jueves, 13 de febrero de 2014

So much to say, too lazy to write it all....

So, it's been over a month, how is that possible?  It's possible because some days are so incredibly busy they just fly by and some weeks are the same.  We have had that kind of month so far, this week, finally a couple of days to catch my breath.  Not Jerry, though, he won't get a chance to exhale until July 1, 2016.  He doesn't really like to catch his breath, he's always got more on his plate than a human can possibly do, but he's determined to try because he isn't really into breathing all that much.

After Christmas, we geared up for the biggest group of incoming missionaries so far, twenty.  Combined with the fact that only 6 went home (we really do not like that part as I've mentioned before, though facebook is a wonderful thing and its fun to stay in touch with our missionaries at home, whether home be here in Mexico, Latin America, or the U.S.)  Don't worry kids, now I have lots more people to fb stalk.  Getting more missionaries than leave makes the transfer even more complicated as new areas must be opened to the extra companionships.  While in the States you would never hear of a ward or branch that didn't have a set of missionaries, or at least one for every builiding, not the case here.  So, which areas to open, finding housing (which our district leaders and zone leaders are quite adept at) and then deciding who goes where is a crazy week or two.  Also in January the Mexico City Temple has closed for 18 months.  It's sinking.  Sinking not stinking, and they are having to do something with the foundation to keep it from falling apart.  Good news for our mission office as lots of couples who volunteered in the temple were looking for something else to do.  Jerry has a goal of only senior couples in the office so our full time missionaries can do what they do best and teach people interested in the Gospel.  Since we haven't quite reached that goal we have two very capable new office Elders.  Elder Faz and Elder Uchytill, they just replaced Elder Martinez and Elder Olsen who were so good at keeping things organized and moving along that El Presidente had a hard time letting them go.  Poor Elder Martinez has been in the office since we arrived in July.  I'm pretty sure he feels like he just got let out of prison.  Elder Olsen is so amazing that whenever I would ask him about something, it was already done.  But, he is having some amazing success now that we set him free also.  I miss both of their faces, but still get to see them regularly.  It was tougher still to release one of our assistants, Elder Tovar.  El Presidente was seriously crying about this and needed some hand holding to send him back in the field.  He gave him a district with only sisters, hence a new nickname "Brigham".  While I'm on the subject of nicknames, it has been necessary to give several elders nicknames as we have multiples with the same last name.  Our new assistant Elder Perez has a cousin in the mission, yes, also Elder Perez, so the one that is not the assistant is now code named Primo (cousin for you non Spanish speakers)  We actually have another set of cousins, both last named Smith and if that wasn't complicated enough we just got another Smith in this last group of new missionaries.  Sometimes Jerry has to explain them to me, some are easy, such as Tall Elder Parker (we have three elder Parkers).  So the other day, Jerry asked his assistants what nickname the Elders have given him....yeah, they haven't fessed up yet, but come on, we all know he has one, right?

The next week was Interview week, well actually more like 10 days, this time I went with Jerry to all of the zones but the last one and spent the day getting to know all of the missionaries better, it was a great chance to practice Spanish, much to the amusement of most of our missionaries.  They forgive me because I bring them brownies.  We've talked alot about the parable of the talents, I've come to realize I really only have one, and it's baking, and it opens lots of doors and lots of mouths.  Nuff said.  The days are long but filled with lots of funny and sweet moments as I get to know them one by one.  

So, two weeks after this huge group we get an email, hey we have to advanced Spanish students, so in two days will you be at the airport to pick them up from Provo.  One sister, Sister Robinson from Murrieta, and the now tallest elder in the mission at 6'7" Elder Andersen from Alpine, Utah.  He has been a luger since the age of 11, on the national team.  Why did I think someone that did that would be small to get around those turns?  Most definitely wrong.  They are both great.  In her first letter home, Sister Robinson told her parents that they have an interesting way of heating water for a bath....they fill a bucket with water, then turn on their iron and drop it in the bucket.  Needless to say I got an email that night from her parents.  As sister Kusch from the Cuernavaca mission said, "Really I couldn't make up the stuff that they do".  As the daughter of an electrician I have a healthy respect for electrocution and made a call to tell them to stop that and that our senior couple that is in charge of housing would be over to figure out what is wrong with their water heater, they do actually have one.  I suggested heating water in their microwave would be a safer alternative to electrocution.  The next day at our monthly leadership council I asked if other missionaries were doing this.  About 18 sheepish faces looked back at me, then one elder told me that yes, lots of them did.  Did being the operative word I hope.

