Monday, September 26, 2016

Semana 28 - God Loves Us!


Well, as of this week it’s official!  6 months in the mission, 1/3 of my time here is done and gone – it feels like so much and so little at the same time.  It makes me realize I have to make the most of my time here though because it’s seriously so short.  It’s something I’ve probably said before in my letters, but it becomes clearer now every week that passes even quicker than the one before.  On Monday it was super hot and it continued on into Tuesday.  The pros about it being hot is that there are more people outside that we can talk to, when it rains it is just us and the dogs. 

On Wednesday it was hot as well but we prayed in the morning for rain and oh man, did it come.  Just as we got ready to leave after lunch it started pouring rain.  I had a poncho and an umbrella and somehow I was still getting wet.  It’s definitely an experience and this time it was one that made me think of the prophet Lehi in the Book of Mormon.  He has a dream in which he sees the straight and narrow path that leads to Christ and Salvation.  However on the side of this path there’s a river that’s very dirty, brown and gross.  This river has a name, and it’s “The Streets of Mapastepec.”  The rain sweeps EVERYTHING that was in the street when it floods so we end up tromping through quite literally a brown and dirty river in the streets trying to find people to talk to.  It’s very fun. :o)  

It continued to be rainy on Thursday and we ended up hanging out in Sesecapa for a bit to wait out the rain.  When we got back we decided to visit an investigator whose kids are members.  She ended up being busy but her daughter who’s less active, but felt the need to talk to us.  She ended up pouring out her heart and came to church this Sunday.  After the lesson, Hermana Arellano and I were saying to each other that we both had no clue what to say but somehow the spirit filled our mouths.  I shared a scripture that I like a lot so I’ll share it with you guys too. 

It’s in the Bible in Romans 8:35, 38-39, 31, and 28. 

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I love this, no matter what, even when life turns to crap and things seem unbearably hard, God promises to love you and be on your side.  That NOTHING exists that can separate us from his love.  I feel like we can see evidence of His love every day, you just have to look for it.  On Saturday we visited in La Vainilla and wore PANTS!!  It was Hermana Arellano’s first time to proselyte in pants and she felt very weird.  It had been raining though and La Vainilla is very green with a ton of tree and plant life so we anticipated many mosquitoes (we were right.)  But it was good and we got to teach a lot of people with the Branch President Toledo.  He took us home after in his truck but it was raining so we wrapped ourselves in tarps because we have to ride in the truck bed. 

On Sunday we were able to watch Women’s Conference and it was super good!   It’s on for anyone who is interested.  In the afternoon we took a combi to Jubileo and when we were about to leave, I remembered a contact we had for that area so we turned around to search out his house.  We ended up not finding him but instead we were able to contact a bunch more people who live in a neighboring colony that we didn’t know about and wouldn’t have known about if we hadn’t turned around to look for this one contact.  So that was cool!   We finished out the day strong with teaching a family about the Book of Mormon.  It’s kind of scary sometimes to share the Book of Mormon with people here because Mexico loves the Bible and there are a ton of Catholics but they said they’d read it.  That’s all for his week, I hope everyone is doing well and thank you all for the support! 

Con mucho amor, Hermana Dangl 

 The brown and dirty river when it rains!  
 Hermana Arellano is wearing her rain jacket to keep her dry but it is making her hot! 
Hermana Dangl and a little girl.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Semana 27 - 6 month mark - How can it be?


Another week gone, and this Friday I’ll turn 6 months old in the mission, so crazy!  In exactly a year I’ll be prepping to come home.  It seems very far away but time in the mission is different so I’m sure it’ll pass all too quickly and I’ll be wondering where the time went.  But for now, I’m doing well here in Mapastapec with Hermana Arellano.  I’ve gotten some requests to talk a bit more about the people, miracles, and the work so I’ll try to include more of that in this letter.  I can’t be too specific though due to conserving privacy.  One of the beautiful things about missionary work is that we see many miracles of all sizes and in many ways and we really get to see the hand of God guiding the work.  I couldn’t even number the “coincidences” that happen day in and day out.  However, we also can see Satan fighting against us and the people we teach constantly, especially in the little details of things. 

On Tuesday we visited the less active couple and their kids.  We talked with the mom for probably 2 hours as she unloaded everything on us, and let us play with her little green parrots.  It is a very common pet here in Mexico.  It’s amazing how many things people tell us, how personally we came to know those that we teach.  On Wednesday we went to La Vainilla and we visited a man who was very insistent on knowing more before keeping ANY commitments, even little ones, like praying and asking God for himself if the things we teach are true.  Something my companion told me was that we know we’re teaching by the spirit when we learn something new while we’re teaching.  This happened in that lesson as we taught about the power of faith.  I felt my testimony grow of that principle, how really faith is like hunger.  If it’s real, you’re going to do something about it.  After this lesson we ate Pig liver for lunch and that’s all I’m going to say about that. :o)

On Thursday we went to Tonalá for a zone meeting. We learned about how we can better work with the members-they are seriously the key in everything.  The investigators pay more attention to them, it’s like they're normal people and we aren't :) But seriously, when the members start to fellowship investigators from the beginning, it makes all the difference.

