Hermana Hipol vs. No hubo traslado

Gotta love the morning before changes….. ESPECIALLY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE CHANGES! Yaaay!

That is right, I am staying here in “Proquideas” (Orquideas/Progresso) making it six months in total, loooong time, but I love it here, so we will see what happens. But, the best part of not having changes is having six more weeks with Hermana Steel!I love her so much, and I am so grateful for this change to come, and I think that we are both ready to hit the ground running. We have some goals, and with the Lords help, I know that we will learn a lot more together. It is jsut going to be so awesome!

Intercambios this week…. On Tuesday, I had the chance to go back to Los Naranjos and work with Hermana Sheehan. Our Zone Leader, Elder Roeller, asked me to go and check up on their four baptismal dates, because two had been pushed back a week. It was such and amazing experience. I love Hermana Sheehan. She works so hard, and has really dedicated herself to the Lords work. She puts her whole heart and soul into each lesson, and usually I kinda just sat in awe at the spirit she brought as she testified.  It was awesome to get to know their investigators as well. They are teaching some amazing people and I have been in Los Naranjos so often that some people are starting to recognize me. Something about being called “Hermana Hiccup” seems to be easy to remember here in the mountains of Juayua.

On Thursday we had planned to do intercambios with Las Rosas in Turin, but as we were on the bus, on our way, the sisters called and said that they were sick, so we got off in Ataco and headed back. It was a little annoying but we had a great little nap on the bus, and almost accidentally ended up in Sonsonate, because we did not wake up on time. We have been really tired the past few days….

This week we all headed down to Santa Ana for a Multi Zone. We had a great visit by Elder Jose Alonso from the Area Presidency. The spirit was so strong and I learned so much about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. Our Zone was in charge of the musical number, and it turned out fantastic. I sang in a quartet with Elder Philips, Elder Roeller, and Hermana Guzman. We sang the songs “Jesus Lover of my Soul” and “Reverently and Meekly Now” as a Duet. It was SO beautiful and sounded like a conversation between us and the savior. The spirit was so strong, and many a tear was shed. I love being with people that have such musical talent and are willing to share it! Anyways, we ended with a great lunch and then were headed back to Juayua…. Only we had just barely missed the bus and ended up stranded in Los Naranjos for almost an hour and a half….. Cool story.

With Elder Alonso coming and all of the teachings of the spirit this week, the Lord has taught me a lot about myself and about the Plan of Salvation. I know that our key message as missionaries is that of the Restoration of the Gospel, but I think a lot of times, we often forget about the “why” of the restoration, the transcendent reason for why the gospel was restored and why we of all people were sent to earth at this time to share it. This week we learned more about the importance of the Plan of Salvation, that this mortal probation is a second chance for us to use our agency to accept Gods Plan and to follow him. The end is in sight, we know who will win, and now it just comes down to how many will win. I came to realize this week that the Lord is hastening his work, and I have seen his hastiness here in the mission as well. Time goes by way to fast, and I have come to see that our spiritual growth is accelerated. It is not just a happy perk we get from putting on a missionary tag, it is because the Lord is hastening his work, and so he has to hasten our development too. I have the opportunity to work alongside some of the Lords most valiant souls here in the mission, and as I watch the Elders and the Sisters work, It is nothing short of miraculous. This work truly is going forth “nobly, boldly and independently” and what more glorious cause then to hasten the work of the Great Jehovah.

It was kinda hard going another change without baptizing, but I know that I definitely grew so much closer to my Father in Heaven, and I am excited to see what miracles he has in store. It is funny to see that even though I feel that I have improved so much as a person and a missionary, the baptisms have stopped, but the night is always darkest before the dawn. :) Never lose hope!

I love you all so much. Be happy, be epic, and be awesome!!!

Hoorah for Israel!

Photos:

  1. Zone activity, we went to see some waterfalls this morning!!! I love this beautiful country!
  2. Valeria, Daniela, and Monserrat…I love these girlies so much. They are going to be fabulous missionaries one day!