Last Wednesday all of the Mission Presidents and their wives flew into Mexico City for the bi annual mission presidents seminar.  Wednesday night through Friday afternoon.  We all stayed at the Marriott connected to the airport, it's really handy that it's attached, nice job on that location Marriott international.  Dinner Wednesday night was fun, met everyone that I didn't meet in October when it was held in Huatulco, and I was in SLC in the hospital.  Made some funny connections with friends of friends, saw friends that we came out with and was looking forward to the next day.  3:30 am I wake up with the stomach flu.  Jerry had it on Monday and Tuesday don't know why I thought I wasn't gonna get it.  Oh, I know, cuz I had a flu shot.  Epic fail, or maybe there are different strains here than in the US where I got the shot.  It did save me from having to give the prayer at the opening session (and yes everything is in Spanish, they do have a translator for some of the women that are still learning the language but I am to stubborn to use them)  So the second day we have a morning of meetings with Elder Oaks (a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for my non lds friends) Elder Christensen a member of the presidency of the Seventy (who actually set me apart for this calling) and their wives along with Elder Johnson, Elder Valenzuela, and Elder De Hoyos from the Area Presidency here in Mexico (who we know already quite well)  It was a great morning, I still felt a little queasy, passed on the lunch but met some more of the other presidents and wives.  Fun meeting a pair of sisters from Mexico who are both serving with their husbands as Mission Presidents.  They both speak really good English and we had a great time getting to know them.  One of them has Cabo in their mission (just a little jealous not gonna lie) and the other is in Merida, so they have the Carribean.  They argued throughout lunch about whose home town was cooler Quertaro or San Miguel de Allende.  We have a date to come and visit and settle the argument after our mission.  On Saturday, Elder Oaks and Elder Valenzuela and our Area Seventy Elder Miron (who is the greatest guy in the entire world, he and Jerry are the best of friends and I love his wife) with our mission and the Mexico City Sur mission which sent missionaries to help create our mission.  President Valadez and Sister Valadez were at the airport to meet us in July and are the nicest couple ever.  I know their old missionaries were so happy to see them.  So, we were on the program to speak, yep, maybe I didn't really have the stomach flu....and I thought I had to go first.  Ended up Jerry went first and then me.  One of the lessons I've learned is to prepare what you want to say, then have the faith that you'll say whatever it is that God wants you to say.  I have scriptures ready and a theme, but then I get up and rely on the the Holy Ghost to help me in more ways than one.  Speaking Spanish, I would never be able to convey my thoughts without Divine intervention.  So I spoke, I finished, evidently no great errors because the missionaries didn't laugh and I sat down.  I was so glad it was over.  Enjoyed the other talks immensely.  After the meeting was over, Sis Oaks came over and asked Sis Valadez and I if we would mind speaking in another meeting that afternoon, say what?  We both thought we were done for the day, but what are you gonna do and she said just a brief 2 min testimony.  As we are waiting for this meeting to begin Sis Valadez reaches down, picks up her iphone and flips to the stop watch, she holds it out to me and I do the same with mine, we smile and say at the same time "solamente dos minutos"  She's great, and even though shes fluent in the language she was not any more comfortable than I.  But the weekend wasn't over yet, we were asked on Wednesday night if we would both speak at a special missionary stake conference in our mission on Sunday morning.  We've spoken at several stake conferences, ususally a testimony is all they want from me, and that's fine.  But that morning there were more people in that building than I have ever seen in a church meeting.  No fire marshalls in Mexico  Every seat taken, the stage full, standing all along the sides, filling up the pews on the stand and every room full, and people left when there was no more room.  Elder Valenzuela was the main speaker and he and his wife did a great job (he spoke in last Oct General Conf in you want to look him up) And you could have heard a pin drop. I was just a little nervous but again Divine intervention and the words come that don't come when I'm just at the grocery store or talking to the gardener.  I always sit down wondering if anything I said made sense, and Jerry assures me that it did and does.  The Spirit teaches, we just have to live to have it with us.   Love these people here, they are faithful, humble, and loving.  I feel so blessed to hear their stories and see their lives change.  It was a long 5 days and I was tired on Monday, but not Jerry, he was up and out of the house to meetings all day at the office.  It's not easy living with the Energizer Bunny.  Good thing he knows I'm the weak link and doesn't expect me to keep his hours.  Love you all, miss you, if you see a weird phone number some day that starts with 55 it might be me so don't hang up!!

 Our whole mission (we think their might of been one or two still in the distribution center) after listening to Elder Oaks.  This is right behind the brand new temple visitor's center.

 New friends President and Sister Jordan and President and Sister Kusch (our closest neighbors in Cuernava)
 Our newest missionaries Elder Andersen and Hermana Robinson, yeah he doesn't blend either
Our latest consejo liderazco, our zone leaders, assistants, and sister leaders....all of them awesome

lunes, 6 de enero de 2014

I'm not going to get better at this....

So, what's my excuse this time?  Idk, but I'll use the holidays, new missionaries every 6 weeks, old ones going home, plus whatever else seems logical.  Also, the hip recovery is supposedly complete.  I hope I heard that correctly because at the 3 month mark I quit making Jerry put on my shoes and socks (only for exercising, I have been self sufficient while in missionary uniform with slip ons).  But I have been strictly obedient to the precautions because, well, having that hip pop out of the socket might be a real inconvenience here where I wouldn't even know where to go or who to call.  Anyway, who knew it would feel so good to just bend over and tie your own shoes.  

It really has been busy, of course Jerry is busier times 100 than me, but the November and December seemed to be busier than ususal.  We continue to receive new missionaries from both the Provo MTC and the Mexico City CCM.  The last group that was coming in December was quite the challenge.  Because of weather delays in the states, the North American missionaries (including our friend from the Encinitas 2nd Branch,  Elder Tadeo) arrived a day late at 12:30am.  Ususally the new missionaries come on Monday, have some training, receive their companions on Tuesday, then we have dinner with the departing missionaries who get up on Wednesday morning at 4am to go to the airport.  Well, with the delay we decided to take the departing missionaries with us to the airport, not like they were going to sleep anyway.  Normally they would stay with the assistants and leave for the airport at 4am...didn't seem that much different.  The group going home was full of really great missionaries, zone leaders, district leaders and just really obedient, so big shoes to fill for the arriving missionaries, which I have to say they have filled admirably.  I digress,  so after having the departing dinner at the mission home, I left the lady in our stake that helps me to finish cleaning up, threw some stuff in an overnight bag and hopped in the car for the drive to the office to pick up the missionaries luggage, then on to the airport, arriving about 11pm.  We had reserved two rooms at the Marriott for us and the three sister missionaries coming in from Provo as we didn't have a place to put them in the middle of the night and it's really not safe to be driving around Mexico City in the middle of the night.  The Elders were with our office Elders, Elder Olsen and Elder Martinez, who were taking them on a rented combi to their house where there is room for 20 elders to bunk down for the night.  Suffice it to say that neither the outgoing or incoming missionaries got much sleep.  The next morning we told our new sisters "that will be the nicest bed you sleep on the entire time you're here!"  Missionaries live a very spartan lifestyle, with single beds (which for our elders over 6'2" mean sleeping sideways and maybe with their feet hanging off, for two years).  Usually they say they work so hard and walk so much that it doesn't matter what they sleep on.  But finally the changes were done and then it was on to planning the Christmas Zone Conference/Christmas Party.

