Upon arriving to Zazil-ha and cleaning a missionary home that had not been lived in for months and months, we came to know a few things about our new area:
1) It is right by the airport. We learned this the first night when jets were continually flying over our roof. I don't mind it, though — the sound of airplanes remind me of home and family and traveling.
2) We have a pet cat. Which yes, is really not allowed. but what can you do when it has already made a little home on your front patio? It is orange and white. We don't have a name for it yet.
3) Our bishop is like a main character from the movies "Freedom Writers" or "Remember the Titans." He was recently called as bishop last month and is quite young. From what we have heard, our ward is recovering from eight years of leadership that wasn't ministered with a lot of love and understanding and it seems that the new bishop has swept in with a lot of energy and plans to help the ward. We are really excited to work with him.
4) Zazil-ha (which we found out means "clear water" in Maya) is a little bit like paradise. There are fruit trees that line the streets, shadowing all the popsicle stands and fruit juice bars. One of the members that lives close to our house has a shake and burger stand — they saved us from the on-pouring rain we experienced on Friday and gave us an Oreo shake to recuperate. We like them a lot. And by we, I mean me and my companion, Hermana Villalobos. She is a convert of almost two years from Costa Rica. Basically, people should write novels about her. She is, in a word, lovely. Lovely in the way she talks and thinks and teaches and loves. She is like those heroines in novels — kind and charitable with a strength and confidence that inspires others to believe and act. She is quite perfect, actually, and I am learning so much from her goodness.
We had the chance to work with a member this week that is preparing to leave for her mission in October. She lived the mission life with us for the full week and it was kind of like I had twins because they were both new and learning and questioning (and how do parents do it, I do not know). We got lost about 99 times. In the calles, on the bus. Everyone thought we were tourists with our colored maps and messenger bags. We met such lovely, kind, and humble people that made me realize how much more kind and humble I need to be. The mission is continually showing me how good God's children here are; they give without asking and serve without seeking reward. They are strong and courageous because they give more than they ask without worrying what they are losing. They remind me of the scripture that tells us to "put on strength." I like that is doesn't say "have strength," but rather "put on strength." It's a verb and an action that requires effort and trust and hope. So many of these people have to put on strength every single day in order to combat the fears of not having enough food or enough money for the bus or enough money for their child that wants to study. Their decision to have courage reminds me that I must do the same, and that every morning I wake up to put on my strength, God is waking up with me and doing the same.
Wishing you a full and happy week — love you $9.99.