Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25, 2014

Hi daddy!

Well, if mom`s willing to look at a pile of rocks for that long, you can wait and I`ll help put everything back when I get home. :)   
[Chuck pulled the backyard waterfall and pond apart because of a leak.  All the rocks are sitting on the patio and the lawn until he gets everything put back together again, or make that,  rearranges his backyard artwork.]
I`ve decided that I`m going to go to the Temple as many times as I can when I get home. The people here in Sololá have a Temple in Xela (pronounced "Shayla", in Quetzaltenango) and it`s only 45 minutes away, but not a lot of people go. It`s sad. There`s a pair of members that just finished serving in the Temple and they have said, multiple times, that they didn`t see a lot of members from the branch go to the Temple in the year and a half that they were there. I`m very grateful that we have Temples and that we have the opportuniy to go and receive blessings (and help others receive blessings) from our Heavenly Father.
Sololá is small, especially because it`s split into 2 areas - our area, and the area of the Zone Leaders. In Sololá, there`s 6th Street (6ta Calle) and that`s the line. Everything above 6th is our area (6th, 5th, etc.) and below it, it`s the area of the Zone Leaders. We have aldeas ("villages") but they`re further out and the people that we teach once or twice aren`t interested, usually, after that. And there are a ton of dogs in the aldeas. And President Brough said that we shouldn`t spend too much time out in the aldeas because the people that are baptized out there are usually inactive after a year. But yes, we do spend a lot of time in Sololá and do knock the same doors sometimes. Well, after about three weeks, we`ve knocked almost all the doors in Sololá in the city.
There are a lot of businesses in the avenues and a lot of houses, too. The main streets are 6th and 7th avenue and this is where a lot of the businesses are. The hills are like San Francisco. The ward members walk to church or drive or take a tuk-tuk or taxi (a tuk-tuk is a taxi with a motorcycle that drives it. I`ll take a picture one day to show you). But most of them walk. They don`t have too many activities - they have a n activity on Sundays that`s like a "linger-longer" but other than that, they don`t do a lot of activities. We had a missionary activity in January - we have a lot of returned missionaries in the branch and we had them share some of their experiences to explain missionary work.
I`m doing good - I have a cough, but that`s it. I don`t know why - I`ve had it for about a week and there isn`t any reason for me to have a cough, other than the fact that Satan doesn`t want me to be able to talk. We have a goal as a mission to baptize 400 people in March - and we`re going to do it. Our goal is to baptize 5 in Sololá 2 in March. it`ll be good. I just hope that I stop sounding like a man soon.
I love it when we go out with members and they say after, "They`re so positive, we`re going to pray for them and when you needc help, we`re here." It means a lot when the members get excited about the work and when they want to help us. And we`re only in a twosome. Just me and Hna. Euceda. She`s awesome. I love working with her. I think she`s going to be my favorite companion in the mission.
This week, we studied (as a district) about how the Spirit works. I love the scripture that`s in Alma 19:6 - the contrast between light and darkness in relation to the Spirit is so true. When you think about it, our calling is to call people to repentance and have faith in Christ (Mosiah 18:3, I think) and sin is like darkness and the Spirit is the light. People are living in darkness, even though they might not realize it, and we`re here to bring light to their lives. I love this scripture. I am so grateful for the scriptures and the Book of Mormon. I`m grateful that we have this record in it`s purity to study and understand more about our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel.
I love you, dad! I pray for you and our family every day!
Con MUCHO amor,
hermana Pumpkin Conover

February 25, 2014

Hi momma!

I like that picture, too. Thanks for doing that and that`s cool that we chose the same scripture. I love that scripture.  
[Michelle is talking about the picture that we chose for her missionary plaque which is hanging on the wall by the bishop's office.  The picture features Michelle sitting on a rock in our front yard, holding her opened scriptures.  Her countenance is the epitome of love and joy.  The picture is a heart melter.]

Yeah, I can imagine that Sister Nelson`s been here. It seems like she`s been everywhere in the world.  [sister Patty Nelson]

Bueno suerte (good luck) with the new calling. I hope that it won`t be TOO much stress in your life, but wherever you`re going to serve, you`ll do a fantastic job, I just know it.  [Mom was just released from the ward Relief Society Presidency.]