We had this ZC/CP on the 18th of December (I think) and my role in ZC is to give a lesson on some health related issue.  Well we didn't have a lot of time like usual, so Jerry told me to keep it simple.  The next day one of the Assistants who was here when we got here, and seriously kept us from going crazy those first couple of months, Elder West, was going home the next day.  He has a great claim to fame, he never lost work day in the mission field due to illness.  He said he was sick a couple of times but they were Pdays.  So I asked him if he would take a little time to share some tips on staying healthy.  I had a couple of tips of my own, and in the interest of time I asked him to translate for me, so I didn't waste precious time trying to find the right word.  We stand up together, and I have three simple things to talk about, 1. using soap when you shower (I know who doesn't?  evidently more people than I imagined) 2. flossing daily and 3. always carrying hand sanitizer and USING it!  So I stand up to start my spiel and I start speaking Spanish!  Whoops, totally accidental and all the missionaries start laughing and Elder West just smiles at me, like, Sister Crickmore you really are crazy.  I apologize and start over in English and let him translate.  We are doing this in both languages because we have gringo missionaries that have only been here a week and I want to make sure that they understand these three tips.  So I move to topic number 2, and yes you guessed it, started in Spanish again.  Now the funny thing is, I still don't speak very good Spanish, you can ask the Elders (funny side note, I was reading one of our missionaries blogs, after he left the field, and scrolled back to see what he wrote home about us when we arrived,  and Elder Janda you were so right, I didn't ever speak Spanish before we came to the mission) but I had to apologize again and have Elder West do the translation.  Good thing I'm so used to making a fool out of myself, wasn't even embarassed.  After the shortened ZC we got down to the fiesta.  The years as YW president and Activities Committee chair came in handy.  We played "get to know you" (and yes in another life it would be called speed dating)  with them having one minute to talk to the missionary across from them, then I would make them move left or right and start again.  Lots of them had never done this activity and all of them met missionaries they didn't know.  We don't often have the whole mission together, and if we do, they usually are sitting quietly listening.  Not on this day, then we had the biggest white elephant exchange I've ever seen.  We told them they couldn't purchase anything, and some of them got very creative.  Very funny, also something that some had never done.  Then we ate, tacos al pastor as many as you wanted...yep no sit down for this mission, street tacos all the way.  We have a senior missionary couple and between she and I we baked about 30 dozen cookies.  I did brownies, sawdust cookies (thank you Dixie Crosby they were a hit) peanut butter cookies, and oatmeal cookies.  Sister Bird did an assortment and snickerdoodles.  You'd think we'd brought something exotic, they were all gone and I think the missionaries liked the homemade cookies more than anything else that day.

Jerry and his assistants had a great idea, as the work is kind of slow during the holidays with people out of town or with their families, to have every missionary do two hours of service for the week leading up to Christmas, then on Christmas eve day each zone met at the local Zocalo (or town center) and sang Christmas carols and hymns and passed out candy.  We went up to Ozumba and met up with the Volcanes Zone (yes it's named that because its next to the active volcano Popo) and sang and talked to people, it was really fun and lots of people gave referrals to the missionaries.  Our only problem was finding them as it was Tianguis, which is their open air market, and we had to get through the market to find the missionaries.  We of course were lost but luckily for us, were rescued by some members who were there and delivered to the Zocalo.  Of course we also got lost on the way out, and again rescued by other kind members who helped us find our car.  Always blessings when you're serving the Lord, I found a Christmas gift for Reid right next to where the missionaries were singing, and I had been looking for these items for several days with no success.  This year Jerry and I didn't buy any gifts for each other, and sent our children in the States gift cards, the ones that came down, Harper, Blair, and Malinda were going to pick out silver jewelry in Taxco the day after, but I had something else in mind for Reid.   If you know him this won't be a surprise, I wanted cuetes, or fireworks.  Yes they are legal here and right next to those missionaries was a stand with rockets of every kind, plus firecrackers, poppers, etc.  I think it might have been the best Christmas gift we ever gave him....and it's legal here!!!

Well it was great to have the twins and Reid and Malinda, not sure they felt the same since all three of the girls got the 24 hour flu, on different days, but we loved having them.  Reid can make anything a party, epic pingpong battles or basketball arcade games or cannon ball contests, plus trying not to blow himself up with the fireworks.  Lots of laughter and fun, and not one wrapped gift under the tree.  One of the highlights was Reid getting to meet one of our Peruvian missionaries.  Elder Alburqueque had visa troubles at the beginning of his mission and was serving in his hometown of...Piura, where Reid served.  Even crazier was that the full time missionary that Elder A served with first was the Reid's last companion, a brand new missionary that Reid trained the 6 weeks before coming home.  It was really fun to see them laughing and talking about people they new.  It really is a small world in Mormon culture sometimes.

I hope this year finds all of you healthy, happy, and prosperous.  We love these missionaries and the wonderful members here (we might still be lost in the Tianguis without them).  We're grateful for your friendship and love to us and our family.  

Con Amor


 Love these sister missionaries, Jerry dressed up in his bday finery from Elders Zufelt & Parker
 I forgot to mention we also had zone skits for Christmas, the biggest hams...Elders Hauser & Lauritzen
 Nothing better than buying your own Christmas presents in Taxco and seeing a giant poinsettia too
^ Saying goodbye to the departing missionaries is never a fun, but saying hello to our nuevos really is v

domingo, 17 de noviembre de 2013

hay muchas semanas, pues

 First mission tour from a GA two zones
 Popo last night
 Two weeks in recovery
 nobody cared when he threw them like baseballs
 Paige drove down for the day to cheer us up
 Maren, Easton, Jude and Hayley, pre-op leaf show viewing

Heber creeper Halloween ride....freezing
So, I haven't blogged, haven't even really been on our computer for over a month.  Yes mobile devices are amazing, so I haven't missed much in the world of instagram and facebook, but I think I should blog about real world experiences.  If you know me at all, you probably already figured out that I haven't been on my computer because I wasn't home (yep, Mexico is now home, officially) for a month.  Hmm and why was I gone?  Aren't you supposed to stay put, once you are on your mission?  Well it's sometimes more complicated than that.  I have been in Salt Lake City (so technically I never really went home, right?) having my left hip replaced.  So in the hip department, I have gone totally high tech, with both hips of the metallic variety.  Its a long and boring story as to why it happened now, suffice it to say that prescription pain relief is not as good in Mexico as in the U.S.  Also, according to the Area Presidency (the presiding Church leaders in Mexico) neither is the health care, hence flying to Salt Lake City to have the replacement done a the TOSH center.  Having already done this fun experience once, I was not all that excited for the repeat performance, away from home, without my husband and without a home to go to.  But, God works in mysterious and often miraculous ways and everything worked out fine and I am back in Mexico where I belong.  While in Utah, my daughter Hayley was also having a little surgery of her own, we "happened" to have them in the same week.  We argued over whose was worse, I still say hers and she still says mine.  But once she got out of the hospital three days after, what I think, was fairly serious and invasive surgery, she immediately collected me from the Rehab facility where i spent 5 days following the replacement.  Then we proceeded to have some serious "fun" bonding, healing, and living together for two weeks.  Hayley had a miraculous recovery, and then proceeded to take care of the very gimpy me.  Days never to be forgotten, huh, Hayley?  Shout outs to her very kind and generous roommates who could not have been sweeter, Kristina and Grace.  I was so blessed to get to know them, Hayley had great taste in roommates, and so many kind and generous friends who visited and brought food and company.  

