Wow! its really weird that it is December right now, partly because, uh weren't we just in June?? Where did the rest of the year go! And also it feels like summer! I'm sitting here sweating right now! And there is Christmas music playing everywhere and trees and lights everywhere, but everyone is in shorts! It's summer vacation here so ALL the kids are out in the streets or at the pool. So needless to say, its not beginning to feel like Christmas here in Coatepeque.
BUT. I. love. these. people. And I love the way the decorate! Everyone has a Christmas tree! Be it small or HUGE, they've all got one! And they are so decorated! And they have Christmas carols playing with the lights. It's a crack up. I've literally taught 3 lessons this week with a demented sounding frosty the snowman playing in the background. Hate that song. But, the best thing about Christmas here: nacimientos. That means nativity sets. These people take the nativity to a WHOLE new level! We were singing a Christmas hymn with a person we contacted and I was like, do you LOVE Christmas, I do! And she was like, oh can I show you nuestro nacimiento? And I'm like heck yeah! So we go in the other room, or should I say the nacimineto room....... HALF of the room was guarded off in this cage type thing, a cage of lights. she has over a thousand, no joke, figurines all bringing things to Jesus! There was everything, McDonalds, a movie theater, T-rex! Every character from every cartoon movie from this decade was there. There were figurines making tortillas, Godzilla was bringing a little gift. We were just like O. O holy crap. But I guess the moral of the story is that everyone needs to bring something to Jesus because he died for ALL of us! It was rather incredible! I was so bummed I forgot my camera that day, but I'm so gonna come back and take a pic! hahahahahaha. Me dio tanta risa!
|Me and a demonic looking Frosty!|
What else about this week, oh... we had a baptism fall through. That's probably the worst feeling in the world. It's just sad. You want so much for these people and they just choose not to obey! I could just see the two paths of his life in front of him and how this one decision could lead to such incredible things, like the church and the temple with his family and eternal life! Or sadness on the other hand! It was really quite sad. But after 2 hours trying to get him to make the right decision, there wasn't much else we could do. so we had to call everyone in the ward and yeah, sad night. But onwards and upwards right?
That's something that I want to talk about actually. The mission is not a cake walk. This week was hard. Really hard. There are so many blessings here in the mission but they come to us por medio de trials. You have to work your hardest, amidst trials and that's when you come out with miracles. And sometimes the miracle is the trial. If these trials I have had this week are going to make me have stronger faith and a greater ability to help these people, than that is a miracle! I have been trying so hard lately to focus on others and that has brought me my happiest moments!
This week we had lunch with Hermana Baechli.
I have talked about her before. She is 88 and owns a hotel that we eat at a lot! She is incredible! I'm not kidding. I'm naming one of my daughters after her! She told us her conversion story this week. She was the first convert here in Coatepeque! Over 50 years ago! What happened is she owned a casa de huespedes, which is like ... where foreigners or people can live... apartments or something. Idk how to explain it. But the elders moved in when they first got to Coatepeque. She seriously thought they were from the FBI, so one day she asked them who they were and they said well we are missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Want to hear our message? And she did. She listened and soon she was baptized! Back then there were only 5 members and they met in a house. Now there is a stake! She has been constant all these years! This woman is so incredible! She is so nice to us, always feeding us when we don't have lunch appointments. She always checks to make sure our nails are painted too. :) I'm sure she was a little disappointed when we showed up to have breakfast all sweaty after the gym! hahaha. Yep you heard that right, I go to a gym! 5 days this past week! boo yeah!
So last night we watched the Christmas devotional! How incredible! All in Spanish, but nevertheless, amazing! It was just really interesting to me though how focused American culture is on gifts. I'm not condemming it or anything but they don't do that here. Christmas is like Thanksgiving here. No gifts you just get together with the family and have dinner and dulces. Then most people go out and drink and dance but we won't focus on that. Everyone keeps asking me what we do in the states and I'm like..... uh...... same. Because really Christmas is all about Christmas morning! It's just one of those culture shock things. Like in the Christmas devotional they kept talking about only getting an orange for Christmas or something to open on Christmas morning and I was just like, these people don't even know what they are talking about. They all have Christmas trees but they don't know that we put presents under them. just a thought. But something I loved was how they focused so much on what WE can give this Christmas season! I keep teaching that to people but I was thinking, what am I going to give this Christmas! I decided on something.... English. I'm giving up English! I already have 10 days with no English. See the thing is, there are a lot of English speakers in my zone and all my comps have spoken English so we speak a lot of English; but I was thinking, how am I really dedicating myself to the Lord if I am hindering myself from becoming more fluent! So no more English, minus this writing in English. It was really hard at first, especially speaking to the English speakers in Spanish... but after a day or two it is just coming so quickly! I'm thinking in Spanish and it doesn't even cost me to speak in Spanish with my comp now! Plus it is making me more dedicated to this work. I've started having dreams about lessons and what I need to teach my investigators! It's just great because I had been praying about how I can get my mind more in this work and there was my answer. Sometimes we have to challenge ourselves to get blessings; but it is so worth it.
