Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 3 in Honduras

Dear Family,

This last week was really good! I am honest when I say I am loving the mission. The days last an eternity, but it is great! I have learned the importance of finding joy in every second. Which is easy! 

I am getting used to the schedule. I wish personal study was 10 years longer, but that is okay. We are supposed to study PMG for 30 min and the BoM for 30 min. I LOVE THEM BOTH!!! Weekly planning is excruciating. Way long. But it is inspired, so we do it with snacks. 

I have had the opportunity to develop new talents here. I sing all the time. The first week my companion lost her voice, so not only did I have to talk a lot, but I sang a lot of solos. I am also directing the hymns in Sacrament meeting. Then I go to Primary where I teach lessons and conduct music for them. I have decided I don´t want to be an elementary school teacher. Oh children...

I love the people. I loved them from the beginning. There is a less active woman named Dania and my heart yearns for her to go to Church. She has such a hard life. We are getting to be really close. One day she is going to return. There is also the most devoted old man named Carlos. I love him. He arrives to Church an hour before and is always ready to bless the sacrament. He cant read, which is normal here, so we got him the Book of Mormon discs and I have never seen a more grateful person. Soon we are going to baptize evryone in his household because there is no way they can´t hear the discs because he is practically deaf. The people here have nothing, but are always willing to give. Such great examples. 

There was a fair in town this last week to celebrate a Saint. So loud. So many people. Kind of killed our nights. Basically the technology here is similar to the 2000s. Or late 1990s. 

I am going to hate futbol. For some reason people want to watch it instead of learn about God´s love for them. Es triste. THis last week Honduras played the US and the US won. THat was really fun as a companionship of 2 American girls. Needless to say, we didn´t have a lot of success that night. 

I have learned life is a lot happier when the house is clean. Last PDay I cleaned like crazy. THe house has never been deep cleaned and elders lived there before us. Disgusting. But there is hope. 

Fun fact: people here point with their lips. I love it. I am going to learn. It is hilarious. 

Mom: thanks for all of the letters! I loved that you also send Grandpas. I love knowing what is going on without me! Keep sending them! I don´t know how many people are in our zone. But there are 6 sisters. We cook all of our meals which means we eat a lot of oatmeal. The members arent financially able to give us food most of the time. They don´t even have enough for their families. 


Monday, July 22, 2013

First letter from Honduras

So I didn´t want to waste time writing about me, I just want to hear about all of you, but I guess I should include a few details. Gracias for all of the prayers and support. Love you all! 

I am in a little town called C.  My town is safe, but apparently the state is one of the most dangerous parts of Honduras. Thats fun. It is beautiful! I love it here. The town is quite humble. It is a special day if we teach someone who has electricity or a couch. I spent a day teaching in Teguc this last week and everybody had chairs. It was so weird. And there are paved roads. Personally, I prefer dirt :)

I live above the health center for the town. It is quite quaint. I know we are not supposed to have pets, but I have a couple hundred insect friends that really enjoy our living quarters.  I spent all of my time during meals the first week cleaning.  But I love my companion! Her name is Hna. C. Sound American? It is. Basically I am just having faith that I will learn Spanish one day. Basically noboday can understand a single thing we say. But the Church is true, so eventually we will be successful. The showers are freezing, but all I do is sweat, so it isn´t too bad. It is the rainy season here in Hon. which basically means the weather is bipolar. And if you try to seek refuge under a roof, you aren´t necessarily guaranteed to be dry. Every roof leaks. Even ours. A lot. We also handwash our clothes. I am making up for experiences I didn´t have because I wasn´t a pioneer. But I love it! 

Back to my companion. She is from Idaho and she was in the CCM the same time as Kat. She remembers playing basketball with Kat. I have a picture of Kat in my scriptures that she sent me and basically I show it to everyone. "Oh, you like to eat platanos? Want to see a picture of my sister?" Por favor, someone send me a picture of our family. And pictures of your family. I want pictures I can hold and put on the wall. I need a bit of home in mi vida. 

