Beautiful Guatemala

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

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hermana Ingrid's Squirt of Lotion

Hey guys!!

Hope things are going alright back there in America. We had a pretty chill week, but here are a few highlights:

1. Battling the Pastores!  We are working right now in a little apartment complex-area, and we’ve found several families and people who are a bit interested. It’s kind of fun to me because we found out quickly that a lot of them go to the same Evangelica church, and right after the first time we went through the pastor was apparently going around and telling people to not listen to us. Ha-ha. We have arrived in good timing though because apparently a few months ago the church split up and there were a bunch of problems, and the new pastor is a guy who no one really trusts. So maybe, just maybe, some of these people are ready for the true gospel. Some people aren’t listening to us because of what their pastor said, but some tell us they don’t really care. Ha. It’s fun to be up against some pastors. I’m wondering if they’ll ever say anything to us or try to get us to leave. I guess it depends on if we have success there or not. It’s fun, I feel a little like Alma and Amulek, when they started working with the poor Zoramites. 

2. I just want to share a special experience I had yesterday with a member. There is this Hermana named Ingrid, she’s a sweet single mom of 3 wild kids, and her life is really hard. She works really hard, but has lots of setbacks. We like to go with her just to give her a boost and a quick break from the kids. Yesterday we shared a message with her, and she cried and seemed really sad, but with a small determination to keep going. She is a great example. Well, we were getting ready to go, and she told us to wait and went to go get something. She brought out a bottle of lotion, "fancy" lotion, and gave us each a big squirt. Let me just tell y’all, people don’t have nice extra things here. Her lotion is one of her very few luxuries, very few. She doesn’t buy makeup, or do anything with her hair. Her lotion is her one "feel pretty" thing that she has.  And she freely shared it with us. She didn’t have to do that. But she gave us some of the one nice thing she has to give. I learned a few good lessons from the squirt of lotion. One thing is that I really think I can understand a little bit better how Christ felt when he saw the widow give her two mites. She, like Ingrid, gave everything she had, freely. Wow. Another thing that I found interesting and special is that we can see in the New Testament various times when it mentions a woman anointing Christ’s feet with ointment, or pouring fancy oil over his head, things like that, and I just found it special that she was serving us kind of how other women have served the Savior. I don’t know if I’ve expressed the story very well, but it was a special moment that I had, rubbing in the lotion and thinking of the sacrifice of Hermana Ingrid for me. She was grateful to us for coming, and I was grateful for what she had taught us. She is a special single mom and I know that the Lord loves her so much, and was glad that we had visited her and brightened a dark day just a little. And then when we were about to leave, something sad happened. We had tried to bring the spirit into her home, but then as we were leaving, her uncle showed up, drunk and angry, and she started to cry again and told us that we had to go. It was a really sad moment to watch that happy moment we had had disappear, and I could tell that the evening was going to be hell for her. It broke my heart. We each gave her a big hug and we had to go. I prayed in my heart that somehow the Lord could be with her in this difficult evening, when no one else could be there with her. It was very sad. Sometimes the Lord asks us for everything, and then blesses us in ways that are hard to recognize but really are for our good. But I know that he loves us more than we can imagine. I’m really grateful for the things I’m learning here and for the examples of the faithful people, and so many faithful single moms that I’ve met here. 

Well, that’s pretty much all I got. I really appreciate all your support and prayers! I hope that y’all have a great week! I know that the church is true!!

Hermana Gilland

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Wedding, a Baptism, and a Giant Cucaracha!

Hey everyone!!

