Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 17 -- I Saw the Sun

Familia Miranda is awesome. J studies in Tegucigalpa which is shy she left. B will leave to to graduate but he is finished taking classes so he will most likely be here for the whole time I am in Santa Rosa.

We should totally do a 5k together when I get home. Assuming I can still run that is, lol.

That makes me so excited that Robert was able to help the missionaries and that sister. That's so awesome. And I will continue to pray that he can find a job and that they can sell/rent their house until you tell me otherwise, lol.

1. What did you do for P-Day this week?
Since Hna A and another elder from our district are leaving (they both have been here for 6 months and President Dester has told both of them that they are leaving) we didn't play sports! This is the first P-Day here that actually feels like a P-Day!!!! YAY! Hna M and I woke up and we did our exercise routine. I can do 40 push-ups in a row without stopping! Not everyday, lol, but I pushed myself to do it last week and I did it like a boss! It bothers me, though, because I am stronger than I was before I left and I do an ab workout everyday and it's not like I am getting fat or anything, but I'm not as skinny as I was because we eat so much here and my stomach has grown to be able to eat more.  :( But all my clothes fit and really I'm pretty sure no one else can tell. Anyway, then we made fried cinamon apples for breakfast. I washed a little bit of laundry because I really hate it. I have to wash every like 3 days so that it doesn't build up on me, lol. Then we cleaned the house. I swept and she mopped. I took a nice hot shower and got to sing to myself because it was later in the moring and Hna A was awake and washing her laundry. The sun is out today and it's so warm.  :) Hna M and I found some old clothes and are going to make rugs for the house so that we don't track in as much mud. And now we are here. Hna A wanted to email early today which is fine with me! I will buy her a birthday cake later since her birthday was this week.

2.  What was the best thing that happened this week?

(If you look closely, you can see Alyssa in the first row of people on the far right)
We went to San Pedro for a bi-mission conference with Elder Soarez of the Seventy. He gave a talk in last conference. It was so good! There was doubt as to whether or not we would be able to go since we are so far away and the conference was in the afternoon and the last bus from San Pedro to Santa Rosa leaves at 4:30 so we wouldn't have had a way to get home that day BUT President Dester wanted us to come so they got us a private bus! So my whole zone rode on the same bus to San Pedro and it was super fun! There weren't enough seats so we had to share and we were all really close but that's nothing different than a regular bus ride, lol. I was so happy that I could understand everything that Elder Soarez said! We sat on the front row and he even asked me to read a little bit out of the missionary handbook in Spanish! It was only 4 lines, but still! He talked about how missionaries need to be diligent, obedient and focused in order for the Lord to bless our efforts. He compared it to the brother of Jared and how he asked the Lord what they should do about the light situation in the barges. The Lord told him to think of a solution. So the brother of Jared thought about it and he gathered each one of those stones and then presented them to the Lord that He might touch them and illuminate them. It is the same with our efforts- missionary or otherwise- we must be diligent, obedient and focused in order for the Lord to touch and bless our efforts.

3.  What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week?
Going to San Pedro. I got to sit by Hna M on the way there and on the way back and I just love her! I think she will be one of my best friends for life, en serio! She's awesome and it was just so fun to be with her. Oh, and last week's district meeting was interesting. We had it in our chapel instead of the elder's chapel, but apparently no one told the other set of we left first because we were ready and the other sisters went to the other chapel and showed up an hour late....  But while we waited we played basketball sort of with a bottle and a trash can. Hna A and I won!

4.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week?
The conference with Elder Soarez. And President Dester sent us a talk to read for our zone conference on February 7, The Consecrated Missionary, and it was SUPER good! It talks about how a consecrated missionary truly puts everything on the altar for the Lord, everything. It helped me to see how I can grow. Also Hna M and I started reading The Fourth Missionary together. If you could send me a copy of that it would be awesome. I don't know....this week was just full of learning opportunities and tons of insipring messages. Hna A and I had a good experience on Monday. We were planning for a lesson with a menos activo (less active member) and we wanted to share a conference talk with her but we didn't know which one. So we both just started looking at the titles and we were drawn to the same one. Then we read it together and talked about the parts that stood out to us, and it was the same parts! So that was awesome to see how we did have the spirit and were guided to the same things in our preparation. But the member ended up not being home so we couldn't share it with her which was sad.

5.  How are your investigators doing?  Was K able to come to church? How are C and G doing?
They are doing alright. Nobody came to church again, but I thnk it was because of the weather. It was cold and rainy again and C is pregnant and he house is down a super big and muddy and dangerous hill. So when it is muddy she can't leave the houuse. And K doesn't like to take her baby out in the cold which I don't blame her for. So yeah, nobody came which was disappointing. But K wants to be baptized and she is already sharing the gospel with others which is awesome!

6.  Were you able to teach more lessons this week?  Find any new investigators?  Do any service?
Nope. We found a few new investigators but again they don't seem promising because we don't really have firm appointments with them. We did clean Hna W's house again this week (the menos activo that we were actually going to visit with the conference talk). It's amazing how dirty houses and floors get here...

