Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016 -- Month #17 - Week #75 - Day #524 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 24, 2016

"Each of us can make a difference."
- Henry B. Eyring
Today was crazy. Sunday's are always weird and almost never go to plan. But that's alright, it ended up being a good day.

We taught an evangelical guy that I don't think understood anything we taught him. But we used the Bible to teach about the characteristics of the Church that Christ established, so he was happy. He told us that his friend that apparently knows a lot about the Bible and history told him that there are a lot of churches because Constantine the Great made all the people in the Roman empire worship a bunch of statues of himself, but Martin Luther didn't like that, so he separated from Constantine's church, but then Constantine ordered Martin's death because Martin was against Constantine. And that's why we have so many churches today. But it's a good thing, because more people can hear the Word of God, according to their self-proclaimed pastor. Yeah.  (Just FYI to those who don't know much about religious or world history, for that matter, Constantine the Great lived around 300 AD, and Martin Luther in the late 1400 AD. I love the logic on this.)
And I'm working on a little pencil drawing as a present for when I go.  Mrs. Kuntz will die because I used a mechanical pencil. But it's turning out alright!
And we received a WHOLE ton of references, so we're happy! We have people to go find and teach! Now the fun part is actually finding them, because the addresses here aren't really good.  "You know that one bridge (there's like 4 or 5 in our area) that goes to that one part of Villanueva?  Well right on the side, under the bridge, lives this family in a house that's not painted a color (that's really important for us to be able to identify houses).  And no, they don't have a phone. But go find them!"  It's fun. You need to learn patience and perseverance when trying to find people.
A little cut-through in our area that we discovered.

I also forgot how to say "mango" in English.  It's cuz the sound the "A" makes is really weird because it doesn't do that in Spanish.  Here we say "MAH-ngoh".

Also, the Bishops's 10 year old daughter, Osiris, really liked my messy bun and asked how I did it. So I showed her how to make a wad of hair on your head. She was very impressed.

A contact also thought that I was from Spain. Although I do not in any way have a Spanish accent. Sometimes I drop the "S" like they do here, but I don't throw in a "TH" sound. I think they thought that for my coloring and because I spoke Spanish to them. When they figured out that I was from the States, they thought Hna Vasquez was from there as well and that she didn't say much because she didn't know Spanish yet. The great thing about a mission is that you get to laugh everyday. People say funny things.

And we had baleadas for dinner! Been a while since I had a baleada. Although we had them last week with Ruth, but it still feels like a while. I'm gonna have to make them at home. Flour, shortening, salt, baking powder, water...

And we're ready for Pday! Hna Vasquez's legs hurt from all the walking we did, but we're not doing any activities tomorrow, so she can rest.

And we found a giant Ceiba tree again!
Hna Vasquez says that it's the national tree of Guatemala.

Saturday, July 23, 2016 -- Month #17 - Week #75 - Day #523 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 23, 2016

"Hope will open your eyes to the glories Heavenly Father has in store for you."
- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Today it rained! And so we stayed inside for an hour because the lightning was striking really close and we had planned to go up a mountain... not the smartest idea to go on elevated ground with metal umbrellas in a lightning storm. At least that's what I thought. Hna Vasquez was in favor as well.

But we did get our coordinacion with Jose in, and some visits to less-actives, so it was a good day. Also got some counsel from an old guy that sitting on hot pavement will make you have to go to the bathroom. Good to know.

And we were randomly gifted an umbrella, a picture frame, and a stuffed frog by an investigator. I think we're supposed to use these 3 things to save the world. I'm still a little unsure about that. They weren't very clear in their instructions.

So it was a fun day, we're both very tired and ready for the week to be over! Crazy how we're coming up on the last week of July!  El fin se acerca!

Friday, July 22, 2016 -- Month #17 - Week #75 - Day #522 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 22, 2016

"As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions."
- President Thomas S. Monson
Good missionary quote. I like it!

