Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 22: Christmas in Jardines: A Hallmark Movie Special

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!

Well, talking to you guys was pretty great. [On Christmas Day we were able to Skype with Tess for 40 minutes! She seemed SO happy!] On a scale of 1 to 10, about an 11 :) Using the ol’ Mummy scale :D But really, it was awesome. I felt kind of bad, because after talking to you guys, I realized that I knew pretty much nothing about how everything was at home...it was all me talking the whole time. But I guess I’ll learn better talking technique over the next two calls :D

I actually didn’t really feel very homesick after talking to you guys......sorry :D Like, when I first saw you, I cried, and then saying goodbye I cried, but afterwards, I just felt content. Like, I’ll see you in May! [We get to Skype again in May for Mother’s Day.] It was really nice to talk to you, though. Obviously.

We have a talent show as a zone activity this Wednesday, and I’m going to teach hna Lopez how to do balloon animals and we’ll give them to everyone :)

Everyone eats dinner here for Christmas Eve at 11 or midnight. It’s kind of weird, EVERYONE goes to bed at 2 or 3. I think Daddy would die here at Christmas. [Vance is a very early riser.]

Sunday was REALLY special, because Hno V blessed the sacrament!!!!!!! Hearing him slowly read each word (he had to do it twice) I just felt so happy. This family is the BEST. We sat with them, and when he came back, he said how his heart was pounding the whole time from nerves, but he did great! It was one of the best experiences. The only thing better will be when they’re sealed in the temple :D :D :D :D :D :D

I’m ALMOST done with the Book of Mormon! Only four more chapters! I’m trying to decide if I should bear my testimony now, or wait until I’m done, but I think I’ll just do it now :) Maybe both times....


I really love the Book of Mormon. One of my favorite things now is making my own cross-references. Sometimes the cross-references are more like good vs. bad, so I write the good scripture in the margin of the bad scripture so that I can see that there’s hope in everything. For example, in Ether 8:17, it talks about the daughter of Jared, how she put in the mind of Akish that he should kill Omer, and then Akish put it in the hearts of all his family. That reminded me of DyC 18, the importance of ONE soul. And really, one soul is so important to God, because that one soul can lead to good, or lead others to bad. It really shows the importance of the example we show to others. And so, even though in this example it’s bad, if we put good things in the hearts of others, they’re going to share it, and the good is going to grow. We really are the change we want to see in the world. And that’s why Ether 12:4 is right, that we really can hope for a better world. If we follow Jesus Christ, we will change the lives of those around us.

I really know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it shows us, with the Bible, how we should live our lives, and that we can learn from the mistakes of others so that we can avoid them in our own. I love what the Book of Mormon shares about Jesus Christ, and how it so clearly testifies and prophesies of him. Because really, it "talks of Christ, rejoices in Christ, preaches of Christ, and prophesies of Christ, so that we can know to what source we may look for a remission of our sins." (2 Nephi 25:26) And "hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good." (2 Nefi 33:10) I believe that these are my two favorite scriptures in the book of Mormon, because they so clearly show that everything in the Book of Mormon is here so we can learn of Christ, and grow in our faith in him. I love the Book of Mormon!

Keep reading it.

Love you all a lot! See you in May!!!! (I guess? I kind of forgot that not everyone’s going to be there in May.......but see you :D)

Hermana Owens

Our Christmas Tree! We decorated it with notebook paper. :)
This guy goes around with this weird bike contraption and sharpens knives....so I took a picture.
We also encountered a cobbler in the street the other day! He was repairing some boots.
I kind of love it a lot here :D 
Hno A, who made us really ridiculously delicious food. And really loves Christmas :D 
Hna M, who is the one that offered the computer of her brother in law in our moment of crisis :D
[On Christmas Day, when Tess and her companion showed up at the place
they had arranged to go to Skype with us, the family wasn’t there!
In a panic, they just dropped in on a member who introduced them
to her non-member brother-in-law who then lent them his computer
to Skype with us and Hermana Lopez’s family. Then I guess she fed them, too!]

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's Beginning to Look Somewhat Like Christmas.... :D


Mother said that the other day was the coldest day in Brookings for five years......I think that we may have gotten down to 70 degrees last night....maybe? Speaking of temperatures, these hermanas are moving forward in the world....we have air conditioning now! [All the missionaries were given an air conditioner.] We always put it to the lowest, and then I get under my sheet, and Hna Lopez puts on pants, socks, and two blankets, and we’re set :D

[I asked her about the picture of the giant marimba she sent last week.] The marimba is the state instrument of Chiapas, and so they have a giant marimba in Tuxtla, out of patriotism or something :) 

Christmas is pretty fun here. Pretty much every single night there’s a party happening in a different corner of Jardines, and they involve everyone in the street. I keep remembering geography classes with Mr. Schmidt, and I can really see how climate and geography affects culture. Here it’s never cold, so everyone’s always outside, talking and stuff, and so the culture is more open and social. It’s interesting.

[I asked her about the name of the volcano she mentioned last week.] The volcano is just in Mexico, but some members were testing my ability to speak with this name. The volcano really means nothing about what I wrote, I didn’t think you would focus so much on the volcano.... XD

Whenever people ask Hna Lopez if she knows English, she always says "What is your name?" and then laughs. No, she doesn’t know English. She wants to learn in the mission so she can go to BYU.

I showed Hna Lopez the pictures just now, of the house and Daddy shoveling snow, and she was just like, "What? What is THAT?" :D She has never been in snow. Ever. [Hermana Lopez is from Guatemala.]

Hermana N is doing really well, she’s enjoying church a lot, and her mother signed to give her permission to be baptized! We’re PRETTY happy about that. She’ll be baptized in the middle of January, I believe :D Hermana C is still working to have the money to get married, but we hope before the end of the year! We’re teaching this lady, Hermana M, and I love her so much! She’s probably fifty years old, and super feisty, and she just really wants to get to know the gospel. We’re really excited for her :D

I want to set goals for 2017, because I read something in PMG [her missionary training manual] this morning, a quote from Elder Ballard, that says that goals help us to reach our potential, and it was like....wow. I need to set goals. I forgot to write it down, so I guess if you want to see it, it’s in chapter 8 under the title how to set goals. So, I’ve decided that I’m going to try to develop 12 new talents this year. Unfortunately, I’m not very creative, so I only have like three things that I’ve thought of to develop. So I need ideas! Please send me ideas of talents or things that I should do throughout the year so that I can look back on 2017 as a better person! Some ideas I have right now is that I’m going to work on writing in cursive, I’m going to buy a hacky sac and be a master, etc. I also want to get a new recipe for something every week so that I can come home and wow people with my Mexican cooking, eg. chile con carne.... Also, I have other more spiritual and better-person goals :)

Love you all!

