Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Ups and Downs


Hola Familia,

Thank you all for your love and support of my hija, Hermana C.  As you now know, her mother passed away last night.  I spoke to Hermana C on the phone at about ten.  She had been talking to her family and was feeling pretty shaken up.  Her sister begged her to come home, but if she returns it will end her mission.  She had to tell her family that she wouldn't be coming home and they all took it pretty hard.  I guess her mother's final days on earth were tough for everyone involved.  Two hours after our phone conversation, she called me again to tell me that her mom had passed away.  She told me:

"I just felt tortured like Alma when he remembered all his sins... But then right at midnight I just felt overwhelming peace and happiness like all at once someone just took it all away.  A few minutes later President Markham called me to tell me that my mom died.  But it's okay.  I know she is here with me."

She also told me that she felt "healed," which I thought was interesting.  It is amazing to be able to see the strengthening power of the atonement working in my little hijita.  I am grateful she is with Hermana Wong, she is a great strength to her. 

Thank you all for your prayers and your concern for my hija.  Please keep praying for her and her family.  Unfortunately, her family does not have the same strength and faith Hermana C has. 

On a brighter note, the S family got married on Saturday and baptized on Sunday... Just how we planned.  It was a HUGE miracle.

 The wedding on Saturday was absolutely insane.  We had to rent a bus to try to get our investigators, their family AND the family that the Elders were marrying to the church in time.  But, even with a bus we didn't all fit.  All missionaries were kicked off the bus and abandoned in the elders area.... An hour and a half away from the church.  We ended up taking two buses, and a taxi in the pouring rain to try to get to the wedding.  After getting lost in the adjacent mission, being crammed in a taxi with 8 other people, and sprinting like crazy people through the streets of Guatemala we made it just in time to the church.  We came, ate tamales, and witnessed two families be married.  Doesn't get any better. 

After the wedding, we had the interviews for the baptisms.  Elder L explained that the interview with M (the little one) was pretty much the funniest experience of his life. 

"M, what is tithing?"

(while holding up ten fingers)  "We have to give ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of everything to the church so they can buy chairs."

"M, what is repentance?"

"You look strong, like maybe you could kill me.... Will you flex your muscles so I can see?"

"M, what is the Law of Chastity?"

"It means we don't look at bad pictures and I don't let anyone touch me like I am a prostitute.  My brother has bad pictures on his computer."

"Uhhh...what kind of bad pictures?"

"He has pictures of Jesus casting out a bad spirit.... That bad spirit is really scary."

Man, I love that little guy.  The baptism was just amazing.  It was incredible to see an entire family one after another enter the waters of baptism...  I would try to explain it, but I will just send pictures instead.


Hna Wise

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Teaching the Lamanites

Hola Familia

Thanks for sending me all your pictures.  WOW! People look so clean in America.  And white.  Yesterday I saw another gringa in the grocery store and couldn't help but stare.... Like forreals, what on earth are you doing in Guatemala? Being the weird white girl was totally my thing. She caught me staring at her and we had some really awkward eye contact.  Thanks for signing me up for that "How not to Be a Weird RM" class, Dad... Clearly I will be needing it.


This week was SO FULL of miracles. Since my hija was here with me we started teaching the family S.  They are some of the most special people I have ever met.  We have had some challenges in teaching them (they live 45 minutes away in a car... In a part of our area where there aren't any buses) but they have always been really positive.  Last week they showed up at church with their two sons... HUGE MIRACLE.  When we went back to visit them we met their 15 year old son, O as well.  We taught him the first lesson, but he told us that he studies every Sunday and will never be able to go to church.  So we just left him a folleto and the invitation to go to church.

Well, Wednesday we went back to visit them.  When we knocked the door, O swung the door open.  He was holding in his hand the folleto we left him (how do you say folleto in English?) [Editor's note:  Follleto is Spanish for pamphlet...we have had this same exchange with Sierra several times over the past 14 months.  Now you can see part of the reason she will need the above-mentioned class at USU this fall!]

Anyway, he told us

"Hermanas! I read this folleto and I prayed to know if this was all really true.  That night I had a dream where I heard the voice of Jesus he showed me both of you and told me that you were going to change my life and that this is all true.  I woke up and walked to my school and changed my schedule so I can study on Tuesdays.  I want to get baptized."


Then we walked into the house and started talking with the parents.  D, the mom told us that she also prayed to know if she should get baptized she then told us

"I just felt something hit me... I was overcome with this good warm feeling.  I know it was the Spirit.  I know that God wants me to do this.  I am going to get baptized too."

Then we asked the dad.  He told us...

