Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hi daddy!
i love you!!!!
con amor,
Hermana Conover

no, just kidding.
The days are good. We`re working in Sololá a lot (in the aldeas, there are a lot of dogs and Hna. Euceda doesn`t like them, at all) and we`re trying to find new areas to knock or areas we haven`t contacted in a while. but we`re going to work with the members more to find new investigators because we know that with the members, we see miracles and baptisms (our last three baptisms were references).
I don`t have my man voice, but a cold, yes. But it`s almost over now, so don`t worry. Almost all of the missionaries have been sick in the mission because we set so high of a goal for baptisms this month - 400 baptisms. we`re almost there. And Satan knew (and knows) that we can achieve this goal, so that`s why we`re all sick. :)
happy belated anniversary! I was thinking about you Saturday night and hoped that you guys had a good day. That ound relaxing, staying at home, but there`s work to be done here, so here`s to working hard and praying harder. And of course, the heathliest food for dad - dark chocolate and fruit. remember the bag of dark chocolate mom and I got you for father`s day years ago? Ah, good times...and your still don`t have diabetes. :)
And way to go Jenna and Seth - that`s an amazing way to spend an anniversary.
I think about other worlds sometimes - the stars in Sololá are amazing and we sometimes talk about other worlds and other planets and universe. I can wait, though, to figure out how it all is until after. That`ll be a great documentary, as well. I`m excited to see it.
Maybe she could read 2 Nephi 31 - it talks about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And Ether 12 - it talks about faith and a testimony AFTER a trial of our faith. And all of the book of Mormon, but she can start with these chapters. It`ll be good.
This week we had a baptism, Calixto Garcia. He is a miracle. We started teaching him two Mondays ago and he got baptized Sunday. miracle. And he wants to go on a mission in a year. He`s going to do great things in his life in the church.
I cannot believe that I almost have 8 months in the mission. The time has FLOWN and it will continue to fly, I know it. I don`t know where teh time has gone. But that`s good, because that means we`re working. The time`s slow when we don`t have appointments or we aren`t working effectively, but if it`s flying, that means we`re working hard.
We had divisions this week and I went to Chimaltenango with hermana Coleman. She is in her last month in the mission. She`s an amazing missionary - she taught me so much about listening to the Spirit and following the Spirit.
This week we`re reading in Ether and I love Ether 12. It explains what faith is so clearly. And it`s interesting to think - Moroni, the last of the nephites, writes about the faith. And the hope. And how we can`t lose them. I love Ether 12:6 - we only receive a testimony after a TRIAL of our faith. I testify of that. We had a day this week where we only had 2 lessons and Satan attacked us REALLY hard (last Tuesday). Wednesday, we had 10 lessons and 6 new investigators. And Amazing experieneces. There are hard things in life and in the mission, but if we put in our all, thrust our sickle in with our might, we`ll have the Lord`s help. We need to be obedient and we need to press forward and pray, but the help will be there. The Lord will answer in His own time and in His own way, but He will answer.
I love you, dad. I pray for you and mom and our family everyday.

Con MUCHO amor,
Hermana Pumpkin Conover


Hi momma!

That`ll be fun - a choir of the youth. That sounds fun. And the Carrillo boys are 12? And Connor? Wow, I`m getting old. :)

Maybe you can do an arrangement of "Families Can Be together Forever". that`d be nice. Or the primary song, "Love is Spoken Here".

I`m excited for your carrots! ¡Por fin! They finally grew! And I`m excited to see pictures of your lovely garden.

And Payton and Miriam are 8? What happened? They were four a year ago...

Well, we had another baptism on Sunday. He was a miracle. he had worked with our ward mission leader about 2 or 3 years ago and had listened to the missionaries when he was here. He was without a job this February and something told him to go back to Sololá. He came back and within three weeks, he was baptized and confirmed (we have District conference this weekend, that`s why he was confirmed after his baptism). He wants to go on a mission in a year and he`s excited. He`s going to do great things in the Church, I know it.

