Monday, November 2, 2015


No update this week, but Hermana Best only has A WEEK AND A HALF LEFT!!! So we should hear from her one more time before SHE'S HOME!!!

This week we had a little Halloween update from her :)

The zone leaders got a costume competition approved. District vs. district. Our district was mostly things from Nealtican (our zone). My comp and I became the think-tank for that, coming up with creative costumes.

"I'm the dog that's followed the Elders around for years, LA NEGRA. She always looks sad. She follows them around literally everywhere and is famous here. Literally even President knows about her..."
"Hermana Hymas, my bestie from the mission is 'the sleeping lady,' because the two volcanoes here have a legend, and its a warrior that comes back for his woman and she's sleeping (because the volcano literally looks like a woman laying down)."

"My companion is 'San Nicolas de los ranchos,' a small town here. San Nicolas is the top part, aka SAINT NICK and the bottom part is like being on a ranch with the belt buckle and cowboy boots. We won the competition."
"Our district: The mariachis in our Ward lent the Elders these tight suits. Hahaha, how are they so skinny?"

Monday, October 26, 2015


This week was great. We had the movie night. It was awesome to see the sisters outside of the church making the tamales and atole (traditional drink here) since 11 in the morning! Wow they are awesome :) The only downside was that we got to the church at 6 to prepare for the activity. I thought...hmmm why is the ceiling black? Had the church gone with a new more gothic look? Was i about to black out? Nope. They were FLIES. Since 11 in the morning flies had been gathering in the church in one part. That was interesting. We had my comp, the bishop, another member, and I with brooms and mops swatting at all the flies like a horror movie. I'm pretty sure I said 'oh no' about a thousand times. 

The good news is the entire chapel filled to see the movie and we have 17 new referrals aka non members to go teach!!! :) :) :) This week in our other ward we're doing the same activity on Saturday. People here don't really care about Halloween :( 

We're working to the bone. My comp even got sick practically over night. She doesn't even care, she just keeps plowing away. Her work ethic is for real.  

There were no effects from the hurricane here, its been windy and rainy anyway. We're loving working in both areas and finding new people constantly. 

Sorry this is such a short update!!!! Here are pics of me by the volcano in Xalitzintla!!! 


Monday, October 19, 2015


OK I've been terrible at sending a good update with how things are actually going out here so I'm taking the time to explain it a little better.

We are HALFWAY THROUGH the transfer.... :(  It MIGHT be my last transfer...or I might stay on the mission forever. It's not confirmed yet. 

"The weather has been windier than anything I've ever seen!!! We saw President and his wife the other day. President's wife said that her phone's forecast says 'wind.' It's been howling for 2 days and nights straight without stopping. Kinda scary."

I'm with an American sister named Hermana Palmer (pic included), we were in the same district in Atlixco way back when (ok this past spring). She is SUPER EXCITED about our area which is awesome, I think I needed her energy and her drive, super grateful to have a companion like her. Also the pics are because her mom sent her stuff to make MARSHMALLOWS hahah of all the things you send in a package. So we did some homemade smores. Not too shabby. 

Hermana Palmer!
Yummy smores!
Investigator wise, as I've mentioned we've found many new people. But we are also seeing who can progress and who can't. There are some that just always promise they will go to church, or read scriptures, etc., and never do it, so with those people its best to just keep having the members visit them. I know in the future they could progress more, maybe right now isn't their time.

OOH! ONE REALLY COOL THING! We were with our ward mission leader in one of my wards and we planned a ward activity to watch MEET THE MORMONS on a projector and make food and all the works. Then we went up to our other ward that week and the bishop came to us and said 'I think i want to do a movie night in the ward' haha. Maybe he's spying on us from up by the volcano with one of those tin cans tied to a string? Or maybe its time for these wards to have an activity! They've gone months without one. And this movie was specifically designed so that people that don't know much about mormons can see more of what they're like. We are super duper excited about it all, made some shnazzy invitations, and all the members are on board for inviting their non-member friends. 

Also we gave talks in one of the wards about missionary work and it was just a really beautiful Sunday.  Everyone was paying attention and smiling at us and nodding. Then the bishop got up and said that he trusts in us and he wants all the members to know they can trust in us too, and he wants everyone to invite their nonmember friends to have an appointment with us, or come to the activity. That was a great feeling knowing we're all on the same page in the ward and that our bishop supports us- truly makes all the difference!!!!

