Monday, April 14, 2014

Bienvenido Semana Santa!

This week we have had the wonderful experience of bringing the Lord's children closer to him.
We had the baptism of Carolina! Carolina is the neice of Marco and Maria Huezo. We have been teaching her for about two months now and she was finally ready. I have to say it was one of the most beautiful baptisms I have seen yet. When she came out of the bathroom in her white baptismal dress she looked absolutely beautiful, and after her baptism she looked so clean and happy. It was so beautiful. The Spirit was so strong.
This week starts Semana Santa (Easter Week). Semana Santa is known to be the hottest part of the year here in Honduras, and we have been building up and building up. It is basically an inferno, and everyone is going to the beach to try and escape the heat. Lucky us we get to keep walking and visiting :) Luckily everyone stinks, so it is not really a problem when we are wreaking of sweat, because everyone else is too :) (Maybe that was way too much information...) I have to say though, I will take this inferno any day over the icy cold snow of Utah! The cool part about Semana Santa is everyone gets it off... it doesn't matter if you are working or in school, everyone is free to play at the beach.
These past few weeks I have also had the wonderful opportunity to eat large intestine, small intestine, and snail. Also yesterday in church we were in sunday school and out comes a HUGE HAIRY TARANTULA. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh yes I definately had a gringa freak out. So did my companion. It was freakishly gross. Everyone kept saying that it was small...
We also had a miracle with Amilkar. We have been planning for his baptism for a while now. About two days ago he told us that his Dad was not going to give him permission. We told him that we would talk to his parents and see what we could do. On Sunday we were passing by, reminding people sweetly (a little forcefully :) to come to church. We passed by Amilkar and his parents were there (this is rare, I think I have seen his mom once). We took the opportunity while we had it to talk to his Dad. I said a quick prayer in my head and then started. We started talking to his Dad about how much Amilkar had changed, and how he was praying, reading his scriptures, and coming to church and what a blessing baptism is. After about five minutes his Dad agreed, and luckily by chance we had a baptismal record there for him to sign. It was such a miracle. Later we found Amilkar and he told us that his Dad was even ready to buy him a white shirt and tie. We were all in shock and so grateful for the Lord softening the hearts of others.
Raffaella, our sweet grandma who lives an hour and a half away, came to church again this Sunday! This is the second time she has come. She is such an example to me of climbing down a mountain, paying for a car, and then a bus, to come to church. She is my hero and she is the sweetest! Whenever I see her I always think that I need to sacrifice a little more for Christ. I can give a little more to him.

On Saturday we were also working in an area called Rondon. In my area we have a bunch of differen colonials we work in. For example I live in Nueve Campana. We work in Nueve Campana, Seis de Mayo, La Gran Villa, Rondon, 19, 21, Baracoa, Las Floras, y Puente Alto. It is a pretty big area. When we are in an area we usually try to just work in that area for a good amount of time, because sometimes we have to go pretty far. We were in el Rondon and we were walking to visit someone else, then suddenly we decided we should try to go pass by for a house one more time. We had met him one day at another investigators, and he wanted us to come over. We had passed by his house three or four times, and they were never home! But it was Saturday, so we decided we should try. We passed by, and miracle of miracles, they were home! We had a beautiful first lesson with Wilfredo and Daisy. As we left I told my companion that I can see him being one of the counselors for the Bishop. On Sunday they came to church! And, another miracle, they are married!!! (Almost no one is married here...). After Sunday School when it was time to go to Relief Society and Priesthood, they were about to go home because they did not want to be seperated. It was the sweetest.
I have also started the Old Testament! I was reading Jesus the Christ, and I realized I have only ever read the Old Testament for Seminary in 9th grade, and that I needed to read it again. This is going to sound really weird, but Genesis is really a page turner!! I started Friday and I am already on page 50, all I ever want to do is read! I think this book should be a New York Times Bestseller or something. Every chapter is a climatical part! There is always something exciting happening! I am definately geeking out about the Old Testament, so much now that I have gotten my companion to start reading it too! I always thought of the Old Testament as dry, boring, and sleep invoking. Who knew?!? Maybe this is just one of the side affects of adapting to missionary life.
Well I love this work so much. Every day is challenging and beautiful, and every day I have the opportunity to draw nearer to my Savior.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Watermelons, Mountain Jungles, and Conference!

