Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 57 More Mexican Cuisine February 23, 2015

The view from my roof
This is how I start my day. When you've lived in a place where the majority of what you see is concrete you grow to REALLY REALLY appreciate nature. I go up to the roof every morning just to look at the mountain. It's a good day starter ;) It's called Itztaccíhuatl and it's a dormant volcano.

So we’ve been working like crazy with our investigator Jorge. My district leaders have been talking to lawyers for the past 2 weeks and I finally got a call from them saying that everything was cleared and that Jorge was eligible to get baptized. I was so excited!! We immediately went to Jorge’s house to fill him in on the good news. He literally couldn’t stop smiling when we told him. You should’ve seen the look on his face! I have never met ANYONE with a greater desire to be baptized than’s amazing. Anyways...he passed his baptismal interview and we started planning his baptism for Sunday. Sunday came and he showed up to church in slacks and a white shirt and tie ready for as he said it "the best day of his life". Everything was ready.... and then we got a phone call...he couldn’t get baptized.... I had to pull him aside and tell him the bad news...he was beyond devastated and walked away bawling. I was pretty frustrated with the whole thing to be honest.... but I guess everything happens for a reason. Jorge is going to get baptized someday and I’m going to make sure it happens!!! But for now, we’ll just continue preparing him!
This morning we played basketball, soccer, and volleyball.
Update on Ana Rosa (Adlolfo's friend who we have been teaching at his house)...She’s awesome!!! And she’s SO going to marry Adolfo...they’re in love:) She’s progressing really well:)

And we also have an investigator named Jessica whose baptism is next week so that’s good:)

So last Sunday we were invited to eat at the home of some members. There was a dish of what looked like salsa sitting on the table with the food. I thought it was some sort of salsa so I ate it without asking what it was...and it tasted kind of like salsa. Anyway, then the dad came and sat down and started talking about the ant eggs. "What ant eggs?" He pointed to the "salsa".
So yeah, we ate ant eggs in actually wasn't too bad.
These are the ant eggs before they are cooked
But you want to know a secret?? I usually carry around a plastic zip lock bag for emergencies. You never know when they’re going to serve you something disgusting. For example...the other day a lady served me a giant plate of papaya. I HATE PAPAYA! It literally smells like’s awful. Anyway...she left the room, I took out my plastic bag, emptied the papaya into the bag, sealed it up, stuffed it into my backpack, and continued as if I had been eating. I guess we learn how to get away with things here ha-ha. My mom says that it's good practice for Survivor. But Survivor no..plastic bags aren’t allowed! ha-ha
My emergency bag
Thursday I went on divisions again and got to know Hermana Valdivia a little better. She’s super awesome!! She’s from Tijuana Mexico and we’ll be going home together. It was great to get to know her and to be able to work with her in her area. I’m really looking forward to getting to work with the other Hermanas! But I think I’m going to be more like an assistant than anything. We have to be at every zone conference in the mission, train people, meetings...etc. All of next week and the week after I’ll be with the president. So I’m super excited because Hermanas aren’t allowed in almost all of the I'll get to see it all! There are only 2 zones for Hermanas; Neza and Oriental (before there was Parquet (where I started my mission) but they closed it down to sisters for safety reasons)

Anyway...nothing much happened this week! Just a lot of hard work! I love you all to the moon and back!!
Yuca fruit
This is the "milk" from the yuca fruit. It's like bubble gum.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Week 56 (62) February 16, 2014

Where is the world is Hermana Ingram?
What a great week! Hermana Luque and I are really starting to see the blessings here in Polanco. Hard work and obedience really pays off! We have an investigator named Jorge who hasn't been able to be baptized for reasons I won't say. He's 17 and has a two year old son already. I have never met someone with a bigger desire to be baptized... He fasts almost every Sunday hoping for a miracle so that he can be baptized. What faith!! So, I'm going to do everything in my power to help him be baptized!

Sunday I noticed that a homeless guy had come to church the two weeks that I've been here. He literally sleeps on the street. I asked my companion about him and she told me the story: About a year ago he showed up one Sunday to rob the church. He walked in and the members welcomed him, sat him down, and handed him a hymn book. He loved it so much he forgot about robbing the place and hasn't missed a Sunday since!