"Well, I wanted to ask right.  So I climbed up to the top of that mountain there (pointing at the mountain) and when I was there I prayed and asked God.  It was there that I had a dream where I was walking along this path and it was really dark.  Suddenly there was a fork in the road.  I saw lots of people walking along the bigger path that only lead to darkness.  But then I saw you guys on the other, smaller path.  It was bright there and as I was walking along I was lead to the gates of heaven.... So yeah I want to get baptized too."


They all came to church last Sunday  ALL FIVE OF THEM.   R, D, O, A and their super cute ten year old M who every time we ask him what the Law of Chasitiy is he confidently replies

"Don't ever drink coffee." (don't worry, we are going to clear that one up)

R and D will be married this Saturday in the chapel and the whole family is going to be baptized this Sunday... WOW! WHAT A MIRACLE: 

I love this family so much.  They are a huge miracle.  Please pray for them, and pray that they won't drink coffee!

I am so grateful that God sent me to this beautiful country to teach the Lamanite people.  It really is incredible to serve here.  Every day is another miracle and I love being a part of it.

In other news, rainy season has officially started here.... And it is crazy.  When it rains here in SE the rain hits you horizontally because the wind is so hard.  I just run around with water up above my knees holding my umbrella sideways as a shield.... It is awesome.  And freezing.  My jacket does absolutely nothing to keep out rain, but it is all good.  Just part of the Guatemalan experience.

Also, I got to call Hna Cortes again this week.  Her mom is in bad shape.  I think that quickly The Lord will call her to the other side.  Please continue praying for the Cortes Family.

Well, that is about it for this week folks.  I love you guys!!! Read your scriptures and I will talk to you next Tuesday.

Also, my inspired question of the week...

What does it mean to you to take upon yourself the name of Christ? 

This is what I have been studying this week.  Send me your respuestas.


Hna Sabia (Wise)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Whoops! We went to the volcano

Hey family!

Wow, this week was a blur.  It was great to see you guys on Sunday and talk for a bit! You all look great... Strider looks so clean! It never ceases to amaze me to see a dog from the United States.  This morning I was awaked by a pack of wild Guatemalan street dogs eating our garbage.... Nature.

This week I got to do divisions with Hermana P again.  Holy cow I love that girl.   It has been our desire from before the mission to be companions but doing divisions together is the next best thing.  She called me Thursday night to tell us that we would be doing divisions the following day.  I explained to her that that would be great, but that we were planning on going to a really far away part of our area that we had never visited before.  She was down for the adventure so we made the split in Villa C at 10 the following morning.  We then jumped on a bus headed for "los positos".... Now according to the trusty hand-drawn map that the elders left on a post it, "positos" was pretty close to the heart of our area.... Well, almost an hour later we got off the bus at the foot of a giant volcano....

Yup, we were lost.  But this part of our area is breathtakingly beautiful so we just started knocking.  The houses there are made out of mud, wood and volcanic rock and have never before been knocked by missionaries.  After 3 hours of work, we found NINETEEN new investigators and Hermana P was ready to call President and tell him that we were just going to stay there forever.  But, we worked our way back to the heart of SE (after waiting an hour for a bus) and managed to eat lunch at 4:45.... You know, usual lunch time.

But really, it was incredible.  As I stood in front of a crowded Guatemalan bus next to Hermana Prawitt and began bearing my testimony it hit me.... This really is the best experience I have ever had in my life.  I LOVE the mission.  I love Guatemala.  I am totally living the dream here in SE Barrillas.

Other great news, D got baptized this weekend! WOW what a miracle.  Even better was that he got baptized the same day as stake conference... In El Frutal.  The same stake where I started my mission with Hermana H over a year ago.  I got to see all of the members that I love from Petapa and some of my converts as well.  It was such a tender mercy to be able to shake the hand of my very first mission bishop and to be able to talk to my very first convert. 

Even crazier was talking to D Saturday night before his baptism.  As we were waiting for his baptismal interview, he casually mentioned to me that a year ago he was living in Petapa (my very first area).  Obviously, this made me excited and I started asking him where he lived and if he ever went to church.  He explained that he never went to church there but that is where he started listening to missionaries... This is what he told me:

"Yeah... There was this really skinny gringa chick who was visiting me with a latina... But then one time she came with another skinny gringa who didn't speak any Spanish."


I taught him a YEAR ago with my trainer, and completely forgot about it.  We had to drop him because he wasn't coming to church, but a year later he got baptized in a completely different area.

God works in mysterious ways... Glad I get to be a part of it. 

