Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 56 -- Hard Work and Rain!


1.  How has this first full week in your area been?  What do you think of your area? 

It's been hard, LOL, I'm not going to lie. We have the lowest stats that I have ever had in my mission... and it's not just me. The other elders, too. So yeah, it's been hard but good because I love my companion and when things fall through we just walk to the next cita and talk so I feel like there is a lot less stress about things falling through. But its very closed here and more of A city than any of my other areas. So it's been really hard to contact people because they are all inside. But we have been exploring areas that are farther away from the centro and it's more like Copan or La Victoria out there so I feel more comfortable there, but we will see. We honestly don't have very many people right now to teach, or that are progressing and the members aren't going out with us... so there's lots of work to be done and lots of menos activos (less active members) to visit.  The area is really pretty but it's hard because no one is in the streets like I'm used to so I have to rethink all of my tactics and how to do things.  The tan lines on my feet have gotten even worse being here in Puerto, hahahahaha, and they are a trophy for me now. I love the tan lines because they show my hard work  The people here are nice but there is no one like Marcia or her family.  Members here feed us every day except Sunday and Monday and they do it for FREE, too, which is a huge blessing!

2.  Did you find any new investigators this week? 

Yeah, we did! We have actually found a few new people. We even taught a Testigo de Jehovah (Jehovah's Witness) this past week which was legit! But yeah, we passed a family and I thought that we should go back and talk to them.  It turns out that the missionaries visited them 2 years ago and they went to church and everything but the missionaries got changed and then they stopped coming... so maybe there is something there.  They are still really new so I don't know what to say about them yet. 

3.  Can you give me the names of the people you're working with so we can pray for them? 

D... she wants to get baptized but she has to get married first and there are some complications with that.  Her son D has a baptism date for the 8th of November but he hasn't been to church for the last two weeks so we will see.

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

We were going to go to the beach as a zone but they didn't end up doing that so we went as the missionaries from our ward. There are 6 of us here in our ward and the beach was really, really dirty. But we played football Americano and frisbee and talked and went to Pizza Hut afterward and now we are writing!  Woohoo!  It was actually really, really fun. The missionaries in this ward are awesome and we all get along really well.  

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

We went to an hermanas house and she was cutting up newspapers and there were Sudoku puzzles! And she gave them to me, lol, and so this week I have been doing them in my free time, haha, and there's another Christmas idea, if you want to send me a Sudoku book. And also that it has been rainy in the mornings but not during the day no so that's been a HUGE blessing because I hate the rain and it makes it even harder to contact people in the street. 

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

Okay, so this week my companion and I didn't feel well...our stomachs hurt a whole lot, probably from something we ate. But there is a thing here called impacho... I don't know what that would be in English but they claim it's your food sticking to your stomach and you have to massage it off and then take laxatives... so having tried everything else we gave into the Honduran ways and an hermana came over to massage our stomachs (or sobar as they say here)... and we took the drink she made us and it sure did clean our systems out!  The other tender mercy is that we didn't have to use the bathroom while we were out in the street. But it actually helped a whole lot and now we feel a lot better, lol.  But she was very sweet and just wanted to help us feel better.

7.  How have you served someone else this week?  How have you served your companion this week? 

I try to make her bed and do the dishes when there are any, but she's really clean and tidy. We talk a lot, too.

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

Getting to go to the beach and hang out with the missionaries in our ward.  They are just really fun to be with. 

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

We while we were talking to the Testigo de Jehova I told him that I was from Venezuela and he totally believed me, hahaha!  It was super funny but then I cracked and laughed and told him I was from the States. Hna Archila says that I have an accent from Venezuela.  I have no idea if that's true or not, but the guy totally believed me! 

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

We had a zone meeting and my District Leader and the Zone Leaders talked... about unity in companionship, the Book of Mormon and about having honest days (I think that that may be a problem in our mission but I don't know). 

11.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week? 

I think just feeling promptings to talk with certain people that we passed by this week and when we followed those promptings every one of them lead to a return appointment which was really cool for me to see that there are people here... But maybe we are just here to plant the seeds but you never know!  It was really neat for both of us. 

