Monday, June 27, 2016

Semana 15 - This week flew by!

This week flew by!  It’s true what they say that the time really flies.  We’re trying to work more with the members so we had our recent convert Susi, accompany us on Tuesday.  We planned a tight schedule, with all of our appointments super close to each other.  We thought it was funny when she was like “I thought you guys said all the citas “appointments” we’re close?”  I forget that we walk literally everywhere, anywhere, and all over Tonala and that it’s hard for people who aren’t used to it.  On Wednesday I had a really good day.  Nothing special happened, just one of those days where I really felt loved by the members and like I loved Tonala and my missionary work here.  Also a good day because Pozol!  I don’t know how I ever thought chocolate corn water was gross.  That stuff is so good haha. 

I miss my other trainer but Herman Limon is also really great.  I love both my trainers but they are different.  We were really tired this week, physically and mentally.  It’s always hot here but I came in the hottest time of the year and it’s definitely cooler now than a month ago.  I hear there’s a heat wave in California right now – you guys get to experience a little bit of how it feels in Tonala. :o)  Also, Thursday was my 3 month mark which was exciting!  I feel like 3 months isn’t very long but that I’ve been away from home for a really long time.  I also feel that I’ve changed a lot in these 3 months.  I read some journal entries from the beginning of my times in the CCM (Mexico City Missionary Training Center) and also in the mission field.  It felt like the hardest thing ever!  Like I couldn’t bear it, the lack of understanding with the language and the days that felt like 10 years and the horrible heat of the hottest area of the mission in the hottest time of the year.  Truthfully, all I wanted was to go home and speak English.  I have really started to understand the attribute of patience throughout my 3 months in Mexico.  I actually love it here now though.  Me encanta Tonala y la obra misional.  :o) (I love Tonala and Missionary Work).

To quote the scriptures, “I know in whom I have trusted.  My God hath been my support; He hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and He hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.”  (2 Nephi 2:19-20) I love this!  Trust in the Lord in your times of trial and affliction, steadfast in faith, and He will preserve you, lead you and guide you through the storms of life.  I know this is true because I’ve seen it in my life these past 3 short months.  I’m already seeing how my mission and the Lord are doing so much more for me than me for the Lord.  Everyday my mission forces me to be better!  It’s still hard of course, but I know in whom I have trusted, and that makes it all worth it.  I hope you are all doing well, don’t forget to pray, read your scriptures, and go to church! 

Con mucho amor desde Tonala, Hermana Dangl 

Herman's Limon's first time to drink Frapezol aka known as Mexican Starbucks.
 It is unique to Tonala - Ingredients: cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, 
and agua de coco along with pozol (chocolate corn water)
I get this every Pday because it's really good! 

 At church with the members. 

Selfie with my companion Hermana Limon!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Semana 14 - Trip to the Tuxtla Temple

Hola Family and Friends!

I am back in Tonala and doing well.  Being away from Tonala made this week a lot sweeter because I realized that I actually love this place.  It’s hot and there are a lot of bugs  but somehow I love it and it feels like my home.  On Tuesday I spent the entire day at the bus station waiting for my new companion, Hermana Limon!  She’s really great! She has 7 months in her mission and she spent all of that time in one area, Comitan, baptizing like crazy.  Hermana Limon is 27 years old and is from Puebla, Mexico.  She’s super little, shorter than me, but has a ton of energy and a huge smile.  It’s great!  She’s very different from my past companion, but I think I’m going to learn a lot about missionary work and different ways of doing the Lord’s work. 

On Thursday we got a call that the senior couple missionaries were going to come by and check our house for cleanliness in one hour.  I can’t even express the frantic cleaning that ensued.  We had just had cambios (changes of companions) and it was a ridiculously dirty made for a messy combo.  When the couple came we had just barely finished and I was pretty proud of the job we did.  They came in and looked around and told us the house seemed like it hadn’t been cleaned in a while and we needed to put forth some time on that. 

On Friday we had the opportunity to give (watch the Elders give) service!  It was moving a fridge so we kind of just directed things while the Elders did the heavy lifting.  We also watched some butchers carry cows cut in half to various places in the market and it was one of those things that’s so gross and weird that you can’t look away.  That night our capacitadoras (Sister Training Leaders) came and slept at our house and in the morning we all got up at 3 am to head out to the temple!  Practically the whole ward packed into two convies and we left around 4:30 am for Tuxtla.  The temple is so pretty and I had a once in a lifetime experience.  The temple session was in Tzotzil! There were a ton of indigenous Mexicans, many of whom don’t speak Spanish, only their own dialect.  There were Spanish subtitles and I surprised myself by how much I understood of the Spanish.  The Tzotzil stuff was cool to hear, but I never want to have to learn it.  It’s super fast and sounds nothing like any language I’ve heard before.  There were a couple members of the ward who went to the temple for the first time and were sealed as a family for time and all eternity.  So amazing, I love the temple!  That night we did a ton of street contacting and prayed that in that moment and that place, everyone we contacted would give us their phone number and accept a baptismal invitation.  They all did!  It was amazing!
(A note about from me, the mom, Sherrilynne, about this language. When I told my mission president from Chile, President Craig Zwick last November that my daughter was going to the Tuxtla, Gutierrez Mission, this is what he said. "One of our fondest memories was to tour the Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission and then conduct a temple reivew in their beautiful temple there.  Part of Hermana Dangl's mission includes San Critobal, where the natives speak Tzotzil, the Mayan dialect.  They greet each other with a beautiful expression that sounds like "Ku shay ehlan" which means "How is your heart?" Blessings to you and your family."  Katelynne mentioned last week about going to San Cristobal with her companion and how her companion had learned that language.  How neat that she was able to hear it spoken in the temple. 