This week, we had divisions. I went to Chimaltenango with Hermana Coleman - she`s amazing. It`s her last transfer in the mission (I think) and she is such an amazing missionary. I worked with her my first day in the mission and it was a lot more enjoyable this time around because I could understand what was going on. One of the first things she said to me was "Your Spanish is REALLY good." Really. And she said it about two or three more times in the space of 24 hours. But she is SUCH AN EXAMPLE to me of following the Spirit. She`s fantastic at that and I hope to be like her.

This week we`re reading in Mormon and Ether in the Book of Mormon. I love Mormon 9 - it explains things very clearly and bluntly, as well. we call that "chicote" in the mission. It`s like chewing someone out. But I love it. And Ether, as well. The faith of the Brother of Jared (mahonri Moriancumer) is incredible. If only our faith could be as unshakable as his. As we study the scriptures, as we pray, go to church, and keep the commandments, we`re going to help our faith grow. Small things, but we know that through small things are great things brought to pass (Alma 37:6-7).

I love you, mom! I pray for you and dad and la familia everyday!

Con MUCHO amor,
Hermana Conover

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 18, 2014 letters to Dad and Mom

March 18, 2014

Hi daddy!

I love you!

I understand about forgetting English words - it´s true. I´ve forgotten a lot of English and I can´t remember the titles of hymns anymore in English. It´ll be interesting in about a year. But, there´s the gift of tongues the other way too, I think, so it´s all good.

My companion and I have colds, so I understand about not wanting to spread germs, but as missionaries, we don´t get to make that call. We´re out all day, everyday, and I love it.  Satan is trying to attack all the missionaries of the Central Mission because we have a goal of 400 baptisms this month of March. Almost all the missionaries in my district are sick - we were all coughing and sneezing in District Meeting. but we´re all pushing forward and fighting back in this spiritual war. We will obtain our goal - I don´t doubt that.

And I eat tomatoes now. Not like Kelly - I can´t eat them like an apple yet - but I do eat tomatoes, oddly enough. I´ll have to make "chimol" (chee-mole) when I get home - it´s a really good salsa that people make here. It´s really simple, too.

We´re going to baptize Calixto this weekend - he wants to go on a mission in a year. It was so sweet when we heard that.

I think one of the greatest lies that Satan has made up is that he doesn´t exist. That yes, there is a God, but it´s not important to go to one church. That all of them worship the same God, so what does it matter? That there isn´t a Satan and that we just need to avoid the big sins.  We see that so much here. There´s only one God, that part´s right, but there´s only one Church and one Gospel that will bring them back to the presence of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And that´s THIS Gospel. The Gospel in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that this is His church. It´s the ONLY way that we can return to His presence. The members of the Church need to remember this, as well, because sometimes we ask for people to visit and the members say, "Oh, they´re Catholic" or "Evangelical" or what have you. ALL THE MORE REASON TO TEACH THEM. They´re not of this church? Then we need to share with them this Gospel that we cherish and know that will bring eternal happiness and peace with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, with our families forever. This isn´t a lie or some made up story - Satan is fighting for our souls that we´ll be miserable like him, but we - as members and missionaries - are fighting that we can bring more people back to the presence of our loving Heavenly father and Jesus Christ

I love you, dad! I pray for you and our family everyday and I hope that all is going well.
Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Conover

March 18, 2014

Hi momma!

New president - fun. Sad that Cecil won´t be president, but that´s ok. I know President Worthen will be good.

The shoulder bag is good - I switch between a normal backpack I bought in Sololá and that one. Almost every missionary does because it´s good to keep it changing so that the weight is in a different place every once in a while. And it´s still in really good shape. I don´t think I´ll have to buy another one.

We take a bus to Panajachel and back to Sololá. The altitude change is pretty dramatic, but that´s ok.

A dinosaur birthday. That´s awesome. He´s definitely Seth´s son, for sure. And that´s sweet of the Harper´s and that they now have a piano and not a keyboard. And that Afton wants to play the piano - that´ll help her. And that´s sad about Sister Lambert. I hope that she´ll get better. She´s been through a lot.

