Hola y Feliz Navidad!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I had a great Christmas too! Thanks so much to the YSA Branch for sending such a thoughtful package and letters! Oh it just made my day! You guys are the best!! Thanks for remembering me and for all your support! I also LOVED talking to my family last night! Agh so awesome! K here's what happened this week in Mazatenango
1. Christmas traditions here in Guatemala! Christmas was pretty different here. Here are a few of the traditions:
-- Tamales and ponche -- Everyone eats tamales on Christmas, similar to Mexican tradition, but the tamales here are very different. They are a lot wetter, and they have things like chicken (with the bone), raisins, date nuts, olives, and other random things in them. They're not my favorite, but I liked them alright. Everyone also makes ponche, or "punch", which is very similar to cider, its a hot drink made with cooked fruits like pineapple, apple, coconut, etc etc. It yummy!
-- Fireworks! -- Everyone waits up until midnight on Christmas eve, and then at midnight everyone in the neighborhood shoots off fireworks, and I don't just mean little ones. There were lots of big regular-sized fireworks. It was fun because they were going off in all directions, really loud, colorful, and smoky. When I told people that in America we don't wait up til midnight and use fireworks, they all were shocked and thought that American Christmases must be really lame ha-ha.
--Pine needles -- I'm not really sure why, but part of the Christmas tradition is to spread pine needles all over the floor of their houses. Messy, right? That's something that my family tries to avoid ha-ha.
-- New clothes -- Receiving and wearing new clothes on Christmas eve is a really big deal here. There aren't many presents for anyone because everyone is poor, but just about everyone had beautiful new clothes on Christmas eve and then Sunday morning for church. Earlier in the week we even went with Isabel, our new convert, and her granddaughters, to buy them new clothes. Luckily my comp is from here and understands the traditions, because I would have had no idea that getting new clothes is a big deal.
On Christmas eve, since we live with a family, we were able to stay up late and celebrate with them. It was really fun, it really seemed like a time of sharing and spending time together. What a nice blessing it was to spend Christmas with a family, even if it wasn't with my own.
We also had the ward party earlier in the week, where someone donated 4 pigs to be slaughtered and cooked up (sorry mom he-he). There were clowns to host a little show for the kids, good food, and some of our investigators and recent converts were able to attend. Awesome!
2. Baptism of Mario!! On Sunday a guy named Mario was baptized. Hes the boyfriend of a girl in the ward, Hermana Stevens and I taught him a few months ago but he didn't feel ready to be baptized. My comp now, Hermana Baca, had never even met him, but he was baptized and it was a beautiful baptism. He really seemed ready to make covenants with the Lord, and he wasn't just getting baptized for his girlfriend.
3. Familia Hernandez: These guys are hopefully getting baptized tomorrow!! A family! Hooray! The wife is still a little indecisive about it but were visiting her tonight and really hoping and praying that she can feel good about it like she did before. Her husband is totally awesome. It has been such a pleasure to watch his change through reading the Book of Mormon and praying, just as simple as that. Wow. So I'm really really excited and anxious about tomorrow. I know that we as missionaries have done all we can do, and now its in the hands of the Lord and the family.
So that's what I did this week! It was a great week and I'm really glad to be here. On Sunday a girl in the ward received her mission call and read it out loud (to Chile), and me and my comp were both crying because we were remembering when we received our calls, the special feelings that we had and still have. I am so so grateful to be on a mission, its such a special blessing to be a missionary. These words don't describe very well my feelings, but I am so grateful. I love the Gospel. I know that it is true and that we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today. How amazing is that!? I love my Savior Jesus Christ and am grateful for His sacrifice for me so that I could have the opportunity to come down to earth, experience and learn so many things. What a wonderful plan our Heavenly Father has for us. I love the Gospel and I love being a missionary! Have a great week and break from school! Thanks for your prayers and support!
Love, Hermana Gilland
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Hello everyone! As always I hope everything is going well for everyone. Here's what I did this week-
1. New companion! My new companion is Hermana . Shes from . She speaks English but we never speak English unless I have to tell her a secret. This is her last change, so Ill be killing her too right after Christmas. She seems really nice and so far everything has been good with her. It was really sad for me to say goodbye to Hermana Stevens because shes my mom out here. So were in my same area that I was in before.
2. Thanksgiving - us Hermanas went to the Xela Temple again on thanksgiving, which was awesome. That was our last time to go though. The dedication is in 2 weeks. We celebrated thanksgiving as a zone by watching toy story 3, playing games, and eating taco bell. It was fun to have a little down time all together. I did miss all the delicious thanksgiving food! Ive never been a taco bell fan.
3. So as far as missionary work goes - we had a baptismal date for a day, but then it fell. We had been teaching this old grandma for a week or so. Shes raising her 3 grand kids because their parents died, and she cant read or really do anything to make money except make tortillas and this breakfast drink called atol. She was a reference from a member and was really positive. She went to stake conference last week and loved it. So we set the date for in a week. The next day we taught her the Word of Wisdom and found out that she smokes, but she said she wanted to quit, so we helped her set a goal of quitting and we thought everything would be OK. We came back the next day and found her, cigarette in hand. She then gave us a mountain of excuses about why she no longer had time for all this stuff with the church, and in the end said that she didn't want us to come back. Bummer, right? Its sad because the Lord is just waiting to bless her! She needs lots of blessings! But if she isn't willing to obey the commandments, she cant receive all those blessings. Its the same for all of us. There are so many blessings we could be getting, and we get to choose whether or not we qualify for them. I wonder how much of the time I choose to not get blessings. Probably way too much.
