Monday, October 24, 2016

Semana 32 - Training, Raining, & Jumping Frogs

Hello friends and family,

Well, I survived my first week training!  My new compa is named Hermana Renteria and she’s from Mexico City.  She’s 20 years old and is very outgoing.  So far, so good.  Last Monday Hermana Arellano and I traveled to Arriaga and then from there, I traveled to Tuxtla (alone!) I got to the mission home Monday night and there were only 2 other sister missionaries who were going to train this transfer.  We went to sleep and I had the best sleeping conditions in all of my mission.  I used to take this for granted.  I showered in warm water and slept in a comfy bed with sheets and a blanket and a/c.  It doesn’t really get better than this – I was seriously in heaven.  

On Tuesday was the big reveal. I was the last of the sisters so it was kind of obvious who it was but I had to get up, present myself and the area, and then on the screen appears the picture of the new missionary and they come up and take pictures and it’s all fun and happy.  We traveled all afternoon and then that night stayed in Arriaga and I slept the exact opposite as the night before.  Four hermanas on 2 twin mattresses on the floor sharing one fan and dying of heat and mosquitoes.   

Wednesday morning we left for Mapastepec.  Whoo!  We got home, dropped off the stuff and headed out to Bonanza.  I’ve had time to get accustomed to the heat but my hija is dying of heat always.  My new compa is “mi hija” because I’m here Mama in the mission because I’m training her for 3 months.  Also of how much we walk and getting up at 6:30 everyday. . . it’s hard to get accustomed to it.  When training in the Mission, it’s like a chick cracking out of it’s shell – little by little they learn and progress.  And really, it never stops.  We are constantly learning and finding better ways to teach, to express and to understand.  The mission is definitely a journey. 

On Thursday we visited an area called, “La Bendicion,” and it was raining pretty hard as we walked there.  It’s an area that my mom would say is “out in the boonies.”  But it’s super gorgeous and green.  However, the roads there are very prone to be lakes when it rains so when we walked back at night there were SO MANY frogs.  It was dark so we couldn’t see them and it seemed like they couldn’t see us either because they were hopping alllll over and across the trail and our feet.  I was feeling like maybe this is kind of how the people of Egypt felt when God sent the plagues,  because we couldn’t take a step without running into a jumping frog. 

On Friday we set up everything to move which will be happening this week. It’s very exciting stuff.  Training is making me realize that I know a lot more about missionary work, the area, and Spanish than I had thought.  On Saturday we went to La Vainilla, like always, and I’m including a picture of our “misioneritos” little missionaries,  Bryan and Ronaldo.  They accompany us in their dress pants, all put together.  They’re both seven years old. :o)  On Sunday we celebrated Hermana Renteria’s belated 20th birthday and I turned 7 months in the mission.  Wow!  It’s flying.  I’ll be home before we all know it, until next week. 

Con mucho amor, Hermana Dangl 

 Proselyting in La Vainilla.

 Duck in Sesecapa.
 Sesecapa with flooded streets (this is a street not a river)!

At the temple  with Hermana Renteria, my new companion.
With Hermana Cruz.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Semana 31 - Tiburoncito y Flores del Mar

Hello all!

Wow, what a week.  So much has happened including transfers. Whoo! I’m on to my 5th transfer since getting to the mission field.  A transfer is 6 weeks and every transfer there’s a possibility of changing your area and companion.  I’ll reveal my transfer in the end.  On Tuesday we had a super sketchy experience that we think was actually divine help.  We have a smoke/carbon monoxide alarm that is uniform throughout the mission.  At 5:00 am it went off super loud. The thing is, it’s for smoke and carbon monoxide so the number of beeps tells you what the problem is.  I didn’t see any smoke so I was pretty sure we were dying of carbon monoxide poisoning.  So we got up, turned on all of the lights, and went to check which beeps meant what.  The alarm went off for (non existent) smoke.  It’s a good alarm without problems so I’m pretty sure Heavenly Father was protecting us from something else, maybe outside.  Who knows?  