7.  How is your personal study going?  What are you studying, and what stuck out to you this week?
I finished True to the Faith this week (I think it was this week, anyways) and there was a part that I really liked and it said that only the home can compare to the temple in sacredness. I thought that was interesting because it wasn't chapels, or I don't know what else, lol, it was our homes! I started reading the New Testament and I am reading Jesus the Christ again so it's cool to be reading the stories in the scriptures and then about them in Jesus the Christ. I studied 2 days to prepare for a noche de hogar (Family Home Evening?) that B and I are in charge of tomorrow. I didn't really get too far by myself. They want us to talk on strengthening the family. This is a part member family and all the kids are grown up and married or almost married with kids and it's just a lot. So last night we went over to Familia Miranda's and B and I planned out our lesson together and it was awesome!

8.  What has been the strangest food you’ve eaten this week?
I haven't eaten anything unusual this week.... which is sad.

9.  Did you see anything unusual this week?
YES!!!! Okay, so we were walking down the street and there was a man and a woman walking towards us. So they say Buenas. So then we say Buenas. And then the woman starts making the kissy noises that men make when I walk by here. And SHE starts saying Oh, sus ojos. Que precioso. Una Muneca. Que Bella.....UGH! like oh your eyes, you're so precious, like a doll, how pretty. REALLY, A WOMAN! SO yeah, that was weird to be hit on by a lesbian in Honduras...

10. What have you learned about yourself this week?
I got to see Hna P at the bi-mission conference and I gave her the biggest hug and we got to talk for a little bit and I just love her! I realized that I had so much pride when I was her companion. She is awesome and I didn't appreciate her because of my own pride. I can see that now. I realized that I have been humbled a lot during this change.

11.  In what area do you think you’ve improved this week?
Not being offended. So interesting story.... on Saturday morning there was a little bit of tension. I didn't feel super great (dont worry, I am fine) and she didn't feel well and I was nervous for our noche de hogar today and she was trying to help me by having us read more material when I really just needed someone to talk and give ideas and feedback. Anyway so we were both a little annoyed and then we did our weekly planning and it didn't go very well. Later she asked if we could talk. So she said a lot of things that I could take offensively. Partly because some of them aren't true, others because she doesn't understand me and who I am, and other things just because they are things I really can work on but could still take offense to someone calling me out on. But instead of getting upset, I am actually grateful that she told me. I was a little sad the next day because I guess I haven't been what she needed or I haven't been doing this or that but then I realized that I really have been trying my hardest. We can always look back and say, Oh I could have done this or I could have done that. Which is bad, but right. There are ALWAYS going to be things that we could have done. The difference is that in the moment we may be really doing all we can. We can say I could have done that, but when we are acting with all we can do we shouldn't say that. I don't know if that makes any sense. But I all I can do is do the best I can and take critisism to be better.

12.  Have you found it easier to enjoy yourself and be happy this week?
Yes. I realized that when I was writing to President Dester. There have been moments that I have been sad or disappointed because of the situation, but I have been able to find moments to be happy and just enjoy what is going on rather than criticizing everything.

13.  Do you know that I love you SO much and I miss you?

14.  What has been the most beautiful thing you’ve seen this week?
The sun! lol  And I straightened my hair this week and it was really long, lol.

15.  How has the weather been this week?
Super cold again...except for today!!!!!

16.  What ways have you found to serve Hna A this week?  To serve others?
It was her birthday so I made her a card. I bought her shoes last week that she wore to San Pedro. I try to wash her dishes and clean the house always. I am going to help her pack later on today because she doesn't know how. I also carried her backpack on our walk home one day because her back hurts her.

17.  What did you learn in your district meeting or zone meeting this week?
That we shouldn't judge others and that we all need to strip ourselves of pride. Something interesting that our District Leader said, he pointed out two missionaries in the room and one is in training and has the same time as me and the other his trainer. He asked us what the difference between the two was. Then after people had given some answers he said, no, the only difference is time. I thought that was really interesting. But he talked about how as trainees we have fear but as trainers sometimes they have pride so we need to fine the balance and not be prideful but at the same time have confidence in ourselves and in the Lord.

18.  Did you have days this week where you ran out of water or had power outages?
Nope. Right now we have water and power.

Other stories: So after Hna A and I talked on Saturday we said our prayer to leave and it was like 4:30 and we got a knock on the door..... and it was Elder and Sister John and Hna Dester. They just happened to stop by because they were driving through the area and they wanted to see the house since Hna Dester has never seen it before. So they came in and Hna Dester could tell womething was up and so I got to talk to her for just a few minutes. We showed them around the house which was luckily cleaner than it had been. Then Elder John saw my food... there had been a huge section of mold on the wall in the kitchen and I tried to clean it when I got there and I put my food on the only shelf that we have since that's were I was told to put it. Since then I have also  put some on the floor like everyone else. But I still have some food on the Elder John sees my food next to this moldy wall and takes a picture of it to show new missinonaries what not to that was embarrassing, plus the fact that we hadn't left the house yet. Ugh.