4. Better news - we found a good family, the wife went to the temple open house and loved it. They're really positive and I hope that they progress!
That's pretty much what went down last week. I'm excited to see how things go with my new comp. I know that this is the Lords work. I know that the scriptures are the word of God. I know that we have a prophet today. I love the Gospel! It is so wonderful! I hope that y'all have a wonderful week and that Thanksgiving was great for everyone. Thanks for all your prayers and support!
at 3:09 PM
Monday, November 21, 2011
Familia y amigos!
Here I am emailing y'all again! I hope y'all had great weeks and I'm sure everyone is looking forward to Thanksgiving. I can hardly believe that its thanksgiving time because its summer here always.
So here's what I did this week:
1. The biggest thing I have to talk about is our trips to serve at the Temple! We got to go to Xela twice to serve. We had to travel to Reu the night before, and then leave really early in the morning to make it to Xela at 8 am. And of course everyone gets around here via school bus crammed full of people. So that's always an adventure in and of itself ha-ha. Anyways, we got to Xela in the morning and it was SO COLD! Luckily it warmed up pretty quick.
It was such a beautiful experience at the temple. I just felt so full of emotion because it was beautiful to see the people serving and proudly getting to show their new temple to the world. We got to go through the tour, and I just felt so strongly that this is the work of the Lord on the Earth, in His temples. It was so pretty inside, I definitely think its the most beautiful temple inside. They made it so nice, but with Guatemalan influence. is really ghetto and nasty and impoverished, right, so inviting people to come inside a building like this really is a once in a lifetime experience. This is definitely the most beautiful building in Guatemala. So it's really special. Lots and lots of people were really touched. I was just so excited when so many less actives and investigators from my ward came, because if I could feel such a powerful testimony from the Holy Ghost that the Temple is the house of God, how much more powerful was it for those people who had never felt the Holy Ghost, or who hadn't felt its influence in so long. It was such a special experience at the temple.
2. Another cool thing that happened this week was that we had a stake-area conference, I don't know exactly what its called. But we got to hear talks from Elder Clark of the 70, Sister Mary Cook, Elder , and President . Elder Clark gave his in Spanish, but the rest were translated from English. Elder Holland did share his testimony in Spanish though, and boy does he have a terrible accent, like the worst! He said so himself he-he. But it was really cool to hear the General Authorities give counsel especially for Guatemala and .
3. We had a baptism of 3 niños ! Niños are pretty easy, but still really exciting. They're adorable. Were hoping to baptize their parents in time, wouldn't that be awesome!
That was my week! I'm so grateful to be here in the work of the Lord. I know that the church is true and that the gospel of Jesus Christ has the answers that everyone needs in their lives. I love being a missionary! Its awesome! Have a great week and thanksgiving!
at 10:16 AM
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
As always I hope y'all are all doing great! I pray for y'all often. My week was really great. We were super busy, and I love being busy so it was awesome. Here's what I did this week:
1. We had a baptism ! Yay! It was a youth named José Manuel. His mom and younger siblings were baptized last month, but he needed some extra time to feel comfortable with the idea. All the other missionaries say that there are always a few little disasters on the day of a baptism, and my comp said that this baptism was the craziest shes had yet. For example we couldn't find the kid getting baptized or his family for a while, we couldn't find chairs, the font was really dirty, etc. But the end he was baptized and confirmed the next day! So awesome.
2. Sunday was really great because we had 8 investigators at church! My comp and I did divisions, meaning we split up and had girls from the ward to be our comps for a few hours. So basically I was by myself for the 3 hours of church with all these investigators. I was a little nervous, but it all went well.
We are working with lots of great people right now and I'm really excited to see what happens with them in the following weeks.
3. We ended up hiking through the jungle again this week ha-ha. We went with a recent convert to her moms house and went through the jungle and it was beautiful. When we got to her house though it was really sad. Some people here are just really really poor and have nothing. This lady has 7 kids and her husband is a drunk bum (pretty normal around here), so she feeds her family by finding and selling oranges. If she doesn't work one day, her 7 children have nothing to eat that day. It was very sad.
That's basically what I did this week! I hope we stay ridiculously busy next week. Also this is the end of my first change (6 weeks). I can hardly believe that!
I'm learning a lot out here about trusting in the Lord. As I see so many people with so many huge problems in their lives who still continue to trust in the Lord, my faith is strengthened. I know that we can receive comfort and guidance through our prayers. Every night when I say my prayers I cant thank my Heavenly Father enough for the time I have to be here in . I love it here and am so happy to be bringing the hope of Jesus Christ to people who need it so much. The gospel is true! I love it! I hope you all have a great week! Feel free to email me because I love hearing from the real world :)
at 4:43 PM