Monday, May 19, 2014

President Kimball in Honduras!

Well this email is going to be a little shorter than usual because today we went to Copan Ruins as a zone. It was pretty legit. It was cool to see all the old architecture and places that people used to live. I was talking to one of the workers there and he asked where I was from. I told him I was from Utah. He said ¨Oh really! I have a good friend from there, from Salt Lake City, but he died a few years back. His names was Spencer W. Kimball.¨
I looked at him again, in shock.  
He told me that Spencer W. Kimball had come to visit the ruines, and that ten men had come with him. He said they were all very big and fat haha :) He said that  Spencer W. Kimball had given him a Book of Mormon and had signed it and put a note in it. He said he has yet to make it to church, but he was working on it. He looked at me though and started talking about how Christ had come to the Americas, and I looked at him like ¨yeah , I know!¨ 
So awesome. Even the prophet had a Book of Mormon to give away when he went to Honduras to visit the ruins. 
What an example!

This week there has been two themes that I have been thinking a lot about. The first one is gratitude! I have been thinking a lot about the talk from last conference of President Uchtdorf  about being grateful, and how we truly need to learn to be grateful for all things and in all circumstances! I loved this quote from him¨:
¨We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.
This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer.
When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we canexperience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace.¨
So beautiful! I think Elder Uchtdorf said it all. This week as I have been praying I had a thought come to my mind, that almost all of the great prophets at some point or another went to prison. God is all powerful, he could have broken down the prison walls, but he didn´t. Could they have been doing great good outside of the prison walls? Yes. Absolutely. They were prophets, amazing teachers. But he chose to let them be in the prison. Why? Because Gods ways, and his thoughts, are higher, and greater, than ours. And they always learned great lessons, and were grateful in their circumstances.
I have also been thinking a lot about the sacrifice of the pioneers. It might have something to do with my current readings in the Doctrine and Covenants, but I have been thinking about how they gave up everything. Everything everything. They gave up their homes, many times their families, their jobs, their lives... literally, everything. They walked across the United States with little or no food, many times shoeless, and why? All for the sake of Zion! And what did the Lord do? He commanded them to build a temple, a house for the Lord. They had nothing, and they built a beautiful house for the Lord. I have been thinking about how maybe I can give up a little more, and sacrifice a little more for God.
Sacrifice a little more and give thanks a little more, because we have the greatest gift of all. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ! We have the temple! We have eternal families! We have everything, and what is there not to give thanks for? Let us be as Job, and praise the Lord all the day long. Let us be as Nephi and raise up our voices in every moment! And let us be as Joseph Smith, and glory in tribulation.
I love you all! I hope you all have a beautiful week. 
With so much love, 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dreams? Visions? Honduras!

Whooo!! Today I have six months in Honduras. I think I can officially call myself a catracha! (Catracha is a woman from Honduras). Si hombre jei!!
So today I was walking in the beautiful Santa Rosa and I finally put my finger on why I do not feel like Santa Rosa is apart of Honduras. It is because there is no trash. Where is all of the trash?!?  Who knew I would actually miss the trash, I mean really.... it just feels too clean and refined. Haha. Where is my good old Honduras? Also today I was helping one of our investigators with his English homework and we were practicing his pronunciation. He told me, "you talk a lot differently when you talk in English and when you talk in Spanish." It made me so happy!! Hopefully that means I do not sounds like such a Gringa :) My companion and I almost even convinced someone today that I was from Mexico! Whooo. I actually think he was just naive though, because she was convincing him she was from the States... but ya never know. Maybe one day I will be able to convince people I am a Mexicana!
So for this week...

We had a baptism! This was my first baptism that I have kinda walked into without actually teaching them very much. I was sad that I did not have the opportunity to see it all happen, but meh, it is the mission. They are all the Lord´s converts anyways so it doesn´t matter too much. This baptism was apparently a huge miracle though. His name is Daniel, and he is a friend of a member named Fernando. He is 17 years old, and he has wanted to get baptized for a while now, but his Dad is a pastor of another church. About a week after I came here his dad finally gave him permission! whoo. Saturday night we were preparing for the baptism. We got the Elders to come down to do the interview, and right after the interview, we got a phone call saying that there was no water in the church. So we decided we would have to have the baptism in the church of the Elders. So we go down to the other church, to find out that no one has keys for the baptismal font. Where are the keys? Well, they eventually showed up! And miracle of miracles, the baptism was only an hour and a half later than we had planned. The great thing was, I was not stressed at all for the entire thing. I think I have figured out that for certain things in the mission I will always encounter problems. The first being baptism, and the second is when it is time to Skype the family. Always, always problems. But, I have stopped being stressed! Take that Satan, because God always makes it work out :) Yeah for trusting in God!

