Saturday, April 8, 2017

April 3, 2017 El Final

Friends and fam,

It's hard to believe I've reached the end of my mission. I think I'm to the point where my head gets it but my heart doesn't. As excited as I am to be home, there's a lot I'll miss here in Mexico. I'm working on a list of things I love here so I won't forget to do/eat one day when I get the chance to come back and visit haha so stay tuned for the list. 

But here's a fun recap of my mission:

On October 14, 2015, I headed off to Mexico City to start my missionary life. I was blessed with a fun companion from the far land of Montana, Hermana Caldwell, a super fun district, hilarious roommates, a crazy branch presidency, and great instructors. I didn't learn a lot of Spanish there but I learned a little teeny tiny bit about how to be a missionary and had an unforgettable 6 weeks. 

Theeeeeeeen it was off to the real world, so I made it--terrified--to Aguascalientes where I was greeted by Presidente & Hermana Villareal, and assigned my trainer, a slightly crazy and intense but incredible for Ensenada, Baja California Norte: Hermana Muñoz. We headed off to our area, Jardín, in the great state of San Luis Potosí. We were in probably the nicest area of the whole mission and I still complained a lot and suffered a major culture shock but ended up loving every minute. The members instantly became my family and taught me the ways of life in Mexico. 

After my training, I was with Hermana Carmona Y for like a week and a few days then...special transfers to another ward in the same stake called Retornos! 

Honestly I had the worst attitude about Retornos when I got there and was not a fan of my new, very small, dirt-road filled new area, but my crazy Guatemalteca companion, Hermana Castro, the elders, and ward members helped me learned to love the place where I passed my first birthday in the mission and trained a new missionary, Hermana Franco (also Guatemalteca!) and we had tons of fun acting like lunatics and seeing miracles.​

Then I got sent to the great state of Aguascalientes with Hermana Huerta from Mexico City! Our area was full of hills and hardships (sometimes I felt like I was in Ninevah) but also countless miracles. It was one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding transfers of my mission. This same transfer, our new mission presidents, Presidente & Hermana Hernandez arrived! They are some of the greatest human beings to ever walk the earth and I love them LOTS. 

Next transfer they closed our area to sisters and sent me to the other stake with Hermana Juarez, another Guatemalteca, to be her last companions! Another area with great members and a suuuuuuuper fun district! After my comp finished, I spent a transfer with Hermana Garay, my Hondureñan soul sister, then two weeks into our second transfer together we had the blessing of being put in trio with Hermana Rivero from el Estado de México! If a companionship is fun, a trio is even FUNNER (I refuse to accept that funner isn't a word). It was honestly one of the most enjoyable times of my whole mission and then I got sent to the lovely state of Zacatecas.

Zacatecas is in the mountains and has some freakishly intense hills where I enjoyed another Christmas in the mission with Hermana McConaghie from Arizona and another birthday in the mission with Hermana Tolosa from Culiacan!

I'm out of time and the pictures won't load so you'll get the full account shortly....BUT the most important of it all is...

I grew up in Mexico. I came to know my Savior Jesus Christ. I came to understand more profoundly the simple truths of the restored gospel. I learned to love God's children here and try to see them as He does. I've seen more miracles than I can count on all of my fingers and toes 10 times. I've come to know who I am as a child of God and an important player on His team. I know that God has a plan for us and that it's perfect. I'm excited to get home and put in practice everything I've learned here. I love this Gospel and have loved every minute of my service to the Lord in these 18 months. Until we meet again, Mexico. 

See you all in a week!

Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Bird ​

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March 13, 2017

Hola friends and fam! 

Lunes: Transfers! Hna. McConaghie went home and I got a new comp named Hermana Tolosa! She's from Culiacan, Sinaloa and TALLER THAN ME, what?? But she rocks and we've had a blast.

Martes: District meeting, good lessons, and Lupita, one of our favorite sisters, came out to work with us! 

Viernes: Ward FHE where one of the sisters didn't like our game so things got a little tense hahahahhahahaha but even then it was a good time.