Sunday we had church and Monday we cleaned the tank.  Maybe some of you remember that we wash our clothes on the roof.  There’s a huge cement tank that holds all the water for these washing endeavors.  The tank was absolutely filthy, full of bugs, algae, and dirt.  So we spent quite a few hours Monday draining and cleaning.  The Elders came and helped us a bit which was really nice.  We’re trying to clean our whole house but it may be impossible.  Anyway, that’s my life right now!  I’m starting to understand a lot more Spanish, which is good because I don’t feel so frustrated anymore. 

Heavenly Father has taught me a lot about patience and bearing your afflictions with patience this past transfer.  I’m also learning to appreciate not just the good times here but the pains and trials as well.  Romans 5:3-4 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience; experience; and experience, hope.”  I only have one mission, one chance to live and teach these people in this place.  All of it – good and bad is part of the experience.  Already 1/6th of my mission is done and I can’t get that back.  It’s crazy! Happy Father’s Day! 

Con much amor,  Hermana Dangl

 With Hermana Limon, my new companion in front of the Tuxtla Temple.
 Hermana Dangl
 With Hermana Limón, Hermana Ruvalcaba y Hermana Connolly (hija - daughter of Hermana Ruvalcaba)

With Hermana Limon y Hermana Ruvalcaba (mama de Hermana Limon, my abuela (grandma), 
this is 3 mission generations
 On the drive to Tuxtla to go to the temple.
 On Pday cleaning out the tank that holds our water to do our laundry on top of our roof.

 Hermana Limon and Hermana Dangl
 Birthday wishes from my companion.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Semana 13 - Tranfers this week! Staying in Tonala!

I mentioned in the last letter that I traveled to Tapachula on my Pday.  That night we slept at the casa (home) of the Capacitadoras (trainers) for that area and then Tuesday morning we traveled to Tuxtla, which is a 5 hour bus ride.  Tuxtla is currently a bit sketchy because there are a lot of people on strike, so a ton of people are just kind of gathered and then a parking lot distance away there’s a few hundred law enforcement in their riot gear and everything.  Some roads are closed because of this.  Tuxtla actually has some stores like Walmart, and stoplights and laws. In Tonala, the game is “How many people can we fit in this taxi?” and no one wears seat belts ever, a lot of taxi backseats don’t even have them.  In Tuxtla, we had to convince the taxi driver to let us put 4 people in the backseat and he wouldn’t let us even put 2 in the front seat.  Apparently because Tuxtla is a big city, there are actually rules. 

Anyway so when we got to the mission home we got permission to go to San Cristobal, another one of Hermana Juarez’s areas for the afternoon.  San Cristobal is in the mountains so the drive up was gorgeous.  We were looking down on clouds and the city and it was actually a bit cold.  It was amazing!  Did I mention it’s COLD?  San Cristobal is a bit of tourist spot because it’s super interesting and they sell basically everything cool that there is to buy in Mexico.  Also, there are a ton of indigenous people living there who speak Tzotzil, a Mayan dialect.  My companion, for the past 6 weeks, who has been my trainer, is absolutely amazing.  She’s like my mom, friend, teacher, and sister all in one.  She has a degree in nutrition and nails from Michoacan, Mexico.  She just had her 24th birthday on Monday. Wahoo!  Anyway while visiting this awesome city I found out that she speaks Tzotzil which is so cool and so hard to learn and is the result of her serving in San Cristobal.  We did a lot of touristy shopping and all in all had a fun day. 

On Wednesday I had my first hot shower in 6 weeks and it was possibly the best part of my day.  Then the worst part of the day was when I had to say goodbye to Hermana Juarez.  I was a crying mess as we were driving in the taxi to the bus station.  The Capacitadoras (trainers) Hermana Conde & Ruvalcaba, have been my companions for the week.  Hermana Juarez left a little before the transfer ended because she had a test she had to take for school.  So we arrived at Arriaga and proselyted there for the day and at night went to Tonala. 

