Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Week 4: Changes in the CCM

Hey guys! Guess what? I am currently in possession of a cell phone. This is because I'm a coordinating sister for the hermanas (sisters, missionaries)in the MTC right now. I'm in charge of fostering unity, organizing nightly prayer, and having the cell phone in case something goes wrong in the house where we live separate from the CCM. Interestingly, however, I will only have this cell phone for one day! That's because I got called to this position yesterday by someone who did not know (and I did not know at the time) that tomorrow I move out of our house back into the CCM into a district (group of missionaries) of the Latinos who are here for two weeks because they don't have to learn Spanish! This is because our district-which is now down to three sisters and four elders-is getting dissolved into new districts tomorrow when 29 more 6-weekers arrive from the states! They're putting me with Spanish-speaking people because I've basically begged for it for the last two weeks. I am way excited, though genuinely sad to be leaving my old companions. We have had some serious success lately!

Yesterday we taught three lessons and in them all had unity and felt the Spirit and addressed the needs of our investigators. Furthermore, we have a REAL investigator! On Friday we got to go out and talk to people near the temple grounds about the church. I am beginning to see that journalism is excellent preparation for missionary work. We talked to this man, Estuardo, who was holding the hand of his three year old daughter, Fatima, who had a bright pink shoes and dress and a yellow lollipop because she'd just gotten a shot at the hospital. Estuardo is a business professor who's three fourths chapino (Guatemalan) but was born in Israel. He's a business professor and he reminds me of Brother Horowitz a lot. Anyway, he's super nice. We spoke with him in Spanish and English and talked about being missionaries and his life and the church. We expected to just give people folletos (pamphlets) or whatever, but at the end we got his contact information and set up a return appointment for Thursday. We call tomorrow night to confirm! I am way excited.

I liked talking to him because it was a super genuine meeting. We were down to earth, explaining “No, Hermana is not all of our first names.” He was honest in his questions like “Are you just here for a few weeks to shove your religion onto Guatemalan people?” We were honest in return “No; we're here for 18 months because we care about this gospel and all the people in the world.” My companion shared her conversion story and I shared my testimony of temples. We were walking the temple grounds by this point and it was so good. I don't know if I have EVER been as happy as I was walking back to the CCM after talking to Estaurdo. After having been in a building for four weeks, learning and practicing but not really helping anyone, here was a chance. And in this chance, we met someone who really does believe -he told us so- that this message can better his life.

Tambien (Also), today we went on a short tour of Guatemala City –“Oh my gosh it is so gorgeous.” We went to a market and a Wendy's and then to this beautiful public plaza to try to talk to people about the church. We ended up giving someone a Book of Mormon, and I loved it because when we talked to a man about it and listened to what he had to say, his eyes shone. He was wearing a yellow shirt and was on a lunch break from a nearby building, where he's a lawyer. We took his contact information too, and he said he would welcome a visit from some missionaries. – We promised, laughingly, to send ones who spoke better Spanish than us.

I just want to say that I love Guatemala, I love Christ and his gospel, and I love my family so much. I am so lucky to know so many good letter writers, my brother Robert probably ranking among the best. Thank you guys :)

Tambien, being in downtown Guatemala reminded me so much of London. So much. What with the open plazas, old cathedrals, and busy markets, it’s very much European. And a little bit like what I saw of Seattle. And a very big bit just Guatemalan. I love, love, love it, and am very much planning on someday coming back just to study the culture and architecture and society and things. My humanities classes have prepared me very well, I think, in that I'll have a lot to think about if I ever need a break from thinking about investigators and the gospel when I go tracting (looking for people to teach) one day. And I can't wait to meet and get to know more people who live here.

Every time a group of 2-weekers leave, it's such a cool experience. So many have fantastic stories - I wish I had time to summarize even a few. I’m standing in the CCM parking lot, frantically taking pictures, giving them hugs and summoning up some Spanish phrases to try and express how much I appreciate their love for the gospel and each other, the sacrifices they've made to serve missions, and the hope they have in the future.

There are so many incredible people in the world, and I am beginning to see life is a wonderful gift of getting to meet a few of them here and there and some at a time. That probably doesn't make sense and I'm running out of time, but I love you all, I love everything, and just please, if you do anything, have the courage to do what you need to do to make your life the best it can be.

I'm trying, and, with all the ups and downs, it's turning out so well. Hasta luego, amigos (Until later, friends)

- Hermana Ison

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