Monday, October 28, 2013

Honduras Happenings

Well, another week has flown by!

First off, a want to give a GINORMOUS THANK YOU to the Lynn family!!  I got your package this week, and I absolutely adore it!  Both my companion and I are incredibly grateful for everything!  And my zone loved the Reese's, so thank you Curtis! ;)  I shared my sour skittles with some of the Hermanas as well.  Hna Vasquez and Hna Alvarez both had the funniest reactions to the sour taste.  I don't think either were expecting it or had experienced it before!

So, there is a woman in our branch that everyone says that I look like.  Her name is Raquel, and I met her this week.  Well, she is the Latino version of me.  From curly hair to dimples, we look SO much alike!  We are even almost the same height.  Crazy!  Many people have commented on how alike we look :)

This week, we have had an incredible amount of success in finding people!  We are so excited to continue with these choice spirits.  

One lesson we had this week was very powerful.  It was with Jose, the son of Hna Marina who is a recent convert and very strong in the Gospel.  Jose goes to a Catholic church.  Right before we went into their house, Hna Vasquez leaned over and said, "You're going to teach this lesson".  We went in and only had about 15 minutes because Jose had homework to do. I kept trying to think of what to teach, but no concept seemed right. After the hymn and opening prayer, I jsut started asking questions.  I asked about his faith, about his church, about the Book of Mormon.  He told us that he has prayed about the Book and knows it's true.  I asked why he didn't come to church if he knows the BoM is true.  He said it is because he has his own church.  That was a little hard because he gets a lot of pressure from his family to go to the LDS church which just makes him not want to go.  I started talking about good, better, and best and Hna. Vasquez shared such a powerful testimony.  At the end, we knelt and Hna. Marina said the closing prayer.  It was incredible and the Spirit was so strong.  I have high hopes for Jose :)

Oh!  This week, we went to visit Hna. Dilcia and her family, a family in our rama, and got locked in.  All the houses here have a gate outside of their house that have a lock on them.  Well, while we were eating dinner, her daughters went to the pulperia and took the keys!  We were running late for our Mission coordination meeting (Is that the name in ingles?)  and Hna. Vasquez was very worried.  We were speed walking to the meeting and she exclaimed, "Ay, ¡van a crucificarme!" Muy chistoso!  But the funniest part was we got to the meeting and no one was there.  yayy.  :)  Well, el presidente de la rama was there, but the meeting is at his house, haha!  It all worked out in the end. ;)

Other funny moment: This weekend was a festival florclorico thingy for our stake.  We went one night for a music presentation.  In between acts, they had the stake presidency come up to dance on stage.  They said that Pte. Hernandez loves to dance, and oh boy, does he!  They played Oppum Gangnam Style (sp) and all of them got so into it.  It was hilarious!  I tried to imagine President Romney, Pres Hoer y Pres Rasmussen doing that...I would LOVE to see that!

Also at this festival, they had horchata.  Wow.  Real horchata is absolutely delicious.  OH, I wish I had some right now!

So, we are allowed to watch disney movies/animated flicks on P-days!  Last P-day, we watched Brave and part of Tangled.  Would you be so kind as to send me the lyrics to the Tangled songs in Spanish? I would be very grateful.  ;)  

I think that is about it for this week! Other than this, we've just been preaching, testifying, searching, praying, and being missionaries!  

I love all of you very much and am so grateful for your prayers, kindness, and love!

Hermana Grondel :)

P.s., What planet is in the sky right now?  Thanks!  :)

This is how to properly send a package to me: covered in duct tape, preferrably of a fun color or type.  Everything in the package was green as well - I am thoroughly enjoying it! :)
me and my companion in our appartment during a thunder storm.

Oh, funny comment about that - It had started raining, and I was trying to use Hna. Vasquez's camera. As I turned on the camera, there was a huge flash of light.  I was so confused as to why the camera flash had gone off while I was trying to turn it on and then there was a LOUD clap of thunder that made me jump.  I then realized we were starting a thunder storm, haha!
This is what we did for P-day hoy.  Made a pan of brownies and the four of us hermanas ate the whole pan. *hashtag*noshame

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

People and the Primary

Happy two month mark to me!

Okay, here we go!

Here are some of the people we are teaching right now:

Marta - She is an elderly lady that is a recent convert.  She is such a sweetheart and I love her to pieces!  She lives with two of her grandsons.  She has a strong testimony and is always so excited to see us!  We talked to the ward council about her needing more friends/visits from people in the ward since she can't get out much and misses some Sundays due to her health.  Well, one Tuesday, we came over and she told us that 4 people had come to visit her one Sunday!  We were incredibly excited and I almost cried.  It is so wonderful to know people are watching over her!

