Monday, August 25, 2014

I cannot believe I have made it to one year out on the mission. This time has flown by.  The day I hit a year, I was close to tears almost all day.  I love this work.  I love this life.  I love what I am becoming, and I don't want to stop doing this.  Ever.

I made a list of some of the things I have learned this year, and I wanted to share them with you:

-Who I am
-Who I want to be
-How to Speak Spanish
-How to wash clothes by hand
-How to make tortillas
-How to make arroz con leche
-The Savior's atonement is real
-What it TRULY means to be a member of this church
-Mint Oreos are my weakness
-Tamarindo juice, made strong and hot, is one of the worst things on Earth...and shortly after drinking it, you WILL have to find a bathroom. I really cleans out your system
-Other people matter
-MoTab is one of the greatest choirs on Earth
-Nothing calms the heart as quickly as singing a hymn
-Prayer is a great de-stresser
-The Book of Mormon is better in Spanish
-The Lord answers prayers - ALWAYS
-We cannot think to earn a great reward if we choose to shun the fight
-I can choose to be happy
-Selfless service rests the weary mind and heart
-Nothing tastes as good as Mom's cooking
-If it's not fried, it's probably not eaten here
-Bugs are a normal part of some people's lives
-Maggots become huge, ugly, green flies
-Just because you can't sing, doesn't mean you shouldn't
-How to dance Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
-Fasting is the fastest way to receive an answer
-If you don't know the word, try to act it out.  You'll at least get a laugh
-"Called to Serve" is better in Spanish
-Riches don't equal happiness
-A hand-written letter makes all the difference
-Mexico is a lovely country
-Talking out your problems is much better than bottling them up
-A smile changes everything
-Soccer is one of the greatest sports on this planet
-Without the members' help, all this work is for naught.
-Everybody has a story
-I prefer a Samsung Galaxy
-Faith + Obedience + Hard Work= Power
-I love writing
-No margarine tastes nearly as good as real butter
-"Adventure is Out there!"
-Want to be happy?  Follow the Spirit
-How to effectively plan
-There are no such things as impossible dreams
-It is better to laugh at yourself than wallow in self-pity
-Patience wins out in the end
-The Scriptures bring you closer to God

Friday was a day full of miracles. But it didn't start out that way. Actually, it started out rather badly. The morning was filled with doctors appointments, the majority of our appointments cancelled on us- including a very important one where he was going to receive a blessing - we struggled to have a member join us to teach, one woman whom we were teaching even refused to let us sing because she was afraid of what the neighbors would say. (I think she thought we were evangelicos and were going to start rocking out or something, hahaha). But at the end of the day, we didn't care because the evening was so stellar. We met a wonderful family, whose grandmother is beyond excited to learn with us. After just one lesson, they all came to church yesterday - and loved it. This abuelita even asked us to get a hold of the hymns on CD so she can listen to them.

That same night, we went to visit an investigator whose son is serving a mission. She wants to be baptized, but her husband doesn't want to get married. During the lesson, we started talking about L3, and de repente we began talking about marriage and how God isn't happy with them, a subject we usually have avoided because the "husband" se enoja. And he did become a bit bothered, but the testimony of the member that came with us was PERFECT, and they even opened up and asked for the help we need. Later, the investigator told me that we had mentioned EXACTLY what was going on in their home, so perfectly that her "husband" accused her of telling us of their problems (which she has never done.)


Well, I love you all!!

Hermana Grondel :)
                                               CelebratingAmerica Day with Ice cream
                                                       I was so happy to get popcorn!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hello there!!

Pues, to be completely honest, this week has been rough.  The last couple of weeks have been rough.  Compared to my last area, this area is ROUGH.  Working in the city is COMPLETELY different from working in un pueblo. (Whoops, sent this before I was ready!) People are busy.  People aren't as sensitive to the spirit.  People have commitment problems.  People have AGENCY.  Well, that isn't different, hahaha.  I have been rather discouraged as of late, which is horrible, because it only lowers your desire to work.  Plus, I feel as though I am a different missionary in the city.  Not as powerful.  Not as focused.  So many things remind me of home here.  And worst of all, I've let that affect me.  It's irritating.

I could not possibly express enough gratitude for Hermana Robles (my companion) and Hermana Marley (One of the Sister Training Leaders).  Hermana Robles never fails in her patience, in her determination, and her support.  She doesn't say much, but I feel and see her love for me, and I love her so much.  I feel as though we have known each other for forever.  Hermana Marley never fails to say or do exactly what I need, exactly when I need it.  It's incredible.  Plus, both of them are absolutely hilarious, so they usually help me laugh myself out of my blues.

Reading the Book of Mormon also helps me to regain my excitement and remember the tender mercies of the Lord.  Right now I'm reading it in Spanish, and for me, it is even more powerful.  The Lord really does love us, each and everyone of us.  Sea como sea, haga lo que haga, He loves us.  Intensely.  Unfailingly.  Perfectly.