We had a wonderful week and a WEDDING and BAPTISM!!! I still can’t believe it. Here’s what happened:

1. Miracle Big Fat Guatemalan Wedding and Baptism!!!!!   Daniel and Nereyda Pos were married and baptized on Friday!  We were just so happy. The ward really helped us out and provided a giant cake and 100 paches (kind of like wet tamales wrapped in giant leaves, yum!), and almost 100 people came. They were really happy and content. I’m not going to lie, I still had some doubts about if they understood what they were getting themselves into and if they really should get married (because they are always bickering, they sound like teenage siblings fighting), but the missionary who did their baptismal interview said that their interviews went great and that they were super ready. I was shocked ha-ha and pleased. Another cool thing that happened was that one of the exmissionaries who used to be teaching them like 2 years ago, for about 6 months, was able to come to their wedding/baptism. I know she was sooo happy that what she started was getting finished. It felt good to be able to help out like that, and made me hope that maybe after I’m home I’ll hear that someone I was teaching is getting baptized. How sweet would that be? 

I feel like I haven’t even explained the whole story very well of Daniel and Nereyda, but it has seriously just been the biggest miracle. They seemed so unprepared when we stumbled across them, we knew that they had been taught a few years back, but really, the Lord knew that it was exactly the right time for them and stuck us right in their way, and look, now we have baptized a complete family. And the ward and bishop really want to work hard to keep them here. We are going to work hard with them too. They still have a ways to go. But their goal is to go to the temple next year :) WOW. I just love being a missionary.

2. GIANT COCKROACH!!! Agh we had a MASSIVE cucaracha el la casa!! Oh my, I about died, I kind of scream uncontrollably. It was seriously 4 or 5 inches long. We killed it and then didn’t know if we should flush it or put it in the we decided to burn it ha-ha. Everyone here just burns their trash, and finally we did the same. Even after we burned it and it poured rain, its body is still pretty intact. Gross, right!  And bats keep flying in every once in a while. We are living in the wild kingdom in our house! Hopefully that will be the extent of the wildlife stories.

3. Well, as I’ve said, other than them, we don’t have much going’s not from not working though. This area is crazy. But even though it’s weird and we aren’t teaching anyone right now, I am really learning a ton. I feel like the Lord has put me here to learn a lot and to help me become a little more like Christ. I have had some great prayers answered and am really learning how to ask the Lord for help, and I’m learning how the Lord communicates with me. We are learning to get creative. It’s fun. It’s hard but enjoyable, and I’m sure the Lords going to give us something here.

Thank you all for your support and prayers. Have a fantastic week!!!

Love, Hermana Gilland

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pray for Daniel and Nereyda's Upcoming Baptism


Well I hope every ones week has gone well. Ours is moving along slowly but surely. We have seen miracles with our family that's getting baptized this coming Friday! But I think they're using up all our miracles because everything else is a bit rough these days. But its OK! Here's what we did this week:

1. Daniel y Nereyda!  We are moving right along with these guys! Wow we have had some special little experiences with them. So I forget what I've written about them, but Daniel is kind of a spaz, and they both have the attention span of 7 year olds. But we have really tried to do everything possible to help them and are seeing them make changes in their lives. We have really really focused on them praying and reading the Book of Mormon as a couple every day. We made a big poster with calendars on it of July and August, and they stick on a sticker if they read :) they loved it. And they're doing it! Not every single day, but they're doing it and are seeing the blessings in their lives. And they are understanding that baptism is a big and important commitment. Wow. And the ward is getting all into this wedding. I'm only expecting about 40 people, but the ward keeps making things bigger and bigger and are making food and cake for over 100 people! Geez. Ha-ha whatever. I'm sure well hit the usual snags this week, but I have lots of faith that finally, after 2 years of investigating the church, Daniel and Nereyda will be married and baptized!!!!!

2. Other than that, I don't know what to tell y'all...we found some new people this week, but no one is super positive. But they have potential. We are planning a couple of activities for this week, a service activity and (maybe) a face painting booth type thing? I know, completely non gospel related, but last time when we passed out glasses of juice, the people just took them and ran for it; if we have face painting, the kids will whine until their parents bring them over, and then they'll have to talk to us for a minute or two, right? We'll see how it works out or what the rain decides to do. 

