Beautiful Guatemala

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Miracles Can Come From Fasting

Hey everyone! This week was really awesome :) I hope y'alls was too.

1. This week we saw the miracles that can come from fasting.  This is what happened:

We've been teaching this awesome lady named Brenda for a few weeks now, and pretty early on we challenged her to pray to know if the church was true with a date in mind to be baptized, Oct 29. She had been praying, and really liked what we were teaching her and what she was reading in the Book of Mormon, but she didn't feel like she had gotten a firm answer yet. We had been telling our district and zone leaders about Brenda, and because it was the end of the month, they really wanted her to go ahead and get baptized. We set monthly goals as districts and zones and they're a really big deal to the zone leaders. Anyways, so the zls really wanted to come with us to show us how its done and commit her to baptism for this past Saturday. They came with us on Tuesday, and we felt like they might have overdone it, but she committed to be baptized in 4 days so we were happy at first. But then the next 2 days we couldn't get ahold of her! We had set appointments but she had pretty much disappeared. We were really scared that she was hiding from us because she didn't want to get baptized. We had a hard time with a few other people this week so we decided to fast for some help with everything, to at least salvage the situation with Brenda. The first half of our fast, everything still seemed to be falling apart. Most of ourapts fell through and things were just crappy. But then the next day lots of awesome things happened, and one of the awesome things was that we found Brenda! We started off by apologizing for the crazy elders pressuring her and telling her that she can totally get baptized next week if she wants. But she was like "No the elders were fine. I want to be baptized tomorrow. But if you guys need more time then we can do it next week". Wow!  Heck no we don't need more time! We don't really know how that all worked out but it did, and we had her baptism on Saturday! It was a beautiful baptism. You could just tell after wards that it was really special to her. She was crying a little bit and everything. It was very sweet. It just goes to show that this is the Lords work, not mine. Me and my comp had just very little to do with her conversion. We are so grateful to get to meet and work with such special and prepared people.

2. So basically this week was awesome. The mission is really focusing on finding whole families to be baptized, and we have 2 potentially really awesome families that we hope will progress. Also Amílcar will hopefully be baptized this week! 

3. Interesting fact about Guatemala: So I'm 5'1" tall, in case y'all forgot. In the US that is really really short. In the US in a group of people, I'm pretty much always the shortest person around. In Guatemala its way different. I frequently find myself in groups where I'm the second tallest woman (my comp is always the tallest, shes a freakish 5'11" ha-ha). Women and men here are teeny tiny! And I don't just mean they're an inch or 2 shorter. Every day I see women who come up to my shoulder. Yesterday there was one who came a few inches below my shoulder! She is under 4 ft tall! Isn't that crazy! There are taller people here too, of course. I know lots of women who are a few inches taller than me. But probably about 75% of the women here are around 5'3" and shorter. Yea, Guate is crazy.

So that was this past week. My comp only has 3 more weeks left in Guate, so that's super weird. Shes pretty baggy (in this mission we say "baggy" not "trunky") but she is going to finish out strong. Thanks for your prayers! Being a missionary is really really awesome. It is so fulfilling and rewarding. I am learning so many great things. Everyone should go on a mission!! I'm grateful for the power of the Book of Mormon. I'm grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful that we have the Gospel on the earth today. It is so clear and comforting. I hope y'all have a great week! Feel free to email me!

Love, Hermana Gilland

Monday, October 24, 2011

Six investigators came to church!!!!

Hey everyone!!
This week was pretty good. Here's what we did:

1. We did have one big bummer -- Amílcar had to change his baptismal date because of some conflicts in his schedule, and also we think because he is nervous... He is like 5 times busier than all the other Guatemalans here and works all the time, so he can hardly find time to meet with us. He tells us though that hes reading the scriptures every day, so I'm confident that hell get baptized in the end.

2. Wedding!  We married the kid we baptized a few weeks ago, José Manuel, and his girlfriend. Hes 17 and shes 21... so that's kind of weird, right?That's like if my little bro Tyler (who hasn't written me in like 3 months by the way) got married to one of my friends! Yikes! Oh well they're married now so that's that. I learned this week that you don't really have to put all that work into wedding planning like we do in America. You just need a bunch of niños to blow up balloons and some streamers. The way things are around here, the wedding was more than the couple could have imagined, which is sad, but its also nice that they could be so pleased with their little wedding. After they were married she was baptized, so that's all taken care now. The mission is really focused on baptizing families, and they count technically as a family. So we kind of feel like were cheating by marrying some kids, but everyone seems to be OK with it ha-ha.