Thursday morning we had a zone meeting and the plans were that I would proselyte with a member that evening and for part of the next day because the capacitadoras had a meeting in a different zone.  However, all plans hit the fan when I got chikungunya.  Basically during the meeting for the first 2 hours I was freezing cold plus my stomach had been hurting really badly all morning.  So then we had a break and then 2 hours after the break is when things really started to go downhill.  I was still freezing but my skin was burning up, stomach hurting, and my whole body just overall felt terrible. My ankles, back, and hips hurt and I felt pretty weak.  After the meeting I started crying and got a blessing but I still felt terrible, so an Elder took my temperature and it was up to 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 F) so things, if even possible, got even worse.  It was raining outside and there wasn’t a hospital in Tonala so we were just supposed to go to a consultant and then you can buy meds next door at the Pharmacy.  It was raining so all the taxis were full, so a member gave me a ride.  The dad was driving and the mom was putting rags out the window so they’d be wet while her daughter put the said rags on my face and body. The district leaders, zone leaders, and capacitadoras waited at the church for a taxi.  We got to the consultant place and there was a line and it was still raining and I was still crying and everyone was still dabbing me with wet rain water rags and at this point my fever was at 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) so the freak out is super real.  Finally I go in to the consultant with Hermana Ruvalcaba, who has super good English and she explained everything to me and when she said I had chikungunya and that it was a mosquito borne illness my level of surprise was nonexistent because who didn’t see this coming? I did.  I totally saw this coming, so they prescribed me some pretty good medicine and 3 days of rest minimum. 

So now I’m in Arriaga and basically all I did for 3 days was drink juice and eat bread and sleep, and of course swat mosquitoes.  I’m way better now and even the day after, Friday, I was feeling better.  I guess if you don’t rest though it can come back and often it comes back in 6 months.  I’ve had a lot of free time though so I’ve been trying to get through the Bible, since basically everyone we teach is Catholic.  The rest of my week has been very boring and restful.  Though I have to mention . . . transfers are in! I’m staying in Tonala and my new trainer is Hermana Limon!  I haven’t met her yet so all the details I have to give is her name.  I will write more about her next week.  This has been a hard week but I am grateful for your prayers, helpful members and missionaries, and medicine.  Con mucho amor, Hermana Dangl  

On the drive up to San Cristobal.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Semana 12 - Days are long and weeks are short!

I don’t even know where this week went.  It’s so true what they all say – days are long and weeks are short.  In the beginning, one day was like four days, they felt soooo long.  Now one day is one day.  I’ve been told that pretty soon, four days will feel like one day and the time will really fly.  I guess it’s kind of true as we’re wrapping up this transfer already and I’m killing my mom (meaning, my trainer – mama, is going home) and I’m here companion (hija-daughter) for her last transfer. It’s pretty rough to watch her pack and clean and feel like I should be going home as well! But I still have a little over 15 months until the people of Chiapas are no longer graced with my presence. :o) 

Something that I love about being here is that all the beverages (agua) that are here you buy from people just wandering around selling them.  People are always selling stuff, either from bikes or from their houses—little abarrotes and tiendas (stores) out of people’s houses are on every street.  It’s amazing!  We started teaching someone I thought might be an Escogido (chosen investigator) but I’ve recently started thinking is a mob boss.  On Thursday during our planamiento seminal (weekly planning), we went to the market and bought dulce de papaya and agua de sandia (watermelon).  It’s super cheap and they give it to you in a bag and then tie it around a straw.  We returned to the casa and watched the District for a bit with our goods and laughed more about how unrealistic the videos are for our situation and area.  For example, how music always plays when they pray but that never happens to us during lessons.  

I ended up talking to a doctor on the phone and she said, “I have to eat super bland food for a bit to see if I have some kind of infection or if it’s the different food that’s making my stomach hurt (still.)” I had a member tell me she was tired of me not being able to eat as much and always giving the excuse of still accustoming to the food.  She told me that as a missionary I need to have faith that no matter what I eat, the Lord will keep me healthy.  That sounds really nice but it isn’t happening so far.  We checked in on her on Sunday because she wasn’t at church and she said she stayed home with stomach pain. 
Saturday we had another baptism.  It was great!  The water was kind of green from the chlorine and blue toilet water changing tablets that we put it in but all in all, it was a great service.  A baptism is a really nice “Happy 1 Month in Tonala” present. 

On Sunday we had a special noche de hogar (Family Home Evening) for a member that’s moving away and for Hermana Juarez.  All the members were crying over her because everyone loves her and it was making me really sad.  I don’t want her to leave me!  There was warm rice water which sounds weird but like everything that sounds weird here, was actually pretty good. Hermana Juarez wants to visit her old areas before she goes back so today (Monday) we’re going to Tapachula. It’s about 3 hours from Tonala, more south towards Guatemala. Then Tuesday we’ll go to Tuxtla (5 hours) and my new companion and I will ride back to Tonala from there.  Usually adventures like this are against the rules but apparently if you spend your whole mission baptizing every single person in Mexico you get to do what you want, plus bring your companion (me) along. We spent the day in Tapachula and its less hot there and a big city. I got to catch up with Hermana Nelson, my MTC companion who is in that area. Thank you all for your love and support!  Con amor, Hermana Dangl

 Our district.
 Our second baptism.

 More pictures from last week's baptism in the ocean.

 21 people in the van going to the baptism at the beach last week.