Beautiful Guatemala

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

Monday, November 26, 2012

2 Baptisms and Hopefully 1 More Next Week

Hey everyone!

2ND to last email! OH MY! OK well this week went really well, here are a few highlights:

1. Baptisms!!!! On Saturday we had 2 baptisms! One was a niño, a grandson of a member. And the other was Abel!!!! Abel is the kid who has wanted to get baptized for months but his mom wouldn't give him permission, until now!!! Abel is such a great kid. We had a special lesson with him during the week to make sure he was ready for the pre-baptism interview, and when we talked about the Holy Ghost and what it is and how it feels and all that, he described it as a friend that's always with you. I just thought that was so sweet because we didn't teach him that or anything, that's really how he feels about the Holy Ghost. He is excited to go on a mission when he’s been a member for one year. He is doing this all on his own, without support of his family or anything, but the ward loves him, the whole ward was excited about his baptism. He was so happy at his service and he just knows that these things are right. His baptism really was one of the most special baptisms for me that I've been to. It’s such an honor to work with such special children of God who are so prepared. 

2. New positive investigators -- With the help of the ward missionaries, we are teaching some people who are super Evangelicos, but super positive. I haven't really actually taught that many Evangelicos because they always reject us, but these ones seem really prepared. When we ask if they've wondered why there are so many churches, they say they have, they always have, and they've always been looking for the answer and the true church. When we explain about the restoration and the Book of Mormon, they totally get it and want to read and ask God if it’s true. When we invite them to be baptized when they have an answer, they say they will. And we invited them to church and they came! We are really excited about them, and even though I won’t be around to see everything, I’d say they'll be getting baptized soon. We saw lots of little miracles this week with them and I hope that we can work with them this week and set a baptismal date with them. They're prepared! 

3. Well guys, I'm really hoping that next week, in my last email, I can write that my last baptism was a girl named Yury. Her husband is a member but his inactive, but we are reactivating him! They've gone to church now 4 times and she is totally totally ready, just nervous I think and not wanting to make the decision. But we are going to be working with them all week of course....They're a special family for us and I can really see the husband as a leader in the church someday. He’s got a whole lot to learn, and a whole lot to change, but I can picture it. 

Well, of course right now I've been reflecting a lot on the past year and a half, all I've learned and experienced and all the miracles that I've seen. I'm just really grateful for my Savior and the miracles He’s done in my life. Today we are having a special Hermana’s Conference with all the sisters in the mission, mostly because 5 of us are leaving next week, and President is talking a lot about our conversion and if we have really been converted or not here. I still have a really long ways to go, but I hope to always remember and put into practice what I've learned here. Ha, I've got one more week to go!  I'm grateful for the Gospel and for all that I have been given, and I know that this is the Lords church and His work. I hope everyone has a great week!!! Thanks for everything!

Hermana Gilland

Monday, November 19, 2012

Abel Gets Permission to be Baptized!

Hi everyone!

After this email only 2 more! Yikes! Ok anyways, we are doing ok here in Muluá. Actually this week had a few big disappointments, because around Wednesday we were feeling good, we had put baptismal dates with 5 people, 2 families, but then Thursday and Friday everything fell apart and got canceled or that’s not fun when you have 2 weeks left, because there is NO TIME to postpone the baptisms! Agh! But that’s how it goes. Me and hna. Argueta's motto is "We can’t do it all!" ha-ha, because we can only try our best. But anyways, some good things did happen this week, here’s what went down:

1. Permission for Abel! YAY!   So we have been teaching this kid named Abel, he’s 17, for a few months now. He’s been going to church for about 4 months and has wanted to get baptized and everything, but his parents are super evangelicos and wouldn’t give him permission para nada. But he is such a great kid! He goes to church every Sunday, gets there on time, goes to the youth activities, and even went on the young men’s campout last week. He’s been praying and has even fasted so that his mom would give him permission. He really likes the church. The whole time I’ve been here we have been trying to figure out the best way to get permission from the first she wouldn’t really talk to us. But a few weeks ago we had a good chat with her about her son, the church, the youth programs, etc. to make her feel better about the campout. We came up with a pretty good plan, got Abel to write down his testimony on a piece of paper, and on Sunday went and had a nice experience with the mom and in the end she signed and gave him permission!!!!!  Abel was SO HAPPY!!!! And so were we! He’s been going to church here since way before I got here, and he is finally going to be able to get baptized! We of course are hoping for this Saturday, we haven’t really gotten to talk to him about it yet, but I’m sure he'll want to. We are so excited for him, and I know he is so happy. I really think that he'll make a great missionary someday soon! 