Hermana Owens

And see you next week!!!!!!!! [via Skype] AHHHHHH!!!!!!! [AHHHHH!!!!!!]

We went caroling in Soriana, the commercial center in our zone!
It was pretty fun.
We sang this song, "Con mi burrito sabanero voy camino de Belén!"
and it’s my new favorite Christmas song.
[Google Translator: With my savanna burrito I go to Bethlehem. I don’t know if that’s correct!]

Las Hnas de Tuxtla Grijalva!
We ordered pizza.
It’s funny because here you don’t put garlic butter on pizza,
 you put salsa and chili flakes.
I think Seth would really like Mexico.
 Hermana A, this really awesome girl that we met this Thursday!
She’s a reference from some elders and attended church for two months
but just got back to her home here in Jardines!
We’re really excited to teach her!
She´s already talking about serving a mission :D 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Week 20: Volcan Parangaracutirimicuaro and other stories

[Note: Tess didn't actually go to the volcano mentioned above, she just learned how to say the name! She let me know that in a separate email.]


It´s weird thinking that Christmas is less than two weeks away! I don´t know if it´s the lack of winter, or the mission time, but it does NOT feel like Christmas :)

And we are installing air conditioning in our house! Ourselves! They´re putting in air conditioners in all the houses of the mission before it starts getting really hot in January and February. We´re still trying to figure it out, but we will! It´s kind of funny, because the elders told us it was really easy, but then nobody gave us instructions, so we´re figuring it out :) The last couple nights it´s actually been pretty nice, I´ve even had to use my sheet, but in the future it´s going to get a lot hotter.

A new food of the week: jicama, which is like a giant water chestnut in texture and tastes like a really sweet....water chestnut. It was pretty good, but no rambutan :D

Also, I learned how to distinguish "v" and "b" this week, because in Spanish it sounds EXACTLY the same: if you want to spell something with a "v" you say "v chica," or samll v, and then people know that you want v and not b! Just a little fact for you guys.

This week was really awesome, because we went to the temple!!!!! YAY! This Thursday, we had a Christmas activity with multi-zones, and Presidente George. First, we had a talent show, and then each district planned a skit. We did the story of Genesis 24 and I was Rebekah. I just kind of held a pot and smiled, but it was all good :D We then read a bunch of scriptures, and sang hymns of Christmas, which was the actual devotional, and it was really awesome. In his letter to me, Pres George said he was very impressed by my reading! Yeah!

After that, Pres George talked about being self-sufficient, and the parable of the Good Samaritan. I´m sure I've heard this before, but we talked about how the parable is like the plan of salvation, that only Jesus Christ can heal us and carry us to heaven, that we need Him. It was pretty cool.

I also saw Elders Jones, Meyer, and Bauman, which was fun. [They are Elders from her MTC district.] Elder Bauman is a district leader and training someone right now! Wow.

And then we entered the temple! AAAAHHHHHH it was awesome. I just sat there and listened in Spanish and I understood! More or less, but I understood! It was really awesome. Also, the temple here is really similar to the Omaha temple, in size and everything, so it was like coming home :) It was REALLY nice.

There´s a new American sister from California in my zone now! She´s being trained, and I recognize the same look of "What is anyone saying?" that I´m pretty sure I had. :D It´s just kind of funny when they try to explain a word I don´t know with other words I don´t know, so then I just nod and smile.... :) So I helped her out with some words. It was kind of fun.

I was reading in Matthew 6, and in Spanish it says you can´t serve God and riches. Most people here have couches or at least chairs, but the family we baptized had a mattress pad (like for camping) that they would sit on. However, they recently bought stools! Really, I´m learning here the importance of the necessities, and not luxuries.

I love you all! Lots! And I´ll (see? talk?) to you in one email!

Hermana Owens

The giant Marimba of Tuxtla

The temple! And the angel Moroni
Us at the temple!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Week 19: Ilumina el Mundo!!!

Feliz Casi Navidad, Familia!

I have a new companion! Hermana Lopez IS a missionary that came with me from the CCM! [Tess and her new companion were in the Mexico City Missionary Training Center together, but her new companion entered the MTC three weeks after Tess and was only there three weeks because she was a native Spanish speaker. They both flew down to their Mission together!] I’m going to send before and after photos :)

CCM Hna Lopez and Hna Owens 
Jardines [their area] Hna Lopez and Hna Owens
(eating tuna and tostadas and stirring tazcalate with a spatula
because we don´t have anything else long enough) 
She’s really awesome, and we worked really hard this week. I feel like we’re really good at sharing the weight of teacher. As Hna Lopez likes to say, our senior companion is the Spirit :) I’m definitely seeing that each person has their own strengths, and I’m going to have a lot to learn from Hna Lopez :) She’s also 19, so we’re both young’ins (sp?)

Hna González is in San Cristobal now, the "coldest" part of Chiapas. I’m dying to go to San Cristobal, because I really want to know what cold actually means. When she got called there, a bunch of hermanas came to our house with boots, and blankets, and sweaters....and I kind of wonder if it actually gets down to 40....

I really want a thermometer in celsius and fahrenheit, because honestly, all I know is it’s hot :)

I don’t really remember when it happened, but it’s a LOT easier for me now, the language. There’s definitely things I don´t understand, and I still have to ask for people to repeat things a lot, but I feel like I just understand a lot more. Hna Lopez has a joke, because in Spanish your, his, and hers are all the same word, "su." So, she’ll say, "Tiene algo en sus manos," and I’ll think she means "You have something in your hands," and I’ll look down, and then she’ll point at a decorative Santa holding a cookie. So she meant, "(He) has something in (his) hands." Sometimes I really curse Spanish. This is one of those times :D

But really, I feel like the language has really come a long way. I DEFINITELY have a lot to go, but I can actually hold up a conversation. We went to the Christmas devotional, and a lady from another ward drove us home, about 10 minutes, and the whole time I chatted with her four-year-old daughter! Now that I think about it, it’s like having a conversation with Westen and Caulder [her three-year-old nephews], so maybe I shouldn’t be so proud...but oh well. I am :)

I’m so excited for this initiative of the church, to serve and light the world. I encountered a scripture in Matthew 10:42 that says if you give a cup of water to someone in the name of Christ, you’ll have your reward in heaven. I really love that, that we can give something as seemingly insignificant as a glass of water, and there are eternal blessings for it. That our small acts can mirror those grand acts of Christ is really special to me. I know that you’ve seen the video, but for other people that may not, go to mormon.org :)

This was last week, last Monday or something, but I just remembered it now, so I’m going to share it with you. It’s 3 Nephi 18:27, when Jesus is going to leave. He says, "I give you another commandment, then I must go unto my Father, that I may fulfil other commandments which he hath given me." I was feeling pretty concerned/sad/worried about Hna González leaving, because 1) I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, and 2) Hna González is awesome, and I just didn’t want her to leave. But this gave me a lot of comfort, that even though it was probably difficult for Jesus to leave the people of the Americas, he did it because it was the will of God. And in order to fulfil all that we’ve come here to do, as missionaries or as people in general, we have to listen to Him and what He wants. It was pretty cool.

