Beautiful Guatemala

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

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm Loving Area Mulua

Hey guys! 
 This week we kept ourselves very busy because there is so much to do here! It feels great to have tons of appointments every day. It's way different here in Mulua.  Here's what we did:

1. We are looking like crazy for new families to teach, and I just know that they're out there, but we haven't found them quite yet. But at least here people will let us teach them! We are doing everything we can think of and working our tails off, so I know that next week Ill have some cool families to write about. I love my comp because shes still new and full of energy, and is willing to work all day long. Its crazy because Ive never had such a desire to work hard in my whole mission (nunca he tenido tantas ganas de trabajar is what I wanna say) (not that I wasn't working before), but its getting hard because I'm just so exhausted! But it doesn't matter, we are going to work so hard to find these families!

We are kind of teaching about 6 partial families, but none of them really want anything, and its a bummer. We did have a little miracle on Sunday with one of them though. Familia Tiu -the husband is a member and the wife isn't but the husband has been inactive for like 9 years - we've been going with them trying to persuade them to go to church, but they always have excuses, and we went by where they live Sunday morning but to invite someone else to church, and we saw hno Tiu and he just took off without even saying hi to us, and I was like "ugh these partial families, we are done with these guys for sure. He just runs away from us!" Well later at church before sacrament meeting had started, guess who shows up...hno Tiu! What?! We still have no idea why he came, because he hadn't been in years. His family didn't come, but still, its a big step!  So who knows, maybe we can work with his wife now! I'm excited.

My comp is funny because, this being her first area, she doesn't know how good we've got it here as far as the awesome ward, friendly people who actually listen to us, always stuff to do here, and its funny to hear her complain (not that shes a complainer) about stuff here like "oh the ward missionaries don't  do anything" or "the ward leaders do such and such", etc, and I'm like ha! I haven't had a ward mission leader in months! This really is an awesome area and I hope to help the work right along here.

2. Just an exciting note, the kid that we baptized last week, Selvin, is awesome and already went with the youth to the temple! Isn't that great! And his new calling is ward missionary. This ward is so ridiculously put together.

3.   Well in other news, my comp cut my hair this morning. My hair was so long and gross it was driving me insane!! And its hard to wash such long hair in the bucket showers.  I knew that there was no hope in it turning out good, but its way better and I'm happy about it. I always just wear it up anyways. Also I'm still a little sick, I don't know but I think I might have a stomach infection. But its not really affecting anything so we will see how I continue. 

4. Pdays in San Felipe are a little different than in my other areas, because there is nothing fast food or nothing really at all here, so us 6 hermanas cooked and I learned how to make "tostones" fried squashed green platanos, food that one hermana from Nicaragua, and also my comp from Ecuador, eat in their homes. I love learning about all the different countries and foods and everything.

OK well that's about all I got for the moment. I love being a missionary and I really love working hard, its very satisfying, We are trying to work hard and smart here and I am really hoping to finish up well here. I love the gospel and want to always work hard in the church. There is so much we can do to build the Lords kingdom. I know that the atonement is real and its how we can change and become better and more likeChrist.I love telling people about it because its whats going to change their whole lives for the better. 

Have great week everyone!
Hermana Gilland

Monday, September 17, 2012

I am in San Felipe and My Companion is from Ecuador

Hey everyone!!!

I hope things are great for yall! I had an exciting week!! Here are a few highlights:

1. CHANGES!!!!  I got changes and am now in my final area -- weird right? I’m in area Muluá, zona San Felipe. It’s like in the middle of Reu and Mazatenego, my other 2 areas, ha-ha. I’m in the Brillantes Ward and we share with a pair of elders. This ward is an AWESOME ward -- by far the best-organized I’ve ever seen here in Guatemala. Wow. This is my first full bishopric with bishop, 1st and 2nd counselors, and secretary. The ward mission leader is great and has really organized the ward-mission force -- we have lots of ward missionaries AND they go and teach and visit the investigators and recent converts, AND they actually do it! We had a meeting sat. night with the ward mission leader and all the ward missionaries and us 4 full time missionaries, and it ward really cool to have that "teamwork feel" with ward members and to hear the members excited to baptize and talking about our monthly baptism goals and such. I fee like Im on another planet here. There were even ward programs handed out in Sac. mgt. Ive never seen anything like this. Now I have no excuses...

My comp is Hna. Cuzco from Ecuador -- cool huh? That’s one cool thing about the mission is that you meet people from everywhere. I’m her "stepmom" or 2nd comp, she’s only got 3 months on the mish, but she’s super sweet and a great missionary and we are getting along great! 

