Regreso a Chihuahua

In August 2016 I returned to Chihuahua Mexico with my parents. It had been 14 months since I returned home from my mission. I had completed another three semesters of University study, and in the summer break we took the opportunity to revisit my mission.

En agosto de 2016 regresé a Chihuahua México con mis padres. Habían pasado 14 meses desde que terminé mi misión. Yo había cumplido tres semestres de estudio en la universidad, y por el break entre los semestres tuvimos la oportunidad de visitar mi misión. 

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This is a summary of our trip, told mostly through pictures.

Este es un resumen de nuestro viaje, por lo mayor parte escrito en fotos. 

MEXICO CITY / CUIDAD DE MÉXICO

We spent 4 days in Mexico City, our hotel was near the Paseo de la Reforma.

Tomamos 4 dias en México, nuestro hotel estaba cerca de la Paseo de la Reforma.

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Xochimilco

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Museo Nacional de Antropología

I am studying anthropology at the University of Utah. This museum was particularly interesting to me.

Estoy estudiando antropología en la universidad de Utah. Este museo fue muy interesante.

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Templo Mayor

These are the ruins of the main temple of the Aztecs that was destroyed and buried by the conquistadors. This was the heart of the Aztec city, Tenochititlan. The modern day central square is right next to these ruins.

Estas son las ruinas del templo principal de los aztecas que fue destruido y enterrado por los conquistadores. Este fue el corazón de la ciudad azteca, Tenochtitlán. Hoy la plaza central es justo al lado de estas ruinas.

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Chapultepec

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Mexico City Temple / Templo de la Ciudad de México

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We flew to Chihuahua, rented a car and spent 9 days touring the state. We visited the neighborhoods that I served in Nuevo Paraíso and Nacional in Chihuahua, Cuidad Cuauhtémoc, Parral and Delicias.

Volamos a Chihuahua, rentamos un coche y pasamos 9 días recorriendo el estado. Visitamos los areas donde serví en Nuevo Paraíso y Nacional en Chihuahua, Cuidad Cuauhtémoc, Parral y Delicias.

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Nuevo Paraíso

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Nacional

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My house for the one week I served here

Cuauhtémoc

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People of Cuauhtémoc

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No trip to Cuauhtémoc would be complete without eating at Los Arcos.

Ningún viaje a Cuauhtémoc estaría completa sin comer en Los Arcos.

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Parral

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People of Parral

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Delicias

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People of Delicias

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Sightseeing in Delicias / Lugares de interés en Delicias

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We drove back to Chihuahua on the same road I had traveled by bus many times. The big orange statue was the sign that you had made it to Chihuahua.

Regresamos a Chihuahua por el mismo camino que había viajado por muchas veces en autobús. La gran estatua de naranja era la señal que había llegado a Chihuahua.

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Chihuahua Centro

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Views of Chihuahua / Vista de Chihuahua

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I loved my mission and had a great time visiting friends and seeing all these familiar places with fresh eyes. I loved sharing these experiences with my parents, (even if they look very young).

Me encantó mi misión y tenía un gran tiempo visitando amigos y viendo a todos estos lugares familiares con nuevos ojos. Me encantó compartir estas experiencias con mis padres, (aun cuando se ven muy jóvenes).

She’s home!

Hermana Whitehead left Chihuahua on May 27 to return to Salt Lake. The itinerary listed the arrival at Terminal 2. She actually arrived at the International Terminal. Her family was ready to greet her in Terminal 2.

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Her dad then went scouting to find the flight arrival information and didn’t see it posted on the arrivals board. He went to scout the International Terminal and walked in the door just as she came out of customs (to loud cheers, and to greeting from her gathered aunts and cousins). This allowed her to sneak up from behind her family for a surprise greeting at Terminal 2.

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WELCOME HOME!

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A late email

I don’t know if I will write very much. We are in a ciber at the time when every ciber in Mexico starts to shut down so I don’t know if we can finish the hour. Also since I will be home in a week it’s not like there’s much to count. The biggest news of this week is that we have had visits from 3 General Authorities this week. Elder Nash from the Seventy was here on Friday and today the whole mission gathered together to hear from Elder Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy. He was accompanied by Elder Valenzuela of the Seventy and one of the counselors in the Area Presidency in Mexico. That’s why we are writing so late. We left for Chihuahua last night and got back today in the afternoon. They were both great meetings and I learned a lot.