Naomi has permission from her mom to be baptized! We’re looking forward to December 31 as her date! When she went to church last week, the president of the Young Women thought that she was a member visiting from another ward, so.... :)

One more thing: We had a really awesome Saturday, because we were able to go to a park in Jardines with a lady Hna González and I had contacted before, and painted the playground. The elders from our district came, but I forgot to bring my camera, so I’m going to try to ask for pictures from them or something. It was really fun, and I definitely can see the huge blessings of serving.

Love you muchly! I’m excited to talk with you guys! [We get to talk (or Skype) with her on Christmas Day.] I was also thinking of Christmas generally, and I think that next year you should leave the decorations up until I return :D [She should be getting home the end of January 2018. If I calculated correctly, it will be the day before her 21st birthday!]

Sometimes I look down and see my nametag and I just feel this rush of joy. Like, I know that I’m a missionary, but then I see "Hermana Owens" and it’s just like, "WOW. I’m a MISSIONARY." It’s pretty cool :)

This week was awesome! Love you all muchisimo!!!!

Hermana Owens

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Week 18: Hola!

[Hello everyone, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Since Christmas is just around the corner, I wanted to pass on Tess’s mailing address again in case you would like to send her a Christmas card. I know she would love to get one from you! The postage for a card to Mexico is $1.15. The address is:  
Hermana Tess Owens
Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission
Calle Jazmines #210
Fracc. Los Laureles
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas
CP 29020 A.P. #278

Also, feel free to send her an email if you would prefer: tess.owens@myldsmail.net ]


Good news, everyone! They were able to recover 466 photos! I’m not sure what they missed, I haven’t been able to look at them yet, but they have the baptisms, so it’s all good. :)

A better picture of the baptism from last week!

Anyway, we have transfers this week, and Hna González is heading out! She’s going to be a capacitadora, sister trainer [a female missionary leader], in San Cristobal! I’m going to miss her a lot. My new companion is Hna Lopez. I just know her name, transfers are tomorrow, but...Hna Lopez!!! Ooooo.... :) Really, I have learned so much in these three months, and I’m so grateful for Hna González and her patience.

I’m so excited for the Illuminate the World thing the church is doing! [A world-wide emphasis the LDS Church is doing for December encouraging people to do an activity focusing on Jesus Christ every day of the month. See the video here: Light the World] This Saturday, we’re going to paint a park with the youth since the playground is getting kind of worn, and it makes me really excited, the video the church put out. When we serve others, we really are truly following the example of the Savior, and maybe we’re not going to restore people’s sight, but we can help people in little ways that will help, too.

A whole bunch of stuff happened this week! I don´t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll just tell you one miracle that happened. There’s this girl to whom Hna Sandholz and Hna González had taught ALL the lessons, but she could never go to church because her mom didn’t want her to. However, the daughter has been having a difficult time for the last little while. We haven’t visited in a while, but we met her mom in the street and she asked US if we could come visit and talk to her daughter. We did, and then asked if the girl could come with us to the Young Women in Excellence activity this weekend, and her mom said yes! And she LOVED it! Afterwards, she begged her mom that she could come to church this Sunday, and she was able to! It was incredible, because her mom has never let her daughter come to church before.

At the Young Women in Excellence celebration!

At church!
Also, I’m sporting a Chiapaneca blusa, so.....yeah.

We’re still working to get the money to have Hermana C married and baptized, but we’re hoping before the end of the year!

It is the time for decorating for Christmas, and it makes me really happy. We have a tree in our front yard, so we’re going to ask a lady who buys new Christmas stuff every year if we can borrow some of her old stuff, and decorate our tree :) I’m pretty excited. Also, it’s time to pull out the ol’ Mo Tab [Mormon Tabernacle Choir] Christmas CDs! It’s a little weird that I won´t be listening to Delilah this Christmas.....or Hallmark movies....I think I’ll survive.

Les amo!

Hermana Owens

A family in the ward!
The mom is the lady who sent the video a couple of weeks ago!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Week 17: Hola, mi familia amada!

[Tess had kind of a rough time at the cyber café this week. When she tried to download her photos, it said her camera memory was completely blank! It had all her photos of her mission so far on it. She tried for a long time, but was unable to recover any of them yet. It also meant that while she was trying to recover her photos, she wasn’t able to write much (she is only allowed an hour to write email each week). On top of that, we had to tell her that our 13-year old dog, Remus, needed to be put to sleep because he has cancer.]

I’ve kind of been quietly crying in my corner of the cyber cafe. But I think Heavenly Father really blessed me to prepare for this news this week. I’ve been reading the New Testament, and counting/taking note of every miracle that Christ performed while he was in the world. And it’s really been making me think about HOW he was able to perform these miracles of healing. And it’s the Atonement. Just like we can overcome death because he overcame death, we can overcome sickness or sadness because he experienced them and overcame them during the Atonement. I will definitely be praying tonight and tomorrow for everyone and for Remus, but I definitely know that Remus will be happy. I saw a puppy the other day that I’m pretty sure is just a young Remus, and it made me really happy.

We had a baptism....of a family!!!! Victor, Carmelita, and Jasseli were baptized this Saturday! I was going to send a picture, but something happened to my memory and all my photos are gone! They bore their testimonies, and it was really powerful.

 Here`s a photo of the photo that I took at the baptism :)
I discovered something in 1 Nephi 16 and Alma this week. Nephi says "by small and simple things," and he also spoke of men humbling themselves. And then, in Alma, Alma also says these same things, specifically "by small and simple means are great things brought to pass." First of all, I like to see that prophets of the scriptures are themselves reading the scriptures. Alma had been studying the scriptures, and he liked the phrase, small and simple things, so he took it and expounded it to Helaman.