Today we actually didn't do that much contacting, so that was a good break. Getting to know people can be a little exhausting sometimes. But we did get to go with Lucia, so we just have 2 visits left, her interview, baptism, and confirmation! Whoo! Time is gonna be speeding up this next week to get everything figured out and nailed down for the baptism. Baptisms always stress me out, even though they're really good things.

And we had pupusas for dinner, and a Noche de Hermanamiento (that we weren't in charge of! It was awesome!!!) that turned out quite well we were told, because we had to go home before it finished.

And we're still exhausted. Oh! And today Hna Vasquez has 1 month in the mission! I made her a little poster and gave her some earrings and candies. I'm so proud of her!

Thursday, July 21, 2016 -- Month #17 - Week #75 - Day #521 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 21, 2016

"When you do your part, the Lord adds His power to your efforts."
- President Henry B. Eyring

Very true. You can't expect the Lord to do everything. You've gotta give Him something to work with!

Today was a little crazy, I felt like we walked in circles. We were really tired and I didn't feel like we did much.  But I'm hoping that the Lord could multiply our efforts today.

We did a bunch more contacts and visited some members, got some citas blown off, and then had dinner. It was awesome. We had eggs and beans and tortillas and I loved it because I got to sit in a hammock and it was glorious. My knees were hot and itchy, but on the inside by the bone, like how it feels when they're really tired after walking all over, and can feel the fibers of the tendons, and so to gently move them swinging back and forth without any weight bearing down on them was awesome. I will have a hammock in my future house. And a lime tree.

But Hna Vasquez and I had a fun day of contacts, I think we tried every tactic and approach under the sun just to keep things interesting. I even yelled a contact to an 11 year old kid in his 2 story house behind a huge wall. Whatever works. He refused to come answer the door, so we just started shouting. It worked out alright.
Some more of our area, hiking around all of creation.

Oh! And the light and water went out for 3 hours this afternoon. That's only happened 1 other time here, so that's a record! I like not being in Copan sometimes.

And we contacted an atheist this afternoon in our wanderings, and also his very evangelical, slightly hippie friend. Interesting visit we had with them. Good guys, just a little confused on some aspects of the Gospel.

Today we got our rent contracts resigned so we still have a house! Score! Although it was a little funny because the owner of the house is currently in Italy, I think, so the grandma is here, making sure we're ok. Although the grandma didn't want to sign because she couldn't see or something, so I signed the contract in behalf of the grandma who would of signed it in behalf of the owner that's in Italy. I love how things work here. But Hna Vasquez was a witness to the whole thing, so she can testify. It's always good to go with someone else when you do official stuff.

And another churched popped into existence!  Ministerio Apostolico y Profetico: Agua en el Desierto. Cool name.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 -- Month #17 - Week #75 - Day #520 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 20, 2016

"Pray for courage not to give up!"
- Elder Russell M. Nelson

"Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."
- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Double quotes! And they're both beautiful. I really like that the Lord inspires our leaders to encourage us and give us strength in trials. It's a special blessing to have access to such words. Living scripture!

But today was good, sort of slow, and we did a lot of contacting. We don't have any progressing investigators except for Lucia, and she's getting baptized here pretty soon. So we're searching high and low for people to teach. Poor Hna Vasquez is getting sort of thrown into contacting, although she's still a little shy. But we make it a game: for every one that I contact by myself, she has to start the contact of someone else, and then I'll finish it. So we're working her in gently! Some trainers leave their kid out to dry, but I don't want to do that to her. But she is learning and growing everyday, getting used to things. And I'm getting to truly follow the mandate to talk to everyone we see and can chase down, because we don't really have many options right now. But it's been good.

And in our wanderings we found another church: Asamblea de Dios ' Oasis de Bendicion. Whoo.

