Friday, September 26, 2014

"I have no fear, because I have faith"

Hello all! Before you read this last week's email, I just wanted to say a few short things. First, we VOBS are oh so very proud of our Hermana and all of her effort and dedication to furthering the Lord's work. We have been so blessed to see her mature spiritually and devote herself wholeheartedly to the incredibly difficult task of being a full time missionary. It is such a blessing to watch her blossom into an even more amazing young woman than she was when she left, and we love her with all of our hearts. Second, we just want to thank you all for the love and support Haley has gotten thus far and is sure to receive in the future. She is so blessed to have such an amazing support group and we know it will be so helpful now as she recovers and gets ready to get back out there! 

This will be my last weekly email for a little bit. The past two weeks I have struggled with some illnesses and Mexico doesn't have the care I need so I have been sent home for a little while until I'm all good and then I will be receiving a new mission call to somewhere here in the states.
Monday, when I talked to my Mission President about everything and came to the conclusion that I was being sent home for a short intermission, my heart broke. The 6 weeks I got in Mexico are easily the best 6 weeks I have ever had. I think Mexico and the people there will always have my heart. I know that I was sent there for a reason and could only learn and experience the things I needed there. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me, it's just a little different than I thought it would. I have no fear, because I have faith. 
Just a short little intermission and I will be back doing the work I love.
Hermana van Overbeek

"This Work and People are Changing My Life"

Well, I'm fat. This isn't me just being whiney. So like the second week in Mexico when we actually started talking to each other and becoming friends (talking about her companion here) I was showing her my family photos and she looks at me and says, oh my gosh Hermana you were really fat then. Yes, thank you for that sweet reminder. Then in the mtc I dropped 10 pounds which was awesome. Now fast forward to a week ago, we were talking about how much food we get fed and I said I'm getting real chubby. She so sweetly responds, yes Hermana you are, but not as fat as you were before the mission. HAHAHA i just love her. So yes I really am fat. The other night we had two full meals. The second meal i was literally shoving the food down my throat because there was no room. It's ok, I have accepted that I'll be rolling home in a year and a half. Literally rolling.

I was thinking about trimming my hair because its a flipping mane but then my companion showed me something. She had long hair and asked for a trim and got her hair cut to her jaw line. SHEARED LIKE A SHEEP. Yeah no one is touching my hair til I get home.
Oh heck, one night I said, "I'm so flippin cold!" My comp asked what that meant so I explained it to her and she says it all the time now. Only the funniest thing ever. Yeah I know, I'm terrible.

My companion fell asleep like this, haha!

Ok. This week was difficult. We literally taught no one and found no one. Of course the hardest weeks are when you learn the most. We were visiting with a family whose dad is getting baptized this month and he has two younger boys. One has been baptized and the other is 7. This little boy, Enrique, has my heart. Everytime we share a spiritual thought or come over there is this light in his eyes. He hungers for the gospel so much and its just incredible. It took me a month being out here to see it.

Then last night we were visiting with a less active member that is now coming to church since visiting with her and last night she said "when I know I have appointments with you sisters, I wait all day in excitement." She's excited about the church again and seeing all the blessings that come from being active in the church. This helped me realize that missionary work isn't just about finding new people, but to strengthen our ward and help reactivate all the less actives.

These two experiences this week have touched my heart deeper then anything and anyone ever has. This work and people are changing my life.
Hermana van Overbeek

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Fill the font!"

illena la pila!!! aka fill the font.
I asked twice, and they accepted twice! Holy heck what an awesome feeling. These are our first, we have others with baptism dates but they were from other missionaries so these ones are super special to us. We bought a cake thing in celebration. 

Oh man, so funny. One of our investigators who accepted thinks that God will throw up on her for changing religions. So sad that she like legit fears that but also kinda funny. Another one of our investgators has these crazy stories about a tunnel under her house with people turning into zombies and of course, treasure. Yes this is all serious. Our visits with her are always a good time.

I dont have much to say this week. It was fast and testimony meeting Sunday and it was incredible. I couldn't understand all of it, but I felt every single testimony of these members. My heart has never been so full. I love my life.

