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 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 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.


lunes, 12 de agosto de 2013

It's always good to try new things....

Can't believe another week has gone by.  Reid used to tell me this when he wrote from the mission field, but they do truly fly by, so much to do and think about all the time.  So last week I posted a pic of our first brand new missionaries and a couple of days ago on the Church did a story on the new Mexico City CCM (CCM is Missionary Training Center in Spanish)  and lo and behold our brand new elders are both in the video.  One of the, Elder Luis is featured prominently, but our other one is also in the video if you watch it when they talk about Elder Luis returning to his former school they show him walking with another elder, yep, that's our Elder Nava.  So that was a pretty cool thing, and shout out to Cami Bingham who saw it and recognized them and posted the link for me.  In September we are scheduled to get 20 new missionaries at once...that feels crazy!   We also have a senior couple coming in November which will be so welcome.  There is so much work to be done here in fellowshipping and strengthening wards.  There is a ward here that has a bishop that has been serving for 19 years...that is not a typo.  3 years as branch president and 16 years as bishop.  The ward is full of strong women but short on faithful priesthood holders.  But a great spirit in the ward.  Which leads me to talk about something that I forgot to talk about last week.  Testimony meetings here are so amazing.  We've been to two so far in different wards and stakes and in both of those meetings every single person bore pure testimony.  From the teenagers to the elderly, it was the same.  The Spirit was so strong in both meetings and I still don't even understand every single word.  It is amazing to be in them.  

Tuesday night we hosted 7 missionaries who have honorably finished their missions, plus the assistants and our family.  I did burgers and watermelon, chips and brownies for dessert.  I actually made the burgers by hand so they would be better.  It was a very simple meal but all of the elders loved it.  They couldn't believe I had even found pickle relish for their burgers, some of the north american elders said they hadn't seen that in two years.  We had three Latin Elders, one going home to Peru, and two to other places in Mexico and they loved it as well.  Hamburgers are evidently hard to find here.  We had a great evening, they had their testimony meeting in the morning at the office and their interviews, so we had a ping pong tournament and had lots of socializing before saying goodbye.  For the record, I am never going to be good at this goodbye thing.  So, since we're talking about food I will tell you that we had some firsts this week.  Jerry ate rabbit for lunch with some elders near the office...yep, I missed that one, but I think I'm gonna get another chance.  He said it was ok, that from the man who was such a picky eater when we got married.  Then on our pday we took the twins to Taxco (kudos to Luis Perez for the tip) and it is an amazing town to visit.  I didn't know that it was settled by a French man named Borda, not the Spanish, and his son was a Catholic Priest so he built him a huge Cathedral (pic to follow)  Knowing we didn't have a lot of time we found a native to show us around and Carlos was great.  We told him we wanted to eat something that was a specialty in Taxco.  So, he led us down into the town market place that is a warren of aisles filled with everything from cups of pomegranate seeds to rough gemstones to gorgeous flowers.  He said pozole is a specialty, but you can't get it until after 1pm.  Well, we're Crickmores and we were hungry at noon and we couldn't wait, so he told us another specialty was barbacoa...or barbeque.  Ok, that sounded great and he took us to this little stall in the market place named Barbacoa de Chivo.  We loaded our plates up and ate great tacos ( I even had a jalepeno in mine).  Well I had no idea until we instagrammed it that Chivo is the name for goat in spanish (well my dictionary says kid, as in baby goat).  Maren asked us if we had eaten goat tacos, and evidently we did, and they were really good.  Sometimes its best to not know ahead of time.  My mom was a great believer in that...making something with secret ingredients she knew we would never eat if she told us.  So another first, and I would return to Barbacoa de Chivo again.

We had a great consejo de liderazgo (leadership counsel) this week also.  There were a lot of changes in companionships the week before and so about half of the council was different than last months.  I can't really talk about what was discussed their, yet, but I can say that it was clear that those zone leaders and sister missionary leaders were inspired by revelation as to what they should teach to each other.  The message that Jerry had for them was also something that had taken much thought and prayer and all of the teaching blended beautifully so that all of the leaders were completely on the same page at the end of the meeting.  We have some amazing young people to work with and watching and listening to them teach each other reaffirms that to me.

