Monday, November 26, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 26-11-12

Hola mi familia asombrosa!

Thanksgiving was fun!  The two zones in Huehue were invited to a members house, the owner of the restaurant Zumbas, Luis, where he made a delicious Thanksgiving lunch.  First time in the mission I´ve eaten mashed potatoes and gravy, a green bean casserole, turkey, pumpkin pie (!) and the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever eaten in my life.  He had even substituted a vegetable for sweet potatoes in a marshmellow topped casserole, and it tasted good!  (though I´m still excited to eat sweet potatoes when I get home).  All the missionaries here in HueHue are crying that Luis has plans to move to Arizona in January.  I´m just grateful he isn´t going until after Christmas!

For my 14 month mark I was in interdivisions with Hna N, the ¨zone leader¨ for the hermanas in the mission.  I was grateful to learn from her, especially what she has done in prior companionships.  

Saturday morning we gave service as a district, and for the first time in my mission I was able to help reconstruct a clay oven!!!  I´ve wanted to build a clay oven ever since I learned about it from HELP International.  It was a blast, and I’m convinced that the black clay from the fish pond will make the best one ever.  we´re going to have incredible fire baked pizza when I get home!!!  It also felt so good to physically WORK, and it made me trunky, ¨baggy¨ here in the mission, for the garden.  

I don’t know why, but yesterday morning it hit me that Molly used to wake me up in the morning with her wet nose puppy kisses.  I had completely forgotten!  I look forward to those too!

While this week was low in dats, we received a miracle Saturday night.  We had passed by a house, and 14 year old Edy announced he is going to be baptized!  He is the cousin of our convert Jelder, and has been coming to church for three months.  When I asked him how he decided, he told us he wanted to stop doing what is bad and do what is right.  I felt the Spirit.  When we asked when he wanted it, he told us Monday night!  So tonight we have a baptism!  The bishop announced it as part of a Ward Family Night.  

We are so grateful.

I testify we are children of a Heavenly Father.  He knows and loves us!  I love you too!  

Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 19/11/12

Hola mi familia asombrosa!  

Happy Early Thanksgiving!  I kind of forgot that it was this week, but that's okay.  Miracles and blessings this week and I am so grateful.

Mom, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo you sent of my Guapo Vaquero Hermano.  So I printed it out, and have been showing it, along with other photos, to almost everybody.  Hna D says that Huck looks like he could be in an Avon magazine.  And when I printed out the photo, Hna V and Hna N pretended to fight over who could have him.  Hehe!  Huck, you've got some admirarers here in HueHue!  And Hna V fell in love with these two kissing porcelain dolls, so I bought them for her for her 11 meses.  And they are named Fanny and Iain.  ;)  

Last night Hna D was watching an old black and white mexican comedian named Cantiinflas.  He reminded me of Gilligan's Island.  I'm excited to watch them when I get home.  :)

Elder A, an area seventy, told our mission a couple months ago that the most important commandment is the commandment we are tempted to break.  A couple of Sundays ago I was up the night before vomiting, and Sunday morning I told myself that it was okay for us to go late to church because I needed the sleep.  It was the first, and I hope the very last, time that I have ever missed a sacrament meeting in my mission.  Well, that sunday morning two friends of Hna D showed up for the very first time and we didn't give them a great first impression because we hadn't gone to church.  So I promised myself that Satan always tries to tempt us the hardest when he knows something good could happen, and that I wasn't going to listen to him again.  

So yesterday, even though I hadn't slept hardly a wink all night, I told myself we were going to go to church even if it killed me because I knew that something good was going to happen.  We needed to find three more investigators yesterday to meet our weekly goal, and I had no idea how we were going to do it.  But I knew that because Satan was working especially hard, something especially good was going to happen.  We worked hard before church to call all our investigators and less actives and only one came to church.  But during the meeting a woman I had never seen before entered the meeting with two young girls, wearing pants, and I thought, Oh my goodness! Our first miracle!  I found her directly after the meeting and she told me she was named Marlin, that she has been inactive but wants to reactivate.  And later that night we contacted her mother and a sister and have a visit with them Wed.  

The second miracle, after sacrament meeting the relief society president found me with a smile and said a friend of her husband had come to church!  She is named Cleiti, is studying law, and we accompanied her for the other two meetings and SHE TOOK NOTES during them!  We also learned that she assisted a General Conference session!  And the other blessed miracle is that she ACTUALLY LIVES IN OUR AREA!  I am so grateful!  