The other crazy thing that has happened this week is dreams. One of our investigatos was telling us he had a dream that he was in a beautiful area with beautiful trees and animals and there was a river. My companion being the crazy awesome inspired woman that she is pulled out her scriptures and opened up the picture of the River Jordan where Jesus was baptized, and asked him if his dream looked like this. He said that it was exactly the same, except there were no animalitos (little animals) in the picture. We explained to him that is where Jesus was baptized, and read to him the story. He still looked at us with confusion and said he did not understand what his dream meant. We tried to help him understand what it meant, but nothing. So we finally read the story of Joseph when he interpreted the dream for Pharaoh, and told him we could tell him what his dream meant. It means you need to get baptized! But he is still a little iffy and confused. Maybe next time the Spirit will speak a little more direct to him :)  
We also had another cool dream story. We went to go visit a less active member, and his mom was there. She is always really sweet to us. We started talking to her and how all of her kids were members. Let´s just say here in the mission I have stopped being all suave sita. I just ask the questions that get straight to the point. So I asked her, "If all your kids are members, why aren´t you?" And she explained she had been preparing for baptism, and something had gone wrong with the paperwork. We were way confused, but we are now preparing her for baptism! She told us eleven years ago she had a dream that a man had told her this was the true church, and that she has always known this is the church. Now we just gotta get her pumped to actually come to church! Yeah.
So yep those are a few of the things that are happening here in Santa Rosa. Today I read a super awesome scripture, and I am going to try to apply it into my mission. I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 52, where the Lord calls a bunch of people to be missionaries, including my ancestor, William Carter (oh yeah!). At the end of the section though, in verse 40, it says "
 40 And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple.
So I have decided I need to incorporate this more, I need to help the poor and needy and the sick and the afflicted. I am not sure how yet, but I am sure the Lord has a lovely plan! Here in Santa Rosa is a little different from my old area, because people will actually tell us "no" about coming in and visiting them. So I have decided my goal is that people will be able to feel the love of God when they see us, because the love of God seriously changes people. How can I help people feel the love of God in thirty seconds? I have no clue! But I am working on it, because I know as missionaries are purpose is to invite people to come unto Christ, and sometimes people need a little of the love of Christ before they can come unto Christ. 
So yep! There is a little of my week here in Santa Rosa.
For all of you who want to understand where I am... here is a map of the different "counties" in Honduras. Right now I am in Copan, the area to the far right in the middle. It is about three hours from San Pedro Sula. Before I was in Cortes. 

And here is a picture of a Street that I actually look down, like every other day. At the end the big white building is a Catholic Cathedral that is actually rather pretty, and to the left of the cathedral is a park that is also actually quite beautiful. Today I was sitting outside this cathedral :) Oh yeah!

This is in my old area in Campana, one day I was on divisions and my dear Hermana Bayles took this photo. I think it looks pretty cool myself :) We were trekking out to visit one of our investigators that lives kinda far.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Well ladies and gentleman I have officially had another cambio...
bum bum bum

I am back in Santa Rosa de Copan! My first area. Shocker! I know. I was shocked too. Well, a little. The Mission President said I might go back, and here I am. There isn´t much yet to say about my area and who we are teaching since, well, I don´t know them too well yet. On Monday night I packed up my bags and Tuesday I said my goodbyes. Luckily I didn´t cry, I was close a couple of times, but I made it. I had an amazing five months in Campana, and I will always love it there.

