Monday, July 25, 2016

Semana 19 - Good bye Tonala and Hello Mapastapec

Friends and Family,

I’ll get to the good stuff:  President closed our area so the Elders in the neighboring area that are in the same branch will take over our area plus their area.  I’m going to . . . Mapastapec!  I’m in the same zone and the same district, just a different area.  My new companion is Hermana Arellano.  She and Hermana Limon were companions in the CCM (Missionary Training Center).  I’m going to my new area tomorrow.  For today, I’ll be in Arriago with my sister training leaders. 

Okay rewind to the beginning of the week.  I ate the best quesadillas of my life.  I think I love Mexico for its food.  I also drank some water this week called Tescalate.  It’s corn water but with all this seasoning and something that makes it a thick, dark orange color.  It was absolutely amazing.  I love all the waters here. 

We also directed “Noche de Hogar” (Family Home Evening) this week.  The branch has Family Home Evenings together every Wednesday.  I remember my first Noche de Hogar my first day in Tonala and there were like 10 people there.  Now everyone comes and its super fun and crazy.  There were about 70 people who showed, almost the same as the attendance on Sundays.  The Elders basically directed it and then out of the blue said the Hermanas now had time to share something, so we pulled some stuff out of thin air and I can’t even express how it feels to barely know Spanish but your companion gives you the “your turn” look and there’s 140 eyes looking at you.  But that’s the life of a missionary! 

The highlight of my day on Thursday was when we were teaching a lesson and I looked over and realized that our investigator had a pet squirrel.  It had a leash and everything.  It was surprising because here instead of seeing squirrels everywhere like at home in my backyard, there are iguanas.  I hadn’t seen a squirrel since I left the states.  It was very exciting and I got to hold it. 

On Friday we ate the chocolate cabeza (head), that was a gift from a member.  It’s basically some kind of Aztec looking head thing, and obviously made of chocolate.  I also bought the world’s smallest Bible.  Hermana Limon has a lot of back pain, so sometimes she only brings her Book of Mormon in her bag, because the Old Testament weighs a million pounds.  So as a joke I bought a Bible on a keychain for 6 pesos.  It’s really small and it has a little gold case with a jewel. 

On Saturday I passed my 4 month mark in the mission.  I can’t believe it’s already been 4 months.  We also found out our cambios (transfers) on Saturday and that I’m going to Mapa and Hermana Limon is going to Tuxtla to open an area plus train a new missionary.  I already have one “sister” but now I’m going to have another.  It’s a surprise though, who it’s going to be.  There is always a ceremony meeting thing where they put your pictures up and it’s very suspenseful.  We’ve been guessing a lot about who it’s going to be – the brand new missionaries pictures are in the newsletter every transfer. 

Today we got up super early to finish packing and cleaning and say goodbye to everyone.  Chaluelita and Diana came to help us clean because they’re angels and they love us.  It was super sad to say goodbye but at the same time, I’m going to be traveling to Tonala two times every cambio (transfer/6 weeks) for meetings of the district and zone.  So it’s only “see you later” for Tonala. :o)  I’m super excited for Mapa! I’ve been told that it’s a little bit hotter there and rains more.  Because of the diligence of the missionaries there, the attendance at church is now around 20 people!  I think I’m in for a bit of an adventure! 

Love you all and Cuidense mucho!  Con mucho amor, Hermana Dangl

 Good bye Tonala!

 Mini Bible I gave my companion! 
 Picture of mom and siblings at the Tijuana Temple Open House & my first companion.

 Sisters from the ward that came to our house to help us clean before we leave Tonala. 
 Saying good bye to my home for the past 3 months. 

 Our zone t-shirt.
 Hermana Connolly, my sister training leader and me last week eating lunch at a member's restaurant.
 A picture of  last week's lunch that I ordered not knowing that Pulpo is octopus and also slug is abalone.

 Last week's Pday at the beach! 

 Our first time to wear pants.  A couple of months ago the church said girls can wear pants in areas where there are problems with mosquitoes. 
 Family Home Evening at the church.
 Eating a chocolate Aztec head.

 Saying good-bye to my friends in Tonala.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Semana 18 - Timing is Everything!

This week Hermana Limon and I really saw the Lord’s hand in things.  His timing is EVERYTHING!  On Wednesday President George and Hermana George came to Tonala to give us interviews.  It was really nice to see them and also ask questions about upcoming transfers.  I’ve heard it said that the mission is like a soap opera right before transfers and it’s totally true.  There is so much speculation so we tried to glean information from President.  He did tell us that they’re probably going to close my area – Tonala 1, and combine it with the Elders area.  25ish missionaries are leaving this transfer and only 6 coming in so President George has to close 10 areas.  So next Monday I’ll have news about where I am going and who my companion will be.

