Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Visit to a Mexican Hospital

Here it is... my colorful BED!

So I had really really bad stomach pain...and had to go to the doctor and get it checked out. The first doctor we went to said I had appendicitis. So then we went to another doctor and they said I didn't have it and that I might have an infection of some sort or something like that. So they had to put an iv in me and I had to pee in a cup, and then I had to get blood taken and it took 6 doctors to get my blood, because my veins are so small! Ha ha! So yeah, it was an interesting day! I ended up not having anything of what they said I had. I just had bad stomach ache and I have had diarrhea for a week now, so that's been interesting....The bathroom is now the new hangout spot for me. I haven't pooped my pants YET but I'm afraid that day is going to come real soon...I sprint to the bathroom every time I eat. I can't hold the food down for too long. So I think I've been losing weight so that's pretty cool! Ha-ha, I have pills that they gave me that have been helping a lot! The picture is of the bruise from them taking my blood; don't worry, it looks a lot worse now. Ha-ha, but seriously, I am just fine and I don't have stomach pain anymore, just pooping a lot. :)
My brother, Adam, lost no time in sending me this via email upon hearing of my tummy troubles! (Nacho Libre)
 So this week started out pretty rocky with the whole hospital visit, but luckily I was on splits with another sister from Utah that could speak Spanish really well and she helped translate all I was feeling. So that was a blessing! We were in the hospital for about 6 hours. The president's wife was there with us helping us out and there were two other sets of missionaries at the hospital sick!
The bruising from the IV

So after all that happened my companion got sick with a cold and cough and could barely talk so that was really a challenge for me, because I couldn't understand her very well. It really pushed me to talk a lot in the lessons though! The lessons were great this week! We have three investigators that have a baptism date! I am super excited! In two of the lessons I really felt the spirit so strong. It was really amazing! We had Lewis (an investigator) watch the video of Joseph Smith's first vision. He was watching it and you could just see in his eyes and how heavy he was breathing that he could really really feel the spirit. And in all the midst of the dogs barking and the kids playing really loud, and the people talking in the background, we were all so focused and you could feel the spirit so strongly in that moment. That's something that I know I will never forget. And after the video we each bore out testimonies and asked if he would be baptized and he said yes. We were really really excited! That's pretty close to what happened with the other two investigators. But one other named Claudina thought that the three members of the godhead were all the same person so we had to straighten that up first.

It's amazing to me how the spirit can be anywhere if you invite it, under any situation if you invite it, the spirit can always help you.

Next story! So we had this crazy drunk guy come and talk to us about our church and he was arguing with my companion about how we weren't correct teachers because we didn't have the bible memorized. It was really interesting... This was yesterday while we were talking to an investigator outside of a store. Don't worry; it was in the day time and there were a lot of people around. Anyways, so he started yelling and I was just standing there not really understanding much of what he was saying, because he was yelling with a slur, ha-ha, so I'm standing there staring at my companion and shes talking with him and the investigator is just sitting there and I'm standing there trying not to laugh! Then he randomly started backing away from us, (because he was getting kinda in our faces). Anyway, he got quiet and backed up and we didn't know what was going on? Then behind us were two big hermanos from our ward that came and stood behind us. Ha-ha, it was great! It really freaked him out because they literally came out of nowhere. They both just got back from their missions pretty recently so they were backing us up and the guy left and the hermanos were just laughing the whole time. It was pretty great! They are pretty big guys! About the size of Adam. They both came with us to teach some lessons that day so it was great to have them there to help us out! One of them actually served with Andy Price on his mission in Mexico! I was telling him about how I was from Idaho and he said he had a companion from there, and said from Pocatello, and come to find out it was Andy! So that was pretty cool! It's quite the small world!

So on Friday night we got the call....the call to speak in church. I freaked out, I'm not going to lie. I can´t speak the language yet and they wanted me to give a talk. I was so nervous! So I wrote my talk the day before and day of. It was on the gift of the holy ghost. I wrote it all out all by myself! I was pretty proud of myself! Ha-ha! So on Sunday  was praying that I would be able to pronounce the words correctly and everything. And I did obtain the gift of tongues! My talk went pretty dang good if I do say so myself! I was surprised at how I wasn't nervous and it went really smoothly! So I feel a little more confident, but i know it wasn't just me talking! I also gave my testimony in Spanish and English so that was pretty neat!