Muluá is different from my other areas because it’s just a teensy little area. My whole mission I’ve been in big(ish) cities -- Reu has 2 stakes -- and now I’m in a spread out community that makes up one big ward. There really aren’t stores here, only for the most basics. But it’s a nice area, I’ve always loved the small-town feel. I like a lot of things about our house here, -- it’s a lot smaller than our last house, which I like, and very simple. Our "kitchen" is just a table with a small electric stove on top, a mini fridge, and of course the pila (the giant sink thing used for washing dishes, clothes, babies, dogs, etc.) One thing about our house that’s a little different is the water situation. Out in the boonies around here, the water is organized in such a way that it comes at different times for different parts of town. For us we only have running water from 11 pm to 8 am. Luckily, part of the function of the pila is to store several gallons of water, so it’s not really a big deal. But (and I say thins not complaining, just describing my afflicciones like Nephi always does), one of my very favorite, most enjoyable things to do my whole mission has been to come home after a long and sweaty day to a nice cold shower. Oh how I loved and took for granted the blessing of always having running water. And now I can’t. I still take a bucket shower at night, but it’s not the same, and not near as refreshing, and I’m not getting near as clean...Sigh. But oh well, we’ve got much more important things to worry about here. But oh how I miss my nightly shower. Also our toilet doesn’t flush without dumping water in, so that’s another pain. OH WELL!

2. I got SICK! Oh my poor comp. She’s very capable even though she’s new, but I have been ZERO help to her since I got here because I don’t know anyone of course, and of course, Saturday we have a baptism in the morning and an activity in the afternoon, and I wake up super sick from something I ate the day before, so I was throwing up, had diarrhea, fever,etc. Apart from the parasites I had back in January, this is the only other time I’ve gotten sick (which has got to be some kind of record around here by the way). So my comp basically did everything all by herself Sat. I went to the baptism, but like couldn’t even stand to sit straight in my chair, and then I went home to rest and a nice member stayed in the house with me, and then I went to the activity and just sat there and tried to at least appear friendly. Everyone in the ward who knows I was sick thinks I’m really delicate -- "oh the change in the food here" even though I’ve lived in Guatemala basically for forever. And those who didn’t know probably think I’m kind of rude...but agh whatever. Great first impression right?

It’s always funny to have changes because you have to start over and answer all the basic questions, one of them being "do you eat tortillas?" I mean, DUH I eat tortillas. That would be like asking a missionary in America if the like to drink something with their food. Tortillas are always present, and of course I eat them. Ha-ha these crazy people. 

I’m really excited to be in this ward because I’m going to learn A TON!! We apparently have lots of investigators.  I’m getting to know them right now. I’m excited and not feeling "baggy" or "trunky" at all, just wanting to work.  I really love being a missionary and testify that this is God’s work. I’m so grateful to be here. I love the gospel, and I know that it’s true and can bless everyone’s lives. My last area, Las Palmas, was really hard. But I learned so much and had such great experiences that I will never forget. I just love it. Have a great week all of you! 

Love, Hermana Gilland

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hey everyone!!!

Another week flew by; man time is starting to go super-fast. The days seem long but the week flies and before I know it its Monday again. We had a busy week and worked really hard!  Here are a few things that happened:

1. We had tons of appointments this week and were really busy! We also had a 2 day conference with president that was really good but took up time, so we were really rushing all around town trying to visit all our investigators, all the less actives in hopes that they would go to church on Sunday and keep the attendance alright. We also found a new family this week and we were really excited about them.  But then Sunday was a little disappointing because we only ended up having Diego, the kid we are teaching, in church. And a lot of the less actives didn’t end up going either: / But some of them did, and hey, we worked our tails off this week, so ya.  It’s really fulfilling to come home beat at the end of the day. I’ve been going to bed early because I’m just sooooo tired!  I think I’m losing my mind here he-he. Last week I was feeling kind of baggy (trunky), and all this week I was freaking out because I don’t have too much longer out here, and I have really come to love this, teaching, meeting people, working hard, etc. Sometimes I don’t know how I’m going to be able to go home when I love so much being a missionary. I’m just learning so much here!  (But I’m just going to be honest, sometimes I’m really beat and going home in a few months doesn’t sound bad at all :) )

2. Just a quick story: This week we went with a member family to real quick to talk to them about a reference they had for us. The mom's dad is this sweet, tiny little old man, Hermano Milo (he comes up to my shoulder he-he). He is 93 years old, and he used to be the stake patriarch, but he doesn’t give blessings anymore for his health. He can’t remember anyone’s names, but he always greets you so happily, asking our names and where we are living. Everyone always talks about how he used to go with the missionaries. He loves missionary work. When we went with them this week we spent a few minutes chatting about things and about the references, and Hno. Milo slipped out of the room and we kept talking. He appeared about 15 minutes later with mugs of atol for us that he had thoughtfully prepared by himself. (atol is a hot oatmeal drink that is really good) I really love his example of service, because even though he can’t really remember what’s going on and who everyone is, he loves serving, and has dedicated his whole life to service, and even in his old age thinks of little ways to serve other people. Service is such a part of his life that he’s not going to forget it. What an amazing example. I hope that when I’m old I can be like hno. Milo and follow the example of Jesus Christ no matter what.

