Beautiful Guatemala

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

Monday, March 26, 2012

Teaching in a House Full of Rats!

March 26, 2012

Hey everyone!!!

We had a really great week as a mission! For the month of march we hit a big record! 242 baptisms with 39 families!!! So everyone is super happy and working hard.

Here is what we did this week:

1. Baptism of Roselia!  We had about 12 miracles to make Roselia's baptism happen. I think I explained about her last week, but shes been going to church for forever and has had lots of missionaries, but hasn't been able to get baptized because her husband wouldn't marry her.  I'm pretty sure Heavenly Father just got sick of her not being baptized, because a few weeks ago they got married, and  then by some miracle the husband gave permission for her to be baptized. We hit a few more large snags in the week, but the Lord put angels in her path and in the end she was baptized and confirmed this weekend, finally.  Shes been wanting to get baptized for so long, and she is now so happy. Shes been though a ton of missionaries, and we are so grateful for all their work in preparing for this special day.

2. Hermanas Conference!  Last Monday and Tuesday we had a special hermanas conference. We had some lessons with President and Hermana Maravilla, watched "The Best 2 Years", and went to the beach. I don't know how it happened but we went to the beach on the second cold, chilly day of my whole mission. Ha. So we were soaked by the rain, not in the ocean. But the conference was really fun, it was a great time to get to know all the hermanas in the mission. There are about 30ish hermanas, I think? President talked to us only about marriage. Geez.  Hes obsessed. He'd be happy if all of us hermanas were engaged within 2 months of getting home. Not happening. Oh well, we love President! And he is just so happy about all that happened this month. Ahhh.

3. Gross story alert! So my mom and a few of y'all who read my emails have told me how gross some of my stories are. I'm sorry! Life here is gross a lot of the time ha-ha. They're my best stories. Ha-ha, so this one isn't so bad. We are teaching a 17 year old named Gerardo and he is super awesome. He has already gone to church twice and has a baptismal date for April 7Th. We are also working with his mom, sister, and her kids. The one big bad thing about the whole situation with these guys is that their house is FULL OF RATS!!!!! AGHHHH!!!!! It is a wooden house, and its filthy, and we just sit there and watch the rats run around in the rafters and on the wall. And they're not little mice, mice don't faze me anymore. They're big black rats. I think my mom would faint if she had to sit in this house. So I always feel stressed when I'm teaching because out of the corner of my eye I see the rats running around, or I hear them behind me or in the other room. I pray for the ability to handle it in their house and feel the Spirit in the lessons, despite the rats. But it will be OK, Gerardo is really awesome and is going to get baptized, and hopefully the whole family.  So we will keep going to the rat house. I just hope they don't attack us!

So that was our week. It was pretty good. We are excited about the work that we have right now. Also, my comp might have changes and I might be training. I know Ive said that before, but its just because they always tell me and then change the plans! So yea, maybe Ill have an hija next time I write.

Also, next week, if my computer works, I'll send a pic of me "pregnant". Ha-ha its tradition for the hermanas to stuff their shirt with a pillow or something and take a pic pregnant on their nine-month-mark, and I hit 9 months on March 29. WOW. Geez, how weird. So yea, you have that to look forward to, he-he.

I hope y'all have a fantastic week and ENJOY CONFERENCE!!! It should be AWESOME!  Thanks for your support and prayers!

Hermana Gilland

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Birthday Week!

Hey Fam and Friends!!  

I hope y'all had a wonderful week! We did here in Guatemala! Things are going so well here in my area and I feel like I have so much to write today. Here's what we did:

1. Baptism of Blanca!!!  Yay! Remember Blanca, the lady I wrote about last week? In the end, everything turned out really well with Blanca's Baptism! The other Hermanas in the ward also baptized a family in the same service. There were of course the usual disasters -- this time the disaster was that Blanca went missing. She was supposed to be waiting for us at 2pm for her baptism at 3pm, but we didn't actually find her until almost 4pm. I didn't even panic though, it always passes like that ha-ha. Goodness. And it was all OK because even though we got to the church an hour late, the service hadn't started yet. Normal. But it was a really nice service with her and the family. She was so excited and a little nervous to be getting baptized. Actually baptizing her was a little hard for the elder baptizing her because she cant walk very well because shes had 2 toes amputated. Every time the Elder tried to dunk her, her 3-toed foot would pop out of the water. In the end, the Elder had to stand on this gross foot with his own foot! He was pretty grossed out, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, right? Ahhh, but finally, Hermana Blanca is baptized!!

