Monday, October 6, 2014
This general conference was amazing! It was so spiritually uplifting and I heard and learned a few things that I think were directly meant for me or my investigators. I got to watch 3 of the 4 sessions, and even better in English with an Hermana named Belkiss! She is so great and I am grateful that she could watch it with me. I loved when Neil L Anderson quoted our prophet saying "...No force in the entire world can stop the work of God." This is something that I have to remind myself often when things don't turn out how I thought or hoped they would have. For example, this Saturday we were supposed to have a baptism, but our investigator didn't show up to the conference or to his baptism that was going to happen afterwards. I was pretty upset and heart-broken, which I think is a sign that I have gained a true love for all of my investigators in this area. But, the closing hymn of the Sunday morning session has a line that hit me pretty hard. It says, "Fear not I am with thee oh be not dismayed; For I am thy God and will still give thee aid." That was exactly what I needed to hear to feel the love and comfort from my savior that everything was going to be alright. Also, President Monson stressed the importance of walking AS Christ. In our path we will find bitter sorrow, but also great happiness and joy. However, to we must strive to place Christ in the center of our lives. I hope you all got the opportunity to hear the words of our beloved prophet and his apostles and learned something that will bring you closer to our savior Jesus Christ. I know with all my heart that this church is true and that it was restored through Joseph Smith. I know that Thomas S. Monson is our true and living prophet on the earth today and that his words are the words of God. If we heed the words of our prophet I know that we will witness miracles and witness important changes in our lives. I share this small portion of my testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
With Much Love,
Monday, September 29, 2014
My Dearest Family,
This week we had inter-cambios again and this time I got to stay in Country and Hna Ludlow came to visit me for a day. It was super fun and I didn't realize how much I've missed speaking English until she came. I learned a couple things from her, 1. The time passes by so quickly on the mission so we have to take advantage of every moment and enjoy it and use the time we are given wisely and 2. In the mission I've learned to have a different idea of what is clean and what is dirty. For example in the morning sometimes I pour out my cereal and find ants in, but we've found that the best solution is to just pour in the milk wait about 6 seconds for all the ants to run out and then enjoy the wonderful, nutritious bowl of cereal.... Ya, I don't think I ever would have done that at home, but you do what you gotta do in the mission.
Also, we had a baptism this week!!! His name is Diego and he's 9 years old. His mom is a recent convert also, but they were super wonderful and supportive in his baptism. His dad, Orlin, spoke and shared a brief, but powerful testimony about the temple and the desire he has to go there with his wife and family someday. It was a beautiful heart-touching testimony. Watching one of your converts get baptized is one of the most rewarding things that can happen on the mission.
My companion and I have also learned this week that it is better to be direct when teaching rather than beat-around-the-bush. The scriptures tell us (in 1 Nephi) that the wicked will take the truth to be hard, but in D&C it tells us that God's chosen will hear word and accept the invitation to repent and be baptized. So when we teach directly we are able to find out if the people we are teaching are chosen or if it isn't quite their time yet. I really love being a missionary and love sharing the gospel with others everyday. Sometimes it's a little frustrating and we have our low times, but the baptisms and high times more than make up for those rough days. I love you all so much!
Monday, September 22, 2014
My companion and I had an AWESOME week! It was a little frustrating the first 2 weeks, because we hardly had any investigators and less progressing. But, this week was completely different. We found so many new people to teach and a lot of them actually have a desire to hear our message and ask God if this is all true. I have this great feeling that we're going to start having some baptisms in the next couple of weeks. I'm not exactly sure when, but I've got faith that it's going to happen. I've learned this week that sometimes we make awesome plans that we think our perfect, but then we head out the door and our day goes not even close to according to plan. However, this week, those days were the most successful and best days we had. It's funny how God works sometimes. He tries to teach us the importance of relying on him always. And even though we had some CRAZY days, this week has been the best week I've had in a while. We were also super blessed to have a Reunion de Nuevos, with all the trainers and their trainees this week and it was wonderful. President talked a lot about the importance of having unity in your companship and how we always have to work together and treat each other as equals despite how much time we have in the mission. Lucky for me, Hna Almendras and I get along super well and we don't really have problems with unity. So my short, spiritual message for this week is, When we have sufficient faith, nothing is impossible! Remember that always and our lives will be a lot better. Thanks for all the prayers and support and I love you all tons!
