Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 26, 2013 letter

Hi daddy!

Sorry about your hand. I hope it heals quickly. And yes, "asistir" is attend. Its funny when that happens.  [Michelle said that two men wanted to "assist" church last week. She's officially speaking Spanglish now.  Mom's note]

That´s great about Whitney [Nielson--Whitney is going on a mission] - I´m excited for her.

Yes, we´re still in a threesome. We have changes [transfers] in two weeks. 
We can only go to a dinner if there´s investigator present that we´re going to teach. Other than that, we eat when we get home and after planning. We haven´t done that yet, though. Maybe soon. We eat lunch at either our cook´s house (just lunch, though), the Bishop´s, or a members. Sometimes, we buy lunch, but that´s only if our cook isn´t there or it´s really late. The memebrs here that assist in our appointments are awesome. They have strong testimonies and share them with our investigators. We have anywhere from 1 to 7 appointments a day with members. It´s vacations right now, so  sometimes it´s hard to find people to go with us but other days, a lot of people can.

We do have a ward mission leader. Hermano Conde works really hard with us and helps us a lot. We have correlation each week and he usually buys us dinner after correlation (like pizza or Burger King, nothing huge). But he helps with our plans for the week - when we need to do divisions to pass for our investigators Sunday morning, helping pass for our investigators, calling people to come to appointments with us, and always asks how we´re doing and what we need help with. He also asks about our investigators and how they´re doing. He is a really good mission leader (not as good as my papa, though). We have changes in two weeks and I´m kind of scared to leave (if I leave - we don´t know who yet) because I don´t know how the next ward mission leader will be or if we´ll have one. But, I have faith everything will be alright.

We had Stake Conference, too! It was a Guatemala-wide Stake Conference and was broadcasted from Salt Lake. President Eyring presided. One of the Seventy spoke and Sister Wixom spoke, too. And Elder Scott spoke (who speaks very good Spanish, I might add. He didn´t need a translator). And then President Eyring. The whole conference was centered on families, how we´re all children of God, and the importance of women in society today. Saturday night was good - a lot about la obra misional (missionary work). It was really good and I´m glad that we got to go Saturday, as well.

We had lunch with the President yesterday (we were the "most successful" zone last month) and Hermana Brough cooked. Oh man. It was so good. She made ham with brown sugar (and we can´t have Guatemalan pig, so it was a treat), and funeral potatoes (which were delicious), salad (we can´t have lettuce, either, so that was nice), and chocolate chip cookies and "sugar bombs" (think of peanut butter, sugar, and rice krispies rolles in chocolate). It was so good. And then we played "mafia" in Spanish (it was hilarious. When someone would accuse Hermana Brough of being "mafia", President would joke, "Alright, who´s getting changed to misión sur?" It was hilarious.). Anyway, that was a really good P-Day.

I finished the Book of Mormon this past week and it really hit me this time that I read it that everything in the Book of Mormon points to Christ. Before my mission, I knew that, but I realized it this time. Everything. All the war chapters and everything. In 1 Nephi 6:5-6 says that only things of worth for the children of men are to be written on the  plates and that just indicates more that everything in the Book of Mormon is for our benefit. And then you realize that not even a hundredth part of the records are in the Book of Mormon (see the end of Mormon and Ether). So everything - every word, punctuation, sentence, paragraph - is in the Book of Mormon because God knows that it will help us the most and we just need to read adn study adn pray to find what we can apply in our lives. It takes practice and work, but it´s possible to find what we need to read and apply in our lives.

So, happy (early) turkey day! Eat some turkey and potatoes for me! (Hermana Weatherford and I are going to make instant mashed potatoes, I´m going to attempt to make gravy, and we bought turkey slices for our turkey. It´s going to be Thanksgiving mission style.)
I love you, daddy! I pray for you and I love you! It´s all good!

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Pumpkin Conover

Sunday, November 24, 2013

December 24, 2013 email to dad

hi dad!

 I love you!

