love to listen to us. We agreed and cautiously followed him. I never thought I would be able to say that I have stood in front of 30 old Mexican men and preached the word of God...but now I can cross that one off the list. As I was talking to them all, I looked up and saw a sign that read: Alcoholics Anonymous. Definitely a first....what an experience...I felt like I was in a movie or something because every time I paused a "Hallelujah!!!" would leave the crowd. Hilarious!

Our goal every day is to contact at least 15 people in the streets. We contact all kinds of people...families, teenagers, drunks, name it. Yesterday I saw an older lady (probably in her 70's) and decided to talk to her. As I got done introducing myself and presenting the Book of Mormon my companion began to talk. She finished and the lady grabbed my comp by both of her shoulders, started shaking her back and forth, and yelled, "I don't speak your language!!!!" She turned around and slowly walked away. We got a big kick out of it!

We had a super awesome Family Home Evening the other night. We had planned it for a family of 5 but when we showed up they had invited 4 other families. We all squeezed into a 10x10' room and watched the restoration video, played a few games, and finished with hotcakes topped with Lechera. What a blast! And the best part is is that they haven't been to church in 6 months but came this week!

My first Sunday here we only had about 30 people attend church. I talked to one of the active members and he told me that that was normal but that 2 years ago they had an average of 150 members in the church every Sunday. There is a mountain of less actives in this area and it has been a goal of mine to get them to church. This Sunday we had almost 70 people in the church and the members couldn't believe it...we are seeing milagros!

That's all for this week! ¡Les extraño muchísimo!

Hermana Ingram 
My bed is the one on the right

Our family room/study area

The kitchen: I feel like I've moved from Motel 6 to the Marriott or something

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 20 I Love my Mission! June 2, 2014

Hola amigos y familia!

We had cambios this week! My last week in my area was bien chafa... The president called and told us that he was going to close our area to Hermanas and put in Elders. He told us we needed to spend the week looking for a house for the Elders. So...that's what we did...we walked every street in our area searching for a house for rent only to get a call the next morning from the president saying that we didn't need to look for a house anymore... He told us we needed to sell the mattresses, fumigate the house, and scrub every square inch of the house with bleach to kill any chinchi eggs. So, we went out into the streets looking for anyone that wanted to buy our mattresses when we heard the famous jingle coming from a truck 'colchones....estufas...lavadoras...' (men that drive the streets looking for anyone selling old stuff). We flagged them down and asked if they would be able to stop by later but they told us they wouldn't be able to but that if we wanted we could hop in and go grab the mattresses right then. So, two of the men hopped into the bed of the truck (along with 2 elders) and we rode to the house up front with the friendly driver with the all too famous 'colchones!' in the background. We ended up selling our two brand new but chinchi infested mattresses for 10 pesos each. Later, our house got fumigated and we spent the next 3 hours scrubbing the house down with bleach...what a process...
Selling Mattresses
Remember our "perdoname!" investigator Isabel? She hunted me down! I came out of church Sunday and there she was coming towards me with her arms outstretched. I couldn't believe it...she then gave me a hug and started bawling begging me to come back... How she found me? I have no idea... But we talked for awhile and I invited her to continue to listen to the missionaries in her area.

We had a funeral for the "Señora Mendoza" this week and let me tell was hilarious.

Sunday I still had no idea where I was getting moved to or who my companion would be. I got a call that night from my zone leaders saying that I would be going with Hermana Bennett in Neza. 6 weeks in the Distrito Federal and they're booting me back out to the boonies!

Monday (my last day in my area) a family took Hermana Mendoza and I to breakfast to the nicest restaurant I have ever seen (in Mexico that is). I felt so weird being there! I felt like I didn't know how to act! They brought out the menu and everything was at least 50 pesos...(it felt like a fortune to me when in reality it's only 5 bucks...I must be getting used to living in the ghetto). That night we headed over to a member's house to have a little going away party for Hermana Mendoza. I felt the spirit so strong as they each bore their testimonies and as Mendoza did her going away schpeel. It was then that I first realized that I love my mission. For the past 5 months I haven't been able to say that...but now I can. There is nothing that can compare to serving a mission!
Saying Goodbye to Members in Distrito Federal
Saying Goodbye to Hermana Mendoza
My new companion is Hermana Bennett and she's from Boston. We left the MTC at the same time. She is 23 years old and has already graduated from BYU. We're pretty different (she's more serious than I am) but that just means that I've got to bring the party to Neza! And I am still the senior companion. 
Flooding in the Streets
The rainy season has begun! It rained for a solid 5 hours Friday...and it rained HARD! And it didn't matter if we used umbrellas or not because we got soaked regardless. We got to the church when it started raining and when we left 30 minutes later there was an inch of rain water covering the church floors. We trekked our way through the lake of a parking lot and headed to our area where we picked up one of our investigators for a baptismal interview. A little background on our investigator: Her name is Rosa and she is 19 years old. When I got to this area I thought "Who could we baptize this week?" They had been teaching her for a solid 5 months straight and she wasn't all. My companion told me it wasn't worth visiting her anymore and that we needed to drop her. But she kept coming to my mind in the I told my comp we were going to visit her. I set up an appointment with her the next day to have one more baptismal interview (she had already had 2). Anyways...back to the story...we jumped into a convi only to hop out 20 minutes later because the roads had turned into rivers and no cars could drive. We finished the walk to the chapel wading through water and cars. I have never seen anything like it. What happens is that when it rains enough here, the garbage in the streets clog up the city's drainage system and as long as it keeps on raining, the water keeps building and building. People's houses were flooded with a foot or more of water and all they could do was wait it out. There were miles and miles of cars on the roads that weren't able to drive anymore....CRAZY!

Soooo....I'm here to testify that miracles do happen! Rosa got baptized the next day in a font filled with ice cold water. Woo hooo!!!
Hermana Ingram, Rosa, and Hermana Bennett
My comp and I are working harder than ever right now and people are listening. We're seeing miracles everyday. Hard work and exact obedience pays off! 
We celebrated with cake!
Les extraño muchísimo! Gracias por sus oraciones y pensamientos! Espero que tengan una semana de éxito!

Con amor,
Hermana Ingram