So, I'm still not a big fan of driving here, but I feel pretty good about it during the day.  My real test came last night.  Jerry was coming home late from a meeting an hour and a half away, part way home he realized that because of the traffic (there was a really bad accident) he was going to run out of gas.  He would have been ok if the traffic had been normal.  Well, he discovered that he had left his wallet at home in the other car and he had no money and no credit card.  So the girls and I got in the other car and drove a half hour away to where he was sitting in the Pemex station.  Yes I got lost, but only once and for only a few minutes.  We found him, handed him his wallet and turned around and drove home, all of us arriving safely about 10:30.  For me a small miracle, because the road that we had to travel is under construction and they are always changing which lanes are open and which aren't and there are no lights on the road (four lane toll road) and I really, really, don't like driving it after dark. (lots of big tour buses on the road that late also) But the twins are fearless and with them telling me it's no big deal, I could do it, I did.  Now this sounds really wimpy, but you just have to take my word for it that driving at night down here is not a good idea or a fun idea. I was so grateful that we all got home safely and am always happier to leave the driving to Jerry.  

One other observation.  Before we came, I had no idea that this part of Mexico was so incredibly green and lush.  I mean I new that it was that way far to the south but not here.  It is absolutely beautiful, they grow lots of corn close to where we live, but on the way to Taxco near Cuernavaca, they had fields of sugar cane and roses, which were for sale by the side of the road...50 to a bunch, for four dollars.  Yep, you read that right.  The road to Taxco was really beautiful and the city itself is very cool, we still haven't seen old Cuernavaca (only the Costco) that's for another day.  It reminds me a lot of Costa Rica or Central America, but without the high humidity.  The state of Morelos is especially beautiful.  It's fun getting to see parts of Mexico that we had never visited, and to see what a beautiful country this is.  Viva Mexico!

 Lunchtime fun at the consejo liderazgo
 Catedral de Taxco 
 Eating goat meat...yummm
 pomegranate eating without the muss or fuss
 one more week left^ going home v

lunes, 5 de agosto de 2013

Who would guess that I would get a text message from Reid asking where my blog post was?  MMM, tables have definitely turned.  Well I knew that today would be good, so I didn't want to post until it was over.  And how did I know it would be good?  Because we got our first brand new missionaries that were specifically called to our mission.  We had some new missionaries when we got here (they had one week in the mission field) but they were called to one of the two missions that we received parts of, to make the Mexico City Chalco mission.  So these were the first ones to actually receive a call letter to our particular mission.  And they are the first out of the brand new CCM in Mexico City.  We got two sisters and two elders, all Mexican.  They come from Tampico, Veracruz, Puebla, and Oaxaca. They are awesome, one of our sisters is the first 19 year old sister missionary in our mission.  Lots of firsts.  For those that don't know about the CCM, it is like the training center in Provo, and was created from what was a LDS high school in Mexico City.  One of our new sisters and one of the elders had been going to school there, and just stayed when it switched to be a CCM.  So, it was an interesting day, they are young and excited and well prepared.  After some training, our assistants had this great idea to walk them out into the city center and do a little street contacting, after demonstrating some ways to ask people questions, or answer there questions if they were interested.  Jerry, Harper, Blair and I went with Elder West and the two sisters, and Elder Milner took the two new Elders.  We were gone for about 45 minutes, and I actually got my first referral.  I started talking to a young man working in a cell phone store, just making conversation in my pretty terrible spanish, and we just sort of hit it off, I told him I was just learning Spanish and he said he was trying to learn English, so I told him that reading the Book of Mormon in both languages at the same time had really helped me learn what little I knew.  Elder West could see that I had him talking, and I knew that I couldn't say all that I wanted to, so he came over and got in on the conversation and we found out that the young man was actually already a member but was not coming to Church.  Well Elder West told him that if he would come to Church and use the things they would teach him, that God would help him with his studies.  And the elders in the area have an appt with him on Sunday afternoon, to bring him an English Book of Mormon and talk to him about other questions that he has.  The sisters went back with three contacts and gave away two Books of Mormon.  I told them that this was my first time too, so we could be nervous together, but the Lord in his mercy, knows we are there to do his work, and the nervousness evaporates and the Spirit helps you know what to say and who to talk to.  It was an amazing experience and we have 10 amazing sister missionaries that are gonna see a lot more of me in the next few months.