Q (Dad): I’ll bet they took a lot of pictures for the website.

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There was a professional photographer for the one with Elder Christensen. The mission Mexico Chihuahua is the highest baptizing mission in Mexico. Speaking of Mexico do you know how Mandy’s (her cousin’s) homecoming went?

Since you’re busy and since it’s very late here I’m going to give a brief sumup of what happened this week. I doubt I will write next week but we will see each other on Wednesday.

Car. came to the meeting with Elder Nash and to all the reunions on Sunday. The zone leaders have become interested in her and even though she lives in the other zone she works close to our house and we often find her in the street in centro. We are going to teach her and try to put a baptism date this Saturday.
We found Mar. this week but we don’t know his exact address. We are looking for him and also hope to see him in white this week. Manuel was going to be baptized this Saturday but he is afraid of what his family will say. We are going to keep looking for him and whatever day that he is ready and can come to the church we are going to hold the service then.
Ter. and her family came to the meeting with Elder Nash but they still have their problems. We had 13 investigators come to the meeting with Elder Nash. It was awesome.
Well, that’s all the interesting news. Elder Nash, Elder Christensen. Car., Man., Mar., Ter. Yeah, I gotta go. My companion wants to go clean the apartment.
Read Moroni 8:30 it’s a good goodbye scripture.
adios
Hermana Whitehead

See you in dieciseis dias

Even though we did talk last night (for Mothers’ Day – no Skype, just an old school telephone call) I feel like there are so many things I didn’t get to say. Our branch presidency was changed yesterday. We had heard Saturday night that President Chavez would be coming to our ward that day, but he didn’t end up coming. His counselor came from Parral, it all seemed a little strange. The brach president was conducting and he seemed really distracted also. Then they turned the time over to the counselor in the mission presidency and he released the branch presidency and called a new presidency. Then everything seemed to make sense. The branch president’s family all shared their testimonies as well as the new and old branch president. It was an interesting Sunday.

Hermana de Ola. and I had gone to the Cuauhtemoc branch sacrament meeting to wait for some investigators who never showed up. Hermana de Ola. was really sad during the sacrament until a lady came in and sat down next to us. Hermana de Ola. turned and said to me, “Didn’t we talk with her this week?” I thought she seemed familiar. Hermana de Ola. said hi and the lady started crying. We had contacted her during this last week and invited her to church and she came and stayed for the classes and the sacrament meeting of Reforma. Her name is Car., she lives in the area of the other branch. We are going to meet with her tonight to introduce her to the elders of that area.

Q (Dad): If I remember correctly, when you were in Cuauhtemoc before they took it from being part of a stake (part of the Chihuahua stake?) and made it a district. That meant that they went from having wards to branches. Did this branch used to be a ward, and was the old branch presidency the former bishopric? Otherwise it seems a little soon to reorganize a branch presidency just a few months after they were called in the first place.

I don’t know if they were the old bishopric. This used to be part of the Chuviscar stake in Chihuahua. (There are 3 stakes in Chihuahua and they want to make a fourth.) Now we are a separate district which is made of 5 branches (one in Anahuac, one in Guerrero, and one in la Junta, with 2 in Cuauhtemoc.) The branches in Cuauhtemoc used to be wards and still could be, but there needs to be other wards to make a new stake.

Q (Dad): I’m not sure I really understood how much bigger (size and number of stakes) Chihuahua is compared to the other places. If I understand correctly, your mission includes: Chihuahua – 3 stakes, Delicias – 1 stake, Cuauhtemoc – 1 district, Parral – 1 district.  It sounds like they might be close to organizing 4 stakes in Chihuahua even though Cuauhtemoc used to be part of the Chuviscar stake and was taken away to become its own district. Do they think that Cuauhtemoc is getting close to becoming a stake?

Yes, and Parral as well.

(Below is a photo from the mission Facebook page from a training session in Cuauhtemoc.)

