Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Letters to Dad and Mom April 29,2014

April 29, 2014

Hi daddy!

I love you!

Tiquisate is the Zone in the mission - sorry, I should have clarified that.

Hermana Johnson (from Arizona) said that it was the first scorpion that was in the house. But we had the pleasure of having one fall on her skirt in a lesson last night (it was about an inch long, if that. We promptly hit it to the ground and killed it).

We definitely drink water here - we drink about 2 bottles before we leave in the morning and buy lots of bags of water while we´re out proselyting.

It´s really cloudy here and I´ve only seen Volcano Atitlan one time, but yes, they´re the same volcanoes that we could see in Sololá.

This week I realized how much I appreciate going to the Temple on a regular basis (which we don´t do here in the mission).

Every transfer I think, "This transfer can´t go faster than the last one," but every time, it goes faster. I don´t know how, but it does. The days are flying by, the weeks are disintegrating, and I feel like it´s going by so fast. 

We´re teaching the grandson of a convert and he´s still really positive.  We´re helping him prepare to be baptized on the 11 of May. We couldn´t find him last week and we texted him, "Hey, we´re leaving your house, but to be baptized on the 11th, you have to come to church tomorrow." He came with his grandma. It was good.

We´re looking for less actives in our branch (it´s a branch and apparently, there are about 500 less actives in Patulul), and we´ve found a couple.   It´s sad to see them now without the Gospel as a big part of their lives. BUT a family came to church on Sunday - it was amazing. He hasn´t come in 2 years (about) and he and his wife came Sunday.   Amazing.

I love teaching the First Vision. It´s so powerful - a 14 year old boy prayed to get an answer and got one. He saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. It´s proof that God and Jesus Christ are two different people. that God listens to and answers our prayers. That He loves us. That He extended His hand again and restored the Gospel and the Church of Christ in the earth again. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. There´s a reason we teach this first so that the investigators can understand the importance of praying with faith and that God loves us and that He lives and exists. 

I love you, dad! I pray for you and mom and our family every day. I hope you´re well and that your back is doing better.

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Pumpkin Conover

April 29, 2014

Hi momma!

I love you!

The scorpions are a "once in a long while" thing in our house [In California], but they’re here [constantly] in Patulul. We were teaching a family home evening and I found a tiny scorpion on the skirt of Hermana Johnson (who´s from Arizona) and we promptly killed it. It was about an inch long (if that). So we killed it pretty quick. And we have Raid in the house (the one that kills everything).
We email from Internet cafes.  There´s a church in Patulul. There´s only one branch, but we share it with the District Leader and his companion. There are 6 missionaries in our district.

The rainy season has started and we´re on the first floor (our house is only one floor).

I usually just eat cereal and oatmeal and eggs. We drink bottled water and water from bags (I don´t know how else to explain bagged water - it´s like a little bag that´s sealed and it´s 50 centavos).
We have a shower and thankfully, it´s cold water. At first, it was a little hard to take a cold shower (after Sololá), but now I´m very grateful for cold showers.

People speak Spanish, but some are from other places, but they speak Spanish, as well.

Yeah, those "pictures" are actually flowers - think like Rose Parade, but on the ground. [If you Google Patulul images, you will see street long pictures. Mom asked what medium was used to create them.  Mom also commented about a YouTube video of a parade in Patulul.]
 And the "parade" is a Procession for the Semana Santa (Holy Week)-- it was HUGE. There were so many people here in the street, it was slightly ridiculous. But the procession was a huge float with the Virgin Mary (Maria, here) on it and the music was really sad, like a dirge. But, it was interesting. The Catholic presence is REALLY big here.

We taught the Ten Commandments with hand signals - like one finger, only one God. I´ll teach them when I get home (or on Mother´s Day, one of the two). 

