|We were laughing & smiling ALL day|
missionary work doesn't have to be dull!
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
[sadly, no photos this week due to computer trouble]
Monday: For P-day we played volleyball, basketball, and soccer at the church with 6 other missionaries and Gael, his cousin, and his uncle. It was a lot of fun and Juan (Gael's uncle) was determined to help me score a goal in soccer. Finally after many attempts I made one! haha I am so impressed by the talent of the people here in their foot work and soccer skills! I was completely exhausted afterwards! In the evening we did our laundry at the house of the Velazquez family because they have a washer (saves a lot of time!) And when we hung our clothes out to dry on the top of their 3 story roof I admired a breath taking view of the city at sunset.
Tuesday: For lunch we ate at the house of Hermana Bringas. She and her two children are members, but her husband is not (hopefully soon though!) I absolutely loved their house on the outskirts of town - all bricks and wood. The inside feels like a cabin because of the high beamed ceiling and big brick fire place. She and her husband are artists and I was in heaven when they showed me their studio and artwork!
Wednesday: Hermano Vargas has continued to be sick and in bed, so we thought we'd help by having Hermano Perez accompany us to visit him. It turned out to be a great idea, because when we entered Hermano Vargas' room with Hermano Perez, he lit up with a big smile! It was so touching to see these two elderly men in their mid-80s talk about the good ol' days and laugh. They've been friends for 60 years and were converted to the church with their families around the same time. I am so grateful for the friendships in my life that I know will last forever :)
Thursday: This morning as Hermana Ortiz and I were hanging the trash on the gate, a little white dog followed us up the stairs. We gave it a bowl of milk, 'cause it was hungry and we felt bad to kick it out... so we laid an old shirt down in the corner and it slept during our studies. When I got on my knees to close my scripture study with a prayer, the dog (which we named Chiquitita from the song ABBA) climbed onto the back of my legs and made herself comfortable. When Hermana Ortiz finished her prayer before me and saw Chiquitita laying on my legs, she started busting up laughing and snapped a quick picture ;) haha In the evening we had exchanges (where the sister missionary leaders split up Hermana Ortiz and I for a day to see how we are progressing). Hermana Ortiz left around 6pm for Zacatecas, and I got paired up with Hermana Romero to show her our area here in Fresnillo. Hermana Romero is a rockstar! She's from Columbia and full of energy :)
Friday: Hermana Romero and I spent all day together and had a blast, while at the same time working really hard. We taught 8 lessons and had time to use the church list to encounter 3 new people to teach! We were laughing and smiling all day- missionary work doesn't have to be dull! She was a great example to me of someone who has gratitude in her circumstances and is completely obedient and diligent as a missionary. Hermana Ortiz returned in the evening :)
Saturday: We had a zone meeting with the mission president which lasted 5 1/2 hours!! The talks were inspiring and Hermana Ortiz and I set some personal and companionship goals. Here in the mission everyone is constantly trying to become better and help others achieve their divine potential. But this way of life isn't just for missionaries. Everyone (including myself when I return home) has the ability to learn and grow each day for the better and help others along the way.
Sunday: The Hernandez family came to church again! Whoop whoop! They all said they felt at peace and liked the testimonies that were shared. For lunch Herman Piña served us her scrumptious homemade flour tortillas - and I even rolled my own :) We had a Family Home Evening (FHE) in the evening with Hermana Bringas and her family. We played games, ate pizza and shared an article from the Liahonna magazine of the church. I really like the message because it shared 10 points that will help us live a life of joy and purpose:
1. Establish principle to guide your life
2. Don't make exceptions to your standards
3. Be loyal
4. Live so that the Lord can guide you
5. Serve others
7. Don't complain
8. Always have a church assignment
9. Visit the temple often
10. Follow the Saviors example.
All in all, this week was great and I am loving my time here as a missionary. I know this gospel is true and can bless the lives of everyone! Thank you to all who read my blog, send me packages or letters or emails, or keep me in their prayers. It truly means a lot :) Hope everyone has a fantastic week!
Monday, April 21, 2014
Monday: Hermana Ortiz and I taught an investigator named Paula - who at first came across as a grumpy old lady, but even from the first lesson I felt something special for her. As we've continued to visit and smile, Paula has continued to soften and become more open and comfortable around us. When I was saying goodbye after the lesson and giving her a kiss on the cheek (customary here), she took my hand and kissed the top of it saying "Cuidence Hermana Eliason, te amo mucho." (Which means - Be careful Hermana Eliason, I love you very much.) It was such a tender moment for me, and Paula has a special place in my heart. She doesn't come across as a grumpy old lady anymore and it has been amazing to see her attitude/appearance change because of the gospel and Christ-like love.
