Monday, December 29, 2014

WEEK 32

Greetings from Atlixco! Pronounced At-lees-ko. The last two p-days have been CRAZY with no time to write a group update but Im here!!!!  Dang, it was hard to leave my companera Hermana Cardus!!!! I never thought Id have a best friend from Argentina. But its time for new adventures!!!! Atlixco is known for having an UNBELIEVABLY beautiful climate- and its true! IT basically looks and feels like California here. When I got here I was super distracted. You have to keep in mind that my old area was just 3 neighborhoods. Its like always dreaming of the U.S. then getting there and going straight to Provo and walking around 3 neighborhoods there for 6 months hahaha what made it special was the PEOPLE! I miss them and hope they{re doing well.

"A cool old chapel here"

My companera is Hermana Hernandez- my first companion thats older than me! She{s 24 and a convert of 5 years. She is from Northern Mexico, also weirdly enough my first companion from Meh-hee-ko. Shes not as fascinated by all the Mexican things that amuse me every day. I still laugh when the people shout out what theyre selling or wave what theyre selling in my face saying 'look white girl look!' hahah its totally normal to her. When I first got here I was so distracted. You{ve got the cool old historic stuff in the background
"A rare, relaxing moment on Monday in a member's cool garden writing letters with a cat asleep in my lap (i was in heaven!)"
And then the cool downtown ish part with people selling a million things. Also the center of town looks like disneyland. Seriously the first week here I was just looking around at all the million distractions and then Id have to realize to come back down to earth haha.

Well, supposedly this area is 'difficult'. Its definitely not my last area. BUT it all depends on our attitude. Since I got here 3 weeks ago weve actually found a bunch of new people to teach! we had a lesson on xmas eve!!! Things are not so bad people! (not sure why I feel like shouting happily in my email today) Here, december 24 is more of the thing to celebrate, normally they have a big ol feast starting at like 9 pm. Christmas here isn{t a tranquil time with your family. Its a big FIESTA.  well missionaries cant be ouT feasting at night haha but our president gave us permission to stay out a teensy bit later than normal (whoa its gettin wild here haha) and I really enjoyed the family we got to spend it with, they just got baptized a few weeks ago. If youre wondering what we ate, it was indeed TACOS haha.

Yes, I got to Skype with my family for Xmas. It was wonderful!!!!! It was strange to see everyone and talk to them!!! can{t believe its been over 7 months. I want my family to see all the amazing stuff here! THe food is even BETTER in this area! Thank you for all your emails and christmas wishes. My mom sent me a package with a ton of awesome stuff and I was a little saddened by how excited I got at bug spray. Its the little things on the mish haha!!! Love you all! Keep those emails comin.

Monday, December 22, 2014

WEEKS 30-31

Hermana Best sent some pictures last week of one of her very special converts. Hope she'll have an email soon but until then... 




Monday, December 8, 2014

WEEK 29

Yep, we received The Call last night, I am leaving the area!!!!! For me it was the perfect amount of time here. I have met many amazing people that I consider my family, its been amazing to spend half my year here in Castillotla. Today I have been saying goodbye to everyone.

Saying goodbye!
I have learned a lot here, things that I will take with me to my other areas on the mission, as well as 'la vida normal' after. 

We had Fernanda{s baptism! It was amazing. I don{t have any pictures right now, my companions pictures all got erased :-| but Fernanda has some. For me it was a very very special baptism. My convert from August has been called as Ward Mission Leader, and directed the baptism. To see someone that has only been a member for a few months in charge of the baptism, filling the font, talking to the family, and very content and addressing Fernanda in the baptism telling her how this is going to bless her life really blew me away. Also, Leslie who was baptised last week bore her testimony yesterday. All of the converts here have really impacted me, they are amazing examples for me. 

 Here's a little taste of Christmas in Mexico. These are some crazy kids that we have an inside joke with, hence the weird expressions. 

Feliz Navidad! 
I am praying that I can get accustomed in my new area starting tomorrow, we{ll see who my companion is -ahhhh!!!! I know whatever comes my way will be for my good and that I will learn a lot. 

Love you all, siempre estoy orando para ustedes. Se que este evangelio es el camino. Es la unica manera ser realmente feliz. Amo a mi Padre Celestial y su Hijo, Jesucristo. Cuidense mucho, hasta la proxima semana

Hermana Best

Monday, December 1, 2014

WEEK 28

YAyyyyy!!!! We are very happy that Leslie was baptized!!!! all of her family came to support her. it was really special. This doesn't mean that were kicking up our feet to rest - we have another baptism this weekend!!! Whew!!! I still have been hit really really hard with allergies, just barely talked more with the doctor in our mission and bought more medicine. Im not really sure exactly what it is in the air or plants or what but its not super fun. Oh well, the work goes on.

Leslie's baptism :)
They were locked out but Leslie went to get a ladder from her neighbors so they could teach her. What a golden investigator!
Well see what happens this sunday if i'm STILL going to stay in this area, or if im off to a new zone for a new adventure. don't have much to report we've been working like crazy to get everything ready for leslies baptism, and now again with the baptism of Fernanda. my class in the district meeting went well and everyone participated- what a relief. My companion and I are two peas in a pod and share the exact same sense of humor.


