Eating insects and too cold for Church


Also a man came up to me and asked if I could hold his baby. I said no because we have rules against it. And then he asked me if he could take a picture of me with his baby. So he held the kid out at his side so that only me and the baby were in the picture haha. Then he said "No hay así aquí en Campeche" Translation: There aren't any like you here. 

I was reminded of Oxkutzcab and feeling like the new animal at the zoo.  But I had to laugh a little bit. 

This week was really rough with our investigators and converts. We've been trying to help them to understand and to ACT. But one thing that I have learned is that you cannot take away one's agency. Everyone has the freedom to choose!! 

SO yesterday at church we were waiting for all of our investigators and converts and less actives to come... and we were watching the door... and they never came. I was so frustrated. I was sad and mad and just done with everything! 

I was thinking of all the things I wanted to say to all of them... it was all very fire and brimstone hahah. 

But then we sang the sacramental hymn, "In Humility, Our Savior" and I felt so much better. I decided to stop being so angry and focus on the most important part of the week, the sacrament. As I partook of the bread and water I felt a peace and calmness that I hadn't felt all morning. I thought about how the Savior had suffered all of our sadnesses so that we don't have to. That really changed my perspective on everything. 

We called all our investigators after and they said they didn't come because the weather was bad. It was 68 degrees and cloudy. It sprinkled for like 5 minutes and that's it. 

I'm learning to have patience and humility. 

The mission isn't getting easier. But I'm getting better at applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ to my life. 

I love you all!!!! 
Hermana Keeler

Answers to Prayers

Buenas!  Well, this week was really great for a lot of reasons and I learned lots!  One of the things I learned is that I need to learn humility.  There’s a scripture in the Book of Mormon (Alma 32:16) that says “Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble.”  I definitely am not included in this description.  I’ve been compelled to be humble literally every single day for the last 10 months.  And I still have a long way to go.  Being a missionary makes one VERY aware of their faults.  But, I’m working on it.

So, like I explained last week, we haven’t had much success finding people to teach.  Lately, we’ve felt like all that we have heard is no.  And it’s way depressing!  One of our strongest investigators told us he didn’t want anything more with the Church or with us.  And we were really sad!  Not so much that he rejected us, but that he’s missing out on an opportunity to receive more blessings and more happiness than he can on his own!

But this week we fasted to find new people!  When we fast we always sit down on the curb and sit in silence for a few minutes to pray.  So, we started our fast praying on the corner of 22nd and 31st street.  We finished praying, walked two blocks and contacted a woman hanging her laundry outside.  Immediately I felt like this woman was special!   She seemed super interested, asked us questions and asked us if we had something she could read.  We gave her a Book of Mormon and we have a return appointment to see her this week.  This sounds just like a normal contact, but it wasn’t.  When we started talking to Antonia (that’s her name) we both immediately felt a love for her so strongly!  I truly felt like I needed to talk to her and tell about her divine destiny as a daughter of God!  It was something I had never experienced so strongly!  We were really shocked to see answers to our fasts and prayers so quickly!  We were definitely guided to Antonia!  We’re excited to meet with her this week.

Okay, now I’m going to list a few more humbling events (the good and the bad)

  1. I realized that my sucker I was eating was literally covered with ants -  after about 2 minutes of sucking.
  2. Did like 50 lunges one morning and legit couldn’t walk the next day.

So, she ran out of time again to finish her list!  Darn what a cliffhanger!  Maybe she will finish it next week, maybe not...

Con Amor, 

Hermana Keeler

Walking the streets of Campeche!

 Love this picture of her writing in her journal! Hope she's writing down everything so she can tell us all about her mission when she returrns!

 The elders cut down all the overgrown plants in their backyard!!

 Fried bananas with cream, she says it's delish!

I think these were taken before they figured out about the ants!

Getting cold feet and being humbled

Buenas!  Oh my gosh we had the most embarrassing baptism this week.  So, Hermanita Abi was baptized.  She’s our convert Argi’s sister.  She likes going to church and to Primary and everything!  So we taught her all the lessons.  She told us she wanted to be baptized!  Abi is way cute but so shy with new people.  She will not say or do anything in front of anyone new.  She’s 9 and way sassy (this word does not exist in Spanish and it’s really quite a bummer).  We were a little worried about what was going to happen when the time came for her to actually be baptized.  But I didn’t really think about it too much - I just prayed a million times that everything would turn out okay.  

