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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!