Thursday, July 30, 2015

Changes


Hola Familia!

Wow, what a week.  As you already knew I had changes this week. I will be finishing my mission in LS, which is in the same zone as Palin.  I also received the calling to serve as sister training leader.  In this mission, there are three companionships of STL.  The mountains, the city, and the coast.

... We are the training leaders for the coast. 

WHOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PURA VIDA COSTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE serving on the coast.  The greatest part is that I will get to work with some of my favorite sisters:  Hermana Z and Hermana C (who is opening area and training again).  AND I will be able to visit my old areas (Las Delicias and La Gomera). 

Wow.  I did not see that change coming at all.  But I am excited.  And totally terrified.

My companion is Hermana M, who was trained in my same district by Hermana Godfrey while I was in Petapa.  She's from Ecuador. She is great and is really helping me learn the ropes here.  We had a few unfortunate obst├ículos.... (she spent the night in the hospital).  But everything is good now.  There is nothing more thrilling than calling President Markham your first day in a new area to inform him that you are rushing your companion to the hospital.  All in a day's work.  But, HEY! The food in the hospital is delicious, and in the end it was nothing serious. Just a fun little adventure to start changes.

But, yeah! That is about all I have to report.  It has been a great week.  I have learned a lot.  I am in a senior companionship again.  And today I will do my very first division! Pray for me..... Because I have no idea what I am doing. 

It is hard to believe that this is my last change here in Guatemala.  But, I have just learned so much.  I truly can testify that Jesus Christ lives.  He is my Savior and Redeemer.  Even though I am weak, in Him I can be made strong.  He sees all my weaknesses and all my sins and somehow He loves me anyway.  I am grateful for the chance that I have to be here and help others come unto Christ and partake of that same love.  I love my job.  I love the representing Jesus Christ and His restored church.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LINCOLN AND MACKENZIE AND HOLLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you people.  Sending you loves of happy thoughts and prayers from la costa. 

LES AMO!

Hermana Wise

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

There is Only One Gringo in the District


Hola familia!

Sorry for writing on a weird day again.... I just like to keep you all guessing.  The thing is that we won the perfect district competition again this change and once again got to eat in Presidents house.  It was pretty cool, and as a result P day got switched around. 

Wow, I cannot even express how much I love this district.  Seriously, in all my mission I have never had a district more united and more fun.  We are all best friends.  Our time together mostly consists of inside jokes, laughing, inside jokes that we don't even understand, singing hymns in the bus until everyone begs us to stop, laughing, spiritual moments, pretending to speak Portuguese, and more laughing.  The other missionaries here in SE have become my family.  This branch is really geographically isolated and it is rare that we see other missionaries.  As a result, we have all grown super close.  Elder S is basically a standup comedian.  Elder A is super weird but we all love him.  Elder P has been my district leader for 4 months between here and Palin... I would literally give the kid a kidney if proven necessary.  Elder R keeps us balanced.  And we all know that I love Hermana S. 

Seriously, I love these guys.  We all just get along super great.  The other day we were all eating together after branch counsel and out of nowhere the elders told me: 

"Hermana Wise... We had divisions the other day and we came to a conclusion: There is only one north American in the district, and it is Elder R. You are officially Latina."

It was seriously the best compliment that anyone has ever given me.  I have officially been converted to be Latina.

But really, we are always having a great time.  Earlier this week we all got on the same bus after Zone meeting to head back to SE.  They were all laughing and telling me that I had to contact the bus but I had to do something crazy.  After asking them to clarify they all simply told me: we just want to laugh. 

So, feeling passively aggressive this is what I did:

"Good afternoon brothers and sisters! We are representatives of Jesus Christ and we are here to share a message with you.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that this is the same church Christ organized during his lifetime.  We would like to take your addresses so that we can share this message with you in your homes... But first, I would like to recognize the presence of the world famous, Elder P.... The hymn-singing preacher from El Salvador.  He is going to pass in front and sing a song for all of you, all by himself, in English.  And then we are going to pass by and write down your addresses." 

The funniest part was that he really did it.

Hermana Markham says that this is the most unified, loving district in the whole mission. 

Which, obviously means we have changes..... The call came this morning and shocked us all.  Elder A is leaving the district with Elder S and Elder R...

... And I am leaving too. 

We all cried like babies.  Changes is the hardest part of the whole mission. And this change really stings.  But, the work of the Lord rolls forward and we have to do His will.  I truly feel like I have done all that God wanted me to do here in SE and that now it is my time to go... But I will really miss the other missionaries, members, and my converts here.