Two peas in a pod
we didnt do anything for thanksgiving it doesnt exist here haha. i cant believe this month i get to talk to my family!!! im very grateful for them and excited to see them face to face. i love you all and will write more next week. xoxo

Hermana Best

Artistic graffiti
"A guy that walks around with this on his head saying 'Meringueees'"
Cuties

Monday, November 24, 2014

WEEK 27

Hello all. I feel like a lot has happened this week. First we had a reallllly fun P Day- played soccer with our investigator Leslie!!!!! :) I was surprised that I could actually keep up (except with the 8 year old kid that was better than us all), normally im not usually one for sports but i really like soccer, and this field was AWESOME, it overlooks the whole city. i scored one goal and by the end i had tons of energy and all the teenage kids were beat...i guess all the walking every day has given me way more stamina than i realized? 

Football!
Action shot
Leslie is getting baptized this Saturday!!!! wahoo!!!! Its been a total miracle considering that first we thought that shed have to wait THREE YEARS to be 18 so her mom would let her. Her cousin gets home from his mission this Tuesdayand is going to baptize her, not sure if I mentioned that.

Havent been feeling super well this week. First started with allergies, President{s wife told me that a ton of the missionaries here have been getting hit with it, because its the non rainy season? who knows. This turned into losing my voice- super fun as a missionary when all you do all day is talk hahaha. You shouldve seen the people trying to understand the white girl speaking Spanish with the frog voice going in and out. Later my stomach wasnt doing so well. Steadily on the incline, but its hard when we{re walking around in the sun all day, the suns been REALLY strong, and weve had appointments all over town. But hey can{t complain!!! glad to have appointments :)

 Even though I havent had physical energy Ive been working overtime on a creative boost for a bunch of projects for families here. I bought a bunch of little things of tupperware and personzlied them for dif families with slips of paper with a scripture or passage of scripture a day, and also some home- made family home evening games for really young kids, oh and more progress charts for recent converts for reading scriptures, praying, and going to church like Hermana Cascante and I made in my last transfer. I find a lot of joy in doing activities like this and hope that they will help these families do the small but important daily things.

Also this past week we had interviews with president. While we all wait for our turn with president the assistants do a ...training? not sure of the word in english haha. But its always really powerful and really inspiring. This one was about prayer, and we really reflected on how much we pray as missionaries, but if these prayers are really meaningful or just the routine? my comp and i are trying to have more meaningful prayers. My interview with President was short but good.  He{s putting a plan into action to reactivate people in every ward- its going to be a lot of work but we know we will see a lot of results from it.

Im getting a little antsy to leave this area even though I love it a LOT. i{m definitely reallllly attached to the people. weve been finding a lot of new people to teach, so thats awesome. i can FINALLY feel my teaching skills improving, the first few months were pretty tough in a new language. this next week for a district meeting i have to give an hour long class (to missionaries) im nervous!!!!!  i pray that it goes well

Beautiful area to serve
heres a soothing photo, easy when you look over and see the volcano erupting smoke


until next week!!!! email me!!! xoxoxoxo
Hermana Best

Monday, November 17, 2014

WEEK 26

Our bishop is hilarious and he always cheers for my new companion, Hermana Cardus. She is really great and we get along super well. Maybe too well, we laugh all day, sometimes to the point of tears. Somehow she completely gets my sense of humor, and she is also super musical so we really are on the same brainwave. On top of that she is a great teacher and has a lot of time on the mission, hence lots of patience and humility. I am really lucky. 

Sorry for all the emails with the pictures trying to get them to work. I just want to share what things are like here because its so different! I hope one of the forwards I sent today worked with the pictures. The weather here is still pretty much the same haha. We{re freaked out to see Christmas decorations but I guess were getting close to that time! How weird that no one here is gonna say anything about Thanksgiving. Oh well, Ill buy an icecream cone or something.

This week MARY ELENA GOT BAPTIZED!!!!! YAYYY!!! I have shared about her family a lot, we first met them in  July, but a ton of different things have happened in their family, and in September or so she moved, so the elders finished teaching her the lessons. I got to give a talk at her baptism and it was really special!!! She said a bunch of amazing things when she gave her testimony after her baptism, that she felt very happy. Also leading up to her baptism she was continually smiling and saying how content she felt and that she knew this is the right decision. YAy mary elena!!!!!

So excited for Mary Elena :)
That was pretty much the big news of this week as far as missionary work, we are still working really hard. President is making a lot of changes that I LOVE, and that had been on my mind, really crazy how that happens. For instance I was thinking 'there is NEVER enough time in the food. we get there and the sisters dont have everything prepared, then we eat it all, then we have to share a spiritual message, and were always running late'. so now we have an hour and a half in the food, because president wants us to be more involved in the lives of people here, and with this, we will have more names of people they know, that are more prepared for this message than, say, a random person on the street. So im really loving this new rule!!!!