I spend a lot of time baking things or cooking for the missionaries, I kind of think it might be the only thing that qualified me for this calling (I mean Jerry for sure had the qualifications, and the missionaries love him, because he has fun and still gets things done, he had his own amazing story today, but that's for him to share)  So of course I had to make dessert for the new missionaries and the office elders.  They love the peanut butter swirl bars, and they seem to come out ok even with the pretty bad oven and the ingredients that are not quite the same.  But it makes me more than happy to have them like them so much that one sister that came in asked me for the recipe and would they be hard to make....and the one of the new elders who speaks very good english told me that they were addicting.  mmm, he is probably right about that.  So tomorrow we have 7 elders going home which means they are coming to dinner, with the assistants.  The weather here is so gorgeous that we are going for the american backyard bbq theme (i can't help thinking of those zone conferences with Kari Porterfield and her fun lunches that always had a theme, I can't quite match it but I'm gonna work on it here)  We have tables and chairs for the back yard which has huge covered porch (where nightly pingpong battles occur) and a gas bbq and another little covered area with a regular table and chairs.  I tell you this, because it could very possibly be pouring rain and any given moment after 3 in the afternoon.  It is a rare 24 hours where we don't get a downpour sometime between 3pm and 4am.  I'm thinking about digging up some of the lawn and putting in a garden.  How great not to have to water it. Anyway its hard to see these first missionaries leave as we have just barely begun to get to know them...and so it goes.

The other highlight (this may be a bit tongue in cheek) was going last Wednesday into the middle of Mexico City to a huge government building to complete our resident application by signing who knows what and getting fingerprinted.  Driving into the middle of the city is no small feat from where the mission home is...about a 5-6 hour drive depending on the traffic.  We drove the hour and fifteen minutes to the mission office (poor Harper and Blair have learned to sit, and wait, and sit, and wait a lot this summer) picked up the office elders and proceeded to battle traffic as bad as anything in NYC, LA or San Diego when the Del Mar races, the Surf soccer tournament and Labor Day weekend all coincide.  It was an experience to wait in the offices for our names to be called.  Elder Durham, the elder that takes care of all these things asked us if we wanted to look over our signatures on our passports as we would have to sign documents three times with identical signatures.  Now for me, that was no big deal, but those of you that have seen my husbands writing, especially his signature will know that he was just slightly panicked.  I think Elder Durham had looked at his signature beforehand and wondered how in the world that said Jerald D. Crickmore.   He passed, but was pretty glad that he did, and we walked out mostly relieved that el Presidente could sign his name the same three times in a row.   We ran into other elders there, once a year they have to go in and redo this scenario to renew their visas, it was fun to meet some elders from one of the missions that we received elders from.  Then to celebrate successful signature signing and because this whole scenario which started for us at 6:30am, we went to lunch at Sanbourn's which one of our teachers in Provo told us was a must.  It was really good, nice and different than the little stands that we have eaten out of up until now.  It was also part of a huge mall, and lo and behold I happened to see a sporting goods store.  I have been looking for a bocce ball set and/or a croquet set, we have a huge back yard (well for us, I mean we lived in Cardiff with no yard, so compared to some people it is just an average yard) but it is all lawn except for the pool.  I thought when the missionaries come for their last dinner it would be fun to have something for them to do while the president does their exit interviews.  I have looked in Costco in Cuernavaca, and a big Target like store there, Walmart, Sam's Club and two sporting goods stores here to no avail. And there it was, a gorgeous croquet set...unfortunately they wanted 350 dollars for it, yep dollars not pesos, and I didn't want one THAT much.  Maybe if we go back in the winter it will be half can always hope.  

Well this is long enough.  Every week is something new.  While writing this I had to take a phone call from a sister about a health issue, she doesn't speak English, and weirdly, she understood what I told her.  Perhaps that might be my only other qualification, knowing so much stuff about so many illnesses and injuries...that's what raising six kids will teach you.  Well I have a few pics to add so this is long enough, Reid should be happy now.

