Rain won't stop these Hermanas!

Buenas!  So this week went by WAY FAST!  Seriously, I feel like last Monday was yesterday.  This week was super cool for lots of reasons.  I’ve made a list!

  1. We got an air conditioning unit for our bedroom! (well, in this case it’s a hammockroom)  We sleep nice and cold now.
  2. It rained ALOT!  And Hermana Espinoza and I wore matching rain ponchos.  People looked at us and laughed.
  3. We found lots of new people to teach!
  4. We went a whole day without having to take the bus (which actually takes a lot of planning).
  5. A viejita in the ward invited us to go visit all her friends and share the gospel with them.  She took us to their houses and introduced us!  We set appointments and we’re going back this week :) But she was so cute and kept saying, “Let’s go bring people to the gospel!  And it they reject us, we’ll keep going!”
  6. One of the recent converts in the area accompanied us in a lesson with his neighbors, and they wanted him to the prayer at the beginning of the lesson and again at the end of the lesson.  He agreed, but in his prayer he started with “Padre celestial, me toco otra vez, nimodos” (translation:  Heavenly Father, it’s my turn again to say the prayer/they chose me again to say the prayer, whatevs).  It’s much more funny in Spanish.  But I was dying, I almost laughed out loud during the prayer.
  7. I read 1 Nephi Chapter 1 for the millioneth time.  But I learned SO much!  We can literally read the same words over and over again and get something new out of it every single time.  The Book of Mormon is so cool and so true.  
  8. I learned how important it is to have patience with others.  If God has been so patient with us, we should probably try a little harder.
  9. Hermana Espinoza almost go stuck on the bus again!
  10. I turned 13 months old (in the mish)!
And that’s all for this week folks!  But I’ve got a challenge for you all.  Read 1 Nephi over again.  Read it well!  You’ll find it’s packed with awesomeness!  Also, invite the missionaries to visit one friend.  Just one!  It will make the missionaries happy, and it will make Heavenly Father happy too!  But most importantly it will make your friend happy - for eternity!

I love you all.  Have a great week!  
Hermana Keeler

This week she shares how much she loves bouganvillea, their matching rain ponchos and a battle between a gecko and a cockroach that they watched for 20 minutes.  You can see from the picture who won!  

Hermanas at the Zoo

Wow!  We almost never have time to write now!  We have a lot more responsibilities now.  We’re super busy.  I feel like we have like no time!  This change is interesting because I feel like the days go by really fast and the weeks are slow.  Totally the opposite of the rest of my mission.  Who knows why!

But we did leader-y things this week!  We had a zone conference this week and Hermana Espinoza and I taught like half of it!  We were SUPER NERVOUS but it turned out well.  We talked about the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost (the Spirit of God) is something that you can’t explain with words.  You have to experience it!  It was really weird going to a zone conference to teach and not be taught...but I still learned a bunch because missionaries like to comment and stuff.

Also this week we did companion exchanges.  We traded companions with some other sisters in the zone for a day and kind of trained them I guess?  I didn’t really know what to do haha.  But it turned out okay.  I don’t really know my area super well yet and I was really nervous about having to navigate the streets and buses alone.  We only got lost like twice but we found our way with a bit of walking and a few phone calls.  But it was fun.  I was with Hermana Aguilar, my little sister in the mission.  Her trainer was also Hermana Romero (in the mish we say mom for our first companion/trainer).

On Thursday we had another zone conference but this time with two zones and President Ruiz and the assistants and everybody.  And Hermana Espinoza and I had to teach AGAIN!  We had to prepare another message about the Holy Ghost.  We thought about using the same talk as before, haha but no, we prepared another.

We talked about two stories in the Bible.  I’ve come to realize that one of my talents is storytelling.  I LOVE to tell stories.  So my comp and I told the stories of Samuel and Elijah.  If you haven’t read them- go do it!  1 Kings 18:17-19:18 and 1 Samuel 3.  I don’t have time to write them and explain them, but basically these two prophets receive answers from God through the Holy Ghost.  And their experiences are totally different and way cool!  Guys, do you realize how cool the scriptures are?  The stories rock!  It’s like an action movie, no lie!

