Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 67 (Renumbering) March 23, 2015

With all of the new hermanas
Monday we woke up early and headed to the mission offices to meet and train the new Elders and Hermanas. A total of 4 Hermanas came. Hermana Martinez from Chihuahua, Sic from Guatemala, Tirado from Baja California, and Lluagarino from Ecuador. Along with them came a total of about 8 Elders from all sorts of countires; Argentina, El Salavador, Mexico, USA, Canada, etc. We spent the afternoon training them and teaching them a little about what the mission is all about. It was a lot of fun getting to know each of them. We ate lunch and dinner there in the offices and then the Hermanas headed to the President's house to spend the night and prepare for changes the next day.
The excitement of changes
Tuesday we headed to the Nezahualcoyotl stake center for changes. I LOVED getting to know the new Hermanas. (I see a lot of potential in them) After changes we went to work. Almost immediately a lady stopped us in the street and asked if we could come by later and teach her and her husband. We returned but we only found her neighbor who kindly gave us her phone number. We called and she told us to wait there, that she was on her way. Apparently they had gone to visit one of their sons in Cuernavaca the day before and when they got there the sister missionaries were teaching the family. They agreed to sit and listen and loved it. The sister missionaries told them to look for missionaries where they lived; that they could offer them the same message. She told me she agreed but that she didn't really think much of it...that is until she saw us in the street the next day. She said she randomly got the urge to go out into the street and was super surprised to see two sister missionaries in the street. We introduced ourselves and she stopped us and said, "I can't believe it! This is not coincidence! The two misisonaries we met from yesterday were just like the two of you! A tall white girl from the US and the other from Argentina!" What are the odds! So, that was the miracle of the day!
Hermana Benson and Hermana Sic (Sic is super awesome! She will be an STL one day)
Friday we visited a less active family...2 of their kids don't have names!! One of them is a brand new baby...I wasn't TOO surprised by that. But the other is 3 years old!!! She walks and talks! That's not ok! Later we were teaching an investigator when I noticed my chair start to move and the chandelier begin to sway. We were in the middle of an earthquake. No one else noticed until I said, "Está temblando!" We were fine really, but our investigator's 90 year old mom lost it. She threw her hand up into the air and began reciting every prayer she had ever learned....and we couldn't get her to stop! The earthquake ended and we tried explaining that to her but it was without luck. So there we were trying to teach our investigator with a 90 year old lady frantically praying in the background... I guess that doesn't happen everyday!

Saturday we were teaching a lesson and it was the first time that it really hit me while teaching that I have very little time left in my mission. When I started to bear my testimony I lost it. The truth is that I've fallen in love with being a missionary and can't stand the thought that soon it will all be over. Never ever ever will I ever be able to re-live these experiences! 3 months to give it my all!!
(A note from Mom...I told Hailey that I was afraid that this is going to be her)
Sunday both Edith and her daughter Edith showed up to church. They love it! And guess who tagged along? Remember the man who bore his testmony to the mom? He came along with his wife. They want him to baptized them! That would be awesome! The husband and wife that found us in the street also came. They love it too. They even came all dressed up...the members thought they were members!

P.S. I should probably stop with the "I don't want to come home" comments... This is a clip from an email my mom sent me this week: "I hope you're only half serious when you say you don't want to come home. I've heard that just like being in the mission field was an adjustment, coming home is as well. Remember it took you 5 months to say that you loved your mission. I just hope it doesn't take you 5 months to say that you love being home." Love you mom!!
When you're a missionary and you can't afford to buy new shoes you get really creative ;)

Making gordittas (little fatties) with the ward mission leader
How to make gordittas: You take the masa (corn dough), make a ball, make a hole, stuff it with cheese and meat, close it up, flatten it out and cook it. It makes an air bubble inside and when it's cooked you cut it open (kind of like arabic bread (an Ingram family recipe)) and stuff it with lettuce, tomato, salsa, avocado, etc.  

We helped repair an old wheelchair with the elders for a viejito in our ward (Google translate doesn't know "viejito"....I'm guessing its for an older person in the ward)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 60 (66) "I Don't Want to Come Home" March 16, 2015

It's been pretty cold lately! Here they say, "Febrero loco y Marzo otro poco" because the weather is pretty bipolar right now. One week of blazing heat and another of freezing cold!

Remember the two ladies that showed up to church all by themselves 2 weeks ago? Well, we finally got to start teaching them this week! Last week the daughter was really sick..but instead of just sitting around, she watched church videos (let me remind you that she has never spoken to the missionaries). While we were getting to know her she basically was teaching us. I was sitting there in awe. She talked about having met a man at her mom's work who was Mormon and how she had overheard him mention something about his beliefs that caught her attention. But, what inspired her most was that one day he bore his testimony to her mom. She said that from that moment on, she began to notice something different about him. His work ethic, his lifestyle, the unity in his family, etc. She said that that was exactly what she hoped for in her life. She said that she hoped to one day be able to bear a sincere testimony that God lived. This girl is awesome. It amazes me when we find people who are so incredibly prepared.

