Beautiful Guatemala

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

Monday, June 25, 2012

I am in a new area - Las Palmas

Hello guys!
It's almost the 4th of July in America!! America is awesome! Anyways, I hope every ones week went well. I had a wild week, and here is what happened:
1. Changes! Well, I finally had changes and am in my 3rd area "Las Palmas". It's the area right next to my old area, same zone and everything! In fact, if y'all remember that one weird week where I was in a random area with 3 other hermanas, that's where I am now. I was super sad to say goodbye to Hermana Schroeder, because she is super awesome and we have lots of fun, but I'll still get to see her every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, so I think we'll survive.  My new companion is Hermana Laura Rosas from Guerrero Mexico. We are both new to the area and so its been kind of a struggle because all we've got are my vague memories of my week in the area from 5 months ago...we also have LOTS of help from a really awesome convert, Hermana Gaby. I'm sure Ill be writing more about her in the future. Shes been our tour guide here. We have one super awesome investigator, Wendy, who is scheduled to be baptized on the 7th, is Reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and doing everything we ask. Other than her though, we've got nothing. Its strange though, because my old area is just right here, a few blocks away, but the people here are way different. They are ateensy bit richer, maybe that's what it is, but they are all mean to us! It's a little crazy, I dunno what they think we are going to do to them.  I know there are special people here who are prepared to hear the Gospel, we just gotta find them. There seem to be some good members here, they'regiving us references, so something good will come up.
2. Last lesson with Marcela and Family:  Well, saying goodbye to my old area was a little sad. I was ready for a change, but I was very sad about leaving Marcela and of course bawled he-he. But we had a great lesson with her last Monday.We had taught them about Family Home Evening, and last week we assigned them to teach us the FHE lesson. Marcela was super excited and involved the whole family, cleaned up their little dirt floor shack, and it was so special. They taught just a little lesson to us, but they were so happy and did such a great job. I just LOVE them with all my heart. Saying goodbye was very sad, but she expressed to us how the Gospel had changed their lives and how happy they were now in the church.Hna.Schroeder tells me that they went to the activities this week, to church, and that Marcela was chatting lots with an investigator they had brought and later wanted to go visit her with the missionaries. They are just SO SPECIAL, I just don't know how we were so privileged to find them. Wow!!

Well, I don't have much else to say, but I'm really grateful to be here, and I love the Gospel. I know its true, I know that it can help everyone. I know that Christ is my Savior. Have a fantastic week everyone!!
Hermana Gilland

Monday, June 18, 2012

An Important Lesson for Members of the Church

Hey Everybody!

Well, I hope America is doing alright. Guatemala is normal. We hardly got anything done this week because we had a 2 day conference with president and then went to another area all day Saturday to help in a baptism. So I don't have too much to report, but I did learn an important life lesson. Here is what went down:

1. Orlando, one of our investigators, came to church BY HIMSELF! Wow I almost die of shock every time that happens. He has a wife and little kids, and they didn't come, but I know they will soon. So, here is what happened at church:

2. Important life lesson for members of the church:  Well, so its always a miracle when someone comes to church, right? And then, its a miracle if crazy inaccurate information isn't said in the church meeting. Well, we only got one miracle...........This Sunday was Ward Conference, so I was kind of excited because that meant that the stake leaders would be speaking, and the message quality would be slightly higher. Well, I was mistaken. The first message, by a counselor, was great, but the second, by the Stake President, made me and my comp want to die and just leave with Orlando. Imagine this, the Stake President, at the pulpit, yelling and waving his hands around and talking all about, you guessed it, TITHING. He sounds just like an Evangelical pastor. And look, there is nothing wrong with talking about tithing, I'm not afraid to talk about tithing, its an important commandment. BUT, you have to talk about it CORRECTLY, please. Jeez, and he mixes in talking about fast offerings too, which, the investigators or new members do NOT know the difference between tithing and fast offerings, and he goes as far as to say HOW MUCH you should be paying for fast offerings. And I don't know if he forgot that we live in Guatemala, a third world country, but this is what he was saying: "We get offerings of 10quetzales. Are you guys spending Q10 on breakfast?? NO!! When I eat breakfast, I spend at least Q20, and that's just for me. My wife and kids each spend Q20..." ..blah blah... "so I should be paying an offering of Q200. How much should you guys be paying then??" And, just as a side-note, Idon't know what in the world he eats for breakfast, because I never use more than like Q7. OH MY GOODNESS!! So, to our sweet investigator, it sounded to him like the "Pastor" is asking everyone to pay him Q200. And in all the other churches, the pastors get all the money. Let me tell you, he does NOT have Q200 extra. HA. Maybe Q10, that would be a sacrifice for them. Agh! I about DIED! 

