Monday, December 26, 2016

Semana 41 - Skyping on Christmas & Hump Day - 9 month mark

Merry Christmas!  Or Feliz Navidad!

This week had some ups and downs.  A huge up was getting to talk to my family on Sunday!  Downs would be that this week had some long hot days with a lot of appointments falling through and not a lot of support from the members.  It’s hard because there aren’t very many members but we are trying our best here in Mapa!  Highlights of the week: 
  1. We found root beer and it was amazing because I haven’t had root beer since before my mission. 
  2. We ate iguana!  It was totally not bad, though it had lots of little bones and still had its skin. :o)
  3. District meeting and zone meeting on Thursday.  In the district meeting we talked about the numbers behind time – in the scriptures it says that one day for God is like 1,000 years for us.  So,

God’s Time                  Our  Time
1 day               =          1,000 years
1 hour              =          +40 years
1 minute          =          +6 years

Which means my mission of 1.5 years is only 15 seconds for God.  It’s basically nothing!   Haha.  It was a really good meeting though and we talked a little bit about how the frustration we feel right now is teaching us a little bit about how God often feels with us when we disobey Him.  It’s a hard lesson to learn.  After the zone meeting we decorated a Christmas tree and got presents.  We laughed about how us missionaries have to stick together at Christmastime because we’re all people who don’t have our families with us, and only have each other. 

  1. On Friday I completed 9 months in the mission!  That means I’m halfway done. . . What?!  I feel that I’ve learned so much in these past 9 months.  I’ve heard the mission is like climbing a mountain, 9 to climb up and 9 to climb down, but the way down is always faster and just gains speed as it goes. 
  2. Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) and Navidad (Christmas)! Yay!  So awesome to celebrate with some members and also skype my family.  Also to be able to think about the true spirit of Christmas, which is of course, a Christmas centered on Christ. 

I hope you all had a great Christmas and that all is well with everyone.

Con amor, Hermana Dangl 

 They received a gingerbread house from her aunt and uncle and they decorated it on Christmas Day.

 Christmas gathering with their zone on Thursday.  They decorated their Christmas tree.

 9 months in the mission!  Hump Day!  = 9 months pregnant.

 Hermana Kettley in Chile on her hump day! I must have been having labor pain! :o)

 A bone from the iguana.
Tamales de iguana

                                          Skyping with the family on Christmas Day! 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Semana 40 - Christmas and Baptisms

Buenos Dias!  

Hello all!  This was a great week. Last Sunday, our investigator, Rubi, was baptized!  Yah!  In a week on Sunday she’ll be confirmed and officially be a member.  

On Monday, December 12th, many here celebrated the Virgin of Guadalupe’s birthday.  During the celebration, they all get together with the shrine and offer a special prayer. Then afterwards they eat food and maybe crack open a piñata.  Our investigator Lupita threw one of these parties because it was also her daughter Lupita’s birthday.  Also because she was really likes the Virgin of Guadalupe, thus her name.  We got to come afterwards to just eat and we kind of hid in the corner with our tacos. 

On Tuesday we had members scheduled to go on visits with us and they canceled which was lame, but we watched “The Testaments,” with Rubi, which was good.  We don’t really watch TV so when we actually get to watch something, Hermana Renteria and I are glued.  

On Wednesday it rained!  It hasn’t rained in forever because the rainy season is over, so we were not very prepared.  In the afternoon we traveled to Arriaga and got to share a twin mattress that night which was super fun and comfortable obviously.  But worth it because bright and early on Thursday we all traveled to Tonala for a multi-zone Christmas activity!  Whoo!  Zone Tonala and Zone Chahuites got together with President and Hermana George, our Mission President and his wife, and it was great!   We did skits and a little talent show and we learned a ton of stuff plus sang a lot of Christmas songs.  It was super awesome!   It took all day but it was totally worth it.  Yay for Christmas!  

On Friday the whole world gave us food which was nice.  We were also really full the whole day.
There’s something about being a missionary that makes everyone think you’re starving even though you slowly but steadily gain weight your whole mission.  It’s very interesting.  

