Monday, December 28, 2015

In which Hermana Mills finds Waldo

Feliz Navidad!! 

I feel like so much has happened, and yet at the same time nothing has happened....Probably because I can count on one hand how many lessons we´ve actually taught. We have a lesson planned for every hour of the day, or some other kind of apointment, and we get a total of two done. One appointment being lunch with a member, which they can´t really skip out on our blow us off. And we usually teach about one other lesson a day. If we´re lucky, we teach TWICE. But I have to remind myself that it´s the Holidays, even if we´re in Mexico and they celabrate on the twenty fourth and not the twenty fifth. But we´ve had some pretty good sucess with street contacts, or at least I think that until we try and actually go to teach them and we can´t find the brown door with lots of flowers or they don´t actually answer or the adress doesn´t actually exsist. You know, little stuff like that. But last Monday, after I finished emailing, I was complaining under my breath in English when I heard someone say ´excuse me, was someone speaking English?
And thus I met Juan Pablo, who was born in the U.S. and lived there for thirty years but is here for work and wants to speak English, American English especially, and said he´d love to hear the lessons in ENGLISH!!!!! He said he´d give us a call sometime on Wendsday after he gets off work. I´m really excited to teach him, not only because I´ll get to teach in English (if I can even do that anymore) but because when I explained what we do he seemed really interested and said that what we were doing was really admriable and that we were teaching people a better way of life. So here´s to hoping that we can actually find him and teach him. I have his number, so I can call him if nothing else.
We also met a woman named Carmen, she was kind of a whim street contact for me. I hate street contacting. I hate just stopping people and explaining in my broken spanish that I want them to take this card and watch the videos and I would like to come into their home and teach them a little more about the saviour, because A) I have to do it in Spanish B) judging by the looks on the people´s faces after I finish my little speech, I don´t say anything right.
But, Carmen has listened to a lot of missionaries before, and she has a son who is a member of the church. She also loves God and Christ but her parents are Catholic and.....I don´t know what else. She talks really fast, and I couldn´t really understand. But she´s going to be gone in another state here in Mexico for eight days so I don´t know how that is gonna go. I´m having trouble staying organized, there are so many investigators and so much information that I need to remember, and our area is huge it´s hard to keep all the streets straight.
Now since apparently everyone is dying to know, some questions that need answering. 

what are the traditions you saw in Mexico for Christmas Eve and Christmas? Not much. They celabrate Christmas Eve more and there´s lots of Piñatas around. And bells. Lots of bells early in the morning. Not that it matters to us, we´re up early anyway. We had dinner with a less active investigator for christmas which was a little unusual. Usually we have just lunch appointments. And they had some weird fried pepper stuffed with other peppers and some kind of meat that I really hope was chicken. And huge beans in some kind of broth. That was kind of like soup I guess. Apparently it´s a christmas tradition. Other than that, I really don´t know. They have Christmas trees in all the windows.
How was your first Christmas away from home? Fine. It didn´t feel much like Christmas but it went fine. I opned my presents, had some hot chocolate with my breakfast and went out to work like any other day. It was fine with me.
Can you eat with members and investigators? We eat lunch with members every day and it usually consists of a soup of some kind, or noodles (Mexicans love speghetti, who knew?) and then a main course of meat and a gelitan jello thing for dessert. One time we had hamburgers though. And another time, ham and mashed potatoes. Yesterday it was some weird, bread wrapped fried hotdog in tomatoe soup????? I have no idea. We don´t eat with investigators really.
How much walking are you doing on a daily basis? Basically all I do is walk. I don´t know how much. I have no way of measuring it. But, a lot. We ride buses occasionally but usually just for district meetings.
Do you eat much from tiendas and panaderias or tortillarias or anything of that nature? No. We shop at a Supermarket type thing. But occasionally we´ll buy stuff frome one of the many teindas around.
 Does McDonald's deliver? I have not seen a McDonalds since I´ve left Mexico City. I did however see a Walmart and a Sam´s club. But neither of those are in my area.
Oh, and about how I found Waldo. We were trying to contact someone else and his neighbor answered the door and we talked to him for quite a while, and his name was Waldo. But unfortunetly, he doesn´t want a lesson. It´s a shame.
I think that´s about it. It was great to see those I did on Christmas and I´m excited to talk to you again on Mother´s Day.
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Mills

Tory's outdoor washing machine. 

