Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 36 September 29, 2014

First things first....HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I woke up a little sad not being able to celebrate with my mom on her birthday. I miss that lady like crazy and I was wishing I was able to call her and tell her. I yelled it from the streets of Mexico...I hope you heard my birthday shout mom ;) I just want to let the whole world know that I have an AWESOME mom. And I hate to break it to ya'll... but she's the best one out there...sorry. She has always been there for me through the highs and lows. YOU ROCK MOM! Never ever ever ever forget that I love you. I love you to pluto and back mom. Thanks for everything you do for have no idea how much you mean to me. I love you soooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!!!! And don't 8 months I'll give you the biggest birthday hug ever!!
Some little girls playing dress-up and having a tea party. I thought it was so cute.
Early Monday morning we woke up and went and played basketball with the Elders in our ward. They had been talking about it all they were going to kick my trash. They bet me Coke that they would win. Trash talk all you want! I might've egged it on a bit but you know what I think? The more they trash talk the more it hurts when Hermana Ingram beats them. So, I grabbed my basketball, soccer ball, and tennis ball and met them at the church to play. Let's just say that the trash talk paid hurt extra bad when they lost. All in all it was a ton of fun and I left 2 Cokes richer.

Tuesday we started teaching another member of the Ayala family; Alejandra and she seems to be progressing really well. I know for sure that some day that whole family will get baptized. We went with the Mariscal Family (the family we baptized last Sunday) and apparently their 2 little girls play "Ingram and Bennett" or in other words they pretend to be us. They repeatedly say "Ummm" and "Wow!" and try to imitate our American accents. They don't do it around us but when we leave they act like us all day. Perla (the mom) told us that they sit down at night with the Book of Mormon and pretend to teach lessons (with accents). It's super cute. But...I think I need to stop saying "Umm" and "Wow" so much...
Coconut ice cream that they make in the estado de puebla
Wednesday I started my day off talking to the ward 'bruja' (witch)...not a good way for me to start off the day. Apparently she is practicing other philosophies right now which include white magic and who knows what else. She asked me if I would like to become a latter day prophet like her...I replied, "Nope!" The things that witches say sometimes...;)
View from one of the roof tops
We got to watch the women's conference Saturday broadcast at the church! It's amazing how much my attitude has changed...before my mission watching conference was something I HAD to it's something I GET to do. It's a HUGE blessing! How often do we get to see a prophet of God and his apostles speak?! I remember walking to the church that night thinking, "Wow...these people in the streets don't know what they are missing! An apostle of God on the Earth today is about to talk to us and they have no idea!" It was even crazier to think that my mom was there at the women's conference. I'm sure everyone was wondering why I was staring at the screen so intensely...I wanted to see my mom! Unfortunately I didn't see her...but it was worth the try and I felt her presence! Note: Don't take even the smallest things for granted! We are BLESSED!

Anyways...I love you all! Thanks for everything you do for me! I can feel your thoughts and prayers! Also, don't forget to watch conference! Love you all!


Hermana Ingram
Sneak peek of next week's email...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 35 Feliz Cumpleaños! September 22, 2014

Monday, after writing home, we headed to the Ayala Family’s house for some of Maria’s famous pozole. She had a HUGE pot of Pozole sitting on the stove and a bucket of cooked meat which included just about every part of a pig, head, ears, snout, brain, tongue, organs, etc. My comp. was practically dry heaving at the sight of it. But we ate it! I told her that the only difference about eating this pozole was that we saw beforehand the meat that went into it. I reminded her that it has always been there...we just weren’t as aware! Tip for those of you planning to travel to Mexico: NEVER ask what it is you’re eating. Trust’s better not to know.

Later Monday night we headed to the Lopez’s house to celebrate independence. They hung up a huge sign that said “Welcome to My Casa” in honor of us four Americans. We ate food and then went outside and had a huge foam fight. I actually didn’t want to get involved until I got surprised attacked from behind and completely covered. Game on.

