Monday, November 24, 2014

Michelle's Last Letter from Honduras!!

This is Michelle's last letter. We are so proud of her and the work she has done in Honduras. Today we welcomed a new sister into our mission from Honduras. She told us that when she was in the MTC she met another sister from Honduras who had lived in a branch Michelle served in. She said Michelle was super hard working, dedicated and a great missionary. That was fun to hear.

We are also very grateful for her wonderful mission president. Michelle thinks the world of both him and his wife, and from all we know about him we would have to agree they are pretty awesome. She was so blessed to be able to work with them.  

Hey family,

Its been a good week. I have been working hard. 

We had intercambios on Thursday. I was in my area. We found 6 new people and 2 new families. We put 2 baptism dates and one was with a family. It was a great day. We also had 5 lessons with members. Who is finishing the mission thinking about home? Definitely not Hna. Wagner! She is working like crazy! :-) 

So Presidente decided to throw everyone off guard. usually cambios are on Wed. THis time they are tomorrow. looks like I should start packing.  I have been avoiding it. But tomorrow after changes we will train the new missionaries quickly and then send them off to work. I am not sure where I will spend the day. Wednesday we go to the temple and then spend some time with President and Sis Fortuna. I heard a rumor that there will be a Thanksgiving feast. That would be acceptable. 

So looks like today is my last day in my area. I haven{t said goodbye to anyone, but I have only been here 6 weeks, so they shouldn{t be too sad. 

Saturday night we had our baptism. There was a lot of support from the ward. That was great to see. It started late, which isn't new. It was a great, and short, baptismal service. 

This Thanksgiving I am more grateful than ever for the experiences of this last year and a half. I have come to know my Savior as never before. I know He lives and loves me. I know He carries us when we can't find the strength to carry on. He literally gives us strength beyond our own. I have felt him carry me in these 18 months. His arms are open and He beckons us to come unto Him. The greatest joy I have ever felt is when I have truly repented. Through Christ we can become clean again. Any heartache or sorrrow can be erased. This year I am grateful for my Savior. I am also grateful for the Restored Gospel which allows me to have an eternal family. You never realize how much you love your family, until they are far away. My love for all of my family members has increased as I have come to know and rely upon Jesus Christ. The family is ordained of God. He has a purpose for us. The greatest joy comes as we follow our Savior, Jesus Christ, as a family. I know it. I have felt it. 

I love you all dearly. I also love these people in Honduras. Lately they have all been asking me if I am super excited and happy to return home. I have struggled to find the words to explain to them that while I am excited to be reunited with my family, I am heartbroken to leave the country and the people that I have come to love. I have given my heart, might, mind and soul to this work. It is the most gratifying work I have ever participated in. 

Share the restored gospel with everyone that crosses your path. They are not strangers, but our brothers and sisters who are seeking for the truth. They don't know where to find it. It is our responsibility to find them and rescue them. If there is something that I have learned, it is that missionary work is not confined to full time missionaries. Do your part. Jacob 1:19

Love you all. See you shortly. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Enduring to the End . . .

Hard to believe but Michelle gets home NEXT WEEK!!! She will fly here to Guadalajara and spend the month with us.  We have not mentioned the end of her mission to her at all, other then to comment on the need to endure to the end:-) but she must think we are worried about her since she is always trying to reassure us she is continuing to work hard. 

Dear Family, 

Okay, first things first
1. I plan on basically leaving everything here in Honduras. A. Because after hand washing everything for a year and a half it is now ugly B. Because there are people who need these things more than I do. But I do plan on having a few outfits, as I can´t come home naked. 

2. I have never been in an area that has been even close to touristic, so don´t expect souvenirs. 

3. Don´t worry, parents, I am still working hard. You should never end a race slowing down. On the contrary, you should give a good kick at the end. This week is going to be a week of miracles. 

This last week was good. We played capture the flag last monday for a zone activity. That was a fun one. I fell, but quickly recovered. 

Tuesday we had intercambios with the sisters in OJOJONA. I was with Sis. C. She is 19, but was engaged before the mission. She studied at BYU Hawaii. She had a crazy story. I love getting to know the sisters. 

We had a great day and worked hard. We found a family and had some great lessons. The people opened up to us a lot. 

The next day we had intercambios with the other sisters from O. I was there with Hna. H. It was great. We got along instantly. It was like I was with my best friend all day. We laughed the whole day long and had a lot of great lessons. We reached 10 contacts for the day, so that was good. 

We planned with them the next morning. Then I was finally with my companion in our area. I kind of missed her those days. 

Thursday night we visited C. She is doing well. She is ready for her baptism this Saturday. It has been a miracle. She is so special. 

We also visited the Fm. Vallecio. The husband went to another departamento (like a different state) to work, so our baptismal date with them fell through. It is hard here because everyone lives in such poverty that they let temporal things overrule spiritual things. We try to help them understand, but they have a hard time developing the faith that the Lord will bless them more if they go to Church than if they work when they see their children starving. It is heartbreaking. 

On Friday we had a miracle! We found a part member family. They are super excited to start working towards a baptismal date. here's the kicker. He is 28 and she is 16. We will need a member every time we teach them and it will be super expensive or them to marry. But she is a recent convert and did her personal progress already. But then she got pregnant and moved to Tegucigalpa. Okay, so she needs to understand a few things better. 

Sunday everyone gave us food. It was weird. But good. But one family invited us to dinner and made us eat a super spicy chile. They said that every elder that has eaten it has cried. My companion and I, with only our pride, were able to chew it for 1 min. That was the standard. Then I spit it out and wanted to cry. But I didn´t. Turns out that if you put salt on it, it takes away the burn. It was fun. 

This week we finish intercambios with our sisters, and have a meeting to train the new trainers. Woohoo!!! 

Love you all, have a great week. 

And the work goes on. . . .

First off, Happy birthday Dad. You are getting to be pretty wise... 

Okay, This week was crazy. 

Monday-- zone activity. We played soccer. Like always. I hate soccer because I am still not very good at it, but I am getting better. 

Tuesday. We had intercambios with the sisters from the Quezada. They are in a trio. I was with the newbie, Hna. L. She is waiting to go to Oaxaca, Mexico. Stinkin visas. They are all doing great, so that was super nice. My granddaughter in the mission is training her. Mi nieta has now had 2 daughters that have gone to Mexico. Rebels! 