Some news ive been forgetting to share for a while is that i FOUND A GUITAR IN THE TRASH. the second counselor in the bishopric bought me new strings and is going to help me fix it up. the bishops son knows a really pretty acoustic version of Love One Another so i am hoping to learn that. it will be fun on p day or sunday night when im stressed to play it. what are the chances that on the street we live i found a guitar? 

miss all of you a lot and love to hear from you, or even if you just remember to send one picture to me!!! but i am loving the work here, my testimony is growing like crazy and i have more and more faith. i have a lot of inner peace thanks to the gospel and thats something that i know i can have forever.   heres a great video for thanksgiving, always get teary eyed when i watch it: 


Thank you so much for all of your support!!!!! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

WEEK 25

Hola!!!!!!

Things are going super well here in Castillotla. Thank you for the birthday wishes. My birthday was pretty much a normal day in the mission, but I opened packages from my family in the morning!!! I was surprised how nice it was not just to get a package but to see my mom{s and  my Aunt Laura and all of her family{s handwriting. I miss little things like that!!!! My other one request for my birthday was platanos machos fritos. A platano is a banana, but platanos machos are huge and kind of orangey, and frito means fried. In conclusion, even though I HATE bananas, theres this large fried banana dish here that I love. Here's me super content with it.


Platanos Machos... mmmmm...
 Also this Hermana made one of my favorite dishes here, Picaditas. AFter the fried bananas I was super full, but my convert Max and her kids came over with a big cake! IT was a really cute surprise. THey sang the Mexican version of happy birthday which is REALLY long and everyone yelled for me to bite the cake at the end (its tradition) so I gave in.


The traditional biting of the cake
Things are on the upside with the investigators here!! Whew!!! I was getting so desperate I didn{t know what to do. One new investigator that I particularly am super excited to teach is named Eldy. She{s like a super ...with it? snappy, on the go, active grandma. We were walking down the street one night and she goes 'what are you still doing working girls? are you selling something?' we explained that we are missionaries and she invited us over. Its literally so hilarious how fast paced she is. She lives with her mom who is in her late 80s-easy. Every time we explained something she{d yell out to her mom in the other room 'hear that mom? its like ive always told you! listen this is important!' hahahah.

 Also she came to church that very Sunday. She showed up in clothes that I would literally wear, and when the bus didnt arrive she whipped out her smart phone and called a private taxi service hahaha. On the way to the chapel people are always selling things in the streets at stoplights and she bought this HUGE thing of juice, it was so funny seeing her walk into the chapel with the juice like it was a sporting event. She was commenting in gospel principles class and making everyone laugh. When we teach her and bring a pamphlet she starts reading the pamphlet outloud without us asking her too haha! I think she will get baptized really soon, shes very receptive to everything. What a blessing that we happened to pass by her in the street and she asked us first who we were. Just reminds me that we should be talking to EVERYONE we see!!!

Another investigator Im super attached to is Leslie. Shes this cute little 15 year old that I feel like would be my friend if I was born here in Puebla. Here she is on the left. I first talkd to her way back in July just randomly outside the chapel, I felt like I should practice my Spanish with someone. I told her I liked the red little bracelets everyone wears here, and the next time I saw her she had bought one for me and my companion! Shes super thoughtful like that. Her family is less than thrilled with her desire to be baptized, but we are praying like crazy and each time we arrive theyre more and more open to the idea. THey finally said its her decision, and she doesnt need to wait until shes 18!!!!!!!!!!! Her cousin is actually a member and gets home in 2 weeksfrom his mission and she wants him to baptize her. We are praying that her parents don{t change their minds at the last minute and that they can continue to see what a difference _Leslie is making in her life since she started going to church and living the standards!!!! 

Hermana Best with her new(ish) companion and Leslie (I think)
I am enjoying EVERY SINGLE DAY here, especially because I only have less than a month left in this ward that is like family for me now (unless I stay here more than 6 months but I highly doubt that). I can see that when we exercise more faith we receive more faith, which is an odd concept, but its the truth. I have faith that a lot of the people we{re teaching right now can be baptized in this transfer before I leave, and if not, they are in good hands in this ward!!!! Until then, working SUPER HARD. 

Can't resist the dogs
Les amo bastante !!!!! CuĂ­dense mucho


Monday, November 3, 2014

WEEK 24

My new comp is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Didn't realize until I got to the mission that Buenos Aires literally means Good Airs haha. 


The mystery of the pictures has been solved by my friend Rusden - I have a virus  because we can only use internet cafes, and the computers always have something weird. I hope to find a solution soon :( I have so many cool pictures I want to share!!!!

Well everyone thinks my companion is from America because shes as white or whiter than me and she died her hair orangey blondey. I guess there are people with white skin in Buenos Aires. Its hilarious with her being new because the people here say things like Oh another from Utah! Or wow your Spanish is really good! Keep it up! And then I politely say that shes from Argentina hahaha. Her accent is SUPER different. Its as if you were new to America and heard someone from the south speaking. Sometimes I say HUH? She says the ll and ys as 'shh', its kind of confusing. Little by little I{ll understand it more. 