They also were setting off fireworks and kept trying to make me set some off. I kept telling them no and that I couldn’t (fireworks are against mission rules) but they kept replying “trust us!”. (They didn’t understand that I literally wasn’t allowed to.) It was so tempting...but obedience is more important to me right now. We walked home dodging firework missiles and homemade bombs along the way and made it to our house in one piece. It felt like we were in a war zone or something. We slept to the sound of bombs going off until almost 4:00 in the morning. And it wasn’t just a few here and there, rather a constant explosion. I’ve never heard anything like it.

little boy at family Lopez house dressed up like a Mexican for independence day...super cute

We woke up the day after Independence day to a DEAD Mexico City. There wasn’t a single soul in the street. Literally. The streets were COVERED in firework ash and garbage. I felt like I was in a ghost town. The few people who we did see in the streets were either passed out drunk guys or little kids setting off leftover fireworks. My comp. and I were knocking doors when we noticed a group of about 10 little 8 year-old boys gathered around a hole in the street. As we got close, they all took off running as fast as they could with their hands over their ears and left my comp and I two feet away from the hole. I immediately did the same, knowing that at any second I was going to hear an explosion. I thought the kids would stop running after a few hundred feet but they just kept on going which let me know that this wasn’t your ordinary firecracker. You can imagine the sight: two American sister missionaries sprinting down the streets, ears covered, along with about 10 little Mexican boys. About a minute later I turned around to see a HUGE explosion which sent pieces of the road flying in every direction. It was so loud that even with my ears plugged my ears were left ringing. I could literally feel the explosion shake my insides...THAT’S how big it was. Another know the joy you feel when you go to a firework show and see the fireworks get shot into the sky followed by an explosion of sparkling colors?? Well that feeling quickly changes to fear when that same firework is shot HORIZONTALLY at you down the streets of Mexico. The things that happen here..

While walking through the street on Wednesday, I got stopped by a Marimba band on the street. They stopped me and asked me what song I wanted them to play. Normally you have to pay them to play but they were offering it to me for free. I told them to play me their best and they sang me some sort of romantic love song…benefits of being a tall white girl I guess. Thursday I ran into them again...this time they took it to a whole new level. The lead man gave me 2 of his band’s CDs and I took a picture with him in front of his Volkswagen bus. It was pretty awesome. He then continued by indiscreetly asking me to marry him...he’s probably in his 60s... It was worth the 2 CDs though! I won’t be able to listen to them for another 9 months but I can wait:)

Well folks...I’m 20...I’m officially a viejita.... But glad to start a new chapter of my life…full of adventures and new opportunities. THE DECADE OF DECISIONS! I woke up to a great surprise on Friday morning. Hermana Bennett had set out a bunch of balloons and candy on my desk. Each balloon had a letter of my last name with words that described me. She also spelled out a big 20 in candy.
It was a great surprise and made me feel better about being away from home during my birthday. During study she also surprised me with a homemade cheesecake she had made in the night with “20”candles and sang Happy Birthday. I got a bunch of calls from our converts and some of the other Sister missionaries.

The President made the trip out to my area and brought me the birthday package my mom had sent. He was so nice to go out of his way to bring that to me. He is the greatest mission president ever. We are lucky here in Mexico City Southeast! I was SUPER excited to open my package. It had everything to make my birthday one to remember...I especially loved the hand written letters from my family! You all mean the world to me! We headed back out to work and then headed to the Lopez Family’s house to eat. We sat down and ate a delicious dinner, and they brought out a GINORMOUS cake. They sang, I blew out the candles, and cut the first piece. As part of tradition I had to get my face stuffed into my piece. They then brought me a bag with a few gifts. They are seriously my family away from home.