On Saturday, we visited Rubi like 10 times to get everything figured out for her baptism on Sunday.  She’s so ready!  Elder Xochicale, our district leader, told us after her interview that he has never seen a 12 year old who understands so clearly and simply the doctrine.  We’re stoked!  

On Sunday Hermana Renteria and I got surprised with talks . . . whoever was supposed to give the talk didn’t show up so of course Presidente Toledo throws it on over to us.  Haha.  . . but it’s okay because we all went to the river after church and Presidente Toledo baptized Rubi.  She’ll receive the Holy Ghost next Sunday.  It was super exciting!  We taught the primary kids the song, “I’m Trying To Be Like Jesus,” and we all sang it for the special number.  It was great!  I hope you all have a great week and a Merry Christmas this coming Sunday.  

Con mucho amor, 

Hermana Dangl

 Zone Christmas Activity!
 Angel and Mary!
 Angel and Devil! 
 Baptism of Rubi!
24 Creches I sent to Hermana Dangl and her companion to hand out to their investigators and ward members for Christmas.  It has the scripture in Spanish from Isaiah 9:6 that reads.  "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Hermana Dangl

Monday, December 12, 2016

Semana 39 - Say yes, to use the word "so," instead of the word "but."

Hello all,

This week was a tiring one, and I can’t say that it was particularly amazing either, but the good news is we have a baptism planned for this Sunday.  Whoo!  I’m hoping that announcing it won’t jinx it, but we're pretty stoked.  The people/investigators here who progress are the ones who "get" it, who understand the things we teach because they have open hearts.  I learned a lot this week from substituting the word, "but" with "so."  For example, "I should say my prayers. . ." is a sentence we can finish with "But I'm tired" or "SO I will," or "I should go to church" but "I don’t want to get out of bed" or "So I will."  There is great power in making good choices over and over because it forms a habit.  

Sometimes we really struggle with investigators who say, "I can’t" instead of "I can."  We help people learn how to pray and repent and sometimes it’s hard at first and there are always going to be a million excuses as to why NOT.  When we find the reasons within ourselves to do things, to say, "I should do___, so I will," is when real conversion happens.  In preach my gospel, it tells us the signs of true conversion is when we have desires to share the gospel with others, desires to choose the right, desires to be obedient.  So I challenge you all to look for the reasons to say yes, to use the word "so," instead of the word "but." Like I said, this week wasn't super eventful but on Thursday we went to Tonalá for a zone conference and it was super, super good!! Hope you all have a great week!  

Con mucho amor, Hermana Dangl

 New hymnbook cover- our zone had them made.

 Me with tacos de lengua :) 

 Hermana Dangl and Emperatriz

Zona Tonala

Monday, December 5, 2016

Semana 38 - Follow His Example

Buenos Dias,

This week was fine, a pretty normal week.  On Monday we visited R.  We are trying to get R prepared for baptism soon, which is exciting.  I think I’ve mentioned her, she’s 12, but super prepared, she understands everything and just needs to come to church a little more.  It’s kind of a miracle though that she’s so close because the missionaries had been visiting with her off and on for a while, but she only started to really pay attention about 2 months ago.   

On Tuesday the most exciting thing that happened is a member gifted us with large Cuban bananas.  It’s a wild species of banana that you have to fry or boil to eat, you can’t eat them “raw,”  like normal bananas.  

On Wednesday we visited J and had an awesome lesson with her.  J is a bit of an “eternigator,” (eternal investigator).  She’s super ready to be baptized and knows the church is true and cried during the lesson about how much her life has changed thanks to the gospel, but has never attended church.  Honestly it’s one of our biggest problems here, getting people to come to church.  