Anyway, I'm not writing a lot today becuase we'll be talking tomorrow!!!

I'm sending pictures in other emails so that you and the family can get a view of guatemala and the mission.

This week has been good - we're working on finding people to teach IN Sololá and not in the Aldeas.

The temple trip was amazing. we got to see the new video. In English. we had new translators and it was awesome. And it makes more sense of why there's so much more pauses in the video when you watch it side by side with Spanish and English. It made the translations flow better. Anyway, it was amazing. This time, I realized the importance of obedience. It definitely is a law on which the foundation of the world is based off of.

We left at 1 in the morning (we got permission to not sleep because we would have had to get up at 11.30 and only one hour wouldn't have done a lot of good) and didn't really sleep in the bus. We went to the Temple and after had a devotional with President and his family and we got our packages. Thanks to you and mom and Laura, I had candy to share on the way back home. We all opened our presents on the bus and enjoyed them all together. I had some chocolate from Peru. Oh man, it was delicious.

We have food rules in the mission. We can't eat pork or anything like it (including sliced ham for sandwiches), no fish, no strawberries, no grapes, lettuce, or ice cream from the street or any food from the street. That's about it, I think. Otherwise, we have to wash it really well (like let it sit in bleach water for a few minutes and let it air dry) or make sure it has a peel (like bananas, papayas, etc). We eat pretty well. Oatmeal or cereal in the morning (with yogurt if its cereal and an apple), a really good lunch from our cocinera (cook), and something for dinner after planning (usually cereal or oatmeal). We don't go hungry we try to eat well. I feel fine - I've only gotten sick from food once here in Sololá and that's because it was really rich. Most of the time I'm fine.
To leave town we take a bus and it takes us to where we need to go. that or a flete (the truck where a bunch of people jump into the back). It's all pretty cheap. And in town, sometimes we take taxis or a tuk-tuk - it's a taxi but it's a motorcycle. I think we're the only area that gets to use tuk-tuks and fletes.

We had a Christmas miracle! We didn't have hot water for a really long time (four weeks - the whole time I've been here plus some) [Michelle only gets water between 7 am and 1 pm, anyway!] and the electricity was all funny and didn't work right, at all. So yesterday, someone came and fixed it. And we had hot showers today. It was fantastic.

Anyway, as a mission, we're reading the Book of Mormon together. We started on Saturday and we finished 1 Nephi 8 today. It's going well. Hermana Peterson and I decided that we're going to read it in Spanish and highlight every time the word Señor, Dios, Cristo, or Jesucristo appears. I love the Book of Mormon and I am so grateful that we get to read it as a mission. It's kind of cool to think that all the missionaries in our mission are reading the same things everyday and getting different revelation from it. I love this book and I know that it is scripture and the words of God.
I love you, dad! I'm so excited we get to talk tomorrow!

con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Conover

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19th, 2013 letter

Hi daddy!
I love you, too! I pray for you and mom and the family everyday! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week - eat some potatoes and turkey for me.  [mom's note:  She's one week off.]
The weeks fly by here. Yesterday felt like October or September. When we work with diligence (which we strive to do all the time), the days fly and we look at our watches and ask, ¨Where did the last 5 hours go?¨. That happens quite a lot, actually.

It actually hasn´t rained for a few weeks. Clouds, yes. Humidity, absolutely (the past few days have been really humid. Sweating at 11 in the morning? Yep.). But, it´s vale la pena (it´s worth it).

I love that you get to work at the Temple.

We´ve had some really good lessons this week. We have a family that´s interested in our message. The first time we met with them, they weren´t receptive at all. But we visited again and they showed interest. And the other day we taught about faith and the husband said that he wanted to assist [she's shortened "asistir" which means "attend" in English] church (the wife wasn´t there). And he read the Book of Mormon. And we have another brother who is Atheist, but he´s assisted church 2 times. And he said he has a lot of questions for us. We´re meeting with him on Thursday and we´ll try to help him come unto Christ and feel the Spirit to gain a testimony that there is a God. It might take time, but I think he might be baptized.