 Just the view on the way to the office in the morning
 Yep, he really did get fingerprinted, me too
 wildlife on our screen door, it had an 8" wingspan
 This is the only way to buy is weird after buying it in 25 lb bags for years
Our first Mexico city Chalco missionaries!

lunes, 29 de julio de 2013

Buenos dias.  Harper and Blair thought that I should write on Mondays since it is a little slower around here than Sundays.  Guess missionaries all over the world write on Mondays, so thats good enough for me.  It's been another interesting and amazing week.  First things first, I find myself having to speak for myself all the time, weird, I seem to be able to get my point across.  Mondays are the day when the Facilites Management staff come and keep up the mission home.  The gardeners come, the pool cleaner, and someone to clean the house.  Last week Raquel and her daughter came about 1:30 to clean, today, at 9am someone new showed up, Karina!  They are both really nice and I still feel super awkward about having someone else clean my dirt, but it's not really my house so I roll with it.  Its super funny though cuz noone told me they were changing, and I was so confused...sort of a state of being for me here most days.  So, while Karina is downstairs, I will blog (and FYI, I really like her coming early much better, so things always work out for the best)

So another funny thing about the house...all the keys to every lock on everything outside, the pool pump and heater, the gates to the yard, the natural gas tanks...all got lost somehow.  We have so many keys, but none for those locks, so Hector from FM was coming to install a magnetic board in the house so Jerry can have a duplicate of the one in his office on Tuesday.  We've been waiting on this board since we got here, some problem ordering it or something.  So while he was here he cut off all the locks, brought new ones and gave me the keys.  Well Hector, the pool guy, needed a set for himself.  I had to find someone to copy keys...and success, after asking at the Radio Shack (where I successfully bought a USB port splitter and an ipad mini cover for Jerry, by myself, in spanish, on separate tickets...yeah glad to have a translating app on my phone) and going to 5 different places, I found a place to duplicate the keys, got it done and when Hector showed up this morning, the smile on his face was well worth the effort!  He doesn't speak any English so we had a funny time when he tried to teach me how to turn the pool pump and heater on and off.  We both laughed alot, but figured it out.  So it goes with my attempt to master the Spanish language.

Two great things this week, first, we had a dinner and testimony meeting with the very first missionaries to finish their two years (we have sent one missionary home with a serious medical problem).  They came with the Assistants who we know quite well.  One was from the US, Wisconsin to be exact, the other is a native from Chiapas.  I cooked all day, wanting to make it a great night for them.  Even made homemade ice cream and peanut butter swirl bars for dessert...they were a hit.  But the sweetness of the testimony meeting that followed was the best part.  Both Elder Bentley and Elder Alvarez had musical talent, Elder Bentley played the piano and Elder Alvarez had an amazing voice, they both shared.  Then the four missionaries, and the four Crickmores all bore testimony. When I got up to bear mine, I decided on Spanish.  I've born my testimony several times already in Spanish, but this time I felt like all the words I needed where in my head and coming out as I wanted them too.  I know that it was a miracle for me.  I know because in ordinary conversations I still struggle to put the words together, but when the Lord needed something said, it got said correctly.  It was a great evening and we will miss each missionary as they leave.

I am still spending a lot of days at the home trying to get things fixed or installed, it should change in the next couple of weeks.  But we took another pday on Friday and took the twins and our Assistants and the zone leaders that have been working closely with the assistants (and live together) on finding housing for the many new missionaries that will be coming in the next few months.  We went to Teotihuacan.  It was an amazing experience and my legs are still sore from climbing to the top of both the Sun and Moon pyramids.  You can really visualize the writings in the Book of Mormon when you visit these ancient sites.  I felt the same way when we visited Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Monte Alban.  What amazing people and how great that it is still standing for us to to follow