Lunes: My district, MTC comp, and my trainee's trainee ROCK and threw me a birthday bash in the capilla and we had a great old time​
THEN we went with our favorite members (the ones with a million cats) and ate gorditas. >:)
Martes y Miércoles: AGUASCALIENTES!!! Got to see some of my favoritest friends and that always makes me happy. Also we talked about the importance of commandments and leaving commitments and FAITH and had suuuuuuuper inspiring and motivating meetings!

Retornos crew minus Escareño
My soul sister

Last Mineros pic before Avilez had transfers

Viernes: ZONE MEETING!  with a million and 7 newbies so I felt way old...found some new investigators in a part of our area that has always been a little miracle!

Sábado: Good day and read a quote I loved while re-reading conference talks that says (I don't have the translation in English here but Google can help) "No podemos dirigir el viento, pero podemos ajustar las velas. A fin de tener la mayor felicidad, paz, y satisfacción posibles, decidamos tener una actitud positiva." -Pres. Thomas S. Monson 

Domingo: LOOK THEY PLANTED FLOWERS IN MY HONOR. Okay not really but like what are the chances I would find something in Mexico with my name on it? Way cool. 

Then Lupita came out to visit people with us again and it started raining on us again but there was a rad rainbow so we took a pic but you can't even see it haha...(feat crazy eyes and double chin hehe)

HOY: We went to the mine again and had a blast. Remember my friend from the last time we went to the mine? We took another pic today to remember old times and I shared my water with him. 

Oh, and also our other friend.
And then took another sweet pic where Hna. Christensen and I were definitely the only ones that didn't get the memo that it wasn't going to be a funny pic haha

Have a great week, remember who you are and where you came from, and reflect and write questions in preparation for conference in a few weeks!


Hermana Bird

February 27, 2017

Such an eventful week!

Lunes: We went and did all of the last-minute souvenir shopping for my comp and went to eat at a place called Wing's Army with the district then shopped some more then went to visit an investigator who we hadn't been able to find for a month and taught about el día de reposo and all was well!

Martes: A member sent us all to a restaurant for lunch where I accidentally broke a salt shaker...#smooth and then at night we visited Ronald and HE ACCEPTED A BAPTISMAL DATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR THIS SATURDAY!! In the end he wasn't baptized...but very shortly it will happen. I just know it!

Miércoles: Today we had a conference with President and we left feeling suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper motivated! Afterwards my district was standing around trying to decide where we were going to eat with the money the members gave us when President comes outside, tells us he's hungry too, and takes us and the two other elders from our district out to eat. WOHOO!! Impromtpu lunch with President ROCKED. (Mom I think there are pics on the mission FB page)

Jueves: Studied about the calling of an apostle and learned a ton! I invite you all to read about it in D&C 107, the topical guide, True to the Faith, and whatever other resource your heart desires. ALSO, EVERYONE GO READ PRES. NELSON'S TALK FROM LAST CONFERENCE IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

Viernes: LA VISITA DE ELDER NELSON!!!!!!!!!!! Well....he didn't show up. :( His flight got delayed in Monterrey and in the end he couldn't make it which was a real bummer BUT even then I had a way cool experience! They had invited us to think of questions we wanted to receive answers to in the meeting beforehand and even though he didn't make it and the meeting turned into like a training meeting from the Area Presidency, I was able to receive the revelation I was looking for to ALL of my questions! God is so good and speaks through all of his servants! Also, in the morning one of the former companions of my companion who finished her mission in December showed up at our house and came out to work with us in the morning so enjoy this selfie featuring our new dresses (thanks vecina!).
But anyways after our meeting with the Area Presidency our whole zone frantically took a bus to the convention center where the other meeting with the members was going to be (enjoy this bus selfie where we're all stuffing our faces with our sack lunch) and Ronald was there in the white button-up shirt and tie the elders gave him! 

Sábado: Had some great lessons then helped the Young Women out with New Beginnings!

Domingo: We went to Aguas in the morning to go to church in Colinas (my comp's old area), ate with members, she went to her despedida and I chilled and worked with the other sisters in the area!

Hoy: Hna. McConaghie went home and I had to say goodbye at 3 in the morning haha. I totes miss her already haha but it's fine because we'll see each other in 9 weeks at BYU yay! And today my new comp Hna. Tolosa arrived! She's from Sinaloa and she's the bomb diggity. Photos of us to come!

