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

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 41 Opportunities to Serve November 3, 2014

This girl LOVES her per chicken
¡Buenas tardes! Espero que todos ustedes han tenido una semana genial!!

Last Monday ended up being a pretty normal day: grocery shopping, writing, cleaning, etc. After our district meeting we headed back home and decided to go try out a small cake shop that we had noticed near our house. We got to the window and asked the lady how much a slice of cake would cost. She turned around, cut 2 pieces and said, "Nothing. You are two servants of God and that is the most beautiful thing you can do on earth." She then handed us each a slice of cake and wished us a good night. I literally wanted to cry...she was so sincere and so kind. It's amazing how even the smallest acts of kindness can change your day around!

Tuesday morning we met with a member family in our ward (The Dominguez family) to help her make little foam spiders for the cancer patients of a local hospital. She was taking them on Friday and had to make a few hundred so we offered to help. Unfortunately we weren't able to get permission to go with her to deliver them to the hospital but I'm hoping they loved them.

We also taught our investigator Gerardo on Tuesday and it ended up being pretty disappointing...he came out and told us that his family didn't want anything to do with the church and that he wasn't going to be able to get baptized because of his family. Satan works so hard on the people who are so ready to join the church! But...there was hope. I wasn't about to accept it and decided we were going to study and pray our hearts out to help that man. We put an appointment for the next day and continued to work.

Wednesday we went to lunch and ate longaniza and nopales. Longaniza is a sort or red Mexican sausage that they sell by the foot. Nopales are cacti and when you cook them a sort of slime comes out and covers them. So, when you lift a piece up, it comes up with a long string of slime too...delicious right!? I can't wait to eat American food!!! Afterwards we went with our investigator named Irma and taught her about the plan of salvation and talked a little more about the importance of marriage. We told her we could do it any day of the week and she replied, "Well...I'm willing to do whatever it takes to be about I get married tomorrow?" Let me remind you all that she hadn't even been to church yet! ​We set a date for this upcoming Saturday so that should be fun.

Next we went with Gerardo...the big day. We taught him about the first and great commandment (Matthew 22) and how the commandment to love God comes before the commandment to love others. He had to decide who he was going to put first, God or others. First we have to do our part for God, and then we do our part for those around us. We also shared an awesome scripture in Matthew 10 that talks about our families sometimes putting obstacles in our paths and that we can't love our mom, dad, daughter, son, etc., more than God. That scripture was rough...but it hit him to the core. He told us he was going to go home and pray and ask God.
Offering at rosa´s work (my skull that i painted is the red on on the very top center) The "rug" on the ground is actually made of saw dust
Wednesday everyone was beginning to prepare for Día de Los Muertos. Every family and every business puts out an offering to the dead. They all set out tables full of food, glasses of water, flowers, candles, treats, skulls/skeletons, etc. as an offering to their ancestors that have died. They leave out food and water because they believe that the spirits come and eat and drink of the food they leave out. For example, the other day we were teaching some contacts we had found (they had a ginormous offering in their kitchen) and when the clock struck 8:00PM they paused and said, "They're here." Um...who's here?? When I asked him who he was referring to he replied, "The spirits. They're eating. Can't you sense them." He wasn't kidding either.

My comp and I made a small 2 minute family is living but I thought maybe your spirits could come and eat at 8:00...;)
Viernes...Happy Halloween everyone! It definitely didn't feel like Halloween at all...but it's pretty awesome being in a foreign country for holidays. The tianguis (outdoor moving market) was SO busy today because everyone was doing last minute day of the dead shopping. It was really awesome though because it was filled with thousands and thousands of candles and flowers to celebrate. I wish I could've gotten a picture...

Saturday...Happy Día de Los Muertos!! We taught Gerardo today...and....drum roll please.....he received an answer and once again is gung ho for his baptism next week. Miracles exist everyone!! We shared Matthew 14 where Peter walks on was perfect for him. When we have faith and don't let fear sneak in we can see miracles..but it's when we take our eye off of the Lord that the miracles stop coming and we begin to sink like Peter. We also went to another investigator's (the one who's foot got ran over) house and washed every single one of her windows with a luffa (shower scrub). It didn't do the trick so I went to the market and bought a razor blade and a good towel...that did the trick. We've been searching for opportunities to serve and they've been popping up out of the's awesome!

It was a cool day because it was the day that all of the kids dressed up and went trick or treating. They don't knock doors here (it's WAY too dangerous) but they go around to all of the businesses and shops. It definitely felt more like Halloween. Also they lit the candles of the offerings Saturday. But only for children who have died...Sunday is when they lit the candles for the adults.

We had a bunch of investigators come to church yesterday. Susana (broken foot) came to church. Gerardo came with the Lopez family, and we passed for Irma. Gerardo is golden. Irma LOVED sacrament meeting. Susana stayed and we were able to give her a blessing with help from the bishopric. Yesterday was also one of the most spiritual testimony meetings I've had on my mission. In our ward, there is lady who is deaf, mute, and who doesn't know how to read or write. She has gone through the temple and everything and comes to church every week. It's really very inspiring because when she comes to church every week, she doesn't understand anything that's going on but her testimony is extremely strong. The ward has been looking for someone who knows how to sign for the 6 months I've been here and today was the first time she has had a translator. He stood up on the stand and signed as people bore their testimonies. She too got up for the first time ever and signed her testimony while the translator said what she was saying. The spirit was super strong and absolutely undeniable. I wanted to cry. It was so inspirational that someone with that kind of disability had a testimony that strong...we can all learn from her example. The whole day ended up being great...a day full of little miracles.

I had a big realization this week. I've been thinking a lot about our potential not just as missionaries but as normal people too. We are living so far beneath our potentials! We have the potential to do great things! But we just aren't living up to it! Why do people settle for mediocre when they could have great!? We only have one chance to live so why not take full advantage of it? Just something to think about...

Today we went on a small adventure...but I'll tell ya'll all about it next week:)