Tuesday, December 31, 2013
I love you guys! It was fantastico to see your lovely faces. :)This week was a bit slow with Christmas and all. Christmas Eve, we visited some investigators and stopped by a member's house where we washed all of their dishes. That was fun! I like washing dishes. :) That morning we had a district meeting where we watched an incredible video called Missionary Work and The Atonement. When we returned to the house that evening, we watched "The Grinch" and Hermana Porter opened her gifts from her parents, which included a stocking for me! Yay for Fruitsnacks! I read the Christmas story in Luke. At midnight, the whole country set off fireworks. I was completely asleep. Hermana Porter woke up though. I didn't notice anything, I was so tired!
Church yesterday was seriously incredible! Since it was the fifth Sunday, Pte. Quezada taught the RS and Priesthood classes together. He talked about small and simple things we can do to help us invite or feel the spirit. He told a story about an inactive member whose visiting teachers came over one day. Well, this sister didn't want anything to do with them, but they asked if they could just sing a hymn. She felt the spirit and said they could keep visiting. Eventually, she came back to church. Then her children came back. Eventually, her husband became interested. All because of a hymn. "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass". It was an incredible lesson.
Well, I love you all so much. :)
These photos are from last P-day
Using twigs as tongs because nobody brought any to cook the meat, haha
Merry Christmas to me with some Ben and Jerry's!
Christmas Eve dinner in the house! One of the members stopped by and gave us food :)
Christmas Breakfast :)
There is a nativity near the entrance of one of the neighborhoods in our area
One of the walls in our house - I hung up photos!
We helped a woman in the branch peel green bananas for about an hour, and they stained our hands. We received a free plate of pollo con tajadas as a thank-you! This was after washing our hands vigorously.
We were walking around our neighborhood and came across this extreme nativity
Close-up of the Baby Jesus
Thursday, December 26, 2013
AH! I cannot believe it is almost Christmas! We have been listening to lots of Christmas music lately. I adore Christmas music :)
This week has been wonderful overall. Last Tuesday, we had a district meeting that was really awesome. We did practices in front of our district, and for Hermana Porter and I, we were practicing asking families for references. I could feel the spirit so strongly and loved that moment. When we finished, our zone leader praised us so much I was a bit embarrassed, jaja! :) Mainly, he was impressed with my spanish, which makes me feel SO much better! Well, now I am just prideful... whoops!
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the mission had Christmas fiestas for the mission, and each zone was assigned a different day to go. We went Thursday, and I got to see mi madre, Hermana Vasquez, Hermana Marley and Hermana Alvarez! The four of us were the hermanas here when yo nací en la misión. Hermana Marley is an incredible example to me, and I am terribly grateful for her. It was lovely to see them all again and to chat! The fiesta began with a meeting where Presidente y Hermana Dester spoke about their feelings for Christmas. Following, we sang all of the Christmas Hymns in the Spanish hymnal. Random question: What are hymns number 211 y 205? They aren't in Spanish :) I got to lead the music for that :) Elder John, the senior missionary, played, and he reminded me of the piano man at Disneyland on Mainstreet. I loved it :) After that, we had a chance to take pictures of our zone with Pte y Hna Dester, and we ate a lovely lunch of Chicken Cordon Bleu, yum! To follow, we watched "It's a Wonderful Life". Guys, I started crying when they said we could watch that. It is my favorite Christmas movie, and I was so sad that I wasn't going to watch it for two or three years. To top it off, we ate brownies with vanilla ice cream during the movie. I felt like I was home again! It was a lovely time :) As a hand out, we got a copy of the talk "O Divine Redeemer" por Elder Neal A. Maxwell. It is so lovely :)
Friday was a very interesting day. Hermana Porter and I traveled to Santa Barbara so she could play the piano for the branch's Christmas dinner-slash-program. Santa Barbara is much calmer and quieter. It was so weird after being in the city for all of my mission. I got to sing in the choir as well, and I had a duet with the branch president. We sang "O Holy Night", I sang in english and he sang in spanish. It was so beautiful, and I could feel the spirit so strongly as I sang. I know I say it a lot, but I truly love music. I want it to be part of my life every day. We came back to San Pedro Saturday morning. Strangest trip ever! I also finally got a picture with my latin twin :)
Saturday, during lunch, we were talking with Hermana Georgina. I love her so much :) She told me how she got baptized when she was 9 years old, but the missionaries who taught her, she doesn't have contact with them. They don't know the effect they have had on her life because they brought her the gospel. It made me think about how much of what I do, I won't see the results of. I also thought of the story "The Mansion" when the gatekeeper asks "Would you be paid twice?" Do I expect immediate blessings and blessings for all of eternity? I am focusing on the eternal perspective :)
Yesterday, I saw a toucan! One of the members in our branch has one now. Okay. Randomly awesome. :) I also got to help roll banana leaves for tamales! I hope we get to try many in the next two days!
