domingo, 7 de julio de 2013
Begin at the Beginning
Well this is the official beginning....Bienvenidos a Mexico This was our welcoming committee at the airport in Mexico City. From left to right Elder Milner, Jerry's assistant that came from one Mexico City mission standing next to his old president, Presidente Valadez and Sister Valadez, then me (obvi), Presidente Crickmore, Presidente Morales and Sister Morales from the other mission that sent missionaries, and the assistant that came from that mission, Elder West. Was that confusing? Welcome to my life! What a week. I can't believe how much can happen in one week, in a brand new mission with 120 or so missionaries, a really dazed and confused mission president and his wife, and two amazing assistants that I don't believe ever sleep. So here we go, if you get bored, go ahead and shut this down and go play on facebook.
We said goodbye to the familia Valadez at the the airport, climbed into a minivan with Presidente and Hermana Morales, and Elders Milner and West. Let me just say at this point that anything that you have ever heard about Mexico City traffic, if its bad, is completely true. And, Presidente Morales and Presidente Crickmore fit right in with all of the other drivers....tan locos. We first stopped at the brand new mission office in Chalco, met the other office elders, the staff that has been working non-stop (built the office from the ground up, furnished and ready to go in 3 months, yep, not kidding). Then off to dinner with the other Facility Management employees that have supervised everything from finding the home, building the office and filling both with everything we need. Great dinner just down the hill from the new mission home, which is an hour away from the office. We had no idea how we got there, I practiced my barely passable Spanish on poor hermana Morales the whole time. The assistents helped when I didn't know how to say something, the beginning of so much help in the past week.
We got to the house ( in the dark) and luckily the assistants spent the night or we would never find our way back to the office and Chalco. We managed to get lost without them every other day (and most nights) even with the GPS. The next morning (from now on Jerry will be referred to as Pte Crickmore) The assistants and Pte Crickmore took off for the first day at the office....so much to do. I stayed at the new house to unpack and wait...and wait...and wait...for someone to come fix the pipe that was leaking under the kitchen sink. I couldn't figure out how to turn the water off, believe me I tried (no worries the shut off valve is on the roof...why did I not think of that?) So, I used a large bowl (not just a leak, it was spraying water) and every towel in the house. Which led me to learn how to use the washing machine (its all in spanish) and dryer (also all in spanish) Just when I thought the pipe might burst, the great fm guy showed up. Whew. Pte. Crickmore didn't return until about 9pm that night. Just the first of five 14 hour days for el presidente.
On Wednesday, we got up early, to meet the first three zones of missionaries...we needed gas, we stopped and the credit card was declined...and here is the first miracle. We didn't have any mexican currency, not even thinking to change our cash at the airport, and a young couple pull up, proceed to exchange enough US dollars for pesos so we can pay for our gas, and we get on the road (hmm the assistants felt bad that they forgot to tell us that Pemex doesn't take the Church's credit card cuz it's from the states.) Also, we are not driving on the same road as the night before...we took the scenic route, by mistake, and are not sure we are ever going to find the office again...we did, second miracle. Then we met the missionaries. Amazing young men and women, great meeting, full of the Spirit, I spoke without notes, in Spanish, was understandable evidently and didn't die of nervousness. What miracle are we on now? I'm not counting anymore there are too many. After the meeting we get to meet and greet with all the missionaries...shout out to my MTC tutors, I could actually articulate most of the things in my head en espanol. I was so grateful for the blessing by Elder Christensen of the Seventy when he set me apart, he included the gift of tongues and I most definitely love that gift and use it every day. Then on to a members house for lunch with 6 elders...her house is being remodeled, while she's there. It was a great lunch, such a sweet sister, but really noisy with a jackhammer going the entire time. I'm already half deaf, so I'm sure when I kept saying que? the sister thought I was completely deaf. Then back to the office for more work, finally leaving and hoping to find our house in the dark...some wrong turns, but eventually we did.