Hermana van Overbeek

"Miracles in Mexico are happening"

Miracles in Mexico are happening. Wow, what an amazing week. I'll be honest and say that my first week here wasn't necessarily my favorite. I changed my prayers and everything followed. Missions are hard, there is no way of getting around it, but it's the most rewarding thing I am ever going to do. I love it here now. Took me a week or so but Mexico has my whole heart. Helamen 3 35
Ok miracles of the week! There is this newish family to the ward. Her name is Nayeli and she has 3 little kids and her husband isn't a member. They live out in the hills and have to take combis to get to church like everyone else. Nayeli didn't have money to take a combi so she WALKED with her 3 little kids for an hour to come to church. This just shows so much faith and devotion to me. I got teary eyed when she told us that. Wow.
Sweet Hermana Racquel. She is a less active and has a lot of health problems that keeps her from coming to church most of the time. We visited her last week and this week. When we were talking this week she said that when we came last week she felt awful that day, but when we got there she felt great and continued to feel good the whole day. That hasn't happened in a long time. How awesome is that? Yes, a miracle.
We had 3 baptisms into the ward this week from the other sisters. A mom ad two daughters. Gosh it was such an amzing experience to see all three of them make such a sacred covenant. All smiles, too.
We have 3 new investigators this week and all the lessons were amazing. Spirit was so strong. They are all very receptive so hopefully we will have some baptism dates.
So yesterday we ate with a family for lunch. Ok pause. This is the eating schedule: breakfast, then at 2 you eat like you're never gonna eat again, and then maybes a snack before you go to bed. We had no food left at the apartment and idnt eat a lot with the family. when we went to visit families I prayed that they would feed us cause I was starving mcmarvin. Guess what? They fed us, and dang good food, too. Heavenly father answers prayers people.
Last miracle of the week, I slept talked in Spanish! My companion told me I asked her what time it was, what we we're gonna eat and blah blah. This makes me feel like I'm learning. WHOOP!
We taught jehovas witnesses this week. Although I didn't know that in the lesson haha because I don't ever know whats going on in lessons. So I was all pumped to bear my testimony and I did and was totally feeling it. Then after we left, my comp told me what actually happened and the whole time they were asking the most ridiculous questions trying to catch my comp off guard. Flippin turds. That comment wasn't Christlike. Am I working on that? Every day.
We now have to turn in 30 minutes earlier because some elders in our area zone were shot at to get scared off. SKETCH. Turning in 30 mins is totally gonna keep us from getting shot at. I'm repenting right now for that sarcastic comment. Dont worry we are safe!
Thats all for this week. love you all!
Hermana van Overbeek

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Hermana Sanchez. That's me."

Holy crap I'm in Mexico. When did that happen? I feel like I have been here forever, but alas, it's only been a week.

I'll start with this. I have gotten three emails asking if I have pooped my pants. It hasn't happened. Yet. When it does, all I'm saying in that email is, it happened. You'll know.

Saying goodbye to one of her favorites, Sister Peters

Hermana VOB and her traveling companions!

Anyway, the day I flew in the president and his wife picked us up and went back to their home and had dinner. It was bomb. The next day I got my companion. She doesn't speak English. Honestly in the beginning I was like "well crap how is this going to work?" I can tell you that I have learned more this one week I have been here than 6 in the MTC. It is such a blessing to have a native as my companion. She is so dang cute. She reminds me of the bird in Rio named Blue. She looks like him, her mannerisms are the same, she sings like him (in the kindest way...) haha man I just love her. I may not know like anything about her personal life but that doesn't matter.

Oh mi digas, our place of living. Probably the dirtiest place I have ever been. You want to know why? Elders lived there right before us. Dirty little punks. We spent the whole day cleaning. I'll attach pics. It's a super cute place, though. My favorite is the bathroom, right next to the toilet which doesnt have a toilet seat, the shower head is right there. All in one. Hahah I love it. Right behind our apartment is a soccer field and every night I get to fall asleep to the sound of my favorite game. It's the best. Oh we live like in the heart of the city, Tepotzatlan. Kinda of a touristy area. We live right behind this massive Catholic museum thing. It's gorgeous. 

Have I talked about the dogs? Well I don't think I have ever seen so many dogs in my entire life. They are flippin everywhere. Some want to eat me, but for the most part they're nice. I think. Our main transportation is walking obviously but also combis. They are like van taxis. Every time I get in one I'm pretty sure I'm gonna die, good thing I'm a protected missionary.

Crazy story. We were waiting for a combi when a woman broke out into hysterics. We went over to try and help and she literally collapsed in our arms. She came around and we found out her daughter was kidnapped and someone called her and told her and thats why she passed out. It was awful. She would come around and then just started bawling and then pass out again. We called her friends to come get her and that was it. Super sad. Two other sisters wanted to teach the plan of salvation and get her address to visit. Oh missionaries.
This week I was able to give English lessons. It was so awesome. Then we taught the first lesson to this family and they were super recpetive. We gonna get them for sure. I get to teach the little boy once a week and I just love it. The people here are so different. There is so much love. You can just see it in their faces when they look at each other and how they treat each other. Man I just love love! It's the best.

