Monday, July 28, 2014

Wow.  This week.  I think it was one of the craziest weeks of my mission.  We were all over the place helping with doctor's appointments while still trying to teach our investigators. 

Tuesday, another elder had to come into San Pedro to be hospitalized due to a bad case of Dengue.  I sat with his companion as my companion and elder Roberts talked with the doctors.  This elder was actually one of the elders that was in el CCM with me and entered the mission with me, but upon arriving, he had to go home to take care of some previous mistakes he had made in his life.  Well, now he's back in the mission.  Anyways, we were talking about el CCM and he mentioned one of the sisters who had thrown-up upon arriving at the airport due to motion sickness.  I said something like, "How horrible that you remember her as the girl that threw-up!"  To which he replied, "Well, everyone from my district remembers me as the elder that had to go home".  I didn't know how to respond, so I simply said, "I'm sorry."  "No, that's okay. I'm clean now," he said, with a smile on his face.  I'm clean now.  Those words made such an impact on me.  Yes, he made a mistake.  Yes, he had to go home.  Yes, I imagine he suffered humiliation and felt like an outsider many times.  But now he is clean.  And that is all that matters to him.

Friday, Hermana Robles had a Nurses Video Conference - Level Centro America.  It was pretty sweet!  It was with about 6 other areas plus el CCM en Guatemala, and we learned much about health concerns and ideas. Then we got to go out to lunch with Sister Dester, Sister Klein (east mission president's wife), and Sister Bennet (nurse of the east mission). yum!

Saturday, we were also blessed with a baptism!!  It was of a young man named Nefi (Nephi en español).  His mom is a member, but was inactive when he turned 8, and when she became active again, he didn't want anything to do with the church.  But now, he is a member, and he is utterly and completely happy.  We felt so blessed to be a part of his progress.

Sunday was a bit of a crazy day.  We had gotten up and gotten ready early, but when we passed for our investigators' houses, they were not exactly we got to church late...and happened to see Presidente y Hermana Dester sitting there...and then I had to rush to make it to the piano to play the sacrament hymn...and in the last hymn, the piano DIED.  So I just started singing with everyone else, hahaha.

I am so very grateful for this opportunity I have to live so many adventures and share this gospel.  I love this mission so much, and I don't like thinking about how quickly time is passing.  There is nothing I have lived in my life so frustrating, difficult, trying, gratifying, lovely, exciting, and joyful as serving the Lord here in Honduras. 

Thank you for all your love, prayers, and letters.

Hermana Grondel :)

Hermana Robles and I at Denny's
Hermana Zelada and I discovered that we are about the same size, just that she is much shorter.  So her skirt fits me, and my jeans fit her, though her skirt is rather short and my jeans are a bit long :)
                                                               I love this photo. :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Well, yesterday, we got wet, but I think the wettest I have ever been on my mission was last Sunday (not yesterday), when it was raining VERY hard, and as we were crossing the street, two cars passed and DRENCHED us with water.  It was one of the few times I have felt cold here in Honduras, hahaha.

WOW, what a week.  Most of our appointments fell through.  We walked a lot.  And I loved it.  It was crazy and tiring, but such is mission life.  To finish up Hermana Robles's training, we had the chance to watch The District again.  You all should go out and watch that, especially if you've never seen it.  It is so beautiful.

Saturday was a Pioneer Day Activity, and we went to help out with the program.  Hermana Marley sang with another member and her husband, and I played the piano.  It was rather fun.  Also, our District Leader, Elder Nichols (who I knew back at BYU) Was Joseph Smith, haha!

One of our investigators paid his tithing yesterday!  Oh what joy this mission brings. 

Truly, today I am without words.  I do not know what to write nor how to express how I feel.  I want to explain what the mission is, I want you to feel what I feel, but a mission is something you experience, and explaining it only leaves you with a whole bunch of clichés.  *sigh*  I think I will use one of my favorite GC talks to explain How I feel:

The First and Great Commandmant - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

There is almost no group in history for whom I have more sympathy than I have for the eleven remaining Apostles immediately following the death of the Savior of the world. I think we sometimes forget just how inexperienced they still were and how totally dependent upon Jesus they had of necessity been. To them He had said, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me … ?”1

But, of course, to them He hadn’t been with them nearly long enough. Three years isn’t long to call an entire Quorum of Twelve Apostles from a handful of new converts, purge from them the error of old ways, teach them the wonders of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then leave them to carry on the work until they too were killed. Quite a staggering prospect for a group of newly ordained elders.