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I guess that was the main thing I didn’t get to mention last night. We are preparing a lot for the visit of the Seventy and it sounds like this Sunday or next Sunday Elder Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy will be coming to Chihuahua and we may all be traveling to Chihuahua to listen to him. This is an exciting time in Chihuahua Mexico and a sad time to leave it.
Anyway time is almost up and I really don’t have so many things to say.
See you in dieciseis dias
Hermana Cabezablanca

el fin se acerca y hay poco tiempo

Well we had an interesting week. The biggest news is that Mar. disappeared. His family hasn’t seen him since last Sunday and they aren’t terribly concerned. I guess because he is a grown man who can make his own decisions but we were and are very anxious to find him. Now that his baptismal date fell through we will have to work for his first date which was for the 23 of May. I hope that we can find him and prepare him for that day. I think so, he carries his Book of Mormon and pamphlets everywhere with him so he probably took them with him and is reading them.

That was the big news. We have been working with Ter. a lot this week. The elders came to visit her and give a blessing for her clothing store and the funeral home. We had some special times there and she now wants to take us and all the elders she has met out for a picnic. Who knows if the elders will do that. But Ter. hasn’t come to church yet. She often gets called at strange hours and has to go work and we are hoping that that is what happened yesterday.

About when I finish and all that. I have been thinking about when I want to be released and I think that it will complicate things more waiting till Thursday than just going on Wednesday. I don’t know what you think but I have been considering this.

Also I have a confession. I know that you will be angry when you read this and I didn’t want to admit it before now but since it just happened again and at some point you will have to know I will say it now in an email.
I lost both of the memory cards for my camera and I now have no photos from the mission save the ones I sent to you and if my companions can pass me some. I do not know how it happened and I am still looking and praying to find them but my hopes are fading. I feel very sad to not have the pictures. These were memorable times and even though I can go back to visit the people and places here it won’t ever be the same as in those pictures.
OK with that out of the way, I also hope to be able to visit the majority of the members and investigators I have met before I leave and hope to be able to take new pictures with the last memory card.
And now I have to leave. We are going to look for one of the families I knew here and I don’t have any more time to write.
les amo un monto y cuidense mucho sale
Hermana Whitehead
Don’t be mad OK

que dijo un vaso a otro vaso

I’m having trouble thinking of funny Spanish phrases. How am I this week? Good. Mar. came to church on Sunday but his brother Man. didn’t. We met Man.´s wife on Friday and had a great lesson. Yesterday was also the most windy day I have ever seen in Mexico. It was terrible Hermana Rod. (Hermana Ada.´s new companion and our house companion) almost got blown away (she is very skinny). Right now is the time of wind. Soon will start the time of rain (after I leave, what a relief for that). Almost every day right now is sunny with a fair amount of wind (good for drying clothes). I remember that last year in July it rained every day the whole month… and a good part of June, too.

Q (Dad): The last time you were in Cuauhtemoc you mentioned that people kept thinking that you were a Mennonite. Being a blond person in Mexico might do that for you, but you would have had more difficulty with the language and probably seemed a little like an outsider. Now that you have come back to Mennonite country, but have become more at home in Mexico, do you still have people that think that you are a Mennonite? 

Actually now Mennonites often look at me. Whenever we pass by a family of Mennonites they often look at me like, “hey, why is that Mennonite girl wearing makeup and a skirt above her ankles?” The other day a Mennonite man in his truck wanted to talk to us but Hermana Ada. just kept walking (this was when we were in a trio), so he pulled his truck up alongside us and asked if I understood German. Hermana Ada. explained to him that I was an American but he kept asking questions like, “Do you speak high German?” and if we could go somewhere to talk. Hermana Ada. said we could talk on Sunday at the church. He didn’t like that idea so much. He was very determined to find some connection with the Mennonites. Hermana Ada. was bugging me a little about that, and of course people ask if I’m German and I say no and they say “You look like a German.”

Note from sister (Lau.): I really want to tell you about something that happened to me this week. I haven’t been enjoying my job and was seriously considering quitting. However, I prayed about it and felt that I should stay. One of the clients that I work with is LDS and he has mutual on Thursdays with his special needs ward. One of the staff has to go with him to it, so on Thursday, I did. The activity they had was a testimony meeting with the ward, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. The spirit of all these people was amazing, and I was able to feel Heavenly Father’s love for them and I knew that I should be helping them. It was a great experience I will treasure. Anything memorable happen to you? Did you notice God’s hand in your life?

