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].