Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Hola mi familia,

Well truth is that this week has been a bit rough.  We had two baptisms lined up for this weekend but, unfortunately neither came to church... Satan is just attacking the heck out of this area.  But it is alright because I know that they will come this week and everything will pull together.... It always does.  It's just like Hermana Haymond and I always used to say


That is the truth, people.

It is super weird to see Hermana Haymond and Hermana Godfrey in my house with my family and my smelly dog... But cool.  I hope you guys had a great visit.

Honestly, I don't really have much to write this week.  It was a fairly typical week filled with work, walking, and trying to find some traction here in our area.  I threw up lunch in the street one day, but that is also completely normal.  Just drank some Gatorade and got on with my life.

Really, I love this place.  I love Guatemala.  I love being a missionary.  I am just living the dream (shout out to Hermana Godfrey).  It really is the truth though.  People keep asking me how I feel now that I have completed a year.  Truthfully? I just feel sad.  I cannot explain how much I love the mission.  Guatemala changed me, and I am not even talking about the weight I have gained or the fact that I am not grotesquely white anymore... I love this place and I love what I am doing.  For the past week I have just been praying with all my might that President Monson will announce that women can now serve for 2 years.  If it happens I am staying here.... No doubt about it.  Start praying now, folks!

This place has changed me forever.  Here is my list of 12 things I have learned in 12 months. 

1.  God loves his children.  God loves us, I have no doubt about it.  He loves us infinitely and individually.  He desires to help us and He will according to our obedience.

2.  The Gospel is true.  I testify and know of surety that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the same church established by Jesus Christ himself during his mortal life.  I know that, in reality, God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith.  This event catalyzed the restoration of the Gospel and changed history forever. I wasn't there, but I know without a doubt that it happened.  I know because I prayed, and through the Holy Ghost, God blessed me with an answer. 

3.  Obedience with exactness brings miracles.  I have never in my mission slept past 6:30... Not even for just a few minutes.  Is that crazy? Maybe.  But if we want blessings we will be obedient, but if we want miracles we must be obedient with exactness.

4.  You can eat tortillas with EVERYTHING.  For reals.

5.  It is possible to suffer more than you ever have before and be the happiest in your whole life.  (Try going to the hospital in Guatemala....)

6.  Everything happens for a reason.  Everything here in the mission is so inspired! Companions, areas, everything.  (Shout out to Hermana Haymond... Thanks for being my mom).

7.  I can now tell the difference between gunfire and firecrackers.

8.  The Atonement works.  Not just for our sins, but also for our heartaches, weaknesses, and everything else.

9.  We need to repent EVERY DAY! I did not understand this before the mission, but every day we need to repent and be a little more like Jesus.

10.  No matter how rough of a day you have, it's okay... Because at least you aren't a dog living on the streets of Guatemala.

11.  Spanish... And the Gift of Tongues is real.

12.  The mission is the greatest blessing.  I love it.  It has been a great 12 months and I know it will be a great 6 months to come! (OR 12!!! I HAVE FAITH)

Thanks for all the love and support! I truly feel it. 

Praying for you always!

Hermana Wise

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Buenas Nocitias

Hola Familia!

Have you ever carried a 60 pound block of carrots on your head for 10 blocks to be able to offer service to a couple of little Guatemalan grandmas?  I have.  Yesterday.  And my whole entire body hurts today.

But guess what? For the first time since I was in Villa Hermosa I didn't have changes!!!!!! WHOOHOO!!!!! Hermana C and I are still together here in P and I will get to finish her training.  It is a miracle, people.  From what the sister training leaders told me, I almost had changes but at the last minute no! Whoohoo!!!!

Guess what else? My homie Hermana P is the new sister training leader for the city and the coast, which means we will get to do divisions together! I am pretty stoked because Hermana P is the best.

Guess what else??? WE BAPTIZED THIS WEEK.  It was a complete miracle that came out of nowhere but J got baptized last Friday (the 9 year old from the less active family).  He is super cute and was super excited to be baptized.  He got baptized on his dad´s birthday which is pretty stinking adorable. 

It was a complete miracle because there wasn't water in the church.... Like at all.  This happens sometimes in Guatemala but I really thought it was just a problem for the coast but we didn't have any water to baptize him. So all of the members were filling up giant garbage buckets of water and we were going to haul it all to the church in a giant pickup truck but then the police were telling us that we couldn't (punks).  So we just knelt and said a powerful prayer and guess what?


Miracles, people. 

The baptism was probably the craziest ordeal anyone has ever seen, but hey!... The kid got baptized and the family was happy.  Somehow, we got locked out of the baptismal font after filling it up... So in the middle of the baptismal service, Elder P had to throw himself over the glass in order to climb up and open the door so that little J could enter the font and be baptized.  I really think that ministering angels saved Elder P's life because he more or less just fell into the font nearly knocking himself unconscious.... But it was all okay so don't worry.  Nothing invites the Spirit into a baptism like almost having to call an ambulance for the elders.