Tory's laundry washin' face

Hermana Mills' little farm. The sheep was a gift from one of the other Hermanas. 

Typical Street in Puebla

Though Tory did mention there are some dirt roads in the city as well. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

In which Tory is welcomed to Puebla by Harry Potter

So I feel like this has been a whole three years crammed into one week. I have lots of pictures and I actually got a memory card reader before I left the CCM so I can send them now, I just need to figure out these mexican computers..... Someday. when I can actually understand spainish, maybe.
My first area is in the City, but before you all have a panic attack about gangsters and drug lords, it´s in an area that´s about as realatively busy as logan is. There are a few streets that are kind of sketchy to cross but other than that it´s okay. I really like it, a lot actually. My first night in the feild was with two other hermanas who weren´t in my area, hma sanchez and torres and thank the sweet heavens hma sanchez is bilingual and from las vegas. My companion? She´s from Compeche, (I don´t know if I spelled that right) My comp is from here in Mexico, and Elder Saunooke got his wish, my first companion is a native who doesn´t speak English. Thanks Saunook  :P Just kidding, she´s really great, and she probably speaks as much English as I speak Spainish, and surprisingly we communicate really well. I try and teach her English and she helps me with spanish.

My first week has been understandably stressful but I haven´t had a COMPLETE mental breakdown yet so I´d consider that a definite win.  I love this area, my companion, our casa, our ward and our investigators, when we actually see them. I say that because often times they flake out on us, and I can probably count on one hand how many lessons I´ve actually taught this week. Maybe two hands. We´ve given out a lot of Christmas Cards though, I could probably give out more, and I know I should but I´m struggeling with mustering up enough courage to force my painful way through a conversation in my broken spanish. Usually it just tranlates to ´esta trajeta es para usted, y, oh...adios..´ because then they take off, but we´ve got some promising apointments coming up with street contacts. 

I´m struggeling more with homesickness than I thought I would, but usually only in the mornings and in the evenings when we get ready for bed, but they have a book, adjusting to Missionary Life that is really helpful. There´s just a lot of little questions that I have that are kind of a struggle to be understood, but it´s okay, I just have to keep reminding myself that I´ve been here for a week exactly, so of course everything is gonna be a little crazy. I just rely on the Lord and follow Hermana Jimenez around and smile when people talk to me and nod, even though I usually only catch two words. In church, I actually understood like, 20% of what was going on. My gospel vocab is decent, it´s when we´re with the members that I´m like ´,,,,,,,,repeta por favor´. And we eat Lunch with members everyday but honestly, the food is really good and not crazy spicey and the best part? there´s not a ton of it. We take care of breakfast ourselves and by the time we get back to the casa at nine, I don´t want dinner, so my fears of getting fat have been SOMEWHAT assuaged. Although Hermana Jimenez says in another area they feed you more but it´s still only at lunch time. And guess what. Hermana Jimenez had Hermana Best, the girl who´s blog I stalked before coming out here, as a companion. But hermana best, the companion, finished her mission in November, but I saw another girl who´s blog I stalked before she left too and it was oddly like seeing a celbrity. 

What else....There´s so much!!! I saw two ducks take on a chiuaua, that was pretty great. I get whistled at at least twice a day. There´s an mandrian orange tree in the courtyard of my casa (more like apartment) and I cannot stress how nice my apartment is. I was really worried because my first night in the feild, with hermana torres and sanchez there´s wasn´t super great. Mine isn´t like high class but the bathroom is clean and nice and even if we have to turn on the boiler outside for hot water and we don´t have very much time for warm water (Especially at night for some reason. It´s weird) and we have hardwood slash vynial floors which is a shock because everything i´ve seen so far is tile. carpet does not exsist in mexico. or maybe just not here. I´m in a pretty poor area I think. There´s some casas that are nice but I´ve also been in several cemeant shacks with tin roofs. That´s all I got, right now.

Hermanas Sanchez y Torres

The orange tree and the volcano

Hermanas Jimenez y Mills

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

In which Hermana Mills arrives in Puebla

So I´m at the mission home write now in Puebla, which is a really beautiful city and I only have three minutes so basically I have had two hours of sleep, said goodbye to all my ccm friends, am the only white person here besides my mission president and his wife (but there is an hermana here who speaks perfect english, actually a lot of them speak english, praise the lord).  I meet my companion and get assigned my area tomorrow and to say i´m nervous is an understatement. 

