Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Things Chapinas Say

Hola familia!

This week has definitely been an adventure... NO K is not baptized.  We are still working with her.  The situation with her is super complicated.  Her brother is really pushing that she gets baptized before he leaves next week, but we just aren't sure she is ready. I wish  I could describe what it is like working with her, it is just unlike anything I have ever done in my mission.  She has Borderline Personality Disorder.  Okay, she hasn't actually been diagnosed with that.  But I, as the daughter of a shrink, have diagnosed her with that and here in Guatemala that is about as official as it gets. 

Sometimes when we go to visit her she is really positive and willing to listen... Other times she screams at us that she doesn't want us to visit her.... Other times she calls to complain that we ask too much of her and that she doesn't want us to visit her so frequently... Other times she lays down on the floor and literally falls asleep while we teach her about the Plan of Salvation... Other times she tells us that she just spends all her time in lessons praying to God that we will stop talking... Other times she comes running over to us giggling and squealing to tie ribbons in our hair and tell us how great we are....

... But she wants to get baptized, so we are working with it.  We love her.  We may have to pray to love her but we love her.

So there it is in a nutshell with K.  She was supposed to be baptized last Friday, but we didn't feel she was ready.  We are hoping for this weekend, but we will see how it goes.  Pray for us.

Moving right along,

We saw some crazy miracles this week, we had ELEVEN investigators attend church ELEVEN! It was such a crazy miracle.  Among these 11 was a super cute young family that we started teaching this week.  They listened to missionaries about 6 months ago but moved away and never got baptized, but now we have found them here! They are so well prepared to receive the Gospel message.  Wow, being a missionary is incredible.  Pray for G and M!

So that was the good part of Sunday, the terrifying part of Sunday was the part where I had to speak in sacrament meeting.  President H asked me to speak last and to speak for 20 minutes.  Do you know how terrifying it is to stand up and speak in sacrament meeting in a foreign language for 20 minutes??? Scary.  But, I did it.  I spoke about discipleship and being fishers of men... Because come on, missionary work is like my favorite topic. 

That is about it for this week, it has been a good week.  Hard, but good. Hermana Z and I are working hard and we know that The Lord will bless us.  We still love each other... A lot.  She loves me even though I forced her to take a nap on P Day (that woman is a stress case... It was necessary).  We are enjoying the last week of this change together.

To finish up this email I thought I would write you all a list of things that Chapinas say, directly translated into English so you can all understand:

1. What we deal with here as missionaries

2.  Why my English is so terrible.

Here we go....

In response to "how are you?"

"two out of three almost reaching four"

In response to "will you come to church this Sunday?

"Let's see what God says" (this means no)

"I can't assure you because today I am alive.. But tomorrow who knows?!" (this also means no)

"Hate to break it to you my cute little mommy but I already have Jesus in my heart" (this is apostasy, and it also means no)

"I can't say yes or no because sometimes you put it but God just un-puts it." (also means no)

When on a crowded bus:

"Where 2 fit, 5 fit"

Other things that don't make sense in English:

"Don't let the molestation get to you."

"It touches you to make the prayer."

"Lunch fell real bad with me." (this means your companion is going to barf)

Funny story of the week:

Last night Hermana Z and I were running to look for one of our converts when a little, fat chapina grandma came shuffling out of her house and asked us to come teach her about Jesus.  So, naturally we agreed.  She was super worried about finding seats for us to sit on, but eventually found two stools.  Hermana Z sat down on hers and as I was about to sit down on mine she starts screaming


"okay, why not?"

"Because you are a giant! That stool was made for Guatemalans you are probably going to break it!"

"Hermana, I promise you that it won't break."

So I sat down... And everything was fine. 

Grandma "Wow, that is amazing.  You are probably super heavy."

We couldn't stop laughing... Gotta love Chapinas.

Well, that is about all for this week.  I love you guys! Are you reading Enos? Read it. 

I love you all! Praying for you!!!

All my love,

Hna Wise

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Everything happens for a reason

Hola Familia,

Okay, first off... Do we not say "don't be mad" in English? I am pretty sure this is my brain's attempt at saying "no se precupe" in English,.  English is hard people.

As far as my health goes, things are looking up. We prayed potentemente and my results came back normal.  It was a huge miracle.  Thanks for all the prayers.

Hermana Z and I had a really cool experience when we went to get my lab work done. Due to the sketchiness of La G__________ we had to go to E_________ to get the work done and while we were there a doctor was also going to take a look at this thing on Hermana Z's foot.  Well, the clinic that we went to for Hermana Z was a pretty sketchy public clinic so as a result we ended up waiting to see the doctor for 2 hours.

... Missionaries hate waiting.