Yesterday I stumbles upon Romans 8. Wow! What a powerful chapter. It absolutely amazed me.
I loved starting in verse 15, it says:
¨...whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth awitness with our bspirit, that we are the cchildren of God:
17 An d if chil  d ren, then heirs; aheirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we bsuffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the asufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the bglory which shall be revealed cin us.¨¨
God is our loving father. He knows us perfectly! The Spirit should testify to every single one of us that we are children of God. And I love what it says afterwards, ¨if children, then heirs.¨ We are heirs of God. We have the potential to become so much, to become like God even. We can receive everything that Jesus Christ has received, but only if we suffer with him. Only if we submit our will to God´s will and do as he would have us do. Only if we yoke ourselves to Christ and pull with him. 
I love verse 18 too, that our sufferings, our challenges, our hardships right now will not even compare to the glory we will have. The glory which will be revealed in us. The glory that we will one day have.
In verse 28 it continues, ¨
 28 And we know that all things work together for agood to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
I know all things will work together for our good. I know this with my whole heart, and I know that every one of us are called according to his purpose to help others, to mourn with those who mourn, to comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to be witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places. 
and finally at the end of the chapter it talks more of the love of God, oh so beautifully . It says
 35 Who shall separate us from the alove of Christ? shall btribulation, or distress, or cpersecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are akilled all the day long; we are accounted as bsheep for the slaughter.
 37 Nay, in all these things we are amore than bconquerors through him that loved us.
 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to aseparate us from the blove of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I love the imagery. I know God is our loving Heavenly Father and he loves each and every one of us. I know that when Nephi and Lehi ate the fruit which was white, and more diserable than anything else, it was the love of God. Because when we feel the love of God, we want to be better, we want to do more, and we want to rise a little higher. I love God, because as it says in 1 John 4:19, because he first loved me. He gave his all for me, and I want to do my part and give my all for him. I love my father, and my savior, more than anything else in this world. They are my everything, and I just want to be better because of them, and because of their love. I know Jesus Christ died for me, because he loved me, and he wanted to suffer so that he would know how to help me. Even when it was hard, even when he asked God to pass the bitter cup, he did it, he drank it, and he came out conquerer. And why did he do it? Because he loved his father.
I know understand why charity is the greatest of all gifts, because it is the pure love of Christ, which love changes nations.
I love you all and hope you are having a lovely May! 

Through the grace of the atonement, we can do miracles

This week has been absolutely beautiful. We had the baptism of Rafaela, and it was absolutely amazing. While we were singing for the baptism, I looked over and she was praying. It touched my heart so much. She also paid her tithing, and her fast offering for the first time yesterday. When we taught her about tithing and fast offering she just wanted to pay it so much and give her offering to the Lord. She gave her thirty limperas to tithing and her twenty limps for fast offering. I know that for the Lord, it was so much.
Sometimes people have to wait 70 years for the blessings of the gospel, but they are always blessed, and the Lord always has a plan for everyone. My companion and I were talking about how God had perfectly planned Rafaela. In January we had the baptism of Familia Huezo, and then they were able to introduce us to Rafaela. Rafaela lives so far away, and when it is rainy here, there is no possible way that she could come down from the mountain. God planned it perfectly so she could be baptized, that we were able to find her in the short period of time where there is no rain here in Honduras. He also planned it in a way that he knew we would be willing to make the four hour sacrifice to go visit her. Our Father in Heaven is a God of miracles. He was, he is, and he always will be when we exercise our faith in him. He is perfect.

We also had another miracle. Yesterday we decided to walk out to one of our other areas to visit a member that is only there on Sundays. She wasn't in church, and I felt like we really needed to see her. So we treked out to Las Palmas to find her. We went to where she lived, and her neighbour was outside and told us she had moved. I was so sad! She explained to us where she lived... and lets be honest, most of the time when people give me directions here... I understand nothing! It sounds a lot like this "por aqui, y por aca, y adelante adelante, y por la izquerda y bajo bajo bajo..." Basically if they give us a pulperia we go look for the pulperia and pray. We went and looked for some others, and everything was falling through. Everything! So my companion and I looked at each other, and decided it was time to pray. We got close in the dirt road, looked around and, finding ourselves alone, prayed. We prayed to know what the Lord wanted us to do, because he always has a plan. We decided to go look for the Pulperia Gladis, which is the most I understood from the directions. We walked a few steps, and there was a group of women. I went up and asked one of them if they knew where Pulperia Gladis was. She said "yes! And here is my friend, she lives close to there, she can take you there!" We were walking and we told her we were looking for Marina, with the daughters, and she knew who she was! She tooks us straight to her house, and it was definately bajo bajo bajo, and there is no possible way we would have ever found it without some miracles from God. We got there and we told Marina our story. She told us that she had been thinking about us so much that day and the night before, and she knew God loved her because he had sent us to find her. It was a miracle for her and for us! It was so beautiful.
This week we also had divisions. I got to go with the amazing Hermana Bayles, who is going to finish her mission the next change. She is an amazing missionary and got me pumped to talk to people on the street and the bus more! I definately go through waves of having desires to talk to everyone and waves of having no desire at all, but I am back to trying to talk to every person I possibly can. We also read 1 Nephi 17 twice that day with investigators, so I decided that maybe the Lord was trying to teach me something in this chapter. I went back and re read this chapter. This is the chapter where Nephi is commanded to build a ship. In the first verse, Nephi says "...and we did wade through much affliction..." but in the second verse, "And so great were the blessings of the Lord..." and in the third verse, Nephi boldly declares if we are obedient, God always prepares a way. After this, God commands Nephi to build a ship. And what is the first thing he does? He immediately gets to work. And in first fifteen Nephi works hards to be obedient. So beautiful. I know that this is the way of the Lord. Trials, tribulations, and if we are obedient, lots of blessings. This worked perfectly with an article I read of Elder Bednar entitled "The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality." Elder Bednar says that through the atonement, through the grace of God, we can "serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity." I know Nephi was able to build the boat through the grace of the atonement.I know that we too can use the grace of the atonement to be better, serve more, and become more like Christ. We can do things we never thought were possible. Later in the week I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 33, and it says, open your mouth, and you will become even as Nephi. I know we can become as Nephi and have faith if we are obedient, and if we use the grace of the atonement to make ourselves stronger and better.
I love Honduras, and I love the people here. I am about to reach my seven month mark, and I feel like my time is running out as a missionary! I am starting to panic a little haha. Luckily I know I have a little more time to be a representative of Jesus Christ and to boldly proclaim the gospel to every person.  

