Hello Family and Friends!
First of all, I hope that you are all doing very well and enjoying the holidays! Believe it or not it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas down here in Mexico as well. A lot of the members have their fake Christmas trees up and a few houses even have Christmas lights! Speaking of Christmas lights, our landlady runs a little store in front of our apartment and in front of the store are two giant bottles of liquor (like bigger than me) and she even decided to drape a few Christmas lights around them as well! Pretty festive if you ask me. Anyway, I guess I will give you a few impressions of my new area!
1) So last week I misspoke. We actually live in a Pueblo outside of the city of Cuautla. So...very rural. It is actually super quiet and calm here. Very rural. A lot of farmland surrounding us. Very different from Iguala where it was super loud and taxis were zooming by in very narrow streets.
2) It is not uncommon to see men riding horses and donkeys in the streets. They are also wearing cowboy hats 95% of the time. I feel like I am in the wild west sometimes!
3) There is this Hermana in our ward named Hermana Tomasa. Like...the feminine form of Tomas. I thought it was just a little strange.
4) One of the members has this dog named Annie. She literally follows us around everywhere. If we go into a house for an appointment she just waits outside until we are done. And when we leave she continues following us. I want her for my own.
5) FUNNY STORY: So we were walking into the front yard of an investigator but to get to her house we had to bend underneath her clotheslines that had clothes hanging on them to dry. My companion went first and while he was bending underneath the clothesline the bra of the investigator attached onto his backpack and I could not tell him because I was laughing so he just went up to the lady and shook her hand and she awkwardly pointed at her bra. He saw it. He was so embarrassed. And he had to carry it back (holding it with two fingers) and hang it on the clothesline.
6) The ward has about 100 people that attend every week. And about 80% of the ward consists of three main families that live in this pueblo. They were some of the first to join the church here in Mexico and so they had children, their children had children, their children had children, none of them moved, and thus you have our ward with a few other families mixed in there. A lot of the members do not have a lot of trust in the missionaries because for a about a 7-8 month period there was a long string of SUPER disobedient missionaries but Elder Ramos and I are working super hard to visit all of them, teach them, and gain their trust. It seems to be working because we received a lot of references this week and found 8 new people to teach! We are just starting but I think we are going to be really successful!
So. There you have it. My impressions from this week. I am very happy right now. Very content. We are working hard and having success and I come home exhausted everyday (which in my book is very good). This week I was reading a little in Doctrine and Covenants Section 88 (one of my favorite sections) and I want to share a verse that I really love from this section.
He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;
I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and for what he did for me. This week I have had the opportunity to talk about the Atonement with a lot of the members and it has caused me to reflect on what the Savior has done for me. He literally has saved me and I know without a shadow of a doubt that he has the power to save anyone from anything. Sometimes we have a hard time forgiving ourselves. Sometimes we feel very alone. But we are never alone. Because we have a Savior who "comprehended all things" so that we never have to be alone in this world. Choose to walk with him. Let him in. Let him begin to heal you. How do we do this? By small and simple things are great things come to pass. The scriptures, prayer, church, repentance, faith. I have such a strong testimony of him. I love him for what he did for me. I can never repay him. These two years are nothing compared to the sacrifice he made for me. Everytime things get hard I just think about the Atonement and then I tell myself, I have no right to complain. I should be happy and have peace every day, every moment of my life because I know: That God lives. That Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of my soul. That through repentance, faith, the saving ordinances, and enduring to the end, we can all return to live with our families again, bound for eternity. That the true Church of Christ has been restored. That the Priesthood of God has been restored. That we have a living prophet today. I have been so blessed to have this knowledge since my youth. The more I think about it. The more I teach it to others. The more special it becomes to me. The more I serve others, the more I feel love for them. The more I give, the more I receive. So, we should be happy. We should be joyful. We should do as it says in Proverbs and seek and pursue peace in our lives. It is strange spending a Christmas away from home but it has caused me to reflect on what Christmas really means. It is all about the Savior. And on Christmas morning I am going to wake up at 6:30 a.m., get ready, and read my favorite stories about the Savior in the New Testament. And be very content. I am very excited.
I love you all. I hope that you are doing well and enjoying life. Look out and look up!