Friday, April 29, 2016

Valle de la Muerte


This week I was thinking about all of my journal entries and all of my emails. Many times I think this is how I sound: "Today was normal. We taught. We contacted. I'm dying of heat. Now it's raining. Sad sad state of Hidalgo. I'm tired."  I apologize if this is what you feel like reading my emails haha I tried really hard this week to write better so that I can give a better summary of what I'm doing over here in Mexico.  

Hermana Ortega and I are getting along great! Like I mentioned, shes older than me in age, but less
The Umbrella Pic with Hermana Ortega
time in the mission. I feel like she's an older sister so that's a great feelings. We are working great together and learning a lot. Learning more of each other and more of this area. There's a lot to learn haha That's the mission for ya. Everyday is a learning experience if you let it.  

We have done a lot of contacting. Here in the mission mexico Pachuca, we talk with EVERYONE. Literally everyone. "Doesn't matter who you are or what your'e doing Im going to talk with you" is basically how it goes down around here. We take a lot of combis...which are little shuttles. WE were on the way to our lunch, very far away, and a lady sat next to me. I leaned over and said "Buenas Tardes!" She just looked at me with  a confused face and said "Te conozco?" or "Do I know you?" I just laughed and told her that we don't know each other but we are missionaries and we talk with everyone. Maybe she wont accept nor wanted to, but I know in the future some time down the road she will remember the Mexican and white girl that talked about God in a little shuttle. 

I have also learned about the combis that sometimes they are ghetto. I felt like I was in a car of some unknown person who doesn't actually work as a driver but it's chill. you also learn to accept that there are no personal bubbles. We are just one giant family in those situations haha. 

Also this week we talked with a man that makes tortas...a sandwich. And well he's made a lot of mistakes. I cant judge because I'm not perfect either but I learned something from him. He taught me a cool parable about repentance. It goes a little like this: 

There was a man who made a lot of mistakes and he wanted to make everything right with God. He prayed and asked God what he needed to do. God said all he needed to do was fill us his empty glass with water. The man ran immediately over to the sink but no water came out. Ran over to the nearest water jug and nothing left. Went to the river but the river was dry. He finally went to the ocean but the water wouldn't stay in his glass. He began to cry and pray again. As he cried, the tearrs dilled his glass. Then God told him "this is true repentance" 

That hit me hard. We need to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit and sincerely repent every day. No matter how small of sin we commit.  

ALSO this week we had our zone training. WE learned more about using the Book of Mormon and inviting clear and directly to read ALL of the Book of Mormon. Super neat. Also according to the entire mission our zone "Valle de Mezquital" is also known as "Valle de la Muerte" because the work is slow and hard out here. President changed every single companionship in this zone. We are going to work hard and just do what the Lord wants. I just thought about about in the Lion king Simba asks his dad"whats our kingdom?" and his dad says "everything the light touches." then Simba points to a dark shadowed area and asks whats over there. His dad quickly responded that he should never go over there. I laughed when I thought about it in comparison to my zone. That the lighted area is all of the super zones in the mission mexico pachuca and the dark shaded area is poor little valle de mezquital hahaha but its great here and super pretty so I'm not complaining. 

We share a ward with 2 other sisters and well it can be a little rough. you have to balance everything out so that the members are working with both companionships. This week lacked in lessons and rained a ton. That's what happens. There are great weeks with lessons and so so weeks with little lessons but non the less, the work of the lord is AWESOME!! 

WE taught young women's on Sunday and visited a lot of less actives. i think we'll be working hard in that aspect. Just try to reactivate and find new people. 

That was basically my week in a nutshell. a little more than usual but I hope it was more exciting to read haha 

Love you all!!!
Hermana Cross

Life of a Sister Missionary
When you want to be a thug, but still respect your religion
Valle de Mezquital
The Norm

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Hills Galore!

Woo a full week completed here in Actopan 2! Where do I even begin with this week? Hmm well it's
Utah or Mexico?  IDK
absolutely 100% blazing hot. I am dying a little bit. I don't think I've sweated so much in my entire life just walking in the sun. the good thing is that I don't feel one bit embarrassed about how I look. It's the reality and blessing of the mission. I know if I have a smile on my face and preach with the power and authority we have as missionaries, all will be fine and the people will accept no matter how drenched I am haha.
The days have been slow. I think in the beginning of transfers, your'e just trying to get used to everything. New people. New Streets. New neighborhoods. New investigators. The thing about transfers is that you have to be willing to give all of your heart to that area. All of your heart to your new companion, so that you can be in unison. I think it's the moment in the mission when you can reflect and see if what you are doing is helping you change. It helps your see how much youve changed. you learn and just keep going. Time is incredibly short, but when you are focused in the work and in the Lord, everything works out for the better. 

