Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hey! I can see Petapa from here!

Hola padres,

Well, all of you who were thinking that I would get transferred to some crazy place in the mountains and be forced to learn K´tch´kil (Mayan), you guessed wrong.

I have been transferred to V________. 

I can see my old area from here.

V_______ is located just down the hill from Petapa.  I am just barely in a new zone.  Weird eh? But hey! At least I don’t have to learn Mayan! (not yet anyway)

My new companion is Hermana C_______.  She is a 22 year old tuba playing BYU student from California.  She entered the mission with Hermana Haymond. Gringa.  Also wasn’t expecting that.  But she is cool and we are getting along great.

Although V_______ is only down the hill from Petapa, the work here is really different.  Our area is significantly more dangerous than Petapa was, so we can only be in certain areas in night.  Additionally, the members aren’t as willing to leave with us as they were in Petapa.  But, little by little we are finding ways to help the ward help us.  But prayers for the members here in V________ would be great!

We currently only have one progressing investigator here.  His name is J______, he is 23 and one of the coolest people I have ever met here on the mission.  J______ is the brother of one of our recent converts.  Since birth, J______ has been severely physically handicapped.  For this reason, he is confined to a wheelchair.  But, he is not mentally disabled at all.  He knows that the church is true and wants to be baptized.  He is just concerned about how his parents are going to react.  He is afraid because, due to his medical condition, he lives at home and is entirely dependent on them.  His parents are Catholic.  REALLY Catholic.  They aren’t big fans of this whole "restored Gospel" thing.  But we are helping him move forward and trust in The Lord.  He is going to be baptized this Sunday.  Whoohoo! Pray for J_____!

Interesting fact about V__________:

During the week we eat with a family who owns a comidor (pretty sure these don’t exist in the States.... It is kinda like a little family restaurant, only sketchier) here in the ward.

Anyway, we eat there with the district leaders during the week because it boarders our areas and the members are really cool.  Friday afternoon, there I was, eating my chapina meal when all of the sudden two men come by hauling a makeshift black coffin...

.... a COFFIN people.

Well, these men opened up the garage door right by where we were eating and moved the coffin inside.  Then, WITHOUT CLOSING THE GARAGE DOOR, they open this coffin right up and begin preparing the body inside for burial.  RIGHT BY WHERE WE ARE EATING!!!

Yeah, that was an interesting cultural experience. 

To make things even more horrifying, when we walked by the next day, I realized that this garage is not marked as a funeral home.  Instead there is a giant sign on the door that reads: "Meat lasagna!"

I am not making this up people.  There is some real-life Sweeny Todd action going on here in V_____.

I think these people need the Gospel.

Anyway, other news:

I found some recent converts who disappeared from Petapa here in V________ (you can run, but you can’t hide)

I saw Hermana Haymond!!!!

That is about all I got.

Until next week!

I love you people,

- Hermana Wise

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'll go where you want me to go....

Hola family!

This week has definitively been interesting. 

No.  C______ and her daughters did not get baptized.

What happened was that Tuesday night, C______´s father fell and died unexpectedly.  She was shocked and confused and mostly just hurting.  We got special permission to leave our area and teach her in her sister´s house.  We had a killer Plan of Salvation lesson all planned out and even committed her to come to her baptismal interview (although she was back to telling us about how she wanted to wait to be baptized). 

Saturday she showed up 2 hours late to her interview (but hey, she came!)

Unfortunately, she didn’t pass.  In the midst of all that was happening she drank coffee disqualifying her from being baptized this past Sunday. Meaning that we did not baptize at all this change....

Protocol is that we have to wait 10 days, so she will be getting baptized on the 31st of Agosto... Wish I could be there.

Which brings me to my next point..... CHANGES.

The time has come for me to leave P______.... It´s devastating.  Even though this change has been hard in every aspect imaginable, I love P_______.  I love the ward here.  I love my converts.  P______ will forever be my home and it is hard to leave.  When we received ¨the call¨ I broke down and cried.  I was really hoping for just one change more here in P_______.  My companion cried too, but because she was hoping to leave.  It makes me sad that she hasn’t had the opportunity to see all the great things P______ has to offer.  She will grow to love this area, I know it.

