Monday, July 28, 2014

Week 43 - Clay in the Potter's Hands


So we did have changes. I am still in the area, Victoria. Hna U is a Sister Training Leader now. My new companion is Hna Neibaur! I will admit that I was really sad when I found out that I wouldn't be training and that I still wouldn't be moving up to senior companion, but I am sooo happy! I love my companion. She is from Idaho. She is 22 and has 14 months in the mission. We get along sooo well and I just love her. I feel like she is the kind of friend in a companion that I really haven't had yet. We cook together and sing together and it's just so fun. And we can just talk and it's so nice. We work really well together and I don't feel the bar of junior companion and senior companion with her. I feel like we really are equal! I love it!  (But I forgot to take a picture with her so I will do that next week)

Other changes to the mission... we have 2 more Assistants to the President who are just going to go on divisions all the time which is intereting because almost our whole mission is young so they don't want to lose the experience. Elder P (one of my District Leaders from a previous area) is a new Assistant to the President.

That's so cool that the elder in your ward is from San Pedro Sula! Be good to him and definitely have him make baleadas, lol. 

It's so cool that the missionaries are teaching Diana! And I love that you are being her friend and helping her. Honestly that is the best thing that you can do, Mom. Every investigator needs to have a friend in the church and people who will be there for them, because missionaries come and go, but the members (generally) stay. So keep answering her questions and have lessons in our house and just be her friend! I can't believe she lent you those pearls!!!! You have to take a pic before you give them back! 

I think that Daddy should work at the temple! It would be a great opportunity for him and it would give him something to do during the summer!!! 

We made the pinata from scratch. That's how they do here. 

1.  What did you do for P-Day today?  Does the Wendy's there have the same menu that they have in the US?
We played capture the flag for real and slaughterball again. And then we went to Pizza Hut! So it was a nice little change to mix things up. Yeah, essentially the restaurant menus are the same. 

2.  How was church yesterday?  Did you have any investigators there?
Church was really good! We had 4 investigators at church which is the goal that we have in the mission, at least 4. Iris came to church with her son and they both want to get baptized, but on the 9th so they can see a baptism this Saturday. And Johana and her less active mom, Alda, both came to church! They didn't stay the whole time but both the fact that they came at all was HUGE! And a man that we found and invited to church in the street this week came! It was way cool. We were looking for someone else and he started talking to us and ended up sharing his life story and that he really needed God in his life right now! And he actually came to church with his kids and we have a cita (appointment) with him this week and he seems really genuine. But that was the most investigators I have seen in the church that were mine in Victoria!!!!! 

3.  How are Iris, Nakima, and Israel doing?
Iris is donig great! Shes so sweet and I feel like I have gotten to see her change from a grumpy, very closed off woman to a really nice and friendly and happy one. She even waits for us when we have citas (appointments) and she's just great. She is going to be baptized on the 9th and this week we are going to take them to a baptism in the Lopez (another area) to see a baptism. Israel... yeah, I don't know.... he's interesting. He knows it's true and doesn't want to act... so we are going to keep passing by every now and then but he has to make his own decision. Namika seems like she has no interest in getting baptized and it's hard to find her in her house actually so we will see what happens.... 

4.  How are Hna Marcia and her family doing?  
They are doing well. The daughter, Joselin, opened up a little bit to us. She's waiting for her passport stuff to get worked out so she can leave on her mission to Mexico. But I think that we are going to start cooking with Marcia and showing her how to make things like fruit pizza and cookies, lol. I think that I am going to gain weight this change.... 

5.  Who was the little girl with you in the pictures from last week?  She is adorable!  What were the pictures of you going through a barbed wire fence???  The art piece -- did you do that?  It's lovely!  What is the little pink bead bracelet you're wearing?
The little girl is Johana (Andrea's daughter) and she lives below us and she is so dang cute! There is a barbed wire fence and we cross through there all the time so just for funzies we took pictures with it. The art piece was done by Andrea. She gave it to me.  :) (I figured out how to change the keyboard to English so now I can do faces!!! ) and Johana made me the little bracelet. 