But the dinner with the Bishop's family was really good, and I love going there because Hna Dunia used ground beef in the food tonight, last week we were given little steak rounds or something that was good. Even ground beef is a VERY welcome change from all the chicken we eat. SO MUCH CHICKEN. I don't get to eat fish as much as I did in Copan, either. And I'm really getting some cravings for a good Texas steak... it's better to just not ever eat red meat in the mission so I can forget about steak and just focus on the boiled chicken we always have for lunch, but having a little ground beef once a week is a guilty pleasure. Ah, it's really good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 -- Month #17 - Week #75 - Day #519 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 19, 2016

"The Lord will guide us to--and through--our next steps."
- Elder Randall K. Bennett
Today we had Zone Meeting!  I'm training again, of course, and we have 2 other elders starting training, and 2 finishing training and 1 that just finished their training. We have a lot of newbies in our zone!

 And we had lunch and visited Lucia (who's progressing wonderfully) and went contacting around, and visited Kevin (who we're gonna drop), and then visited a part member family and watched the Joseph Smith presentation (the long one) and so that was fun to end the night with a movie.

We also had a pair of giant black butterflies invade our house in a friendly manner in the morning. We had to catch them with a big plastic bag since we don't really have anything else resembling a butterfly net, and have them go outside where they ought to be. But it was fun for Hna Vasquez and I to go running around the house, laughing and jumping trying to catch big black butterflies.

The attack of the giant black butterflies!!!!

Monday, July 18, 2016 -- Month #17 - Week #74 - Day #518 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 18, 2016

"Kindness is powerful."
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Good quote. Found out today that Lyndsey Lou had put together my bag of candies and quotes, so a big thanks to her! I have an awesome sister.

And we had a good Pday today as well, very calm and relaxed. We slept in a little (until 7:00 am, shhhh!), washed clothes, cleaned house, I painted my toes, we talked about life, I outlined the day's schedule to Hna Vasquez since this is her first Pday, and we took off. We went looking around in the pawn shops here (I think that's what they are... I never actually entered a pawn shop back home... here it's a "casa de empenos") to find a clothes iron for Hna Vasquez since all her clothes need to be ironed. I personally haven't ironed anything in over a year, due to me not using many cotton-based clothes, but she is my hija and needed an iron. And then I started a quest looking for typical things from Honduras, and found some pretty neat stuff, so I was happy. And we had lunch and then went to write our families, and went shopping, and got back and changed and everything and it started POURING rain. But we still went and passed by the RS President to take her to a FHE cita we had that night, and she was a good sport and took her umbrella with her. And that visit actually turned out really well. We played with the spoons again and the family got the joke. So we're hoping to see them on Sunday!

And that was our day! Really chill, I think we'll go somewhere next week. We almost never do an exciting Pday the first Monday of the change because it's before formal presentations of the zone on Tuesday!  Anyways, we were happy.

Oh!  And today I have 17 months. I honestly did forget to mention that. Congrats to me!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sunday, July 17, 2016 -- Month #16 - Week #74 - Day #517 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 17, 2016

"The past is to be learned from but not lived in."
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Today was Hna Vasquez's first Sunday in the mission! And it was actually a good day, to be honest. Normally Sunday's are hard days for me. But we had 3 investigators at church! Whoo! That was awesome.

And we had lunch and a meeting with Bishop Cuello, and we went looking for a lady that we had met the other day but she didn't want to talk to us, so we went contacting, and we found this awesome family! They said that is was a miracle that they were all together as a family and relaxing outside and that we passed by at the moment, because they normally live apart and work on Sunday and all that and are never together like that. So that was really neat. And they understand everything we taught them and had good questions and were calm and receptive. That was a blessing for us. And I really hope we can find them again!

And then we went on a contacting spree because I was full of the Spirit and nobody we met was receptive but that didn't matter because I was happy and full of energy. When you feel like that you gotta take advantage of it, because contacting when you're tired and discouraged is absolutely horrible. But I had Hna Vasquez start a few contacts, so she got some good practice in as well, she was a little nervous, but I was all bouncy, so it worked out well. And after a time it wore off and I returned to normal missionary mode, so we visited a member that's having a hard time right now, and then a brother and sister who aren't members, but the husband of the sister is. So that was an interesting lesson. And we had dinner! Tortillas with quesillo and Kraft cheese, and beans and orange juice. Good stuff. I'm definitely making tortillas and quesillo at home.

And we are ready for Pday and to start another week!
A street pic!

