Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 26...Machetied.

Feliz Cumpleaños to Mom and Dad and Nicholas! 

I really cant believe that I will hit 6 months on Wednesday... the time really has gone so dang fast! 

This week was just kind of weird and really hard but we made it through and hopefully this week will be better. We pretty much got machetied (I don't know if that's a word but like the verb of machete) a bunch which kind of made me feel like crap. Everyone wants a baptism. The new Zone Leader cracked the whip about working with members even though we are really trying to do that... so our Zone Leader gave us a huge lecture (it was really good, don't get me wrong) about how we are going to change things in Copan by working with members.... yeah, well, we try to do that and it's stinkin' hard! Then we got a provisional but hopefully permanent lider misional (district mission leader) and he cracked the whip on us, too, about how we need to ask for references and how we should be having activities. We are going to start teaching an English class on Wednesday nights so we will see how that goes.... Our schedule was just weird this week because our district leader had to go to San Pedro. So we had the meeting on Thursday instead of Tuesday and it was just weird. We had way too many days where we literally walked around for hours trying to find people to teach or something and couldn't find anything so that was sad, but at the end of the week we still ended up with 41 lessons taught this week which really isn't too bad at all. It was just a very weird week. 

And I have decided to try to explain the layout of Santa Rosa so you guys can know the geography mas o menos (more or less).... Okay, Santa Rosa is kind of like a baseball field. Home plate is Hermana Veronica's house. First base is the house we used to live in. Second base is where we live now. Our area is the outfield! Left field is Diaz Valenzuela. Center field is the Loma Linda and Right field is the Cuchilla and if there were stadium seats behind right field that would be Santo Eduviges. I hope that makes some sense, lol.... The infield would be the centro or the area of the other hermanas where all the stores and stuff are. We get the mountains. 

1. How was church attendance yesterday?  Did you have some investigators and less active members there?  What were the talks about?  Do you usually go to Gospel Doctrine or Gospel Principles?  How was Relief Society? 

Church attendance was good this week, 106! And J came to church and another investigator, W, who is 14 and the friend of a family in the ward. Both of them are planning on getting baptized on the 26th of Abril! So hopefully I will get to see at least one baptism before I leave Santa Rosa! We did have lots of menos activos (less actives) there. Before church we walked up the mountain to the highest part of our area to get an investigator to come with us and we had even called the night before and we get there and she's like, no, I really don't want to go today. AAAAH! Then we went to get a menos activo, W, the super nice one from last week who we found on the side of the road, and she was almost ready to go! but it was 8:50 and we had to be at church for J because he doesn't like it when we aren't there with him so we told her to meet us at the church... well, she never came and we still don't know why.  All of church was about family history. I guess they redid the whole Family Search stuff and are really pushing for people to do their family history so all of the talks were on that and Sunday School and for the third hour we were all together and they passed out materials to help people.  I don't know if you guys already got all that in English, probably, but I don't know. We usually attend the Gospel Principles class with the investigators if we have any or to support the other hermanas because they always have them. 

2.  How is J doing? 

J is great. He wants to be baptized and we shared the baptismal interveiw questions with him already because he really wants to prepare. After church on Sunday we watched the new Restauración (Restoration) video with him and he brought 3 little kids....turns out one of them was his. We thought we asked if he had a spouse and he said no...but now we are second guessing ourselves and the law of chastity could potentially be a problem. We just thought that all the little kids were his grandchildren.... But he has the desire to be baptized and that is the most important thing. 

3.  What miracles and/or tender mercies have you seen this week?

We got to watch the Restauracion video and I could understand it all!  WHAT?!  It's like I speak Spanish or something!  LOL

4.  What answers to your prayers have you seen/experienced this week? 

I just really felt like, well darn, I could have and should have been doing more here in Copan after our machetes from this week and I just wanted to know that God is pleased with my efforts. I know that I am working hard and doing what I can but then other people talk and it makes me feel like there's so much more I should be doing. And then we don't have baptisms and we don't really have expereiences like i hear from other missionaries where their investigators pray or read and just know that the church is true and is that a fault on our part?  I don't know. But during the women's conference something that stood out to me was that (I don't know who even said it) we can know that Heavenly Father is pleased with us. Every time that we even try to do the right thing He is pleased. So I just thought that was an answer for me. I try to do the best I can and I try to be the kind of missionary that He wants me to be. Does than mean I will be perfect? HECK NO! But as long as I am trying, the Lord is pleased. So I liked that a lot. But that conference made me a little baggy (homesick) because I really missed you, Mom. But I figured that you were watching it, too, so that made it a little better. It was funny though because the elders came and watched it with us because apparently they were supposed to have an investigator there but she didn't show up but during the video part with the acts of service and stuff with the hands theme, when the couple got married the elders shouted BAGGY! at all of us sisters because all the sister missionaries talk about how they are going to get married when they get home....umm not mem but thanks...LOL...I'm going to need some time, lol, but it was funny 

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

There is this man in the mercado (store) and everytime we walk through there (which is like everyday) he has alwasys shouted Doctrina y convenios (Doctrine and Covenants), perla de gran precio (Pearl of Great Price), mormonas (Mormons) and we just thought he was some weirdo making fun of us. But the other day we stopped to talk to him to ask him how he knew so much about the church. He said he had a friend in the church in San Salvador and learned a lot from him. But then he went on for like 15 minutes about how much he really respects us and how much he admires our work. Then he bought us arroz con leche. Then he had bananas for us the next day when we passed by and yesterday he gave us bread. He is just so sweet and he went from being someone super weird who really annoyed us to someone really amazing who appreciates what we do even if he isn't willing to come to church right now. He has a ton of knowledge in his mind and not in his heart about the church but I really feel like one day, when the circumstances are right, he will join the church. But, I don't know, it was just a blessing to see that there are lots of people who appreciate our work and then that he gave us food just makes me so happy because I love food! 