"I only have a couple pairs of shoes left. The other day my foot felt weird and I wondered what was going on... literally had no idea my shoes were at this point. Had to toss em."
I find that being at the end of the mission is a little bit harder than i expected! I have all the tools I need as far as missionary work, but Heavenly Father is still molding me daily into a better person. I have experiences that test my patience, or that humble me, or situations that just stump me and sometimes its frustrating but I look back on all the progress I've made and its pretty unreal.

I'm absolutely committed to working like a maniac these last three weeks. Its been really cool feeling like despite how tired I am this transfer theres something that just keeps me moving and I can keep walking and teaching and laughing and enjoying the mission. What a blessing!!!! The Lord lives and he truly loves us. 

"Short hair?"

Monday, October 12, 2015

WEEKS 72-73

Long time, no update.

I find it so hard to summarize what's going on here! I think this time I'll make a list to make it easier. I love lists.

1) WE ARE FINDING TONS OF NEW PEOPLE TO TEACH. Way more than in the last transfer. My companion is like a lightning bolt, constantly in motion, there is no time to rest, just work work work! She keeps me focused.

2) I feel so at home in this area! At first in Nealtican I wasn't really sure where I fit in with everyone, but these last few weeks I've been able to realize what great friendships I have with them, it kind of feels like my first area, Mayorazgo. We've had some 'goodies', some laugh attacks, some awesome meals, and spiritual lessons. The other day an investigator was reading the scriptures and I thought there were some hairs floating around so i tried to get rid of them ...turns out they were attached to her head and ended up pulling her hair as she's reading the book of mormon hahahahahahah these are the moments in the mission you just can't plan. we were dead laughing. The members are so wonderful too.  I am getting really attached to this ward! oh no! They had the primary program yesterday and I felt like I was watching all my little cousins or something. We are also working way more with the bishops in each ward. HOW EXCITING

3) Surrounding is like a very warm spring day every day here now. i guess were done with that rainy season. the other week despite a small voice in my head telling me 3 times to put sunblock on i ignored it and got burnt to a crisp, the sun scorched me from the morning til night.  pictures NOT included. my current question is if donkeys get mad or if i can touch any donkey i see that might be in my path? There are a lot in one part of our area. they just look so sweet and sad , i want to pet them. don't worry, i'm not going to touch any animals despite how bad i want to. 

ok thats about it for now! I'm still listening to the conference talks i missed because sunday afternoon i got a fever and couldn't watch the last session! they're so inspiring. i'm loving it here on the mission and pretending its never going to end...

Hna best 

Monday, September 28, 2015


Whew!!! I have time for a super quick update this week!!!! Several things happened this week...I lost my wallet with a bunch of really important stuff in it, a member found it later on the side of the road, it was a complete miracle that they found it, and no one took anything! I felt really grateful. 

"It's been raining a ton here!"

"A member showing up in the exact moment we are getting drenched!"
Dulce (investigator) got married. It was the event of the year pretty much the whole town went. Never seen anything like that in my life. 

But the best part is that she got BAPTIZED!!!! The Sunday after. And it was really beautiful. The room was full of people supporting her. She's been listening to the missionaries for a while now, her husband is less active. Hadn't gotten baptized yet because they weren't married. She was emotional after when she gave her testimony, said that she knew this is the true church, and that she wants to be sealed with her husband and baby for eternity. Her non-member parents came to the baptism and were crying as well, it was really emotional and something I won't forget! We are excited to keep working with their family so that they can get to the temple! 

Dulce's baptism- her husband is on the left
I absolutely loved general women's conference. As a missionary I just feel like I soak up every message and the conference flew by as if it were only 5 minutes. Got me really excited for this next weekend when we will watch general conference!!!  I feel like the messages the women gave us this past Saturday were so specific for our generation, i know they are inspired by God what they should say and how they should say it. 

I've been learning a lot and having a lot of great experiences but I'm struggling to put them into words right now...that's the mission in a nut shell ha. I've made a lot of changes on the mission but still have lots to work on. I'm really really thankful for the opportunity to have this calling. We are truly set apart from the world and its a beautiful feeling. I'm overwhelmed by how much Heavenly Father watches over all his children and knows whats best for each one of them. I know I needed this experience to help me be a better person. I will keep working hard until the end.

