Monday, March 24, 2014

...our mission leader is the spittin' image of Marty McFly...

WOW. What a week.

So I'm going to try my hardest to tell you everything in this little time I have. This week, Hermana Winn went home 'cause she had surgery on her ear and couldn't stand the pain anymore. We spent 2 whole days in Merida at the doctor for her. 

We baptized this kid Carlos, but we almost weren't able to! We only got the OK from our district leader like 2 hours before the baptism. We only taught like 3 lessons with our own investigators the whole week cause 2 days we were in Merida, and one day we were in this area called Muna doing this thing with the whole zone where we walk around in the sun all day and ask people questions about other people 'cause we have all this outdated information in the ward list.

The Hermanas from Oxcutzcab stayed with us in our house for three days which was pretty fun 'cause they're cool. And one of them isn't really a missionary, she's just pretending for 2 weeks cause we don't have enough missionaries for all the areas. She's just a member living with Hermana Sanchez. ANNDDD our ward missionary leader is the spit image of Marty McFly. Except he's Mexican. But he's totally a slacker which is kinda ironic. I feel so lonely with only one comp again, but Hermana De León is the BEST! I don't want to pick favorites with my companions, but HDL is pretty great. But she's nothing like me so it surprises me that we work together so well. 

SORRY I have to go now! We're going to Merida AGAIN!

Love you all!


Now I'm in Ticul and it's pretty fun...

People who read this.
What do you think happened to me?
Cambios especiales. [Special transfers- missionaries get moved around to different areas periodically so this was Samantha's first transfer away from Merida] AGAIN. 2 weeks before normal cambios.
UGHHH so Saturday night we're out talking to this lady, and we get a call from the assistente menor. 
"Buenes noches habla Hermana Smith" [Good evening, this is Sis. Smith speaking ]
"Hermana Smith habla Elder Coffman. We have some special changes for you! Don't faint ok?"
"Digame elder." [Tell me, Elder]
"Mañana you are leaving Tanlum and moving to the lovely little pueblecito [town]  de Ticúl!"
THAT short of notice!! So we had to go home and pack everything and wait for president to show up at our house with the assistentes and I was not exactly super excited cause we were SO CLOSE to baptizing Marcelo and Wendy and now I'm gone and I didn't get to say goodbye to any of the ward or anything!! 
Que triste. [How sad]
BUT now I'm in Ticul and it's pretty fun. Its a tiny little city like 2 hours from Merida and I'm with Hermana De Leon and Hermana Winn. HWinn came here with me- she's from my same generation. They're pretty sweet. We have a baptism this Saturday with this kid named Carlos so yehah. But I don't know Carlos. I know Marcelo. And now I'll never see his baptism. Ok ok sorry I'm done being bitter. But the big news is that Presidente told me yesterday when we were at his house that I'm going to be the senior companion here and that's why I had to come 2 weeks early. SO I have 2 weeks to learn the area and meet everyone and understand their Spanish and all that good jazz. I'm not too worried about being senior comp cause I feel like I spent the last 4 weeks doing everything so I'm used to it, but I DON'T KNOW THIS AREA. So that frightens me a bit. 

But cool stuff happened this week. We had this ocho principios capacitación thing for 2 days in centro, so martes and miercoles [Tuesday and Wednesday]  we went to centro for the whole day to learn how to be better missionaries. And we were with zona centro- Hermana Willams zone so that was way fun!! I'll try to send a pic of that. We put another date for baptism with Wendy and we have a ton of hope for this one 'cause she's supposed to already  have her papers that she needs to get married so if all goes well she can be baptized march 29th! The LAST DAY before cambios. Not that I'll be able to be there for her... but oh well. 

So after getting all pumped up to be super good missionaries for 2 days, we had our super awesome activity on Jueves [Thursday]- have I told you about that yet? Elier (coolest missionary leader anyone could ever ask for) totally planned this whole cool "trip to Hawaii" thing and it was an open house in the capilla [chapel] for investigators- put on by the members depicting the plan of salvation. They did like a little show pretending to be in an airplane crash and die, and the missionaries came in and we were like "What happens after we die?" and we took them in little groups to different rooms that represent the different kingdoms of glory and it was sooo successful!!! AH I have to tell you more about it but I have to go now...:( 

Love you all lots!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

We can't sugar coat everything... The salvation of people's souls is at stake here!