Wednesday we had the first evaluation for the nuevos. It was good. They are a solid group. Presidente starts off talking about the commitments they made as they came to the mission and the blessings they and their family will receive. Then we verified 12 semanas and their schedule--as in made sure they are following the 12 week program and doing what they need to be doing during the day. We played games and practiced. I had to talk in English a ton because they are all new and didn't understand Spanish. I gave everyone a copy of my language plan because most of the Americans don´t have a good idea of how to study Spanish. Hopefully the plan will help them. Now my companion is following it to learn english. 

Thursday we had intercambios with the sisters from Las Americas. I was with Hna. Q y Hna. D. It was a smashing time. We have something in the mission that we call, The 3 Golden Rules that we have to use every lesson. 1. invite to be baptized 2. invite to chruch 3. ask for references. We always have to do it. Because we were a trio, we each had a rule. I had to invite to Church. They needed a little bit of help to do it every lesson, but it was good in the end. 

Friday we had a multi zone conference. We participated again. We did the same thing we did the last time, but we did a better practice.This time they had to find out the concern of the investigator with inspired questions and listen and feel the spirit and use the Book of Mormon to help. It was a lot more specific, and it turned out better. 

We also took a PMG quiz. I missed one question. I got 118 out of 120 points. I felt so disappointed that I missed that one. But that is why we keep studying. But I did feel pretty good because I did better than the assistants. I know that is prideful, but I don´t care.:-) 

President also committed us to doing 10 contacts every day. We are taking with EVERYONE!!! It is great! 

Saturday was a bit rough. Despite that we have been talking with everyone, we weren´t able to find a lot this week and all of our members fell through. Yuck. 

But Sunday was a day of miracles! We found 9 positive people and 2 families. We ended the week with 5 baptism dates with 2 families. We found such a great family. We contacted them walking up the hill to get investigators for church. It is never to early to contact! :-) They have been waiting for missionaries. They are so ready. His brother is a bishop in the other mission. 

Also this week I contacted everyone in a huge van. We take the van from the bottom of a hill to the top. It is pretty far. Like 5 min. I contacted the lady next to me, and then decided that I might as well contact everyone. Hello, listen to me, I am a representative of Jesus Christ... 

I have also been studying how we can teach the restoration with just the Book of Mormon. It is life changing. Now I am going to do it with every lesson. It is literally the most powerful tool we have. 

That is all. Have a great week! 


Monday, November 3, 2014

Life in my new area . . .

Buenos Dias. 

So today they fumigated our house. Thats nice. There is also a random cold front. I am in a scarf, super long skirt and long sleeve shirt. Weird. 

So when I got to the area there basically weren't any investigators. I feel like that always happens. Missionary work is hard work. But there are a ton of recent converts. 

We basically only work in an area called Altos de L. As you can imagine there are quite a bit of hills. But it is a tiny area, but there are always new people. 

We found a new family the other day when my companion fell. They are  the Cruz family. They are super positive. They want to get married, but have financial issues. they also have heard a lot of bad things about the church. But they are reading and praying to know the truth. They couldn´t go to church this week, but are preparing to go this week. 

There is another family named the Meza  family. She has gone to church with us twice. Her husband is a guard to one of the neighborhoods, so he works for 24 hours every other day. The sunday that he was supposed to go to church he got cold feet and hasn´t showed a lot of interest in the church, but he doesn´t know enough to say that he doesn´t want it, so we are going to be quite persistent with him. He at least needs to know what he is denying before he denies. it. They also need to get married, but they want to. She is menor de edad, so it will be L. 650 mas. No big. She is 18, but to be mayor de edad they need to be 21. 

We are also working with a part member family. He is a taxi driver, so he has no time. He has gone to Church twice while I have been here, but won't commit to a date. As dad would call it, I think he has a favorite sin that he knows he needs to give up but doesn´t want to. 

There is also a mom of a joven in the ward named C. who has decided to progress. She will be baptized Nov. 22 if all goes well. 

We had a great experience in intercambios. I was with Hna. B in S (old area) and we visited a young girl who has a baptism date. Her mom was there and we started talking to her and we got her to accept to go to church. This was huge because she didn´t want anything to do with the church. But we helped her feel why she needed to Come unto Christ through inspired questions. If she goes to church she can prepare to get baptized and her husband can finally get baptized. They just need to get married. 

We have been practicing inspired questions a lot lately. It is changing our lives. Teach people, not lessons. A good question can open a hard heart to the gospel. Our goal is to talk less than the investigator in our lessons. It is rough because usually we like to hear the sound of our own voices, but it has been incredible to see the results. They understand a lot better. 

We have started zone conferences and we are teaching c. 10 de PME with Teach people, not lessons from 12 semanas. The first one we did went really well. We have one more this week. 

This week we have the primera evaluacion de nuevos y una conferencia de zona and 2 intercambios. It should be a fun filled week. It should be one of our craziest weeks. 

My personal study is the best part of my day.I love the scriptures. I love the Book of Mormon. Everyday I read something that I can use to help my investigators. Today I read in Alma 5. It is super powerful. We need to make the changes we need to make TODAY and not procrastinate. What a shame would it be if we had to stand before God today and if we were guilty. 

For my birthday we had Mission Council. It was good. I think I forgot to tell you that my daughter, Hna. Montaño is now a HLE. Well, she is such a blessing. She called Hna. Fortuna and had a huge cake ready for me. It was like a surprise birthday party. She also gave me a necklace and a hymn book with notes in a few of the hymns we sang together. My companion wrote me a note and gave me a hostess cupcake. And a few of the other sisters wrote me notes. The whole Consejo sang to me and then smashed my face in the cake. Then we got back to our area and worked super hard. All in all, it was a good day. 

Mom and dad, I read your emails, but didn´t respond. Sorry! But I was super grateful for them and took a picture to be able to read them better later. 

Love you all! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Last Change!!!

Hello dear family. You are curious to know where I am, right. Well, I will get to that. First I will start with Monday. That is where the real story begins. All of our district abandoned us, but a returned missionary from our area invited us to go eat fish in a cute little restaurant. It was pretty good. It still had its head and scales and eyes, but I am now used to that.

