Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's An Adventure

     Well, to tell you the truth I'm not sure what to share with you this week.... I forgot my journal to help me remember... so.... Today we had a mini district p-day. We went to see what there was to see at a little hotel and restaurant with the coolest view. You can see almost all of the playa from there.


     Sunday I got sick :P But the attendance was good--85 and a dog. It was a well-behaved dog, until they kicked him out of Sunday School. Then he just whined and whined and whined.

     Saturday was a regular day.

     Friday we made a whirl-wind trip to San Pedro. We had just finished the opening hymn and prayer in our lesson at 11 am when the secretaries call to tell my companion that she has to be in San Pedro at 1pm. It's a 2 1/2- 3 hr. bus ride. We ran home to change out of our rain boots and grab money, missed lunch, and ended up arriving in San Pedro at 2. I thought our trip was wild, but then in the immigration offices we ran into the hermanas from Roatan. Theirs was wilder with two boat rides and loosing a whole week's worth of work in their area. The good news is that my companion is now going to be a legal resident of Honduras.

     Thursday was a regular day, too.

     And then we're back to Wednesday when you heard from me last.

     Oh, yeah, but the coolest thing that happened this week was the branch temple trip. It changed the whole attitude of the branch. They were all much more friendly and made the effort to greet the investigators and less active members that showed up Sunday. They also shared their testimonies and it had a huge impact on one less active member that came with us. She left sacrament meeting a little teary-eyed and said that the next temple trip she wants to go.

     Sorry this is such an all over the place letter... but that's what life's like. It's an adventure.

Love,
Hna. Thacker

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Service

Well, we don't have changes, so Hna. Orozco and I will be here for Christmas! And New Years! :) 

     Oh, and I forgot to share that our zone had a fun service project on the beach last week. We worked with a bunch of conservationists to plant coconuts--palm trees?--on the beach. It was fun and attracted quite a bit of attention. Three local news stations and the mayor came to see what we were doing.



     It was an adventure. The rest of the week members of the branch kept saying, ''Hey, I saw you guys on TV!''

      Oh, and I also wanted to tell you about Indira. We started visiting a part of our area that hasn't been worked in for a while, and we have been finding person after person who is an inactive member. I had no idea that there were so many members in this neighborhood. One of them is Indira. Her whole family are members, but she's been the most receptive. We felt like we had to kind of start from the beginning with her because she didn't remember much, but now she is progressing so well. It is neat to see her change and her attitude. Sometimes inactive members who start to become active again come at it with a wishy-washy attitude. They look at it as a ''we'll give this a second go, but if we don't like it or don't feel comfortable there is always returning to where we are at.'' Indira on the other hand, has had the attitude that if she is going to come back she is going to come back for good. It is so exciting! Yesterday we talked about missionary work with her and invited her to come with us to visit and teach. She smiled and said she was wanting to, but wondering if we were ever going to ask! Working with people like her is so much more fun. Attitude makes all the difference.

     Well, that's all I had. Not much more has happened in the days since I wrote you last... Just cambios. They were helping us develop Christlike attributes this time around becuase they didn't tell us if we had changes or not until YESTERDAY at 9:25 PM. Cambios were today, at 9 AM. It was quite stressful. We had no idea what to do with ourselves waiting for the text...

     Well, I think that's all for real this time. Love you!

Hasta la proxima,
Hna. Thacker

The Gospel Makes Us Happy

Well, the most important thing that happened this week was a baptism!

     So there is a recent convert that got baptised last February with her youngest son. She is amazing! She has such great faith and a strong testimony that this is the only true church. Verbally and by their example, she and her son have been sharing the gospel with their family. A few weeks ago they began to see the fruits of their labors when the second to youngest son started to come to church with them. 

     Wednesday this Hermana called us and asked if we could prepare everything because her son wanted to get baptised Saturday. ''I know you need to teach him and all, but he wants to get baptised Saturday,'' she told us. So in the end we showed up to formally teach him the lessons and Saturday he got baptised. He already had a testimony thanks to the wonderful example of his mom and younger brother.

     Attached is the picture. It makes me so happy that you can see that they are so happy! They actually smiled! (well, sort of. That's kind of a cultural thing that is difficult to explain, but take my word for it...They are smiling).

     The gospel makes us happy.

     This experience taught me how much of an impact the example of two good people can have. And the power of a mother's testimony has to change the lives of her children. It's been a good week. 

Hasta La Proxima,
Love, Hna. Thacker

ps. Have you shared the He is the Gift video yet?



Sunday, December 7, 2014

Freezing in Honduras?

I'm not sure what to share with you all this week....

--I froze to death on Thanksgiving. I saw a guy on a motorcycle all bundled up in a coat and I laughed...at myself. I remember when I came. When I saw people bundled up in my mind I told them, ''You have no idea what cold is. If you are freezing to death in HONDURAS, you wouldn't be able to survive where I live.'' Now I watched the man with the coat and wished I had one too... and I just thought to myself, ''if you are freezing to death in HONDURAS, you won't be able to survive where I live.''

--I cried listening to a woman tell of her faith crisis when she came into contact with an anti-mormon newspaper article. She needed a good Elder Holland talk about holding to the ground that you already have, but I just didn't have the words to communicate that to her. 

--We had fun opening packages :)

--We laughed a lot. My companion is really funny and sarcastic like my sister. It makes all of the funny experiences even funnier.

--The primary program was quite adorable and helped us fill the chapel! We made to 104 in this little branch that a month ago hit a low of 48. In attendance were two inactive hermanas that we've been visiting. I was so happy to see them!

--We were able to reach almost all of our weekly goals this week.

--We successfully made tortillas again. I'm not sure how to communicate how big of an accomplishment that is... later I'll show you and then you'll understand.

     I've had a fantastic week. I feel like a missionary and I love it. Sorry this lacks something super inspirational to help you think, but this week was filled with thousands of little testimony strengthening experiences that are hard to communicate. Just know that I know the gospel has been restored through prophets in our day. It changes lives because it allows us fuller access to the power of the Atonement. And if we are willing to give our all to serve God with all of our might, mind, and strength miracles happen.

Love you! I hope you have a great week!

Hasta la próxima!

Hermana Thacker

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Bueno....

     Not sure where to start and I forgot my notebook, so this might end up going all over the place... 

     Well, this week all of our most promising investigators continued to not progress. We were disappointed, disilusioned, and dreading our weekly planning on Thursday. It really was quite dreary because we literally had no one to plan for. The tender mercy was what happened Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We had three days of really mazica lessons and I felt we were exactly where we needed to be, sharing what we needed to be sharing, with the people that Heavenly Father wanted us to meet. I don't even know how to put into words the majority, but I felt like a real missionary because I felt like we were really doing what the Lord wanted us to do.

     We met a few interesting people too... one was a thirteen year old boy who told us, ''I've been sick a lot. That's why it looks like I am only 7 and in second grade still.'' He also gave us the recipe for a medicine he invented. It helps with stomache problems...Soda mixed with Chocopanda (it's like nesquick). ''But it makes you burp a lot,'' *covers mouth as if he's going to tell a secret, but forgetting to whisper* ''and farts!'' Luckily he was headed in the house at that moment because my companion and I couldn't contain our laughter any longer.

     It was a neat week. And a crazy one. I learned that the most important think is to follow every prompting and no matter the outcome you will feel successful.

     Oh, yeah, and we celebrated Thanksgiving today. The most american food I have eaten in a very long time. I actually ate mashed potatoes and gravy! And rolls! The Webbs were able to find a turkey, and we got to spend the day as a district. ​


     This is Elder and Hna. Webb with the turkey. I wish I had one of the whole district, but you are going to have to wait on that one. Well, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Hasta la próxima!
Hna. Thacker

An Interesting Week

     It's been an interesting week. I think I'll start with Bill. Bill is one of our investigators that has been progressing and reading the Book of Mormon. However because of challenges with his wife he hasn't been able to come back to church. Thursday we had an appointment with him and the Webbs. In the shuffle of figuring out who sits where I could hear Dad's voice, ''Never get between a man and his wife.'' That worked great to help us get seated, but immediately I started thinking about how that applied to the gospel and Bill's marriage. His wife is super evangelica and we have been worried about how it would all play out with her.