2. Familia Martinez -- Well I don’t know if yall remember familia Martinez. They are the family where we made grilled cheese and all that. Well we are still working with them, but it’s been really hard and discouraging. I don’t remember everything I’ve written about them, but basically the hno. Hermelindo is super awesome and wants to get baptized really badly, and his wife, Pati, is crazy and super stubborn and won’t budge! Agh! I’m not even going to explain what her deal is.  Last Monday we had a super special experience with them when Presidente Maravilla, the mission president, invited them for a family home evening at the church. We thought that would surely do the trick! And it almost did because on Wednesday we set a baptismal date with them and we were so happy!!!!! I was overjoyed because they are such a special family for me.  But then on Thursday everything fell apart again. We had brought the fixins to make hot dogs with them and celebrate a bit, but everything exploded and Pati said that she had decided to never get baptized ever and she is just crazy! Her husband was soooo sad :( because he had been so excited about getting baptized. He can’t get baptized without her because they aren’t married and have to get married first. And he doesn’t want to do it without her. AGH!!!! So we are kind of giving them a break. We will hopefully go this week, because I still have a little hope because I have to have hope, but it’s looking slim. Ahh ohh well, we seriously have done EVERYTHING with them, and if EVERYTHING isn’t enough, there is nothing else we could have done. But yea, that was a HUGE GIANT bummer for the week. 

We are still excited about Abel’s baptism (hopefully). And we have another girl whose husband is a member who will probably get baptized on Saturday too. So we are working hard and I am really hopeful for these guys!

Other than that I’m feeling good! I’m getting super nervous about going home, but it’s exciting at the same time! I love being a missionary and am so grateful for the time that I’ve had here. I love the gospel and know that it’s true. I’ve been studying the Book of Mormon a lot because President asked us to start over and read it again. Even though I’ve read the first chapters like a thousand times, they are great! I’m learning so much in 1 Nefi! I know that the Book of Mormon is true. And therefore, I know that the church is true. I love the gospel and my family and all the blessings that the Lord has given me. 

Have an awesome week! This week is thanksgiving, right? Everyone be thankful for AMERICA! It is the BEST. Thanks for everything!

