Saturday, November 30, 2013

My mini vacation

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!

Hermana Grondel

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!
One of the members knows how much I love popcorn ( and Hna Vasquez too) so he brought us a bag of popcorn!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Juntos para Siempre


¿Que tal?(how are you?)

Is it really Monday again? I can't believe it.  Time is so weird!

Well, this week there were transfers, but Hermana Vasquez and I are still companions!  However, this transfer is only 4 weeks long, not 6, ahh!  However, our zone changed.  We have 5 different missionaries, one of which is fresh from el CCM in Mexico!

We have been trying to focus on the Book of Mormon more in our lessons with our investigators.  It is the evidence to everything we are talking about and preaching about.  Everything rests on whether or not the book is true!

Wednesday, Hermana Vasquez was sick, so we spent most of the day in la casa.  I studied, read, and updated our Area Book.  It was a nice little rest, but at the same time it was hard to not be able to complete our plans from the night before.

I hope you guys are sharing this beautiful gospel!  This week I read the talk from Elder Ballard and his invitation for everyone to speak to someone about the gospel by Christmas.  I know that is going to change lives!  Remember, you are successful if you open your mouth and try!  I know there are people aching for this gospel, but they don't know where to look!  You can be the light of the world.  I know this is the true gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I know this is His church, and I know that we can have eternal happiness, not just happiness in this life, if we accept Him as our Savior and strive to follow His example.  I know this is the only way to be with our families forever.

We worked a lot with menos activos this week, and we watched the video "Together Forever" or "Juntos Para Siempre" in spanish.  It is an incredible video about the plan of salvation.  Go watch it!  Go share it with a friend!  It is awesome!  

Story time!  Sunday morning, we went to bring a less active with us to church.  "I have to eat!", she said.  "I have cookies in my bag that you can eat!" So she came.  "Oh no!  my shoes broke!"  "That's okay, you don't need shoes to come to church!"  And she came.  I felt like we were literally leaving the ninety and nine to bring the one lost sheep.  That is what a lot of our work felt like this week.  Though sometimes, it feels like we are leaving one sheep to fetch the ninety and nine, haha!

Plus, the food here is incredible!  We eat amazing lunches every day.  I am so excited to bring you guys to Hna Pavon's for lunch some day!

I love you all so very much!  Sorry I didn't have much to write about today, pero les quiero mucho!

Hermana Grondel

P.S., next week, my P-day is going to be Tuesday instead of Monday.  Love ya!

We have a lot of fun in our appartment ;)
This is Amit, a member of a super awesome family in our branch.  She is the sweetest and always has stickers or beads or flowers for us :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I'm just a bit wet :)


News this week: Rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  I had no idea it could rain so much! Almost every day this week it has been cloudy or it has rained.  This morning, we were excited because the sun was out.  Yes! We can wash our clothes! Well, we washed them, but they are not going to be dry.  Ah well, I love the rain!

This week, we have been improving our ability to talk to people in the street.  Each time it gets a little easier! Monday, we had a Noche de Hogar(FHE) with a family in the ward and an investigator, Claudina and her children.  She was very excited the whole time and even volunteered to give the closing prayer!  We went to visit her on Wednesday and she was rearranging her house, so we helped her move some things around.  She had two of her nieces there as well, Grelie and her sister.  We have been trying to teach Grelie and her family as well, but we have had some difficulties and her sister has always been very closed towards us.  At times, she seems annoyed that we are visiting.  Well, while we were helping Hna. Claudina, Grelie's sister talked to us a bit and even smiled at us.  We are stoked.  Now, back to Claudina.  Thursday, we returned and taught The Restoration and invited her to pray about Joseph Smith and the iglesia.  She already had a Book of Mormon from a previous encounter with the missionaries.  When we visited her on Friday, we asked her if she had prayed.  She had, and she began to tell us about a dream she had about her brother-in-law who has passed away.  Long story short, she told us that she knows that this is the true church and she wants to be baptized! Yay! 