     Long story short we started the lesson and the wife joins us. I was excited she that her heart had been softened to this point until her pastor showed up. Turns out it was a rescue mission orchestrated by the wife to save her husband...

     The pastor started out, ''Before we get started I just want you all to know that I love you because Christ teaches me that I should love you. Now I don't want to contend, but we believe [insert subtly boarderline contraversial statement here]...'' And paused dramatically looking at Elder Webb while waiting for me to translate what he just said.

     Bill's wife threw in a ''Why are you trying to feed a man who is already being fed?''

     And Elder Webb just stuck to bearing his testimony about the church, a restoration, and agency.

     In the end the pastor and Bill's wife left a little disillusioned. The pastor because we didn't argue or get even a little contentious and the wife because the conversation didn't leave Bill with a clear idea that he should quit looking in other churches. On the other hand, we got all of our objectives--invite him to church, start talking about the Plan of Salvation (eternal families, Adam and Eve, and agency. The pastor brought up all of these), and invite him to the baptism of the Elders.

     It was one of the craziest lessons I have witnessed. And all in Spanglish. It was fun, but I don't think anyone is really anxious for a sequel. But we'll have to see.

     The pastor did invite us to coffee... Other than our adventure of a lesson with the pastor the rest of our week was pretty calm. Until Maria and Oscar told us that they are leaving today for Cortez and from there returning to Roatan. We have their address and number to pass the reference, but that didn't make it any harder to say goodbye to them. At least we were able to plant the seed and have the chance to learn from them. I have the confidence that she is going to keep reading her Book of Mormon, and we are praying every day that they will be able to find the missionaries wherever they end up.

     In the end it really was a good week and a lot more than this happened...for example we made hamburgers with the Relief Society.


      ​(we felt really pretty with our lunch lady hats)

      And a one-eyed pigeon tried to be our pet. And we almost successfully made baleadas. twice. :) So it was a good week. It's been full of adventures and has been teaching me that God has a plan that never gets frustrated.

Pues, Hasta La Proxima! les quiero mucho!

Hna. Thacker


I don't miss freezing temperatures. I am freezing to death when heaven forbid the temperature drops to 23. Or the bank has their air conditioning set to 20 or worse... 18! I would like to see snow though. So would my companion.

I can see in her eyes...

     So I have to tell you about Maria. She is progressing so fast. Every time I look at her I can see in her eyes a hunger to keep learning. Usually with investigators we have to leave chapters of the Book of Mormon to help them get started reading. Maria picked it up and took off. The other day we passed her house three times within 2 hours, and every time she was sitting out in the hammock reading. Sunday she asked where she could get ahold of a Gospel Principles manual and a hymnbook to read those too. We had a lesson and a new investigator arrived. He asked a question and the next thing we knew Maria was answering and testifying that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Walking home from church she told us that if she were single she would already be baptised. She is that eager and willing to accept the gospel. Her only problem is that she is not married to the boyfriend that she lives with. The good news is that they are already making plans to get married. She is so incredible and I am so excited for her! That was the most exciting thing that happened in my life this week.

How was your week?

Love,
Hna. Thacker

10 Nov. 2014

Well, here I am on the coast again.

    Well, here I am on the coast again. It has been raining like crazy and we are learning to wade streets. I think we finally hit the rainy season. But I like my area. It is HUGE. I don't think I have even seen half of it, and only walked less than a quarter of it.

     My companion is Hna. Orozco. She's from Guatemala and is pretty awesome. With 7 months in the mission she is a very well prepared missionary. It is easy to see how much she loves the people in the area and puts her all in to serving them.


     Today we went to the beach inspite of the rain and we built a sand temple :)

     They have two branches but there is no district. The branches just belong to the mission. We are in the branch _______ and it is a neat little branch. Small, but strong.

     Here in ____ we also have the senior couple, Elder and Sister Webb. Once a week they accompany us or we accompany them to make the visits of the day. Elder and Hna. Webb are really neat. They are so filled with love and concern for every member and nonmember that lives here in ____. The trick is that they are still learning Spanish. So we get to translate for them. It is a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be. I find myself translating Spanish to Spanish and English to English. It's an adventure, and I really love visiting with the Webbs. The spirit that they bring to the lessons is incredible.

     I like it here, and we have already seen miracles. One was a couple that came with us to church. Just in the days that I have been here they have progressed incredibly. They enjoyed church, and both left so excited to bring the other couple that has been listening with them next week. To see how excited they are makes me so excited!

     Well, I like it here, I have a great companion, and we are already seeing miracles. I couldn't ask for more!

Hasta la próxima,
Hna. Thacker
3 Nov. 2014

(Answer to a question about Halloween)

No, they don't. Here witches are not make-believe... I think a good majority can tell you a story of how someone they know has been affected by black magic. So they try to avoid celebrating them. But my companion was sweet and made a little jack-o-lantern for me and gave me candy. She said that they have Halloween parties sometimes.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Back To The Coast!

     Thank you! I will be watching for the packages. They really do arrive in country within two or three weeks. It does matter on how often the secretaries send the mail to us... Here it arrives really fast, but I have cambios and I am not sure where I will be when they arrive. Wednesday I will email again to let you know where I am and who I am with. I am kind of nervous for these cambios. I was really hoping to stay just a little bit longer, but with 3 cambios with Hna. de Leon I knew it was coming. 

    The flooding was all last week. Progreso flooded and parts of Lima, but it never got bad enough to close off anything for us. We're safe.

    We have hit the rainy season though and it has gotten surprisingly cold... Sunday I didn't want to get out of bed I was so cold. And to think of having to get into a frigid shower... I'll attach a picture of that one. My companion got a kick out of it. She kept saying, ''You're cold!? It snows where you live and you think this is cold!''

     That is so true about having an attitude of gratitude. Sometimes it can be hard, but attitude really is a choice, and when I look at the difficulties that come up as opportunities to grow I am able to get a LOT more out of the experience. And I am happier. I've le3arned that it helps me ''Look unto Him in every thought.'' It makes all the difference.

     Well, I will write more Wednesday.

 Complete with fuzzy socks Great Grandma Thacker mailed me. :) My companion couldn't stop laughing...


Wednesday-- Back to the coast and back to the city. Monday I will share more, but I just wanted to let you know where I am at.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nothing Brings More Peace Than Prayer

News for the week:

 -We did divisions three times. Once with the sister training leaders and twice with members later in the week. I'm not usually a fan of divisions, but I learned a lot from doing them.

 -My companion completed one year since she left home. (that's awkwardly phrased, but you get the idea)

-Every house we visited had the news on and they are either talking about serious flooding in other parts of Honduras or Ebola in the United States.

 --Because of that the High Councilman in his talk Sunday read almost all of 3 Nephi 8 and called everyone to repentance... I prefer D&C 61:36-38

 36 And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you;

37 And inasmuch as you have humbled yourselves before me, the blessings of the kingdom are yours.
38 Gird up your loins and be watchful and be sober, looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, for he cometh in an hour you think not.

 -We tried to teach a lady who told us she was a predicadora in her day. Those experiences are always exciting.

 -My companion learned how to play Uno and now she wins almost every time...

     If I had to pick the biggest thing I learned this week it would have to be that ''a man never stands taller than when he is upon his knees.'' The lessons about the power of prayer are never lacking. They always help me to rely more fully on my Heavenly Father. This week has been filled with crazy experiences (nothing really out of the ordinary). But being able to kneel down and express how I feel, my fears, doubts, and struggles makes all the difference. My testimony has been strengthened that God lives and that He loves us. I know He hears and answers prayers and that ''praying rests the weary'' and ''changes night to day.'' So that's the invitation. There is nothing that brings more peace than being completely honest with Heavenly Father and praying with real intent.

     Well, I guess that's where I will leave off for this week.

Hasta la próxima,
Hermana Thacker

Monday, October 13, 2014

Excerpts From My Journal

     You know, usually there is one single fantastic experience that I want to share. Other weeks I think and I think and I think and have to flip through my journal to see what I should/could share with you.

