Umbrellas and Armadillos

Well I had been wondering when this letter was going to come.  It seems to be inevitable for missionaries in certain areas.  And now she has the mark of a true missionary!  No pictures this week either.  So this week is definitely not my favorite!   

Hi! I had a crazy week!  We got attacked by some dogs haha but luckily a recent convert gave us an umbrella bc it was starting to rain and we could kind of fight them off with that. We didn't get bitten but they bit the umbrella so if we hadn't of had that we would've been dead. And the crazy thing is it only rained for like 5 minutes really hard right before we left! So if it hadn't rained we would have died lol. Miracles!!! Also yesterday and Saturday were the worst days of my life... 

I ate an ARMADILLO THIS WEEK!!!! We went to visit this less active family in a small pueblo outside of Ox. We were in their yard/kitchen and there was an armadillo shell and a bloody tail on a tree stump haha and we were like I guess they ate it. And then we had our lesson and we were about to leave and they offered us food! SO we ate armadillo tacos. And it was actually really good haha. We ate with toritllas and our hands no plates or utensils haha. Tortillas serve all purposes: plate, napkin, utensils. 

 I got super sick from the food. Not the armadillo surpringly. Its all so greasy and literally made with straight lard and my body cant handle it. So on Friday we ate at this members house and ate it all to be polite.  So after I felt really bad and I had to sit down in front of this investigator's house. They invited me in and I sat on their bed in the kitchen hahah in front of a fan for a few minutes and then I just straight ran outside and puked 3 times. It was all in my hair so I had to go home and change and shower. I got ready and then we had to leave for district conference in a larger pueblo 30 minutes away and I still felt bad. We had to take a van sin clíma (without A/C) that was packed and also manual transmission on bad roads so it was really awful. About 20 minutes in I knew I was going to throw up, so Hna Romero had them stop and I jumped out and puked my guts out 4 times on the side of the road. We had to figure out where we were because the van left us haha and take a taxi to Ticul. Once we got there, our zone leaders made us go to the doctor and I got some medicine. After the conference we had to go to the bus station and we had just missed the bus and the next one wasnt coming until 10:30 which actually means 11. So we waited and I felt a little better. The bus came and we got on and it was so crowded and we had to stand and it was so hot and I was like I cant do this. Three minutes in to the bus ride I had Hna Romero tell them to stop and I tried to get off... but didn't make it in time. I threw up all over dos hermanas that were with us, a mom and her kid, and an old man. It was awful.  All of us had my throw up all over us hahah. We went back to the church and some elders gave me a blessing. Then we had some members drive us home. I didn't end up going to bed until 1:30! And then we had to get up at 6:30 and go back to the conference. After we had lunch with some people and I ate a tiny bit of potatoes but then we just went back home and didnt work for the rest of the day. I slept for 16 hours. Literally more than I have ever slept in my entire life. I feel a lot better today but that was legit the worst day ever hahaha. Gotta love Mexican food. 

The perks of ridiculous heat

This week was good!  We had 35 lessons.  None of our investigators are progressing because no one goes to church or reads.  Lots of people don’t know how to read, so its hard to teach that reading the scriptures is a commandment.  And I just want them to realize that the effort is WORTH IT!  Give a little and you’ll get A LOT back!

I’ve discovered some perks about the ridiculous heat.  So I’ve made a list:

1.  Nutella spreads much easier when it’s hot - allowing for a thin and even coat - nearly impossible in regular temperatures.
2.  It’s so humid here I don’t have to use lotion or chapstick ( I still use chapstick once or twice a day out of habit)
3.  Mascara doesn’t clump as easily - so my eyelashes are always on point.
4.  Even though there’s only one knob on our faucet that works (COLD) - it’s never cold.  At night water is hot and during the day it’s the same       temperature as outside.
5.  I have only been cold one time since I’ve been here - on the bus to Merida at 5:30AM.  There was air conditioning and it wasn’t packed like usual.

The bugs here Looooove the blood of guerritas (white girls).  I’m glad that polka dot is my favorite pattern (and also that I like the Japanese flag) because my legs have so many red spots.  I got at least 15 in one day last week.  The one day I forgot to put on bug spray.

Speaking of bugs, did you know that COCKROACHES FLY????  They are literally the worst thing ever! There’s a joke that no one here sings “All Creatures of our God and King”….and for good reason!

Food…. We had no soup this week.  That was sad because soup is better than everything else here.  I ate 4 slices of tomato plain the other day.  It was really, really hard.  Never have I ever eaten tomato plain or in slice form!  We get beans quite often but they are like blended so it’s just like bean soup.  Not my favorite.  So everyone here eats everything with either a spoon or their hands and tortillas.  Meat on a bone in soup?  Cut it with a spoon.  It’s very difficult haha!  There are these homemade otter pop things called saborines.  They’re like real fruit and stuff and they are DELICIOUS!  I have to get coconut every time because I always spill on myself and coconut is white so it doesn’t stain, lol! 