We have bikes in this area but let me tell ya, there are HILLS GALORE. 30 minutes of exercise has not prepped me for this area. Oh man it is something else. This literally is the weight loss program of the mission. Straight up. I know I said that last time but holy cow I don't think I've hurt so much in my body. I need a chat with a professional cyclist to tell me how its done. 

We are working right now to find new people. We have taught a ton of people. This area might have been a little dead but we are on the rescue to help revive it. Contacts and references and jsut trying to find new people. This area is huge. One recent convert lives 20-30 minutes by car from our house. And our district meeting is about 40 minutes to an hour in a bus. woooweeee how crazy fun?! No but really it's fun because we get the opportunity to teach everyone who is on the bus with us whether they want to listen or not is their choice but we are going to teach the truth to EVERYONE!!!! There are areas super duper pretty. I wish I could just show you all. Pictures don't capture the same great view. 

This Sunday was the first one here. I felt the spirit super strong in sacrament meeting. the hymns really just penetrated my heart. Oh man it was just incredible. Heavenly Father knows how to comfort and heart in need. It's been a little rough. There's no lying about that. BUT I know that God has not abandoned me. I know that he will help me through all things. My companion is a champ. I seriously think I am learning more from her than she is of me. Also she was a lawyer. Seriously how awesome! I'm just amazed by this girl haha. We are getting along just great and I see a lot of success in our future. 

I hope you all have a great week. I know that the work can be hard, but when we keep our eyes focused on the Savior, he will lead us and guide us through. This church is true. I know it. I cant deny it.

I love you all!!!

Hermana Cross

A Catholic Chursh
Mormon missionary and catholic church. not a problem right?
Not 100% sure what this building is but it's basically like the one in Washington DC

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The second part


Yes it's true I have had cambios..or transfers! Can you believe it? I absolutely can't.  how is this possible? I am sad to leave my dear Los Pinos. I seriously love that area with all of my heart. I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry a bit. BUT I held it together. I'm getting better and better in that aspect. But when you are in an area for almost 6 months, it just breaks your heart a bit. I have a true love for the people there. good thing that we ended the week on a super high note!

This week we had 40 lessons! 40 lessons per week is the goal. It can be really hard. This past cycle was the hardest. I seriously was frustrated but in the end everything worked out perfectly. We were blessed to have members come with us. That has been the struggle but we had members happily accept the invitation to join us!

Wednesday we had a special training from president. It was basically to just help us understand more of where we can improve. We learned more about how to find people to teach, daily planning, and being exactly obedient. That is the phrase of the mission. obedience with exactness. I love it. I can really see the blessings that come when we try to be 100% willing to obey the commandments and rules of the mission. At times it is easy to say, "well nothings going to happen if we don't....(insert whatever mission rule that applies)" But I know that being exactly obedient is what the Lord wants. So as his representative, I will do it. 

I felt like my faith was tested as well this week. Lots of people that try to tell you what you are preaching is wrong. That its not true. I really had to pray for help and strength. I just kept sharing my testimony and doing what was right. I know this church is true and even though not everyone will accept that it is, I can move forward with this testimony. 

So to tell you a little bit about the transfers. We found out Sunday night that we had cambios. They
My New Companion - Hermana Ortega!
told me I would be leaving and going to a new area, while my companion would stay in Los Pinos and TRAIN!!! WOOO YEAH SHES TRAINING! I'm so proud of her haha there aren't a lot of new missionaries, only about 5 new sisters so president really felt inspired to choose her. Anyway, I'm here in a new area. Its called Actopan 2. My companion is Hermana Ortega and I am completing her second half of training. Shes 24 years old and is from Oaxaca, Mexico. A transfers full of 2's. Second area. Actopan 2. Second half of training....ooooweeee,. Lots of work to do I know. I've walked outside here for like an hour and its hotter and so many hills. I have found the weight loss program of the mission hahaha. Anyway, I'm super stoked and super nervous to get working here. 

Thank you for everything!!!
Hermana Cross

A nice goodbye gift from Los Pinos
Fried ice cream once again - Yum!
Aranza (member) and I
Hija Mia
Recent Convert
Our Investigators <3
Alex, his mom and us
The best family ever!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#ldsconf April 2016

OOOOWWEEEE what a week!! Super duper crazy fast. Everything here is just lickity split. So much is happening here and I know a crazy amount of stuff is happening there in the states as well. Shout out to alll those who are getting ready to finish your semester. Stay strong. You can do it!