Funny Story.  Apparently the other night I was yelling in my sleep.  I yelled so loud, I woke up the other two hermanas in the other room, but my companion was sleeping SO deeply, she didn't even stir, hahaha.

Other than the normal missionary/nurse stuff, Hermana Dester (The Mission President's wife) asked me to help plan, organize, and perform a special musical number with a small choir for the Multi-Zone conference we are going to have with Elder Alonso, from the Area Presidency, next week.  So that's been fun. :)  I'll let you know how that goes. :)

Anyhoo, I love you all.  May God bless you and que √Čl les cuide. :)

Hermana Grondel :)
                                                           SO MUCH LOVEEEEEEE

Monday, August 11, 2014

Aug 11

One week more, one week less.

We have had some adventures this week...such as going to the emergency room at about 10:20 at night and leaving at almost 1 in the morning.#lifeofthemissionnursescompanion.  We were rather sleepy the next day, hahaha, but we made it through.  We also experienced walking on the Honduras streets at about 11 at night as we crossed the road from the hospital to the pharmacy, hahaha.  I could not believe how quiet and calm everything was when we went home at about 1am.  As we sat in the emergency room, President Dester came and joined us.  I then proceeded to lean over to him and ask permission for to stay up past 10:30, hahaha.  And no worries, President gave us a ride home, so we didn't walk or take a bus home.

Saturday, I had divisiones, woo! I had a chance to work with Hermana Zelada again - love that girl.  She is hilarious, enojadita, loving, and just a wonderful person.  Her example taught me a lot of how to be a better missionary and how to help our investigators.  We also could not stop laughing...for the entire day...We had to stop several times, actually, because we were laughing so hard, we couldn't walk.  Hermana Zelada will finish her mission in about 3 weeks.  I will miss her so much.

Lately, we have had an investigator named Vilma.  Vilma is a lovely young lady, and was going to get baptized before I got here, but one thing led to another...and we're still teaching her.  Well, it has been a while since we had a lesson with her, and we decided to make our lesson this week make it or break it. We thought long and hard about what we would share with her, and we finally decided to share part of the life of the prophet Joseph Smith, namely JSH 1:21, 23-25:

21 Some few days after I had this vision, I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist preachers, who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement; and, conversing with him on the subject of religion, I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behavior; he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them.

23 It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitterpersecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself.
 24 However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.
 25 So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.
I love those words: "I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it."

To my great surprise, these words also impacted Hermanita Vilma.  And she decided to be baptized.  I am so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord.  I also feel as the prophet Joseph Smith, that I know these things are true, I know that God knows it, and I cannot deny it.

I love you all!

Hermana Grondel :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

And then there was (not) light

Well, these past few days, the lights have been going out about 4...only on our side of the area...And because the sun sets at about 6:30 here, it has been a bit of a problem, hahaha.  It also explains why this letter will be short (the lights went out again). :)
This past week was INCREDIBLE! Hermana Robles and I were able to throw ourselves into this work, and we saw miracles.

One of my favorite parts of this week was our Multi-Zone Conference on Wednesday.  President Dester is always so inspired.  This conference, he spoke about our Heavenly Father.  His attributes, His goodness, and the ability we have to become like Him.  At the very end, he said something that made me cry. (I think his closing remarks at every zone conference make me cry, hahaha.)  He began saying that thoughts that we are not good enough, that we aren't making a difference, that we should just go home, do NOT come from God. They come from the adversary.  I love this mission, but I have had many moments when I have felt worthless. When I have felt as though I do not make a difference and I should just give up.  I should just go home.  But when he said that, I was filled to the brim with God's love for me.  No, I'm not perfect, but God doesn't expect me to be perfect.  He expects me to try my best and give my all, but He already understands that it won't be enough.  
And has already provided a way to make up for what I lack.

He also shared the following from a speech given by elder Tad R. Callister:

"There is a sentiment among many in the world that we are the spirit creations of God, just as a building is the creation of its architect or a painting the creation of its painter or an invention the creation of its inventor. The scriptures teach, however, a much different doctrine. They teach that we are more than creations of God; they teach that we are the literal spirit offspring or children of God our Father.1 What difference does this doctrinal distinction make? The difference is monumental in its consequence because our identity determines in large measure our destiny. For example, can a mere creation ever become like its creator? Can a building ever become an architect? A painting a painter? Or an invention an inventor? If not, then those who believe we are creations of God, rather than His spirit offspring, reach the inevitable conclusion that we do not have the capacity to become like our creator, God. In essence, their doctrine of identity has defined and dictated a diminished destiny.

On the other hand, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that we are the spirit offspring of God with inherited spiritual traits that give us the divine potential to become like our parent, God the Father. As to this identity, President Packer has written:

You are a child of God. He is the father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it. However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. You are a child of God!2
 The difference between man and God is significant—but it is one of degree, not kind. It is the difference between an acorn and an oak tree, a rosebud and a rose, a son and a father. In truth, every man is a potential god in embryo, in fulfillment of that eternal law that like begets like."

I love you all so much.  May God keep you always!
Hermana Grondel :)

P.S. this is awesome!!!