Con Mucho Amor,
Monday, September 15, 2014
This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to go to the temple for the 2nd time here in the mission and it was beautiful and amazing as always. Our mission President always stresses the importance of going to the temple with a question in mind, because when we´re in the temple we are more open to receive personal revelation. My question this week was... How can I fully give myself over to the Lord? Right now I’m trying so hard to lose myself in this work, but sometimes it´s hard with the daily distractions that we have every day. As I was sitting and pondering after the session I got my answer. If I really, truly have a desire to lose myself in this work I have to love the people, and if I want to truly love the people I have to think of them and treat them as if they were my own family. And that shouldn´t be so hard seeing that we literally are brothers and sisters here on the earth. So, I made a goal that from here on out I´m going to teach every person as if they were my brother or sister or my aunt or uncle. I know if we have that kind of mindset it will be nearly impossible to not have deep love for each person that we teach. But, with everything there is opposition. In this week we lost two investigators... they told us that they couldn´t meet with us anymore because of one thing or another or just that they weren´t interested. It was heart breaking for me and my trainee, but we´re moving forward with our chins up and with faith that there are other people out there just waiting to hear about the gospel. Remember that nothing is impossible with God and that we can overcome any obstacle with his help. I love you all so much!
Hermana Brooklyn Hansen
Monday, September 8, 2014
So, on Wednesday I rcvd my new companion! Her name is Hna. Almendras. She´s from Bolivia and is 20 years old. She´s super sweet and helps me out with my spanish when I confuse my words during the lessons. I´ve really enjoyed this first week of training. It´s been wonderful, because I can take all the good things I learned from my other companions and put them all together and get rid of all the things that I didn´t like. But also, it´s super hard because you are in charge of EVERYTHING. My companion doesn´t know the area or the investigators or the members so I have to take the initiative to show her the ropes. I know it´s going to be hard, but I¨m super excited. Also, our first day here we put a goal to baptize 10 people in these 3 months that we´re going to have together. Wow, we´ve got some work to do, but we´ll get there.
This week we also had a conference with Elder Ochoa of the SEventy of the area and the YOung Men President of the entire church. They talked to us about the importance of the Sacrament and how we need to make sure that our investigators and the members here understand the symbolism. As members of the church we really have a great opportunity to cleanse ourselves every Sunday and renew our baptismal covenants with God. How lucky are we to have the opportunity
to have a clean slate EVERY week. That really is such a blessing that I didn´t quite fully understand before. I hope that this week as you partake of the sacrament you will think about what it really means for you personally. I love being a missionary and I love sharing this message of happiness with everyone whether they will hear us out or not. Remember the Savior always.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
My Dear Family,
So, last Monday in the afternoon we got a call from Presidente Fortuna and guess what?... I bet you'll never guess... I'm going to train! I'm super excited, but super nervous too, because I still have a lot of things to learn for myself. But, I figure if President called me (and he's an inspired servant of the Lord) I must have something to teach a brand new missionary. I went to a meeting for all the people that are going to train in this transfer and all of the names of the new-bes have Latina last names so I'm like 95% sure that my companion will be Latin and speak better Spanish than me. But, in the mission the important thing isn't how much of the language you can speak. It's more about your determination to bring the spirit into every lesson you teach and have a genuine love for the people you teach. In this meeting the very last thing that Pres. Fortuna said was "No hay tiempo para temor" or in other words "there isn't time to be scared". And that was exactly what I needed to hear. In the mission there really isn't time to be scared of whether people are going to slam a door in your face or reject the gospel. If we're doing all that we can to do our part and let the people know why we're here than God is going to help us with the rest. He will never leave us alone. So in short... I"m still nervous, but I'm super excited to train.
Also, we had intercambios this week and I got to go visit a different area with Hna. Ludlow. She was wonderful and gave me lots of encouragement and words of advice for training. Right now I'm just super excited and almost can't wait until Wednesday to receive my companion. Well that's all I've got for this week. Stay strong, be bold, and have courage, because this life is too short to be afraid of sharing what we know with the people around us.
All My Love,
Monday, August 25, 2014
We have light in our apartment again! And let me tell you that I am so happy and so grateful for electricity, so don't take it for granted. This week we got to do service in an area called 21 de Mayo in a cemetary that is a little ways away from the chapel there. The elders all got machetes to chop away all the weeds and long grass that has started to grow over the vault/headstone things. And the hermanas got to pick up trash and sweep off all the vaults. The cemetery’s here are a bit different than those in the states, but it was kinda neat to see.
