Monday, August 23, 2010

Letter #49 - August 23, 2010

Dear family and friends,

I’m still here in Ciudad Jardin with Hna. Tunche. Neither of us had changes. So we at least have another six week in this lovely garden city…haha, truly there’s no great garden, but I do love it here. This week’s letter is going to be a little bit short because I spent too much time being charmed by the ultrasounds of my new niece, baby Ada. Wow, what a heart breaker. It makes me ache to be home a little bit but I also can’t imagine my time here being over. There is so much to DO!

We are teaching a new family that I'm really excited about. Their names are Luis and Suyén (sue-jen, with the accent on jen). Yesterday was there second time at church and Luis even came with a white shirt and tie on! Wow, and with their cute kids all gussied up. They are really open and like learning about how they can strengthen their family. Suyén feels like men have all the priviledges in this church and was asking why women can't have the priesthood but we did our best to explain the roles of husbands and wives in the gospel and how we aren't complete without each other, that the church doesn't favor men and teaches about the divinity of women. I hope she can see the beauty of our different but equal roles.

I hope you're still praying for Mijaly and Yolanda. We're fighting for them to be baptized this weekend but Mijaly is disanimated (is that a word in English?). We are going to bring them to the Medina's tonight for a Noche de Hogar and try to help him see what a difference the gospel can make for his young family. Maybe seeing the success of the Medina family and how happy they are will help him see the big picture a little clearer and get him interested in the gospel again.

Paige said that it has been a little rainy there lately. It's still raining here a lot too, and the thunder and lightening storms are gorgeous. A few nights ago as we were leaving the house of Luis and Suyén, a monsoon started. Our house isn't very far away from theirs, but by the time we were unlocking the front gate, we were completely drenched. Not a dry spot on us. Even my hair, which was tied up in a bun was soaked through. Wow, maybe it's time to buy an umbrella? Supposedly October is the hurricane month. I guess we'll see.

I still haven't gotten the package yet, but with a little luck it's still on it's way and nobody snatched it. I've worn holes into the bottom of the new shoes you sent me in April, but they still work just fine. And I still have one pair without holes in the soles, just the side of the leather is ripped. But I will be fine with shoes and clothes until I get home. The rainy season is coming to an end, just two more months, and everything is just fine in the logistics department. The Lord has blessed me with everything I need, and I couln't be happier to have everything that I do.

It is such a blessing to have a solid roof over head, to be eating three meals a day, and to have clothes to put on my body. And what's more, I have the gospel in my life, so even if I didn't have those things, I know I'd make it through and I know what the future holds if we are faithful. Let us all go on in this beautiful and eternal cause. We have so much to give.

Let's not hold back, because we are truly a blessed people beyond measure.

Thanks for all your support and love. I love hearing from you.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - we've got everything to give and nothing to loose.

Love, Hna. Crosland

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Letter #48, August 16, 2010

Dear Fam and Friends,

This week we had two more baptisms. Hna. Coco and Kester both got baptized this Saturday and came to church to be confirmed yesterday. It was a really great baptism service too. We got the word out and planned it out really well before hand with a special musical number (I sang the EFY arrangement of I Know That My Redeemer Lives, but in spanish) and even a little refreshment. It was good to see more of the members there. Coco was pretty nervous before and I was worried she was going to back out, but she went through with it and after said that she had no reason to fear. I don't know if I've written much about Kester. He is the 14 year old son of a recent convert named Isolda and we've been working with him for a long time and trying to get him ready and excited about being baptized. His mom didn't want him to feel like she was pushing him into doing it, and he was pretty wishy-washy for a while, but my favorite moment of the baptism was after they had gotten dressed and he turned around in his chair to look at Hna. Tunche and I, and with a huge grin said, "Gracias!" He really beamed.

We also had a miracle this week. Bernarda was using a borrowed wheelchair (did I already tell you about this?) for her thrombosis and had a lot of pain in her leg, preventing her from walking. But we were supposed to return the wheelchair last monday. Well, since we weren't successful in finding a replacement, we asked to borrow it for a couple days more but when friday arrived, we knew we would just have to take the chair away. We had been praying and praying to find another chair for her and when nothing turned up, we had heavy hearts as we headed out to Bernarda's house to visit her and get the chair.

Well, when arrived, I was surprised to see her sitting in a normal chair. And then, to my utter astonishment, she stood up all by herself and started walking towards us. Now the doctors had told her that she wouldn't be able to walk for at least 6 months, but she walked up to us and gave us a big hug and told us that she hadn't been using the wheelchair since tuesday. WOW! What a miracle. She said she could get around the house just fine and even went to the little store across the street. When we challenged her to get baptized, she told us she wanted to wait 6 months until she was able to walk and wasn't in so much pain, but we promised her that the Lord would bless her if she had the faith to get baptized now and not put it off. Well, we have truly seen those blessings in a very literal sense. She is so much happier and more hopeful and now we're teaching the guy who does handyman projects at her house. What a blessing. The Lord doesn't always answer our prayers in the way we think He will, sometimes he has a better idea. Instead of providing a wheelchair for Bernarda, he decided that healing her leg to the extent that she could start getting around was better. I think so too.

We also had a really positive lesson with Mijaly and Yoli this week. They both have a baptismal date for the 28th. The bad thing is, they didn't come to church yesterday even though we were really annoying and sang hymns outside their bedroom door for about ten minutes. But if we can get them to come this week, they are still on track to be baptized the 28th. We also have the possibility of baptizing Noel this Saturday. He had a date for last Saturday but didn't feel prepared. We're going to work with him really hard this week.