So we were blessed with the new investigators we needed, and Cleiti is someone prepared by God to receive us.  I am so grateful. 

Other blessing.  Even though we had to drop Dunia, that night Osmar, a former investigator who moved to Guatemala City, called us to tell us that he is going to be baptized this Friday!  I am so happy and grateful!  He is going to be a great leader.  It was another testament to me of how people, no matter how difficult their challenges, have their right and power to choose whether or not they want to change and apply the Atonement of our Savior in their lives.  And we are working for those special sons and daughters of God who really want to do so. 

Dad, I finally had an ah-hah moment for how I can measure my success as a missionary.   It really is my measure of how much I WANT to find, teach, and baptize, not the number of how much I actually am able to find, teach, and baptize.  The measure of my dedication and desires and work, even if the actual number of people saved isn't what I had once hoped for.  And this week it hit me again of how much I am changing and growing as a result of this mission.  Please give cousin Bree a huge hug for me, tell her how much I love her, and tell her she will be so so grateful for her mission.   It truly is saving and changing my life.  

I LOVE YOU FAMILY!  We truly are doing a great work.  Sometimes we don't see the results we had hoped for or expected, but I testify that God our Heavenly Father is in control.  This is His work.  And it is our decision if we are going to accept his standards and change to become like Him and help Him prepare for the great return of our Lord and King.  We are preparing for eternal life.  

Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 12-11-12

Hola mi familia asombrosa!

Well, the earthquake in Guat was bigger news than the US election.  The Pres here of Guat declared a state of emergency.  And in a grand gesture of love for humankind, the giant beer company Gallo announced that in order to help the people in San Marcos, instead of putting the annual giant decked out Gallo Christmas Tree in every town square (literally, these huge plastic Christmas trees with the beer rooster head mascot on top of the Christmas star), they will be donating the money to San Marcos.  The irony kills me.  

Spanish has two words for earthquake.  One, ¨temblor, is a term for an earth shake that doesn´t cause houses to fall down.  Terremoto is the word for an earthquake that causes destruction.  So here in Huehue we were just getting ready to leave the house when our study tables started shaking and the floor, and I thought, Oh good grief, a bigger'than'normanl temblor.  Hna V was putting on her makeup and let out a cute little squeal, and I escorted her into the bathroom where we just waited.  It only lasted about 30 seconds, but it was interested to hear the roar and the people who were running out into the street.  And for the rest of the day we both felt real and imagined tembloritos that gave us headaches.  But we didn´t loose power and I´m thinking of what I would do if it happens again and if it happens stronger.

I am so grateful to know that you are all preparing for the BIG earthquake in Utah.  It is difficult to imagine what it would do in Utah.  I THINK that because houses here tend to be totally concrete it is easier for them to fall down.  But it was a reminder of just how fragile we can be, and just HOW important preparation is.  It is interesting to me that here in the mission we received instructions for emergency preparedness kits two months ago, and that before my mission I read articles how the Church was earthquake proofing important buildings in SLC.

Hna V asked me if the prophet sees things like the earthquake that happened here in Guat.  I thought for a moment and told her for sure he can see things like this.  But what I told her was that I remembered hearing that three days before the HUGE earthquake in Chile, the president of the mission there woke up KNOWING that a big earthquake would hit, and for three days contacted and prepared all the missionaries.  And that when it did hit three days later, everyone was prepared and okay. And I told her that for sure church leaders receive inspiration for those who are in their care, and it is our responsibility to act on their warnings and counsel to be safe.

And I remembered how five years before the big financial crisis, President Hinckley gave specific counsel and direction in a General Conference about housing mortgages, and that when the crisis, those that had followed his counsel were fine and those who hadn´t struggled.  And that in every general conference someone talks about personal preparedness and self-sufficiency. Elder Hales has given some of my most favorite talks on this.

Fotos Last Monday we went to the White River and it was a beautiful break from the city.  This is the surprise Hermanita V did with my plaque and they are still there.  And Latinos know how to make good piñatas.  Jaja.  The mom who ordered Perry the Platapus was going to send it back because the bill and tail weren´t quite right.  jeje

Please pray for Dunia!  And for Denia´s friend Carmencita and her sons Kevin and Anthony.  We also lost contact with Marcos, another friend of Denia who we want to meet with again.  