I had a similar experience to the one that Lau. shared with me. When I was in Parral there were lots of problems with members in the branch. Because almost all the members are new converts, it is very hard to find spiritual maturity. Basically there was lots of gossip and it was getting very dificult for me. I was very sad and missed Delicias a lot. …Until we had an activity with the youth that finished with a testimony meeting. I felt the power of the atonement in that room and I said to myself, “I can stay in Parral and love and help this city grow in the gospel truth,” then I got transfered that night. It’s a little hard to tell the whole story in an email. I feel like this doesn’t quite capture everything but it was a beautiful moment.

We have put more of our focus in visiting the references we have gotten and not with giving follow up with investigators who really don’t want to progress and learn more about the gospel. We haven’t had any success yet but we are trying to stay positive. It is a little hard to focus and I have been feeling a little sad thinking about how little time there is left and how many things I still need to learn. But I have been feeling like even though the time is going to end soon I feel like it needs to end. There is always a finishing point – like this email – because I don’t know what more to mention here.

Almost out of time again. Love hearing about the adventures of school and Primary music and work. Hope this was enough detail but I had to write a letter to President and Hermana Lag. (her former companion, now home) now has a boyfriend. I had to congratulate her for that. We are no longer the sister traning leaders and I never did get to go to a leadership council. I have been planning how in the world I will be able to go to Delicias and Parral to get the things I left behind there. I will probably send a package or two home so that everything will fit (including the saxophone).

Till next week
…and the week after
(when I call)
Hermana Whitehead

¡los niños se bautizaran!

We are doing great with the transfers. We didn’t get changed and Hermana Ada.’s new companion was in the other zone in Cuauhtemoc. She was companions with Hermana Hun., and her name is Hermana Rod.. The weird thing is that last night Elder Rey. had cambios. He left this morning with the zone leader who is also going to be receiving a new companion. So we will have a new district leader but we don’t know who it is or when he will be here. Today is a beautiful day in Cuauhtemoc. Not too cold and not too hot. A great day to buy cowboy boots. I found a great deal on Wrangler boots for 60 dollars. That’s the same price as the first ones we bought in Wyoming, remember Dad?

We are once again working in our area and we are working hard on finding new people to teach. We have lots of references but we need to find them and it is very hard to bring people to church. Yesterday only one guy came but it was a great experience. His name is Mar. and we met him on Friday in front of his house. He lives with his brother and his brother’s family. His brother has had lots of spiritual experiences that seem to have him prepared to listen to the gospel. The cool part was when we went to look for them on Sunday is that Mar. said that he had been about to leave and start washing cars but thought, “what if I leave and the sisters come right after I left?” We came a little late but we came and he was waiting for us. It was very cool.
The children were baptized!
We had a bit of a problem and a big miracle happen so they could be baptized. Osc. (the youngest) is 8 and his father is an inactive member with no desire to return to church. So we thought that his baptism would count for us (and that he could be interviewed by the zone leaders) but President Chavez said no. So we had everything ready to go, after the tragedy with the clothes (see below) but Osc. needed to be interviewed by a member of the Branch Presidency or he couldn’t be baptized and no one from the Presidency could do it. So we thought, “maybe the district president can do the interview?” But he wouldn’t answer his phone. So us and the zone leader (Elder Nis.) were standing around wondering what to do when the Branch President walked into the church. Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh feliz.

Now the clothing issue. We hadn’t thought about it before Saturday – what the kids would put on for the baptism. We just thought someone had small white clothes and we would be able to use them. Ah no. The only baptismal overalls we had were used earlier that day for a different service and there were no dresses for Lup. Auuuuuuugh. ¿que hacemos? Well we managed to buy a dress and asked a member to bring some white shirts and just needed some pants when we got to the church, when it turned out that the member didn’t bring the shirts. Oops. We used a large shirt and pants for Fer. to wear and were going to use the pants another boy had on and just wring them out really good, when an elder from the other zone came in with a dry pair of baptismal overalls. Whoo! we used those and the overlarge pants and shirt for the two boys and Lup. had the dress. Everything came together in the end and the kids were able to be baptized.
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Q (Dad): You haven’t sent us any pictures of Hermana de Ola. or Hermana Ada. yet. Is that Hermana Ada. in the light blue top and Hermana de Ola. in the red striped top?
Yes, here are some more pictures:
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Time is up once again but we had a great week and are working hard with Ter. and Ali. and everyone. Have a great week and look for miracles.
Hermana Whitehead