Being A Real Fork and Ode to Joy

Buenas!  So this week was really good!  It started out a little rough but turned around really quickly.  We had a multizone conference with Presidente and Hermana Ruiz.  It was so cool!   Presidente is so inspired!  Hermana Cervantes and I have been struggling to know what to do with a certain investigator.  So we asked him for advice and he gave us a fantastic, yet simple answer.   And it seemed so obviously the right thing to do, it left us wondering why the heck didn’t we think of it ourselves!  This conference was exactly what I needed to recharge me!   Hermana Ruiz gave an analogy that I loved.  She told us that missionaries are like forks.  Some are made of plastic and some metal.  Both do the same thing, but when one of them is put under pressure - he breaks.  She told us:  BE A REAL FORK!  (everyone hates plastic forks anyway!)

So, something really funny happened this week.  We went to visit a viejita and her grandsons.  They’re teenagers that think their way cool and chollo and stuff haha.  The younger one told us he lives “on the street” and he has one ear pierced.  He’s 13.  Anyway, they’re with us trying to be all cool, when the 13 year old whips out 2 recorders (these toy instruments you learn to play in 5th grade) and starts playing them both at the same time, one in each hand!   And he’s playing “Ode to Joy”!   And I’m like dying laughing because this kid has 2 recorders in his mouth playing Ode to Joy flawlessly with both hands at the same time.  The other people with us (there were 6 of us) were all talking and didn’t notice that the Beethoven of the World’s Cheapest Instrument was with us.  So I’m laughing so hard by myself haha and no one realized for like 2 minutes.  And then they laughed with me.  It’s probably a “had to be there” moment!!!

Anyway...I turned 6 months old in the mission!  I can’t believe I’ve been gone for this long.  To be honest, I never thought I would make it this far.  But I’m still alive and kickin’ trasera (google translate says this means “rear”) here in Merida.   I thought that as a way to commemorate my 6 months here I could share 6 things that I have learned while I’m here.  You all know I love to make lists, so here we go again folks.
  1. I have been so incredibly blessed.  Everyday, I am thankful for the parents who raised me, the house I grew up in, the siblings I love, and the childhood I had.  I cannot begin to describe how much my love for my family has grown over the past 6 months.  Actually yesterday in Church we talked about families and I cried.  (I can no longer count on one hand the number of times I have cried in the mission - if I had a hand with 6 fingers I could, but I don’t so I have to use 2 hands).
  2. I know how to navigate the Meridian bus system.  Just like a native I pay my 7 pesos, take my seat, yell “baja” one block before my stop and step down the stairs onto the curb WITH STYLE.  My first time on a bus in Merida I was very scared and confused But now I know the routes in this part of the city. BUSES FOR DAYS! 
  3. I WAS BORN TO BE A YUCATECA!  I love the Yucatan.  I love the culture.  I love the food.  I love the people.  I am even starting to like the music a little bit more.  (At home, when you drive through Escondido, all of the radio stations switch to music from across the border.  I hated it and used to change the station immediately lol so this is quite a change for me.)
  4. I’ve gotten really good at hand washing clothes.  It sucks but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
  5. SPANISH!  I can communicate relatively well with people who speak absolutely no English!  Lately, my dreams have been mostly English but usually there’s a little bit of Spanish in there.  And when I think of things that happened in the past, for example, if I think of something someone said to me sometimes I think of it in Spanish.  Then remember “oh wait, we were speaking English.”
  6. Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.   So many times over these past 6 months I have felt my burdens lightened and my Spirit strengthened.  He has brought peace to my soul when I have felt hopeless, rejected and exhausted.  I absolutely cannot do this alone.  And I don’t need to, because the Savior is always right beside me.
I love you all!  Have a great week :)
Hermana Keeler

My Beloved Hammock turned on me

Buenas!  So my body hated me this week.  My legs and back and neck have been legit killing me.  My right calf and my left knee have been giving me problems.  And then my back and neck have been hurting because of my hammock.  My beloved hammock turned on me!  In a hammock you can’t lay flat and after months of never lying flat, I’m starting to feel the effects.  But I raised my hammock so that it’s more flat now.  It’s actually pretty high.  When I sit on it my feet don’t touch the ground ( but I guess that not really impressive because my feet don’t touch the ground in most chairs.)  Let’s hope I don’t fall off in the middle of the night!

