Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The White Elephant in the Room

August 27, 2014

¡Hola familia y amigos!

My time here in México is running out quickly. Only 2 more weeks till I'm shipping out to Washington. I am so excited to be going back to the U.S.! Haha. It's a good place. You don´t really appreciate what you've got until you leave it. But I do have a special place in my heart for the CCM! It really has become my home these past 4 weeks. It's so crazy because now we are the oldest missionaries in our zone! As in, been here the longest. Crazy. Now we are the examples and have to the best at spanish...haha. But it's fun to see all these new missionaries come in every week. 

Well, this week has been full of happy times and hard times too. I definitely feel my patience being tested as I learn and grow to become the person my Heavenly Father wants me to be. 

In the CCM, everyone calls your preparation day Christmas because you get to email family and relax. So our district decided we were gonna make it a full on Feliz Navidad fiesta- complete with a white elephant gift exchange and a frosted flakes eating contest to come later tonight. So pumped. And of course, you can't have a Christmas party without classy sweaters. So we all broke out our best sweaters for the occasion. So fun. The best was Elder Olsen- he gave a signed copy of a picture of himself. Oh my goodness- we were all crying we were laughing so hard. It's the little things that make the week go by. We´ve also had lots of milagros de Navidad aka Christmas miracles. For example, I had a bad sore throat comin on and we walk in for breakfast and they have Yoghurt para beber which means drinkable yogurt. We call it "yogs para bebs." It felt SO good on my throat so we were all like Milagro de Navidad! Like I said, it´s the little things.

Also this week has been great because of all the Spanish we´ve learned. Me and the other Sisters fasted from English for a day. We prayed for help with our Spanish and I felt so blessed that day. Not speaking a single word in English takes some serious concentration and can lead to a serious headache at the end of the day haha, but it is how we learn. By applying. Our teacher told us something this week that I love: "Don't evade sacrifice. Seek it."

Seek opportunities to bless those around you and you will find more happiness. I know that devoting all my thoughts and prayers to the people I've been teaching has brought me so much happiness. This church truly is God's church and we have the fullness of truth. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I love reading it. Never stop learning about Christ and the gospel because there is so much to learn apply in our lives. 

Love you all con todo mi corazón!!!

Hermana Webb

BTW, I heard T. Swift is coming out with a new album and I this has caused me some grief that I won't be able to hear it for a year and half. Haha. Please send me thoughts on it when it does come out. 

Feliz Navidad!!

Our fiesta for Hermana Eddy's birthday
Christmas sweater party
White elephant gift. Priceless.

Haha! I love my district!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Has It Really Only Been Three Weeks?? The Mexican Adventures Continue!

August 20, 2014

Another fantastic week here in México! I literally feel like I´ve been on a mission for months already. But I am loving every minute! My Spanish is getting so much better. We have soló español days 3 times a week now and it is such a struggle to not speak any English. I always go to bed with the biggest headache because of how much focus it takes. But it helps our Spanish so much. 

Well, this week was filled with tender mercies and exciting opportunities. I got thrown out of my comfort zone a few times and it was terrifying, but awesome! 

On Sundays at church, they have everyone prepare a talk but they don't tell you who is going to give talks until the second before you get up there. So the topic was on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and we're all sitting there, sweating bullets and waiting to hear who the lucky few are that week. I played the piano for all the hymns so I thought I was off the hook. Then our bishop gets up and says "First we will hear from Elder Richardson, Elder Upchurch, and then Hermana Webb." Literally every single person in my district snaps their heads back to look at me at the exact same second. Haha. So funny. Mind you this talk is completely in Spanish and we've only been here for 3 weeks. So I get up there, and just start talking. Didn´t use my notes hardly at all and just testified of Jesus Christ's love for all of us and my love for Him. I felt the Spirit so strongly. I sat down and everyone starts fist bumping me and Elder James whispers "Why are you even in the MTC?" Haha. It was a great experience. 

Also, me and mi compañera have played some mad tennis and volleyball this week! We took on the state champ and actually beat him and his partner 2-1. Dad, you would have been proud. Haha. Me and Hermana Frei of course matched with some sick headbands. Pics included. 

Also, our whole district sang in the choir in front of all the hundreds of missionaries here! It was amazing. We sang "How Great Thou Art" with a sick violin and piano accompaniment. It was so beautiful and so fun to be part of the choir. We got front row seats for the devotional. Me and Elder Olsen are still holding out for the day that Elder Holland comes to give a devotional here. Haha. We can dream. 

Oh, and you know the whole "Hermana Webb is tearing this family apart" joke? No one really knows why it started. Haha. But it is literally the theme of our district. So funny. Well they have this super good European chocolate here-Kinder- and we got these Kinder bars for dinner and Elder Valentine took his back to the classroom to eat later. Well I couldn't resist framing his companion and putting it in his bag like he took it. So the new joke is extended to "the serpent beguiled me". Haha. Hence the picture of the whiteboard with all the drawings on it. 

