Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Work Work Work

Wow these weeks are passing by MUCH too fast.  I know I say this every week, but I feel like I was just here!  But here I am, and I only have like 10 minutes left, so let's see how fast I can type! 
This week was a whole lot of WORKING!!!  Running everywhere, riding in over 50 tuk tuks and teaching, everyone!  My companion is amazing, she loves everyone just so much!  She always wants to help everyone... especially men that are carrying huge stacks of firewood from the campo!  They carry it using a leather strap on their forehead and she is always like, hey let me carry that!  Let me help you! She is a persistent little thing too so its pretty funny.   Lately I have been praying to be full of love with all the energy of my soul, like it says in Moroni 7:48.  Let me just testify that the Lord answers prayers! I have been filled with so much love that every single day there was a point where I just felt the spirit so strong that tears just filled my eyes!  
With some kids from a family we are teaching :)  We got invited to the birthday party!  Cake and piñata!

It's kinda interesting though, being filled with love also means being filled with so much sorrow and disappointment when they don't want the truth!   It has been one rollercoaster week because of that.   The highest of highs and the lowest of lows!  Welcome to the mission!  Remember that rollercoaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain called the X3, it's spinning while doing an insane rollercoaster, yeah thats the mission!  Don't know which way is up and you can't do anything about it!  But I wouldn't have it any other way!! :)  I'm learning that as I love more, I love my work more and like Presidente David O. Mckay said, "El amor por el trabajo es un triunfo!"  I definitely agree with that!  Haha. 
So at one point this week we were teaching this less active lady and her sister, who is an active member of the church.  We asked the active hermana to share her testimony about how the church has blessed her life.  She said something that has really stuck with me.  She said that going to church and to the temple regularly helps her stay constant.  She said, "I have peace.  I maintain peace."  I love that!  How important is it for us to maintain the wonderful feeling that we have at church the whole week, or to maintain the feeling we had when we were baptized our whole lives!  That's what makes all the hard turns of life easier. 
Another moment of this week that I loved was in sacrament meeting when the old mens club, los viejitos, served the sacrament.  Literally this ward has more elderly eligible bachelors than I can count. I'm talking about like 75 and up!  It was so cute to see them all with huge smiles on their faces and their white shirts and ties serving the sacrament.  They looked like the deacons but just a little more... wrinkled?  I'm so impressed with the faith of these old men!  They tell us all the time, I led a life in the dark for 70 years, and now, I've found the light!  
A birthday cake we made for some of the members of the "tropa loca" or the retired men that love missionary work in the ward and accompany us to lessons everyday!  They are the best!!!!

It's incredible to see how much these humble people embrace the Gospel! :)  I am absolutely in love with this work.  I feel like I have more energy than before and now I'm just ready to work, probs because I'm running every day with one of the hermanas. :)  But I love my life. 
In other, more important, news, this week I perfected my ability to make tortillas by hand.  In Guatemala that means you're ready to keep your own house.  Proud of me?  You better be!  My tortillas INFLATE!  They are that good.  That thin and circular!  If only any of you knew what I was actually talking about.  Ah well, when I get home you'll all have to eat tortillas at every meal!  Sandwiches, with tortillas, cereal with tortillas!  Prepárense:)  Ha yesterday for lunch after church the hermanas were all making tortillas and it makes a sorta clapping noise because you make them with your hands.  The dueña of our house came upstairs, (we live on the third floor of a members house), and she said,  "I thought I heard tortillando and I just had to witness for myself 4 gringas tortillando!"  Hahahahaha.  I love this country :)
Action shots, haha!

Games with the zone!  Hahaha we played ultimate frisbee, this balloon popping game and nunja.  Whoever lost had to surrender and get hit by water balloons, oh elders.  We played though and it was so fun!  I got soaked!

The losers

So I was going to write about something else but I forgot.... haha!  So I'm gonna sign off. 
I love all of you so much:)  All you love birds getting married make me excited for the next stage in life (hashtag baggy) 

love love love,
hermana moore

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Cost and Blessings of Discipleship

  • Well, I survived Semana Santa! :) 