3. At church we had 6 investigators!! Yay!!! It was awesome! My comp and I did divisions in the morning so that we could go wake up people for church and they all ended up coming. The one that were the most excited about is the nonmember dad of a recent convert family. Hes actually one of the guys that we taught last Sunday that ended in that big mess. He was definitely the most positive out of those guys, and were hoping that his heart was touched and that little by little we can help him to gain his testimony. We were just so happy with all the investigators who came. It was great.

4. So my comp and I are working on a really awesome plan to get the ward going with missionary work. I think I already wrote that the Bishops focus for the ward right now is missionary work, but no one really has a plan for how to make that happen. We've been applying some of the things I learned in my student ward last year about organizing people and getting them focused and with a plan. Were excited to get the plan going in each of the organizations this week and really get moving. We wont see the results immediately, but in a few months things should really start moving with the help of the ward.

5. My companion Hermana Stevens officially only has one month left of her mission! I'm getting nervous about her leaving because I still have a ton to figure out about this missionary work stuff. I leave almost exactly a year after her, so I almost just have one year left. That's really weird to think about because that's really not very long and I still feel brand new, but I guess that's just how it goes.

So that pretty much was our week. I hope my emails aren't just super boring ha-ha. If y'all want to hear about something different or have questions or whatever, feel free to email me! Its great getting emails from everyone. I am really grateful to be serving a mission. It is really fun and rewarding. Its really great to be trying really hard and working totally for the Lord. I know this is His work -- there's just no way that a bunch of young kids could come teach the Gospel to all these people and find success without so much help from the Lord. I'm grateful for everything Ive been blessed with and especially for my own testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Everyone should serve a mission! And all the grownups should serve too! I hope everyone has a nice week!

Hermana Gilland


Monday, October 17, 2011

The hardest time in my mission, so far.....

Hey everyone! I hope y'all are well!
This week has been interesting and good. Ill just tell a few interesting stories from the week.
1. So remember the baptism last week, with a 17 yr old kid named Josè Manuel? Well, we found out a little interesting twist to the story. On Wednesday we found out that between his baptism on last Saturday afternoon and his confirmation on Sunday morning, his girlfriend moved into his family´s shack in the boonies. Ha-ha yea, a slight problem right? That's not allowed. So to fix it we´re marrying them this coming Saturday and baptizing them. That sounds bad, but they really want to get married. I think its crazy but oh well. They tell us they're not sleeping together and we've taught them the law of chastity like3 times, so what else can we do? Sorry if that story was a little pg 13 for the kids, but its too good not to share.
2. Also this coming Saturday we have another baptism! Its a guy named Amílcar, hes 32 yrs old and has been investigating the church for like 20 years, and hes finally getting baptized! Yay!
3. We had Ward Council on Friday and the bishop is super stoked about missionary work! So were pumped about this. The bishops goal for each organization in the ward, that's 9 organizations, is to find and baptize one family each by the end of November. We are so excited and hoping so much that the ward actually gets on this because it would be incredible for the mission!
4. Random culture fact: here in Guatemala, we eat with our hands. Its pretty normal to be served a piece of meat with like a fork or spoon, no knife, so you have to just pick up the meat and go at it. its pretty disgusting, but that's life out here. The lady that cooks us lunch doesn't even own knifes to eat with.
5. So something sad happened on Sunday. It was definitely the hardest time in my mission so far. We have a tradition of visiting some recent convertsevery Sunday and having a quick lesson with them, and every week we hope that their 3 sons-in-law will come to listen to the lessons, because their wives are members but they're not. This Sunday they finally came! We were super excited and shared lesson one (about the restoration of the gospel), and it went really well. At the end we talked to them about praying to find an answer for themselves about whether or not it was true and things just got bad. We had thought it was going really well but all the sudden there was tons of contention about polygamy (my comp said that'sonly the 2nd time in her 17 months that polygamy has come up), and then one of the guys started picking apart how my comp had described when she prayed and received the answer that it was true, and how our Spanish was just going to confuse everyone, and all this other stuff that is too confusing to explain. Anyways, there was this terrible spirit in the room and I just burst into tears because I was so sad that they were so hard in their hearts and that they thought that they were supposed to be convinced by words to know if the church is true. So that was embarrassing. But they just kept going and going and it was terrible. It was terrible to feel the spirit leave like that. We cried a lot. I don't exactly know why, were girls you know. But it was awful. But it made me want to work even harder. There are so many stories about Paul and Peter and Ammon and Alma and all those guys about how powerfully they spoke and how people couldn't deny that they spoke with the power of God. I know that not everyone will accept the Gospel, but I want to someday be in tune enough with the spirit to leave people with no doubt that what were saying is the truth. I know that that's possible because so many in the scriptures do that. I hope that I can be worthy to represent the church like that. I'm going to work really hard to do that.
Well that was pretty much my week. I hope that last story wasn't depressing, they always tell us to write mostly happy stuff home. I know that the Gospel is true. It has to be. I know that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and that Thru Joseph they restored the true and perfect Gospel on the earth. I know that this is true. I hope that everyone has a great week! I pray for you all often! Thanks for your prayers on my behalf.
Hermana Gilland 
That was pretty much my week. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