Friday was September 16 which is a big holiday, because it is their Independence Day so there weren't very many people out during the day, but the city was covered in decorations of  flags in red, white and green.  It’s fun.  I guess they do something here called "the shout" the night before the 16th, where everyone gathers at midnight all over Mexico and shouts "¡Viva México!" We were sleeping because for missionaries we don’t get to enjoy the fun and be festive.

On Saturday we met with one of our investigators who is soooo ready for baptism, BUT she isn't married and can't divorce her other husband.  It’s very sad and we pray a lot but honestly, of our top investigators who have baptismal dates and seriously preparing for baptism, 3 of them (that we know of so far) aren't married and can't afford to do so.  It’s a huge problem here because it's not cheap to get married and for them it's more important to put food on the table than have a piece of paper that says they're married. It’s one of the designs of Satan that we have to fight against a lot. We have some new investigators that have a bread shop and its verrryyy convenient to stop by for bread and casually check up on them. Hermana Arellano and I eat a LOT of bread. haha.

On Sunday we taught Primary the 3rd hour and I have to say, I have a lot more respect for Primary teachers and everyone who works to make sure the little kids don't bounce off the walls (too much) and actually learn something. All in all, the week was good and like every week, it flew.  I look back on the week and I am honestly so grateful for Missionary work.  We have such unique and amazing opportunities to touch lives and not only be teachers, but listeners, helpers, comforters, cleaners and picker-uppers of alllll! The people under our care which is basically all of Mapastapec PLUS all surrounding areas within an hour's drive.  Plus, basically anyone will talk to you about Jesus, the heat, and whether or not it's going to rain so usually we can start with one of them and lead into the other.

I can't even express the multitude of ways that my mission has made me a better person, a better member of the church, and a better daughter of God.  And I still have a whole year to go! If there's someone reading this who's thinking about going on a mission, GO!!!! We see many, many little miracles- when we bump into people on the street that accept invitations to baptism on the spot, when people open their hearts and unload their true needs, when we find a chance to serve someone, even in little ways.  The Lord guides our paths constantly and it's a privilege to serve, despite physical and spiritual challenges.  I hope everyone has a great week!!

Con mucho amor, Hermana Dangl

 It is very popular to have parrots as pets here in Mapastapec.
 Mexico's Independence Day! 
This is our "cuarto" we live on the right side with the door and the window on the right. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Semana 26 - Tilapia Fish & Hammocks

Hello Friends and Family,

Another week has come and gone.  Time in the mission field is different from the time back home. I can’t believe it’s already Monday again but when I read back in my journal from this week, it seems like everything happened like a year ago.  Anyway, last Monday like most Monday’s it started to pour just as we started preparing to leave to teach.  It very rarely rains when we are inside the cuarto (our room).  If it’s going to rain, it’s going to rain when we’re outside trying to proselyte.  This particular Monday was very, very rainy and we were walking through actual rivers in the streets to go to appointments that kept falling through on us.  My favorite is when kids answer the door and say that their parents aren’t home so we ask them to ask their parents what time would be better.  The kids always run off to go ask their parents (who supposedly aren’t home) what time we can visit.  On Monday this happened and I sent the little girl off to ask and she returned and told me, “No, they say they’re not home.”  Little kids are the best. 

On Tuesday, we went to Bonanza and I fell asleep in a hammock.  That night we taught my favorite family that we’re teaching and they accepted the baptismal invitation.  When we left the appointment we couldn’t stop smiling, this is what missionary work is all about.  Sometimes it kind of sucks and you have to walk a lot and in the rain and other times you feel like your heart is going to explode from happiness.  Like I said before, the mission is very weird.  On Wednesday we took a bus to Tonala for a District meeting.  Due to transfers, I’m now the only American in my district (and only 2 in the zone), when before there were 5 of us.  After the meeting we went to a Doctor because Hermana Arellano has been sick.  We stayed home most of Thursday so Hermana Arellano could rest and it was very hot. 