Oh man. So adults don't ever tell me if I'm saying things wrong in lessons. The children, whole different story. They just laugh at me and are straight up like you talk weird and incorrectly. It's awesome. Also I have been spelling te amo wrong in my emails so that's cool. No shame. Oh one of the member families asked me to pray in English cause they think it's cool so I did... except I couldn't even think how to pray in English. It was so wrong and awkward, good thing they couldn't understand a single thing.
Since I'm an American, I get free food. I will be looking at something wondering what the heck it is and they just give me some to try. I ate some sort of fried pig thing. I thought it was like a really large chip. No, no it wasn't. Fried pig something. Who knows. We eat with members every day. They feed us like we are going to die. Seriously so much food. Most of it has been good. I just can't look or think about it. Just eat. My stomach has only hated me once since I have been here so that's good.
Usually it rains in the evenings but one day it rained a little earlier and I didn't have my jacket. So by the time we got home I was completely soaked. It was so much fun though.

How cute is she?!?

Hahaha ok in Sacrament this Sunday the bishop was introducing me and tried saying my name and then just gave me a new name. Hermana Sanchez. So that's me now.
It's been a great week. I love this place and the people, even if I have no idea what they are saying. They are so kind and loving. This is going to be the best year and a half.
Until next week,
Hermana van Overbeek aka Sanchez

*Haley just asked me to remind everyone that she LOVES getting dear elders and would love to hear from everyone ;) All you have to do is go to the site, choose her mission (Mexico City North), click "write letter," add her name, and voila! Write away! Bonus, writing a letter to her mission is free when using dear elder!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Wow you're really ugly here..."

Hello everyone!
This is my last email before I become a "real live" missionary. Because I have been a dead fake one these past 6 weeks... So many people have said that this week. Thanks, it's not like I haven't been working my hiney off these 6 weeks. Yeah I'm not bitter or anything about that. Oh, I have lost weight since I have been here. It doesn't matter though, I'm not going down in size. All my muscles are just turning into mush cause I sit all day. So now I'm just really squishy. It's awesome. I love it. Can you feel that sarcasm?

Monday I got to take a field trip to Las Vegas to get my visa. And guess who I saw at 5:15 in the morning... Brian Wallace! What are the odds? Probably the best surprise ever and just what I needed... to see another dad (Brian is a good family friend of ours! The trip was fun ish. Super long. We got there and one of the old men had to waste time so he talked AT us, not with us, for 2 1/2 hours. I fell asleep but he loved to keep calling on me and asking if I heard him. Yeah I totally heard you while I was sleeping. Then later he was talking to the mission president of that area who stopped by and said yeah they're tired and I told them it's ok if they fall asleep. Where was that kindness when you were waking me up? I'll tell you, no where to be found. It's ok, I would always just go right back to sleep after he woke me up. I got to travel with 10 Elders and they were super funny. One of them was from my district and he was looking through his pictures and one came up of me doing that blow thing on the window. So naturally he shows everyone. One of the Elders then says, "Wow you're really ugly here." No joke. Seriously so funny. I love blunt people. My plane ride home was pretty amazing. I'm sitting there looking out the window and we are surrounded by these beautiful big billowy clouds with golden edges from the sun. Aka Heaven. Then I look down and there is this super thick dark fog and then earth. Then I thought, hey the fog is like worldly things and anything else keeping us from our Heavenly Father. What is my personal fog that is keeping me from coming closer to Christ and my Heavenly Father? Then from the Heavenly clouds we went into a huge storm where there was no light to be seen. Often times in trials it's dark and lonely and we struggle to find that light that is just around the darkest cloud. The pilot then says he is going to try and go around it so we don't have as much turbulence. I think everyone tries to avoid their personal storms as much as possible. Sometimes we forget that through our darkest storms Christ is right there with us every step of the way. We are given showers, thunder, lightening, floods, and hurricanes so we can learn to rely on Christ and strengthen our faith in Him. Christ will always illuminate the darkest storms if we let Him. The Atonement is such an active part of the Gospel.

Wednesday my companion and I got to go and do the example teaching for all the noobie missionaries that came in Wednesday. We would just start off the lessons and then they would take it from there. One tender little Elder was talking about the feelings of the Spirit and said, "It's like a fire inside you...(the investogator looked freaked out)... but not like a a real fire!" It was hilarious. I love missionaries.

Yesterday we did in field orientation and my companion and I so nicely were volunteered by our district to be in a little mini play they were going to show. Yay. I had some lines, they were funny. Then I had to put a sticker star on the acting bishop who was older and I'm going to do it and then I realize, "Holy crap, you're a male and I'm not aloud to touch you." So then I'm just like uhhhhh am I allowed to touch you? Everyone was busting up but it was a serious question for me. I've never put a golden star on so fast.