We have a baptism this Sunday, as well. His name´s Calixto and we´ve only been teaching him for two weeks. He told us last night that he wants to be a missionary. We explained that in a year, he can be a missionary. he´s only 20, so it´ll be good for him to go on a mission.
Can you take pictures of the garden so I can see it? I love hearing about the garden and how you´re learning new ways to grow more things.

This week, I´m reading in John in the New Testament. I read this morning about the Pool of Bethesda and the experience of the invalid. And the piercing question of Christ, "Wilt thou be made whole?" There´s a talk by Elder Dyches in the last conference where he starts by explaining this story and the painting that Carl Heinrich Bloch painted about the experience (and I LOVE the paintings of Carl Bloch - like how you love the paintings of Greg Olson. I especially love "The Sermon On the Mount" by him.). And it´s so interesting how at first, it was a physical healing, but when Christ saw the man again, he said to go his way and "sin no more". We can be healed spiritually (and physically) through our faith in Christ. Sometimes - a lot of the time - life is hard. There is "opposition in all things" and Satan is always trying to find the way that is most effective to disanimate us (that sentence makes more sense in Spanish - sorry). He always wants us to be miserable and to lose our faith in Christ. We´re teaching an hermana and she doesn´t have a job and she was crying last night, saying that she´s lost her faith. That´s Satan. And then, there´s the other end. My companion and I have been attacked by Satan A LOT these past 8 or 9 weeks, but we bounce back fast because we know that if we´re disappointed or sad, that´s more of an opportunity for Satan to sneak in and attack us more. I know it´s hard, but when we have faith in Christ and His Atonement, we can overcome all things. With God, all things are possible. I know that. We can´t doubt, because doubting weakens our faith. So here´s to moving forward, with a steadfast faith in Christ.
I love you, mom! I hope that your garden won´t be attacked by bugs or birds! I pray for you and our family everyday.

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Pooch Conover

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 11, 2014

Hi daddy!

Our baptism was fantastic. President and Hermana Brough were here and President Brough spoke as well, during the baptism. And the husband of our investigator baptized his wife. I thought he was going to cry with happiness. He was SO happy. And the Spirit was definitely there. And we had an investigator come to the baptism. And the "linger longer" (I think that´s what it´s called in English). And another activity of the first branch. And he came to church. And he´s going to institute. He´s going to be baptized, pretty much. We challenged him for the 23rd of March and he accepted it. So we´re going to teach him like crazy to prepare him to be baptized. We have baptisms in the church - there´s a font there. I don´t think that people have been baptized in the lake for a while.

Yes, I am happy in Sololá. My companion is amazing and so sweet. Satan has tried almost everything to drive us apart (investigators, members, etc.), but he can´t get us down. 

The language in Sololá is a difficulty that we have - if we know we´re going to have a lesson in Kaqchikel, we bring a member with us that can speak the dialect. When we contact, we talk slower and usually just invite them to church. The dialect here isn´t pure, so there are Spanish words (like church, the name of the church, and other words as well), but we adapt when we need to. And my Spanish is a lot better - a lot of people think that I have at least a year in the mission because of my Spanish. Not so, but thanks members. It helps with my confidence in my Spanish. :) There are few occasions now where I don´t know what´s going on or need someone to repeat something.
We don´t do Daylight Savings here. Same time, same pace.

This week I have realized how much we need to work with the members. It shouldn´t be the only form of finding people to teach, But I know that when we work with the members, we´re going to see miracles. I love Chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel and how to find people to teach. If we don´t have people to teach, we don´t teach. 

This week we´re reading in 3 Nephi, when Christ is here in the Americas. I love these chapters. The doctrine is simple, clear, and direct. We leave 3 Nephi 11 a lot with people we teach because it teaches baptism clearly and 3 Nephi 27, as well. I love the Book of Mormon and I don´t know why I didn´t read it more sooner.

I love you, dad! Thank you for your missionary work with your family - I love hearing about missionary experiences that are from the members and not just the missionaries.
I love you! I pray for you and our family! love you lots!

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Pumpkin Conover

March 11, 2014

Hi momma!

I love you!

That´s funny that Hermana Euceda looks like Shinehah. 

