Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 30 -- Jorge's Baptism!!!

Well, the only rain we got was yesterday and it wasnt a lot but yes, rainy season is coming up! 

My haircut really isn't bad. It's just not what I would usually have. It's maybe an inch shorter, but probably less. So not really different. 

I have no idea what will happen for Mother's Day.... especially since we have changes this week and I probably won't be here.... 

I don't need bug be honest, I haven't used it here in Santa Rosa, not even once, and it's free through the ruta. 

Mom, GO TO THE DENTIST: Dr Grimmer is really nice and I really didn't even feel his shots...and that's coming from ME. 

STORYTIME: I will refer to this story as JORGE'S BAPTISM for the rest of the email, lol. 
Okay, so yes, Jorge did get baptized this week, but not how we expected. This whole time Jorge has said that he was going to get baptized on the 26th, not a day sooner and not a day later. So we put his interview on the Tuesday before that. Wellm Hna V broke her permanent retainer and so we had to go to San Pedro and she chose to go on Tuesday... so we had to reschedule his interview. So we put it on Wednesday. Well, that was his birthday, and we told him that we could do it a different day, but he insisted. So we waited at the church for him with the elders and he didn't show up...which is unlike him because he is possibly the only punctual person in all of Honduras! So we called him and he was like...yeah, it's my birthday and I have visitors so we have to do it on Friday. Fine. So we reschedule the interview for Friday and show up then. He shows up and the elders are 20 minutes late. Jorge almost left because he doesn't do late and he hates waiting around. But luckily they came. He was in his interview for an hour and a half because he had a ton of questions. Luckily our District Leader, Elder C, is Latino and can actually understand and answer Jorge's questions. So he comes out of the interview and we ask how it went. Good, he says, but I won't get baptized tomorrow (the 26th), but next Saturday. WHAT?!!!! We were freaking out! Our whole change together has practically revolved around and built up to this moment, this baptism. So we were crushed. We asked him why and he just said because his interview was so late in the week he didn't have time to invite people.... we had told him all along to ask people to come and he told us he didn't want to! So I was super sad. We told him that one of us would be gone and I don't know if he really understood but he just said vaya (okay) and left... We had already planned to go to the river and planned the refreshments for the next day and we had everything planned out and nope, he didn't want to get baptized Saturday the 26th.... I was really sad. I cried after he left. So we had a correlacion misional (missionary correlation meeting) Friday night and our mission leader suggested that we fast for everyone who was supposed to get baptized on Saturday but decided not to (the other hermanas had 4 baptisms planned for Saturday and all of them fell through). So we fasted Saturday to Sunday (lunch to lunch). And Hna V and I were talking and neither one of us really had an experience to tie to fasting. Like we teach it, right, but neither of us has really seen the blessings from it. So we prayed that we would see miracles. And we did. So instead of having Jorge's baptism on Saturday we went to visit him instead and we took a member with us, Olvin. The lesson was great. Olvin taught and used passages from the Bible which Jorge just loves. Then we got to the end and we asked him about Saturday for his baptism and he sai he would be baptized next Saturday. Then Olvin intervened and said, "Look hermano, one of these hermanas will most likely not be here next week. I know that is has been something that Hna Gisseman has been looking forward to for a long time. She has been waiting to see this day and to be there for you and she will probably not be here next week, and I know that she would love to be at your baptism."  And then it was like it hit Jorge that one of us really wouldn't be there. He said, "Well, we can't have that,. can we?! BOTH of them taught me, so BOTH of them have to be there." Then we had to explain a little more about changes and how we really can't come back to an area so I wouldn't be able to travel back even just for Saturday. Olvin said Jorge could get baptized Tuesday. Jorge thought for a long time... Olvin said, "well really you could be baptized any day between now and Wednesday, tomorrow if you wanted!" So Jorge said, "well, tomorrow at 4 then." WHAT?!!! So we had to plan everything AGAIN really fast. We had nothing really planned at all until during church on Sunday. And then we couldn't do the baptism in a river like Jorge wanted to but it was okay with him as long as both Hna V and I were there. So at 4 pm on Sunday (yesterday) Jorge got baptized! I played the piano and we even sang a hymn. There was a lot of branch support.... the whole room was full which was good because no one in his family was there to support him. I was asked to share my testimony. It was a really beautiful experience. It was a miracle and I see why the Lord gives us these trials. I have a testimony of fasting now and I wouldn't have before. It was truly beautiful to see the hand of the Lord in this work even if it was frustrating and exhausting. I feel like my testimony has grown a lot this week! And I have had my first convert (well, they are all the Lord's converts but I had the chance to find him, and teach him and everything.)