Hna Gilland    

Monday, November 12, 2012

Earthquake and Miracles

Hello everyone!!
It sounded like the earthquake went pretty public, I really don’t know because we don’t watch TV. My mom says everyone wants to hear how it was. Just so ya know, we are like 1:30 from San Marcos, the place most affected. Growing up in West Texas, I had no idea what an earthquake felt like before the mission, so this is all new for me. This one was really strong and everyone freaked out big time, but where we were no one got hurt at all, nothing fell down, nothing was affected. When it was happening everyone just ran out of their houses because they could all easily fall down. My comp and I were outside of this mean lady's house trying to get her to come to the door. She won’t give permission so that her 17 year old son can get baptized, and she wouldn’t even talk to us, and so when ground started shaking, I say, totally serious, "Awesome, maybe she’ll come outside now!"  She didn’t, but almost. I think it was a sign from Heavenly Father telling her to give him permission, but I guess she didn’t feel the same. Oh well we are working on her. I really wish I could give a cooler story about the earthquake, but that’s about it. It’s been the main topic of conversation for the past week with the people. There were lots of rumors that within 48 hours another would hit worst, but nope. I bet that y’all know more about it than I do, I’d love to know what the missionaries in San Marcos were doing, how it all went down, but I haven’t heard anything. Hopefully another one doesn’t hit!
Ok well everything’s been crazy here in Muluá! We are crazy!!! We have had lots of miracles, and I think we’ll have a few more. We are doing awesome! Here are a few of the great things that happened.
We are really happy because the wedding and baptism went smooth and all turned out well. We kept it really simple, just decorated a bit and had a beautiful cake made by our RS pres. Everyone seemed really happy. We didn’t invite many people, just a few members and our investigators (more on that in #2!) The newlyweds looked SO NERVOUS! They were frozen when the lawyer was marrying them, they’re both really shy. A really special moment for me was when Idelia's now father-in-law shared with us how grateful he was for everything. He explained to us that about a year ago his whole family was inactive, but that he and 8 year old Helen started going to church again even though his whole family was falling apart and he and his wife almost got divorced. He said that he prayed so much that things would change. Well, we’ve had the opportunity to work with the whole family (of 8ish) the past 2 months, and now most of them are pretty much active again! He knows as well as we do that they’re not out of the woods yet, but they’re on their way :) And now his daughter and daughter-in-law are members! I was really touched when he was explaining this to us because I honestly hadn’t thought of it all like that. But seriously all this was the Lords timing and the Lord answering his prayers. What a privilege it’s been to work with them, to see changes in them, to see that their home is happier and different. And now they’re all members! They still have a ways to go, but I really have high hopes for the whole family. It was a really special wedding-baptism for this reason, and also for some other miracles below!
2. MIRACLE!! Ok so this next story is definitely in my top2 mission miracles, I just hope I can explain it well so y’all can capture it. So, apart from Idelia, the partial family we just baptized, we are teaching 3 other families/partial families (I’ve mentioned most of them before), and they’re all pretty positive, they’ve all been to church at least a few times, but they all have their special challenges and needs. So it’s really rare to have 4 positive families at once, so the mission leaders are all hovering around telling us we have to baptize them all -- but it’s not quite that easy! But our impossible goal last week became….. bring all 3 families to the baptism. I mean, it really was an impossible goal, but we just knew that it would help the families get excited about their own baptisms. And just a reminder, normally if you want to bring someone to church or a meeting, you have to go and get them, and sometimes drag them there. To make a long story a little shorter, we'll call them fam. 1, fam. 2 and fam. 3 -- We had invited them a few days before, and went to pass by for each of them. We go to fam1, their extended family lie to us and tell us that they aren’t there.  We give up on them, disappointed, and go with fam. 2.  Their neighbors say that the whole family already left to go to the baptism --what?! There’s no way?!  We couldn’t believe it until we saw it. We literally ran a mile until sure enough, we saw them in the distance almost at the church! YAY! One down! Miracle! Now to fam. 3; we run to their house and wait and wait for them to get ready.  They were taking forever and we were already going to be a half hour late for our own baptism, so we left.  We weren’t sure if they’d make it or not. 
We get to the service and fam. 2 is there, yay!  The wedding starts.... and in walks fam.1 out of nowhere! They came?! We about died. And then, 20 minutes later...fam.3 shows up too! So in the end all 3 families showed up BY THEMSELVES and all enjoyed it :) Ha-ha!  We had nothing to do with it, really. We were just running (literally running) all over town for the heck of it, because the all showed up! Now they are all one big step closer to their own baptisms. 
We are so stressed now. We are trying to do everything to help these 3 families and a few other investigators we have. We are so close with so many people. Man, they’ve all got to get baptized! It would be crazy to baptize them all, but it’s our goal. It has to be our goal! I mean, I’ve got 3 weeks left -- this is it! Do or die. Go big and go home! We are super pumped about this week and have some big stuff planned. So we’ve got to do this.
I really appreciate your support and prayers. I know that this is God’s work. We have seen so many miracles here and will continue to see them. I know that the church is true and that families are so important to our Heavenly Father, that He has a special plan for them. We missionaries are here looking for them so we can help them learn about this plan. I love being a missionary and am so grateful for my area, my comp, and for everything that is helping me focus until the end. I’m just trying not to think about it too much! Yikes!!! Well, thanks for everything and I hope that y’all have a great week.
Tune in next week to hear about some more miracles and baptisms!

