Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Atonement

Hi everyone!

So, have I mentioned the rain yet?

We have hit the rainy season here in Mexico. Back home in Ohio, it rains at random all the time. Here the rain is really bizarrely predictable. It rains every night, starting at about 6 or 7 o´clock. But when it´s not raining, the sun is burning. So every morning I put on a ton of sun screen and pack my umbrella.

Well, other than that things are going pretty well here in la Aurora. We had a couple of miracles this week. We helped a woman in the street carry all her bags home this week. Her name is Alejandra, and she is super sweet, always smiling. She is very poor. Her house is a shack, and I honestly don´t think it´s been fairing very well in all this rain. She lives there with some of her sons and daughters-in-law, some of her grandchildren, and about 3 cats, 10 chickens, 3 pigeons, and probably 20 dogs. But I loved visiting her. We helped her with the dishes and comida, and then we talked a little and invited her to church. And she came! She and one of her grandsons came!

We also miraculously found a less active family. And they also came to church yesterday! I honestly couldn´t believe it. They told us that it was unlikely because the mother works, and the nephew didn´t seem all that excited about the church. But they all came!

Ok, I promised that I would tell you all about Angie this week. I´m a little late, she is from my old area, but she has really been sticking in my mind a lot lately. She is another amazing example of a miracle.

So Angie is the friend of one of our investigators in Mira Azul, Paty. One day Hermana Gonzalez and I stopped by Paty´s boutique, and Angie was there. We invited her to sit in the lesson, and she did, largely thanks to Paty, who bore her testimony right then and there about what she was learning from us. That day we were reading together in the Book of Mormon, from 2 Nephi 31, which is a chapter all missionaries are very familiar with. We finished the lesson, and Angie hadn´t said a word yet. But before we left, she told us that earlier that week she had seen or heard something, I think it was on Facebook, that said that there was a book waiting for her, with a message just for her. And as we were reading, she felt very strongly that the Book of Mormon was that book. Well, of course it is! We had literally just given away our only spare book of Mormon, but we promised to deliver her one soon.

Well, weeks, months went by and we didn´t see Angie again. She has a very very busy work schedule, and we could never  find her home or set up an appointment to meet with her. I had almost forgotten about her. Then my last day in Mira Azul, three weeks ago, we stopped by Paty one more time so that I could say good bye, and Angie was there again! Well, we shared a quick thought, I said goodbye to Paty, and we were just about to leave when I remembered Angie´s Book of Mormon. I reached into my bag and pulled out a Book of Mormon and gave it to her. And Angie started to cry. She hugged me and told me that even though we had hardly seen her, we had no idea the influence we had had in her life. And she told me that she would read it. 

And then I left. I haven´t heard anything, I have no idea if the sisters in Mira Azul have been able to teach Angie more. I don´t know if she has read at all in the Book of Mormon. But I sincerely hope and pray so.

It is truly amazing to me, the way Heavenly Father is working behind the signs with all of these people, preparing them, teaching them, guiding them. We missionaries don´t actually do any of the actual work. 

Well, sorry this is so long this week. I just want to close with one last thing. Saturday, we took one of our investigators to a piano recital in the stake center. There was actually a really good turnout. Half way through, we had a little missionary moment, and my zone leader asked me to bear my testimony on the atonement of Jesus Christ. And I want to tell you all what I tried to tell the people there.

I don´t understand the atonement. I´ve learned about it my whole life, I study about it for an hour every day here. I teach everyone I can about it. And I don´t understand it. I don´t understand how it was possible. I don´t understand, not even close, what our Savior suffered. And I don´t understand how He could love me and you enough to be willing to pay the price that He paid. But I do know one thing. It´s true. Jesus Christ loves us enough to have suffered for every one of our pains, sins, and struggles. He understands us, He loves us, and because of Him, we can be made clean and return to live with our Father in Heaven. I don´t understand it, but I know it.  

And because I didn´t start with a fun culture fact, I´ll add this. The most important Spanish word that they never taught me in high school: la Expiación, or the atonement. 