Especially the part about being left alone. Repeatedly Jesus had tried to tell them He was not going to remain physically present with them, but they either could not or would not comprehend such a wrenching thought. Mark writes:

“He taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

“But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.”2

Then, after such a short time to learn and even less time to prepare, the unthinkable happened, the unbelievable was true. Their Lord and Master, their Counselor and King, was crucified. His mortal ministry was over, and the struggling little Church He had established seemed doomed to scorn and destined for extinction. His Apostles did witness Him in His resurrected state, but that only added to their bewilderment. As they surely must have wondered, “What do we do now?” they turned for an answer to Peter, the senior Apostle.

Here I ask your indulgence as I take some nonscriptural liberty in my portrayal of this exchange. In effect, Peter said to his associates: “Brethren, it has been a glorious three years. None of us could have imagined such a few short months ago the miracles we have seen and the divinity we have enjoyed. We have talked with, prayed with, and labored with the very Son of God Himself. We have walked with Him and wept with Him, and on the night of that horrible ending, no one wept more bitterly than I. But that is over. He has finished His work, and He has risen from the tomb. He has worked out His salvation and ours. So you ask, ‘What do we do now?’ I don’t know more to tell you than to return to your former life, rejoicing. I intend to ‘go a fishing.’” And at least six of the ten other remaining Apostles said in agreement, “We also go with thee.” John, who was one of them, writes, “They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately.”3

But, alas, the fishing wasn’t very good. Their first night back on the lake, they caught nothing—not a single fish. With the first rays of dawn, they disappointedly turned toward the shore, where they saw in the distance a figure who called out to them, “Children, have you caught anything?” Glumly these Apostles-turned-again-fishermen gave the answer no fisherman wants to give. “We have caught nothing,” they muttered, and to add insult to injury, they were being called “children.”4

“Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find,”5 the stranger calls out—and with those simple words, recognition begins to flood over them. Just three years earlier these very men had been fishing on this very sea. On that occasion too they had “toiled all the night, and [had] taken nothing,”6 the scripture says. But a fellow Galilean on the shore had called out to them to let down their nets, and they drew “a great multitude of fishes,”7 enough that their nets broke, the catch filling two boats so heavily they had begun to sink.

Now it was happening again. These “children,” as they were rightly called, eagerly lowered their net, and “they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”8 John said the obvious: “It is the Lord.”9 And over the edge of the boat, the irrepressible Peter leaped.

After a joyful reunion with the resurrected Jesus, Peter had an exchange with the Savior that I consider the crucial turning point of the apostolic ministry generally and certainly for Peter personally, moving this great rock of a man to a majestic life of devoted service and leadership. Looking at their battered little boats, their frayed nets, and a stunning pile of 153 fish, Jesus said to His senior Apostle, “Peter, do you love me more than you love all this?” Peter said, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”10

The Savior responds to that reply but continues to look into the eyes of His disciple and says again, “Peter, do you love me?” Undoubtedly confused a bit by the repetition of the question, the great fisherman answers a second time, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”11

The Savior again gives a brief response, but with relentless scrutiny He asks for the third time, “Peter, do you love me?” By now surely Peter is feeling truly uncomfortable. Perhaps there is in his heart the memory of only a few days earlier when he had been asked another question three times and he had answered equally emphatically—but in the negative. Or perhaps he began to wonder if he misunderstood the Master Teacher’s question. Or perhaps he was searching his heart, seeking honest confirmation of the answer he had given so readily, almost automatically. Whatever his feelings, Peter said for the third time, “Lord, … thou knowest that I love thee.”12

To which Jesus responded (and here again I acknowledge my nonscriptural elaboration), perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”

Then, turning to all the Apostles, He might well have said something like: “Were you as foolhardy as the scribes and Pharisees? As Herod and Pilate? Did you, like they, think that this work could be killed simply by killing me? Did you, like they, think the cross and the nails and the tomb were the end of it all and each could blissfully go back to being whatever you were before? Children, did not my life and my love touch your hearts more deeply than this?”

My beloved brothers and sisters, I am not certain just what our experience will be on Judgment Day, but I will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what Christ asked Peter: “Did you love me?” I think He will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate, and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand one commandment, the first and greatest commandment of them all—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.”13 And if at such a moment we can stammer out, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments,”14 Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it. It was this truth, this reality, that allowed a handful of Galilean fishermen-turned-again-Apostles without “a single synagogue or sword”15 to leave those nets a second time and go on to shape the history of the world in which we now live.

I testify from the bottom of my heart, with the intensity of my soul, to all who can hear my voice that those apostolic keys have been restored to the earth, and they are found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To those who have not yet joined with us in this great final cause of Christ, we say, “Please come.” To those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few cultural hors d’oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the Restoration and leave the rest of the feast, I say that I fear you face a lot of long nights and empty nets. The call is to come back, to stay true, to love God, and to lend a hand. I include in that call to fixed faithfulness every returned missionary who ever stood in a baptismal font and with arm to the square said, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.”16 That commission was to have changed your convert forever, but it was surely supposed to have changed you forever as well. To the youth of the Church rising up to missions and temples and marriage, we say: “Love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation. You have a monumental work to do, underscored by that marvelous announcement President Thomas S. Monson made yesterday morning. Your Father in Heaven expects your loyalty and your love at every stage of your life.”