I so appreciate the emails I get from everyone encouraging me. I've been very blessed. Until next week! 

Monday, September 21, 2015


Hermana Best promised some updates come October, but here are pictures to tide us over until then:

"We bought slingshots because they are wild dogs, and they bite haha."

"Puttin' on a show for us. Everyday something new."
"Loved these clouds."
"BEST VIEW EVER! We are so lucky to live in a tall building! Every night I see Puebla's city lights gleaming, and in the morning THIS!!! Those little figures are PUEBLA on the horizon. I love it here."
"Our last zone conference :( "
"Not a lot of food at the Ward Mexican Independence Day activity."
Maybe one more "pot" of corn?
"My first tortilla... ok a little ripped but it's OK!"

Monday, September 14, 2015


Here are a few fun pics from our favorite Hermana:

"El Popo"

"In the boonies"

"Half pony half donkey :)"

Monday, September 7, 2015

WEEKS 67-68

ALOOOOHA! Thats how they say hello in Nealtican.
No, not true, thats only in Hawaii and its a total doozy.

Well I'm going to be honest, the first part of this week was a bit tough. Yes, GENERALLY SPEAKING as missionaries we are some of the most positive, filled to the brim with faith people you could meet on planet earth and I love every moment of having this calling. But we also have our moments of disappointment and discouragement. This week was filled with a TON of 'he/shes not home' 'come back another week' or 'we really don't need your help, thank you'. One person even added as we left (by means of cornfield) 'and be careful with the dog, it doesn't bark but all of a sudden it'll bite ya'. OK....good tip thank you!

Let me paint a picture for you of the two wards. (And yes, now I know how to say them and whose who) (mostly)

You got Xaltepetl. The ward thats actually in Nealtican (my zone). Small town, our area is LITERALLY about 3 streets. Every time I'm asking for names of people to try to get referrals my comp is quietly saying 'they're members.' haha well I gotta keep asking I guess or we'll never find the people that aren't! I've attached a pic of a banner as you leave the town. Its wishing a good trip to a Mariachi band thats comprised of a ton of members from our ward, they're super talented. The kid 2 in from the left  is our ward mission leader, an ex missionary thats super pumped about the work so thats great! His sisters are in an all girls mariachi band, I'm pretty jealous about that haha, and they also accompany us to lessons and one put in her mission papers! Definitely one of the coolest families I've met on the mission. We have one investigator with a baptism date for the 27 of September, she's getting married the day before! 

The picture (sorry, tried to lighten it as much as I could :/)
Xalitzintla I don't have a picture of because were never there on Mondays. Its an even smaller town , snuggled RIGHT up next to the volcano! Most people there aren't home if we try to spontaneously look for them because they work in the fields. It's overflowing with sweet little old people that walk around barefoot, not kidding. When we offer to help people they have put us to work with some interesting tasks. 

Off the top of my head, this week we helped load a bunch of dead, yellow, plucked chickens by their ankles from a big tub of warm water to a truck where they were going to take them to a party (50 chickens for one party, and thats nothing they say). The sensation was...interesting. We also helped to peel the bark off these weird...sticks? For this guy that makes bread baskets out of it. Super painful with all the bark and dirt jamming into my nails, then it started raining heavily. Went into the man's house for shelter and the power went out. He lit a fire and we realized we were in a shack type thing where he stores all the sticks for the baskets he makes. My comp politely asked if he wasn't nervous that the fire could spread being that we were surrounded by planks of wood? Laughing he told us that of course not!!! Super interesting. We shared a scripture by firelight. The mission is pretty cool. 

Another... interesting task performed by Lauren and her companion? Shoveling cow poop.
BUT AFTER MANY SHUT DOORS I had one of the most beautiful experiences of my mission this week....I was hoping to have some pics from it by the sister still hasn't sent them. The young women in the stake had a ONE DAY IN THE MISSION activity. We started by the 6 of us sisters in the zone each talking about a different theme (preparing spiritually, how to dress, etc) it was really great! Then they assigned each of us several young girls for a mini training. I taught an amazing group of 4 girls and all the words just flowed and came to my mind what I should tell them as far as how to teach! I did a demonstration first, then put them in groups to practice teaching. I felt like an MTC teacher, it was an odd sensation and I decided teaching is one of the best callings in the entire universe and I want to work with youth my whole life! Haha.