Then we went and explored a near by town that is still in our area, just a bit far. It was super pretty. It was so peaceful.

Tuesday I said goodbye to the sweet Talangeños. Adios! It was hard, but good.

Tuesday night I basically finished packing. I just had a cleanup to do in the morning.

Wednesday, at 2 in the morning, I woke up with diarhea and vomiting. It was awful. I was in the bathroom every 20 minutes. At about 5:30 I realized that I would have a hard time making it to the Transfer meeting. At 6 I called my district leader (who also had changes) and explained the situation. He called the ZLs and their advice was better late than never.

I was in quite the situation, because I was vomiting every 20 min, so I was not sure if I could make it the hour and a half trip to the meeting. And then if President sent me to somewhere 5 hours away, there was no way I would survive the bus. I decided it was time to go straight to the source of all knowledge. I called Mama Fortuna.
I explained the situation and said that I could get to Tegucigalpa (maybe) but if I was going to have to go on a bus for 5 hours, I would probably not leave my bed. She said she would talk to president.

Meanwhile, I got a priesthood blessing. It was such a powerful experience. Elder Rosales blessed me that I would begin to heal in that very moment becuase the Lord needed me in my new area. That from that very moment I had to get better because there was a greater work in store. he said a lot of other things. It was super powerful.
After the blessing, I went straight to the bathroom, and then to my bed. Hna. Fortuna called and said that President said that if I could make it to Tegucigalpa, I would have changes, but if not I would finish my mission there in Talanga. TRIAL OF FAITH!! The sisters there in the house begged me to stay. I couldn´t make a decision like that based on popular opinion. We all prayed personally. When we finished, we all knew that I was leaving.
I got things together, and got on the bus. I didn´t move the entire way, so that I wouldn´t throw up. As soon as I got to the chapel I was sick, but only had to leave the meeting once.

I am here in L. as a SLT. My companion has 3months in the area. It is the neighbor to Roble Oeste, but poorer. It is a great area.

I got to my area and went straight to bed. I decided to work at night and I vomited along the wayside. Nothing bonds a companionship like sickness. 

Friday we had a special leadership meeting. They took out a companionship of SLTs and gave some to us. We now have 8 companionships. But there are 2 trios. 18 sisters. It is pretty overwhelming. And my prayers have gotten a lot longer, as I pray for each by name.

We are also in charge of all of the training. We have about 6 days during a change where we do training, in addition to all of our divisions with our 18 sisters.  We train in zone conferences, the new missionaries, the trainers of the new missionaries, etc... So there will not be anytime to get bored this change. It is going to fly.
This morning we had a meeting with President and he bought us lunch after. We will see if I gain or lose weight this change.

Lastly, I HAVE HOT WATER. I am finishing the mission in style.

I love you all! Pray for me and all of my new responsibilities. Any game ideas or fun practice ideas are welcome. 

Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Singing and singing a solo!!

We can't wait to hear from Michelle tomorrow to learn where she is spending the last six weeks of her mission!!

Michelle with her companion. I found this picture on her mission blog

Oh family, you are all so great. Thank you all for the pump up talk for the end of the mission. Don't worry. Until this point I have focused really well. I feel like I am accelerating instead of slowing down. It is a bit weird thinking that this is the last change, but what can you do? 

I forgot to tell you that I asked President in my interview if I was going to finish in Talanga and he just laughed and said no. So I have known for a week and a half that I am leaving. This morning I washed all of my clothes. By the end of today I should be ready. 

This week was a roller coaster. The A R family has put us through quite a journey. When president visited them, he committed them to getting married, then he warned them that Satan would do all he could to destroy their family, but they should remember that he warned them that it would happen.

Well, it happened. They fought, she left the house. We were quite devastated. Then Friday we went with another family that is preparing to be baptized and they confessed that the husband had already been married to someone else and he has to get divorced so that they can get married. Divorces here take extremely long. It is ridiculous. So that baptismal date fell through and we were feeling pretty bad. Especially because another investigator that day had told us that he doesn't want anything to do with the church (that he is happy in his sins) So one by one the baptismal dates were falling through. We were a bit discouraged. But nobody has time to be discouraged in the mission because it diminishes our faith. We kept working. We decided to try our luck to go to the A family. 

It was such a sweet experience. Only the wife was home. Her heart had been softened during the week. We asked her if she remembered what president had told her. She remembered perfectly that he warned her that Satan would try to mess them up. They are now newly committed. 

Saturday night we had a White Night. We all tried to baptize someone that night. The goal was to each baptize a family. We were all good until about a week before. I already told you what happened with our family. In the end, only one family got baptized. But as a district we baptized 7 people. There were a ton of people in white. We baptized a girl named N. She is 15 and has a great testimony of the gospel. She is powerful. 

Sunday we had the district conference. The missionaries were part of a chorus. Honduras is helping me leave my comfort zone like none other. Holy cow. I sang How Firm a Foundation in a quartet. I was the melody. That was the prelude. People were still coming in, so they didn't pay too much attention. Then Hna. Clark and I sang Lead, Kindly Light together (duet) right before the last speaker, which was president Fortuna. That time everyone was paying attention. 448 people. And part of the song I sang a solo (one line). I have never been so nervous in my entire life. But it turned out really well. Really well. I had some heavenly help there. The spirit was so strong and there was a great peace there, when it had just been super irreverent with children screaming and crying and leaving to use the bathroom. It was great. And nerve-racking. We sang the first verse together, then I stayed melody and she did alto the second verse and high tenor the third verse. It was super good. 

We were disappointed because we didn't see the A family at church, but then President Fortuna went to find them in their house because he didn't see them either. Turns out they had gone, but left early. President chatted with him, and it made a huge difference. I am so grateful for a mission president who really cares. 

I love you all! Have a great week! 

Another long week complete with hospital visits!

Okay family, I am not sure if i will have time to write all the juicy details, but this letter should be a good one. It has been a long week and I am utterly exhausted in every way. 