In the evening Hermana Lupita and her husband (less active members we visit often) passed by our house at 9:30pm to deliver some warm tortillas and beans because they'd overheard that because everyone is on vacations this week, many of our lunch appointments have fallen through. It was incredibly thoughtful. The people here are amazing.
Here we are after eating berries- we always stain our fingers and tongue purple
after passing by this specific tree that is in front of an abandoned house
Tuesday: Today we had our first district meeting after having changes last week. We have 2 new Elders - one from Guatemala and one from Mexico, so I am now officially thee only white person/american in my district ;)
Wednesday: In the morning we walked a TON because we tried using the church's list of less active members to encounter their homes. But something that is frustrating here, is that the numbers on the houses rarely follow a numerical order! For example one house is #14 and its neighbor is #220!! At least the weather has been nice and cool this week because Hermana Ortiz and I have been out walking a lot each day :)
Here we are with the daughter of Hermana Lupita.
She is 17 and we love to hang out with her
Thursday: Today we encountered the Hernandez family (a mom and 3 daughters - ages 14, 13, and 10). They were so welcoming, kind and open to our message. The miracle was that earlier in the week Hermana Ortiz and I had fasted and prayed fervently to encounter a family prepared to accept our message. I know that the Hernandez family was the answer! And I know that God is preparing the hearts and minds of the people here :)
Friday: We taught the Velazques family and as the 2 little girls were playing we finished the lesson and closed with a prayer with the the older members of the family. But then they entered the room as we were putting on our backpacks and saying goodbye. One of the little girls looked up at us and asked "are you leaving?", to which we replied yes. Immediately she and the other little girl got on their knees expecting us to end in a prayer (not knowing we had already given it). It was so humbling to see these two 3 year old girls fold their arms and close their eyes while on their knees because they had come to know that before the misionaras leave we give a prayer together. I adore the little children here. They have such sweet spirits and can truly be examples to us sometimes :)
It rained a little today so they were
running around with their umbrella :)
I LOVE them! haha
Saturday: We left the house bright and early in our work out clothes around 8am to help a member in the ward paint her house. Together with the Elders we spent about 2 hours helping her and her husband paint their house pink/salmon color ;) It was a lot of fun, and she even had jumpers that we wore to protect our clothing ;)
After lunch the Elders came with us to the house of the Vargas Family because Hermano Vargas is really sick. He started smoking at the age of 8 until he joined the church 30 years later- but now is suffering from lung damage and asma. The spirit was really strong while the Elders gave him a blessing as he lay in bed (he has lost a lot of weight- to the point where I´m pretty sure I could pick him up in my arms).
Sunday: The Hernandez family attended church! They said they felt something special and all the members were warm and welcoming to them. The church here is like a big family and I love it! During the 3rd hour of church the Relief Society president asked Hermana Ortiz and I to share our testimonies on the spot in front of everyone. Although I was a bit nervous, I shared my sincere testimony of the things I knew to be true. And afterwards as we were stacking the chairs two Hermanas complimented my spanish saying that it was really good and that in the short 3 months that I´ve been here, they can´t believe how much I know! I know that the gift of tongues is real!
Here there is no Easter - only "La Santa Semana" which is the Holy Week - in which all the Catholics do random things (like don't eat meat, do a walk of silence through out the city, and attend a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ, etc)
All is going well for me: my hair continues to get lighter, my skin continues to get darker, and my testimony of their gospel continues to get stronger! I love being a missionary and I am witnessing miracles each day here! Hope all is well back home, I keep you all in my prayers and appreciate your love and support!
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Monday: So I think I described our trip to Zacatecas in my other letter, but it was seriously a blast! We all played games at a huge park in the center of the city and it was nice to spend time with 35 other missionaries. The only bummer, was I got sunburned SUPER bad! I returned home like a ripe tomato and to take away a little of the sting, Hermana Ortiz and I wiped milk all over my face, neck, and arms . . . so that was fun ;)
|Me and Brisa|
Tuesday: Our visits went great! We are teaching the wife of a less active member right now who is really awesome and receptive. She asks a lot of questions and one that made me laugh was, "Is it against your religion to wear pants? Because I've only seen you use skirts." haha After teaching Brisa, her family offered to feed us. We were given a whole plate of cactus....Usually I don't mind cactus, but Hermana Ortiz and I were suffering from stomach pains all night long from eating so much!
Here is a picture of Brisa. I adore her, and she comes to church with us each sunday (her mom is a less active member, her step dad isn't a member, and she has a 7 month old little sister) She is always telling us how much she loves us and calls us her 2nd and 3rd moms ;)
Wednesday: Hermano and Hermana Ordaz are like our parents here in Fresnillo. They are always so supportive and welcoming and offering to help. They fed us lunch and took us to buy more gas for our boiler (taking cold showers isn't fun). They are so funny and always smiling, but one thing I don't like about here is NO ONE smiles for pictures! It makes them appear all serious, but they really aren't.
