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

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