Have a wonderful week. I love and miss you all!

Hermana Herron

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Baptism!

Hi Everyone!

So, I might hit my 6 month mark this Wednesday.... but I´m still telling everyone that I only have 5 months in the mission. I can still say that for two more days. 
Things are going well here in La Aurora. I´m starting to be able to find my way around without getting too lost. In some places in this area, I can see Lunaparc, the mall that was in the corner of my last area. I´m really not that far away, but it is completely different here. 

We realized this week that a large percentage of our conversos recientes are menos activos ahora. That´s kinda a problem. Like President Hinckley said, there is absolutely no point in doing missionary work if we can´t hold on to the fruits of that work. 

Ok, big news, we had a baptism on Saturday, Ramses. His wife and two daughters were baptized in April, and now the whole family is members. They are all so happy. During the baptism the face of Hermana Lucy, the wife of Ramses, was just glowing. 

Photos! Going backwards in time: 1. from the baptism of Ramses 2. Hermana Rito´s birthday was on Friday, and we had some cake, Mexican style 3. Me and Hermana Bingham. The Binghams are the senior couple that work in the offices, and we were best buddies while I was in Mira Azul. 4. Me and Hermana Loyola and Paty, an investigator in Mira Azul, in her little boutique. I´ll tell you all a story about her friend Angie next week when I (hopefully) have more time. 

Love you all, have a great week!
Hermana Herron

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Barrio La Aurora

Well hello world,

So quick fun fact this week, about colonias. Mexico has states, just like the U.S. Right now I am in the state of Mexico (creative name, right?), and I am still in the city of Cuautitlan Izcalli. But Mexico also has things called colonias. They´re like neighborhoods, kinda. For those of you who are familiar with the Midwest, they are kinda like townships, except they aren´t all regular sized squares. If you understand colonias it will be a lot easier to understand my new area. 

I am in Barrio La Aurora now, and wow. I´m about 10 minutes away from my last area, Mira Azul, but it is a lot different here. Mira Azul was a little area, with only one colonia, Cumbria. La Aurora has... I don´t know how many colonias we have here, but it´s a lot. None of them are as big as Cumbria, but this area is still a lot bigger than I´m used to. It´s also a lot poorer than Cumbria. And all of the colonias are different. We have one colonia that actually looks a lot like Cumbria, so I feel pretty comfortable there. We have another colonia that is out in the campo. It is very poor and a lot more farmy. The kind of place where you go to a house and the chicken coop is almost as big as the actual house. We have another colonia that is very nice gated community. We aren´t allowed to proselyte or make street contacts there or we´ll get kicked out. We have another one where we aren´t allowed to be out in that colonia past 6 pm, because it´s a little more dangerous. And then we have a colonia that is more like how I imagined Mexico would be. That´s where we live.

My compañera is Hermana Rito. She is also from Oaxaca, Mexico, like Hermana Gonzalez, and she also has one transfer more than me, like Hermana Loyola, which, with my 6 weeks in the CCM, means she only has 2 weeks more time in the mission than me. Her birthday also happens to be exactly two weeks before mine, so that´s cool too.

Sorry I don´t have time to tell you all more about my area and the people here. I´ll make sure and tell you all next week. And I´ll try to include more pictures next week.

In the mean time, I want you all to consider this question: Am I personally converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ?

I´ve heard it said that Testimony is to know and to declare, Conversion is to do and become. It´s a big difference, and my personal conversion is something that I´ve been pondering on a lot lately. 

Love you all! ¡Cuidense mucho!
-Hermana Herron

Monday, May 9, 2016

Heading to a New Area

Hi everyone!!

Important Spanish words and phrases they never taught me in high school Spanish:
de repente -  all of a sudden
chanclas - flip flops
¡a poco! - Really? How great!
nos vemos - see you later

So cambios, I mean transfers, are tomorrow, and after more than 4 wonderful months here in Cumbria, I´m finally being transferred. I´m off to Aurora tomorrow. I don´t know much about that area, but I´m excited to meet new people and work hard to help and serve them. I´ll tell you all about my new companion and area next week. 