Hna A stopped me in the middle of a lesson yesterday to take pictures of a pet rat. LOL! 

I have been reading in Spanish in my Book of Mormon and I finally got past the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi and it's so much easier to read now, lol.
I think that that is all for now. Love you all!

Hermana Gisseman

(Not many pictures this week.....)

Facial masks...gotta get pretty....

Our zone at the Copan Ruinas

With Hna A. Hna M, Hna C, and B (familia Miranda)

Overlooking Santa Rosa

This is a live chick....they dye them!!!

With Hna A, Hna C, Hna M, and B at Familia Miranda's house

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 16 -- Honduras is Supposed to be Hot!

HOLA from the coldest week of my life!

The green dress and the black dress (from last week's pictures) I bought here in a little store. It's a store out of someone's house. They have a lot of those here. And it was really just a bunch of donated clothes from the States in boxes that they open and sell. But the two of them only cost 100 lempira together which means they were $2.50 American dollars each! How cheap! And they are super cute. The black one is a little big (it's actually from Target based on the brand) but it's fine with a belt!
1.  What did you do for P-Day this week?

We played soccer and then we went to lunch with the same family from the ward, familia Miranda: J, B and G. G is 18, B 26 and J...I don't know, 28. They have parents obviously but we don't hang out with them.  B is probably the funniest person that I have ever met. And he speaks some English and likes to practice with us so that is nice. J leaves for Tegucigalpa tommorrow which is sad. They made us hot chocolate 2 days this week since it was SO DANG COLD!!! It was 51 degrees. What the crap! I am in Honduras! Its supposed to be HOT! Anyway, we were at their house and now we are here emailing.

2.  What was the best thing that happened this week?
Everyone called me this week. I dont know if it is the email I sent to Pres Dester last week or what but on Tuesday Elder M, an AP, called to ask me how I was doing. Nobody ever calls and asks me how I am doing because its Hna A's responsibility to answer the phone and they always just ask her how I am doing. So that was awesome that somebody finally asked ME how I am doing. And he said Pres Deter had asked him to call which means that Pres Dester had to have read my email like Tuesday morning or Monday night which means a lot to me that he really cares how I am doing that he would choose to read mine as one of the first when he has hundreds of emails to read. So yeah, Elder M gave me advice and also asked if I felt safe in the area. I guess Hna A said something like people try to grab me all the time which is not true... anyway. Then Hna B (the mission nurse) called to ask me about Hna A being sick. We stayed in another day this week, but not the usual two days (don't get your hopes up because one of those days we literally had no appointments because Hna A wanted to stay at familia Miranda's house practically all day so it was like being in our house). But Hna B says Hna A calls at least once a week and she has since she arrived here and that Sister Dester came up with a plan to scare her into working. IF she wants to stay in the house another day this week we have to call Hna B who will tell her that she either has to work or come into San Pedro and see a doctor. So I hope that that works. Then Hna McC called and I got to talk to her again about everything that has been going on. Then Elder Y, one of our ZLs called and I got to talk with him, too, about what I can do. He actually had really good advice. Everyone just tells me to have patience and love her and serve her, etc. And I feel like I try to do all of those things. So Elder Y asked if I had specifically asked the Lord what I should do. And I hadn't.... I had done everything else but that. I have prayed for patience and everything else, but not to know what to do. So I did that and after I just kept thinking about what I thought about when I first met Hna A, that she needs a friend. So I took my Personal Study time the next day to study what that means and there are a ton of things that I can work on to be a better friend to her during these next two weeks. Anyway, it was just super nice to know that really everyone is here for me and I'm not alone here. OH, and when we were at familia Miranda's house for hot chocolate the day we didn't go teach anybody, he wanted to see where we lived so I got to look see our old house in Georgia and the town house where you live now on Google Earth:) I didn't realize how much I liked our house Georgia. The lawnmower is in the backyard and the RX-7 is in the driveway with the hood up like Daddy had been working on it. The sale pending sign was up... anyway, it was nice to see home.

3.  What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week?
Hna M loves to make lists. So she was reviewing her list of things that she would have brought on her mission. So she is reading the list and says Gary Coleman grill. And I just looked at her like what?! And she thought I didnt know what that was so she starts explaining it to me....ummmmm, a George Foreman Grill? LOL it was super funny. Also just hanging out with Familiar Miranda. B is seriously hilarious. He said Hna A has a sweet spirit. He choked on a mint today. I don't that he says and does is pretty much funny.

4.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week?
My experience with asking the Lord what I should do. I wasn't sure if that was even an answer, to be her friend, but Elder Y called to verify what I felt I should do and he said he felt really good about that answer. So it was an answer and it is something that I really can work on. It also made me realize again that the Lord does answer our prayers and sometimes we don't recognize the answer or think that it should be something else.