12.  What did you learn from your personal study this week? 

This week was rough for personal studies because I was so nervous about what we woul do for companion study and so it took some of my personal time out and it was cooler in the house and so I was really sleepy (haha) so I don't have any spiritual highlights and I also had to prepare my talk which took up another personal study. 

13.  How has the weather been this week? 

It rains a lot here but thankfully it's during the night. So sometimes during the day it can be really really hot because it's so humid but we get a good breeze from the coast so it's nice after like 4 pm-ish. But it's going to get more and more rainy which really scares me because I hate the rain. 

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


15.  What was the best thing and the worst thing you ate this week? 

I did actually try new things this week! I ate montucas which are like sweet tamales with meat inside. They taste kind of like sweet corn or sweet potatoes. There's a picture of them this week. We ate fish soup at a member's house and I did not like it... there's just something about whole fish in my soup... I also ate helote which is a grilled corn on the cob and they put salt, butter and lime juice on it... it wasn't terrible. 

16.  What was the most beautiful thing you saw this week? 

The beach! And pretty sunsets this week that reminded me of home.

17.  What have you heard from President Dester lately? 

He always writes us a weekly email and this week it was on obedience... I think that as a mission we aren't very obedient which is really sad. But usually he sends uplifting stuff to help motivate us.  

18.  Tell me about the other missionaries in your district.

Elder J is the District leaderL and he's really great. He is about to finish... he goes home in January. He used to be a totally different person and he completely changed his life around which is just cool. He's from El Salvador. 
Elder M speaks English but is from the Dominican Republic. He's really tall for a Latin. He's a newbie...well, he has like 4 months. 
Elder H is in training still and barely speaks Spanish. He's from Utah and he speaks to me a lot in English. He's having some struggles.  I know what that's like.
Elder O is from Guatemala and he works really, really hard
There are 2 other hermanas but I don't really know them yet. THese four elders are the ones in our ward that we did P-day activities with today. 

19.  You said you wanted to make good things happen there -- what's your plan to do that? 

I have no idea... I was going to just contact the crap out of this place but that plan is kind of shot down... there are lots of unexplored areas though, because previous hermanas didn't explore the outer areas that aren't the centro because some hermanas like the city but I really don't like it -- I prefer the outer areas! So we have been heading out to the outer areas to contact and I would like to get to know it more out there to see if there are peopel who will receive us. 

20.  How was church yesterday?  Was it nice to be in an air conditioned building again? 

YES!  But it gets really cold!  But I was able to straighten my hair for church and I haven't done that in a LOOOONG time, lol. Actually, I had to give a talk! It was awful...actually, it wasn't but I don't like giving talks. I spoke on the obra misional...big suprise.  I talked about how it is really just working with people that we love and helping them to get to the celestial kingdom with us. It isn't about baptisms, really it's about their salvation. I figure that that is what I have learned in the mission so I should share that with them but I don't know how it really went over. I kind of recylced parts of it from other talks I have given and I have found that I talk A LOT so writing talks for me now is not that hard!

21.  Daddy mentioned that your area has the "banana port" for Honduras.  I didn't realize bananas were a big export crop that right? 

There are a ton of bananas all over Honduras but i dont really know if here is the banana port... 

22.  Is it still really rainy?   Is it still hot?  What kind of weather do you think you'll have in your area over the winter? 

Yeah, I think that it is going to be just rain and more rain like Santa Rosa but without the cold. But aopparently it floods here, too, so I really hope the umbrella gets here soon or I will just have to buy a new one here for the meantime.

I got letters this from Grace Clark, Jan Speroni, and Mom and a story from Nicholas, I think.  Thank you everyone for writing to me!

You could also send me a nail polish to strengthen my nails if you want so they stay nice, and also dried ravioli for Christmas if you really wanted to. Yes, I can get bug spray through the ruta but apparently we're going to have to start paying for it.

We can do a 5K together when I get home.  But I'm really, really, really out of shape!

Love you! 

Hermana Gisseman

Some of the food I ate this week

The tamales

The beach

With the other missionaries in our ward

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 55 -- Changes -- A New Area and a Hard Goodbye

1.  So the big question of the day is, of course, did you get transferred and, if so, where are you now???  Who is your companion?  What is your area like?  How was the transfer meeting? 

