Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 69 Semana Santa April 6, 2015

Some of my favorite people from the Heroes ward...and this week's small miracle
Tuesday we started divisions again. Hermana Benson came here with me in Polanco and Hermana Luque went with Hermana Sic (one of the brand new awesome sisters.) Divisions are such a great learning experience for us. I learn something new from each and every one of the sisters here. It was also a lot of fun to work with Benson...considering it's been over a year since we were companions!
I got my hair cut this week and they said I looked a lot like this scary mannequin we all went cross-eyed to try and mimic her...they thought it was hilarious
We had a pretty long week overall. This week was the beginning of "Semana Santa" (holy week) here in Mexico. (Remember last year? They do reenactments of the crucifixion of Christ.) Friday was "Viernes Santo" which is the day Christ was crucified and is the most celebrated day of the Semana Santa. We got word from President Stutznegger that we wouldn't be working that day due to safety reasons. Let's just say that the Catholics don't exactly appreciate us out preaching on that day. So, knowing we would be incarcerated all day Friday, we bought food on Thursday to last us until Saturday. After lunch we decided to walk to the bakery to grab a few things. Unfortunately, to get there, you have to pass a GINORMOUS chicken factory. Everyday 5 semi trucks arrive stuffed full of dead, plucked, frozen, chickens. I've never seen more chicken in my life...THOUSANDS! In the early morning it's all fairly fresh (although I did see some men carrying boxes of chickens, spill them into the dirty muddy Mexican street, put them back into the boxes, and then continue to sell them) so, somewhat fresh and somewhat clean. Anyway, the problem is that the workers are REALLY slow at unloading the chickens. Throughout the day the temperature rises, the sun beats down on the raw chicken-filled semi trucks, and you can imagine what happens to the chicken....Thousands of raw chickens begin to thaw as the semi trucks transform into ovens. What happens next is the worst part of it all...raw warm chicken juice starts to pour out onto the street...the smell is ABSOLUTLEY horrid. By the end of the day the sidewalk and street is covered in raw chick's SO GROSS! So, we made our way to the bakery and prepared ourselves to walk through the smelly chicken factory. I led the way breathing through my mouth as to not smell anything and carefully avoided any chicken juice puddles. Then from nowhere came my companion....sprinting past me while gagging uncontrollably. It was SO funny! And yes...we made it to the bakery in one piece!;)
Friday...solitary confinement...missionary style. Today was the day Mexico was celebrating the crucifixion and the day they were doing the reenactment of the crucifixion. It's not the safest of days for us to be outside knocking doors and talking to people in the we spent the day in the house. The day was filled with lots of scripture-reading, guitar playing, church movie watching, etc. Add all that to the distant sound of crowds of people chanting prayers and singing hymns. There's just nothing quite like that!
Watching General Conference in English
Saturday: General Conference weekend began! There we were, about 15 English-speakers listening to general conference. The majority of us are going home within the next 2 months. All of us had written down a list of about 5 questions we were hoping to have answered throughout conference...and, since we're going home soon, most had questions about what to do upon getting home. First talk...marriage. Second talk....marriage. Third talk...marriage. That's when we had all had Elder slammed his notebook down and said, "Ok! That's it! Is it just me or are they really only talking about marriage!?" We all started laughing in agreement. It was pretty funny!

Sunday was the last day of conference...I never want it to end! I remember there were times at home when conference was something I simply sat through because I had to. Most of the time I was just trying to keep my eyes open, just trying to stay awake. Now, I can't get enough! These are latter-day prophets and apostles for crying out loud! We'd all run to listen if Moses came wouldn't we? Or Nephi? Why do we take for granted the opportunity to listen to Thomas S. Monson? He's a prophet too! And what a blessing it is to be able to listen to him and the apostles every 6 months. It's amazing how they seem to say exactly what you're in need of and how your doubts and questions always get answered. That's because they're men of God and they're inspired! One of my favorite things about watching conference as a missionary is when they announce how many full-time missionaries there are currently in the world...then I think, "Hey! That's me! I'm one of those 85,000!" I always seem to feel the spirit when they say that. But this time it was sad...that was the last time I'll hear them say those words while being a full-time missionary...But it's something I'll never forget!
Ernesto Aylaya
The Lopez Family....I love this family!!
After the morning session I headed out to find my comp and I ran into Ernest Ayala (one of my converts from Heroes), the Heroes bishop, and the Lopez family (one of my convert families). Turns out Ernesto was about to receive the Melchizedek priesthood and he wanted me there. Not only that but Omar Lopez was also being called as Elders Quorum President! And not only that but Ernesto was also being called as Elders Quorum Secretary! I was SO happy! The spirit was so strong as they were called and set apart. So now, Patricia Lopez is the Relief Society President, Omar Lopez is the Elders Quorum President, and both of their sons are serving in their quorum presidencies and are preparing for missions. Ernesto is the cherry on top! To be honest I had been having a really tough week...and I was feeling a bit down...seeing the progress in them and being able to be there was like an answer to my prayers. Running into them in the moment was no coincidence. That was exactly what I was in need of!
Painting with Jorge and Adolfo (Jorge WILL get baptized before I'm gone!)
This is a woman in the ward that only speaks to me in English...but she doesn't speak English :)

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