We are also really concerned because one of our mission focuses is raising the attendance in the wards, but our attendance is steadily dropping...we don't know why!! We visit lots of people of course, what is going on?! our 2nd week here the attendance was 99, and this past week it was 60! So we gotta figure something out on that fast before the ward just disappears all together. We are a little stressed but we really are working, I promise!!

Despite the challenges and the sweltering heat, I am so very grateful to be here as a missionary. I love the Gospel and I know that it can bless everyone. I am learning a lot here in Las Palmas. I hope that everyone has an excellent week!

Hermana Gilland

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bats in the House!

Hello Everyone!!

 Wow we have had a crazy week here in Las Palmas and I have some great experiences to tell!

1. BATS! Well, our house is a crappy Guatemalan house, and we have holes in the roof, and a bat got in last week and was flying around! AGH! How scary! I was terrified ha-ha. We called a neighbor who came to get it out. Yikes!

2. Baptism of WENDY!  Our perfect little investigator, Wendy, got baptized on Saturday. Everything went well, her boyfriend baptized her, she was really happy. She has a great testimony and I know that if she keeps at it, she'll be a great and faithful member forever. It was a little sad because her family had said that they would be coming but at the last minute didn't. Her family is all really Catholic and aren't thrilled about all this. But they're a great family and love to read, so hopefully a little later they can gain testimonies of the Book of Mormon. 

3. MIRACLES!  Well, I don't know how I'm going to tell this story because it's kind of complicated, sorry if it doesn't make sense... So we have been searching for investigators and going with old investigators, trying to find someone positive. We came upon a young family who had been hearing the missionaries off and on for 2 years. I mentioned them last week -- Daniel and Nereyda. They need to get married but Daniel didn't want to, but they have a baby together. Me and my comp were really excited to work with them this week.  We went on Tuesday and found the Hermana distraught, because she and Daniel had been fighting and he had left and she was thinking about moving out and leaving him... there was something about him having a girlfriend on the side, typical we were super bummed because we wanted to help these guys to be a great family.  Now, if he's cheating on her then we are in kind of a weird spot. We were really sad because apart from them we have nothing, and we were pretty much going to give up on them. But we decided to go back and see how they were doing. Me and my comp both really felt, against all reason, that we needed to still try with them. So we go and they're both there and we teach a bit about families, and Daniel tells us that he does not want to talk about marriage any time soon, blah blah...but he keeps talking, and tells us that he just got back from the wedding of his friend, and in the course of his talking, he ends up pretty much convincing himself that he really does need to get married!! He said that he wants a better life for his son, and even though there are always going to be problems, he's never going to leave Nereyda. We challenged him to get married and baptized on the 21st and they accepted!!!! Holy Cow!!! It was just totally not what we were expecting at all!!! And now we are in the process of planning the wedding! Wow. I don't know if I explained the story well enough, but it just really shows that we have nothing to do with this, and that the Lord has perfect timing. He knew exactly when the missionaries needed to come back into this family's life, right when they're ready to make big changes. We still have a lot of work to do with them, we aren't out of the woods or anything. But wow, I still can hardly believe what happened. And another little miracle, Daniel asked us to try to get into contact with the first hermanas who were visiting them to invite them, and the very next day we got our hands on the phone number of one, called her, and she was so excited and said she'll be here. Isn't that great? I'm just so happy to be a part of this, and that their first missionaries' work wasn't in vain. Wow!!!!

Well that's pretty much my week. We had lots of ups and downs, and about 12 little miracles with Daniel and Nereyda, and I am just so grateful for all that I am learning here. I know that the Gospel is true. I love being a missionary! I hope y'all all have a great week!!

Hermana Gilland

Monday, July 2, 2012

Count Your Blessings - You Live in the Best Country in the World!!!!