6.  What miracles and tender mercies have you seen this week?  Answers to your prayers?  
Really, having my new companion. I just love her and I have always prayed for a companion who would be like my best friend and I feel like I have that now. And I think we are going to get along really really well! 

7.  How has someone else blessed your life this week?  How have you blessed someone else's life this week?  
Well, I realized that it was a HUGE blessing that I left El Dorado... there have been 3 missionaries from there (including one sister who went there when we had transfers and lived in the same house we lived in!!!!) who got Dengue Fever!!!!  So it really has been a blessing that I got taken out and maybe that's why, so I wouldn't get dengue. I don't know how I have blessed someone else's life this week... I try to serve when I can but I don't know. 

8.  What was the best thing that happened this week?
Changes meeting and getting to see President Dester. Oh, and we were able to find a ton of new people this week. Well, not a ton, but we talked with a ton of people this week and it was great because we REALLY need to find new people. So it was really great! 

9.  How is it going, teaching English to Hna Ugarte? Does she seem to be catching on quickly?
Yeah, mas o menos (more or less)... she is getting better at speaking but it's a little harder for her to understand the rules. It's really inteeresting to notice the different levels of education.... there is a huge difference between the level of education that we receive and what is available here. But she's with another gringa so I think that she will learn more and more. 

10.  What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week?  
Well, guess who is my new lider de distrito (District Leader).... ELDER SCOTT! Yup, he's following me, lol, so that was pretty funny. We are in the same district and we share the same area in La Victoria and we are in the same ward and everything, Oh, Elder Scott! haha. 

11.  What did you do for your district meeting and zone meeting this week?
We didn't really do much. We had a testimony meeting and those who leave share their testimonies but we pretty much just laughed through that because this zone is just hilarious, lol. But it was really fun. 

12.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week?
I think coming to realize that it really doesn't matter if I'm senior companion or junior companion. I already know that I can do everything and really we are all equal in this work. I think that I have been way to prideful, lol, but yeah... 

13.  What did you learn from your personal study this week?  Did you finish Isaiah?  
I finally finished Isaiah. I wrote down that I really liked Isaiah 64:8 ("But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we all are the work of thy hand."). I think because really we are being shaped everyday by our Heavenly Father and he is polishing us and finishing us to become the masterpiece that He knows we can become. I feel like the mission is a microcosm (I think that is the word) for life and I feel like slowly but surely I am being shaped into who I need to become or what I can become. 

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

15.  What has been the most beautiful thing you've seen this week?
A family invited us over for dinner and we got to serve our own plates!!!!! Here the people always put the food on the plate and serve you, but for the first time I got to serve myself and it was so great!!!!! That sounds like something small but it was such a blessing, haha.

16.  Did anything unusual or strange happen this week?
Not really, besides Elder Scott following me again! 

17.  What are you looking forward to this week?  
Just working really, really hard with Han Neibaur. We are going to make bread this afternoon with a member who is really sweet. And I think we are going to experiment more with food... last night we made pancakes out of baleada mix and they weren't half bad, haha. I took a picture of them. 

18.  I listened to a radio program on leadership over the weekend that really impressed me, and it made me think of you and the various types and styles of leadership that you've been exposed to over the course of your mission so far.  What have you learned about leadership from your experience -- what are the qualities you think are important in a good leader?  What leadership qualities do you feel you already have, and which ones do you want to develop?
A good leader needs to be aware of the needs of those who he is over. You really can't help someone unless you know them. 

19.  What did Pres Dester have to say this week?
He talked about faith and how we really need to invite with faith, that we need to work with faith. He mentioned many examples of the people in the scriptures who exercised faith and saw miracles and I think that as missionaries we don't rely on the Lord enough. Really this is HIS work and not ours so we should trust that He will help us. 

20.  What do you do to relax?
I color, or sing and now I talk to Hna Neibaur! 

And I got packages from the Wions and Grandma and Papa for my birthday! Thank you! 

Thank you for everything! I love you! 

