Monday, December 29, 2014

Feliz Navidad!!!!!!!!!!

I have to say, this week has been AWESOME. It has definately been a wonderful week leading to Christmas!
Last Monday we had one of the most spiritual experiences on my mission. It all started with a bit of a crazy idea Sunday night, and ended up amazing. We decided we wanted to do a church tour (because our church here is actually pretty big and beautiful) and that we wanted it to be super spiritual. Like Temple Square spiritual haha. So we decided we needed to call the right people. First we tried the Stake President, with no luck. So who is the second most spiritual person? We decided the Stake Patriarch. And Boom! gold. We had an amazing beautiful church tour with the Stake Patriarch and his wife with Mariellos and Gabby. I learned so much! It was amazingly beautiful. We toured each room and had a special scripture as we explained the room and the different organizations. Then the Patriarch and his wife, of course, gave an even more awesome testimony and explanation. I even learned a bunch of amazing things that I didn't know. However, the most spiritual part, was when we went to the Sacrament Room, and each bore our testimony of the sacrament and of the church. Mariellos and Gabby had a bunch of awesome questions too, and they loved the tour as well. I think my favorite thing that the Patriarch said was when we went to the office of the Bishop. We talked about how we go for interviews. The Patriarch said we always dress our best for the interviews, because in the interview the Bishop is taking the role of Jesus Christ, and in the moment we walk in we need to imagine him as Jesus Christ, and not as our bishop. We should dress and look our best, as we would if Jesus Christ himself came. The Patriarch also gave an amazing testimony, and said that he investigated the church for two years before deciding to be baptizned (I think my mouth was wide open when he said that) but, he said he knew without a doubt from his time he had spent investigating and praying about the church. He is so special, and there is always such an awesome, sweet Spirit with him.
On Wednesday night we decided to get creative, so we went around caroling with He is the Gift cards. People say no to sharing a message, but they can't say no to a Christmas song! Well, in our house walking Christmas caroling we found an awesome young man and he invited us to go the hospital with him and some friends to do like a Christmas show and to share presents and food for kids with cancer. Well, we called to ask for permission, and I honestly believed that we were not going to get permission, but we got a yes! So Friday we went to the hospital. The people we were with sang some beautiful songs, and my comp and I sang two hymns. It was super great. We shared presents, and we gave out a MILLION He is the Gift cards! So all in all it was a great experience, and it was a great experience to share with others. We also met a bunch of less actives, and got to invite them to come back to church :)
Friday also went to prep Mariellos for her baptismal interview. We taught "follow the prophet" then went over the baptismal questions. When we got to the question, "Do you believe that Thomas S Monson is a prophet of God?" She said... I don't know. I have never seen him or heard anything he has said. So, we went over to a members to watch his conference talk he gave last October (In this awesome area people have things like internet! It is great!) And watched his talk "Ponder the Path of thy Feet." It was a great reminder, especially during Christmas, that we need to always remember to walk not just where Jesus walked, but how he walked. And to always follow his example. The next day was the interview, and on Sunday... BAPTISM! And it was an awesome baptism. After church we went over and I got to braid her hair for her baptism, and there was an awesome Christmas conference that the Stake did. Then, after, was the baptism. I have to say I think Mariellos came more fashionable than anyone I have ever met for her baptism! She looked super great all in white with awesome earrings, headband, and heels. The patriarch baptized her, and it was absolutely beautiful. Afterwards we got stranded at the church until 10:00 waiting for the President to finish his report, but we had a great chat with an awesome member who is close to our age, who is the wife of the the Secretary, so it was worth it. It's not very often that we get to have girl talk on the mission!
Well, I think my clothing knows that I am getting closer to going home. One morning, not one, but two skirts ripped! Now I only have three black skirts, instead of four. Rough mission life.
Well, I love you all!! If you haven't seen the video yet, go watch because He is the Gift video is absolutely beautiful! (I think I have watched it about 50 times now :)

