In case my attempt at onomatopoeia wasn't precise enough, those are the sounds of blowing up balloons, curling ribbons, and throwing empty soda cans into the garbage. Yes, This week I was involved in not one, but TWO Fiestas!
We went over to see Carmen (one of our investigators) but lo and behold she was shopping for her daughter's Quinceanera the following day.
----Hermana Thomas's quick word on Quinceaneras:
WHERE WAS MINE??? Basically when a girl turns 15, she dresses up as a princess, gets accompanied by 15 men to her own private (for lack of a better word, BALL), full of dancing, eating, and fiesta-ing until two in the morning. There are fabulous decorations, fabulous snackies, and 350 of your most fabulous friends (I kid you not, three-hundred and fif-ty) Yeah. I don't know who missed the memo on throwing me MY quinceanera, but my closet is definitely one Cindarella-dress short. (hey I think I've kissed enough frogs to qualify.)
Anyway, Carmen wasn't there but the house was sardine-d with people getting ready for the big day. Being "misioneras" we offered to serve, and they accepted! My job was to try as hard as I could to ignore one of my favorite movies playing as I curled ribbons around the Mexican candy party favors.
-Hermana Thomas's quick word on Mexican candy:
I don't know why why why Mexican candy insists on being 40% chili powder? A really popular flavor is mango and chili. Yes, it IS very strange and inexplicably addicting. You have to eat at least 12 before you realize that you don't really care for mango and chili.
It was fun. Too bad we didn't get to attend (not exactly missionary approved.) But, I plan on having my own when I get back (I could pull off 15, right?)
This is a nice time for a photo break. My family sent me a HILARIOUS picture of a real Mrs. Potato head, and I HAD to re-create it to make an "Hermana Potato Head." earrings courtesy of Hna. Woller.
Fiesta # 2:
The next day, we went over to see if one of our members could accompany us to a lesson later that day. When we got there, she was preparing for the Batman party to end all Batman parties for her little hombre turning three. Again, because we're always looking for ways to serve (and because the mama is pregnant) we asked what we could do to help. She said that we could blow up balloons and that, by-the-way, we were invited to the party.
***Necessary insert: No, we do NOT normally go to parties, even if we're invited, BUT she mentioned that one of our former investigators who has been avoiding us would be there with her son. We did a quick drive by and, since she was there, we briefly attended.
***second necessary insert: No, we're not creepy, just enthusiastic about sharing the message of Christ!
Anyway, it was probably the happenen'-est party every held for a three-year-old. Seriously! I'm pretty sure it was more intricately planned that any party I've ever had, and I'm 19!! --poor kid, all he wanted was the Batman toy on the top of the cake. (don't we all?)
Highlights of our 20 minutes of attendance:
1. Trying NOT to be creepy about approaching our investigator, and then trying to nonchalantly bring up when we can come over and visit. All this in between bites of cake.
2. Batman EVERYTHING
3. Delicious delicious delicious cake pops, how many of which I am ashamed to say I ate.
4. Being weirded out by hearing normal music (what? that Justin Bieber kid is still making music? I thought the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was all the rage)
5. Goody bags (oh goody!)
Don’t worry, we helped clean up afterward (i.e. slyly searching for where those cake pops went.....) which included the aforementioned crushing and recycling of empty soda cans.
These experiences were fun, but the REAL fiesta is missionary work! This week we were able to see so many people progress in their testimonies of Christ and His teachings. One investigator in particular is such an example to me of faith. She has kept every commitment we have given her (missionary's dream!) and you can tell how much joy has been magnified in her life. The only reason she's not baptized is that she's not married to the man she's living with. They have two a-dorable daughters, which has complicated her situation, but she told him that they either get married or separate. what?!?!? I cannot even believe the courage it would take to do that, and she is such an example to me of the believers. She accepts every commandment without question because it is asked of God. Even the biggies like the law of chastity or tithing. Wow. Every day I see people grow so much, and I can feel my own testimony strengthen. See? Missionary work IS a party! (Although more cake pops would be nice.)
WIWTK (What I Wish They Knew) for today:
One thing we have come across lately is that people get turned off from the church because of the behaviors of the members/bishop or other leaders in the ward. This is poisonous! It is a testimony to me of how we as members need to always live the gospel to the best of our abilities because people ARE watching. But more than that, I wish these people understood that NOBODY in this church is perfect. Nobody in this world is perfect. We do not profess to behave perfectly. In fact, the second lesson missionaries teach is that we're NOT perfect! We do claim to have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but while the TEACHINGS are perfect, the followers are not. If someone in this church has offended you, please remember the gospel of Jesus Christ was established by the only Perfect Being to ever live on this earth. Therefore, His instructions, words, and the organization of His church ARE perfect, but we are not! Even as a missionary, I make manymanymanymanymanymanymany mistakes. But the things of which I testify are 100% correct.
Basically I love all of you.
like. a lot.