      This is one of those weeks. We just had lots of neat little experiences that I am not sure how to compile it all... So, here you have ç... plus a picture or two.

      ''We got to answer questions about polygamy, birth control, worshiping Joseph Smith, and burning in hell all in the same day.''--That was an adventure! Sometimes I really love the questions people ask :)

     ''I honestly wasn't sure what I was getting myself into... It's a shaved ice/snow cone but instead of a fruity sugary syrup to give it color and flavor its lemon juice, pepitorio(seasoning salt/chile that only exists in Guatemala and El Salvador), Worcestershire sauce, V8 juice, salt(lots), oh and crushed up spicy chips. Not going to lie, it's a weird combination...but it wasn't bad.'' '

    'It's like the classic math problem about the inch worm that climbs 3 cm in the day but in the night slides back 2 cm. How long will it take for him to reach the top of the hill? At least he is making progress.'' --That's how I felt about working with one of our families. They are making progress. It is at their own pace, but the good news is that they are progressing.


      ''We could see our entire area from there.''--we went to exercise with a member family and they took us a lot farther than we thought we were going to go, but the view was beautiful!

      ''I was immediately filled with fear and felt like there was no possible way that I could do it. However I was blessed with help seeing it as an opportunity to put my faith in action and I started praying. It was hard, it was awkward, and I still have a ways to go...but with His help I did it.'' --I was pushed out of my comfort zone again. I prayed and Heavenly Father told me that I needed another little shove to get out of my comfort zone and He gave me an opportunity to practice. I am really glad He loves me enough to do that to me.

     ''Exciting stuff: Marlon came to church because he wanted to. He stayed for all three meetings and participated. He's a lot more of an oveja than I thought."   Marlon is a member of this family we've been working with. He was the only one who hadn't been to church yet and it was a miracle that he came yesterday of his own accord.

 Really this week has been a good one. I've learned a lot and finishing the week left me excited to start another one and work even harder. I love it when that happens!

Love,
Hna. Thacker

Sunday, October 12, 2014

General Conference is the Best!

     I can't lie to you. General Conference was by far my favorite part of the week. To be able to learn and feel my testimony strengthened it was very helpful. I have been able to set goals and am excited to work on them. But the part that was even better was who came to watch it with us.

     There is a family that we have been working with for a little while. The parents are actually married (that doesn't just happen here) and there are seven of them in total. They've shared with us the challenges that they face as a family and expressed a desire to become more united and happy. All of them are quick to recieve us and dedicate a little time to listen to us, but up until this week only the kids were truly receptive because they are the only ones who have taken action test the messages we've left. They have been able to recognise the blessings and the potential that the gospel brings their family. Then we have the parents. They haven't been so quick to come to church or accept an invitation to pray.

     Until this week.

     Sunday, with the help of a member who was willing to pick them up for conference and the kids, they were able to talk the dad in to going to the morning session. Later in the afternoon the mom accepted the invitation to attend a session as well. The talks in their respective sessions seemed to be perfectly selected to answer their individual concerns. It was incredible.

     Al final they still have progress to make, but ''the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.'' It is so exciting!

     General Conference is the best. It always brings miracles, answers to prayers, and opportunities to grow.

     I hope you have a wonderful week, and are able to start working on putting in practice what you learned from conference!

Love,
Hna. Thacker

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Finding Ovejas

It's been a week for finding ovejas.

     Our mission president bluntly told us that we are here to look for ovejas not mulas(sheep not mules). This week we have been able to see the difference.

     We met a new one this week. Every lesson we've had with her the spirit has been strong and she has been receptive. We invited her to be baptized and she told us that she has always wanted to be baptized but never had the opportunity. Oh, and that her mom wants to listen to us too and is willing to support her. That doesn't happen every day.

     Another investigator called us over to share with us a special experience she had resolving a conflict with her mother-in-law. She hugged us and began to cry. ''I wanted to tell you becuase, well, you told me you were like my sisters.'' It was a neat experience to see her trust in us.
   
     Another investigator we were worried about because she had a problem with drinking coffee. We taught the Word of Wisdom and this week she told us she's been able to stop drinking it completely. Looking her in the eyes I could see the changes that she's made and the desire she has to progress. 

     Another two investigators showed up on their own for the Women's Conference Saturday. I cried. 

     But the most incredible story is that of another investigator, the mom of Jonathan. In Sacrament meeting I was up on the stand leading the opening hymn when she walked in wearing her skirt and looking like she belonged. We made eye contact, she smiled, waved and found a seat with Hna. Eblin. My eyes filled with tears and I had to stop singing for a minute. It is one of the most incredible feelings of joy when and investigator we have been working with for so very long makes it to church for the very first time. To see her show up unexpectedly on her own marks a huge step in her progress. Four months ago she hid when we showed up. Now she comes looking for us. Three months ago she struggled accepting invitations to act. Now she finally made it to church. She got to see her son who got baptized a month ago pass the sacrament for the first time. At the end of the meeting when we finally had the chance to go talk to her she told us, ''Hermanas, I am going to start coming to church. Every one of the messages I heard really touched my heart.'' She was all teary-eyed, and so were we.

     We have had an incredible week and an incredible cambio. We have seen changes that I never thought possible in ourselves and in the area.

     NEWS FLASH: We just got the text message to tell us who in the zone has cambios. HNA DE LEON AND I GET TO STAY!!!! I do not have words to express how happy that makes me!

     This week has been one of my favorite weeks of my mission. And General Conference is coming this week. And hopefully baptisms of some of our ovejas soon after.

     I love being a missionary.

Hasta la próxima!
Hermana Thacker

Monday, September 22, 2014

It Is Easier and Smarter To Trust in the Lord

    We've had a good week. We've had a couple of miracles, maciza lessons, funny experiences, and I have a new favorite scripture.

     First, one of the miracles. We stopped by to visit an investigator and she starts telling us she has been praying for guidance. Weird things have been happening in her house and her mom suggested she look for someone who has been prepared to come and pray for them. She asked if there was any way we could help her. We taught a little lesson about the priesthood, and the next day a member of stake presidency who lives close was able to come and bendecir la casa. Afterword we asked her how she felt. A little teary eyed she told us that she felt so much better.

    It was neat that when she was praying for guidance we were able to stop by and offer help.

     Funny experience... one of many this week. My companion bought a coco (coconut) at the local pulperia (kind of a little store ish.) They offered to open it up for her so she could put her straw in the top and drink the water. El hermano carefully placed the coconut, prepared the machete, and brought it down cutting just a little bit off the top to make a small hole. But as soon as he chopped the coco it began spurting coconut water all over me. I have never seen that happen before. We all busted up laughing and everyone who passed us in the street gave us the weirdest looks. Now every time we walk past the pulperia the hermano asks if we want to buy more cocos...

    New favorite scripture... Alma 38:5. Everytime I've opened my scriptures this week it always falls open to this verse. ''Ahora bien, hija mia, (Hermana Thacker), quisiera que recordaras que en proporción a tu confianza en Dios, serás liberada de tus tribulaciones, y tus dificultades, y tus aflicciones, y serás enaltecida en el postrer día.'' (English Translation). I love how it says that according to the degree of trust we have in God we will be delivered from our challenges, trials, difficulties, etc. I've been thinking about that a lot. If I put all of my trust in Him, no matter what comes I will be able overcome it. But if I am only willing to put a little bit of my trust in Him, it will be a lot harder for me to accept the way He is offering to deliver me. It's really easier and smarter to trust Him.

     Well, I wanted to send pictures, but the internet is slow...I guess you'll have to wait until next week... But thank you for your love and support!

Hasta la próxima!
Hna. Thacker

The Gospel Had the Power to Change Lives

     So I have to tell you more about Jonathan, our recent convert, and his family. It is amazing to see how much of an impact the gospel has made in their lives.