On Sunday night it rained really really bad. My companion lost her planner in the rain and then we went home and were locked out! So we live right next to some members and their sons got a fishing pole and a broom stick and stuck them together and then stuck it through the window and were able to open the door with the stick! it was pretty great! Ha-ha! So we got in and all was well!

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

Love Hermana Velasquez

Thursday, September 25, 2014

a letter from the Mision Merida Mexico

The new group of missionaries at the mission home!

President and Sister Garcia with Jeni

An exciting moment... "I was maybe freaking out a little...meeting my new companion who speaks only Spanish!"

A good looking group of missionaries!

 Dear Velasquez Family,

We are pleased to inform you that Sister Velasquez has arrived safely in Mérida, Yucatán. We express to you our gratitude that you have prepared such a wonderful missionary. My wife and I feel very honored to have this great missionary in our mission. We will be anxiously taking care of her health physically, as well as spiritually. Trust in the Lord that He will protect her in this great work. Remember when writing, to encourage and express the feelings that the Spirit puts in your heart. Explain to her the spiritual progress that you are making while she is serving the Lord, and ask her to share with you some of her spiritual experiences. Be positive and help her focus on the mission.
These 2 years are very important for her as a missionary, future mother, and leader in the church. She will have great experiences, many challenges and temptations that she will encounter for afflictions, but just as the Lord comforted Joseph Smith by saying these words of comfort “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for their good,” she also will learn from her own experiences.
Encourage her to press onward and support her in the difficult times. The life of a missionary is not easy, and one should not think it is, but by trusting in the tender mercies of the Savior, He will make our burdens light.
We love you very much, and please have confidence that your daughter is in the best hands, the hands of the Lord and that He has assigned us to this mission at this specific time so that we can care for her. She will be our daughter and as our daughter we will love her and will be mindful of all her needs. Our Redeemer promises great blessings for His missionaries if they are faithful, endure to the end, and keep their eye single to the glory of God: “And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither thirst.” D&C 84:80 Please feel free to call Sister Garcia for anything that might worry you about your daughter. You can contact her at any time of the day and she will attend your needs.
We send you our sincere greetings and a big hug.
President and Sister García
Mission Mexico Merida

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

primera semana!

The Hermanas

My first meal in a member's house... my companion loved it!

Yes! It's really me... here in Mexico! My first area is Pacabtun.

Hola Familia!
So my first week is over! Crazy how fast that went. I’ve had an interesting couple of days here in Mérida! First things first, I left you off last week talking about how I was going to have my first meal here in Mérida. Well, safe to say, it was different. I have a pic for you. The Hermana whose house we went to for lunch was really nice. She was really excited that this was my first meal in Mérida and she had me take a picture of it to show everyone -- ha-ha -- it was funny. So I started eating it, and I liked it at first and then I started getting sick. I saw her cooking it and that kind of set me off a little with feeling sick. Ha-ha, so I felt really bad because I couldn’t finish it and my companion was horsing down her food and I’m over here drinking water and trying to eat this food! So the Hermana had to go outside real quick, so I turned to my companion and was trying to tell her I couldn’t eat it and didn´t want to offend her cooking. By some miracle she understood what I was saying and let me dump a lot in her bowl. So we quickly did so and then the Hermana came back and just looked at us and started talking about something I couldn’t understand, but she had to have known because before she left I had a lot in my bowl and my companion was almost done, and then it switched! So yeah, that was my first experience with the food here. It was called basole or something like that? But the rest of the meals have been great! The avocados are massive here and so much better than in America! Like sooooo much better! Dad you would love them! 

