January 28, 2015

Week 33: Confession: I miss Chipotle

Surviving cold Monterrey 
Yes.  It is true.  I miss chipotle.  I shouldn't be saying this as I am currently living in the heart of homemade tortillas and salsas...which really are so good...but our "classic mexican food" we have at home really isn't "legit mexican food" at all.  I have come to appreciate our take on mexican food as I have discovered the following:

1.  Guacamole is rarely seen or made.
2.  Chips and salsa are not served berfore meals
3.  Those really good "juarito" fruit drinks sold in mexican restaraunts can't be found.
4.  The enchiladas are not smothered in cheese like they are at home
5.  You are instantly judged if you just order a quesadilla
6.  The "mexican blend" shredded cheese sold in Safeway does not exist.

so yes...at times I truly miss my beloved burrito bowl from chipotle.

***I also have been corrected:  "toquitos" are not what we call "toquitos" at home...they are actually "flautas" toquitos are simply miniature tacos with miniature tortillas hahaha.
Yes, we were brave and ate habanero chilis...almost died

It's also pretty funny here because if you say an american brand in an american accent, no one understands you:  for example, The following words I now have to say with a mexican accent:

Ruffles (chips):  roof-les
Catchup:  cat-soop
KFC (Kentucky fried chicken):  kaw-efe-say
Waffle:  waw-flay
Pizza Hut:  peeksa-hoot
Google:  goo-glay

sometimes the struggle is far to real as I can't really hide the fact that I'm that blonde blue eyed outcast trying to fit in hahaha.
Around the corner from our apartment
Well we are currently battling a nasty head-nose-throat cold, along with the rest of the inhabitants of Monterrey.  Because the weather changes so often lots of people get sick Jan-March.  A woman in our ward literally has 9 cats and all of them are sick and sneeze all over the place hahaha her home is a cat hospital with a bunch of shots laying around...I blame her cats for my sickness.  My companion has had a brutal cough and has had to wear a mask....leading the children in the street to yell DOCTORA DOCTORA!!! hahaha.  We both have super manly sore throats...hopefully we can recover this week.
Us at church yesterday hahaha
Us crazy 4 here in Sada Vidrio
It's interesting how some of the coolest experiences we have are talking with taxi drivers.  We always present ourselves and ask taxi drivers about their families, religious beliefs, the role of God in their life.  Most of them work all day all night and rarely see their families.  This week we talked to a taxi driver in particular, and when we asked him if he believed in God, he paused and meditated for a second, not knowing if he did or not.  It makes me sad when people don't know that Heavenly Father really does live, and that he produces miracles in our lives everyday.  I love my mission because I can testify of this to all I come across.

Mom- the people here are amazed by the invention of hand warmers hahaha thank you!!!

We also go to the temple next thursday so I will write thursday Feb 5th!
Sweet boy in my ward
Doris, a sweet lady in my ward
"God Cares about you.  He will listen, and He will answer your personal questions.  The answers to your prayers will come in His own way and in His own time, and therefore, you need to learn to listen to His voice.  God wants you to find your way back to Him, and the Savior is the way.  God wants you to learn of his Son, Jesus Christ, and experience the profound peace and joy that come from following the path of divine discipleship" Pres. Uchtdorf
Love these 4 ladies

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches


January 19, 2015

Here Comes The Sun.....doo n doo doo….(Week 32)

Well I can honestly say that we had a great week!  The sunshine came out, and the people were a lot more nicer to us haha I definitely felt all of your prayers, thank you!  Not to mention I received my favorite delicious dark ghiradelli chocolate, chocolate covered pretzels, and peppermint chocolate kisses from mamariches :)  Hermana Mendoza has been putting the candy wrappers in her journal hahah it's adorable
Our favorite peppermint kisses
 Elder Burnett (Utah)  Elder Connell (San Diego)  Hermana Mendoza (Mexico City)
So It has been almost exactly a year since I opened my mission call in the BYU Dorms, and I just want to express how happy and grateful I am to have made the decision to serve a mission.  During high school I didn't think once about serving, but I can honestly say it is one of the best decisions I have made and that it has changed my life.  Through all the sweat, tears, stress, joy, peace, and miracles, I have witnessed my own conversion.  Everyday I recieve more and more conviction that this church is true, and how this gospel changes lives.  I have developed a love for the people here in Monterrey, and have been greatly affected by their humility and internal strength.  
The street I live on
Yesterday we attended a baptismo with our investigador, Victor, and it was perfect for him to see as he prepares to be baptized.  It is crazy how much energy and prayers we dedicate to the people we teach....We are so excited for this conversion he is experiencing!
La Comida:  So dad... I finally tried CABRITO....the famous Monterrey goat haha it is sooo tasty!  Seriously you would love it.  I also have a word of caution:  Never put a handful of straight up "chile piquin" in your mouth...one day during lunch us 4 missionaries all put a couple in our mouths (the hermana who gave us the food insisted), and us 3 gringos were dying- literal tears streaming down our face hahaha soooo spicy I wanted to die.  The people here like to laugh at us americans as we nearly die over how spicy the salsas can be....but hey, I have increased my "spice game"- Dad you would be proud :)

Amo ser misionera.  Si, extraño a mi familia y a mis amigos bastante, pero no puedo explicar estas experiencias maravillosas que he experimentado aquí.....y es increíble que estoy hablando español todos los días y puedo entender todo!!! :)


Well my time is up, and it's time to go buy a giant coca light filled with ice next door :) LIFE IS GOOD. LA IGLESIA ES VERDADERA.  LOVE YOU ALL. 