     The Mom: Tuesday, at the end of the day we finished up an appointment and started heading back toward the church for the english class we have every week. We didn't make it more than ten feet in that direction when my companion and I stopped dead in our tracks, looked at each other, and said, ''We have to visit Jonathan.'' We didn't have an appointment with them and we were planning on seeing them in 20 minutes in the English class, but we both felt that we needed to go and visit them in their house. So we climbed the hill and as we aproached the gate Jonathan stepped out of the house looking very serious and sad. He was followed by his little brother who was crying. As they stepped aside we could see Jonathan's mom cradling the littlest brother in her arms and crying. In an accident on a bike the three year old had fallen and cut open his head and they couldn't get the bleeding to stop. Jonathan's mom didn't know what more to do, and we didn't either, but knew that he needed a blessing. We shared a scripture to explain about priesthood blessings and with the permission of the mom we called an hermano from the ward to come and give him a blessing. In the end he was able to receive a blessing and the whole atmosphere of the house changed completely. It was a night to day change. Luis started talking more and acting more like himself, the mom was able to calm down and think clearer. The best part was that they all were able to note the difference. I felt the difference, and that strengthened my testimony too. This experience with her youngest son, coupled with the baptism of her oldest son, has really helped the mom in her progress. She was receptive before, but now is even more so.

     Jonathan: In only three weeks of being baptized he has already gone to the temple, wants to accompany us to make visits all day every day, and shared his testimony in sacrament meeting. There is nothing better than hearing a recent convert share their testimony.

     The Dad: He's joined us for only one lesson, but he has always been supportive of Jonathan. He was able to come to the baptism, but we haven't really had much more contact with him because he is always at work when we visit. However, he came to church for the very first time Sunday and got to hear Jonathan bear his testimony.

     It is incredible how they have all progressed. The gospel really has the power to change lives. I love being a missionary!

Love,
Hermana Thacker

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Spirit Is The Most Powerful Teacher.

Highlights of the week....

      -We had a neat multi-zone conference with President. The coolest thing I learned was that the Spirit is the most powerful teacher.

    -Our recent convert that got baptised two weeks ago went to the temple to do baptisms this week. -Our recent convert came with us to make some visits. Even though almost all of the appointments fell through we were still able to have some neat lessons.

     -We had an amazing lesson with our familia de oro. I don't think I've told you about them yet. It's a little family consisting of the mom, a son, his wife, and a little baby. The first time we met them was with Hna. Morales. We met the mom and she told us that a long time ago just after her mom died missionaries had taught her the Plan of Salvation. That helped her enormously then and later when her daughter died. However, the missionaries for whatever reason never returned to visit. With Hna. Morales we were never able to find them again and it took until right before this cambio started to be able to have a lesson with them. When we finally did it was powerful, and every lesson since the spirit has been there so strongly. The daughter-in-law has a million questions about how to know if there is only one true church, how to tell if someone is a true prophet or a false prophet, did Jesus Christ establish a church and what happened to it...All questions we happen to have an answers for.

    Yesterday we were able to answer her questions and she had read her reading assignment from the Book of Mormon three times. Now she has questions that can be answered with the Plan of Salvation and anxiously invited us back to help her find answers to them all. We just have to help them with the legally married part of the law of chastity and they are good.

     -I learned something neat reading a general conference talk, ''Drawing Closer to God.'' Elder Vinson explains that trials are not just for getting over, but are carefully designed opportunities to help us turn to God. He refers to the Brother of Jared building the barges and says, ''Pointedly, the Lord not only left temporarily unsolved the challenge of how to provide light, but He then made it clear that He, the Lord, would allow the buffetings and trials that necessitated its solving.'' This really struck me that Heavenly Father allows things to get difficult because He knows what valuable experiences they are.

     That's the most exciting parts of the week. If I have the chance I am going to try to send pictures, if not, next week you'll see them.

Thank you for your love, support, and letters!

Love,
Hna. Thacker

Monday, September 1, 2014

Snow in Honduras?

It snowed in Honduras this week.

 


Just kidding. It's just flour. We celebrated the birthday of another hermana and the tradition here is to crack eggs filled with flour, glitter, and confetti on people's heads.


     In the end it turned into a flour fight and everyone covered. It was a lot of fun and I learned how to make the eggs... :)

     Today we took a jungle walk. Through banana trees and bamboo. In the end we avoided the corn, but I took advantage of the opportunity to stand in it for a minute. You know you're from Iowa when.... :)


     In the end this week's been a good one. Definitely a large opportunity to learn and grow. I learned how important it is to trust that God loves us and that as His children we are of infinite worth. And that as long as you can learn from it, any experience can be for your good. It is amazing how God works.

Pues, Hasta la próxima!

Love,
Hermana Thacker

Friday, August 29, 2014

Miracles always abound


​     Miracles always abound. This week Jonathan got baptised! He has been so prepared and we can see that he already has a good testimony and showed us that he is going to make a strong member. From the beginning his struggle has been running errands with his family or attending church. The afternoon of his baptism he called us at about 5 pm asking if we could move his baptism to the next Saturday because he and his family were in Lima at a birthday party of his uncle that was supposed to go until really late. We explained how moving his baptism wasn't all that simple. He said he'd talk to his family and call us back. When he hung up my companion turned to me and said, ''If he shows up we will know that he will be a strong member and that no matter what obstacle he faces he will take his responsibilities seriously.''

     And he made it! An hour and a half later he and all of his family showed up for the baptism! His mom who has been an investigator for a lot longer cried as she watched her son set the example. His little brothers both turned to their dad and said, ''Dad, I want you to baptise me next!'' Being present in the baptism really impacted the whole family. It was a little moment where I could see that they will all make it some day. I'm not sure when that will be exactly but it will pretty amazing when it comes!

     The other neat parts of the baptism were that the program was mostly made up of recent converts. Despite her fears one of my favorite hermanas in the ward, Eblin, gave the opening prayer. Hno. Cristobal who got baptised about a month before I got to Porvenir gave his very first talk. And Jonathan and his friend Wilmer got to bear their testimonies afterward.

     It was a pretty masiza week and would be impossible to share all of the miracles that happened. Just know that they did happen and that Heavenly Father's hand is in every part of this work. He is mindful of every one of His children and has the way prepared for those who are willing to seek Him.

Love,
Hna. Thacker

Monday, August 18, 2014

Valuable Life Skills

​     I learned another valuable life skill this week--mowing the lawn with a machete.


      It was one of our service opportunities for the week. The best part was that our investigator who is going to get baptized this Saturday came to help us out. The whole week he has been asking when he can accompany us to a lesson or if there is another activity he can attend. He is 13 and so excited for his baptism and to be able to pass the Sacrament too.

      Another valuable life lesson learned this week--keep focused on the main goal.

      My companion loves playing chess. She's missed playing it, so we made a chess set and she taught me how to play. I won the first time, but since then I haven't been able to win again. I always find myself trapped in just trying to delay the inevitable and eat as many of her pieces as I can. As we finished up our last game I made a comment about how difficult it is for me to plan how I am going to trap her king if I am struggling to just keep my pieces from getting eaten.

     ''What is the purpose or main goal of the game?'' She asked.

     I fumbled for a response because quite frankly I'd forgotten. ''It's not about eating pieces. Or focusing on protecting your own pieces either. The primary goal of chess is always to threaten the king. From your very first move that should be your goal.'' She then went on to explain that in the game we'd just finished I had let myself get distracted by her queen and the eminent destruction. But, if I had kept focused on the goal all of my other little problems and worries would have been resolved.

      As I thought about what she said, it was brought to my attention how this applied in my life as a missionary. Just that morning I had had a difficult little moment of feeling very inadequate and was praying for help to change the situation. I realized that that moment and the majority of the difficult moments of my mission came because I momentarily lost focus of the main goal. I lost sight of my purpose and let the enemy distract me. I get too preoccupied with fixing all of my little problems when it would be much better to focus on the main goal. It's in focusing on that purpose with heart, might, mind, and strength that all of the little things are resolved, fears forgotten, and weaknesses overcome.

     This cambio (transfer) has been pretty masizo. I have learned so much from my companion, the members, the investigators, and the experiences we've had. It has flown by and Wednesday we start a new one. I'm pretty sure I have cambios, so the next time I write It'll probably be from a new place. Or maybe an old place. We'll have to see!

Hasta la próxima!