Today, we had a P-day as a zone, and it was so much fun! We had a slip 'n slide and made lunch. We had some DEEElicious guacamole, salsa, carne asada, tortillas, frijoles, y queso. YUM! I am really sunburnt now though, haha. Everyone in the grocery store was staring at us, haha. :)
I LOVE YOU!!!
Hermana Grondel :)
At the Mission Christmas Party
|ROMPOPO! Eggnog! Yum :)|
|Elder Sibrian, trying to be the baby Jesus. Not okay. :)|
|Much Better :)|
|I bought some Christmas lights and strung them among my clothes, haha :)|
Our brownies and ice cream :)
|The chapel where we sang in Santa Barbara|
Hermana Porter and I before the performance
|Yo y Raquel|
|Raquel and her family gave us a ride back to SPS from Santa Barbara. We stopped at a Circle K and had slurpees, yum!|
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Well, another week has come and gone! I know it should be nearly Christmas, but with all this heat, I cannot believe it is December!
This week, we had transfers! Hermana Vasquez has been moved to Choloma, and I am still in El Bosque with Hermana Porter, from West Jordan, Utah. She has been in the mission for 5 months. We are trying to talk in Spanish as much as possible so we can improve. It is weird to have a gringa companion again, haha! I am also a bit worried about my Spanish. I hope I can continue to improve and don't regress too much. Having a native speaker made such a difference for me. But, I love Hermana Porter! She is a sweetheart and we get along great.
We feel like we are on the brink of something incredible. I know we are going to see miracles here in this area.
So, when we have transfers, we have a special Zone meeting and we write in each other's notebooks. Something that Hermana Marley started that I love is writing in eachother's hymnals next to our favorite hymn, just a small note. Well, Hna Vasquez wrote in mine before she left. What I did not know is that she wrote next to two hymns. I saw that she had written next to "All Creatures of our God and King", and I thought that was it. So, during one of our lessons, we opened our hymnals to sing "Our Savior's Love" when I saw Hermana Vasquez's familiar writing. She wrote such a sweet little message. In our lesson, Hna Porter started talking about how we are never alone. With a reminder from her and from Hermana Vasquez, I felt the Savior's love and knew that I am never going to be alone. He will always be there to strengthen and love us.
Yesterday, we had Stake Conference! And they split the stake! So Elder Amado, Area President, came and spoke along with one of his counselors. It was an incredible day. President and Sister Dester (the Mission president and his wife) also spoke. Many talked about what we can give to Christ this Christmas. I loved it. The sad/happy part is our branch president has been called to serve in the Stake presidency, so we will be seeing changes in our branch! But I know the Lord has a plan for us and will help us to improve :) One thing that a speaker said is "We should be incurable optimists". I love that! We have Christ on our side, and we will make it someday, so why not today? And if not today, then tomorrow! it reminds me of a talk from General Conference a few years back that says "Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not … . He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. … He will deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, … we will trust in the Lord.
Oh, and I was sick one day this week, not fun. But I am totally fine now!
We were searching for a street contact when we ran into about 4 dogs, but they were not very big and still looked a bit like puppies, so I wasn't scared of them, but they were barking up a storm! As we went for another house, one of them kind of bit Hna Porter! It didn't break the skin, just scratched her a bit, but she screamed, more out of surprise than fear. Then she pulled out bread to feed them. I said, "No! Now they're going to follow us!" and she said, "I don't want to be food for the dogs! Quick! Distraction! Run!" It was SO funny.
Well, I love you all so much and hope this letter finds you "merry and bright!" :)
Hermana Grondel :)
This is on the back of one of the notebooks here, haha!
Me and my new compañera!
Monday, December 9, 2013
This week has been wonderful, but I don't have much time to write, so this might be short.
First off, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the package! It got here safe and sound, and I am incredibly grateful for it! I love all the music - I almost started crying while listening to the choir. I was ecstatic to see that CD! Also, Hi-chews, how did you know? Soo delicious! The chocolates are very welcome along with the goldfish! Oh, I have missed those! I have been greatly enjoying having a camera again as well.