The week before surgery Maren flew up with Easton and Jude and stayed in a hotel with me (they have to do blood work one week before, so after the blood work...just the waiting) and it was so great to see them.  Having lived so close since Easton was born, the hardest thing to leave behind was 3 day old Jude in July.  It was a "gran bendicion" to be able to see them for a few days, along with Paige, Anthony, Harper and Blair.   Someone asked me if Jerry was jealous, I said, "not jealous enough to want a hip replacement.  Poor Easton got so sick the first day there (first time to have croup) that we ended up in the ER of Children's Hospital that first day.  Hayley and I were having so much fun at doctor's appointments we wanted Maren and Easton to share in the fun...you know I'm seriously kidding.  He was such a trooper, not feeling well and still we did some fun things and I was so happy he still remembered me and that Jude liked me too.

I flew home, with a layover in Atlanta three weeks and two days after the operation.  Everything went well, I was even able to help the only Elder flying from SLC to Mexico City to enter the MTC there.  He was headed to Quito, Ecuador and was really nervous that he was all alone.  He was delighted to see 13 other Elders and Sisters in the Atlanta airport heading to the MTC also.  It made me feel right at home to help them on the trip.  Most of them had never been out of the country and so they were really nervous upon landing about customs and immigration, and having to speak Spanish to do it.  I reassured them that the people there would be able to speak English, but it was nice to be able to show them the bathrooms and where to get their luggage, how to go through, and then to find the MTC people outside in the huge group of people...hmm just like being back in the Mission.  None of those missionaries are staying in Mexico.  It's very interesting that all the North Americans that come to Mexico on their missions still go to Provo, but the native Spanish speakers all come to the CCM (MTC in spanish) in Mexico.  We got a missionary in the last couple of months from Spain, from the Mexico City CCM. We also got a sister from Colombia, I told her that one of my good friends from the Spanish Branch in our stake was from Colombia.  She is from Florencia and told me to send "mi saludos" to my friend, so Brenda, please tell your mom, thanks!  The doctors insisted that I take my hot pink crutches on the plane, mostly to keep people from knocking me over in the airport.  So glad I did, because we have and Elder that is now rocking those pink muletas (crutches) like nobody's business right now.  I will get a pic of that.

So it was a really busy week, I came home last Wednesday, to a house that had no electricity for three days (finally on Thursday evening it was turned back on...)  So the first order of business was to throw out all of the spoiled food in a chest freezer and the regular refrigerator.  Jerry had been home only to sleep and had used candles, but the first night he had to canvas the neighborhood for some matches, oops, had candles but nothing to light them with...almost prepared  Luckily I had a couple of flashlights from home, one that you wind (love those, never run out of batteries) and he used those to find his way to an inhabited home where they kindly gave him a lighter.  Friday was spent buying groceries and doing laundry, electricity is a beautiful thing.  Saturday morning we left the house about 10am, our first missionary couple was arriving at the airport in the afternoon, we wanted to check their apt before picking them up so we could see what they would need.  Then to the aiport, met the Birds from Taylorsville, took them to Walmart for some groceries, then headed to Estaca Solidaridad for their Adult session of Stake Conference.  Elder Pino of the First Quorum of the Seventy was there to call a new Stake President.  Small Mormon world story, he was the Area President over half of South America (Church Authorities that run the Church in different areas of the world) with Elder Waddell as his second counselor until a few months ago.  He also knows President Dyer as he was over the Bogota CCM as part of his area.  He said he was glad to know that not all the ex-presidents of the Del Mar Stake are really tall.  Ok, guess it was only funny if you were there.  We got home about midnight and were back in Stake Conference (an hour and a half away from the mission home) the next morning at 9:30am.  The new stake president had called a bishop from one of the wards as his new counselor.  Bishop Galicia's wife was in Provo when Jerry and I were doing language training last year, we met to hear about Chalco, one of the tutors knew her daughters (three were in Provo studying at either BYU or UVU)  She was so gracious to meet us and tell us about her part of Mexico, she was there to help her daughter who was about to get married.  I had met her sister, who was in a different Stake and ward a couple of months ago, but still hadn't seen her until the Saturday night session.  It was so fun to see one familiar face!!  And then the next day her husband was called into the Stake Presidency.  Great family.  Then on Wednesday we had our first mission tour by Elder Valenzuela of the First Quorum of the Seventy.  He is a member of the Area presidency here in Mexico.  We had already met him at the Mission Presidents seminar, but it was fun to meet his wife.   He was accompanied by our area Seventy, Elder Miron, who we have had the opportunity to work with already.  He is an amazing teacher and he and his wife have the greatest senses of humor.  He asked them to be the investigators for some missionaries to practice on....they should really break into the theater. The tour lasted until Saturday afternoon.  The first night both couples drove down and stayed with us....but said it was too far and didn't come the other two nights.  hahah, that long trip with Jerry driving is enough to scare anyone off, he's training to be a Combi driver when we are done here.

So this is long and not very exciting, I will include some pics.  Anyone that follows my instagram is finding out that I am just a little obsessed with the Volcano Popocaetl that I can sometimes see from my bedroom window.  When I get a clear pic, I take it, some are better than others.  But if you don't get to see the ocean when you wake up, checking the local volcano is a close second for good times! 

Of course we miss our family and friends, but life is busy and exciting and ever changing here in Mexico, it's almost been 6 months and that's unbelievable.  It is a four day weekend here (I don't have any idea why) and the house next door that is a vacation rental and is usually rented is partying like there's no tomorrow.  A bunch of guys with a lot of alcohol and really loud music are in residence.  I heard them the first night but last night I was too tired (and earplugs help) but Jerry heard them all night.  We thought maybe that would mean they would sleep all day, but no such luck. I think they took a short nap from 6am to 10am and then were back at it.  We have private security people in this development (think Rancho Santa Fe Security) and this morning I happened to see one across the street.  I told Jerry and he walked over and was told they have a noise policy (Hallelujah) and that if they were still partying hearty at 11pm to call and they would shut them down.  Hmmm sometimes it really is just like home here!


sábado, 5 de octubre de 2013

It was exactly a year ago today....