[this is an excerpt from a really nice email we got from Elder Sparks who is serving a mission with his wife in Merida too]  

Today was the Stake Conference for Chuburna, your daughter is assigned to one of the wards in that stake.  In our assignment we visit all the wards and stake so we know the members, bishops etc in all the stakes.  Chuburna is a great stake and we love the people there so we visited their conference today.  We got there early to visit and enjoy a seat close to the front.  About 15 minutes before the meeting started in walked (more like floating on air) your daughter, she had the biggest smile on her face and was moving with quickness of purpose and I watched her eyes look around and survey what was and was not going on.  She immediately began talking to people, moving them to better or reserved areas, helping her companions see the needs of others.  She was directing every thing like a mother hen, she was making sure all her little chicks were fine, had good seats, were greeted etc.  I pointed it out to my wife and we both enjoyed watching her.  The whole time doing this she had a big smile and it was very easy to see how happy she was to be here and in doing what she was doing.  She loves the people she is serving and serving with and seems to be so VERY happy.
After conference I took the chance to visit with her about what I observed and how I enjoyed watching her, she smiled and chuckled and then said "it was like herding a group of wild geese".  What a precious daughter you have and what a great missionary she is.  I listened to her Spanish and she keeps getting better and better. 
I know you love your daughter and worry about her but from what I see, she is healthy, learning the language, loving the people and growing closer to her savior than ever before.  Continue to pray for her and encourage her but know that she is happy.

[Now for Samantha's email....]

Ah Elder Sparks is the coolest. I saw him yesterday and he told me that his mission is over and they're about to return to Arizona! 

Care package? haha you guys rock. I don't know, more cute journals? I got that package you sent me- it came last week. Thank you SO MUCH!! You're timing was perfect cause I had just run out of journal the week before. And its way cute! I love the owl one. My zone all thought it was funny that you put pics of Virgin Maria on the package.. 

But hey nobody touched the package so it's all good! Haha Virgin Maria is a big deal here. As you probably already know. I think I've talked about that before... Sometimes we joke about preaching to one of the huge Virgin Maria statutes that everyone has by their front door. 

This week was pretty good, but pretty bad too. I don't know. I guess it was just normal. Super hot as usual, and we are currently teaching this guy Marcelo, I don't know if I told you about him already last week, but he's totally potente [prepared ]!! He was actually a referencia from Edgar (and I don't know why he hasn't told us about this guy before now cause he's known the Perez family forever..) But he totally accepted a fecha [baptismal date] the FIRST lesson and he came to conferencia de estaca [stake conference] on Saturday!! Oh yeah!! We had stake conference this weekend and it was way cool!!! Presidente Garcia [her mission president] came with his wife and they got to meet Marcelo! As did the guy from the seventy who is in our area!! I don't remember his name and I can't pronounce it anyway, but it was way awesome. 

Hermana Laura's birthday- cake and horchata

So Sundays are like, stressfests. as we're sitting there, I'm trying to count how many menos activos [less actives] and investigator there are in the capilla [chapel], and then I have to decide how we're going to talk to all of them before we leave. And that's the rough part. After the closing prayer, everyone scatters, and it's like trying to herd wild turkeys. I have to go talk to this gal sitting with Hermano Monterosso and I'm trying to make eye contact with Elier (Our super duper cool lider misional [ward mission leader]- don't know if I've already told you about him or not) to tell him to go meet that guy sitting with the family Pech ucan, and find out if he's a member or not, and then my companions have to stay with this chick Monica who's sitting next to us (super potente investigadora- just had a baby like 2 days ago!!) and UGH. its nuts.

"Super cute cat"

In other news, I'm learning Maya. I know how to say stuff like: how are you? (Bish a bel) and We're going to sleep. (cosh wuene) But I don't think it's spelled like that cause Maya is spelled way weird.. We have this Book of Mormon in Maya and it's impossible to pronounce the words.

Ok well this week we had a cool experience with prayer.  We were walking around Colonia Tanlum for like the millionth time and hadn't talked to ANYONE! and I was like ok stop we're going to say a prayer. So we did. Right there in the street. And HV was embarrassed, and normally I would be too- but I don't know. Being a missionary, you totally don't care about that stuff. Plus I do something embarrassing on a daily basis..

Anywho after that we found this guy Carlos and taught him and gave him a Book of Mormon and maybe he's potente... but hard to tell cause I think he was drinking.. He's a friend of one of our kind-of investigators Enrique. I say kind of because Enrique is always drunk too when we talk to him. but that's why he talks to us, because he's super sad and wants to stop drinking but he can't, and every time we pass by his house he comes out and talks to us. Sometimes he chases after us if we didn't stop cause we didn't see him. He wants to change and we're trying to get him to come to church. and stop drinking. Yesterday we passed by his house and he was all sad again cause he told us he was drinking. So we gave him a hamburger and told him to throw out his beer. And read some pretty intense scriptures. We've been being brutally honest with people a lot lately. The other day we talked to this menos activa named Esther, and she told us she was going to get baptized into a different church. So we pretty much ordered her to repent and invited her to church again. 
I don't know if it's super effective but hey, we can't sugar coat everything. The salvation of people's souls is at stake here!

Wow this is a long email. Ok I've got to go but I'll try to send pictures now! Love you!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Merida- Como Te Quiero!

 OH MY GOODNESS I'M SO INCREDIBLY JEALOUS THAT I'M MISSING ALL THE EXCITEMENT AT THE TEMPLE!! [referring to the Gilbert Temple Cultural Celebration ]. No es justo [No fair!].. Can you send me pictures? of EVERYTHING and everyone? 
AH not sure what I should say... 