We also went to Tonala on Tuesday for a district meeting and our district leader surprised us with “Flores del Mar,” from Puerto Arista.  They’re sea flowers preserved in water and vinegar.  On Wednesday, we went to Jubileo and after we taught the miracle contact, the family from last week that called us over to them, they accepted baptism with a date AND came to church on Sunday.  They’re exactly what we call “escogidos” here (chosen).  So the excitement is very VERY real.  Also there were fireworks at night! I have no clue for what but we watched them from the backyard.  On Thursday we had companion exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders.  Hermana Ilizarbe and I went to La Vainilla while Hermana Arellano and Hermana Nolasco stayed here in Mapa.  We ended up having to wait forever for a combi but had some really good lessons over there.  One of the kids of one of our investigators gave us a little sardine for our tank.  I think I’ve mentioned before that sometimes the people put a fish or two in their tanks of water.  I used to think that was gross but it’s actually better because the tanks are open still water that you use to wash everything and sometimes to shower with and what not.  The fish eat all of the bacteria and mosquitoes and you don’t have to clean the tank and he seemed pretty happy.  We named him “Tiburoncito,” little shark. 

On Thursday in the morning we had some problems with ants carrying out eggs from underneath one of the cinderblocks that was holding down the plastic covering of the tank.  We decided to take off the plastic and blocks to clean it all and kill all the ants.  We safely removed all of the other parts but dropped the ONE block that was covered in Raid, ants, and eggs into the water.  We had to take out all of the water with buckets and clean everything and then refill it.  We put Tiburoncito in that night. 

On Friday a child stole my hand fan and threw a rock at me. :o(  We also went to Sesecapa and it rained super hard.  We had a lot of appointments fall through so we visited a less active who told us that she doesn’t think Heavenly Father listens to her prayers.  This is one of the huge lies of Satan.  Heavenly Father DOES listen to prayers.  I’ve received answers to my prayers so I know it’s true.  We shared one of my favorite scriptures from the Bible that I think I’ve shared in a letter before but it says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”  And I testify that God is always for us.  

On Saturday we received transfers and Hermana Arellano’s going to Tuxtla Mactumata to be a Sister Training Leader and I’m staying here to train!  I’m going to have an hija (daughter).  We both started crying really hard when we found out, I ‘ve never been so sad to leave a companion.  I love all my compas, but this time it’s very, very hard.  Also, I’m not going to lie, I’m freaking out over the whole training thing.  I feel 100% so NOT ready.  I can barely manage myself, I have no clue how I’m supposed to help/train someone else.  Haha!  I’m going to Tuxtla today, Monday, and on Tuesday the big reveal of who it is will happen.  

On Sunday, we had the highest church attendance ever for us!  36!  We started out with it being 17!  We also sang in our 5 person choir and I played the piano and the leaders from Tonala came for Branch Conference.  Then came the goodbyes.  . . . we’ve been a mess since we got the news.  Also to make things worse Tiburoncito died.  We tried to feed him tortillas and dead mosquitoes but apparently they eat dirt, something I didn’t know.  That night from 10:30 pm to 2:30 am we washed clothes and now we have blisters, because we leave on Monday and there’s no time for our clothes to dry if we do it Monday.  So we hand washed our clothes in the middle of the night, something I thought I never I would have to do.  The cuarto is a whirlwind packing mess and we’re leaving pretty soon for Tuxtla.  Next week I’ll have pics of my new compa and her name and everything.  Hope everyone have a good week.  

Con mucho amor, Hermana Dangl 

 “Flores del Mar,” from Puerto Arista

 With our Capacitadoras (Sister Training Leaders)
 Hermana Ilizarbe and Hermana Dangl 
 Selfie with the Capacitadoras
 La Bendicion

 The members of the church with callings in our branch.
 Picture with Hermana Esther
Picture with Hermano Jonathan, Hermana Martha and Baby Jonathan - recent converts
 The escogido (chosen) family we're teaching.