Hermana Hipol vs. Intercambios, Intercambios, and Intercambios.

Sorry to be so late, this morning for P-Day we all went and played soccer as a zone. I never thought the day would come when I would like soccer, but I actually love it so much… I have no idea what I am doing but hey, I actually scored a goal this morning!

Once again, Monday has made its way around and I am hit with the halting reality of how fast the mission is flying by. I think I have hit a little bit of a mid-mission funk (even though halfway has come and gone), I have been really stressed about seeing the fruits of my labors and always giving my all, no matter what. Thankfully I have a wonderful companion that keeps me grounded and always puts a smile on my face.

Hermana Steel has officially become my favorite companion. I love her so much. I love her work, her dedication and her love. She is so amazing and has become one of my closest friends. I love working with her because she always keeps me positive and looking on the bright side of things, even when the world seems dark around us (something that often happens here in stormy, overcast Juayua). But no matter what, we always manage to laugh, and wake up each day with desires to work our hardest. I know that the Lord will one day show us the fruits of our labors. I think the greatest fruit though has been finding one of my best friends.

This week was a little crazy with interchanges. As the cambio is shrieking to a close, we are trying our hardest to help the other sisters and we went on interchanges with Los Naranjos, El Arco 2 and Suncuan.  Each, interchange had a powerful lesson that the Lord wanted to teach me.

On Tuesday we were in our zone meeting when one of the hermanas fainted. We took her to the hallway and tried to figure out was wrong. Really it was hilarious, a bunch of 20 year old nurses running around like headless chickens, “Quick!!!…. Get some leaves!” But really, we were really scared and thought she might be going into kidney failure. Her back hurt, she was really weak and she was going in and out of consciousness, to the point where I had to physically carry her to the car. She is a tiny little thing, but it was pure dead weight, and letting an elder carry her was just out of the question. We got into a tiny pickup, my comp handed me money and a cell phone through the window and we went to Santa Ana…. We made it to the hospital okay, and the rest is history. It turns out that her problem is just parasites. DONT EAT IN THE STREETS! But no worries, she has received some medicine and is happily back to work.

On Thursday I went to Auachapan and I had the chance to work with Hermana Villatorro. I was so excited to work with her, seeing as she is the only other American sister that came in my group. She has the biggest heart and you can totally see her love when she works! At night we talked a lot about our goals and the things that we wanted to accomplish in our missions. It led me to do a lot of self-evaluation to see if I am putting in my best effort, and I have a lot of things that I can definitely do better. It was great to finally be companions though, even if just for a day.

On Friday I was able to work with another American sister here in Juayua, Hermana Biddle (see attached photo).She walked into the chaos of our house and saw my wall of letters and photos. She zoomed in on a small heart and asked, “Is that Mr. Darcy?!”  I sure love her. Turns out, she is an Austin addict too!  She is so kind and also has a huge heart. She has a strong desire to serve and to work her hardest. She is a little bit of a goof, but she knows just when to focus in and to bring the Spirit. We had a fabulous day, and even got soaking wet!

Other than that I am not sure what more there is to share. As for our own areas, I am not quite sure what the Lord will have us learn. We have been praying and fasting so much to be able to have a baptism, but just when we feel that we are becoming better missionaries, the fruits have become so much harder to find. I know that no effort is lost, but I am trying to see more of what the Lord wants me to see. The other afternoon I was talking to a brother from the ward in Progreso and he mentioned something that was truly a tender mercy. He said that even though we had not brought new converts to the ward, that we had helped many of the members become more converted, and that through the example of love we had tried to show, that we have left our area better than we found it. Though there is still a lot of race to run, I feel peace in my heart knowing that someone accepted the invitation to come to Christ.

So remember that, there are always fruits!

I sure love all of you. Thank you for your support and for your prayers.

Be happy, be epic!

Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol

Hermana Hipol vs. Faith in the Holy Priesthood

Well, I am not sure where to start this week. It was really just an amazing week with so many wonderful things to learn!

