Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Three Days in Prison! ... I mean, our apartment.


(That is what everyone says here :)
So I am not sure how many of you know this, but Honduras recently had elections. That is why I have my P Day on Tuesday instead of Monday, because for Saturday,Sunday, and Monday we had to be in the apartment. We got to leave for one hour for Sacrament. And sadly... of our goal for 100 assistencia, only 34 people came. Haha only in Honduras will they change the time of Sacrament and cancel all the other meetings for elections :) I am very impressed with the people who did come, they have so much faith and perseverance.
Luckily all is well here in Santa Rosa, and I do not know about the rest of Honduras, but they let us come out so I am assuming all is well.
A little more about Santa Rosa... it is so great, people use horses as transportation... and sometimes I am completely jealous of them! I know I am not supposed to covet... but there are so many hills!

This week we visited a less active, Cynthia, and her brother Nestor. Cynthia is less active and has three adorable girls (Here in Honduras, everyone has kids.. I think it is normal to have your first baby around 17 or 18, if not younger). Nestor is a atheist, and my companera decided we should read the chapter in Alma about Zoram. I was definately freaking out because that is not my route to help people, but I went with it. At the end, mi companera was a bit upset because Nestor had no idea how to change. So she turned to me and said "Hermana Harmon!" So I tried, with all my might, to explain in my terrible Spanish how I felt. 
I told them how I had had problems with believing as well. Nestor looked at me and said "Reaaaaally." I explained how I always wondered why such terrible things happen. When I said this, Cynthia looked up at me and said she felt the exact same way. I explained how I had seen so many miracles in my life when I exercised a small amount of faith, even when I really did not believe. I tried to explain about how we have to go through hard things in life to build faith in Christ. Jesus Christ was our perfect example, and he always submitted to the will of the father, even when he had no idea why. I do not know how much they understood, but later, during our three days in the house, I decided to study more about the savior and afflictions. 
I was reading in Mosiah 14,15, and 16 in Spanish about the Savior (this was completely happenstance). After figuring out what was going on, I decided I had to read it in English because it was an answer to my question.
My favorite parts were "There were no beauty that we should desire... he was despised and rejected... we esteemed him not, yet he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." Later, it says "It pleased the Lord to bruise him." Sometimes, the Lord bruises all of us. Hello mission! ... And life! But... "The will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father." Jesus Christ was not loved, and he had trials and temptations, yet he always submitted to the father even when he did not know why. At the end, it gives examples of people who are not saved, "having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires."
So... why do we have trials and afflictions? To learn to have FAITH (the basic principle of the gospel!) and submit the will to the Father, even when we have no idea why. To learn to trust in the Lord, because we cannot be molded and changed, and receive his image in our countenance, if we do not submit. This life is the refiners fire. Yes, we have moments of joy, but our happily ever after will not start here. What happens if we do not submit to the father? We cannot be saved, we cannot receive his image in our countenance. The first week I was here, was super rough. It still is difficult! Only running water in the morning, food that makes me sick, wanting to help people and having no idea how, wanting people to feel their Savior's love, trying to figure everything out... but I have learned that when we are alone, the Savior, and our Father, is right here with us. 

I feel like this is the universal question of the world... why do we have trials and tribulations, and why do we feel so alone. I hope I have helped someone understand. I loved Justin's letter this week because it was all about submitting ourselves-- even though it is the hardest thing we will ever do on this Earth.
Well... that is all from Santa Rosa :) On one of our days in we had a Dia de Gracias to celebrate Thanksgiving. I couldn´´t eat the food, but the orange juice was super great!

P.S... go to the temple! It is beautiful, and I miss it so much! The people here cannot afford it, and those who are in the church want it so badly.
Love you all!!

Hermana Harmon

Monday, November 25, 2013

I am in Honduras!