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches


January 15, 2015

Are You Kidding Me???? (Week 31)

So I am proud to announce that I have officially taught the phrase Are you kidding me?  to my compañera.  Being the first gringa compañera she has had, naturally I have to teach her classic english lingo such as Watsup Man, Holy Cow, and Are you Kidding me.  I'd like to share the top 10 Are you Kidding me Moments that happened to us this week:

1.  Presidente now cutting our email time in half :(
2.  Walking in the pouring rain without our umbrellas = looking really good for our lessons
3. Shattering the mirror in our house
4.  Ant - infested food
5.  Wondering why Mexico is so dang cold
6.  Street contacts giving us fake addresses
7.  No one opening their doors to listen to us because it is too cold out
8.  Mi compañera having an allergic reaction
9.  The taxi driver speeding = me spilling hot coco all over me
10.  The taxi driver "not having change" = giving him my 100 pesos for a ride that cost us 20 pesos

hahaha it is safe to say it was not our week...but we had lots of oportunidades to learn, grow, and to be humbled.  In life, we have to face these are you kidding me moments with faith in the Lord, knowing that every experience we have in life is to enhance our progression as children of God, to make us stronger (and maybe to give us something to laugh about afterwards)

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory  2 Corinthians 4:17

On the plus side we had 2 less actives at church on sunday that havn't been to church in about a year!  So I was filled with lots of joy to see them yesterday.  Victor Manuel (18 years old) is set for Baptism in February, and we just keep praying and fasting that he will keep progressing

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable  Psalm 145:3

Les amo mucho, y espero que tengan una semana maravillosa y exitosa, llena de bendiciones del Señor
coldness and sickness

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches


January 06, 2015

Starting Off on a High Note (Week 30)

¡¡¡FELIZ AÑO NUEVO!!! This week I have been reflecting a lot on all the great memories of 2014... and how 2015 is going to be even greater!  Jordan will head off to college, Becca will get her driver's permit, and I will be returning home!  The people here celebrated new years eve with fireworks, fiestas on every corner, and of course:  Tamales.  We had to teach all day and couldn't eat dinner with a family, but we brought home some prepared ham, mashed potatoes, spagetti, and a marshmellow dessert cooked by the amazing Alma Sanchez.  Hermana Mendoza taught me a mexican tradition= "12 DESEOS" OR "12 WISHES" that it is common here on new years eve.  You write down 12 wishes you want to come true or goals that you have, and then you have to read them off to each other and make a toast to the new year (with coca light of course)....then at 11:59 you have to eat 12 grapes and think of every wish you wrote down before it turns to 12am.... or else they don't "come true"...i successfully did it so we will see how lucky I am this year :)
us sharing with these kids pass along cards for the christmas video the church put out
New Years day was celebrated by eating HÍGADO.....drum roll please....LIVER.  yes I had my first experience of eating liver.  Luckily it looked like a piece of steak so i just pictured myself eating dad's riquísimo flank steak....although it wasn't exactly the same haha.  I also have put lots of goals for myself that i want to complete here as a missionary.  Goals help us improve and progress a humans, and here in the mission we have an outline we use for goal setting:  

goals should be.....

S ean específicos (specific)
M edibles (measurable)
A lcanzables (reachable)
R ealistas (realistic)
T iempo definido (determined amount of time)

I promise that Heavenly Father will help us follow through with our new years resolutions.....and *** for those of you who promised to "never eat chocolate or sweets this year", you can read this scripture for motivation***:

"...God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" 1 Corinthians 10:13
My Church building
So I have a funny story and good news:  This week are transfers, and I have been in my area now for almost 6 months so all this past week I was pretty much packin' up getting ready to go, thinking I would be transferred.  This past sunday I bore my testimony in church, expressing the love I have for my ward here in Sada Vidrio, thanking them for all their service to us missionaries, etc.  The members were giving me lots of hugs and even tears in their eyes as we said our "final goodbyes" and "final pictures" together.  I even found myself passing by 7/11 sunday afternoon to bid farewells to the workers......the friendships I have established here really are so deep hahahahah!  and sure enough, late sunday night as my compañera and I were anxiously waiting for our district leader to call us with Transfer news, I was led to disbelief when we found out we would be staying here together for another Cambio!!  hahahah so I have been hit by the missionary curse of "those who say their goodbyes end up staying another transfer" but hey I am so happy to be here for another 6 weeks with Hermana Mendoza!  We have seen some amazing progress with a few investigadores and have a baptism set for February 1st!!  Victor Manuel is our golden investigador.  Him and His mom even FASTED with us this weekend to recieve an answer if this church is true! (as members of the church we fast...or go without food or water for 24 hours....in order to recieve needed answers, we fast for family members who are really sick or struggling,...or when we just need strength from God)  So yes Victor Manuel said he wasn't even hungry after church because he felt full even though he went without eating for 24 hours.  We are so happy that they are recieving answers, and even though the mom still is hesitant to go to church with us, I know that seeing her son get baptized will help her have the same desire so that they can be an eternal family.  So yes I am so happy to be here another transfer to see more miracles in Sada Vidrio.

"Behold I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true...behold I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God.  Behold I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself" Alma 5:46

some of my "goodbye" photos" hahah:

 Dani Montemayor who I love so much!
All the women here in my ward
Relief Society Counselors
Well it is FREEZING here!!! I am that missionary found wearing leggings OVER a pair of tights, scarf or a ski neck gator, pea coat, 2 sweaters, boots.....but then what will happen is an hour later the sun comes out and im found carrying all of my layers haha the weather is wacky.

Next week we may go to the temple so I may write on thursday!

some pictures from Christmas Eve:
Hermana Marlene, she made such a delicious christmas eve dinner
¡Hasta Luego!

C O N  A M O R
Hermana Riches