Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 12 -- Feliz Navidad!!

Feliz Navidad! 

This week went by super fast! I think is was because we had a meeting like every day! As you saw on the Johns' blog, we had a Christmas get together for our zone. We took an hour bus ride to Entrada and a lady threw up right in front of me! It was pretty gross, but the bus ride is spectacular!!! We watched "It's a Wonderful Life" and had bbq sandwiches! I have never looked forward more to eating a bbq sandwich! I ate one and a half...I was the only hermana to get seconds...I swear I eat like a man now! But it was nice and we sang all of the Christmas songs in the hymn book and I got to lead them all which was really fun. Then the other day my district and our Zone Leaders went to a public square and caroled and contacted. We passed out at least 20 Books of Mormon and like 100 pamphlets. We were even on Honduran TV according to our District Leader, Elder P. People kept taking pictures of us and taking vides. It was really funny. Then one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Y, made me hand out 2 pamphlets all by myself to contact since I have never done that before here in Honduras. We don't do it much from what I have heard. But that was actually not as bad as I thought it would be. This morning we had a zone gift exchange! I got flower stickers, candy, a bouncy ball and 2 suckers for my 2 street contacts all from Elder Y and he wrote a nice note, too. I have a video...I hope I can send it. But yeah! A very busy week!

1.  How has the weather been?  
The weather has been a lot better!!! The sun finally came out! So yeah, I'm not cold anymore. But it is a lot less humid here than it was in Campana. 

2.  Since Santa Rosa is bigger than Compana, are there more American restaurants there like Wendy's, etc.?  What about stores -- are there bigger stores, or still the little stores in people's homes?
I haven't seen any American stores or restaurants but there are a lot of Honduran stores and restaurants. I think because its so remote...we are in the mountains and it's hard to get to. I think the American stores and stuff are in places that are easy to get to and have more traffic like Puerto Cortes or San Pedro. 

3.  What was the best part of your week?
Christmas caroling in the park and our Christmas meeting! I just love getting together with other missionaries and it's Christmas! 
4.  What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week?
I keep trying to repeat words that Hna A says that I don't know...but I need to see words to be able to understand them so I keep saying the wrong things and it's super funny. She just starts cracking up and then she tells me what I said or sometimes it's just nonsense. I tried to say jealous but I said cells instead. I said we were going to eat ourselves.  I don't know.  Just lots of funny moments with the language that I am able to laugh at which is a huge blessing that I am not getting frustrated! 
5.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week?
I got to have a mini interview with Pres D this week. He came to Santa Rosa yesterday for something but he got here early to have an interview with Hna A. He said he had been worrying about her.  But I got to have a 5 ish minute interview with him and he was just super supportive and said the things I needed to hear. He said that this time that I have to learn the language is time that I am learning how other people must feel when they can't accomplish things or do them as well as they would like. Since my whole life I have been able to do things easily without a problem, now I can learn how to help others because I am going through the same thing myself. Also I feel that being here with Hna A is my opportunity to learn to have the desire to go out and teach lessons. Not that I don't want to be here on the mission, that's not it at all. I just get really anxious and would rather other people talk instead of me because I still feel so inadequate but this is my time to foster (I don't know if that is the right word) my desire to go out and talk to people! All this time in the house makes me want to work! And in our Christmas meeting Pres D read from a talk that everyone should read: O Divine Redeemer from Neal A. Maxwell. Also I had an epiphany about the Doctrine of Christ. We as missionaries talk about it and teach it as 5 steps:  faith, baptism, repentance, the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. While they are steps, it is a cycle! Enduring to the end includes always strengthening our faith, repenting, participating in the Sacrament each week like a mini baptism and doing these things helps us to feel the Spirit more. I don't know why I never realized that before. But all of us should be living the doctrine of Christ all the time. It's not a checklist until endure to the end and then we all just stay on step 5. We are constantly living these principles. If that makes sense...
6.  Were you able to teach more lessons this week?  Find any new investigators?
No and only one... we went to go teach him yesterday though and he wasn't home. But we stayed in the house 2 days again this week because Hna A was sick again.
7.  Did your branch do a special Christmas Sacrament Meeting today?  If so, how was it?
Nope. We will have a branch dinner on Thursday though. 