I also have gotten pretty sick of the food here. The sketchy Mexican meat just aint cutting it anymore. My saving grace and tender mercy is frosted flakes! Haha. They have them out every meal and that has turned into my dessert. Sometimes you get desperate when they only have strange meat and nasty Mexican fruit for an option. And then you remember-Frosted Flakes though. So don't worry, Andrew and Tyler. You can survive here solely off cereal. 

This morning was amazing because we got to go the Mexico City temple. Unfortunately, it is closed right now for cleaning, but we got to go to the visitors center and walk around the grounds. So beautiful. And we got some sweet authentic Mexican attire at the store there. I love it. 

My favorite part of the week was watching a devotional that Elder Holland gave- because well, it's Elder Holland. He talked about being a disciple of Christ and said "You´ve left your nets. You can't go back. Now feed my sheep...I asked you to be a missionary forever. I asked you to follow me forever." Soooo powerful. It's so true. I will never go back to the person I was before my mission. I will forever be changed for the better because of what I am learning here on my mission. I will always follow Christ and serve Heavenly Father's children. 

I love being a missionary!

-Hermana Webb

Here's Roke. Our very first investigator. 

Our favorite district who left this week to Panama

Mexico temple with my favorita companera!
And the whole district at the temple

Soy Mormon. I am Mormon.

Elder Valentine's artwork
My favorito new shirt

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Well, This Week Has Been Pretty Sick-Literally!

August 13, 2014

Well, this week has been pretty sick- as in literally everyone at the CCM got sick this week! It started on Friday night after we had some pretty sketch, under cooked ravioli for dinner. We were in class, and one companionship stands up and swiftly heads to the door. Then another Elder starts complaining that his stomach hurts and he runs to the bathroom. Two more go five minutes later, and the song starts going through my head "and another ones goes, and another one bites the dust." ha. Poor things. Literally people were dropping like flies. I got it pretty bad the next night too. We'll just leave it to Nacho Libre to summarize the whole experience: "Do you not realize I have had diarrheas since Easters?" haha. Oh boy. The next night they had pizza and ice cream for dinner to restore our confidence in humanity and the food in México. It worked. 

But after that little fiasco was over and we all recovered, it turned out to be a great week. We finished teaching Roke, our first investigator, last Tuesday and our last lesson with him was awesome. Me and Hermana Frei didn't use any notes. Soló español, totally going off the Spirit, for 30 minutes. I know that the Lord helps me so much when I teach and testify of Him. 

So after we finished with Roke, we got a new teacher for night classes. His name is Hermano Polo, but at first I thought his name tag said Pollo, which means chicken. Haha. But no, only one l. He had us all introduce ourselves in español of course and he kept saying "Wow, you are so Mormon" when we told him how many people we had in our families. Ha. Then our Elder who is 6'10" says he's from Idaho and Hermano Polo says "Oh you eat lots of potatoes, sí?" Haha. It is so funny to hear the people hear try to speak English. 

And we do get to exercise every day for an hour which is so fun. We usually play soccer with a group of Hermanas. We were playing on Monday and it just started downpouring which it does at least once a day here. Haha. We just kept playing through the hail and it was so fun! 

Also, we watched a devotional Elder Bednar gave at the Provo MTC and it was so inspiring. He talked about the characteristics of Christ and how He always turned outward, never inward. He thought of others always before Himself and never took thought for His own needs. What an important thing to be-selfless. I am so inspired as I serve my mission to become more like Christ- to put others before myself. 

So for some funny moments from the week- 
First, our district leader and his companion had a slight misunderstanding of what the word primavera means. They were teaching and told Roke that "El Evangelio es la primavera." They thought they were saying The gospel is the best. However, primavera means spring. Haha. They laughed so hard when they found out. They were like- hey it's symbolic- the gospel brings new life. Laughed soo hard. 

Also, we had a very important district meeting in which we named everyone's spirit animal. They declared me the momma bear. I have to say, it's pretty spot on. Haha. Hermana Frei is the eagle, Elder Olsen is the stallion. It was good times.

Well, now I must go and face an uncertain death. The 6'10" elder in my district- who is a state champ at tennis- challenged me to a tennis match. I might not make it outta there alive. Haha. 

Thanks for all your support. I miss you all dearly but I am so happy to have made the decision to serve a mission and share the message that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. That through Jesus Christ, we can become clean and return to live with our Heavenly Father again. 

Love, Hermana Webb

Me and Hermana Lewis. So fun to see my old roomie here!

Wow! We love the CCM!
Me and Hermana Eddy. Man do I love her!