This week I realized that in the prayers of the people here they almost always say,"Bless us that each day we have at least a taco to eat." For some reason today I realized how weird that sounds. It's something you'd only hear in Mexico; the word "taco" in a prayer.

Thursday I started divisions with Hermana Mercedes. She's from the Dominican Republic and has 16 months in the mission. Her companion Hermana Williams came with my companion. Divisions went really well! I think I'm learning more from each sister than they are from me!
Pics from Hermana Mercedes' house
Friday: !Feliz Día de San Valentín! Or as we like to put it in the mission: Happy Single Awareness Day! We saw all sorts of crazy things Friday...from drunk homeless men mimicking Michael Jackson in the middle of the street to lines of people waiting to get married (weddings were free Friday)...we saw it all. Some members invited us over for dinner and we had the most romantic Valentines dinner ever: pig ear pozole.

My companion loves ringing doorbells. Each house usually has one or two doorbells. But every once in a while we come across an apartment building with about 20. Have you ever seen the movie "Elf" when he's riding in the elevator of the Empire State building and he pushes every single button for the 100+ floors? Well, that's what my comp.'s hilarious.

This week we found a ton of new investigators! Recently a convert named Adolfo gave us a reference of a girl he had met the day before named Ana Rosa. She accepted us but the people where she lived didn't want anything to do with us and told us that we weren't welcome back in the building. So we teach her in Adolfo's house. She was REALLY unsure about the whole baptism thing...but later in the week she accepted a baptismal date. I don't know if we've ever had a more powerful lesson . She was in tears and Adolfo finished the lesson by sharing D&C 39:7-12. She started reading the scripture out loud and couldn't finish because she was crying. She paused and said...I want to get baptized. It was amazing!

Sunday was a super successful day! We had a bunch of investigators at church and all of them stayed all 3 hours.

When you knock doors here about 95%of the time someone screams "Quien??!!" (who?!). I don't usually say who I am because if they know we're missionaries they almost never open the door. Normally I reply "Buenas tardes!" which is normally followed by a few more shouts "Quien!?". About half of the time they'll open the door without my response as to who I am. The other half yell "Dígame!!" (tell me!!) in the rudest tone possible. We tell them we're missionaries and immediately they yell one of the following: "No tengo tiempo!" (I don't have time!), "Otra ocasión!" (Another time!), "No gracias!", "Leo La Biblia!" (I read the Bible!), "No hay nadie!" (There isn't anybody!), etc. Sometimes kids answer the door and we send them for their parents and the kids come backing saying, "My mom says that she's not here." On a rare occasion do we find someone who kindly accepts us. Sunday we went looking for one of our investigators. We got to her house and knocked on her door. Like always someone yelled, "Quien!?" We responded, "Good afternoon, is Marisa home?!" Then someone yelled, "Marisa!!!" A few minutes later, and still no one had opened the door so we knocked again. "Quien!?"... "Is Marisa home?!"..."Marisa!!!!!" The same exact thing happened 5 times in a row. I was starting to get annoyed...that's when we realized that we weren't talking to a person...but rather to Marisa's pet parrot. I died laughing! There we were, 2 sister missionaries talking to a bird!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Week 55 February 9, 2014