Next day, lost again, but this time on the right road...Pte Crickmore thinks something's wrong with the GPS....I'm pretty sure its right and I just can't figure it out. Meet the rest of the missionaries, one young 18 year old elder out just 8 days....I feel his pain trying to speak Spanish every day sometimes my head feels like its gonna explotar. Yep thats a real word in Spanish. Then we go shopping for office supplies with Elder West...and for a few things that the house didn't have, like an iron and ironing board, and Diet Coke, just the necessities. We actually made it home this night without getting to lost...but man were we tired. But we got home a little earlier and I attempted to make chocolate chip cookies, after a trip to Walmart for a few more supplies, only to find out that our oven doesnt work...right. Evidently its both electric and gas, electric just to pre heat, but the gas wouldn't come on...so, some really funky cookies, that I cooked with just the pre heat element. Yep seriously ghetto. I almost threw them all away, but couldn't bring myself to waste those expensive chocolate chips!
So Friday morning early to the office, oops, lost again, late for a meeting with the Assistants, they are so patient it's incredible. And, the office elders and the assistants ate every one of those funky cookies and thought they were great. ha, wait till they get a decent one. So, we are on the road early, hoping to get home before dark, when Jerry gets the call that one of our elders, who has been sick, really sick, off and on for a year is headed to the hospital in Amecameca...on our way home. That morning the volcano had left about an inch of ash in this town, and it was raining, and we had no idea where the hospital was. We stopped to ask directions, and the guy babbled something that neither of us understood, so we keep driving further in and lo and behold, the Zone leaders are standing on the corner. We tell them what we are doing, they hop in the mini van (yep Pte is rockin the honda minivan, hahah) and take us straight to the hospital where we arrive at the same time as the sick elder and his comp. Pte manages to talk all of us into the hospital (the rule is only one person can accompany the patient) and an LDS doc finds us, lets us into a room to give a blessing, then takes this Elder off to the room, leaving us to wait for two hours, so we walk out with the other three elders, its raining and ashy and we haven't eaten since breakfast and it's 6pm. Standing in the street wondering what to do, and this man comes out of this restaurant heading straight for our little group. With a big smile he asks if Pte is the new mission prez, we say yes, he tells us he works at the temple and his wife's family owns the restaurant, would we like to come in and eat? We have great meal, lots of laughing and talking to the whole extended family that works at the restaurant. They have a darling baby which they let us both hold (missing baby Jude) and then refuse to let us pay and send us home with leftovers. Miracle number? Not over yet for the day. We get home and later that night Elder Alarcon, the zone leader, calls and says they won't release the sick elder, even though they're done with him because they don't have enough pesos. Pte calls the doc who says let me talk to the hospital, and he is closer than us, will go pay if he needs to. In the mean time, the family with the restaurant goes over and gets the bill reduced to almost nothing and pays it so they can leave....did I mention miracles? Yep every day almost every minute.
Ok, harper and blair are telling me no one will want to read this, thats ok, I'm gonna call this a journal. Saturday, Jerry goes out teaching with a companionship, then picks up the twins at the airport, using his excellent defensive driving skills while I stay home and do laundry, and ironing and other little things that haven't gotten done all week. He calls freaking out from the airport cuz the twins' plane has landed (miracle also cuz most flights into Mexico City have been cancelled because of the Volcanic cloud) I tell him they are probably last off the plane and just before he has a coronary, he yells into the phone "I see them!!!!" and hangs up on me. The twins reported he was jumping up and down....hahha, he kept telling them that he was going to make them find their way to the house from the airport...haha NOT. So fun to have them here!!!!!!
So today, went to Church in a little ward a half an hour from our house, but in our mission. I bore my testimony, and was so thankful for all of my friends in the Encinitas 2 branch for all of their love and support for the last 6 months. I wasn't nervous, but felt so comfortable because of their help at home. Great day, Great week, Great life. Sharing the gospel and working with the missionaries every day is so amazing, we both feel so incredibly blessed, and did I mention all the miracles?