I really like Doctrine and Covenants 122:7-9. President Brough and Hermana Brough taught in the last Zone conference about these scriptures. They said, "Instead of the word -if-, put the word -when-." Especially in the mission, all of these things will happen. -When- Satan will try his hardest to destroy you. -When- the whirlwinds will be against you. -When- the dogs start to chase you down to bite you. -When- the investigators drop you. -When- people reject you in the street and shout cuss words at you. -When- your investigator is drunk and you realize it mid-lesson. -When- it´s pouring rain and your umbrella breaks and you´re soaking wet. -When- all of these things happen, know that they are for your good and will help you progress and learn and become better. I know that this life is hard and that the mission life is hard, but worth it. Completely worth it. I´ve learned so much here on the mission and I´m grateful that I had the courage to make this decision - I´m not bragging, I´m just grateful that the Spirit got me to make that decision. I´m grateful that we can progress. That Jesus Christ fulfilled his purpose as our Redeemer and Savior. That we can become better everyday, if we lean on Christ and His merits and mercy to help us.

I love you, mom. I pray for you, and dad, and every one in our family every day. I hope all will be well and that you have the strength to do all the amazing things you do.

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana bug Conover

 Mom was able to catch Michelle during her emailing session, so she asked her about "texting"
their investigator.  She also noted Michelle's sign off Hermana"BUG" Conover--see above  Pretty funny since her letter started with the scorpion story, and mom mentioned that scorpions have "espinas"(spines)  So this is Michelle's response to mom's very quick email.

Hi momma!

We have a cell phone (we got them two changes ago) [changes=transfers] and we can send text messages if they´re pertinent to missionary work. And inviting someone to church counts.
And yes, that is why we promptly killed the scorpion. We didn´t want to get stung by it´s lovely stinger.

I love you!

Hermana Conover

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Letters to Dad and Mom April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014

hi daddy!

I love you!!!

The trip from Sololá to the city was...interesting, to say the least. our whole zone had changes, so we fit 21 people (all of the companionships except one) into a 12 person bus. And all of our luggage on top. For about 3.5 hours. on windy roads. Interesting, but we didn`t get hurt. And that`s the good part, that we didn`t get hurt.

And I am now in Patulul, Tiquisate. I`m with Hermana Johnson (who entered with me) and she is a fantastic missionary. I`ve learned so much in the past few days. And our area is FLAT. It`s so weird to walk on flat ground and not hills. And it is hot. And humid. but I love it. It`s just different than Sololá. Every time we tell people that I came from Sololá, the look on their faces is hilarious - it`s as if they are saying, "You poor missionary. You must be dying of the heat." But I can`t complain - it`s the mission. And I`m grateful to be here to meet new people and have new experiences.

I think here in Patulul parallels your experience in Georgia in your flight training (weather wise). It`s hot and humid, and I love it. It`ll take a little bit to get used to, but I love it. There`s a joke here in the mission about the city and area of Tiquisate - it`s where the devil lives because it`s so hot. I laughed about that and now I understand.

The members are fantastic and the investigators are progressing,and we`re seeing miracles. Last night, a former investigator (of about three months) told us that he wants to get baptized. We have an appointment with him tonight and we`ll help him prepare for baptism.
You`re not ward mission leader? What`ll you do? Maybe you`ll finally be called to help in the nursery! :)

What happened to your back? Did you hurt it again or is it just from before?

I can`t believe that April is almost over either. It just seems like last week that we started January. I feel like I`m going to blink and I`ll be in the airport back home. Like it says in the Missionary handbook, our time in the mission is extremely short. It`s true, especially when you`re working hard and focusing on the investigators. The time has flown and it`ll fly faster and faster. Here`s to giving all and more in these next 9.5 months.

My first night here in Patulul was fun - it rained really hard for a while, the lights went out twice, and we found a scorpion in the kitchen (which was promptly killed and sprayed with insect-scorpion killer and then thrown outside). 