I hope you can follow this scatter-brained email haha. Weird things happen to my brain when you combine transfers with little sleep. Bueno, I love your guts and hope you all have a great week! Remember who you are and where you came from and use your CTR rings to remind you what you need to do. ;)

-Hermana Bird

P.S. I don't have as many pics this week because she was always the one who took pics and sent them to me but seeing as she just got home today she hasn't sent them to me yet haha.

P.P.S. Here's a pic of the new district featuring my new comp when we went out to eat today (shouts out to the Virgin María on the wall behind us haha)

February 20, 2017 Happy Valentine's Day!

Friends and fam! 

I decided to get started on the group email a little bit earlier today because I never have time to do it well haha and lots of fun things that I want to share have happened this week!

Lunes: I know that it doesn't sound exciting, BUT washing our clothes is a pain here in the mission but our saint of a neighbor (who's a member who lives in front of us and like four houses over) WANTS TO LET US USE HER WASHING MACHINE FROM NOW ON AND FOREVER. I am sooooooooooooo grateful for her and so dang happy to have clean clothes. So we washed all our clothes then had a fun day full of shopping because my comp was trying to find gifts and souvenirs for everybody and their mother so that was fun! We also bought fabric so that another neighbor (an awesome Jehovah's Witness lady who's a former investigator that LOVES the sisters) can make us dresses for when President Russell M. Nelson comes to visit the mission THIS FRIDAY!!!!!! Then when p-day ended we had a Family Home Evening with the Primary president (who's the fun & crazy grandma I wrote about a few weeks ago after we ate with her), Hna. Olga (the sister who has 63573135 cats), and Ronald! It was a blast! We talked about the First Presidency's message from this month (which roooooocks you should all go check it out) and everyone participated and was loving it and at the end, the primary president's daughter brought us like 100 sopes and they were SO DELISH. Solid day.

Martes: Happy Valentine's Day! Such a good day. Woke up and my comp had decorated my desk and wall (also because I hit the 16-month mark today...) and it was SO CUTE. 
Then we went to the church to have a district breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, and orange juice which was DELISH (pics to come later because our ZL still hasn't sent them to me) and had an aweeeeeeeesome district meeting! We practiced a few principles from Preach My Gospel to become better about helping our investigators feel the love and sincere concern we have for them then did a fun activity with pictures of all of us as toddlers. Then of course we all shared Valentine's Day candies and it was a blast! Then we went to eat with Hna. Chayo who ROCKS! She was the companion of our mission president's wife when they were on their missions and her husband group up in my second ward in San Luis so it's always a blast to be with them! After lunch we headed out to Fresnillo to do exchanges with Hna. Nicholas and Hna. Vargas! We taught a cute old man like the whole lesson of the Restoration on the way there and almost puked our guts out from sitting backwards for an hour haha but it was great and we had a fun time chatting it up with the sisters when we arrived.

Miércoles: Looooooooooots of walking, taught some cool people, and had some good chats with Hermana Nicholas, then headed back to Zacatecas and crashed haha. Enjoy this blurry pic of the happy clan. :) 

Jueves: Had an AWESOME lesson with Ronald! He finally started to open up and share his questions and doubts and we were able to help him resolve a few doubts and let him know how to find the answers on his own to a few other doubts. But he rocks and he's funny and always cooks for us so here's a pic of us with mango like he made a few weeks ago and plátanos fritos con azucar y crema. 
 He's seriously sooooooooooo close to baptism. We're hoping to see him baptized in a few short weeks!
Viernes: Taught an intense Jehovah's Witness and found another cool lady to teach then had a ward Valentine's day activity and it was a blast!

Sábado: Intercambios con Hna. Torres! Had a fun time in Guadalupe and burned my face off again haha but it was a blast and we both learned a lot!

Domingo: Ronald came to church again YAY! I gave a talk about the importance of reading the scriptures, my comp and I taught the Gospel Principles class on the Priesthood, and the we learned about being pioneers in Relief Society. It was comp's last Sunday in our ward so obvi we took a ton of pics. 
feat. new clothes because my comp literally gave me ALL of her clothes haha
we're really photogenic...

