Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hello from Texas!

Hey y'all!
I am in Mission, Texas! (Nate, I am in Palmhurst West area, Hidalgo Zone). For those of you who aren't Nate and didn't serve in this very mission, it is right next to McAllen and about 15 minutes away from the border of Mexico. It is super confusing because the wards are Mission 1st, Mission 2nd...and I keep thinking that these are wards just for missionaries! Its weird. Anyways, my trainer is super awesome and is really patient with me. She is Latina and from Los Angeles and her name is Hermana Vasquez. Her Spanish is beautiful, so I am hoping I know I will learn a lot from her. I love her so much already. I hope she loves me back because she is stuck with me for 12 weeks!
The heat and humidity down here is crazy. Holy smokes, I have never sweated so much, especially because we bike all day. But I have been super duper careful about wearing sunscreen and I am not sunburned at all. Wooooo! I count that as a miracle. I live in an apartment with my companion and two other sister missionaries. Between the four of us, we have one car that we take turns using. I have been proselyting on a bike and in a car, and I have to say, biking is so much better. It is more fun and you get to talk to people on the streets. It would be kind of weird to stop the car and roll down the windows to ask someone if they want to hear a message about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Haha. So biking is a hundred times better. Biking in a skirt is actually pretty easy, but we do look ridiculous. I cannot count how many times people have driven past us and then done a double-take and laughed...But its all good!
In the one week I have been here, I have developed a fear of dogs. The dogs down here are big and mean. We will be walking down a street when three or four huge dogs will start following us down the street and biting at our heels. Its terrifying. But I am getting good at growling back and taking my bag off my shoulder to whack them.... So that's fun!
I love the people and the culture down here. Latinos are super friendly and are never rude. Even if they aren't interested in what you have to say, they will offer you water and let you cool off in there house. The only people who have been rude are the few white people down here. Sorry for the generalization... They say the most racist things to my companion and I get so mad!! But she is so forgiving and loving and doesn't let anything get to her.
Yesterday was my first Sunday and everyone at church greets each other with that kissy-thing on the cheek. I have never been kissed so much in my life. And they all like my hair. I also have never had so many people touch my hair. Church was fun and I love how patient they all were with my Spanish. Man, my Spanish is terrible. But I will get there.
Every day I witness little miracles. Right now we don't have any investigators, but I see blessings every day. I cant even explain, but I just receive little promptings all the time that let me know that Heavenly Father is aware of me and guiding me. Being a missionary is hard, but the blessings are awesome. I love you all!

4 am at the airport, the letter, our noble steeds, and my hair! It looks pretty normal here in Tejas! Surprising

I made it to McAllen:)

I made it McAllen! It is ridiculously hot and humid. So so so hot and so so so humid. Hermana Hunter looked at my face after we walked from the car to the church building and she said, "Dude, your face is so red!" Aye aye aye. Anyways, I am still super excited! I put my bike together and I am ready to go. But I won't know where I am going or who my trainer is until tomorrow morning. I love you all! 
Con amor,

Final pictures from Mexico

I love this one artist that's work is hung up all around one of the buildings. These are my favorite paintings. 

Last Pday together. We went to the tienda and bought ice cream. And then the elders wanted to ride these weird Mexican bikes. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Missionary feet are nasty (oh, and a letter from the Prophet to me!)