1. How was church this week?  What was your lesson on in Relief Society?  What were the talks about? 

It was a little stressful.... We had to plan Jorge's baptism last minute. But really great because he did get baptized! But it rained after the baptism so that was kind of lame. Really, Sundays are hard because we are so physically asnd spiritually drained! I don't remember what they taught in Relief Society.... or in sacrament meeting... 

2. How did the missionary work go this week?  Did you do any contacting?  Find any new investigators?  Who did you meet with and what did you teach about?  

We still haven't found anybody new....we try to contact people but, yeah, it's not going too well either. We met with the part member family again--familia de Baldemar. We taught the plan of salvation...We meet with lots of people. 

3.  What miracles and/or tender mercies have you seen this week? Answers to your prayers? 

Jorge's baptism!

4.  How was your English class this week?  Did familiar de Baldemar come to class again?  Did you meet with them more this week? 

It was alright. We taught "I Am a child of God" (an LDS song) in English but it was really hard actually because people don't have very good pronunciation and they didn't remember very welll but such is life. 

5.  How has someone else blessed your life this week? 

Olvin was a huge help to us this week. He came with us to visit Jorge and without him I don't know that Jorge would have been baptized this week. And he helped set up the baptism. It was pretty rough making the arrangements.  But thanks to Olvin it all worked out and was okay. He is just one of those people that works so hard and doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves.

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

We played soccer and it was not fun today. Hna M didn't come until we had finished so that was sad. And the members that came today played really competitively so I really jsut ran around doing nothing the whole time. But then we all went to lunch at a place that's SUPER good.  :) Then we printed out pictures and we are here. Oh, this morning I washed my sheets and blanket....yeah, that sucked. My arms are so tired and I don't know that I ever want to wash my pink blanket again, hahaha,

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

Jorge's baptism!

8. How are your less active members doing? 

Mario is doing GREAT! He is doing to be called as a counselor in the elder's quorum! Sandra made us lunch this week as a going away thing and it was way good--pollo y tajadas. One of our less active members has a son in the hospital right now so she's not been doing the best naturally but we are hoping that she can come back to church when he's better.... 

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

So we had a super awkward moment. We have been teaching this investigator named C for 2 months now....and she came to church last week which was awesome. But she left early.  :( Anyway, she is a large lady... just overall a very large person. So went to visit her this week and we talked to her about baptism (again) and we had talked about her getting baptized in May. So she tells us, "Look really May won't be good for me."  And we are like...why not? And she says, "Well, I'm pregnant!"  And we had no idea the whole time...then she tells us that she is due the first week of May! WHAT? This whole time we have been teaching her the thought never even crossed our it was super awkward and she was like, didn't you guys know? Well, to be honest, no, we didn't, but is was way awkward and then we were laughing like the whole day. How did we not know someone was 9 months pregnant?

10.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week?  

Jorge's Baptism!

11.  Were you able to do any service this week?  Go out with any members this week? 

No. We tried but everyone says no which is sad because service is a nice break from just teaching lessons. 

12.  What are you on in your personal study right now, and what stood out to you this week?   

I am in 2 Samuel now. One thing that I noticed was in 1 Samuel (I think, I don't remember the reference) there was a priest named Eli and his sons were wicked and the Lord cursed Eli becasue he didn't do anything about his sons (or so it says in the footnotes). Anyway, it just made me think a little bit. Eli worked  his whole life in the temple in the service of the Lord. But in his personal life, his family life, he let his sons do whatever they wanted and that wasn't okay with the Lord. It doesn't matter how much good we do outside our familes if we ignore what is most important, our families. We all need to make sure that serving the Lord in our families is our first priority.  I dont' know if that makes sense. 