So the day came.  On Saturday, we all took the bus to the church together and I was surprised at how well everything was going.  Usually on baptism days we have soooo many problems.   Abi seemed excited.  But as we arrived at the church Abi started to get nervous.  We went inside and saw the font and she really started freaking out a little bit.  She was just super nervous about eveything - that her dress was going to float up - that she was going to drown - that the water was going to be cold.

When the time came for her to actually be baptized she started saying, “I don’t want to, I don’t want to!”  And we legit had to talk to her for like 10 minutes haha.  At one point we had to start chanting “Abi!  Abi!  Abi!  Abi!”

At last she decided to do it and she stepped in the water and two of her fears became a reality.  The water was way cold and her dress kept floating up.  After like 5 minutes of coaxing from the side of the font, she finally decided to do it!  So Elder Tingey baptized her.  But her foot came up out of the water, so they had to do it again!  She almost refused to do it again but finally agreed.  This time it was okay but she choked a little bit in the water and cried after.

She really did want to get baptized but didn’t actually want to physically do it.  Hermana Tenorio and I were very concerned that everyone was going to think we forced her to do it, but that so wasn’t the case!

Abi really is a good girl, who wants to do what’s right!  When we asked her why she wanted to be baptized she told us that she wanted to follow Jesus’ example.  My heart melted!  Little kids’ desires to follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ as so pure!  In the mission, I really have come to understand why Christ loved little children so much.  Their spirits are so much closer to heaven than ours :).  Even though her baptism was stressful, I love Abi so much!!!

This week I got a sty in my eye so I had to use my glasses and not wear any eye makeup for one day.  It was so embarrassing because everyone told me that I looked different (and weird).  Usually people tell me I look pretty haha but instead they asked me what the heck happened to me.  It really is amazing the wonders that a black line across the eyelid can do.  The next day my eye felt better so I wore make up and looked normal again :)

This week in my personal study of the Book of Mormon I read about the cycle of pride among the Nephites.  Basically the Nephites were righteous, received blessings, became rich, got prideful, turned wicked, were condemned by Heavenly Father, became humble and turned righteous again.  The cycle goes on and on in the Book of Mormon!  And I was thinking about how I’ve seen that same cycle in the mission, especially this week.

Things have been going really well in our area.   The people generally receive us and are moderately interested.  And when things are going well, it’s so easy to get a little prideful - and a little lazy!  So we’ve had it easy for a little bit.  But Heavenly Father decided to humble us!  We went to go contact in a part of our area we usually don’t go to, and literally talked to everyone (who would open their door) and they all said no!  All morning all we heard was NO!  And working in the morning is so hard because the sun is so hot and legit sucks all the energy out of you.  The next day was exactly the same!  A morning of ridiculous sun and pure “no”s.  We were kinda sad!  But the truth is we needed a little bit of humbling.  It’s easy to forget the source of all that is good in this world when things are going well!

So my invitation for this letter is that we won’t let ourselves get lazy in thanking our Father in Heaven for His help, His mercy and His grace in the bad times and the good ones too :)

Hermana Keeler

Celebrating in Campeche


So we had changes and my companion and I are staying in the same area! It's a little bittersweet because I really wanted to train.. but I guess there's something that we need to finish together in this area. 

This week was really great. Here everyone celebrates King's Day. It's where the 3 wise men come to your house to leave gifts! Apparently it's a really big deal here! Santa Claus really doesn't leave giftsat Christmas. It's kind of sad but all the kids are more excited for King's Day than Christmas :( A King's Day tradition here is la rosca. It's like a huge bread that has little baby Jesus dolls baked inside. Sounds a little weird right? Everyone takes turns cutting a piece of the bread, and if you get a doll, you have to make tamales for everyone on February 2nd. I got a doll!
SO RANDOM RIGHT? But I love it. The bread was really good too. 

This week we had stake conference! I really liked one of the talks. Presidente Luviano (he's the husband of our mission mom so he's kind of like our mission dad) talked about hope. He compared it to a math equation and it was way cool! 