8.  How is your personal study going?  What are you studying, and what stuck out to you this week?
I am studying the Doctrine and Covenants. But for one of the days that we were in the house this week, I took like 4 hours to study. It was awesome! I got the idea...probably write down all the patterns I find in the Book of Mormon so I did that. Becuse in my scriptures I write next to the verses some of the patterns I see but I organized them. So I went through every page and organized all of the same patterns together so I have all of the references together which is really cool! 
9.  What has been the strangest food you’ve eaten this week?
Nothing unusual...sorry
10.  What has been the most unusual thing you’ve seen this week?
Again.. nothing unusual...okay, wow, that's weird! Everything here is pretty unusual, LOL. I am just used to things now.  Hahaha.

11.  Do you mostly walk in Santa Rosa, or do you take the bus to go places?  Is it a safe city?  
We mostly walk or take a taxi. There are tons of taxis here. Becaue it is so hilly people never want to walk places.  We usually we walk to our appointments and take a taxi to go home at night.
12.  What have you learned about yourself this week?  
I am a visual learner when it comes to words in Spanish. I have to see the word written or I have to know how it is spelled and then write it in the air before I can remember.
 13.  In what area do you think you’ve improved this week?
Being patient and more selfless. I try and focus more and more on how Hna A is feeling and what she needs than what I need. I try and give more input in planning and stuff like that and, I don't know, the more I do this the more comfortable I feel with her and the stronger I feel like we are getting. For real, though, she is like my best friend! I have realized, too, how important it is to love your companion. I could be so frustrated that she can't do much or that she does this or that but because I love her first, all of that goes away and it makes it so I really don't notice the bad things.
14.  Do you know that I love you SO much?  
15.  Do you have any new investigators this week?  How many lessons did you teach this week?  
We only had 20...maybe only like 15, which is sad....I hope we can work harder.
16.  How do you think your relationship with Jesus Christ and with Heavenly Father have grown since you've been on your mission?
I have just realized that I really am nothing. I am talented, yes, but it isn't due to my intelligence or anything. All of it is from the Lord. I find that I am trusting more in Him and being humbled each day as I participate in His work. 
17.  What did you do for P-Day this week?  
We had our gift exchange this morning and went to Jireth for lunch and now I am here! 
18.  Have you done anything different or special for Christmas?  Do you hear any American Christmas music down there?  Are there traditional Spanish Christmas carols?
I hear a few but there isn't a lot of Christmas music. Hna M played The Forgotten Carols cd this morning and I didn't realize how much I liked it or how much it put me in the spirit of Christmas until this morning. 
19.  What has been the most beautiful thing you’ve seen this week?
We walked out in the jungle this week along the edge of the mountain and there was a gorgeous view of the valley!
20.  What can we do to help support and encourage you?
Keep writing me!!!! 
In other news...I got a package from the Swansons for Christmas, a letter from Sis Peacock, and 3 from the Stylers! I love my missionary plaque!!! Thanks so much for the 12 days of Christmas and the book:) I have loved waking up everyday to get to open a new one. 
Love you all! 
Feliz Navidad! 
Hermana Gisseman
A few other tidbits from Alyssa's e-mails to us today......  Some of the people in Honduras call her "Barbie" because she's a blonde from the US.  There are some zones in their mission that only have elders serving in them -- and one with only Hispanic elders.  Those are the more dangerous areas.  She also said that many people in Honduras open their Christmas gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve. 
Hna A and me
At the wedding of a couple from church
Santa Rosa
Our cute girl!
Christmas caroling in the park
Santa Rosa
Isn't she lovely????
She created the bow...such talent!
With Hna A.

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