So the week started out well with the activity for the sisters. We started out with a super hard work out video. The sisters loved it. And the lazy sisters just took pictures of the other sisters doing it. Then we did skits about women in the scriptures and the Christ like attributes they had. I wrote our skit. It was a mom telling her 2 daughters the story of Esther and next to it, a few sisters were acting out the story. Then it flashed 12 years later and one of the daughters went on a mission, wanted to go home, but then decided to be like Esther and do the hard thing. It was hard to incorporate 14 girls, but I did it.  And it all worked out in the end. And it was pretty funny. 

Tuesday we had mission council. President was a bit frustrated with the month that we had had, but motivated us for October and November. It was super good. 

Wednesday we had a really good day. We talked with everyone. And it was good that we worked so hard because Hna. C who lives with us was SUPER sick and I spent the rest of the week with her in Tegucigalpa. President wanted someone from each area to stay in our house to keep both areas going, so I went with her because I know Tegucigalpa better than anyone and I love Hna. C. And I was the only one that could carry her if she fainted. 

Thursday president came for interviews and visited a family with us. He helped them make the decision to get married. It was great. But then he told us to ask the husband why he went to jail. Turns out he killed someone. Anyway, President took Hna. C and I to the hospital. She was basically asleep the whole time in the car, so I had an hour and a half of quality time with the president. That was great. After the hospital, Hna C and I went out to eat (something simple) and celebrated our 16 month anniversary together. It was beautiful.

The next day president was going to pass by our area to go to interviews, so he picked us up to take us back to our area. This time sister Fortuna was with him. It was also his birthday. 

We got to talanga and Hna clark went to sleep. Then I went out with my companion and we came back to the apartment for lunch. Hna. C had a high fever again and was super sick and I called Hna. Fortuna, and she told us to go to the emergency room. We went and then the Fortunas came and picked us up at about 7:30 in the noche. Then presient offered to take us anywhere we wanted for dinner. They told us that they never offer that, so we had better take advantage. They offered Chillis, and a place that sells shrimp and a whole bunch of other stuff, but hna. C hadn't eaten in a week and chose pizza. They told us that we felt like their daughters. They definitly felt like our parents. Picked us up, took us out to eat... It was great. 

Times up. Love you

Monday, September 22, 2014

It was the best of times . . . it was the worst of times . . .

Dear Family,

This week was... extremely short. Considering I wrote Wednesday, this might be short. I doubt it. It has been crazy. Just to give you the heads up, next week i might write on Tuesday because there is an activity for the sisters in the Capital. 

Okay. Wednesday we had exchanges with the sisters that live in our house. It was a successful day. In our zone we have a Companionship of the Week contest. For every new investigator it is 1 point. For everyone in church it is 2 points and for baptismal dates its 3 points. There has been one area that isn't part of our district that has dominated. Our district is determined to beat them. We are a bit prideful, but we have been doing it all with sincerity, so I feel like it isn't bad. The goal in the zone was to find 25 new people and 5 families. This zone is always at the bottom of everything in the stats, so it is a miracle if every companionship finds more than 10. 

But we worked hard in my area. We were running between every cita. But it was really good. 

Thursday our dl and our zl visited a family we have that is progressing. It is the A. R. family. They are so great. They are not married, so we talked a bit about that. This family amazes me every time we are with them. They are chosen. 

Friday we had intercambios with the sisters in Guaimaca. They are in training. Like almost always, I was with the new sister. I usually go with them because I understand their point of view better and my companion understands how to help the trainers better. When I trained it was a piece of cake. When I was trained I almost jumped off the balcony. But this sister surprised me. She was calm and composed. She is 28 from Mexico and isn't feeling stressed at all. I have never been with a sister like her. 

And she is super sweet. She will be a rockstar missionary. I think that if she went to byu she would be a theatre major. 

I got food poisoning, but I was able to rough it out. I held off pretty well until the nighttime. I don't know why I have had to get sick in the intercambios, but it is good because it helps me focus on working. 

She taught all of the lessons by herself. It made me laugh. But she did let me testify at the end, which was nice. We talked a lot about equality and unity. We also practiced A TON in companionship study before she went back to her area. We did at least 7 practices. It was really good. And then I helped her with English. 

Saturday we finished the exchanges and we got back to our area and ran from the bus to be able to visit as many people as we could. We did divisions and visited all of our investigators with baptismal dates and then in the night time we focused on finding because those are the most productive hours. It was a great day. And a sister missionary just returned from her mission, and is super ready to work with us. 

Sunday was an interesting day. It was beautiful, yet hard. We passed by the A. R. family and they had been up all night with food poisoning too. We told them that even if they made it late, it would be okay, but they were prettyy unsure. We left without much faith that they would go. 

We felt beyond blessed and extremely humbled when they showed up just after the sacrament. They decided to put God first. The husband has been unemployed for a while and they are expecting a baby. It has been stressful. After we left their house a man showed up saying that there was a job opportunity, but he had to go RIGHT then to get it. The husband said that first he would go to church and if God wanted him to have the job, he would get it. It is to drive a truck. He doesn't have a current license, but out of all the applicants who were there and had their licenses, he received the job. He was able to see how he needs to always put God first and he will be blessed. It was beautiful. 

All in all we had 7 investigators at church. This week has been so humbling. In all of my prayers at night I have focused on only thanking Heavenly father for the blessings. I don't ask for anything. It has helped my relationship with Him become so much more intimate. 

We had 28 lessons this week.  And we found 28 new investigators. And received 18 referrals. There have been so many miracles. And it is amazing because we had to travel for the intercambios. It has helped widen our vision and increase our faith. 

Yesterday after we did divisions with some sisters in the branch I reunited with my companion to find her talking to a sister that has been training. We have had communication with them every day. Yesterday we found out that they are going to have emergency changes. It is super sad. I was shaking when I heard. But I also know that I have tried to help them as much as I could. They will be having them today with the sisters that live in our house. Sister G is going to Campamento to finish the training of the sister and the Trainer is coming to our house. It will be good, as that she has been in the red zone of stress for these last few weeks. It will be good to have her close. 

Well, That is all. I have felt extremely blessed this week. And humbled. Pray that the A. R. family goes forward in their wedding plans and that we have enough money to pay for it and eat and have intercambios. woohoo. But it is so worth it. 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dengue Fever!