Mom sent me some party supplies...we studied in style this week

Yesterday night I got a call from the Ayala family wondering why we were late to their appointment...we were about 5 minutes late...and it was odd. (Here in Mexico NO ONE is on time for ANYTHING. When you make an appointment for 4:00 that’s actually code for getting that call was pretty weird.) We ran over there really quickly and when I got there they all started talking to me in the hallway...they NEVER do that. I started to walk towards the kitchen and they quickly stopped me and said to wait because they were cleaning the table (which has never mattered). That’s when I knew that something was up. They made me close my eyes and sit down at the table...that’s when music started up and they started singing. I opened my eyes to see a cake in front of me. Best surprise ever! That family is the best. Of course the two 7 and 8 year-old girls insisted on stuffing my face into the cake and they got a big kick out of it. We ate cake and they brought out drawings they had made and a little stuffed animal. It’s amazing how you can grow to love people in such little time. I know for a fact that buying that cake was a HUGE sacrifice for them. They don’t have anything...they barely have enough money to eat. It meant a lot to me. I absolutely love the people here.

Saturday we ate lunch with a lady named Nelly. She’s a bigger lady in a wheel chair and she’s SUPER nice and has turned out to be one of my favorite members here. I was helping her dish out the food in her kitchen when I noticed a little Rubbermaid container full of little black specks sitting on the table. Curiosity got the best of me and I lifted the lid to get a better look...thousands of little black beetles. It was GROSS! I asked her what they were for...she eats them! She told me that they have healing powers and that she eats 6 beetles a day...she offered me some but I politely told her that I didn’t need any “healing powers” at the moment.

Later Saturday night the ward put on an activity at the church. We brought all of our investigators and got permission to stay for a bit. It was a blast! We played volleyball and soccer and they set up a dance floor. Of course we didn’t dance but I LOVE watching Mexicans dance. Our investigators LOVED it.

Woke up on Sunday, got ready, and headed over the Mariscal Family’s house to take them to church. When we got there, Vidal (the dad) was standing outside the house. I shook his hand and with a disappointed look on his face he told me that he wasn’t going to be able to go to church, and that he had to work. Typical Sunday be honest I almost started crying... Things like that ALWAYS happen! I had to stand there and talk to him 20 minutes about his decision. He was absolutely torn. Go to work and eat, or go to church and risk going hungry as a family. FINALLY he decided to come to church...PHEW! That was a close one! All went well and Perla and Vidal got baptized. Afterwards Vidal pulled me aside and thanked me for not letting him go to work. He was very sincere. It was really sweet. Vidal actually ended up getting baptized 5 times because his feet kept coming out of the water. Elder Hunsaker ended up having to get in with them and hold Vidal’s feet down while the bishop dunked him. You do whatever it takes! It’s amazing to see the sacrifices the people make here to change their lives around. We can all take that as a HUGE example!

We taught the Mariscal family the other day and as we were ending I asked if they knew anyone that would benefit from having the gospel in their lives. She mentioned her brother Rafael (long-haired, crooked-eyed, heavy metal head banger) We’ve taught him before and it’s pretty hard because you don’t know which eye to look at. She paused and said, ¨You like him don’t you!¨! Now she’s convinced that I have a crush on her brother....
The sunset on my birthday
Well, until next week...
Hermana Ingram

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 34 Feliz día de Independencia de México! September 15, 2014

First of all.....FELIZ DÍA DE INDEPENDENCIA DE MÉXICO!!! Second of all.....HAPPY 9 MONTHS!!!

Can you believe I've hit my half-way mark?! I can't! Time flies in the mission...before you know it I'll have been here an entire year...and then heading home on a plane! They say that the first half of your mission is the longest 9 months of your life but that the last 9 months fly by. It's all downhill from here.
My companion and I burned skirts to celebrate. I made sure to light it in the case it got out of hand or anything. I'll have you know that I didn't burn down our apartment building or anything.