Hna Gilland

Monday, November 5, 2012

Don't Worry Mom, He Isn't Dangerous........We Could Always Hit Him With Our Umbrellas

Hey guys!!!

I feel like I just wrote a few days ago. I hope everyone’s doing well! Happy birthday Granny!!! We had a really great week and I am learning so much. We are so dang busy and there is just not enough time to do everything! But here are some of our experiences we had this week:

1. We finally put the baptismal date with Idelia!!!!!!!  Agh!  This week was rough at first because we were working really hard with the families that we are teaching but they weren’t progressing at all and we just didn’t know what to do and what we were doing wrong. I was stressed because I’m almost outa here.  I can’t just go home with nothing going on. So Friday we planned some really good things to do; we were going to contact several references we had received the day before and go with 3 partial families in the afternoon. But seriously everything fell. Not one of the references was even a little bit positive, and everything fell in the afternoon and we ended up wasting a lot of time. It feels really really crappy to go home at the end of the day, when you’ve only got so many days left out here, with nothing at all to show for it. Geez, I read my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon, Ether 12, and wrote in my journal, and I don’t know, I just felt ok and felt like we had put in our all that day and that the Lord was going to bless us and that we just had to keep having faith, even more faith...... And the next morning we had a giant miracle and managed to set the baptismal date with Idelia!!!!! I am so excited!!! I don’t know if y’all remember me writing about her, but she is the partial family where we had a really special, really simple lesson a few weeks ago. I don’t know what happened or how, but she finally accepted a date. They have to get married first, so we get to plan another wedding!!!! Yay! That’s fun, a little stressful, but fun :) Wow we still can’t believe it! So if everything turns out, this weekend is their wedding and her baptism!!!!!

2. More partial families!!!  Seriously this area is full full full of partial families that we keep finding. We have one right now, familia Monzòn, who are really positive. The husband was baptized like 20 years ago and the wife’s not a member (yet). The husband is really excited to make changes in his life. The wife isn’t quite as excited about everything, but she’s nice and listens to us, and we know that if they just start praying and reading the scriptures together, shell want to get baptized. They went to church on Sunday and were really happy there, and have been to church in the past, and have lots of family members who are members, so it’s only a matter of time. The husband has a little gym and has invited us to come for free! That’s great for a few reasons: one, we know he really likes us, and two, because we can work out and I can get into a little better shape before I go home. 

The one big obstacle or one of the big obstacles is that they live over by where this crazy angry American-hating drunk who apparently was in prison for 20 years in America lives.  He goes to the gym all the time. The first time we met him last week, we were talking to the family on their porch for the first time, and he came and kind of cornered us there and was asking us questions about how he could be a missionary like us and serve in America (not the first time I’ve heard that). We tried to explain to him that he can’t be a missionary for several reasons, and I kind of lost my temper with him because we were trying to contact this awesome family and he was totally ruining it!  He just got angry and was yelling and causing a scene about how missionaries can get into any country easy and that it wasn’t fair and that we needed to get out of Guatemala because it’s his country and all this stuff, some in English, with lots of bad words. And he wouldn’t leave. So we had to hide in the house for a while until he left and then sneak home. Now we seem to find him all the time and he always comes over and starts yelling and he’s really rude. My biggest concern is that we have caused problems between him and the family, and that the whole neighborhood is listening to what he says about the church.  He claims that we are spies from America (not the first time I’ve hear that), etc. But yea, there’s always something right? In a way it’s kind of funny.  Don’t worry mom, he isn’t dangerous.  He’s not going to hurt us or anything.  He’s all talk!   We can always hit him with our umbrellas! Ha-ha. 

Well, I’m about out of time but I love being a missionary and I know that the church is true!  I know that what we are teaching, everyone needs to hear.  We are working really hard. I hope y’all have a great week and I really hope that Romney wins!!!

Hna Gilland