I don’t even know what I’m writing anymore, this camera thing combined with Remus has me pretty distracted.

This was a really good week! Love you all! And I will definitely be praying for Remus and all of you.

Hermana Owens

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 16: Hello, familia!!!!

[One of the members in Tess's ward sent me a video today! Tess explains it in her letter. I entered the Sister's note in Google Translator and this is what came up:

 'Holaaaa :) here I send a video of the missionaries had last Sunday where the youth of the neighborhood gave a book of Mormon each one, it was a beautiful experience, congratulations have some very special daughters who are working a lot in the missionary work , I love you very much, greetings :) '

The video is in the body of her letter.]

 Hello, familia!!!!

It’s funny, a lot of people have ALL their Christmas decorations up already. It’s weird...my first Christmas without snow!!! We have a *pine* tree (It´s not really a pine tree...it´s more like it has itty bitty leaves and looks like a pine tree) in our patio, so we’ll definitely be decorating it.

The video that was sent to Mother was from a sister here. We had an activity with the hombres jovenes (young men) where they all wrote their testimonies in Libros de Mormón, and then we contacted people and then they bore their testimonies of the LdM, and then gave people them. It was really cool hearing the testimonies of these future missionaries, and I could see them getting more and more excited as we talked with more people. It was really cool :)

Hopefully, Jaseli, Victor, and Carmelita are going to be baptized this week!! Jaseli is SO excited, and she’s a really awesome example for her parents. We had a lesson last night with only her and Carmelita, and she prayed that her family would be baptized together this Saturday, and it was just really special. I have a deep respect for people like her, that just quietly believe, and there are a lot of people like that here :)

We’re hoping that Citla is going to be baptized next Saturday! She’s selling tascalate right now to earn enough money to get married. It is basically cocoa and a little spice, and REALLY delicious. We’re really hoping that next Friday she’ll be married! It’s pretty cool, that it’s finally hopefully happening!!

We met a really cool lady this week, Ceci. She has 8 cats and 2 dogs, but she has them because she takes in animals and cares for them. One of the dogs was hit by a car seven years ago, but she took it in and nursed it back to health! It walks funny, but I believe that her relationship with this dog contests the Daddy-Zoey relationship (gasp). She’s really cool, and it’s incredible, because she’s really gone through a lot in her life. I'm really seeing how people that have the least often have the greatest hearts, and greatest desire to give. The people of Mexico really are incredible.

I’m not exactly looking forward to this transfer [when missionaries change companionships, usually every 3 months or so], because Hna González is going to be leaving, which I think about and almost cry. She’s really just been such an awesome trainer.

Love you all!!

Hermana Owens

Hna V, making hot pozol, which is basically hot chocolate.
Over a fire! in the street :) I love Mexico.
Hna Vicky makes AWESOME bolis.

Hna C making cheese!!!
She always goes out every day and sells homemade yogurt and cheese,
and it’s SUPER delicious.
I now have a recipe, so......
in a year and a half, we´ll be eating really delicious cheese :)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 15: Calabasita Día!!!

Hola, familia!

First of all, I learned that Halloween is really not a thing here. HOWEVER, Calabasita Día, on the first and second of November, are very much honored, where you dress up and ask for treats....however, the kids ask with a song.

Anyway, food of the week. I’ve discovered that you can candy anything, and Chiapans love doing it. Dulce de calabasa, dulce de papaya...you name it, they dulce [candy] it. And they don’t just do it with regular old sugar. I ate sugar cane this week!! It was pretty delicious....sugar.... :) Another delicious food that I had was pastel azteca, which is chicken and a bunch of vegetables.

Making dulce de calabasa!!

 Hna P, Hna T, and Hno E (ex-obispo [bishop]).
Putting the literally pure sugar in the calabasa :)

This week I really felt what an honor and a privilege it is to be a missionary. We visited a recent convert, Maria, who I LOVE. She’s really quietly strong, she’s not really talkative or big in her demonstrations of faith, but whenever she bears her testimony it’s just POWERFUL. Sometimes it’s really hard to see past the hard things that are happening in our lives RIGHT NOW because it’s all that fills our minds, but we will get through it. I’m so glad I’m here, so that I can know these strong, kind people, and meet these wonderful families.

I can see that the good REALLY outweighs the bad stuff that happens on the mission. This week was AWESOME. I really feel like the words of Alma are true for me. "Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy." I’ve never understood this scripture so clearly. I understand now, after things that have happened this week, is that EVERYONE, EVERYONE, EVERYONE that has ever done anything has had the days where they feel absolutely discouraged and overwhelmed by everything. HOWEVER, the joys of the mission FAR outweigh the pains. Opposition in all things is really beautiful, I’ve decided.

I’ve been compiling a list of scriptures about weaknesses becoming strengths, and I discovered a really good scripture, D&C 58:2-4. There will be MUCH tribulation in this life, but if we persevere, there will be MANY blessings. The mission will have its hard times, but I’m definitely learning that the blessings, and the good times, will FAR outweigh the bad.

I’ve also been compiling a list of adjectives and adverbs used in the scriptures for different groups of people. The disciples "straightway" followed the Savior. "With speed" Nephi went to strengthen his city. They all are immediate, acting with alacrity. I’m definitely learning to follow the impressions of the Spirit better, with speed. I’m getting BETTER. It’s really a blessing the things I’m learning, the importance of HOW we do things, not just WHAT we do.

We visited Hno Victor and his family this week, and we had a really awesome experience. Victor had some health problems that we needed addressed really quickly, and it was incredible 1) that we were there to help when this family needed it, and 2) the bishop was able to come so quickly to give a blessing. That’s why it’s so important that we listen to the Spirit, so that we can be in the right place at the right time, because the Lord knows the needs of EVERYONE.

Also, Victor showed up to church this week with his wife, his daughter, and his OTHER daughter and her husband, and their two kids. We haven’t taught his other daughter anything, but Victor already wants to share the gospel with people :D

Thanks to everyone for your prayers. I know Jesus is always with us, carrying us through life, through the Atonement.

I´m so happy :)

Hasta luego!

Hermana Owens

M and E, two women that live in 3 de Marzo [one of her areas].

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 14: Halloween or Pre-Día de los Muertos

Hola, Familia!