This week we have seen quite a few miracles. I love how the Lord works. I love the Lord.
First off, we had a watermelon miracle. So last P day we were walking and we did not have much time, but we needed to find something quick to buy for our Family Home Evenings. So we decided to say a quick prayer on the side of the road. Afterwards we found a watermelon stand and decided that watermelon it would be. However, it was super expensive. My companion was agasted by how much they wanted, and somehow I misunderstood and said "yes! That would be great. 100 limperas for two watermelon." She was just staring at me, and later we decided it was part of God's plan for me not to understand, because we went to our second sita for the night, and they weren't there. So lame! But there was one of their neighbours. I knew their little girl, because she loves us, but the mom has never been too interested. However, we asked her if she wanted some watermelon. The mom said yes, and we decided we should go see if we could do it in a house of a member who lives super close. We went over and they were just starting their FHE! What another miracle. Everything went well, and we knew that God had a perfect plan for us and our watermelon that night.
We also had a baptism for Angie! She is eleven. She was baptized when she was 8 but there were problems with the paperwork so we got to teach her and get her ready to be baptized again. She was an investigator of gold. Her baptism was perfect and beautiful.
Also this week we went and hiked up in the mountains. Yep. Hiked. Not as an activity, but to find a contact. Another reference of Maria Huezo! So we left at 8 am to try to escape the heat (right now in Honduras we are burning and sweating every second!). After all was said and done we got there around 10:30. We had to take a bus to an area called Puente Alto, and then we had to find a pickup truck that would take us up the mountain. The truck came, and it is a rule of the mission we can't ride in the back of a truck, so my companion got to sit on my lap up the mountain. We got dropped off on the side, and got to hike in for another thirty minutes. Whoo!! Finally made it. It was absolutely beautiful. We were in a mountainous jungle with lots of beautiful trees. We finally made it to the aunt of Maria. She told us that she was coming to general conference and she thinks she wants to get baptized. We were kind of in shock by the faith and diligence of this seventy year old woman. We decided to have faith in her. We left around 11:30, and got to hike down the mountain to Puente Alto and take our bus back again, arriving sore and dirty back to our apartment around 1:00Sunday morning I almost started crying as this sweet woman walked into the chapel as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was singing. Wow. Such diligence, faith, and sacrifice. 

We also had a few miracles with our investigators who came to conference. Joanna, my sweet miracle investigator, was starting to stop going to church. We went and talked to her, and we talked to her about the importance of the church and that she needed to esforzarse (exert yourself) a little more. She told us she was going to come to conference. And she did! We had another lesson with her, and we started talking more about the church. We asked her if she had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, since she had been reading it and was loving what she was reading. She said she thought it was the word of God. We invited her to pray about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and this gospel. We explained that if the Book of Mormon was the word of God, that showed Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that this is the church of God. I watched her as she started putting everything together. It was amazing. Conversion is amazing. We also starting teaching a muchacho named Jelson. I had taught him once when I first came here to Campana in December, but he wasn't that interested and was never there when we had lessons, so we quite looking for him and he never came to church so we never found him. However, he is friends with Marco, one of our recent converts. He came to his baptism. Then all the sudden he had this desire to change. He wanted us to teach us again. He came to conference, and last night he was talking how he just felt like he needed to change and come unto Christ. My companion and I were sitting there in awe, and just told him, "well you have definitely come to the right place!" We also had a nice old gentlemen come who we never believed was coming, but there he was! I had to give him six limperas to get back home because somehow he was six limps short for the bus home, but it was chill since his son is loaded and I am sure will reimburse me the 35 cents :) And Christian came. Christian has been grounded for like a month but somehow got permission to come. Every person we have talked to so far has loved conference... and how can you not love conference?!? It is so amazing and beautiful!!
I ended up watching all four sessions, and the womens broadcast, in Spanish. I missed a lot but it was still beautiful. I LOVED LOVED LOVED Elder Packer, how he talked about how he knew Christ was our Savior. He gave the quote of Joseph Smith when he said "And this is the testimony last of all that we give, that he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God..." and then Elder Packer said that he knew too. I was listening in Spanish and I was like ¨woahh! Did I hear that right?¨ So amazing and beautiful. I also loved Elder Bednar´s talk about applying the atonement of Christ and sharing our yoke with God. And I loved the talk about how this is our three seconds, and if we mess up, we will be thinking about it for eternity! So act now! I also loved Elder Uchtdorf how he talked about how we need to be more grateful. I think I understood him right, that he said that is what made men into prophets, is being grateful and relying on God during trials.
So I want to add my own testimony to the prophet´s and the apostels. I too know God lives. I too know God loves me, and that Jesus Christ died for me. I know that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that people can truly be happier by living by the precepts of this gospel than any other way! I know that to be happy we need to draw ourselves to God, and every time we do, he will show us his love and teach us things that we need to change. I know this is the work of the Lord!