Okay family, sorry for not writing. Clearly it was not within my control. It kind of stinks, though. 

Monday we had a parade here in T for Independence day and nothing was open. Tuesday we were invited to the DL counsel/training. It was really good, but I missed writing you all. 

It was a crazy week. Turns out I had Dengue. Now I can check that one off the list. It is classified as Classic Dengue. I was super blessed. I received a blessing from my DL and with the help of the power on High, I didn't miss a single hour of work. I wanted to die in the nighttime and in the morning, but I was able to function enough to work. 

Tuesday we had the Mission Council with all of the SLT and the ZLs. My companion and I had to lead a discussion about how we can help the mission focus on Hombres older than 18 and families. It was really good. I wanted to die because I felt so sick, but I don't think anyone noticed while we were talking. During lunch I didn't want to eat, so Presidente realized that something was wrong. He and Hna. Fortuna talked to me and gave me advice. They have been really good. They have called to check on me many times. They are great. 

Tuesday I saw a package for me form Camille. I decided to leave it there during the mtg and get it after. When I passed by the next time it had disappeared. Pte sent the packages back to the office. It was sad, but I was able to get it yesterday. It was quite joyful. GOD BLESS AMERICA. We just do it so well. Thank you Camille for all of the thought and time you went through. It is appreciated! 

Thursday I sitll felt pretty week, but the fever had finally gone away. We found an incredible family. They will be baptized Oct 11 if everything goes well. They need to get married. We found another part member family that should be baptized that day, too. They also need to get married. Looks like my diet is starting. But It will be a great day. 

Friday I woke up with a full body rash. It was like hives. Apparently it is an after effect of Dengue. It was fun. We had intercambios that day with sisters that are STRUGGLING. They are in training and the trainer is super stressed. Super. She calls us everyday. EVERYDAY. I spent 45 minutes talking to them pday because they were both crying. Luckily they have the evaluation with President this week. That should help them a lot. 

Sunday they filled a food calendar for us. That has been a blessing. 

Monday they had a parade for about 7 hours in the main street. It was pretty boring, but fun to see the culture. Poor kids were suffering in the sun. 

Yesterday we had the mtg with the DLs. It was really good in that they talked about the relations between sisters and elders. We have been having a few problems with that lately. There is too much love and support going on. But now everyone is super clear. 

We are happy and working hard.
I am not sure if i will finish in this area or not, but I trust that the best option for me will work out. 

Weird. Three of the 4 sisters that are in our house finish at the same time. One of them is already ready. Honestly, I forget that the mission will finish. It doesn't seem real and doesn't even cross my mind. 

Love you all! Have a great week! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

No changes, and we had people at church!!

Dear Family,

This week we were all nervous for changes. There were only 2 companionships in all of my zone that didn't have changes. And we were one of them! It was great! We are happy to still be here together. This area is challenging, but I feel like there is still more for me to do here. 

Tuesday morning we were waiting for the phone call for changes and we decided to serve the District President. It is hard for me to focus when we are waiting. We helped clean their roof tiles. [I really hope that doesn't mean she was on the roof! I just wrote her and asked her to never do that again. It is supposed to be against rules for missionaries due to several being killed that way.]

Wednesday were changes. We served again. Hna. Hernandez in our house went home and our district leader left the area. My new district leader is..... ELDER ROSALES. The one that Kat knows. It has been a night and day difference. We are all happy and excited now! 

And guess who is living in my house? HNA.CLARK. [They were companions for three months and in the MTC together]

I couldn't be happier. I love this sister so much. The atmosphere has changed so much in the house. There is now love and respect and laughter. I knew she would be coming. It was strange. I prayed one day in the morning and then into my mind came the thought that Hna. Clark was going to be the new companion of Hna. Gonzalez. A few days before changes I told her, jokingly, that she would be living with me soon. THEN IT HAPPENED! 

Thursday we had a surprise meeting with Elder Ochoa from the area seventy with Pte. Beck from the Young men's presidency. They talked a ton about the Sacrament and asked how we will Always Remember Him?

That will be the topic tomorrow in el Consejo de Lideres. Oh, by the way, my companion and I am leading a discussion in the Consejo. That should be interesting. President called us last night to tell us. Every time he calls we get nervous.

I also ate 2 icecreams in honor of Kat's birthday on Thursday. One for her and one for me. I thought it was fitting. 

Friday was an interesting day. We had planning because of the meeting Thursday. And we found a new investigator named Mildred (referral from a member) that came to church this sunday! We had 4 investigators in church. It felt good. And 3 were because they have good member fellowship. That is the only way to have investigators in Church here. 

The night time was a bit rough. A few days before a less active man had given us a reference that was right in front of his house. We went to contact them and were chatting with them outside their house. Everything was going well, but then we heard screaming coming out of the house of the less active. We also heard hitting. The husband was beating his wife. It was awful. And then he left the house and chatted with his neighbors for a few seconds as if nothing had happened. And it is definitely not the first time this has happened because there was no reaction from the neighbors that we were talking to. That means it has happened many times before. But now a lot of things make sense. 

But it made me realize that I have been quite sheltered. I know things like this exist, but I have never been that close to it. It was a bit traumatizing. My companion has seen a lot of it in her mission, but this was my first time. We finished talking to the couple and we turned the corner of the street and I lost it. I sobbed. It just made me so sad. For so many reasons. But more than anything it made me SUPER grateful for the family I have. The family is ordained of God. Really, Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. My testimony of this has grown so much in the mission. 

I think I scared my companion a bit. I don't cry. I am never even sad. But I lost it. She wanted to go the house, but we had 20 minutes left, so we taught another lesson. I knew that if we returned to the house I would still feel awful, but if we taught someone, I would at least feel the comfort of the Holy Ghost. 

Elder Rosales has given us a challenge. We are all going to find a family to baptize for October 11. We will have a white night. Many zones have done it and had a lot of success. One zone did it and baptized 36 people, including 7 families. It was incredible. 

As a mission, we hit 255 baptisms. We have never hit 200 before. It has been the goal for the last few months. Now the goal is 300. 

