Monday, May 4, 2009

Man in the Van, Mexican Remedies, and Grilled Onions

Dearest Familia,

Another wonderful week! The weather is awesome and totally not hot (around 90 degrees) and I think my companion thinks I'm a bit paranoid about sun exposure because I lather up on sunscreen multiple times a day. But oh well.

I've continued to learn a lot from Sister Loftus. She truly is an amazing, dedicated, diligent missionary. She absolutely loves the Gospel and missionary work with all her heart. She is a wonderful example to me and I'm grateful that every day I can be her companion and learn from her. On one of our very first days together, we were walking down a street Prosperidad (which--by the way--we practically LIVE on because we have so many investigators on this street. It seems like we are ALWAYS there which is SO awesome). We were walking down the street and she saw a man in a carpet cleaning van pulled to the side of the road. He was talking on his phone, windows up--obviously busy. But Sister Loftus is amazing and just walked right up to him, knocked on his window and said, "Hey, I know you're busy and talking on the phone, but could I give you something?" Surprisingly, he told the person on the other line to "hold on one minute" and then she started talking to him about the Gospel. She scheduled a time to meet with him later to talk about it because he was on his lunch break then and didn't have very much time. He's really busy with work, but we could come by another day while he was on break again. Awesome! So we did. But of we were a few minutes late, knock on his door and discover that he wasn't home. Dang it. We probably just missed him. Another day, we were talking to people on the street and we started talking to the woman outside of her house. We ended up going inside and teaching her entire family (husband, mom, 3 kids) the first lesson. It was totally awesome. They're now our investigators and are an awesome family. I love the Vasquez. Well, the reason I'm telling this story is because what happened a few days later. We went back to teach the Vasquez another day and it was great. A few days ago, we were on Prosperidad (again, as usual) contacting some other people (this is what I absolutely love about the area we are in: people outside, ALL the time. We've knocked maybe 3 doors in 2 weeks). Well, we were talking to this boy when this van pulled up and wanted to talk. So while Hermana Loftus was still talking to the boy, I walked over a few steps to the van and started talking with the person in it. And it turns out that it was Alberto (the carpet cleaning guy) from WAY earlier in the week (who, we had totally forgotten about because of everyone else on that street that we started teaching). First thing he said was, "Well, I really enjoyed talking to you girls last week. Something you said I just really had a good feeling about. And I just want you to know, that I LOVE and believe in Maria. Nothing will change that. But you are teaching my sister-in-law and the things she said really interested me." So I started talking to him about that and the message we share as missionaries, answered a LOT of his questions, etc. Well, as I was talking to him, I saw the side of his van and it said "Vasquez" on the side. Turns out that this sister-in-law IS the very same Vasquez family that we are teaching. We were teaching them at his house and didn't even realize that it was the same family and house. Crazy. It was just a witness to me that we need to follow the Spirit and talk to those people who we are prompted to. Because honestly, I don't think I would have had the guts to go up to someone who is ON THE PHONE, windows rolled down, and start talking. But we need to follow the Spirit no matter how strange the situation may be. Because we will never know what the result will be.

So last Pday, Hermana Loftus sprained her ankle playing volleyball with our zone. It was really sad. :( We went home (and as a result, I am now the designated driver, which was actually going to happen soon anyway so that I could get more familiar with our area) and the other sisters were home too. This was good news because Sister Madrigal (a sister from Mexico City) is a graduated, licensed massage therapist/sports injury therapist. She did all these crazy things to poor Sis. Loftus. One of the funniest one is when Sis. Madrigal came out with a grilled onion on a fork and said, "Here. Put this on ankle." (She learned English here on the mission and her accent is so awesome). Haha, so Sis. Loftus had to sleep with an onion strapped to her foot because apparently it is a natural anti-inflammatory...She has some pretty interesting Mexican remedies, but they work so we don't complain.

Sis. Loftus's ankle was getting better and a few days later we had another appointment that we were meeting a member to come with us. But as we were at a stop sign, she saw 2 men on the road who she had the prompting to get out and contact. So I sat in the car with the window down while she ran/hobbled over to them. She came back as quick as she could, but then kind of tripped and sprained her ankle again! But this time the pain was SO much worse. It was so sad because I couldn't do anything because we were in the way of the road and so we just drove to the place where we were meeting the member. She was crying and in a LOT of pain. We meet the member and decided to keep with our lesson. It was really hard because Sis. Loftus was still in a lot of pain, but it was the MOST awesome lesson. Claudia is so prepared for the Gospel, shared a lot of personal experiences, said that she's been searching and wanting "more." We were SO grateful afterwards that we decided to go to the lesson (even though it was hard), instead of go home. Satan really does work HARD to make things get in the way. He doesn't want this work to progress. Sis. Loftus is such a trooper. Ah, love it.

Anyways, there's been a ton more experiences like that. Every day I see miracles here. The Lord really really has blessed us. I love the people here: they are so nice, inviting, welcoming, giving. I've already learned a lot from them and the people in the ward. The ward is super tiny (a lot different than what I'm used to back home). The Spanish is coming along quite well, but still it's not anywhere near perfect. But I am able to express myself, talk, teach parts of lessons, etc. I really have put my faith and trust in the Lord because at times have felt that my Spanish has hit a plateau and will never get better. But it is, slowly yet surely.

I love you guys! Thank you so much for the updates from home. Congratulations to Matt on his Bachelor's! YAY! I'm so excited for them. Sorry this letter is short, we only get a half hour to email home (same as the MTC). It's alright, I just try to type as fast as a can.

Love,
Hermana Burt

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