Saturday, we were able to have a missionary activity where we watched 17 Miracles. That movie is so incredibly powerful. I really hope we touched everyone, and I think we did. That activity almost didn't happen. SO many things almost prevented it, including it started to rain while we were watching the movie outside. But we had so many of our own miracles, and I know the Lord is always watching out for us. I wish I could relate them all to you, but time is running short!
Yesterday, we also had the opportunity to watch the Christmas Devotional. How beautiful it was! I love this work :)
Okay, two funny stories. Last Monday, we went to downtown SPS (centro) and were in a secondhand clothing shop and the song Thriftshop came on... haha
Also, the other morning, we were getting ready for the day when I felt something fall on my arm from my clothes. When I looked down, there was a LIZARD on my arm that looked more like a snake with teeny tiny legs! I screamed so loud and then proceeded to try to get it out of our appartment. Much more excitement than I was anticipating.
Today, we went to San Ignacio, near Omoa. Wow. It was SO beautiful! They had pools and animals and plants and at the very end, we were standing on the beach looking out into the Carribean Sea. Wow. SO beautiful!!! Wait... I already wrote that... seriously, gorgeous! Well, I love you all so much!
So excited to have a camera again!
|This is the view from near the house of one of our investigators|
Amith drew this picture of us one night while we were eating dinner. The top hat I have is really my hair in a bun on my head with curly hairs coming out, haha!
Driving to San Ignasio
Playing the faces game on the way.
|They had Jaguars there!|
|No recuerdo cual tipo de animal esta es...|
They also had Capuchin monkies ( like in Night at the Museum)
|I got to close to the cage and one of the monkies pushed me away.|
|Basically a miniature jaguar|
|A very interesting bird|
|Just a puma, no biggie :)|
|How beautiful it is!!!|
|Yayy, a gorilla! GORR-RIII-LLA|
Monday, December 2, 2013
Well, we are in December! Today is 2 months in Honduras. What?
This week, we were taken by surprise. We were COLD. It was so strange! From Wednesday until Saturday it was chilly, rainy, and cloudy. I even used a jacket! During the day, it was so nice to walk without sweating, but at night, we were freezing! We only have a sheet for our bed because usually it is so hot even a sheet can seem unbearable. Well, Wednesday through Friday night, I wore socks and a jacket to bed with the hood pulled tight around my head. Hna. Vasquez had a hat, and we both were curled up. Showers in the morning were a nightmare. I would brace myself for 5 or so minutes before I could even enter the bathroom. I think Friday we had the idea to close our windows at night... we were warmer that night. But it was wonderful to have a break from the heat.
Saturday, we went to a members house and learned how to make Banana Pancakes! I kept thinking of the Jack Johnson song and the time the Young Men came over to the house this summer to make Banana Pancakes. It was awesome. :)
Saturday, we also had splits for two hours in the afternoon. When we got the call the night before, I was a little upset. I did NOT want to have splits. I love Hermana Vasquez and was nervous to work with someone else. Especially because we only had 2 firm appointments, one of which was supposed to be with a new investigator whom we had never visited. We only had a general idea of his address. Well, the hour came, and I went with the new sister training leader, Hermana Morales. And it was wonderful. We did not find the investigator, though we had the adventure of climbing a mountain/hill to a water tank looking for him. When we turned around, we could see almost all of San Pedro Sula! It was beautiful! Also, most of the people we wanted to pass by to say hello to were not home because of a graduation from 6th grade going on at the local school. But I gained so much confidence in my spanish abilities. I love the sister training leaders! They are always so eager to help us. In the end, I am so grateful for the opportunity to have splits. We always learn so much and have more enthusiasm for the work.
Yesterday was Testimony meeting, and it was beautiful. Nearly the entire branch bore their testimonies, and it was incredible to hear them all. The spirit was so strong!
Also, yesterday we had lunch with Familia Irias. They are going to New Jersey for a month to celebrate Christmas, so they prepared a very special lunch as a "Christmas Dinner" with us. I count it as my Thanksgiving dinner. We had a chicken with potatoes and salad and bread! Oh, it was so wonderful! I love them so much. Oh, the family and the food :)
Many of the houses here have Christmas decorations and are getting into the Christmas Spirit. The other day, we stopped by a member's house, and they were baking and making food, and one of them had on a red sweater, and I felt like it could be a representation of a Hondureño Christmas. It was so sweet to see them so happy and in the Christmas Spirit. It is incredible here that almost everyone has faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ already. It is beautiful to see.
Well, I think that is all for this week! I love all of you so much.
I was really cold during study in the morning.