I finally received a package and two letters this week! One was dated Aug 23, so obviously mail is a little slow here.....está bien :D

Thank you for the veggie straws and candy and peanut butter! Hna González, as most people are, was pleasantly surprised by the tastiness of the veggie straws.

The day of the Dead is a VERY big thing. Also, San Judas! I´m not entirely sure who he is, but there were a lot of people celebrating him the 28th. But nobody works or goes to school these three days, and everyone is definitely celebrating hard. We were talking to somebody in the street, and I happened to glance at a window and about jumped out of my skin when I saw a little girl with her face against the window, face painted as one of the dead.

I learned that there are flowers that bloom in February in some trees here, and apparently they’re REALLY beautiful. I shouldn’t be surprised, but it just makes me kind of laugh, thinking of the icicle-covered, barren trees of South Dakota in February.

I had my first really GOOD contact this week. I talked with them, and understood their address, and actually managed to kind of have a conversation with them! I was very satisfied with myself, but I also know that I definitely had a LOT of help. I also talked to a taxista [cabdriver], and he was another success! He was really open to the gospel, and elders will be visiting him in his house very soon :D

I believe I told you about Victor, Carmelita, and Jaseli? Well, this was an AWESOME week. They attended church yesterday, but more importantly, they accepted a baptismal date when we taught them in the temple Friday! Needless to say, Friday was AWESOME. Hna Paty, a recent convert, went to the temple for the first time and so we were able to go with her and teach Victor and his family. It was a really awesome experience because when we asked them, Jaseli just nodded like, "Yeah, I need this in my life..." It was really cool. It’s pretty incredible, the Spirit you can feel in the temple. We took pictures, and I’m looking forward to a year from now when we can take them when they’re sealed as a family :D The Spirit was just SO STRONG.

Something really important that I encountered in my study this week is the definition of patience in Preach My Gospel [the handbook for doing missionary work]. "Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious." I’ve always known that I’m not a very patient person, but even more so now. I´m having a delay of the language right now, and so I need to be patient.

Well, I’m content to say that this was a good week, but I definitely know that I´m being stretched by Heavenly Father right now.

Hasta luego! Les amo!

Hermana Owens

I believe that these bananas don´t fit half of Daddy´s criteria.
[Vance is pretty picky about bananas.]
Me and Hna González in front of the temple of Tuxtla Gutiérrez :D
Hna T, Obispo [Bishop] T, Hna Paty, Hna González, after the temple! 

Victor, Carmelita, Jaseli, Hna González, and me!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Week 13: Hola, Familia!!!!

Hola, all!

First of all, my new fruit of the week: papausa. You can crack it open, and then there are a whole bunch of seeds inside of it, and each seed you can peel out with a bit of fruit on it, and then you suck on the seed. It’s super weird, and SUPER delicious.

I feel like I’m super disoriented time-wise here. First, because time flies, but second of all, because there´s no temperature change to tell what time of year it is. Although it’s not raining as much as it did when I first got here.

People have been asking me about monkeys and wild animals, and before all I could say for wild animals was dogs, but.....

Stray goats!!! Checking out the street garbage :) This was the first time I’ve seen goats out and about here. They probably aren’t actually wild, but they were just wandering around, soo...... They´re not monkeys, but almost!

The miracle of this week is pretty awesome :) We fasted Saturday that people would be able to attend church because we had the primary presentation [once a year, each ward has a sacrament meeting that is prepared by the children], and so we really wanted people to be able to come. The two investigators that we were going to pass by for couldn’t come, so we were feeling a little down about that, but then when we got to the place to wait for the combi [bus], the family and friends of this one member were waiting! We were really happy about that. And then, church had just started when this family that we contacted into last week walked in!!! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy in my life. The dad in this family, we taught him on Friday, and at the end he asked, "Okay, what do I need to get baptized?" But we didn’t really think that he was going to come. We were SO happy. Normally we have one investigator, Hermana C, but this week we had nine!!!! Also, with the presentation, the attendance was 106 people. Pretty much double our normal. I think that we’re going to be fasting every week :D

Unfortunately, Hermana C could not be baptized because her husband worked the day that she was supposed to bring the forms and money and everything for her marriage. However, she’s still ready, so we’re figuring out a new date :D

Something I learned in my study this week is the importance of the Bible. I realized that I just don’t know the Bible well enough. Just like I’m studying Spanish so that I can share the gospel with people in their language, the Bible is their "spiritual language," it’s what they understand. So if I want to touch their hearts, I need to know the Bible as well as I know the Book of Mormon.

Somos Chiapanecas!!!!!! [We are Chiapanecas!] Me wearing a traditional dress of Chiapas. I felt very white. :D

I just want to close with my testimony. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that through the Atonement, all things are possible. This week I was studying the light of Christ, and I realized what it actually means. It’s the light of Christ because it’s possible through Him through His Atonement. The Atonement is in EVERYTHING in our lives. It’s the ultimate gift, and I’m so grateful that even with all my weaknesses and insufficiencies, I can be who I need to be through Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and the Bible, too. I’m so grateful for this time I have to share the gospel with people. I love the people of Chiapas. :D I love the gospel!!!

Hasta luego,

Hermana Owens

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 12: Haaaaapppy birthday!!!!!!

Hola, Familia!!!!!

For food this week, I learned about a bunch of new fruits!!! First of all, rambutan. When I was first offered rambutan, I was really scared because I thought they were strawberries that had gone REALLY bad. They look like strawberries with weird, scaly fur. But they´re DELICIOUS, and you peel them. Also, jocote is like a baby mango, and guayava looks like a pear but better. And chicharon, which is a big flat chip bread sort of thing. It´s really good. I also think that when I return I'm going to be like Seth, in that I'll put red pepper flakes on everything. Because there´s always spice here, and it's delicious.

We had intercambios [exchanges with other missionaries] this week!!! I was with Hna Romero (who speaks English!!!) in Tuxtla, the city, and it was really cool. It's definitely really different being in the city, rather than a fraccionamiento [division], because there's just always people. And, water! (as in running water. They even have a washing machine in their house!) It was really cool to see how different people plan, and contact, and teach, and EVERYTHING.

 After our intercambio! Hna Romero y Hna Ibarra, and us :)

We met a family of 8 people, and none of them can read. In the little places we teach, like Tres de marzo or Riviera Playa Vista, a large majority of people can't read, so we´re figuring out a way that we can teach people without being able to give them pamphlets or the Book of Mormon. If you have any ideas....!

My really bad attempts at selfies with Rosita and her family, the family that can`t read.