​After church we ate with Hna. Chayo otra vez and we always eat like kings and queens in her house and she made us delicious pork chops with steamed vegetables and bread and pasta and I felt a little bit like I was at home haha. Then we went to choir practice with the zone and finished off the day at the funeral of our Relief Society President's son.

Something that I've learned or been reminded of this week is how precious life is! It definitely has it's ups and downs, good days and hard days, joys and sorrows. But it's a time of trial and preparation for the eternal happiness that awaits us. I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that if we heed to Him and His teachings, we can be happy! Always! He loves us and will help us make it through everything. Have a great week!!

Hermana Bird

February 13, 2017

Friends and fam!

It's been an exciting few weeks here in Zacatecas and here's the Reader's Digest version:

two weeks ago
-Martes y miércoles: We went to Aguascalientes wohoo!! It always rocks getting to go to Aguas and see a ton of other missionaries. President asked my comp and I to do a training on the importance of learning English and how to set and reach language goals wohoo! We learned a lot of great things about the Doctrine of Christ, how to apply it in our areas, how to help our investigators understand our purpose as missionaries and..................................they told us that President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorom of the Twelve is coming to visit us in 3 WEEKS so the whole mission is coming to ZACATECAS and my comp and I are in charge of choosing the special musical pressure. But here are some of my favorite pics from these glorious two days in Aguas. :) ALSO the hermanas who are in my previous area told me that Alberto is doing great and still does alllll the things we taught him to do to remember to say his prayers and things like that and HE'S JUST THE BEST I was soooooooooooooooo happy to hear that he's doing well!!!
aguas friends
elder garcia creepin in the background haha​

​last selfie with johnston before he went home:(

-Jueves: Visited Ronald and he gave us mango with lime, salt, Valentina, and crushed roasted pumpkin seeds. Tastes better than it sounds and here's a pic!

-Viernes: Good zone meeting and everyone got excited to learn English wohoo!!

-Sábado: Went to Fresnillo to help train in their zone meeting because one of the assistants has had intense back issues since October and went home today (he was supposed to finish with me), so Elder Peterson (aka my ginger friend from the MTC) is assistant now and he was in Fresnillo but like then he had to go to Aguas so his comp got a new comp that wasn't in the leadership meeting so we went to help. Did that make sense? Anyways we had a grand ole time and got to eat with Hna. Nicholas and her comp afterwards and it was waaaaaaaaaay fun! Her comp served in Retornos and told me all about how the Familia Mota is doing and THEY ROCK I LOVE THIS FAMILY and it was sooooooooooo fun to hear about all that's gone down over there in the past few months!

Domingo: Ronald came to church! He's soooooooooo close to getting baptized! We just have to help him sort out a few things then he's READY!

last week
Lunes: We went to a park called Ecoparque Centenario and had fun hiking and going on a swinging bridge but I sunburned my face off haha. Here are some fun pics of our eventful day!

Martes y miércoles: We went to Fresnillo again on exchanges and I had a blast with a sister from my generation and her companion that she's training! Selfie with a weird sugar cane drink we bought!

Jueves: We had our first rehearsal as a zone for the special musical number for Elder Nelson then celebrated these sisters' birthdays afterwards with cake! 

and now i'm out of time so everything else next week! love you all bye!

-Hermana Bird


Friends and fam,

Can I just say God is so good? There are many times I feel frustrated or get down but when I really sit down and count my blessings, I'm so insanely overwhelmed by the love my Father and my Savior have for me. A few exciting events from this week:

Martes: We had a bomb diggity district meeting! Our new district leader ROCKS. He was in our district last transfer too, but not as a leader and for real his district meetings are way inspiring and way fun and we just leave feeling so motivated. (And it's fun because he arrived with the generation of missionaries when I trained Hna. Franco and was in the ward that shared our church so I've been able to see parts of his progress over these last 10 months). We talked about how to recognize, listen to, and follow the Spirit. We read in 1 Nefi 4: 6, 10, 11, 12, 18 and see how the Spirit doesn't give up on us very quickly. The Spirit is always there to help us when we live worthy! Afterwards we visited a few other people and at night had a FHE with a family of more-or-less active members and their friends they invited and I ATE ARMADILLO. They just invited us randomly to eat dinner with them (because here in Mexico we eat dinner at like 9 at night) and we were eating tacos and they were really good, the only weird thing was that there were a ton of bone pieces in the meat, BUT because it looked and tasted like chicken I didn't even question what kind of meat it could be. So at the end they asked us if we knew what we had just eaten and we said no, then told us it was armadillo. Chido. Then they pulled a frozen iguana out of their freezer that they were going to eat later in the week. The hermana had brought all of them back from a trip to Michoacan along with green mango (which is SUPER SOUR) and another fruit/veggie called guamuchiles. Lesson I learned today: armadillo tastes good but I wouldn't recommend it because it destroys the digestive system hahahhahahahaha.

Miércoles: WORLDWIDE BROADCAST!!! I'm way excited for the changes that'll be happening here in the missionary world. We'll now have more freedom in terms of our daily schedule and will have some other changes that help us focus more on helping our investigators progress. Then a member accompanied us to visit a few cool new investigators, then he went off to a meeting at the church and my comp and I headed out to find another investigator. We found her but she was selling elotes and asked us to come back tomorrow so we bought elotes and headed back to another part of our area to visit other people when.................................................we almost died. Don't freak out Mom, all is well now but I'll tell you the deets in April hehe. 😌 But anyways the nearest elders came to our rescue and all turned out well. Then the four of us went to visit Ronald and talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon.

Jueves: Weekly planning, Burger King for lunch, and a million and seven choir practices for the devotional on Sunday.

Viernes: We were walking in the street and passed the house of a former investigator where her kids were laying outiside with their friends and said to them "Miren, son las muchachas del Libro de Mormón!!!!!" and ran out to say hi to us. These kids are so stinkin cute! Too bad their mom doesn't want to keep her commitments right now. :( Then we visited our favorite less active members with 11 cats (because one got run over on Monday....) and headed back home!

Sábado: The elders came to help one of our investigators cut down a tree while we caught his wife. IN the afternoon, we went to the baptism of some of the sisters in our zone, then at night we visited Ronald and watched the video about the Restoration. And the temperature dropped a TON so it's been freezing these days and will be like 18 degrees F tomorrow. Oh.

Domingo: Ronald came to church again! (It will never stop being exciting) Then we ate with the stake president and his family then headed to the devotional where the theme was "Cristo me ofrece una nueva vida" and my comp gave a talk and it was BOMB and Ronald came and we all learned a lot and felt the Spirit waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay strong!

Hoy: In the morning my comp and I prepared the training we have to give tomorrow on how to study English (even though we don't study it......) at a conference in Aguas then headed to el centro to do some shopping! We always have a giant list of things we want to do or buy that we NEVER finish but today WE FINISHED! And also went to a suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper hipster crepe place for breakfast. Check it. 
Then we met up with the district, ate little Caesar's, and went rollerblading at a sweet park called La Encantada. Here we are afterwards yay:

Now, the reason I feel EXTRA blessed today is because I just out that a few people that I had the opportunity to teach in Aguascalientes (in my dangerous area that's now the elders' area that I always complained about) GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!! Here's the evidence: 

(and another sister from this same area that I don't have a picture of--Daniela, the golden investigator that I always talked about)
I know the Lord definitely does things His way and in His timing but I'm so grateful to have been able to meet these people and see that they've decided to make sacred promises with God! ALSO, a teenager that my trainer and I taught in my first area in San Luis wrote me today and told me that she's getting baptized THIS Saturday!​ God loves all of us, His children. He knows what we need, when we need it, and how we need it. I LOVE being a missionary and am so grateful for everything I've learned and lived here in Mexico. I know the Gospel is true. I know that we can only find the true, LASTING happiness we desire when we do God's will. 

I hope you all have an incredible week and can count your blessings and feel just as loved and blessed as I have this week!

Hermana Bird 

January 23, 2017

Friends and fam,

So many things have happened this week!

Lunes: We had Family Home Evening with a family in our ward where they shared the lesson and read part of Doctrine of Salvation in a section where it talks about how Christ is our mediator with the Father. It rocks and I invite you all to study the word Mediator in your scripture study this week because it was bomb!