6.  What did you do for P-Day this week?  Did you play soccer again?  The missionaries here only are able to do P-Day stuff between 10 am and 6 pm.  Is it like that for you guys, too? 

Yup...and I really wish it was longer.... but we actually leave in the morning because we usually have an activity at 9 so we clean and do all of that before 9 so really from when we wake up to 6 pm. But we played soccer again and it was SO FUN! Our zone leaders came and 4 other missionaries from Entrada which is an hour away. and it was so dang fun! Like the funnest time I have had playing soccer yet! Our new Zone Leader, Elder Shuga, who cracked the whip on us, is super funny and pretty awesome. But it got everybody playing and I even hit the ball with my head and went after the ball so that's improvement. Then we all went out to eat again and then we went home and took a rest...since I don't sleep, lol. I bought some black and white leggings:) and now we are here! 

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

Okay, well the women's conference. BUT I want to tell a story! We were in la Cuchilla walking home one night this week at like 7 45 and we stopped to contact this lady and a drunk man came up and was like what are you doing with these girls! And then the power went out and we were on top`of this mountian and it was pitch black. There was no moon, no light, no NOTHING! It was so scary so we bolted.  We started running away from this drunk man!  And then Hna V whipped out her flashlight which usually is super bright and it was so dark that it was not really that bright. So we walked super fast back to the house but this guy started like howling, and laughing and cackling and it was sthe scariest thing I have ever heard. And we were walking with this light and it was like we were in some scary movie where people just pop out of nowhere because it was so dark we couldn't see very far and without the light we couldn't see anything AT ALL, like not even my own hand! We linked arms, too, and it was so dang scary. Legit, the scariest experience of my life. But then like 5 minutes later the lights came back on and we were fine but it was so funny afterwards. But I am getting better at handling situations like that. Hahaha

8.  What are you most looking forward to at General Conference this weekend?  Will you be able to watch all four sessions this weekend?  Do you go to the church to watch them? 

We will go to the chapel. So it's like our district conference before. We will get to go to all of the sessions. 

9.  How are your investigators going?  Find any new investigators this week?  How about your less active members? 

Yeah, not so well. We have been teaching a good handful of people now for about a month or so and they still aren't coming to church and that's a problem so we have had to drop some of them which is always sad. They just aren't progressing and not keeping their compromisos (promises). So yeah... and we didn't really find all that many new ones either. We looked and looked but we haven't had that much success this week. And our less active members.... well they continue to be less active despite our efforts, althogh one family all 5 of them were at church this Sunday which made me really happy. 

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

Okay, I have a good one this week. So we were walking up in Santo Eduviges, in parte alto.  So the part that is really high, the highest part of our area that we actually go to. So they are putting in another water line up there so that people can have water...right now nobody has running water there which sucks. Anyway, it was dark and we were walking down the hill and all the dirt is really loose because they just dug it up. Out of nowhere these 4 kids came up to us and started talking to me in "English" Hello, how are you. They were asking me what their names were in English and they they were telling me that I was going to fall. "No hombre, no voy a caerme," (No man, I will not fall) I told them. Then like 2 seconds later I slipped like a classic fall, feet in the air and everything. So I fall in the dirt and the little kids immediately take my arms and "help" me up. Then they take it upon themselves to begin to wipe all the dust and dirt off of I had 8 little hands all over my butt dusting off the dirt.  Hahaha It was super funny. 

11.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week? 

I really loved the women's conference. It was awesome that it was the first one with everyone! We got to watch it in English which I loved!!!! I liked that they had the song "I am a Child of God" in all the different languages. We even sang in Spanish when they had us all sing:) I like that song better in Spanish. Which reminds me, it was really weird to sing in English! I like singing hymns better in Spanish, I think. But I really saw the emphasis that they put on our covenants. We have made promises that we need to keep! 

12.  Were you able to teach more lessons this week?  Do any service?  Go out with any members this week?

We didn't teach as many total lessons, 41. BUT we did have more lessons with members and that's better than having more lessons in general. So that was alright. And we did help Hermana W, the menos active who we found last week, move. Thankfully she moved to a house that is still in our area so we can keep visiting her! But it was so sad because really all she had fit into a pick up truck. All we did was move the bags out of her old one roomed apartment. now she has a house that's still really sad, but it's better than what she had which is good. We go out with the same members all the time which is sad and we feel really bad because we always ask them, but they are the only ones who will actually go out with us. 

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

I am reading in Leviticus.... I think I got out of all the chapters about the tabernacle and sacrifices... those were quite exciting... But I really liked how the punishment for breaking the Sabbath Day was death! The Sabbath really should be kept sacred. It's important. But so many people today don't honor that commandment which is really sad. Especially when way back then the punishment was so severe. It just shows that the world really has fallen so much. I encourage everyone to look at how they treat the Sabbath day and the kinds of things that they do on the Lord's day. But yeah, I guess out of all the tabernacle chapters I realized that, just like how Nephi built the boat acording to the Lord's way, the tabernacle, too, was built in the Lord's way. I liked that connection and just the fact that everything we do in our lives should be done in the Lord's way and not in the ways of men. But there was so much specific detail in how the tabernacle would be built, how the sacrifices would be done and I like that God really is a God of order in all things. I have also been rereading conference talks and reading out of Preach My Gospel and I just love the conference talks. 

