Beautiful Guatemala

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Birthday is in Two Weeks

Hey Everyone! 

First of all, my birthday is in 2 weeks (on Pday!) and so I expect EVERYONE to write me long emails about their lives in America (especially my roommates!) If you don't write me, you should feel very guilty. He-he.

So today I'm struggling to think of things to write. I don't know why. I think that means that we need to do more. But here is what went down this week in Concepcion:

1. At the start of the week we didn't really have anyone great that we were teaching, so we've been doing lots of contacting and lots of asking for references. So now we have several people that were technically teaching, but we don't know if they're going to progress or not. We worked really hard all week to have these people we found come to church one came again! Aah it is the WORST when that happens. The WORST! Everyone just has lots of excuses or disappears or goes crazy. So that was a huge bummer. We work and teach all week and really, it all comes down to that hour or so before church, when we go around to everyone's houses to get them ready to go to church. If they decide not to come, we lose. We can teach the people all day every day, but they cant start making changes in their lives if they aren't willing to do SOMETHING themselves, like go to church. Its really frustrating. But that's how it goes, right? They've got their agency. And we missionaries just have to do better. And we are going to do better. 

2. Something funny that happened this week -- evidence that Satan is working hard against the work.  So this coming weekend we are having stake conference, and its extra special because Elder Falabella (of the 70, hes the area president of central America) is coming and will be having a special meeting with the new converts, less actives, and investigators. So we have been preparing invitations and have been inviting everyone because its going to be really special. Well, yesterday, my comp and I were walking down the road, and we passed some Evangelicos who were passing out fliers, and they gave us a flyer. Guess what this flier is for??? An Evangelico Conference! And guess when it is...This coming weekend! And guess where it is.... Right next to the stake center!!! AAH!!! And these Evangelico conferences are basically just free food and crazy pastors yelling at everyone.NOOOO! Isn't that just crazy. We are trying to figure out how to use it to our advantage. We've gotta do something! Our conference is better. 
(And just FYI, I'm not knocking Evangelists or whatever they're called in English. The psycho churches out here are NOTHING like the ones in America, they're terrible here!)

3. Lastly, our Eternal Investigator.  We are teaching a guy whose been listening to the missionaries for a year. We are really working hard with him. His wife is a really awesome member. He is so close to knowing that the Gospel is true. It is one of my big goals to baptize him because he is so close! His name is Selvin. He comes to church every week and likes the church and everything.   We are close with him. He says that his heart is opening up more these I'm really hoping to tell y'all in a few weeks that he has a baptismal date! 

That's pretty much what we did this week. We are working hard, and so I know that we are going to see results of some form sometime soon. I know that this church is true. Gosh every time someone tries to explain how the church isn't true, my testimony grows, because nothing else makes any sense! I just love the Gospel. I know that God has a plan for each of us, I know that He is organized. He didn't just set up a big mess of Christianity and call it good. He organized the Gospel. Jesus Christ came and organized one church, one true church and one true way of doing things here on the Earth. Only one. And we can find this one Gospel through prayer. I know that prayer is real. I know that the Holy Spirit helps us to know truth. I love the Gospel and I love that its the only thing I have to worry about right now in my life. Thanks for all your support! Have a wonderful week!!!

Love, Hermana Gilland

Monday, February 20, 2012

My New Area......Ward Concepcion in Reu!

Hey everyone!! Hope y'all are well! Here's what Ive been up to:

1. So my new area is ..... ward Concepciòn in Reu! And my new comp is Hermana Alvarez from Mexico. My area seems pretty good, with its own challenges of course, but I'm really excited to be here. There is definitely a lot of work to be done here. Hermana Alvarez is really great. She was "born" here, as we say in the mission, shes been out 3 months, and I'm her 2nd comp, or her "step mom". Were getting along pretty well. We have very different teaching styles, so were finding a balance in teaching. Its a little hard to be a step mom because all my comp knows is what her trainer, her "mom" did, and so everything I do differently is questionable to her. But its OK, were figuring it out. Our house is pretty cool. It has a kitchen sink and 2 mirrors, so its pretty much a palace. ha-ha. 

Were sharing the ward with 2 other hermanas. They are in a little village outside of town that attends church in our ward. The ward is different, and I'mexcited to figure it out and figure out how to work here. 