This morning, my companion and I were talking about the Spirit world. We`re reading in Preach My Gospel about the Plan of Salvation and we wee reading about the Spirit World. A lot of missionaries teach the spirit world as two separate places, but it`s not like that. It says in the scriptures two different "states" - a state of happiness and a state of misery. I think (this isn`t verified by anyone, but this is what I think, as well as Hermana Johnson) that the Spirits are in one place, just that some are happy and some aren`t. It`s like here on earth - there are people that are happy and some that are sad. And, like here on earth, there are missionaries preaching the Gospel and proxy baptisms that are taking place to help those who have passed on to accept and  have the blessings of the Gospel.

I love the Plan of Salvation. It definitely is a plan of happiness. And we can have this happiness NOW if we`re obedient to the commandments of God and endure to the end.
I love you, dad! I pray for you and mom and our family everyday!

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Conover

April 22, 2014

Hi momma!

I love you!

I`m in a place called "Patulul" in Tiquisate. It`s a little different than Sololá. For one, the humidity. And the heat. The sun doesn`t burn us, but the humidity makes us sweat a ton. There`s a joke with the missionaries that in the city Tiquisite, it`s where the Devil lives, because it`s so hot. Patulul isn`t the hottest in the area, but it`s a whole lot hotter than Sololá. And for this Sololateca (citizen of Sololá, like Californian), Patulul is a different place, for sure. But I love it here. The members are really supportive and we have investigators that are progressing and I`m here for a reason. I`ve learned that, at least, that we`re in our areas for a reason. We just have to work hard and be obedient with exactness to find that reason.

sorry that you`re Easter Bunny wasn`t there. I`ll make up for it next year. promise.

And Andy? Where`d that come from?

And Easter sounds great - they do the "Semana Santa" here and go all out. The Catholic presence is really strong here. And they don`t really celebrate Easter, just "Holy Friday, Saturday,and Sunday." So we found Easter eggs and bought jelly beans and gave them to our district today. :)
My first night here in Patulul, it rained really hard, the lights went out two times, and we found a scorpion in our kitchen on the ceiling. It was a pretty exciting day (and don`t worry - we killed the scorpion with a broom and afterwards, Protox...aka, Raid on steroids). 

And my companion is Hermana Johnson - we entered into the CCM the same day. She`s a fantastic missionary and I`m really excited to get to work with her. I`ve already learned so much from her these past few days and I can`t wait to see more  miracles with her. 

We taught a lesson last night (in a recent converts house) to about 10-11 young men that aren`t members. one of them is our investigator) and we taught about the 10 Commandments and how they can remember them. We taught them and at the end of the lesson, the grandson of the convert told us, "I want to get baptized. What do I have to do?" He was taught by the missionaries before us and he was dropped as an investigator because he wasn`t progressing. But I guess he just needed time to think. We`re going to help him prepare to be baptized the 11 of May.

This week we`re reading the lessons in Preach My Gospel (chapter three) and we read The Plan of  Salvation yesterday and today. I realized (once again) how central Christ and the Atonement is to EVERYTHING in the Gospel. I love the scripture in Mosiah 3:17, how there`s no other name or way by which salvation can come. It`s ONLY through the Atonement that we can return to God`s presence and stay there and live with Him.

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

Con MUCHO amor, 

Hermana Conover

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Letters to Dad and Mom April 14, 2014

April 15, 2014

 HI daddy!

I love you!

Easter is HUGE here in Sololá. It`s called "Semana Santa" (holy week) and the people here order a special type of bread to be made and it`s really good. And a lot of people go to the Coast because it`s warm there. The only people that are going to be here for the week (more or less) are the people who work and can`t leave for the coast. So it will be interesting work-wise, but we`ll follow the Spirit and move forward.

And we have changes (transfers) this week. I`m leaving Sololá. I`m going to miss Sololá. I didn`t think I could come to love a people or a place as much as I love Sololá. It has been a special experience here and I`m glad I came here, I`ve grown a lot, I think, here in Sololá - in testimony and in being a missionary.