Another one of our miracles this week was with an investigator named Byron  One of our appointments fell through so we decided to swing by his house.  He was a bit preoccupied and we asked him how he was feeling.  He began to tell us that his girlfriend, who is pregnant, went for a check-up that morning and was in the hospital because of some sort of complication.  In addition, she has diabetes, so they wanted to be extra careful.  He was waiting for more news.  We gave him some comfort, prayed with him, and gave him a Book of Mormon.  The next day, we saw him and Anna (his girlfriend) and went to talk with them.  The danger had passed and she is doing fine.  I was amazed at how perfectly our Heavenly Father knows everything.  If we had gone even one day later to visit Byron, the trouble would have passed and our message might not have had as strong of an impact.  I am excited to continue teaching them.

Yesterday, while Hna Vasquez and I were walking I started telling her how I have been rather frustrated.  I feel like we are working and I am trying to have faith, but I am struggling to have patience.  After a moment, she began to list the miracles we have been able to see.  And it's true.  We have seen miracles.  They aren't in the form of baptisms or numbers, but they are real milagros, no less important to the salvation of men than baptisms.  Plus, the motto of our mission is Crecimiento Real (Real Growth).  We are trying to help people become more converted to the gospel, not just baptize them.  And no effort is wasted.  We are planting seeds of truth in the lives of these people.  They have to decide to let it grow.  To try to make a metaphor, I have been disappointed because we don't have pears and have been missing the strawberries, grapes, oranges, and watermelons....Okay, terrible analogy.  Basically, I have been looking for a specific blessing and haven't been enjoying all the other ones we are receiving.  "Count your Blessings...And it will surprise you what the Lord has done."  

On a lighter note, yesterday we were visiting with Pte. Quezada (president of our branch), and he told us that he had gone to a special meeting today where his father spoke.  It was the anniversary of 50 years of membership for him.  When he was baptized, there were 2 branches in all of Honduras, and Honduras was a part of the Central America Mission.  Now, I don't know how many wards and stakes there are, but there are 4 missions in Honduras!  It is incredible to see the work grow.

Okay, so, some nights, Hermana Vasquez asks me to sing to her because when I sing, she falls asleep super fast.  Well, this week she was telling Hna. Nolvia (an hermana in our branch) about this.  Hna. Nolvia turned to me and said, "Do you know pokemon? You're like Jigglypuff!  Hermana Jigglypuff!" :)

Also, with all the rain, there are a lot of puddles.  One day this week, we were walking and I slid and fell into a puddle.  Luckily, it was on the side walk and I landed on my knees so just the bottom of my skirt was wet :)


Hermana Lauren Grondel :)

We made French Toast for out district! 

At church on sunday, we were matching!  The gringas in green and the natives in purple!  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Well, it is Monday again!

I cannot believe it is November.  I have now been in Honduras for over a month.

Well, this week we have been preaching the gospel!  Woo! :) 

Tuesday, we had our district meeting, and we had interviews with President Dester!  I have been seeing them a lot.  Is every mission like that?  I certainly enjoy it!  I love President and Sister Dester and am grateful I get to see them so much!  I got to chat with Sister Dester while other people were being interviewed.  She is truly such a sweetheart and is always so concerned for us.  And she brought us cookies and juice - always a good thing!

 Wednesday, we had exchanges!  I stayed in El Bosque y Hermana Vasquez went to Castaños.  I was with Hermana Lopez y Hna Vasquez was with Hna Aguilar.  Hna Aguilar y Hna Lopez are our sister training leaders.  Hna Aguilar is from los Estados Unidos but is going home this transfer.  Hna Lopez is from Costa Rica. It was quite the experience!  I learned some really awesomes ways to teach and to ask for references, and more about how to be a better missionary.  Hna Lopez  is so funny and an incredible missionary.  She is the 11th of 11 children and is the only member in her family. She hasn't gotten a letter from them her whole mission.  Talk about humbling.  Our exchanges were for 24 hours, so Hna Lopez stayed the night at our casa.  As I was cooking, she went outside.  After a few minutes I went to see what she was doing, and she was on the roof of another house, looking at the stars.  The stars are so beautiful here.  She told me that when life is hard, she looks at the stars.  I love that, and I love the stars :)

Well, Halloween isn't celebrated here.  I said Happy Halloween to one family because I had candy and gave it to them and one hermano, our mission leader, started talking about how it is an evil tradition.  Entonces, I have to celebrate Halloween alone!  I am sad that people are really superstitious about it here because it is one of my favorite days.  I love candy.  :) And I love all the cutesy things that go with Halloween.  ah well, c'est la vie!