Hope = Faith (Works) + Meeknees + Humility + Charity

He said, "To have hope is a lot more than just to wait" and I LOVED THAT. A lot of the time we want something to happen and we just complain and wait and think and whine and that's so not right!!!! If we really have hope, we'll have faith, and if we really have faith, we'll act! And we need to be meek, humble, and charitable. 

We had really cool experiences teaching the Plan of Salvation. Both of these teenagers that we taught expressed to us their doubts about the purpose of this life, and what the heck is going to happen to us after we die. We asked them if they wanted the answers and they said YES PLEASE. We taught them and they really felt peace knowing that there is a plan. That God is mindful of us and that He is all powerful, all knowing, and above all infinitely loving. That He sent us a Savior to overcome sorrow, sin, and death. 

It was eye opening to see that we have the answers that people are longing for. Share the marvelous Plan of Salvation with others. It will change their life, and help strengthen your faith and testimony of the Restored Gospel. 

I love you all.

Hermana Keeler

Happy New Year!


So this week was way cool!!!!! Happy New Years!!!! I hope that we all can start out this year with GOALS. I know that goal setting sucks and I never ever did it in school. Let's just all think like this: what did you do well this year? What did you screw up? What do you want to start doing? (And you can't say exercise because that's everyone and their mother's New Years resolution) What do you want to stop doing? And most importantly, where do you want to be at the end of the year? 

Well now I'm going to stop sounding like a 4th grade teacher and tell you what the heck I did for New Years. 
I ATE. A LOT. Shocker, right? We went to lunch and then dinner twice haha. We ate so much food I was legit dying. The next day in church I felt awful. 

Mexicans party hard hahah. New Years is legit crazy haha. And I've heard that it's even crazier in the north. The Mexican elders in my district told us that on New Years in their cities all of the drunks straight up open fire into the sky at midnight and apparently lots of people die, it's like way dangerous. Campeche is a lot calmer than the north though so don't worry I survived. 

But the drunks are so real haha. There was a party across the street from our house and they listened to banda (the worst music ever) ALL NIGHT LONG. Literallly until we had to wake up at 6:30. And one guy legit sang the entire night. Without stopping. I seriously have no idea how his lungs held up hahah. 

So at midnight everyone lights off fireworks and it's louder than the finale at pechanga park on the Fourth of July. A tradition that a lot of people do is make like a dummy, dress it in old clothes, tape a beer to its hand, and fill it with fireworks. At midnight they light the whole thing off and it's so loud and crazy.   I really didn't sleep. 

Today was really fun. We went to run on the boardwalk and then walked around the city a little bit. Just me and my comp. I love her so much! It's sad because this is probably our last week together :(

We have changes this week and I am so scared because I do not want to leave. I love Campeche with all of my heart!!!! I think that above all my capacity to love has grown so much in these 9 months. I love everyone!!! All of us are children of our loving Father in Heaven. And we are all so special. 

The worth of souls is great in the sight of God. I have a testimony of that. 

I am so grateful to be in the mission! I am so happy. 

Love you all! 
Hermana Keeler 

Hermana Keeler's Mission: The First Half!

Buenas!  So my mom wanted me to summarize the first 9 months of my mission... and I don’t really know how to do that.  But, I will give it a shot.

First off, you should all know that I came into this thinking that I could quit at any moment.  This attitude changed very quickly once I got to the mission field.  But when I was in the MTC I seriously doubted if I would ever make it out alive haha.  Don’t get me wrong, there were some really good times, but I really spent the time there counting the days until I could go back home.  My body was in Mexico but my mind and my heart were in the United States.

Bueno, I survived the MTC and made it to Merida.   We had breakfast at the mission home and met our companions.  We also learned our area assignments and I was sent to a pueblito 2 1/2 hours from the city.  We arrived at our area late that night and were greeted in the quaint little town of Oxkutzcab by the famous Hermano Tigre.  He was a whole head shorter than me, was wearing a tiger shirt and had this crazy bike/cart/tricycle thing.  He spoke a type of Spanish that I didn’t learn in the MTC.  I just remember thinking, what the heck is going on????  Little did I know that this little man would become one of my dearest friends!

I spent my first 12 weeks in Ox.  I spent most of the time being confused as to what was going on and frustrated that I didn’t know Spanish.  But over and over again I was amazed at the kindness and generosity of everyone that I met.  Although Ox was so completely different from any place I had ever seen before, I grew to love it.  I felt “comfortable” (well, as comfortable as one can feel in a foreign country speaking a different language).  I loved my companion (Hermana Romero) and was so happy that she was my trainer.  Everyday was an adventure!