Wednesday we found a less active family that I hadn't met yet. They make confetti eggs for a living. Confetti eggs are very traditional here in Mexico and popular for just about every holiday. First, they receive thousand and thousands of fresh eggs. They crack a hole in the top of each and dump the yolks and whites into buckets which they later sell to local bakeries. They then soak the hollow egg shells in bleach to kill all bacteria and get rid of the egg smell. After drying the eggs they dye them and then fill each egg, by hand, with confetti. Then each egg gets topped with a small piece of tissue paper (glued on using a mixture of flour and water) to cover the hole and keep the confetti from coming out. Everyday they send thousands of boxes of these eggs to both the US and other parts of Mexico. We got to help a little and it was actually a lot of fun. Tedious...but fun!

Also one of the converts here invited us over to help him make a few piñatas. That's what he does for a living; he makes hundreds of piñatas each month and sells them. It was a last! He taught us form step one how to make a traditional Mexican piñata. So, that means when I get home, I'm teaching ya'll how it's done! And my new birthday and Christmas tradition will be making and breaking piñatas!

Sunday! Miracle day! Edith and her daughter Edith (the two ladies that showed up to church 2 weeks ago) came to church! We have a few more investigators we're teaching that came was awesome! And Sunday, our investigator Ana Rosa met with President Stutznegger for a baptismal interview and passed with flying colors. Ana Rosa is amazing and has such a strong testimony. It's amazing to see that even through the hardest of trials she continues strong.
At 6:00 that night she got baptism. And what a spiritual baptism it turned out to be. There is literally nothing that compares to being a first hand witness day by day to the changes in the lives of those that we teach. Ana couldn't have been happier. And, when an investigator bears their testimony after having just been baptized, it makes you want to scream with joy! The mission is amazing! I hate to break it to you mom...but I don't think I want to come home!!!


I made this piñata!
This week's culinary adventures:
Dried Fish....Yum! (She really said, "Yuck")

Chicharron (super gross fried pig skin)

Fruit called Chico Zapoto

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 58...Which is really 64 March 2, 2015

You know you're a sister missionary when...these are Hermana Luque's feet.
Tuesday morning Hna. Luque and I had to meet with President Stutznegger and the assistants to do all the fine-tuning for the zone conferences. We left at about 7:45AM and took a micro to one of the main metro stations. Let me tell 8:30AM the metro is at its busiest. It's absolutely insane! Imagine thousands of Mexicans gathered all at once in a small place...there is literally nothing like it. There you are along with thousands of others being corralled through the metro hallways; shoulder to shoulder. Luque and I waited there for the metro to arrive with literally no room to move. When the metro comes and the doors open it's a fight to get a spot inside...and when you think there couldn't possibly be more room for one more person, 5 more people squeeze their way in. It's so tight that you can't even raise an arm. 5 metro stops later and it was our turn to get off. Luque was able to get off fairly easily as she was right next to the for me...I was stuck. I could not move an inch. THAT'S how packed in you are! And then the doors started to close. I yelled to my companion not to move an inch and that I would eventually get off and come back. The doors closed and I was all alone for the fist time in my mission. The mission rule is this: you have to be able to see and hear your companion at all times (with the exception of when you're in the bathroom or in an interview with the president). There I was alone. I couldn't see OR hear my companion. As a missionary it freaks you out! The next stop came and I started to push the other ladies aside...with no luck...I wasn't going anywhere. That's when I had had it and yelled, "Tengo que bajar!" (I have to get off!) I think one lady heard the desperation in my voice because she turned around, grabbed my hand and started to pull me towards the door. Still nothing...but she kept pulling me with all her might. Then the doors started to close and she yelled, "Pull her everybody!" About 5 more ladies started to pull me by both arms and it wasn't until then that I started to move through the crowd of ladies. They were all yelling, "PULL!!!" and, with the help of those little Mexican ladies, I was finally able to make it out of the closing metro doors. Then, as fast as I could, I made my way back to my companion....the metro is LOCO!!
A stop at the Golden Arches after the first zone conference-courtesy of Sister Stutznegger
Wednesday we woke up bright and early at 5:00AM and got ready for what would be the beginning of 2 weeks worth of zone conferences. We headed to the Chimalhualcan zone which is a zone of all Elders (all but 2 of the zones are all Elders). It was the first time I had ever done a training before and it was different training a room full of Elders. But, something I've learned here on the mission is that we all have a comfort zone, some big and some small. If we never go out of our comfort zone, we never allow it to grow and we never strengthen our weaknesses. I remember getting to the mission field with my comfort zone the size of a pea. Talking to strangers, inviting people to be baptized, giving a talk in church, etc. all of that freaked me out! Now, its as normal as putting on your shoes! A little about what I've been sharing with the missionaries: I remember when the mail lady showed up with the famous big white envelope (my mission call). I almost didn't want to pick it up I was so nervous and so anxious. My mom on the other hand was busy weighing it because she had heard that if it weighed more than x grams it was a calling to a foreign mission...oh mom... My sister couldn't stop shaking it and dancing around the living room with it held above her head...she was more excited than I was! When they weren't busy with it, I sat there anxiously looking at it thinking about how it contained the location of where I would be living for the next year and a half of my life. The moment came and there I was with family and friends, emotionally reading the words "You have been called to serve in the Mexico City Southeast Mission." There is nothing that can compare to that moment. About 5 months later and after a lot of preparation the night came where I was to be set apart as a missionary. But what exactly does it mean to be "set apart"? From that night on I would be considered a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and would begin living the missionary life: no TV, no music, no movies, no cell phone, no Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, etc. I remember just minutes before being set apart, my sister and I put on mascara mustaches and sombreros and danced to the classic Mexican song "Cu-cu-caracha Cu-cu-caracha!" (We sure do have a lot of fun together) Minutes later, my Stake President, President Newman, came and set me apart...from that moment on I was Hermana Ingram. But I'm not sure that in that moment I fully understood that to be set apart meant a little more that leaving behind all worldly entertainment. So what does it mean exactly?? When we as missionaries are set apart by priesthood authority, we receive the right and privilege to represent the Lord Jesus Christ. We receive a ministerial certificate that verifies that authority to the world. A quote from President Spencer W. Kimball says: "The setting apart may be taken literally...set apart from the world to a higher plane of thought and activity." I love a quote from Elder Bruce R. McConkie; "I am called of God. My authority is above that of the kings of the earth. By revelation, I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my master and He has chosen me to represent Him, to stand in His place, to say and do what He himself would say and do if He were personally ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me. My voice is His voice and my acts are His acts; My words are His words and my doctrine is His doctrine. My commission is to do what He wants done. To say what He wants said. To be a living, modern witness in word and deed of the divinity of His great and marvelous Latter-Day work. How great is my calling!" To me, THAT'S what it means to be set apart. We are truly and very literally REPRESENTATIVES OF JESUS CHRIST. How amazing is that?! Each and every morning, before walking out the door, I put on my black missionary name-tag that reads "Hermana Ingram". But my name isn't the only name listed...right alongside my name is the name "Jesucristo" the very man I represent. That is a huge responsibility! But I find comfort in knowing that I'm not alone: D&C 84:88 "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