Sunday I woke up with a crazy fever. We went to Church and I just sat there dying. Then we went home and I layed down. But it was quite a miracle because the time to leave the house Sunday is 3 and to enter is 8. At exactly 3 the fever broke and we left. I had a ton of energy and I felt great. We worked hard. At exactly 8 the fever returned. I had the fever all night long. But It broke again. Right now I am doing great and we will be able to take it easy. 

We were super grateful this week for the new changes and the success. I have been humbled quite a bit. 

Happy birthday Grandma! I hope you partied hard. You are awesome! 

Have a great week! 

A Two-headed Serpent??

Dear Family,

So I am definitely not training. They already had their meeting. I know it sounds bad, but I am pretty grateful I won´t end training. I had such a great blessing the first time that it would be really hard to have a bad experience to end my mission on. But I guess I would learn a lot from it. Anyway, I am happy. 

We think that I will change areas and I feel peace with whatever happens. Even if I didn´t feel peace, what is my option? But I sure do love my companion. The area tries my faith, but I am grateful for that. 

We didn´t have any investigators at Church yesterday. That was a bit rough. But we worked super hard this week. One of the zone leaders called us last night and started off by saying, "Sisters, I called to comfort you because you haven´t had investigators at church for 2 weeks."

That sure comforted us. Really, it has been a  bit frustrating, but we are fighting to stay positive. The elders are always super surprised when they call us to ask why we didn´t have investigators and we answer super chipper. Honestly, I don´t feel chipper, but it ususally helps the elders to not get after us as much if we sound super positive. The elder last night asked me how I was always so happy. Fake it til you make it, pal. That is my motto. 

But we had a really good week. We got tired of all of our investigators that lie to us, so basically we dropped a ton. But we were able  to find 20 NEW INVESTIGATORS. That was a blessing. At least the zls were happy with that. They said in their time in our zone nobody had found 20 before in one week.

Wednesday we found the cutest old blind man. He clapped his hands while we sang him a hymn. He is just darling. 

We also served the branch president's wife. We passed by one night at 7:30 and they had a TON of huge rocks in the street that they had to move into their house. We had a half hour left, so we helped them. It was super funny. They are used to women not lifting heavy objects and a litle old lady spent the whole time lecturing me for being strong and able to lift the rocks. They weren´t that big...

But I just pretended I didn´t understand her Spanish and kept on working. Many hands make light work. We finished quite quickly. But it was funny to go back to the house and see that we were COVERED in dirt and scrapes. Filthy. But they are our neighbors, so nobody saw us. 

Friday my companion made me empanadas from Paraguay. Get ready for those when I get home. I am now a pro and they are super good! 

Saturday one of the girls in our house tried to convince me that everyone has a huge serpent that lives inside of them with 2 heads. And everything we do is for the serpent. haha. If we get fat, it is because the serpent got fat. If we get skinny it is because the serpent got skinny. She is gullible. A man told them this and she believes him. Now she is super scared.  

We also found a lady who said she has the authority to baptize, present children and marry people. She got it after 8 years studying in San Pedro. She didn´t let us say a single word. And she told us that she wasn´t going to preach to us because she didn´t want to take away our ignorance because even though we were teaching a false doctrine, we still helped people. That was nice. 

I have learned to be super direct in the mission. This week I have felt like Abinadi because everyone is so stinkin wicked. So wicked. The worst is that they know it and they are fine with it. This week we were talking to a couple that know they are sinning when they aren´t married but still didn´t want to marry. By the way they have been together for 50 years and they don´t look like they have many left. Anyway, I don´t know what happened, but before I knew what I was even saying I told them that we weren´t just ordinary missionaries asking them to do something, but it was as if Christ himself was there inviting them to repent. The spirit was strong and they looked pretty shocked, but decided to continue sinning. It was our first lesson with them... But missionaries have visited them for a long time. 

Well, I hope Kat has the best birthday ever and that she eats cheesecake for me. OR something pumpkin. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

No longer a blonde!

Michelle dyed her hair light brown. I think I like it!

The before . . . (sorry it is a little blurry)

And the after . . . .

Two Weeks, Two Letters

 Hello dear family.  (August 26, 2014)

This last week we had intercambios with the sisters in Juticalpa. It is where Hna. M. is. My daughter in the mission. I wasn´t with her this time. I was with her companion. She is going home in like a week. It was good. We found a new family and set a baptism date with another family. It was a positive experience. She has a lot of pain in her knees, so she suffers a lot. Poor thing. 

Wednesday we had intercambios with Guiamaca. I was with Hna. S.  She is 28. Honestly, it makes me really nervous to be with the older sisters. Even with the age change, I am still pretty young in the mission. I have never had a companion younger than me. But it intimidates me a bit. But it is really interesting. God qualifies those that he calls. That's for sure. When she was crying I knew the words that God wanted me to tell her. I have had so many experiences where my mouth has been filled as I have opened it. 

I love serving these sisters. We are officially done with intercambios for this change. Unless something truly awful happens. 

The sister in Guaimaca was super scared the whole time that I was with her there because they were convinced that Presidente would never send a Norte Americana there. But honestly, it isn´t that dangerous. It is super calm. Everyone likes to think that they are in super dangerous areas, but really, every part is the same. Newsflash, we are in Honduras. Its all dangerous. But at the same time, we are super protected. 

Friday we had a mission wide service project. Everyone did service in their own areas. We painted the park. They chose super ugly colors, but I painted very well. :) I told everyone that I painted so well because my dad worked at a  painting company... I forgot to tell them that he actually didn´t paint, but was the accountant... whoops :)

Saturday we had a baptism. It was a girl named Abril. Actually that is her nickname. Her real name is Jenifer. I am not sure how they got Abril, because she was born in january. I don´t understand people. 

Sunday we had the District Leaders come and they spoke abuout tithing being fire insurance and after everyone filled out a tithing slip. It was funny to see the line to get a tithing slip. 

Our district meeting was interesting this week. Our DL started by talking about how he was pretty sure he had found one of the 3 Nephites and then started talking about how he knew when the second coming was going to happen. It was a bit... strange... but not out of the ordinary for him. Then for the practice he had us leave the church and go look for new investigators. Its always an adventure with him. 

Fun fact= in our branch, almost every active man has the title Presidente. I am not sure how they all pulled that off, but it makes me laugh. 

Have great week. Love you all! 