So I said that I have been on my own quite a bit.  I think the twins finally feel comfortable that I won't get lost coming and going to the store, so they didn't go with me on Saturday.  I made it there and back, shopped at the Wal Mart and Radio Shack, asked questions, returned a empty water jug for a refund, and didn't get lost.  On Sunday we were planning on going to a 8am ward in the mission (we are going to try and visit every ward)  but nature had other plans.  We had the most extraordinary storm about 2am with thunder so loud and long that it shook all the windows, lightening that looked like it was in our back yard and rain blowing sideways so hard that it blew it around the seals in the windows in our stairwell, which had water running down it.  Needless to say, we were awake for about two hours, the last of which I was mopping up water from tile floors that get really slippery.  So we changed plans, Jerry headed to an appt about two hours away and Church there, and the twins and I got in the minivan and set out for a stake center an hour away that we had never been too.  They were sure we wouldn't find it, and there was a ward closer, but we'd already been there, so Jerry gave some brief directions and we drove to Amecameca in search of the stake center, and trying to be on time.  Well we did ok, until the last turn, and we couldn't find it, we had about 5 mins before sacrament meeting, the girls had given up hope, but I had prayed that morning for help as this would be my first time driving and going to church without Jerry.  As we turned the corner of a street that we hoped would be the right one I looked up to see a mom and two children walking toward us.  The little boy was wearing a white shirt and tie....I looked at the girls and said, "they're Mormon!"  Who else is dressed like that in a small town in the middle of Mexico on a Sunday morning?  So I rolled down the window and said "Perdon, sabe que la Iglesia de Jesu Christo..." I didn't get any further as she saw my name tag and broke into a big smile and proceeded to tell me I was only two blocks away, and directed us to the building.  Now for the not so great part of the story.  We found the Stake center, but only one side of the gate was open and I'm driving a mini van, and I'm late, and the other side has a lock on it.  So I think I can make it with the mirrors pulled in, and I am doing fine until the car in front of me that wants to come out doesn't move and I have to turn.  Yep, you can guess the rest, I put the first dent in the mission car.  It's not too bad, over the wheel well, but I felt really bad.  We did however get to sacrament meeting on time, which was also a miracle.  Harper and Blair made me feel better when they said, "Mom, with the way the traffic is here, it was bound to happen sooner or later, at least you didn't hit someone else!"  I can always count on them to make me feel better.  So after Church we successfully navigated our way home also, made a great dinner and waited to here about Jerry's really interesting day.

Well that's long enough, the gardeners are here and I'm going to see if they know where to take recyclables (I know, I just can't make myself throw away all this plastic!)  We get our first new missionaries next week...very excited and we found out that a young man from the Del Mar Stake is coming to our mission!!!!  Nope not gonna tell, that's his job.

Nos vemos 

domingo, 21 de julio de 2013

Where does the time go?

It's Sunday again, Sunday night to be exact and I can't believe another week has gone by.  Another week filled with interesting and sometimes amusing things.  I guess the most important event was that I drove a car.  I know,  interesting huh?  Well for me it was a big step, and I drove twice, without Jerry.  For all the years that we've travelled in Mexico I never drove except in Cabo, after we'd been there 4 or 5 times, and it's a small town.  I'm not gonna lie, I was nervous,  really nervous.  But when you run out of food and your husband is gone for 14 hours a day...well you get in the car, and lucky for me the twins are here to co-pilot...I'm pretty sure I would have gotten lost just trying to get back to the house.  Weirdest thing about neighborhoods here for me.  The houses don't have numbers.  So, if you were to try to program a GPS (which we have in one of the cars) you pretty much need to know the longitude and latitude to get it right.  Lets just say that we've been lost, a lot, using the GPS that came in the car.  No offense Garmin, but theres a great app from Google Maps for the iphone that puts you to shame.  It even talks to you, just like a GPS, but it's accurate, and if you make a wrong turn it reconfigures immediately, we know, cuz we had it happen.  So, back to driving.  It wasn't far, but there is major road construction between the mission home and the local Wal-mart/Sams Club.  I'm pretty sure without Harper and Blair I wouldn't have gotten there or home the first day.  They have a much better memory than me and evidently pay more attention while driving with their dad.  So we had an easy go of it the first day.  I'm also driving what is the equivalent of a Honda Civic at home, so it feels pretty easy to get behind the wheel.  The second time (out of milk, sound familiar?) I was going to go on my own and at the last minute, Harper decided to save me from myself and go along.  I did better, but the trip would have been just a little longer without her.  (Can I insert here that I'm really gonna miss those two when they go home?)  So I haven't driven all the way into the mission office (about and hour and a half away from the mission home) but I feel like I could now.  