I really thought about Ether 12, verse 27 this week. Where God will show us our weaknesses as we come unto Him. As we come more unto Christ and learn more about Him and how He is, we see our weaknesses because we´re shown them. And once we recognize our weaknesses, we work to improve them. And we use the Atonement to help us do that and it´s only through the Atonement that we can make lasting changes in our lives and behaviors. The repentance process is more like the Atonement process because the process works for making things or attributes better in our lives, too. It´s a change of heart and a change of mindset. The repentance process of recognizing we need to change, not doing that thing or changing behavior, asking for help through prayer, deciding to change or not doing it anymore, and changing your will and heart to be algined with Heavenly Father´s. And having the patience and hope to get through all of that. And that we can wait for the Lord´s time and the Lord´s way, as well.

Well, I love you, dad! There are a lot of miles between us, but I still love you and feel your love and prayers help
me out. I love you mucho!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana "Pumpkin" Conover

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12, 2013 letter

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hi daddy!

I love you, too!

The Temple grounds are pretty small. There´s some grass, a parking lot, and that´s about it. And the Temple is small, too. But the Spirit is still definitively there. And it´s a block away from the CCM and in a quieter part of Guate or La Capital (Guatemala City).

In our area, we stay in Ribera most of the time and three other areas that are within our area (a ten minute walk, max). We take buses to shop on Preparation Day and for District Meetings and other meetings, too. And some of the members drive to church, but most walk. It´s in Ribera del Rio and not that far of a walk.
I love hearing about your work in the Temple. Our family is doing some really good things right now, for both sides of the veil. We´re all working to bring the Gospel to more and more people and to help them receive the blessings of the ordinances of the Gospel and so that they can return to our Father in Heaven.

We made no-bake cookies yesterday, for P-Day. We didn´t have chocolate powder, though, so we used the Guatemala equivalent of Nesquik (ChocoPanda) and, oh man, it was delicious. So good. So, if you don´t have Hershey´s
chocolate powder and you need cocoa powder, use Nesquik. It´s really good.  Or, at least for no-bake cookies.

I love Elder Bednar´s talk. And how forward he was. If you keep the law of tithing, great. If you don´t, consider your ways and repent. Very direct, forward, and clear. It´s important to keep the law of the tithe and fast offerings.

Both Hermana Lui and I are excited for Afton to leave fo her mission. I´m so glad that she was able to go through the Temple! I remember the first time I went through, I thought of her and how much she needed to hear what is promised. I´m very excited for her and know that she will do wonderful things in the mission field "en la obra del Señor". (in the work of the Lord)

We had a really strong lesson this past week. Quite a few, actually. There was one lesson where we bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Spirit was so strong and we testified with power and authority. She hermana we were teaching didn´t accept another official visit, but we planted a seed and she used her agency. The language is still hard at times, but it´s getting a little easier. In lessons, it´s better.

Other than Gospel related things, its a little tough, but it´s getting there. And I´m working on my accent. Its fun to try to talk like a Guatemalan. :)  And two times this week, someone called us "angels". Both are menos activos (Less actives) and they were saying how they needed us to come when we did. Both times it was definitely the Spirit that brought us there. Not us. And this past week was the perfect week. We had goals for everyday (contact a lot of families, teach with members, etc) and we completed all of the goals EXCEPT for a baptism. We looked, so hard, and we almost had one, but it wasn´t the Lord´s time to have one this weekend. Faith, diligence, and hope. Go hand in hand.

Jesus Christ lives. And through Him, our sins and weaknesses can become clean and become strengths, respectively. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God who translated the Book of Mormon with the power of the Priesthood. I know it´s true. The Gospel changes lives. It does.