So this week we have taught a lot of people! On Thursday we went to go and find a lady that was a referral and we found her in this little cement house. She has two girls and one boy. All I have to say is be very grateful for what you have back at home. It’s a lot different here with the children. Their clothes are really worn down and sometimes they aren’t wearing much if any. Just always, always, always be grateful for everything you have at home! Anyway, this lady with the children; so we walked in and she was really nice. Her son was asleep in the hammock and her daughters were there just staring at me the whole time, ha-ha. I had my hair in a bun with one of those head wraps Annie made me before I left, and they just kept touching my clothes and my hair and said I looked like a doll. Ha-ha, it was really cute! So this was our first lesson with Isabell and it went great! She is getting baptized on October 18! We were so excited! My companion basically did all the talking. I just said a few things that I could and bore my testimony. But it was so great and the spirit was so strong during the lesson. It was a great experience.

 So another story: Every lesson, we sing with the people we are teaching. We sing hymns together. So one time when we were at a members house for lunch we were talking and they were trying to speak English to me (everyone loves to try and speak English to me -- it’s pretty funny) so I asked them how it worked with the whole sleeping arrangement when you are married? Do you still sleep in hammocks or beds? So the Hermano said in English “no, it’s disgusting to sleep with the person with you”. and I was like “really?” and he thought for a second and he meant “annoying” -- ha-ha -- it was great! So after we were done eating with them we sang a song together and then they asked me to sing it in English. I can’t remember the name of the song. But I started singing it and I couldn’t remember the words so I just started singing in the tune of the song “I don’t know the words to the song so I’ll make them up so you think these are the right words”. Yeah, it worked like a charm! They clapped for me and said it was beautiful! -- ha-ha -- my companion was just laughing about it because she understood -- ha-ha. So on Saturday we had an activity with the youth in the surrounding areas of Mérida. There were about 50 there. It started at 7 and went to 6. It was called “Be a Missionary for a Day”! We each had some youth come with us tracting for the day. It was really fun; we had two girls with us. It was a lot of walking and it was super, super hot! We were all dying! We went and ate at a member’s house and all of the young men were asking me about America and how they love the music there! Ha-ha, and about the sports teams and they all just laughed at me when I would try and speak Spanish and I would laugh at them when they would try and speak English, ha-ha. 

So this week I’ve made a lot of nice friends in the bathroom! First the ants; they’re pretty great friends to have because they take care of my other friend the cockroach! Yeah, they ate him right up! I was pretty happy to see him go! Then while I was showering yesterday I had a new friend with me. His name is the lizard! The big green lizard! He had to go, so I splashed water on him and he crawled out the window. So safe to say I HATE the bathroom. Like a lot! I am physically scared of the bathroom. I only go in there to shower and for any emergencies but nothing more! And you know how we see deer everywhere in Idaho? Well here it’s Iguanas. They are massive and they are EVERYWHERE! And all of the dogs are pregnant here and there are a lot of them, but they are really nice!

So this week has been kind of hard and frustrating because I don’t know what people are really saying, and I don’t know how to speak very well, and I was kind of getting down on myself a little, not a lot, but it was just hard at that time. While we were walking down the street to go teach someone, we ran into a man that was driving the motor-taxi. He had taken some of the lessons then got busy with work and stopped. But we went and talked with him and he spoke English! I was so excited! I got to teach him a little bit right there about baptism (sorry everyone for my bad spelling, I was bad at it before but now it’s worse because I am used to writing in Spanish now) (mom is correcting things for the blog…) and he didn’t know that it was okay that he could be baptized again, because he was baptized as a baby in the Catholic church. So I explained to him how it was good to get baptized in our church with the correct authority and a few more details. He asked what he had to do to be able to get baptized in our church and he thought he had to take a written test, but no, I told him we could teach him more and he could get baptized and he was really excited! So we are teaching him this week! I can’t wait for what’s to come this week! I get to go with another sister missionary tonight and stay with her overnight and teach with her all tomorrow. It’s called divisions! She’s from Utah and she is really nice so I’m super excited for that, but sad to leave my companion! 

Well, love you all and hope you have the best week ever! I love it here so much and I love the people here so much! It’s all so great! 

Funny misinterpretation of the week: My companion and I were studying and she started singing Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus and she got to the main part and sang “I came in like a cannibal” (a person who eats people) and I just looked up and started laughing at her. She just laughed when I explained to her what she just said. It was great! 