Anyway just going to hit some of the highlights of the week! I have discovered that I donot know the bible that well. A member came with us to help teach a girl whose mom is a JW. She wants a lot of the answers from the bible and well yeah I need to work on that area of my gospel knowledge. He whipped out a ton of scriptures and just gave her the truth. Obviously without contention but did a really good job helping her feel the spirit too. Thanks ex missionaries for always giving us an extra boost haha

We had our last district meeting as well this district. We were all trainers and trainies. We are starting week 12. I cant believe it. How is it possible? who knows! It's most likely that this is my last week here in Los Pinos. Oh man I cant express how grateful I am for this area. I have truly learned to love the people. I was born here and the amount I  have improved is incredible. I can only really give credit to God for that.  Our cambios are next Monday but we'll know this Sunday. Im a bit nervous but I know there are more people the Lord has prepared for me in another area. If it be his will to go, you bet I'll be there doing his work.

We ate with our 2 investigators and their mom this week. So kind. But I seriously felt like it was my first week again because they were talking about food and everything that wasnt in my vocabulary. It's a nice reminder that I still have to study to improve even more!

Thursday we ran into some interesting people. We contacted a person who believes in La Santa Muerte. Scary stuff. Definitely something to advoid 100%. I would take a picture of a giant Santa Muerte but it's not respectful and in all honesty it gives me the heeby jeebies. Also saw another old contact. We went to go teach him for once and okay here is something that just makes me feel like a terrible person. usually we shake hands normally. He knows that. Its always been that way but this ONE time he did a hand shake with a kiss on the cheek like normal people. We do it with women but they are WOmen! it came out of no where. usually I'm 100% prepared with a stiff arm but when someone knows better, I assumed it wasnt necessary. Boy was I wrong. I was in companion was in shock and We were like joseph in egypt and fled that place. no worries mom. we are NOT going to return. People are nuts. Like HELLO we are representatives of Jesus Christ! People don't touch me. 

Anyway, this week was super wonderful with general conference. I would love to mention a ton of 
things I learned but I actually didn't bring my little notebook. I encourage all of you to watch it if you didnt get the chance or if you fell asleep because it was super duper fantastic. I know that when I return the temple will be the first thing I visit. How blessed we are to have a place to be protected from the world. I am so grateful we have a living prophet. I sustain him and support him. I believe his words and those of the apostles because I know there are the words of God. 

Oh yeah finsihed the BOM just before we left to watch conference (yes in english) and completed the missions goal! I know that book is true with all of my heart. 

I hope you all have a great week!!! love you!!

Hermana Cross

The District

Friday, April 1, 2016

The pearl of great price

I am absolutely super duper happy everyone. Seriously this week was just fantastic. I'm going to kick off the letter with why the title is what it is. the pearl of great price is indeed scripture BUT this is more about the pearl of great price in missionary work. We struck gold. We found new investigators. We are seeing the fruits of our labors! it's quite the story to be honest so hang in here with me:

Back in December Hna Ojeda and I found a less active. We taught her and her son one time. After we
could never find her. One day in the beginning of my time with Hna Meza, we found her outside her house. We made an appointment and visited when she could. So basically Fridays. She told us that she wanted to have her son and daughter learn more about God and become closer to him. Well we started teaching them! Melissa (12) and Bruno (9) and seriously so great. not to mention that we are reactivating the mom! She is soooo happy to be taking this journey again. Shes reading the book of Mormon and this is the best part. THEY ALL WENT TO CHURCH!! yes you read that correct! we had investigators in the church! The first time the mom has gone to church after 16 years!! I cant express how happy I am. I seriously have a super strong love for this family. Sometimes you wonder how you can love complete strangers in such little time but I'm telling you it's a real thing. i love the people of mexico 100%.

Ok as for the rest of the week, well we found more people! we fasted last week and that's when there weren't any investigators in the church. BUT we saw the answers to our prayers Wednesday. we found 3 different families. We ended up finding the references we had and visited some streets we usually just pass by. Evidence that you have to look in every nook and cranny of your area to find the pearl of great price. 

We were able to watch the general women's conference and man how great was it! talked a ton about service and that just makes me love the work here so much more! I am so grateful to be serving my savior and God. I know that service is the way to become more Like Him :)

Also we had interviews with President this week. what a great man. he just encourages and gives the greatest advice. how wonderful to have a little one on one time with the mission pres. 

We also had intercambios. nothing super new and exciting. I was with an american sister and its probably funny to see 2 white girls speaking Spanish together haha. We did speak a tad bit of English ion the house but it's becoming a real struggle to speak English haha

Well that's about it! living the life here in Mexico! so grateful to serve the people here. I know Christ is the son of the living God and that Christ LIVES!!!

Have a great week and love you all!

Hermana Cross

WORD (of God)!
Throw back to all of my school lunches in elementary school to high school
The Plan of Happiness