                                     Daniel and Nereyda at their baptism on 7-20-12

3.  Update on Familia Pos:  Familia Pos is the family we baptized about 2 months ago, or Daniel and Nereyda, I don’t know if yall remember, but whew, they are crazy and the Lord had to make about a dozen miracles happen for them to get baptized. They’ve been struggling but we have had some great experiences with them. They’ve been going to church sometimes, but are still really shaky and need lots of work. But I love them. Last night we went with them and passed the first hour just laughing our heads off with them! They’re just crazy! They were making fun of how I say the "rr" in Spanish (and I can totally say the "rr" good, just so you know), and I was making fun of how they can’t even say a thing in English. And then we started to share a lesson, really trying to figure out their needs and Daniel just straight up confessed to us that he’s been drinking and smoking and using drugs with his friends sometimes, not a lot. Well, usually that’s a crushing blow to the missionaries when their recent converts are not living any of the things we taught them, but I don’t know, it didn’t make me sad. He expressed to us that he wants to change, he feels bad for what he’s done, and that’s why he hasn’t really wanted to go to church, because he feels guilty. It was such a nice experience to testify to him of the power of the Atonement and that he really can change these things. By himself, probably not, but if he prays all week, personally and with his wife, he will have the strength to overcome temptations. And I know that that’s true. When we were talking to him, I think I could maybe just a little see how a parent, or how our Heavenly Father feels when one of his children comes unto him, wanting to change, not seeing a way out, really sad. I felt so much love for them in this moment. The message of the healing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the greatest message on earth. I know that the Atonement has power over everything because I’ve seen it work in my life and in the lives of others. And I have really learned more in these weeks about the great importance of repenting. It’s the way that we can be happy. I love the Gospel and know with all my heart that it’s true. I loved the Liahona/Ensign this month because it talked a lot about senior missionaries, and it really made me want to keep serving in the church my whole life. I’m definitely going on more missions when I’m older. And I just think “wow, I’m going to be so much better at teaching and listening to the spirit and everything in 30 or 40 years!" I love this gospel and am proud to be a part of it!  

I hope y’all have a great week!!  Everyone should read the Liahona/Ensigh first presidency message of this month about MISSIONARY WORK!!!  Really, it’s not that hard. You just have to PRAY that the Lord puts in your path someone who needs the gospel, and then be WILLING to act. Y’all can do it! Read the message and pray to know how you can put it into practice in your lives. Ok, have a great week! Thanks for all your support!!

Hermana Gilland

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ward Attendance is Up!


Hope y’all are doing great! Here are a few things that we’ve been up to.

1. Divisions! On Wednesday we did divisions! Usually, hermanas never do divisions, or switch comps for a day, but I think president wants to try out new stuff. I went to San Felipe with Hermana Estrada for the day, and Hermana Crooks came to Las Palmas to work with my comp. It was fun in San Felipe because the 2 sets of hermanas live together. It was a party. San Felipe is really nice because it’s not hot there, it’s nice and cool! It’s great there! I would love to go there but try not to think about it and get my hopes up.

2. The attendance is going up!!! We’ve been working hard to get people to come to church and the attendance was 96 on Sunday!! That’s way up from 60 a few weeks ago. Our ward is struggling. Here’s a run-down of our ward - and I say all of this smiling-: Our bishopric consists of our bishop (who works out of town every day and can’t really help us out or do anything), one counselor and an 18 yr. old kid who is the secretary or something. We currently don’t have an elders quorum president. Our young men’s president has been drinking lately. And there aren’t counselors for either of these organizations. We are really lacking in worthy priesthood holders in this ward, so I don’t even know who is going to fill these callings. And of course there is no ward mission leader. The relief society presidency is alright, but the ladies bicker and gossip so much! Agh! Sometimes we just don’t know what to do here! Everyone is always getting offended by everyone.  Sometimes I feel like we are in charge of a ward of junior high kids with all the little fights that happen. It’s been a great learning experience here in Las Palmas, and we’ve had to work hard and look and pray for solutions. I don’t know if I’m going to have changes next week or what, but I can keep going here. It’s rough but we can keep going.

In church we had 2 investigators - Diego (a 12 yr. old) and Josue (the blind guy), and we are really thinking that they’re both going to get baptized, so we are excited about that. 

3. Just a quick story. We are teaching this Evangelica lady named Yolanda, she’s really cool and even though she loves the church she goes to, when we taught her about the restoration a few weeks ago, she could see that we had reason in what we said, and she felt the spirit. This week we went and her super Evangelica sister was there, so we decided to reteach about the restoration. The sister, Maria, was nice, but said she said she didn’t agree with anything, doesn’t think that we need prophets anymore, thinks she should just ask her pastor if what we say is true, etc. It was cool because just using some scriptures in the Bible we were able to show her that her bible says that what we say is correct. Ha! It was funny to me because she wouldn’t admit to us that she could see that we had good points, but we could see that she had some doubts.   Her sister Yolanda now has even bigger doubts I just love the gospel because it just makes sense. It’s nothing crazy or different than what Jesus always taught. My testimony is always strengthened when we teach a lesson like that because, wow, even with just the Bible, this stuff has got to be true. I know that just like in bible times, today we need a living prophet. I know that the Gospel had to be restored, because it was changed by men after Christ and his apostles were killed. I just know that this is true! Being a missionary is fun and you just learn so much! It’s great!

Things really are going alright here. I hope y’all have a great week!!!

Love, Hermana Gilland