Monday, August 26, 2013

Count Your Blessings

I feel like all week I have been counting my blessings here, so I thought I would share with you some of the many blessings I have seen in my life this week. I am super happy to be serving the Lord and doing this work. That is a blessing to begin with but there are just so many more.  

It all started on Monday when we didn't have P-Day but we had internet in the Stake Center. On the way back home, I was looking out of the bus window and I started thinking. I looked at the poeple, nature, and everything. It felt so good to know that I was there to help them and I could by giving them the knowledge of the gospel. Guatemala really is a beautiful country and I am so glad to be serving here. Then I also thought about the culture and language that I have come to know and love. It was a rough start being here but I am accustomed to how things are now.

Later in the day, we went and visited with a member in the ward who in the last year has lost two sons and a nephew--two of them passed away just in the last month. It was so amazing though, to see the comfort she has through living the gospel and the knowledge she has that she will see them again. What a blessing.

On Tuesday, we had interviews with President and Sister Stay. Those interviews really help and bring to light what things we can do better. I am blessed to have my Mission President and his wife here. Something that President Stay mentioned is how Latinos hold their heart out in their hands and we guard ours becasue we don't want it to get hurt. Part of the reason I am here is to open mine more. What a blessing to be able to love the people here even more as well as all those I come in contact with. 

That same day as we went out I asked my companion if I could borrow some money and pay it back at the house because I forgot to grab some. She said it was fine. Then we got on the bus and when she went to find her money it wasn't there. We tried to figure out what to do. I had 7 quetzs and the bus was 5. Then a man gave us 10. We were worried how to get back though when the bus attendent told us not to worry about paying.  Now we had money to go home. What a blessing. Even more, the money of my companion was in our house.

Wednesday was the three year mark of my baptism into the Church. I am so blessed to have the knowledge that I do and to share it with others. Really out of all the decisions I have made in my life, this is the best one. I know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ on the earth and I am grateful for the opportunity I had to make covenants with God and for the continual opportunity to progress and learn more in this life.

Thursday was an early morning but we got to go to the Temple. I was so happy to be there and I love the temple so much. While inside I had so much gratitude for all we have in this life and for the opportunity we have to live on the earth. 

Friday, we went with the elders to bless a house and then had a lesson with our investigator. She told us that she wants to move her baptism up to the next week. So many of the people I have taught are truly prepared or golden, especially Carlos. Our investigator who will be baptized this Sunday, mentioned to us that before she met with us she had a problem smoking. However, the very first day she met us she stopped. She didn't even realize it at first but now realizes that it isn't a problem anymore.  If she is tempted, she thinks about Jesus Christ and the temptation goes away. This is not something we taught her.  The Lord truly knows our faults and works personally with each of us to change them into strengths. 

Saturday, I went and visited the investigator I have worked with the longest in this area. He told me that he liked the Church and he thinks it is true. That made me so happy and I had a huge smile on my face for the rest of the day.

Sunday in church, all of my converts and investigators with a baptismal date were there. That doesn't always happen. It made me so happy to see them all there! Also the speaker that day was Hna. Mary. She is a great person and speaker, but when I came to the area, she was very inactive in the church. I realize that I am making a difference here in San Juan in the lives of poeple I visit and teach. It is such an amazing feeling.

The other thing that I am really thankful for is my family and friends. They are all so amazing and have given me so much love, support, and guidance. I am so glad I have the opportunity to know everyone who I do. Heavenly Father truly blesses us so much everyday. All we need to do is look around and see the blessings. In other words, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Siempre Corriendo

Laura our Investigator was Baptized this Week.  Here we are with my companion and President Stay's wife
President and Sister Stay with Laura
Sister Stay with Laura - Our investigator who was Baptized
Family Home Evening with President and Sister Stay and Laura

Well, hello! Yes it is Monday and I am writing even though I said I wouldn't be able to until Thursday. Plans changed, but I still am going to the Temple this week. How exciting right? Last p-day, we met with Carlos and another member. It is good to always have members be part of the lessons because they really help a lot. Carlos was planning his baptism and didn't want to be a burden to others. The member was there to explain how having a new member become baptized isn't a burden but a blessing. Later, Carlos asked him if he would be the one to perform the baptism.