In July, my favorite kids were baptized!  I remember feeling a joy beyond words!  I had grown to love these kids so much and was so happy to see them make the decision to be baptized!

During all of my training I just went with the flow of everything.  I was tossed into a crazy world and just tried to take everything in.  Once crazy became my new normal, I started to get sad.  I was tired of not understanding and not knowing what was going on.  I was tired of being yelled at in the streets haha and seriously just wanted to be able to respond back.  During my last week of training I just broke down.  I actually called President Ruiz and told him that I felt seriously depressed.   Two days later, we had transfers and he sent me to a new area to change things up a bit.

I felt really sad to leave Hermana Romero and everyone in Ox, but also very happy to go to Merida.  I was excited to be considered a “normal” missionary (because I had finished my training and was no longer a newbie) and to go to the city!

I remember getting to my area and being surprised that I didn’t see triciclos or houses made of sticks and leaves and being slightly sad :(  But I was introduced to city buses, Oxxo (kind of like 7-11) and crowded streets.

The truth is, my time in Merida was a little bit difficult.  Not many people wanted to listen to us.  We had trouble finding people to teach.  We mostly visited less active members to try to strengthen the ward.  The work was slow.  And, for a whole bunch of reasons, I was really stressed, preoccupied, and worried.  I spent a lot of time thinking about “what ifs...” which is something you definitely should not do!

But in Merida I gained my testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I learned that Jesus Christ really paid the price for all of our problems, difficulties, injustices and sadness.  I also gained my testimony of the truthfulness and power of the priesthood.  When I felt like quitting, I received a blessing of comfort and strength.  And with the Lord’s help, I overcame the challenges I was facing.

My time in Merida was really cool because I made friends with some of the funniest and kindest members I have ever met!  In Merida, my Spanish was a bit better, and I could actually communicate with those around me haha.  My capacity to love those around me really grew!  I started to understand not just the language, but really understand the PEOPLE.  In Merida I realized that being a missionary is SO cool!  We have so many opportunities to meet so many different types of people.  And above all we have so many opportunities to LEARN!

I really loved the members and the people we taught.  I was very comfortable with my companion and my area.  And I was really sad when I had to leave.

I got called to Campeche and was super pumped because I had heard great things about it from Hermana Romero. When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised with how cute the city was!  But I was really unpleasantly surprised to find out that no one knew that were coming to the area, so we literally had NOTHING!  No house, no materials for proselyting, no charger for our cell phone, that didn't work.  We had no idea where we were going to live, what we were going to do.  We had our clothes, our hammocks (with nowhere to hang them) and our scriptures.  

That week was the most stressful of my whole life.  We lived in the house of some other sister missionaries 2 buses, 28 pesos and 45 minutes away from our area.  So we had to travel there everyday.  We got lost so many times that week.  

We also had to find a house.  The real estate in Silo XXI really isn't that great haha.  We only saw like one house with a for rent sign - so we had to just start asking random people if they knew of a house for rent.  After a few days of frantic searching.  We found our house!  Painted pink on the inside especially for us :)  We moved after 8 days of bunking with the sisters.  We were so happy to be living in our area!  

In Siglo, we found so many people willing to listen and learn.  I had never seen a people so receptive to the gospel!  It was so cool to see.  My companion and I got along great.  We became BFF's  WAY FAST.   And we built friendships with the people we taught.  I loved everyone!  Legit!  

Thankfully Hermana Tenorio and I got to be together for two cambios!  We spent Christmas together - something we were both hoping for.  Christmas really was so special.  I didn't miss home at all.  And that surprised me.  I was really content with where I was and what I was doing.  It was really cool to spend this Christmas in the Lord's service.  The material thing really didn't matter at all.  We received various little gifts from some ward members and I was so grateful!   And it wasn't even for the things they gave us but just for the thought.  The ward also got together and gave us packages for a TON of food  I legit cried when they gave them to us.  It was so nice.  I got to talk to my family and it was so cool!  My English sucked and apparently I have a Mexican accent, but I don't believe it.  I haven't been here THAT long!