Wednesday, September 11, 2013

¡HOLA! ¿Como está?

¿Como está?  Por le gente quién quieró saber mi progresa en español, está es un ejemplo.  Not the best at spelling, so sorry!  Can I first say, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the package of Cinnabon!  It came the very next day, and it was a serious blessing.  It lifted my spirits incredibly high!  It feels like I emailed you all yesterday, but when trying to remember what has happened, it feels like a lifetime!  The days are long but the weeks are short.  So, here is a run down of some of my adventures!
They sell pictures of Christ and temples at La Tienda, y Hermana Hymas and I each bought one!  I bought the picture of Christ visiting the Americas, y Hermana Hymas purchased a painting of Christ washing the disciples´ feet.  Hers is hanging in our classroom.  Last week our district was having a bit of contention.  It got to the point where we couldn´t feel the Spirit as well as we could before.  After some discussion (and I think a game of soccer among the elders), we were able to resolve our issues and find love for one another again.  Hna Hymas bought the picture of Christ as a reminder to us that when we are low or are upset with someone, the best thing we can do is to love them and to serve them, just as Christ constantly served those around Him.  Mine is hanging in nuestra casa, y nosotros amos the picture mucho because we are here! In México!  It is quite possible that we are near the sight where Christ came.  In the México City Temple, they have a HUGE mural of that picture that extends farther to the left and right than I have ever seen.
Funny story: Hna Hymas has this awesome, heavy-duty umbrella that is supposed to be indestructible.  It broke.  But one of the Elders used a safety pin to fix it.  Anyway, that´s not the story.  The story is, one night we were leaving the computer lab and it was raining.  Hna. Hymas turned to me and said everytime she opens her umbrella (she pushes a button and it opens automatically) she wants to yell "Expelliarmas"  or "EXPECTO PATRONUUUUMMM!"  Just as she finished saying patronum, this HUGE bolt of lightning lit up the sky, and it looked like she had just cast a patronus.  It was hilarious!
Food story:  Doug, you listening? We had an interesting lunch yesterday.  We ate it all (it was quite tasty and salty.  Nothing is salty here, so it was a nice change) and were walking around when the elders came up and asked us what we thought of lunch.  Eventually, they told us we had eaten cow tongue.  COW TONGUE!  They asked the chefs, and I'm pretty sure it was cow tongue.  yay.
Oh! In case you did not know, I am on Facebook!  Now, I know you know I have an account, but the picture I sent last week of the girls in my district and our roommates ended up on facebook with a quote by Elder Eyring!  I think it was on LDS share or something, and now we are on pinterest as well!  All we need now is to make it to Instagram, and we are golden! Check us out :)
Another thing we added to our room was a quote wall!  We wrote down some of our favorite inspiring quotes or scriptures and taped them to a wall in our classroom. I love it a whoooole lot. 
As part of our coaching one night, our evening teacher, Hna. Saucedo, had us walk around el CCM and bear our testimonies to random people walking about.  Hna. Hymas and I got to go up to the guards at the gate.  I think at first they thought we were trying to escape because they all came out of the guard room and blocked the sidewalk, haha!
Driving in México city is terrifying.  I'm not sure there are actual rules... :)  President Pratt made the comment that he loves driving around México City.  It creates such an adrenaline rush and you can get out all your road rage!  Well, if there are any positive testaments, that is certainly one of them! :)
Monday, we started playing sand volleyball for gym time, and it is my new favorite gym activity!  Well, I was trying to go for the ball and was only looking at the ball, not the ground in front of me.  All of the sudden, I ran into the mass, directly in my stomach, that sent me flying backwards onto the sand.  I was laying there and Hna. Hymas and Hna. Lui ran over.  I had run into Hna. Lui's head.  She had also been going for the ball!  Well, I now know a little of what American football must feel like.  And I never want to play.  I'll stick with futball.
Sunday night, we watched "Legacy", which is a movie about the pioneers.  A really funny movie, in fact!  At one point, they are building the Nauvoo temple, and one of the men (Brother David, maybe?) comes up to this girl he likes but is promised to another (Brother Jacob) and the girl's father mentions David has been working every 1 in 5 days instead of every 1 in 10 as Joseph requested.  But when he finds out Jacob is waiting for the temple to be completed before marrying Eliza (the girl), he goes "maybe I'll go back to working 1 in 10!"  I think being surrounded by other missionaries is what made it so funny.  anyways...
