Hermana Hipol vs. The Mustard Seed

Hola a todos! Tengan muy buenas dias!

Wow, the time has just flown by. I cannot believe that it has already been six months. Six months of lessons, six months of Spanish, six months of trial and refining, and six months of growth (spiritual, that is).

Really I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father. This week was an adventure but taught me so much, as always. There were moments when I sat in front of the phone debating whether or not to make the call and throw in the towel, but just when I hit rock bottom, I recognized that Christ is the rock at the bottom, and if he is our foundation we cannot fall. We might stumble, or wobble, but we will never fall. Like Peter, we have to keep our eye on the savior and not on the tempest or the size of the waves. But, when we begin to sink, when our faith wavers and in our moments of weakness the Lord stretches out his hand and saves us. The Lord saved me this week and I forever am indebted to him and the sacrifice that he made for me. Should you have the chance I invite you all to look for a video called The Atonement and Missionary Work (in Spanish it is La Expiacion y la Obra Misional). It is two clips from talks by Henry B. Eyring and Jeffrey R. Holland talking about missionary work and the atonement.

The phrase that struck me the most was when Elder Holland said, “I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation was never a cheap enterprise. Salvation was never easy.” I have thought about the Saviors mission. All that he accomplished in three years. He suffered, was rejected, and had no food, hard companions, and not a single baptism that we can read in the bible. And yet, his mission changed the world. There is a song that I love to listen to in the morning and one part of it says,

The hardest thing I have ever come to see
Is a man down on his knees in agony
A drop of blood falls down on olive leaves
And for a moment, he suffers there for me

I might only have six months in the mission. I might not have many baptisms, but I would not change a thing. In these moments when I fell that I cannot move on, I am standing shoulder to shoulder with the greatest missionary this world has known, and it is an honor to be side by side with the Lord of heaven and earth, the mission is not easy, but salvation was never easy. I love this scripture in 1 Corinthians 1:17, it hit me so hard when I read it:

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

The Lord blesses me so much, in little ways. This week we met with a sister that was inactive when I came to the area. She is now active, received a calling, and told us that this past Sunday she had received her Patriarchal blessing, and in her blessing was told she would be a temple worker. She is now preparing to enter the temple. This young woman (in the picture) is a less active and for the first time since I have come, told me that she is saying her prayers. My faith might be no bigger than a mustard seed… but that is all the Lord asks!

I love you all. Thank you for your support, your love, and your prayers. I pray for you all. Keep the faith, fight the fight!

Hurrah for Israel!
Love,

Hermana Hipol

Hermana Hipol vs. Kryptonite

What an amazing week it has been. I have learned so much about who I am and about the atonement this week. This week in my personal studies I really focused on the atonement and the Law of sacrifice. It is so beautiful that Christ gave us a perfect sacrifice, and the only thing he asks of us is that we be willing to sacrifice all that we have and all that we are to know him. It is not only a sacrifice of our time, talents, and the things that we usually think of when we think of the mission. He also asks us to sacrifice our sins, our grief, our habits, and be willing to trust him with our hurts so that he can heal us. I was super stressed this week. I had a little bit of a break down but after a blessing and a lot of prayer, I recognized that my success in the mission, is not always measured by numbers, that if I will just give it all that I have, the Lord will bless me. I think our biggest efforts and successes have been in reactivation and retention. Yesterday we did not have any investigators in church but of all the inactives, less actives and recent converts that I have taught, there were seventeen. This week we are going to “start over” double our efforts and put our faith in the Lord. I know he will bless us.

This week we met with a recent convert that is still struggling to overcome an addiction. I love this person so much, and it broke my heart to discover that they were still fighting this battle. They opened up to us and told us that they were willing to do anything. “My conversion,” they said, “is not something that I can do half way. I want to change. I want to be a better person.” We had a beautiful lesson about repentance and the atonement. We invited them to an YSA activity. Then came the time of trial. They came to the activity. On Sunday, they were in time for church and listened intently to all of the talks. In Principles of the Gospel class, they shared their testimony of repentance and sacrifice, how we should be willing to give all to the Lord so he can make us into the people that we need to be come. This is the atonement. This person taught me what it means to be truly repentant. We can do all things, we just have to actually “do” them.

You know, I think that there is an unspoken rule that missionaries always have to be positive, that there is nothing but goodness and happiness and rainbows in the field. Today I would like to break through this social taboo that we have put on missionary work. This week was hard.  We couldn’t find a lot of new people, and the days were long and strenuous. I am not sure why, but a lot of people that were once positive have hardened their hearts and rejected us. We are probably going to have to drop a young woman that I have taught for all my time here and it breaks my heart but I know that the Lord has bigger and better plans. As missionaries, while the most important work cannot be measured, still have to submit numbers and a lot of times the numbers do not reflect the work and the effort that we put in. This week all my stresses and emotions sort of culminated into a great mess. I felt super overwhelmed and questioned what I was doing here in a third world country. I went to my room and poured out my soul in prayer, pleading for understanding from my Heavenly Father. Nothing…. about fifteen minutes later the phone rang. It was our district leader. As usual, I just brushed the tears aside and asked how I could help… He just responded and said, “Hermana I am calling because you need help.” I told him a little about how I was feeling and what I was struggling with. He responded, “Don’t, worry Hermana, you are one of the strongest sisters that I know” Being the nerd I am I just responded, “Yes Elder, but even Superman has kryptonite.”