Then we went out to go teach a friend or family member that isn't a member of the church and had tons of success! I'm summarizing this a TON but by the end we were all teary eyed because the Spirit was sooo strong the entire day. It was such an uplifting activity. My little young women became my little sisters and they all say they want to go on the mission!!! I hugged the young women stake pres. after and we were just crying and i told her 'it turned out so beautiful' and she was just nodding . It was incredible. Im so happy to be on the mission!!!! adios!!! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


OK OK OK so lots of surprises here!!! My comp and I had no idea that they were going to COMBINE our old area, so all the notes we left for the 'new sisters' that were going to 'live in our house' are for nothing, the elders are going to live where they have always lived but work with the people in our area. As less and less missionaries come to our mission our areas are going to get bigger!!!! So that was surprising. Also, after lots of teasing each other that my comp was going to to go my old stomping grounds of Atlixco, and her telling me i was going to go to her old stomping grounds of Nealtican, and both of us saying 'NO I AM NOT' (me not wanting to go here ONLY because it is notorious for filling missionaries with heaps and heaps of food to the point of wanting to cry)....we got sent to those exact zones hahaha!!!

"We didn't think we'd both get transferred and on Monday NO ONE WAS HOME so we had to literally RUN (literally) from house to house of our investigators/members/converts Tuesday, the day we left, to tell them that we were leaving!!! I didn't even put makeup on. BUT I'm so glad I got to see Concepcion one last time."
After Lauren typed up her email and sent the picture of Concepcion above, she received an update on Concepcion and sent the following photos with an explanation for each: "OK IT MADE ME OVER THE MOON HAPPY TO GET THIS EMAIL FROM A MEMBER IN VALSEQUILLO OF CONCEPCION!!! SHE LOOKS SO HAPPY!!! SHE GOT BAPTIZED!!! :D I COULDN'T GO BECAUSE IT WAS TOO LATE AND I'M TOO FAR AWAY BUT I LOVE HER!"


"Saying goodbye to Luis. The investigator that has made the most drastic change in my whole mission, I would say. Gonna miss him and his wife, Lupita."
A couple photos from Transfer meeting. "Our fearless leader, Elder Penaloza finished his mission!"
"Saying goodbye to the familia Guagnelli :( A family that always took care of us. I'll miss being around their big table with everyone, eating, joking around, and reading the Book of Mormon together."

So I am in Nealtican.
cow. It is gorgeous. we are LITERALLY right by the volcano, people!!!! Even closer than I was in Atlixco!!!!! I try not to be a crazy picture lady taking the same picture every day of the volcano but I just cant help it!!!

The volcano! Name: Popocatpetl (normal name)
My new comp is Hermana Rivera, shes my second comp from El Salvador. She has done the impossible for me....for all those who know me please get ready for a shock. She has gotten me to GO OUTSIDE TO GO RUNNING AT 6:30 IN THE MORNING. Yep, go back and read the sentence if you need to. After 15 months of politely telling my comps 'No thank you , we will not be doing that :) ,' I said WHAT THE HECK my poor old mission body could use it. OK IT IS SO EXHILERATING!!! The air feels so fresh and I can see the volcano puffing smoke out... people are going in their horse drawn carts (no lie) to work (in the fields) and at one point we have to slow down our run to let a donkey pass or so that the dogs don't come up and bite us. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

Two volcanoes! And a new companion, Hermana Rivera!
Volcanoes at 6:30 in the morning! 

NEW COMPANION! Hermana Rivera
TO GET TO OUR APPOINTMENTS WE HAVE TO WALK THROUGH CORNFIELDS. I did not expect to get sent to a pueblito (little town?) I've been in the city more or less for my whole mission. I thank my Heavenly Father for this chance to be here and experience the beauty! and the PEOPLE!!! They're so sweet! The other night 20 little old ladies and little old men were all dancing in the town square in their traditional clothes and braided hair...the images here are priceless! 

