Monday, July 29, 2013

The Sister Missionaries

Week 25 TRANSFERS! And (almost) living on bread alone.

Guess what? They changed me! I'm in my second area, with my fourth companion. She's named Hermana Sandigo and is nice, and the area is HUGE! It's way bigger than my old one, in a little town with lots of aldeas, which I don't really know how to explain in English. Dirt roads with houses on one side and corn fields on the other? It makes me really happy to see corn, and it's fun to get to live in a little town where all the people know eath other.
Things have kind of stopped surprising me. This week, I watched a man named Anival climb a coconut tree with his bare hands. Like they do to that post in the movie Mulan, except without the fancy golden medals. He just used this simple crocheted net thing on his feet, to have friction. It was a tall coconut tree.

Afterward, he gave us coconuts (which we drank the milk out of - it was my first time - and it was good but more like sweet water)and we taught him about keeping the Sabbath day holy, which he said he would start doing. He's a proffessional coconut dropper. (Don't know how to translate that into English either!) But it was awesome.
This week in transfers a whole bunch of Nortes came! Like 16 sisters. And 4 elders, just from the US. It was really cool to see all the new ones and realize how far I've come.

Loving life and love you guys!
Hermana Victoria Ison

Monday, July 22, 2013

Week 24: BREVITY

In reflective mode: it was a year ago exactly that I was in London for the Olympics, studying at Kings College London and participating in the Fulbright Summer Program. I`m so grateful for that organization and for the experience. Even though the country I`m in now is completely different, it prepared me a lot to be here becoming part of another country and losing parts of who I was before.

I told a 17 year old kid we met this week that God has transformed me. Though its unlike me to use words like that, I realized when they came out of my mouth that they`re absolutely true. I have no idea how I`m here, surrounded by strangers that so easily become friends, speaking fluently now a language that confounded me for years, preaching a gospel that`s eternal and true.

I started out not wanting to go on a mission and wanting to take French, but over time, here a little and there a little, God has guided my decisions and given me people who have helped me get here. I really believe he has even molded my desires, working with the small but earnest desire I gave him of wanting to be the daughter and person he wanted me to be. I remember being so confused last August, unhappy, and getting a blessing from Ian Kleeberg in which God, through him and the power of the priesthood and the Holy Ghost, conveyed to me that I should not worry, that God was guiding my steps.

He was, even earlier than that, even before I noticed, and even when I didn't think I was doing a very good job of letting him lead my life. Religious and spiritual terminology is misleading at times, and I don't know if the words I`m saying mean the same things to everyone else as they do in my head. But for me it amounts to turning yourself over to God. Entregado a Dios.

Because we can only do so much on our own, but he can do anything. And if we want to be better, the only way to get there is to let him work in us.

So let him work in you, and see what blessings it will bring.

I love you guys so much. Be kind.

Hermana Victoria

Pics from Guatemala and the Seashore

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Week 23: Cows and Palm Trees- and Baptisms and New Companions

So, my new companion came on Monday right after I wrote you all, and we were in trio for 24 hours, during which we got to go to the temple in Xela again. It was so beautiful! And a perfect place to say goodbye to an incredible young woman. Hermana Martinez has arrived in Mexico and is adjusting. I am secretly very pleased that she too has to get used to another culture, but I love her a ton and am over and abundantly grateful that we were companions.

Hermana Garcia is my new companion. She's from Honduras and 19 too, even younger than me! We left the CCM at the same time. I really think that when we have changes in a week and a half they're going to leave her here and move me somewhere else, because we get along so easily and just kind of automatically started teaching well together. She's really smart and devoted and pilas, which is a word in Spanish that means batteries but is used in slang to mean always ready to work and comes up with good ideas - a little bit reminiscent of the Energizer Bunny, but not at all annoying.

Anyway, today we went to the beach and it was sooooooo beautiful. There were hardly any people there and it was really peaceful. ¨How Great Thou Art¨ is the hymn it made me think of. And it was great to just get away from things and relax for a while. But it was far away and we haven't cleaned the house or bought any food or washed any laundry yet, and we're not going to have time to... Oh well! :)

Also it was fun to be in a bus full of missionaries contacting all the people who sat by us.

I thought I wasn't hardly ever going to ride in a school bus again after high school - in fact, I remember clearly the moment of triumphantly stepping down from the bus after the last track meet, thinking now I was grown up becuase I'd be moving on past schoolbusses - but they're actually the transportation system here in Guatemala. Recyled American schoolbusses, painted all sorts of colors and packed to the BRIM with people. I LOVE IT. It would never, ever work in the States to do transportation like they do here in Guatemala, but it's simple and brillant and chill and a lot of fun.

The long ago promised email all about transportation will come someday, but there was just a taste.

And the taste because we spent a lot of time in busses this week and last. On Friday we went again to the area called The Machine, along with all the other missionaries in our district, just to visit the people who are members of the church but have stopped going for some reason or another. There are a ton in this area, and it makes it hard to invite new people to visit when the congregation is kind of small and not that... pilas. :) But it was awesome to viist with several of these really cool families and be motivated to be strong in the church para siempre.

Now we're out of time, but we also had a baptism this week and I will send lots of pictures next week, if I can.

Love you bunches!

(And if it's hot there, at least you have the promise of fall and winter coming sometime!)


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fun Photos 7-8-2013

Missionary Paintball on Preparation Day

Week 22: Baby This Week Was a Firework

Hola todos!

I hope you've all been very well! Enjoying the summertime and living life right.

