Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Week 73 May 4, 2015

Mexico City MTC (aka Heaven)
Monday we left our apartment early and headed to the mission offices to meet the arriving missionaries. As we got there we left with the assistants to go to Benimerito (the Mexico City MTC) to pick up some of the new missionaries. It was amazing! There you are driving through the ghettoes of Mexico City when all of a sudden you drive through some gates into what seems like heaven. Plants, trees, open space, birds was also the first time in all of my mission that I had smelled the smell of cut grass! It was like a whole new world! We found the missionaries jumped in a van and headed back to the mission offices. Only one Hermana came this time. Her name is Hermana Wong and she's from a town called Mexcali in Baja California. She's 26 years old and speaks English, Spanish, French, and Italian (she went to school in both France and Italy). She'll do awesome here in the mission as she is very independent and very confident. At the offices we trained them on the basics of the mission and then we headed to the President's house with Hermana Wong for the night. It's always a blast getting to know the new missionaries and hearing about their conversion stories and the reason they decided to come on a mission.

Tuesday we went to Neza for changes and Hermana Wong was assigned to her new companion. Five sisters also finished their missions. We're losing everybody! As changes finished we were surprised as a Mariachi band entered the back of the room and started playing. Turns out Adolfo (one of the converts here in Polanco) planned it out with some other ward members and they all pitched in to pay for the band to come. We've definetely never had a mariachi band come to changes! Afterwards we hopped in the car with the departing missionaries and headed back to the President's house for their goodbye dinner and a testimony meeting. The Elders went back to the offices and we stayed with the Hermanas Nance (Utah), Monarrez (Chicago), Luque (Argentina), Williams (Idaho), and Mercedes (Dominican Republic). We had a lot of fun!
My district leader, Elder Hixon, just became Zone Leader!
Wednesday we got to go to the airport and drop off the missionaries. The first missionaries to go were Luque and Mercedes. We woke up at about 3:00AM and drove them was the first time I had ever seen what it was like to say ggodbye to missionaries who were going was SAD! They were both crying and that made us all cry. The entire time I had a pit in my stomach thinking that in just a short 6 weeks that would be ME. So, that continued for most of the day on was like repeating a sad movie trailer 4 times!
Saying goodbye at the airport
That afternoon we grabbed a taxi and went back to our area to work for the day. Because there are so many missionaries leaving and so few coming, the mission is dropping in number of missionaries and companionships, which means we are having to take missionaries out of a lot of areas. One of those areas is in our ward which means that Taylor and I now have to cover the entire ward boundary by ourselves (we used to share it with other missionaries)...and it's HUGE. We now officially have the biggest area in the Nezahualcoyotl zone....lots of walking! That night we slept like rocks! We had been up since 3:00AM and had been walking like crazy!

Thursday we were walking through the streets when we were approached by an older lady walking in the opposite direction. At first she didn't really say much...she was just staring at me right in my eyes. Then she looked at my companion and said, "Take care of your companion...and make sure no one steals her!" Then she turned and just stared at me! We told her we had to go,...we said bye and as I was trying to leave she brabbed my hand, yelled, "Chula!", and then she slapped me in the face! (Chula is slang for beautiful.) Yes, a random lady in the street slapped me across the face!
This one's for you mission moms!
Later we were looking for a less active and had to cross one of the biggest and busiest streets in our area. (They're called avenidas or avenues in English.) Most avenues are filled with homeless people and others doing whatever they can to make even a few pesos. Some carry a bottle of cleaning fluid and a hand held squeegee and wash windshields, others carry giant black rags and clean your entire car from any dust, some sell cigarettes and pieces of gum, and others dress up as clowns and juggle flaming torches. It's actually quite entertaining to see what kind of show you get to see at a red light. Anyway, Hermana Taylor and I had to cross this road....and it was really busy... As we waited for a break in traffic we were approached by a young man selling gum (it was my convert David's son), a windshield washer who was doing drugs at the same time, and a homeless man and woman dressed up as clowns...all at the same time. The young man was nice and just wanted to have a good come to Jesus talk, the drugged window washer was practically speaking a whole different language he was so out of it, and the 2 clowns were fighting over who was going to trade eyes with us. I think both of us were a little nervous but we were stuck there until we could get past the traffic. It was quite the experience...we were talking to the young man about God while trying to avoid the window washer and making sure the 2 clowns didn't try to steal our eyeballs. Finally the break in traffic came and we got out of there! I don't think we're going to try and cross that big street ever again...I prefer to have my eyes INSIDE their sockets.
Hermana Taylor, Adolfo, and me (no one smiles unless we tell them too...its a Mexican thing)
So, as I mentioned last week, Taylor and I are the only 2 missionaries in this entire ward. We'll be leaving here in about 5 weeks...and after lots of prayer, it has been decided that they won't be sending more missionaries to take our places...Polanco is going to be closed. When we first heard the news we were pretty sad...I kept wondering how the ward was ever going to progress without us. What about the converts? Who would be there to teach them? Taylor and I thought a lot about it and it wasn't until this week that we realized what a blessing it would turn out to be in the long run. Long story short...missionaries and other leaders have had a few problems here with the ward leaders. The ward relies so much on us as missionaries that they don't do much for the ward or its members. Saturday we had a meeting with the Bishop and the Ward Mission Leader and we filled them in on what would be happening in 5 weeks. They were stunned. But we were able to see them recover and make a game plan as to how they would change as a ward. From that moment on, I've never seen the ward come together as much as they did in all the time we've been here. Sometimes what we think are trials actually turn out to be our greatest blessings. I'm excited to see what the future has in store for Polanco.
Makeshift basketball hoop at the mission offices (the Elders cut the top of a plastic bucket off and drilled it to the wall)
The mission Cougars! Go BYU!!!
Bag saran wrapper (so no one gets into your bag and steals things...that would have been useful coming here!)

Elder Evans (Canada) showed up with a cotton laundry bag as one of his suitcases....Elders...they wouldn't let him take it unless he wrapped it up. 

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