2. So unfortunately we don't have any progressing investigators, we didn't have any at church. That's the worst feeling ever. I hate telling my district leader that we didn't have anyone at church! So were not letting that happen again. My comp and her trainer didn't really have any positive investigators when I got here, but we found a couple of people people who seem pretty positive and are excited to help them progress.

3. The big miracle this week was Blanca. Yesterday this crazy lady in a wheelchair flagged us down saying, "hey y'all should talk to me because Id like to get baptized and go to the Temple." Huh for real?? I thought the whole time that it was some kind of joke, but I guess its for real. Shes totally crazy,that's for sure, but she wants to get baptized really bad. We asked her why she wanted to get baptized and she said the desire was born in her heart (that phrase makes lots more sense in Spanish). So if all goes well shell be baptized in 2 weeks! I'm just waiting for the disaster to hit, because its never this easy. Well see what happens with Blanca this week!

So that's all Ive got for this week! With changes and everything, I don't feel like we did much, so I didn't have much to write. I'm sure Ill have more next week! And were going to have investigators in church, you can be sure. Have a fantastic week!!! Thanks for all your support and prayers!

Hermana Gilland

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Fun Week in Retalhuleu!

Hola family and friends!

So this week has been wild. Ive been in Reu (Retalhuleu), Las Palmas this week with Hermana Jimenez (of Dominican Republic). They stuck us temporarily living with and helping another pair of hermanas for the week until this Wednesday. Y'all must have prayed really hard for me because guess what....I'm not even training!! Yay! For sure next change Ill be training, but I still have a little time to prepare. Supposedly, I'm going to be opening area with someone, who knows who. Changes are always so stressful! But Wednesday is the day.  So here is the news of the week:

1. My old area rocks!   So this is news from my old area, but remember the 15 people we had in church last week?  The family and the drunk guy are getting baptized this week!! And maybe some others too! What a wonderful miracle. I was on cloud nine when my old comp, Hermana Hidalgo, told me. I'm super bummed that I'm not there anymore, but Its OK. I'm so grateful that I got to be there for part of their conversions. And hermana Hidalgo is going to give me photos of all these baptisms, I cant wait to see them!

2. Temple trip to Xela!!   Last Tuesday we went to the temple with President and Hna Maravilla. We were about 50 missionaries. It was so beautiful. I hadn't been to the temple since August, so it was wonderful to go and be spiritually refreshed. 

3. A week in Reu!   So Hermana Jimenez and I have been in Reu all week helping out Hermanas Cohuo and Aldana. They had a wedding and 2 baptisms to do this weekend, so I think they appreciated and extra pair of hermanas to help out. It has been super fun living as 4 hermanas. Its like being back in college. And Hermana Jimenez, Cohuo, and I all entered together in the same group, so were all good pals. We just stay up late chatting every day. Its cool because they're from Mexico, El Salvador, and Dominican Republic. Its amazing to learn about their lives. They're all converts to the church, and the most recent convert is Hna Aldana, who's been a member for a little over a year. When she joined the church, her family abandoned her. They don't write her at all, she has no idea how they are. Is that not the saddest. From what Ive gathered, she grew up in a shack in the woods, no electricity or water. She has nothing at all but she says shes rich because she has the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

My Spanish has also improved this week because we all talk so much. I really hope to live as 4 hermanas again in my mission. Its really fun. But I'm also really excited to get to my new area because I feel like I haven't been a real missionary all week. I have no investigators, I don't know anyone in the ward, I don't know whats going on here!  Also we have been eating a ton of food. I have to stop that quick if I want my clothes to still fit me he-he.

Anyways, that's been my week! Its been exciting and fun, and I'm excited to find out where the heck I'm going and who Ill be with! Thanks for your support and prayers! I'm so grateful for the Gospel. I'm grateful for all the things I'm learning. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know the Christ lives. Being a missionary is awesome!  Have a great week!

Hermana Gilland

Monday, February 6, 2012


Hey everyone!!