Yesterday I was reading the talk Elder Holland gave in this past conference called, "The Cost -- and Blessings-- of Discipleship".  Lately I have been feeling a lot like the hermana that he talks about.  We aren´t really sure why but lately everyone has been running from us, literally.  Hiding, running, lying, the works.  And on top of that, we have met some pretty mean people this week.  This week was Semana Santa and everyday and night there was a different Catholic procession.  For some, this week is a week of religious devotion, for others, it's a national holiday where no one is in school, no one works, so EVERYONE goes to the cantina.  I have truly never seen more drunks in my life than I did this week.  It's such a sad part of the alleged "Holy Week" here in Guatemala.  It seems like the meanest and most lost people came out to meet us this week.  So when I read this talk I just thought to myself, you know what... missionary work is HARD.  WHY is it so hard sometimes??  Elder Holland talked about a few scriptures in Hebrews where it talks about some apostles doing miracles and seeing great success while others were tortured, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, afflicted and tormented.  He said they were "those of whom the world was not worthy".   Too good to be a part of the world.  We don't go through nearly what the apostles did; but we do have to suffer a large cost in discipleship. Rejection is just one part.
Happy Easter!  Love, the Hermanas of San Francisco

This week someone asked me how I knew that this was the true church.  She asked me in a mocking way, "How do YOU know? Did God tell you??".  I told her Yes He did, in my heart and He continues to tell me everyday.  She then looked me square in the eyes and told me, "No te creo." or I don´t believe you.  Sometimes it hurts, as Elder Holland put it, to have your most cherished beliefs reviled. My heart hurts for this woman, so lost and so confused.  Something I am learning right now is that the road to the promised land isn't all rainbows and daisies, it's hard.  People don't flock to the baptismal fonts just because I say God told me it's true.  People have distorted their image of God into that of their own. 
On the other hand, being a disciple of Jesus Christ has been the BIGGEST blessing in my life.  Amidst all of the rejection and emberassment, there are miracles.  Just yesterday we were in a lesson with a husband and wife who were not at all wanting to listen to us.  The lesson was kind of scattered and I wondered what to do.  I thought to pull out a picture of Jesus Christ that I have in my Scriptures.  I asked the husband, "How do you feel when you look at Him?"   He paused for a while and then said quite simply, I will go back to Him one day.  I felt really impressed to cover up one side of the painting and tell them about how Christ is all just and all merciful, just like in the painting where one side of his face is hard and darker which represents the law, the other side of his face is soft and full of light.  I explained to them that He LOVES us.  He wants us to return to Him to the point where He DIED so that we could.  In that moment the kids were really quiet, the pigs stopped making noise and a big breeze came by.  As tears welled up in my eyes I KNEW in that moment that Jesus Christ loved them. He loves all of them!  All of these people that run and hide from us because they find the truth to be hard.  He loves them and He sent my companion and me to them to bring them back to Him.  God loves us.  He loved me enough to send me here. not so I can teach, but so I can learn, so I can be His mouthpiece in bringing many to repentance.  I hope that I can become a better disciple of Jesus Christ everyday.  During one day this week we didn't work because of processions that involved Judas scarecrows being toured around the city with loud kids begging for bread, (more about that when I get home), and I read all of the mission of Alma , like Alma 14-27.  I hope that one day I can have that faith to bring so many souls to repentance.  I know that of myself I am nothing, but with my Savior, all is possible.  I know He lives and that He is risen!  What a glorious blessing it is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  I will never get tired of saying that. 
The cost of discipleship for some was their own lives, for me all it has been is some tears and sadness. But one thing I know to be true is that God LIVES.  How do I know?  He told Me. 

Be strong. Take Heart.
love love love,
Hermana Moore

Pictures from our Hermana Sleepover during Semana Santa.

Eight Hermanas in one place with four beds.  It was nuts!

Cute Latina friends

These pics go together.  Hermana Natividad is from El Salvador and she is nuts! hahaha. She threatened that whoever went to sleep she would draw on their face with a marker.  Well Hermana Phillips fell asleep first!
 Haha!  These Latinas are nuts. 

Proof she's nuts!  Oh and we did corn rows in Hermana Phillips' hair.  Sleepovers gone crazy!  Hahahahaha!

p.s.  On a less serious note, I lost my voice this week and the elders have now dubbed me, Elder Moore.  Thanks parents for giving me a deep voice and thanks sickness for making it even deeper.  The ward members are so excited that the quartet of hermanas that we have for special musical numbers for baptisms now has a tenor.  Hahahahahahahaha.  Life is funny. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Me and my boyfriend!!!

10 months as a soltera mamasita and I still got game. 


This is me kissing an armadillo. 

Tattoo!!! Guatemalan style! Hahaha ignore my wretched hair.  It's hot here. 

A better view.  It's the dust on the back of a plant.  Our friend came up to me and slapped this plant on my arm
and goes, "TATUAJE!"   Haha, it's just dust.  But they did play a joke on me that it would last 2-3 weeks!  Haha.


