Monday - After I finished sending my email home and finished yet another P day, we found ourselves with time to fill and no appointments. As missionaries, when times like these come the only thing to do is get on your knees and ask the Lord for His guidance that you can make those hours worthwhile, and boy were they worthwhile! We ended up going to Ocotes to knock the doors of two references (for the 100th time) and, MIRACLE, they were both home and ready to hear our message. We also found out that for one of them we were actually knocking the wrong door, but the women who lived there invited us in and was super excited to listen. We then were walking through the square at the end of the night and I felt impressed to contact a woman in the three minutes that we had. Turns out it was Gloria, an old investigator that we had been trying to find at home repeatedly for two weeks. Gosh, it was such a good day!
Because it was Christmas eve/Christmas nobody wanted to talk to the missionaries, or were on vacation, or had all their family in town, but it was okay because (like so many other missionaries across the world) we took to the streets caroling for everyone and knocking the doors of everybody we knew. I'm pretty sure I've never had a more rewarding Christmas. It sure wasn't white, but it was raining cats and dogs all Christmas eve and about 50 degrees so we found almost everyone in their homes with ALL their family because the parties at the Catholic churches were canceled! (huge blessing and miracle). The people were thrilled to see us. Safe to say that caroling isn't a thing here, so nobody knew what we were up to but the Latin comps took to it like it was a totally natural thing and just loved it. We ended every visit with a joyful chorus of "we wish you a merry Christmas" just like back home. Safe to say I had the biggest smile on my face the entire time!!!! By the end of the night we had so much candy in our bags that we just started giving it away to random strangers cause there wasn't room. We also had about 7 sweaters and 2 umbrellas that were borrowed from members and MA that were worried about our health being soaked through in the rain ;)
The real drama went down Christmas day at 10:30 in the morning, Albino Ortego, #14, Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico. We were headed to make our first rounds of caroling when the phone rang....and in the process of pulling it out of my bag I dropped it, sending the pieces in different directions, and ending the call. "hope that wasn't important" were the joking words that came out of my mouth, oh how little I knew. Instantly the phone of the other sisters began to ring, "......ummmm it's the zone leaders asking for you Hermana Neu" WHAT?!?! "Hermana Neuberger?" "yes?" "Pack your bags, you re shipping out tomorrow morning from Civac at 9:30" WHAT?!?! I managed to hide all my shock and surprise and then lie to everyone that he was just asking about our plans, don't know why they ever believed that. The day passed just as fabulous as Christmas eve! After lunch we ran to the president's (of the branch) house to skype our families and they had everything ready. I wish I had a video of the Neuberger shenanigans that went down in the hour that we were trying to get the skype to work because they were priceless and soooo labeled my family that I was almost in tears about how perfect it was. First there was no sound, then there was no video, and then, when we had tried the laptop and tablet with no success and were going to resort to a phone call the skype decided to magically work! What a great chat/dance party/giggle fest with the greatest family ever! Everything was super great until I told my family that I was transferring, in English, while my non-english speaking comp and the other Latin comp that lives with us were sitting near by. Later, my family brought it back up again.....but there were English speakers in the room and they freaked out, leading to a Latin freak out when they found out what was going on....and then a lot of tears. The night was REALLY REALLY REALLY rough to say the least. My comp refused to leave my side and I couldn't get her to crack a smile. Words cannot describe how much I love that girl and how much I'm going to miss her! Truly my "daughter" that one, and I know she's going to just keep being a spectacular missionary! That night we all slept together with 7 blankets on top of us and it was the first good night sleep in days because we weren't all shivering to death!
The next morning, we showed up to the church to find a group of 30 Elders....and I was kind of wondering if the whole thing was a joke of some sort. All the Elders were so happy and shouting with joy and it was the Zapata gang, so basically all the coolest American Elders, so I got crazy animated off their excitement AND THEN FOUND OUT WE WERE HEADED BACK TO GUERRERO!!!!!!
A little bit of history for those who have forgotten or don't know, three months ago they took all of the missionaries out of Guerrero due to civic unrest on the account of 43ish students that went missing on their way from Chilpo to Iguala (might need to check those facts cause I'm also forgetting). There were huge riots and a whole lot of problems, so for safety all of the LDS missionaries serving in this mission were sent to the state of Morelos (where I have always served and never left).
So at the chapel on Friday, once things got a little settled down, all the companions not being transfered had left, and more hermanas had showed up, they called us into the chapel where President Kusch gave us a brief devotional and then told us our new areas! "Hermana Neuberger, you will be serving with Hermana Garcia in the Area of Aeropuerta, Chilpancingo...its one of the most amazing wards in all of the mission, enjoy" YES, SIR!!!! So I hope you can imagine how the 4 hourish bus ride to Chilpo was. There are now 34 missionaries in the state of Guerrero (4 in Iguala, 10 in Chilpo, and 20 in Acapulco) of which only four are sisters (WOW). We took a private bus with all the missionaries that would first pass through Chilpo and then on to Acapulco. What a great trip it was!
They dropped us on the side of the road in Chilpo where we all waved frantically goodbye and wished each other the best of luck. Our zone leaders/district leaders started giving directions and sent us in all directions. We ended up at the house of our bishop, who then drove us to our house.....where we remembered that to open a door keys are very necessary, and keys were not something we had. The keys to our house were still in Cuernavaca....small overlooked detail. We are currently living in Heroico (shout out to Elder Stutz), thank goodness there are other sisters here in Chilpo! I think the only way to describe my new ward is missionary paradise! I feel honored to be here. The people here are so excited to have missionaries again that we have been invited to so many things we don't even have time. Due to the fact that we don't have keys to our apartment we don't have access to any of the information about old investigators or anything, but that was not at all a problem. The bishop sat us down and started giving us a list of people to go see and members who could help us get there and take us around. Basically the last two days have reminded me a ton of a Sunday in Brazil with my family when we passed by the house of one member, who went with us to the house of another member, and then we went to another house gaining more people as we went. Words just cant even come to describe how amazing the people are here and this ward (whistle) Heaven!!!!
Our Bishop is part of a family that has their own street, and they're all members. They cover two different wards, with the ward boundaries running right down their privada. Every Sunday night they have an FHE with the whole family, more then 70 people and last night we were invited. COOLEST THING EVER!!!! I'm so in love with how amazing this family is and think it would be pretty cool to do something like this in the future with my own family....but only if we can live in Mexico or Brazil ;)
I cannot even begin to express how happy I am, how hot it is, how fabulous this ward is, how lost we are, and how much excitement is pumping through my veins with every hour of every minute of every day!!!!! We just want to get out there and work (we actually worked this morning instead of taking a Pday) so that we can show the ward that were going to match their awesomeness. I have never felt so blessed in my life!
With so much love,