This week we received a reference from a Hermana in the ward and this man was chosen of God. His name is Romel and he already knows a lot about the church and loves the member. Right before our first lesson with him we had a meeting and learned the importance of stating our authority and our purpose in the first visit. OUr authority is that we are literally representatives of Jesus Christ and our purpose is to invite others to come unto him through baptism. My companion was an awesome example for me in this lesson. At the end of the lesson she just said it straight our with no hesitation, " Hermano we have a purpose here as missionaries and it's not just to teach you the word of God. We're here to baptize you so you can return to live in the presence of God again." Whoah, ya.... I was pretty blown away. I've never been so direct with an investigator, but like I said, he was chosen and he accepted a baptism date and everything. I'll definitely keep you updated on him.
Well, that's all I've got for now but I promise I'm alive and doing well and loving the work. Miss you all and love you tons.
Monday, August 18, 2014
I´m glad to hear that everyone is alive, healthy, and doing well. Church yesterday was good. I´m finally at the point that I can understand the whole lesson (minus a few words or phrases), so I actually feel like I¨m learning doctrine in church instead of Spanish. I can´t wait til I get the chance to get my back fixed up a bit, because there are days that it bothers me a bit when we´re sitting in lessons. But, I’ve been super blessed with health and all that jazz during this 6 months. I love you tons Mom!
So today is Day 5 that my companion and I have not had electricity in our apartment. We even took the light bill and delivered it to the Elders in the office and they still haven´t paid it, so Thursday night we came home to no light because they cut our connection. The evenings are a little sad without light, because we can´t study, or write, or read, or really do anything. We just sit in the dark on our beds and talk until the elders call us to get our numbers. But, it´s just another experience of the mission right?!
The members and investigators here love to teach us how to cook and in this week I got to learn how to make chicken empanadas and pastel de tres leche (3 milk cake). This cake is absolutely delicious and I´m feeling blessed that I know how to make it now.
This Wed. we had a Zone Conference with our mission President and it was wonderful. He talked a lot about faith and fear and how they can´t co-exist (I’m not 100% sure if that is a word in English), because one of them will always overcome the other. If we let our faith drop then fear will take over, but if we strive to increase our faith, then we will have no fear to prevent us from acting on our faith. It´s really a simple concept. And this week I´ve been putting it into practice. I´ve had a bit of a fear inviting people to baptism in the first visit (even though PMG tells us that we should), but this week I decide to take the challenge and initiative to invite all of our new investigators to baptism in the first visit and it´s amazing the things I´ve seen. Not everyone accepts the invitation, but the spirit there is so strong. Also, in this conference the family that we baptized came and sat up front and all the missionaries got to ask them questions about their conversion and how they felt when we invited them to do certain things. It was a powerful meeting and amazing to see the great amount of faith that these new converts have in the gospel. It was definitely a rewarding experience.
Well, things here in Honduras are great. We´re always hot, sweaty, and we walk EVERYWHERE. I feel super blessed to be where I am and am thankful to my father in heaven for this opportunity, because it really is an opportunity of a lifetime. I love you all and pray for you often.
Monday, August 11, 2014
So in this past week I completed 6 months of being in the mission and my companion completed 1 year. Wahoo! We did have a little bit of celebration with a little ice cream. It was wonderful!
I don´t have a lot to report this week, but I just want to share a little of what I´ve learned this past week. I was reminded (again) that God knows us and loves us individual. He is completely aware of all of us children. He knows what is best for us and knows exactly what we need when we need it. Sometimes it´s hard to accept his timing, but when we really strive to align our will with the will of God life is so much easier and very rewarding.
I was also reminded of the importance of obedience with exactness. Yes we are all going to make mistakes and falter a little along the way, but if we really try to be COMPLETELY obedient, again, our lives will be easier and we will be blessed. Now, I´m not saying that life is magically going to be easy and care free, but it will be EASIER and more rewarding. Well, sorry that this message is short but I just wanted to share a little bit of what the mission is teaching me.