A year ago today Jerry and I were sitting in the office of Elder L. Tom Perry in Salt Lake City, having an "informal interview".  I think when you sit in the office of a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles there is nothing informal about it.  Anyway, when I started this blog, it should have really started on that day.  For those who aren't members of our Church, getting a call to visit with a one of the General Authorities of our Church is a rare and uncommon occurrence.  We were very surprised when his secretary called and asked if we were planning to come to General Conference (a Church wide conference held twice a year in April and October).  We actually were planning on going up to Salt Lake and taking Harper and Blair to General Conference as they had never been in person, only watched on tv like we mostly do.  Probably we were less nervous about this interview as Elder Perry and his wife had been in our home for dinner the previous January after attending our Stake Conference.   The interview was an interesting one, many questions were asked, one of which was on a scale of 1-10 how well to you both speak Spanish?  Jerry went first and said, "oh about a 4, maybe" I turned in my chair and looked at him and said, "I am only maybe a 2, but he is probably a 6, at least"  Because Jerry served his mission as a young man in the Boston Massachusetts Spanish mission, he didn't think his Spanish was as good as his contemporaries that went to Latin countries.  The thing I knew, is that he had continued to use his Spanish after his mission, when travelling or at work, or in Church callings.  I knew that he wasn't as fluent as he wished, but that he could easily get along well speaking Spanish as I had seen him do it for almost 35 years.  The visit was over and Elder Perry said, "well this was just an initial interview, if you are to be called as a Mission President you'll hear sometime between November 1 and December 31, so go home, relax and if you don't hear you're off the hook."   Um, somehow we couldn't really "relax" wondering if our entire life was about to change or not.  How grateful I am for this opportunity, this whole year has been one miracle after another allowing us to be here in Mexico sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and helping the 120 missionaries that we have stewardship for.  

So the last two weeks have been more than amazing.  After that first thirty minute lesson I gave in Spanish, in the next 8 days I repeated it 3 times a day for 4 more days, then we had two more conferences with our area seventy, Elder Miron, where he asked me to bear my testimony, which I also did in Spanish, trying to follow the Spirit and not write any notes.  I managed to be able to say what I wanted without too much fumbling.  When the Lord wants me to speak Spanish it comes out much better than when I just want to speak it.  But as the missionaries tell me, "Don't worry Hermana Crickmore, it's much better than when you got here!" and "Remember, poco a poco,  Hermana!"  They are my biggest cheerleaders.  They correct my errors, those that are bilingual will supply me a word when I can't remember it, and they are generally very patient with my old brain.  This might be the only time in my life when liking to talk a lot is actually helpful...they tell me that is the only way I will get better.  And so, the poor members patiently have conversations with me, also gently correcting me when I miss a word or a conjugation.  The best thing is that very few members speak any English, so its do or die!  And I'm determined to do.

We had the great opportunity to go to a baptisms last week of a young couple, with a 15 month old son.  At the same service a young girl of 11 was baptized, whose family are members but who had just recently started attending Church again after several years of not coming.   The family had been taught by our sister missionaries, encouraging them to come back to church, and they did and told us it felt like they had finally come home.  The young couple was an amazing story, I think Jerry told a little about them in his blog.  So I'll just say that she had been abandoned by her parents at the age of 10, with her 8 year old brother.  She started working in a bar at 12 to buy food for them, but they lived in the streets.  Her interest in the Church first came from two elders, five years ago, who smiled and waved at her every day as they passed her.  They never taught her, or even talked to her, but it was their small act of kindness in a world where she did not see much of it, that piqued her interest in who they were and why they were so happy.  One day a couple of months ago a pair of our elders walked past her window, she ran out and begged them to come in to teach her why they were happy and how she could be that way.  They made an appointment and came back that night when her husband was home and started teaching them. That first set of missionaries were transferred and the new missionaries that came to them were our first assistant, who will go home in December, and two missionaries, just off the plane from Provo, with very little Spanish, but great testimonies.  They finished teaching the couple,  practicing their Spanish, with the senior companion helping them through.  They prepared them for their baptismal night.  That night those two brand new missionaries were walking up and down the halls right before they baptized them, trying to memorize the prayer in Spanish.  They didn't want to make a mistake, they wanted it to be perfect for this young couple.  Our experienced elder baptized the young girl, last, after those two brand new missionaries took the their investigators into the font and performed the ordinance perfectly.  Right before performing the baptism, the three elders performed a musical number that didn't make them nervous at all, hopefully I will be able to load that video at the bottom of this.  That young woman, at the last minute wondered if she should be baptized.  She was afraid that she was going to make a mistake, lose her temper, or something like that.  It was a great opportunity to explain about the reason we take the sacrament each week, because God knows we won't be perfect, so we have the chance to repent every week and be forgiven, just as we did as we were baptized.  She was so excited to understand that none of us is expected to be perfect, its just our duty to keep trying to do our best.  It was so amazing to see this couple almost glowing with happiness after they were baptized.  She had found the happiness that she had been looking for, for almost five years.  

Yesterday we had our third Consejo Liderazco (leadership council), the first with our two new assisstants Elder Tovar, from the Mexican state of Hidalgo, and Elder Johnson, from Idaho Falls.  Our old assistants are both training new missionaries until they go home, one leaves this month and the other in December.  Our two new assistants are great, if I speak English to Elder Johnson, he replies in Spanish until I speak Spanish back. The leadership council was great, so much sharing and the Spirit was so strong.  They work hard and have a lot of responsibility, but they still have great senses of humor and truly love each other. One of our zone leaders asked if he could bring a pinata that he bought for 40 pesos (less than four dollars) and break it at the end, pic to follow, the funniest part was that Elder Buchanan had included with the candy some "notes".  One said, "an extra 12 hours on P-day from President Crickmore" or "200 pesos more on your card from President Crickmore" They were hilarious and each missionary that got one came over and said, "Gracias Presidente!" It just doesn't get better than getting to spend your days with these amazing young people.  I love the sister missionaries, for each council I have made cinnamon rolls.  So they asked me for the recipe.  I said, sure...haha, joke on me because while my copy of the recipe is in my head, and there aren't that many ingredients, I soon realized that I was going to have to translate not only the ingredients, but the instructions also.  It took me both back and front of a piece of computer paper to write it all down, and the use of my dictionary for almost the whole thing.  I mean, how do you say the dough should be soft and sticky?  The dictionary said suave y pegajosa. I told them to read through it and if they had questions they could call me.  I mean I had to draw diagrams because i couldn't even figure out how to explain it in english.  After the council we headed down to another baptism, a mother and her two daughters, they had been taught by the sisters, one of whom is going home this month.  It was very sweet.  One daughter was married, and the other is in her late teens or early twenties, so the entire young adult group from the stake sang a song.  They were already her friends, that was how she had come to study with the missionaries.  The sisters stayed after the baptism, but the two elders at the baptism were one of our former zone leaders who had another brand new missionary from Utah, we took them to dinner, and then home. First time I've been in a missionary apartment and I was very impressed, it was clean and neat, the beds were  even made.  The ceilings are much lower than at home, and both missionaries are tall, but the new missionary, Elder Parker is about 6'6", from Utah, he has to duck through doors and the bed is definitely not long enough, and yet when asked, he said, " I LOVE it here, every thing about it".  They are in a small pueblo with a dirt street in front of their home and very humble people.  What's not to love?