So here in the city, the buses are legit insane.  Campeche is way more laid back then Merida and I had forgotten about all the movement here.  Everyone drives SO FAST!  But there are lanes on the road here, so that’s a bit better than Campeche haha!  But all the bus drivers are crazy.  The other day, I got off the bus and Hermana Espinoza was behind me and it started driving away with her in the stairs!  The look on her face was priceless, she was so scared!   She forgot that to get off all you have to do is yell “baja!’ and he’ll stop.  But she momentarily thought we were going to be separated.  So when the bus started driving away, I yelled “hey!” really loudly and the driver stopped.  Hermana Espinoza was very relieved!

I love, love, love being a missionary during holidays.  The people are more interested in what we have to say.  Most people here are Catholic so they have a basic idea of who is Christ and usually know the real reasons for the holidays.  Here La Semana Santa is a big deal.  Easter isn’t just a day, but a whole week!  Everyone has a break from school and work and they all go to the beach.  Like everyone!  Lots of churches do a representation of the crucifixion and its really scary.  In big cities they actually nail someone to a cross.  The person who plays Jesus trains for a year carrying the cross and everything.  It’s really crazy.  And sad.

One of the many things that I love about the Gospel is that everything is so positive.  Instead of focusing on Jesus’ suffering, agony, pain and death, we focus on the simple truth that He died, was resurrected and lives today.  The angel said to Mary Magdalene that morning “Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen” Luke 24:5-6.  And because He lives, we can all live again.  We have the opportunity to be born again spiritually and to live eternally because of Him.  He is the King of Kings.  The Redeemer of the World.  The shepherd of my untamed soul.  And the reason that I’m here.

I love all of you!  Have a great week!
Hermana Keeler

Dogs in Tutus and a New Companion!

Soooo!  I’m writing from Merida because I got changed!  I left my dear Campeche :(  I really do miss it and all the people.  I feel like Esperanza is my home ward.   Campeche really is the promised land - and I forgot how spoiled I was there!  I would like to go back before I finish - but I doubt that’s gonna happen.  I feel like   I’m going to die here (mission lingo for end the mission).  But who knows a lot can happen in 3 changes!

I’m in Aeropuerto,  Our area is HUGE and is the city - city.  It’s way different from any area I’ve ever had.  It seems way cool though,  It’s so different from Siglo XX! where I really knew who lived in every house and had contacted a ton of them.  Here it is so big it would take like 3 hours to cross it walking.  It’s insane!  I hope I learn it fast because I’m just a little lost right now.

Today was a great day.  We said good bye to all the Hermanas that were going home at 5:30 am (they - all 6 of them) stayed in our house with us for two nights.  And that was a little sad!  Hermana Romero (her trainer), Hermana Cervantes (her 2nd companion) and Hermana Covarrubias!  Three of the sisters that I’ve been with forever!  It’s weird that I’m mother-less now. 

We went to a leadership meeting.  It was way cool to be there with all the important people haha!  It was so fun, I got to see Hermana Tenorio again! 

We went to visit a hermana whose brother is in the mission.  She’s been reading the Book of Mormon and is progressing!  We’re supposed to have a lesson with her and her family in the temple this Saturday!  #perksofbeinginYucatan.

Later, we were walking to eat lunch and a man came out of his house and yelled “sisters!” but in English.  At first we were a little skeptical to turn back but we did.  We went inside his house which is also an ice cream shop!   And it was covered with English flags and stuff.  Turns out her lived in England and Canada for a super long time and knows English really well.  He has a Mexican accent but also a slightly British accent with certain words.  It’s really funny!  We started talking to him and found out that he found the Church a long time ago in England and was going regularly for a long time too.  He came back to Mexico because his family had problems - he hasn’t seen his wife or kids for a long time.  He felt like he didn’t know what he was doing here, because they live in England.  But he knew he had to come to Mexico for something.  He literally told us that he wanted to get baptized and that he wants us to do it at the end of July.  He did everything for us: contacted us, asked us to come in, extended his own invitation for us to baptize him, and set a date.  It was way cool!  We have another appointment with him later this week.  It should be good!

