Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Another week accomplished, in the land of Tacos

Hola Familia y Amigos,
I helped an Investigator weed this week, with... A Machete. Like yeah, you can call me Mexican now if you want.  ;)

Joke, I still need to learn how to make the perfect tortilla. And my accent is still lacking. But my hair is getting lighter here, faster than my skin is getting darker. Not a very fair trade, but all is well.

Cabeza = Head, So Head Tacos anyone? I asked around and I found out that it is head of Cow. Lets just say, I wont be getting in line as a customer for that anytime in the near future. But no worries, they only eat monkey, turtle, and chicken foot in the most south part of Mexico. So I will count my blessings. But I could be served tounge or cow stomach (that is more special for like Christmas and special occasions.)
It is interesting in the different ways that Mexico is compared to the United States. Like for one example is, that everyone here will tell you good morning, goodafternoon, or good evening. It doesnt matter if you know them or not. And everytime you enter a room, you greet every person individually. And women will give you a kiss on the cheek with like a half hug/handshake. Or you will touch cheek to cheek and just make the kissing sound. I go with the second option, I still have personal space boundries, and I choose not to kiss random peoples cheeks. And with men we just shake their hands. But you do that everytime you enter and exit a place.
So with that, I have been to ten countries now, and I feel like Americans are on the not as kind and loving side of the scale with people that they dont know. I feel like if I greeted every person I saw in America, that they would give me the craziest looks. But dont worry, I still think France is more rude than us.
Oh this Sunday the Bishop told me right before sacrament started that I was to bear my testimony. So yeah, my Spanish is still far from perfect. But I think I got my point across. And it is a good thing the Holy Ghost doesnt have a language boundry. It doesnt just speak English, Spanish, or Italian. It is Universal, and all can feel it. So when we testify from our words, or our actions, it can be present.
La la la Love You All!!!

Love Always,
                    Hermana Smith   

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

'Bugombilias' and Valentines cookies

These are some pretty trees here in Hermosillo, they are called Bugombilias (pretty certain that I spelled that wrong).

For A Noche Hogar (Family Home Evening) I brought a little American Flavor to Mexico, and had us decorate the closest thing I could find to a big cookie (They are called Oreja - which means ear in spanish. But I thought they look more like hearts, and they are cookieish). So we decorated them for Valentines Day. And the family loved it, and hadnt done it before.
In the photo is Martha, Me, and Abril.

1st Baptism! :D And, "You look just like The Virgin Mary!"

Hola Familia y Amigos,
Well I should start with the best news of the week, a baptism, whoo!  :)
His name is Aldo, and he is a part of the Duran Familia (I think I sent a picture before of Blanquita with a birthday cake). Blanquita is the Mom, she has five kids. She is GOLDEN, but the father of the kids is in the Military and they arent married yet, so she cant be baptized yet. Aldos other four siblings were baptized before I got here. But me and my Compañera taught Aldo, and he had gone to church before with his family, so he was able to be baptized. YAY!
In this picture it is my Compañera Hermana Juarez, Me, Aldo, and Eliot (the member that baptized him). We are outside the Hermosillo, Mexico Temple. Because the Mission Home, Church House, and Temple are all right by each other.

We contacted three old ladies who were sitting by eachother outside a house one day and got their info to teach them later in the week. So we went to Esperanzas house first (that means hope/wish/wait in Spanish). And we taught her and her friend that was there. Me and my Compañera started by singing a hymn and a prayer, and then we were going to start the lesson. The lady is probably in her late sixties, I dont know, I am bad at guessing ages of people. But she was just going on and on how she thought I looked SO much like Virgin Mary. And she was asking her friend, doesnt she look JUST like Mary?! So of course I am thinking to myself that A.) I am not catching onto this Spanish thing as much as I thought I was. And B.) There is no way that is what she is saying because I look nothing like her. But after we left I asked my Compañera if that is really what the lady was saying, and she assured me that yes, the lady was convinced that I looked just like Virgin Mary. Last time I checked, Mary didnt have redhair, but more power to that little old lady. They are obsessed with the Virgin Mary here, so I will take it as a compliment. Ha ha.
We also had a Mission Conference this week with all of the mission. Elder Christensen (who is the in the first presidency of the 70 came). From what I understood in Spanish, it was pretty good. Elder Montoya of the 70 is in the home ward that I am serving in here, so he spoke in sacrament yesterday.

Oh and when Elder Christensen came we took a mission photo outside of the temple. So they had the Hermanas line up tallest to shortest and the Elders did the same. And ding ding, I am the tallest Hermana in the entire mission (there are about 50 of us). Shoot, I have never felt like more of a giant in my life. I mean it was easy to be taller than all the Latinos, but I beat the 14ish other American Hermanas also. Some hispanics ask me if all Americans are as tall as me, or if just my family are giants. I tell them a little bit of both. Ha.
Dont worry, I'm doing fine in Mexico, because I found Carne Mart!  ;)

Love You All!
The Church is TRUE!
Jesus Christ, did all the work already, now it is up to us to utilize the Atonement everyday.
Share The Blessing of the Gospel with all those that you come in contact with.
Love Always,
                    Hermana Smith

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I am "VERY VERY Married"! And I thought I ate pig ears.