So this is a tome and I still didn't tell every good thing that has happened in the last two weeks.  I love the work, the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives for the better, its a privilege to work with these missionaries and the people of Mexico.  General Conference weekend is always amazing, and today was great.  At the mission presidents seminar and throughout this past year, we have met or talked to many of the general authorities that spoke today.  They are great men who have given their lives to sharing the Gospel and testifying of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, they are truly inspired of God.  I have a link on my wall to watch on the computer if anyone is curious about what General Conference is.  Tune in, you will certainly be given food for thought, and more.  Shout out to the Canady's, can't thank you enough for your generosity.  Also a big thank you to the Encinitas ward YM/YW, thank you for the notes, it was really fun to read all of your comments...Sis Guinn, the answer to your question is he was meant to drive in Mexico.  Love you all and thank you for your prayers for our family and the missionaries everywhere.   Vaya con Dios hasta nos vemos.         Janna

               No video, but they are practicing their medley, one song in English and one in Spanish
 Cindy and Cristofer on their baptism day
 Zone conference in Solidaridad with Elder Miron and his wife

This last pic is the end of our leadership council, they're all great!

lunes, 23 de septiembre de 2013

Todavia nueva....

So I fail at doing this weekly, but then I talk to my family every week, does that count?  Senior couples and mission presidents get to talk as often as they want to family and friends.  When the elders and sisters hear that we've done something, like watched a tv show or gone to a movie (oh wait we haven't done that) El Presidente tells them that he already did his mission almost 30 years ago, when they're our age they will have different rules too :)  They really just love to give us a hard time, imagine with our personalities people wanting to give us a hard time...oh, not that hard to imagine is it? 

Ok, so in the Mission President's Seminar they had one class that was entitled "the First 100 Days"  We just got a copy of all of those sessions and I pulled that out to listen to it.  I said to Jerry  "We're way past that aren't we?"  He looked at me and shook his head.  I've always been bad at math, hahaha.  It's just that if feels like we've always been here now and it's only been, idk, that would require math and I just know from his look it's not 100 days.  Still doing lots of firsts.  Like this last Saturday and tomorrow through this Saturday we have our first Zone Conferences.  And, you wonder, did I speak at it for longer than 5 minutes?  The answer to that is yes, three 40 minute classes, is my wonderful Spanglish.  But they got it, good thing we teach with the help of the Holy Ghost, because seriously there is no other way I could teach about a new booklet coming out for forty minutes in Spanish without divine help.  I so love the missionaries.  I'll be fumbling along, for sure using the right verbs with the wrong conjugations, until I hit a wall and don't know the next word.  When writing I have this handy translating app on my phone (which is aaaammmaaazing when studying everyday).  But I can't really just stop the class and say, "un momento" while I look up the word.  Lucky for me all I have to do is say "Elder, como se dice....." and one of our amazingly bilingual missionaries supplies the word, with the correct pronunciation, and off I go mangling the beautiful Spanish language some more.  I start the session with excuse my poor Spanish and end with, thank you for your patience with my poor Spanish.  Ah, it's a kick, and if I can give them a good laugh while they still learn the material, all the better.

So, some of you may know that I had a little side trip to Utah last week.  about 6 days.  Evidently I have finally worn out my second natural hip, and the Area Presidency thinks it better and faster to ship me to SLC for it.  They don't mess around, Jerry came home at 4pm on a Tuesday night telling me that I was going.   And he wasn't kidding, I was on a 10am flight on Wednesday and having a consult with the hip replacement specialist at intermountain healthcare on Thursday morning at 9:45.  It was really good timing for some other reasons to be in SLC.  Really another few milagros happened to me that few days.  So I will be under the knife on Oct 14.  The good news in all of it is that by waiting so long to have this done (yeah, my hip is popping out of the socket, guess it's time) they have a much better artificial hip than my other one.  hahah, the doc said this one will move better than a normal healthy hip.  Maybe I will take up gymnastics, I saw on the news the other night some 82 year old German woman competing in the senior olympics in gymnastics for the first time.  You know I'm just kidding....sort of.  While I was gone we got 19 new missionaries, 10 from the States and 9 from Mexico.  I met my first one at the first zone conference.  He is about 6'4 or 6'5 and has a poor bruised forehead.  He keeps running into the tops of doorways because they are so low.  We had a good laugh when he said he keeps thinking he's low enough, and then he's not.  Through the coming week I will get to meet them all.  I do know we have a new sister from Tijuana who loves basketball...perfect!!!

One other first was going to the doctor in Mexico today.  It's a sweet deal here for just run of the mill ailments (sinus and ear infection)  You just head down to your local pharmacy and the doc is next door, you don't pay her (yes so far I've met more female than male physicians here) she is paid by the pharmacy.  She checks you out (yes I did this all by myself, in Spanish, yo se, yo jactare) then tells you about your prescription, then she slides it through a little door, you thank her and walk around to the front of the pharmacy and pick up your meds.  They whole thing cost less than the cost of my co-pay for my doctor visits at home, and no appointment necessary.  I'm also now the proud holder of a tarjeta discuenta (discount card) for the Ahorra chain of pharmacies.  Totally tops CVS and RiteAid.  This whole excursion from walking into the doc to walking out with the Rx took 20 mins.  I'm a fan.

Well this is the first day of fall, officially and this is the first time I've seen the sun go down since we've been here.  It is usually raining this time of night.  I hope for the sake of the poor people in Acapulco that hurricane and rainy season are behind us.  The destruction there is unbelieveable and evidently the same is true of the Gulf Coast city of Tampico.  We're praying for the families that lost loved ones and for those that are homeless as well.  We truly love the people here.  They are so kind and warm and friendly.  You need directions, tips on places to eat, where to get the best fruits and vegetables...it doesn't matter, just ask a person on the street and they will give you great advice.  Never to busy to help someone out or even just to give an opinion.  The missionaries are amazing, full of faith, hard at work, and smiles on their faces.  It really is a privilege to be with them, and to share the Gospel with those that are prepared.  

Janna (or Juana as my husband tells everyone my name is!)