5.  How are your investigators doing?  Was K able to come to church?
No, she didn't come to church because it was super cold and she didn't want to bring her baby on that long walk. We actually didnt have any investigators at church:(   K will still be baptized, the question is just when. We have C and G (the brother and sister Hna M thought were married). C has attendence to church and everything, but she is still really unsure about the church. She has a very tentative date for the 1st and G (since he didn't come to church) now has the 8th. We will see. C's kids are both members so I think that eventually she will be baptized, she just needs time. And those really are the only ones who are progressing.

6.  Do you think Hna A will be transferred on the next round of transfers? 
Pres Dester said in my email this week that there is no doubt, Hna A has cambios this transfer! I will be finished with my training so my options are: I could train (unlikely but a lot of the other hermanas in the mission started training after their 12 weeks, like Hna P and Hna A, but that's because there was like no one who could train so they had to, now we have them so all of them will be finishing up training their hijas so lots of open spots for others to train and not me), I could get a companion who has the same time in the mission as me, or I could be compañera menor (junior companion) again. But whatever happens I will not be in training anymore!

7.  Were you able to teach more lessons this week?  Find any new investigators?  Do any service?
We didnt have more lessons. We did find new investigators but they aren't promising because one lives really far away and we can only go there with a member who has a car and they just don't seem solid.

8.  How is your personal study going?  What are you studying, and what stuck out to you this week?  What are you going to study after you finish the D&C? 
I finished D&C this week and started on the Pearl of Great Price. When I finish that I will read the New Testament. Like I said I studied the scriptures relating to friends. It was really good and helped me see how I can be a better friend to not only Hna A but to the Lord. I read a scripture this morning that I liked: Moses 7:44 (I think, my handwriting is really bad lol) But it talked about Enoch and how he was so sad for the wicked people and the destruction that would come to the earth, etc. and he refused to be comforted but the Lord commands him after to be comforted. I think a lot of times we just sit in our self-pity and sit in our problems and refuse to be comforted although there are tons of ways that the Lord is reaching out to us and trying to help us. We need to be comforted. I think that it really is a decision. Today we ran out of water in our tank again! And so I had to shower with a bucket AGAIN! And I was drying my hair and just started to cry a little bit... but then I realized that I could choose to be comforted or choose to keep crying and be sad. I had hot water. I was able to be clean. It wasn't like I had to bathe in a freezing cold, dirty river. I survived. It wasn't anything new, I just wanted to wallow in my problems. But we need to choose to be comforted and accept the help and the love and the support that the Lord is always showing us.

9.  What has been the strangest food you’ve eaten this week?
I had pinol and atol. Both are hot drinks and i really dont know how to describe them.... atol is usually out of fruit but its a little strange, and Pinol is like a drink that reminds me of the taste of cream of wheat because at the bottom are pieces of grain that look and taste like Cream of Wheat but I don't know what it is exactly.

10.  Did you see anything unusual this week?
Nope, not really. I saw my breath a lot. Oh, I did see a placenta hair repair cream.... ew!

11. What have you learned about yourself this week?
I didn't realize how much I rely on other people to talk to about my problems. I need people. I need people to talk to me and ask me how I am doing. I need people to help me through my trials. I always considered myself a very independent person who didn't need anyone. Well, I was wrong lol. I need people.

12.  In what area do you think you’ve improved this week?
I really think I learn more patience every week. I think I tried to enjoy myself more this week. Even when we weren't doing work, I tried to enjoy myself and not be super frustrated. It made the week pass a lot faster, too!

13.  Do you know that I love you SO much and I miss you?

14.  Has Pres Dester had any advice for you lately?  Have you had more opportunities to talk with him?
I only got his email today. He just says have patience because changes are coming up.

15.  What has been the most beautiful thing you’ve seen this week?
The sun for like 5 seconds, lol. Actually, when we went out with B to visit a menos activo (less active church member) who lives in the really far away part of our area he drove up a mountain to show us where K is going to be moving to (it was actually super scary and sketchy because it was muddy the whole way, really narrow and the higher we climbed up the deeper the fog and I kind of freaked out a little, lol) but on the drive down we could see all of Santa Rosa lit up since it was night time and it was super pretty.

16.  How has the weather been this week?  When does it usually start to warm up there?
COOOOOOOLD!!! I wear my yoga pants under my skirts, 2 shirts and a tank top and my two jackets and I still freeze. Apparently it gets warm in March.

17.  What ways have you found to serve Hna A this week?  To serve others?
We cleaned a menos activos house this week. It made me super greatful for our houses in the United States and how our standard of clean is so much higher! But yeah, I always try to do little things for her. We cleaned our bathroom together and I always wash her dishes and stuff like that.

18.  Have you been able to be happier this week?
Yes. There were definitely moments in which I was a lot happier.

19.  What did you learn in your district meeting or zone meeting this week?
I still can't practice in front of everyone.. but I could in small groups so that was improvement. And we can't watch movies anymore...:( I'm super sad....

