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!  

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