Tuesday, October 27, 2015

First Baptism!!

 WOOHOOOOOOO. First baptism was yesterday with good old Jonathan. It was so awesome! Alejandro was supposed to be baptized yesterday too but he decided he wanted to wait an extra week because he wasn't feeling too sure yet. But he went to Jonathans baptism and then afterwards we asked how he felt and he said he was ready to be baptized this next sunday woohooo!!

Yeah this week was really really really hot. and humid. Im constantly drenched in sweat. everywhere. Its sort of terrible hahaha. and my legs are so sore all the time because there are seriously SO MANY HILLS AND STAIRS. sooooo many. We´ve been really struggling to reach our goals this week. We only have one new investigator, Olivia. She has a fecha but yesterday we stopped by to get her to go to church and she said she would. and then we went by again right before church to pick her up and she wasn't there. I don't know.. she always bails on us so i don't know if shes really escogido or not. Also no one here is married and that makes the whole baptism thing a lot harder. 

Valente didn't go to church again because he has chikungunya. Everyone has chikungunya which is a virus or something from mosquitoes. I'm actually really afraid of getting it. Your whole body itches and your bones ache and you have a fever and headache and it sounds pretty miserable. Hermana Blackham, the other g├╝era in the zone said shes gotten it twice already. or maybe just once. I don't know. 

But yeah, spanish is hard. I'm trying to talk more but you know... its a little difficult. haha even when i do talk in lessons, our investigators cant even understand me half the time. so sad. 
Okay funny story so I kept hearing this sheep all the time go ¨baaaaa¨ and i was really confused because i never see any sheep. then i finally found out where it was coming from. Its not a sheep! its this guy who walks down the street selling bread and hes actually saying ¨paaaan¨ (bread) and no joke he sounds exactly like a sheep its hilarious. my comp agrees. oh man. He was walking behind us last night for quite a ways and it took everything in me not to laugh at him. 
Well... I don't have any more time even though i want to write more. 

I'm feeling good right now. thanks for all the emails! love you all!!!!! 

-Hermana DeGraw

Steep stairs are going to be the death of me.         Jonathan with me and Hna Perez

My boyfriend Jorge the burro.  I see him everyday!

Monday, October 19, 2015

 FIRST WEEK IN THE FIELD HECK YEAH. So Papantla is really cool. I actually didn't realize what it was actually like until about an hour ago when we went to el centro. It really is a cute little town. But in Xanath, its way... more humble. We kind of live in the ghetto but hey I like that. We walk up and down hills all day long. The steepest hills I've ever seen in my life. And the longest set of stairs in the whole world too. man, so many stairs. So if any of you BYU peeps want to complain about that one set of stairs, I forgot what they're called. but anyways THINK AGAIN. Luckily its started to cool down though. Its been raining almost every day. And when it rains, it really rains. and then the streets flood and some of the streets are just dirt so its super muddy and slippery and some of the stairs going up the hills are just dirt so sometimes we get stuck on top of a hill with no where to go because there are rivers of mud and we cant climb back down without slipping and dying hahaha. But i like the rain. its fun. 
My first day here i had elote (corn on the cob nacho libre style) and it was the grossest thing ever. Seriously, never again. They put mayo and cheese and chile on it and.... yeah never again. Next time someone tries to sell me that I will smack that corn down and shout GET THAT CORN OUTTA MY FACE and then I{ll hand them a pamphlet of the restoration and ask them to be baptized. Im sure that will go well. 
Other than that, the food is great. We get fed by a different member every day for lunch. Sometimes we eat dinner or a tiny bit of breakfast. Sometimes not. So I'm not sure if ill lose or gain weight yet. We don't get a ton of food but when we do eat, its like 27 tortillas and rice and mole so.... ill probably gain some weight. 
Its super hard for me to communicate with people. Well,,, it depends. some people i can understand but i never know what to say. Other people i cant understand at all. My companion I can understand perfectly during lessons which is really cool but in our house.... mas o menos. 
So story time! One day we went to a members house for lunch and after we ate we found out that her husband, Valente, isn't a member so we started chatting with him and teaching him and talking about a whole bunch of different things. The first lesson and a little about eternal families and he accepted a baptismal date! and then when we asked his wife how she was feeling, she just stood up and walked over to her husband and hugged him and they sobbed in each others arms. and I was crying too and I couldn't even understand a lot of what they were saying but it was soooo awesome!! Unfortunately, hes been really sick the past week so he couldn't come to church. 
The people here are seriously so nice. Practically everyone lets us come into their house to chat and teach, even if they aren't interested in the church. They're all pretty religious and very humble. We went to visit this one member and she lived in this tiny house partially made of cinder blocks but also a lot of cardboard and she didn't even have a light in the house but she kept giving us food and more food and more food and they're just all so nice. 
We´ve also taught two different people who are missing a leg. 
OH I take bucket showers and that real fun. 
Also i may have electrocuted myself a tad because we heat up our water with this metal thingamabob that we plug into the socket and then put in the water and i wasn't thinking and put my hand in the bucket of water to see how hot it was and yeah... lol 
But its just me and Hermana Perez in our house. 
Our district is just us two and then Elder Skinner (my friend from the CCM) and Elder Rodriguez. Its been so nice having Elder Skinner in my district. I actually get to speak english every once in a while! And hes just really goofy. This one day, we ate lunch with the elders at a members house and she had cut pears into the shape of french fries and elder skinner actually thought they were fries. Then after he ate one, he realized they weren't fries but he still thought they were potatoes, he just thought they were raw. Im pretty sure pears don't taste anything like raw potatoes hahaha it was real funny. 