Love,
Hna. Thacker


Chess Set 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Thoughts From The Week

     So as I pondered what I could possibly write you all this week I came across all of the little quotes I have written in my agenda...

     M and O: "We lived in such a dangerous part of San Pedro that the flies don't even go there!" (She said this grinning ear to ear and then proceeded to tell us how many times they got robbed just going to the corner to buy tortillas.)

     In a talk in Sacrament meeting someone was telling about their great-grandfather.... "He always used to say, 'I swear by my mustache.' He had a really big mustache and loved it. He didn't want to lose it so he paid up."

     Other from Sacrament meeting, "The Bible and Book of Mormon are our spiritual eyes. Together they broaden our vision and give us a clearer picture."

     Me: You know, jokes don't really translate well, but I am going to try. There is one that is the staple that lots of other jokes are based on... Why did the chicken cross the road?.... To get to the other side!

     My companion: ...Was I supposed to laugh there?

     We also have had a couple about birthdays... Talking to a new family we found this week that are super pilas (really smart/progressing) we asked the 15 yr old when his birthday is. He stopped to think a minute and then told us, "This month." "What day?" "I don't know... Only my mom knows what day I was born." Then his dad cut in... "When I went to Guatemala I saw that they celebrate birthdays and stuff. Like a holiday! Here only the rich people celebrate birthdays..."

     Another investigator summed the situation up like this, "We poor people don't celebrate birthdays. There is no reason to worry about doing something special if you don't have anything. It's just another day." That kind of shocked me.

     The next two have pictures...

     My companion: I have an idea. Let's catch a gecko.



     So we did... Don't worry. In the end we let it go. We also found out that they are a little poisonous. Luckly we didn't actually touch it...

     We went to help make tamales this morning. One hermana told me that I was going to have to write down the recipe so I can make them at home. A few minutes later this was my response... Me: I don't think I will be able to recreate this at my house...


     They were also shocked to hear that banana trees don't just grow on the side of the road. Or in people's backyards. The stuff in the pot is what eventually gets wrapped in banana leaves and boiled. It was crazy seeing what all went into that pot. My companion commented that it was a little like a witch's cauldron... Tonight we are going to eat the tamales, so I'll let you know how they turned out. 

     But here is my favorite quote from the entire semana... "¿Seguirá el ejemplo de Jesucristo al ser bautizado por alguien que posea la autoridad del sacerdocio de Dios?" (Will he follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?)

     And three times this week we got a very lovely, "¡Sí!"

     Two from the familia super pilas that we met this week, and another from a joven (youth) that we have been working with for a couple of weeks. He is the most excited--telling everyone, wanting to go and visit other investigators with us, and is excited for the chance to pass the sacrament down the road.

     It's been a pretty masiza semana and it's been amazing the miracles we've seen. But this is really long so I will have to cut it off here.

Love,
Hna. Thacker

Half Way

Well.... Not exactly sure what to tell you all about this week....

 ...I hit the halfway point and it's come way too fast.

 ...We had divisions with the Sister Training Leaders.

 ...I set some new goals.

 ...And we had a fun ward party. We helped put on a talent show. Every organization put on a few acts... even the missionaries :) We sung a fun little song about being missionaries and inviting people to follow Jesus Christ. The best part was that lots of people invited friends. We had a lot of people come because it was a no-pressure activity that gave them a chance to see what the inside of the church building is like and enjoy their Friday night. The next few days as we passed people in the street they would say, ''Hey! I went to that talent show Friday in your church! It was so funny when...'' It makes contacting a lot more fun when you have a talent show to talk about.

 ...We were blessed with so many new investigators this week and so many lessons.

 ...This week FLEW, but it has been pretty great.

 This is short and I apologize, but I'm not sure what more to write and I still don't have pictures for you...

Hasta la Proxima!
Hna. Thacker

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Pretty Maciza Week

     This week was another week full of miracles. I'm not sure if it was full of more miracle than others, or if I was just paying more attention. Whatever the reason, it was incredible.

     One of the biggest was when we had four investigators come to a baptism. The elders called us late in the morning Friday. ''Hey, there's a baptism today. Be there or be square!''

     So we set out to find investigators to come. It was kind of a wild run all over the place as they all said, ''Well, I'll only go if (insert name of other investigator) goes. Go ask her and come back and tell me what she said.''

     Eventually they all said they would come and that we should wait for them outside of the church. However, just as we got to the church it started to rain. Then the winds picked up. Then it poured. That was discouraging because no one likes to leave their house when it rains, and we were still waiting for four people. All we could do was pray. Just as we were about to give up waiting and go inside for the baptism the rain cleared up and we caught sight of two of our investigators.

     We were able to take a quick church tour with them and help them get settled when in walked the other two investigators we were waiting for. We made up about half of the attendence at the baptism. It was incredible!

     Another especially big one was a neat lesson we were able to have with a family in the baptismal font room. It was crazy trying to get the keys we needed, the family there, and everything in place, but in the end the spirit was strong and the testimonies borne were powerful. It helped everyone of us there reevaluate where we are in our spiritual progression. As a result one herman a that was there made it to church for the first time Sunday.

     It's been a pretty maciza week. It's always amazing when you can see the hand of God at work. I think that's all for this week. Sometime soon I will send pictures.

Love,
Hna. Thacker

My "Tangled" Experience

     Lots of stuff happened this week. Most of which I'm having a hard time remembering to tell you because I left my journal in the casa. I guess we will start with my Tangled experience...

     Just like me, my companion has been wanting to buy a comal. (It's a little pan special for cooking tortillas) The other day presented a perfect opportunity when we spied the door to door pan salesman stopped in front of the house of an investigator. I'm always a little hesitant to buy things from these guys because (1) I'm a gringa and that always means a higher price, (2) I couldn't tell you if it was good material or not, and (3) they usually talk pretty fast and I am not totally sure what I am getting myself into... But this time our investigator was buying one too, so we got to ask her about the quality, price, etc. Turns out it was a decent deal and made of durable material so my companion bought one. I had more room in my bag that she had, so I offered to carry it for her and todo cheque. We taught the lessons we had planned, stopped by the casa for lunch, and set out again.

     We sat down in our very first lesson of the afternoon, I opened my bag, and lo and behold I had forgotten to take out the comal. I took out my scriptures and tried to act like everything was normal with a nice, shiny, silver handle sticking awkwardly out of my bag, but everyone noticed. It was a lesson with a couple of 12 year olds so when they asked I tried telling them it was for self defence. We laughed, and at the end of the lesson as I was packing my bag again my companion said, ''I think it fits in my bag now.'' and took it from me. It was fun while it lasted. I really only lacked a (that animal that changes colors). And magic hair that glows.

     Our other noteworthy experience this week was with an investigator named Daisy. She lives with her husband and sons in the same house as a recent convert. When we visit the recent convert we try to invite her and her oldest son to join us. Usually she has to do laundry or cook. Something always comes up. However, in the last few weeks things have changed. We started visiting more her oldest son. We gave him the challenge to read Ether 12 and count how many times the word Faith appears. He told his mom about it and how many he found. She decided she wanted to check his work and read it too! The next time we went to visit she was waiting for us, and now is available to listen when we stop by. They are sharing more and Sunday with hardly a hesitation Daisy accepted the invitation to come and see a baptism with us. That was a miracle. They are making real progress.

     Well, I think that is a pretty good sum of the week.

Hasta la próxima!
Hna. Thacker

God Has a Plan That Happens To Be Filled With Miracles

God lives and He is a God of Miracles.

      We have seen so many miracles just in these last few days it is incredible. The first day of the transfer pretty much all of our appointments fell through. We spend the day mostly just looking for someone who would listen. That night I was sick and didn't sleep well, and the next day I didn't feel much better. It's hard to go out and teach when you don't feel well, but we tried anyway.

      Despite everything that happened, Heavenly Father blessed us with a miracle. In the late afternoon as we were walking to find an hermana that we contacted the day before a white car pulled up along side us. The driver rolled her window down and told us that she had with her two girls, her nieces, who she was bringing to sho them the church. She told us that she never got baptised but she's had the missionaries teach her more than a few times, she raised her kids in the church and they are all baptised, she helped her sister come into contact with the church, and now her brother-in-law has been a bishop four times. Now she wanted to bring her nieces to see what church was like because she knows how how much good it will do them. She asked if we would like to join them.