20.  Have you found it easier not to be judgmental of your district this week?
Yes. I actually played a little bit of soccer today, too! I kicked the ball like 3 times.
21.  Do you want me to forward Austin’s weekly e-mails to you?


22.  Has Amy left for her mission yet?  How is she doing?
She left and as far as I know she is doing great!
23.  How is Melissa doing?

She is training now and she is doing great too!

So I got a letter from Grace Clark this week. Did you send my friend Melissa's package to her yet?

We went to a shoe store last week because Hna A wanted shoes to go with a dress she bought so I bought her red shoes for her birthday. Anyway, it was gross... almost all the shoes are donated from the US and are gently used.. I will never be buying shoes here unless they are clearly new.
Oh yeah, so not only did we run out of water, but for two days the power was in and out... that's always fun.

We made tortillas in a member's house and everyone was suprised that I can make them. They said that I have a good hand! I'm fast and they look pretty hahaha.
Oh, so I was proud of myself this week. We went to pick up a member and Hna A's head hurt so we went 30 minutes early so she could rest in the member's bed.... weird. So there was a movie on and no one was in the room and instead of turning it off, she turned it up! WHAT?!  So I practiced my dilligence and started studying and was really proud of myself.

OK, I think that that just about sums up my week. I feel like my emails are so scattered lol. I hope that there is something uplifting in here, lol. I'm still surviving. Pray that the water comes tomorrow and that the sun comes out. I have been freezing!
les amo mucho!

Hermana Gisseman

55's so cold here!
The art of layering for warmth....
Hna A and I decided to use the face masks you sent in our Christmas stockings....
Familia Miranda's front door

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 15 was the best of was the worst of weeks.
We went to San Pedro on Tuesday so Hna A could fill out paperwork for her residency here in Honduras. It was a 3 hour bus ride on a school bus through windy roads. It was freezing cold and we had the seat in the very front so the door kept opening. Hna A took the window so I had nothing to lean on and it was quite difficult to keep myself from not falling off the seat. So we got to the bus terminal and the elders werent there...we waited for 45 minues to an hour and then called them with a stranger's phone and they said they came and didn't see us and left... so we had to take a taxi after that and it was super expensive! And it was the day after Copan Ruinas and so we didn't have ton of money (well, I do because I am stingy but everyone else doesn't). Then we got there to wait for a while for paperwork. It was like the DMV! Then the last bus to Santa Rosa had already left so we stayed with the Hermana Training Leaders in their house which has air conditioning. We had only a sheet to sleep with and I froze my butt off the whole time because it was soooo cold with the air conditioning on during the night! Then we came back to Santa Rosa and it was 58 degrees. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I don't even have a coat or boots or tights. LOL, so that really sucked. That is not an invitation to sned me tights or anything because it is warming up and one day I will return to the heat. I find it quite ironic that I, the person who truly loves the sun and the heat, am in the coldest part of the mission. Anyway...yeah, that was an adventure.

1.  What did you do for P-Day this week? 

We played volleyball at the church as a district with a few members and then we had a big lunch with a family in the ward. They are super nice and their house is like an American house. They are all super funny, too, and always willing to help us which is great. Their front door is even the painting of Christ knocking on the door with no door knob. Then Hna A got her hair cut by an hermana in the ward. I was supposed to get mine cut, too, but Hna C wanted hers cut so there wasn't time for me to get mine cut...whatever...I really didn't want to anyways. I was just going to take the opportunity since it came up. And now we are here. It really bothers me that here there never seems to be any time to do anything on P-Day and I don't like that...when we have district sports they sit around for forever and don't do anything! It bothers me and Hna M because it is quite inefficient and there are other things that I would like to do!

2.  What was the best thing that happened this week? 

I got to go on divisions with Hna M!!!!! It was awesome! Hna A was sick and Hna C was sick so H M and I got special permission from the zone leaders to go out by ourselves! It was awesome! Even though we are both junior companions and Americans who don't speak perfectly, we went out and taught! We found new investigators and we shared the lessons like pros and it was so great! I was so excited to do the work and I felt like I was actually doing work! I loved it! We understood well enough and could communicate without a problem. I felt like we were equal, working together. It was literally the best day I have had in the mission! I also received mail that day too! The district leaders came to give Hna A a blessing and they had a package from Mom, a package from Grandma Gaye, 2 letters from Grandma and Papa, the letter from your Christelle in Canada,  a few days before I got headbands from Kim Haller and letters from Aunt Becci, the Eubanks and the Dicksons.  THANKS!!!!!). We cleaned the house because the district leaders told us it was dirty and so had the Hermana Training Leaders but I was the only one who tried to clean....Anyway, the house felt better and it was sunny and I got to go out with Hna M who has legit become my best friend!

3.  What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week? 

So while I was out with Hna M, we were in a lesson and she thought that a brother and sister were actually a married couple so she prayed for them as a couple with their family and it was really funny and then she though he had a baptismal date and he really didn't yet.  LOL  It was just funny.

