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