I´m ridiculously nervous, ridiculously tired but I think I´ll be okay next time I write you. Or at least I hope so. I´m afraid that´s all I have time for. Love you all!!!!!!! 

hma mills

Tory with President and Hermana Stellmon. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

In which Hermana Mills prepares to abandon the tower for good.

So there was not much in the way of e-mail from Tory this week, but here is what we've got, and I'm sure next week's e-mail will be full of exciting new things. (Though we cannot be sure what day we will be hearing from her next do to the fact she is going out into the field).

Here is a small snippet taken from one of her e-mails

I´dont have time for a weekly this week, since we went to the temple today, maybe next week i´ll have something better.

not much has happened except we got our flight plans and we went to the temple. It´s crazy and scary that next time you hear from me, i{ll be in the field. I´m going to miss my district way more than i ever could have imagined last week. I mean, most obviously i´m going to miss my hermanas the most but also my dumb elders. They´ve grown on me.

Sorry this is so short but ain´t no body got time on this pday"

Also here is a picture of her and Hermana Giles at the temple.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

In which Rapunzel escapes her tower for the morning

I´m a disease??? Also, I´m in a folk band

Hey fellas,

So, lots has gone down this week. Partially because it seems so much longer because my P Day obviously got moved to Thursday instead of Tuesday and oh man that was the WORST. This week was another not so good one but as usual, Sunday came in to save the day. We had a great devotional by the director of the MTC, Bishop Cates. He´s the director in the temporal sense, handles the logistics of everything, checks and balances and accounts and what not and he and his family live here in the CCM and let me just say they are so freaking CUTE. His wife is gorgeous, and she´s like, eight months pregnant with her fourth little boy and she still looks great and their kids? Their freaking KIDS are SO CUTE. One of them is like, one and a half??? Joaquin is his name and he has the cutest, chubbiest little cheeks and smiles so big he looks like a little ewok from Star Wars. Hma Giles and I talk to his mom all the time and say hi to the boys and one night we were all walking back to our Casas (hma cates lives in one that looks like ours but it´s bigger, but it´s the same color as ours, white with purple trim, i love it) and Joaquin was in his stroller and saying ´look!! Look, la luna!! Beunos Noches Luna!´and I couldn´t take it. Oh my gosh little mexican kids will be the death of me, they´re too cute.

Entonces, Bishop Cates gave us this AMAZING devotional that was so exactly what I needed to hear it was creepy. And he was so funny! But the main thing he said was ´Stay on Target.´He talked about how when he was a kid in his ward there was this guy that everyone just adored, all the boys anyway because he knew kung fu and a bunch of other stuff so little bishop Cates wanted to learn kung fu and so he and his friends started taking lessons and something Steve Crandell (Kung Fu master) always said to them was ´Stay on Target´(He was a Star Wars fan) and }You´re a DISEASE! I´m still not sure what that was about. But the devotional was all about leaving behind the past and focusing purely on our missions. Let the past go, give up the things that use to make you YOU and give yourself entirely over to the lord. So that was both thrilling and terrifying. Because I´m pretty good with who I am. And I´m not a big fan of change for the most part. But it was exactly what I needed to hear, i wish I could have had recorded it and listened to it nine times a day.

But then, on Tuesday which was already hard because it was SUPPOSED to be P day and of course on that day, out of the blue I get hit by just a massive wave of home sickness, and I could just see in my minds eye for some reason, the road that leads up to fremont, coming back towards the house when you can see a lot of sevier spread out with all the fields and houses and I don´t know why I couldn´t get that image out of my mind or why that was making me so homesick, but I think it was also because I couldn´t talk to anyone on Tuesday and so I had to go longer and I just wanted to talk to my mom gosh dang it!! We had a devotional from Elder Bednar and it was NOT what i expected out of Elder Bednar. It was harsh. It was much more Elder Holland like. He basically said over and over and over that we weren´t good enough and this mission was NOT about us. 

´Thank you, Elder Bednar, that really warms my corazon. 