I had to start saying goodbye to people yesterday.... THIS IS THE WORST PART OF MISSIONARY SERVICE.  It is honestly like leaving home all over again.  Except worse, because at least with you people I am comforted by the knowledge that I will see you again.... But my converts? I surely hope so.

But, I trust that wherever I am headed to tomorrow is where I am supposed to be.  I LOVE P______.  There is nothing quite like your first area in the field.  But, I know there are people waiting for me somewhere else who I will love just as much. 

Funny moment of the week:

This week we found a very interesting family to teach.  Anna and Juan live in a little tin house and sell cement blocks and tortillas.  They currently (like almost everyone else in P______) attend an Evangelico church.  Anna is 50, Juan is her third husband.... He is 22..... Try to not dwell on that one too much. Together they have 14 children. 

So there we are sitting in this tin house teaching the first discussion when all of the sudden my companion asks Anna:

¨What are some of the miracles you have seen in your life?¨

Oh no.... Here we go....

Dead serious Anna responds:

¨Well, two years ago I was lying in this very bed.  I was sick.  Super sick.  The devil was in my body.  And...... I died.  I was dead for three years here in this bed.  My eyes were white and my body was cold. My tongue was like this (sticks out tongue). Anyway... I felt my spirit being lifted into the heavens.  I thought of my children and I started screaming NO GOD NO I´M NOT READY NO!!!! When suddenly, my soul fell back into my body.  I was resurrected after being dead for 3 years.  But really only a few moments had passed.  Now here I am today in front of you.¨

...... How are we supposed to respond to THAT?

She is totally getting baptized.

In all seriousness, I am so grateful for this change.  Even though it has been absurdly difficult, I have grown so much.  I honestly can say that I know that through the atonement of Jesus Christ we can not only receive forgiveness from sin, but also strength and comfort in the moments when we need it most. 

I love P______.  I will always love P______. 

I love being a missionary. 

I love you people.

Sigan pilas!

- Hermana Wise

Swollen hand, anyone?

Sierra told us she was nicknamed the "Ogre of Guatemala" in the MTC because she was tall.  Looks like her hand is starting to actually look a little ogre-esque.

Obligatory thumbs-up missionary pose.  Shout out to her Mom, who hates that pose.

In the hospital with her temporary companion, Hermana N, who is a nurse.

Sunburned, no make-up, stunning anyway, and happy as a clam.

Her latest investigator, who just accepted his baptismal challenge.  She could snap him like a twig.
Her district.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Hola famillia!

Well if you thought parasites were exciting, have I got a story for you:

I spent 24 hours in the hospital this week!


It all started Thursday night while we were teaching one of our recent converts outside of his house.  During the closing prayer, I got stung by a bee.  No big deal right? It stung me on my finger.  Hurt like crazy, but I really didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about.  It swelled a little bit, but just like any typical wasp sting.

Everything was normal for 24 hours.

Then, Friday night it began swelling..... and swelling..... and swelling some more.  I popped some Benadryl and went to bed.

Woke up Saturday morning with a paw.  I couldn’t bend my fingers, or my wrist.  My hand was burning hot and still swelling.

I called the nurse.

The nurse called Hermana Markham.

Hermana Markham called the doctor.

He told me to take some allergy medicine and an antibiotic.

After a heavy dosage of that, things kept going downhill.  So Hermana Markham made the call that I should probably go in.

I can’t even begin to number the amount of miracles that we saw in getting me into the hospital.  We were able to meet up with the nurse and her companion and all four of us took off for the ER in the capitol.

The waiting room was packed, but the moment the doctors saw my (now purple and losing feeling) hand they pulled me right into the back and started an IV before even getting my ID.

It really was a miracle how everything worked out.  The doctor told me that had I waited any longer this easily could have complicated into a situation requiring surgery and "skin scraping"

Whatever that means. 

Let me tell you, it is terrifying to have to listen to someone tell you what is medically wrong with you in Spanish.  It’s hard enough to understand that kind of thing in English.

"Hermana Wise. afhh ahfhasf afhhof  ahsdfhsd SKIN SCRAPING"

I just trusted that Hermana N_________ understood what the heck was happening.

Hermana N________ explained to me that I had a slight allergic reaction to the sting, but that later an infection entered and began attacking the already irritated cells in my hand.