Hermana Gisseman

Our District

At zone meeting
With Hna Marcia and her family
With Elders Lane and Guerrero, goofing off
We visited a family that found some ruins and artifacts...
At Pizza Hut
Pancakes made from baleada mix

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 42 -- My Lines Aren't Straight, but It's OK

Hola! It has been so dang hot this week! I think that it went up like 10 degrees or something, lol, but I broke down and took out my umbrella to use as shade like the people do here, lol, but I felt like a tesitigo so I put it away after like 3 minutes but it has been so hot... we saw a sign today that said 30 which is like 86 fahrenheit but it feels so much hotter!!!!! 


1.  What did you do for P-Day today?
This morning we went to the bank to pay the light bill... my comp is out of money and so I am paying for everything -- water, light and whatnot.... It's a good thing that I am stingy! Then we went to the stake center to play games like normal... we played slaughterball again, a little bit of basketball and we attempted to play Capture the Flag but it went down hill and so, yeah... then we ended playing.  And we went toWendy's and now we are here! And there weren't any repercussions from the broken door at the stake center. at least that we know o,f because they still let us into the building to play and everything but now they won't let us turn on the air conditioning because it costs too much.  Be grateful for air conditioning!

2.  How was church yesterday?  Did you have any investigators there?  Did Iris come to church?  How about Nakima?  How is Israel?  What about the "crazy lady" from last week?
Church was pretty good. Iris came to church! She is so going to get baptized! She is very shy, though, so I don't know exactly when she will get baptized but she looks so much happier now and her family is supporting her since her brother and his family are members now. That was it.... I was supposed to give the lesson yesterday but I got out of it, heehee. We had a meeting with our lider misional (ward mission leader) and, yeah...we haven't had contact with him really this whole change and we have met with him once.... so we met together yesterday and he proceeded to machete all of us and tell us what we aren't doing right and what we need to do and it sucked....  

3.  How are Hna Marcia and her family doing?  
They are doing alright. It was Steven's birthday this week and we got invited to the party so we helped cook and make the piñata-a minion from Despicable Me. And we got to hit it a few times, too!

4.  When are the next transfers? Do you think you or your companion will be transferred?
I think that my companion will have changes but we will see.... we find out tonight. I could live stay with her.  She's so sweet and a really good worker and now that we have addressed the fact that we need to share time in the lessons we have had REALLY good lessons and have found some great people. But I feel like it's time for her. Two new hermanas are coming so maybe I will train... I doubt it, though. 

5.  What kinds of places do you go contacting, or do you just go house to house?
In the street. We aren't allowed to go contacting like knocking on doors, or at least that's what I have been taught... so we contact people outside their houses or in the street. 

6.  What miracles and tender mercies have you seen this week?  Answers to your prayers?  
There area always little things like someone gives us food or juice when it's blistering hot or when we find someone super pilas! Or when the lights go out sometimes and we can go to bed a little early, lol. 

7.  How has someone else blessed your life this week?  How have you blessed someone else's life this week?
We did A LOT of service this week for the familia Castro (Andrea who lives below us and her mom). We washed clothes, cleaned the house, helped cook, helped make a traditional cape, headdress, apron and other little things for a competition for Dia Del Indio (the Day of the Indian or something like that). But it has been fun.. .except for the fact that we have NO water right now... and we have been without for 4 days now... yay.... Hna Juana the mom yelled at me because she yells at everyone and because it's part of the culture and I didn't understand and it made me cry a little bit... but whatever. We had Family Home Evening with them, too, and it was so good! One of the daughters gave the lesson about prayer and everyone shared their experiences and it was really beautiful. 

8.  What was the best thing that happened this week?
That we got to do a lot of service.

9.  How is it going, teaching English to Hna Ugarte?
It's going pretty well. This week we were a little tired so it's hard to study when you're tired so those days were a little rough, lol, but she is learning. 

10.  What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week?
Well, we were in a lesson with a preacher and he told us that he knew that Mormons didn't drink coffee and then proceeded to bring us coffee... and so we just looked at each other and then looked at him and looked at each other again and there was an awkward uncomfortable silence, hahaha, and after the lesson we just laughed and laughed. And we started making up different lyrics to the hymns to apply to missionary life like Dios Da Valor (God Speed the Right).... El Sol Da Calor. (note from Alyssa's Mom -- I have no idea what that translates to!) Things like that and it was really funny. 