Alejandra y Abigail - Abigail is pronounced Abby-guy-eel.  Alejandra is a recent convert and Abigail is her younger sister who wants to get baptized.  They are both so awesome and have expressed a desire to serve missions!  SWEET!  Ale is 22 and Abi is 18.

Jorge and Anna - Jorge is Anna's Dad.  They are both recent converts and we go to teach more about the gospel and help them stay dedicated.  Anna is 16.

Georgina y Miguel - Georgina is a member, Miguel is not.  Georgina feeds us lunch on Saturdays, and she is an AWESOME cook.  We are trying to strengthen their family. 

Jose - The son of Hna Marina, a recent convert along with her daughter Paola.  Jose is not a member, but he has a testimony.  We are working with him to help him act on his testimony. He reminds me of you, Nicholas!

Allan y Brigham - Two sons of an awesome member, Hna. Delmy.  Allan is 17 and is an inactive member, and we are encouraging him to come back to church.  Brigham is 15 and is not a member, and he doesn't really have a desire to be.  He doesn't want to read the Book of Mormon, nor come to church.  It is sad and hard because Hna. Delmy is such a strong member and she wants her children to take part in the goodness this gospel has to offer.

There are more, but I will just mention these people today :)

Last Monday, Hna Vasquez and I went to teach a lesson to Allan and Brigham, but they weren't there.  Entonces, we taught Hermana Delmy.  After singing a hymn and the opening prayer, Hna. Vasquez turned to me to teach the lesson.  We hadn't discussed before hand what we were going to teach, so I was a bit nervous.  After a moment, I reached in my bag and pulled out mi himnario again.  We had sung "How Great Thou Art".  I reopened to that hymn and bore my testimony about it.  Hna. Vasquez then took a verse from which it was written and we continued to teach,  During the lesson, Allan came in sat down to listen.  It has been one of my favorite lessons we have taught because I felt completely led by the Spirit.  I truly hope Allan could feel that and will be able to remember his testimony.

On a lighter note, I love the outdoor basketball courts at the chapels because they are not just for basketball.  They are also built so you can play soccer!  At the base of the hoop, it turns into a soccer goal.  So fun!

Also, most of the streets we walk on are not paved, so we have to be careful when there is water because it will pool or turn the street to mud.  One day, I went to throw something in a trashcan, and I almost fell on my face.  I caught myself, tried to move forward, and nearly got covered in mud again!  It was quite the experience, haha!

I love reading your emails, but I am not sure how the other hermanas feel because I am constantly gasping or laughing out loud or making some kind of exclamation!

In case the basketball/soccer courts didn't tip you off, soccer is HUGE here.  When Honduras is playing, it is quite difficult to teach because everyone is watching the game!  The other night was the last game of the season or something before the world cup ( I think) and it was crazy.  We didn't need to watch the game because everytime Honduras scored a goal, the entire city ERUPTED with cheers and fireworks (not in the sky, just in the streets) and all kinds of noises.  It was like New Year's Eve at Midnight.  Oh, and apparently the U.S. is number one in soccer right now... 'Murica.

Yesterday was the Primary Program for our branch.  It was so inspiring and wonderful.  I thought it might be hard for me not to cry because music touches my soul, but I was not expecting what happened.  The program began, and all the children sang the first verse of "Soy un Hijo de Dios" (I Am a Child of God in Spanish).  Then, one girl stood up with a microphone and sang the first verse in English.  Right then, I lost it.  Plus, Hno. Jared turned around and said "This is for you" (also in English :) )  I could not stop crying.  Almost all the songs were ones that are on my list of top 20 Primary songs (I know, big list, but I really love music, haha).  The congregation sang one song with them, "Joseph Smith's First Prayer, and I could hardly get out the words.  I was a bit nervous because Hna. Vasquez and I were to sing with the children for one song, and I kept thinking "I gotta stop crying!  I don't want to go up there and not be able to sing!"  One song they sang was "Army of Helaman", and Hna. Vasquez and I sang the second verse. I think the verse is the same in English, but in case it is different, here it is in Spanish:

Para este tiempo nos reservo
fielmente su reino a edificar
nuestro profeta asi nos hablo
Los dignos vayan a predicar

Como el ejercito de Helaman
debemos obedecer
seremos missionaros del Señor llavanto 
al Mundo Su verdad

It was incredible.  I love this gospel so much, and I am incredibly grateful for the Primary Program!