Hopefully, Hermana C is going to be married and baptized this week! She's a little short on money to pay for the marriage, but we're helping her figure out what to do.

Another really bad selfie with Hermana C and her son, after we went to get her papers so she can be married!

We contacted a family in their yard, and they gave us seats and lemonade and we basically taught them the first lesson. It was really cool. People are really open to listening. I don't know what it's like being a missionary in other places, but I feel like people here are just ready to listen to us.

This week for training I studied how to teach the Evangelio de Jesucristo [gospel of Jesus Christ], and WOW. If there´s one thing I’ve learned so much about while I've been on my mission, it´s the Atonement. It´s absolutely incredible. During my prayers when I've felt down about the language, or how insufficient I am as a missionary, I can almost literally feel the Savior´s presence, like his arms are around me, and I can feel his love for me so much, and I know this is because of the Atonement. The Atonement is incredible, and we'll never understand everything about it, or even a fraction of what it means for us, but I have a testimony that the Savior knows me, that even now he feels for me. The Atonement is infinite because he didn't just suffer in the garden and on the cross, he also understands how we feel NOW. I love the Savior so much.

Pres. George [the Mission President] wrote me this this morning: “I just love to hear your enthusiasm in spite of the difficulty with the language. I learned a poem in Bolivia years ago:
Stick to your task til it sticks to you.
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place, and praise
Will always come to the one that stays.
Stick to your task til it sticks to you.
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it too,
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life’s victories after a while.”

He also wrote: “I loved something Elder Alderman's grandpa told him; Faith can move mountains, but don't be surprised if God hands you a shovel.” Presidente George is really awesome :)

Hna Vicky y Hno Javier. They have a lemon tree inside their house
and I wanted to take a picture of their cauldron boiling over a fire,
but I got a picture of them instead :) They`re awesome.
I love you guys! Sorry, this is a little short this week, but there it is!

Adios! Hasta luego! Les amo!

Hermana Owens

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 11: La Semana de Milagros!! (the week of miracles)

Hola, Familia!!!

Emma asked a while ago if I’ve made any embarrassing mistakes in speaking while I`ve been here. Besides the fact that my grammar is pretty terrible, I think I don`t really mix up words. However, understanding is a little interesting...We were talking with some people, and this lady asked, "Si caida nieve?" Which means, "Does snow fall?" where I live. However, I thought she asked about "Zika" (si caida, zika, it`s all the same), so instead of talking about snow, I talked about how Zika isn`t really a problem where I live. Everyone looked at me for a second, and then Hna Gonzàlez realized what I was talking about, and then explained. It was pretty funny...maybe it`s a had to be there thing...

So, the other day, we went to eat with a sister in the ward, and she made this really delicious drink (speaking of which, if you ask for agua, here, don’t hold your breath for water. Agua could mean ANY liquid. It’s kind of funny), so I asked her what was in it, and she said guaya and alfalfa! Later I was talking with Hna Gonzalez and I told her that for my house, alfalfa is more commonly for cows. Now she mocks me about drinking cow food.

We have an extra hour during these first 12 weeks for training, and we’re watching videos about planning and stuff. We wrote in the Area Book [the record book for their area] I think twice my first week, and then never again. So I proposed to Hna Gonzalez that we catch up and write in the Area Book. The day after, we had an awesome day. I think that we were blessed for being even MORE obedient, more EXACTLY obedient.

This week really was pretty incredible, though. We contacted into some pretty awesome people. First of all, we saw this older lady moving pieces of wood across her yard, so we stopped to help her. We asked if we could stop by again, and she agreed, so the next day we came by. Only her husband was there, so we talked to him, and we found out that he was a member!!! He used to be an alcoholic, but 35 years ago the missionaries taught him, and he hasn`t had a drop since. Even though he isn`t active, he STILL followed the commandments. I think that shows just how powerful this message is.

We also contacted a friend of Hna Paty`s, Adriana. She lost her daughter a couple years ago, but it was incredible to see the hope that she had that she could see her daughter again. I`m so excited to teach her the plan of salvation so that she can KNOW her daughter`s okay :)

I think that`s what excites me most about being here. There are people here with STORIES, with challenges that I can`t even imagine, that are just waiting for us to contact them in the street, for their friend to refer us to them, for us to show up on their doorstep. I think that`s why I can keep going even when I`m ridiculously frustrated by my inability to speak, or my really bad contacting, or generally just talking with people. I`m here so that I can help other people, and what little I can contribute right now is what I will contribute. This work is for helping people grow and become more like Jesus Christ, both the investigator and the missionary. As I keep working, and keep contacting, and have the courage to open my mouth when I feel the prompting, I will help these people, and so will help myself.

This Sunday was also the Sunday of new beginnings: Hna Alba was confirmed! She is now officially a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! Two babies were also blessed, which is always really special. The picture is us with the family of Hna Chabelita, Emmanuel, and his sister Lluvia (her baby was blessed).

And we have a new bishop [leader of the local congregation]! Obispo [Bishop] C has been serving for about nine years, so it`s a pretty big change. But I`m really excited, because I think Obispo T really wants to help us in missionary work and basically it`s just going to be awesome. We also had 84 people attend church, and our usual numbers are about half that.

This really was just an incredible week. I feel like I`m learning so much more than I can even comprehend. It`s incredible!!!

I love you all so much!!! Please, continue writing me!!! Everybody, not just Emma, should send pictures! Even if it`s just Zoey [our dog and the apple of Vance’s eye]. Although I would prefer a little variety. Thanks!

I just remembered something from the multizone conference that I wanted to share with you but forgot. They gave this example of how applying the Atonement in your life is like practicing for piano lessons your parents have paid for. I know I’ve heard that example before but it really hit me this time because I had to play the piano for Alba’s baptism, and now people know that I can play, but I’m really just not good. I just didn’t practice enough, and I’ve never felt just how ungrateful that was. It’s like not repenting, not using this incredible gift that Jesus has given us. HOWEVER, I can start practicing now, or when I get off my mission because I really don’t have the time now, and I can still get better. It’s never too late to use the Atonement, to repent of things you’ve done. The gospel is incredible!

Les amo,

Hermana Owens

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 10: General Conference and a BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!

Hola, mi familia!!!!!!! ¡Cómo está?

I am GREAT!!!!!!

This week was so crazy and wonderful! Hermana Alba was baptized this Friday!!!! I got more than a little teary-eyed when she bore her testimony after being baptized. It was so amazing to see her be baptized, and just think that she is CLEAN. It´s such an incredible opportunity to help people discover the Gospel of Christ.

