Really? It´s been a week again? So many more things to write about, it´s gone fast and slow at the same time, is that really a possibility? Evidently, but I'll will try to give a more condensed version. First a few things that I´ve learned...starting a new mission from scratch seems to require more hours than humanly possible for the president and his assistants. So many details of things that have to be done from shopping for office supplies to having a 9 hour meeting with the zone leaders. And just like his other callings my husband doesn´t seem to require much sleep to function, but here in Mexico, he doesn´t seem to need food either. I´ve been reminded that no matter how many times you think you have everything on your list at the store, you´ve forgotten something, usually important, but that necessity really is the mother of invention. I´ve learned that I may be content to not drive for three years because I´m not sure that, 1. I can find my way home, and 2. I have the necessary "offensive" skills necessary to get from point A to point B. One of the assistants put it best when he said that traffic lights, signs, etc are just suggestions here, not really rules. Needless to say if you know Jerry, he is in his element on the roads. Lastly, I´m not going to be a proficient Spanish speaker in two weeks, or three, or maybe months, but I can get along. Which to my family means when we roll the window down for directions ( when lost, as usual) I can ask the questions and understand the answers instead of only saying"con permiso" to flag someone down on the street and then having Jerry take it from there. Maybe I will drive.....eventually.
This week started with a Monday like most weeks, but was one of firsts in a lot of ways. The Facilities Mangement people are so incredibly nice, they found a sweet woman named Raquel to come once a week and clean the mission home. I felt a tad uncomfortable about this situation because lets face it, I´ve never had someone clean my house, preferring to keep my slovenliness to myself. Besides, I used to tell my kids that´s what they were for, cleaning house was just part of living in it. But this is not my house and I´m not in charge and I will eventually get over this uncomfortableness, I hope. Raquel is very sweet and really does a better job than I would, her 16 year old daughter came to help and they were both subjected to my poor Spanish along with the FM men. Anyone that comes within my path and is willing is my Study Buddy. The FM guys asked if I wanted to speak Spanish or English and I quickly told them Spanish....lo siento for them. The twins pretty much tried to hide all day, because besides the house getting cleaned, the gardeners were here, and the FM people were in and out because, we couldn´t figure out the TV (don´t laugh there are four controllers and evidently it wasn´t working right), the oven (which is still not working but I have high hopes for tomorrow), the desk top computer which we couldn´t seem to get the internet up on and the printer to merge (which I have to brag I figured out the router for the WI FI, and got the internet up and running at about 1:30am Monday morning). We were sure the twins were going to be able to figure all of this out...when they couldn´t I felt much better about myself. Oh, and Jerry wasn´t here having left at 7am to drive the hour and a half to the office not returning until 6 or 7pm. Thank goodness the twins are here when my Spanish fails completely. I was really disappointed in the oven problem as I will talk about next. Tomorrow promises to be just as chaotic, Jerry has interviews with all the missionaries this coming week and will be leaving early every morning. The moving company is supposed to come tomorrow, along with Raquel, the gardeners and the FM folks to finally get the oven started and to install a huge magnetic board for all the missionary photos to go on, just like the one in his office in the city.