So I am in Honduras! I am in a city called Santa Rosa, which is about three hours from San Pedro Sula in the mountains. We flew in last Tuesday and it was absolutely beautiful flying in. We slept at the Presidente's apartment, which was absolutely lovely and beautiful and the bed was soooo comfy. 
Let's just say I am so grateful for every single lick of Spanish I had before the mission, because mi companera is from Panama. I have been learning a lot of charades and how to figure out what someone is saying when I do not know any of the words they are saying. It definitely does not help when they have no teeth. Luckily though I know that I know a lot more than the other new missionaries. Usually I can figure out what is going on, so that is super good. My goal is after one month here to be super profficient :)
There is a lot of work to do here! There are a lot of inactives in our little rama (branch). We have visited quite a few of them and a lot just do not seem to have any desire to change. We also have a good amount of investigators, but it is very hard because many of them do not fulfill their compromisos (I can't remember what that is in English... like reading the Book of Mormon or going to church). Also many people work every Sunday. It is crazy. It is very hard. We have one investigator who wants to be baptized, but she never reads and you have to come to church three times before baptism, and she has not come yet. We also have another investigator who we invited to baptism, and she said yes, but she works every Sunday for the next month. There are definitely a lot of challenges here.
Anyways a little about life here in Santa Rosa. It is really poor, and a good amount of people cannot read. This makes things even harder. Also, for the next eighteen months, I have decided my hair is going in a ponytail with a braid. I get.... a lot of stares. One day I wore my hair down, and I think it was one of the worst decisions in my entire life. Mi companera is good about taking care of me though :)
I love being in lessons and teaching people though. Despite the hardships, there is still something magical about teaching the words of God. The other day we were in a lesson, and it was a bedroom (which is many peoples houses) and we had three people there, and then mi companera and I. We were teaching about the first vision, and the sweetest most powerful Spirit came into the room after I read Joseph Smith's experience. Another day we were in another house that is the size of a bedroom, and there were three people on one bed, another person and mi companera and I on another bed, and then three others. It was pretty intense. Every time I visit someone I am reminded of the countless blessings I have. On Sunday we went with a member to an area we are not allowed to go to unless we get a referrel. We went there, and I realized that the people I was suprised by before, are actually really rich compared to others. We have a lot.
This week the Lord has taught me so much. I have learned that the Lord is definitely going to be trying me and testing me the next 17 months. Every day I find myself with a new challenge and hardship, but I know the Lord is by me the whole time. The other day I was reading in 2 Nefi and it said you are the work of my hands. I realized that the Lord did make me, and he is still changing me, and he is making me into a new work. A lot of times it is really hard though. In one devotional we watched in the CCM, Elder Holland talked a lot about how the Lord wants our hearts as missionaries. He wants all of us, and how so many times we focus on the investigators (which is important) but we forget that the Lord is really shaping us. I have been thinking a lot about that this week, because in this first area I may not get a baptism, and I may not increase the attendance in our rama (although I hope to) but I will give my whole heart to the Lord. 

Well I love you all! Hugs and kisses. 
P.S. My P days are now on Mondays all the time! Except for next Monday, it will be on Tuesday, but then after that it will be back to being on Monday.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Your Missionary Arrived!

Dear Missionary Families,

We just wanted you to know that your missionary is safe and sound with us tonight in our home.  We already love them and can't wait to get to know them better.  They will be going to a transfer meeting tomorrow where they will meet their new companion and then leave for their assigned area.  Thank you for all your prayers and love.  We are so grateful that you sent them to us.

With love,
President and Sister Dester

Estimadas Familias de los Misioneros,

Solamente quisiéramos hacerles saber que su misionero llegó sin novedad a Honduras y está aquí con nosotros para una cena en nuestra casa hoy por la noche.  Ya los amamos a todos, y esperamos ansiosamente conocerles aún más.  Tendremos una reunión  de "cambios" mañana donde conocerán a sus primeros compañeros, y saldrán de allí para sus primeras áreas.  Gracias por sus oraciones y amor.  Les agrademos muchísimo por haberlos mandado a nosotros.

Con mucho cariño,
Presidente y Hermana Dester

Hasta Luego Mexico!