13.  What have you learned about yourself this week? 

I have really good Spanish.  :) The sister training leaders had divisions with the other hermanas in Santa Rosa this week and Hna Morales told Hna M that she has been really impressed with 3 gringas in terms of their Spanish and I was one of those three, and Hna Miller, too! :) It make me feel really really good, because I know my Spanish isnt perfect, but I realized that when I gave my capacitacion (training) last week that I can just speak it. I don't have to think about the words, I can just speak it! Oh yeah, and I gave capacitacion (training) in our district meeting this week and I'm not going to lie, it was super legit.  :) Everyone said that they really liked it! it was sooo good.... In the Book of Mormon there are patterns and one of the patterns my BYU teacher pointed out is the pattern of people who know and do (like Nephi...I will go and do because I know, 1 Nephi 3:7) and there are other people (the majority of folks) who have to do something to know, do and know. So I compared that to investigators and how we can help these people who need to do in order to know since not all already know and do (like Jorge!!!!). So I used two passages of scripture: 1 Nephi 4:1-8 (I think) where Sariah is murmuring to Lehi about how her sons are going to die, but when her sons come home she knows that it was the Lord who protected them. So to look at what Lehi did to help her, he showed her love, bore his testimony, and addressed her doubts with respect. Then we loked at 3 Nephi 11 where Christ comes and lets the people see and feel His wounds so that they would know with a surety that he was the Christ. So for them to know, He gave them an invitation, or a commitment to come unto Him and feel and see. And then He gave them an individual expereince so that they would be converted. And with investigators we have to do these things, have love for them so our testimony is sincere. Teach to their doubts and commit them to act to help them have an individual experience in the gospel. It was more than that but I don't have ton of time and maybe I can teach it for a Family Home Evening one day. 

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

I think at being able to accept the Lord's will and to recognize His hand in this work. 

15.  What was your happiest moment this week? 

Jorge's baptism

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


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

Jorge's baptism

18.  Did anything unusual happen this week? 

Jorge's baptism!

19.  Did you go into San Pedro Sula to get Hna V's retainer fixed?  Did you do anything else while you were there?

Yes, we did, but that's all we did in San Pedro Sula.

20.  Tell me about a time you felt the Spirit this week. 

Jorge's baptism!  And gaining a testimony of fasting. 

21.  What kinds of food have you eaten this week? 

Tortillas, beans, chicken and veggie soup Honduran style, oatmeal....nothing too exciting or weird. 

22.  What will you miss most about Santa Rosa? 

I think that I will miss the view. The mountains really do suck to walk up sometimes, la cuesta cuesta as they say here. But once we get up there it really is beautiful so I think I will miss that a lot. And it's also jsut a very pretty city and its really tranquilo, tranquill, here. 

23.  Tell me about a typical day this week. 

We study in the morning and eat lunch at noon.... ten we study again. We leave at 2 pm to preach and we generally didn't have appointments until 5 pm this week so we walked around trying to find people who, for the most part, weren't home.... and then finally at 5 pm we could stop walking around and we had lessons with people....we literally have nobody to teach really....especially since Jorge got baptized....we have no investigators! If I stay here it will be another really hard 6 weeks.... 

Sorry my answers aren't too exciting this week because of Jorge's awesomeness. 

But I will hit 7 months this week! Crazym right! I don't  feel like I have been gone for that long. It's so weird! 

Our shower broke this week which turned out to be a blessing because we got a new one that is even better!!! The sad part is I will probably leave and won't get to enjoy it for very long. 

I really liked something that Olvin shared with us the other day. In Alma 44:12-15 it talks about a soldier. Olvin compared this story to the fact that there are so many unnamed heroes in the Book of Mormon. It just goes to show that there are very valiant people who don't get the credit that they often deserve, but they still play a large role, have a big impact on others. It just made me think that that is so true.... we may not get the recognition we deserve, or that we think we deserve, from men, but our Heavenly Father knows our good works and we will be given the proper recompense in the life to come. I just encourage everyone to pay a little more attention to those who may do lots of work behind the scenes and try to thank them for it. 

Anyway, love you all 

Hermana Gisseman

My Silly Putty Easter Basket

With Sandra -- she's so sweet!

We made a birthday card for Sandra and she put it up on her wall

With Isaura, a really sweet lady at church

With Hna Veronica -- she takes such good care of us!

At Jorge's baptism, with Jorge (the older man) and Olvin, who baptized him

Hna V, Jorge, and me

Hna V and I gave ourselves facials with masks.  LOL

This is a little pet bird that Olvin found

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 29 -- Semana Santa in Honduras

I got two packages this week.  :) One from Morgan and one from the Swansons! They were both perfect and I couldn't have asked for anything better.  :) Everyone is so thoughtful and good to me!  Morgan sent me a sign with my name on it (SO cute!), a scarf, some Easy Mac, candy, and chocolate granola bars.  The Swansons sent me a cute backpack and a Coach makeup bag, and candy.  So I got to upgrade to a nice makeup bag...and lots of candy.  I love candy!  And I got a letter from Jan Speroni. Thank you all! 