Monday night, February 2nd, was a holiday where the people here celebrate one of the many Virgin Marys. The tradition is to make tamales and go to mass. As we were walking home from our district meeting we noticed that the streets were filled with people carrying little porcelain baby Jesus statues. I had forgotten it was a the sight of hundreds of people carrying glass babies confused me. Some even had baskets to hold their baby. These babies come in all sizes; some are life size and others small enough to lie in the palm of your hand. Then they recite prayers with families and friends.
Elder Johnson and his parents
Tuesday I finished packing up my bags and officially said goodbye to Heroes. I'll never forget that place!! We got to the stake center and talked outside while the rest of the missionaries arrived. While I was waiting, Elder Johnson´s (one of the departing Elders) parents showed up. It was the first time they had seen each other in 2 years. His mom came flying out of the car and gave him the biggest hug ever. That's the first time I've ever seen that... and I wasn't the only one who teared up. Just 4 months that'll be me! It's amazing how much you grow to love your family and friends in the mission. T minus 4 months everybody!
Hermana Ingram and Luque
Changes started and I officially became Hermana Luque's new companion. She is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and has almost 16 months in the mission. She's 22 years old and studied music before her
mission which explains why she plays the piano like a pro. We packed my bags into a taxi and headed to my new area in Barrio Polanco. Mexico City is FAR from being the prettiest place on earth but when you've lived there for 14 months your definition of pretty seems to change a bit. Now I seem to compare things on a scale of the amount of concrete and stray dogs. Heroes was paradise compared to this place...but can't complain!! My new house is great! However...say goodbye to hot showers...I'm back to good ol´ bucket bathing with boiled water. Lucky me!! We also don't have a washing machine...but I'm actually a fan of washing my clothes by hand. It's actually really relaxing!!! haha I'm super excited to be here! This area is about 4x bigger than my old that means 4x the amount of people! I'm excited to work hard here with Hermana Luque and have a lot of success.
My new house
We had a pretty great week this week and were able to find some new investigators. As a mission we've changed how we set baptismal dates. Before, we knelt down and prayed to know. When I started my mission we baptized with as little as 2 Sundays. It then changed to 3 and more recently got moved to 5 (to help retain the coverts better). Now, in the second lesson with an investigator we hand them a calendar and THEY set their own baptismal date. It's actually a great idea because they seem to work harder towards a goal they set rather than one we set.

We also teach English every week. The ward here put up a big banner that says "Free English Classes" so a lot of people show up from everywhere. It's a great way to find new investigators!!

Church starts at 8:00AM here which makes it a little tougher to get people to go to church. They REALLY like they're sleep here....if they think 10:00AM is early...8:00AM is like waking up in the middle of the night! The ward is a lot smaller here. Mexico is still learning how the church there is a lot of teaching and learning to do. Something that really surprised me at church was that before asking someone to read a scripture or a paragraph you have to first ask if they know how to read. I'd say about 20% or more of the people here don't read or write... crazy!! Anyway...I've got a lot of work to do here!! I was super blessed to be able to see a lot of blessings and changes in Heroes. My goal is to see the same here but in half the time! I'll start doing divisions with the other hermanas starting this week as the sister training leader so that should be good.

More photos of my new house:


Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 54 (60) February 2, 2015

Noche Buena (poinsettia tree)
Remember the magic beetles people eat here to magically cure disease? At lunch on Thursday there was an entire bucket of them sitting on the table while we ate. After eating, we just couldn't resist, they had been calling our names way too long. Each of us took 5 beetles (living) and popped them like pills. It was pretty disgusting but worth it...I mean who would pass up the opportunity to be cured by magical beetles??;)
I hung a piñata in our apartment
Well...this week I was presented with a new and exciting opportunity to make a difference in the mission. I have been called as one of the new Sister Training Leaders along with Hermana Luque (Argentina). There's going to be a lot on my plate...but I'm super excited to be able to help each and every sister missionary know and understand that they have a potential bigger that they can imagine. Sometimes I think, "If Christ were here in this very moment, what would he say and what would he do?" We all know that Christ came to Earth, preached, taught, and died for us...but that was over 2000 years ago! He's not walking the streets of Mexico City...but we are. We've been called as literal REPRESENTATIVES of Jesus Christ. We've been called to teach and preach how Christ would. What a huge responsibility! But what an amazing experience! There's no time to waste! We've got to leave it all on the field!!