I thought about dad at church the other day - we were handing out slips of paper that have the names of our investigators on it so that the members can pray for them everyday, and I talked with one of the hermanos in the branch. I said, "You and your family will pray for them everyday, by name?" and he replied with a hidden smile, "We don`t pray in our house." I laughed and said that it was an answer that dad would give to be funny. And I told the story how a new Elder came to our house and dad said, "We don`t talk about the church here" and how the elder started to leave. The member laughed so hard. It was really funny.  [This IS a TRUE story.]

I`m grateful, as well, that the Book of Mormon is pure and only has one (or two, in Spanish) translations. We meet so many people that misunderstand the Bible because of the different translations, but I`m grateful that Heavenly Father kept this record in it`s purity for us in these Latter-Days. President Brough said that, especially in Sololá, the Book of Mormon is the tool that will help soften the hearts of the people.

This week, I had two people ask me, "So, you have a year in the mission?" No. Only 6.5 months. They were surprised. They thought I had a year. And three different people have told me that my Spanish is really good this week. So, thanks for the prayers with the Spanish acquisition. The only thing is that I`ll need those prayers when I get back home, too, to relearn English. I`ve already forgotten how to say some things in English or how to pronouce words in English. It`s hard sometimes. But, I can relearn it when I get back.

And keep going with the Gospel conversations everyday! That`s awesome! It plants a seed and, after a time, that seed grows and the missionaries find them and help them develop and grow their testimony more. And then a baptism. Generations effected from one decision. Lives change forever, now and in the eternities for the better. I love this gospel and how it changes lives. The Atonement works and changes lives for the better. 

I love the scripture Alma 19:6 (it`s like poetry) and the contrast between light and darkness in relation to the Spirit. It`s the same with sin. People living in sin live in darkness and the Atonement and the Spirit bring light into their lives. And our lives, as well. We need to have faith that the Atonement will work for us and that we can take part of this gift. And we need to repent and act on this faith. A lot of people here thnk that if we have faith, we`re saved. The thing they don`t understand is what it says in James 2:17 - faith without works is dead. We aren`t saved by our works, but we need to work and keep the commandments and do everything we can to follow Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

I love you, mom! I pray for you and dad and our family everyday. I hope you`re doing well and I love you!

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Bugaboo Conover

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014
Hi daddy!

The interviews with President Brough are to see how we`re doing and if we have any questions. He asks a few questions, might look at our agendas, and we talk. And we finish in a prayer. Usually, he says the pray, but this last time I did. And he said after the prayer, with a smile, "That`s not a prayer from the Sister Conover I first met". And the interviews are in English.

That`s awesome about Jacob{Daynes].  He`s going to be a great missionary, too. South Carolina! How exciting!

And that`s good about your passport. And I had a similar experience - Jake was making funny faces throughout my picture, so mine is kind of the same.

And that experience with the sister that hadn`t been to church for 12 years. That happens. It`s sad, but it happens. but it`s good that the missionaries found her and she came back. We`ve met quite a few inactive people that left for various reasons that don`t want to have anything to do with the church and it`s sad. We want them to come back and remember their covenants and the Spirit that they felt, but sometimes they use their agency to choose to not come back. It`s hard, but agency is a God given right. And like it says in Doctrine and Covenants, their isn`t a force on earth that should infringe on that.

And... remodeling the yard. I was kind of waiting for that to come. I`m surprised you lasted as long as you did without changing anything. :)

We had divisions this week, but it was a little different. We stayed in Sololá (Hna. Euceda and me) and one of the sister trainers came to Sololá to work with us (Hna. Hansen). It`s funny - we were talking and Hna. Hansen lived in Glenwood for three of the months I was there and we have a mutual friend and were both their when our friend opened her mission call. Small world.