I`ve been singing a lot these past few days (in the shower, in the house, in the street) and I`ve come to realize that my voice kind of sounds like Kelly`s when I sing. Interesting thought of the day. I have no doubt that your singing with Sis. Moon and Jensen will be
amazing, like always.
And way to be a member missionary! I`m always so proud of you every time you share a missionary story. 

I love the patterns of light segments that Elder Bednar did. It explains the revelation very well and how it comes in different ways. I love Chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel - how the Spirit works with us and the different ways it talks to us in our minds and hearts (D&C 8:2-3). It`s good to remember
the basics and to be firm in them.

 Sometimes people get carried away with the "deep doctrine" of the Gospel, but it`s good to stick with the basics, sometimes. I talked with a man yesterday (a North American that`s Amish, I
think...I`m not sure) and he started going off on so many different things, like, "I`ve studied YOUR religion, of the Catholics, the Protestants," etc., and I simply asked him if he had asked specifically if Joseph Smith was a prophet. And he changed the subject to not answer. He was talking about many "deep doctrine" things but didn`t have a foundation in the basics, so it didn`t mean anything to him. I know that when we stick to the basics and have our foundations strong, the whirlwinds will come (like this man yesterday), but we will not be shaken. Our testimonies - though they may seem simple to the more learned people - will be strong and steadfast
and we will not be moved from this testimony that we have.

We use internet cafes every week to email and for mother`s day, we`re going to use the computers in the Stake Centers. Still don`t know much about it, but I`ll let you know when we know more.

I love you, dad! Have a "Hoppy" Easter! :) (that never gets old)  I pray for you and mom everyday and for our family.

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Conover

April 15, 2014
Hi momma!

I love you!

I think it`s ok with the nicknames. It`s not like there`s another missionary calling me Hermana Pooch-a-rooch..
And the field is a soccer field in Sololá in the area of the zone leaders. The reason for the backpacks - we were leaving when the zone leaders said, "¡Necesitamos tomar un foto!" (we need to take a picture). So, we took a picture. 

AND...I have changes. I`m not going to be in Sololá anymore. We have changes [transfers] tomorrow, so we get to leave Sololá at the bright and early hour of 5 in the morning to be in the Capitol at 8. It`ll be good. We`ll sleep a little on the way there, I think.

I almost forgot how Carol joined the Church. And how crazy that summer was. And it`s true - the small and simple things is how this work gets done and how we see miracles. One of our converts - the one who was baptized a few weeks ago after listening to us for 2 and a half weeks - is an example of this. He was working with our ward mission leader two or three years ago in the ice cream business of Sololá (more or less) and he listened to the missionaries then and wasn`t interested. He went back to Quiché and in February, was without work. He felt that he needed to go back to Sololá because "something was there for me". And he was baptized almost three weeks later. Miracles happen and it`s when the missionaries and the members work together. And when the members OPEN their mouths. Heavenly Father will put the words that we need in our mouths with the Spirit (Doctrine and Covenants 100:5-8).

This week is the "Semana Santa" (holy week) and WOW. There are so many people in Panajachel and Sololá for this week. And there`s a special type of bread here, as well, that the people eat. It`s really good. And everyone is talking about "HOly Thursday", "Holy Friday", Saturday, and Sunday, as well. And Pascua - I thought it was Spanish for Easter, then Passover, only to find out that it means both. Who knew? But a lot of people are going to go to the Coast for the week and the people that are still going to be here are the people that are going to work. So misisionary work wise, it`ll be interesting.

We`re reading Preach My Gospel as a mission and this morning we read pages 12-14 - the quotes of the Prophets about Missionary Work. I love how almost all of the prophets used the word "responsibility" to describe this work (and they also used mission, as well). This isn`t just the work of members, or missionaries, but of both and of the Lord. With the Lord and when we rely on the Spirit, we`ll see miracles (Chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel).

I love you, mom! I hope you have a wonderful Easter with our family and have some ham for me (if you`re having ham). I love you! I pray for you and our family everyday!

Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Conover