Thursday we went to talk to one of our investigators named Ernesto. About 3 weeks ago he had stopped us in the street, tears in his eyes, asking if we could help him. We agreed and made an appointment for later that day. When we got to his house he told us that his wife had just walked out of the door with his 2 year-old little kid and all of her possessions. We've been teaching him and things have been getting a lot better for him. But Thursday things didn't go the way we wanted them to... He told us that he couldn't leave the Catholic church. Does he go to the catholic church? Nope! Has he read a single verse of the Bible? Nope! He doesn't even pray! He said he couldn't accept prophets... He looked up a picture of Thomas S. Monson and said that he didn't believe in him because he was wearing too nice of a suit. He also wouldn't believe that no one in the church gets paid...or that we as missionaries don't get paid....I was not happy at all. I left his house pretty offended.... So, I turned to my companion and told her that we weren't going home until we had contacted 20 more people...and I took my anger out knocking doors. At night?? Dangerous and scary...but I was angry! And later in the week we found some new investigators out of it! So that was great! You've got to take what's thrown at you and make the best of it!
Next door neighbor that spends almost all of his time sleeping like this
The other night I was sitting at my desk planning when I dropped a piece of food on the floor. I paused, looked down, looked back up, and yelled, "Chloe!!!" (Chloe is my family's dog) Then I realized that I wasn't at home... It was a funny/sad experience. My companion was very confused.

Friday we had our first zone conference with our new President, President Stutznegger. We talked a lot about obedience and watching out for our companion. Things have been tough in the mission...BUT...we're improving a TON! Just give it a little time. We practiced contacting and did a hilarious "mouse family" skit (courtesy of Hermana Stutznegger).

Me and Hermana Taylor
Afterwards, Hermana Bennett and I went home to make some lunch. We made pasta with red sauce and garlic bread...home sweet home! I'm sure you are all wondering why I always write about random food that we make...All I have to say is this: If your diet consisted of beans, rice, and would too!!
Homemade Cheesecake!
Later Friday night we headed over to the stake center for the "Noche Mexicana" that the stake put on. SO. MUCH. FUN. They set up a GINORMOUS tent with a big stage and chandeliers. Each stake made a Mexican dish; there were tacos al pastor, pozole, takos de suadero, vambasos, helotes, sopes, agua de jamaica, tomales, name it, it was there. (I'm sure none of you know what any of that food is but it's very typical Mexico City food) To top it off a band came and performed and played live salsa music. Mexicans seriously know how to throw a party! No worries...when I get home...I'm going to teach you all how it's done...Mexican style! People were salsa dancing, eating, talking, and just having a good time. I was dying. I don't know how to dance (and a lot of people can attest to that), but I wanted to get out there and dance! (Must be the Amie Ingram in me;)) 9 more months and I'll be able to dance the salsa all I want! We brought a bunch of investigators and they had a blast. Us missionaries...well we partied as hard as missionaries can...which means a little head bobbing and finger snapping;)

Me with some missionaries at the party (I recognize Elder Smith, Hunsaker, Hermana Bennett and Gurley)
Saturday was a GREAT day. Our day was full of contacts and new investigators to find. We found a lady the other day but she was never home.. we knocked the door one last time and a 15 year-old girl invited us in and we taught their entire family. It was awesome. A drunk guy also contacted us in the street today and told us he wanted to quit drinking...and then went on a 10 minute creepy rant about how pretty my eyes were...creepy.
A pet dog that follows me around EVERYWHERE
We have a family of four that is really progressing. They are the Mariscal family and have fallen in love with the church already. We've been teaching them everyday this week...and they've quit smoking cold turkey in order to be baptized. We also found a lady who's leg got destroyed by a car...and it's bad. It got ran over and is absolutely crushed. She has to wait 15 days to get surgery. She's single with 3 kids and is unable to work anymore due to her can imagine how hard that would be. We invited her to church and she agreed...the tricky part was figuring out how to get her there (she can't walk). Saturday we spent all day trying to find a wheel chair to use to get her to church without any luck. Sunday we found one just sitting in the church and hurried and ran over to her house...BUT she lived on the top floor...3 flights of stairs. We managed to carry her down the stairs with out dropping her and we made it to the church in one piece.
Neza is ready for the celebration
That's about it for this week! Today is independence day here in Mexico (Mexican 4th of July) which means today is going to be a bit crazy. I'll have a bunch of "missionary-style" celebration photos next week. So...get your Mexican on and go eat a burrito or something!

Love you all! Viva México!