We also contacted a reference from a member this week and she`s basically going to be baptized. The first lesson, she accepted a baptism date when we challenged her and the second visit, she said, "I believe that what you`re teaching me is true". And another sister that we`re teaching, she said on Sunday, "I know this church is true", it`s just that her husband doesn`t want her to go to church. We`re going to work with her. She has three daughters and they`re so sweet.

The other day, I read a talk by President Monson from the relief society session of conference. And there`s a story that is very touching in this talk. It made me realized (again) that God is very aware of each of us. He knows us and wants the best for us. I love how my companion, Hna. Euceda, talks about trials. She says, "We all have trials and sometimes we think that it`s because God doesn`t love us that we have them. It`s not like that. We have trials and God gives us trials so that we grow (draw) closer to Him and get to know Him more and better." I love this Gospel and am so grateful for the peace and joy it brings into our lives. I`m grateful that I have this opportunity to help other people find this peace, as well.

I love you, dad! I pray for you and mom and our family everyday!

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Punkin Conover

February 18, 12014

Hi momma!
Well, you definitely did a lot of good things while you were in the presidency. And Jalene will be a great president and they`ll do wonderful things as a presidency, as well.  [The Relief Society Presidency was just released in Pittsburg 1st Ward.  Mom served as 2nd Counselor]

Olympics - wow. Time`s flown. Just yesterday was 2012 in London. Where are they this year?

There are pioneers here in Guatemala, too, that have sacrificed a lot, as well. There are about 4 families that traveled to Mesa Arizona to be sealed as a family between the years 1950 and 1970. The trip was at least four days by bus and some of them went through a bus accident when they were traveling. Their stories are incredible. There are people that have sacrificed so much for this Gospel and it blows my mind sometimes.

My clothes are doing good. They`re still holding up and whole. Just my socks. I have no idea how, but I have holes in every one of my socks. And I`ve tried fixing them - the holes come back around the stitches. We`re going to look for socks this P-Day.

And we didn`t feel the earthquakes. Or maybe we did, but I don`t think so. Really small if we did. But yeah, we`re fine. The volcanoes haven`t erupted, so we`re good. ; )

There`s a talk I really like that I read this week - it`s President Monson`s from the Relief Society session of conference. I love the story about the woman who was having a really hard time in her life and all she wanted was homemade bread and a friend of her sister brought it to her, not knowing her needs. I love this. It just shows how much the Lord loves us and, also, how important it is to listen to and follow Spiritual promptings. I love chapter 4 of Preach my Gospel - it explains how the Spirit works so clearly and also how to recognize and verify feelings and promptings of the Spirit.

This week we had divisions. The both of us (Hna. Euceda and me) stayed in Sololá and another hermana came to help us, Hna. Hansen. hna. Hansen live in Glenwood, too! For three of the months that I was there. And we have a mutual friend. It was funny when we realized this.

Anyway, I love this Gospel and am so grateful for it. It brings peace into our lives and can help us with everything. This week we taught the Book of Mormon to one of our investigators and read the third paragraph in the introduction. And we asked what stuck out to her and she said the peace. I know that this message brings peace in this life and the life to come nad the hope to endure till the end.

I love you, mom! You are such an example to me and I am so grateful that you do everything you do for us, your children, and the church. i pray for you and dad and our family everyday!

Con MUCHO amor,

hermana Bugaboo Conover

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014

Hi daddy!
I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, that´s good enough for a letter, right?

Just kidding. This week has been good. I´m writing today because we had interviews with President Brough today and yesterday and we had District Meeting today and we´ll have P-Day tomorrow.
Mom said that you spoke in church yesterday. I did, too! I spoke about the agency of the investigators. In our branch, when we ask for references, a lot of the time the members say, "Oh, they´re Catholic" or something like that. And I spoke about how people have the right to use their agency to accept or reject this Gospel. We might have fear that they might reject it, but they have that right and we don´t have the right to use their agency for them. It was a little forceful, but it was with love and a smile. I love this work and it is so important that we do everything we can to tell everyone about the Church and the Gospel. It´s the ONLY way we can get back to our Heavenly Father. So we need to tell everyone about it.
We had a few miracles this week - we found two former investigators that are really positive. One of them is an hermana and she has three daughters and they´re really positive. It´s been about a year since she´s listened to the missionaries and she had accepted a baptismal date and everything. Somehow she fell off of the map, but we found her again. And another hermano, he listened to the Elders (so it´s been about 2 and a half years) and he´s really positive. He committed to reading 3 Nephi 11 to 3 Nephi 26. He said that if he knows it´s true, he´ll get baptized with the rest of his family (his wife and 2 sons). We´re excited to meet with both of them again.
I love Alma 26. It is such a great piece of scripture that expresses the heart of a missionary completely lost in the work of the Lord. I love Alma 26:12 - many mighty miracles were wrought because of the Lord. I love it. 
I love you, dad! I hope you and mom are doing well, as well as the rest of our family!