Familia y Amigos,
HOLA! Yes, I really do live in Mexico. Oh man, this week has been great, I am obsessed with Mexico, I might never come home.  ;)
P.S. (I am putting this at the begining, for those who dont always make it to the end. Ha ha. Sometimes these might be lengthy, or I have a different viewpoint, or whatever. So just read the amount of your liking, and I know that this is being viewed by over 100 people, so my words arent to target anyone in particular, I never want to offend anyone eithier, so keep that in mind. Because... I love you all.).
Sometimes it is hard to believe that I am really living here. But the people are quick to let me know that they recognize that I am not from here. Ha ha. People always tell me how tall I am, and call out, etc. It is different to be recognized everywhere I go. But I am pretty much a foot taller than most of the women here, and as you know SUPER white. So I imagine it would be similar to seeing a 7 foot black person in Brigham City, it isnt common.
I have met too many people this week to tell about in this email, so good thing my journal has it all.
One of my favorite parts of the week was when we prayed with one of our Investigators Eldira, it was her FIRST time praying, ever, She is 22 and she had never prayed before. What an honor it was to witness her first prayer. That is what this work is all about. To let people know that they have a Heavenly Father that loves them SO much! And a Savior, who died for them, so that we can use the Atonement, and we can become better people each and every day.
But to tell about the title that I chose for this email, one of my first days here a lady we were teaching asked me if I was "Casada" And I thought shoot, she can tell that I am tired, I thought I was hiding it well. But I admitted yes, "MUY MUY Casada!" Fun fact, "Casada" means married. My intentions were "Cansada" which is tired, whoops. Dont worry, my companion corrected me. I am sure there are plenty more slip ups on my part to come. Ha ha.
Everyday here, we eat lunch with members. So my first lunch appointment here I thought I was going to die. They prepared the typical, which is rice and tortillas. But there was also a large portion of chicken, in an ill grey-ish green sauce. And I am sure as most of you know, I dont eat meat. I have actually not eaten meat consistantly for the past 8 years. So it was very difficult to stomach it. I didnt finish it all, but I was very impressed with my efforts. After I left, my companion told me, that here I must finish all the food I am given. Even if it is greenish grey chicken off the bone in large quantity. A lot of the people, dont have a lot of money and are giving me their very best. Some save of what little they have to feed the misionaries. So of course then I felt awful. And I have finished all of my meat portions that I have been given this week, suprisingly I havent died yet. And with that, I dont always know what animal the meat comes from, or what part of the animal. So one day this week I was brought a plate with what I was convinced were pig ears. They were impossible to cut, but there I sat and made what I thought were pig ear tacos. I sent up a prayer with every bite, "Please dont let me vomit here and now". I then had my companion ask after we had finished them, what they were, and apparently it was pig, but the back of a pig, thankfully not the ears.
A lot of people have written me about the food. And I have eaten a large quanity of tortillas this week. I dont know what to compare it to in America, possibly air or water? That is how they use them here, "Oh yes, you need a tortilla with that, no 4 tortillas with that." And four turns into more. So sometimes I make pointless tacos, like I will just put salsa on it or beans, so I can eat all the tortillas.

You might think I am only spiritually strong here, dont worry, I can still lift trees out of the ground like before.  ;)

One of my favorite Investigators here, she has a heart of gold. Her smile is just fine, but people here dont really smile in pictures. We brought here a cake for her birthday.
But all in all, I am very happy here so far. The Spanish is coming better, with a great trainer, and being surrounded by the language every day, oh and all that faith is important too.
Remember who you are, and what your purpose here is.
Love Always,
                      Hermana Smith

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Have Arrived Safely In MEXICO!!

I woke up (yet really never made it to bed from packing, and the first counselor in our branch presidency doing a farewell thing for all those departing for quite a lovely while) and started getting ready to leave at 2 AM this morning, we met to leave at 3 AM, whoo par-tay.
Calling home early in the morning, before our flight to Pheonix Arizona, and then off to Hermosillo, Mexico. (Me and my Companera Hermana Wood from the MTC). And yeah... I dont have the whole pay phone thing down, so it did eat a ton of my quarters for me doing it wrong. Ha. So then I just stuck with using a phone card instead.

It has been a semi long day, but I have arrived safely in Mexico!  :)

My pday here (or in this area at least) will be on Monday.
I am companions with Hermana Juarez, she is from Mexico. She seem like she will be a perfect trainer, she speaks fluent Spanish obviously, but she has pretty much perfect English, which is what I was praying for.

I attempt what I say to her in Spanish first, and then I fill in the gaps with English. Or I ask her clarifying questions in English if I dont understand. I think we can make a great team. I have already learned a lot from her, and I am excited to utilize her knowledge of the language, every day. Thank the Heavens she is patient, because I am sure my Spanish is painful to listen to at this point. Ha.
The Mission Home is literally right next to the Mission Home, but we only get to go there once a year.  :(
I am excited to get out there tomorrow and expierience a full day of what Mexico has to offer, and what me and my Companera can make of it together.  :)
I love you all, and I hope that you know how intricately involved Heavenly Father is with the details of our lives. It is essential that we pray to him, and communicate often. He has blessings that he is waiting to pour out to us, a big part of it, is us asking!  :)
Love Always,
P.S. I am about to go to the grocery store to get some food for the week... ha ha, who knows what I will pick. Tortillas, anyone?!
P.P.S. An Hermana from the Ward brought over some food... carne, pig, with a happy pig sticker on it, yeah - not diving into that tonight. Ha. But yeah I get it, I will for sure have to eat a full blown meat meal tomorrow, I am sure. Baby Steps.

Me and my MTC Companera repping the cliche MTC Mission Shirts, bandwaggoning or unity? You Choose.

Landing safely in Mexico!