This week we had several experiences with being in the right time in the right place. For example, Hermana Limón dropped a ton of contacting cards in the street and the man who helped her pick them up is an investigator who backed out of being baptized at the last second but has all the lessons and the testimony.  We never would have found him though because he lived in another area and recently moved into our area. We also had 4 appointments in a row fall through one day and as a result, visited a less active member of many years.  The member who was with us, Yazmin, recognized the house when we walked by, but if our other appointments hadn't fallen through, would wouldn't have walked on that street with that member and so we couldn't have visited or known about her. After a lot of explaining on her part about how she doesn't want to keep commandments because she wants to make all her own decisions (even though it doesn't actually work like that) I asked her if she's actually prayed and asked God what he wants her to do with her life rather than what she wants to do with it and she was like "" So she committed to pray and we're hoping to visit her more in the week with the little time we have left here.  We also had a referral that we've been sitting on for too long that turned out to be a miracle as well.   Usually, we need to contact referrals within 24 hours and we waited more than a week.  We felt very bad about this. She was in our plans to visit her every day for a week and a half, but because of the weird hours that she was available other things kept getting in the way and we couldn't visit her house.  We had time on Saturday night to visit her, but instead went to visit another investigator who is usually home after 8pm, same time that this referral is available.  However, he wasn't home (even though he should have been) so we searched out the house of the referral instead.  Not only did we find her, but she had been in Tuxtla for the past week and a half so if we had tried to find her earlier, we wouldn't have and she would have been considered contacted so we would have ended it there.  BUT NO.  Ah!  The Lord's timing is everything.  She even went to church on Sunday, plus brought her two daughters!  We ended up having 7 investigators in Sacrament meeting and honestly, watching them actually show up and walk through the doors was absolutely amazing, especially after weeks of begging them to come to church.

I also gave a talk in church last Sunday and I didn't hear them assign it to us.   Originally in the night earlier this week, my companion thought I was too calm about it all.  So just as I was about to fall sleep, she was like, "Hermana Dangl, you know that we have to give talks this Sunday, right?"  NO I DID NOT KNOW THAT.  Now that all is said and done, it went well but I never want to do it again with so little time to prepare.  I talked on the light of Christ and how to have it in your life. 

Today (Monday) we actually were able to go to the beach in the morning as well and it was absolutely amazing!  Hermana Limón's first time and my last time for a while since the odds are very high that I am leaving Tonalá.  Things are going well here, I am sad to (maybe) be leaving but also excited to continue on in what the Lord has planned for me.  It's raining a lot here, but somehow is still hot.  We also found out that we have a small horde of bats living out in the patio and we definitely have a rat and now also a lizard that lives on our wall in our room (as of this week).  Lizards actually make sounds, but I never knew this before, since I never cohabitated with lizards long
enough to know that.  They are just like the insects here though: everywhere and unavoidable haha. Hope all is well at home!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Dangl

Monday, July 11, 2016

Semana 17 - Pulpo & Frapazol

Hola friends and family,
Another week has passed and this week was my wonderful companion, Hermana Limon, turn to get Chikunguya.  So on Monday we went to a member’s house and she stayed there for a bit and I went out with the members 11 year old daughter, Ruth, to Bodega to buy groceries for the week.  We went to a doctor but my companion didn’t have a fever, just a lot of pain, so they wouldn’t see us because it wasn’t an emergency. 

On Tuesday we couldn’t leave the house so I read A LOT of Liahona Magazines (Ensign, New Era, and Friend all in one in Spanish) that the church produces and watched The District.  I also found out that our room gets really, really hot during the day and that actually there’s not that many things to do when you’re trapped in the house with your sick companion all day. 

Wednesday was our last day of captivity.  Hermana Lorena, an amazing member, came over with her two children, Ruth and Keneth, and she fed us and then cleaned our house for us.  We have this back patio that is pretty small but apparently is the home and bathroom of a bat.  Though I would probably say a horde of bats based on the amount of filth.  But yeah Hermana Lorena and Keneth cleaned this nasty area because it’s producing more mosquitoes in our house. Then Ruth and I went out to the market for soap, trash bags, and whatnot.  The market is in my opinion one of the most interesting things.  When I say “market,” most of you probably think of Ralph’s or something this is not that.  This is a street market. There’s about a million people and a million flies there and everyone is selling something, usually food, shoes, or other random goods.  It’s crowded and really dirty.  There’s a lot of people cutting up fish and waving away the flies but it’s also like a treasure trove of stuff because they sell literally everything and anything. I love it! 

On Thursday we had a zone meeting and after the whole zone went to the park for Frapazol.  Tonala is known for its Frapazol because it really doesn’t exist anywhere else.  Pozol doesn’t exist outside of Chiapas (I just found this out) which is possibly the worst news ever.  I don’t think I can survive in this life without chocolate corn water, seriously. 