I am happy to bring the hope of Jesus Christ to people who need it so much

Hola todos!
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 on Saturday! 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 Guatemala. 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 :)
Hermana Gilland

Monday, October 3, 2011

Conference was awesome!

 Familia y Amigos!

I hope y'all all had a great week. Mine was pretty good. We did a lot of sitting around and not working, like for conference and we also had amulti zone conference for the mission all day on Thursday, plus the normal weekly meetings that we had. But next week we'll have much more time for working. 
Conference was AWESOME! I loved it! We got to watch all 4 sessions in English (minus the first hour of the last session because we were waiting for one of our investigators to show up...she didn't...oh well). It was so great. I loved Saturday morning because they mentioned 3 places near where I've lived! Big Spring TexasProvo, and Quetzaltenango Guatemala! That temple that Pres Monson referred to is our new temple here! It's not in my mission but it's right next to us, and it's so exciting that Pres Monson is coming to dedicate it! The youth around here have been practicing their dance for the cultural celebration for a long time. That's also so awesome that Provo is getting a second temple! We need it there so badly! I don't know if any of my friends remember it, but I totally called it!   I said that is what they might do with the old tabernacle building, just say-in. Conference was really great. We watched it at the stake center with all the members. Here in Guatemala, everyone has the BYU channel (in Spanish), well I guess everyone who has a TV, which definitely isn't everyone but it's a lot. So lots of people just watch at home. But for the Sunday sessions it seems to be a tradition to watch at the church, and between to have a giant picnic all together. It was really fun! We had 5 investigators come to various sessions of conference! We were really happy about that. Our awesome family Ani y Selson didn't come though. Satan is working hard against them and Selsonis like really really sick. But They're planning on getting married and baptized on Oct 15! I'm so excited and I really hope we don't hit anymore big bumps with them. We are also hoping for at least 2 more baptisms this month, and hopefully we can even find a few more. 
We are really busy with the ton of references that we got last week (Cake activity).  We are trying to sort through them and figure out exactly where they live.  Things like that. Addresses and directions in this country are a joke. But I'm really excited and hoping that we find some prepared people in these references. 
So that's basically what happened this week. It was pretty good and I am loving just about every bit of my time here. Spanish is coming along still. Eventually I'll get it ha-ha. Thanks to those who emailed me this week! I love hearing from everyone! Thanks for everyone's prayers for the missionaries! I know this is the Lords work on the earth. I know that the Gospel is true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I know that as we read it we can get closer to him. There is a recent convert older couple who we meet with on Sundays.  We talked yesterday with them about reading the scriptures. The wife can't read at all, and the husband can read but he's slow and it's hard for him and he can't see really well. But they read the scriptures together! They struggle through a bit of the scriptures every day! They're awesome examples to me! And I can see how the Book of Mormon is blessing their lives. Its a wonderful book, and I want to be more dedicated in my study of it. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I love being a missionary! Have a good week!

Hermana Gilland