Also to respond to some of Mom's questions... On a everyday basis we just walk. There are a couple of areas in the mission that have bikes because they are way out in the middle of nowhere but there aren't any areas within the cities that use bikes. We use buses or taxis that follow the same bus routes to go to district meetings once a week and other random stuff that we have like zone activities. For example, once I finish writing this email we are going to get on a bus to go to Miramar to watch "Valiente" better known as "Brave" in english for a zone activity. I guess if our mission president authorizes movies we can watch them for zone activities. So I'm not sure how much I will understand of it. I'm guessing not much unless they start using churchy vocab cause thats about all that I have mastered right now haha.
This past saturday we had exchanges and our district leader Elder Barrett came over to my area for the day. It was really really fun to be able to actually have a conversation with someone. Elder Barrett is from SLC and went to BYU before his mission too so we had a lot in common to talk about. It was really good to be able to talk about some of the things that I had questions about, such as things that I thought were rules but didn't really know how to ask in spanish to clarify, so it was really good to be able to ask about things in english and be able to be 100% sure that I was understanding what was going on. I had been frustrated with a few things regarding obedience and just following all the rules so it was really good to be able to ask some questions and get feedback from someone who was also really trying to follow all the rules. Here within the mission and I guess within all of mexico at least, if you try to follow all of the rules and such, you are labeled a "fari" - short for pharisee or something. So it was just good to be able to talk with another missionary who is doesn't really care about all the stupid titles and is trying to be obedient.
This week has been a little bit harder because alot of our appointments have been falling through and some of our investigators haven't been keeping their commitments but its also easier because I feel like I can understand alot more of what people are saying around me and I feel I can speak alot more than I could before. The people that I couldn't even tell that they were speaking spanish before because they speak so fast are now seeming like they are actually speaking spanish and I can understand the words even if I don't know what they mean. So thats always a good thing. :) Also in church yesterday I surprised myself when in one of the elders quorum lessons, the teacher called on me with a question and I just answered it without hesitating and was able to talk for a good 2 minutes of what my thoughts were on a passage of scripture. Its always fun to be able to see my progress and recognize the difference.
Because of mom's email last week, I also starting reading Jesus the Christ as part of my personal study and holy smokes, why hadn't I started reading it before?? I'm a couple hundred pages in already because during all the little free times I have had I have just been reading it and I can't put it down. Its really cool to see the insights on different events and little details of the scriptures surrounding the life of Jesus Christ and in regards to who He is. Its really amazing to me how much I can learn about the atonement and about how much Christ loves us by serving others and teaching others about Him. There are days when I am super tired and just can't wait to be done walking around in the broken roads dodging dog poop every step, but as soon as we are in a lesson and teaching with the Spirit, I regain that energy, excitement, and appreciation about the atonement and don't worry so much about myself and my little issues anymore but instead focus on how we can better share the message and hope of Christ.
The biggest issue we have here with investigators in that people aren't married. Some simply out of a lack of desire to go spend the around $80 to get it done and others just can't without huge amounts of money because they don't have paperwork that they need or other reasons. It makes me so grateful that I have a family that is sealed in the temple and that I have been raised by parents who are trying their best to follow Jesus Christ. I am constantly reminded of how blessed that I am and how grateful I need to be as I meet lots of different people in really tough family situations.
As we teach different people all of the different lessons, I am often surprised at how often I find myself saying that a certain principle of something is simply because God loves us more than we can even begin to understand. Its really neat to me that sometimes we struggle to see the reason behind a commandment or struggle to understand why something has happened, that it all boils down to the fact that our Heavenly Father loves us and thats that. I love the scripture in 1st Nephi when he is speaking with the Angel about the vision of his father and the Angel asks him a question that he doesn't know, and Nephi simply responds, I don't know but I know God loves all of His children. I love this example because if everyday we remember that we are literal children of our Heavenly Father and that He loves us, than all of the little issues of understanding seem to fade in importance and we are able to trust in the fact that because He loves us, everything that happens is for our good in the long run.
I'm so grateful for all of you and am so grateful for the example you are to me!