 CVS has got nothing on Farmacias del Ahorro, I'm official I have my own card
 Yes, it was Mexican Independance Day last week and we know have a flag, that's pretty official too
 Yes, I was in SLC, but it didn't feel like home, home is where the heart is and mine is definately in Mexico!

domingo, 8 de septiembre de 2013

una vez mas

So evidently Reid has become my conscious, yes that's scary isn't it.  Well, not as scary now that he's an upstanding citizen, married, returned missionary, college student with an end in sight.  Wow, I guess he can qualify now....who knew when he was making me crazy in high school he would be the one to tell me that I need to keep my blog up.  Anyway, I keep thinking that every week is kind of like the last, but it's not, there is always something or somebody new to write about, so here goes.  

A week ago Friday we took a P-day, and went to Cuernavaca to see more than the Costco (which is a beautiful sight, not gonna lie, a hot churro and some soft serve yogurt, yep, you get my drift).  Now the missionaries take P-days every week, but sometimes P-day for us is just for Jerry NOT to have to get in the car.  He spends so much time driving, getting lost, driving some more, then driving again.  Did I mention he spends a lot of his life in the car.  Its been a huge adjustment for a guy who could walk to his office for 21 years to drive over an hour to get there now.  While some things can be done here at home (we have an Elder Lauritzen, from California, who is a computer genius and can help him with anything by logging on in the office, whether hes in his car with his smartphone or at home) lots of things with the missionaries and the local leaders are only effective face to face.  So he drives...a lot.  So I digress, we did take a little trip to Cuernavaca, it's only about 45 mins if you don't get stuck behind a slow truck.  We actually live in the Cuernavaca mission here in the mission home lest you think we're sneaking our of our mission all of the time, those rules don't apply to mission presidents evidently since we don't even live in our mission.  Anyway, I will post some photos of beautiful Cuernavaca.  It reminds us a lot of Costa Rica, very lush and green, but not that humid.  We found the Centro, and toured the centro, the museum there that was built over the top of an Aztec temple by the Spanish.  One way to change the culture quickly.  They are excavating around the fortress (which is what the museum is in) and finding archaeological things from 500 years ago.  I like that stuff and so does Jerry, luckily for Harper and Blair we did this after they left.  We also visited a incredibly gorgeous botanical garden (another interest that the twins are not at all interested in, think of them sitting in the cafeteria at Kew Gardens in the spring, cuz they were bored, yep true story)  It was started as the home of Senor Borda who was French and also founded Taxco.  It's huge and gorgeous and they have built an outdoor ampitheater around one of his ponds that is so beautiful.  It was a great day and ended with a trip to Costco, of course, only place with bagels that we've found and, I mean you can only go so long without bagels.  Weird because they don't sell chocolate chips (a big shout out to my sister in law Teri for sending the heaviest box of every kind of chocolate we could want including to huge bags of chocolate chips...the missionaries are so happy when Jerry shows up with baggies of homemade chocolate chip cookies in his briefcase, actually any cookie will do, but I thing choco chip is the fav)

While we were eating lunch in Cuernavaca we saw a group of people with t shirts on that had photos on them.  On the back were the words Los Desparecidos.  Translation is the lost ones.  Kidnapping is still a huge problem here, we talked to them afterwards and the pictures were family members that were kidnapped and they never found out what happened or saw them again.  It was a huge range of people from young girls to older men, to everything in between.  No small children that we saw.  These people were not all wealthy and really some had no idea why there loved ones were targeted.  Later that week we saw on the news that it was a nationwide movement which was using that week to bring more attention to the problem.  It is incredibly sad.  I know this happens everywhere, but I've never personally met anyone that this has happened to so it became much more real to me to meet these families.  Que triste.

This past week we had our third leadership council and got three new missionaries from the CCM here in Mexico City.  They are headed for Argentina, but they're visas have not come through yet, I met the one elder at church today, we talked about it a little (he is Mexican and from Monterrey, Elder Meza) and I asked if they have the same problem with Mexican nationals going to Brazil, because I know at home its a big problem.  He said Argentina is the only Latin country where they need a visa, all they need is a passport for Brazil.  Que interesante.  We attended the two wards that meet right next to our office and the first was so packed that the missionaries had to stand to give up their seats.  The second was not nearly as crowded, but the Bishop in that ward gave an amazing talk, yes, I understand the talks in Spanish, just don't ask me to give one sin notas.  Also a young man in the second ward spoke, he returned from his own mission two weeks ago...also a great talk and he still looked just like our missionarys, sin placa.  I have a much easier time speaking to the members, even joking a little about my poor spanish.  I always ask them to please let me practice on them!!  They so graciously allow me to butcher their language.  

This week we are preparing for 20 new missionaries coming next week.  It also means saying goodbye to many of the missionaries that have been our leaders, and consequently helped us so much in the past two months.  We will miss them greatly as they have been great examples to our new missionaries and have worked hard til the very end.  Its a testament to their devotion to have a brand new mission president with an entirely different style and focus, and yet they have done all that he's asked even though they could just say, what the heck I'm going home.  Some have worked even harder to help Jerry than they have previously, knowing he needed all of them.  We are losing our assistants to train the new missionaries this month and next, it will be hard, they really do become your own kids.  

Well this is long and rambling and I always think of something that I should have written that I didn't.  Suffice it to say that every day one of these amazing young men and women affect my life in some profound way as I learn their stories and their struggles to be here and their devotion to the Savior.  It's humbling in so many ways, and while I surely miss my children, and my grandchildren, I love these young people with all my heart.  You find your capacity to love continues to grow, just as it does as you have more children in your family.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is really all about love, His love, our love for Him and for all of our brothers and sisters wherever we are.  Espero que tengan un buen semana, mis amigos.


 Museo de Cuernavaca
 Los Jardines de Borda (also known as the Botanical Gardens)
 Consejo Liderazco  (losing some of these great leaders in the next month :(
Porvenir Capilla with Elder Martinez from Honduras (by me) and Elder Meza, 5 days in the mission and waiting to go to Argentina

domingo, 25 de agosto de 2013

No big deal

 Common sight on the side of every road
 this is half of our home ward building
 this is the other half of our ward building
 when you get to the parking story, this is the corner I was stuck in
This is the arch we go through on the way to church, built in the colonial era

Well, I skipped a week, its gonna happen and you didn't miss much.  Funny how there are really busy weeks in the mission field and then some that are not so busy for the President and me.  A week ago Saturday we took Harper and Blair to the Mexico City Airport.  First time I'd been back since we got here.  Unfortunately Jerry couldn't say the same thing.  The traffic is incredible in and around the City and the airport is no exception.  The other time Jerry went was only a few days into our mission when he was sending a very sick elder home.  He said that it took them a couple of hours to go what should have taken only 45 mins.  So we got up and left early not wanting the girls to miss their flight....well secretly I would have been ok with that, but they were anxious to get back to school and get settled, which meant for them a flight to Orange County where their Aunt Teri picked them up and gave them a place to sleep for two nights (and I hear a delicious dinner at Olive Garden, shout out to Teri!)  They had one day to pack the rest of the stuff in their car, go visit Maren and family, then that lovely drive to Provo.  Suffice it to say they didn't want to miss the flight.  Maybe because it was Saturday it wasn't as bad and we were there in plenty of time (they say to be at this airport 3 hours before an international flight here)  So we got to get some food and buy a little something for Easton and Jude and send them off.  Ok, not gonna lie, I cried, a lot.  Harper and Blair are a good time, always up for an adventure and because they were here we for sure took a few P-days and went and saw some cool stuff.  After having them home since the end of April, it's hard to give up the company again.  But they are so much happier, I mean really, who wants to hang out with their parents all summer and have no friends?  

