a day in the life

hola dearest familia,

In an attempt to answer some of the questions from our oh-so-short time together over Skype, here is a little overview of our daily schedule here, a few of my favorite things, and some misc. facts that you may be interested to know:

6:30 | wake up, pray, exercise
7: 00 | shower/eat breakfast
8-12 | study time, which includes personal, companionship, training (because yes, I am a missionary in training), and language. 
12-9 | teaching (we have a range of people that we teach, from investigators to less actives to members and new contacts. Our goal is to have eight lessons a day, which we have come to see is a little difficult to accomplish here only because people loooove to talk — therefore, our lessons usually end up being an hour or longer....we are trying to be better at this, because our mission's goal is to have forty lessons a week with a baptism every week, too. Yay for goals!)

A few of my favorite things:

bread vendors | I do not know why these do not exist in America, but basically there are people that bike around every calle with a box full of bread (ranging from sweet breads with sugar and cream to breads with cheese and ham). I might like them more than the cookies here ...

last names | everyone here has two lasts names — the last name of the mother and the last name of the father. It is slightly confusing and I don't know how anyone succeeds in their family history research here, but I also kind of like the idea of always having a part of your mom and dad next to your name always. 

time | does not exist here. If a meeting is set to start at 9 in the morning, most likely it will really begin at 9:30 or 10. It tends to be the same with our lessons we set with those we are teaching — hence why we can never have eight lessons a day. 

everyone that attends school either studies in the morning or the afternoon. I have come to realize that this is in order so that everyone has a block of time for their jobs. It is incredible to me how hard people work here and that every person works in order to support their family — no matter how old they are. 

and my most favorite of all favorite things: the people that live here. It is becoming more and more clear with every lesson and every conversation that God sent me here to learn from His children of the Yucatan — those who speak without fear but always with love, those whose actions and sacrifices are always for the benefit of their families, and those who are always, always giving with everything, even when their everything really is not that much. Every single person or family that we have the privilege of visiting in their homes has a pain or challenge that is far greater than a missionary with nineteen years of living can really comprehend, and yet in the midsts of their heartache they have a gift of living in the loveliest of ways. I may not understand why God gives greater challenges to some rather than others, but I have come to understand more and more the magnitude of love and grace that God has for every soul and every life that exists on this earth. My heart is filled with love for the ten year old girl we are teaching who lost every single member of her family in a horrible and incomprehensible event, and who asked a question of hope: will everyone that dies one day live again? My heart is filled with compassion for the grandma who is the only one in her family seeking for light, and who is trying to teach her grandchildren to do the same. My heart is filled with the knowledge of God's grace with the thirty-three year old divorcee with two children and a lot more problems, who has more bouts of depression than any life should have to bear. I do not know how to answer a lot of the questions relating to why lives like this exist in the midst of lives that are far more blessed, but I do know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to all, and that it is a privilege to be able to give words of light and hope to the souls that live here. 

One day I will be able to answer all your questions and ask each of you even more — until that day, know that I love you and that you are always in my heart and mind, becauseI love you with an eternal love and the eternal hope that we will be a family that lasts through the eternities. 

with love,
the stage setting for our ward Christmas production

herding the sheep

reenactment of the Nativity — one that will forever go down in history

all the hermanas in our Zone, singing and contacting the day before Christmas 

you bought a kitty without me, so I held a new born puppy to compensate 

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