 Compa cleaning the tank.


Death of Tiburoncito

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Semana 30 - An interesting weird week

Friends and Family,

What a week and this week was definitely a weird one.  Flashing back to the past Monday, we do normal p-day (Preparation Day) stuff from 11-6, like writing this letter, shopping, and washing clothes.  Then at 6, we leave to proselyte and we ate “Chinese Food,” with a member and we always leave so stuffed. So when we go shopping for food I don’t want to buy ANYTHING and then all I week I regret not buying as much stuff.  It’s actually a process that happens every single week here.  We visited with one of our progressing investigators, who sells and makes bread.  We were waiting on him to finish up a sale and it’s possible that I started to scold a street dog for pooping in the middle of the street where people can and will step in it and when I turned around, our investigator had finished his sale and had very wide eyes and raised his eyebrows as he was watching the whole thing. :o)  As we made our way home we stopped to chat with a less active about conference and he told us he didn’t watch it because his speakers didn’t work and only had headphones.  We ended up explaining that he can use headphones because they are speakers and he wasn’t really getting it until the epiphany hit him: “So, we’re supposing then that the little part at the top of the wire is actually little speakers for your ears?”  YES.  That is exactly what we’re saying.  I’d say it was a life changing moment for him. 

On Tuesday it was super hot and it didn’t rain.  By this point I’m used to it but that doesn’t mean I like it.  We ate shrimp with a member and it was my first time (mostly because I don’t like seafood) to not only eat it, but rip off its head and shell/skin and then eat it.  Oh, the experiences I have with food in Mexico.  On Wednesday we visited Jubileo and ended up washing clothes for service as we waited and also teaching a new investigator who can’t really walk.  He uses crutches or a chair to cross this yard and then sits with us on the curb to chat.  We were teaching and his neighbor across the street started brutally beating her dog and I think it’s the worst thing I’ve seen in my whole mission.  We had to stop the lesson to plug our ears, and close our eyes, it was absolutely terrible.  Something I learned recently is that EVERYTHING has been foreordained, made before the world was. That includes plants and animals, they’re creations of God and evidence that He exists as well. 

On Thursday we visited in La Vainilla and it was super pretty and green and blue and full of cows plus a member gave us free tacos.  A total PLUS is he told me how to make them, which is pretty exciting stuff.  On Friday we taught my favorite family about our 1st and 2nd commandments (that many people have seemed to have forgotten) that we don’t worship ANYONE else, only God and that false Gods, idols, statues, and images aren’t acceptable for God.  Exodus 20.  They kind of glanced at their large Guadalupe statue, candles, and flowers in the corner and nodded dejectedly.  We left and as we were walking home, a young couple waved us over and told us they wanted us to visit them because they wanted Christ in their home.  It was a straight up miracle, things like that don’t happen a lot.  When we visited they were super great and receptive and so we’re pretty pumped about the huge miracle God threw our way. 

On Saturday we traveled to Tonala for a district council of all the church leaders in the surrounding area.  Hermana Arellano and I got to ride in President Toledo’s truck bed and we were baking in the sun the whole way. Hermana Arellano chose to put a jacket and hood on and hide from the sun and I chose to embrace it and tan so it’s possible I got a little burnt. The meeting was great though because I actually got to see some members and talk with them but the BEST part was when we got stopped at one of the many checkpoints and the officer looked at us in the truck bed and then asked President Toledo if everyone in the vehicle was family. I looked at Hermana Arellano and we started laughing super hard. But President Toledo said, “yes” and the officer waved us on.  The drive was so pretty though and I’ll include some pics that I took when we passed through Pijijiapan