The other big news is that the stuff we shipped from home arrived Monday morning right on time.  Big cheer for the moving company in Mexico, they came on the day and at the time they said they would.  And everything was there in one piece.  We didn't ship a lot, but it was nice to have the rest of our clothes and our family pics, it feels a little more like home.  That kept us pretty busy all day Monday, unpacking all the boxes and putting everything away.  I was really happy to see my cookbooks and that I had stuck a huge box of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix in with my kitchen stuff as I can't find it here and you know that great chicken pasta is just not the same without it.  

I think I mentioned 14 hour days, that would be Jerry.  This week held visits with 4 of the stake presidents in the mission,  plus interviews with 3 of the 5 zones of missionaries.  He was leaving before daylight and coming home after dark every day.  With the twins here he didn't want me to be gone all that time, so instead I sent baked goods.  I don't have a lot of talents anymore, but I can still bake.  That leads me to the other awesome news of the week...I know how to use the oven now.  It's not really great and doesn't bake really evenly...but I've also learned that the missionaries will eat almost anything that is homemade.  And I would feel really stupid about the oven, but the Facilities Management guy that's in charge of everything couldn't figure it out either. So Monday I was told they would come to "fix" the oven.  At 5:30 I had given up hope when two employees showed up to tell me that I really just needed to hold the light button down longer to get it to light.  Yep, felt really blonde at that point, but then they proceeded to tell me that the house is wired with a security system and how to use it.  Perhaps that freaked me out just a little, seeing as I have a hard time remembering my own phone number.  After all the instructions he then just handed me a fob like the ones on my car keys and said "or you can just turn it on and off with this when you leave". Whew, one more password I don't have to remember!! But that night I made the first of three recipes of brownies for the missionary interviews.  Some people are given really great talents....I just bake.

I have had my first two missionaries call with medical problems.  After raising 6 kids that have had almost every imaginable disease or problem, I feel pretty confident in this long as I can give the instructions and find out the symptoms in English.  So far one companion or the other has been from the States.  The first one had the flu, that was easy to hit out of the park, and the second had chipped his tooth and wondered what to take for the pain til he could see the dentist.  Two homeruns in a row.  I know there not all gonna be this easy, but it's nice to start out feeling just a little confident.  The best part was calling the missionary with the flu back that night, to see how he was feeling.  He said much better (brat diet, ibuprofen, gatorade, the usual rememdies) and that his fever was down, could he go back out to work tomorrow?  I felt so bad telling him not to go out til his fever was down for 24 hours.  What a great young man, it's such a privilege to work with them.  

I'm going to post a few pics of our first pday.  Now don't freak out when you see that we don't have our tags on.  We were told at the Mission Presidents Seminar that if you have your children with you, you can take a pday with them and be their parents, not missionaries.  Jerry was really due a day off.  Really he has been working almost around the clock.  So we got up early on Friday programmed in that great Google maps App and drove into the middle of Mexico City.  Yep, we did.  Nope, we aren't completely crazy.  We really wanted to see the Museo Antropologia (sp?) that is one of the best in the world.  Over the years we've visited several of the archaeological sites in Mexico, so interesting to see the sites and imagine the people in the Book of Mormon times that would have lived there.  So we made it there, parked, visited the museum and Chapultepec Park across the street.  Chapultepec is sort of like the Central Park of NYC.  In it is Castillo Chapultepec which was built by the one and only king of Spain (who was Austrian by birth and married to a French woman, weird).   On the way home we stopped by Cuernavaca (it really was about ten minutes off the road home) as they have a Costco there, yep, you heard that right.  But my joy turned into disappointment when it didn't have chocolate chips or Cocoa powder.  Wasn't chocolate invented by the Aztecs?  They did have a huge brick of chocolate the size of a coffee table book, a large coffee table book, but I'm not that desperate yet.  It was a great day and there will be some pics to follow.  This week has more visits by the physical facilites people (theres always something) and more missionary interviews, plus our first two missionaries to go home are coming for dinner (that Good Seasons Italian dressing could not have come in a more timely manner).  

We love Mexico, missionaries and all of the little miracles we see every day.  The last miracle of the week is that our house in Cardiff is rented, starting this Friday.  Thanks Andy Ek, for all your hard work, the last piece of the puzzle is now in place.  We're grateful for the Lord's blessings in all the aspects of our lives....nos vemos!!!!