Well familia y amigos, 

I will be in HONDURAS TOMORROW!!! I am pretty ecstatic. Yesterday and this morning our three children, I mean Elderes, left for Honduras and El Salvador. It was sad to see them go :( Tomorrow morning all of the Hermanas are out of here. It is sad to leave, because our district is definitely a family, but I know it is an amazing work that we are getting to do.
I do not have much time, so I do not think I will have a chance to write any of your personal emails back, but I love you all and I got to read all of them. They made me very happy :) So keep emailing me :)

So... a few things for this week I learned.
First of all, the Lord has taught me a lot more about faith. A few weeks back I learned a lot about faith and did a big study thing about it. This week, I was reading in Either 12, and the Lord taught me so much more. In Alma 32, it talks about what faith is, and how to gain it and how it grows. In Either 12, it talks about what we can do with faith. I counted ten examples of what people did because of their faith... because of how strongly they believed in God. Ammon converted all of the Lamanites people because of his faith, people saw Christ after he was risen because of their faith, and the brother of Jared saw Christ before he was born because of his faith. I started thinking about how much we can do, if we simply believe. Why do we not believe? Why do we not lean unto God? Because, simply put, with God ALL things are possible. So after that I said a nice ten minute prayer about learning Spanish :) So hopefully it will all kick in quickly, since in about 20 hours I will be completely immersed in Honduras! 
Also, today as our last goodbye, mi maestra shared a talk about the four types of missionaries. It blew me away... the third and fourth missionaries on the outside are completely the same. The difference is that the third type of missionary looks back and longs for his life and his goals and dreams, instead of completely submitting his heart to God. He fails to turn his heart to God. It really made me think about how many times I have thought about things before my mission and longed for them, and I long for things after my mission. God can never change your heart if you constantly are holding on to other things. You cannot submit your will to his if your desires are on other things. Ahhh... completely blew me away. I would encourage everyone to look at your hearts and analyze. I will try to find out the title and author so you can all go read it. It is completely and totally amazing.
Last cool thing. Mi Presidente de nuestro rama, Presidente Torres shared a story. Eight years ago he was a Mission President here in Mexico. He had a senior couple go and serve the menanites, and after their two years, they had not converted anyone. They left feeling like they had not accomplished anything. Eight years later, now, Presidente Torres finds out that they had a Book of Mormon and were reading it. Over 2,000 meet together to read the Book of Mormon, and they are ready to learn more. So awesome. The problem is though they speak like a special dialect of German, which very few people speak. Anyways cool awesome stories.

Well I for reals gotta go but love you all! I think I will get to send an email once I arrive, but I do not really know, since no one really ever tells us anything here! 

Hugs and kisses :) 

More pictures!

Here we are being lady bugs, and there is me pointing to Honduras, and me and two other Elders decided to all wear blue. Funsters stuff. 

Festivities de Ciudad de Mexico

Buenos dias mi familia y amigos!

Soooo this week has gone by really fast. I only have six days left before I leave! Craziness. So fun stuff this week.

#1 Halloween
Well we did not get Halloween here, so my district and I all wore orange and purple and bought candy from the Tienda (our little store here). Then we all took turns being the person at the "house" aka our classroom, and we all went trick or treating. It was super great. Mexico City though had quite the party though! So here we hear sirens, bombs, fireworks, pretty much all night every night. But for Halloween we got some nice cool strobe lights going on and some cool Halloween Mexican music. 
Also the P day before Halloween mi companeras and two other hermanas in my district were lady bugs, which meant that we dressed up in red and black. So we got our festivities on :) also, I would like to live precariously through you all, so send me pictures of your Halloween!!! 