We had a meeting in Tegucigalpa this week. It was so great. It was with all of the new missionaries and their trainers to see how things were going. It was strengthening. It was like seeing family again. And then Pres showed us a clip comparing missions to the Atonement. Like the relationship. SO POWERFUL!! Everyone should watch it. Every day. Then they gave us real food! I basically didn´t eat the first week, so it was good to have a meal with veggies and meat. Don´t worry, I am eating now. I am actually eating quite a bit now. 

After the meeting we had intercambios with the sister leader trainers. I was with Hna. VAsquez and she is a ray of sunshine. It was so motivating and I learned to much. She was also very nurturing. It probably changed my mission. The next day we returned to our area. 

There is currently a fair here. It happens every year. It is quite humble, but it is funny to see the excitement of the people. There was even a parade. It consisted of 9 men crunched in the bed of a truck playing in their band and about 8 men riding horses behind them. Chistoso. 

The branch here has around 40 people that attend regularly. The branch president always looks tired. Officially I think there are around 330 people in the branch. We have a lot of work to do. But the people are really receptive here. Everyone is willing to let 2 white girls from the states come into their home and teach them. It is way to easy to teach lessons to people. Too bad everyone is Catholic and doesn´t want to change religions. We ask them if they think the message is true and they say yes. Every Church is true. FALSE. We are working on convincing them. We also ran out of Book of Mormons, so it has been really difficult. "Want evidence? Read the Book of Mormon... oh wait, we don´t have one... here is a pamphlet." Its not quite the same. 

I love the people here. I love them so much. I want them to have the happiness that I have. 

I love you all, I will be more specific next week and send pictures. If someone is going to send me a package, can you include those little half socks that you wear with flats? They are a life saver. Well, time is up! Love you! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Michelle is in Honduras!!

We didn't hear from her during her last week in the MTC and last week we just got a short note saying she was having a little bit of a challenge adjusting. But we hope to get more details next week. We do know, however, that she and her companion found 16 new people to teach and they are living in a fairly safe area of the city. (Or at least "calm" area).

Here are a few pictures that were posted on the mission blog.

The new sisters.

 Here generation
 Michelle with her mission president and his wife.
Michelle with her companion. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Week 5--Only One More to Go!!

Buenos Dias! It seems like forever since the last time I have written! But it has been such a great week! It is crazy to think that I go to the field next week! I am not sure how much time, if any I will have to write next week, so brace yourself for that. I am way excited to leave, but nervous enough that I will savor every last second here. There is so much learning to be had! This week has been better than last week.
Spiritual Stuff
We had the most powerful experience. On Saturday we had a different teacher, Hna. Melgar, and she told us we were going to do something a little different. She pulls out a list. It included: 1. Tell someone we liked their shoes 2. Ask someone, Le Gusta chocolate? 3. Share our testimony 4. Ask someone to share their favorite scripture 5. Sing a hymn.