Wowzaaaaaaa!  What a week!  I am physically and emotionally exhausted; but I'm on a spiritual high! Goodness gracious, we are so blessed here in San Pancho!! (that's the nickname of our area, or what everyone calls it!) 

So this was definitely a week of running around like crazy people, but it all played out in the end. :) Every day this week we had to run on down to Mazate to teach this man named Rolando.  Rolando is our little miracle.  He is a homeless man that my comp invited to church like a month ago and he came, then came to every single session of conference!  And he wanted to get baptized!  So heck yeah we taught him everything!  We had to come down to Mazate because it was easier for him; but he is going to start working in San Pancho next week.  He is a little man that has led such a sad life starting out in an orphanage and having ZERO family his whole life, but has SO MUCH faith!  He is a miracle, as I said.  After we taught him the Plan of Salvation and we answered a bunch of his questions about the Spirit World he looks at us with tears in his eyes and says, "Ya no voy a estar solo".  Which means, Now I won't be alone!  That's right Rolando, from here on out, you'll never be alone!  It was so beautiful to see this ward welcome him in with open arms yesterday.  All of them are looking for jobs for him and houses and doing so much to help him!  I will never forget the look on Rolando's face as he came out of the water!  The man that baptized him did it kind of.... forcefully, so he came out of the water wide-eyed and shocked, but with the biggest smile on his face! 

Also this week we were able to teach little Jordin and bring him to the waters of baptism! :) He is the nieto of a family of recent converts and from the first time we met him he was like, sisters, I want to get baptized!!  Oh my friend, your wish is our command!  So we taught him everything, including the law of chastity which was more like, "no girlfriend until you get back from your mission at age 20!", and before we knew it he was baptized.  Again the person that baptized him did it with the force of like 10 oxen because Jordin like jumped out of the water!  Hahaha, he was so happy :) 

the recent convert family and their nieto for the baptism!!! love this pic. 

As for the title of this email... this week was testimony meeting and a woman went up and explained how this was the first time she was able to get up to bear her testimony in a few months for health reasons due to old age, but she said with tears in her eyes, what a blessing it is for us to have the truth! What a blessing it is, despite sickness and trial, to have the true word of God!!!  I was so touched, how can I have time to be sad or tired when I have the calling of sharing the TRUTH with the world!  We have such a reason to rejoice as missionaries, all of us have reason to rejoice because we are children of God!!  I am so overwhelmed by the blessings lately, other than my head cold,  I feel like I'm constantly under a little ray of sunshine. :) 
LET THIS BE PUT DOWN IN HISTORY TODAY THAT I MADE TORTILLAS THIS WEEK THAT INFLATED!!!!!! That's like the sign that you can officially tortillar like the chapines!  I cried and took a video.

Mi lema ... Doctrina y Convenios 15:6
Sorry this email is short, my head is honestly pretty cloudy and I think I'll go home and take a nap! This week is bouts to be nuts!  Semana Santa in Central America!  Should be a week I'll never forget! :) 
The beginning of LOTS of gifted pan during Semana Santa! :) 

p.s. In this house there is one of the stoves that Riley and Conner built when they came down to Guatemala, obviously not the exact ones, but she told me that a group built them for her from the states!  Yay for service and charity! 

Good luck on finals everyone!  Thanks for the love, especially from you, Aunt Nancy!  Most faithful write of my mission! :) 
Subject: Happy wedding this week :)

This is something we found on the ground this week, it says Feliz cazamiento. that means happy wedding!

Love you Chai, hope your wedding this week, or next, I'm not really sure when it is, is everything you dreamed about and more!!1

love you!
hermana moore

love love love,

hermana moore

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ch-ch-ch-changes version 4

YEP. thats right, changes, AGAIN! I am now in my fourth area, 6th companion, in San Francisco Zapotitlan! Its only like 30 minutes from my last area and in the same stake but a different zone. 

Pictures of my last zone and district.
Zone of the month and district of the month!

Moore and Phillips!!  Las Colochas as the people call us!!!
(Editor's note:  I think that means curly haired girls)

My companion likes to save little patitos

Alright sorry, just had to get that out there.  I don't even know where to start, theres literally SO much to write about. So when I found out that I had changes, I just bawled, mostly because I would be leaving my three baby girls in Santo Domingo.  They are literally my soul sisters.  They are the only people I went to say bye to... there were LOTS of tears and my heart still aches a little bit; but then I had to work a little bit, then pack up all my stuff and leave!  
My heart

My sassy heart.  She gave me a pair of earrings.