I love you all bunches and bunches and bunches, and I pray for you every day.  

Hermana Grondel :)

Here is a portion of the letter I wrote to my mission president that I failed to mention in my other letter!

A lot of our appointments fell through this week and people we planned to visit were not around, so Hermana Vasquez and I have been having many opportunities to try and contact this week.  Talk about being stretched!  Both of us have a bit of fear of approaching random people, mine partially because of spanish, but it has taught us a lot.  One is that references from members are a lot easier to follow up on than going up to random people.  But we have also found what I think are some of the people the Lord has been preparing for us.  One woman we met at her house.  We were just walking by, said buenas tardes, and kept walking.  Then Hna. Vasquez stopped, turned around, and we began chatting with her.  Her name is Bernada, and she has known a lot of sadness in her life,  but she has an incredible faith in Jesus Christ.  We listened to her and bore our testimonies, and we hope to return tomorrow (tuesday).  I really feel like she is ready to accept this gospel.

Love you all!  :)

Hna Vasquez, Abigail, and I eating Baleadas at Hna Dilcia's house.  Jared is in the background

Monday, October 14, 2013

Adventure is out there!

¡Buenas Tardes!

This week has been a rollar coaster as always.  I was struggling a bit, especially with not being able to express myself in Español.  Then I read this in el PME.  "Part of seeking the gift of tongues is to labor and struggle and to do all you can to learn the language".  The part of this quote that sticks out for me is "struggle".  This isn't meant to be easy.  It is meant to make me grow and learn and be patient.  I know that I am blessed everyday with understanding a little more, and I need to be content with that.  Learning a language is not an overnight process.  Another thing I learned is that I don't have to be perfect.  I am constantly learning that as long as the Spirit is present, it doesn't matter what I say.  It just needs to come from my heart.

So, as missionaries, we get the Liahona every month, and I even get to have it in English!! I am literally ecstatic about this.  One quote from the Liahona, from a story about a missionary, was "We set goals to show our faith.  We follow up on goals to count our blessings."  Numbers aren't the most important.  Each one is a blessing, but it the work you put into each one that really counts.

So, there are 8 missionaries in my district, 4 elders y 4 hermanas.  In mi zona, tenemos 18 missionaries, 6 hermanas and 12 elders.  6 or 8 of us are gringos and the rest are native-speakers.  They are all so sweet and awesome.  The Hermanas in our district are Hna. Marley and Hna. Alvarez.  Oh, they are hilarious!!  We have a blast when we are with them!  Hna. Alvarez is super short, so I love standing next to her in pictures, haha!

I cannot get over how green it is here!  Seriously, everywhere is covered in greenery.

Some more interesting things have included learning how to wash my laundry by hand.  With a wash board and a bar of soap and everything!

In our lessons, one of my favorite things is we sing a hymn to start off the lesson.  It is fantastic.  :)

Here in Honduras, the classic food is a Baleada.  It is a flour tortilla with beans, cheese, scrambled eggs, and some kind of sauce.  I will have to learn how to make them because they are SO delicious!

Having Hna. Vasquez as my companion has certainly been an adventure!  For example, last night was the first time she ever had microwave popcorn.  She has had popcorn before, but not in a microwave. Crazy!

I'm not gonna lie, this week was a bit rough.  But every time I have a rough time, the Lord blesses me!  Today, the hermanas here had the chance to go to the Dester's home and chat, learn, and eat CINNAMON ROLLS.  I was in heaven!  I really and truly LOVE Pte and Hna Dester, they are just so wonderful.

I wanted to write more about the people today, but I don't have time!  Next time, hopefully :)


Hermana Grondel :)

This was the flight right net to ours to Honduras

My room my first night

My apartment

The view from my room the first night

At cambios with mi madre (trainer)

A random stream we walk past to our area

First p-day!
Gringos on the hike

View along the way

a COW!

On the bridge!

On the bridge

View along the way

Random cave :)


At the top

Selfie with the water fall!

Trying the weirdest-looking cookie I have ever seen

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hola from Honduras!!

Well, this has been one of the craziest, most adventurous, interesting weeks of my life.  Scratch that, I think it is THE craziest, most adventurous, interesting weeks of my life.  It was so wonderful to be able to talk to you guys for a little bit, thank you for being available for me to talk to you all.  Cool Story:  I placed a Book of Mormon while on the plane!  This random guy gave me a wallet he had made out of paper.  Hna Robertson asked him to show us how to make them, and then I gave him a Book of Mormon and got his address so someone can go talk to him.  :) YAY!