She then told us that we were going to go over to the temple and talk to all of the people there and we had 30 minutes to do all of the things on the list and testify of the Restored Gospel. I love real people! It made me so excited to go out into the field. And they understood some of my Spanish! Actually most of it! I told one lady that her baby was a monkey, but I was able to recover and tell her that I meant that he was cute. She then started nursing in front of me, so I guess we are even. It was such a good experience!
In other news, I read Isaiah 53 so much this last week. If you haven{t read it lately, read it now. So good. I love it! I read it first just to read it and learn and then I reread it thinking of my role as a missionary. I love the Gospel and I am so grateful for the Atonement.
Favorite scripture this week D&C 50:41-43... i think....
Life in the CCM
I love my district! They are so great! They are obedient and just want to be better missionaries, but at the same time they are hilarious. This last Sunday we had a meeting and we all felt the Spírit so strong! At one point it was so strong that we just sat there and enjoyed it in silence for 15 minutes. So powerful. Only 4 out of the 14 are going to my mission, including me, so I am way sad about that. But I met the Hispanic sisters that will be going with us and they are great!
Last Monday was June 24, so we celebrated half Christmas eve. It was great! We sang Christmas songs leading up to it and then that night 2 elders surprised us with presents and a Christmas tree made out of waterbottles and water cups. It was interesting, but very sweet! They had a specific present for each of us. They had to scavenge around the CCM, so I got a Liahona with a picture of the Mesa temple and I love it probably more than most gifts I have received. It was so great!
On Tuesday we had an excursion to the market! I loved it! So so fun! I bought a native shirt so I will blend in a little better. While we were out we made up a CCM version to the begining song in tangled. I will have to send you the words sometime. It was hilarious. Pure inspiration.
It is crazy to think that I have only been here just over a month. I don{t remember what real life is like. Did I ever sleep in past 6:30? I don{t remember... But I have made so many close friends. Unfortunately, the 2 I am closest too are all going to different missions. But we can support each other from afar.
So I had to teach the law of chastity this week. I was pretty confident to begin with, and then they started listing off things we would have to say. Oh man, I have never been so uncomfortable. Lets just take a moment to remember that I am a 19 year old girl with no life experience. Now appreciate how uncomfortable I have been. Thank goodess for the help of the Spirit. And thank goodness that our investigator didnt have any problems. Bless him.
I love my teachers here. They are the best. Hno. Sian is the most humble man I have ever met. He has been a member for 5 years and I think he is perfect. So powerful.
Fun facts:
I am learning how to juggle in my spare time before bed. We had to get a little creative, so I have been practicing with soap packets. I am going to progress in a myriad of ways by the end of my mission.
I cut Hna. McGills hair! That might be my proudest accomplishment! And it looks good!
My branch president, Presidente Diaz remembers Grandpa and Grandma Smith from when they served here. He has a great respect for them and always points me out as their granddaughter to other people.
Love you all!
Oh! I forgot! We listened to a devotional form Elder Nelson and he mentioned that as a missionary we have the right to pray for our ancestors and the ancestors of those we will run into to help us. We can even ask for angels to help us that possess a certain character trait. That was powerful! I had never thought about that !
Um, still love you! Bye !

Updated Group Pictures

They must take pictures every two weeks for the Latin missionaries that are there for only about 10 days. Here are the latest pictures.

Week 4 In the MTC

This week has been a treat...
Let´s just say, Heavenly Father knows me really well and knows what I need to learn. He is great. This week I have decided to try to be more like Christ and develop humility. Apparently Heavenly Father wanted to give me opportunities to practice and develop humility. That is the premise to Smackdown Saturday. So, Saturday was the first time we got feedback from our teachers. They have a policy of just letting us learn here and letting us judge ourselves. I am still trying to embrace it. But, what I got out of Saturday was that I have no idea how to teach and the only thing I do well is smile. Quite humbling. But at least I do one thing right, si? I have never poured out my heart so fully in prayer before Saturday night. If anyone has any tips on teaching, feel free to send them to me. But seriously. I need help. Anyway, Sunday was a day of answered prayers. I love this gospel. We watched a devotional by Elder Holland in the mornign and it was rejuvenating. Later we watched the World Wide Broadcast and I was singing praises for 30 minutes after. And it was only 30 minutes because it ended at 10 and I had to go to sleep. I just felt like breaking out of the MTC and hugging everyone insight and teaching them the gospel. I only see a few flaws in that plan...
Going along with humility, my new mission theme scripture: Alma 26:12. Read it. Love it. Live it. So so good!
This scripture is completely unrelated to everything, but we found a Harry Potter reference. D & C 38:28. Feel free to laugh.
We had 2 more English fasts. I am getting pretty good at them. Silence is golden. Enough said. Just kidding, I try my hardest to speak with the natvies.We were complaining to our teacher that our time during deportes was hard because we only know gospel phrases, and not phrases relating to deportes. How do you trash talk is Spanish? Not like we trash talk, but we still wanted to know how to speak during deportes. Therefore, my cute little teacher taught us some phrases. For example: "vayase mi casa" or "Soy una pared" (When I am blocking in volleyball) or "Bienvenidos a mi casa". It was a good time. He stood on the side fo teh court and kept telling me more and more. I think he had fun watching me butcher all of the Spanish language.
So there is a joint that blasts music right next to the CCM. usually it is during our deportes time, but one time last week they were blasting a catchy American song while we were studying. I love my district. We started belting "Called to Serve". Our volume rivaled the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Seriously. So powerful. I am so grateful to be surrounded by such great examples.
That is basically all that has happened. Quick recap: I was humbled and my prayers were answered. Yep. That is all. Love you all!