My district

Hermana Lopez and I
These are the plaques of everyone in my zone... and it says Honduras, si hombre jei (like hei!) Because that is what Honduranians say. 

Never forget to ask God if these things are true.

Well for accomplishments this week I finally finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish!!! Yesterday I ended Moroni 10 and after I kneeled in prayer to ask if the Book of Mormon is true and if this is truly the only church of God in the Earth. As always the spirit confirmed the truthfulness of this gospel, and of this work. Today I started the Doctrine and Covenants, and I also received more of my answer. In D and C 1 verse 30 it says "the only trueand living dchurch upon the face of the whole earth, with which I,the Lord, am well epleased..." I know that this is true with my whole heart. 

We also found out late about the Relief Society conference. Our ZL told us about two hours before the conference that we could go and that it would be in the chapel in Por Venir, about a 30 minute bus ride. We were a little worried because the buses at night are.... a little sketch. Even in the day time they are questionable. But we decided that the Lord would protect us, and we had the permission of our leaders, so we were going to go. We brought one of our cute investigators with us, Carolina. Carolina is the neice of one of our recent converts and she is super awesome. We arrived late and only got to hear the last talk from Elder Eyring. However, it was beautiful, and it was exactly what we all needed to hear. Plus, the chapel was air conditioned, so that made it all worth it. As we were walking back we got to talk to Carolina a little one on one about the conference. When we got back we found out that the conference had been in our chapel as well. However, my companion and I quickly realized what a miracle it had been that we got to spend all that time one on one with Carolina, and that was probably exactly what she needed. The Lord always has a plan, and his plans are always perfect. 

This week was also a crazy sick week as we found 20 new people to teach! We had decided it was time to drop a lot of people and find new people, and the Lord blessed us! Maria Huezo is so awesome and we met all of her family and we are teaching all of them! Well, not quite all of them. She has 8 siblings, but we are teaching a good chunck of them now. It is awesome to have someone so excited about the work. And everytime she bears her testimony so beautifully, and it is awesome. Marco, her husband, also just finished reading the Book of Mormon. It is so beautiful to watch people grow in their testimony and love of the Lord. 

Today for P Day we went to a zoo and the beach (I know, it was awesome-- except that some of the animals were escaping. Gotta love Honduras!). So I am running low on time, but I do know without a doubt that this is the church of Jesus Christ, and I know because I have knelt and prayed and asked the Lord. I know every one of us can have the same answer, if only we are willing to pray and ask in faith. I love what Alma says about finding our answers. 

 45 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that aknow of thesethings myself? Behold, testify unto you that do know that thesethings whereof have spoken are true. And how do ye supposethat know of theisurety?
 46 Behold, say unto you theare made aknown unto me by theHoly Spirit of God. Behold, have bfasted and prayed many daysthat might know these things of myself. And now do know ofmyself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made themmanifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit ofcrevelation which is in me. 

I love that Alma saw an angel of God, but he too needed to pray and fast and ask God. Laman and Lemuel saw an angel, but they were never converted because they never had the desire to truly kneel in prayer and ask God for them selves. Let us be like Alma and not Laman and Lemuel and take the time to truly ask God if these things are true, and if we have asked, let us ask again and again so we constantly remember these things.

I love you all!