4.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week? 

I don't know... jsut realizing that I can do this!

5.  How is your investigator, K, doing?  Is she still planning to be baptized on the 25th?  Has she been able to come to church? 

She didn't come to church and we don't know why yet... she wants to get baptized but we found out that they are getting evicted from their house because they don't own the land and now they have a new they have to leave by the 9th of February... so I wonder if it had anything to do with that. We are hoping she can come the next two Sundays so she can get baptized on the 1st before Hna A leaves. She is always positive nd so eager to learn more and follow the Lord.

5.  Were you able to teach more lessons this week?  Find any new investigators?  Do any service?   

We, as in Hna M and I, found new investigators. We taught a bunch less lessons this week.

6.  How is your personal study going?  What are you studying, and what stuck out to you this week?  

I am almost done with Doctrine and Covenants. I found a lot this week about afflictions and that the Lord gives them to us for a number of reasons, we need to learn patience, we need to learn obedience or simply that we need to become better or maybe our trials were our own fault, but no matter the reason or the affliction, we need to rely on Him. It's just been a really trying week... I also noticed how many times the Lord refers to us as His friends and what the weight of that word is. What is a friend? Someone you trust, someone you can tell things to, someone you do things with, someone you want to be around, someone you can confide in, comeone you can trust, etc. He calls us His friends. I think that that is so amazing. Two questions: 1) Do we live in a manner that is worthy of that title, that we can truly consider ourselves to be His friends? 2) Do we consider Him to be our friend, too?  Food for thought.

7.  What has been the strangest food you’ve eaten this week? 

Hna C cooked some salsa and since she is kind of...well, her family is from Guatemala and super rich and she had never cleaned a bathroom or washed clothes in her life before she came on her were all a little afraid to try something she made, but it was actually really good!

8.  Did you see anything unusual this week? 

Hna C drinks water with oats in it...its really weird. She fills up a water bottle with water and adds plain oats and drinks it. And there was a chicken on our bus ride to San Pedro. And I had to pay to use the bathroom in the bus terminal and the attendant gave me an allotted portion of toilet paper.

9.  What have you learned about yourself this week? 


10.  In what area do you think you’ve improved this week? 

Talking to investigators and people and not being awkward. Expecially when I was on divisions this week in our trio or with Hna M (we went out in a trio one day because Hna A was sick two days again), when we teach my investigators I have to start lessons and talk more since I know them and I am getting better at that!

11.  Do you know that I love you SO much and I miss you? 


12.  Has Pres D had any advice for you lately?  Have you had more opportunities to talk with him? 

Only through email...I think he is still evaluating the situation and hasn't decided to do anything yet. He really does care about me and he said he is anxiously waiting my next email.

13.  What has been the most beautiful thing you’ve seen this week?

The SUN!!!!!

14.  What ways have you found to serve Hna A this week?  To serve others?

To bring her water while she's sick in bed and cook her her food.

15.  You said you need to work on being happy – what did you mean by that?  Just happy in general?  Have you been more happy this week?  What kinds of things make you happy on your mission?

It's just really hard to be happy when I feel like I'm stuck and when I'm annoyed that we aren't working and stuff like that. I am happy when I am with Hna M and when there is sunshine and when our investigators keep their commitments.

16.  Have you had any more opportunities to give talks, teach at church, sing, lead the music, speak, or play the piano? 


17.  What did you learn in your district meeting or zone meeting this week? 
We didn't go because we went to San Pedro.
18.  Have you found it easier not to be judgmental this week? 
19.  How is your health?  Do you feel safe? 
My health is fine.. and I feel more or less safe. I know the Lord will protect me.
Anyway, someone called me a "fresa" last week and I realized it really bothers me. A fresa is like a person who is high maintenence and really girly. No, I'm not a fresa, I just look cute all the time. I will get on the ground and scrub the mold off our walls. I wash all of my own laundry without complaint, and even sometimes the other hermanas' laundry. I do all the dishes pretty much all the time. I am the only one to sweep the floor or wash the old dirty sheets in our spare bedroom. I don't wear all my makeup everyday... only foundation and mascara. I lived in one of the poorest parts of Honduras and was just fine. I can shower with a bucket. I am not a fresa. I have realized that I am really tough!
Sorry this email is more negative than most, I just had a really heavy heart this week.
Anyway, It would be great if you could send me more ZQuil since I have had to take it more than once to fall asleep, more Dramamine, a 3 ring hole punch if you can find a non bulky one...  I loved all the new clothes in my last package and I loved the notebooks from Grandma Gaye, they are the perfect size to carry around with me!

Love you all!

Hermana Gisseman

This is the cover I made for my Preach My Gospel book....

I bought this cute belt

And this statute

(Note from Alyssa's Mom -- I don't know where these two dresses came from -- if you sent them to her, thank you!)

Gotta love my Crocs....

Painted my toenails!