14.  How has your testimony changed/grown in the last couple of months? 

I guess more than anything I have really seen how everything makes so much sense! I love to analyze things and I like things to fit together and just be logical.  And the gospel just makes sense. Everything just makes so much sense. In my mind there is no way that this gospel can't be true. It just is. And I think that I see that I can have questions and that's okay and I can find answers and they all just seem to fit into the gospel. And I have seen that really we don't have to be perfect, we just have to try. It doesn't matter if I'm not as whatever as somebody else because I'm just me and I'm not supposed to be like somebody else, I'm just supposed to try to be like Christ. And as long as I am trying to do that then that's good enough. I just always think too much about how I have to do more, that I have to be perfect, and that's not it. We just have to be beter than what we were before and keep trying. When we stop trying is when we aren't really living the gospel anymore. And I can see how the gospel and the scriptures have blessed my life. I love that my knowledge of the scriptures has grown so that I can recognize scripture verses and that I can make connections between the Bible and the Book of Mormon that just continue to show me that it's all true!!!  There's no way that it isn't. I don't know if that makes sense or if that's the kind of answer that you wanted, but this whole experience has just helped me really cement that knowledge. 

15.  What have you learned about yourself this week? 

I still don't like it when people call me out on things. I am still really stubborn and can still hold a grudge. But then we went to church and I repented of those things that I did wrong in that vein this week and everything is fine again. I feel like some people here don't understand how impatient I really am. During my life I have always done things at my pace and at my level.  I am trying to be patient and it's really hard for me sometimes. But yeahm I still don't handle peopple calling me out on things very well and I should change that..... 

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

Not freaking out so much and just trying to have fun! I did have a lot more fun this week! 

17.  What was your happiest moment this week? 

Suprisingly enough, it was when we played soccer today! And the women's conference and our district meeting because we all got to be together, lol. 

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


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

I love the view from the parte alto de Santo eduviges, although it's certainly a climb! It was so pretty to see the view in the morning since we usually only see it at night! 

20.  What did you learn in your district meeting or zone meeting this week? 

That we need to work with the members better. The trend in Copan is that there are a few really pilas (awesome) members and they always go out on visits with the missinoaries and the rest of the members don't.... so we need to try to change that and work with more members and just be patient. Things won't happen overnight, but they will happen eventually! 

Oh and I saw a fight this week... it was legit. And really scary at the same time. 

We had a lesson by candle light because one family couldn't pay their light bill. 

Someone told me I've gotten fat but whatevs because the food is good!  We had a lesson and a bunch of chickens just walked in while we were singing and i just busted out laughing and we couldn't finish the hymn, lol.... 

We have a ton to do but we will just keep working... 

Love you all! 
que le vaya bien!

Hermana Gisseman

My hair is getting long again!

With our district today

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 25 -- Tender Mercies and Service

This week was día del padre here! So Happy Father's Day! 

There were transfers last week and now Elder Scott (from my CCM district) is in my district!  I love that I already know him and we can talk since we have common ground and most of our district is gringos!!!!! We only have 2 Latinos out of 8 people. Well, one of the gringos is actually from New Zealand but close enough -- he speaks English. But one of the Latinos understands English really well and can speak it so, yeah...we peobably spoke way too much English when we were together today. But it's just fun to feel like I know and am friends with the people in my district. Hna V and I didn't have changes so we are still here.  It's a little weird not to have been at changes because it was my first one that I didn't  go to... and this is my first companion to last for two changes.... 

I am so excited for Paula and Robert! I pray for everyday! They are so great, and Paula is so sweet!!!! I just love her!:)

1.  How was church attendance yesterday?  Did you have some investigators and less active members there?

We had one investigator at church! J (the old man who pretty much found us on the street and who was reading at least up to 2 Nephi 6 last week) --he restarted his reading so he could really study it better--he came to church and talked to us about how he has to get baptized. He always calls us his hermanitas or princesas, lol, and says we are his spiritual guides. He even brought a camera and said he had to take a picture with us before we leave even though we have another 6 weeks here, haha. He is so awesome and definitely one of those people that the Lord has prepared. I am so excited for him!!!!! We did have quite a few menos activos (less active members) in church too which was great! 

2.  Are you going to get to watch General Conference in English or in Spanish? 

We should be able to watch it in English!!!! 

3.  What miracles and/or tender mercies have you seen this week? 

This week was kind of hard. There were several days that all of our appointments fell through and the backups weren't home either and we walked for like 2 hours before finding anything. But at the end of the week when we took out our numbers, we still ended up teaching 45 lessons in total. It just showed me that even if it doesn't feel like we are teaching many lessons day by day, it all adds up and we are working so hard! So it was just really nice to see that even though it was hard to get lessons this week, in the end the Lord helped us out. 

4.  What answers to your prayers have you seen/experienced this week? 

We had lunch with Hna Vero this Saturday and the power went out in the morning for like 2 hours. So we got to her house in time and she was like, Oh, I'm so sorry but we are going to have lunch late because the power went out. This day we had a ton of citas (appointments)! We had already moved our language study time to the morning so we could get in all of our appointments in the afternoon. So then lunch went longer than the allotted hour we had and we were a good 40 minutes from our area. So when we left Hna Vero's house, usually it takes about 5 minutes of walking just to get to a place to find a taxi, so I said a little prayer that we would walk out and a taxi would be there. We walked outside and a taxi was practically waiting for us right in front of the door so we didn't lose any time! It was great!!!! And just shows that the Lord cares and listens to even the littlest of things and that He wants to help us in anyway He can to acomplish this great work.

