Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Week 50: Pigs and Parasites

Happy Monday, everybody!

The 5 Less Active Families

It was like no other lesson that I had ever had.

The man hasn't been to church in a year, but he volunteered the first prayer, bore us his testimony, and promised he would go back to church, all without us having to say anything.

But all I could think about was a story his daughter told us earlier that week when she accompanied us to visit investigators. She had been sick and needed a priesthood blessing. ¨I was just praying the elders would come by, and I looked up, and there they were.¨

Sitting there with her dad, slightly flabbergasted, still wondering why this man wasn't putting all the things he was telling us into practice, I couldn't even speak for the tears. It hit me so hard: we can be proud as much as we want, put on a good face for the world, make promises to God that in the future we'll change and feel more or less okay with ourselves, but if we're not keeping the commandments, not doing what's right, the only people we're hurting our ourselves and our loved ones.

That man's daughter, 15 year-old Ingris, deserves to be able to ask her Dad for a blessing.

I hope that something in what we said touched the brother's heart. But, more than anything, I pray that the same Spirit that made me cry so hard makes him feel the compassion I felt for his daughter, his wife, everyone.

Please. Let us just be humble, repent, do what's right.

And I want to thank my dad, with every fiber of my heart, for ALWAYS being there, always worthy to exercise his priesthood and protect us.

Random Details from the Week

Detail 1: On Sunday I left the keys inside the house, and we didn't know how we were going to get in. While I was still scratching my chin wondering if the answer was written on the window, my companion told me to make a step with my hand, stepped in it, and literally climbed up the door, jumped down inside the patio, picked the lock on the second door, and got us in. From now on, she is called Sister Spiderman.

Detail 2: Missionary work sometimes involves teaching basic geography. ´´Did you know Jesus Christ came to the Americas?¨ my companion asked a mother and daughter we were teaching in our first visit. They both nodded. She paused, looked at me, and asked the question again. Another nod. Sometimes people answer yes to this question because they're not listening, but these ladies were definitely paying attention. ¨Do you know where the Americas are?¨ was my companion's follow up question. A pause... And I pulled out my map. In the end, they both learned what continent we live in and seemed to grasp why it would be important for them to read the Book of Mormon. We find out tomorrow if the younger lady read her assigned part.

Detail 3: Remember when I told you about our awesome ward mission leader? Well, I finally figured out who his secret girlfriend is. I told him I had seen the love in their eyes when they innocently greeted each other after Sacrament Meeting. His smile to hear that gave it all away... and he revealed to us that he's bought her engagement ring and will be asking her to marry him - not on Feb. 14 as planned, but on Saturday, when they go to the temple. We've already gotten permission to go on this ward temple trip as missionaries, so I can promise you that the recent converts will have spiritual experiences AND my companion and I will be gushing all the bus ride home :)


We only had two investigators in church this Sunday, a big drop from the 11 of last week, but we're determined to get Satan out of our investigator's lives so they can come next week.

The highlight of the Sabbath day was actually that we, with the rest of the ward members who wanted to stay after church, got to witness the setting apart of a missionary. His name is Martin Valdez, and he should be en route right now, actually, to the MTC. He's assigned to the Salt Lake City Central mission.

It's super rare that someone from Guatemala goes to the States, I've only heard of one other person recently, but it makes sense for this kid. They live in a beautiful mansion and have visited the US and Canada multiple times because his dad is a gerente (I think that's like president) of a giant banana farm. (Yes, you guys in the States are probably eating some of the bananas from right here in Guatemala, they work with Dole, Del Monte, and Chiquita.)

But aside from their massive fortune and the fact that Martin is like a piano prodigy and already knows a lot of English, they're really humble people who serve in the church in every capacity - example: the mom just got released from the stake young women's president and can now be found every Sunday mopping the chapel floor. They're not afraid to get their hands dirty, and have helped a lot of poorer families send their missionaries off. It was beautiful to see Martin get set apart by his dad, with his two grandpas helping out. They also read a letter from his older brother, who has been serving in Argentina for the last year and a half. I definitely cried.

The mission is the best thing any youth can do with their time. If someone who is reading this is thinking about going, do it. It will NOT be easy, on the contrary, it will be hard. But it is supposed to be. If it wasn't, how would we ever learn anything about Christ, or get to be the people he wants us to be?

I love you all, and send you hugs and smiles from Guatemala.


Hermana Ison (Victoria)

P.S. I do not have parasites. This email is titled like it is because the nurses came to talk to our zone on Tuesday about how we should be careful around pigs and remember to wash our hands all the time so we don't get parasites. It made me laugh, because when I got here they divided Pajapita in three parts, and the area they assigned my companion and I to work in is called La Playa, which means The Beach.

It's not anything at all near the beach, but is named that because there's a TON of sand. The streets are more like gravel driveways with tons of sand poured on top. One day we will make sand castles and take a picture to show you. (Probably not.)

Anyway, in this area everyone is immensely poor and pigs run free in the streets. (There are actually more of them than there are stray dogs, and there are a lot of stray dogs). There are pink pigs, white pigs, black pigs, pigs with big floppy ears pigs with curly tails, etc. It feels like the county fair.

The day before the nurses told us this, my companion petted one of our investigator's pig and helped wipe the sand out of its eyes. ... It goes without saying that she will not be doing that again. Though we do sometimes joke with people that we'll give their pigs a bath to make them let us in the door :)

Anyway, love you all, take care, and stay WARM!

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