The family Ordaz! I LOVE this family! Although they appear a little serious, they are always smiling and making us laugh and offering to feed us or help us out in any way possible!
Thursday: I started teaching English! 3 times a week now, for an hour, I help some of the members learn english! It is actually harder than I thought and the pronunciation of our words are a bit difficult for them to memorize because of all of the rules. But they are so appreciative and I love helping them in any way possible :)
Friday: I have officially completed 4 months in the mission! Time continues to fly by for me! We were given money to purchase lunch with the Elders and ate at a super cool restaurant called The Museo (The museum). It was super cool inside and decorated with tons of old tools, pictures, pots, etc. We all ate enchiladas and tacos and had a good time.
Here we are enjoying some lemonade and a strawberry
drink in a cool antique restaurant for lunch
Saturday: Hermana Ortiz and I got to watch "On the Lords Errand" which is a small documentray about the prophet Thomas S. Monson. It was so incredible and I learned so much more about him. I know that he is a prophet of God and I am so grateful that I was able to listen to him last week during General Conference! We also taught Gael, who should be getting baptized within the next month!!
Sunday: All the missionaries in our zone reunited at the Stake Center at the end of the day to receive the news of changes (which happen every 6 weeks). So many of the missionaries got reassigned so our zone will be really different the next time we get together. I am going to miss everyone leaving. But the good new is Hermana Ortiz and I will be together for another 6 weeks!!! I am so happy and so is she, because we get along so well and have grown to become best of friends :)
All in all, this week was great (just like all the others). I am continuing to learn and grow and improve each day. I love the people here, my companion, and this city of Fresnillo.
Here I am sitting in a shack on the side of the road
Here is Fresnillo, and it is beautiful
I hope all is going well back home! Write to me using Dear Elder* (it is free and gets to me pretty quickly!) I know this gospel is true and love being a missionary!
Quote of the week: "Remember that all men have fears, but those who face their fears with faith have courage also."
[*To write Kiley on "Dear Elder" go to www.dearelder.com then Write A Letter then select the Mexico Aguascalientes mission. This service sends her a printed letter faster than regular mail.]
Monday, April 7, 2014
This week flew by so quickly! In the first couple days of the week, Hermana Ortiz was experiencing major head pain, which was a bummer because we couldn't figure out what was causing them. She tried a bunch of different medicines and one day when she couldn't get out of bed, I sat beside her on the mattress and sang hymns and read a couple chapters from the Book of Mormon. Singing and reading out loud has been really helping my spanish and pronunciation. When people ask how long I've been here in Mexico, they are really surprised when I respond "almost 3 months," and say they thought I have been here longer. I feel the same way! Sometimes it feels like I've been here forever. And then other times I feel like I arrived only yesterday! Time is certainly a crazy thing!
On Friday we had our once-a-month zone meeting (where they pass out mail!) I finally got my first letters from the United States. Both letters were sent January 22nd - so it looks like it takes about 2 months for cards. But DearElder (a website to write missionaries) is way faster, so if you'd like to write me (PLEASE DO)!
On Saturday and Sunday we watched General Conference! It was fantastic and Hermana Winsor and I were able to sit in the Bishop's Office and view the broadcast in English! It was such a blessing and I learned so much. All of the talks were great and spiritually uplifting. I hope you all got a chance to see it too!
|With Hermana Winsor, in the office ready to watch conference|
Today we had a multi zone activity in Zacatecas (the capital about an hour away). I love that city! It is so beautiful and entirely built on steep hills (kind of reminds me of San Francisco). The buildings are old and there are a bunch of cool cathedrals too. We played games together at a huge park in the center of the city! It had a big lake in the middle with a ton of cool exhibits: like a little zoo, lots of playgrounds, a yoga platform right in front of the water, etc. Hermana Ortiz and I walked all the way around and it was a clear, crisp day. (Although the sun is so strong here, and I definitely got sunburned!)
|2 Zone Meeting in Zacatecas|
|Hermana Ortiz and I at a park in Zacatecas|
Transfers are this upcoming monday (so I havent found out yet if I will be here in Fresnillo for another 6 weeks or if I will be changing...)
Here I am on the piano steps of the music building that is in our area
But life is truly amazing here. Each day I learn and grow in ways that are hard to put into words. I feel at home and can feel at peace among the people here, and because I love them so much, I want them all to know the gospel. This gospel has brought me so much joy and happiness and I have an increasing desire for others to feel the same. I hope all is going well back at home. I keep you all in my prayers and am so grateful for all the love and support!