Hello Family and Friends!
I hope that you are all doing extremely well and loving life! This week has been pretty big for me. I have learned a lot about myself and have recognized a few things that I have to change in order to be a better missionary and servant of my Savior Jesus Christ, but first, and you already know, it is time for impressions of Mexico.
1) So. The Mexican people have a very different idea of colors that look good painted on the house. I would say, generally speaking, that the most common types of colors would be flourescents. Lime Green, Purple, Pink, and Orange.
2) Calling people by their skin color is not totally uncommon or even considered rude. If you have white skin, they just call you whitey. If you have black skin, they call you black. If you have brown skin, they call you brown, etc. Also, I have found out that calling someone fat can be a term of affection here if used within the family unit. Literally, I have heard husbands say to their wives (roughly translated), "Hey fatty, get over here fast because the missionaries want to share a message with us."
3) Continuing with the same train of thought as the last impression, there are famous treats here in Mexico called Negritos, or little black boy. On the rapper there is a black boy with a over-sized afro. They are basically like bread with chocolate on top and in the inside. But interesting name nonetheless.
4) So, the Jehovahs Witnesses. They knock on our door every Saturday around 10:00 a.m. while we are studying. This is basically how it goes. They knock. I check through the peephole just to make sure that it is them. And then open the door really quickly. There they are. Two women, dressed in bright colors, with their parasols and Bibles in hand. Every time I open the door quickly and they see me in my white shirt and tie with the nametag they always get this shocked, nervous look on their faces. One of them nervously thumbs through the Bible saying that they just want to share one verse from the Bible really quickly and then they will leave and the other invites me to their next activity. I actually feel sort of bad but they never learn their lesson. I would think that they would mark in their list that LOS MORMONES VIVEN EN ESTE APARTAMENTO. NO TOQUEN.
I truly love this country. The more I think about the quirky, funny things that I find every week, the more I love this country and the people that compose it.
Elder Lopez is doing great! He is nervous and quiet but really wants to learn how to teach well and be the best missionary that he can be..so...we are working on that! I have really been trying to help him in every way that I can. I remember how nervous and uncomfortable I felt during those first weeks in the field and so I always check to see how he is feeling, or what he is thinking, and praying for guidance on how I can help him best. We have been pounding the pavement this week for sure. Teaching, looking for investigators, accidentally knocking on the door of Jehovahs Witnesses when we were looking for less-active members, etc. It has definitely been a tiring week. But so good. Because I have learned a huge lesson that I have been trying to learn for a long time.
I have been pondering a lot about charity this week. Loving people. Sometimes it is so hard. Because not everyone is extremely loveable. But I took the advice in Moroni and prayed for the gift of charity. That no matter the person, no matter what they say, what they do, or how they act towards me, that I will love them and see them as the Savior sees them and as my Heavenly Father sees them. I have definitely been tried in this area during the week. A lot of rejection, some rude comments, things happening that would normally make me criticize people in my mind, but every time I felt the desire to say or think something that would not edify or uplift someone else, I would check myself, not say it, and then pray in my mind for more charity and love. And it has been working.
My goal is to love everyone the best that I can. Smile at them. Greet them in the street. Help them to know in their minds, and feel in their hearts that they are loved and that they are important. Little by little I am trying to develop this love for myself, my companion, the members, less-actives, investigators, and people that we find in the street. And you know what? I have truly been so much more happy. More peaceful. The Lord has blessed me with more opportunities to serve strangers in the street and members and to love them even more deeply. Even if plans fall through, and investigators stop progressing, and the work is hard, I still feel that inner-peace because I know that I am doing all that I can to help the children of my Heavenly Father and my brothers and sisters. Without charity, I have come to find out, I am truly nothing as a missionary. It is the most important Christ-like quality that I am focusing on developing right now in my life.
I know that Christ lives. I know that each and every one of us are important to our Heavenly Father. He loves us. I felt his love envelope me this week during my prayers. He so wants to train and tutor us. Sometimes we put up our barriers, but the second we lower them, his love and power flow through and we can feel it. I want to thank you all for what you have done for me. The support and love and letters that I have received from you all. I love you all very much.