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

We played soccer as a district. It was actually more fun. Every week it gets a little more bearable even if I don't play that much. But I did make several goals. I don't know if they count, though, because I practically stood in the goal, haha. But whatevs. Then we went to lunch together and then we went to the grocery store. We were both SUPER tired so Hna V tok a nap and I laid in my bed but I can't take naps so I didn't sleep. I finished the rug that I started forever ago and it's pretty tiny, lol. But that's okay. Now we are here. 

6.  The sister who makes your lunch – how often is that, and what kinds of foods does she fix for you? 

She makes food on Wednesday and Friday. She cooks whatever we ask her to but usually with a Honduran spin. She made lasagna, pizza, sometimes chicken and rice. It's just nice to not have to cook for ourselves all the time since we don't have the time or the kitchen to do so. 

7.  You haven’t mentioned the RS President lately – Hna Vero?  Do you still go over to her house regularly?  How is she doing? 

We visit her every Saturday for lunch. Sometimes she isn't there but her housekeeper cooks for us so we still have lunch. She is doing well though. 

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

J came to church!!!!! He had to rearrange his travel plans and everything to come, but he came!!! 

9.  How are your investigators doing?  How about that old man who read up to 2 Nephi 6 as of last week? 

He (J) is great! I talked about him in question number 1. We really don't have very many that are progressing right now. And we had to give one away to the elders because she moved which was sad. We have 3 couples right now and they live together (not all three living together!) and aren't married and in each couple, one of them is still married to someone else... we have talked with the couples and they are going to pray and talk together about getting divorced from their other spouses and then getting married.... so we will see how that goes. 

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

We were walking down the sidewalk and this taxi started driving next to us really slow and the taxista stuck his head out to stare at us and I was kind of glaring at him and then I tripped... and not just a little trip, like I almost fell on my face so he stops the taxi and makes sure that we are okay before driving off but it was just really funny. There are so many creepers here. Also a drunk guy followed us up a really huge hill and was kind of staggering his way up trying to speak English to us so that was funny. 

11.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week? 

We were walking one day and we just happened to walk by this woman sitting on the side of the road and we just started talking to her. Turns out she is a member! She has been inactive for a while. She just started unloading everything on us about her life and how she feels like she really needs God in her life right now and she wants to change and start coming back to church because only in the church can we find happiness. She lives in a very humble one room apartment but she invited us over for lunch which was rice and tortillas, which was all she had! It was so humbling. And then she saw that we had mosquito bites so she took out her rubbing alchohol or something like that and rubbed it on our bug bites. I just started thinking about the Savior and how He washed His disciples' feet.  It was just very humbling and I could see that we really were led to her. We never would have found her apartment had she not been outside! And we feel like she truly is ready to come back to church. 

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

We taught the same number of lessons, 45. But it was a little disappointing because we don't have nearly enough lessons with members and this week we actually made a really big effort to leave with members and 3 nights when we had members scheduled to come with us, the members forgot and weren't home. So that was frustrating.... so yeah. But we still had lots of lessons. 

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

I am reading the Old Testament... I just got into Exodus. I love the story of Joseph and how he never doubted the Lord. He was put in terrible conditions and in my mind had every right to be angry with his brothers and other people for his circumstances, but he was so humble! He just did the best he could wherever he was and due to his diligence and honesty people respected him and put him into positions of authority. It's just a really good example of trusting that all things will really be for our benefit and not getting angry with God because of things that happen, and also of integrity. Joseph never compromised his standards and he just kept living how he should have and with time he was blessed for it. 

15.  Did you see anything interesting this week? 

Nope... everything is still pretty normal.

16. What have you learned about yourself this week? 

I really am not patient when people don't get things. I need to do better at that... Not everyone learns or picks up on things as fast as I do and pretty much for most of my life and my classes in school I have been with other smart people so it's been hard for me to be more patient when people just don't learn as fast as I do. 

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

I don't know...I remembered to pray more before my meals...I always forget.  LOL

18.  Have you found it easier to enjoy yourself and be happy this week? What was your happiest moment this week? 

I just love getting to spend time with the district and Hna M. I just love being with everyone and having a good time! I even had a good time playing soccer. 

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


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

S (she is a member who has been going through a hard time--her husband left her and took all of their stuff with him and she doesn't have a job to support herself) -- she bought us woven bracelets so we would always remember her even when we left. I just love her and I know it was a true sacrifice to buy us even something as tiny as a woven bracelet. 

21.  How has the weather been this week? 

It’s been HOT! But it's dry heat so I don't actually sweat that much. I am working on my tan though, lol. 

22.  What ways have you found to serve your companion and others this week? 

We still wash dishes. I make her bed sometimes. We helped some people carry their groceries up the hill the other day. I saw lots of ways that others served me this week. Iv (a member and our provisionary mission leader as of yesterday) fixed a leak in our kitchen and brought us watermelon. O (another member) made us dinner and then walked us home because it was dark and bought us cookies so we could have dessert. S always lets us use her bathroom and will give us any food she has in the house. I don't know...just lots of little things that I saw this week.