Love you all,
Monday, August 4, 2014
This week I had the grand opportunity of going to a dentist here in Honduras. I was a little scared for my life, but don't worry she fixed my retainer and I think things should be good from here on out. Also, if anyone is worried about me not eating enough here because the food is different, don't even give that a second thought. This week we went to have lunch with the Sierra family and she seriously gave us enough food for 5 lunches!! A huge pile of tajeritas (it's kind of like eating a stack of potato chips with cabbage and parmesan and a red sauce), 2 tamales, a big bowl of rice soup, and then to top it all off a nice little cookie. Directly after this meal we went to visit an investigator that gave us two more tamales to eat. I thought I was going to explode because there was so much food inside of me!
On a happier note, we married a family and had 5 baptisms this weekend. We were so excited for this couple to get married and we bought a cake and everything. And one of the members here was helping the bride out with her hair and makeup too and right when we were leaving the house to head to the church for the wedding, the lights went out. I was so worried and just said a quick, pleading prayer in my heart that we could still have this wedding. When we got to the church everyone followed us inside and we had this wedding with 2 flashlights and phone. It was quite the experience and I don't think that they will ever forget it either.
This fast Sunday was amazing. In the first 10 seconds of the meeting there were 14 people sitting up on the stand waiting to bear their testimony. I had never seen that happen before and it was quite the site. It reminded me of the importance of bearing our testimony every chance we get. We don't have to get up there and talk for 5 or 10 either. Yesterday we heard from about 30 different people in this new ward and everyone only talked for about 1 or 2 minutes. It was a powerful meeting and I was so grateful that our new converts got to experience a meeting like that. I hope you all remember that and bear a strong, but brief testimony in every opportunity that God gives you. I love you all tons.
Les Amo Mucho,
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
This week was a little crazy with the transfers and what not, but I've finally made it to Monday to tell you all about it. I found out on Tuesday that for sure I would be leaving Marcala, but I had no clue where I would be going. My new area is called Country, but don't let the name fool you, I'm right smack dab in the middle of the city. It was like having culture shock all over again. I went from a tiny, tiny pueblo to being in the middle of the big city. But, it was a good change. I've really enjoyed what I've seen so far and it always smells like bread in the streets, because there are a ton of Panadaria's (places that sell bread).
My new companion is Hermana Ixcoy (pronounced Ishcoy) and she is from Guatamala just like my last companion. She's been here for about a year now. She is super patient, humble, and loving and I've really enjoyed these passed few days we've had together. We have really similar personalities so we get along really well. I think it's going to be a good 6 weeks, but also a quick 6 weeks.
My first day in Country we went to visit a family of 5 that are going to be baptized this Saturday. They are super kind ,and from what I've seen, super ready to get married and baptized. Later Hna. Ixcoy told me that this Hermano dropped his job so that he could come to church, and as of right now he still has no job. We are praying for them and know that God will provide a way for this family, because they are doing what he has asked of them.
Well, that's all about my new life for now. I'm enjoying it, but it's definitely a big change. Oh also, one more thing... guess who I found in Honduras on Wednesday?! Miss Cambree King! I'll attach a photo to this email. I love you all lots!
Monday, July 21, 2014
So yesterday I was supposed to play piano in Sacrament Meeting for the first time and I was pretty excited. We left the piano in the chapel the night before and when we got there in the morning it was gone! It's an electric piano, so it can be moved easily. The problem is we don't know if a member moved it and it's hiding somewhere in the church or is someone (somehow) stole it. I felt so bad, because yesterday was most likely my last Sunday here so they'll have to stick with the CD version of the hymns until they finally find the piano again. Also, I taught Gospel Principles for the second time and it was TONS better. Well, I don't know if the actual class was any better, but my Spanish has improved so much in these 6 weeks. The gift of tongues is real.
Also, my companion is a little crazy and decided to buy one of those miniature ovens that are made to cook miniature pizzas and things, but the good news is we can now make cookies that are soft and delicious and not rock hard like all the other ones that are here. We've tried it twice now and our cooking skills have gotten better each time. Also, one of the members here taught us how to make pastelitas de pina or something similar to mini pineapple pies and they were so good! I can't wait to try them again by myself! I even have a photo that I'll attach to the end of this e-mail.
The work here in Marcala has picked up substantially and we've seen lots of baptisms from the branch and also from us 6 missionaries. I think it helps the members to gain confidence in us when they see that we really are working and bringing people into the church. When I first got to this area the members needed all the help and support they could get, but now they're actually starting to help us out and realize that they have potential to help out with the missionary work of the church. When we work hard and exercise our faith, God always blesses us... sometimes we just need a little patience. :)