On Thursday, (first day of December! Yeah for Christmas!)  we prayed for a miracle that even though we didn’t have a member to accompany us on visits, we could have some lessons with members present.  By miracles of miracles, all the less actives we visited that day had non member friends over also visiting them that we were able to teach.  Whoo!   I think that the people who don’t feel like they see small miracles in their lives are the people who don’t ask for them.  When we are obedient, God promises us blessings, but we have to ask for them.  Ask for miracles and you will receive them! :o)  

On Friday our sister training leaders came down from Arriaga to do companion exchanges with us.  Our area is super far away though so when we do splits we all work in Mapastepec.  I got to work with Hermana Vargas which was cool!  The whole point of companion exchanges is to learn something new from the other Hermana.  They left on Saturday, and we visited C, a less active who lives by the cemetery.  I always thought I was super blessed that basically all of my extended family lives within 20 minutes from me, but C has me beat.  He bought a whole street of property and gifted it to his 12 kids so that they all live nearby.  It’s nice for us to because we get to focus on this one street jam packed with inactives and potential members. :o)  

On Sunday J came to church and I about died from happiness.  She’s the “eternigator,” I mentioned earlier.  We tried to watch a live stream of a conference that was happening in Tonala and it totally wasn’t working so we watched General Conference again.  After church we all piled into President Toledo’s truck to visit members that didn’t come and they weren’t there so we all ended up stopping by Hermana Ines’s house.  We did a kind of potluck thing and I got to try a nice little mix of cow heart and various other insides.  Which was a very interesting flavor for me haha.  On Saturday we ate quesadillas that were so good that it made me never want to leave Mexico and eat the subpar Mexican food that we have in the US.  So I guess it all evens out.  

In closing, I’d like to share something I’ve been learning recently: How important it is to truly follow the example of Jesus.  Granted, we can’t exactly atone for the sins of the world or raise the dead, but it starts with the little actions.  The things we do daily, our thoughts, and desires make us into who we are.  We can follow his example in serving others, comforting the broken hearted and listening to those who may be crying for help.  In withstanding temptation and quite literally thinking, “What would Jesus do?”  Well, I hope you all have a great week!  

Con amor, Hermana Dangl

Katelynne didn't upload any pictures this week so I added some that her Aunt Jennifer took before she left on her mission.  Beautiful! 

 Her mission call she received 13 months ago.
 Book of Mormon in Spanish and Mexican Flag!
 Called to Serve for 18 months! 

 Newport Beach Temple 
 Preach My Gospel Missionary Guide 
 The Holy Scriptures! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Semana 37 - Embroidery & the Priesthood

Hello all,

The good news is that transfers are in and I have at least one more transfer in Mapastepec with Hermana Renteria.  

On Monday I learned two important things: 1st, how to embroider!  I'm trying to learn as much about the culture, food and art while I'm here in Chiapas.  As a missionary, you have a little family of members and investigators who are willing to teach you things, explain things and give you new, weird food, plus the recipe!  It's very different from being a tourist, and I love it.  Hermana Lupita, an investigator, is teaching me how to do embroidery, something basically all the women here know how to do and do often.  2nd, the importance of the Priesthood.  The power and authority that God gives to worthy men to act in His name for the salvation of His children.  These are two very different topics, but on Monday Hermana Lupita's grandbaby fell off a bed and by chance her return missionary son was visiting and able to give the baby a blessing of health and comfort.  It made me realize how important it is to always have (or be!) a worthy priesthood holder.  In Mapa, it's very limited and lacking and I'd say it's true that you don't really realize what you have, until it's gone. 

On Tuesday we visited Hermana J and she told us that that morning she had been praying about what to do, and which church was actually true.  That day we came to visit her and she told us she felt that that was her answer.  This was actually a super cool experience because we were going to have a District Meeting on Tuesday and be in Tonala but they ended up changing the day on us the night before so we hadn't planned on visiting her but we did.  

On Wednesday we did go to Tonala and the meeting was good.  I made some serious progress on my embroidery on the bus ride there, which maybe makes me sound like an old lady but I'm pretty stoked.  On Wednesday I also hit 8 months in the mission. 