Hey everyone!!
Happy fourth of July on Wednesday!! Man, I just love the 4th of July celebration in Utah.  I will miss it a bit this year. Guys, America is so blessed, seriously. Even when you don't like the president or the health reform and all that, America is still 1000x better than other countries. So everyone count your blessings that you live in the best country in the world!
 As for us here in Las Palmas, we had a bit of a rough week with few results. But we aren't getting discouraged, we are coming up with lots of good ideas for this week that hopefully will turn things around here. Every day my mind is blown at how different this area is from my old area, a few blocks away. But, its just like my Dad and tennis coaches always taught me, you just have to figure out how to win. There are lots of mission-sports analogies. Anyway, here are a few things that we did this week:
1. Completed ONE YEAR!!! Agh can you believe it?! On June 29th I completed one year on the mission. Wow I seriously cannot believe that. I cannot believe that we are in July right now, we are half way through the year, when did that happen?! I don't even know. Its neat to look back and see how much I've improved. I definitely still have a very long ways to go, but its neat to compare now and then. I don't think I've said it in a while, but EVERYONE should go on a mission! For real, drop whatever you re doing and go ha-ha, you won't regret it.
2. Wendy's baptism next Saturday! Yay! Our Golden investigator Wendy is totally set for Saturday. I'm interested to see what this baptism's disaster will be, because there is always a disaster. But she's great and I've learned a lot about faith from teaching her and watching her example.
3. Contacting woes..... well, this area is nuts, like I've said. The people here will not let us in! It's a little crazy. We got in with one lady who I think could progress, but other than that, shoot, there wasn't much. We did teach a family who were investigating a few years ago, and the dad went to church and really liked it. Their names are Daniel and Nereyda, and they have a little son. There are some definite obstacles, like that they aren't married and don't want to get married. But me and my comp really felt like we could work with them. We have kind of gained their confidence and I REALLY HOPE that we can help them progress and eventually get married and baptized.
To combat the crazy attitude people have here, we are coming up with some good ideas. This week we are going to do a small booth close to where we live with questions and little Candy prizes and lots of things about Jesus Christ, just because everyone is like scared of us and they need to see that we are really nice and just want to talk to them about Jesus and their family. We are also going to try contacting a few new ways. Who knows? During the week I felt discouraged, but now with some ideas, I feel good. These kinds of things stretch your brain and get you to think out of the box.  I know there are people here prepared, we just gotta find em. And were going to try new strategies.
4. We had a sad experience this week with a family of recent converts. They got baptized a few months ago and were going to church and everything, but right before we got here they got offended by some leaders in the Ward and there was apparently a giant and complicated situation, and now they are never going back. They let us in only so that they could explain to us the situation (for like 2 hours), and inform us that they no longer wanted visited or anything.  So we testified and told them that not going to church was not the answer, and to think about Peter, the prophet of the church after Christ, who made lots of mistakes but was still the leader. I asked what happened to their testimony of Joseph Smith, and they still believe that he was a prophet and that the church is true, but they're not going ever again. What the? I just wonder what Jesus Christ is going to say to people like them in the end, when he asks "and why didn't you go to my church?" and they respond "Well this hermana, and the bishop, and blah blah blah etc". Ha. I don't think that excuse is going to pass. Who knows? I am definitely not the judge. I do know that when we choose not to obey the commandments, there is only so much Christ can do to help us.  Sometimes these people are crazy!
I just wanna finish with my testimony. I know that this is the true church of God on the earth. Every day we explain to people "Look, does it make sense that there are tons of churches who all do all different things, when Jesus Christ only taught one way?" And no matter how uneducated, they understand that that doesn't make sense. Christ didn't leave us with a buffet of choices on how to worship, how to get back to Him and to our Heavenly Father. Its not just do whatever we feel like or what we think sounds good. I know that He established His church, and that it's back. And everyone can know that. Ask God in prayer. He will tell you. I know it. I love the Gospel. I know that Christ is our Savior. I know that the Book of Mormon, along with the Bible, have the answers to our questions. This is my testimony. Thank you all for your support and prayers. Thanks for all you do. Have a great week and say a prayer thanking God for our beautiful country! I love you all!!
Hermana Gilland