Well, Dad asked about the members and if they help us to fellowship the new converts. I think things are getting better and we had a lot of support at the baptism. Kester already has a lot of friends in the young men and went to the young men's camp about a month ago. I hope that we can really get some support from the relief society with Bernarda and Coco though. I still feel like there are a ton of politics in this ward, a few family fueds that run pretty deep, and a family that pretty much reigns the kingdom here (stake pres, bishop, rs pres, eq pres - all in the same family), but we've got a lot of good people who are also trying to serve the Lord. It really is the members who make or break the missionary work in any given area. I'm coming to realize that more and more.

I'm glad to hear that Leslie and Boston are doing well, that you've all been having lots of fun and that you're getting ready for school again! How quickly time flies right?

The picture is of my hair and of a wicked awesome fruit called Pitaya (pee-tie-ya). No one eats it, but they make it into a delicious fruit drink. The color is a bright fusia. Love it.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - the Lord always has the best ideas!

Love, Hna. Crosland

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Letter #47, August 9, 2010

Hey ya'll,

Funny that you asked if it is still rainy season because it was pouring and thundering just before we came to write. The good thing is that when it really rains hard, it only lasts for about 15 minutes. Sometimes it rains off and on all day though. I still haven't bought another umbrella yet. But we're usually pretty lucky and in a house when the rain comes. I've only gotten really drenched a few times. Apparently the really rainy month is October so we've still got a while.

Changes are a week from Wednesday and I can't believe how fast this change went.

I wish I could tell you that wedding bells were ringing for Shilo and Jose but they just don't love each other and there are some really deep wounds that just can't be healed in a matter of weeks. However, their daughter and son-in-law who are actually married came to church this week and are really positive. Their names are Mijaly and Yolanda. I don't know if I already told you about them. They are awesome. We also had a baptism this week!!! Her name is Bernarda and was actually an investigator of the elders. But, big news, they took the elders out of the area so now we have the whole of Ciudad Jardin to ourselves. That is a bit challenging because this area is huge and there are a couple of neighborhoods that are pretty dangerous.

One of them is called Jorge Dimitrov which is where Bernarda lives. She also has a high risk blood clot (thrombosis?) that keeps her from being able to walk. So we had to find her a wheelchair to baptize her and take it to her house. She is a really cool lady though and everything went really well for her baptism. At first we put a chair in the font so she could sit, but her leg kept coming up out of the water. So we took it out. I was nervous that she would freak out a bit but she seemed way comfortable in the water, just kind of floatin' around and feeling fine. Elder Ball, our district leader, baptized her and she was confirmed yesterday. Awesome. We also have Coco planned for baptism this week. I am a little worried about that one but we are going to work hard with her this week.

We moved into the elders house since they got taken out of the area, so now we don't have to ride the bus each day. It's been a bit of a crazy few weeks with all the changes but the Lord is really blessing us. We had a great attendance and 12 investigators at church this week. OH, and... I got a totally latina hair cut. I wasn't going to cut my hair on the mission but Hna. Medina's brother Paco cuts hair (he also sells make-up, sews, is thirty and single... ) and he was at the house and offered to do it. So I let him at it. I now have some drastic layers, but it actually doestn't look bad and I just put it in a pony tail anyway. Haha. Well my time is done. I wish I had more time to write you all individually.

To my dear baby brother - thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lovely email you wrote me. I'll write back just to you next week. I promise.

I also got Ashton's wedding announcement and a letter from Brookie Keith.

A big shout out to everyone.

Thanks for keeping me in your prayers.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - the Lord truly watches out for us.

Love, Hna. Crosland

Monday, August 2, 2010

Letter #46 - August 2, 2010

So this week flew by.

We actually had to move to a different house because our contract ended and since the changes are so soon, the APs told us not to renew it and just to move in with the hermanas of a near by area. So we have to take the bus to work in our area each morning but it's not to bad. I've started contacting the buses. We ask the driver if we can make an invitation to the bus and then stand up at the front (trying not to fall over) and introduce ourselves, teach a principle from one of the lessons really quickly or tell them about the book of mormon and invite everyone to church. It's pretty fun.

We're still working with Shilo and José. She came to church today but he couldn't come. We had a really good lesson with them this week though and brother and sister Medina came with us. Tonight we're going to set a wedding date with them. I hope it goes over okay. We're also working with Coco, but I'm a little disappointed. She kicked her husband out of the house because he's been cheating on her for years and opened up and a little "restaurant", (really just serving food from her house) and took over his little store. She owned the space, just had to buy all her own products to sell.

Well, last week, before she actually opened we took advantage of the opportunity to teach her really frankly about keeping the sabbath day holy and also found out that she was planning to sell alcohol in her food joint as well. So we really urged her not to do that and explained what the consequences would be if she started selling alcohol and how important it is to have the spirit dwell in your home. We committed her to close on Sundays and she said she would pray about selling beer. But we went by yesterday morning and everything was open and her restaurant is more like a bar. I'm pretty sad. But we're going to try again. I know if she can get started out right with this new phase in her life, the Lord with really bless her.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - fighting on the Lord's team, you can never lose.

Well I love you all mucho mucho mucho.

Love, Hna. Crosland