For my spiritual thought of the week, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the birth of Jesus Christ. Yesterday, in Relief Society, we had an awesome lesson about Jesus Christ. I was imagining what it would be like, to be so close to giving birth, and finding yourself stranded in an area with animals and hay. I imagine how dusty and dirty the streets are sometimes here in Honduras, and I can only imagine it was like that in Bethlem as well. The Savior and redeemer of the world, the grand I AM, the person who created the world, was born in a humble stable. Afterwards, he grew, and grew, not just physically, but spiritually as well, until at 12 years old he was found in the temple teaching the great teachers. He kept learning, and he kept growing, until he was reading to call his apostles and start his three year ministy, where he healed the sick, raised the dead, and worked many miracles. But more importantly, he taught the people his gospel, he taught them to love God above all us, and to love their neighbours as themselves. Then, after such a short time, he gave his life for all of us. He suffered our pains, sicknesses, and sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then was raised upon a cross to suffer until his time came to "give up the Ghost." But the message of great joy, is that the third day he rose from the grave, to bless all mankind. Christ lives, and loves us, and is very aware of us. He has not, and cannot, forget us. He suffered for us and with us. He will never give up on us. He is our Savior, and our Redeemer... but most importantly, he is our loving, caring, older brother.
Merry Christmasl

10 days 'til Christmas!

Well, we have finally hit winter time here in Honduras. I am starting to sleep with three blankets (I thought I would only ever do that in Utah...) and cold's are starting to be spread around! But it is great because people are starting to put up their Christmas trees. To celebrate Christmas we went to the beach in Puerto Cortes and ate fish. Yum.

The highlights of this week:

Wednesday: Mutli-Zone Christmas festival with President Dester! Always so great and the ice cream is always the best! President Dester said amazing words about Jesus Christ and the Christmas season. We also did lots of practices with our new cards that we have to give out with the link to the video "he is the gift." Then that night we ran because we had an activity with a member to make ornaments. Well, it was raining, so that meant no on was going to come unless we passed by for them. So we did a grand pass for people, then started our little activity. It was super fun! And the boys made forts. We ate banana bread and chocolate cake (yes, that we made!) and met new people.
Thursday: We went to all the houses with Christmas lights to sing them a Christmas song and give them "He is the Gift" cards. One house even asked me to sing a Christmas song in English. Well, I did it, and... still can't sing well. Haha. Solos still aren't one of my talents. 
Friday: Cena Navideña! Christmas Dinner! So delicious. But so great! We got a bunch of investigators to go, and, a bunch of members brought friends, which meant references for us! In the morning we went to help clean the church. It felt so normal going and cleaning the church and then we put up all the decorations. The greatest part was that Katie's family went to the dinner (our recent convert)! And her mom liked the church a lot, and wanted to go to church this Sunday, however she was sick so she couldn't go. However, she is super excited to go next week. 
Saturday: Heavenly Father loves us and the sister leaders canceled their divisions with us. I know I probably shouldn't be grateful for that, but we were so exhausted from the Christmas dinner and weren't up to traveling to other areas. It was a super great day, and we realized we had taught, on a roof, in the street, and in the mud. The mission here in San Pedro never gets old :)  We are always doing crazy things and coming home drenched in mud. It is great. 
We are still super excited for Mariellos! She is absolutely amazing! This last Sunday she fasted, and one of the things she fasted for was that she would pass her test and pass her class. Well, she was one of five out of thirty that had passed the test and the class! God answers prayers and fasts! Also her sister, Gabby, is so awesome, and we are so excited for both of them! 

For our great gift this week, we received the Liahona for the conference (finally!) whoo. So I have been reading a bunch of the articles. One of the talks that I didn't remember at all, but that I loved when I read, was Tad R. Callister. He talked a bunch about how the parents are the prime teachers. He gave a story that was so awesome! And I have been sharing it with a bunch of people that we teach. 

Ben Carson said of himself, was the worst student in my whole fifth-grade class.” One day Ben took math test with 30 problems. The studentbehind him corrected it and handed iback. The teacher, Mrs. Williamson,started calling each student’s name for the score. Finally, she got to Ben.Out of embarrassment, he mumbled the answer. Mrs. Williamson,thinkinhe had said “9,” replied thafor Ben to score out of 30 was awonderful improvement. The student behind Ben then yelled out, “Notnine! … He got none … right.” Ben said he wanteto drop through thefloor.
At the same time, Ben’s motherSonya, faced obstacles of heown. Shewas one of 24 children, had only third-grade education, and could notread. She was married at age 13, was divorced, had two sons, and wasraising them in the ghettos of Detroit. Nonetheless, she was fiercely self-reliant and had firm belief that God would help her and her sons if theyditheir part.
One day turning point came iher life and that of her sons. It dawnedon her that successful people for whom she cleaned homes had libraries—they read. After work she went home and turned off the television thatBen and his brother were watching. She said in essence: You boys arewatching too much television. From now on you can watch threeprograms week. Iyour free time you will go tthe library—read twobooks week and give me report.
The boys were shocked. Ben saihe had never read book in his entirelife except when required to do so at school. They protested, theycomplained, they argued, but it was to no avail. Then Ben reflected, “Shelaid down the law. didn’t likthe rule, but her determination to see usimprove changed the course of my life.”
And what change it made. By the seventh grade he was at thtop of hisclass. He went on to attend Yale University on a scholarship, then JohnsHopkinmedical school, where at age 33 he became its chief of pediatricneurosurgery and world-renowned surgeon. How was thapossible?Largely because of mother who, without many of the advantages of life,magnified her calling as parent.1
I love this story because parents, (and us as missionaries) can truly make a huge difference in the lives of others! If we help them change, if we help them do the things required of them, they can change everything --- especially their lives! I also love this story because it helps us see people not as they are, but truly what they can become, and what we can do to help them change and become what the Lord sees for them. 