So, when we finished with that, we decided to try to fix it in Sunday School, and asked the teacher to go over tithing and specifically where tithing goes and doesn't go. The teacher did a fine job, but then a CRAZY lady in class started and ruined it again. She had lots to say, and in the end was saying "Si no me nace, no voy a pagar" or literally translated, "If the desire isn't born in me to pay, I'm not paying!" She was very angry about it. Agh!  What a nightmare! The one good thing is that its like 10X worse in the Evangelical churches. But still, I would not like to be associated with those guys, please.

So anyways, if you're still with me here, the important life lesson I learned was that all of us as members of the church, whenever we are giving a talk or teaching a class or anything, should take a moment, a minute or 2, to explain the principle as if it were to someone who had never heard anything about the church before.  There is usually someone new, or a new convert, that could really benefit from a quick explanation. If the Stake President had just taken 2 minutes to explain what tithing is and where the money goes, we would have avoided all problems. Think about it, it would be good for almost any topic. Missionary work, temples, families, Easter, etc. So yea, I really think that is something we could all add to our teaching, and I know the missionaries would LOVE it! 

That's pretty much all I've got to share today. Despite the wonderful Sunday, I am really hoping to see Orlando and his family progress!  I might have changes (transfers) on Wednesday..who knows? I am so grateful to be here, and am so grateful for all that I am learning. I love the gospel and I know that it has the power to change lives. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that the church is true. 

Have a great week!!

Hermana Gilland

Monday, June 11, 2012

Prepared People Are Placed in Our Path

Hey there family and friends!!!

OK so this week was a little better, I think we are getting out of our slump slowly but surely. I felt like we had a few really good miracles and stories.Here's how our week went.

1. "I know the Lord provides a way..."  Well, I know that now. I tell y'all what, just because you're a missionary doesn't mean you do everything right and recognize perfectly the Lord's hand in all things. So earlier in the week we were praying before going to bed, my comp was offering the prayer, and while she was praying, an image of this little alleyway by our house came to my mind. The alley is blocked by a gate, so we can't just let ourselves in. I thought maybe we should go contact over there, but I had a big Laman and Lemuel moment, because we had already tried to contact over there and hadn't had any success getting through the gate. So I shrugged it off, because, shoot, how would we even get back there? Ha. But then a few days later it got to me, and I suggested we go try again by that alley. Sure enough, some guy was sitting out front and told us to go right in, no problem at all. I know the Lord provides a way, and He just wants me to obey. Turns out there are lots of friendly people back there, a few families. We have only taught a young girl back there so far, but several people seem interested. I have no idea what will happen back there, but I'm glad that eventually I stopped thinking that there was no way, when really, with a little help from the Lord, it was super easy. So that's kind of embarrassing, but I'm learning still.

2. Prepared people in our path:  Well, later in the week, me and my comp were sitting on a curb, trying to think of what to do because all our plans for the afternoon had fallen in about 45 minutes. We didn't really come up with anything, but stood up to wander around. My comp (who is a much better missionary than I), started talking through a window to a lady sitting in her living room. I noticed lots of religious stuff on the walls. We learned a little bit about her, that she just moved here from a far away city about 10 days ago with her 2 young sons, didn't have a job, and was super stressed. She let us in and we were able to share a message with her. Later that night she came with us to a ward activity. It was just a great experience that the Lord really does put people in our path, and we just have to open our mouths. I really hope to see this lady and her sons progress because she is so sweet, and feels so alone right now, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is exactly what she needs. I hope to have good news about her next week :)