23.  What did you learn in your district meeting or zone meeting this week? 

We had a zone meeting this week. So everyone that was leaving bore their testimonies and we only had a short district spiritual thought beforehand

24.  Any weird or new foods this week? 
Nope.... I did eat straight coconut and I tried some of the juice... I have tried that before but it's not sweet enough for me. 
25.  Tell me about one of your typical days this week – what did you do? Where did you go?  Who did you talk to?  How much did you walk? 
Well, I wake up at 6:30 and I am SUPER tired. So Hna V and I muster up the energy to get our of our beds.  We have a companionship prayer and then individual prayer and then we exercise. I generally do an ab workout or something that I can do laying on the floor because I am so dang tired. I hardly ever do cardio because I am so tired! But we exercize and then shower. I make breakfast which is usually yogurt with granola or cereal with an apple. Then at 8:00 we have personal study and I read something out of Preach My Gospel or a general conference talk or the Liahona until 8:30 and then I read in the scriptures... right now the Old Testament. Then at 9 we have companionship study. So we read the missionary handbook and then share what we learned and read something or practice something for our day. At 10 we leave and usually go to the colonias (neighborhoods) that are closest. Mornings are the hardest because there is hardly anyone outside and the people take their kids to school so no one is home either and yeah...mornings aren't fun. So we visit menos activos or try to contact. At 12 we come back home. It's only like a 5-10 minute walk. We eat lunch and then at 1 we have language study. I study some grammar for 30 minutes and then read the Book of Mormon in Spanish for 30 minutes. I am in Alma 42!  Then at 2 we leave again for appointments. There is A LOT of walking here and a lot of walking uphill. My area is literally the hilliest in the whole mission. Everywhere we go has hills... so there's a lot of walking and for that I am tired all the time. Then we come back home at 8- 8:30 and plan then we get ready for bed, maybe read a little more, eat a little something and go to bed! How exciting the day of a missionary, lol. We try to talk to everyone that we can who is outside of their house or has their front door open. We try to stay in colonias that are close to each other so we don't have to walk so much so in La Loma Linda and Diaz Valenzeula or en La Cuchilla and Santo Eduviges. But sometimes we have to walk to all of the colonias which kind of sucks but that's okay!
We also have appointments already planned and days already full from last week! Which is so awesome that we already have things ready to go! I have realized that we went through a time of teaching Lesson 1 all the time and now it's Lesson 2 all the time, lol. And a lot of the peopel we visit get visited by Jehovah's Witnesses.... 
If you have time can you email me a picture of me with really long hair to show hna vance? 
Also can you make me a card to leave with people--like people put their names, their church email, home email and facebook name on a picture and give it to people when they leave so i would love it if you made me a cute one and sent it to me so i can save it on my camera and print out copies. Just pick out a picture that you like of me that's cute!  Use a cute picture from my mission, but find a cute one.  Here I don't wear makeup....I only wear foundation and mascara unless it's zone conference or a transfer meeting, and I hardly ever do my hair (I just put it up because it's so hot), so I want a picture that looks nice. It's nice to remember that at some point I was pretty.  Hahahaha.... 
I feel like this email is long! The work here is hard. The people are open to listen but they don't want to do anything about it. The culture is so different.  It's hard to teach the law of chastity to people who don't understand it and appreciate it's importance... We teach and teach and teach and we are just now starting to see a little progress. But such is the life of the missionary. I love being here and the time is going way too fast! I can't believe that I almost have 6 months!!!! It's crazy! Love you all!

Hermana Gisseman
Sorry -- only a few pictures this week.  I'll send more next week.
A Crocs phone cover!!
Cute pottery that I bought
I made a new cover for my agenda

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 24 -- What I've Learned So Far


First off this week was a lot better and thank you for all of your emails of support and encouragement.

1. How was church attendance yesterday? Did you have some investigators and less active members there? Did Gerardo come to church again? What about those two sisters who showed up that you had contacted in the street a few weeks ago?

We actually had district conference so church was different. Instead of being in our chapel, it was in the chapel in the valley which is like 5-10 minutes in taxi and about 20-30 walking. So unfortunately our investigators did not want to pay the money or spend the time to come. We did have one investigator there and she is 12 and the friend of a member and so the member brought her, but at least we had one there! We had a lot of menos activos (less active members) at the meeting which made me really happy. The attendence for the 2 branches was 277 which is fairly good but I don't know how many were from our branch -- the other branch is a lot stronger than ours is. But the conference was really good and President and SIster Dester came! I just love getting to see them! On Saturday he spoke but on Sunday we had a broadcast from Salt Lake and thank goodness there was a room set up so we could watch in English! We did watch Elder Scott in Spanish, though, because he gave his talk in spanish! It was really awesome.

2. What miracles and/or tender mercies have you seen this week?
We were reading Enos (in the Book of Mormon) with a menos activo and we got to the part where the Lord tells Enos that his sins are forgiven him and I just got this overwhelming feeling that everything is OK and that the Lord really is pleased with my work. I'm not perfect. I'm not Hna V. I'm just me and He is happy for that. I don't need to try and be someone that I am not, just a better me. But I just felt like I am doing alright and that the Lord is proud of me for my efforts and for just being here and working. So that was a really great experience after a really hard week.

3. What answers to your prayers have you seen/experienced this week?
We had an investigator at the conference!!! And we have investigators that are progressing... very slowly but they are progressing so hopefully we will be able to see some more progress and fruits of our labor coming up.

4. What did you do for P-Day this week?
Well, we woke up and washed laundry and cleaned. We were supposed to play frisbee and basketball as a district but when we got there and when the elders finally showed up we played a little bit of soccer and I made a pretty legit goal and then we played frisbee. I enjoyed frisbee much more. Then we all went to Pizza Hut. Then we bought groceries, showered, and then we came here to email. I just like getting to hang out with the district. We have some pretty awesome elders who are just funny and really fun to talk to.