This weekend is Mexico's Independence Day! (From Spain)  We are having a celebration on Saturday night, and they have been putting up flags and decorations all week.  Last night during our Tuesday devotional, we got to sing the Mexican National Anthem! Well, try to sing the national anthem.  I'm glad everyone was very understanding because I'm pretty sure we butchered that poor song.  But I hope to learn it correctly one day!  At lunch, they have different Mexican candies that we can try. So far, so... interesting.  It is kind of a hit and miss.
At La Tienda, we also found these BEAUTIFUL LDS art books for only 19 pesos!  They have over 100 pictures in them, with paintings and pictures for every occasion! OT, NT, BoM, y Church History.  Ding Dong!
Now for some more spiritual things.  Hector is a tough investigator.  After our second lesson with him on Thursday morning, Hna. Hymas and I burst into tears.  He was just so closed off and seemed uninterested! Both of us felt the spirit muy fuerte, pero he said he couldn't feel anything.  After a discussion with our teacher, we learned a couple of things about teaching:
1. If you are inviting the Spirit and can feel it, that is enough.  The investigator still has there agency and can chose to open their heart or not
2. It is important to focus on what the Spirit is directing you to teach
3. Sometimes, you have to take a minute and forget yourself.  Actually, always forget yourself in your lessons.  They aren't for you.  They are to help your investigator.  Ask the right questions and truly listen to them so you can know what it is they really need.
4. Love those you teach.  Well, love everyone, but be sure to tell those you teach that you care for them. They don't always know what love is, and if you are loving them, they will be able to better feel God's love for them.
Needless to say, after a disaster of a lesson, we were extremely nervioso to teach Hector again.  But in our next lesson, we focused more on him.  We asked more about his family and his desires.  We waited more.  Oh, number 5. Silence is okay.  Sometimes the Spirit needs to teach them something without you interrupting.  We allowed him to teach us about himself.  I think we were able to help him feel God's love for him.  He has since been more receptive and has agreed to pray!  He is going to read the Book of Mormon as well.  Yay!
Nancy is very receptive to our message, but isn't doing as well with keeping her commitments.  Hopefully, she will be able to follow through.  That is another hard thing.  Each person has to progress on their own.  You can help all you want and feel you should, but in the end, it is HIS or HER conversion that truly matters.
Monday night, we practiced teaching each other.  I was being taught by Elder Hansen.  It has been really hard for me to be able to recognize the Spirit as of late.  I want to feel it in the ways I know, but I have been learning more subtle ways of recognizing his presence.  In Elder Hansen's lesson, he helped me to realize the importance of el Espíritu, especially when reading El Libro de Mormón.  He mentioned that we often don't give enough credit to those times when the Spirit is there with us.  He read a scripture (sorry, I don´t have it) about how the Spirit is there when we are doing good.  The Spirit doesn´t always bring tears to my eyes or give me chills, though that happens as well.  More often than not, it is a peaceful or happy heart.  Sometimes it's the glow I feel when I learn something new, as though my mind is being enlightened.  For me, el Espíritu is a quiet voice, not a voice of thunder.  I learned much more that I will have to share with you another day.  Don't worry, I wrote it down in my journal, so I'll remember it.
For our Tuesday night devotional, we had a member of the seventy, and it was really fun because it was translated from spanish to english.  Have I ever mentioned that "Called to Serve" is even better in Spanish because it has 4 verses instead of 2?  Well, it is :)
I LOVE YOU with all my heart.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the constant love and support!  It feels like everyday I learn about someone else who is praying for me or wants to write me a letter.  I cannot express my gratitude for that support.  It helps remind me why I am so happy to be here.
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Hna Lauren Grondel :)
P.S., go read Romans 8:38-39.  It is a gem I found in Personal Study this week :)
We all wore Red white and blue for 9/11 today

In front of the temple sign.  We got to go again to day!  the spanish was much easier

Just an example of the decorations being set up

Just an example of the decorations being set up

Platform 9 and 3/4!  I'm so sorry I haven't emailed the list.  Maybe next week, I have 10 seconds left!  Bye!

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