Well this week I have 6 months in the mission-aghhhh how weird. I took a picture of me with a sign that says 6 months so just...visualize that haha. Sometimes it still feels ike day 1, and sometimes it does, in fact feel like 6 months. With my comp being new, just like with Hermana Cascante I have to explain all the details of the area....itd be easier in english but oh well. 

i forgot to mention a hilarious mission moment from a  couple weeks ago. we were teaching a woman who i think maybe isnt super interested, but just wants friends, because she always talks with the jehovahs witnesses. at the end of the lesson they walked in ....and we were all there together hahahaha Jehovahs Witnesses on one couch, Mormons on the other. I was dying inside at how funny it all was. We had pretty much finished the lesson so we just kind of wrapped it up and said wed return later!!!! stuff like this happens all the time (not this specifically, but hilarious things) and i always forget to share it all!!!! 

Sunday was really great. We had some investigators come to church. Both commented in the gospel principles class that they felt it was fate that they met us the missionaries which really surprised me, because i wasnt sure how they felt about our message.

 One shared something that she never shared with us,t hat her family was going to move right before they met us. She was making eye contact with mea s she said it and I was just blown away....she has been a little hesitatnt this whole time weve been teaching her but yesterday really opened up taht she can feel that this is the truth. It was amazing! she was super nervous with her two daughters in route to the capilla. I told her shed have to talk in front of everyone but not to worry! hahah (yes i still make jokes like that). by the end of church she was super comfortable, commenting in the lessons, and in the gospel principles lesson they asked people to write on a piece of paper someone they could share the gospel with. she came up to me at the  end of the class and handed me the paper. on it is her husbands name. it was so touching. i am sure that her family, if they work hard , can have the peace of the gospel in their home. their lives have been really difficult, and this woman  and her hsuband have very strong personalities, but we have seen her heart be softened more and more. she no longer yells at her kids during the lesson, but is super patient with them. its actually an example for me.

i have also changed a lot. this helps me to encourage people to apply gospel principles to their life . no change was overnight. for me the whole year prepping for my mission i changed. i changed in the mtc. and im changing a lot here. yes im still Lauren, im still sarcastic, i still do weird faces and impressions, i want to take every cat on the street home with me, all the normal stuff. But i am learning to be more patient with people because we all come from different backgrounds. Im learning that I cant always make things perfect, so to not stress SO much. And im learning that my Heavenly Father knows whats best for me. When I try to zoom off on my own route sometimes he takes the wheel to adjust where I{m going,and i find that the destination is WAY better. 

love you all and hope you have a great week!!!! please pray for the investigators that came to church that they can know that this message is the truth!!!!! mucho amor from Castillotla!!!!! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

WEEK 23

Well this week all I wanted to do was send a bunch of pictures because we have a TON of cool pictures from this week!!! And I've been trying for an hour and nothing is working. 

Quick update we got the call last night and I am STAYING in my area. I was very surprised!!! This means that I will spend a THIRD of my  mission (and half of my year) in good old Castillotla, very interesting. June through December. I'm praying hard to know what the Lord needs from me here in this area, I was so sure I was going to leave! I am excited to know what new companion is coming my way. the ward and area in general is really great so i cant complain! plus i know it like the back of my hand! 

I feel my Savior's love for me every day. Everything in my life has been lined up perfectly so that I can learn the lessons I needed to . I hope all of you will pray for spiritual experiences.When we have these, our testimonies grow more and more. I'm sorry I can't think of more of what happened this week, all i wanted to do was share fotos of the weather, volcano, my comp and i, and all the awesome families here, but until next time! love you! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

WEEK 22

I only have one week left with my companion and I´m really sad about it. This transfer FLEW by. Costa Rica, you sent me a gem. It has definitely been really interesting being with someone at the end of their mission. I´m sure it's really hard and there´s a million different emotions.

Well things with our investigators are just super tough. There´s no way to explain it in a quick weekly email but a lot of our 'perfect' investigators that we´ve had even since I´ve been with Hermana Segmiller have all ....I don´t know....started to just become different? Some have doubts, some are maybe different people than we thought, and some we are just stumped what to do. It has caused a lot of stress, we are making it a priority to relax for at least 5 minutes before bedtime because from 630am to 1030pm you just have all these people on your mind and we really feel the weight of our responsibility. In the same time, we received some wise advice from a member this week at the food. That even if we say prettier words, or change some little thing in the lesson, or anything like that, its still up to people to change. What a lot of the people in our  area right now are lacking is applying the gospel in their lives and changing. It´s good and great to hear our message, but without applying it, there´s really no point.

Surely this is why President Monson told us at the end of conference to be better. In our lives we are tempted to be lazy, or maybe are scared of new things. BUt nothing good ever happened in our comfort zone, or in a lazy day spent watching TV. We want to encourage the people here to be better, but also to do that with love. Pretty tough to find that equilibrium!!! 

Can´t remember a lot from this week because it flew by. Three people from my district will be going home after this week. One back to Utah, my comp to Costa Rica, and another elder back to the Dominican Republic. I´m not sure what will happen, if I will get transferred or not. I´m definitely comfortable in the ward, know all the people and a lot of their stories, and i love that. Really strange how much like home this little ward in MExico feels like.

Next P Day we will most likely be going to my companion´s old area to visit her converts, so I¨m not sure if I can write, but I look forward to seeing another part of Mexico as well as these awesome converts!!! Be better, and re listen to the messages from conference- in your house, in your car, whatever it is. I guarantee you will learn something new that you didn´t catch before.