We have 2 investigators with baptismal dates and lots of referrals to find new people. There are tonnnns of members here. As we walk in the streets my comp will tell me 'She's a member. He's a member. They're members,' so lots of less actives to work with. Oh and get this my companion and I cover not one, but TWO WARDS. Names of the wards:
and Santiago Xalitzintla.
Super easy to learn those names and not get them confused...NOT. But I'm working on it!!!! :D

I'm just working on getting to know everyone and where they live, all the usual details of being new in an area. I replaced an american that has some similar features so its pretty hilarious when halfway through a conversation someone randomly starts staring at my name tag and saying 'Wait...why aren't you Hermana Smith?' hahah .

Love you all so much!!! Your emails inspire me and lift me up!!! I know I am doing the Lords work here, he is guiding me and helping me in every minute!!!!! Love you!

Hermana Best

Monday, August 17, 2015


OH NO!!!!!! OUR AREA IS GETTING WHITE WASHED!!!! I did not see that coming. Ok, I thought about it for one second but then dismissed the thought. That's right- we got the call last night and my comp and I are BOTH leaving the area. :( Im sad because we have a baptism programmed for THIS SATURDAY! But that's ok. Her name is Concepcion and she is so prepared! She already paid for her spot to go to the open house of the temple in mexico city this Friday!!! Ah she's so great!!! If i stay close to the area theres a chance i could go to her baptism, but if not, I know that it will be great and she is going to be a wonderful member!!!! I will miss her!!!!!!!

I have seen SO MANY MIRACLES in our area in these last three months!!! We have been blessed with members that are always willing to help, leaders with just the right counsel, and investigators that complete with their commitments!!! The people here are so prepared!!! Not to mention being with my long lost sister, Hermana Jimenez has been so fun. We truly helped one another to be better missionaries.

"Us with Lulu and German, recent converts that always help us! Lulu always accompanies us to the lessons! They had us over for pancakes this morning since my comp and I are leaving :( We laughed until the point of tears. I will miss these people!!!"
"This is an AWESOME member named Samuel!!! He served in Campeche where my comp is from and he LOVES the culture of the U.S.A. so he says we're the best combination of cultures you could ask for, and we bring him a lot of 'nostalgia.' He always encourages us or brings us a treat or something random to make us smile!!! I will miss the AWESOME members in BARRIO XILOTZINGO!"
This past Saturday we had a Noche Blanca (white night?) of baptisms. That was really cool to see again in my mission! (also had one in atlixco). I got to play violin again, and all us missionaries sang. There are two new members in the ward, and many new members in the whole stake! the new sister missionaries that come to our area tomorrow can do a lot of 'reaping' , the field is ready to harvest in Xilotzingo!!!

I am so blessed to be happy and healthy and well in the mission. I am learning so much in my personal studies , and it helps me to be a better teacher. its so fun teaching the gospel every day. The right words just flow out of my mouth and sometimes its just so odd that its all happening in SPANISH.

"Week of photos I guess!!! This was after a great Zone Conference (our leaders brought us Krispy Kreme donuts- we were pretty happy)"
I know the ins and outs of missionary work and its great to apply everything ive learned every day. Ive seen how the Lord is preparing many people for the message of the gospel and also softening their hearts, thats something I saw a lot these last 3 months. I testify that this is the true church and that our Heavenly Father loves us so much!!! I hope you all have a great week :)

Hermana Best

"Everyday its a complete coin toss if its going to rain or not. We went weeks without rain so we stopped bringing umbrellas and jackets (it's a real back killer lugging everything around all day just for it to not rain) and lately people have had some pity on us. We had one investigator that BOUGHT us shnazy umbrellas just because one night we didn't have them. These classy capes are the courtesy of another investigator. As if we don't stand out enough as 2 foreigners in skirts and name tags constantly walking around, just add this Green Cape (and water!) and its a total classic."

Monday, August 10, 2015


We've got some great pics today from what Lauren entitled "African Safari." I believe no other explanation is necessary (also this was all the info we were given). Enjoy!

African Safari with our favorite companionship!
An emu!

The latest addition to these awesome pics- holding a lion cub!!!
"A part of African Safari where you put sticks with bird food and the birds fly to it. Not sure if you can tell that the whole day at this zoo I was really happy..."

Pretty smiles!