Well we met this guy the other day, a referencia from Edgar, and we weren't going to go, but then we decided to, and turns out he's BIEN potente [ready]. He accepted una fecha [a baptismal date] before we even taught a real lesson! We were just kinda talking to him about our message, and then listening to him talk alot (About 90% of all our lessons consist of listening because the people here love to talk...) And he was talking about life after this life and the importance of baptism and all this stuff and so HV looks at me and gives the invitaciòn bautismal sign (We made up our own missionary sign language, and so we have this sign that means invite to baptism- its the letter b with your right hand and wave it in front of your face one time as if swatting a mosquito or something.) So he accepted and then came to church the next day!!! Wahoo!
 Merida- "How I love you!"

 Hma Laura and Sam

 Los tres testigos

Their chapel in Merida

And we only have 2 investigadores [investigators] progressing but they're both super good. The other is this girl Monica, the novia of a menos activo [girlfriend of a less active] and she's super prepared too. She just has to get married first. ALSO we STILL haven't put a fecha for Ligia ( Do you know who Ligia is? can't remember if I already told you about her or not..) But she's... something else. She's super great and is totally in to reading her Book of Mormon which is like incredible, but she isn't considered "Progressing" unless she has a bautismal date and we can't seem to do that for some reason.... I don't know. Ugh Whatever.

In other news, my companions and I have this eternal struggle of trying to learn the other's accent. I can't seem to master the spanish accent 'cause (well HV says anyway) that gringo's talk with the throat, and latino's talk "afuera." and they can't do the gringo accent cause they can't do the TH sound. Well HL can't anyway. Its pretty entertaining listening to her try to say my name. HV has a pretty good american accent, and knows a few english phrases, which she learned from watching Jersey Shore... So she knows how to say "Shut up" and "I hate you." Good thing we're missionaries and we use these phrases all the time... I video recorded one of these conversations one time and it's pretty funny and I wish I could send it but it's too big... Maybe you could send me a flash drive in the mail or something and I could put all my pictures and videos on it and send it back? Ok well we've got to go now, but I love you all and I'll try to send pictures!


"Ore hasta siente algo"

So good news, My companion's situation isn't terrible. Hermana V [Sam's new companion] is super cool and actually way easy for me to understand for some reason. There's like certain people that I can understand way better than others. Turns out just the first day she was missing her old area a ton and felt left out cause HL and I already knew each other. But all three of us get along way good and we actually teach way good together too! The only thing is latino girls tend to attract a lot of drama... And as it turns out this includes missionaries too... Hermana V (whom everyone told us was super strict) is actually way chill with the rules. And Hermana L, (whom the president warned us not to let get away with breaking any rules or anything) gets super anxious when we're not being super duper exactly obedient and like for example praying at exactly 10:30 or something. Soooo last night we had a little bit of drama with that but they worked it out. I think.
 Haha but we have a ton of fun and we've had a ton of success this week! Well it's success by our areas standards. We had 18 lecciones con miembro presente [lessons with members], y 12 otras lecciones [other lessons]! And usually we have like 10 if we're lucky!! Of course, HV counts the lessons differently than HG so yeah...
 Sisters of her old zone plus Elder Rosales- she almost seems tall!!

 Hma Laura, Sam, Hma Garcia

But still I feel pretty good about this week. And I feel pretty good about being competent in this area too. I have pretty much been leading all the lessons and planning all week cause they don't know the area as well and I don't mind cause I think it's good practice. But it is pretty stressful too. Ok story. Yes I am getting Hayden's emails, and Andrew's too!  And actually last week I read something in Hayden's letter that really stuck with me, he told a story about these two guys whom he invited to read the Book of Mormon and then pray about it- like all missionaries do like 20 times a day right? But then he said that one of these guys told him that after reading a little, he prayed until he felt something, and then he felt this amazing love and peace and desire to keep reading and got all the way to 2 nephi 27. And I haven't been able to stop thinking about that all week! Oh gosh what I wouldn't give to have an investigator do that and have that same patience and faith! He prayed UNTIL HE FELT SOMETHING. So often we pray and expect an answer right away and when we don't receive it we get all discouraged. or even more often, we pray, and then never wait and listen for an answer.

 And this I think is the biggest problem with all our investigators right now, especially this one lady Marcela. She's way good and super nice and always wants to listen to us, and we keep inviting her to pray to receive and answer and she hasn't felt anything yet! And whenever we pray with her her prayers are always super fast and... well they lack sincerity. And so this last lesson I made a cute little notecard that says "Ore hasta siente algo" which means Pray until you feel something. And I stuck it in my scriptures in the book of Enos, and our last visit with Marcela we read the book of Enos with her and talked about the importance of praying sincerely, and later HL shared her testimony of how she received her answer about the Libro de Mormon and started crying and if you couldn't feel the spirit in there then you wouldn't be able to feel someone hitting you over the head with a ton of bricks. Hope we got through to her. And shout out to Dille for the story.

Well my times up! I have more to say like always but I'll tell you next week!