My camera isn´t reading on this computer, not sure what the deal is. BUt keep your emails coming.  I love you all!!! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

WEEK 21

Received a new rule in the mission that we can only listen to Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Now every single one of my mornings starts with the organ DOOO doo doo DOOO doo HOW FIRM A FOUNDAAAAATION. This song might be ruined for me for life hahah.

Hola hola everything is going SUPER well here. I don{t feel sick at all and was able to recover after we left the hospital super quickly. I just need to make sure Im drinking tons of water, its still really hot here. I miss the seasons a lot, especially because autumn is my favorite, but I know that Ill have a million autumns when I get back. there are a few halloween things here right now, but its mostly just a borrowed holiday from America, Dia de los Muertos es more important here!!! 

This week it was nice to get back on track after my week of being sick. Things are going a little bit better with our investigators. One thing thats impeding us is that I can really see that Satan is attacking the family. We have some AMAZING families here investigating or that are new to the gospel and they have been hit with about a million temptations and trials. 

My new thing is to read the Proclamation to the FAmily a lot. I didn{t really realize how important it was because....well I was a kid when it was published. But now I realize how important families are. I miss mine a lot and always hope the best for them. I know that if we follow the prophets and what we are taught in the gospel of JEsus Christ tha,t as the proclamation says, our families have a much higher chance of success/happiness. The week I was sick we made a ton of charts for new member and investigating families. On the chart are things like reading scriptures, family prayer, going to church, and Family Home Evening. We had a lot of fun personalizing the charts. It was cool to see the excitement of some of these families to put them into practice. I know sometimes its really hard to make time as a family, but when we set little goals, little by little we can achieve them. I know that we are supposed to be families here on earth as well as after this life,and I want to be with mine forever.
A lot of people have asked about the culture here. There are two things to know. First, the food is phenomenal. I have had in 4 months probably only 2 things I didn{t like. I have gained weight for sure, but when the people keep offering the amazing food you just can{t say no!!! Its not like 'mexican food' in america at all. you will not find nachos, or burritos , or anything of that type. Here is one of my favorites, its a tostada. Not stacked too high!!! :) mmmmMMMMm

Tostada
Next, the people are wonderful. To be honest, sometimes the people look sad or angry when you pass on the street, but as soon as you start talking to them they have the most beautiful smile. Also people here love to joke around, many have had VERY difficult lives and realize that sometimes all we can do is laugh. 

Today for P Day we had an activity as a zone!!!! This is a big deal in Puebla South mission because we normally cant have these types of activities, but we got special permission. It was strange wearing jeans and also very hot, but a nice change for once. I played handball and basketball with some hermanas and it was so nice to move around, havent done that since the MTC.. Here are some photos of me and my comp, and me and my zone. (The picture of her zone didn't make it through, but Hermana Best promised more photos next week)

Hermana Best and her companion
 They are SUCH wonderful missionaries. I think I say this a lot but I am very grateful for the examples of obedient, caring missionaries here in my mission. No one excludes anyone, or says unkind things to anyone here in the mission. We are all united in the same cause, and there is just so much pure friendship and encouragement. 

I love you all, and as my friend Ruben in Mongolia said in his email, i really dont say that to sum up my email. I think about all of you throughout the week. I sometimes laugh outloud at a joke between us, in a super random moment. I pray for all of you and look forward to seeing you when I return. AS for now, I am enjoying every second of the mission! It is the best thing to happen to me and I sometimes get teary eyed when I realize what a blessing it is. Love love love

Hermana Best

Monday, October 6, 2014

WEEK 20

Well this week was one for the books. Pretty much only two things happened, I got really sick, and general conference haha.

We got to the members house for the food on Tuesday and I did not feel well at all. Which was really sad because this person cooks the most delicious food of my life, so i I definitely knew I was sick when I couldn{t eat it. That night I had reallllllly terrible stomach pain like Ive never experienced in my life, I was up all night sick. The next morning I got a priesthood blessing and my stomach was fine. However, for the next three days my fever continued to go up and down, up and down. During those days we were in contact with mission President as well as the mission Doctor, and although we kept coming home to rest, finally they said I needed to go to the hospital. Lovely. 

I actually had a feeling before my mission that something like this would happen, only because I am completely terrified of all things medical. I did super well with getting blood drawn. The annoying thing was nurses being really pushy, in a new language, speaking really fast spanish- as if I know all those terms? Haha. Luckily my companion helped me out. 

Here{s me awaiting results that I could possibly have salmonella or typhoid fever (no one scaring me with statements like that). I am laughing because my other option was to be super duper scared and I decided to not let that happen

Trying to stay positive
They came back and said I didn{t have either of those things! I was about ready to run out when another doctor came back and said that I had elevated levels of something rather with my kidney and liver and I would need to stay over night. I was trying to plot my escape in my head because that really scared me, and I just wanted to get back to work. BUt it was decided that I would stay overnight with the needle in my hand to get liquids. I have no idea how to say that in English or spanish haha. 

At this point I prayed really hard for comfort. I don{t know why I am so squeamish about these things but I am. And I just thought there is no way I can do this, in another country, with people doing tests on me. But I said a prayer and when I finished I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I have never ever had a prayer answered so immediately in my life. It was extremely powerful. 