 Second Letter--August 18, 2014

Dear Family,
This week has been CRAZY! And super expensive with traveling. 

We started off well with intercambios with Juticalpa. The sisters are in training, so it was beyond necessary. I was with Hna. K  in my area. I traveled 6 hours in bus that day. It was nauseating. I thought that the nausea came from the bus... until the nighttime when I found out I had food poisoning. But we were still able to have a good day working. I was able to hold off the nausea until the nighttime. I can be pretty stubborn sometimes, and this time I was stubborn with my stomach.

 The sister really needed the intercambios. She was sobbing within the first 30 min. But we had a 3 hour bus ride and God helped me say the words that she needed to hear. In the nighttime I read her part of my journal from the beginning where I was planning to jump off of the balcony and break my right ankle. That always helps them realize they are actually doing pretty well. They usually laugh. :) 

During the night I woke up running to the bathroom and spent some good quality time there throwing up. I was able to sleep for a little bit, but then it was time to work again We had to travel to Juticalpa to bring Sister K back to her area, but then I almost fainted in the bus station so we had the sisters come to our area instead and we stayed and studied...while I was in the bed.

 But she thanked me and said that she was grateful that she could stay with me in my area a bit longer because she is suffering with her companion. But I made her pb&j and no bake cookies. She was incredibly grateful. Sometimes you just need comfort food. 

Friday we went to Catacamas and I was with my ex companion Hna. C. She was struggling a bit, but I was able to help. Sometimes you just need a friend. And President helped her a lot. I also let her borrow the letter Kat sent me for when times get rough on the mission. It helped a lot. Kat is so great. 

Sunday was interesting. Our investigators didn't go to Church, but Church was a little weird, so I think it was good in the long run. Hopefully they will go this week. 

Today had an activity for the sisters. We talked about charity and love and had them write 20 reasons why they love their companions to help them focus on their better attributes. Also, we played charades and then Quidditch and then ate. Then my companion and I and a few other sisters climbed up to were they have a zipline. we didn't do the zipline, of course, but it was pretty. I love Campamento. 

This week we have our last 2 intercambios. It will be good. They are super expensive. But sometimes we get reimbursed. Just for the long ones. 

I hope you have a great week! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sheer Exhaustion and a temple trip!

Dear Family,

This week has been exhausting. Uttlerly exhausting. Thank goodness for P-days. I love it. 

So we had 2 zone conferences this week. We had to present the Doctrine of Christ. We focused on some of the heroes of the Book of Mormon who knew who they were and what they were called to do. Then we practiced inviting people to be baptized. 

They had to invite pastors and Jehovah Witnesses to be baptized and normal people too. It was really good. 

We went with President to Juticalp to visit our other zone of sisters. We got in the car and the first thing he asked us was how were the sisters that live with us. They had called him asking to change houses.  He said no. Especially when we explained the situation. Luckily he trusts us and told us to keep helping them be obedient. 

Luckily the situation with them has improved. President talked about the Atonement in ZC and I think it slapped them in the face pretty hard because after they completely changed. He almost always talks about faith and the Atonement. And it always helps. Always. It is so powerful. 

So the branch wants me to teach English. I really don't enjoy it too much, but we will see if we find more people from it. 

Saturday we had a really neat activity. Our zone ranges from 1-3 hours from the temple. But the zone leaders worked with the district president and convinced them to rent a bus to take investigators to the temple. President Fortuna showed up and talked about temples and then opened it up to questions. It was crazy. It went from answering questions to inviting everyone individually to be baptized. It was a positive experience for everyone and they provided lunch, too. 

It was a bit stressful, but our zone went from 13 to 30 baptism dates in 2 days as a zone. It was super good. 

President had challenged us as a zone after zone conference to put 30 baptism dates. It was about 4 for companionship. On sunday we only had one and we were starting to stress a bit. We said a prayer with a lot of faith and then left the house. I saw a family in the distance and I made my companion run with me. This is normal. We have made a goal to contact every family we pass, but this family was pretty far away. We ran for about 2 minutes and then stalked them. Eventually we caught up and invited ourselves to their house. The usual. We were able to put a baptismal date! The Spirit was so strong. 

Then later in the night we put another one. God answers prayers, but it requires faith. and faith requires action. Action means stalking sometimes. 

Well, I love you all dearly! 

And the work goes on. . . .but with a different hair color

Hello Dear Family,

 I am super sad to hear about Curtis. I can't imagine how hard that is for their family. They will be in my prayers. It is hard when it is so sudden. I still can't believe it. I love the Brazeltons.

This week has been pretty calm. Nothing unusual or out of the ordinary happened until Thursday. We had intercambios with the girls that live in our house. It was good. I was with a sister that is going home this change. She talked a ton. Her companion never stops talking, so she had time to unload. I have never heard her talk so much. 

Friday we had intercambios with the sisters from C. I was so incredibly happy.(Where she started her mission) I was able to see the fruits of my labors that I didn't get to see before. I almost cried from pure gratitude.

Our first visit was to a less active family that I had found a week before I left. They had baptized some of the kids and are now a strong family. 

The next lesson was a family I had found. She was not very receptive in the beginning, but with the diligence of the sisters and their love and the Spirit, she accepted a baptism date and accepted the challenge to get married. I seriously almost cried. The Church is so true. It is beautiful to see how the gospel has changed her life. 

I also saw my first convert. She hasn't been going to church, but now the sisters are going to visit her. I was so happy to see her. 

Everyone in C recognized me. Why? Because I preached to every single one. And I have changed my hair color and they still recognized me. I was so happy. 

Well, my time ran out because I read some of my emails, but don't worry, I will make up for it next time. And my letter to Pdte. was preeeetttttyyyyy long. Pray for me because we are teaching in Zone conference this week. 

Love you all! 

Same Area, New Companion . . . and fun at the President's House

Hello dear family! This week has been pretty routine. We didn't have any divisions, so it was really calm. We'll see how long this letter will be. 

Tuesday my companion found out that she was going to leave the area. Oh, she trained in the beginning of her mission, but she wanted to train a gain. Just to make that clear. 