At the airport, we met President and Sister Dester.  I LOVE THEM!  They are so sweet and kind, and I felt like I was at home with them.  we went outside to discover a bus.  The elders and driver proceeded to take all of our suitcases and tie them to the roof of the bus, and we drove to a stake center.  The churches here are beautiful.  They all have tile floor instead of carpet in every room.  We had a little bit of training with President Dester, orientations, and more, and then we drove to the President's house.  They live in a high rise, and they have the entire 20th floor to themselves.  Entonces, it was beautiful.  I felt like I was in a super nice hotel.  We ate dinner there, and the best part was I was one of the sisters that got to sleep at their house! (Three of us got to do that.)  Also, I got to sleep in a queen bed in a room all by myself after taking what was probably my last hot shower for 16.5 months.  Oh, I was in heaven, and I enjoyed every minute of that, haha! :)

Wednesday, we had transfers and I met my companion for the first time!  Hermana Vasquez is from El Salvador and doesn't speak english.  Well, she knows some things, but she feels she cannot speak well.  That has been quite the adventure.  Three-quarters of me is so grateful because I am going to learn Spanish so well and probably very quickly, and in lessons, she knows how to express herself in Spanish.  The other one-quarter has been struggling a little bit.  Every day though, it gets better and better!  I understand more every day, but it is definitely an uphill journey.  She is a sweetheart and very patient with me as I am learning spanish.  

I am trying to decide what has been the greatest adventure.  I will make a list and you can choose your favorite:

-Seeing my appartment for the first time.  It is probably 5ft wide or so and about 20ft long (I think)
-Learning to cross the street without crosswalks
-Hopping into a random crowded van that I later discovered was a bus
-Seeing chickens and roosters walking around everywhere
-Having one brother draw a map for us in the dirt with a machete
- Having the humidity hit me like a wave
-Eating Burger King in Honduras
-Having people stare at me because I am so tall/am a gringa
-Watching General Conference in Spanish
-Feeling like a deer in headlights when people ask me questions

They have all been wonderful though.  I feel such a love for this country.  It is incredibly beautiful, and all the people are very kind and loving.  I KNOW I am supposed to be here.  I can feel it!  As soon as the plane landed, I KNEW this is where I am supposed to be and supposed to serve.

We always eat a very big lunch, so I often don't eat dinner, but all the members are generous, and the food is fabulous!  We don't have air conditioning, but we do have fans, so we are good :)  Also, we don't have hot water.  That's okay though, I just remind myself that I won't be this cold any other time while I am Honduras :)

Oh, a funny story!  Okay, back in Winter Semester I went to the Bishop's office to work on my mission papers, and I sat next to a young man who was waiting for an interview for a temple reccomend.  He told me he was going on a mission to Honduras San Pedro Sula.  I thought, oh how interesting!  I think I even thought "Nope, definitely not going there!  I don't even know where Honduras is!"... Life is funny, isn't it?  Anyways, I wanted to look for him while I was here, but all I could remember was the name Harrison, and I thought that was his last name.  Also, I didn't know if he was going East or west (I don't think he knew at the time).   Well, Harrison is his first name, his last name is Nichols, and he is in my zone!  That was awesome.  :)

Today, for P-day, our zone went hiking to a waterfall!  It was awesome y muy bonita! Unfortunately, on the way back, I fell in the stream/river thing and my camera got soaked!  I am trying to dry it out, but I don't know if it will.  Entonces, I don't have pictures this week.  The waterfall was beautiful though, and it was so fun to hike!  I really do love hiking, and I hope to hike more.  Every day is an adventure.  I think I have had more adventure in the past week than I would have had back home, and that is wonderful.

The people here are incredible!  We don't really have investigators right now, but we visit recent converts and members and I learn more each day!


Hermana Lauren Grondel

P.S., I almost forgot!  Most people here cannot pronounce my name.  Instead, they usually say either Hermana Grande or Hermana Del.  It is so fun! :)

Here is a picture from today.  Mi compañera is the one in pink right next to me :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Adios, México!