This week, we have been running around like crazy trying to get everything done that we needed to and we still didn't have time to finish everything.  The good thing is that we are working really hard and not just resting in the house as opposed to last week. My companion is still a little sick, but we went out and worked all week. If she couldn't, I called up the members and went out with them. I know that this branch will be a ward by the end of the year. I am so happy to see the progress here. The members are becoming more involved and there are miracles taking place all around us. 

I love meeting with all of our investigators because they always surprise me with all they have done and the desire they have to follow our Savior, Jesus Christ. Fernanda is reading anything she can by the Church and has made a lot of great friends in the Young Women's group. She is basically part of the ward. Last week when she came to chruch she worked really hard to get there. In the morning her mom told her she couldn't go to church until she finished a big list of things. She worked hard and got the money for the bus to go. When we work hard for the right things, we will recieve so many blessings. 

On Wednesday I had divisions with a member in the branch. She is new in the branch but amazing. We went and visited some of her friends who are in the circus that is in town right now. It was a great time and one of the people in the circus was even baptized in the branch over 18 years ago. He wants to come back to church while the circus is here.  I can help them do that. What a blessing!

To end the night, we had an FHE (Family Home Evening) in the Branch President's house with Hna. Laura.  It was about prophets and their importance. I am grateful that we have a prophet to lead and guide us in this day. He really does communicate with our Heavenly Father and knows what things we need to be doing here on earth to prepare and be better. 

Thursday, Carlos had his baptismal interview and during the baptismal service, he told us that he wants to serve a mission. That made me so happy. He is truly converted. 

Friday was a day of service meeting with some old investigators cooking, making tortillas and cleaning. Then I taught some English in the church. I love to serve.

Saturday was the craziest day of all. We kept running to and from the church. Our investigator had an interview with President Stay. It was nice to see him. She was able to get baptized and wanted to that day. We made all the plans. The church was super dirty so we cleaned it all on the inside and out in the front. Finally we had our two baptisms, which were amazing. Carlos' parents were able to come which was a great blessing. I hope that soon we will be able to teach them as well.

On Sunday, both Laura and Carlos were confirmed. It was a great day and I hope to have many more like it. Being a missionary, I am always running.  At night, I am so tired it is hard to stay awake until 10:30 or write in my journal, but I would not want to be anywhere else right now. I love serving and I love seeing people enter into covenants with our Heavely Father. Have a great week everyone! Thank you for your love and support. I will write again next week!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Hola!!!! Monday has come around again, so I am here to write about my week. Last Monday, we came to write email like usual and then had a two hour zone meeting. It was long but good to talk with the elders in our area about how we could work better togetther.  There was not much to do afterwards, so Hna. Duarte and I had a competition in a Mega Paca to find something from BYU that was new. The winner woiuld buy the other person ice cream. To our suprise there was nothing there that day.  When we went back to our area, Hna. Duarte started feeling really poorly so we went to the house so she could rest. 

The next day, we met with our investigator in San Raymundo and her mom. We wanted to get her mom's permission to teach her because it is a lot better to have the support of the parents. The family is really important. In the lesson we talked about what we do and about the church. The only question the mom had was if she could go to our church and activities since she was Catholic. Of course!!! When we committed them to church however, the mom said they couldn`t go because there was no time. Fernanda then spoke up and said she had time and would definately be there. ¡Que Pilas! She is so excited and loves learning. This week she even went to a conference where two members of the seventy came and she loved it. Out of all the people I have taught on my mission so far, she is the one most like me. 

That night we went to teach Laura. She had some more concerns about her baptism and so she told us she wasnt sure if she wanted to be baptized in the next week. We just want her to know that no matter what, we are there to help her. 

On Wednesday, we went to meet with Nestor and he needed to clean the store. I guess they hadn't cleaned in about two years so there was a lot of dust. Then, he read the Book of Mormon with us and said that he would be coming ot church this week. More than anything, I want to get the youth involved with knowing him and being his friend. The members are so important. 