Hermana Ingram

P.S. This Friday I will be turning 20... or in other words the first 'over the hill'. BUT that also means that Hailey-graw will officially start Friday! Get prepared!
Trekking clean drinking water

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 33 Haircut from a 2 year old September 8, 2014

Hola familia y amigos!

So monday, after our zone meeting, we set up a volley ball net outside and played about 50 games of volleyball. We also made Mexican style hot dogs...with tons of spicy salsa of course. Food here isn't food unless your mouth is on fire. It was a lot of fun...and it was even more fun because my team went undefeated...we stayed on the court the entire time because no one could get us off.

Afterwards, we headed home and I got my hair cut...she butchered it! One thing is for sure...Mexicans don't cut hair...I can't wait to get a good American hair cut! Oh well I guess...

Tuesday we started teaching a 21 year-old guy who's an atheist. It was the first time I have ever taught someone who didn't believe in God or Jesus Christ but it was cool to see how interested he was in our message. He couldn't believe how sure we were that God existed and wanted to know how he could be as sure as us. He's a super great guy. He used to be a cocaine addict and a millionaire drug-dealer but decided to change his life around. When he was 13 years old, his dad bought him an apartment and kicked him out of the house. He's been living on his own ever since. He's also a professional yo-yoist (I don't know what they're actually called). It is insane what he can do with a yo yo!

My companion, Hermana Bennett, also bought some hair cutting scissors so that she could fix my hair... So, Tuesday night, I had my comp fix my hair and she actually did a really good job. My hair no longer looks like a two year old who decided to cut their own hair!

Wednesday it rained ALL DAY! It started raining at about 11:00 AM and lasted until we went home that night. Bennett and I were walking on the sidewalk to a lesson (let me remind you that it had been raining all day so the rain gutters had about a foot of water in them) when out of nowhere came a car coming full speed down the street straight towards us. There was a wall to my left and a river to my right....we had nowhere to run. The car came and sped right through the river, rooster-tailing gallons of rain water onto us... We were left standing on the sidewalk, soaked from head to toe...and I was not happy. But what else can you do besides get a good laugh out of it? So, my comp. and I stood there soaking wet laughing (along with all of the other Mexicans in the streets that thought it was pretty funny too).

Have you ever had a Mexican beg you to let him give you a massage? No? Well, I have! And if you say no, at least a foot massage...I mean come on! Jesus washed his disciples feet right?! We had a short, bald, chubby man walk up to us in the street and offer us free full body massages. Of course we told him no..but he wasn't having no for an answer. He reminded us that we were missionaries and that we did a lot of walking and that all he was asking was to be able to give a representative of Jesus Christ a massage. We told him no for the billionth time and he walked away...ANGRY. When he got about 10 feet away he turned around and yelled, "Jesus washed his disciples feet ya know!", and continued on his way. We got a good laugh out of that one.

Getting' my independence day on
Friday we found a family of 4 that are really interested in hearing the gospel. They willingly came to church and loved it! I LOVE FINDING FAMILIES! Later we passed an ice cream man on the street selling blackberry and cheese ice new favorite! At about 9:00 PM we started heading home for the night when I looked over to see Hermana Bennett's feet sparking...I thought they were on fire! She immediately started to jump up and down and scream but she couldn't get away from it. I had no idea what to do so I just watched it play out... About a minute later the sparks stopped and I noticed a group of drunk Mexican guys playing with fire works... they had thrown fireworks at us thinking it was funny. After I made sure my comp. was ok and everything, I thought it was pretty funny too haha.
Afraid of getting your car stolen?
We had a bunch of people at church this week and more and more people are inviting their non-member friends to church. The ward is finally starting to realize the importance of helping the missionaries out with missionary work. Afterwards we headed to go eat dinner with a family we had met the other day on the street. The family made us pozole and basically wanted to eat with us so that we could explain to them what we are doing here in Mexico City. They are a "christiana" family and believe a lot of the same things...they could almost pass for being LDS. They don't want anything to do with the gospel but the Pozole sure tasted good!

That's about it for this week!