But the highlight of the whole week was the conference that we had with Elder Anderson.  Yup THAT Elder Anderson... Like the apostle.  It basically blew my mind. We had front row seats. He spoke to us in Spanish which was quite impressive because he served his mission in France and later served as a mission president speaking Portuguese so I am not really sure where he picked Spanish up.  He talked a lot about the power of the atonement in conversion.  I got to shake his hand.  THAT IS RIGHT PEOPLE! THESE STRESS INDUCED PRUNEY FINGERS TOUCHED AN APOSTLE OF GOD!!!   Plus he totally borrowed my Spanish scriptures for his talk... Oh yeah.  I am totally going to baptize all of P with these things now. 

Well, that is about it people.  I am doing my best not to get shot here in P... No se precupe.  Just know that I love you guys and I am praying for you every day!!!

Tell Hermanas Godfrey and Haymond that I say HI!

Love ya

Hermana Wise

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Just Act Natural

Hola familia,

Thank you all, really for your prayers on behalf of my dear hijita Hermana C.  They are felt and she definitely needs them.  She is strong, but it is still really hard.   Today is her moms birthday.  Considering that it will be her last, the family is throwing her a crazy Oprah Winfrey-style whatever the heck you want you get type of birthday.  She seems happy, and is coming to church for the first time in years, so we are definitely seeing some tender mercies here.

Okay, I debated if I should tell you people this or not but you are always assuring me that you are not "reactionary type parents" So here we go... An awesome story about how God protects his little sister missionaries in Guatemala.

NOTE: If you are a worrier, just skip this letter until I am safely home and then you can read it.

This week we had a huge miracle. There is a less active family in our ward who recently made the decision to come back to church.  They have been coming for a few weeks but this Sunday the bishop told us that their son, who is 9 years old, has never been baptized. Additionally, they attended church with their aunt and two of their cousins who also are not members. Obviously, we were pretty excited about that so we set a cita with them for the following day (yesterday).

Well, this family lives pretty far away and in an area that isn't safe to go walking at night, so we found a member who was willing to give us a ride in her car.  Last night, as we were driving up the member told us that she just didn't feel right and asked if we could pull over and say a prayer.  After we finished the prayer we continued driving and got to the appointment. 

At first everything seemed normal.  The family was really excited to see us and invited us into their humble home.  We sang a hymn and started with a prayer.  One of the daughters ran next door to invite her aunt and cousins to join us.  They were taking a super long time and it was getting late so we just decided to start without them and not wait until they came in.

 About 5 minutes into the lesson we heard a knock at the door.  My heart sank into my stomach.  Without even opening the door I just knew something was very wrong.  One of the sons opened the door, expecting to find his aunt and cousins waiting for him.  Instead, he found his uncle, under the influence of hard core drugs, clearly upset, with a pack of cigarettes in one hand, and a pistol gripped in the other.

We were sitting in a circle teaching when the man entered.  He stood right behind my companion and I and began speaking with the wife of the family we were teaching.

Him: "why are they here?"

Me: "Hermano, we are just here to talk about Jesus.  We were about to finish, but you are welcome to join us."

Him: "Better if I wait back here."

We then proceeded to try and end the lesson.  But, there I was, trying to teach about Jesus while meanwhile this man was standing behind my companion staring her down with a death grip on his gun. I couldn't shake the cold, ugly feeling that I had when he entered the home.

My companion didn't even miss a beat.  We just tried to act natural and end the lesson.  Then quickly as we could we ended the lesson and got the heck out of there.

The member was crying as we frantically booked it out of there and I hurried and called our district leader who told me to call President Markham directly.  President gave me some council and it won't happen again but man... We are all just grateful for the protective influence of The Lord.  I know and I testify that we don't have to be afraid, because when we are obedient we are protected. 

Anyway, just one more Guatemalan adventure to add to the list.

Thanks for praying for our safety.  99.99 percent of the time I feel perfectly safe here, but every once in a while we see a glimpse of the "angels that go before our faces."

Funny story of the week:

Our house has two doors, an interior door that looks like a normal door you would see in the US and an outer door which is made out of metal and has a crazy hard core lock on it.  In order to enter the house you have to open both doors,.... The only thing is that we only have a key to the metal door.  But it's okay because it is completely secure with the metal door only.  We just know that we can't lock the first door when we leave.

Well, WE know that... But we had divisions this week and I forgot to tell the sister training leaders about the door.  Without meaning to, they locked us out of our own house.  So, we called the Zone Leaders to ask what we should do.  They were telling us that we would have to break a window or call a locksmith.  We were frustrated thinking it would take our entire afternoon and we would have to pay for the damages.  So I call our district leader to ask him if he knows a member who could help us out.  This was his response:

"It's just a door? Hermana Wise, I was not a good person before I got baptized.  I can break into your house easily."

The elders got to our house in 10 minutes... It took Elder Pineda less than a minute to break into our house...