This week was crazy for lots of reasons. Here are a few:

- We spent 5 hours in recycled American school busses on Tuesday, travelling to a place called The Machine to have our district meeting, way out in the middle of nowhere but with a growing congregation, and also dropping my companion off at the mission office in Reu so that she could go to Guatemala City to finalize her visa stuff to go to Mexico. She was supposed to come back on Thursday morning but instead came back on Friday afternoon, and then was supposed to leave on Sunday but is in fact still here. We don't know when she'll go but hope it's after tomorrow, because we heard a rumor we get to go to the temple. My feelings about her leaving are mixed because I love her so much but I know she needs to be where the Lord wants her, and me too. We're just kind of living one day at a time and loving it.

- The time my companion was gone, I was with my mom, my first mission companion. We worked mostly in my area, and found a whole bunch of really cool people to share the gospel with. Olga, who lost her son and husband earlier in the year, within 3 months of each other. Walter, who had lost his dad a day earlier - we just sang a hymn with him, watched the tears pool in his eyes, and are going to come back this week when the grief is not so raw. Edgar, who was baptized 18 years ago but stopped attending church shortly after because of his work schedule, who wants to start coming back but didn't know how - we found him one night right before we had to be home. when he was walking his little daughter up and down the street so she'd get tired to go to sleep.

- And Luis Fernando, who is a bullet point all to himself. We found him in the park, just sitting there, looking down. He'd lost his job 20 days ago, found his wife cheating on him with another man a week earlier, and found out his mom died 3 days before. He said he really had no hope. He wanted to run away to the US or kill himself, but couldn't find the energy to do either and didn't really want to abandon his 3 little girls. We talked to him, and it was incredible. A scripture that had come to my mind that morning in study time without me even knowing why was the perfect thing to share with him - my companion and I both felt it. We talked to him and prayed with him, and in the course of this found out one of the reasons he doesn't have a lot of hope is because it's hard to find good work these days if you can't read. Fortunately, the church offers free classes to learn how to read and write every weekday in this area. We told him about this, and bought him some lunch, and he went everyday this week. Hopefully he'll get his life turned around :)

No more time because I'm trying to make a CD of talks from General Conference to give to one of our investigators who wants to get baptized but still isn't too sure about living prophets. It's hard when she doesn't have internet or a TV or anything, but she'll be able to put this in her CD player and listen to President Monson and Dieter F. Uchtdorf, and feel the Spirit and feel even more strongly that they are men called of God to guide us.

I know this is the only fully true church is true and I love you guys and everybody here a whole big bunch.

Take care,

Hermana Victoria Ison

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Week 21: Week 16 en El Campo

Hola todos!

This message is going to be kind of barebones because we went paintballing today in the Guatemala jungle, and afterward people in the church cut our hair for free, and then we ate pizza. It's late now, and raining, and a there's horrible rap music playing in this computer place, and we have a family home evening planned with our awesome investigator family and the elders' quorum president and his wife. Life is good. I love you all.

Some random noticias:

My companion just found out (as of 16 minutes ago) that tomorrow she has to go, with another sister that's also waiting on her visa to be processed, to the capital to deal with paperwork and find out if it's there. Probably not, but there's a possibility that she'll be leaving for Mexico this week. If so, I'll be so sad. Happy for her of course, and ready for whatever comes my way next, but sad to see her go. She has taught me so many things and we have a lot of fun together. My love for her has grown so much, and with it, the love for everything and everyone in this mission.

Also, this means Tuesday and Wednesday and part of Thursday I'll be on divisions with my first companion, and we'll be working in my area or in hers, I don't know which. Hopefully mine because we've got some incredible people we're teaching right now. (Prudencio, Emanuel, Soila, Lady, etc!) But hopefully hers too, because they've also, of course, got some awesome people they're teaching. One, in particular, is named Paola and we found her the day two weeks ago when I was on divisions with my companion in her area. So, we'll see where we go, but I know God will take care of the people in whichever part we serve.

We get a new mission president this week! He arrived on Saturday. On Wednesday the old mission president and his wife had a farewell meeting for all the sister missionaries. It was sweet to be with them one last time but annoying because they just talked about marriage and we had to cancel the appointments we'd had planned for that morning. But Presidente and Hermana Maravilla are incredible and inspiring people, and I will cherish forever the love I felt from them, and will remember the example they set as I go home and proceed to grow up into an adult (and a marriage) a lot like them and theirs.

The new president is named President Ruiz and is from Panama. I don't really know anything about him yet, but will get to meet him tomorrow, I think, and we'll have interviews this week, so that'll be cool. There are so many good people in the world.

I'm still in the same area that I was in when I got here, and I love it so much. The ward members are AMAZING and our investigators are so awesome. Soila, the mom in the incredible family where the husband only makes $5 a day, is going to get baptized on the 13th. This incredibly prepared man named Prudencio, who I will write about in length in another ocassion, has read half the Book of Mormon and is simeoultaneously working his way through the most recent conference issue Liahona. Emanuel, a 15-year-old we've been teaching for a while, went to youth conference this weekend and loved it. A less active, borderline rebellious teenager named Hyrum went too, and I can not tell you how happy it made me to see the two of them standing on the sidewalk, in their white shirts in the rain, smiles on their faces, having just got off the bus.

Life is so good, and the church is so true. I love you all and pray you are doing well.

Hermana Ison

And OH - it's gonna be the 4th of July!! And I am SO jealous. Didn't realize how much I loved this holiday until I got here without it. Please go to the fireworks and watch all of the parades and eat something red, white, and blue. :)