In other news, I talked to Hermana C on Sunday... Her Mom is in really bad shape.  She is now confined to a bed and can barely speak.  Please keep praying for their family.  But my hijita is doing just great.  She loves her little trainee and is rocking it out there.  She says her area is tiny, they already knocked all the doors and no one wants anything to do with the Mormons, but she says that they are finding miracles. 

Things are coming along with my new companion. Keep praying for us!

Love you guys!!! Have a great week.

Hermana Wise

Saturday, May 2, 2015

There is No Need to Panic, People!

Hola amigos,

This week I had a touching experience with Hermana C.  As you have probably realized, we have been working hard and seeing very few results of our efforts in the past weeks.  But, after the trial of your faith comes the miracle... This Sunday we passed for about ten investigators and no one wanted to come to church, so we went by ourselves to go take the sacrament.  When we got there, there was a 15 year old kid sitting there in the congregation in his blue jeans and tee shirt.  When we talked to him he explained to us that his name is D and that a few years ago he listened to the elders, but later had to move away.  He still had his Book of Mormon and told us that he was faithfully reading and wanted to be baptized now that he lives here again.

... WHAT?

So obviously we went looking for him that same day.  When we got to his house, he wasn't there.  But, his older brother M received us.  There wasn't a woman in the house so we couldn't go in.  Instead we huddled together in the cold rainy street and began teaching him the first lesson.  When we got to the first vision his eyes welled up with tears and he looked at us and said

"I felt something really good in my chest when I heard that.... I really want to know if what you are telling me is true. But I think God is trying to tell me that it is."

We testified of the truthfulness of the restoration and then asked him to say the prayer to finish the lesson.  He was a little nervous and explained that he had never prayed before but agreed to give it a try.  This was his prayer..

"God, thank you for sending me these sisters to teach me about the truth.  I really want to know if what they told me is true, but I felt in my heart that it is.  Please let me know if Joseph Smith was a prophet.  I want to be baptized on the 17th, please help me prepare, I am ready to change my life."

The Spirit was so strong, and I just felt incredibly grateful that I have this opportunity to be here and bring the truth to the people of Guatemala.  It is moments like this that I am reminded of all of the anxiety and fear that I felt before coming out on the mission.  Honestly, there was a while there when I didn't want to come, but I am grateful that I did.  This is the best decision that I ever made in my life.

I know some people started reading my letters from my blog post "You Don't Have to Freak Out" and now that I have a year in the field I testify that really, there is no need to fear.  When we live righteously and follow the guidance we receive from God, we really do see miracles.  This decade of decision thing truly is terrifying, but I know that as we seek the guidance of our Heavenly Father, he will direct our paths.  There is a scripture in Jacob that I absolutely love reading with investigators who are beginning to doubt the answers they have received to their prayers.  It reads...

"The Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not.  Wherefore it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be, wherefore these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls."

The Spirit does not and cannot lie.  Thus, when we live righteously, we qualify ourselves to receive personal revelation from our Heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit.  We won't receive this guidance all at once, but it will come.  I think that a lot of times as humans we want God to hand us a detailed instruction book or a blueprint of everything we need to do, but God doesn't work like that.  He requires our faith.  He will grant us the guidance we need line upon line and precept upon precept. 

Personally, I love the example of the Brother of Jared.  When The Lord was going to destroy his people, he cried unto the Lord to save them.  For his diligence and his faith, The Lord granted to him according to his desires.  In the first chapter of Ether we read the instructions that God gave to him

"Go at the head of them down into the valley which is northward.  And there I will meet thee."

The Lord didn't promise to walk with the brother of Jared down into the valley, but He did promise to meet him there.  Likewise, God always requires action on our part before we can see His direction.  Frequently we must make those first few steps into the darkness before we can be further illuminated by the Holy Spirit. 

God has found me in my valley.  He has met me there.  Those who have been reading my letters know that my mission has not been easy.  I have battled parasites, dengue, falling in holes, trips to the hospital and many disappointments.  But, the mission is an experience of joy.  The mission truly is those best 18 months.  It isn't the best because it is the easiest or that it is always the most fun.  But it is the best because it draws us closer to The Lord.  It teaches us who He is and helps us become like Him.  The mission doesn't change us, the atonement does.  But being here has helped shape me into the person who God wants me to be.

 But I first had to go into the valley.  The Lord requires ACTION.  But when we act righteously, He will always guide us.  So really, there is no need to fear.  

I am glad I came.

I testify that God will meet us in the valley when we move forward with faith.

Just like he is going to meet Hermana C.... Who received the call to train this next change....

I am going to be a grandma, people!

But I will be staying here in SE.  Pray for M and D!

Love you guys!

Until next week!

Hermana Wise