So we were just trapped there in this scary waiting room waiting and waiting when a young, pregnant, teenage girl came running into the clinic with her mom and her sister.  There was a lot of frantic bustling around and it became clear to everyone in the waiting room that something was very wrong.  The nurses immediately rushed the girl back to see a doctor.

It was about this same time that her family showed up and frantically began pacing back and forth.  With the family was an 18 year old boy who just kept repeating over and over "God, please save the baby."

Within about ten minutes the girl came running out of the doctor's office screaming and crying.  She ran to the boy and was screaming ¨I lost the baby!"

In this same moment, the nurses rushed the family into the back to speak with the doctor leaving the girl outside completely destroyed, she crumbled to the floor and just kept repeating "why, God? Why?"

Hermana Z turned to me and said that we needed to do something.  I we quickly pulled out a Plan of Salvation folleto and walked over to talk to her.  I didn't really know what to say, so I just asked her for her name.


I told her "Jessi, my companion and I are personal representatives of Jesus Christ.  We testify that He lives and that thanks to Him death isn't the end.  I know that families can live together forever."

I wasn't expecting what happened next, she just clung to me and cried.  We all just stood there together crying and testifying of the Plan of Salvation.  We gave her the pamphlet and offered a prayer for her and her family.  We probably only spoke to her for about 5 minutes but by the end of it she had calmed down and told us that she felt at peace. 

It was at this time that her boyfriend and family came out.  They sincerely thanked us and we invited them to come to church and read what we had left them.

It was a really touching experience to realize how incredibly involved Heavenly Father is in our work here.  It was through many inspired events that Hermana Z and I ended up in E_______ that day but I know that it was where we needed to be so that we could meet Jessi.  We will probably never know in this life if she accepts the Gospel or not, but we did our part and we trust that God will do the rest.  That really is how the mission works.  We truly are just the instruments in His hands.  Most of the time here, things don't go as expected or how we want them to but they go the way that God wants them to and that is all that really matters.  The mission has been the most incredible experience of my life.  It has brought me closer to the Savior and helped me to understand who He truly is.  I truly do "stand all amazed" at the love of my Savior.  He knows me perfectly and somehow loves me anyway.  My mission is not a sacrifice, it is an offering to Him.

K is still moving towards baptism.  Almost didn't go to church this week because she had an ingrown toenail (chapinas have the craziest reasons to not go to church).  But she came and so she will get baptized this Friday.  Pray for her!

Please also pray for E, R and N, D and D, Anna C and Amanda M.  Prayers make all the difference, people!

Know that I love you guys and am praying for you! I know that God is taking care of all of you.

I really hope this makes sense today, I have been up since 4:30 because we had district meeting in Santa Lucia today.  Waking up at 4:30 actually isn't that bad... Usually.  But yesterday we woke up at 2:30 to go to Antigua as a zone.  Super fun, but I am super tired.

And next week I will get to go to the temple for my first time since the MTC!!!! YAY! Which means I will be writing on MONDAY (just FYI)

Well folks, that is about it... My funny story for this week isn't funny in English.... so that is awkward.  I will try harder next week.

Go to church! Read your scriptures! Go to the temple! Pray like Enos! Help the missionaries!

Love you guys! Pray for ya always....

Until next week,

Hermana Wise

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I pooped in a sacrament cup....oh, and Kristel is getting baptized

Hola Familia!

Well, what a week it has been.  Okay don't be mad, but the intestinal infection is back.  Keep praying for me folks. 

But aside from my health things here have been really interesting here in La G_______.  We have just seen CRAZY amounts of opposition from Satan.  It seems like every single one of our investigators has been running into something else crazy.  R______ our 10 year old investigator has suddenly taken up drinking coffee and has a bunch of insane doubts about the age of accountability and baptisms for the dead.

... What kind of ten year old has time to worry about these things?

Wow, Satan is such a punk. 

But this week we had interviews with President Markham and he told me that the whole mission has been hitting opposition for the past few months... And you know why? We are the highest baptizing mission in Central America.  We are worth Satan's time. 

So, we just keep moving along and working and praying and fasting and we know that we will eventually see the fruits of our labors. 

For example, this week we saw a huge miracle with one of our investigators, K______.  Her older brother works for the US army and is a member living in Draper, but he felt very concerned for the spiritual well being of his sister so he flew his family to Guatemala for a month to visit her in La G_______.  About 4 weeks ago he brought her to church for the first time.  She liked it, and we were super excited so we started visiting her.  We challenged her for baptism on the first visit and she very strongly told us that we wouldn't be getting baptized at least for a year...

... Our goal is to baptize people in three weeks.

So we were pretty bummed out and then to make it more complicated she suddenly had to leave to visit her mom in a different city that isn't even in our mission.  So we more or less had to drop her. 