On Friday we ate way too much food in Sesecapa and basically waddled back to the combi (taxi). Seriously there is something about being a missionary that makes people want to feed us, I have no clue why.  Afterwards we went to visit Hermana G., a less active and she wasn't home but by pure chance there were some goats outside so we stopped to watch them (instead of just walking past them like normal people do) and she came home in that time!  Whoo for the little miracles!  :o)  

On Saturday President Toledo drove us all around Mapa as we searched out less actives. We found a ward directory but with very skimpy addresses, for those living in Newport, it's like being given a name with the address, 17th St. without a number. Basically a LOT of work, but it was really good!  We found a lot of people that I hadn't known about.  I also had my first dream in Spanish (that I can remember) which is kind of a noteworthy moment for me.  Whoo!  :o)  

On Sunday we had a sacrament meeting full of less actives and basically none of the active members came which was a weird switch.  After church we contacted in an area that doesn't have street names or numbers and visited a less active who has 4 sons who are all named Luis.  Hermana Renteria and I are both procrastinators who work well under pressure, so you can probably all imagine how every Sunday is a mad rush to contact the whole world. We finished out the week strong and we made it out of the transfer alive!  Haha!  I hope everyone has a good week.  

Con amor,  Hermana Dangl 

 Learning how to embroider. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Semana 36 - Gift of Tongues

Buenos Dias! 

This week was good, we tried to work with the goal in mind of families and their potential to be eternal!  On Monday we had a super good lesson with a family that we’ve been teaching pretty much since I got here to Mapa.  They haven’t been coming to church or reading the Book of Mormon and we went with intentions to give them a “final lesson,” however, we ended up teaching the Plan of Salvation.  In the end, the daughter, L, had a total change of heart and was crying and told us she didn’t want us to stop visiting her.  I love lessons where you can see people realize what they need to do and to change.  When L offered the prayer, she was crying and was pleading for forgiveness and honestly it’s the moments like this one that makes it worth it to be a missionary.  

On Wednesday we found the golden family we had been teaching.  They had moved and they don’t have a phone so we “lost” them.  I also carried around a pumpkin in my backpack for a few hours because we made a candied pumpkin with a less active member, Hermana Veva!  It was super amazing and my life is changed now that I know how to make it.  Lots of pictures attached.  

On Friday we really learned about the importance of inspired questions.  There’s a huge shift in the lesson when we ask the right questions and the investigator actually opens up to us.  

On Saturday we visited around La Vainilla and I held a baby pig!  

On Sunday all the school kids paraded around in costumes with music and dances to celebrate November 20th, which is a day that Mexico celebrates its Revolution.  The war began on Nov. 20, 1910 to overthrow the dictator and is celebrated every year.  We watched a little bit of the parade from our balcony before church.  At church we both gave talks. . . if you had told me before my mission that the gift of tongues makes it possible to talk for 20 minutes about prophets and tithing (in Spanish), I definitely wouldn’t have believed it, but somehow it happened.  

After church we went on visits with Dilma in Jubileo and explored a new area.  It was amazing!   It’s out in the “country” and there are barely any houses so there was a ton of wind.  It was super beautiful, with green mountains, a blue sky and only a few houses.  I realize that this week wasn’t super interesting but I feel like the work we’re doing here is important.  There are sons and daughters of God here who are learning and growing and finding the need to repent and it’s honestly an amazing process.  Also as always the time is flying and we’re on to the last week of the transfer.  Whoo!  

Con much amor, Hermana Dangl

 Hermana Dangl holding a baby pig! 

 Parade from our balcony window for Nov. 20th.

 Making Dulce de Calabaza (Candied Pumpkin)

 San Francisco - An area out in the country! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Semana 35 - Teaching by the Holy Spirit

Hello all! 

As always, I can’t believe it’s already Monday.  If I were to sum up this week in only a few words, I would say “Teaching by the Holy Spirit.”  We were so directed this week to say and teach exactly what we needed to.  Hermana Renteria is past some of the hardest weeks in the mission.  After the first few weeks, she is totally starting to read my mind during the lessons, which is to actually say we are both receiving and acting on inspiration and revelation from God.  

On Tuesday we went up to Tonala for a district meeting which was actually really good.  We taught R, who has a baptism date set for the beginning of December. She’s 12 years old and has an open heart so understands and accepts the gospel easily and with faith.  She loves the missionaries and always tries to guess our first names.  