Con MUCHO Amor,
Hermana Pumpkin Conover
 February 10, 2014
 Hi momma!
So we´re emailing today because we had interviews with President Brough today and yesterday. I forgot to mention that last week - sorry. It´s just for today, though.
Yay  Jacob´s going on a mission! That will help him a lot. And you should to tell me where he´s going when you guys find out.
I spoke in church yesterday, too. I spoke about how people say (when we ask for references) that their friends are Catholic or Evangelical, or things like that, and I spoke about how they have the agency to accept or reject this message and we don´t have the right to deny them that priviledge. It was a little forceful, but it was given with love. And our ward mission leader said, "You don´t have to be ashamed to be a member of this church". It was a good day for missionary work. And the work is being pushed by the District Presidency. We´re going to see more miracles in Sololá, we can all feel it.
I really like the idea for the next activity your going to do. It sounds like it will be really spiritual and uplifting.
I don´t know the expiration date off the top of my head, but I will send it to you next week. And the checking to savings, there´s a spot on the main page where you can choose an account and another account and how much you want to change. I don´t remember exactly how at the moment, but it´s on the main page and simple. And THANK YOU for doing that - it helps, really.
And the water - it´s heated by a heater on the pipe of the bathroom. there´s a trick to turning the water on to have it be hot, but it works.
This week we had a few miracles. We found a former investigator that had accepted a baptism date but she fell off the map somehow. And we found her again and she accepted to hear us and we have another appointment with her this week. And she has three daughters and they´re all pilas.[great, fantastic etc.] 
And we found another former investigator. He was taught by the Elders that had been here before (so, it´s been about 2 and a half years) and he´s Evangelical, but he said that if he knows that this church is true, he´s going to be baptized, along with his family. He has two sons and a wife and he committed to read 3 Nephi 11-26. We had explained about the Book of Mormon and he said that with our whole message (about the restoration) he was fine with and the only thing that he had questions about was that Christ came to the Americas. We were going to leave just 3 Nephi 11, but mentioned that it was only part of when Christ came and he said he was going to read all of it. We have an appointment with him Wednesday. We think he´ll be baptized - there´s something about him. 
I might have mentioned this last week, but I love the conversion of Zeezrom in Alma. And how he was a missionary soon after. I love it.
Anyway, the work is moving forward. I love this Gospel and everyday I am so grateful that you and dad raised us in this truth. I love the LOrd and I love that I get to serve Him 24-7 for the next year (yes, there´s only a year left. Pretty soon I´m going to blink and be flying home, it feels like). 
I love you, mom! I hope all is well on the homefront!
Con MUCHO amor,
Hermana Pumpkin Conover

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February 4, 2014

HI daddy!

I love you!

That´s good that it´s finally raining in California. I hope that it helps, as well. And I´m also glad that you got to go back to the Temple to work. That is such a blessing to be able to do that.
And thank you for the letter to Mr. Smidebush. And that mom took the book to him. I think that it will help him a lot.

I love hearing about your missionary experiences at home. You and mom. I don´t know why I didn´t speak more seriously about the Gospel with my friends. yes, I talked about the Gospel, but not on a "it can change your life" level or how it could help them in their lives. I´m going to change that when I get back (and of course I´m doing that now).

We had a baptism this week, Yajayra de Jiatz. She is going to be an amazing member of the church. She knows a lot about the Gospel and she is going to do great things in the work of the Lord.

