Beautiful Guatemala

Beautiful Guatemala
Me with a random field worker. I love the knife!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Ward Cake Activity

Hola everyone!
Thanks so much for writing me some emails this past week! It was so fun to actually have some emails not from my mom (no offense mom he-he). Sounds like everyone is doing great except for BYU football...this sounds like a good season to miss...

This week was pretty good. Here are a few things we did:
1. Hiking in the legit jungle. Were teaching someone that lives way far in the jungle. Cool!
2. Learned how to tortillar, or to make tortillas. I need to practice a lot but hopefully I can master it by the time I leave. 
3. Fought off cucarachas! Up until a few days ago we had only had like 3 cucarachas, but the other day we had so many! We are buying bugspraytoday. And when I say we fought them off, I mostly mean my comp did because I am kind of a wuss...
4. RS General Broadcast! It was awesome. I love Pres. Uchtdorf. It made me really excited for conference this week. We had to watch the rs broadcast in Spanish but well probably have conference in English. Yay!
5. Cake activity in the ward! We are really hard up for references, so a few elders gave us the idea of watching this quick movie about inviting your friends to listen to the missionaries, and then giving each family a sheet of paper and 5 minutes to write down as many names and families as they can, and the top 3 families with the most names win cakes! And here cakes are really special and expensive because no one has an oven and can make their own cake, and they're really expensive Q100, which is like $13, but that's really expensive around here. Lots of poor people have never tasted cake. So we did the activity and it went great and we got about 150 references! So were going to work really hard in the next few weeks to find those of these references who are ready for the gospel! Were super excited. 
6. Our awesome family Ani y Selson are doing well. Were planning on them being baptized on Oct 8. They were going to come to church but they got there really late and they couldn't hear anyone in the building and thought it was over. Super bummer, but they at least tried! They're excited for conference this weekend and I'm really excited to watch them and help them progress in the gospel. They already have noticed the blessings of the gospel in their lives. They're awesome. 

So that was basically my week. It was pretty fun and I'm excited to keep working hard. Thanks again for emailing me. It is great to hear from everyone. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission. I am learning lots all the time. I know that the gospel is true and that it has the power to bless everyone's lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. I know that the Atonement is real and that we can use it in our lives daily. I love the church and the gospel and my Savior.  Have a great week everyone! 

Hermana Gilland

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Don't Think I Can Do Rats!

Buenos Dias familia y amigos!

I hope every ones week was great. Mine was awesome. Everything in Guatemala is going well and I'm loving it here. So we found a pretty awesome family to teach! They are Selson and Ani, and they have 3 young kids. Ani was just a random contact, but when we taught her for the first time, she really understood what we were telling her and there was a wonderful spirit in her home. The next time we taught, we taught both Ani and Selson, and Selson had tons of questions and knew a lot about the church and about Joseph Smith. They think that this is the true Gospel and well find out tonight if they prayed and received an answer. They're awesome. The Lord really is preparing people to find the gospel. I'm really excited about them and about a few other people we are teaching. My Spanish is coming along slowly but is better every day. I'm just really loving everything about my mission so far. Well, I do have one little thing I don't love. We were in the home of a less active this week and while we were teaching I saw a big, nasty, black rat race across the floor! Agh! And then I saw another one later. I didn't really say much in that lesson because I was a little panicked. I don't think I can do rats. I can do bugs and little mice, but rats are nasty.  Other than nasty rats though its awesome here. 

So I would really like to hear from a few of y'all...I can get emails from anyone at kylie.gilland at (cant find the at sign on this computer!). So like my old roommates, when y'all are just chillin at the lib not studying, shoot me a short email please. I have no idea whats going on in your lives! And I don't have your email addresses so I cant email you first. I know yall are busy, so no worries, but sometime you should email me...also Hilllary you have no excuse not to send me a few lines about your life, I know all you're doing is messing around ha ha. Also, can Garen Murry please email me with the recipe for pineapple upside down cake in the dutch oven? I would really appreciate that!  I would also really like some football updates from someone please. Sorry I sound pretty desperate, but I miss y'all and would love to hear from you!!

I love you all! The church is true. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Conference is soon and well be hearing from the latter day prophets and apsotles! I love being a missionary!!!  Have a great week!

Hermana Gilland

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Gave a Talk on Sunday

Hola everyone!!

This week has been good. We had a baptism on Saturday! Its not quite as exciting as it sounds because it was for 2 8 yr old kids and a 9 yr old kid, but baptisms are always nice. Other than that we've been having kind of a hard time finding promising people to teach. My comp says its just a little time of bad luck. We even taught an atheist a few days ago, the first atheist my comp has met in the 15 months shes been here ha ha, so that's the kind of luck we're having with investigators. But we're working really hard trying to find people and have a few appointments that we're excited for this coming week. We've also been working a lot with less-actives around here and have been seeing some good results with that. A few of them came to church on SundayYea! Working with less actives is really important because there are a ton of them around here, and mostly we just need to remind them of how important church is and how important their baptismal covenants are. So even though I'm a little bummed that we don't have any progressing investigators, its OK and we're doing good things.  We also work a lot with the recent converts. A whole lot of them can't read, which makes teaching the gospel a little different. But its neat to see that they still have testimonies in the gospel, even without being able to read the Book of Mormon and Bible.
This past Sunday I spoke at church. Yikes. It went fine though, people said they could understand me and all that, think goodness ha ha. Spanish is still coming along and I'm learning to not be as nervous when I'm teaching and talking. If I just let myself go and talk, it goes alright, but when I start to wonder if what I'm saying is actually right then I start getting mixed up ha ha so the trick I think is to not think about it. A similar thing happens when I'm listening to people, because I can pretty much get everything that people are saying, but when they say something pretty off the wall (like yesterday when we were contacting someone started telling us how Christ and Adam are equal, something strange) then I think there's no way I just heard that right' and then I get lost. So that's kind of funny. But I'm loving Spanish and am so excited to improve.
That's pretty much all that's going on around here. I really hope to have some progressing investigators next week...we'll see what we can do. Thanks so much for y'alls prayers and support!  I am so grateful and happy to be serving a mission. I am having so much fun and learning so much. I'm so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and this time I have to see it working in peoples lives and to help people understand these things. Hope y'all have a great week!
Hermana Gilland

