Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas in Oaxaca!

Hello!  So this week was Christmas, in case you missed it.  It was a busy and exciting week here in Oaxaca!  We did a lot of contacting this week, and we found a good amount of new people to teach!  So thats good!  My favorite contact this week was a lady that we saw struggling to carry a good amount of branches up a hill.  I approached her and offered help, and she accepted.  We carried the branches all the way accross the city!  But when we got to her house, we asked if we could share a message.  She seems interested to learn more about the gospel.  I loved using service to introduce people to the gospel!

On Christmas eve all the missionaries around here gathered in Oaxaca city for a Christmas activity!  It was really fun!  We had dinner, played soccer, had a talent show, and had a devotional.  Then we returned to Miahuatlan to have dinner with some members.  This family (The Davitas) is so sweet, there is one older lady, 3 young woman, and 1 young man.  We did a sub for santa thing with them, and they got me a new tie.  So nice!

Christmas we had a baptism interview for our investigator E.  It went well.  Then we searched for a long time for a place where we could skype our families, haha...  Pretty much every internet place was closed...  We eventually had to borrow computers from members, ha...

But it was such a joy to talk to my family for a little bit!  I really enjoyed that, it was definitely the highlight of my Christmas.  

Thats pretty much it for Christmas.  It was very simple.  But if you think about it, the birth of Christ is very simple as well.  He was born in a stable, amist animals.  It was actually quite nice to have a simple Christmas this year, without all of the many distractions that often occur at this time of year.

The day after Christmas, we had the baptism for E!  It was great!  Elder Silvestre Baptized him.  I was so happy for him and his progress.  The gospel truely does bring so much joy in our lives.

Today we had a surprise.  We had a special transfer today, so we lost Elder Prieto in our companionship.  Now its just me and Elder Silvestre.  It is sad to lose him, but I'm also excited to see what it is like to only have one companion, because to be honest, having 2 is difficult.

Thats all I have for today!  Have a very happy new year everyone!

Elder Lindsay
Our Christmas tree!
​This is on Christmas eve, and the Davitas' house.  Look at the cute way they wrapped our presents!  They're the best!  (And that isn't my jacket, by the way.)
This is a picture of the baptism this saturday, with me and my companions with E and his family.  :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

This week!

Hola!  So this week was kind of crazy.  I'm adjusting to life here very quickly now, and I'm understanding a lot more spanish!!  It's nice to actually know what is going on once in a while, ha...  It's still hard to speak though, because everybody here can speak so fast, and it takes time for me to think about what I want to say in spanish, so by the time I figure out what I want to add to the conversation, they're talking about something else.  But oh well!  It will come with time.

Living with random people who don't speak your native language is tough.  They're great people, but we all come from different cultures, so we have different expectations and habits.  But I'm glad for the opportunity.  They're teaching me a lot about spanish, so thats a plus.  And I'm developing patience, so thats good too, haha.

This week we had our first companion exchange.  Our district leader, Elder Valedez, went to Miahuatlan with Elder Prieto, while Elder Silvestre and I went to Ocotlan with Elder Merrill!  Elder Merrill is from Highland as well, in fact, he was in my stake!  Its kind of crazy that we ended up as companions for a day.  It was a really fun day, I loved being in a different city for a bit, and I liked talking to someone in english as well, ha... 

Also, this Saturday we had a Missionary Christmas choir concert in Oaxaca City.  It was awesome!  It was really well put together, and I felt the spirit really strongly.  It made me really excited for Christmas, and helped me remember the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus Christ.  I am so thankful for him, and for all that he has done for me, and still does for me.

That night we stayed in Oaxaca, with 2 other missionaries.  One of them was companions with both of my current companions, so they had a lot of fun.  Probably a little too much fun, they were kind of crazy!  But it was fun, we ordered a pizza, and talked.  It was nice to get to know some more missionaries better.

We gave some service this week for some members here.  They needed some help at their farm, and I really enjoyed helping there.  We were harvesting corn and bagging it up.  Afterwards we went and checked out their animals.  It was really fun, I liked getting out of the city and into nature for a little bit!
This week one of our investigators, named J, was baptized!!  It was a great experience.  I didn't work with her a lot, because my companions gave her all the required lessons before I got here.  But it was such a joy to see her recieve this important ordenance!  She is about 23, I would guess, and her husband is a member already.  They have one son who is really cute!  When I saw her baptism, it made me so excited for her.  Baptism is the gate, and if she continues in the church faithfully, she has the opportunity to enter the temple and be sealed with her husband and son.  There is so much happiness ahead for her!  I know that this gospel brings so many blessings.  I hope to help many other people recieve these blessings for themselves, through my efforts as a missionary.  

Thats about it for this week!  I love you all, and I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas.  Remember the true purpose of Christmas.  Take some time to reflect and be grateful.  I know that Christ lives.  Until next week!

Elder Lindsay
Last week was Elder Silvestre's birthday!  An awesome member family gave him this cake and played soccer with us on his birthday (it was p day)  It was fun.  He's 22!
​We found a tire swing.
​This week we had a branch christmas party.  It was cool, and we brought a couple investigators to it as well!  We made piñatas, and this was the elder's quorem's piñata.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 3 in the feild!