2. My birthday week!! I had a wonderful few days celebrating my birthday. I didn't expect so much attention, gifts, and cake. I got an awesome package from my family and from Hilly! Most of the sister missionaries in my zone got me earrings! I have like 10 new pairs of earrings ha-ha and I love earrings! We ate cake as a zone, and also with a family that we are working with. My birthday was really fun and I was more than happy about how it turned out.

3. 1.5 Baptisms for next weekend!  Ha-ha. So we are seeing miracles here in our area, people are coming out of the woodwork ready to be baptized. One lady, Hermana Roselia, has been going to church for a year but couldn't get baptized because her "husband" wouldn't marry her. I didn't even know about her, but we just randomly passed by them one day and started chatting with the hermana, and she told us they had just gotten married!!! So we are prepping her to be baptized this coming Saturday! We are so grateful to all the missionaries who have worked with this lady for the past few years, preparing her for baptism.  

The .5 we may or may not have is a guy named Amilcar. I think Ive mentioned him before. This guy is really special. He used to drink and be involved in some bad stuff, but he really wants to turn his life around, and hes been to church 3 times, is reading the Book of Mormon, and is totally ready to get baptized. But he has been pretty hesitant to set a baptismal date. We weren't really sure what his deal was, but we really had been feeling like he had some serious past sins and just needed to talk to an elder (a guy) about them. On Sunday we had a lesson with him and had the opportunity to explain to him that some sins require a confession, and that an Elder has the authority to help him with his problems and help him to know how he can fully repent and change and leave these things behind. I just felt so happy to be explaining this to him! He was so happy and relieved, it was like he had been wanting to confess his sins to someone but didn't know how to go about it, and all the sudden we had the information he needed. Every investigator is different with different needs, but I really love getting to help just a little in helping people to understand the power of the Atonement, and the opportunity we have to be free of all our sins. For some investigators, this is the best news they've ever heard. It is such a miracle that we can let go of all our sins and totally change. I am so grateful for the Atonement and how much I have been able to use it in my life. I know that we can change only through Jesus Christ. I know that He understands us perfectly, and knows exactly how we personally need to make changes in our lives. I know that the Gospel is true and perfect, and only through it can we become who God wants us to be. I love the Gospel and I love being a missionary!

Have a wonderful week! Thanks for everything!

Love, Hermana Gilland

Monday, March 12, 2012

A New Kind of Parasite - LICE!

Hey guys!!!

Its my BIRTHDAY!!! Ya! My birthday is on a PDAY! How awesome is that? If you forgot to wish me happy birthday and would still like to, you can repent and email me next week :) Naw, just kidding, thanks for all the sweet emails! Y'all are great and I really appreciate your support.  So here is what we've been up to this week:

1. LICE!!! Aha! Yes. I had lice. If I lived in America, I wouldn't just announce this to everyone, but heck, its really funny so I had to tell y'all. So this is what happened with me and my lice: Last Monday morning I was brushing my hair, and I found a tiny bug in my hand. Oh no, what is this? But I just flicked it away and forgot about it. But then later that night when I was showering, guess what I found...another bug the same as the one I had found! I started to panic and looked for more in my head, and sure enough, there were several. Aha! I called Hermana Alston, the mission nurse (and now lice expert, from her own lice adventures on the mission) and she told me to buy 2 kinds of soap. One shampoo to kill all the lice and nits, and this other really weird black soap that looks like a cannon ball and smells like tar, to loosen up the little eggs, or something like that. So this week Ive been treating my lice, and I am now lice free (I'm pretty sure at least). I didn't have it very bad. My dear comp had the pleasure of picking the eggs out of my hair. I had to wash all my sheets and towels and all that, all at once, by hand of course, and that was kinda hard, but now I think I'm good. Ah!!!! It at least makes for a good story, right?  

