Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Week 64: News from Retalhuleu

Hey everybody!

How's Indiana/the United States? Is it summer time yet? Please eat some warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies for me!

Hope you enjoy the reflections this week....

(And I know my time left in the mission is short, but I still love letters! Thanks to those who've been sending some :D)

Thoughts on being OLD in mission time

This week my companion and I discovered a new disease. It's called: I can't do anything but be a missionary!

We were sitting on a member's front steps waiting for another member of the Primary Presidency that was going to come with us to visit a family we're teaching. All kinds of people were passing by and I was growing desperate: 10 minutes without talking to any of them!

Seriously, it's all I can do. If any short period of time goes by and I'm not doing mission work (contacting, teaching, etc.), I start getting antsy. My companion might kill me... but, she's ¨old¨ in mission age too, and may be suffering the same symptoms. We can't even have regular conversations without inviting people to do

Although, I suppose it's a blessing... So many missionaries don't understand why they're here. I'll stop complaining about knowing it all too well. I really have prayed to be able to fulfill and magnify this calling. (Moroni 9:6, Book of Mormon)

A Change

We had transfers and Hermana Betancourth went to Tecun Uman - one of the first of four sister missionaries to serve in that border town in the history of the mission. I'm sure she's living it up!

In her place came Hermana Arévalo, from El Salvador. Like almost all of my companions, we entered the mission field at the same time. We're both probably going to finish our missions here in San Sebastian...and we're going to do it having so much fun!

She laughs all the time. At every little thing. It's amazing.

Especially because I was worried that the mission was making me a really serious person. But Hermana Arévalo is reminding me how to be lighthearted. It's nice :)

Random Facts

On Saturday people we visited gave us mangos, cantaloupe, and avocado. By the end of the day our backpacks were so heavy! And then our stomachs were so full :)

In the end, I did get parasites. But it was just like having a bad stomachache. And they very obediently went away when the nurses gave me some pills. No harm done!

We're teaching a family that live really far away. But every Sunday the kids (ages 5, 9, 12, 14) leave their house, wait on the side of the highway for a taxi to pass by and take them to town, and come to church! They stay for the three hours and love it, and then they go home. I don't know why the parents are so stubborn and don't want to come, but we're working on them. Advice?

Another MIRACLE!

Remember, Yosselin? The one who followed us in the pouring rain so we would come back and answer her questions, and got baptized on her birthday?

Well, she's been baptized for eight months now, and it's been kind of difficult for her. Some of her family members also got baptized but then stopped coming to church, other family members criticized her even more, she had some health problems, etc..

About a month ago my mission daughter (who lives in my house now and is the one who was with me when Yosselin was baptized) and I found out the Yosselin hadn't gone to church for a couple Sundays and just wasn't doing very well spiritually or emotionally.

We didn't know what to do. There's only so much a missionary can do for a convert, no matter how much we love them. We talked about her for a long time, and then we knelt down and prayed for Yosselin, turning her and her future over to the Lord.

Then, on Thursday, after the changes, the zone leaders mentioned they needed a mini missionary for one of the sisters who was left in a threesome. A mini missionary is a youth from a neighboring stake who serves as a full-time missionary (without being officially set apart) for a few weeks until more missionaries arrive at the mission, or other changes are made to accommodate the companionless missionary.

They asked me if I knew anyone. Racking my brain...and Yosselin's name popped out. We called her right that minute. I still had the phone number memorized.

The next day at 8 AM sharp the elders were loading her suitcase into the mission truck and taking her to her new home. She's serving in the same zone as both me and Hermana Avendano (the missionaries who baptized her.)

It is a miracle.

I really don't have words to thank God. He takes care of every one of his children. He knows their needs and He knows in what moment he will fill them. When there are things (or people or situations) that we can not control, we can turn them over to him, trusting completely, because He will never fail.

I read these words from one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon this morning, and they seem fitting now (Jacob 4: 7-10):
Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.
For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?
Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his Works.
I know that God lives. And I know that he knows best. May we ever trust in him, not just in word, but in actions too.

I love you all and still pray for you. Maybe I've become a Guatemala missionary and lost who I used to be, but we're still brothers and sisters under the same sky.

Thank you for all the good you do.

Much love, until we meet again,

Hermana Victoria Ison

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