Thursday, we had our coordination meeting, and Hna Aguilar came to join us to help us know what to do for the meeting.  Well, she LOVES arroz con leche, especially de Hermana Quezada.  The meeting is always in the quezada's home, so when they heard she was coming, they made arroz con leche!  Oh. My. Goodness.  It is incredibly delicious!  I am not sure how to describe it other than it is rice with milk and I think cinnamon.  ¡Oh, me encanta!

Saturday, we had two appointments for lunch.  Oh, it was so delicious!  And it was perfect timing because it was fast Sunday this weekend!  Well, we always have lunch with Hermana Georgina on Saturdays, but Hna Marta invited us for lunch.  Hna. Vasquez and I were both unsure if there would be much food with Hna Marta, so we decided to keep both appointments.  Oh man, we were SO full!  Hermana Vasquez thought she was going to explode, haha!

Sunday, I got to play the piano in church!  I love the piano so much, and I am very grateful I learned how to play hymns.  I am so grateful for music in general!  It is so beautiful and always speaks right to my heart. I love this gospel, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to preach it and live it every day.  In Sunday School, we talked about the spirit world and the Final Judgment and how if people reject this gospel they can't make it to the celestial kingdom.  It makes my heart ache that there are people here who won't listen because it means we cannot help them.  I don't want them to end up in a lesser state of happiness!  One gentleman in particular that we met wouldn't let us say a word.  He just said that he doesn't believe in anything, his family has never believed and he doesn't want to talk to us.  He is the first man I've met here who doesn't believe in anything.  Most people here believe in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  But it makes me all the more grateful that I have my family and we have this gospel.

Oh, other funny happening!  So, Hermana Vasquez is terrified of frogs, of dogs, and of horses.  There are so many frogs and dogs, and there are 3 horses that we know of.  One night, we tried to stop by the home of Familia Gallo and Hermana Vasquez saw 2 huge sapos (frogs) and refused to go to the door.  So I was trying to call to the familia while keeping Hermana Vasquez within sight and sound.  Muy chistoso.  Then, on Sunday, we were contacting with a miembro, Nefi, who is about 16.  Well, on the road to one casa there was a very angry dog.  Nefi y Hna Vasquez looked at each other and then looked at me and said, "Usted no tiene miedo.  Usted puede ser primera" (translation: "You're not scared, you can be first").  So I started walking.  Most dogs just leave us alone, and this dog started retreating.  But all of a sudden he began to rush forward and I thought for sure he was going to bite me (all is well, no bites as of yet!)  Well, at the moment he began to rush forward, Hna Vasquez froze and Nefi jumped and grabbed hold of her.  When the danger passed, Hna Vasquez turned to Nefi and said "¡Nefi! ¡Soy una misionera! Los niños no pueden tocarme!" Oh, it was great. :)

I love you all so very much!!!! I hope all is well and I pray for you guys. 

Hermana Grondel

"Preach the Gospel at all time and if necessary, use words." - Saint Francis of Assisi
At Hna Georgina's house

This is me trying to be Hna. Vasquez y Hna Vasquez trying to be yo.... didn't work out so well, haha!


Lunch at Hna Georgina's house!

Oh!  I forgot this story!  Saturday we went to one member's house and found them making Pastilla's to sell.  So we started helping her to make them!  It was a lot of fun :)

I think this pic was supposed to be of just Hna Alvarez, but Hermana Marley and I ended up in it, haha

hna Marley y yo

In the taxi!

Hermanas Vasquez, Marely, Alvarez y yo con Sister Dester

These photos are from a couple weeks back when we had the Hermanas Day at the House of Sister Dester.  
This is of all the hermanas who came.

Platanos con mantequilla! Yum!

Hermana Vasquez, Marta, y yo at lunch on Saturday

Our delicious lunch!