Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Week 59: Full Circle

Hey all,

Conference Recap

I just want to say I hope you're having a great week! If you watched General Conference, you will agree with me that it was awesome, as always. I especially liked Elder Ballard's talk inviting us to verify our commitments to call the church by its proper name and invite people to learn about the restored gospel. I don't know why we're so shy about it! There's a phrase here they say to kids in school when they're afraid to go up in front of the class: ´Shame is for if you've stolen something' meaning that we shouldn't be embarrassed or shy to do good things. And I can't think of any better invitation than one that helps someone work out their salvation and find peace and happiness in this life! :)

If you listened to Carlos H. Amado during the Sunday morning session, you might have noticed a thick Spanish accent... it's because he's from Guatemala! And he did a special training with our mission in November. I feel like I know him! It was so cool to see him up there talking... and I absolutely loved his message about Jesus Christ. There is no other theme more important. 


So I've got some surprises to announce. 

I'm not in Pajapita anymore. Since Wednesday, I've been back in the department of Retalhuleu, in a place called San Sebastian, only about 20 minutes from my second area. SanSe (for short) is a regular sized ward with two sets of sister missionaries.

I'm currently living in the same house as Hermana Avendano, the sister missionary I trained and the companion I was with for the longest. It is so nice to be back together!

And, you'll never guess who my companion is!

We were companions two weeks in the CCM. She was the fiery little Latin girl who had me running around organizing musical numbers and helping me speak Spanish. We told everyone we were twins and daydreamed about what it would be like if we were companions again in the mission field...

And now... we are :)

Her name's Hermana Betancourth and we are set to change the world. Or at least our little corner of it. 

They've made us sister training leader leaders, which is an assignment specific to our mission. We're in charge of doing divisions with the other sister training leaders in the mission, and any sisters who need extra help. They're 8 sister leaders, and only 6 weeks in the change... we've got a full schedule. But it's going to be AMAZING.

Keeping it Grounded

But I'm a big fan of the small and simple things, so admidst everything we have to do to help the 60 sisters that now are a part of our mission, plus the random assignments President gives us (like planning the schedule for a mission-wide activity we're doing during Holy Week), we're determined to make waves in our area. The best way to teach is by example, right? 

And if I'm being honest, plain old mission work is what I like best :)

So this week we hit the ground running and brought 10 investigators to church. We're teaching all kinds of people, a cocaine-addict dad, a family of 14 kids, parents of a child with a water-inflated head, a white guy from Kansas living with his deported Guatemalan wife and their three kids. He went to the priesthood session of conference, actually, and loved it.

But the best part of all is Gaspar, our amazing investigator. He's getting baptized on Friday, and went to four or the five sessions of General Conference this weekend, finishing the last two out in a white shirt and tie.

God is so great. That's really all I can say.

I just invite us all to stay humble and never forget to listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, who will guide us in all that we do. Personal prayer is the key to having a fulfilling spiritual life, and life can't be fulfilling without the spiritual side.

Please take good care of every part of yourselves. 

Tori/Victoria/Hermana Ison

P.S. Half the women in my area use the traditional Guatemalan corte (wrap around and tie skirt with beautiful weaving) and this week I ate a traditional dish composed of cow ear, cheeks, and eyes. That one was thanks to my spunky little comp. Fortunately, no parasites yet!

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