But this week was good.  It’s going by a lot faster now!  This Friday I complete 6 months in the mission!  Wow!  I can’t believe that I’m already 1/3 of the way done!  I still don’t speak Spanish as well as I thought I was going to at this point.  If there’s anything  I’ve learned here: it’s patience!

So I’ve come to a certain conclusion.  You know the concept of a dopleganger?  Someone that looks exactly like you?  Well, I’m pretty convinced that there’s a Mexican version of everyone I know.  It’s way funny actually.  There have been lots of people that I’ve seen and thought “wow, they look really familiar.. but I’m positive I don’t know her...”  Then it hits me, it’s the Mexican version of the girl I sat next to in Pre-Calc Sophomore year.

So people have asked a bit about the people.  It’s really hard to describe the people, so I’ll give a few examples of some people we visit frequently and are just awesome.

  1. Bishop Pech - Bishop is the best!  He’s way dedicated to the ward and is ALWAYS willing to help us.  He’s learning English so I always speak to him in English.  Sometimes he calls me teacher haha!  And he’s awesome because he always laughs at my jokes.
  2. Hermana Jazim:  When we lived in our other house we called her for legit everything.  And when we go over to her house she makes us food.  She has a daughter in the mission so she sympathizes with us :)  Now we live far from her so we don’t see her as often.  But we still find our way over there every once in a while.
  3. Hermana Gongora:  She’s 76 or something like that and her husband has Parkinsons, I think.  She’s TINY and is always happy.  We always visit her and start to help her clean or something, but she always gets “mad’ at us and tells us to sit down but we never do.   Usually she just accepts it and lets us help her.  She’s way cute and loves to sing hymns with us.
  4. Miguel:  Miguel is a viejito that lives alone in a one room cinderblock and aluminum house (it’s really more like a fort than a house - it reminds me of pueblo). He can’t really walk.  Whenever we go to visit him he pretends (well I think he’s pretending) that he’s still ticked there are sisters in the area instead of elders and that he doesn’t want to talk to us.  In writing, he sounds mean haha!  But the way he says everything is so funny and his laugh kills me haha!

  5. There are lots more awesome people I know but these are a few of my favorites :)  It’s so fun to be friends with the members!  All of you : Be nice to the Missionaries!  Give them cold water and ask them about their families!  It’ll make them feel like you care!

    So I’m going to leave you with a spiritual thought.  One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon is Mosiah 24: 14-15.  But I like it in Spanish.  “Yo, el Senor Dios, visito a mi pueblo en sus afflicciones”  Which means, “I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions”.  But in Spanish it says, “pueblo” instead of “people”.  I like this a lot because pueblo has a different meaning for me now.  Everyone that’s from a pueblo claims their pueblo.  People say “My Pueblo”  when referring to where they’re from.  The pueblo where people are from is a way big part of their lives.  It’s super important.  And really is part of their identity.

    I like to think that I’m a part of Heavenly Father’s pueblo!  It’s something special!  Something personal.  And something from the heart.  All of us - as children of God - are born in His pueblo.  It’s our choice if we’re going to cherish our roots or not.  It’s our choice if we’re going to own it - that we’re from His pueblo - or if we are going to hide it.

    I love you all!  Que tengan una semana bonita!

    Hermana Keeler 

    Two more of her favorites!

    Trying to get their gel nail polish off with band aids because they didn't have cotton balls!  The struggles of mission life!

The Mission is the Ultimate Thrill Ride

Buenas! So this week was really good but also really hard.  I’ve found that if a week isn’t physically hard, it’s usually mentally or spiritually or emotionally trying.  But then sometimes it’s both!  And that was this week!

But we ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS see  la mano del Senor en tiempos dificiles.  We met an investigator on the bus two weeks ago, and we have “coincidentally” seen him throughout the city four times since we met.  I say coincidence with the exact opposite meaning of the word.  There are no coincidences in the mission!  We saw him on the street near an investigators house, later he saw us somewhere but we didn’t see him, then we walked immediately in front of his house (and we had no idea where he lived) and then he walked past our house the next day!  If we didn’t get the message the first time, we got it now.  There’s something we have to teach or learn or experience, now we just need to find out what it is :)

I saw another miracle this week!  On Friday we had to go to the mission offices in the morning.  We were about to leave when I saw the branch president of Oxkutzcab, Presidente Villareal, walk into Presidente Ruiz’s office.  I was like what the heck?  So I turned the corner to the area where people wait and sitting there were his daughters!  Lisa and Karen are way cute and were like my sisters!  On my list of favorite people they’re like equal with Hermano Tigre (and that’s pretty high!)  I literally cried when I saw them!  And Lisa cried too haha.  I was so happy to see them!  All of my memories from Oxkutzcab came flooding back and I got super nostalgic.