Which brings us to our favorite game, where in the world will Hermana Wise be next week?  Where will I finish my mission? Please pray for me.... There are rumors that I will be opening an area again.  But, we will see.

Alright, thinking about changes is making me sad all over again.... Let me share a funny story with all of you:

The other day we needed to get into the capital, so we took a bus.  The only problem is that the buses that go to the capital in the morning are always jam packed with people.  As a result, it is super hard to get off the bus at your stop.  Frazzled, I was trying to get my backpack down from the overhead compartment when I suddenly heard Hermana S scream out in terror.  When I looked behind me, I saw Hermana S... In the arms of a strange man...who was carrying her.

"LET ME GO LET ME GO!!!!!" she screamed.... and was helplessly kicking her little feet trying to get away.  But this "overly helpful" bus assistant was trying to help her get off the bus.... Instead of just taking her hand and helping her jump down he decided to carry her. 

In panic, I threw myself off the back of the bus and ripped her out of the man's arms. 

The funniest part?  In all the commotion I accidently pocket dialed the first councilor in the branch and left him a voice mail:

"ARE YOU OKAY?!!! THAT MAN WAS TOUCHING YOU!!!!"

"HE WAS CARRYING ME!!! HE TOUCHED ALL MY BODY!!!!" (followed by unintelligible screaming)

Gotta love the mission. 

Well folks, I sure do love you.  I will let you all know next week what happens with changes.

PRAY FOR ME!!!

Love you!

La latina de distrito Jocotillo...

Hermana Wise 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bear One Another's Burdens That They May Be Made Light


Hola Familia,

I am eternally grateful for the mission and all that God teaches me during my time here.

This week, God allowed me to truly understand the meaning of my baptismal covenant.

Bear one another's burdens that they may be made light.

We are currently working with a very special investigator... J.  J is about to turn 90 years old.  This week she told us that she wanted to go to church on Sunday.  The only problem is that she has failing health and lives at the top of a mountain.  We promised her as representatives of Jesus Christ that she would be able to attend. 

Sunday morning we coordinated so that the first councilor of the branch would be able to drive her, but unfortunately there was no way to get his car to her door.  She would have to walk down the hill and at the base he would be able to drive her to the chapel.  We prayed together before leaving the house and Hermana S and I carefully helped her climb down the hill to the car. 

Church was a beautiful experience.  She stayed the whole time and was simply radiating.  When the service ended, two returned missionaries gave her a priesthood blessing and we got her in the car to take her home. 

The only problem was that after an eventful day, she was completely exhausted.  When we got to the base of the mountain she had no energy to walk and could barely stand.  Fearing that she was going to fall, I took the tiny woman in my arms and carried her up the mountain. 

When we were about halfway there, she took my face in her hands and with tears in her eyes told me.

"Thank you,  thank you.... Thank you.  This is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me."

It was one of the most powerful moments in my whole mission.  Honestly, it was hard for me to hold back tears.  I literally had the opportunity to carry this sickly, crippled, elderly, beautiful child of God so that she would be able to worship in the Lords house.  I truly had the chance to bear her burdens so they would be made light. 

I am grateful for the atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ.  Thanks to Him, this work is possible.  I am grateful to take upon me His name.  To always remember Him. Being here serving the Lamanites has brought me closer to my Redeemer than I ever thought possible.  I love the Lord.  I love this work.  I love the Gospel.  I love Guatemala and I love that I have this sacred opportunity to serve and grow. 

We also got to go to the temple this week as a zone (which is why I am writing so late).  It was incredible and so refreshing to be able to  take a step back and remember what it is all about.

The S family is progressing right along.  Get ready folks, because I WILL be there when they get sealed in a year.

I love my job. 

I just am going to end this one with gratitude...Gratitude for my parents, my siblings, my friends and my incredible church leaders who helped me prepare to serve and become who my Heavenly Father wants me to be.  But more than anything, gratitude for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Thanks to Him, eternal life is possible.  Thanks to Him, death has no sting.  Thanks to Him family relations can be blessed in this life and throughout the eternity.

I know that Heavenly Father lives and loves us.  I testify that His son, Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and thanks to him we can return to the presence of God.

I love this work.  I know that this is the only true restored church upon the earth.  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  I know that he really did see God the Father and His son Jesus Christ.  I know the church is true.  I know Thomas S Monson is also a prophet of God.  I am grateful to be a part of this great work.

