Beautiful Guatemala

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My new companion is from Honduras

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 Baca. Shes from Honduras. 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 on Friday 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!

Love, Hermana Gilland

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Quetzaltenango Temple Open House

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 Quetzaltenango 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.Guatemala 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 Holland, and President Uchtdorf. 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 Belize.
3. We had a baptism of 3 niños on Sunday! 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!
Love, Hermana Gilland

Monday, November 14, 2011

No Investigators Came to Church - Pathetic!!!!

Buenos días everyone! I hope everyone is doing well. Thanksgiving is coming soon right? Crazy. 
K here's how my week went:
1. The bad: No investigators came to church! Agh! Pathetic! We do a lot to try to get people to come. A few days before everyone says that of course they're coming and God is first blah blah. We had 8 people who were maybe going to come, plus niños. But then Sunday morning comes. We call people to wake them up. We go to peoples houses to wake them up. We offer to help make breakfast and get the kids ready. We promise the teenagers prizes if they go ha-ha. But no one came. It was a huge bummer. Its like the worst to be a missionary and show up at church with no one.
2. We still might have a baptism next week though, of this really pregnant teenager. We want to hurry and baptize her because shes due next Sunday, and around here there are all kinds of superstitions about babies, for example, the 40 days after a baby is born the mom and baby can't leave the house or do anything. So we have to hurry. We'll see how it goes, I can for see a few big disasters coming with this one ha-ha...
3. I had a very interesting cultural experience yesterday (Sunday). Something awful happened - a young girl's husband died in a motor accident! It was really sad. She has 2 little kids. She found out during church. It's a tragedy. But it was really interesting to watch the ward come together. In America when something like this happens, the Relief Society organizes when dinners will be taken over, organizes who will be watching the kids. In Central America this is what they do: It was announced at church that the wake would be at 5pm and that everyone was to meet at the young woman's house (and in Guatemala, everyone lives with or right next to family, so all kinds of family live right there too). Me and my companion got there a little after 5, but people had already been there working for a few hours. The entire ward was there. All the women were in the back of the house outside cooking a HUGE meal for everyone. There aren't means to cook large meals here, so several fires were built with several huge pots on them, cooking things like a hot fruit drink, batter for tamalitos (kind of like tamales) chicken, vegetables. I was helping clean and dry about 200 giant banana leaves because here they use the banana leaves to wrap tamalitos, not corn husks like the Mexicans use. Other preparations were also made. The men set up a huge tarp tent thing with lots of chairs, I have no idea where they got that stuff. Lights had to be rigged up so the women could keep cooking (and when I say rigged, I mean there was a guy sticking a raw exposed wire into an outlet. It actually worked out. I got pics). It was basically a giant party, everyone was happy and smiling. But it was all in support of the family. Everyone felt kind of a sense of importance, of duty to be there helping. Wecouldn't stay to eat the food because it wasn't even close to being done when we had to go home. Apparently these things last late into the night. It was a really interesting experience. I got lots of pics and will try to send them next week.
So that was basically my week. Tomorrow we get to go to the Temple open house! I'm so excited! It will be awesome. I hope that y'all have a great week. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve a mission. Its a wonderful blessing and I'm learning so many things that Ill use forever. I love the gospel. Have a great week!
Love, Hermana Gilland

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I am excited to help at the Quetzaltenango Temple open house!

Hey everyone!  My week this week was pretty good. There were some really great parts and a few bummers. Here's what happened:
1. On Sunday we had 2 great investigators come to church! Our mission really focuses on families and men who will be able to hold the priesthood, because there aren't many priesthood holders in the ward. These men are always the hardest for lots of reasons...but 2 came to church! One is the nonmember dad of a recent converts family, and the other is a dad of another positive family. We were super stoked about them, and they both stayed all three hours. Yay!
2. The bummer: We had 3 almost-dates for baptisms this week, 2 for this past weekend and one for in a few weeks...and they've all fallen through! One is Amílcar, I think Ive written about him before. We think hes scared of what people will think if he joins the church. I think all of them will eventually be baptized, but it was just a bummer to think all week that we were going to have 2 baptisms and then in the end not have any.
3. K here is the super awesome exciting news: Hopefully y'all heard about the new temple in Guatemala (Pres. Monson mentioned it at conference), the Quetzaltenango Temple. Well, all the hermanas in my mission get to go and help out at the open house!!! The temple isn't even in our mission, but its only an hour away from us, and they need more helpers, so we all get to go! (the elders don't get to go, they're super ticked) We went to a training on Sunday in Quetzaltenango, or Xela (pronounced shayla, the x makes the sh sound), and learned what all we'll be doing. In the next two weeks we go up to Xela for 3 or 4 mornings to help guide people through the temple. It is just a really awesome opportunity and we are all super excited. We got trained by Elder Martino of the 70, and we also got to watch the movie that they'll be showing to all the guests that come through. The movie talked about the history of the church in Guatemala and of course about the temple. The new temple is BEAUTIFUL. It is so amazing. I feel so blessed to be a part of this.
Interesting things about XelaXela is another mission, its north of where I am and in the mountains, and so believe it or not, its cold up there! Not super cold during the day, but at night you need a coat! I had no idea that there were places in Central America that were cold! The Xela hermanas were wearing long sleeves and cardigans and tights! I cant imagine wearing anything like that because where I'm at is usually really hot, we're always sweating our brains out and looking super nasty all the time. How crazy haha. So for the open house I have to try to get my hands on some sweaters or something hehe
Well that was my week here in Mazatenango Guatemala. Im really happy to be here. I know that this is the Lords work. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bless everyones lives. Thanks for your prayers! Have a great week!
Love, Hermana Gilland