We had a lot of great experiences, one of which was during a lesson with Diego's mom who was baptized in 2009 but has not been active in the Gospel since then. We went in with one plan but as we began singing and saying the opening prayer that original plan did not feel right to me. I felt prompted to take a different direction and so, when we ended the prayer, I took a couple seconds of silence and then started asking questions I felt prompted to ask. She totally opened up and scriptures came to both Hermana Wong and I as we taught and helped her with real concerns. Everything was totally guided by the Spirit. Of course it is not good to just ditch plans willy nilly but I am learning how important it is to follow promptings of the Spirit. Also, it is ok to take a few moments of quiet to think before responding. Listening is also really important. We do a lot of that as missionaries. The husband of one of the people we are teaching passed away last week so Hermana Llaguarima and I were able to go over to the home that day and help prepare for the viewing. Then yesterday Hermana Wong and I stopped by and just listened as she and her brother talked. We ended with a hymn and a prayer. Beforehand I was worried about what we would say, but we just listened and talked about everyday life...things like movies and cooking. Then, ending with a hymn and prayer was just right and what they needed. As my Spanish and confidence continues to improve and increase, I am finding that it is easier to be more natural and really follow the Spirit. Sorry, I feel like I am blabbling but it has been a wonderful week and I feel like I am really connecting with people now and I love it.
Also I fasted for a bit last week that I would be blessed with calmness and confidence as I led the area and did most of the planning, phone calling and decision making this last week...and I have been blessed with exactly that. It is been a great week, one of my favorites of my whole mission. I love working. I really hope Hermana Wong and I have a while together and get a lot done here. She is from Mexicali, Mexico and will be turning 27 on 13 de Noviembre. My first two companions so far have been the two “oldest” Hermanas in the mission haha :) She studied fashion and is fluent in French, Italian, English, and Español so I have been learning little bits of French and Italian which is super fun :) She lived in both of those countries for a few years. Her grandpa was from China...hence her last name. Apparently, a lot of Chinese immigrants came to Mexicali in the early 1900s. We have so many of the same favorite movies and share a desire to have everything tidy, neat, clean and organized; I feel like I have met one of my best friends this last week. Everything is great over here :)
My district leader is Elder Miller (attah boy!). He is training Elder Acosta, a new missionary, who is a piano genius. We eat at a different member's house every day but we eat at Hermana Lila's house every Tuesday and Hermana Norma's house every Wednesday. Hermana Wong cannot eat anything with gluten or leche so President Stutznegger took us to hospital to get some allergy tests done. We enjoyed a great day with President and Hermana Stutznegger. So much fun and I am glad he emailed you :)
Prez told us that they will probably not send American sisters to this mission any more for safety reasons. It is crazy that there are just four of us here now! Also I am pretty sad about Hermana Garner but we had a chance to talk a little bit and I am so glad that she and her family are at peace with the decision for her to return home and focus on her health. I always envisioned us being companions but she came here to do what she needed to and Heavenly Father has a plan for her at home.
(Parent note: We received an email from President Stutznegger while he had some time at the clinic waiting for Hermana Wong. We were so grateful to receive it and get a glimpse into the incredible, consecrated service of a mission president and his amazing wife. They left their home early to pick up Hermana Wong and Emily and then drove clear to the other side of Mexico City. "Sooo much traffic!" They spent a lot of time in the car laughing, talking, joking and singing. President asked Emily to sing to them and said it is not everyday that he rides in a car with a member of the BYU Women's Chorus and that "we had an angel in the car singing to us." They even sang some Christmas carols, and President Stutznegger sang harmony with her as they drove the "crazy roadways of Mexico City." President had never been to that particular clinic, and Emily sat in front following the blue dot on his GPS. They reportedly made it "through trial and error." After the medical appointments, they picked up Sister Stutznegger and went to a new mall just about a mile from the Stutznegger's house. Emily was reported to have enjoyed the food very much. We cannot adequately express how grateful we are for President and Sister Stutznegger!)
Baby Victor. His mom and dad live with one of the people we are teaching.
After the Sunday session of General Conference -- Hermana Llaguarima, Diego, Sergio, Raul (baptized about a year ago... he has a brain tumor so the left side of his body doesn't work too well, but he faithfully walks with his cane to the church for meetings!) We visit him fairly regularly outside by his family's fruit-stand), and me. Great people here!
And a pic of me with my zone leaders: Elder Chico from Torreon, Mexico, and Elder Zubietta from Ecuador who went home with my district leader "Papa Juarez" last week. All great guys. Elder Chico and Elder Keller are our zone leaders now.
My District Leader, Elder Juarez, and me.
General Conference weekend with my cute little District. Hermana Llaguarima ended up going to Neza and she is one of the sister training leaders there with Hermana Tirado. Hermana Wong (on the other side of Elder Juarez from me) is now my companion (YAY!!!), Hermana Lambert is a sister training leader here with Hermana Sic, and Hermana Wolferts is with Hermana Martinez. They live together and serve in Barrio O. Elder Miller, Elder Acosta, Hermana Wong and I serve in Barrio F.
My Ward had a going away/birthday party for Elder Juarez because his 22nd b-day was his last Sunday in the mission. Love these people and am looking forward to really working with them this next cycle (hopefully two but we'll see).
I especially love these little kids :)
We ate with Hermano Jorge Rodriguez (second counselor in the bishopric) and his wife Sandy (who studied at BYU the year before my freshmen year there), their cute little baby Regina and Sandy's mom Hermana Reina Torres. It is always wonderful when we eat with them. SO DELICIOUS. They try to make us American food sometimes, which I appreciate. We had some amazing lasagna, mashed potatoes, cream of carrot soup and CHOCOLATE CAKE!
I think this is a poinsettia tree?
I'm pretty sure this is a domesticated parrot haha, quien sabe? Little birdie in the sky... :)
Selfie in the street with Diego.
Hermana Ramirez, Hermana Llaguarima, HermanaVazquez and me.
Fun picture of my Zone as part of a mission-wide Zone photo contest.
Enjoying some good food with President and Sister Stutznegger after Hermana Wong's tests. This is not typical mission food in my area :) I am grateful for the Stutzneggers.
My new companion...Hermana Wong!!