Until next week!

Hermana Wise

Friday, July 10, 2015

These are a Few of My Favorite Things


Hola familia!

I can't lie this week has been rough.  With the boundary change in our area we are dying here in SE.  Despite working our tails off all week long we don't have a single investigator... Not one.  We had to drop L because he just doesn't want to progress.... So that is rough.  But, it is all okay because I know the Lord will provide we just have to keep slugging along. 

Anyway.  Enough of that. 

Let me explain the title of this email:  This week Hermana S and I have had a few interesting and comical experiences here in SE. 

The other night we were making our way through the streets of SE when we were suddenly approached by a group of drunk, possibly drug-induced men.  Now before you all panic, this is pretty normal here in Guatemala.  At this point I am basically a professional at dodging drunks.  So, without missing a beat I simply walked around them and continued on my way. 

Hermana S, however, wasn't so lucky.  Panic stricken she just stood there without knowing what to do.  As the bolo approached her she began to scream out for help.  The man had his arms outstretched like he was going to grab her.

Honestly? I didn't have any idea what to do either.  But, before I knew it I held my Book of Mormon (hardcover) high in the air and shouted:

"HEY!!! DONT TOUCH MY COMPANION BECAUSE IF YOU TOUCH HER I WILL HIT YOU WITH THIS BOOK!!!"

I know... Real Christ like of me. 

But the man just looked confused for a minute and then took off running in the opposite direction.

Power of the Book of Mormon right there, folks. 

The other experience was that this week we had the chance to play boliche  (bowling) as a district for P Day yesterday.  It was super, super fun.  And, not to be prideful or anything, I totally won. 

So yeah, the work is kinda dead but at least we have things to laugh about.

Other crazy news:  This week I officially completed 16 months in the mission.... WHAT? I honestly do not understand what happened.  But here is my list of 16 things that I love about the mission.

1.  I love giant wet YOU JUST GOT BAPTIZED hugs

2.  I love awkward wet YOU JUST GOT BAPTIZED handshakes (because we don't hug boys)

3.  I love crazy Guatemalan rainstorms

4.  I love contacting in the streets

5.  I love preaching in the buses

6.  I love when random people in the street attempt to speak to me in English but just scream at me "VERY THANK YOU!"

7.  I love seeing the light of Christ in the eyes of my investigators

8.  I love seeing others accept the Gospel

9.  I love being rejected and realizing that the biggest miracle in the mission is my own conversion

10.  I love eating tortillas every day

11.  I love speaking Spanish

12.  I love when my Latin district leader has to correct my English.... It's getting bad, folks

13.  I love P day naps

14.  I love waking up early to read the scriptures

15.  I love knowing that this is the work of the Lord

16.  I love being a missionary. 

Well there you have it.  My favorite things. 

Love you guys!

Have a great week!

Hna Wise

Thursday, July 9, 2015

June 30th letter


Hey Family!

This week has been absolutely incredible.  Can't lie, I was in pretty rough shape with how this area divide is going to happen.  But, even though this week started out rough it ended up with a miracle baptism!!!

Our miracle is named E.  She came to church a few weeks ago with her friend who just finished his mission.  When we started teaching her she was more or less positive.  But as we continued teaching her we saw more and more of a change in her as she accepted more and more the light of Christ in her life.  We were able to teach her to the Book of Mormon but then she disappeared.  We lost contact with her and when we passed by looking for her we were unable to find her. 

So confused about whether or not she actually wanted to listen, we more or less had to leave her. 

But that is when the miracle came in,  last Sunday she showed up at church again with her friend and told us that she had been sick and left town but now that she returned she had been reading the Book of Mormon and wanted to be baptized!!!!

WHOOHOO!!!!

Honestly, God is so merciful to us here as we serve Him.  E got baptized Sunday (on her 15th birthday).  Who needs a quince-anos when you can make a sacred covenant with God?

But, we always have to do weird stuff to make baptisms happen.... President Markham always teaches us that everything we do is PARA BAUTIZAR.  Or everything we do needs to help us fulfill our purpose in inviting others to come unto Christ through baptism.  So here is my list of the week of things that we did PARA BAUTIZAR...