Sunday was super, super sunny and hot.  When we were in a combi someone asked us if we were sisters and we looked at each other and then back at the girl and slowly said, “Yessss.”  Haha.  I feel like it’s super obvious we aren’t actually related.  Later we were speed walking because we were late and a little kid started speed walking with us telling us we were walking really fast but it didn’t matter because he was going to win.  Like I said, weird week.  After we taught a little family that makes and sells amazing bread, a good amount of our investigators make/sell delicious food because we always buy food with the excuse that we’ll contact the owners and then they become investigators.  We had a member with us who is a super recent convert but has a great testimony. He had to overcome alcoholism and get married to be baptized and is struggling financially but always sees the blessings and bright side of things.  It‘s great!   The dad of the family we taught was starting to cry and they we’re all having a moment and it was all super good.  We also taught in Jubileo and the investigator who can’t really walk told us we couldn’t visit him anymore as his mom stood there and told him what to say.  It was super devastating.  I think a lot of people don’t know what they’re saying no to. . . . the opportunity to receive real forgiveness of their sins, to change their lives, to be with their families for eternity and to make sacred covenants with God.  Everything hangs in the balance as they decide to listen to us or not, come to church or not, pray or not.  It’s very hard to be on the other side sometimes, when you already have the faith and knowledge and KNOW it’s true and people reject it.  But that’s life.  Hope everyone has a great week! 

Con mucho amor, Hermana Dangl

 A picture from when we were in President Toledo's truck bed and passed 
through Pijijiapan a neighboring city)

 In the back of President Toledo's truck heading home from La Vainilla.

 Sign in Jubileo.
 La Vainilla.
A picture with our Mexican bows.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Semana 29 - Conference Time!

Hello friends and family,

This week was a week of lot of traveling and listening to speakers.  1. Multizone conference and 2. General Conference!  We woke up at 4 am on Tuesday so we could get to Arriaga for the Multi zone Conference at 9 am.  It was super good and we listened to President George and his assistants teach us about how to be better missionaries and what not.  Something I really liked was that “grace is not the light at the end of the tunnel but rather the light that guides us through the tunnel.”  I think a lot of people think they can live their lives however they want and it doesn’t matter because God’s going to save them with His grace, but it doesn’t really work like that.  It’s when you come to Him with a repentant and humble heart that you find His grace and mercy will cover everything and light the way. 

Another thing I learned is that all the stories about missionaries and their stomachs are true.  I remember my first multi-zone conference my first transfer and I could only eat 3/4 of my 2 large quesadillas and drink half of my Jamaica.  This zone conference I was able to eat the same food and eat it all just like everyone else.  I‘m pretty sure that means I’m officially a real missionary. :o) 

On Wednesday we had a miracle contact. We contacted a mom sitting outside her house and after listening for like 2 minutes, she invited us to teach her husband and kids and they all sat down outside on the curb to listen to our message. On Thursday night we got a call that we needed to be in Tonala the next day by 8 am to figure out some paperwork.  So on Friday we got up dark and early again to travel.  Though this time we brought our pillows and slept the whole time.  We got to Tonala around 8:30 and then waited. . . and waited. . . .we ended up leaving Tonala around 12:30.  When we got back to Mapa, we headed over to Sesecapa (25-30 minutes away) to eat with the Relief Society President, Hermana Ines.  We ended up helping her daughter with her English homework as we waited out the rain.  When we got back to Mapa, we went to the house of some recent converts and watched the Restoration Video with them and their non member family.  It was super awesome and I was GLUED because we don’t watch any TV so when we get a little bit it’s like little kids watching cartoons.  On Saturday we watched General Conference!  Whoo!  I think it’s so cool that in every conference there’s a common thread in the talks. Even though they don’t coordinate topics beforehand, there’s always repetition because they (apostles, General Authorities, prophet) receive some serious revelation on what we need to hear.

The last page is talking about General Conference.  It was very cool to see the focus on Missionary Work, the Restoration, Christ, and Repentance in the Saturday session.  These are the things we do and teach here every day in the mission.  On Sunday the huge focus was on the Sacrament, Repentance, and Christ, which are the things we teach the most too.  We watched it with the branch in the Primary Room on the computer.  If you missed it, you can head on over to to check it out.  All in all, it was a good week.

Con much amor, Hermana Dangl