Next they wheeled me to get a sonagram-weeeee mission sonagram! AT this point in the gown and with the gel on my belly it was pretty much impossible to not feel pregnant, which at least made me laugh. Also, certain doctors kept trying to make me feel comfortable by speaking 'english' during the sonagram. 'joo can breathe. eggshale. how do you say eggshale? '  me ' exhale'  doctor 'do that. ' hahahah

Basically by the next day my fever was gone and I felt hydrated and rested. THe doctor told me to rest all week but mission president said a few days should be fine. There are about a thousand stories of sick missionaries healing super fast that I could tell you but basically the Lord gives us strength to do the work, of that I am one hundred percent sure. 

I hope you all loved conference. WE watched it in a members house because I still needed to take it easy and theres a little bit of a walk to get to the stake center. I was blown away that a lot of messages seemed directed at possible investigators, is that just because I am a missionary or did it seem like a lot testified of the prophets and their authority? as well as DAvid A Bednars ENTIRE talk for people investigating the church. Wow, it was such a great experience to feel the Spirit and listen to these messages. 

Things are a little tough right now with our investigators. Theres not enough time to explain everything but we are praying really hard that their hearts will be softened and they will feel that our message is the truth.

I love you all and testify that prayer is powerful, and that we can all have a personal relationship with our HEavenly Father through it. That he is extremely mindful of us and our situaciones, and that he loves us without conditions. HAve a wonderful week! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

WEEK 19

buenos tardes!!!!!! Thing are going very well here in Castillotla ( thats the name of our ward. believe it or not this is one of the simpler names for a ward in this mission, many are Mayan)

Hermana Best and her companion, Hermana Cascante
I finally realized my companion hermana cascante is a lot like my friend Carly from utah!!! it is something really beautiful to have a friendship with someone in another language. I try to push for speaking english in the house but hermana c only knows a little bit. Im still struggling to express EXACTLY what i want to say in spanish, but i have learned that you just say things differently in spanish than in engish, oh and i probably wont be able to understand when people make a joke thats a play on words for several more months haha...

well i finally realized what the challenge is in this area. its not finding people in the street, its not having lessons, its not anything like that. its retaining people. i made the error of thinking that the 3 people i baptized in august would be fine, just floating along. and kind of forgot that they are in a NEW WORLD, and need LOTS of spiritual nourishment. so our new effort is to try really hard to keep the converts and the less active members going to church praying and reading. its important to put yourslf in their shoes as missionaries. even as an active member in my normal life its easy to slack off in these 3 critical things. i cant imagine trying to form these news habits in my 20s, 30s,40s,etc , never having been taught by my parents or church leaders to do so. 

a cool experience this week was going to the first session of conference just for women (why does that sound like a hair product?). this day was a good example of the ups and downs of missionary life. first, we were super excited because several members and INVESTIGATORS agreed to come. next, we were overwhelmed, because as walked around to pick up people a total DOWNPOUR happened, complete with hail, and wind so strong it broke my umbrella. next, disappointment that no one ended up coming with us. 

after that we got to the chapel for the trasmission of conference and it wasa little weird knowing that the live feed i was watching was from a camera 45 mins from my house and that i prob knew someone in the crowd. i understood EVERY WORD OF THIS CONFERENCE. i was a little sad that i dont get to hear the actual voices of our church leaders but the message is the same. wow i cannot believe i understood every single word. i really loved all the talks, and the video about temples. when we got home we were in a super good mood anddddd  opened the door and our house was flooded from the storm haha . you have to learn to expect the unexpected on the mission. but i love it!!!!!

here are some pictures. the beautiful volcanoe emitting smoke ( cant remember how to say that in english very well), me when i saw a tool when we got off the bus and i just went ahead and picked it up, the workers thought it was funny. love you all!!

Smoking Volcano!!!
Cutest smile ever

Monday, September 22, 2014

WEEK 18

Ah. Why is the mission the best thing in the world? I am super super super happy.

here are a couple more pictures from lastweek. we visited Maximina, our recent convert, on mexicos day of independence. i mentioned in the last email about the eggs here filled with just confetti, and we seriously had a blast cracking them on each others heads and just experiencing the pure joy of being together.

So happy!
With the confetti!!
I have a new companion, her name is Hermana Cascante. She is from Costa Rica, just one of the many reasons she is awesome ( favorite music? TROPICAL....)

New companion Hermana Cascante
Gosh she is just the best. We were all at the big meeting of transfers and I knew she had JUST finished training my super good friend, Hermana Hymas from my district in t he MTC. All the missionaries split on two sides and face each other as President reads who is with who (super nerve wracking).  I thought 'hhmmmm me and Hermana Hymas are very similar....i{m willing to bet her trainer is going to be my comp' and what do you know? YES!!!!! She is also 22, but this is her FINAL AREA, or in other words, only 6 weeks together :( SHe is extremely spiritual. The first night we taught a couple lessons, then in planning I just said wow I feel the Spirit so strong with you, do people ever tell you that? 'ummm Hermana Hymas!' haha. We have very similar personalities. Like when she tried to pay the teenage kid that comes to switch our gas tank in these fake pesos she had and he was trying not to laugh and we were dying. YOU KNOW ITS FUNNY, RAMON!!! 