Okay two more awesome things happened!  Two people just showed up a church wanting to learn more!  They were really receptive and it was way cool!  They literally found us!  None of our investigators come to church and then two just show up out of nowhere.  It was way cool.

Lots of really great things happened this week!  Sunday in both wards the Primary learned about missionary work.  So we came in and shared our experiences and stuff.  I was sitting next to a little girl and thought to myself, “Wow, I’m the missionary and not the little girl!”  Because honestly sometimes I feel like the little girl.  But then I remember that I’m serving a mission in Mexico, I sleep in a hammock and my shower is a bucket and a bowl.  And then I realize I’m definitely not that little girl anymore!

The mission is HARD!  Really hard!  It’s like one of those rides that’s just a really high tower and shoots you up really fast and it’s fun, but also really scary and also leaves you feeling kind of sick but also exhilarated at the same time.  But it’s like riding that ride 20 times a day when all you want to do is sleep.  The highs are high and the lows are low (her favorite saying!)...But it’s an exciting ride!

I love you all!  Say your prayers!  Thank God for all your blessings!
Have a great week!
Hermana Keeler

She would love to hear from everyone!  If you get a chance, drop her a quick email!  
The link is on the sidebar! 

The best of Mexican food and American food combined... Pizza al Pastor!

I know she's changing!  She definitely didn't drink soda before the mission!

Always with the little kids! 

They were able to take an excursion to the capitol this morning!

Another baptism and a bag of brujeria!

Buenas!  Well, this week was really great!  First off, we had a baptism!  His name is Rodrigo and he’s nine.  He’s hilarious, haha!  His mom is a member but doesn’t go to church, he goes with his grandparents.  His grandpa was recently baptized too.  But that was really great.  He’s a good 
kid :)

Lots of people look down on “kid baptisms” because they say they aren’t “real” converts, but I completely disagree!  “The worth of souls is great in the sight of God” and that means EVERY soul ... even kids.  Also, kids are way more willing to follow the example of Jesus Christ than most adults.  We went to clean the church and Rodrigo had his interview for his baptism at the same time, but he wanted to stay after and help us clean!  And he was so happy to be helping us.  It was really cute.

This week we had CAMBIOS.   And guess what?  Hermana Cervantes and I are staying! Woo!  We’re so glad because we’ve found so many new people to teach lately.  We have so much work to do.  And we both know the area and the people so we can keep the work going!  So we’re pretty excited. 

Ok, something super weird happened this week.  We went to our district meeting on Tuesday and outside the church we noticed there was a clear plastic bag with something red inside.  This really wasn’t that strange because we leave our trash on the sidewalk and people come pick it up.  But, upon further examination, I realized there were chicken feet inside!   And then I realized there was a whole dead chicken attached to the feet.  And then I realized there was a dead pigeon also...all wrapped in a red cloth.  I pointed it out to a few missionaries there and all the Latinos were convinced it was brujeria (witchcraft).  Who knows what it was haha, but it was really weird.  It was gone by the next day!  We called it the bag of brujeria haha!   But don’t worry all is well in the Church :)

Everyone here tells me I make lots of facial expressions when I talk.  I knew that I was expressive, but I didn’t realize how much.  Almost everyone in the ward has commented on my face haha.  People think I’m crazy!  The Bishop is always laughing at my face.  I didn’t realize I was so weird until now.  But everywhere I go I’m the crazy gringa.

So this week wasn’t nearly as hard as last week.  We had some success!  Some failure too haha.  But we found lots of people!  And had a lot of uncomfortable moments too.  But that’s the mission!  The highs are high and the lows are low!  And every day is different!  It’s sometimes great and sometimes I want to take the next plane to San Diego.  BUT!  It’s so worth it!  The mission has already changed my life.  These people have helped me more than I can ever help them!  GO ON A MISSION.  It’s the best thing you can do for yourself!

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Love, Hermana Keeler

She says this is how everyone knows her name  Hermana Killer! 

And the rain continues!

Hermana Cervantes killing mosquitos! 

The Worth of Souls is Great!