This week I´ve been impressed by Zeezrom in the Book of Mormon. He was someone that was attacking Alma and Amulek verbally and wanted to destroy the Church, but he realized the error of his ways and started to repent. He was sick and asked Alma and Amulek for a blessing and he was healed by his faith. And then, he preached the Gospel to others as a missionary. He was truly converted. 
When we´re truly converted and understand the Atonement, we want to share this message more because we know it can help people in this life to change and become better and become clean from our sins so that we can return to our Heavenly Father. I love that. Sometimes we think that when we repent, it´s because we broke a commandment. But repentance is a commandment. It´s a change of heart that helps us become more like Christ everyday if we daily repent. I love the Atonement and know that it has power in the lives of those who believe in Christ and truly understand (at one level or another) that He is our Savior and Redeemer.

We found a former investigator this week. I had never looked at her teaching record, but we did after we taught her. She almost got baptized in June. She has a testimony and I think we´re going to be able to help her be baptized. Her spouse may be a bit of a challenge, but we´re going to work with her. It was a miracle that we found her and that she let us in the house, so she´s going to be baptized. It´s just a matter of when.

I love you so much. I am so grateful that you joined the church and met mom and have stayed faithful in the Church (and I couldn´t remember the word faithful. I had to ask one of our zone leaders what "fiel" was in English). Could you send me your conversion story? I know the gist of it, but I don´t remember all the details.

But yes, I am very grateful that our family is faithful in the church.

I love you SO MUCH. I hope everything is well at home.

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Conover

February 4, 2014

Hi momma!

Yeah, I met the owner-founder of Stephen´s hot chocolates. I love the mint one.

Wow, I wish I could be there at that activity, but not for the chocolate (even though that would be worth it). It sounds like an excellent activity. really. I also wish I could be there to help, but I´ll make up for it in about a year, so no worries. (and I cannot believe it´s been six months - it feels like one. I still feel like a newbie in the mission)

We still do have hot water and we got a deposit about three weeks ago, so we have water all day. We have a shower stall. And I do drink bottled water. Not even the people here drink tap water.
We microwaved the S´mores. It was something we did in college and it works here, too. And thank you - Hermana Peterson and I were very grateful for this tender mercy from the States.

I feel your prayers and those of our family and I´m very grateful that you all are helping me and supporting me in this work. We had a baptism this week and she is going to be a fantastic member. She wants to be a teacher in relief society - that was one of the first questions she asked the first time that she came to church.

Thank you for taking the book to Mr. Smidebush. And I got a copy of dad´s letter, too. I think that will help him. And yes, I did get a email from him this week. And thank you for talking to him, as well.

Missionary work is being emphasized everywhere, I think. Here in Guatemala it´s being emphasized (and not just a missionaries). The members are being asked to work more with the missionaries and give references and have family home evenings with inverstigators and everything. This is definitely the Lord´s work and He is hastening this work.

This week in the Book of Mormon we´re reading in the first chapters of Alma. I love Zeezrom. He might be one of my favorite people in the Book of Mormon because he was attacking the church and Amulek called him "hijo del infierno" and he was a terrible person. But then he realized that he was doing bad things. He repented and when he was sick over his works, he asked Alma and Amulek for a blessing and, through his faith, he was healed. And as is says in Alma 17:12, he went out to teach the people about the Gospel. We might have done bad things in this life or made mistakes (everyone has) but the wonderful things about the Atonement is that we can repent and become better. We´re to keep the commandments and sometimes we think that when we sin, we repent because we broke commandments, but repentance is also a commandment. It´s a change of heart that our Heavenly Father has commanded us to do. I love that. I love how we can change everyday and become more like Christ everyday. Some days will be better than others, but we can find strength and solace in the Atonement. It´s so central to EVERYTHING that we teach and live that we need to understand it, at least on a simple level.

I love you, mom! I hope that your chocolate self-reliance activity goes well and that the sisters don´t get diabetes from all the chocolate.

I love you and pray for you, dad, and the familia!

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana "Rooch-a-pooch" Conover