Also during studies we ran out to buy tamales. Here in mexico people just announce in a  super annoying loud megaphone what they{re selling. everything from cleaning supplies to oranges. i asked this slightly grumpy tamales lady if i could speak into the megaphone. i immitated how they all say 'tamales-tamales-tamales-tamales-' but they also name all the types of tamales in spanish and i cant do that so fast so i just said ' muchos.....tipos?' which in english is ' many....types?'. the lady cracked a smile.

Tamales Tamales Tamales!
We had the most beautiful Sunday EVER yesterday. First of all, randomly a ton of less actives that NEVER came to church the whole 3 months ive been here showed up!!!! AH!!! ALSO, the day before, we randomly went to this guys house named Ricardo. I just said eh lets try to visit this guy, its an old street contact. He is our age, but lives alone, is new here, and his whole family is in another state of MExico. He is studying mathematics at the university, and i can tell he is a little scared to be in big groups socially. but he agreed to go to church. oh my goodness. it was so amazing. at the end of sacrament meeting Hermana Cascante said sooo what do you think? He said ' can i tell you the truth?' And we both braced ourselves, not knowing what hed say. then he said ' i felt like everything the speakers said was just for me'. OKAY RICARDO you are incredible! he enjoyed the next two hours as well. at the end, we got him in touch with the girl in charge of the young adults and he just had this little smile. he could feel that we are all family here and that he is more than welcome at church and all the activities. we are SO grateful to know ricardo. we forced him to take pictures with us hahah hermana cascante said 'youre gonna be glad im taking this!! your first sunday at church!' I was super happy hahahaha

Ricardo
Another beautiful experience we had was withan investigator that every time we show up she has a little bit of doubt. something her super catholic mom said made her feel guilty for listening to us orrrr something like that. this week she said shes not sure if she can continue with us. i told her lets stay in contact and not give up, and can we teach something real quick before we go? As the lesson went on, like always, she told us that she actuallyf eels like this is the right thing, and the truth. it was really really intense this lesson, but very important. so we are going to have to work hard to have her to go the chapel, and experience these good feelings on her own, and not just when we teach. Sarai is very special for me, I don{t know how to put it into words.

Its very important to work hard. Even though Hermana Cascante is in the last SIX WEEKS of her mission, you wouldn{t know it. she doesn{t even like to tell people that shes at the end. I read a quote somehwere this week that says that Satan chooses his servants when they{re idle, and Jesus chose his disciples when they were hard at work.  When we are really pounding the pavement even though its exhausting, its very rewarding. NEver have I gone to bed as tired as in the mission, and some days its just so tough. BUt its all worth it in the end, because you reap what you sow, and we are continuing to have success.

"Me with a family we're super close to"
Here{s some more random pictures. I ate grasshoppers gosh they were NASTY. lots of pressure from my comp and a recent convert couple to eat them. 

Grasshoppers!

Not having it
Yikes. Well I want to say that I am positive that the church is true. Its strange how we have to exercise our faith to gain more faith, but thats how it is. THe more I have had to rely on the Lord here for pretty much every little thing, the more I realize he has the power to help me with it all. Its a little intense being the only companion that knows the area- took me a year to learn Provo, Utah, please imagine me on foot, in mexico, in a dif language, now with a comp that doesn{t speak my language,  having to lead us around day after day. But we have only been lost one time the whole week and just for 5 minutes. This is absolutely not me, it is the strength I receive from my (sometimes desperate) prayers, and my HEavenly Father answering them in miraculous ways. 

Hermana Best exploring an apartment complex where some members live
"A super normal shortcut we take"
Work hard, read your scriptures, and pray with all your might!!!!
LOTS OF LOVE
Hermana Best

Monday, September 15, 2014

WEEKS 16-17

Wow!!!!!!! My heart is so full. I have a feeling I can't put into words! I finished my training. Cannot believe I've lived in a foreign country for a quarter of the year! I have learned SO much. Sooooo so so much. A mission is so humbling.

Yesterday was so odd because at church we were saying goodbye to some people just in case we didn't see them today, because our leaders tell us who's going to get transferred and who isn't Sunday night, then we only have the usual 7 hours of P Day to say bye to everyone on Monday. As I was saying bye to people I felt like no...this isn't goodbye. I had a very strong feeling I would stay in this area, and my companion would leave. 

Last night it was like a strange mix of Christmas Eve and New YEars or something. We watched a church movie, then got into bed, because the calls for transfers are after our bedtime. EASY TO SLEEP wondering where you{re going to live, and who with, for the next month and a half. We got the call, turned the lights on and found out...yep, I am STAYING!!! I am soooo excited! THis area is WONDERFUL, there is sooo much work to be done. Just yesterday we had four investigators come to church with us. And one couple, Brenda and Andres, who I have mentioned several times said 'pssst, come over here', after sacrament meeting. 'We've been thinking since you asked us in the last lesson and...yes, we want to be baptized.' Ah, we all had tears in our eyes. This couple is SOOOOO SPECIAL FOR US. She is the one that had a miscarriage, and her dad recently was killed, and has just been hit with TRIAL AFTER TRIAL. Instead of staying angry with God, she started exercising her faith in him, and in turn, it grew. Andres, he is just amazing. He studied in the seminary to be a priest because his dad wanted him to, but he said it was full of hypocrisy and he didn't like it at all. He will be in a leadership position in the church once he is baptized I am sure of it haha!!! WHat AMAZING examples, i'm always teary eyed with them. OH and they bought us legitimate jerseys from the puebla soccer team! and Brenda said 'you are the first foreigners i have really gotten along with'. We are going to eat with them today!