On Friday and Saturday we had intercambios!  Hermana Connolly and I stayed in Tonala and Hermana Limon and Hermana Rubalcaba went to Arriaga. It was very interesting because since Hermana Connolly and I are both Americans there was an increased interest in us by those we talked with.  It was all about where we were from and why we’re here instead of the message we’re trying to share.  On Saturday we ate at the Cockteleria, owned by members, and I ordered a salad because that’s what you order when you eat at a seafood restaurant, but don’t like seafood.  The waitress/daughter of the member/owner asked if I wanted it with “pulpo” and I didn’t know what that was so I asked Hermana Connolly.  She has 9 months in the mission, so her Spanish is pretty good, but she didn’t know either.  She said maybe it is a type of salsa so I ordered it.  I dug my own grave when I didn’t know what “pulpo” meant but I buried myself in the grave when I said “yes” to ordering it in my salad.  I am proud to say that I ate almost all of a huge plate of octopus and sea slugs/snail salad. 

After this day we unsplit and Hermana Limon and I were together once again.  This week our investigators didn’t pull what they did last week where they led us to believe they would go to church and then didn’t.  They told us ahead of time that they wouldn’t be there.  Honestly this is the biggest challenge for the work here.  Even if they keep all their other commitments, if they don’t go to church they’re not progressing.  It’s very frustrating, but that was my week.  This transfer has flown, only 2 more weeks until transfers and I’m finished with training.  Training is 12 weeks or 2 transfers.  I don’t want to leave Tonala yet, I love that it’s kind of a small town and that life is simple here.  Two months ago I wanted to leave so badly and now all I want is to stay!  I think the wise words of Nelson Mandela apply here, “Siempre parece imposible hasta que esta hecho.”  It always seems impossible until it’s done.  I hope everyone has a good week.  Go to church on Sunday!

Con mucho amor, Hermana Dangl

 Sisters at Zone Conference 
 Food - cheese wrapped in zucchini, wrapped in egg then wrapped in tortillas.

Yeah the packages arrived! Thank you so much!  

It took about 2 months for these to arrive, but they did.  Fed Ex and UPS are way faster but they are 4 - 5'xs the price.  Thank you!  

Sister Katelynne Dangl

México Tuxtla Gutiérrez Mission
Calle Jazmines #210
Fracc. Los Laureles
29020 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas


Monday, July 4, 2016

Semana 16 - The bread is so good!

Hola friends and family,

When I look back on the week it seems like Monday was so long ago but also like it’s already another Monday and I don’t know how it happened so fast.  On Tuesday I got an amazing surprise that was probably against a lot of mission rules.  When we went to Hermana Yazmin’s house for lunch, she called Hermana Juarez (my 1st companion) on the phone and I got to talk to her!  It was so nice to hear her voice.  One of my recent converts was telling me how weird it was for him to see Hermana Juarez in pants via pictures on Facebook. 

On Wednesday I got us super lost and we probably walked in the wrong direction for like ½ an hour before we finally called a member and figured things out.  Afterwards we contacted someone in the street who said he lived in California for a bit and he wanted to practice his English and it was surprisingly hard.  It sounds weird, but trying to teach the gospel in English is almost difficult. I think it’s because we contact so much that it’s almost a bit scripted so it’s weird to translate the things I normally say in Spanish into English when I’ve only ever said them in Spanish.  I’ve never had this problem before, it was so weird!  But don’t get me wrong, it’s still only with teaching the gospel haha, my English is still perfectly intact and my Spanish is still not great. 

On Thursday I ate really good bread, because the people here have bikes where the front wheel is replaced with an area where people can sit, store stuff or sell stuff and then there’s a wheel on either side.  A lot of people sell bread and it’s the best thing ever.  On Friday, we ran over to Banamex because it’s the only bank that has money right now out of like 5 banks in Tonala.  There’s a lot of stuff happening in Chiapas right now with boycotting and protests over teachers.  I’m not totally sure about all that’s going on but we can’t travel very easily and money isn’t getting passed through the banks and there’s no gas apparently.  So, we rushed to the bank to withdrawal our monthly allowance plus reserve funds. There were a lot of people there, probably with the same idea in mind as us. 

We’ve also been working a lot with members which is awesome.  Especially when they’re recent RM’s (returned missionaries) and then it’s like having 3 missionaries teaching.  We have a few new investigators who are really great and have a ton of potential.  It’s really exciting, but none of them came to church on Sunday which is a bit soul crushing.  Our investigators are like our babies, you want them to grow and learn and go to church – so it is really stinks when they don’t come.  I’m sure there are quite a few RM’s reading this letter who can relate.  I am doing well overall, though my companion has been having a lot of problems with back pain.  It would be amazing if you could all pray for her!  Also, Happy 4th of July! 

Con much amor, Hermana Dangl

 We went up to an area with a member that turned out to be for the couple missionaries.
Whoops! It was up like a million stairs and you could see the whole city 

 New shoes!