Drinking bagged water

With Hna M

Monday, January 6, 2014

Week 14 -- The Copan Ruinas!!!!!

Happy 3 months to me! For real this time, I am one sixth through my mission.  LOL

COPAN RUINAS!!! They were SUPER cool! Super maciso as they would say here but I don't know how to spell it. I took lots of pictures and tried to take good ones of me with stuff and some with Hna M! There are some stylus things, death altars, pyramids and I don't know what else! A giant tree! I actually lost my camera case and my SD card reader and I was FREAKING out...But Hna M came with me and we looked for it and it turns out one of the lawn workers found it and so I have it and everything is okay. It was way cool though! Amazing that we were able to climb all over stuff and just walk to the top of the pyramids and everything. I feel like in the US that never would be allowed. Things weren't really tall, but the whole complex was really big and just so cool! Hna M and I just wanted to stay there all day...while our companions went and sat at the entrance waiting to leave.  LOL I bought a t-shirt there for my quilt and I bought a belt that's really neat. It was a lot of walking and climbing stairs but really fun and worth the waking up at 4 in the morning, 15 minute taxi ride to the bus terminal, hour bus ride to Entrada, two and a half hour bus ride squished against the window to the point that I lost feeling in my left leg while having to go to the bathroom, to Copan Ruinas! It was just super awesome and I am glad that I got to spend it with Hna M. She has become my best friend here and I really will cry when we have to leave each other.
Hna A and I stayed in the house for 2 days again this week... she has a pain in her leg that hurts her when she walks which sucks because our area is a long walk from our house and then our area is huge!  But the Hermana Leaders came this week! Apparently they weren't planning on coming until next week, but Pres Dester told them that they should come early... so they came and it was awesome. Hna A couldn't walk that day so she stayed at a member's house and I went out with Hna McC. She is American but spoke Spanish to me all day which I appreciated! She is just super awesome and talks to everyone and we got 3 new investigators and she was able to find things out about our investigators that Hna A and I hadn't been able to or just didn't ask. So that was awesome. Hna McC says I'm a great example though and such a hard worker. So at least someone can recognize that I am trying really hard.
I am glad that you had the missionaries over! They always need someone. I love that one of the hermanas in our Ward, Hna V who is the Relief Society president (NOTE:  Relief Society is the women's auxiliary organization in the LDS Church), says that missionaries are here to look out for othes, but who looks out for us?  She always tries to be a mom to the missionaries so they feel like they have someone that is looking out for them. And good job at reading the scriptures!!!

1.  What did you do for New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day?  

New Years was quite uneventful... we went to bed early. Hna A was sick and went to bed at like 6. We had to be in early at 6 pm... so then Hna M and I watched a movie--Rio, I think-- and then got tired and went to bed... so I didn't stay up for the fireworks. I went to bed at like 11 pm but could hear the fireworks. So then I woke up and it was 2014 and I feel SUPER old!!!! Then our district wanted to play soccer...but it wasn't P-Day and Hna M and I had already showered and gotten dressed so we decided to have our own companion study together while they played soccer with people from the ward. We studied the section on Christ-like attributes and it helped me so much to see the things that I can improve on and to really understand better how all of the characteristics are linked together. To truly master one, you have to have some of the others. Like patience, for example, you need to have charity to love those around you and you also need faith in the Lord to know that really everything will be okay. It was just awesome and I really hope one day Hna M and I can be companions so that we can work hard like that together. We are both here for each other and we study the language together, we cooked together this week and had a picnic. She's just great. But, yeah, we studied those attributes to see what we can improve this year as people and as missionaries. I encourage everyone to truly read this section in Preach My Gospel and to not be prideful. I think before my mission I would hear people give talks or lessons on how to improve on a certain attribute and I would just brush it off like I didn't need to work on anything, or that that was only for other people. But even in the diligence section--I thought I was pretty dilligent because I am such a hard worker, but there is WAY more to it! And there is a ton that I can improve. So anyway...after that our companions didn't want to leave the house because they claimed no one would be home. So we cleaned our gross house and did laundry.

2.  What was the best thing that happened this week?  

Being able to go out and teach with Hna McC. I really want to be a missinoary just like her!

3.  What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week? 

Going to Copan Ruinas today with everybody in the zone! Oh, there were sunny days this week, too, so I just went on the roof and studied. I got a little sunburnt, lol, but I will take that any day over cold and cloudy!

4.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week?  

Studying with Hna M. Really there are so many things that we can improve. None of us are perfect, and when we think we are we have too much pride.  AND one of our investigators, K, commited to be baptized on the 25th! She is 16 and has a baby. She is super religious and can quote the Bible! She always has great questions and she truly wants to learn more. She came to church and really liked it. She realizes that she needs to be baptized in the church to receive the Holy Ghost. She wants that blessing in her life. I really hope that she will be able to come to church so that she can be baptized on that date.

5.  Were you able to teach more lessons this week?  Find any new investigators?  Do any service? 

Not really. We had about the smae number of lessons, in fact a little more since we had divisions so numbers apparently count for both missionaries... Hna McC and I found new investigators!