Spanish is getting better.  I understand waaay more than I can say.  I usually know what’s going on.  A lot of people can’t understand me because their Spanish isn’t very good and neither is mine!  They speak Maya better- mostly old people.  Sometimes when I share something in a lesson los viejitos (old people) will say to my comp “Su Ingles es my bonito” (Her English is very pretty) when I’m trying to speak Spanish!!  Haha I sound straight gringa - it’s whatevs! 

It rained so much Wednesday!  So much that the road on a hill corroded and now there’s ravines and crevaces (read that cre-vah-sez).  It’s crazy!

Yesterday was Hermana Romero’s birthday!  Some ward members brought her a cake and some members from her first area drove 2 1/2 hours from Campeche!  They gave us lots of food including DONUTS - Krispy Kremes!  It was glorious.  So that was fun, she’s 21!

One of the first things we share with contacts (people that we just start talking to in the streets) is the message of eternal families.  We always ask if the person wants to be with their family forever and they always say yes!  And then we tell them about temples and covenants and promises with God!  This is the end goal that everyone wants!  Who doesn’t want to live with their Heavenly Father as a family in His kingdom forever?  And the only way we can do that is through covenants in the Lord’s holy temple.  I’m so grateful that I have an eternal family!  I hope to be able to brings some families to this knowledge and help them be sealed for eternity!

Right now the work is slow.  We find people who have potential but work on Sunday, or won’t stop drinking.  Lots of people just like listen to the Palabra de Dios and go on with the rest of their lives doing the same things as usual.  The gospel will change your life if YOU change your life.  And that is something that is hard for many to understand!

If you’re not happy with your life GO AND CHANGE IT!

I love you all!

Hermana Keeler

Tigre and his triciclo.  This is how we get around Ox (Oxkutzcab)

This little neighborhood is called la hermita... its this row of houses with stone stairs.  The houses are very primitive, many are made of sticks and leaves.  It's crazy.

Large Fruit and Small Swords

IT IS SO HOT HERE. Pretty much from 10 AM to 5PM is like a sauna. I'm constantly covered in sweat. We have lunch with members and the other day we went to this hermana's house 15 minutes away. It was already hot and she served us hot soup... outside... next to a fire where she was cooking tortillas... and they were the best tortillas ever but also boiling lava hot. THE HOTTEST LUNCH THIS WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN. I was dripping sweat hahaha.

So in the branch we are not only the full time missionaries but also seminary teachers, the activities committee, and we taught relief society and primary. hahah. Usually it isn't like that, everyone just asked us to do everything this week. But really it’s just Hermana Romero teaching- haha I just sit there because I don't know Spanish well enough yet. 

We had a mothers day activity and made that sign.. madre te amo!! 

So an investigator gave us lots of plants and fruit. The green fruit in the picture is a jaka. It is the weirdest thing ever but it actually tastes really really good. It is like pineapple and mango kind of? We only had a tiny knife so we asked Tigre (their friend who drives them around in the pedicab) if we could borrow his to cut it... and he gave us a small sword hahahh. I mean we should've seen it coming... its Tigre. It was hilarious. 

It's been hard to get used to the way of life here. Not even the conditions, I don't really care about all of that that much, but the lack of scheduling and time keeping is driving me insane. I like to GET CRAP DONE. And this is not a get crap done kind of place. The people are super chill and just do whatever they want, whenever they want. They chill in their hammocks like all the time. Seriously like all day.  And people are like I don't have time to go to church. One thing that I have learned is that there is always time for what God wants you to do. Then when you're done you can go lay in your hammock. 

So one weird thing here is that you don't knock on doors. Everyone has gates so you just stand outside and yell Buenas Tardes or whatever time of day it is until they come outside. That definitely wouldn't fly in America!! 

Also, the verb gustar (usually to like) can be used to mean to watch tv. So when someone says ella esta gustando that means she is watching tv. 

I taught the message of the restoration this week and I learned again how important it is! This church is unique because we have the proper authority of God! So go out and tell someone that God has called a prophet once again to the earth, and his name is Thomas S Monson! 

I love you all! 
Hermana Keeler    

Living La Vida Loca - Welcome to Lindsay's new life!

Lindsay didn't send an email today since we were able to talk to her yesterday for Mother's Day.  So she sent lots of pictures and asked me to write some commentary.  We loved talking to her!  She kept us laughing the whole time as she was describing her new home for the next few weeks or months.  