     By another little miracle the church building was unlocked and we were able to give a little tour. The spirit was there and we were able to pray with them. The herman a even got a little teary eyed, and the girls were animated to come to church with us Sunday.

      As they pulled away after our church tour Hna. De Leon looked at me and said, ''¡Yo sé que Dios vive!'' ''Y es un Dios de milagros.'' I replied. We practically floated through the rest of the evening.

      It was incredible, but even more incredible is that the miracles haven't stopped. God lives. He loves us. He has a plan. And that plan happens to be filled with miracles.

I Have Learned So Much

     This week we have cambios so I'll have a chance to write again on Wednesday I think. As far as whether or not my companion or I will have transfers is all dependent on an interview with President this afternoon. My companion may have to go home.

     It's been a rough transfer for her as old health problems have resurfaced. It's actually been a little scary. About halfway into the transfer when she had her break down week and packed her bags she admitted that she was bulemic before the mission and in the MTC but when she got here she had mostly been able to contain it and was over it. When she told me I didn't worry too much because she sounded confident that she really was over it, but what really happened was that she is just good at hiding the situation until it gets to an explosive point and she can't hide it anymore. After she told me everything got progressively worse for her until she was to the point of not only throwing up every once in a while, but every time she ate. She didn't want anyone to know because President told her that if she went back to throwing everything up or not eating she would have to go home for recovery and treatment.

     Finally on Friday she confessed to the sister training leaders that her problem had resurfaced. Hna. Hill made a deal with her that she had 2 days. If she didn't eat or threw up at any point in the next 2 days Hna. Hill was going to tell President. Hna. M_____ did very well eating and really only threw up once during the two days, but as a result of being very weak the rest of the transfer she was congested with a headache and dehydrated.

     All of Saturday she didn't feel well and in the evening got worse. Her headache increased dramatically and I was not sure what to do to help her. The sister training leaders showed up just in the nick of time and Hna. Morales got even worse. She got to the point that she was having a hard time breathing. Gratefully Hna. Davis was able to help her relax and take some juice, we called and talked with President, and in the end Hna. M_____ finally was able to fall asleep. It was by far one of the scariest nights of my mission. After las hermanas left I turned off my fan to listen every half hour or so to make sure my companion was still doing all right.

     Sunday she woke up and was doing a lot better really weak, still with a headache, but better. We stayed the whole day in the casa and made her drink lots of water, Powerade, and juice, and helped her keep down the food she ate by distracting her. In the evening after she had already fallen asleep President called and asked if today we could come to his office in San Pedro, so after we finish here in internet we are headed there.

     Today my companion woke up doing even better. Still weak and still with a headache, but leaps and bounds better than Saturday night. This transfer has been wild, and watching my companion struggle with this weakness has been one the hardest things. It's one thing to hear about people who have eating disorders and hear the stories, but it is a completely different thing to live with someone who is struggling with it. It is hard, but it's been amazing to be able to see the progress she has made in just the last few days, and to see the Atonement working in her life.

     Elder Ochoa when he came to visit challenged us to study the Atonement every day for the next month. I think that has helped me the most in dealing with this and helping Hna. M______ overcome this than any other thing I could have done or could be doing.

     So that's the ''This is what's really been happening'' email. Love you!

 Love,
Hna. Thacker

Part 2

      Well, in the end my companion is going to stay in the mission. President sat her down and told her that she's at a crossroads of two paths... One direction is with her family and worrying about the perfect body. The other is here in the mission focused and trusting in the Savior. ''She can't be in both!'' he told me. ''It is literally tearing her apart!'' It's true. I learned watching her that to be trying to worry about fixing every problem that comes up at home and to try staying focused in the mission tears you apart. It wears you down emotionally really fast. And a missionary who is far beyond emotionally exhausted can't function.

     Because she stayed she also got transfered. At first I was opposed. I was having a hard time seeing how adding the stress of a change of area to an already stressed, recovering missionary was going to help. However as she told me where, who was her companion, that she'd be with the senior couple too, and that President was going to tell them all about her struggle, I felt at peace about it. It was a good example of ''My ways are higher than your ways.''

     After his long interview with her, he called me in and talked to me too. He said, ''This transfer was a rescue mission to change a girl's life. And you did it.'' He looked up at the picture of the Savior to the side of his desk and back at me and said, ''Together you did it.'' I mostly just cried. I'm sure that's surprising.

     This transfer has been hard, but it has been worth it. I have learned so much in this transfer alone! My testimony is stronger that through the Atonement, lives can be changed. I know that prayers are answered and that Heavenly Father really does love us and has a plan. It's amazing what He can do when we let Him.

Love you!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Another Transfer

     Well, this last week my companion had a birthday. In spanish you say that she completed another year of life..
    But anyway, everyone wanted to throw her a little birthday party. In the end I think she had 4 birthday cakes. We helped make one of them. In estilo catracho. I had no idea that extended to baking too... You have to understand that here food isn't cooked or even prepared well if it doesn't have oil or shortening. And a lot of it. I was a little shocked by that at the beginning... You can also buy oil by the pound in your local pulpería (it's a convenience store/grocery store). The cake we helped make was from a mix and everyone knows that the mixes require a little bit of oil... Well the hermana that we were helping sent us to the pulpería to bring a pound of oil... she then proceeded to pour at the very least half of the bag into the mixer. However the suprise doesn't end there. Next we made frosting with crushed ice. It turned out a lot like whipped cream topping. Just more dense. I wish I had picture to share with you. I'll have to ask my companion to send me one...

     As for this week... We already finished another transfer. Every transfer feels faster than the one before. My companion had cambios and now I am with Hna. De Leon. She's from Guatemala. She has one more tranfer here in Honduras than I do, but when we count my transfer in the MTC it means that we go home at the same time. She's fun and after President told us that my companion had transfers I was guessing my new companion would either be her or another guatemalteca. Hna. De Leon was in my district in La Ceiba for the first half of my last transfer there, so we already knew each other a little. I am excited for this new change.

     Other exciting mission news is that a senior couple came this transfer! They're from Spanish Fork and don't speak Spanish yet. But they are learning, and and more than willing to practice with what they've got. That means that they'll be able to learn it. Being willing to try is the key that makes all the difference. Well, next week my goal is to send you some pictures.

Hasta la próxima!
Hna. Thacker

Monday, June 30, 2014

Little Miracles

     Hi. I'm having a hard time remembering what all happened this week. That's why I keep a journal, but I forgot to bring it with me this time...

      So, the high this week was a miracle we had Sunday. The family that I told you about last week made it to Church! We have been vistiting them for a while and every week we invite them to church. Every week something comes up and they are not able to go. This week we had a lesson on keeping the Sabbath Day holy and invited them again. Saturday it sounded like just the littlest wanted to go, so we made plans to stop by and pick him up on the way to church. When we got there Sunday the aunt was getting ready to go too! She was planning on leaving her niece there because she was still asleep, but as we left the house we saw a creepy man waiting at the corner of the street. Seeing the man, the aunt didn't want to leave her niece home alone anymore and went back to get her up. In the end all three went to church because of the creepy man at the corner! God moves in mysterious ways! There is no doubt His hand was in that little experience.

     The moral of the story is that they all made it to church, they enjoyed it, and they already have plans to attend next week and bring the rest of the extended family. It's a miracle!

      Other news, we were given a reference of a really great family that is anxious to learn. The problem is that the dad doesn't like it and doesn't want to give permission. Every time they see us, the kids run up to make sure we are going to visit again or stop by to pick them up for church. They even told us that their mom had already read the pamphlet we left and is ready for our next appointment. However, dad didn't let them come to church yesterday. That is the hardest thing--watching someone exhert power over and limit the agency of someone else. That was the low for the week. The good news is that with the excitement of these niños it is not hard to trust that as soon as they no longer need the signature of a guardian that they will be baptised. They keep trying even though this isn't the first time dad said no.