So this was a hard Easter .... especially for being in a country that turns it into a whole week. We did not see the video about Christ (Because of Him). In fact, nobody even really talked about Christ on Sunday in church and we didn't sing any Easter hymns... EVERYTHING was closed this really looked like a ghost town and it made finding appointments super hard.  I'm really tired....this week was really hard.  We walked around for hours and hours because everyone was on vacation.  This week I was the most tired I have ever been.  I was soooooo tired.  And it's not like we even had citas (appointments) or anything, but just walking and the physical, spiritual, and mental exhaustion.
I'm jealous that you guys got to go sightseeing! I love going to museums. And the Holocaust one is actually really really good so Daddy should go. 

Mom, if you really want to cut your hair, you can -- it's your hair! I did get a haircut this week.... I really needed one and so I just sucked it up. A girl in the ward cuts hair and she does missionaries for free. 

Aw:) I miss working at Ann Taylor and all of the people there! Tell them hi for me!  What Paige Brudnicki wrote about us and that she thought I was a leader -- wow!  I guess you never know the impact you have on people.  She's so sweet.
1. How was church this week?  I’m guessing attendance was low because of semana santa?
Yeah, it was terrible... We only had 80 people there. There were no special musical numbers. The branch president did talk about the miracle of raising the daughter of Jairus so he did talk about Christ but none of them really talked about why we celebrate Easter or anything. We didn't sing any Easter hymns like i said. It was like a normal Sunday and it made me really, really sad. 

2.  How is Jorge doing? And the two Wendys?  And the other people you are working with?  Is Jorge still planning on being baptized this month?
Jorge is probably the best investigator that I will ever have. He told us that he knows Satan is trying to keep him from being baptized but he just won't have that. He is determined to get baptized on the 26th, not a day sooner and not a day later, lol. And he wants to follow the example of Christ and be baptized in a river.... we were super worried about this so we brought our temporary mission leader with us to try to talk him out of it because there aren't rivers in our area. But our mission leader instead encouraged it even more and set all the plans! THANKFULLY our ZLs called the APs who gave us permission to leave our area for a baptism in a river.  :) So this Saturday, with or without family support, Jorge will be baptized in a river like Christ. Jorge is just so great! He is so prepared and all the people who know him who hear he is getting baptized are shocked because he apparently used to be a very different person. But he is so ready now! He told us that he has a testimony of the Word of Wisdom, too, because he prayed to know if he should give up coffee. The next day his wife made him a cup of coffee and he said he didn't even feel like drinking it and he hasn't touched it since and he used to drink it every morning.  :) He's jsut so great. Difficult sometimes, well all the time, lol, but he is great! And probably my only baptism in Santa Rosa because we will have changes the next week. Wendy the investigator was on vacation this week and so we haven't been able to visit her for a while. The menos activos Wendy... she's going to move again and we don't know to where... but we helped her make ticucos this week which are a traditional semana santa food. They are like tamales but tiny and they almost look like they are in tiny bags. They have the masa or cough (???) from tortillas with beans, sometimes chicken, and they are soooo good! We got lots of ticucos this week haha. Honestly we have no one to teach...again. After Jorge gets baptized it will be interesting to see what happens because we don't really have anything. We have had to drop all the people that we found and now we are starting over again. I almost wonder if President Dester will take both of us out and put in elders because if ever there was a time to switch us out it would be now when we really won't have anything.... but vamos a ver (time will tell). 

3.  What miracles and/or tender mercies have you seen this week? Answers to your prayers?
A tender mercy: I remember a menos activo that we visited when I first came here. It might have been my first Sunday in Santa Rosa. We were with members of the rama (branch) and I didn't say anything until a member asked me to bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I still couldn't speak Spanish well at this point in time. There were like 3 members with us so I was embarrased. I still didn't have a relationship with my companion and I didn't know this hermano (brother/man). We have visited him my whole time here. At first he came ocassionally to Sacrament Meeting in jeans and a t-shirt. Then he was there for all the Sacrament Meetings. He even came without his wife who is a member. Then he started staying for classes. He told us how he wanted to read the Book of Mormon but it was hard, confusing and he didn't know how to start. I remember reading the first chapter of the Book of Mormon with him and I gave him a scripture marker so that he could measure and see his progress. He has been reading ever since. The branch president even asked him to wear white shirts and ties on Sunday. He has for the past few weeks.  :) He used to not leave with us (go out on misisonary visits) but in the past 2 weeks he has left with us like 4 times and each time he has been willing to participate and share his testimony. He is now reading in Mosiah (I think) and we don't have to stop by as often to just check up on his reading. Well, anyway, I have had the blessing of seeing his whole attitude change as he has come back to chuch after 25 years of inactivity. He told us this week that we were the ones who activated him and that now his goal is to go to the temple!!! It will still be a long road for him to get there, but it has just been so amazing and a blessing to see the change in this hermano and for him to recognize and thank us for the time we have worked with him. I just know that Mario will make his goal. I remember feeling that when I sat in his house that first visit and I looked at a picture of the temple that was hanging on his wall. And now he really will go and I'm just so glad to have been able to be here to help him. I guess I talked about him last week but I will just say it again. 