To all within the sound of my voice, the voice of Christ comes ringing down through the halls of time, asking each one of us while there is time, “Do you love me?” And for every one of us, I answer with my honor and my soul, “Yea, Lord, we do love thee.” And having set our “hand to the plough,”17 we will never look back until this work is finished and love of God and neighbor rules the world. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
                  Oh look, Hermana Robles and I are the models for the Visiting teacher wall :)
                                                                     My cake!!
                                       On my birthday with one of our investigators, Vilma
                   Saturday was a pioneer day activity, and our district leader was Joseph Smith
                                                      Our dinner on Saturday

Monday, July 14, 2014


Another week finished in this crazy mission life!
This week was a great one.  On Tuesday, I received birthday surprises!!  I loved receiving a package of cards from my Relief Society back home. Thank you so much!!
Wednesday was an awesome day, working hard and seeing miracles.

We had several beautiful lessons this week, for which I am grateful.  Thursday, my zone elders bought me a birthday cake!! So sweet of them.  Later, I got sick, so that was rough.  Being sick is not fun. Thankfully, It only lasted a day, and then I was back out on the streets.  And no, it was not from the cake, hahaha, I was already feeling unwell before. :)  Unfortunately, Thursday was not the last sick day for other missionaries.
Friday was my birthday!!  It was a beautiful day. :)  My companions came and sang to me in the morning and brought my cards and I opened my gifts. So lovely. :)  Then we rushed off to the hospital to help an elder with a back problem.  We got to hang out with the office elders, and I discovered that Elder Figueroa loves books and to read!!  So we talked about books for a long time.  Later, we went to teach an investigator who lives in the house of a member, and she had made me a birthday cake!!!  It was so delicious because it was made with love. :)
Saturday was another crazy day. It was another day in the hospital, helping an elder out.  We had another chance to be with the office elders, wooo, more books!!  The rest of the afternoon was spent doing a lot of walking because basically all of our appointments fell through. We also got to go to the baptism of the other sisters' :). (Yay, third place for Holland!)
Sunday was a lovely day. I got to have breakfast in bed!  They were going to do it on my birthday, but since I had been sick, they waited until Sunday.  IT INCLUDED NUTELLA!!!  I was so happy.  That day, we saw miracles.  So many of our investigators and lessactives made it to church!!  We were shocked and so happy.  During Sunday School, we got a text message saying one sister was coming into SPS to go to the hospital, so right after church, we hurried over to the hospital to meet them and Sister Dester.  We spent the afternoon in the hospital, and I got to know Sister Lopez better, who entered the mission field with me, and I enjoyed it. :)
Anyway, the church is true!!!  I love you all so much!!

Hermana Grondel :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7

Well, here we are in July, and I can hardly believe it!

Tuesday was a lovely day.  We had interviews with President Dester, and he gave me some ideas to help our area, so that was wonderful.  Also, in the morning, we talked about faith.  Our district leader talked about the miracles in the Book of Mormon, that they can be our miracles.  If we have faith as they do, if we work as they did, we will see the hand of the Lord in all that we do.  See Ether 12.

Wednesday was a day of miracles.  We worked hard and saw the hand of the Lord in our work. We put all our faith and trust in the Lord, and I felt like I was the missionary I want to be.  Almost nothing we had planned for happened, but we saw so much good, and I know it was the plan of the Lord.

Then, Thursday until Sunday morning were less than wonderful.  To be completely honest, I was very discouraged and felt as though nothing was happening as it should.  But the Lord was SO good to us on Sunday.  Sitting there during the Sacrament, I could feel the power of the Atonement rejuvenating my soul.  I felt at peace and content.  We had an incredible afternoon, and we went to bed happy.

I often think about how little time I have left here in the mission.  I hope to use each and every moment as I should, and truly, I stress myself out sometimes thinking about my faults.  I am not perfect.  Not even close.  There is so much I lack.  But the beauty of this gospel is I am not asked to do it alone.  I am working in the vineyard with the Lord.  And His grace is sufficient to make up for all that I lack, if I give all I can.  One of my friends serving a mission said this week, "The first weeks here were really rough, but we put our noses to the grindstone and dug our roots deep, being obedient, working hard, doing our best, and above all, trusting in the Lord, His timing, and His eternal purposes, holding fast to the hope that miracles were just around the corner... and they were. I love turning those corners!"

I love turning those corners as well. Pues, " let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." - D&C 123:17

I love you all.  I so deeply appreciate all your prayers and thoughts and love for me.

Hermana Grondel