After lunch we met with Carlos who has his baptism this week. He really started opening up to us and bore the testimony that he has. I love it when that happens because testimonies are so strong. He said he will invite his family to his baptism and even though they are Catholic they will come.  I really hope they do.  Later we went to meet with Laura again and helped out by doing some things at her house. 

To end the night we went to the old Branch President's house. On the way up the hill, my companion looked a little red. I asked her if she needed to stop for a bit and she said "yes." She sat down and then all of a sudden, couldn't breath. She didn't have her asthma medicine so I gave her mine but she was still having problems. Everyone in the street was gathered around to see what was going on. A car stopped and took us to a health center. I went to call the elders since I couldn't get ahold of anyone else. We were there until 10:00 p.m., but she wasn't any better. 

The next day, we went to the doctor. He said that she had Broncholosis and something with a microplasma.  It is contageous and since I have asthma as well they checked me out and it turns out I had it as well.  That meant that for three days we had to be in the house. I still worked there and wrote a lot. My companion just slept. I am better now I think but she is not so we will have to do a lot of divisions this week so we can teach all of our investigators. The work is really taking off here. 

Well I need to go but I hope you have a great week. My p-day next week will be on Thursday because we are going to the Temple. Finally!!!!! I love you all. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

6 Months!!!!!

Picture from April - Earlier on my mission

Can you believe that I am one third of the way through my mission?  It is crazy to think about. I am doing great and I am seeing a lot of really wonderful things happening in my area right now.  We do not really have a p-day anymore. Last Monday, we went to write emails, had district meeting, and then we went to our area to teach a lesson.  Our lesson was with a 19 year old boy who came to church on Sunday. He contacted us and we invited him. In the first lesson we planned a baptismal date and he is really excited to learn more and prepare. 

After the lesson with him, we went and taught Nestor. He talked a lot about his aunt Laura and how she really wants to be baptized. He says that he is not ready right now, but is always asking us what if he did. He says he doesn't read either but when we come to teach him he is always reading the Book of Mormon.  He is a pretty funny kid. 

Tuesday, we started the morning off by painting some rocks on a wall for service. It was a lot of work!  While painting, it became very clear to me that I like things to look nice which helps me to focus on doing good work. As I was careful to do a good job, I probably painted 1/4 of the wall while my companion painted the rest.  After the wall was complete, we went to San Raymundo to meet with Julio and some other members there. It was great to see him. He told us that he felt super bad to not be in church the week before but explained that from the time he was born the last Sunday in July is always spent with his family. Of course we understood that.

Wednesday, we met with Laura. She wants to be baptized very soon. I am really happy that she has that desire but it is also important that she understands everything and has a testimony. She also talked about Nestor and how she wants to be baptized with him.  We discussed what he shared with us, that if he gets baptized his family will kick him out of the house. The situation is sad, as he is torn and cannot follow his heart at this time.  We also discussed that if he made the decision to be baptized, it would bless his life so much. At that point his family would see how great the choice is for him and want it as well. The gospel, when lived, can be one of the greatest influences for good in the world. I feel that is one of the needs of Nestor though is to have the confidence to follow his heart.

Thursday, we found another investigator who is 15 and lives in San Raymundo. She wants us to meet with her family and has a baptismal date set.  Somehow we went from basically having nothing here to having three progressing investigators with baptism dates. It is very exciting!!  Not only that, each one has an Amulek (fellowshipper) or a member of the church to help them. It is amazing to see how the Lord does His work!

The next two days we spent in the house. My companion was sick again. I am not sure why, but she is having a difficult time adjusting physically.  While we were home, I deep-cleaned our apartment inside and out. At night, I had some time to lay on the balcony and look at the stars and reflect. I love moments like that. It is amazing to just think about all that is important. 

Sunday Hna. Duarte was sick again but we went to church. I was really bold that day. I am not really sure where it came from but I think all that I said especially to our investigators will help them to progress. One of the strangest things as well is that this week we spent three days in the house but we taught 20 lessons. What a miracle!

  Thank you for your love and support.  I will write again next week.