I love you, dad! Send my love to the family!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana "Pumpkin" Conover

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 5, 2013 Letter

November 5, 2013

Hi daddy!
I love you! That´s first, because it´s important. :)
Yeah, mom said that her computer was dying. That´s nice that Seth helped out with the transition.
About the Temple, we went to the one in Ciudad on Friday! One of the families that Hermana Cruz baptized last year went through and received their endowments. We did the session in Spanish (which was interesting - I´m very glad that I´ve gone through multiple times in English or else I would have been very lost).
 We have a new companion - Hermana Weatherford. She was in the CCM [Guatemala's Missionary Training Center] with me. A lot of the people with only six weeks [out of the CCM] got shuffled around in cambios. [transfers] She ´s a sweetheart and a hard worker. She´s a trooper. And I can finally keep up with Hermana Cruz while we´re walking around. I never thought that would happen! My goal from the first day was to walk as fast as her and I didn´t think it was possible. But it is! I can´t run as fast as her, but I´m working on that.
Yeah, our zone is pretty awesome. We were the "most successful" in October, so we get to have lunch in the house of President Brough on the 25th. Hermana Brough is a really good cook, so we´re all excited.
This past week I´ve been thinking about how important prayer is in our lives. In the Bible dictionary, it says how when we understand our relationship with God and how He is our Heavenly Father, prayer makes sense and is natural and we have a literal conversation with God. Some of our investigators don´t understand that they are LITERALLY sons and daughters of God and don´t pray or don´t pray in the way Christ taught us how. Or don´t see the importance of it or don´t receive (don´t recognize) the answers of the Holy Ghost. I know that when we understand that we´re literally talking to God, our prayers become that much more sincere. When we understand and have complete faith that we will receive answers, we will feel and recognize them. When we act on those answers, we are blessed. I know that sometimes, it doesn´t feel like the Lord is going to answer or that He didn´t, but he does. Sometimes, it´s in ways that we don´t expect or realize. I know He will answer our prayers, we just have to be patient. Like it says in the scriptures (I know it in Spanish, but not in English, so here´s a rough translation), whatever thing you ask for in the name of the Father in the name of Christ, and is right, that prayer will be answered. When we pray (and repent), we´re bringing our will in line with Heavenly Father´s. not the other way around.
I love you! Send my love to the family! Eat some chocolate chip pumpkin cookies for me! :) And some sourdough bread, también.
I love you!
Con mucho amor,
Hermana "Pumpkin" Conover
November 5, 2013
Hi momma!

How´s life in California going? I hope that you´re feeling better.  [Mom had a spontaneous rupture of the semitendinosis on the Labor Day week end and is just now getting over the bruising, pain and swelling.]

I got my package at exchanges - I´m saving the peanut butter, though, for an area where we don´t get Peter Pan peanut butter (which actually isn´t that bad, surprisingly). 
I´m in a trio again. Hermana Weatherford came to our area last week at cambios (exchanges). She came into the CCM with me and she´s a sweetheart. We were in Unversity Chorale together and didn´t know it! She´s a hard worker, too
I love this Gospel. It´s such a message of happiness and joy. Yeah, we cry a lot when we feel the Spirit and it might not seem like we´re happy, but we are. We taught a lesson this past week where we read Ether 12:6 and 12 and verse 12 says that without us showing our faith, God cannot work miracles. I started crying. Because I have seen miracles happen in Ribera del Rio. For sure. Not many and not all the time, but they´ve been there. I know that this Gospel is true and that when we show our faith and are exactly obedient, God gives us miracles. 
We went to the Temple on Friday. It was so refreshing and such a good experience. We had to leave our house at 4:10 in the morning to get there in time, but it was so  worth it. The reason we went was that one of the families that Hermana Cruz taught and baptized last year is getting sealed in December and they received their endowments on Friday. It was so good. We did the session in Spanish, so it was interesting. I´m glad that we went to the Temple so many times during our stay at the CCM. That helped a lot, or else I would have been lost.
I love you, mom! Say hola to the family for me! I love  you! Eat some sourdough bread for me! :)

con MUCHO amor,
Hermana "Pooch" Conover