So the reason for the dissapointment on the oven. Tuesday was the first Mission Leadership Council and I wanted to do something nice and for me that ususally means food. Through the week Jerry and I had manged to locate all of the the ingredients to make cinnamon rolls, which I wanted to take for the members of the council, since I was told some get up really early to come from the furthest parts of the mission and usually haven´t eaten. Shopping is interesting because some stores have some things like flour and sugar and cinnamon, but no baking soda. I couldn´t find powdered sugar and the brown sugar here is different, not sticky like at home. So I had everything but the powdered sugar and somehow Jerry found it on his way home Monday night. I figured that after they ate the cookies that were only half cooked they would eat the cinnamon rolls without frosting if worse came to worse, and I had the rolls made when he got home. Now I make these the night before and bake them in the morning....so here comes the oven problem. Yep, I still don´t have one. The assistants tell me that there is one at the Stake Center where the conference is being held. Now, if I had to take these unbaked rolls an hour and a half in the States to then cook I would probably be ok, but I was not certain that they would not go completely flat driving over the hundreds of topes (speed bumps for those who have not been to Mexico) that lay between the mission home and the stake center. Also for the swerving required to drive on these roads. But there wasn´t a choice so I really did say a small prayer for those rolls. We got to the stake center and took off the place mats (I still haven´t found dishtowels) and they looked like they were ruined. One pan was all sort of squished to one side and all the pans looked like they had fallen. Well, no turning back now, they were counting on some food, so with the twins helping we got them into the kitchen, to find that the oven didn´t turn on, but I could smell gas. Hmmm, looked like there was a place to light it, and the burners worked. Matches would have been handy, but of course why would I have those? Don´t worry, mad Girls´Camp skills of making due with what you have ended the problem with a rolled up paper towel lit from the burner, and YES the oven was on. We slid the first pan in, the flattest hoping that as the oven heated they would raise a little more again, put the others on top of the stove and hoped the same for them. I went into the meeting and left the twins in charge, they were awesome during this whole long day. I came to check on the first pan, and what do you know, they looked ok (not counting miracles cuz they come every day in so many ways big and small) Harper and Blair got them out frosted them and waited for the other pans to bake. When it was time to eat them, the girls had them cut and waiting for the missionaries, they were still warm, and they looked perfect! The girls had tasted one so I knew that it wasn´t that they just looked right, they were just perfect. There were some really happy missionaries that morning and I knew that my prayer was answered. For what is important to us is important to our Heavenly Father, if it´s a righteous desire, even something as seemingly insignificant as cinnamon rolls. One elder from Argentina, fighting a cold, who had gotten up at 3 in the morning to be there told me that they were amazing, then ate three. That meeting was amazing, even though it was really long. Listening to them sing, teach, and council together was such a blessing, I was glad to be able to help in a small way.
Too much to tell in one week, many more blessings and miracles, but we ended the week going to our first baptisms here in Mexico. Jerry left early Saturday morning because Friday morning was spent with the Assistants at the house figuring out the first transfers, and though he wouldn´t normally need to be there he wanted to be at the office for first one. So Friday afternoon as we took the elders back to the city, we stopped to eat our first street tacos, then to go to this little pueblito with an open market that day, very cool, especially because one of the assistants, Elder West, had been there as a brand new missionary...got a great guided tour. This was what both Jerry and the assistants got for a pday last week, 4 hours in the afternoon. So Saturday he went in at 7am again and the plan was for me to drive in to meet him, as I now had the other car at the house (the elders drove it down Friday morning). Jerry stayed all day, went to two other baptisms, the twins and I were going to come for the third, where four people were all getting baptized in one ward. As the time got closer, we were going to leave at 4 (baptism at 7, thought that gave me plenty of time to get lost) I felt increasingly uncomfortable driving the hour and a half with Harper and Blair, knowing I would have to drive back in the dark, something they counselled us not to do if possible during the mission president´s seminar, those of us going to foreign countries. The girls´and I were ready and Jerry called, my phone had been having trouble getting service, he was almost home, he had decided he had time to drive back for us. I was really relieved as it looked like it was going to rain earlier last night. Dark, rain, strange roads, topes, not excited for that drive. Ended up raining like crazy on the way in and out, the baptism started an hour late and I was so grateful that Jerry had felt prompted to come get us, even though it meant so much time on the road for him. The baptism was amazing, the elders sang the Primary song, Baptism, accompanied by the guitar, a son baptized both of his parents, a husband joined his wife as a member, and another woman who years earlier had had a friend that was a member was baptized because of that friends´example. Elder West had "forgotten" to tell Jerry that they wanted him to give the talk on the Holy Ghost until minutes before it started. Can I just say that while my Spanish has miles to go, his is unbelievable in just two weeks. He´s not home to edit this so I can write it, he was blessed with the gift of tongues by Elder Bednar in his setting apart and it is evident as I listen to him every day that it has come to pass. While I might have been annoyed in my previous life at a late start to this baptism, not anymore. I got to meet the members of the ward and they were so nice to help me with my Spanish. Every where I go the members and non members alike here are so kind, helpful, and forgiving of my limited abilities. They encourage me to keep trying, and I don´t feel frustrated because of their kindness. Ok, well this is longer than last week, and I haven´t written half of what went on.
I´ll just end with my testimony that this is God´s work and I´m grateful to have a part in it. To see lives change, both the missionaries and those that they teach. That His work is going forward in huge ways in this part of the vineyard. That God loves all his children here on earth and wants them to come back to him through following His Son. Thanks to all that email me and next week I will be able to post some pics when our own computer gets here. Me encanta Mexico y toda la gente que viven aqui. Nos vemos