I know without a doubt that this is the true church. Families change by living the gospel like you couldn't imagine. When we keep the commandments and do our best to do what's right, God is OBLIGATED to bless us. We have his promise. What more of a reason do we need to do all we can and to work our very hardest? When times get tough, turn to the Lord. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He's already suffered it. He knows how to help us. I never in my life planned on serving a mission...but that's what God had in store for me. Sometimes things don't go the way we want them to...sometimes we think we know better...but God knows the reason for everything. The church is true. God lives. Christ lives. And they love us. If you don't have a testimony or your testimony isn't as strong as you would like, pray to Him! He WILL answer your prayers. He is always listening.

I love you all to pluto and back!

Hermana Ingram
Mexican ping pong
Allergic to cats but couldn't resist

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 32 September 1, 2014

Me and Bob Marley....
What a LONG week!

Not a lot has happened this week... just the same day to day missionary activities: walking and preaching! It has been a pretty tough week though... things just didn’t seem to go our way. The worst part was that one of our investigators that was progressing really well texted us Saturday night saying that she didn’t want to be baptized in our church and that she was fine in the Catholic church. Opening that text message was like one big blow to the gut! Backing out with a text is like breaking up with a boyfriend via text…..LAME! just have to make the best of things…even when they don’t go the way you’d like. When you keep pushing forward with a positive attitude, things always turn out in the end.

Update: The Aylaya family is awesome!!! The family members who didn’t get baptized are progressing so fast it’s insane! (except for a couple who are very set in their Catholic ways)

Thanks for the package mom!
I was walking through the Tianguis the other day feeling down when I noticed a lady selling Habanero chile peppers....and I got the best idea ever... I bought 4 GIANT habanero chile peppers and took them back to my apartment. Later...we had a throw down with the other two Elders in our area. A habeñero chile eating contest. WE DIED!!! When you start eating it, it tastes like a normal bell pepper....about 5 minutes later...death hits. All four of us were dying, crying and sweating buckets. But, being the competitive me...I finished every last bite of that habenero pepper! What started as a good idea ended in tears...but it was worth it!

Mildred (the 9 year old girl we have been teaching) finally got baptized! Her uncle got things figured out and was able to baptize her...he was SO excited. It was pretty cute to see him walk up to the Elders and ask them to show him how to baptize...and it was especially funny to see him practicing on Elder Hunsaker (a 6’3” American). The primary decorated, bought a cake, and prepared a musical was a really awesome baptism.

Yesterday we were walking through the Tianguis when the ice cream man stopped us and gave us a GIGANTIC cup of ice cream...for FREE! The Elders in my zone hate me because people always give me free stuff. I guess that’s what I get for being a white girl in Mexico City :)
My mom thinks I'm obese
(to be fair...I sent her some new skirts and this was the only one left. It has a draw string and was one sale....I couldn't pass it up)
Funny story: The other day we were eating lunch at a member’s house with the Elders. We walked in and greeted everyone. One of the members asked Elder Garrett (the new elder that doesn’t know how to speak Spanish quite yet) how he was doing and he replied, “Estoy muy muy bueno!” with about as much enthusiasm as you can imagine. What he didn’t know is that when the member asked him how he was he replied, “I’m SUPER HOT!” It was hilarious. Everyone busted up laughing so hard.

That’s about it for this week! I love you all to the moon and back! Until next week!

Hermana Ingram

Photo explanations...

Every Sunday after church we see the same mangy dog in the street... We call it Bob (because it has dreads like Bob Marley). I’ve always wanted a picture with it but haven’t been able to get one because there have always been people in the street. But this week I finally got the picture! Cutest dog ever right?? (photo at the top of the post)

There is a truck that roams the streets selling chicken feet...the people here LOVE eating chicken feet! I flagged the truck down and bought 7 GIANT chicken feet. Did I buy them to eat them?? NO!! I just bought them for the picture nada más! haha I also bought some flour tortillas from a lady pushing a cart in the street. And they were delicious! (Buying food in the street always comes with the risk of getting deathly sick...but I’m only going to live in Mexico once! It’s worth the risk!