11.  What did you do for your district meeting and zone meeting this week?
Wel, President Dester sent out a machete letter last week... like SUPER machete! And we reread the letter as a district this week and got more machetied... BUT I decided to raise my hand and share! WHAT! I never share! But it was something from one of the pages President Dester gave me. It was from a book by Michael Wilcox and in one of the sections he told a story. He was preparing a lesson for Sunday and he was marking in his scriptures, underlining and writing in the margin. He didn't really notice, but his 5 year old son came up next to him with his Book of Mormon. When he had finished he looked over at what his son had been doing. He had been copying every detail of the page. He had underlined all the same scriptures and marked them with the same colors. He was amazed that his son had matched his markings so closely. Then he noticed that his son started to cry and he said, My lines arent straight like yours, Daddy. He went on to say that our lines aren't straight. but that Heavenly Father really doesn't sit there focused on the fact that they aren't straight, because He knows that we will get them right in time. So I shared that with them... And I really like it. 

12.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week?
I think our district meeting... I think that we all left feeling like we really could be better. 

13.  What did you learn from your personal study this week?  How is your reading of Isaiah coming along?  
I am almost done with Isaiah! FINALLY ! Only like 5 more pages or something like that.... but I finished the Liahona for this month so now my study will be a liitle better, I think. But I was comparing this week King Mosiah with George Washington... and how Mosiah told the people that they should have a king and how he freed them and didn't treat the people like slaves or anything but out of the love that he had for them, just pure love, he gave them the system of judges and I was thinking about how George Washington must have cared about the people and the country to have given up the presidency and the power and how he set a good example for our generations of politicians.  

14.  Do you know that I love you SO much and I miss you?  
15.  What has been the most beautiful thing you've seen this week?
The lights went out this week and while my companion was washing clothes I just laid down on an extra matress we have outside on the balcony and watched the sky and everything was dark and there were some clouds and it was really pretty and peaceful. 

16.  Did anything unusual or strange happen this week?
I ate cow udder.  I only ate two bites so let's not get too excited... the flavor isn't bad but the texture is terrible... it was like eating rubber.... ew!

17.  What are you looking forward to this week?
We probably have changes this week. Im not saying that I want to get rid of my companion! Shes sooooo great! But I always love any opportunity to see and listen to President Dester. But in fact my companion said this week that she has been able to be more obedient with me than with any other of her companions! That made me feel really good... . 

18.  What have you learned about yourself recently?
I was reading the talk again, "Becoming Perfect in Christ," and there was a part that said a missionary who wants to be perfect now may become anxious or discouraged when leaderships positions don't happen fast enough... I was thinking that that has been me and then I thought about what President Dester said to me in our first interview, that I would learn things in this mission that I wouldn't be able to learn anywhere else... and I think that this is one of them because maybe in another mission I would already be a trainer or a companion mayor (senior companion)...I don't know...but here I have the opportunity to better myself in this aspect and be more humble and overcome a little this deep rooted perfectionism. 

19.  What can we do to better support you as a missionary?

20.  What did President Dester have to say this week?
He talked about the importance of study and how really we need to be more strict in obeying the miossionary schedule and in having our studies. 

I hit 300 days in the mission this week!!! I can't believe how fast the time is going....I only have six changes left...that's so crazy.  I am finishing my 7th and I only have 6 left!  That seems so short to me!  I feel like time goes way too fast.  We are almost done with July!  Aaaaaaaaaack!
My companion never gets any mail from home or e-mails so if anyone wants to write to her, feel free!  (Note from Alyssa's Mom -- if you're interested in writing to Hna Ugarte, just contact me and I'll give you her email address, or you can send cards/letters to her at the same address on this blog, just addressed to her instead f Alyssa.)
Here is a quote from my friend Daniel's mission president:  "In this life, if we do not learn to work, there will be no place for us in the eternities, for even the devil works."
Well, I hope you all have a good week. And enjoy your air conditioners. 

Hermana Gisseman

Still an artist!