So last week Jerry got caught up with a lot of paperwork, there was a transfer meeting last Tuesday and we got a visa waiter from the CCM.  That is kind of a funny story.  The new CCM here has way more North Americans than Mexicans in it according to our four new missionaries that we got a couple of weeks ago.  So Jerry gets this call, there is a Mexican missionary who is going to I think Colombia, but his visa isn't ready.  Which isn't surprising because he was probably only there a couple of weeks, since he's not learning the language.  So they call Jerry and ask really nicely if he would be able to accommodate a missionary for a short time.  So Jerry pauses, then says, "of course, we're all in the same Church right?"  Pretty sure that wasn't the response that they were expecting, but he then told them that he would be happy to have this elder for as long as they needed him to.  So there were transfers that day (they leave the Mexico City CCM early Tuesday mornings) and another sick missionary going to the airport, and his flight was at I believe 9:30am, which as I said above, meant he needed to be there at 6:30 am.  Well he and his companion came in from their area which is 2 hours from the airport to stay with the assistants for the night and it worked out really smoothly for them to take a taxi, drop the Elder at the airport, then pick up the elder at the CCM (its about another half hour past the airport, well maybe a half hour)  And at that hour of the morning, traffic wasn't too awful.  Jerry had given the sick elder his exit interview the night before and was waiting for the visa waiter the next morning at the office to send him off with the other transfers.  So we're wondering now if there are visa waiters in that CCM if we won't be receiving some of them now and again.  Hmm, maybe a missionary or two that we know from home.  Right now we know that there is an Elder Toolson and an Elder Mastergeorge there.  Soon to be an Elder Weeks.

I guess the lull before the storm is good, in a couple of weeks we say goodbye to 8 more elders and receive 20 new missionaries.  We will also have our first round of zone conferences and then there is a country wide conference of all the mission presidents and wives the first of October.  We'll take the lull while we can get it.  More of a lull for me than Jerry, seems he never really has a lull its either fast or faster for him, I guess in September it's hyper speed.

You might have heard in the news (I posted an article on my wall) about the young adults that were kidnapped from a club in Mexico City the end of May, well they believe they found their bodies buried behind a house in Chalco.  Chalco is a densely populated suburb, but also has some rolling hills and farmland on the outskirts...kind of like Riverside used to be. It was in the more rural area that they made this discovery.  So sad for those families, and really the police here are very tight lipped about things like this. Knowing that this stuff happens and it's not always in the news, we have been cautious about me and girls out and about too far from home without Jerry all summer. I mean, we don't really blend in now do we? (one of the things we were advised to try and do in our mission presidents seminar) The office elders won't even let me walk down the street to the OXXO which is kind of like an 7-11 (but unfortunately without the Slurpee machine, or any soda machine for that matter).  The missionaries don't seem to have problems, but we don't at this time have any North American sister missionaries.  But we are getting some in September.  While some of our elders have been robbed, (it's one of the reasons they don't want them carrying backpacks anymore because people think they have more stuff than they do with a backpack on) they never really have anything to take.  The last companionship that got robbed had a total of 20 pesos on them and the very basic model cell phone that the Church issues, which is not a hot item  like an iphone or Droid.  They told us that the robber looked really disappointed, and they weren't hurt in any way.  Maybe he'll spread the word.  Mostly they are left alone and none have been seriously assaulted.  I know that God protects these young people as long as they are obedient and cautious, and use common sense.  Three things kids that age are not really known for, so one more thing these kids have to learn.

So today I did my first solo trip to Church.  The girls and I have gone without Jerry, like being a stake president or bishop, Sunday is one of his busiest days.  So this is only the second time I've been to my assigned ward (or Barrio as we call it here)  It's a big ward and super friendly and today I was lucky because Elder de Hoyos, who is first counselor in the area Seventy (like a stake presidency but for the whole country of Mexico) was there with his wife whom we've already met.  They are here in the summer and she was kind enough to sit with me (her husband was on the stand) and show me where to go to Sunday School and Relief Society.  I really do understand almost everything that is said now, but gratefully they didn't ask me any questions in either class, both of which were standing room only.  Pretty interesting discussion in gospel doctrine, the teacher is a temple sealer and Elder de Hoyos was in attendance so the class members were asking some pretty deep questions, some of which I didn't understand.  But in RS the Young Women came in and conducted and we stood and recited their theme and I felt so at home, even though I can't say it as fast in Spanish as in English.  But the biggest news is that I didn't get lost on the way there or back, and didn't dent the other car, which is a miracle.  Why is not denting my car at church a miracle? Well the only other time I've driven, I dented the car for one, but for tow I got pinned in this time. When I came out, the other ward was there and someone had parked so close behind me that I didn't think I would get out.  I would probably still be there if a nice brother in the ward hadn't seen my predicament and come over and helped me squeeze out of the spot, seriously I couldn't have done it without him (and all I could think was "oh no, now I'm gonna dent our OTHER car, and someone else's too)  I think I would have just sat there and waited two hours for the other ward to get out.  I was so grateful that someone noticed my distress...and came to the rescue without being asked.  It's not just the members that are like this, everywhere we go the people in Mexico are happy to give directions, or opinions, or just help you out. I must look really confused all the time because it happens to me so much.

Well hopefully I will have much more interesting things to write about next week,  but I've found that being the wife of a mission president entails lots of waiting and that's ok, sometimes some pretty interesting things happen while you're "waiting" for something else.  Thanks to all of you for your prayers for us and our family, and the emails and texts of kindness and support.  It really is nice to hear from home, I know why the missionaries are so excited for letters now.