But then, last Thursday we ran into her brother in the street and he told us that she was back in town, so we called her right then and set up a visit for the next day. When we came we said a prayer and carefully started following up on her commitments.  This is what she told us:

" Hermanas, while I was gone I was reading the Book of Mormon.  I prayed like you told me to know if it was true and God told me that it was.  Then I prayed to know if I needed to be baptized and he told me yes.  I had a really sacred experience, I can't deny what I know and I don't want to wait... How soon can I be baptized?"

It was SUCH A MIRACLE! We called her brother into the room and we all just sat there crying and freaking out but we eventually settled on the 23rd for her baptism.

The Lord blesses us when we suffer people.  The 13th article of faith in Spanish translates to "We have suffered many things and hope to be able to suffer all things."

I like it way better in Spanish.  I have definitely suffered here on my mission... I have been chased by drunk men, robbed, hospitalized, had head surgery, been cast out, rejected, and had my faith ridiculed... And yet, I have experienced more joy than I can ever describe.  Is the mission hard? Yes, of course it is.  We are representatives of Jesus Christ.  It wasn't easy for Him, so why should it be for us? But it is incredibly worth it.  Leaving on the mission is the best decision I have ever made in my life.  I love it here.  I wouldn't trade this for anything.

Wow, I love my job.

Well, on to the subject line.... Like I already said the intestinal infection is still giving me a hard time so the mission doc decided that I needed to go into a lab on P day to get a stool sample taken... Great.  Considering that we are on the coast medical facilities nearby are few and far between and also incredibly sketchy.  But there is a lab in the sisters area so we decided to head on over there yesterday... This is how the conversation went with the lady:

Me " Hi, I need a stool examine."

Lady "okay."

(awkward silence)

Lady " Do you have the sample here with you?"

Me "Uh... no."

Lady "well, what are we supposed to do then?"

(awkward silence)

Me "Do you have a bathroom?"

Lady "Oh yeah its over there!"

(awkward silence)

Me "well.... where do you want me to put it?"

Lady "You didn't bring your own jar?"

Me "uhhh... no"

Lady" I can sell you  one for a Quet"

Me "Uh... okay."

So I give the lady a quetzal and what does she hand me? A sacrament cup...


So I walk over to use one of the nastiest bathrooms I have yet seen in Guatemala (saying something folks) and discover that the door doesn't close.  So poor little Hermana Z has to lean up against the stall while her senior companion does the best she can with this sacrament cup situation.  Finally, we are able to get out of there and two hours later we have the results.

... And the doctor (after looking up the lab) told us that the lab isn't even licensed so the results are invalid.


So, now when we are done writing we have to go to Squitlan to meet a real doctor and Hermana Z is going to get her foot growth looked at while we are at it (it is the size of a golf ball).

What a blessing. 

Well folks, thanks for all of your prayers.  I really do love and appreciate you guys.  President Markham had us all read the book of Enos every day for 30 days as a mission.  I want to challenge you guys to do it too as a family.  It will change the way you pray.

Dios les bendiga! Hasta pronto

Hermana Wise

Monday, January 12, 2015

Good news, I am still in Guatemala.


This week has been pretty standard.  Working hard and seeing some fruits of our labors.

 We had divisions this week with the Sister Training Leaders.  We had the chance to work with Hermana V, a sister who had crazy amounts of success here in La G______.  She is great and it was really good to see what I need to do to improve my teaching skills.  People here on the coast often don't understand what we are teaching them (most of them can't read).  So it is always a challenge to adjust your teaching style to meet their needs.  But she helped me a lot, so that was great.

Oh my, I can't even explain how much I love Hermana Z.  We have just been laughing and laughing all through this change.  Crazy things happen on the coast and we are just loving it.

For example...

This week Hermana Z and I went to a pretty far part of our area to find a reference that the zone leaders sent us... But they weren't home.  So, mostly lost, we started wandering around knocking some doors.  Hermana Z knocked a fence and started yelling into a house.

This is how it went...

¨Hi! We are representatives of Jesus Christ! We want to share a message with you!¨

Me... ¨Hermana, I don't think anyone is home...¨

Hermana Z ¨Yes they are! Look! There is a guy back there in the corner trying to hide from me.¨

I looked back there and sure enough, there was a man in the far corner of his patio.... Sitting on the toilet doing his business and trying to hide himself the best he could from the Mormon missionaries...

... I just awkwardly invited him to church.

He is TOTALLY going to get baptized one day.

That is about it for the week... Really it has been rough trying to get people to progress here, but we have faith!  Pray for R and N that their dad will give them permission! Pray for X and L that they will go to church this week and pray for M that she will be brave and get baptized.