I did get transferred! I am in Centro 3 in Puerto Cortes!!!!  I know my zone leaders and a few hermanas from other parts of the mission.  I am in an area that is mas o menos (more or less) close to Omoa, the beach we went to. It's the closest area to that beach anyway, but my area has beach in it! We walked by it twice this week and it is sooo pretty. It is more city-ish than the other areas I have been in. The houses are way nice and people actually have cars which is weird. It's harder to contact people because they are all in their houses... so that's been difficult for me. I am now senior companion.  And my comp is Hna A (who is the hija of Hna V, one of my former companions) so she went to Santa Rosa when I left. She's really sweet and she's pretty much just like me but from Guatemala. She is 24, a perfectionist, and a little shy. So pretty much we are the same person. We have been getting along really, really well which makes me so happy. And she says that she is learning new things from me all the time which  makes me feel good, like I really am a good missionary. She has been in this area for one change already.  But now I feel sooooo old in the mission,. Like the tables have turned now and I just feel like I have so much time in the mission and that I have hardly any time left. The transfer meeting was good. President Dester even told us that it is okay to be baggy (homesick) sometimes, lol, which was funny, but that we should still work. The area here makes me a little nervous, though, because when they opened it up for hermanas 4 changes ago the hermanas only worked with menos activos (less active members). And last change they changed that and divided the area so that the hermanas had an area and had investigators... but they continued to mostlly visit the menos activos so we hardly have investigators and the ones that we do have are not towards baptism so that really scares me.... there's a lot of work to be done. And I feel like all of my areas have been like that... hardly any investigators so I guess that's the challenge that I have, lol.  I have learned a lot about what I do and don't like and I feel like I can relate to exactly what my companions feel as junior companios, so I think that helps a lot because a lot of my other companions only knew what it was to be comp mayor since they became trainers like immediately.  So I'm excited.  I just hope that I can do a good job.

2.  Did you get the painting you commissioned from Andrea?  What is it a painting of? 

I haven't gotten it yet. She is going to finish it this change and send it to me in the ruta. 

3.  How was church yesterday?  Were any of your investigators there? 

It was good. The church has air conditioning!!!! This is the first chapel I have been in that has air conditioning in the sacrament hall! I'm so dang excited! There were about 125 people there. We had 2 investigators but this area doesnt have very many. 

4.  Who are your investigators?  How are they doing?  What specifically could we pray for for them ? 

Well, I don't really know them yet but one is named D. and really she is ready to be baptized... but she has  to get could pray that they could get married so they can get baptized!!! The rest of them I really don't know yet. 

5.  Do you feel like the missionaries there, including you, have more success with investigators/non-members or with less actives?  Do you feel like you have a preference for working with one group over the other (non-members/investigators vs. less actives)? 

Personally, I think that I have a knack for working with menos activos... after the work that I did in Santa Rosa and la Victoria... I never have had a ton of investigators at one time or seen lots of baptisms but I have seen lots more progress with my menos activos... so I think that maybe that's just what the Lord wants me to do or to learn...I don't really know. And this area has a ton of menos activos, too.... but other missionaries have a lot more success with investigators. So it depends on the missionaries, the area and the people really. But for me, I feel like I have had more success with menos activos.  I just found out that Mario, a less active member I worked with in a previous area, went to the temple to take out his endowments and is now a ward missionary and is working really hard with the missionaries!  That makes me sooooo happy!  And another less active family I worked with is coming back to church, too.  :-)

6.  What did you do for P-Day?   

Today we went to the Castillo again. It felt weird becasue I am in the same zone as Campana where I was born (my first area) (even though we were part of Zona Choloma at the time and now it's divided into Zona Puerto Cortes and Choloma) but we went to the castillo and ate at the same resaurant that I ate at a year ago, lol. We are writing in the same internet that I was in a year ago, lol.  It's just all kind of funny. We went to the castle and took some pics at the beach and ate fish! Woot! And now we are writing.  :)

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

My bags didn't break this change! I was really worried that my one suitcase would break again... but it survived! Oh, so the water is here is on all the time which I also haven't experienced in a reallym really long time. But the water was out for two days and we had an empty no water to flush the toilet, to wash dishes, to shower. But tender mercy! It was raining when we woke up so we could stick a bucket outside and catch rain water to shower.... don't judge!  I prefer showering with rainwater to walking around all sweaty, lol, but I never thought in my life that I would be that happy to see rain. 