#2 El Libro de Mormon
So today we got to go to the temple, which made me sad because it is the last time I will get to go before I go home. But it was super amazing, and dun dun dun I understood like 95% of it!! Whooowh at the end I was in amazement by how much I understood. Yah for Spanish! Anyways but yesterday my district leader decided that on our way there we should give away a Book of Mormon. The only socialization with the outside world we receive are our bus rides to the temple. So we got a Book of Mormon, and we all wrote our testimonies in it. On our way home we thought we had found the perfect person! So we were stopped in traffic (as always here in Mexico City) and Elder Ramirez called for the guy to come grab it. That guy was too cool and not interested, but there was this sweet guy in a wheelchair, and he got the other guy to go and grab it for him. Then Elder Ramirez said "leer lo!" (read it!) and the guy said he would. So we are all hoping in twenty years our story ends up in Conference because he reads it and loves it and tells all his friends and families about it. If not, well we tried :)

#3 Gatita!
So here there is no animals. But one night mi compeneras and I were walking home and we see a little cat. Ahhhhh it was sooo cute. We named her Sol and she was very sweet and purred for us. Then we saw the Presidente Pratt and asked him if she was his, and he said "no, and it is being disobedient." So we unilaterally decided we should have a little chit chat with the kitty about how obedience brings blessings. I had to ask though, so I did ask if we could keep it. Of course the answer was no :( But it still made me so happy :) We decided that we got to play with the Kitty because the Lord loves us.

#4 Leccion con Lugo
So Lugo is our "investigator" and he has finally stopped smoking and drinking for Baptism. Yay! Anyways we were in our lesson and we were teaching about La Palabra de Sabiduria (The Word of Wisdom). We had a scripture picked out in 1 Cor 6:19 about how our body is a temple. So we ask him if he will read, and of course he agrees because he loves us, and he starts reading about how we should not fornicate. We all look at each other panicked and confused, and he looks up and we all kinda start laughing. Apparently mi companera had said 1 Cor. 6:9 instead of 6;19. Oh the joys of Missionary work :)

#5 Sol y Sandra
So our first "investigator" was Sol. We finished teaching her, and we got a new investigator, Maria, but then we got a new one, Sandra. So cool story. They are all the same person (my teacher) being different investigators. Well Sol actually is a person who works outside of the CCM that my teacher has become friends with. My teacher gave her a Book of Mormon, and Sol never was interested really but then her mom Sandra was (which is why my teacher decided to be her, so that she could try to figure out a way to help her). So we have been teaching "Sandra" and the real Sandra went to church last week! We were all very excited. Also, while we were teaching Sandra about the restoration, the Spirit was so strong, and she got goosebumps. It was beautiful. 

Also for my spiritual part of the week, I read 3 Nefi 17 and it was beautiful. I noticed something that I had never noticed before, how Christ comes and heals the people. But then later, he prays for them. After he finishes praying for them, it talks about how his joy is full because of them, and then he starts crying. 
It made me realize how close our Savior truly is to us. He is filled with joy when we are happy, and he is sad when we are having a hard time. He cries for us. He prays for us. And, he heals us. It is so beautiful. Our Savior is nearer to us then we will ever truly now. 

Well I love you all!! Hopefully the next time I write you I will be in Honduras. Mucho amor :)

P.s. The one picture is a picture Elder Valentine drew of me. I pretty much love it. The next picture is one of me on my daily runs. There is like this secret area that no one ever runs on and it is gorgeous! So I thought I would share. Also my district family :) I will send more pictures in a minute. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Yo se que JesuCristo es nuestro Salvador