Also pray for Hermana Z that this weird growth on her foot will go away.

.. She wants you guys to pray that it won't be filled with bot flies while you're at it.

Spiritual experience of the week.

This Sunday we went to go do a visit with a member but our cita (don't remember that word in English) fell through so we ended up looking for a contact that Hermana Z had.  They were pretty positive so we set up a following appointment for the next day.

When we came back the mom couldn't receive us but she let us teach her 8 year old daughter in the house of a nearby member. 

Me, being of little faith, was skeptical but we started the lesson.  I asked her what she asked in her prayer after we visited her the last time.  She confidently looked at me and said..

¨Well, I read that little book you left us and I prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and when I prayed I felt warm all over and I know that God was telling me that he was... It was beautiful.  I know this message is true.¨

It was amazing.  Really strengthened my faith that God really does answer prayers, even those of an 8 year old little girl.

Pray that she (L) and her mom (X) will progress together.

Well that is about it this week... I would like to close this email with a list of quotes from Hermana Z...

¨Wait.... Wasn't the Bible originally written in French or something?¨

¨Have you ever seen that documentary about the man that turns into a tree? That is my greatest fear.  But if I turn into a tree here in la G_________ at least you can have a little shade.¨

¨He might be a weirdo, but that is okay. It never says in Preach my Gospel that we can't baptize weirdoes.¨

(very loudly in the middle of zone training)  ¨MAN! I really hope they stop talking so I can have a snack break! I need my snack, people!!!¨

We got our snack, the zone leaders heard.

That is about it, folks!

Love ya

Hna Wise

Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas and my New Year's weight loss program

Hola Familia!

Okay, don't be mad.... Yes I was discharged from the hospital and I am back in La G______.... Don't worry.

But let's start with the first half of the week...

Christmas was awesome.  Here in Guatemala they really celebrate more on the 24th than anything.  As a mission we had permission to be out until 12 if we were in the house of the branch president or one of his councilors after 9.  The sisters of La G______ 2 and us met up at the house of Presidente H to hang out and we basically just ate tamales until we thought we were going to explode.  Then at 12 sharp the whole entire country of Guatemala runs outside to blow  up more fireworks than Evanston Wyoming on the fourth of July... It was nuts.  But super fun. The bummer was that our baptism for Christmas day fell through, but we have the faith that God is preparing other miracles for us here.

Then Christmas day I got to talk to you guys! That was cool. You all look great.  It is weird to see snow.

Then, the very next day.... It hit.

I woke up feeling kinda sick, but honestly that is normal here in Guatemala.  I threw up twice before comp study was over so I decided to call Hermana Markham and let her know that Dengue had hit me again (I was running a crazy high fever).  She consulted me not to go out that day but instead to try to get my fever down... I wanted to work but I knew that my body wasn't going to let me.

Things just went from bad to worse.  I was VIOLENTLY sick all day long... Spent most of the day in the bathroom.  The only thing is that our house is two stories, beds and study area upstairs and kitchen downstairs.  It is significantly cooler downstairs so I eventually crawled down the stairs to try to relieve my fever a bit.  I literally couldn't stand up.  I just laid on a wet towel on the bottom of the stairs in and out of consciousness. 

Well, we had visits that needed to happen so Hermana Z left with the other Hermanas and I stayed in the house with a member.... Things just kept getting worse.  I was in a lot of pain, people, and I was burning a fever of 104....

Anyway, finally Hermana Z got home to see that the member who was supposed to be watching me had just been watching YouTube on her phone, meanwhile I had lost the ability to see and was still lying on the floor.

Hermana Z called the nurse and I told her that I needed to go to the hospital.  She agreed.  Only problem is that my area is about four and a half hours from the hospital.  NO ONE in our area with a car was able to take me there.  The assistants jumped in their car and came speeding to La G to save me.

Remember how I said that La G is 4 and a half hours away from the capitol.... They got there in an hour and a half.  Elders drive like crazy men.

Anyway, by the time they got there I had been able to take some medication to take down the symptoms which meant that I had regained my ability to see... So that was good.  We picked the nurse up on the way and checked in to the hospital at 3 AM.

When all was said and done I ended up getting diagnosed with an acute intestinal infection... I lost 7 pounds in 48 hours.

This is my new radical weight loss program... inflamed intestines.  

I ended up staying in the hospital for a day and they finally discharged me and let me go back to work.  I am taking a ton of medicine, but I am going to be okay. 

Just PLEASE pray for my health.  I don't have a good track record here, people. 

But, it was all okay in the end.  Really saw the hand of The Lord taking care of me.

But, yeah... Merry Christmas.

I love you guys.  Try not to worry about me.

Until next week

Sigan adelante

Hermana Wise