Martes: Helped an 88-year-old convert named Raquel write her first talk for sacrament meeting! She was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay nervous and begged us not to make her do it haha but in the end she was really excited and did a great job on Sunday! Then at night we visited Ronald. He's reaaaaaaaaaaaaally into chess and wanted us to learn, so first we taught him about the Godhead and related it to chess: just like each chess piece has its specific movements, God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost have certain responsabilities and functions. Even though they're three separate beings, they have one purpose "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" just like all of the pieces in chess work together to reach the same end goal in mind. Then we played a game of chess and totally kicked his butt! (But it was two against one so I think that's why...)
Also, when you look for members on the ward list and find their house like this...oh.

Miércoles: District meeting featuring three new elders and a district selfie.
and a #casual bathroom selfie haha.
Later we had tacos for lunch (did I mention I love tacos and everyone needs to try real Mexican tacos?????????) and went to visit a recent convert and her cute little cousins and a few less-actives we hadn't seen in a long time.

Jueves: Weekly planning in the morning, then went to eat with a sister who is CRAZY. Like, awesome crazy haha she's a cute little grandma who talks for hours on end and doesn't let us leave her house without our pockets full of candy and just rocks. We had never visited her before so it was way fun to get to know her! Then we had a few meetings in the evening then headed home. My comp and I have have been feeling like there's a whole lot of nothing in our area lately and realized that we've been complaining like..a lot. SOOOOOOO, we were reading in the Liahona and were SO INSPIRED by the article about President Hinckley that we started a thankful flower on our wall (it's like a Thanksgiving thankful tree where you write something you're thankful for on every leaf, but we're doing it with flower petals made from glittery foamy paper haha) and it's been THE BEST. I don't have a picture of it but I do have pictures of a few other things I'm grateful for:
our new heater so we don't freeze to death at night
hot chocolate and the pajamas Hna. Caldwell and Hna. McConaghie gave me for Christmas!
Also, always remember the wise words of Pres. Hinckley, "It will all work out!"
Viernes: Exchanges! With Hna. Machado (Hna. Caldwell's companion)! It was SO COLD and SO WINDY that the wind literally almost knocked her over haha. But we went to the church for a meeting and afterwards they gave us Little Caesar's so that ROCKED and we visited some cool people! 

Domingo: Ronald came to church again! Aaaaaaaaaaaaand as we were out visiting people we passed a guy sitting outside of his house looking really sad and chugging his beer bottle. We went to knock on the door of the people we were looking for but they weren't home and as we headed back he said "Hermanas! Vénganse!" Now, normally when a drunk guy starts talking to us, we ignore him, but my compa told me that a member had told her that he was a former investigator. He started talking to us about how sad he was and how he wanted us to talk to his wife. We told him we could come back another day when he was sober and left a pass along card with our appointment information on it. Just as we were about to leave we began to testify that although he may find temporary comfort in alcohol, the REAL, ETERNAL happiness he's looking for can only be found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was feeling really gutsy in that moment (and the Spirit didn't tell me not to do it haha) so I asked him what he was gonna do with all of the beer that he still had in his bottle. He said he didn't know. We asked him if he was going to drink it and he said no. I told him that if he wasn't going to drink it, it would be better to just go ahead and get rid of it, so he went over to the bottle, poured it all out, and threw the bottle away. Later that night we visited the member that knows him and learned a little bit more about his past and found out he had gone to church with us before and really wants changes in his life. Hopefully I'll have more to share on him the coming week!

Hoy: Well, today I washed my clothes for the first time since 2016. :) HAhahah to explain, it's a struggle in almost every area of the mission to find a place to wash our clothes. Normally some members let us wash with them but we haven't been able to make that work out since last year haha so we've been washing what we needed by hand but TODAY WE HAD A WASHING MACHINE AND IT WAS SO GREAT. Andddddddddd we hiked the Bufa! Here are some of my favorite pictures of the day.

yeah we think we're pretty funny.

Love you all heaps and hope you have a fantastic week!!!
Hermana Bird

P.S. Our attempt at heel-clicking, Kenzie you would be proud!