What are the members like? Do they take care of/help you? the members here are AWESOME. We eat with a different family every day, which allows us to get to know them really well. There are only a few members who live over here in our area though. But the Limones family, Hermana Limones and her daughter Rocio, are like my Mexican family. I feel like they´re my grandma and aunt. They live over here in our area and help us take care of everything we need. They are so, so caring and always so willing to help us. I can´t even list all the ways they´ve already helped us! They feed us, let us use they´re laundry machine to wash our sheets, and were helping me when my eye was swollen this week. Yesterday Hermana Limones told me they were praying for me and were worried because of my eye (which is fine now). I love them so much! I´ll take a picture with them to send to you.
Do you feel safe there? (You can be honest :) Yes. It´s not Lindon, but my companion watches out for me and we´re careful. The Lord is protecting us, I know.
What things are different now that sisters are in that area? I´m not sure, honestly. But I did find out that the sisters never get sent out to the ranchos (country). I´ll either be in Durango or Torreón my entire mission.
How is the laundry going?, Really. Good. We are not allowed to wash our clothes in a washing machine unless we pay to take them to a laundromat. Hna Limones taught me how to wash using a lavadora. It´s not that bad, honestly. It does take a long time, but your clothes are really clean. I´m including pictures of our lavadora. One side has a faucet where we get water from. We pour the water on our clothes, rub them with a bar of soap, and then scrub it against the ridges on the other side of the lavadora. It´s the typical way to wash here in México...it´s just what everyone does!
If you are not in the center of Durango, are you out in a rural area? Or how far out from the main part of the city is it? What is it like? We´re only about 20-30 mins outside of the center. There are still stores and commercial centers, but our area is mostly residential. The houses are low to the ground and colorful, but it´s definitely a desert out here! Lots of dirt.
What meals do you have to make for yourself? Breakfast and sometimes a small dinner before bed. Cereal, pancakes, simple things like that.
Are you able to buy most of the stuff you need with your missionary debit card/missionary monthly allowance? (I assume you have one?) If we keep $75-100 in your acct. is that enough? I have had other missionary moms tell me that's what they do in case of loss or theft. I think so. And that amount of money is perfect. 12 pesos equal one dollar; our monthly allowance is the equivalent of $115. Crazy, huh?? I´ll have to use that money if I want to buy something personal, or like you said, in case of theft. But everything is super cheap here; if I break or loose something it´s probably easier and cheaper to try and buy it over here.
What is the most common thing you eat? Soup, rice, tortillas. The food is really good. I asked one member for her recipe for these meat burritos that were sooo good. Also, when you come to México, try the little candies that look like the Méxican flag. They´re coconut, and they´re my favorite. When do you come to México again?
Have you been sick yet from water/food contamination? Not too bad. Everyone has to adjust.
What was most surprising to you about where you are? That I´m actually living in México, speaking Spanish every day. It´s weird to think about sometimes.
I was glad to hear the sister in your ward asked you if you were wearing sunblock!! Now it's my turn…are you wearing sunblock? :) :) Yes. But I do have a tan already. The tan line on my feet is especially clear!
Where do you go to use the internet? An internet café in our area.
We had some funny experiences this week. There were a couple lessons that were just funny. One was when we were teaching a 75 year old investigator outside of her house. There are these trucks with speakers on top that drive around advertising different things. They´re super loud, and of course one parked right down the street as we were teaching this investigator. It was so funny, trying to speak loud enough to be heard and straining to her what she was saying.
Another time, we were teaching a lesson to a woman when her daughter ran in with her dying pet chicken. We just sat there for a few minutes and watched her try and revive the chicken. The poor girl, who´s five years old, started bawling when she figured out her chick had died. It was kind of a funny situation.
The people here are so kind. After one lesson, an investigator who sells clothes gave me a skirt, two shirts, and a jacket. I was so touched, I felt like crying. She needs those clothes to sell, but she just told us that we need them more. Even many people who tell us they´re not interested in the message are still friendly and always tell us we can return if we ever need help or anything.
I feel like I´ve adjusted to missionary life. It´s hard in a lot of ways I didn´t expect, but I don´t want to leave! We have several investigators that are progressing really well. It´s so amazing to watch the hope that comes into their lives as they accept the Gospel. One woman who will be baptized on August 16th told us all of the problems she´s facing, and I was amazed at her strength to carry on. She has so much faith and is so ready to be baptized. If she could be baptized tomorrow she would without hesitation!
If I don´t say much about specific investigators, it´s because we´re supposed to be careful with confidentail information. But there are two other families that I want to mention. The first is a husband and wife whose oldest son passed away five years ago. They came to Church with us yesterday, and it was the first time the husband had ever attended a church. The other family is a mother and her ten year old son. She was been so receptive of everything we´ve taught her and the last time we were there, she had invited her mother to listen to our message. They both accepted baptismal dates. The struggle with them will be helping them to realize the importance of attending Church. We have an appointment with them this Wednesday and the bishop is going to accompany us to help teach about honoring the Sabbath Day.
I love you! Thank you for your love and support. My testimony of the Gospel and of our Heavenly Father´s love for us grows every day. I know without a doubt this Church is true, and that every sacrifice we make for the Gospel will be more than worth it.