This week it has rained, and rained, and rained, and rained some more! It is quite beautiful, I love the rain, but it makes work a little…..wet. I think that people here in El Salvador are made of sugar because no one wants to be outside in the rain… and they don’t want us to be outside either. The irony is that not many people let us in… .I completely understand, wouldn’t want to soak the upholstery….. To describe my constant state here this week in one word it would be… damp…. But all flowers need rain to grow!

This week we had the great chance to spend a day with President Spjut and his wife. On Wednesday, there was a knock at nine in the morning and in they walked. We had been told the day before, but even still, that fateful knock on the front door by your mission president is enough to send any missionary into a nervous wreck. The Spjuts studied with us and then President sat in and watched us do our weekly planning, I am not sure why, but he is president, and I just don’t ask questions. But at the end of it all, President said that it was the best weekly planning that he had ever seen, and though we had not seen the fruits yet, that they would come and the Lord will bless us. It was a huge relief, considering we were super nervous the whole time. That same afternoon, Sister Spjut left to work with us! I love her so much, and even though she cannot speak Spanish very well, she brings such a strong spirit with her wherever she goes. It was such a fun experience! Then it started pouring. Hermana Spjut was so excited to be able to get wet! When we met back up with president, I think that he was even more soaked! I am glad they enjoyed themselves, though being soaking wet later took its toll on us…

That is one thing that I love about my companion that no matter what happens, she always keeps us in good spirits, and not a day goes by when I do not laugh, or have a reason to smile. I just love her so much! Hermana Steel is such a champ, we got really sick on Saturday, we got hit with a really nasty cold. Now, that is what I call companionship unity!!! After the fever hit, we decided we should probably not be outside in the rain and stopped by the house to take some medicine and call the zone leaders for a blessing. Two hours later (they had forgotten about our call) two soggy elders knocked on our front door. Hermana Steel got her blessing first, and then it was my turn. They put their hands on my head and said, “We command you to be healed.” the spirit was so strong… and it was a beautiful blessing. Fifteen minutes later my fever broke and besides some snuffles, I have been feeling so much better. Poor Hermana Steel is still fighting an uphill battle, I kinda joke around and tell her she needs to have more faith in the priesthood…  But she is doing a lot better! She has become one of my closest friends and inspires me every day to work my hardest and to be diligent in all things. She is such a trooper!

As of the rest of this week…. I am not quite sure what else there is to share. We had a leadership meeting on Thursday, zone meeting with the stake president on Friday….. We just keep on keepin on and we hope that the Lord never ceases to pour out his blessings….

I love you all and I hope that you will all take a moment to see the many blessings of the Lord in your life, and if weather permits, go take a dance in the rain!

Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol

Hermana Hipol vs. The World

To be completely honest I am not quite sure where to start this week. The past couple days have been very humbling in a lot of ways and the Lord has really opened my eyes. There were moments when the world was out to get us, but we are not of this world… so it worked out fine! I was so happy to be a missionary this week. I saw so many miracles, so many blessings… I truly have never been happier.

That being said, the Lord has blessed us with a new week to change and to be better, to work our hardest and to leave our nets behind. Hermana Steel and I are trying our hardest to be exactly obedient, and to be the examples in all things. We have fasted together, prayed together and studied together, focusing on the basic doctrines of the lessons and on how we can become better teachers and disciples of the Savior. As we have tried to do so the spirit has blessed and enlightened our minds as to what we should do, and how we should do it.

We still have to do interchanges with the other sisters, and this week I had the opportunity to work in Los Naranjos. It was so cool (temp wise) and I learned a lot. I love getting to work with the other sisters and to see different parts of the mission.

This week we have been able to put two metas bautismales. YAAAAY!!! We have a lot of investigators that have a lot of time to come to know the church and to receive lessons, and a lot of them have hit their time. This past week I have seen a lot of sacrifices as people have decided to leave their jobs, their friends, and even their family, all to be able to accept baptism. I think the biggest miracle has been with a young woman we are teaching who, after nine years (two of which going to church and listening to missionaries), decided to leave her partner, her home, everything, with just her two year old son, all so that she can be baptized. That woman has taught me so much about faith, and watching her example has helped me reach a lot of personal healing and understanding of the enabling power of the atonement.