-Hermana Velasquez

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Feels a little like home! This city is a lot like Nacho Libre...

Hola familia! Como están¿ I am here in Merida a town right outside of the big city. It is flaming hot here and I am sweating like crazy! Yesterday we had a long training we had to do, and then we got to meet our companions! My companion is Great! Her name is Hermana Manzano. She is from El Salvador.  It’s going to be a pretty interesting time because she speaks no English. Like none… and I speak hardly any Spanish so yeah, this is really going to be pushing us both a lot! We are in for a treat! I already lover her though! She is very patient and helpful with everything. I am really excited! When we had our meeting with the mission president, he had us say what kind of companion we wanted and he just said he might put me with someone who didn’t know English and I was freaking out a little. It’s all ok now!
So yes, I am sleeping in a hammock and it not so comfortable at all. Ha-ha but I love it! I’ll try and send you a picture of it later! We don’t have AC we just have a fan so it’s always hot! COLD SHOWERS ARE NOW MY FRIEND! I don’t think I would ever appreciate a cold shower as much as I do now! We don’t have any warm water, but I wouldn’t want it anyways ha-ha. With the toilet, it doesn’t flush so we have to throw a big bowl of water in it and that flushes it. It’s seriously the greatest thing ever! I love it all! I know that sounds so weird, but I really do! Oh and our house is full of bugs.  And my companion won’t kill them so we have lots of little friends living with us. Ha-ha! It is just her and me living in the house.
Yesterday when we got to Pacabtun (the city where we live) we dropped off my stuff then went to appointments she had set up. I was super nervous, but it was so fun. We sent and talked to a new member, some investigators, and less active members. It was really cool. I just sat there and listened for most of the lessons, but it was still so great! We then walked about 2 miles to the church house to meet the ward mission leader, and I think the bishop, and one other person. I don’t really know who they all were, and I don’t really know what they were all talking about in the 1 hour and 15 minute meeting, but I’m sure it was great! All I understood is that we need help from the members to get references. So that was cool. Before those appointments we went and bought eggs and bread, so this morning we ate eggs and bread for breakfast!
So, today we are going to go eat at a member’s house after we’re done emailing, and I’m not going to lie: I’m super nervous! For the food, and for the lesson!  Ha-ha! But I know it will all be great!
So my apartment is pretty sweet! Yes, I do have a hammock and yes, my toilet won’t flush unless you throw a big bowl of water down it, and yes, we have little friendly bugs everywhere! I honestly do love it all so much! But I’m still going to have to get used to the sleeping situation, ha-ha, it’s pretty uncomfortable, but it will get better!
So, yesterday we were walking to the appointment we passed through all of these little streets and everyone was playing music and it was just so great! I can’t explain it, but it felt a little like home! Ha-ha! It made me so excited to be here! So, this city is a lot like Nacho Libre if you were wondering… The little motor taxis are great! Ha-ha! Everyone drives crazy here. The people are so great and nice! I really am so excited for this and couldn’t imagine anything better to do with my time than be here with all of these wonderful people with their amazing culture! I love you all and I’ll write you again on Monday and send you pictures; the house and bed, and just all the goods! Ha-ha! I love you and thanks for all the support you’ve all given me!
Con Amor,
-      --    Hermana Velasquez

p.s. There is a little area in my area called Fidel Velasquez. I thought that was cool. Quick funny story - when we were walking to that area, the whole time I thought we were going to visit someone with the name Fidel Velasquez, but come to find out it was a little town. Ha-ha!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I've Arrived!

I loved talking to you all on the phone while waiting for my planes - it was great! I made it here safe! I am in the mission home right now and they had us go and pick out a hammock. I picked a pretty colorful -- one it's pretty great! We got in around 7:30 to Merida. I was able to sleep a lot better this time one the planes, so that was so nice! The mission president and his wife are so nice and sweet. They spoke English to us when we got to them in the airport, so that was really nice and didn't freak me out as bad as I thought it would. I still feel a little overwhelmed, but not as bad. Talking to you all really really helped! I don't know who my companion is yet or where I'll be going, but I'll probably tell you next week! I love you all and can't wait to write you about my first week here! Thank you all for your great advice -- you are the best family in the world! Love you all sooooo much! Have a great week and don't worry about me -- I'll be great here -  I already know it! Love you, love you, love you!