Hola! Buenos tardes!
So this week has been awesomely long and fast as all weeks are. I am finally getting down the language a little better! I can kinda have a conversation with natives :) Mi companeras and I have been doing days where we have "English fasts" and we have to say everything in Spanish. It is realllly hard but we all learn a lot. Sometimes I do not actually know if anyone else would ever understand us, but it is all good. One of our teachers told us this inspirational story about this new missionary. So here at the CCM you start teaching people within like two days and it is all in Spanish. Anyways this missionary, since he did not know how to say anything, said "Yo soy Jose Smith" and then, later, to try to redeem himself, he said "Yo soy JesuCristo." So, in Spanish saber is to know, and the yo (or I form) is se. So when you bear your testimony you say, "Yo se JoseSmith fue un profeta" or "Yo se JesuCristo vive." Soy is like saying I am, in a permanent form. So the whole time this missionary was saying I am Joseph Smith and I am Jesus Christ instead of I know. Ahhhhh the joys of learning :) Luckily I do not think I have done anything like that... yet. I just butcher every tense haha.
This week I have learned a lot about the Holy Ghost, or the Espiritu Santo.We had an assignment to read all these scriptures and study about it, then my district leader asked if I would do our district class and teach about the Espiritu. It is a lot like Sunday School but just for your district. I was kinda nervous since the most teaching I have ever done is... nada. Visiting teaching and teaching our "investigators" here. But I accepted and I learned a ton more. So... if you all want to open up your scriptures to D&C 130;22 there is this awesome scripture that I always looked over. It talks about how Dios y JesuCristo have a body of flesh and bones, but how the Espiritu does not, because if he did, he could not dwell within us. I never thought of it like that. When we live worthy and live our lives in a good way, the Spirit can literally dwell within us and help us. We will never be alone as long as we have the Espiritu Santo. I was also reading in Preach my Gospel (If you do not have a copy, it is the best book in the world second to the scriptures) and it said when we pray we should listen for the Espiritu Santo to tell us what we should pray for. This helps it be more of a conversation with God, and not just a list (which I am so prone to doing). So, I started doing this and it has been pretty amazing. Last week I was saying my nightly prayers and I decided to take time at the end before I closed to listen and see if there was anything more I needed to pray about. I got this really strong impression to pray for my roommate to adjust well to her new mission and to be able to get settled in. So I did, and later I found out that that week she had just arrived and was just getting settled in. I also was really upset about something, so again I said my prayer and at the end waited, and I got this impression to start thinking about something. So I did, and it completely answered my question. Last night I once again waited, and I had this feeling that I needed to pray specifically for someone, and then today I found out that they had had a really hard week. The crazy thing is, is that this is just a few of the things. Some of the things I have prayed for I do not know what was going on, but I know the Lord knew and because I listened to the Espiritu hopefully they have been helped. I would commit  you all to try it! It is crazy awesome, and I know the Lord is waiting us to listen so that he can bless us and bless others in our lives.
Second awesome thing is that Elder Allen, who is in charge of the whole missionary department, came to the CCM this week and he talked to all of us and it was pretty amazing. He said something that struck me really hard. He said the Lord´s hands are outstreched, with nail marks in his hands as proof, that he has already paid the price for our sins and problems. He is waiting for us, and all we have to do is come to him. And yep, I started crying. He also talked to all of our maestros (teachers). Mi maestra said that he told them a story. One time he was talking to President Monson, and President Monson asked "How many missionaries do we have again?" Elder Allen responded 80,000 (or whatever the number is...) and President Monson got all teary eyed and said "that is a lot of missionaries, and the Lord knows each one of them." So beautiful. And I know the Lord knows each one of us. 
It seems like a lot of my family and friends have had a really hard week this week. I want you all to know that I love you, and that I know that the Lord has suffered for our pains and hard times already. He has nail marks in his hands and feet to prove it. Most of the time he does not take the hard times away, but he will comfort us and strengthen us. "Draw near unto me, and I will draw near unto you." Also, never forget that Satan is as real as the Lord is, and he too is working on us. There is a reason that Satan came right before Joseph Smith´s first vision. If we pray though, the Lord will always protect us.
My prayers are with all of you!
And Happy Halloween!! The hermanas in my district and I are all dressing up as lady bugs, which means we are dressing up in red and black. Hopefully I will have pictures next week, or we might stop in the middle of emails to go take pictures so we can come back and send them. We will see :) I have also discovered the power of nutella. Yum yum. I am also into the Isaiah chapters of Second Nefi in Spanish. Wheeeewwww. I thought it was hard before... trying to read Isaiah in Spanish is beyond comprehension! But luckily I still have my English scriptures. So I am enduring :) And I am on my 13 day countdown!! Wheeeew.
Hugs and kisses to you all!!
PS... in the pictures with all the girls is my zone with the girls. Two of them just left this week :( the one with less girls are also our friends who left this week. The CCM is definitely getting small! But apparently this is a normal fluctuation.

Hermana Harmon