4.  How was your English class this week? What kinds of things are you teaching?  How do you decide what to teach each week?
It was pretty good! A menos activo came with his family who aren't members which was awesome! We visited them for the first time on Tuesday and they showed up at class on Wednesday! And we have visited them 2 more times since then and they told us last night that we already have their confianza (confidence). They showed us their garden and their hen house and it was just really special. They are all really shy but they share with us which is awesome. Anyway, they came to the class.  :) We usually review how to introduce oneself because we taught that the first day but there are always different people so we practically teach it everytime, lol. Then we taught a basic conversation, how are you, what do you like to do. We have reviewed colors and the alphabet and numbers. We try to pick practical things and have speaking games or activities that are practical and everyday things. The big problem here is that people know words or some phrases but don't know how to use them or pronounce we really just try and help them to speak. There are usually 6 people in our classes...which isn't a ton but it's still really nice. 

5.  How has someone else blessed your life this week?
People gave us food, lol.

6.  What did you do for P-Day this week?
This morning we cleaned like normal, did laundry, played frisbee with our district and some elders from Entrada--our zone leaders and another companionship--and then we ate at Pizza Hut. And our Distric Leader asked me to give some of the capacitation (lesson) tomorrow for our reunion de distrito (district meeting) so I tried to prep some of that until we found out we are going to San Pedro Sula tomorrow because Hermana V's retainer broke... and now we are here. 

7. What was the best thing that happened this week?
Everyone gave us ticucos! I literally didn't cook this week, haha, everyone gave us food and lots of it.  :)  I jsut love food.  :) Oh, and we saw a Catholic procession the other night. It passed right by our window and it was really weird....they had a float of Christ and he was tied up and blindfolded....and there were trumpeters playing really creepy music.... and all the people were just walking through the was kind of cool to see weird stuff and the traditions of semana santa.

8.  How are your investigators going?  Find any new investigators this week?  How about your less active members? I’m guessing that since it’s so hot now it might be harder to find people for the next while?
Yeah, it's been really hard to find people...we actually haven't found anyone new for the past like 3 weeks which has been REALLY hard. We did visit the family that I talked about in the English class... familia de Baldemar, but that's about it.... 

9.  What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week?
In our district meeting this week, the zone leaders came and afterward we played Signs but we always play Signs so to make it interesting we played it with sounds....which doesn't really work, lol, but it's super hilarious to listen to everyone try to make the sounds. 

10.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week?
Working with Jorge.
11.  Were you able to do any service this week?  Go out with any members this week?
We halped Hna Wendy make ticucos and we have been helping Bayron with his english, but he left for Guatemala again today and so it's probably the last time that I will ever see him.  :( 

12.  What are you on in your personal study right now, and what stood out to you this week?  
I finished Joshua in the Old Testament and the pattern of kings is in the Bible, too! We talk about it as a pattern in the Book of Mormon with the people in Ether and how Mosiah refuses to be the kind after he reads the Jaredite records.... well, in Judges there was a chapter where the people wanted this guy to be their king and he said no. Well, years later after he died, they appointed a king and the people fell into wickedness again.... I love finding patterns in the scriptures. I am reading Our Heritage again about the pioneers and Satan will always work hard against the church because it's true! Everytime the church makes a stride, he works even harder to slow the progress. But God's work will not stop. It's amazing the perserverance and dedication of the early saints and pioneers.... I really don't know that I could have been a pioneer.... 

13.  What have you learned about yourself this week?
I really need to be married to someone funny or fun....I need people to help bring that side of me out.  In this work we have to have fun or else it's just work and we will get burnt out and I really felt a lot of seriousness this week and it made me so dang tired. 

14.  In what area do you think you’ve improved this week?
I think that I am a lot less shy than I used to be. Hna V commented that I am getting a lot better at just starting lessons, too, and I realized that I really have. I can start whatever lesson and really  teach any of the lessons without a problem. So that was good. 

15.  What was your happiest moment this week?
Opening my mail.  :)

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

17.  What has been the most beautiful thing you’ve seen this week?
We went to the top of Santo Eduviges like 50 times this week (lol - not really but a lot) and we usually don't go in the morning but we had a cita (appointment) that fell through, but we got to take in the view in the morning. And another time we went in the morning we took our cameras so there are pictures, but it's really high up and we have to hike all the way up that mountain! 