Our beautiful girl!

Making a pinata for Steven's birthday

The costumes we helped make

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 41 -- A Baptism, Slaughterball, and a Haircut


1.  What did you do for P-Day today? 

Today we were going to play Capture the Flag in districts but not everybody came so I ended up teaching them how to play slaughterball... what we always played after mutual. And it was so dang fun!  Then we went to Wendy's to eat! And now we are here! 

2.  How are Hna Marcia and her family?  What kinds of food does she cook for you? 

She usually cooks some kind of meat, pork, chicken (but all chicken here is still on the bone which is so much work to eat!) or beef and rice, beans and tortillas. Sometimes she does spaghetti or like a fried rice or something.

3.  Did you hear that Germany beat Argentina and won the World Cup? 

Yeah, haha. We had to stay indoors from 1 to 5 pm for the final! But everyone here wanted Alemania (Germany) to win (haha) and we wanted Brazil to lose so most people here are pretty content, lol. 

4.  How was church yesterday?  Did you have any investigators there?  

Iris came to church  with her brother and his family! She seems to have real interest and still has the baptism date for the 2nd of August so we will see what happens... And another investigator, Nakima, came.  Three days ago we went to a cita and while we were waiting for her to come out I saw a lady sitting outside in the same living complex and I said that we should go talk to her. So we go over there and she starts talking to us and tells us her whole life story and how sad her life is and how she has no money for food and her sister is sick and she has to move the next day, she asked us if the church could help her and we talked about Christ and how He can help us in our trials. So Sunday rolls around and halfway through the meeting she came in... and I went to greet her and she starts talking about how the church needs to help her. And we were like...well, let's talk about this after Sunday School and then after Relief Society and at the end of everything she asked me again if the church was going to help her.  She said, "Well, never mind... I will just come back next Sunday". So that was interesting... but I guess she's   coming back next Sunday. 

5.  Did Karla get baptized?  How is Israel doing?  How is Iris doing -- did she come to church again? 

Karla did get baptized and it was very sweet. We decorated a cake for her (well, I did) and it was pretty cute but I forgot to take a picture of it. Her whole family was there to support her and it was nice. I got to play the piano for it, too. Israel knows the church is true but doesn't  want to act on that knowledge still... and he didn't come to church.  :-( 

6.  Are you working with any new investigators or less actives? 

Both. Mostly we are working with investigators... Not really new ones but we are looking for them. 

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

One morning I was so very tired and I slept through my alarm....I was so VERY, VERY tired. My companion woke me up and let me sleep a little so I woke up at 7 am.  I promise I was not planching (being lazy)!  But it was seriously a blessing to catch up on a little bit of sleep because I was so cranky. That extra 30 minutes did wonders for me.

8.  How has someone else blessed your life this week?  How have YOU blessed someone else's life this week? 

I let Andrea (the sister of Hna Marcia who lives below us) cut my hair! She also dyed my companion's hair twice... She cut it and I was really sad at first because she cut layers in it and they are really short (almost like side bangs) in the front, but then I let it dry by itself one day and it dries really really well and looks good so I am happy and it turned out to be a blessing because my hair really needed a cut. Hna Marcia and her family are just so good to us. This week we did some service. Hna Juana (Marcia and Andrea's mom) made pan de coco (chocolate bread?) and she's too old to mix or knead the bread because everything is done by hand here... no Kitchen Aids! And she's too old to do it alone now so we went and did some physical labor and kneaded the dough for her and then we got to eat some!!!! Hna Marcia made bread twice this week too so I got to eat lots of rolls.  We also did some service for a family this week and refolded and organized their clothes and then they gave us pancakes! I think that maybe it was just an excuse to give us pancakes, haha. 

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

Karla's baptism!  It was really sweet and they already have plans to go to the temple in July of 2015 to get sealed! I love that she sees her baptism just as a step and that there really is more and she sees this as a true comitment and not just something to do.  (And getting to eat bread was good, too!)  Hna V sent me a really sweet e-mail this week and aid that I changed her life and that she learned a ton from me, and I really don't know how.  I didn't do anything but it's nice to know that she feels that way and that she enjoyed our time together, too!  I think that she will be one of my favorite companions because we worked so dang hard together!  And Jorge got the priesthood yesterday!

