Hey hey a todo!
Gosh, I'm just so excited to write you right now. Today just feels like a lovely day and I just want to laugh. It's pouring rain outside and I love it. Okay, anyway... we had a great week.
Wednesday was divisions which were awesome. We loaded the buses early in the morning and I went to the Guatamala Central mission. I was paired up in a trio with another hermana in the MTC and Hna. Buterbaugh who has been out for about 8 months. We walked out of the chapel and down the street and got on a bus to her area. Hna. Romero and I sat together and Hna. Buterbaugh sat next to a lady right in front of us. We watched as she started talking to her, pulled out her planner a few minutes later to write down her contact info and then pulled out a pamphlet for her a few minutes after that. We were so impressed. And that's how it's done... Our first appointment was dropping by the tortilla shack of a couple of investigators to teach them a lesson about obedience. Their place was about 15 sq ft but there was a huge flat stone with a fire underneath to cook the tortillas, a table and things stacked around so it felt even smaller. We squished onto a couple of crates in the corner and Hna. B gave most of the short lesson. I got to bear my testimony about obedience and then customers started coming for tortillas so the ladies got to work. There was a huge ball of dough on the wood table and a cloudy bowl of water next to it. Hna. B jumped up and started helping so we did too! One of the ladies got the right size dough ball and handed it over to one of us and then we tried to follow
her example and pat it into a little round corn tortilla about 6 inches in diameter. Needless to say it was a blast but we weren't very good at it. Sometimes they would just fix them a little and then throw them on the stone to cook but other times, they just put our little dough balls
(trying to be tortillas) back into the big pile of dough on the table. Haha. They were so nice and patient with us.
After that we contacted some people on our way to the next appointment. The appointment was with Carlos (14) who has a baptismal date next month. We watched Finding Faith in Christ with him and then bore our testimonies about the Savior. I love talking about the Savior! I also got to talk to him a little bit and get to know him. I told him I had a brother who was 14 too and then he liked to play the piano and cello and drums. :) Then we headed back to Hna. B's place for lunch and met up with a few other Hermanas. One of them was Aunt Gaye's neice (I can't think of her name at the moment) but she cooked for us and it was fun that we ran into each other. We had to be back to the bus pretty soon after lunch but we stopped to talk to a few more people on the way. I was a bit frustrated because I wish I understood more of what people were saying. Sometimes I get most of it, sometimes just a word here and there. But I know I'm getting better and I just need to be patient. Anyway, divisions were great and although I think the Hermanas we were with were great, it gave me a clearer picture of what I would do differently and how I want my mission to be.
On friday night we had Salon General (meeting with Pres. Christensen) and it was so good. That man is seriously inspired. I always leave the meetings with him feeling uplifted, excited about missionary work, and with a whole lot of things I want to improve on. What a good combination. Friday, the topic revolved around having a vision for your mission and setting goals to achieve that vision. He said a lot of good things about getting out of our comfort zones, entropy and how things will naturally become disordered if we don't visit them often, and how to set effective goals. Basically it inspired me so much. I want to be a much more goal oriented person for the rest of my life. Goals, written down and looked at daily, are SO important for all of us. But first we need to have a vision of who we want to be, what we want to accomplish. I want my mission to be effective, I want to be constantly striving to be more in line with PMG and the missionary handbook, I want to find new and better ways to bring people to Christ. I want to be the kind of companion who lifts by positive example, service and love. I am so grateful to be a missionary because I am learning new ways to grow and improve myself. There is an amazing transformation taking place in me and I already can't imagine my life without this experience. I am being confronted with my faults daily, and although that is tough sometimes, I keep from being discouraged because I know that I've been given this time to really work on the things I lack. Okay, there are a lot of other things I want to tell you so enough of that.
Yesterday we got to go to a youth camp for the church here called Las Colinas. It was a whole day of recreation basically and it was awesome. We were let loose (within the camp) and got to choose whatever we wanted to do. The two hermanas that were here three weeks before us, told us of a great hike so I took off with them and soon some others joined us. The hike was beautiful and turned out to be more of an obstacle course with ropes to swing on and climb, a big rope net, stumps to jump over and all sorts of things. I wish I could send pictures, but you'll just have to wait until I get into the field. After the hike, I played soccer for the rest of the time. We actually played on a big grass field today so it was really fun but tiring. I have gotten so much better at soccer. I play almost everday on the cement basketball sized courts at the CCM. It's actually a standard court here and the balls are smaller and heavier so they stay on the cement pretty well. It's all about foot skills. Anyway, I am getting better and having fun playing with all the Latinos. Both Hna. Kochevar and Hna. Story are soccer players (they are my other North American roommates and I love them) so they play too and we have a blast. Also, my shins are covered in bruises... ouch. I'll send a pic when I can.
Another funny thing. We (my companion, Hna. Kochevar, Hna. Story and I) decided that we eat like pigs here. We just pound our food every meal, I swear. Here in Central America, everyone says "provecho" to tell someone "bon apetite". The ladies who serve us always say it and the Latinos always say it as they walk by. But we've noticed (as we're stuffing our faces) that the Elders say it to us a lot more often, and we kind of look up for two seconds and smile with mouths full... It's kind of like "PRO-VE-CHO Hermanas! Holy cow, slow down chicas" Haha. We just laugh at ourselves and joke about how we're all a little bit gordita after just three weeks of being here.
We were a little bit sad this week because all the Latinos that we've come to know and love left last night. Cute Hna. Flores and her sweet companion Hna. España along with the Elders that we've grown attached to (in a strictly platonic way... :)) are all gone. We had a great time at Las Colinas with them and we all sang God be with you til we meet again together. But we're excited because the 20 of us North Americans that came together three weeks ago are now going to be the only NA's in the MTC! We are getting about 65 Latinos tomorrow. There are so many Latinos that there is no room for the NA's going to central american missions to come right now so they all get to stay in the Provo MTC instead. And we will be a vast minority. It will be so awesome.
Okay, just enough time for an abreviated experience Hna. Fuka and I had teaching at CRE this week. We went to teach the Plan of Salvation (lesson 2) to one of our "investigators", Hna. Vasquez. As we started into the lesson we asked her some good questions about her reading last time and how she was feeling about things. She shared some of the scriptures that she liked and we were able to add our testimonies of the Savior. Then we started teaching about the pre-mortal life and had her read another scripture. After some more questions, she told us that her
grandma had died a few years ago and she still didn't know where her spirit was. Well we skipped over most of our lesson and tried to teach to her needs and as we spoke in our broken Spanish, real tears came to her eyes and she cried as we taught her for the next 15 minutes. After the closing prayer she cried for a probably 30 seconds without saying anything and then told us how important it is to ask those good questions and to teach with that kind of love for our investigators. She bore her testimony of the Plan of Salvation. The spirit was so strong, and it hit me that even though we are practicing here we are still teaching REAL people and we are teaching TRUE principles that touch our hearts and change our lives constantly. There is so much power in the message of the gospel, in the fact that our Loving Father has a plan for our lives and the lives of our family members, in fact the whole human family. It's amazing to me how perfect the gospel is and the incredible power it has to transform. And the biggest transformation is in myself.
Side note to anyone thinking about serving a mission: PLEASE DO IT! It will be the best thing you ever do.
I love being a missionary, it's the best thing in the wold - I'm learning to be a disciple of Christ.
Well, I love you and miss you all. Thank you so much for your emails and letters. It makes such a difference. Hey, I'm curious to know which is faster, regular mail or pouch. So maybe you could conduct an experiment... :) Take care, thank you for everything. The gospel is true. Set some goals and look at them everyday. Much love.