The people are really prepared here.  We had a lesson with a new investigator media viejita that’s way cute!  She read the pamphlet and remembered everything.  We sang the hymn “Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice” (written by my great-great-grandfather!) and she stopped us every once in a while so she could understand what we were saying.  It was so cute.  Also at the end of the lesson she said the prayer and actually like prayed to us haha!  That’s never happened before.  But we thanked her for her nice prayer and lovingly corrected her after she finished!

Life is good!

Hermana Keeler

Her new companion is Hermana Espinoza.  They were friends in Campeche!

 Reunited with Hermana Tenorio!  

And of course she meets all the animals in town!  Love the tutu! 

Super fun Pday playing Ultimate Frisbee 

Celebrating one year with cakes and flaming skirts

25 Marzo 2017

Exactly one year ago, a different version of Hermana Keeler found herself writing at a very crowded table with three other gringas.  After her third day at the MTC in Mexico City, she was pretty tired.  It was a long, painfully slow day of classes.  But she felt proud that she had survived thus far.   She had taught a lesson in Spanish, really awfully pronounced- but it was Spanish nonetheless- and was eager to learn more.  She felt as if she had already been in the MTC for an eternity.  She wrote that night, “I’ve learned a lot about Spanish, but especially about myself over these past few days.”

Now, one year later, sitting at my plastic table, in my plastic chair, with a box of caramel delites at my side (thanks mom :)! )  I reflect on how much more true this statement is now and frankly how ignorant I was at the time that I wrote that.

This year has been a year of challenges.  Filled with sorrow, heartbreak, anger, anxiety and stress.  But also happiness, laughter, tears of joy, hope, forgiveness and peace.  But more than anything, this year has been one of growth (not physically, I’m still very short, even though my pictures may testify otherwise).  I can honestly say that I’m a better person than I was a year ago.  

I cannot express how grateful I am for this opportunity I’ve had.  I am eternally indebted to the people I have met.  And I will continue thanking God for all of the things that I have learned.  

I’ve come to realize what it means to be obedient.  What it means to be charitable.  What it means to be loving.  I’ve come to realize that I’m a daughter of God.  That Christ paid the price for my weaknesses and faults.  That I am entitled to His redeeming love.  I’ve come to realize how incredibly blessed I’ve been.  How much I love my family.  How everything I know I learned from my wonderful mom.

I’ve learned to treasure the word of God.  To pray to Him with sincerity of heart.  To love my brothers and sisters around me.  To take responsibility for my actions.  To admit that I was wrong.  To ask for forgiveness.

I wouldn’t have learned all of this if I were at home.  These experiences I’ve had are unique, special and irreplaceable.  I know that God called me to this place because I NEEDED to come here!  He knows me and my weaknesses and my strengths and that’s why He sent me to this land of panuchos, mayeros and ferocious dogs.

And I love it!

Translation:  Panuchos are black bean filled tostadas, Mayeros are the Mayan people and ferocious dogs are what chase her down the street :)

This week she didn't have time to write a letter she said: just tell everyone I'm sad to leave my dear Campeche but also I'm excited to meet new people and a little bit more of the city!  It's so freaking hot here but we're not letting that stop us!!! hahah the work must go forward even if it is 100 degrees and we're literally dripping sweat. Oh Yucatan!

But I'm going to a way cool area so that's good. It's HUGE so way different from my other tiiiiiiiny area. But I think it's going to be good. My comp and I are both new sister training leaders so we're going to be figuring out how to do it together hahah 

We went our for a walk with Hermana layda! She's the one that doesnt have legs.  She was soooooo happy it was so cute! 

We bought hats bc its sooooooooo hot here. Like so hot I had forgotten about the heat here

We did an activity of the tree of life it turned out cool 

We got chamacados they're like smoothie things with shaved ice and sweetened condensed milk. This sounds super weird but the flavor I got was strawberry and this way good cheese they have here. it was really good but it literally had grated cheese hahah! but i love it

Hna luviano brought us these huge tacos hahah they were really good!