10.  What have you been grateful for this week? 

The language studies that we have. Hna U really wants to learn English so we have been using the book that the church gave to the Latinos to learn English and I have been teaching her! It's been really really fun actually and I think that it helps us grow as a companionship and I feel like she's learning so at least I'm helping someone.

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

We did get to watch the video we made and it was pretty dang funny... but I don't have a copy. 

12.  What did you do for your district meeting and zone meeting this week? 

We had a zone meeting this week and it was really really good. We talked about how we really need to be inviting more people to get baptized because that's why we are here and nobody can get baptized unless we invite them first. And then we held a council. So we sat in a circle and talked about the things we can improve, what we lack right now. They showed us the standards for our zone and the dats (numbers?) from months ago and where we are at now... the mission really has fallen in its dats, especially in baptisms. But I loved that the Zone Leaders shared with us a real view of what's going on and what we can do and that we all shared together. It reminded me of a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants that talks about the saints counseling together.  We all left really feeling the spirit and the importance of our calling here. 

13.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week? .

The zone meeting, I think. 

14.  What did you learn from your personal study this week?  Where are you at in the Old Testament?  What else are you studying right now?   

I am still in Isaiah! But it's getting better because in the last few chapters he has talked about Christ and it makes a little bit more sense... I am in Mosiah in the Book of Mormon and in the Doctrine and Covenants I'm around Section 50 in Spanish... slowly but surely. I have too many projects that I want to finish and so I need to finish some of the ones that I am working on so that I can work on other ones!  

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


16.  What has been the most beautiful thing you've seen this week? 

My new sheets on my bed!! You don't know how happy that made me! 

17.   Did anything unusual or strange happen this week? 

Not really.

18.  What are you looking forward to this week? 

Israel invinted us and Hna Marcia to have dinner on Friday. His aunt or something owns a little restaurant and so we will go eat there this week.  We have a Family Home Evening tonight with Andrea and I just love her! She speaks some English and she's just real.  I'm just looking forward to work in general! 

19.  What do you love most about the Honduran people? 

I love how they share everything that they have without expecting anything in return. And they are very open and aren't shy or embarassed aout anything. Well, sometimes it bugs me, but from a missionary standpoint we can ask pretty much whatever and they are very open and honest with us. 

20.  What do you love most about being a missionary? 

I love that I get a little taste of what the Savior's life was like. I get to help people come unto Him and be baptized and I get to teach like He did. And I even get to taste a little of the ridicule that He faced from others. I think it was Elder Holland who said that the mission is as close as we will get to live real life, His life. 

21.  What do you love most about Honduras? 

I love that it's hot and that it's a completely different world. I love the little things now even though they drive me crazy like the pilas, like dirt roads and no AC. i love tortillas and eating with my hands and jsut getting to live a different kind of life here! 

I got 3 packages this week. Two from mom and one of them was my birthday package and one from Grandma and Papa! THANK YOU!!!!!  And I got a birthday package from Melissa and Bryan, too.  Thank you!

My camera is fine now.  The bishop is a tech guy and he fixed it.  It had a few viruses on it but it works fine now.  I bought a new skirt today for 29 lempira, which is a little more than a dollar.  It's black with horizontal stripes.  I think someone had a maxi skirt and they just shortened it, but whatevs.  It rained a lot here yesterday...the street was flooded.  It's not fun when the dirt roads flood.

I hope everyone is doing well! I love you all!

Hna Gisseman

Gotta love my tan lines...

Celebrating my hump day on July of the elders helped with my cake....

Yeah, I'm still goofy....

My happy nine months cake...they are so sweet to me!

The obligatory hump day picture...

Showing some love for Clemson....

Sculpted fireworks for 4th of July

With Hna U and Hna Pons.  Hna Pons made mangu for us.  It's like mashed potatoes but made with green plantains.

My haircut

New sheets and mail!!

Creative decorating....improvising a curtain.

Karla and her family at her baptism.

Views of our area...