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Disgusting Spaghetti Dinner

Hola familia and friends!!!
I'm finally out in the field! It is great, I'm really loving it. I finally have interesting things to email. So we drove out to Reu last week and met with president and all that. President seems really great, hes animated and excited for us. He and his wife are from Nicaragua, and hes like 44 or so. My trainer is Hermana Lindsay Stevens. She is really great! Shes from Sacramento CA and only has 2 changes left on her mission, and well be together for the next 2 changes - a change is 6 weeks - so I will 'kill her', or send her home. She has pretty much perfect Spanish and is really patient with me. She really is like my mom because she totally takes care of me and knows how to do everything that we have to do, both for missionary work and for just living. I really appreciate all her help. Shes really easy to get along with and we're already good buddies. So I'm excited to be with her for 12 weeks.
Gosh there are like a million things I could write about this place, I don't even know where to start. We live in kind of like the back of someones house, in one giant room. When I first got there I couldn't believe we were going to be living there, but now I like it. we have 2 beds with decent mattresses, 2 bars for hanging clothes, 2 desks, a little fridge, a few fold out tables, a bunson burner stove thing, and a little bathroom. And that's all ha ha. But i like it, its clean and bug-free for the most part. Outside we have a pila and a clothes line. A pila is something that pretty much all people in central America have who have a little bit of money. Ill try to explain it, but you should just google it if you want to understand. It functions as the dishwasher, sink, and laundry station. there are 3 basins, the middle one has a faucet, and you fill the middle one full of water and keep it pretty full all the time. One side is for drying dishes, and the other is for washing dishes and clothes. there is a drain on that side and the bottom of the basin is wavy? like a washboard, and you rub your clothes on that with the bar of laundry soap. to wash dishes, you scrub them on that side and rinse them with water from the center basin. that was probably a really confusing description, so just google it ha ha if you re curious.
We have 2 means of transportation around here -- bus and tuk-tuk. the 'buses' here are actually giant vans, basically astro vans only with an extra row of seating, they are like the most ghetto old vans in the world, I have no idea how they are still running, and they run all day and cram as many people as possible on them when they need to, but luckily I haven't been too squished yet. tuk-tuks are like taxis, they're like golf carts but with only 3 wheels, one in front and 2 in back, and they cruise around the roads. they're more expensive, so we don't use them much. All the drivers here are crazy and there are no laws or regulations or anything, so its always wild driving ha ha.
Food -- we eat breakfast at our house, like cereal or whatever, and then lunch at this members house, she's our cook,  and its almost always good. Dinner kind of depends on if people invite us over or if were hungry. Everything has been fine except for last night when we were served a huge plate of spaghetti noodles with a ton of this cream-mayonaisse stuff on top! It was so nasty, I gagged a few times but got it all down with a smile ha ha. It was really nasty agh, I still feel kinda sick from that...oh well...
A few more things about the culture -- there are animals everywhere, dogs, chickens, ducks, pigs, turkeys, dogs, a few cows, rabbits. People sometimes ask me things like if both my parents are gringos, and why am I so short, americans are supposedly really tall, and how tall are my parents and stuff like that. Its funny ha ha.
My comp and I have 2 wards we're in, which is unusual around here, most missionaries just have one ward or branch. Its kind of hard because one church starts at 8 and the other starts at 9, so we're cruising around in tuk-tuk alot on Sunday. We've taught some nice lessons and things, but we don't really have any progressing investigators yet because my comp and her old comp had a bunch of baptisms last week and so we're kind of starting over, if that makes sense. We're praying really hard for a family to find and teach, and I think that we'll have a great week this week and get some stuff done. My Spanish is coming along. I can understand almost everything people say - unless they're talking about something crazy -  and I can get my point across usually. I have lots of improving to do, but the Spanish is going fine, can't complain.
So that was a giant email, sorry if it was ridiculous but I was just so excited to finally have some cool things to say! Hopefully next week Ill have some cool things about missionary work to share ha ha. Anyways, I hope y'all are doing well! Oh, and I can get emails and email whoever, so email me if you want and have time! Thanks for all y'alls support. I'm really really grateful to be out here serving a mission. It's the best thing you can do! I am learning so much! I am so happy to be sharing the gospel with these people. these people have absolutely nothing and I know they need the gospel of Jesus Christ so much. I know that the gospel is true and that Christ is our Savior and that we can do anything through him. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that Heavenly Father guides us today by means of a living prophet. I am so grateful for all I have. Have a great week!!
Hermana Gilland