On Friday we visited Sesecapa and ate Talapia fish, I included a picture.  On Saturday my district leader called us at 6:35 am to wake us up.  Somehow he knew that this specific morning I was taking advantage of Hermana Arellano being sick and that I was following the handbook rule that says you should wake up at the same time as your companion.  Thus, I was still sleeping at 6:35 and our wake up time is 6:30 am.  I don’t know how he knew but he knew.  I learned my lesson though about sleeping 5 more minutes though because this day was a total botch.  We missed the combi for La Vainilla by like 5 minutes and had to wait 2 hours for the next one.  When we got there, we found out that the member who lives there had left for the day so couldn’t do visits with us.  Then an investigator and his family gave us well water to drink (we can’t drink that, only bottled water) and it was super awkward because we didn’t know what to do and they totally knew that we dumped it out and we felt really badly.  Then we taught someone who was very insistent that people can only be baptized in rivers and it’s a sin to do it otherwise.  Then the member returned just in time to give us a ride home in the back of his truck in the rain.  The highlight of the day was probably passing a house that had an entire room dedicated to a very large glittery Virgin Guadalupe.  Almost every house has a shrine but this one was impressively large and sparkly.  On Sunday we gave talks and it rained again.  That’s basically everything that happened this week.  Hope all is well at home! 

Con mucho amor, Hermana Dangl 

 Tilapia Fish 
A rainbow after all of the rain!

 Selfie with the iguana? Can you find it under the roof?  
 Where is the iguana? 
 My tienda (store) - A grocery and supply store. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Semana 25 - More rain & Pday at the beach

Hello all!

Another week has passed and I think if I were to describe this past week with one word it would be “rain.”  Basically in the morning it’s hot and all the fans are pointing towards us as we do our studies.  Then when we leave our apartment the rains starts to pour and doesn’t stop until we come home at night.  On Tuesday we had a multi zone activity at the beach, “Playa del sol.”  It was great!  We had to leave super early to get to Tonala and then our zone rode together in the back of a truck for about an hour to get to the beach.  It was so nice out and the water was so warm! 

On Wednesday the rain started again and we also got free AMAZING quesadillas.  Occasionally people give you free food because you’re a missionary and it’s really nice.  On Thursday we had splits with our sister training leaders and it was great!  We were so soaked because once again it was raining.  I was with Hermana Nolasco in Jubileo and Hermana Arellano was with Hermana Connolly in La Bendicion.  It was pouring so hard and we were basically walking in a river.  The water covered my feet and at one point was up to my knees.  I don’t even know how it’s possible but seriously the clouds just dump water.  We got a little bit held up in a lesson in Jubileo so it was getting dark as we tried to find transportation back to Mapa.  Jubileo is kind of dangerous at night so we were freaking out because there weren’t any combis and taxis didn’t want to take us because we were wet.  We said a prayer and like a minute later we saw the headlights of a combi coming. It was amazing because the combis usually don’t run later either, and the driver was on his last round. 

On Saturday we went out to La Vainilla to proselyte, and surprise it was raining.  We were lucky enough to be accompanied by the nephew of our Branch President Toledo. He’s six years old and walked around wrapped in a large tarp.  It was probably the cutest thing ever.  An investigator brought us out coffee and we all declined but President said maybe Bryan would like it, the six year old.  So she handed him the cup and he looked at it with the saddest face.  So I asked him if he likes coffee, and he shook his head no and the investigator saw but thought he said it was too hot.  So she took the cup away and he was so relieved.  Two minutes later she comes out with a new cup but not as hot and hands it to him.  His face was so dejected and I was laughing so hard.  Later I put up my hand for a high five and he just set his hand in mine and then left it there and I died laughing.  Later he farted in a lesson just as I was about to invite the investigator to come to church with us and I was dying.  Again I’m laughing just writing about it, this little kid was the funniest thing ever. 

We received transfers and the fact that we’re starting a new transfer is so crazy I can’t believe it went so fast.  I was crazy nervous all day because we thought Hermana Arellano was going to leave.  Good News:  We’re both staying here in Mapastapec.  Wahoo!  I’m super excited for the next 6 weeks.  I’ve been super blessed with amazing companions thus far, and the Hermana Arellano is no exception. :o)  Our goal is to baptize all of Mapastapec.   I think that’s every missionary’s goal. haha  We also found an apartment with AC so we’re looking to move soon and I think the prospect of AC was the most exciting thing that happened in my whole mission.  Basically all is well here and life is good.  Hope you all have a great week.  Con much amor, Hermana Dangl 

 A note in the written in the sand from my companion, Hermana Arellano.
Hermana Dangl I love you!

 A picture with Hermana Connolly my Sister Training Leader. 

 Branch President Toledo & his nephew Bryan wearing a tarp to keep the rain off of him. 
 I am wearing the Kettley Family Reunion t-shirt my Grandma sent me.  Press Forward!