Hey everyone!
This week was full of craziness!! I dont even know where to begin.... Well, I don´t know how to  transition, so I am just going to say it: I got a personal letter from Thomas S. Monson. I got a legit letter from the prophet!!!!!!!!! Let me explain. In 2005, I got the opportunity to meet him at a family camp called Aspen Grove. He told me to serve a mission and that "redheads make the work go faster". So before I went to the MTC I wrote him a letter telling him that I was doing as he said and serving a mission. Then on Monday I got a letter addressed to Sister Angus saying "Thank you for your touching letter and picture. I am glad I got to meet you and your father at Aspen Grove in 2005." He said a lot more, but in closing he said, "I am praying for you and your companion. Sincerely your brother, Thomas S. Monson". I about passed out. My hands were shaking. My companion said, "Yes! The prophet is praying for us!!! Blessings galore!" I am still in shock. Is this real life? I meant to take a picture of the letter, but I will next time. 
I don´t know how anything in my mission will top that experience, but in other news, one of the elders in my district broke his big toe this week! We were playing beach volleyball and he got a little carried away and broke his toe on sand....It swelled so fast!! The knuckle of his toe was the size of a gumball. He was taken to an Xray center in Mexico City and the xray was only $300 pesos. Thats about $28 US dollars. Crazy! Anyways, we do a lot of walking at the CCM, so the doctors made him use a wheel chair. Everyone, including this Elder, thought it was ridiculous to use a wheelchair for a broken toe. He got really good at doing wheelies and almost killed himself by trying to go down the stairs in his wheelchair. Boys are dumb. Then Hermana Collins´s toe nails started falling off this week....Not sure why! But each of them is falling off, one by one. Missionary feet are nasty. My feet are so blistered and scabbed and scarred. Mom, please schedule my pedicure for November 2015. I cant even imagine how ugly they will be by then...
Since this is my last week at the CCM, our whole district decided to go a day speaking entirely Spanish. We wore tags that said Solo EspaƱol and it was sooooo hard!!! But it was surprising much I could communicate in my broken Spanish.
I told you this week was crazy! Another story: last night the CCM flooded. Literally flooded. Everyone was in the auditorium watching a devotional that was being broadcasted from the Provo MTC when rain came pouring into the room. The elders grabbed mops and anything they could find to try to get the water out of the auditorium, but it just kept coming! The doors were closed, but it didn´t matter. Somehow the water got in. Once the devotional was over, I looked at the floor at the base of the auditorium and it was about a foot deep. It looked like a kiddy pool. We were dismissed early for the night because of the flooding, so the other hermanas and myself decided to go puddle jumping! It was soooo fun to just cut loose for a few minutes. Lifes about learning to dance in the rain, right? 
None of these stories were very spiritual, but I have learned so much while being at the CCM. I am really sad at the thought of leaving. I love my district so much and I love the atmosphere here. But at the same time, I am super excited to go to Texas! It´s finally time! I love being a missionary and I know that this work is God´s work. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that through him, we can overcome anything in this life. Have a good week!
Hermana Angus

Thursday, June 5, 2014

One Month

Hey y'all!
I can´t believe I have been at the CCM for a month already! This week just flew by. I am a little sad at the thought of leaving soon. But at the same time, I am excited to get to Texas. Two more weeks!
This week has been pretty chilly here in Mexico. Our teacher told us that the summer months are April and May, so now we are in the rainy season... I thought coming to Mexico was going to prepare me for the heat in Texas...I guess not!! 
Some Latino elders always try to talk to me in English. These elders pass me all the time and say, "Hi!" in a kind of girly voice. For the first few weeks I thought they were mocking me for being a gringa, so I would just greet them in Spanish. But then I realized that all the Latinos here are trying to learn English while us North Americans are trying to learn Spanish. So this week when those elders said passed and said, "Hi" to me, I finally gave in a said "Hi" back. They were surprised and then said "How are you?". This went on for a minute of us trying to communicate in simple English. As I walked away, they all started cheering "Yeah!!!!" and giving high fives. I guess they get just as excited about speaking to native English speaking as we get about speaking to native Spanish speakers! 
This week, one of the hermanas in my district was super confused on some grammar we were learning. She was frustrated and yelled, "Why can´t everyone just speak the same language?!?" Our sassy Latino teacher looked at her and said, "¨Hermana, the tower of Babel is not my fault.¨ But it´s true. Spanish can be frustrating with how detailed it is. I have noticed that during Spanish class, I don´t really remember much of what I learn. But while I am teaching my investigator, I can remember a ton of Spanish! I even remember words I have only seen on paper one time. The Spirit is a huge help when trying to learn Spanish!
The church is true and I love you all! Hasta luego!
Con amor,
Hermana Angus