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!

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