5. Last week when I asked you what kinds of groceries you buy for yourself, you said that you don’t really buy anything but applies, cheese, and eggs because you have so much food left still. What is the food left from? Have you felt better this week?
Yeah, I'm fine. You sent me rice and Easy Mac, I have canned chicken from Grandma and I have stuff like oatmeal, cereal, pancake mix, granola, etc, that I haven't finished yet. But don't worry, I am fine.

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

I don't know...probably district conference and getting to see President Dester. He said Hna V and I look good. LOL. And that we probably don't have changes this week. So that means we will be together another 6 weeks.

7. How are your investigators doing? How about that old man who read up to Chapter 11 in the Book of Mormon? And the man who got offended years ago?
The man who got offended years ago we haven't talked to again yet. But supposedly he has 2 wives and is not a nice person.... the old man is in 2 Nephi 6 as of the other day so who knows where he is now! There was a baptism for the other hermanas this week and we invited J (the old man) and he was so excited to come. Then last minute we found out that the baptism wasn't in our we had to call him and tell him it was in the other one and I don't know if there was a miscommunication or what.... but he ended up going to our chapel at 6:00 thinking that someone was going to be there to take him down to the other chapel so we felt really bad about that. But he is going to come to church on Sunday!!!!
We are teaching and teaching and teaching but it just doesn't seem like many people are progressing. People are reading sometimes and maybe they have come to church once but there doesn't seem to be much progress.

Oh, we did talk to one lady this week who came to church but when we went to talk to her later she was really closed off an apparently had gotten anti-Mormon material from her pastor... LAME! So we just asked her to try the Book of Mormon so we will see..... that was really frustrating.
8. What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week?
The lights went out like three times this week. Apparently there is light rationing here during the hot months.... so the lights go out at like 6:30 or something really randomly and don't come back on until who knows when... so that's interesting and we aren't allowed to be out when there's not light because it's obviously dangerous.... so we have to go back home, but then we wash our clothes in the dark (with flashlights). This week we tried to make shadows on the walls, LOL. At first when the lights started going out I freaked out but now it's one of those things that I just think are funny and just part of life in Honduras.

9. What was the spiritual highlight of your week?
I really loved the conference yesterday. Elder Martino from the Seventy spoke about strengthening the home and how it's important for families to have personal and family scripture study and prayer. Bonnie Oscarson, General YW President, spoke about service and having love for those around us and how that is a great way to share the gospel. Richard G Scott gave his talk in Spanish about the atonement and how each of us should strive more to use the atonement in our lives and to feel the strengthining power that comes from it. He talked about the things that Christ must have felt and how He felt great responsibility for each one of our souls. He was literally carrying the key to our eternal salvation. He felt all of our sins and sorrows. And at one point He felt all alone. In order for Him to completely and fully complete the atonement He could not have his Father's help, but how blessed are we to have Their help in every moment. Dallin H Oaks gave an awesome talk!! It was focused to Central America,. but he said one thing that I really liked. "When the Lord asks us something of us, it is because He is warning us." I thought that that was really interesting. We really are in the last days. The Lord is asking us to pick up the slack and to really push ourselves to do more missinoary work! I think that He really is warning us that the last days are here and that the Second coming is not so far away.

10. Were you able to teach more lessons this week? Find any new investigators? Do any service?
YES!!! We taught a total of 45 lessons this week! And that is with all of the lights going out and going home early and with the baptism and taking time out for the conference!!! WHAT?! We are working so hard. :) We didn't do any service though.

11. How is your personal study going? What are you studying, and what stuck out to you this week?
I finished the New Testament this week and I really love James! It just had a ton of good stuff in it! I really like that in James 4:7 it said ¨submit yourselves¨to God's will" or something like that because it went along with what I had been thinking about last week about giving all. I can't read my handwriting about what I wrote down as other things to share from there, but I really really like James. I think in there it talked about how we have to be doers of the word. We have to act. We can't say that we believe in Christ and not act on it. The difference between us as Saints and Satan or evil spirits or whatever is, is that our actions show that we follow Christ. Even the devils in the Bible can regonize Christ, and believe in Him in this sense that He exists, but our responsibility is so much greater. To believe is not just a passive verb in this case, it must be active. We have to be doing something, following the gospel that He taught, living it to be true believers of Christ. I also started the Old Testament this week and it is certainly interesting. I have honestly never read it cover to cover so it's nice to read it for once and see how all of the stories fit together. Sometimes I had felt bad because the Book of Mormon is a big story and the New Testament is very segmented so I thought that it was really different as far as formatting from the Bible, but it really isn't compared to the Old Testament because the Old Testament is a story, too!

12. Did you see anything interesting this week?
The moon casts shadows! I did not know that until all the lights went out and we were on our way home. Don't worry -- usually we take a taxi but this time we were almost home so we just walked. But there was a legit shadow from the moon! Like a shadow even when there was no light!

13. What have you learned about yourself this week?
I love patterns. I have had my notes about patterns in the scriptures and I reviewed them this week and I have a lot! And I love the patterns that I am finding that link the Bible and the Book ofMmormon and I love seeing how really each person has a different voice when they write. I love seeing the patterns in speech in Spanish and the grammar and stuff like that haha. I just love patterns!!

14. In what area do you think you’ve improved this week?
I think that I have been more laid back and less uptight about things that I can't control. Like the fact the the baptism wasn't in our chapel or that the lights kept going out. Things just happen and we have to learn how to deal with them in the moment and move on.