Yeah some people here only speak Totonaco. But not a whole ton. I've learned a couple words but i actually cant even remember them right now so nevermind. This place really is a party. Its super green and pretty. There are dogs and cats roaming the streets everywhere. Also chickens and turkeys. And sometimes there are cute little old men riding burros in the street. 

also dad, los voladores aren't in our area, they're in the centro which is where i am right now on the computer. Were going to go to el tajin in two weeks i think! 

Annndd this week ive been ponderizing (lol) John 15:4-5

Hermana DeGraw

Going to Xalapa!

Alright then. The past couple of days have been looooccooooo! Saying goodbye to my district pretty much the worst thing ever but its aight. Monday morning, our bus left at 4:30 am and by the time i got to xalapa it was like 11. I sat next to this really really nice guy named Marcos on the bus and elder Skinner (one of my friends from the ccm) and I talked to him the whole bus ride and then when we were leaving I gave him a passalong card and then he tried to kiss my cheek and it was really awkward and i had no idea what to do so that was interesting. 
We spent the whole day at President and Hermana Greers house which was super fly. Xalapa is seriously the cutest city. I would totally live there. Anyway in the night we had a testimony meeting and President called each of us newbies up one by one and then after we shared our testimony he told us who are companion is. It was really awesome. President is so funny too, he cracks us all up all the time. and he lived in Oceanside for kind of a long time so that's cool! 

Well my comps name is Hermana Perez shes really nice, shes been out for 9 months and she speaks absolutely no english. I was the only american girl last night and it was a little scary but i guess i should get used to that. there are only two other gringas in the whole mission. 

This morning we left for papantla! My area is called xanath but i promise, however you try to say that, its not gonna be right. i think its someting like shiana. anyway its freaking hot here and sooooo humid. and i just walked up THE STEEPEST HILL ive ever encountered in my life. but its sooooo pretty here despite all the hills. 
well um i should probs wrap this up because were going to meet with an investigator in a couple of minutes and im going to pee my pants because i dont know what im doing. but hey my life is good. reaaaaal good. 

Love you all!! 
-Hermana DeGraw

Saturday, October 10, 2015


OKAY wasn't conference just awesome??? It really is like Christmas here in the mission. It was so great to have a break from classes and sit in comfy chairs and listen to the words of the prophets IN ENGLISH!! So a sweet. First of all, I just want to say how much i love President Monson. Everything he says is so simple and clear and loving. Listen to the prophet. He knows whats up. As do all the other apostles including our three new ones!! Just a couple things I wanna share. I thought it was so cool how both Elder Stevenson and Elder Renlund mentioned how the gospel is preached by the weak and simple. Ain't that the truth, especially when it comes to us missionaries. I thought that connected really well with the devotional we watched last night of Elder Holland talking about the importance of having the spirit as our third companion in the field. We need a heavenly connection to do this work. With the Holy Ghost, our less than divine abilities, and our weaknesses and simplicity will not fall short! 
I also really loved Elder Oaks talk about the Atonement. Alma 7:11-12 is an awesome scripture. Christ knows our heartaches, temptations, sicknesses, weaknesses, and everything we are going through personally and perfectly because He experienced it all according to the flesh. And because of that He knows exactly how to strengthen us, help us, and cause us to stand. He will give us strength and patience to endure our trials. Everyone go watch the video ¨None Were with Him¨ it is soooooo goooood. 
Also shout out to all the moms out there, especially mine. Wasn´t Elder Hollands talk awesome?? I think that really hit all us poor missionaries who miss our mommies. Mothers have a majestic influence that is ESSENTIAL to the Lord{s work. 

Ummm I FOUND A CAT THIS WEEK. She was so friendly. She actually walked into the chapel while we were watching the Womens broadcast and i really wanted to just pick her up and pet her but then some terrible person shooed her out of the room. LAME. people who don't love cats have no souls. But i guess i cant really talk because I'm practically a ginger so... I don't have one either. man life's rough sometimes. 

So everyday we go to class with a latin district for like 2 hours in the morning and an hour in the evening. Its pretty fun. Sometimes its a little scary but its been a good experience so far. There's not really much to say about it though. Oh i met a girl in one of my latin districts going to Xalapa. Shes funny. When the teacher asks us a question, she{ll volunteer for me to answer it. So that's cool. But yeah so now its more than just me, elder skinner, and elder austin going to xalapa! I think around 10 other latin missionaries arrived last week going to our mission. 
AND WE GOT OUR TRAVEL PLANS. We leave at 4:30 in the morning and i thought we were flying but it turns out it'll be a 6 hour bus ride. wooooohoooooooo. Im SO PUMPED but still really really really really sad to say goodbye to good old district 6D. I love them soooo much! By the way my comps mission is Queretaro. 


Hasta Luego,
Hermana DeGraw

p.s. one more reason why im so blessed. coconut popsicles at the tienda. so good.