Friday night we had planned another ward movie night and we once again had a great turn out. We watched the movie "The Other Side of Heaven" and they loved it. We filled about 60 bags full of chicharones and made 'tamarindo' water. (they call everything water-based here "agua" which means that if you want water as we know water to be, you have to ask for 'agua simple' or translated 'simple water')
Yes, that is a grapefruit!
This weekend was probably one of the hardest I've had in my mission. I've been in my area for 9 months (half of my mission!) and I've grown to love the people here more that you can imagine. This past week I decided to gather a few things to give to my converts (pictures, frames, etc.) Saturday I started to give them out. We started the day off with Susana and her son Bryan. She didn't know I was leaving yet and when she opened the package she realized. I could tell she was sad but didn't want to show it; she has never been one to express herself or open up much. I started to say goodbye to her 2 girls and to Bryan and when I turned to her she was bawling. I'll never forget that. I couldn't hold back the tears either. I gave her a big hug and said bye. THAT'S how I knew that this weekend was going to be tough... You can imagine how the rest of my lessons went..haha.

We finished Saturday off teaching the Ayala family about temples...and in the middle of the lesson Ernesto started to cry. It's sad when a woman cries..but a grown man is so much more sad!! They promised that they were going to do everything to prepare themselves to enter the temple. I love these people!!

Sunday. What a day. We woke up extra early and went to ward council. I knew it would be my last so I expressed that I wanted each convert to have the opportunity to enter the temple and do baptisms for the dead with their own names of their own ancestors. How amazing would that be???
The Bishop and his wife (Heroes ward)
It was testimony meeting and many got up to bear their testimonies including Ernesto Ayala. He very simply said, "I knew that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church." It's amazing how such a simple testimony like his can make everyone feel the spirit. It is absolutely undeniable. I also got up and bore my testimony. I was pretty emotional...It was hard knowing it would be the last time I would stand up at that pulpit and bare testimony to the people I love that I too know without a doubt that this church is true.

The Carrillo family came to church today. (Family we found knocking doors whose 9 year old daughter isn't baptized yet.) They've come for the past 2 weeks now. The other day the mom thanked us because we were the 1st missionaries in 6 years to convince them as a family to attend church again. They've been sealed in the temple and everything but fell away. But now, they're going strong!!

We headed to gospel doctrine class and Hermana Lopez leaves me stunned every time she opens her mouth. She reads and studies like you wouldn't believe. She literally knows and understands more gospel doctrine than some of the members here who've been members for 20+ years. That combined with her testimony...POWER. She amazes me.

I didn't tell many people I was leaving, but word seemed to get around really fast. People kept stopping me in tears...can you make it any harder on me?!!;) Hna. Lopez stopped me and said, "You know what? We all need stop being so sad about you leaving! We're being selfish! There are people waiting for you out there!" To think that there is a possibility that I could grow to love a people more or as much as this ward seems impossible to me...but she's right! There are people for me to find!!!

When Relief Society ended, they brought in a huge going away cake. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!!! I said my last goodbyes, took a few pictures and headed to lunch. We ate a dish called "Mixiotes" and it was actually really tasty. They put meat, veggies, chile, spices, in a plastic bag, tie it up, and steam it all together for about an hour.
When it's ready you just open the bag and bon appétit!

Later that day we went to the Ayala's house and had favorite: mole enchiladas. The Ayalas turned out to be some of my favorite converts. And the small things they do for me mean the world.

I still clearly remember weeks before I left for the MTC. You start to value even the smallest things; sitting down and eating as a family, the smell of your house, the sound of your family members talking. I remember thinking, almost constantly, that it was going to be my "last" time doing this and that. As my time came to an end at home the lump in my throat grew bigger and bigger. The thought of not seeing my family for a year and a half made me SAD! It was hard to hold back the tears sometimes. I remember walking into my mom's room one day and finding her totally bawling...knowing that just days away her daughter would be leaving everything behind. That sight made my heart break! The day came and I left my family on the MTC curb...about to begin a year and a half of adventures. I completely left life as I knew it. But now, this mission IS life as I know it! Saying bye to these people isn't an "I'll see you in a year and a half" kind of's a possible "bye for a lifetime" kind of bye. THAT'S sad!!!! I thought saying bye to my family in Utah was hard! But here....I feel like I'm saying bye to 50 families all at once! I'm amazed each day at the love I feel for the people here. I know I say it a lot but I LOVE THESE PEOPLE! But, goodbyes are part of the mission and part of Hermana Lopez said: "There are people waiting for me out there!!"

My companion eats cactus almost everyday.