Hna Vasquez with Jared y Katarine. I am the one behind the camera, haha
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Well it is Tuesday, but it feels like Monday... This week will be interesting!
Last Tuesday, we had the opportunity to be a part of a Family Home Evening with Familia Irias y Hermana Marta. Hermana Irias is the Relief Society President, hermano Irias is the elder's quorom president, and they have 3 children, Alejandro, Andrea, y Naomi. They are so sweet, and we eat Lunch with them on Sundays. Hermana Marta is an older lady that lives in a house with her two grandsons who are not members. Alejandro (16) taught the lesson about the talk given by President Monson about his time in the Navy, and he showed the video "Dare to Stand Alone". It was especially powerful because after the video, Bro. Irias turned to their youngest daughter, Naomi, who is only 8 years old. He said, "We want to congratulate you Naomi because you chose to stand alone among your friends. I hope you know that you are never alone, that your Heavenly Father is always with you." He then explained that he works near Naomi's school and one day, he was buying a snack and saw Naomi alone during recess time. He then asked his wife why that was, and Hna. Irias asked Naomi. naomi told her it was because the girls at her school said things that weren't right. Her mom asked what kinds of things, and when she started to tell her, Hna Irias said, okay, maybe it's better to stand alone. The moment was so sweet when Hno. Irias congratulated her. I loved being able to be there.
Okay, funny story. I was thinking about the movie Casablanca, and in the back of my mind, I wondered if it meant anything in Spanish, but wasn't really thinking about it. Later, we were looking for the house of someone we had met in the street earlier. Everyone kept saying he lives in a "casa blanca". ... casa...blanca...CASABLANCA! It took me quite some time to figure that out, haha!
Oh, Nick, we ran into one of the young men in our branch this week, and he was wearing a shirt that said "I get buckets". I wanted a picture with him so bad!
Last Friday, we had a Zone Conference combined with Choloma. It was so wonderful! I wish I had a recording of it all. President Dester taught us about such wonderful things. One of the things we read was Jacob 5:70-75. He asked us the question, Why does He have us work with Him? He could do it alone or another way. But He wants to become like Him. That's way He has us work with Him, and He is working with us every step of the way.
I love watching people grow closer to the Lord. It is incredible to see how the Spirit can change a person from rough or sharp or immature into, well, into a saint. What a privilege to be so close to a person as they begin to accept the Lord in their lives. Especially in my own.
I'm sure you are all curious why this week we had P-day on Tuesday. Well, from Saturday to Monday, we were not allowed to leave our houses, with the exception of Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. So, today is P-day! We were in our houses because Honduras had elections on Sunday, and the mission was taking a precaution. So, Hermana Vasquez and I had a lot of time to clean, wash, eat, study, relax, and watch approved movies! Our branch is so sweet. They brought us food because they didn't want us to starve while we were incarcerated ;). Saturday, after studying, we washed almost all of our clothes and relaxed. Sunday, we went to church, watched videos, updated the area book, and had the most wonderful study session together. Wow. I love this work, and I love hermana Vasquez! We also wrote letters. Monday, we studied, planned, and washed a little more. Then, we watched 17 Miracles. Oh man, I LOVE that movie! We both cried. It was like a mini vacation.
So, while I was in el CCM, (MTC) there were three foods that I was craving so badly.
1. A Barbacoa Pork Salad from Cafe Rio with a boatload of that creamy house dressing
2. A Cheeseburger
3. Kraft macaroni and Cheese
Well, my second day in Honduras, we went to Burger King for lunch... cheeseburger: check.
Yesterday, we made Kraft Macaroni and Cheese!!! AHHHH! Yes! There is kraft mac and cheese here! I don't think I will be able to have the salad until I get back to the states though, haha!
Other funny story: Yesterday, I was trying to remember the word for autumn in Spanish. Here was my conversation with Hna Vasquez (translated into english):
-Hermana, what is the word for the time, oh, you know, from September to November -
-....No...Not exactly what I am trying to say...
It was really funny :)
Well, I love you all so very much!
The picture of the bird is our friend that has visited us almost every morning since last Wednesday. He will fly to one of our two windows and tries to come in... not really sure why :)
The other photo is from the FHE. Hno. Irias had set the timer and then tried to rush to sit down with us. We were all laughing when the camera took the photo.
We also bought a Tres Leches. It is basically cake with a lot of milk. Very interesting. Hna Vasquez likes it a lot more than I :)
The other food is Pollo con Tajadas, Chicken with plaintain chips. It is one of the customary dishes of Honduras, and one of my favorites!
Me and my macaroni!