Hola mi Familia! ¿Como estan?  ¿Como son sus vidas?
WELL! It has been a wonderful last couple of days here at el CCM.  First off, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the lovely package!  I loved the chocolate, and I especially enjoyed the poem!  Wednesday, we got to go to the temple one last time.  I don't know when I will be able to go again, so it was a very lovely experience.  Also, I understood even more of the Spanish there!  It was awesome. 
Thursday was our last lesson with Hector.  We taught about Helaman 5:12, and it was awesome.  He agreed to be baptized as well!  We gave him a goal of 3 weeks.  On Saturday, Hno. Hardy told us the real story of Hector.  He was one of their investigators who never said what he believed, but he continuously lived it.  He passed around a picture of Hector and his family in white in front of the temple.  That was an incredible sight.  I love Hector so much, and I will miss teaching him.
Thursday night, we had TRC, and they had a lot of volunteers, so we got to teach two people from la ciudad.  Both were so kind, and it made me more excited for the work.  I love talking to people and hearing them tell me about their life.  Everyone has an awesome story, I know it!  I love listening to the excitement people get when they talk about those things closest to their hearts.
On Friday, we had In-Field Orientation.  That was interesting.  It lasted ALL DAY.  Some parts were rough, but others were awesome.  For instance, we were with all of the latinos, so they would speak in Spanish.  There was the option of having headphones, and Hno. Clark was translating everyting into english.  I decided to get them just in case I could not understand, and we ended up using them everytime we were all together because he was SO funny!  When they would ask questions, he also started to give us answers.  It was really funny when he would say something comico and all the Americans would laugh and no one else knew what was going on.  At one point, we watched a play of missionary work out in the field working with the members.  There was one part where two people were on the phone and the man was making kissing noises to the girl.  Our translator goes, "Well, I just sucked the micro out of the phone!"  It was fantastic having him to translate for us. :)
Hermana Hymas, Hermana Lattin, Hermana Lui, and I decided to all get eachother something to remember each other by.  Hna Hymas got bows, Hna Lattin is going to give us dream catchers, and Hna. Lui had her aunts send Lava-lavas.  I am STOKED about my lava-lava!  I feel so cool having one now :)
Saturday was also my last gym time.  Hermana Robertson and I went to go play soccer again.  I ADORE soccer! It is fantastic :)  I even got a slide tackle in this game!  That was my goal my soccer experience at el CCM, so I am pleased.
Also on Saturday, we practiced teaching.  Hna. Hymas and I were paired up with Elder Wing and Elder Hansen.  Okay guys, Heavenly Father is incredible.  He knows EVERYTHING, and He truly works in mysterious ways.  As I was talking about some of the fears, worries, and concerns I have, I noticed that The Beatles was playing from a gym across the street.  Not just any song was playing.  It was "Let it Be".  Coincidence, I think NOT!  Then, as we taught the elders, we talked about the scripture in Matthew when Jesus calls His disciples, saying "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."  We said we have already left our nets and followed Him, and He promises to make us fishers of men.  He will shape us and strengthen us.  All of a sudden, I heard the lyrics "All my lovin', I will give to you."  I love my Heavenly Father, and I am so grateful I could hear those sweet, simple messages from Him.
Yesterday we had fast Sunday at el CCM.  It was a beautiful day.  Our district sang a special musical number for the closing hymn.  We used Sally DeFord's arrangement of "Abide with Me", but only until the key change.  There, we switched to "I Need Thee Ev'ry Hour".  It was pretty sweet!  We also got a picture with our branch presidency.
Today has been bittersweet.  This whole weekend, I was not able to cry.  We had a lot of "lasts", last night with everyone, last prayer with our whole district and Hno. Hardy, last time saying "Buenas Noches" to Elder Hansen and Hermana Howell, last Devotional, last picture with everyone, and so on.  This morning though, I sobbed.  Hermana Lui left early this morning, so when I got up, her bed was empty and the sheets were gone.  Then we got to class and we were missing two people.  We went to teach a new investigator, Pedro, and Hna Hymas and I were to be second.  When we went out to teach, the tears would not stop flowing.  Hno. Hardy stopped us in the middle of our lesson and asked if I was alright.  In fact, he goes "I'm startled, I've never seen you like this!" It's true.  I've cried here and there, but not like this.  We had an excellent chat and ended up taking everyone else's teaching time so then we just chatted as a district.
Though I am muy triste to leave this sacred place, I am excited to go and serve the people of Honduras.  I am sure they will help make me a better person, and I hope I can help them.  I know that everyone needs this message.  That is why I am here!  It is a message of joy and happiness that I get to carry to all the world.  I love you all!  Next time I email, I will be in HONDURAS!!!
Hermana Lauren Grondel
I adore this picture of our district leaving el CCM :)

My district with our branch presidency

They put up flags in the Thomas S. Monson building

Hna Saucedo and I 

My district with out teacher Hna Saucedo. 

Our elders wearing fake mustaches with the branch presidency

My district with our teacher, Hno Hardy.