It really pays off to have a district leader who is a former juvenile delinquent.

Well folks, that is about it for this week... We also had two different investigators fail their baptismal interviews.  Satan is attacking Palin hard.  Pray for us here.

Love you people.  Praying for you always.

Con todo mi amor,

Hermana Wise

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Please pray for the Cortes Family

Hey family!

Wow, I am without words this week...

Remember how I asked you all to pray for Hermana Cortes´ mom last week in my email?  Unfortunately her health has taken a drastic change for the worst.  Last Wednesday night I received a call from President Markham.  My heart skipped a beat because the mission president doesn't usually call just to chat.  He explained to me that he had been talking to Hermana Cortes´ family and that unfortunately this health complication drastically got worse and her mom went into the doctor.  It was there that she was diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal rectal cancer. She has been given less than a year to live. It was heartbreaking news to receive... And even worse was looking in the eyes of Hermana Cortes, my little hijita, and knowing that I had to pass the phone to her. 

That night was filled with lots of tears, testimony and prayer.  President explained to her that if she wanted to return to Nicaragua, it was okay.  But after much prayer, fasting, and meditation, she has decided to stay here. 

Sunday was fast Sunday, everyone bailed on us and we only ended up with one investigator in church.  Hard, in a month were we are supposed to baptize 8 people.  But, we keep fighting the good fight.  When the meeting started, our bishop (with the very best of intentions) announced publically, and without permission, that Hermana Cortes´ mom has cancer.  He pleaded that the ward include her in their thoughts and prayers.  I froze having absolutely no idea how my companion would take this public call for help.  But she graciously smiled at the bishop and kept her cool.  Then, once testimonies started she looked at me and said:

¨Well, I don't want everyone feeling bad for me.  I am going to get up there and bear my testimony.¨

I followed her to be emotional support.  My champion of a companion got up there and bore the most powerful testimony of the plan of salvation and the atonement that I have ever heard... This is how she ended her testimony:

¨Well, I know that I likely will not see my mom again in this life... I know that she is going to die.  But, I know that Jesus Christ lives and thanks to Him, families are forever.¨

I completely lost it.  I, as well as the entire ward, was bawling.  When it was my turn I stumbled through a short testimony and sat back down.  

When we sat down she told me: 

"Look, this is really hard, and it really hurts.  But at the same time I just feel at peace.  I know I am doing what God wants me to do, so it doesn't hurt as bad as it should.¨

It really reminded me of your experience, mom, when your father passed away.  It has been so humbling to see the hand of God during this time of sadness.

But, yes.  Please pray for the familia Cortes.  Please keep them in your prayers.  Please put them on every temple roll you can.  We really need angels round about to bear her up.

Please also pray that we will be able to baptize this month.  The goal is 8 but right now we really don't have anyone progressing.  Satan is doing his very best to attack this little part of the vineyard.  We need all the help we can get.

On a happier note, we went to the temple yesterday! It was just what we needed.  Absolutely the very best way to spend a P day.  Even better was that President and Hermana Markham were able to be there too.  There isn't a temple in Nicaragua, so it was my companions second time going through.  She loved it.  Plus we got to eat at IHop.  Who knew that the International House of Pancakes really is international?

Well, I would like to close with another conversion story...

D is a 16 year old convert who lives in our area.  His parents are apostles of a crazy, gigantic evangelico church in our area.  Their church members basically worship them and this church is very large and very established. 

A year ago, a friend of D gave him a Book of Mormon and, without having any idea what it was, D began reading it..  He tells us that he just started reading 1 Nefi 1 and was SUPER confused because he had never heard of Nefi before when he read the Bible.  Yet, something about the book called his attention and he kept reading and felt in his heart that the book was true.  A few weeks later he thought that it may make more sense if he read the introduction first.  It was there that he understood the nature of the Book of Mormon, where it comes from, and he also read the invitation to pray and know if it is true. That same night he got down on his knees to ask God if what he had been reading was true, if Christ really did visit the Americas, and if Joseph Smith truly was a prophet.  To quote D

"I just felt all warm, like God loved me.  I felt so at peace and I knew that I needed to learn more.  I knew it was true... So I prayed that the missionaries would be able to find me."

The very next day they contacted him in the street. 

After about 4 months of fighting, secretly attending church, and a lot of prayer, his mom finally signed the papers so he could get baptized.  He has faithfully attended church ever since and last week contacted Salt Lake to send the missionaries to go visit his family in Canada.  They came to church last Sunday and in 2 weeks the whole family is getting baptized.

This kid is incredible. 

I know that the Gospel is true and it has the power to change us, strengthen us, and at times carry us through the difficulties of this life.  I love my Savior, and it is my honor to represent Him for the 6 months I have left.

... A year ago I said goodbye to you guys.  Wow, the mission goes so fast. 

I love you all! Please keep praying.  I am praying for you too.

All my love

Hermana Wise