Enjoying some ice cream on our p-day
Our lives in a picture-we study the el Libro de Mormon

Our rockin district leaders. Elder Valentine and Elder Olsen

Our district door
B for bautismo!! Haha. Best view of Mexico City

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hola mi Familia y Amigos!

August 6, 2014

Hola mi familia y amigos! 

I am in México! I look out the window everyday and see the beautiful palm trees and view of Mexico City and I can't believe it's real! It's only been a week, but I love it so much here already and it feels like home! 

When I got off the plane, I met up with some other missionaries struggling to drag our extensive luggage all through the airport and got on the infamous CCM yellow bus! And off we went through México City! It was just like I imagined it would be. Every 15 feet there was someone standing on the side of the road selling something or other to the cars driving by. Most were selling there super sketchy looking bags of cheese. Or some other unidentified orange liquid. Haha. Who knows. The traffic was crazy and the building are so worn down and sad looking. The craziest thing though- everywhere you look is español! The billboards- español. Street signs- español. I stuck out like a sore thumb- the only white person at the airport. Loco! 

As we were loading all of our stuff in to our casa, the CCM (Spanish for MTC), welcomed us with a TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR! Seriously the craziest rainstorm of my life. People were running into the cafeteria looking like they had just gone for a nice long swim. So that was a fun start. Luckily it's the same time here as Chicago so there was not jetlag. 

So far we've had lots of orientation stuff and classes. Classes for dayz. But I love it! Everyone here is so great. We are all here for the same purpose- to invite others to come to Christ. What a blessing. I love putting on my nametag every morning with my name- Hermana Webb, and Jesus Christ's name right below it. What an honor to be His representative for a year and a half. 

So, my compañera is da best! Her name is Hermana Frei and she is from Washington (crazy) and going to Boston, spanish speaking. It's kind of crazy that we're going to opposite ends of the US. And she went to BYU for a year too, and apparently we hung out one night in the wee hours of the morning at McDonalds. Good thing she recognized me because I never would have made that connection. So I had already met my companion. Crazy. And in my district, there are 8 elders and 4 sisters. And we have SO MUCH FUN together. Probably a little bit too much. But they all make me laugh like every minute of the day. I burn some serious calories just sitting there laughing my head off listening to the Elders singing Frozen and trying to talk in Spanish. Haha. It's so crazy because they are all only 18 years old. They're little babies! But their testimonies and love of the gospel is so strong. They are great examples to me. 

As for the food, well, there are good days and bad days. Ha. We got the comedor (cafeteria) 3x a day. And precisely 3x a day I eat the MOST delicious cantaloupe this world has ever seen. They have it out for every meal. I live off the cantaloupe. It is so fresh. Just imagine any cantaloupe you've had in the US, multiply the quality by 1000 and that's about right. They also have costco pizza once a week! American food! Wooooo! Everything else here definitely has a Mexican twist to it. You get some oatmeal- yeah not really oatmeal. Nothing tastes the same. And they also have some kind of foreign fruit every day. And I always make Hermana Frei be brave and try it. Haha. But 9 times out of 10 she hates it. Kind of a fail. But it is fun to try new stuff. At the tienda, they have all kinds of interesting little snacks, including Chokis. Chokis are life. They are these delicious Mexican cookies that taste like Heaven. We were joking that on our flight back to the US, we're going to have to list 15 boxes of Chokis on our customs form. Haha. Worth it. I'll just leave my clothes here and bring home a suitcase of em to share their delicious savor. Anyways, I'll stop talking about food now...

Yesterday, my district tried going soló español for the whole day. Well, most of my district didn´t know a lick of spanish when they got here. So that just wasn´t realistic. But we tried.. And every time an Elder said an English word, he had to do push-ups. Suffice to say, we reverted back to english by about10 AM. We've still got  A LOT to learn. 

However, we did have the crazy opportunity to start teaching someone about the church on our third day here, completely in español. We're talking about a 30 minute lesson...without a single english word...on our third day here. It was pretty scary, but me and Hermana Frei were praying all day and we had the Spirit with us as the Spanish just starting flowing out of my mouth. Such a cool experience. 

I know that this gospel is true. And that through the Restoration, we have the fullness of truth. That Christ is our Savior and that through him, todo es posible. 

Sorry this is so long, but this has been the most eventful week of my life. Lots of adventures to come and I can't wait. I love you all so much!!!

-Hermana Webb

View of Mexico City out my plane window

CCM here we come

Me and Hermana Frei! Coolest companera ever

The BEST district! Love em all.
Happy Birthday Syd!! From my whole district!
All the Hermanas! 1 to Washington, 1 to Boston, 2 to Iowa!

Mi Casa!
Thought the boys might appreciate this
The toast bar - nutella for days:)

Mexican snacks. Fun stuff.

The awesome view outside my window!