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