well I will be sad to see my comp, Hermana Seegmiller go. We are very very opposite. I know we both helped bring out the good in each other, but to be frank it was a struggle some days!!!! Just our form of communication is just completely different an one person would say something, and the other would interpret it completely different. But what I learned form Hermana Seegmiller was to be humble and kind. She was always super worried about being the 'perfect' trainer or the 'perfect ' missionary. And I kept trying to explain to her. I can learn from any of the other 200 missionaries in PUebla south how to contact in the street or what is our role in ward council, any number of things. But only from her could I learn kindness, and patience. One instance that really struck me was a morning after a particularly rough night. Hermana Seegmiller got out of her bed and went out into the dark cold morning at 630 with her blanket around her just to turn the boiler on for ME. She didn't need to shower, but she remembered I was going to. She never said ' i turned the boiler on for you', or expected anything in return. She just simply did this one quiet act of kindness and went about getting ready. This impacted me a LOT. It was tough these 3 months but by the end we became friends. the other day we were laughing until we were crying. and a couple days in study i just started crying and said 'im going to miss you'.  I know I helped her to be a little more at ease with herself, and have a little fun, and she helped me to be a more kind, understanding person. She has changed me for the better.

The people here are just incredible. What can I say? One sweet little old lady that only has a few teeth and lives in a very humble house fed us last week. SHe served us Mole. SHe said ' i remembered you wanted to try Mole, so I made it for you'. Do you know when I told her that? my SECOND DAY. JUNE 25. This woman remembered for 2 months what some blonde girl that she never sees wanted to try from MExico. THe people here are sooo very special to me. 

Tomorrow is a national holiday, mexicos day de independencia, so it is gonna get crazy!!! AT midnight tonight everyone is going to do the grito, or yell, saying 'viva mexico! viva mexico! viva mexico!' add to that a milllllllion street fireworks. there is already a hint today of how crazy its going to be, but I can{t imagine. and then tomorrow through all the parades and craziness we have to get to the stake center for transfers, and i will meet my new comp. I am sure that she will not speak one word of english, and i will miss hermana seegmiller even more haha! but i need my spanish to improve so it will be good!!!

Ive learned a lot about sacrifice this past week, it keeps coming up in lessons, in church, in my personal study. I don't know why sometimes we think we{re going to lose something in sacrificing our lives to the Lord. Al contrario, we will gain a lot. Yeah, I left my friends and family behind, but I have met so many incredible people here, and now I will go back with DOUBLE the friends and family. The Lord will never ever let us lose if we turn things over to him. 

Here are some pictures since we couldn't upload last week! Forgot to mention forever ago we got to go to a weird walmart mall combo type place. they had sushi at a place called SHIRUSHI! i was freaking out excited. IT was TERRIBLE. worst than the worst sushi ive had in the states. couldn't eat more than a couple pieces. oh well right? 

Bad sushi and a tweetie bird cup
Heres us on a pday with our fav family here, Emiliano and Anay, i think ive mentioned them, super recent converts (april, and june) and their daughters, we went to Angelopolis (actual city) again with them and the bishops daughters, pic here


One of their favorite families
we ate carls jr and krispy kreme. the carls jr actually didnt taste that great, the food here is so good im accustomed to it. but krispy kreme was still delicious.

Krispy K
now for my fave pic yet on my mission. at a members house , her daughters birthday. i guess the tradition here is the bday person eats part of the cake. me to my comp ' and then we all eat it still?!!!!' her 'yep!'. that is my genuine face hahahahah

Birthday girl digging into her cake... and Lauren's reaction
At the Food the other day, the little boy in the family ran up to us and gave us this. the house was dark cuz they have no lights, very poor. i was thinking its a wet....potatoe? wow gracias!!! no, its a fruit called Tuna. i think he peeled the skin off himself. when it plopped into my hand i was so grossed out. we left the house and i could see it in the light, and we took this picture. 

Thank you...?
Heres us today. we had an unexpected and SUPER fun trip outside our area (with permission of course) to buy stuff for all the food to celebrate the holiday tonight. its this mercado independencia, idk how to describe it. inside but not? and toooons of people selling all kinds of stuff!!! i saw a pigs head swinging from one of the tents!  this picture is that they put confetti in empty eggs. Anay, knowing i didn{t know the tradition smashed it on my head. I let out a yell. ITS CONFETTI!!!  all over me!!! thats her husband goofing off in teh background. i think you can see the confetti on my head. we were DYYYYING LAUGHING. we bought a ton to smash tonight for the holiday. wow i love it here !!!! 

Confetti!
finally heres us. i bought a mexican bow, hermana seegmiller bought a moustache. also Anay painted our faces without permission, its this little stick of chalk that has green white and red so its automatically a flag. 


hope all is well in the states!!!!! love you and pray for you all the time!!!!