Saturday, July 16, 2016 -- Month #16 - Week #74 - Day #516 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 16, 2016

"There is joy guaranteed for the faithful."
- President Henry B. Eyring

Today we had 12 Semanas! Once again, the first week we really don't do much, so we basically had a Q/A session for an hour, which we both enjoyed and we shared some funny stories from our time in the CCM and my time in the mission and got to know each other a little better. I really like Hna Vasquez.

And then we went looking for a member that's less-active because she's sick, so we did therapy for a while, and then went around doing some other visits. And we attended the baptism of the elderes! That was exciting to finally break a streak of 6 months without baptizing. And we're hoping for Lucia in 2 weeks as well, so I'm happy and will be able to rest soon.

And we had carne asada for dinner! There's this house on the corner of our street that the guy (Carlos Garcia) owns a place like Mi Negro Bello in Copan and makes about 1,500-2,000 plates of food a day... crazy! Anyways, on the weekends he makes the carne at home to sell to the neighbors and so on Saturdays we (I) like to pick up some food and enjoy my Saturday night with grilled meat, chimol, encurtido, beans, tortillas, cheese and tajadas. And a plate of 80 lemps is enough food for the two of us, so it comes out to 40 lemps apiece, a very good price, considering. So Carlos one of my favorite people here!

Friday, July 15, 2016 -- Month #16 - Week #74 - Day #515 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 15, 2016

"God never loses sight of our eternal potential, even when we do."
- Sister Carole M. Stephens
I really like that quote. My family sent me my last package, and I got a bag full of candies and quotes from Church leaders. I think it's a neat idea and I have enough to last me for the time I have left. Nice little boosts for each day.
LOVE BOX from home!!
"35 Day" Countdown!!
Two pieces of candy (one for me, one for companion) wrapped with Inspirational Quote!  Love it!!
Today was good, we got some more actual work done, not just introducing to members, which we did a lot today as well. But we did some good contacting and taught some actual lessons, so I felt better, getting back to normal, and it was good practice for Hna Vasquez. She reminds me so much of how I was at the beginning of my mission. It's funny because in the lessons I'll look at her to let her know that it's her turn to talk, she'll explain the topic as she can, then quickly look back at me with her eyes wide and I finish explaining and add on, like what I did with Hna Robles. Makes me laugh a little on the inside. But she's doing well.

This morning we went over the Word of Wisdom in our companion study to prepare us for teaching Lucia today, and I got a little sciency on her with how caffeine forms addictions and why energy drinks damage your body and that black, green and white tea exist and you shouldn't drink them, either. But she seemed to get it all, so that was good.

And we found another church! Ministerio Centro Jerusalen: Fe, Poder, Uncion (Nacimos para Conquistar).  The pastor was yelling about how we're the result of God's gloria. Which is actually a nice thought, just that it shouldn't be shouted over and over in an angry-sounding voice. 
I saw a baby gecko in the Church bathroom

Thursday, July 14, 2016 -- Month #16 - Week #74 - Day #514 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 14, 2016

"Family is the very heart of the work of salvation."
- Sister Carol F. McConkie
2nd day of the change! Weekly Planning, and then we went to a ward baptism, and talked with Obispo Cuello for a bit with the other elderes, and then we went WAY to the edge of our area and did some visits to inactives, and worked our way back close to our house, and ended up having dinner with the Gomez family like we do on Thursdays, we had mini baleadas. They were the simple version with the tortilla, mashed beans and some mantequilla. But they were still yummy, I had 3, and some Coke, as always.