18.  Did anything unusual happen this week?
The Catholic procession.... but other than that nope. It was pretty dead. Oh, I did eat another traditional food...but I don't know what it's called. It was a flour and water drink with herbs in it with really, really sweet platanos in a carmelish sauce.... the flour drink apparently takes away the sweet so that you can keep eating, lol, but it was a little weird. 

19.  What is an area book and how is yours the best?
It is a book that keep track of everything we do really. There is a page that we make and fill  out for every investigator. We mark off the lessons we have taught, the compromisos (challenges) we have extended, we write a little summary about every lesson we had with them and how they responded, there is a map to their house since there are no addresses.... and in the book there are old investigators so ones we have dropped, new investigators, investigators with baptismal dates, and everything has to be updated all the time and organized and ours was the best one. We do a really good job at keeping it up to date and nice and neat. 

20.  Tell me about a time you felt the Spirit this week.
Just when we are with Jorge and he starts telling the story of how we found him off the street when really he talked to us first and his testimony just helps me to see that the Lord is preparing people. The Lord put him in our path and we really haven't done anything and now that we are finalizing details for the baptism it just really hits me that its the Lord's work. 

21.  Have you had more pancake nights this week?  ;-)  If so, what unusual toppings did you put on them? 
Nope... we finished our pancake mix.  LOL

I did realize something this week. Wellm like Ian had told me that there are some missionaries who don't need to see the baptisms to convert themselves to the gospel. That's why everyone is here right, to convert others, but really to convert ourselves. There are some people who need those baptism and some people who don't. I think I'm one of those people who doesn't need the baptisms.  It was just a testiment to me that I really am strong and that I don't need to see these baptisms to know that I am working and to know that I am converted to the gospel.

Love you all! Thanks for all your support! 
WIth Hna V and the Hermana Training Leaders

So this is a pretty normal sister missionary thing...when someone reaches 9 months on the mission it's long enough to have been through a pregnancy....kind of a weird sister missionary inside joke thing...

New hot pink shirt that I bought last week.

With Jorge and Hna V
Cute scarf from Morgan and her mom -- thank you!
The Catholic procession we watched out our window
The view from the top of the mountain
The cute Easter decorations Mom sent
Thanks for the Easter goodies, Mom!
I love the new skirt, Mom!
Thank you, Morgan and Mrs. Meilinger!
Lots of food!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 28 -- "Don't freak out, but....."

I just love you mom:) 

Happy birthday Grandma!!!! 

I hit 200 days in the mission this week! WHAT?!

This week was eventful and at the same time uneventful. I had interviews with President Dester and unlike the other interviews I have had, I didn't feel as awesome afterward. And I was thinking about it and I think that it is because the other times, I needed them. And this time I really didn't. I'm doing alright. And that is what he told me, that I am doing a good job and that he's not worried about me at all. Something interesting that he did say, though, was that the people who will be my companions on the mission will widen my perspective to help me to serve others for the rest of my life. That I will gain experiences here on the mission and I will learn from my companions things that I never would have otherwise. So I liked that and it's true -- I have definitely seen different sides of the missionary spectrum. But yeah, it was a pretty uneventful interview. LOL  But I always love seeing President Dester:)

1.  How was church this week?  Did you have testimony meeting this week or did you have it before conference?
We had testimony meeting. It was pretty good. It started really late, though, which kind of ticked me off because we had one investigator come for the first time but she brought her 2 year old son who doesn't handle being in new places or sitting still for a long time very well and so they sat there for 20 minutes before the meeting started and it wore out his patience so she had to leave early because he was that was sad. 

2.  How is Jorge doing? And Wendy?  And the other people you are working with?  Is Jorge still planning on being baptized this month?
Jorge is awesome. He finished the Book of Mormon. He told us that after we asked him to stop drinking coffee, he prayed about it and the next morning when he usually drank coffee, he had no desire at all to drink it. So that was awesome!!!! He came to a baptism abajo this week and (it started late which ticked him off) but he enjoyed it. But he came to church on Sunday and said that he can't be baptized because his wife is really Catholic and doesn't want him to... so I cried in church yesterday but we visited him later in the afternoon and we asked if we should still keep the 26th as his date or if he was really serious and he seems pretty set on getting baptized! So I hope so! A recent convert who knew him said that the fact that he is even in church shows his huge commitment to get baptized. Apparently he has changed a ton to even get him to this point, but we obviously didn't know him before. Just shows that the Lord really is preparing people. Wendy.... well, she is going to move again and we don't know where to so we will see if we can even keep visiting her.  :(  We have another investigator named Wendy who is 14 and works for a family in the ward and she will get baptized but probably not while I am here... she wants time so whatevs. And that's about all the solid investigators we's been hard to find new people and no one seems to be progressing but whatever -- the work moves on. 