There was silence on the other end of the line and then he responded, “Hermana, we are stronger than Superman.”

The mission is a refiner’s fire. Sometimes it gets a little too hot. Sometimes we get burned. But there is nothing in our way that we cannot overcome. We have strength from a god, the God of our fathers, Almighty God of Israel. I glory in my Jesus for with his strength I can do all things.

I guess that is my message to all of you, that we are stronger than our super heroes. We just have to believe that we are. The time has come to dust off our capes, and abandon our secret identities. The world needs heroes, needs people to stand up, stand strong, and aggressively live the standards that they profess to believe. I know that if we do our part, we will come off conquerors.

I love you all. I pray for you. Keep the fight!

Hurrah for Israel!

Love,

Hermana Hipol

Hermana Hipol vs. The Book

¡Hola and Buenas Dias from El Salvador! I hope that this email finds you all well and happy and abundantly blessed by our Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to teach and to serve. This week was so amazing, and really flew by so fast! Time passes so quickly here in the field, and there are so many times when I wish it would slow down a bit. But, the Lord is Hastening the Work, so we got to keep up with the pace.

This week our trio was brought back to a duo, as Hermana Roa received her new companion. Hermana Avila and I were able to go to changes meeting without receiving changes, and it was amazing to see all of the new missionaries and the missionaries that are preparing to leave. It was shocking, by may of this year we will have lost about 60 missionaries, and almost all of them are our zone leaders, district leaders, training leaders, assistants, and secretaries…. tons are leaving! I cannot wait to see what the lord has in store for this mission and this part of his vineyard.

This week the sun hit us full on. I am not sure I was totally ready, but we keep working our hardest… and drinking tons of water. I was really touched in my personal study by a promise that I read in the Book of Mormon:

10 They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.

So, yeah, the Lord will bless and guide us…. if we don’t melt first. :)

Anyways, this week we met with President in a couple different meetings, and this change we are going to have a major refocus on the Book of Mormon, using it in every lesson, in contacting, in everything. As my companion and I have tried to do so, the change in the spirit we have felt has been amazing! I love the Book of Mormon. I know that it is true, the truest book of all of the books that have ever been written. I has so many promises, so many lessons to be learned. I am reading it for the third time for my mission, and it as if I have never read it before in my life. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it is true. I get to bear testimony of it all day every day. Read it, dissect it, and enjoy it. It will bless you and teach you.

This week I also taught my first multitude… It was so humbling. We had an activity in a poorer area and met with a bunch of investigators and recent converts. I gave the spiritual thought. There were about 40 people there and I just shared my testimony of the Book of Mormon and how the gospel has blessed my family. The spirit was so strong and I invited them all to repent and be baptized. I felt like the prophets of the Book of Mormon. It was really epic.

Anyways, I love and miss you all. Keep the faith, fight the fight.

Hurrah for Israel!

Love

Hermana Hipol

 

Hermana Hipol vs. The New Year

Wow!! What a week! For starters, this week I was in a trio! Because of an unforeseen illness, one of the Hermanas in our Zone had to go home, leaving her companion, Hermana Roa. So, she came with us and we got to work both areas…. It was madness! But it was a very humbling learning experience. Hermana Roa is from Columbia, and has 15 months in the mission. She is amazing and such a great teacher! She is also a chef, so we ate well this week. She also really likes lion king, as she often breaks into rounds of “in the jungle.” She, Hermana Avila and I got to work on our fitness goals for the year and have started Zumba. Guess what! Hermana Roa told me that I am the first gringa she has seen that has rhythm!!! I don’t know how many gringas she knows, but we will go with that.

This week we had an amazing zone conference. The assistants shared an amazing video with us. It followed some young kids in their spiritual progression as they grew up to become missionaries. They had the music to “Armies of Helaman”, and “I hope they call me on a mission” in English. I had not heard those words for so long, it brought tears to my eyes… I realized I have been prepped my whole life to become a missionary and I am so grateful for my family and all of the examples I have received.

With the new year coming, there are so many things that I want to do. The lord has blessed us with 365 days to dedicate to him and his work. 365 blank pages to write an epic story! And it all begins with the little things. I invite you all, if you have not already, make goals and focus on how this year can be the best year of your life thus far.

I love you all. Keep the faith!

Hurrah for Israel!

Love,

Hermana Hipol