2. CRAZY HERMANA BLANCA!  We have a baptism on Saturday! Its of a lady named Blanca who Ive mentioned before. Ohhh Blanca. This lady contacted us and told us right off that she wanted to be baptized and go to the Temple. Sweet! We have been teaching her and shes gone to church and now is ready to get baptized. Blanca is one of those older ladies who talks and talks and talks. Ha, she has told us some of the wildest stories. She has no family, and is very sick. She had diabetes and her feet are really messed up from it, shes lost a few toes and parts of her feet, so she cant really walk. She rents a spot on the dirt floor of a little shack, where she sleeps on a piece of cardboard, next to a drunk guy. She has a broken wheelchair and one crutch, someone stole the other crutch. And she doesn't really have clothes. She wants to wear pants to church instead of the shorts that she has, and has 2 pairs of pants that are way too small to button, but she wears them anyway, both at the same time, and they're always falling down. She has absolutely nothing at all. Nothing. But every time she gives a comment in a lesson, or in Sunday school (which is quite often), she talks about thanking God for everything that she has, the food, her life, her "health", her upcoming baptism. She doesn't have anything else, and she really doesn't have "health" in my opinion. But she just prays all the time and thanks our Heavenly Father for everything. Wow. I really need to be more like her. More grateful, more able to recognize my blessings, more satisfied with what the Lord gives me. Because He gives me a whole lot, a whole lot of blessings. And I need to be more grateful. A lot of people in the ward are against her baptism because she is really crazy and they think shes just getting baptized in order to receive help from the church. So we have had to fight a bit for her to get baptized. But she is seriously so excited to be baptized, shes telling everyone and inviting everyone! Ha she is awesome! I love her. 

That's pretty much all Ive got today. It was a good week and I am learning so much out here. Wednesday is approx. my halfway mark. Can y'all believe that!? I cant. Geez. I still have sooo much to learn! Missions are awesome and fun and hard, everyone should go on one, no matter what you've got going on in your life right now. I know with all my heart that the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives, that it is how people can change and become better. I am so grateful for it in my life. I know that Christ lives. I love the Gospel!  Have a great week!!!

Love, Hermana Gilland

Monday, March 5, 2012

Awesome Stake Conference and a Fun Pday

Hey Everyone!

As always, hope everything is going well for everyone! From what they tell me, the weather is warming up a bit at home. Its verrry hot here, but I like it. Here's what we did this week:

1. Stake Conference!!  We had a very special stake conference this week. There were lots of special guests, the most special being Elder Enrique Falabella, the Area President of Central America. Also there were President Maravilla, the mission president, and the temple president. Elder Falabella wanted to have a special meeting with just recent converts, less actives, and investigators, and so we were working really hard to get people to this meeting, and we managed to get several less actives and 3 investigators! So we finally have progressing investigators and one baptismal date! Yay!! The baptismal date is of a crazy lady named Blanca, I think Ive mentioned her before. Shes totally crazy, but she has this huge desire to get baptized, and everyone needs to get baptized, so we are here to help her out. She still needs to go to church one more time, but her fecha is for the 17Th. Yay!

Our other investigator was a guy named Amilcar. He is a reference of a family in the ward. He used to drink a whole lot but is now wanting to turn his life around. Perfect. We are going to try to put his baptismal date for the 17Th also. Hes really great guy and is reading the Book of Mormon and praying and everything, he is so ready to be baptized. 

2. Reactivating Less-Actives.  So its an age old question in the mission - how much time do we spend with less actives? And which ones do we try to work with? President gave us counsel on this to ask the bishop every sunday after church for 2 families that he wants us to visit, and then to visit them Sunday afternoon, and report to the bishop how it went. We have been following this counsel and have seen a miracle! Last Sunday we went with a family and just had a quick lesson and encouraged them to go to the conference this weekend. They totally went to the conference, and the dad went to the priesthood session, and we went with them yesterday and they have been talking about going back to the temple (they're already sealed but haven't been in years) and returning to church! And there was just a special feeling with them yesterday in their home. Just from obeying Presidents counsel, a family is getting activated. How awesome is that. And another huge plus is that now the bishop loooves us, and he didn't have much confidence in the hermanas before. Awesome!!

3. Pday! We just went as a zone to play mini-golf! Ha that's probably not very interesting, but I thought it was super fun! It brought me back to my BYU days of lots of mini golf dates. It was really fun! We went to this fancy resort, I have no idea what a fancy resort is doing here, there's nothing touristy here at all. See picture 1 below of me under a really tall tree.

That's pretty much been this week! I am so excited that we had people at church on Sunday! I'm so grateful to be here and am learning so much. I love the Gospel and its wonderful to tell people about it. I know that Christ lives and through Him we can learn to change, we can become more like him, little by little. I hope y'all have a great week and a great spring break!!

Love, Hermana Gilland