But he said basically the same thing bishop cates said, just with a lot less Star Wars jokes which was unfortunate. Leave behind everything that makes you YOU and give yourself unto the lord. You can´t do this by yourself. You NEED Christ. Only he was able to put off the natural man completely. But anyway, that talk just made me tired. It was too much when I was already feeling overwhelmed, inadequate and ´why am I even here´ish. But the next night, my roommate looked a little red eyed and my wonderfully nosy companion, Hma Giles asked her what was wrong, and the floodgates sort of opened and she started saying what she was going through, what she was thinking and oh my gosh it was like she was reading my MIND. I´m so glad Hma. Giles was nosy, and I´m so glad Hma. Cook was willing to share what she was feeling because seriously, she was saying everything to us that I hadn´t had the guts to say aloud to anyone. 

Everything here at the CCM is basically summed up in ´let the spirit guide´and ´rely on the lord´. But for us, me and Hma Cook, both of those things seemed impossible because we hadn´t felt the spirit yet during any lessons and neither of us had that great of a relationship with Heavenly Father before our missions, and we weren´t very good at recognizing the spirit and while the two of us had never done anything really WRONG, we´d never done anything very good either. How could we teach with the spirit and lean on the lord like Elder Bednar said when we could barely manage to pray and understand the most basic of spanish terms. And yet with the four of us, four girls hundreds of miles from home, I realized God answers prayers in a lot of different ways, and we never really know how intimately he is woven into the details of our lives unless we really think about it. If Hermana Cook hadn´t shared what she was feeling, I would have probably kept going and feeling like crap for the rest of my time here, thinking I was totally alone, a lone sinner among a crowd of saints here at the CCM and I would have been mesirible. But there were those devotionals, these wonderful sisters in my casa, my comp and those devotionals, it all sort of aligned. I believe God sends us people, and I´m so glad he´s sent me the people he has. My friends here in the CCM and my friends at home and my family. 

Now if he could have sent me some patience or less dumb elders, that would be prime.

Just kidding (Sort of) they´ve gotten WAY better. The elder who I chewed out got made our district leader and ever since he has been so much better. He has really magnified his calling.  Our whole district has been a lot better and the amount of times I have to have Hma Giles pinch me for contentious thoughts is significantly lower. Although, I still am just permanently irritated. It´s my natural state of being.

Por ejamplo...

Today, we got to go out into the city and get our Visas taken care of at the embassy or something offical and governmenty, I don´t remember. So we got to go on a drive through Mexico City and I saw like, THREE dogs and an adorable baby and a really cool motorcycle so this has pretty much been the highlight of my whole CCM experince. And, when we got there, I talked to this Irish guy who was at the embassy getting his Visa so he could stay and teach at a collage for two years and we talked about the gospel and music so that was pretty much the best thing ever. He´d encountered missionaries before and he said he was really impressed with us (there were a lot of missionaries talking to him), that we were so young and still so willing to put two years of our lives aside to do this. But then he had to leave and get something fixed with his visa and our zone leader, who drives me crazy, sat down in his spot so he couldn´t come back and I was just like, ´Really. Who gave you the RIGHT.´

Obviously I still need to work on my patience level. 

On the ride back, all the Elders in the back were being so impossibly annoying I wanted to scream. One of them in another zone even admitted ´Wow, guys....We´re REALLY immature.´

No, really?? I hadn´t noticed, Elder, thank you for making that ABUNDANTLY CLEAR.

But, I made it back to the CCM and I didn´t kill anyone, so in my letter to my branch president this week, when he asks what my biggest accomplishment was, I´m putting that down. Í did NOT slaughter a bus full of Elders, so...There´s that. You´re welcome. 

Oh, and one last thing as I close this ridiculously NOT put together email. Me, and my casa mates, Hermana Gardner, who sings like an angel and plays gutiar, Hermana Cook, who can play the violin and also knows a lot about music theory, and Hermana Giles, who can harmonize like nobodies business are going to form an all girls folk band. I told them that was my dream a couple of weeks ago, and the other day hermana cook suggested that WE form an all girls folk band and i kid you not i cried. i was so excited at the prospect. Admitedly I can´t really do anything yet except play like four chords on a uke and sing along to a harmony or the melody line if they want but hey. It´s close. We´re an all girls folk band calllled......The Hermonicas. Like Harmonica plus Hermana? Basically it´s one of the best moments of my life thus far. 

That´s all I got.


Hermana Mills

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

In which Tory disappears, to the great anxiety of her mother...

Where is Tory? "I dunno?" but we'll stick to the assumption she is still in el ccm. We haven't received an e-mail today,but there was no horrible phone call either so.... Therefore here is a video giving a short summation of all we know about Hermana Mills for this week.