On Wednesday we visited the members of Bonanza, who informed me that Donald Trump won the election and asked me what I thought about it.  Really, everyone has been asking me about this topic.  I think they all know more about what’s going on in my country than I do since I’ve been gone and 100% out of the loop on everything.  

On Thursday I got to try a new dish that actually wasn’t bad.  Pig foot in bean soup!  I’ve been trying to embrace the traditional food while I’m here.  

On Friday we taught an investigator who we love but isn’t coming to church.  We went into it kind of unplanned because I honestly wasn’t sure what she needed when we were planning in the morning.  We ended up teaching the Plan of Salvation and all of us cried during some point in the lesson.  It was really cool and we were 500% listening to the spirit, and we taught the lesson without dying which is good because it’s seriously the hardest lesson.  After, we passed a girl in the street and I felt the prompting to contact her but ignored it (!!) and we kept walking to our appointment.  We realized though that we had forgotten all the materials we needed for the appointment.  So we turned around and passed the girl again, but this time we acted and contacted her.  Turns out, she’s a less active member and invited us to visit her.  Whoo!  

On Saturday we visited La Vainilla and afterwards had a good lesson with J, who’s preparing to be baptized in the beginning of January.  He’s totally ready but has to get married first.  

On Sunday our little branch piled into President Toledo’s truck and we all traveled to Pijijiapan for a conference.  Honestly the fact that people can ride in truck beds here is the most convenient thing ever.  In the conference Russell M. Nelson and Carol F. McConkie talked in Spanish which was cool and really impressive.  

That night we visited a less active recent convert and told him that his sister wants to get baptized, but she wants HIM, to be the one to baptize her. However, they haven’t been coming to church and have a few things to take care of so he can’t right now.   But they opened up to us and Hermana Renteria and I totally received revelation.  I flipped to Joseph Smith History, where he talks about the First Vision.  I opened my mouth to share it and Hermana Renteria  started talking about the same thing!  I read the part where Joseph Smith kneels down to pray and feels overcome by Satan, and how he has real power to divert us from  God.  But just as he was about to succumb, he saw a column of light, above the brightness of the sun.  As I read the familiar account of Jesus and Heavenly Father appearing to Joseph, I felt a power from the words I was speaking, testifying to all of us of the reality of Joseph Smith’s vision. This is what missionary work is all about, and it’s SO COOL when things like that happen.  

This week I also learned something important about Obedience and blessings. We have an investigator (many, really in this situation) who doesn’t understand why she has a lot of hardships.  However, she’s not coming to church, praying, or reading her scriptures so we shared: “I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” D & C 82:10.  God promises to bless us when we are obedient, so when we aren’t obedient, He isn’t obligated to bless us with anything.  Often He still does bless us out of love for His children, but technically blessings are predicated on obedience. Obviously obedience to the commandments doesn’t mean life is perfect and easy 24/7, but it does mean that God is bound to bless us.  That’s my spiritual thought for the week, and hope everyone is doing well!  

Con mucho amor, Hermana Dangl 

Mi Comision Misional... "Mis voz es su voz, mis actos son sus actos, mis palabras son sus palabras y mi doctrina es su doctrina." Bruce R Mckonkie (i.e., My Commission as a missionary: "My voice is your voice, my acts are your acts, my words are your words, my doctrine is your doctrine.")

 Hermana Renteria with our friend . . . . President Toledo's pig.

 Hermana Renteria and I coming home from La Vainilla.

  Rubi is going be be baptized in December.

The branch in President Toledo's truck bed.

 A rainbow in what we call "Calle Luis."  Why?  Because when we asked someone who lives on this street what it was called, she told us it doesn't have a name.  Thus, it's named after the investigator we are teaching who lives here.  His name is Luis and he has 2 brothers, also named Luis. 

 Altar from Day of the Dead last week.

 Our district! Cabeza de Toro

Rubi and her mom with the pumpkins that we gifted them.  A member gave us 3 so we gifted 2 :)