We had the BEST SUNDAY EVER yesterday!!!! We had 15 investigators in church!!!  15!!!! The whole week was super awesome. I have no idea why the Lord decided to bless us a TON, but He did. Holy cow. And also I have changes tomorrow... aah!  Anyways, so here are a few things that happened this week:

1. Familia Gutierrez!  So me and Hermana Hidalgo made a big plan last week of everything we were going to improve and change, because the past 2 Sundays we haven't had anyone at church. Part of this plan was to contact up a storm using the BOM ..and it really worked! We were just contacting and found an awesome family of 9!! They're really really poor, all 9 of them in a teeny shack, without running water or electricity. When we first found them only the mom and oldest daughter were there and were really cool and receptive. We returned later and the whole family was there, including the dad, and he wasn't too excited about us at first and had lots of excuses. But we taught the whole family a nice leccion and invited them to church. Both parents were really skeptical about going because so many churches about here are awful and charge lots of money at the door just to enter, or to have a prayer said for someone. The churches here are crazy. They're why the church grows so fast here he-he. But anyways, we explained how everything works at church and they were all really excited to go, even the dad! We were about to leave and he said, "I'm going to do what I can so I can go with y'all tomorrow".  AWESOME! On Sunday we went to pick them up. We brought breakfast and offered to help get everyone ready, and in the end the whole family came!! All 9 of them! It was the best feeling ever to see their whole family in the same row at church. Aah they're so awesome. 

2. El bolo Jorge! Among the many miracles we saw last week was a drunk guy named Jorge. He initially contacted us when we were out with a member. He was drunk and was telling us he wanted to change heis life and needed our help. Usually I just ignore the drunks because they're rude and say rude things to the weird looking white girl walking by (ME!), but the member we were with insisted that we go with him and help him. I was thinking, "Ugh, we don't teach drunks, they don't want anything ever, were wasting our time..." But you know, I have a whole lot to learn. We went and talked to him a bit and left him with a Word of Wisdom pamphlet and invited him to a weekly meeting the Priesthood has. We went the next day to take him to Priesthood, and he was kinda drunk, but we brought him anyways...The next day he came to a ward activity with a member, this time not drunk. I could hardly believe it. He also had read 2 pamphlets we had given him. The next day, Saturday, we bought him a white shirt and tie for Sunday and delivered them to him, and he still hadn't drunk anything. On Sunday he came to church with a member in his shirt and tie, and he had bathed and shaved a nasty beard he had going! Amazing! Aah so now were so excited about this guy! He still has a ways to go, but hes really trying! It was awesome in Sunday School when our recent convert, Julio Perez, who used to be a drunk also, shared his experience of turning his life around, and shared his hymn book with Jorge. You could tell that Jorge really felt support from everyone and it was awesome. I really hope he keeps it up. He reminds me of a scripture in Alma 31:5 (i think that talks about how the work of God has such power to change people, more power than anything else in the world. Its so true. I know that the scriptures and all the pamphlets we have have the propensity to change lives. 

3. DOMINGO!! This Sunday was seriously amazing. I just felt so good about all the hard work we did this week and about the people that the Lord has prepared to hear His Gospel. I cant really explain it. But it was one of those days where everything, everything I'm doing here, all the hard parts, was totally worth it. We saw so many little miracles this week, these were just a few. I'm a little bummed that I have changes and will be leaving this area now when we just found a ton of people, but I'm also happy that I'm "going out fighting", that my last Sunday here was our best. I'm excited to take all the ammo and the things that I've learned to my new area, wherever it is. I'm pretty sure to you guys I sound like one of those crazy missionaries who is obsessed with their mission...that is true...but I am just learning so much and its such a blessing to be a part, a little part, of people's lives changing. Aah what a blessing it is to be out here!

CHANGES!  I'm going to be somewhere temporary with someone temporary for only a week, and then next Wednesday I think I will start training. I don't know that for sure, but that's what Ive been told. Boy am I terrified. I'm trying not to think about it because I usually feel like I still need a trainer.Geez. So I'd appreciate y'alls prayers this week, so I don't die of stress and nerves. Ugh...

I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth today. I know that we are here to learn to be more like Jesus, to follow his example. I love the Gospel and the happiness that it brings me, my family, and all the people I've met here in ward La Union. Thanks for all your support and prayers. Have an awesome week!

Love, Hermana Gilland