It was kind of funny...we showed up a little late to our own baptism (I was dying), but it didn´t end up starting until about half an hour late because it wasn´t ready. And people ended up coming in that time, anyway, so it was okay. But I know Daddy would be dying. It was awesome, though. Hermana González spoke, and I sang When I am Baptized, that children’s song, and the Bishop's bienvida [welcome] to the ward was pretty great :)

It´s kind of funny, I don´t actually have a picture of just Hermana Alba in white with us. It was hard to get a picture of just us, because everyone that was there would hop in the picture! :) Everyone is just so friendly and wonderful :)

We also had a multizona conference [lots of missionaries!], which was awesome, because President George [the Mission President who watches over and directs all the missionaries in that area] was there. The zone leaders gave a really awesome example of why we should always preach repentance to people, focus on teaching that first. They had a missionary, their investigator, hold a seat in his hands while they taught, which represented his sins. So, first of all, it was hard for him to see them, it was awkward, but then they started teaching. They gave him pamphlets, and then some scriptures to read, and then more and more things for him to do, and put these things on the chair he was holding. The more commitments, the harder it was for him to hold the chair. His arms were shaking by the end. It was a really awesome example that 1) we need to focus on the needs of the investigator, and 2) if these elders had first taught him repentance, all their commitments would have helped him, but instead they hindered him. It was really powerful for me.

Also at the zone conference, I saw Elder Meyer and Elder Jones!!! [Missionaries from her MTC District.] I was soooo happy to see them! I should have gotten a picture....ah, well. It was kind of nice to talk a little in English, but also really weird. I feel like my brain just doesn´t know what to do anymore, in either language :D

We met a really cool family in the park the other day, Gladis and her son Oliver. When we visited them later, Oliver grinned the whole time we were teaching. I love teaching kids here. They´re so SMART. Gladis told us that Oliver had told his dad about us the dinner after we contacted them. He said, "There´s an Hermana that talks in Spanish, but it´s like English!" I got a good laugh out of his sweet, childish, hilarious way of describing an accent.

I´ve determined that there´s one thing that scares me about Mexico: nobody here refrigerates their eggs D: I don´t know if maybe they have a different way of preparing their eggs for eating that makes it so they don´t have to refrigerate their eggs, but.....I still refrigerate our eggs. I don´t know. Call me crazy....... :)

What I´ve learned this week is that I now LOVE reading the Book of Mormon. Before my mission, I would read it every day. Without fail, I read every day. And I received inspiration from what I read. But it was a requirement, something I had to do because I couldn´t NOT read a day. [Tess is pretty obsessive-compulsive like her father.] It wasn´t necessarily a chore, but it was something to check off a list of daily things to do. But now, I LOVE reading the Book of Mormon. I love the book of Alma, with Captain Moroni describing the armor the Nephites used against Zarahemnah, and the Lamanites FEARED them. I´ve been putting in my own footnotes in the BoM, and I referred to Ephesians 6:11-18. If we put on the whole armor of God, Satan will fear us like the Lamanites feared the Nephites. I´ve been learning so much MORE while reading the BoM this go around, and how it applies to me, or the people here, or missionary work. If I learn nothing else on my mission, I'm glad that I´ve learned how to receive revelation through the BoM, because I believe I can keep this with me, this new skill I have.

And finally, CONFERENCE. [Twice yearly, our church has a broadcast from Salt Lake City from our church leadership. It lasts over two days.]

I listened on someone´s phone to conference in English on Saturday, but then we didn´t have wifi on Sunday, so I listened to the morning session in Spanish. I had been feeling a little bad about my understanding of Spanish before the conference, so then when I found out I had to listen in SPANISH (gasp) I basically felt like the entire world was against me and that this was the hardest of all things that a person could endure. But then, between sessions, hna González and I had training time, and I talked a bit with her, and I felt SO much better. Hna González is pretty incredible. She knows EXACTLY what to say (in Spanish!) for me. She´s a great companion. But anyway, we went into the next session, and even though it was still in Spanish, I got so much more out of it, because I wasn´t a ridiculous grumpy Gus. But then Hno Fabricio, this really sweet older guy, came over and told us to come with him, and he took us to the clerk´s office, where he had set up the computer to play in Spanish, with English subtitles. I'm not going to lie, I may have cried a little bit. These people are just so GIVING. I love them so much. So then I watched *read* the second half of the afternoon session in English. It was quite the experience.

One of my favorite talks was Elder Ballard´s, that we can´t let offending things in the church stop us from living the gospel. When sharing the gospel, we´re not sharing that Bishop so and so is perfect and that Sister this and that is a wonderful leader of this group, we´re sharing that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that through Him we can live with God again, if we have faith in him, repent, are baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. That´s pretty powerful. Also, a weakness, with faith, can be a strength. I love general conference. Also, there were a lot of talks that mentioned the sacrament. It´s really important that we remember the Savior every week when partaking of the sacrament, but also that we remember Him every day, all the time.

I´m so happy!!!! I love it here!!!!!!

Hasta luego!!!!!!!

Hermana Owens

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Week 9: DOS MESES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Two Months)

I CAN NOT believe that I´ve been in Mexico for two months! I´m 1/9 done! Only 8/9 left! I have so much more to do! AAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Hermana A was not baptized this week because she couldn’t get an interview until today. However, she is SUPER ready, and I´m SOOOOOOOO excited!!!!! Hermana A is the most awesome person ever.

We went to the Women´s General Conference [twice yearly meeting for women broadcast from Salt Lake City] with Citla this weekend, which was really awesome. I translated some of the lines of the songs into very interesting español for Citla, which was fun. I didn´t get too much from the conference since I listened in Spanish (Hna González mentioned figuring out a way I can listen in English this weekend, so I can get a little more out of it), but what I got I really liked. I really liked the talk about charity, and how they were all centered on the Atonement, and the Plan of Salvation. That´s all we need!! Citla took notes during the session, and every time I looked over and saw her scribbling something down I felt SO HAPPY.

According to Hna González, Zika makes your whole body ache. You can´t go to the bathroom because it hurts to sit on the toilet. But you get over it pretty quick, and it´s not lasting. It just kind of stinks.