     My companion's birthday is this week. Today we are going to celebrate with the other hermanas in the zone, tomorrow we celebrate with a really sweet member who also had a birthday this last week, and Thursday with cake twice and other little fiestas in every house that we visit....

     Honduras didn't qualify for the next round of the World Cup. I think that's about all for this week.

Hasta la próxima!
Hna. Thacker

Change of Perspective

     Hola, so we made it back from San Pedro Sula safely. And soon I think I will get a little card that says I can be here in Honduras for the rest of my 18 months. It was a pretty exciting way to spend p-day.

     This week's been a lot more calm. My companion got news that her family was doing much better and her stress level dropped back to normal.

     The most exciting part was our Conferencia de Hermanas. All of the hermanas in this half of the mission got together for a neat little program about exercising, eating healthy, and modesty. I was taught that usually I just need a change of perspective. Usually I lose motivation to exercise in the mornings and eat vegetables, but they put it in terms of obedience and love. Do you love the Lord enough to show gratitude for the body you have? Do you love Him enough to be obedient to the schedule set for exercise? It was kind of a big machete (missionary talk for, well, I guess it would be a guilt trip... Most effective when complete with scriptures and bearing testimony). In the end it was a very good conference and I learned un monton.

     As part of this conference there was a cooking demonstration and the sister training leaders wanted to duplicate our little kitchens. Our Sister Training leaders had to leave directly for La Ceiba after the conference, so they asked Hna. Morales and I to bring our little stove...

     This is after the rapidito and before the bus. Rapiditos are revamped 15 passenger vans. Minimum capacity: 25. That's an adventure all on it's own. Now add a little two burner electric stove... And I can guarantee that a stove is not the weirdest thing that someone's brought along.

     You asked about investigators and the truth is the majority have to get married before they can progress further. But there is a neat little family of two aunts that have never married caring for their neice and nephew that we have been teaching. The are so receptive!

      This is Gisselle, Farix, and Claudia. Sister, brother, cousin. They are probably progressing most out of all of our investigators (Except Claudia, she's already a member).

     I don't think this has been a very cohesive email, but that's basically the week in a nutshell.

Hasta la proxima!
Hna. Thacker

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tender Mercies

     One of my companions in the MTC is a very avid list maker. In every journal/notebook she had she had a running list in each end. I'm not to that point, but I am learning that putting your life in terms of lists can sometimes be helpful--to do lists, here's what I am going to do with my day lists, lists of blessings--you get the idea. Sorry for two weeks of lists in a row, but it's the easiest way to format and organize everything that I want to share...

This week: Tender Mercies/Things I'm Grateful For

--Mondays. It's our chance to de-stress and relax a little.

--My companion loves ice cream too.

--We have a nifty little booklet that is written specifically to help missionaries adapt to living like missionaries. It has fantastic suggestions and is very helpful. I feel like it will come in handy for much more than just the mission.

--We have really sweet investigators and members who are always looking out for us.

--Sister Training Leaders. They really can work miracles.

--Our lesson with Cristobal, Eblin, and Jonathan. Cristobal and Eblin are recent converts, Jonathan isn't a member. They are all pretty cool and make it on my list of favorite people here. We read a scripture about how to gain a testimony, and by the end we were all crying. It touched every one of us.

--A testimony of the Book of Mormon.

--Priesthood Power is real.

--We had a chance to serve una hermana that we've been teaching. We helped her make and fry over 100 little corn tortillas. Besides learning how to make corn tortillas, I learned that really everyone has talents and everyone has a place. I couldn't tell when the tortillas were sufficiently fried, but my companion could. She was having trouble forming the tortillas, but that I could do. Long story short, we make a good team. :)

--We got to run through the rain (actually we kind of skipped) during the Honduras vs. France match of the World Cup.

--The miracle of the loaves and fishes is just as real today as it was 2,000 years ago.  It's just that we are always hearing miracles of how the Lord always provides. We ran into the problem that we ran out of money to buy more food Saturday to cover Saturday and Sunday. My companion was rather worried, but I prayed and we were blessed with ideas of how to use the food we did have and people showed up and gave us food. For example, one investigator gave us 16 guineo (green bananas) that we fried with the oil that we had. It wasn't a direct multiplying of the food that we had in the pot, but we were blessed with more than enough food.

--With all of the rain this week it cooled off enough last night that I got to use my sheet. Still not cold enough for a blanket, but I was very content.

--Being blessed with the words to say.

--The opportunity to serve in here with Hermana Morales.

     It's been kind of a long week, and this isn't even the half of it. It's really been a rough roller coaster kind of week. My companion goes from being so stressed out that she's made up her mind to call president to arrange her flight, to a ''I think I can stay one more day or until cambios, July 9.'' Friday was to the point that she had her bags packed before I even knew what was going on and the Sister Training Leaders rescued us. Right now I think she is doing much better with the news that she received from her family, but we'll see. But I think I will leave it here.

Hasta la proxima!
Hna. Thacker

Monday, June 9, 2014

Things I learned this week...

Things I learned this week...

 --You know those big yellow school busses? They usually have a maximum capacity number painted up front. This week I learned that number is really a poor estimation... You can actually fit more than double that, plus everyone's stuff... We happened to be carrying a pizza box... I would liken it unto trying to squeeze two cans of sardines into an even smaller can than you started with.

--A whole bunch of little rules set up to protect the actual rules passed down from generation to generation creates an interesting problem. The little rules have surfaced in this area. Last Monday a member gave us a ride to go and pick up pizza. Halfway there his car broke down, and as he called help we jumped out and I got ready to help push. When my companion realized what I was doing she told me, ''I think theres a rule that we can't push cars!'' She was a little surprised when I told her that we got him into this mess, so we are going to help him out of it... She was afraid to act becuase of the little rules that have been passed down that don't actually exist. Most of the time the little extra rules that are not in the handbook turn out to be silly. Some even originally started because a senior companion or district leader didn't want to allow their companion do something....

--After months of practicing teaching people and praying in Spanish it is pretty awkward to try in English. English was a language study practice for the Latinos in our district.

--There are a whole bunch of houses here built up on cement pillars. I thought it was for flooding. This week I learned it is for earthquakes. We didn't have an earthquake, but I didn't realize that that was an issue here.

--Repentance requires a change of attitude and way of thinking.

--If you leave the water in your pila (cement sink/washboard combination that everyone has instead of a washing machine) more than 3 days you grow mosquitos in it.

 --It is amazing how many second chances Heavenly Father is willing to give us.

--Honduran pigs in a blanket consist of a hot dog wrapped in a corn tortilla, fried, smothered in refried beans, and topped with creme (A reeeeaaaaallly mild form of sour cream. I think.)

--My companion has to avoid grease/oil/fat and flour if she wants to avoid a hospital stay... The problem is that here you can't say a meal was cooked unless it involves a good amount of shortening...

--I really am a nerd.

 --Singing a solo in Sacrament Meeting isn't nearly as scary as I thought, but I don't plan on doing it again. I got asked to lead the music acapella. In front of everyone. That meant I had to give the tune before we started singing...

--Missions are about stepping out of your comfort zone. --If you can't cook a hamburger in Honduras that doesn't make you un-American.

--You can always find the bright side if you look for it. There are always beautiful parts of the day. It doesn't matter how small they are, they are always there.

--Hope is a whole lot more than a shallow wishing something would happen. It is trusting Heavenly Father and His promises. Trusting that you can truly repent and be forgiven through the Atonement. Having hope requires faith and diligence and is what allows us to have peace and joy in the midst of trial.

 What did you guys learn this week?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

New Area, New Companion

It is always really hard to explain what it is really like here, so I think that I will send a lot of pictures...



We live in a little yellow house that is about 50% bigger than the apartment in La Ceiba... It has pretty flowers in front and a nice covered patio in back. I like it. Even the color. ;)



This is the part of our area that is not in the gated, guarded neighborhood that we live in. In this area there is only one paved road that is the main road running through the residential. Here there are really deep gutters on both sides of the road. About half of the houses are made of wood and built on cement pillars. I think it rains a lot here during the rainy season... I guess we'll see because we are entering it now.