Quick miracle for you all. For a number of weeks we had an investigadora named Santa Rosa who was progressing beautifully. She was very receptive and was searching for her answer. Then about two weeks ago, she disappeared of the face of the planet. We couldn´t find her at home, she wouldn´t answer her phone, she wouldn´t respond to our messages. We were really worried, and we were fasting and praying that we would be able to find her again. We continued trying to contact her every day. Well a couple of days ago, she finally responded!!!! Turns out she is on vacations right now, and for that reason we couldn´t find her. She gets back this coming Saturday, and still wants to keep learning more.

The pictures this week are me and Hermana Loyola with some of the sisters in the ward, Hermana Villa and Hermana Reyes, and then with Hermana Villa her daughters, Sigh... I´m gonna miss this ward.

So, I finished the Book of Mormon this week!! Actually, I finished El Libro de Mormón, because I read the entire book in Spanish. I have heard promises from certain general authorities that if a missionary reads the Book of Mormon in his mission language, he´ll receive the gift of tongues and learn the language and be fluent and all of that. And while I´m still far from fluent, I have definitely learned a lot and felt the power of the gift of tongues that has come from that book. I also read with a certain topic in mind, and I also learned a ton by reading the Book of Mormon with a focus. I´ve started again, and this time I´m going to read with a special focus on repentance. I talked last week about how I´ve been studying repentance so that I can better understand, apply, and teach it. Well, no I´m going to read the whole Book of Mormon to learn even more. If you have never read the Book of Mormon with a specific topic or question in mind, or if you have a specific question that you want answered, read the Book of Mormon, start to finish, looking specifically for the answer. I can promise you that if you read it prayerfully and humbly, you will find your answer. 

The Book of Mormon is true. It is so true. This church is true. The restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith is fact. This is true. It´s all true. I know it. 

Have a fantastic week everyone! And remember to always sing in the rain.

-Hermana Herron

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Declaring Repentance

Hi Everyone!

Ok, all of my life, when we would celebrate Mother´s Day and Father´s Day, I would always ask, "How come there´s no kid´s day?" And my parents would always tell me "Every day is kids day." Lies. There is a real kids day. All of Mexico celebrated it this past week. We had a really nice primary/ward activity to celebrate it. There is most definitely a kids day.

Anyways, I hope you have all had a fantastic week. My week had its share of ups and downs. You may have noticed that I haven´t really been writing about any of my investigators lately. That´s because we have lost the majority of our investigators. It´s been very sad to lose these people that I care so much for. But I have the hope that even if they don´t receive the gospel now, they may in the future. The seed is there now, and I just hope and pray that they will always remember how they felt when we bore our testimonies to them.

Even though we´re a little low on people to teach, we are still working very hard. We are in finding mode right now. I don´t know how much time I have left here in Cumbria, but when I leave it, I want to leave it progressing and stronger than it was before. And I want to leave the missionaries here with plenty of people to work with. 

Quick miracle for you all: We almost never have phone service, so often when we need to make important calls, we use the public phone right by our house. One morning this week I was making a bunch of calls and no one was answering, but the phone wasn´t returning my 5 pesos, so I was spending a lot of money trying to make these calls. Well that night, when we went to the phone to say that we had returned to our casa, the district leader didn´t answer right at first. But the phone returned my pesos this time, and what more, when I reached down to grab them, I found all of the other pesos I had spent that morning. I got the exact amount back. That was a nice, if somewhat less spiritual, miracle.

This week I have been studying a lot about repentance. In a zone training we had a couple of weeks ago, our mission president said something that really stuck with me. We need to understand thoroughly repentance. We need to study it and understand it and live it. We need to have personal experiences with the Atonement of Jesus Christ every week, every day, or how can we possible help other people to repent? As a missionary, I am here in Mexico with the purpose to "declare repentance," but how can I do that if I don´t personally understand what that means? I don´t have much time today, and I still have a lot to learn, but next week, I hope to share a little bit more with you all.

Have a wonderful week! I love and pray for you all!
Hermana Herron