3.  What miracles and/or tender mercies have you seen this week? Answers to your prayers?
WELL, I have a really good one for this week but don't freak out... so usually on Saturdays we meet with this one family but we scheduled another appointment on Saturday at the same hour so we couldn't visit this family. So we are sitting in this lesson which is at someone's pulperia or home store and so we had to sit outside. So we are trying to teach the Book of Mormon and 3 gunshots went off and that's not uncommon... there are fireworks and gunshots all the time here especially this week since its Semana Santa. And then all of the sudden the husband gets a call and says something really fast and bolts out. We asked the wife what happened because we though he said something about la luz and she said, "Well no, a man who my husband worked with named Lucho just got murdered. Did you hear those gunshots? Yeah, they killed him."  And she says this way too casually...and then we look up on the mountain like a block away and a ton of people are running to go see this dead man. And a guy from our cita (appointment) walks over there and comes back 5 minutes later and said, "Yeah, he's dead. I saw him."  And we are freaking out! So we closed the lesson and left. And then in Honduras when stuff like that happens people go and look or they just stand in the street and try and listen for the gossip, lol, and there are no police lines or anything. So the whole street was full of people just watching. Turns out that he got shot like 3 houses down from where we normally had our cita on Saturday.... and it would have been at that time.... so it was a huge tender mercy that even though we were still only a block away and were close, we weren't right next door. So yeah.... that was interesting. But we are okay and it's apparently the first murder that they have had in years and he was a really bad guy who was dealing something.  I don't know....but yeah, it was pretty legit! 

 Also when we came back from Copan last week we did have a little more time to write but no time to clean or to do laundry.  Well, as soon as I sent my email that said i was getting off the computer, the lights went out! So it was nice that i got to finish my emails and that we could use that time to wash our clothes. lol

4.  How was your English class this week?
It was good. We had more people this week but it was a little less organized because we wrote our notes on the board in a bad order...but it was still fine. People say that they really like our classes. And Bayron has asked us to come visit him during the week to practice English so we get to do that, too, but just for this week and next week because after that he is leaving. 

5.  How has someone else blessed your life this week?
I am not a touchy feely perseon, but when we were in church I started crying.  Hna V. put her arm around me and rubbed my back a little bit and played with my hair and it made me feel better.

6.  What did you do for P-Day this week?  Did you play soccer again?
Yeah, we were supposed to play frisbee but no, soccer again. But I am starting to enjoy it more. It wasn't as fun as last time when more people from the zone came, LOL, but it was still fun. Then we just hung out and ate lunch and now we are here. 

7. What was the best thing that happened this week?
Jorge came to a baptism and even though it started late he was there! And I got to play the piano for it even if it was really bad! I had to play standing up and there wasn't a music stand part on the keyboard so it was hard to see the music but whatevs. 

8.  How are your investigators going?  Find any new investigators this week?  How about your less active members?
Yeah, not going to lie....this week sucked and was not too great. We had to leave more people.... We didn't really find anyone new because everyone is inside when it's hot and there's literally no one in the street. Not many are progressing. But we do have several who are doing well in their Book of Mormon reading so if they continue to read it it can change their lives and they will come to church eventually, right?

9.  What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week?
I love P-day and any time that I have to be with Hna M. But also we have been teaching English to Bayron or practicing English with him and that's just fun since he's really funny, lol.  But don't worry -- he's totally in love with Hna Miller so no one has to worry (dad).

10.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week?
Meeting with Pres Dester. 

11.  Were you able to teach more lessons this week?  Do any service?  Go out with any members this week?
We taught 42 lessons this week. I played the piano for the baptism and we did leave with a different member. Hno Mario! He is so legit! He was inactive for like 20 years and I have gotten to see the change in him! When I got here he didn't really want anything and we have been reading the Book of Mormon with him and enouraging him and he is back! He comes to church every Sunday now and he is helping us some in the work and it's awesome. But we went out on visits this week with him and Bayron. 