We spent the day packing, running around like crazy saying goodbye to everyone. They all gave us soda and chips. And one gave us soda and cake. I felt so sick at the end of the day. Luckily the lights went out for all of the town, so we had to go inside the house and once we were inside no one gave us more chips and soda. I hate soda. 

Wednesday we went to changes. I am always so nervous. My companion is no longer a SLT, but she opened a new area. Pdte. released 4 SLTs. My companion is new. Her name is Hna. Rojas. She is so great! She came in the same group as my "daughter". She has been here for 10 months. She is so powerful and has a desire to work with the members so I am SUPER grateful for her. We are quite unified so far. 

T is divided into 2 areas. There is T and J. I am in J. Hna. Rojas started her mission in T and has now returned to T, but to be in the other side. She is super happy and it helps us because we aren't lost as often. Hallelujah! 

Thursday we had an awesome planning session. We also visited N, who was just baptized and when we got there her husband showed up and listened to us!!! YAY!!!! And he committed to continue to listen. Prayers are answered. 

Friday we had a specialized meeting for SLT in president's house. It was super good. We focused a lot on the doctrine of Christ and our purpose as missionaries. We decided what would be the temas for the zone conferences and who would teach them. It was a super uplifting meeting. And during the whole thing president kept asking how he can improve and how the mission can improve. He was super humble and it was great. 

They gave us soup for lunch. It had a lot of meat in it, so I wasn't disappointed. It was actually super good. 

Saturday we had a Branch BBQ. It was successful. Except they didn't bring the raw meat until about 3 hours after it started. A lot of angry, hungry people. 

So the zones that we are in have their zone conferences first. That means that we have less time than anyone to prepare. Next Tuesday and Wednesday we start. AHh! we are teaching the doctrine of Christ and our authority as missionaries. We are going to basically do charades for the practice. we are going to give them Book of Mormon stories of missionaries and have them make a similar situation in their lives and they have to challenge someone to baptism. We have more details, but President and Hna. Fortuna don't want us to be boring. Then when we re-practice, it will be a lot more like real life. We are pretty excited about it. 

Oh, my debit card that has dad's name on it expired. If someone could express me my new card, that would be WONDERFUl. I don't know any of the details, but if you guys could assign someone to figure it out, that would be splendid. 

Love you lots! 


Dear Family,

Okay, a lot has happened this week. Get ready. Okay, so maybe not a lot, but it was a good week. 

Monday we had family night with the Varela family. They are the family of drunks. But they are doing better. Mondays we have family night with them and they invite all of their neighbors to their house and then we teach them. This last week we taught the Restoration using candles. It was pretty good, if I say so myself. We had 6 new people.

Tuesday, my companion was waiting for the call to become a trainer and was hard to drag everywhere. Wednesday, my companion never received the call and went into depression. She was sure she was going to be called to train her last three months and so was pretty sad when that didn't happen. 

But our investigator, N. had her baptismal interview and we made pupusas. I am now a professional. But seriously. It is a bit complicated (not at all) but I got the hang of it. But I felt bad because N's family wanted pupusas from El Salvador and instead got pupusas made by an American. The difference is quite drastic. But they were happy. 

We have been trying to find ways to lure N's husband into listening to us. Apparently he is SUPER shy. WE have tried food 2 times. He has avoided us like the plague. But he works at una Optica so I think I am going to get my eyesight checked... just for fun... Oh the things we do as missionaries to help people come unto Christ. I know that if we can earn his confidence it will be a lot easier to get him to listen to us. I'll keep you updated. :) We know that when there is a will, there is a way. And when there is a Wagner/Smith there are results.:-) 

Thursday we had our first efficient weekly planning in the change!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, my companion had no desire to plan (still sad over not getting to train) But  we did it, and didn't go overtime! We did it in less than 3 hours. 

We also tracted into a group of 3 woman. A mom and her 2 daughter in laws.  The mom had lost her husband 3 days before and we talked a lot about the Plan of Salvation. You would think that it would be a golden moment and that God had led us to this family in this moment. He probably did lead us, but these women were AWFUL!! They refused to say Amen after the prayers and were afraid to even touch us and basically there was just an awful spirit in their house. But maybe one day they will wake up and see the light. 

Friday N WAS BAPTIZED!!! I am not sure if I have told her story before. The elders knocked into her house in February. They weren't able to progress with her, so about a month and a half ago (right before I came) they gave us her name.  

She had gone to Church, but because she had grown up in a super Catholic family, she had a lot of doubts about being baptized. We strongly emphasized the Book of Mormon. We verified her reading like none other. We made sure she read everyday. And if she didn't we made sure we read with her. AND SHE GOT HER ANSWER. She was saying her prayers in the morning and was feeling pretty abandoned and then read in Nephi in 21:14-16. It was powerful. 

All of her family came to her baptism. It was so special. Her husband told us that he had visited our Church before and that he liked it. But he is still in hiding. Grrrr.....

Saturday we contacted a family and they came to Chruch on SUNDAY!!! That never happens. We taught their first lesson after Church. It was a miracle. I had been a bit frustrated in the week because we were in town all week and my companion had NO desire to work and so we wasted a lot of time. So it was a nice blessing. I love this work. 

N received the Holy Ghost. It was funny because we were telling her that there might be changes this week. She said she wanted to talk to President Fortuna and she said she would say¨Hi. I am N. I just got baptized and today I received the Holy Ghost. He gave me the impression that the sisters should both stay here.¨ I laughed pretty hard. She understood the Holy Ghost! She is so great! She is definitely converted. Such a sweet blessing. 

The lights went out last night. We had to go in early :(

Our zone had a competition to find new investigators. We all know how I am with competitions. Families counted more than people. We found 4 new families. WE WON THE CAKE!!! 

So, we have had a prolbem with mice in the house. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I bought mice poisoning. I made a lovely sandwich of peanut butter and poison and I cut it into 8 pieces. Within an hour we could only find 7. Success... But then it started to smell super bad... After about 2 days I decided we had to try to find the mouse. I found it and disposed of it. I feel quite accomplished and any words of congratulation would be appreciated. I feel like this was the last thing I lacked to officially become an adult. :) 

Love you all! Wish me luck with changes! (When a trainer is called they receive the call the week before changes so they can be trained on how to train. However, Michelle and her companion will find out if either of them is changed tomorrow.)