"For the first time, the Sister Training Leaders helped teach at Zone Conference"-quote and pic courtesy of Sister Stutznegger.
Everyday this week we were teaching and training in zone conferences all over the mission. Friday we also had a leadership training meeting and we also had to train the zone leaders in all of the mission. I'm not going to's a little intimidating sometimes! But it has honestly been a blast!
(A little more about zone conference from Sister Stutznegger:
W/ President and Sister Stuznegger and the AP's.
Sunday...what a day! Our investigators all showed up to church despite being out of our area the majority of the week. So that was a huge blessing. When we got to church we immediately noticed 2 ladies sitting towards the front that we didn't recognized. We approached them and introduced ourselves to them. They weren't members and had shown up by themselves. Anytime that happens it's a miracle...but it gets better. The day before they had gone to the temple visitor's center out of curiosity and LOVED it. While there they were given a Book of Mormon and both had already read through 1 Nephi...can you say MIRACLE!? They stayed for all 3 hours and left afterwards to visit the visitor's center...again! What a blessing!!

Jessica: Jessica is a 13 year old girl who actually contacted us in the street wondering who we were and what we did. Turns out her parents got baptized over 30 years ago...unfortunately they haven't been to church in over 20 years... Jessica is AWESOME! She learns and understands faster than anyone I've ever taught. She always talks about being a missionary someday...she's great!
Jessica's Baptism
Later Sunday we headed back to the church to prepare for Jessica's baptism. We started to fill up the baptismal font...I've never seen such dirty was filling up with yellow/green water that smelled like wet dog...gross!! I never thought blue food coloring would come in so handy! Blue wet dog water is better than yellow wet dog water...right?? At about 6:50PM Jessica was still nowhere to be seen (the baptism was supposed to start at 7:00) so I decided to call them to make sure they were on there way. Her grandma answered informing us that they had gone to Center and wouldn't be back until 10:00 that night. My heart sank. I tried calling their cell phone but it went straight to voicemail. I had absolutely no way of communicating with them and was left to hope they were going to show up. I grabbed my comp and we went into the bathroom to kneel and say a prayer. 30 minutes went by...nothing. I was really starting to think that they weren't going to show up. At about 7:45 the church door bell rang...and it was her!!! Hallelujah!!!! And even better is that her whole family showed up too! We ended up having an awesome baptism!:)
Emptying the font
Afterwards everyone left and we were left to drain and clean the font. We had to drain it completely by hand by filling and emptying buckets. It took forever!!! (2 hours) But it was worth it:)