[This paragraph is exactly the same as the baptism paragraph in Michelle's dad's letter--see above]

[Michelle's next comment is about how to "start" to study the Book of Mormon as one is reading it.]  
And that´s a good idea, just one reference a day. I know that with converts and less active members, it´s hard to get the habit down. And I know, because I had a hard time before my mission, as well. So, I think that´d be good for people beginning to read everyday.

I like "That Easter Morn" in the Hymn Book. It´s not in Spanish... I looked and was a little sad, but that´s a good, easy one to do. Especially your arrangement of it. :) 
[Mom asked Michelle about Easter music that she liked.]

Well, it rained pretty hard here in Sololá twice this week. Luckily, we were in a house when it hit. Houses with lamina for roofs are LOUD when there´s a lot of rain. And thunder. But, that´s ok. 

Is there a family Manu in our Tongan Branch? There´s an Hermana Kalifi in my zone and she´s from So-Cal. She has family in the Bay Area, so I just thought I´d ask.

We worked a lot with the members this week and I have a testimony of missionary work with the members. The two sisters we´ve baptized here in Sololá were references from the members. The people who are progressing are references and the members go with us to visit them. When missionaries and members work together, there is more success. And not just "baptisms", but retention, as well, when the converts are faithful and go to church and keep the commandments and progress. There´s a quote in Preach My Gospel that says as much. I love Chapter 9 - How to find people to teach. I think it was Elder Ballard who said, "We can´t do anything until we find people to teach". It´s true. We just had a zone training where we talked about working with the members and for asking for references in other ways from the members. I love this work and I am so grateful that I am here in Guatemala.

I love you, mom! I´m glad to hear that you are doing well and that our family is, as well!

I pray for you and our family and love you!

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Pumpkin Conover

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014
Hi mom and dad!
I love you!
And we have transfers this week, but Hermana Euceda and I are staying in Sololá together. We`re very grateful because there are miracles in the Works for this month and we want to be here for them. And we`re going to be working together for another 6 weeks. I`m very excited and grateful at the same time.
Sololá is small, but one of our zone leaders said that there might be 3 branches made. Right now there are two, but there might be three. I don`t know how they`d split up the branches. It`s small enough with two areas in Sololá.
I agree about inactive members. We have a few converts that don`t want anything to do with the church and I think that if the members do their visiting and home teaching, it would help the inactive members a lot to come to church, to have Friends, and a calling, as well. There`s a quote by President Hinckley that says as much and it`s true.
We use Mosiah 2:41 a lot when we talk about keeping the commandments. It`s just so simple - consider the happy and blessed state of those that keep the commandments.
I love hearing about the missionary work you are doing with your Friends and especially with our family. I know that it`s planting seeds in their hearts and helping these seeds grow, as well.
We`re going to have a baptism this week! 
We have an investigator that is the sister-in-law of the branch President. her name`s Irma. We`ve been teaching her for two and a half weeks and she`s gone to church twice. Her husband`s a member and he`s really supportive. We went to teach her last night to talk about the Spirit and prayer, because we felt that she was having a hard time recognizing her answer. At first in the lesson, she was saying that she had questions and doubts. But then she said that she had been reading in the Book of Mormon that morning (and she`s been reading more than we`ve been leaving for her to read) and she found a scripture that touched her heart strongly.  She said that she was going to tell us that she wanted to be baptized. We challenged her for this Sunday and she accepted. And the thing is, President Brough told the Zone leaders (who are in the other área in Sololá) that if we or they had a baptism this weekend, President Brough will drive here and attend the baptism. So President Brough is going to be here, as well! And I`m very grateful that we have been blessed to help this sister accept the Gospel. She has strong faith and she will be an amazing member.
This week, we read and finished Helaman in the Book of Mormon. I love that almost every page talks about repentance. This Gospel is about change - that`s what repentance is. It`s changing from what we were to what God wants us to become. Maybe we`re not terrible people, but we can always become better and become closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesús Christ. It`s one of the first principles of the Gospel and I`m very grateful that we can become better and that we can be forgiven of the things that we have done wrong in our lives.
I love you, dad! And mom. And our family. 
I hope that everything is well and that you all are having missionary experiences!