6.  How is your personal study going?  What are you studying, and what stuck out to you this week?  

Still Doctrine and Covenants and all of it is like missionary work! And just how we are all called to this work and we all have something to do! I liked that.  Somewhere it says we need to read the Book of Mormon sincerely, I think in Moroni 10, and that means we need to be willing to act on what we learn, act on the doctrine and incorporate it into our lives. If we don't we are just reading words. So anyone struggling with a testimony of this book, read it and act upon it and I know that if you do that you will come to know that it is true. I have done it and so many others have as well and I know it's true. Also I reflected on the question, what are we doing to show the Lord that we love Him? He has done everything for us, what are we doing to show Him our thanks?

7.  What has been the strangest food you’ve eaten this week?

It's not strange but I had canteloupe juice again! It was actually really good. Oh, and I made green beans! Something healthy finally.  And Hna M and I made pasta soup which was way good! Who needs recipes? Just throw stuff in a pot and it will all work out.

8.  Did you see anything unusual this week? 

The Copan Ruinas is all.

9.  What have you learned about yourself this week? 

I learned that I teach according to a plan and an outline. So I teach by the pamphlets. I can still teach to people's needs since we teach people not lessons, but I am very ordered. Hna A is different...she just talks. Hna C is like me which is why we were able to teach so well together. It's not that I didn't know that about myself; I just never really realized it.

10.  In what area do you think you’ve improved this week?  

I think I have been able to recognize my weaknesses a lot more this week. Not in a bad way at all, just to see where I can improve.

11.  Do you know that I love you SO much and I miss you? 


12.  What advice would you give Austin who is just going out to Texas this week to start his work in the mission field, and to Amy as she prepares for her mission? 

Follow the rules as exactly as you can and work hard. You should work so hard that you just want to sleep when you get home.  OK, well, if you don't feel like that everyday it doesn't mean you are a terrible missionary, but work hard so that you know there is nothing more you could have done and that you truly put it all on the table for the Lord. Be dilligent in all things, even the small rules that don't seem like they matter and ALWAYS love your companion.

13.  What has been the most beautiful thing you’ve seen this week? 

Copan Ruinas and the drive home through the mountains. I just love the mountains here and they are so green!

14.  What ways have you found to serve Hna A this week?  To serve others? 

I try to be sensitive to how she is feeling and if she's sick I try and make sure she has water and that the fan is on if she wants it and stuff like than instead of just letting her do all that for herself. I don't know.  I just try to be there as best I can for Hna M and help her in what she is feeling, too, since I am only a month ahead of her.  I don't know that I really help her out but she always says how grateful she is for me.

15.  What is your favorite hymn right now?  Are there any hymns you’ve sung there from the Spanish hymnbook that aren’t in the regular hymnbook? 

There is a New Years hymn in the Spanish hymn book that we dont have in English...and I don't have a favorite hymn at the moment. Probably "There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today" since I need to work on being happy.

16.  Have you had more opportunities to sing, lead the music, speak, or play the piano? 


17.  What did you learn in your district meeting or zone meeting this week? 
That I cannot practice teach in fron of our district. Oh yeah! We had the APs, ZLs and president come to our meeting! President Dester did interviews again so I got to meet with him twice! But yeah, they wanted us to practice teaching the Book of Mormon in front of everyone and I just couldn't do it and I didn't say anything. We were supposed to teach the APs (assistants to the mission president) and I just shut down and got really nervous so then they taught us that's really embarassing but I just couldn't.  I feel quite inadequate sometimes and especially in our crazy district I just think they judge me. I need to stop judging them, though.  President Dester reminds me of my Bishop from BYU. He just talked about stories from his life and it was nice. He said that I will be like a butterfly and one day I will just realize that I have wings.
I got a card from Grandma and Papa! I love how it danced, hahahaha! Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!
Oh, so another water story.... our water tank ran out of water. Hna A or Hna C just forgot to open the valve or something and so it ran out and we couldn't shower for 4 days... so I showered with a bucket AGAIN! UGH  But then the water came and we filled up the tank. So then we filled up the pila...I went to bed and the water was still running and I asked if they would make sure to close the valve to the pila before they went to bed...yeah, I woke up and the pila was overflowing because it had been on all night! Our water bill will be really high this month.
If you could send me a flash drive and if you could put music on it, Spanish hymns, songs, I don't care because our DVD players read flash drives, and a new memory card in case mine gets full.... and Past Tense doTERRA stuff. I hope to get a package tomorrow!
Love you all! Hope you had a great new year!

Hermana Gisseman

A cute dog in a cute sweater...

For New Year's, they make these big life-sized dolls and put fireworks inside and then blow them up to symbolize killing the old year!

Hna M and I made soup and had a picnic on the roof

Hna M and me

It's so hilly here, but so beautiful

Weird tree!

Copan Ruinas!

The biggest tree I've ever seen!