15. Have you found it easier to enjoy yourself and be happy this week? What was your happiest moment this week?
Yeah....more than last week. My happiest moments are when I can just talk in English. Whether that be with the district or when Hna V decides to speak in English. I just love my language.

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 walked down to the valley to go to Pizza Hut today and I got to see the view of the city again and I just love it! It's so pretty here! I did see a commercial for Disney World playing on a tv.... Oh, and the cover of the Liahona magazine this month is the Tegucigalpa temple!!! Si hombre! Speaking of which, you should read the talk from Elder Bednar in the Lliahona for this month.

18. How has the weather been this week?
HOT! It's not unbearable or anything, lol, and I don't even sweat that much, it's just the not having air conditioning part that gets me, lol.

19. What ways have you found to serve your companion and others this week?
I tried to make pancakes for Hna V the other morning, but the pan didn't want to cook pancakes, lol. So they didn't turn out terribly great, but they were edible. And she ran out of food so I cooked us dinner one night and doing dishes as usual.

20. What did you learn in your district meeting or zone meeting this week?
Our meeting was about charity... I found that as I tried to have more charity this week, the harder it was. Charity is so hard.... it really includes every Christ-like attribute and it's just hard. But it's something that we all need to have.

21. Any weird or new foods this week?
What do you think has been the spiritual highlight of your mission so far?
I really don't know. Just being able to see that I have changed at least some. At first, I couldn't wait to just get to P-Day. I couldn't wait to just finish the day and go back in the house. Even last change when we were in the hosue a lot, I felt like my life was in the house. And now it's like everything has changed. I don't count down the days to the next P-Day. I don't find myself looking at my watch all the time wondering when we will get to go home. My life is with the people. It's outside. I enjoy my time at night to rest and study a little more, but my life here is walking through the cobblestone streets and talking to everyone we can find, climbing up the same hills over and over, trying not to cough from the dust in the air when the cars go by. It's outside. It's been interesting to see that when I'm working I really do lose track of what day it is, what month it is. I already almost have 6 months!!! WHAT?! It's crazy. I don't know if that is a spiritual highlight or if it even makes sense at all. LOL
So yeah, this week has been better. I got a letter from Jan Speroni and Grace Clark! Thank you!!!

FELIZ CUMPLEANOS to Oma!!! I hope you had a great day!
Love you all!

que le vaya bien!
Hermana Gisseman

The view of the city
Entertaining ourselves with shadow puppets on the wall during a power outtage
My notes about charity -- the attribute I'm working on this week
Our district at the soccer complex today
On the walk to the soccer complex...I love the view of the city....
We saw this sad residence on our walk to the soccer complex. We should be so grateful for the nice housing that we have in the States!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 23 -- Hard Week


So the trip to Copan Ruinas last P-Day was for the whole zone so Hna P was there, but Hna M and Hna C didn't go. 

I love the Crocs sandals you sent, they just aren't good to climb the mountains here which unfortunately we do more and more.

Our apartment is a lot smaller than our old house, but it meets our needs and is one of the only apartments in the mission with kitchen cabinets!

1.  How was church attendance yesterday?  Did you have some investigators and less active members there?  How is Gladys doing?  Did Gerardo come to church again?
Yeahm church attendance sucked. We only had 77... so that wasn't good.  And none or our normal investigadores (investigators) came which made me sad.  But two sisters showed up who apparently we invited to church like two weeks ago when we were contacting people in the street, so that was a miracle and we are going to start teaching them. It just shows that the Lord works in mysterious ways.

2.  What miracles and/or tender mercies have you seen this week?
We got phone service!!!!!!! OnTuesday the lights in our sector of the city went out. So we had to go home at 6.30 pm.  But both of us were so tired from Copan Ruinas the day before so we got to wash our clothes (with flashlights at the pila, lol) and go to bed early.  But then at 8:30 pm the lights came back and we had phone service!  So that was a huge blessing. Also we were led right by an investigator.  We were on our way to visit her in the house of a member and we left and walked a different way and then all the sudden I just turned. Then a little ways down Hna V heard ¨hermanas¨and we walked right past where she was. So that was cool because the house was another 15 minute walk away. Also we showed up in a lesson with this old man and last time we just shared a scripture with him from the Book of Mormon because he talked so much and we left a copy of the Book of Mormon with him.  We got to our lesson with him and asked if he read the pamphlet we left with him or the Book of Mormon and he goes, actually I have a question about something I read in chapter 11!!!!!  CHAPTER 11!!!  What!  He read all the way up to chapter11 and we hadn't even taught about the BOok of Mormon or Joseph Smith yet! And He said he would like to be a member of the church (in 3 or4 months but still!).

3.  What answers to your prayers have you seen/experienced this week?
I don't know this week. 

4.  What did you do for P-Day this week?
Daddy will be proud.  We played basketball as a district! It was acually really fun even though we didn't play with rules at all and I kind of just suck, lol. But I did make several baskets. Then we ate lunch as a district and did our shopping. Now we are here! 

5.  What kinds of groceries do you buy for yourself?  Do you still have a sister in the ward fix lunch for you occasionally during the week?
Yeah, Hna M cooks twice a week for us. I really don't buy anything but apples, cheese and eggs because I have so much food left still!