8.  How is your tooth feeling? 

Fine. It hasnt bothered me anymore.

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

One of the other elders helped me with my suitcase. We had to carry our bags up a bridge and a good 10 minutes down the highway to get to our house, haha, so luckily another elder herlped with my bags.  Marcia's family threw a going away party for me and we ate cake and hung out. We took pictures and they all wrote in my baggy (a book that we have that other missionaries and people write in when we leave an area) and gave me cards. Loami crocheted me a hat, too, and it's pretty cute.  I gave Joana my Minne Mouse.  I just love that family so much and I'm so sad. I hope that one day I can come back just to visit them. 

10.  How have you blessed someone else’s life this week? 

I don't really know.... I'm new here so I don't know anyone or anything... 

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

Changes! But it was soooo sad. I cried. I didn't want to. But Juana started crying and Marcia too and I just couldn't do it and I cried with them and I didn't want to leave. 

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

I don't know that either. It was kind of a sad week. But the good thing is that Hna A is really cute and funny so we just talk all day and it's fun. Well, we teach lessons too, lol, but its a lot of walking in between. 

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

Well, we said our goodbyes... I had to give my testimony and they all asked that Hna Neibaur and I sing... so we did and it was terrible and we were singing the wrong words!

14.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week? 

I don't really know if it's an experience but now that I'm comp mayor (senior companion) I feel the difference. Like maybe that's dumb and prideful, but I don't know...I just feel it. I felt more motivation to do contacts and things like that and just more certain about making decisions even though it really doesn't matter who is comp mayor and who is menor (junior) but coming here I was really nervous that I wouldn't be able to do anything because I don't know the area and I've never been comp mayor and...I don't know...but I just felt like the Lord has been helping me to be better and to try harder and to figure out the things that I'm supposed to do now. 

15.  What did you learn from your personal study this week? 

This week I have had a cold so my personal study has been more of a fight to stay awake.. but Hna A has good insights to the New Testament so I have been learning from her. 

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


17.  What was the best thing and the worst thing you ate this week? 

I ate squid just now... it's not that it was's just that the texture is weird. But someone gave it to me to try from their soup... bleh. But I also ate fried fish just now and it was really, really good. 

18.  What was the most beautiful thing you saw this week? 


19.  Did you feel the earthquake that happened in El Salvador last week?  It was pretty big -- 7.4 on the Richter scale! 

I didn't feel it, but the people in Copan did! And apparently it ruined part of the highway so people couldn't travel out there for a few days... for changes the hermanas from Copan couldn't get there in time. But I'm not really close to El Salvador right now so I didn't feel it.

20.  What have you learned from the Honduran people? 

They are so willing to share. They have like nothing! Most of them live from paycheck to paycheck... maybe day to day, but they are so willing to share what they have -- food, soda, whatever. They just love to give. And I'm super stingy so I feel like I have really learned a lot from them. And they all pertty much have faith in God which is more that can be said for us in the States. Most people are super religious here (even if they aren't part of our church and don't want to listen to us). God is a really big part of their lives and they aren't afraid to show that. 

21.  What have you learned from your mission so far? 

That things arent perfect and that plans don't go the way you plan but that is okay! You just have to learn to go with the flow and let go. I noticed that a little bit with Hna A. She reminds me of who I was 6 months ago. She was getting irritated that the elders were late and things like that and I was just chilling, enjoying talking to the elders that were there because it's just a fact -- people are late. But with citas (appointments) falling through and things like that, I feel like I am much more laid back now and that the details don't really matter so much. You just have to let some things go. But I do feel like I am getting to know my Savior better and I am definitely learning more about the gospel. No matter where we are there is always more to learn.

I hope that I can make good things happen here.  I hope that you all have a good week! 

Hermana Gisseman

With my district before transfers

With my zone before transfers

Andrea's baby boy

With Josselyn

A card from Marcia and her family

With Joana

My new companion

Sometimes the water isn't clean....

Our kitchen

My new area

My new district

Today's lunch