Well Merry Christmas! 

Christ is the light that shineth in all things, and he is the first and greatest gift given to us


Another week has come to an end. 

This week was a bit crazy and beautiful! We had the baptism of Yuber Saturday night. He decided Wednesday that he was ready! So we prepared quickly and everything went well :) The Elders came with a muchacho that was the same age of Yuber, and after the baptism he decided that he wanted to get baptized, so Sunday night we got to go to another baptism of the Elders! And it was so cute, their muchacho saved us seats with signs and everthing :) (photo attached!) I have to say, we felt pretty special. 

This week we also had an amazing experience with the movie the Restoration. We watched it two different times, and it was really interesting to see the difference. The first time we watched it, we watched it with Mariellos. By the end my companion was all teared up, and we started talking about the movie and Mariellos said the thing that had really called her attention was how the Smith family always talked about how they would see Alvin again. We had an amazing opportunity getting to teach about temple work and that families can truly be forever. There was a moment where i got to look her in the eyes and promise her she could see, and talk, and be with her Dad again through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then everyone was in tears and it was absolutely beautiful. The Spirit was so strong!
The second time we watched it, it felt like the family was disinterested. By the end we asked what had called their attention, and they all said all the trials of Joseph Smith. It is true, but it was interesting to see the grand difference in the Spirit. Truly the difference was where their hearts were, and if they were really there to learn and grow or no. I started thinking about God, and about the sacrament, and about how we all take the sacrament every Sunday. However, some have an amazing, cleansing experience, while others are simply eating bread and drinking water. I thought about how it is so important where our thoughts and hearts are, and how dissapointed God must be sometimes when we go to church over and over and never learn what we could learn because we never put our heart into it. May we all put our heart into everything we do :) 

We also got to see the Christmas Devotional! I have to say that it came at a perfect time, because yesterday I felt like I could not walk anymore. I was definately pooped. It came at a great time :) I loved Elder Eyring's talk, about how Jesus Christ is the light. Today I was thinking a lot about that, and I started searching my favorite scripture In D&C 88

 Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborneven of God,the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—
 He that ascended up on highas also he descended below allthings, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in alland through all things, the light of truth;
 Which truth shineth. This ithe light of ChristAs also he is inthe sun, and the lighof the sun, and the power thereof by which itwas made.
 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and thepower thereof by which it was made;
 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by whichthey were made;
 10 And the earth also, and thpower thereof, even the eartuponwhich you stand.
 11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is throughhim who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light thatquickeneth your understandings;
 12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fillthe immensity of space—
 13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things,which is the law by which all things are governed, even the powerof God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom ofeternity, who is in the midst of all things.
Truly Jesus Christ is the light that giveth life to all things, and the light which is in all things. 

I was also thinking a lot about the new program we are sharing. It is called "He is the Gift" a beautiful video about Christmas online. Well, in spanish it is called "El es la Dádiva" Honestly, almost no one knows what the word dádiva means, so we have had a fun time teaching people (I didn't know either haha). Today while I was reading, a scripture caught my attention in Moroni 10. In Spanish it says,  18  Y quisiera exhortaros, mis amados hermanos, a que tengáis presente que toda buena dádiva viene de Cristo.  18 And would exhort you, my beloved brethren, thayeremember that every good gift cometh of Christ.

As I read this I realized, what was the first gift, or the first dadiva? It was God's gift to us, Jesus Christ .And every good gift that we have, every good dadiva, is from Jesus Christ. Truly every gift we have originates from this first gift.

How beautiful to think that every good gift, every things with light, everything that lives, comes from and is Jesus Christ.

I am so grateful for my Savior! I am so grateful for Jesus Christ! And I am so thankful I have this Christmas to spend doing the things that Christ did, serving others. 

I love you all!