3. This last story doesn't have such a happy ending. I've mentioned before our "eternal investigator" a husband of a lady in the ward who had been "investigating" for about a year. We go with them every once in a while still, because gosh dang-it he knows that its true and just wont do anything about it. Ugh! Anyways, so we had decided to share with him Mosiah 4:1-12 ish, with King Benjamin, which to me basically talks about the Lords plan for us, that we have to accept his atonement by being baptized, things like that. Its very nice, one of my favorite parts of the Book of Mormon. We were reading it and I just felt something so powerful, so nice, so bonito. It was something that I wont ever forget. I don't know why I felt something so good right then. But man, it was great. We discussed the section a bit, and I just felt so happy. I was wondering if he was feeling what I was feeling. He asked some questions about king Benjamin and seemed interested in the chapter. So we asked him if he would read the whole speech by king Benjamin. Here's where things go bad.  This is what he tells me, he says, "well, Ive decided that if I'm going to learn all about all this, I should start from the beginning, which is the Bible, and right now I'm reading in Genesis, and after I read the Bible, Ill read the Book of Mormon." UGH I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO MAD IN A LESSON MY ENTIRE MISSION!! (I'm going to go on a little rant here) YOU ARE GOING TO SIT HERE, FEEL SOMETHING SO AMAZING, AND THEN SAY YOU'RE NOT GOING TO READ THE BOOK!!!??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? HOW MANY YEARS WILL IT TAKE TO FINISH THE WHOLE BIBLE?? HE DOESN'T EVEN READ EVERY DAY. We have explained a zillion times that the Book of Mormon is more important to read right now for him because its the proof of everything. No one is wondering if the Bible is true. Jeez. I am so ticked at this guy. I just sat there smoldering. I wanted to yell at him but I knew that wasn't right. But I was done talking to him man. My comp had to take over and finish the lesson because I was done. The rough part is that after the lesson we always play Uno and eat dinner with them. So I was making things really awkward -- no, HE was making it awkward. UGH. I beat him at uno though. I just cant believe that he is willing to deny everything, just because he doesn't want to be wrong. We have another lesson with them next week, I have no idea why. The sweet wife asked when we were coming back. I mean, there is nothing we can do for this guy! Maybe I will yell at him this week because its just ridiculous. UGH. Anyways, that's what happened with that. 

I feel like my testimony has really been strengthened this week. I just KNOW that the Gospel is true. It HAS to be. I know that Christ died for our sins and rose again. I love the Gospel with all my heart and cannot deny that it is true. I know that it is what everyone needs more than anything. It is the most valuable thing that I have. Have a fantastic week everyone and see y'all next week!

Love, Hermana Gilland

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Slump Continues.......

Hello Everyone!!

I'm getting lazy with writing. I really don't even know what to write about today. We worked really hard this week but aren't seeing results. We are SO TIRED from walking around nonstop this week, but here we are, ready to work hard this coming week! Here are a few things that we did:

 We had kind of a cool lesson this week with the dad of an investigator. His name is Gollo. He sat us down at his home and wanted to hear the message that we go around sharing, perfect. So we started talking about how Jesus Christ established His church when He was here, and Gollo had a lot to contribute that was right on with how Christs church worked. I was excited to share with him the story of Joseph Smith, but in the end he was saying "look, everyone has a story like that, wheres your proof of this?" Boom, the Book of Mormon, of course. So we excitedly shared with him the Book of Mormon and how it had the answers to all his questions (because he had asked some random questions there in the middle of the lesson), and that it would change his life. Well, so then he explains to us that he only reads the Bible, and that you cant have more scriptures, the Bible is inspired and perfect and nothing else is. It got a little bit heated (but we didn't lose the Spirit), and we hit him with in the Book of Mormon it says "A Bible, a bible, we already have a bible and don't need any more bible", and what Heavenly Father has to say about that attitude. We testified and testified and things cooled down a bit, but he was still refusing to read. OK fine, I thought, we'll just go. And we are wrapping things up and he says "yea and the one thing that you didn't say that I wanted to know all along is what are your commandments, what do y'all prohibit," basically, what was different about our church from all the other churches. And I say "Is that what you want to know?  Well what do you think we've been trying to get you to read this book for?! This book has everything that we believe, everything that you need, but you don't even want to read it! So if you wanna know what we believe, read the book and we'll come back another day and see how you liked it." Jeez. And finally, with a little bit more persuading, he agreed to read 3 Nephi 11. And I really felt like the Spirit softened his heart, and hopefully he'll read. We were pretty happy with how the lesson turned out, and who knows, maybe he'll be our next fecha. I know that when the investigators read the scriptures, they change, and they are motivated to learn more, to make covenants, everything. The key is almost always the Book of Mormon. 

Well I'm about out of time here. I hope that I have some good news for next week, because we've just got nothing right now. We have a few positive people, but no one will go to church! But its OK, we know they're out there and we just have to let the Lord lead us to them. I know that this is Gods work, that the Church is really the true church. How could it not be. All the programs and everything are so inspired!  I love the Gospel! It is true!

Have a great week!
Love, Hermana Gilland