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

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