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.)