Week 36 – New Area & New Companion

Nice buck and nice beard! All of my latin friends here don´t understand hunting but they loved the photo haha! The first Deer Lake buck?

I´m in my new area and I´m loving it. When I arrived we didn´t have any baptismal dates and we had a meeting with Pres. Spjut in order to tell us that as leaders we needed to improve. Now we have 3 baptismal dates and many more that are close! I feel revigorated and I feel like I´m being useful again. I´ll have pictures of our baptism this saturday next week. Rosa is an interesting case. Apparently earlier in her life she had money and a husband until she had a serious accident. She lost her teeth, her ability to walk well, and some of her mental capacity. Now she´s living in a hut and another guy is charitably paying for her rent and food. The members haven´t wanted her to get baptized only because they didn´t like visiting her and didn´t think she was mentally capable. That´s a lie because when I asked her the baptismal questions she answered them all. She knows when she´s sinning and when she feels the spirit. In Ward Council I pretty much said that if she´s coherent, our leaders say that it´s alright, and she passes the interview we cannot deny her her salvation because the Ward won´t work to retain her. They didn´t say anything and she´s getting baptized this Saturday 🙂

My companion is awesome. I forgot how nice it was to have a companion that was independent and knows what she´s doing. Our lessons flow naturally and we get along well. I think I´ll like being a leader, but there is a lot more pressure to have good numbers and Pres. Spjut is always looking over our shoulder but it has it´s perks too. We get more money each month (I don´t know why haha), we get to do interchanges in really cool places, and we get to go to cool leader´s training meetings.

And is a little bit colder here!!!! In the morning and in the evening I actually get a little chilled.

Still happy and healthy. Love you!

Abby

Week 35 – Cerro Verde!!

Hey Mom!

Today I´m writing a little late because we went to a place called Cerro Verde!! It was super pretty and the weather was cool. It was like Michigan on a fall day…only with different kinds of trees and volcanos 🙂

Isaac, the oldest Paz kid, was baptized last Saturday! He´s not really a kid because that same day he turned 25 but he´s got such a baby face. That makes 4 baptisms for us this transfer.

This morning Pres. Spjut gave me a call to tell me that I´m gonna be a Sister Training Leader in Auachapan, El Espino. I´ve heard really good things about the area and being a Hermana Lider is cool because I know I´ll have a good companion. Sister Training Leader is pretty much like a Zone Leader but only for the Hermanas. I get to go to all the Leader´s meetings and do interchanges with the sisters that I´m in charge of. I also have to deal with all their problems though. It´ll be a good learning experience. More responsibility.

The sad thing is that with awesome district I have is being split up. E. Torre goes home and E. Lux and I are leaving. Luckily, E. Lux will be the Zone Leader in Auachapan so we´ll still be working together for another 3 months probably.

Love you always,
Abby

Week 34 – Another Baptism and Play Day!

This week was a great one. The oldest son of Jorge and Gertrudis Paz, Isaac, is getting baptized this Saturday! We left him 2 Nephi 31 to read. We arrived at the lesson and the first thing he said was that he loved what he read. He explained to us what he learned and it was exactly what we had prepared to teach him haha. I just bore my testimony of covenants and how I`ve been blessed by the covenants I`ve made. He said he wanted to be baptized the next saturday, his birthday. His parents were so happy too because they didn`t know he had made this decision! Woot woot!

I`ll have transfers in a week and a half. It`s always bittersweet but as you all know, I like changes so I`m ready. I`ve knocked on every door two or three times so they`re getting sick of me 🙂

Last Monday, our district went to Lake Coatepeque. It`s beautiful. We ate fresh fish at a restaurant on a dock and took pictures. These guys are cool and we accomplished all of our goals as a district, so they`re pretty good missionaries too.

That`s what I have to share this week. I`m happy and healthy and enjoying it!

Love you all so much,

Abby

Weeks 32&33 – Happy Halloween & Paz Baptisms!!!

Elder Oaks spoke of how El Salvador, more than any other part of the world, needs the gospel most. Wow. He talked about the doctrine of the Trinity, of the Atonement, and Self-reliance. He bore his testimony in Spanish and it was cute. One thing that made me happy was that all of my converts in El Salvador were there at the conference! I have 10 now! 🙂

Friday we had the miracle of Flor´s grandpa signing his permission for her to be baptized. He said, “I don´t agree with this baptism but I´ll sign. Just don´t talk to me about it anymore.” Haha it´s a deal! We arranged the baptism in one day and she was confirmed yesterday. Yay!

Last Monday Vanessa, my convert from my first ward, invited us and the elders in my district over for lunch. It was fun to see her and her family again. Right after we recieved the signature of Flor´s grandpa for her baptism, we passed a man on his bike that we´d talked to maybe twice. I felt the urge to stop him and talk to him to give him a Book of Mormon. After I explained what it was he just said, “I feel so prepared to recieve this right now. I have to tell you that I see this light in you, like an angel. You´re pretty physically too but it´s more than that. I will treasure this book and even more, I will read it.” Holy crap it was so cool. It made my day!

This was an awesome week! I have about 2 more weeks in this area and I´m ready to leave although I do like it here. This Wednesday is Day of the Dead so we´re headed to the cemetery to contact all the people that will be there reverencing their ancestors.

I´m pretty sure I know that you miss me whether you tell me or not. I think my mental toughness can handle it 🙂 I miss you guys too. The psychology of the mission is interesting. I´ve thought about it a lot while dealing with the feelings of Hna. Carrillo and it´s tougher than you might think. It´s not just the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual exhaustion of the mission but there is also this pressure to not be “baggy” and think about home or your family at all. We´re supposed to be so spiritually strong that we take everything that comes in the mission with Christlike patience and long-suffering. When missionaries aren´t baptizing or they feel like they are doing everything right but aren´t enjoying it, they feel guilt or feel like they lack the faith. It´s a cycle of negative feelings that leads to stress and more homesickness. It´s hard to fight. I like to remind my companion that we´re not robots or machines and it´s okay to think about our family and to miss them. We just can´t let it get in the way of the work.

Yikes, be careful everyone, especially Seth and Sam while driving. Winter is dangerous.

Yes, I´m worried about the future of the country and of the world in general. Why do people have to close their minds to all things good, true, and intelligent? Giving people their agency, knowing what would most likely happen, I´m sure was a big sacrifice for Father in Heaven.

The Paz family were baptized Thursday. It was small but that´s the way they wanted it. They are a very interesting couple but they do what they say and I´m convinced that they´ve experienced their conversion. They still don´t understand many things but they have a lifetime of learnin ahead of them. We´re gonna work hard with their sons now to get them on board. The parents say that they don´t want anything to do with the decision their kids make to get baptized but I think they´re missing a little bit their role as parents. If they know that the church is true, they should want to make their kids go to church even if they don´t want to. Ah well.

This week I start volunteering at an English school. They told me I could teach the lessons to all the kids in English! Sweet. I have to start practicing the lessons in English haha.

I´m happy and healthy. Thanks for your love and support. I have no doubts that what I am doing and teaching is directed by God and it´s His work.

Love,
Abby