Hello!  This week was good!  I really like this city, it is an adventure every day!  Mission life is tough, but I'm adjusting, and I have faith that eventually I will be able to communicate and listen effectively in spanish!

The truth is, I have improved a lot in spanish over the past couple weeks.  I just have a long way to go still.  I am doing my best to be patient, and heavenly father is helping me with that.  But its cool when I realize that I can actually understand everything that someone is saying!  And when I say a sentance in spanish and realize that I didn't even have to translate it in my head, thats cool too!

I want to talk about my city, Miahuatlan.  There is a ton to say about it, so I won't cover everything, but I wanted to share more about it!

First off, the city has buildings on every inch of the street.  It feels like a maze sometimes!  Houses don't have doors, they have metel gates usually.  That means that when we go contacting, we have to knock on the gates and yell "Buenas tardes!"  It is interesting.  Also, they have a strange obsession with winnie the pooh here.  He is painted all over the place!  It is really random, haha...  There are people selling stuff all over.  Grasshoppers, bread, juice, all sorts of stuff.  There is a truck that sells gas that is probably the most annoying thing in the world.  It has a big speaker on the top of it, and every 7 seconds or so it blasts a loud Mooing sound.  Literally, i think they recorded a cow and blast it, and that is their idea of advertising.  It is so loud, so I hear mooing pretty much all the time on the street.

The food here is really good!  And sometimes really weird!  For example, they love eating bugs.  Love it!  People have buckets full of grasshopper things, and they sell them on the street all the time.  I have had my fair share of them in the time that i have been here.  They aren't bad, actually...  The other day I had a chicken and grasshopper taco.  It was pretty sweet.  But yeah, most of the time the food is super good, even if it doesn't look good.  Cactus is good, I ate that this week.  But the people that we eat with are kind of crazy!  Because I'm white, all the mexican men do everything they can to make sure that I eat every strange or gross thing on the table.  When I say I'm full, they say, no, its for you!  They refill my plate when I am completely stuffed, and then they do it again!  It's their quest, or something like that.  But what can you do.  Oh, the juice here is really good.  I don't usually know what fruit the juice comes from, but its good, so I'm not complaining.

There are a ton of wild dogs here!  They roam the street.  It made me really nervous when I first got here, but they seem to leave you alone if you leave them alone.  Lots of people have them as pets as well.  People also have pigs, goats, and cats for pets.  Its funny, haha.  The bugs here are awful.  There are so many cockroaches!  The other day when Elder Prieto was taking out a mini Cristmas tree to set up, he yelped and ran outside with the box.  When he dumped it out, I saw that there were a whole bunch of cockroaches inside, 30 at least!!  We had to stomp them to make sure they didn't come into the house again...  It was nasty!

Thats a little bit more about my city!  Sorry, it was really scattered.  I was just kind of brain dumping.

Anyways, this week we had the opportunity to go to a baptism for one of the children in our ward.  It was a really cool experience!  We drove about 20 minutes outside of the city and had it in a river!  It was a really pretty spot for a baptism.  I loved seeing more of Oaxaca and it's beauty.  It was funny, in sacrement meeting the next day, he was invited to the pulpit to tell about how he felt in his baptism.  He said, "When I entered the water, I felt really cold."  Thats it.  It made me laugh.

Right now we have 2 investigators ready for baptism!  They are both investigators that Elder Silvestre and Elder Prieto worked with before I came, so I didn't really do much with them.  Other than that, we don't really have anybody who is progressing much.  We are doing a lot of contacting.  I hope to find someone else who is prepared to recieve our message.

I'm out of time again!  Thanks for all of your prayers!  Love you all!
This is where the baptism was!!
This is the center of town!  Christmas, yay!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 2 in the mission field!

Hola!  So I've been here in Oaxaca for 2 weeks now!  I feel like i'm slowly adjusting to the lifestyle here, and the lifestyle of a missionary.  It's a lot of work, but I'm glad to be here, and I know that what I'm doing is making a difference.

Every day we start the day with several hours of study.  (4 to be exact)  This time is very precious to me, and I love having time to study and prepare.  The scriptures are a great comfort to me.  Every time I open the scriptures I can be assured that I will feel the spirit.  What a great gift the scriptures are!

After study it is time to head out.  Every day we teach about 5 to 6 lessons, some to investigators, some to members.  I really like teaching!  You see, my spanish is fairly good when it comes to teaching.  Even though I can't express everything I want to say, I can testify sincerely with the spirit.  I have a long way to go, but I'm glad I have the capability to teach people.

We also do a lot of contacting, which is more difficult for me. It isn't easy for me to aproach a stranger and start talking to them, especially when it is in spanish!  I try my best, but I still speak awkwardly.  But I know that if I keep trying and excercise my faith, God will make my weakness into a strength.  

Oaxaca is so different!  This city is covered with buildings, which line the streets.  There are no gaps in between the buildings, so it feels like a giant maze sometimes!  We give our lessons in all sorts of places.  People don't have living rooms here like they do in america, so we are often sitting on the floor or standing.  There are often animals, like chickens just wandering through their houses.  I like it, its fun!  

Thats all I've got for this week.  Adios!
Every monday the city completely transforms!  People set up little shops like this all over the center of town.  Its chaotic, but really cool at the same time!