12.  What are you on in your personal study right now, and what stood out to you this week?  
I am still in Deuteronomy...its a summary of the first 4 books! But it did stand out to me that the Israelites wore the same clothes for 40 years!!! WOW I can't complain then about wearing the same clothes for 18 months, haha. But something that I really liked from church this week was that in the church we have two fundamental truths of which we must have a testimony: That Christ is our Savior and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. We have no religion without both of these. I never really thought about that. Without Christ we are nothing and so no one has religion. But without Joseph Smith we are just like any other Christian religion. I just thought that was really interesting, that we really have to have a strong testimony of both of those facts in order to know that this church is true. We don't have one without the other and, yeah, I don't know, it was just something that i realized this week. I also liked Deut. 18:20 because sometimes people ask questions like, what if the prohet leads you astray or how do you know if he's really called of God?  But it says there that if the prophet goes against what God wants him to say, God will kill him... so yeah, I feel pretty good about that. The Lord won't let us be led astray and the prophet won't either, and if by chance he does, God will take him out. 

13.  What have you learned about yourself this week?
My Spanish really has gotten a ton better! I can understand everything that Bayron says now and, I don't know, it really has improved. 

14.  In what area do you think you’ve improved this week?
I spoke with the Hermana Training Leaders so that was awesome and I didn't let my shyness get in my way! 

15.  What was your happiest moment this week?
When Jorge came to the baptism.  :) He almost didn't come but he rearranged his schedule so he could come.  :)

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

17.  What has been the most beautiful thing you’ve seen this week?
I still vote for the mountains. We went up to Santo Eduviges in the morning for like the second time ever because we always go at night and we got to see the city from even higher up and it was really pretty! 

18.  Did anything unusual happen this week?
Nope (except for that murder...)

19.  What did you learn in your district meeting or zone meeting this week?
I really don't remember because we got pulled out to have our interviews with Pres. Dester.  We went to La Entrada which is an hour away to do them. They gave us donuts and an apple and water.  :) That was yummy! And they reviewed our area book and they said that we have the best one. HA!
20.  Have you recovered from your cold yet?  
Mas o menos (mor eor less). I still have a semi stuffy nose, but I don't have to take medicine now and my voice has recovered so I'm fine. But with weird weather changes and stuff EVERYONE has been sick here. Bleh!  But, yeah I'm good.

21.  How did your divisions go with the Hermana Training Leaders this week?
They went suprisingly well. I was with Hna M. She is from Guatemala. She is really fun and really nice. She was impressed with how good my spanish is and how clearly I can explain things.  :) So that made me really happy because I really want to have good Spanish! But it's always good to see how other peopel teach. But I set the goal to speak and to not be intimidated by her because the other times I have been intimidated and I hardly spoke, but I SPOKE! So I was so proud of myself! And I started our lessons and so I was really proud of myself for that. But I realized that I like divisions because they are different.  I like doing different things! 

Oh, one thing that I learned this week, too, is the importance of members fellowshipping new converts! A lot of converts here only converted to the gospel for the missionaries and then after that the members didn't fellowship them so when the missionaries left, the recent converts became inactives. As members we HAVE to do our part to visit and befriend the menos activos (less actives) and the recent converts. It's just hard to see people leave the church because they feel like nobody cared. Find out who the menos activos and recent converts are and visit them. Bake them bread.  Do  something to show them that we care about them.

Oh, so something about our mission if anyone is thinking that I should be training soon... .well, there is a limit of hermanas for the mission and we are at that limit so we can only get as many hermanas coming in as are going out. The problem is is that since they split the mission we don't have many older hermanas. So like all the hermanas came in with Hna Pickett and the group after and then my group and after me it has been one, two and one again and this change no hermanas are going home.... so no hermanas will be coming in unless a new nurse comes in to be trained. So I will not be training any time soon.... at least for another two changes when some hermanas go home and new ones come in. Which means I will continue to be comp menor (junior companion) until we get more hermanas... and, not that I am power hungry, but anyone who knows me knows that I kind of like to be in charge of things.... so yeah. Just to let you know so you don't all assume that I will train or anything. I will stay the same and such is the problem of our mission right now. 

My pics for this week. we had two days where we really just neeed to eat one is our pancake and mashed potato dinner and the other is me eating pancakes with peanut butter and cake batter on top...don't judge -- LOL -- it was just one of those days. There are 2 with Hna M (Hermana Training Leader)....and some of Hna McC (other Hermana Training Leader).
Hope you all enjoy your Easter!

Hermana Gisseman

With Hna M, hermana training leader
Pancakes and mashed potatoes for dinner.  It was that kind of day.
Pancakes with peanut butter and cake batter
This is cathedral here.  It's a big tourist spot.