Hna Vasquez is still doing well. Has no idea where we are, but she's happy and trying to learn. In the visits they always pick her to pray because she's new, so the poor girl has said about 8 prayers today. But that's how it always is when someone is new in an area, you always get picked to pray. And it's like that no matter how much time you've got in the mission, so it turns out being fair. Just makes me laugh. I did warn her, though, beforehand, so she was prepared!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 -- Month #16 - Week #74 - Day #513 - Las Flores, Villanueva, Cortes

July 13, 2016

"Exaltation is our goal, discipleship is our journey."
- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Today was crazy! But good. Got up to SPS on time and everything, and headed upstairs to the trainer's meeting. We then chilled out there, with the newbies on one side of the chapel and the trainers on the other side, talking amongst ourselves. Turns out that only E Figueroa and I have trained before, everyone else was for the first time, so that made me feel really old. President Bush had me explain the 12 Semanas training program (since his Spanish is still rusty) and E Call and I served as interpreters for Hna Bush (because she doesn't know any Spanish).  It felt cool to be important! Haha! But overall it was a good meeting, we talked about all the basics of training and listening to your companion and whatnot.

But we have a good group of new missionaries, so I'm glad. We have 2 hnas from Guatemala, and 1 from Ecuador, and a smattering of elderes from all over. And my new companion is Hna Vasquez from Ciudad Vieja, Guatemala!
Mi hijaaaaa!!!!!!!!!! Hna Vasquez!!!!!
And she's pretty tall for a latina, and is 21 years old.  She's the 2nd oldest in her family, and I like her a lot. She also only had 1 suitcase, so that made things much easier in transit, for which I was grateful. She's really calm and quiet, and seems pretty mature. Sometimes she gets a little serious and thoughtful because of all the newness, but if you ask her a question she'll light back up again and smile and respond. She's funny, sort of reminds me of how I was when I started out. That's the drawback of being old in the mission is that you forget how hard it can be when you're new. But for a first day, she did great.

We finally got back together with Glenda and Lucia and caught ourselves up after about 2 weeks of not seeing them. We reput Lucia's fecha for the July 30th, and she's really seeming to get the joke now. She has some good questions and is opening her mind more. Still prays for a VERY long time, but we're working on that. She wants to learn the hymns and go visiting to the members. I think she's pretty awesome.

And we also went with the family of the 2nd Counselor in the bishopric, and I think that was one of my favorite visits in all my mission. It ended up being Joaquin and Karen (both returned missionaries) giving counsel and comfort to Hna Vasquez, and it turned out really nicely. I was really grateful to them for doing that, it helped Hna Vasquez. Members are good people to have around!
If you look close, you can see a chicken... we were in a bus on the highway on the way to the Benque for changes... we were stuck in traffic and I was bored.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 -- Month #16 - Week #74 - Day #512 - Barrio La Victoria, Villanueva, Cortes

July 12, 2016

Zone Meeting! And lunch! And it rained! And we did some visits! Whoo! Busy day, and I'm exhausted. Finished packing up my things and we're ready to head over to the capilla at 7:00 am tomorrow and then I'll go up to SPS to receive my last hija and start another cambio.

Monday, July 11, 2016 -- Month #16 - Week #73 - Day #511 - Barrio La Victoria, Villanueva, Cortes

July 11, 2016

Today we climbed up another mountain for 3 hours, looking for monkeys.  I'm completely serious. But it was fun, I got to bring along Hna Chavez and Hna Rodriguez from La Victoria and we went hiking around in the jungle of our District Leader's area.
Hna Mower and Hna Rodriguez
Hna Chavez

Hiking around behind the mountains

The elderes walked around with towels on their heads...
And I found a cool plant! It looks like it's made of metal!

Found some lovely churches on the way...

Another church
It reminded me a lot of going up to Y Mountain in Utah, to be honest. Just a lot more hot with the sun beating down and the humidity and with more tropical plants and vines and whatnot. But there were some really pretty views. And we did hear the monkeys, we just didn't see them. So I guess the trip wasn't in vain.
My lovely feet :P
And then we went and had a fun time at lunch with our zone and we went and wrote our families!
Us eating lunch!
That was pretty much our Pday. I started packing up my few bags of stuff because I'll be heading back to Las Flores on Wednesday to train my last companion! I'll be a mama again! I just think it's kinda funny because I've never had the complete 3 months of training with any of my hijas. But that's alright, I'll be taking extra care of my new companion and keep tabs on her after I come home. But I'm excited and happy, and looking forward to being in my area again. Funny how after a week you really miss "home".