I know that I am not a perfect missionary and that I have a lot to improve on. But I love this work, I love my savior…. and I love that through his atonement I can be better. I hit ten months on Saturday (no I am not baggy) and to celebrate I tried BBQ rabbit!!! It was actually quite delicious. But anyway, as it is always when I hit months, there is a lot of self-reflection and assessing.

This week I decided to be more diligent and to make more of an effort to be happy and work my hardest.

This church is true, I love being a missionary.

Hurrah for Israel!!

Love, Hermana Hipol

Hermana Hipol vs. One score and Around the mish in Three hours.

What a week… The lord definitely had a lot of polishing for me. I learned a lot about trusting in the Lord, and that I really have no control over a lot of things that happen, but I can choose my attitude and I can always choose to be happy. Why not be happy? We have the restored gospel in our lives, and I have the chance to share it with everyone!

The biggest help to always being happy is my wonderful companion, Hermana Steel. I sure love her. I love that no matter what happens to us, we always are happy with each other and can find a reason to smile or laugh. We have studied a lot about auto sufficiency, trying to link it to the atonement. Why? Well our bishop invited us to give talks this last Sunday in the Progreso ward. What seemed like an impossible task quickly became an enlightening experience and I learned so much about the enabling power of the atonement. It truly is beautiful to see that the atonement is so infinite and applies to literally everything! I think that the talks turned out okay!

This week we did intercambios again with the sisters in El Arco in Auachapan, and I had the pleasure of working with Hermana Crowley. I love her so much. She is such an amazing spirit and a truly wonderful person. I felt that she was there to help me. That is one thing I love about working with the other sisters, you get to learn so much and it is also a chance to see other parts of the mission.

Speaking of seeing other parts of the mission, what madness happened to us! I had to go to Santa Ana on Friday to take some tests and such, but it also happened to be the day we were finishing intercambios… so I had to drop of Hermana Crowly and then go with Hermana Steel from Auachapan to Santa Ana…. it is about three hours on the bus, and goes through all but one of the zones in our mission. So it was a super quick tour of The Lords vineyard here in the mish. It actually was a sick version of “it’s a small world” el Salvador version pero, ni modo. We made it back home and then that night we got a call saying the tests did not work out so the next day we had to go back to Santa Ana…. wow… lots of buses. But I am sure the Lords hand was in it… somewhere. The icing on the cake was that we totally made it Christmas for some random stranger! Some wonderful child of God now has a new cell phone!!!! Some who pass for this situation would call it highway robbery, but since they call major streets carreteras here… I think we are good. It has been kinda hard communicating with others, but what a nice lesson on not being overly dependent on technology.

Sunday was my birthday… yay! I am officially 20…. It was a birthday that I will never ever forget. We had lost the phone and Hermana Steel was very distraught because her plans to surprise me with a cake and party totally fell through. Really, it was just a kinda weird day and I feel very old…. But last night we went to eat with one of our favorite members, Hermana DeLeon. The Elders came too and they asked if they could sing me happy birthday with the platanoes that she had made us. They even pulled out a giant candle that they only use for blackouts and funerals! #classy. Anyways, I went to blow out my candle and then they got mad cuz, apparently the birthday wish thing only works with real cake… So, Hermana DeLeon walks to the fridge and pulled out a cake! Turns out, the Elders totally planned the whole thing and bought a cake! I almost cried… I just am so blessed and so grateful. So, yah, craziness…

Other than that the work goes on… we had a couple baptismal dates fall through this week, but we saw a beautiful family we are teaching get married, and a great baptism…I know that if we trust in the Lord, that all will be worth it in the end and we will all come away stronger….. and a little crazier :)

I just love you all so much. I love the mission. I love my Heavenly Father!

Hoorah for Israel!