My other heart

I went all the way to Reu to go to the change meeting just to get sent back to Mazate!  Haha, yeah I'm still in Mazate, just the other side.  I'm higher up so it's not nearly as hot.  Actually it's overcast and lovely every single day!  I feel like I'm in heaven!  My new comp is Hermana Phillips.  She has a little less time than me but oh my gosh, she is the HARDEST WORKING MISSIONARY I have ever met.  She is wearing me out!!  Like I have never slept so hard than this week!  I have been having super strange dreams though, like horseback riding cats?  I'm gonna ask my good Guatemalan friends to interpret them for me, should get a good laugh! hahaha.
 Our area is the most rural area I have had yet!  I thought my last area was rural... this one we work in a tiny aldea surrounded by fincas!  It's basically all jungle and if it's not jungle it's just huge rolling hills of grass where the cows eat, oh and lots and lots of cane fields.  Welcome to paradise. :)  
My view outside my window at 5:45am

This chompipe tried to kill me!

My favorite vegetable here, whiskil

This also means that the people are SO HUMBLE!  So willing and ready to hear the gospel.  I feel so blessed to be here:)  
Me with some member children

This whole week was like the movie Rat Race trying to get people to come to conference!  On Friday President Ruiz came to our zone meeting and was like let's DOUBLE your goal for investigators brought to conference!  If you beat the other zones I'll give you a p-day at my house!!!  So that put us into OVERDRIVE.  We had an original goal of bringing 7 investigators to conference, but we upped it to 15!!  We worked so flippin hard this week, just talking to every living soul and inviting them to hear from the Prophet!  Heck at one point we stood up on a bus and just started preaching and inviting everyone!  That was definitely a mission first!  In the end we spent a good 2 and a half hours before every session to bring people to the conference and our area is a good 30 minutes from the stake center.  So it was a lot of busing around and talking with everyone!!!  In the end we brought 7 investigators!  Haha, so we made our original goal; but really I think we just needed that extra push to bring 15 to actually make our goal of 7.  We went places we never would have and brought people we hadn't considered bringing before the weekend started.  Along the way we saw SO MANY MIRACLES. 
Saturday morning we were running around like mad women trying to bring people, in the end we got to the church with no one! NO ONE!  So we went to a pay phone and started calling every phone number we had.  We didn't have much change so we were limited to 30 second phone calls.  Basically it turned into,  "HERMANA!, we are going to hear the prophet.  Come to the church by the stadium now!"  click, done.  haha.  So we got to our last quarter and the phone didn't answer so my comp quick hit the receiver and bam! out came not one but THREE quarters!  What a miracle!  So we made 3 more miracle phone calls!  
The best reference box ever. Look at how many of Jesus' hands are pointing into the box?
How could you say no to that????

Then we went in to conference and were just accepting the fact that no one came, when in walks a small man named Rolando!  He is homeless but came to church last week! AND HE CAME TO ALL FOUR SESSIONS OF CONFERENCE! HE IS incredible.  He is so smart and ready for the Gospel!  A few years ago he found a Teachings of the Prophet George Albert Smith book in the street and has read it many times so he basically already knows the Gospel!  He has been so fun to teach and a total miracle! :)
Also a blind woman came, talk about faith... "Hey woman come with us on a bus to a place you don't know to hear the prophet!" Such faith!!
I think my favorite thing I learned in the conference was from Elder Ballard's talk where he talked about John and Paul helping a lame man and healing him, as it says in Acts 3:1-8, they took him by the hand and HELPED him rise, and then they went to the temple, TOGETHER, praising God.  What an example to us of what we should do as members of the church, help our loved ones by taking them by the hand, and leading them to the truth! :) 

I love my mission, it has become the most sacred and incredible experience of my life.  I hope you all enjoyed and learned from conference, do what they told us, be a happy and exemplary disciple of Jesus Christ. 

love love love,
Hermana Moore

p.s. Here in the hill country I have to look out for the Drendecito, otherwise knows as the midget that roams the hills braiding the horses hair.  The members here are particularly scared of him.  I think it would be fun to meet him!  Cuidado con Drendecito, el hombrecito que trensa al cabello de los caballos. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Getting Blessed and Tan