So they started pumping me with medication, and our companions went back to work in P________. 

Then I called my parents! (That was weird)

Being in the hospital in a sketchy 3rd world country was a strangely faith-promoting experience.  The whole time, through it all, I just felt so at peace.  I just knew that The Lord was there taking care of me.  I really do know that the atonement has the power to strengthen us in moments of fear. 

That night, I was reading my Book of Mormon when I found this passage in Alma 10:5

"Nevertheless, after all this, I have seen much of (The Lords) mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people."

I have definitely passed through a lot of trials in this change.  We still haven’t baptized yet, and my companion resents me more and more every day.  Things are hard.  Really hard.  But, I know that all of this is The Lords will for me right now.  I am a better person for it.  Even though it has been hard.

I am back working now, taking a load of medicine. My hand is almost back to normal.  The doctor told me it was a miracle.

He was right.

Oh! Funny moment of the week:

Our 88 year old recent convert, P________ proposed to me this week... That was awkward.

That’s all I got, folks!

Thank you for all the prayers and love coming my way this change.  It’s hard.  But I have faith it will get better.

Changes are next week, let’s see what happens!

Stay pilas!

Con amor,

Hna Wise

PS darn computer won’t read my chip.... Pictures will have to wait for next week

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Why can He not instruct me how to build a ship?

Buenas Dias!

Good news folks, I have officially finished my parasite medication.  This means that I am now officially living the mission rules: No pets.

The funny thing about having a parasite in a third world country is how normal it is to everyone that you have it.  You can literally buy parasite medication on every street corner here in P_______.  You take it for 5 days and hope for the best.  But, another exciting mission adventure to add to my list.

We have seen a lot of miracles here in P_______ this week.  It just goes to show that The Lord really does fulfill his promise in Eter 12... We only receive a witness after the trail of our faith.  This change has been hard for me.  But definitely so very worth it.  We are really starting to see the fruits of our labors here in P______.

Let’s start with the biggest miracle of them all:

C_______ and her daughters accepted their baptismal fechas.  They are getting baptized this Sunday.

I cannot even begin to explain what a miracle this is.  Things were looking rough with them, to the point that Hermana B_______ and I were talking about leaving them. C_______, although she had received a very direct answer that she should be baptized, just wasn’t willing to take this step for fear of upsetting her very Catholic family.

We finally committed her to talk to her dad about it.  We were praying like crazy this wouldn’t crush her desires to be baptized.  To make things worse, the EvangĂ©lico missionaries from her old church stopped by to drop off some anti-Mormon literature and try to convince her that by getting baptized she would go directly to hell.

Thanks homies, that was helpful.

But, C________ talked to her dad and he told her: "I will support you in any decision you make.  Always have, always will."


She accepted her fecha that same night.

This week while reading my scriptures, I was reading in 1 Nefi  where Nefi has just been commanded to build a ship.  Poor guy.  Clearly he has received no training in how to build a ship.  The lives of his family literally depend on this.  The Lord asks him to drop everything and build a giant boat secure enough to carry his beloved family to the Promised Land.  I imagine that this was terrifying for him.  To make things worse, his punk brothers are mocking him and telling him it’s impossible.

A lot of times this is what it feels like to be a missionary.  Mission life is hard and rarely predictable.  Six weeks of training in the CCM isn’t sufficient to teach you how to deal with all the crazy things that may come your way.  It really is like we have been instructed to build a boat. 

But I love the response of Nefi, he explains all the miracles that he has seen and read in the scriptures and then states

"If the Lord has worked these many mighty miracles, how is it that He cannot instruct me to build a ship?"

This totally applies to missionary work.  I think of all the amazing miracles we have seen here in P_____, like the baptisms of M______ and F________.  Clearly if The Lord has power to work all these mighty miracles, how is it that he cannot show us more?

Well we are seeing the miracles.  So many miracles.  I am so blessed to be here as a sister missionary serving in Guatemala. 

Rain, shine, parasites, stray dogs, cockroaches,Evangélico missionaries, Testigos de Jehova, I love it all.

I love these people. 

I love this work.

I love the Gospel.

I love the Lamanites.  

I love The Lord, and I know that He loves us too.

Keep making good choices my friends. I will see you all before you know it.

Con amor!

Hna Wise

Trying new fruits!