But really, I'm just so grateful to be a missionary. This is the only Christmas I'll be able to say, Hola, me llamo Hermana Moore y yo soy una misionera de la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias. Podemos cantar un himno navideño con ustedes? I am so blessed to be here. This mission is NOT easy. Something that my comp has on her desk reminds me every day what I need to think..... I never said it would be easy... I just said it would be worth it.
It's all so worth it. Never forget that. Amidst the heart aches and the tears, it's all so worth it.
Love you all so much.
love love love,
Hoooooooola. I seriously don't know how I am sitting here again! This week went by way too fast! And ohmygosh! I completed 6 MONTHS in the mission this week! How did that happen! I'm baffled! I feel like I just got here! But wow. I am so grateful to be here on a mission! It's been the most incredible 6 months of my life! And I'm excited for the next 12:)
So how I celebrated, because didn't you know we celebrated every mes when we cumplir meses! So we bought sparklers from some kids on the street and lit them! So fun! Also I got a little gift on that day, it had nothing to do with me having 6 months but one of the families we are teaching, one of their sons, he loves to paint! So he painted me a beautiful sunset on a piece of styrofoam! He even signed the back! Ah I love it so much! We took a pic together so I can remember it forever! It was so incredibly sweet! I don't know how I got to be so lucky as to serve in the country with the sweetest people on earth!
Also this week we got to GO TO THE TEMPLE!!!!!!!!
Yeah! It was way awesome! This week is the two year anniversary of the Quetzaltenango temple being open so they invited all of Guatemala to come to the temple! So our whole stake was there! It was so incredible! We also brought a couple recent converts! The most amazing thing about my mission so far has been seeing people progress in the gospel. Like the fact that I got to see two girls enter the temple, who just 2 months ago didn't even know what a Mormon was... that's pretty incredible! This Gospel is one of progress! And when we really dedicate ourselves to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we WILL progress! We brought Marisol and her sister Natividad, they are the older sisters of Jerico! I ADORE these girls and can't wait to keep in touch with them for the rest of my life! I call them my chicas. They have started going out and doing visits with us during the week with our investigators and wow! It is incredible! These girls used to be terrified of praying in front of us and now they like volunteer to say the prayer in front of complete strangers that we just contacted! The mission works people! It works! So yeah, the temple was incredible. INCREDIBLE! I love that place! And afterward we went to Burger King, so that was fun! I love this ward so much! I love watching them grow! We went with one of our very favorite sisters in the ward as she went through the temple for the first time! So wonderful! Also a couple in our ward got sealed after almost 40 years being together! This gospel is for families! I love it!
|me and my comp at the temple|
It was super cold in Xela, where the temple is! I finally felt like it was winter! Until we came back and it was hot and humid again! Haha welcome to winter in Coatepeque! It's so strange seeing Christmas trees everywhere and hearing Christmas music but it's so hot! hahahaha. So strange.
It actually rained a bit this week, haha one funny story. We were riding in the back of a truck to a lesson that was pretty far away and it started raining. Luckily we had our umbrellas so we just pulled them out. Ha! Riding in the back of a truck with our umbrellas. Then it started pouring! We couldn't help it we just busted up laughing! Then my comps umbrella basically exploded. We were going kinda fast! haha So we showed up completely drenched but laughing so hard! I love my comp, she's teaching me to laugh everything off!
Another funny story, yesterday it was hot, of course, and this lady we contacted gave us ice cream of melon! It was way good but at the end I look down at my shirt and there is just... IDK what happened but I spilled everywhere. hahahaha. So the lady, who is like 75 years old, looks at me super seriously and says, "No sabe comer helado gringa"! Which is, "You don't know how to eat ice cream white girl!" Then she just busted up laughing! HAAAAAA. We laughed so so hard! hahahahahahahaha. these people and their sense of humors! Crackin me up! :)
I'm out of time already! Stupid unreliable computer shut down on me like 3 times! But don't worry, my comp for Christmas is reliable! Can't wait to see your beautiful faces!
Remember why you are all so happy, because you have the gospel of Jesus Christ! Share it with everyone you can! :)
love love love love,