Sunday we passed for a less active who told us she still felt really hurt with a choice leaders had made and wasn´t going to go back to church until she felt ready.  I remembered a story Sister Dalton shared with the jovencitas.  A women had her temple recommend interview and the Bishop told her because she drank coffee she wasn´t worthy.  She asked the bishop, Bishop, are you going to let a cup of coffee keep me out of the temple?  And he in turn asked her, Are you going to let a cup of coffee keep you out of the Kingdom of God?  

I shared that with her and we left.  I testify that God is our Perfect Father in Heaven.  He knows and loves us.  He has set standards of conduct out of love for us to help us become gods like Him and enable us to return to live with Him and our families forever.  And it is our choice whether we are going to accept His conditions and in return receive all the blessings that He would give to us.  ALL that He has, He wants to give us.  And we just need to decide whether or not we want them.

I LOVE YOU!  You are sons and daughters of God, and I am so grateful to be part of your family!  LOVE YOU TONS!

Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 5-11-12

Hola mi familia asombrosa!!!

I can hardly believe how fast time is flying.  today I realized I only
have three more transfers left, and that is a fairly GAH!!!  thought.

Today as a zone we went to El Rio Blanco.  40 minutes in bus each way,
and we were so cramped there were (shhh) elders riding on top of the
bus, but the two hours we had to smell the pine trees and hear the
crashing water and smell FRESHNESS was balm for my spirit.  I am so
glad I am not serving in a city city, and so grateful there are small
opportunities to feel like I can enjoy the beauty God creates.

This week we worked so hard and met some high goals.  More important
than the numbers were those moments when we felt the Spirit and knew
we had really been angels for the people, whether they were members or
investigators.  I feel more content with what we are doing and perhaps
more importantly, who I am being.

Can you also contact Sister Whitesides, my institute teacher from
Logan?  She’s in my gmail contact list.  Once during a special IWA
Christmas Fireside she shared a powerful parable of a man who didn’t
understand why God would send His Son to earth to save man.  Later he
wanted to save some crows from a cold winter night, but the crows were
afraid of him and he wished he could be a crow so that they wouldn’t be
afraid and let him help him.  And then he heard Christmas bells
ringing, and he began to weep, understanding why God would send His
Son to save man.  I would love to receive that story so I can
translate it into Spanish.  It was beautiful.

November 1 was Dia de los Santos, or Day of the Dead.  Here in
Guatemala people go to the cemeteries and decorate the graves, and
those who can afford it pay for men to play huge marimbas in front of
the graves.  It the Birthday of all those who have died.  So we took
family history group sheets into the cemetery and tried contacting
with them for the very first time.  It was fun, the marimbas were
AWESOME,  and we have a visit Wednesday to help some young adult women
with their records.  I had fun telling people we have a line that goes
back to the 800s in France to a prince.  Even though I never found
someone to do the work for in my two family history institute classes,
I’m so glad I took them.

Hermana V and I both feel more settled.  This week when I
needed a way to feel love, I reread 1 John chapters 3 and 4 in the
Bible.  They are some of my favorites.  If anyone needs a love boost,
they are a perfect read.

One morning this week I was gratefully surprised to feel the Spirit
when I didn’t feel worthy of it.  As I read ch 4 in Preach My Gospel,
I was touched by remembering that a returned missionary at USU told us
that he had wondered on his mission how he could know if he was
applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ in his life.  Elder Henry B
Eyring came to his mission and said, You can know you are applying the
Atonement of Jesus Christ in your life when you feel the Spirit.  We
feel the gifts of the Spirit as we repent. I testify that no matter
how many times we make mistakes or sin, we are never too low to apply
the Atonement in our lives.  We can always repent, and thus feel the
Love of God and the Spirit.  They love us so much, and often, they are
just waiting for us to drop our natural sinful ways and turn to them
so that we may have them in us.

I love you so much Family!  I testify you are all children of a
perfect and perfectly loving Heavenly Father, and He LOVES you!!!
During missions we have the blessed opportunity to really be angels
for other people and help them know and feel God.  Please pray for
Dunia.  Pray that the families we teach this week, especially Carlos
and Leti, will feel the Spirit testify that our message is true.
Please pray that we’ll have the courage to do hard things.

I LOVE YOU TONS!  Seek the inspiration you need to fulfill your
personal missions!  I am so proud of you and so deeply grateful FOR

Hermana Ivy [-]

PS Mom, I have been astounded how many people from Honduras are here!
My comp, Dunia, Carlos and Leti, Hna D, and her friend Carmencita
we are trying to teach.  I love knowing you gave a special heritage
from Honduras to me!  I give these people your love!