This is my companion Hna. Morales and a recent convert, Cristobal. Cristobal kind of reminds me of Anita. We visit him nearly every day with another recent convert, Ebelin. He makes these little wooden boats. ​

Hna. Morales is from Bolivia, is 22 years old, and has been a member of the church for 2 years. She was Catholic before becoming LDS, but unlike my two companions who were also Catholic before joining our church, she never had plans to be a nun.






It sounds like my companion and her previous companion usually just ate sandwiches. She was thrilled when I cooked this yesterday. It's really just scrambled eggs and french fries that Hna. Calpa taught me to put together, but Hna. Morales was excited :)

We also eat a TON of mangoes. Every time we visit someone they offer us two or four to take with us. This area is very different from La Ceiba, but I am excited for this opportunity to work here!

Hasta la proxima! Hna. Thacker

Thursday, June 5, 2014

New Opportunities

     So... lots of different relatively random thoughts... I'm still trying to order them myself, so here it goes...

     Well! I have a new area! Not exactly sure where it falls on your map of Honduras, but it is close to San Pedro I think.

     My new companion is from Bolivia and has 3 months in the mission. It will be a new adventure. Monday I will send you pictures. We live in a little house in a little guarded neighborhood and I feel like our area is a bit smaller than my previous area.

     My last weekend in la Ceiba our entire area was wrapped up in Carnival. Kind of a crazy going away party... ;) It just made it a little hard to find people... they were all at carnival. They say it is internationally famous and really it is the biggest party/festival that La Ceiba has in the year. Oh, and I kind of promised an Hermana here that next year I would come back for it so she could take us to see all of the fun stuff that we missed as missionaries.

     It was really weird saying goodbye to everyone in my area. It didn't really truly sink in that I was actually leaving until after the change meeting when I hugged the hermana who is taking my place in el Iman. I started crying there in front of her, the president's wife, my new companion, and everyone. I hope that doesn't make them worry too much... that's always the biggest concern crying in front of people.

     I think I will miss La Ceiba, but I am excited for this new opportunity to get to know another area full of wonderful people. It will be an adventure to say the least!

Hasta La Proxima!
Hna. Thacker

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Turn To Him

     Well, since we talked there hasn't been anything super grande to share with you.... so.... I was reading the Book of Mormon in my personal study and I got to one of my favorite parts in Mosiah. Here it tells the story of the group that went off to try to take back the Land of Nephi. I love the contrast of the two groups, the people of king Limhi and the people of Alma, for what it teaches about the mercy and love of Heavenly Father and the consequences of being slow to seek Him.

     Both groups suffered much and were in bondage that was greater than they thought they were able to bear. In the end both groups are delivered by the mercy and grace of God. He loves them and helps them through their suffering, but according to their obedience and quickness to turn to Him.

     I realized that it is probable that their bondage was just about equal in severity. The key was in how they reacted. Limhi and his people were slow to turn to God to deliver them and suffered more. Alma and his people from the beginning ''hushed their fears and began to cry unto the Lord.'' They are strengthened and able to ''submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.'' They turned their lives over to Him and allowed Him to work in their lives. They were changed by grace.

      Frequently I get caught in the ''Why do I have to deal with this weakness!? Why do I have to experience this?!'' And life remains just as hard as I think it is. I am like the people of Limhi and try to resolve it all on my own and I suffer for it. Reading here in Mosiah I am reminded to hush my fears and cry unto God. When I turn everything over to Him and let Him work in my life, I can be changed by grace. My ''weak things become strong unto [me]''.  Heavenly Father can make a whole lot more of us than we can even imagine and He is waiting for us to turn to Him. It is so neat what you can learn reading the Book of Mormon!

Hna. Thacker

Learn Catracho:

Macizo-- literally means ''solid'' Here it means ''super cool'', ''really awesome'', etc. It's become part of my new favorite phrase ''¡Qué Macizo!

Pilas-- I am not sure what it literally translates to because it has a lot of possible meanings. Most common slang form means ''really smart.'' Can also mean batteries, be a plural number of wash basins, and many more...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"My Trip to the Murder Capital of the World," "Lesson 2: Be Responsible," or "Winter Has Arrived."

     Well, usually I don't fill the subject line on these things, but if I had to pick one it would be either "My Trip to the Murder Capital of the World," "Lesson 2: Be Responsible," or "Winter Has Arrived." I couldn't decide so I left it blank again...

     Early in the week we went to San Pedro with another companionship of hermanas from our district. It was crazy. We found out Sunday morning that we needed to leave that afternoon. Without a chance to eat we took off on a 4 hour bus ride as soon as church was over to avoid traveling after dark. Monday was wild with appointments, and by the time appointments were over it was too late to return to La Ceiba that night. We took advantage of the last hour of sunlight to visit the Catholic Cathederal in the other mission and it was pretty cool. We got to climb to the very top towers. There I learned that the majority of the northern coast of Honduras was not settled by the Spanish, but rather Americans in search of cheeper fruit. But to make a long story short, by the time we left San Pedro and La Lima we were ready to be back in our own apartment.

      Here the plot thickens and we get to "Lesson 2: Be Responsible." Remember this summer when the cornfield ate my glasses? That was Lesson 1: Be Obedient. Here is Lesson 2...


     Be responsible and pay the electic bill because they are serious when they say they will cut it. We returned from San Pedro to find that they had cut our power because we had forgotten to pay. We had barely enough time to make it to the bank to get it paid, but still had to go to the electric company to ask them very nicely if they would come and reconnect it again. It was too late tuesday, so we spent the night without fans and writing in journals by candle light. Wednesday we set out early to figure out how to fix our predicament, and had to bring an hermana from the ward with us just in case they asked for identification (you see, we don't exactly have residency in Honduras yet). She was very helpful and managed to talk them into reconnecting the power lines that very afternoon instead of the usual three days later. She litterally saved us. Though once we got home the power went out for our sector of La Ceiba... It was a really crazy day. Crazier than San Pedro...

     But hey, on the bright side, from Hna. Paola on this little trip, we learned that the tap water in La Ceiba has been drinkable since 1912. The Standard Fruit Company (now Dole) donated a potable water system to the city of La Ceiba many many years ago. Who knew!

     Last but not least, they tell me that winter has arrived here. That means that it rains a lot.



     One family gave us these trash bags to walk home with. They thoroughly enjoyed seeing all four missionaries from the ward looking like penguins, but it kept our stuff dry!

     It has been the craziest week, but every part came with a lesson to learn! Well, that's all for this week....

Hasta la próxima!
Hna. Thacker

Learn Catracho:

Catracho--loving term referring to all Hondurans and everything Honduran. It is more likely that you will see 100% Catracho instead of Made in Honduras...

moy--literally means cow, but here they use it to say mi amor, as in love, dear, etc.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Unexpected Trip

    This will be a quick short one... I will probably write more tomorrow... because you see.... we happen to be chillin' in the other mission... San Pedro Sula West...
     For the last 4 months of her mission, my companion has been dealing with feet that are super swollen and pain that started in her feet and has worked its way up to her back, too. Finally last week she included in her weekly letter to Pres. Klein that all of this was going on, and Sunday morning at 6:35 am the mission nurse called to say that we should leave here at 1:00 with another companionship from our district, stay the night with some hermanas, and report for doctors appointments the next morning in San Pedro. So here we are... The mission office and the specialists really are within the boundaries of the West mission (as far as I understand). It's been an adventure! The good news is that the doctor prescribed some medicine and some arch-insert things that should fix the problem. Tonight or tomorrow we return to our areas.
     Other great news that I am so very excited to share is that Anita got baptized! (the picture is coming later) She has a lot more support than I imagined. Turns out it was only the one sister that she didn't want to know that she was getting baptized. The brother and sister-in-law that she lives with know and support her and her daughter was happy for her, too. The hermano who baptized her turns out to be a childhood friend of Anita's brother and was very excited to learn that she was going to get baptized. ¡Super Masizo! Well, I'll probably write more tomorrow... And the next time I write I have a few pictures to send. So... hasta la proxima!

Love,
Hna. Thacker