She is living in Oxkutzcab, Mexico.  It is a relatively small pueblo about 2 hours outside of Merida.  As you can see in the pictures the people are very poor and live in pretty rough conditions.  She kept saying,  "I never, ever expected this".  But in true Lindsay form, she is positive and finding the adventure in her new life.   People just stare at her everywhere she goes and the kids make fun of her because she can't speak Spanish.  Apparently not many Americans get to Oxkutzcab!  

Many people speak Spanish mixed with Mayan so she will be learning two languages!  She was really excited about that.  Her companion is Hermana Romero from Mexico City and she seems to love her already!  So happy for that!   They have taught lots of lessons and she has already invited one person to be baptized and he said yes!  Not bad for the first week!  

But the mission always has its ups and downs and unfortunately one of their investigators died the day after Lindsay met him.  So one of her first experiences was a funeral and burial, which was pretty upsetting to her.  She asked us to pray for her safety and when I asked if there was a specific reason,  she said "What does it matter?  You can't do anything about it, besides the Holy Ghost is the best bodyguard there is." So we wouldn't mind a few extra prayers on her behalf!   But she is excited and ready to share the Gospel with these sweet, humble people.  

Oxkutzcab her new home! 

Tigre is one of the first people she met.  She says he usually wears a tiger shirt and she spent a bit of time trying to describe his eyebrows.  But he is a recent convert who loves them 
                                     and gives them rides wherever they want to go!  

She loves the kids in this family.  Their family life is really heartbreaking. 

But they went to Church with them on Sunday.  

Apparently they have lots of pets.  She said they just kept bringing out 
animal after animal to show them!  When she told us they had a pet crocodile we just died and really couldn't believe her - but here's the proof!  Are you kidding me?

Home Sweet Home!  Las Cucarachas and all!  She loves the colorful walls! 

She actually loves her hammock!  She has to sleep in it sideways
 and she says it's kind of hard to get into.  

I don't think this is her house, she probably just liked the color of the door.
But she said lots of the houses look like this. 

She's sleeping in a hammock tonight!

So Lindsay arrived in Merida today!  She called us this morning when she got to the mission home to let us know she had arrived safely.  She said the President told her she would probably be staying in the city.  So we all breathed a sigh of relief.  Of course when she emailed us later, she had different news.  She is going to Oxkutzcab a small city in the middle of a jungle about two hours away from Merida.   Pretty much the heart of the what’s left of the Mayan culture.  She will be in an area with lots of ruins and famous caves.  This should be interesting!  

My time at the CCM is over... I woke up today at una de la madrugada to go to the aeropuerto. It was actually really sad to say goodbye to my district. We all got along so well, they were so fun. We arrived like two hours early for our flight so we waited for a long time. I talked to the man next to me and I actually understood everything that he said and we had a real conversation. I slept the whole plane ride, which was only an hour an a half; I was quite surprised by that. When we arrived in Mérida and stepped off the plane I was immediately hit with water instead of air. Even inside the airport. It is so ridiculously humid here. And so hot too. This morning was nice but the sol is piercing and the wind is like a fire breathing dragon. You know when you eat too many hot cheetos or takis or something and you're trying to cool your mouth down but nothing works and you're like dying? Yeah that's what my whole body feels like right now.

I was greeted by President and Hermana Garcia and they are super sweet and awesome. They were so excited to see us. Also there was a newspaper reporter there who took our picture and interviewed Hermana Garcia so I am going to be in some Mexican newspaper! I am already famous!!!! haha My companion is super sweet. Her name is Hermana Romero and she is from Ciudad Mexico. She knows a bit of English. And she is super cute. I can understand her easily and she can understand me. I think we are going to get along well.

So the city is really cool. The only way I can describe it is like the site for every Anthropologie catalog shoot ever. It's this whole Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie phenomenon that things that were once beautiful are somehow much cooler when they are slightly destroyed faded and falling down. The buildings have like cool molding all over the windows and the roof but are all these fun colors so it really is Spanish colonial mixed with Mexican bright colors. It really is super cool though. The city is a ton nicer than anywhere than I saw in Mexico city. There are way less cars and less people so it is way less crowded and dirty. 

I got a glimpse of the Mérida temple. It is really pretty. It is right next to the mission offices. We went there today and I got to pick out my hammock! They only had a few choices so mine is pink purple blue and green striped. They're different than other hammocks that I have seen before. They're like woven but with really thin strings. They don't have huge holes in them like others. 

I am going to my area in an hour or so. We are taking a very crowded bus for the two hour trip there. I am very scared because Hermana Romero said that we might not be able to sit down for the whole time. I actually might pass out. AH! I am going to learn Mayan though so that is way cool. I have a Mayan Book of Mormon it is awesome. It is actually like half the size of a normal one which really surprised me. It looks crazy. 

The pueblo is very small and there are lots of cucharachas. Wish me luck. 
We will see how this goes. 
You may or may not hear from me again. 

Hermana Keeler