1. Piled into a taxi with 11 other people.... PARA BAUTIZAR

2.  Washed baptismal clothes with rain water.... PARA BAUTIZAR

3.  Walked 12 kilometers in 1 hour and 11 minutes... PARA BAUTIZAR

4.  Worked in a scary Guatemalan hailstorm.... PARA BAUTIZAR

5.  Spoke in sacrament meeting with 5 minutes notice.... PARA BAUTIZAR

6.  Spent an entire day searching for someone to sell us water with the elders in order to actually be able to baptize E.... PARA BAUTIZAR

7.  Survived more parasites.... PARA BAUTIZAR

So yeah! This week was nuts! But really good.  Hermana S is doing incredibly well.  She is training me.... But really.  Love this girl.  I really love this district.  I will send you all some crazy district photos. 

Keep making good choices!  Love you all!

Hermana Wise

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

June 24th Letter.


Hey Family!

Wow.  This week has been absolutely nuts.

First off... So sorry that I didn't write yesterday.  My district leader, Elder P was emergency hospitalized for an intestinal infection.  Poor kid is suffering hard.  He is back in the district working again but looks absolutely green and hasn't eaten since Saturday.  Pray for him.  Actually, better yet put him on the prayer roll. 

Well.  We have a few slight changes.  Due to the baptisms and future baptisms which we have been able to work here in our area is being broken in two.  We will be left with SE, but all of the aldeas below (where all of our progressing investigators live) will now be another area.  In fact, it will now be another branch.  We had two families progressing toward baptism down there.... But they will likely now be baptisms for the elders.  It's rough.  We literally will have to start over.  The part of our area that we are being left is super Catholic and we only have one investigator here...

Which brings me to my next point, we saw a huge miracle this week.  Our one investigator here in SE is named Luis.  We found L when we changed houses.  He is our landlord and as we were talking to him he mentioned that he listened to missionaries 15 years ago and almost got baptized... Including that elders helped build the house we currently live in.  Well we invited him to church and without any coaxing he actually showed up.  He has been coming for almost a month but is completely against the idea of baptism.  We were completely lost for how we could help him.

Well, last week while we were pondering it over we came to the conclusion that we needed to show forth more effort.  We decided to street contact a thousand people in one week.  We prayed and explained to God that we really needed help so that L would be able to get an answer.  We explained that this week we were going to contact a thousand people, and hoped that in return he would receive an answer. 

Sunday night we finished our thousandth contact as we rushed back into the house.  Monday after finishing P day, we ran to the house of L to challenge him to be baptized.  We tried in the morning planning a lesson, but just couldn't feel any revelation.  We prayed before knocking the door, and L responded.  At first he didn't want to listen to us, but eventually let us share with him. 

We just started off with a hymn and a prayer and began verifying like we always do... "how was church? What did you learn from the Book of Mormon since the last time we saw you?  What do you feel when you ask God if you need to be baptized?"

When we brought up the B word, he just sat there looking at us.  After about a minute he told us:

"Hermanas, last night I fell asleep reading the Book of Mormon.... I had a dream that Jesus Christ came to me.  He didn't tell me anything but I knew for some reason that He wanted me to follow Him.  But I don't know how.... I feel the answer is somewhere in the Book of Mormon."

 

We opened up to 2 Nefi 31 and read:

"y dijo a los hijos de los hombres:  Seguidme.  Por tanto mis amados hermanos, podemos seguir a Jesus, a menos que estemos dispuestos a seguir a los mandamientos del padre?  Y el pade dijo: Arrepentios arrepentios y sed bautizados en el nombre de mi amado hijo."

We then asked... "L how can you follow Jesus?"

"I need to repent and be baptized."

"Will you follow the example to Jesus Christ and be baptized this 5th of July?"

(long pause)

"Well hermanas, you are going to have to help me... But if Jesus wants me to follow him I need to do it."

WOW! God is so merciful.

So, I feel like Job when he said "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away... Blessed be the name of the Lord."

The Lord may be taking away the majority of our area, but he is giving us L.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Please pray that all will go well and he will be baptized on the 5th.

Please pray that we will find investigators in our newly divided area.

In other news, we had a conference today with Elder Alonzo. The conference was a tri zone conference and it really was incredible.  He taught us so much about how to study and liken the scriptures.

The most terrifying part of the conference? When I had to sing "I know that my Redeemer Lives" in front of a general authority.... All by myself.  But I didn't even throw up.... So I would call that a success.

Funny part of the conference was that the zone leaders sent us a message last night explaining the importance of taking a proper shower and wearing nice clothes and using makeup for the conference.... What are you trying to say, zone leaders?! I have been personally victimized by Elder T.  (You're awesome if you understand that reference.)

Well, hope this letter is better than last week.

Love you all!

Hermana Wise