Ok this is awesome. We are sitting at breakfast and I have a muffin to eat. Sister Peters looks at me and says," What are the odds of you eating that in one bite?" Then we do the number thing and we say the same number so I have to do it. I did so gladly. I got it all in there so yeah I was impressed with myself. Literally 2 seconds later a cafeteria police man comes over and was like,"Now Sister, you are a represenative of Jesus Christ. Stuffing a whole muffin in your mouth isn't the best behavior. Also, what kind of example are you setting for everyone else? Any good District leader would not allow this to happen. Please remember to have quiet dignity." Struck down. Not only did I feel like dump, but the poor Elder next to me did too. Just imagine someone saying this and I'm just sitting there with a whole muffin in my mouth trying not to laugh. Wait! It gets better. He asked me,"Can you even whistle?" I dont' know why thats a relevant question, but he asked, so I delivered. I try to whistle, obviously I knew I couldn't but I tried for him, and at the same time I try, an Elder whistles so it looks like I did! So flippin funny. Worth the scolding.

Today I met an Elder that is from my mission and said that that's where everyone gets killed. Sorry Mom and Dad... I'm planning on getting robbed at least once. It'll be a good story.
It's a good thing I'm leaving Monday cause the food here is literally killing me from the inside out. I had stomach aches all week. I think that's why we are only here for 6 weeks, they know the food they make will kill us if we are here any longer. 
Well that's really all. Next time you hear from me I will be in MEXICO!!!
Love love love you all. Peace and blessings.
Hermana van Overbeek

Saturday, August 9, 2014

"I am so ready to meet my people of Mexico!"

Well, this has been the best week of the MTC so far. Today I got a surprise visit at the temple. This one wasn't planned though I promise! I'm sitting on a bench after the session and I see these two heads popp around a bush. I know the faces too. I just look at them thinking to myself, I know these people... It was Syd, Rachel, and Emma. I just kinda stared like what the heck... Then Sara Triplett runs out of no where and into my arms. This is my best friend in the world. Of course I just started crying. I didn't think I would see this pretty lady for a year and a half. Plus, I thought she was in California. It got even better, Momma Triplett was with them too! So I got a mommy hugu and started crying all over again. It was the best to see this second family of mine. They had no idea if I would be there at that time but alas, there I was. I love my people!
So my companion left to get her visa for like two days. That's not the reason this was the best week, just to clarify... Anyways, she left and we were supposed to teach like 5 lessons in that period time. Like I have said before, my comp is a champ and gives the lessons because late in life I turned out to be a mute. That's beside the point. I got out of 3/5 lessons because they were just our teachers but we had two lessons with Roberto who has been our progressing investogator. I was freaking out because I was told that I would have a teacher come in with me but that they weren't speaking. Craaaaaaap. I prepared my lesson and said probably a million prayers. I get there and I talk. In Spanish. Wait, what? I never said it was great Spanish, but none the less it was Spanish. I spoke with confidence because for the first time in the hundred lessons we have given, I felt the Spirit. It was the most amazing experience ever. I could understand his concerns and could give answers that he needed. I knew what I wanted to say and he felt it. Roberto was basically atheist btw. But from that lesson he said his heart and mind were opened and had the desire to pray to God. That was HUGE. The gift of tongues is real. In 2 Nephi 33:1 it talks abut how if you speak with the Spirit it will pierce the hearts of those who hear it. It didn't matter that my Spanish was awful. The spirit always testifies. So awesome!
One of my favorite things I heard at devotional this Sunday was about the different worlds us missionaries live in. We have our district, our emails back home with friends and family, our companion, and then our world with the Savior. That is the best one. This time is all about getting to know Him better and bringing that opportunity unto others. Pretty sweet.
We got our travel plans this week. HOLLA. I get to go to Vegas for my visa Monday. Party time. Then the following Monday I leave at 2:30 am for Mexico!!!!!! I can't even wait. My companion and a few others are not wanting to leave the MTC but I cannot wait to get out of this place. It's awesome, I have had the time of my life, but it's time to move on. I am so ready to meet my people of Mexico!
The past three weeks the sisters in my apartment and I have been sleeping in the living room. We made a pangea bed, it's the best decision since I have been here. Also we have all been sleeping better since. Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to snuggle. There's 3 beds because I refused to move mine out because I didn't want my own bed. So I sleep in the middle. Best thing ever.
Welp that's all. Nothing funny this week.
Love you all
Hermana van Overbeek