Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Y Feliz Año Nuevo!

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!
Wednesday, I got to skype with my family.  That was absolutely wonderful.  I adored seeing your faces!  We walked around and chatted with members.  We ate so much we almost exploded.  We went back to the house early because of the holiday and relaxed in our house.  It was the strangest Christmas I have ever had because it didn't really feel like Christmas.  But I received the best gifts ever: being able to serve and being able to talk to you guys on Christmas morning!
The rest of the week, we tried to talk with people and teach, but not many people are home.  They are still out and about for the holidays.  It was a bit discouraging.  Hermana Porter and I also had some heart-to-hearts.  We have been struggling a bit with this change, but we have hope for this week.
To be completely honest, I feel frustrated right now. I need to be so much better as a missionary, but I feel like the area is suffering because both of us need to learn so much.  I love Hermana Porter, but I feel so inadequete with her because I feel like our spanish is a huge stumbling block.  We are also struggling to adjust our teaching methods to be more united.  And we both have struggles with contacting people.  I am so grateful for the prayers you give in my behalf, and I would ask that you would pray for Hermana Porter as well, that we can be better.
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.

Today, we had a P-day de Zona, and I learned how to form tortillas for baleadas, yay!  We ate so much today. Seriously, I thought I was going to lose weight on my mission, but now I feel like that is not going to be the case! It is quite possibly going to be the other way around.  Everyone in the zone enjoyed my basketball I received for Christmas as well, haha!  We had a Secret Santa exchange today.  I received cookies and chocolate and an extra-grande angry birds shirt because everyone calls me Hermana Grande :)
Well, I love you all so much. :)
Hermana Grondel
These photos are from last P-day

From the slip n' slide last week
 Inline image 1

Using twigs as tongs because nobody brought any to cook the meat, haha

Inline image 2

Inline image 3
Merry Christmas to me with some Ben and Jerry's!

Inline image 4
Christmas Eve dinner in the house!  One of the members stopped by and gave us food :)

Inline image 5
Christmas Breakfast :)

Inline image 6
There is a nativity near the entrance of one of the neighborhoods in our area

Inline image 7
One of the walls in our house - I hung up photos!

Inline image 8
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.

Inline image 9
We were walking around our neighborhood and came across this extreme nativity

Inline image 10
Close-up of the Baby Jesus

Inline image 11
Yay, piña!

Inline image 12

Thursday, December 26, 2013

¡Feliz Navidad!

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. :)


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

First Cambios!

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.

Our God will see that we receive justice and fairness, but if not. … He will make sure that we are loved and recognized, but if not. … We will receive a perfect companion and righteous and obedient children, but if not, … we will have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that if we do all we can do, we will, in His time and in His way, be delivered and receive all that He has."   -Elder Dennis E. Simmons

Oh, and I was sick one day this week, not fun.  But I am totally fine now! 

Funny story:
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!
I don't think Hermana Vasquez knew what this was for :)
Hna Robertson and Elder Wing from my district en el CCM!
Me and my new compañera!

Monday, December 9, 2013


Hey there!
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!
Hermana Grondel
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

Cold? In Honduras? What?

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.

Hermana Grondel

I was really cold during study in the morning. 
I mean really cold. Both of us. 
We made arroz con leche with Katarine Urias, an awesome member in our ward.
Hna Vasquez with Jared y Katarine.  I am the one behind the camera, haha