With so much love!

Easter Happiness

Well we made it through the hottest week in Honduras!  It is already starting to get cooler.. phew :) This week has been filled with lots and lots of people going to the beach. Justin was talking about how they were walking around searching for people... yep, us too! Luckily I think we had a bit more luck than they had though. We did end up talking to a lot of people we probably would not have talked to otherwise due to the lack of people... but it always ended well, or funny, so it is all good. The weird thing about here is that when it is really hot everyone gets a cold, including me. It is so bizarre! I would have never guessed that the hot time of year is the sick time. 

This week Amilcar got baptized!  It was awesome. On Sunday he got confirmed, and afterwards we found him and I said "Por fin! Usted es un miembro y en su confirmacion el le dijo que usted va a ser un misionero!!! (Finally! You are a member and in your confirmation it said you would be a full time missionary!) and he gave us a nice big sheepish smile. It was so cute, and I am so happy for him. I know he is so happy too, and he is already planning on his little friend Carlito to get baptized too. Also on Sunday Jose, our other cute muchacho who got baptized about a month ago, was passing the sacrament and it made me so happy to see. Sometimes people make me want to cry when they are willing to change so much and give so much to the Lord, especially when they are teenage boys and there are so many other things they probably want to do. They are such amazing examples. Sometimes they are crazy monkeys :) But most of the time they are amazing examples and leaders.

Raffaela also came to church for the third time yesterday! Every time she amazes me by her faith. We also realized she cannot really understand anything we are saying, so we are going to start making Maria repeat everything we say :) Oh Gringa problems :) Our district leader has also officially agreed to make the trek up to her house for the baptismal interview (thanks to some beef jerky, it was not too hard :) We also had the opportunity to meet another of Maria s sisters and her husband from Mexico! We passed by for them before church and got to meet them, and we convinced them to come to church! Apparently it was the first time that he has ever been to church! He has seen our church before in Mexico, and we are hoping when they go home they will get baptized and join the awesome Family Huezo amazingness clan of righteousness. 

My companion and I have also been practicing our wheat tortillas!! We are still seriously lacking, but our tortillas our getting a little less mappish... one day we will be true catratchas (that is what all the Honduranians call themselves, catratchos y catratchas) and be able to make boss wheat tortillas. Prepare yourself family for the balleadas and tortillas that are going to be happening!!

For my spiritual things, this week was Easter! Sadly here it is not very exciting. Everyone just goes to party and swim. We had a higher number of drunk men chasing after us this week, but luckily, as always, we were prepared with our Word of Wisdom pamphletes. We also had our interviews with the President this week, which our, as always, AMAZING. I have the most amazing mission president. I have loved this week thinking about Christ, and that he truly lives. What joy to know that our savior lives, and that he loves us. For companionship study my companion and I read Matthew 28. It hit me so hard the last two verses, which says " 19 ¶Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
It is true! Christ is with us, and being a missionary, I love that I have the opportunity to be in this country teaching and baptizing, and that I get to have the Savior with me always. What a beautiful message of Easter, that Christ is not dead, but he lives, and he is with us. 

I love you all and hope you are having a lovely Spring!