That title is for you Tim.  I would say "jacked and tan" but not much of working out is happening around here.  I feel just so so so incredibly blessed this week.  I'm basically darker than I've ever been in my life.  Welcome to summer in Guatemala.  I'm pretty sure I beat Tim officially!! haha! 
So basically this week was super strange--- HOTTEST WEEK OF MY LIFE---- but I'm feeling super blessed right now. 
Seriously let's talk about this heat right now... this week I got sick, a sickness I have never experienced before.  You see, I thought I had had it all... except parasites! I thought that would hit me next. Wrong... the next has been my favorite so far.  It's called heat rash on my face.  So fun to have your face itch, oh and your neck and your ears and your hands!  It's okay, I always wanted a red mustache and beard. Basically this heat drives you nuts, deprives you of sleep and gives people like me allergic reactions. So I had to take a pic of it, which I really hope mom didn't post, and send it to the nurses.  
Haha, I always wanted an itchy red mustache and beard!
editor's note: oops, I guess I wasn't supposed to post this??  :)

The whole way going to the internet cafe everyone was like, "Ew what's wrong with her face?"  One lady was like uh... what's on your face, and I just broke down.  Yay for low moments!  But thanks to some bomb medicine and being prescribed two cold showers a day it's under control. :)  Haha, funny story though, we have to call the zone leaders to get permission to call the enfermeras for stuff so I of course had to be like, oh hey elder, i have a rash on my face can I call the nurses?  No privacy, no pride, welcome to the mission.  So the next few days they would always call and be like, "Hermana Moore, how's your rash??" stupid.  Haha, no I shouldn't say that, for the number of times they help us every week with blessings, 2 this week between my comp and I, and killing scorpions, yep that was another first this week, they help us so much. I literally don't know what I would do without them!
Last night we found a scorpion in our shower.  We called the elders.  There's no way I'm dying from a scorpion!!!

Speaking of other weird things during this weird week... I ate panza for the first time this week!  I think thats tripe, sheep stomach?  It's really good, like eating chewing carpet! mmmmmmm :)
We had a super fun p-day last week and this week!  Last week we had a huge field day with 2 other zones!  I got to see a lot of my friends that came with me.  We played dodge ball and tug of war and other such games.  

We may have lost every game; but we are slaying the rest of the mission in terms of missionary work... I think we will be zone of the month because we had the most baptisms!  Wow! Marzo de milagros!
(editor's note: Erica's dad says that means March Miracles)
Then today we got to go down to Reu and play soccer, slash watch the elders play soccer, with the zones of Reu and Las Palmas as in the other half of the mission that we didn't get to see last week!  I got to see literally my favorite people from the mission today and it totally gave me energy!!!  Hermana Ostler and Hermana Webster are some of my very favorite people.  I adore them!  We talked a ton and got some cute pics and we ate watermelon :)
This is probably my best friend ever!  Hermana Ostler is literally the best!

I saw Hermana Webster!!!! I adore this girl so much!

Speaking of watermelon!  Sorry this email is very tangent-y; but this week we were in charge of noche de hermanamiento in Santa Domingo and we had to find a snack to give everyone.  We were so confused on what to bring, these people have HIGH expectations when it comes to refaccion.  So we went and bought 10 watermelons, and somehow between my comp and I and a short chapina, we got them across town!  Hahaha and we had extra so we've been eating watermelon day and night, reminds me of summer.  I love it! :) 
We decorate our agenda's here.  This is mine for the upcoming change!

More than that... this week was just a lot of sweating, and meeting with less actives!  Yay for everyone already being a member.  Highlight was yesterday when we taught an entire lesson to a family that was super positive and when we challenged them to be baptized they go, but we already got baptized in your church.  Oh.  How wonderful.  Hahaha, jk, we were excited.  We are probs gonna baptize their 9 year old son who never got baptized!  We can still baptize while working with the less actives! :)  That is really what our bishop wants.  He told us to stop working in Santo Domingo and just focus in the area around the church so we can help reactivate some families, we are a little sad but there are so many people who are ready to support us up here and it's a little safer so we are excited!  Always willing to do what the bishop says, after all we need to be a blessing to the bishop, not a burden. :) 
This woman is like 80 and has been a member FOREVER.  All of her family fell away and her husband died but she walks to church by herself barefoot every week.  She gave us her beautiful testimony of Joseph Smith and it was so moving that I had her give it again and I recorded it!  One day I'll show it to you. 
 I just adore her.  Hermana Secundina. 

and Linds, if you ever run out of things to paint, I think she's especially beautiful. 

Seriously this ward is incredible. I'm hot and sweaty but I'm loving my mission. :)  Sorry this is confusing and short but I gotta go!
Mosiah 3:24 :)


hermana moore