6.  What was the best thing that happened this week?
I don't know, but the worst thing was that I got sick... A member made us dinner and it was really good steak, like super good! And I don't know what happened. I felt fine when I went to bed, but after 2 hours I woke up and my stomach just hurt and I felt like I was going to throw up. And I couldn't sleep for an hour so I woke up Hna V and she gave me peppermint oil and I fell asleep for another hour and woke up and threw up...but I felt a ton better. but I still couldn't sleep. SoI literally had 3 hours of sleep. I got up at 6:30 and I felt like I was hit by a truck. Everything hurt and I was hot and tired and didn't have an appetite. So after a shower and attempting to study, i went to bed.I slept for practically the whole day until 4:00. I woke up and drank water but was pretty much in bed all day and I had a fever of 101...but at 5:00 I felt more or less okay and we had an appointment with a member and Hna V wanted to leave so we left....and I was so tired after that and I went to bed at 8:45 pm and apparently I didn't set the alarm and we woke up at 8:00 the next day like plancheras (lazy girls)!!!! But it was ablessing.  And that same member brought over some fruit forme to eat which was really nice. But I feel fine now and don't have a fever or anything, but it kind of sucked.... and I can't even remember the last time I threw up. 

7.  How are your investigators doing?  
Well, they are doing alright.  None of them are progressing fast at all....but w eare learning patience. We did get to talk to the husband of one investigator who didn't want his wife to listen to us.Turns out he is a member of like 15 years, but a member offended him and now he won't let his wife go to church unless the member apologizes so we will see what happens....but yeah, the work is so slow here which frustrates me.  It's the hardest part in the mission. It's the slowest growing and it's still a district!!! The member of the district presidency said that this district is the poorest as far as numbers of missionaries in the field in ALL OF CENTRAL AMERICA! And I can see why... the people here are hard and the members are few. 

8.  What was the funnest/funniest thing that happened this week?
The lights went out several times this week during planning, but we just whipped out our flashlights and put them in our bra straps, lol, and kept planning so that was funny

9.  What was the spiritual highlight of your week?
I dont know. I guess that the investigator read 11 chapters. 

10.  Were you able to teach more lessons this week?  Find any new investigators?  Do any service?, because I was sick we had fewer lessons. :(

11.  How is your personal study going?  What are you studying, and what stuck out to you this week?
I am in Philippians.  I am flying through the New Testament now.  I really liked what Paul says in one of the books, that all the saints were foreordained to receive the gospel. I thought that was cool! But he says a lot that he is bold. So that made me think that I should be more bold. I think I tend to be more quiet than I really should be. I have really been thinking more about what it means to give all to the Lord and it's not just a mission thing, it's a life thing. Our whole lives we will face this. I don't know that I could give up TV... But I can't see President Monson watching X-Men in his living room either...I don't know.  I feel like there should be a balance, but at the same time the Lord requires all so I don't know.  It's just the more I think about it, the more I realize how inadequate I am and how far I still have to go. It's not easy at all to give EVERYTHING to the Lord, our wants, desires, time, thoughts, everything. SoI don't know...something interesting to think about. 

12.  Did you see anything interesting this week?
There was a bunch of lightning in thecoulds this week which was really cool to see. Heat lightning or something like that. 

13. What have you learned about yourself this week?
I still lack alot and have a long way to go.

14.  In what area do you think you’ve improved this week?
I don't know. 

15.  Have you found it easier to enjoy yourself and be happy this week? What was your happiest moment this week?
I dont know. It's really hard for me to enjoy myself right now because Hna V and I are so focused, but it was fun to just wash our clothes in the dark, LOL, and we talked in English! She doesn't talk in English very much because she is trying to use the mission language at all times... but it was nice to have a breakand speak English. 

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?
The lighting clouds

18.  How has the weather been this week?
HOT! Thank goodness!

19.  What ways have you found to serve your companion and others this week?
I try to wash dishes when I can. 

20.  What did you learn in your district meeting or zone meeting this week?
It's really important to teach by the spirit. if we don't have the spirit we are nothing. And we can teach doctrine clearly all day long, but the people who are really converted aren't the ones who know that the church is true logically, it's the people who feel through the spirit that the gospel is true.

21.  Are you and your companion asking for more help from the branch?  What other families in your branch are helpful to the missionaries besides Hna Veronica, Hna Amanda, and familia Miranda?
Yeah, now that we have phones but still it's hard because not a lot of people can help us and just about everyone lives far from our area. 

22.  Any weird or new foods this week?
Nope. I do really like cinnamon tea, though 
Something else funny, we keep seeing gringos and it's really weird because we don't know what to do. Do we say hi or buenas or anything at all?  LOL I don't know, it's super awkward to see other gringos.  Today I was talking with other gringos in the mision about how it's awkward to say hi to other gringos and I was giving an example like ¨buenas, oh hi, um hey...¨ and I did a little American wave and a Latino walked by and thought I was talking to him! And he said hi back to me and it was really funny and embarassing.

Sorry this letter is not very exciting or uplifting. This week has been hard.  I just am not doing enough....I don't know...and it's hard when I am not having fun nd I think I tend to be more sharp with people than I should and, I don't know...I just have been lacking a lot this week and don't really have anything great to share. 
I really am just so down on myself this week and I don't know what to do and I don't know how to change how I feel right now.And I feel like I am the problem because Hna V is a great missionary.
I just want to be a good missionary and I don't talk as much as I should and instead of taking more charge like i did at the beginning, I feel like I am slipping more into my box.  Papa warned me about that like 2 months ago. I just feel like I've failed everyone. I don't know.  It's just been hard this week. 
I got a letter from Jan Speroni. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!
les quiero!

Hermana Gisseman

Goofing off with Hna V

Our district

When the power goes out, you gotta have light.....

My desk area....I love all of the artwork from my cousins!