Hermana Velasquez

September 9, 2014 letter: "Leavin' on a Jet Plane!"

Uh-oh... ingrown toenail! Soaking my foot!

At the doctor's office... I couldn't keep from watching the whole disgusting thing!
My "creds"... yeah...

Me and my friend, Hermana Cokerham, from Texas!

An awesome day going to the temple with my awesome district!

Here I am. Me. Today.

My companion gave me a head cold, it was a tough week! Here I am with my friend, Hermana Hoggan.

So this week I obviously got my flight plans and that was super exciting! I am so excited and nervous at the same time! I can’t wait to go! When we first got our flight plans I was kind of wiggin’ out a little because it happened so fast! I just had a solid pit in my stomach and I just felt so scared.

Today we went to the temple and we did a session and it was so great! It was my last time going through the temple probably for a couple of months because we aren’t allowed to go on our mission unless a person invites us to go with them, but anyways, when I got out of the temple I just felt so ready to go and not scared or nervous anymore! I can’t wait to go and meet all of the great people and actually get to work.

My language is coming along better than I thought! I was able to go to one of our lessons and only bring my Spanish scriptures! So that was exciting! I know I had a lot of help from the Lord while I was talking. And my companion helped me out with some words. We are both fine now. So the rest of my week has been great! I am really pulling for a general authority to come and speak at devotional today because it’s our last one! All of the talks have been really good though!

So about all of the letters I sent you all (I hope they all got to you, if not they will soon!) So anyway, I wanted to write all of the kids before they all went to school and before I left for Mexico because letters will take a lot longer to send out from there! And also the little thankful letters were not originally going to be sent to you all. I was having a bad week so I decided to write what I was thankful for and it ended up being all of you! So I wrote them all and decided to send them all to you:)

So I decided that our family just had the worst luck with feet. This week I had to go get SURGERY! Okay, well, they called it that, but it wasn’t at all that fancy. I just had an ingrown toenail and he had to cut it out and it was soooo gross. I know because I watched the whole thing. It was like a bad car accident I just couldn’t look away. Sorry, gross I know but it happened! Now I just have to treat it every day and night then I go back to Orem on Thursday for my checkup.

So funny story of the week: So after I was at the doctor for my toe we had to wait for the car to come pick up me and my companion. We were just sitting there talking and this Hispanic guy came up to us that was working outside on the lawn and stated talking to us in Spanish. I think he had a lisp or something because we could barely understand any words he was saying and my companion knows Spanish really well and she could barely understand him. Well anyways the car came and we had to go so I got up to shake his hand and he started pulling me in for a hug and I tried to lock my arm but then he somehow got around it and gave me a hug and a big wet one on my cheek. I was so awkward about it. It was probably the weirdest looking hug in the history of the planet. Just imagine a cactus trying to pull you in for a hug and you trying to get away from it, but then you’re stuck and are forced to hug. Yeah that’s about how it looked. Then I felt like a sinner when we got into the car and I just kept wiping off my cheek, ha-ha, but I know that’s just their culture and they do that! I told my teachers about it and they both just started laughing at me and telling me about their stories with girls trying to hug them. So I'm just going to have to try harder next time to stay away or learn how to say “I can't hug you, touch you, so handshake?" or something like that!

So I met some elders going to Pocatello on their missions! They are pretty cool; they left today! So keep an eye out for elder Hurtado. He’s a spunky little one! I love you all and can’t wait to call you on Sunday/ Monday. Just please please all keep your phones handy both of those times just in case! Jacob; talk to mom and see when exactly it will be that I can call you! It will probably be Monday sometime so just keep your phone ready! Love you all -- have a great week! The church is true! 

I am so thankful to be a part of our family! I know that we were meant to be a family and this is part of the lord’s plan for us. I know that with faith in Christ and the lord all things are possible! I love this church and I love this gospel and I can’t wait to share it with others! Love you all and have the best week ever! 

-Hermana Velasquez