I have three favorite things here: the people, when they pray, and when they share scriptures. We were talking with Miguel, a recent convert, and he´s been working on reading the BofM. He shared a scripture, and it was one of the coolest things ever. It was in 1 Nephi, and I can´t remember what it was exactly, but it talked about how we will never thirst nor hunger, because we follow the light or something. And I´d never noticed it! I went home and marked it, along with his name. I love these people. Converts have such powerful testimonies, because it´s all just simple truth. It´s pretty incredible. And then when people pray!!!! The things they express gratitude for, and everything. I love it.

It was Hermana González´ birthday this week!!! She´s now 27. It was probably one of the best days ever, but also, I thought I was going to die at the end of it. Because every single appointment we had, we ate. Our first (because we had weekly planning) was with Hermana Alba, and we had lunch with her. Which was delicious. Then, when we went with Hermana Chabelita, we thought we were going to an appointment with her daughter, but then we ended up at a surprise party! 

There was a RIDICULOUS amount of food, and you have to eat otherwise you´ll just offend everyone. And then we went to an appointment with Rosario and Isaí, and they found out it was her birthday, so they ordered a pizza. Then, to top it all off, we had cake with Hermana Paty. I honestly am proud of myself for never throwing up. It was hard, but I managed to survive the day :)

Renato and Estefania are kids of a less active member, and they´re awesome. I tried to get a picture of Victoria, the other daughter, but she was kind of shy and the only one I got with her was really blurry :( But they are AWESOME. I actually got quite a bit of what they said! Renato kind of reminds me of an older, Mexican Caulder [Tess’s nephew]. He really likes to talk, and he´s very animated.

Renato and us.

Estefania and us.

Hermana A (future member!) and us and Hermana Paty.

Sometimes, when it gets really hot, I remember that it´s almost October, and that the first snow, or at least the first literally freezing day will occur in just a few days (or already has). I feel like it´s going to be REALLY weird when it´s January and I´m basking in 80 degree weather. Or dying.

Well, got to go! The work is beckoning!

Hasta luego!

Hermana Owens

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 8: Hola!!!!!!!


So, first of all, Hna Gonzalez and I were asked to give talks in sacrament meeting [the main Church meeting on Sundays] yesterday!!! We were leaving the house to catch the combi (the shuttle) to church, and we were called, because the speakers weren`t there! So, in about five minutes, I prepared a talk in Spanish! It was pretty stressful, but actually, once sacrament meeting started, I really didn't feel nervous at all. I talked about el Libro de Mormon, and I shared 2 Nephi 10:33 and 2 Nephi 25, when he says that the prophets write these things to teach of Christ. And then I rambled in really bad Spanish between each scripture. It was probably about five minutes, but it`s okay :) It wasn't terrible!

I don`t really know how to describe my area. I'm in Jardines de Grijalva, and I guess it`s probably suburban, but really poor. 

Jardines del Grijalva [on Google maps]

I wash my clothes in the sink, but only my underwear and stuff. My actual clothes we take to a launderer. Not laundromat, but a guy that measures the weight of our clothes and washes them and then the next day we come and get them. Also, clothes dry so fast. I usually hang them up at about 9, and then I can take them off at about 11. Ah, heat :)

We eat every day with members at 2. It`s such an unusual time, but it`s actually really nice, because I have yet to eat dinner, but it`s fine, because we eat at 2! I snack during study time, and then eat at 2, and then sometimes I eat something at 10. But it`s PERFECT. The food is so good, and every time the members are like, Pica! Pica! [Spicy! Spicy!] But then I wow them with my ability to eat spicy stuff. I`m a little concerned that they know I can eat spicy, and so now they`re going to pull all the stops. But I am ready! I got a recipe for tamales from a member, so I`m basically Latina now.

It`s crazy to me how friendly people are. There are definitely some people that want to hear less, but most people are happy that we're talking about church and Jesus (pretty much everyone`s Catholic here), and so they're happy to tell us where they live. Which brings me to another point: nobody knows their address. Sometimes people know what street, but usually it`s just, "Oh, I`m the blue house seven houses down from the Primera Calle." I am SUPER lost here. There are no street signs except for along the first street, so I know those, but everything else is just a mess of houses. At least every house is different, though, so it`s pretty easy to identify landmarks.

We are the only missionaries in our ward, but there`s another ward right after ours that has two other sister missionaries. 

I have yet to see any of the Elders from my district in the CCM [the Missionary Training Center], because they`re not in my zone, but I guess I`ll see them in transfers! Except Elder Fitzgerald, he`s in my zone. Today we had a zone activity, and we basically threw water balloons at people. [I'm guessing by "people" she means each other.] It was fun :)

The mosquitoes are actually kind of a problem. I PROMISE (Mother) that I use repellent, but my legs are COVERED in bug bites. And Hna Gonzalez` second week, she got zika. But, està bien! I`m not dead yet! :)

Best news: Hopefully, one of our investigators will be baptized this Saturday!!!!! Which makes me SOOO happy. Another person we're teaching only has to get married (she`s living with her boyfriend right now) before she can be baptized. His schedule is really erratic, so they can never really get it to work. But she`s ready! We have this path of faith sheet that we fill out, and she has EVERYTHING except baptism, and she really wants to be. She`s awesome. And her son is ADORABLE. We are also teaching a teenage girl who is awesome, but her mom won`t let her go to church, but we`ve started teaching their next door neighbors, so we`re hoping that maybe that will convince her that we`re not weirdos :) 

Listening to people`s stories, I am so incredibly amazed by the people here. And by church members everywhere. And investigators. And EVERYONE in the world. Everyone has their problems, everyone has things that they need or want but simply can`t have, and there are people that really believe in things and want to act on them, but there are things outside of their control that stop them from doing those things. But Heavenly Father knows the desires of our HEARTS, and He blesses us for our efforts, and what we do with the knowledge that we have. He is so loving and merciful!  I know that these people will be blessed for their DESIRE.

One other thing: the language is SO HARD. I can talk...it`s really BAD, and sometimes I can`t for the life of me figure out how to say something, but I can talk. But UNDERSTANDING is so hard. However, I`ve been reading that story, Footprints in the Sand, pretty much every day. I know that the Savior has been carrying me while I`ve been here, and that he will be for the entirety of my mission.

Me and a random building that looks very Mexican:

and Hna Gonzalez and me:

and us and some other sister missionaries in our district (we were all in Chiapo de Corzo [the oldest colonial town in the state of Chiapas]):

 and a good ol`rainbow:

[I think it is just to the right of the tallest tree.]

I need to improve my ability to take pictures with people. Ah, well.

Hasta luego!

Hna Owens