Where to begin. What a week. I am learning that the trials he gives us, are not always just to allow us to grow and face opposition, rather it is a chance to see how we will react. It really is all about our attitude sometimes. This week, despite everything we tried our hardest to keep a positive attitude and though our burdens were not necessarily made lighter, we at least made it to the end of the week, and the Lord has given us another chance to work hard this week.

I love Hermana Reyes. She has a lot of spunk and conviction and I am learning a lot from her. She keeps me animated and is very patient with me. She is trying so hard to find out the purpose of her mission and why she needs to be here serving the Lord. She is so good at recognizing her weaknesses but I am inspired by her example of resilience and determination to make those weaknesses strengths. In our companionship studies we have been looking a lot at the Christlike attributes and the strengthening power of the atonement. We keep on working and we try to always follow the spirit. I know that the Lord will bless us. When the day is rough and stress gets high, we take a little break, buy some cookies, say a little prayer and keep going. I ate a lot of cookies this week and I said a lot of prayers, but I am so grateful to have an awesome companion that keeps me going and takes good care of me.

We tried to give it our all this week. The rainy season has come. So we will have one day of extreme heat, and then two or three of straight rain. Today we are going to buy umbrellas, so that we don’t wander soggy all week long. At first being soaking wet was a great technique to play the “pity card” and have people let us in to teach them, but not with everyone. The Lord taught us a lot about patience. We left to work with members almost every single day, we received references, knocked doors, worked, worked, worked! But there would be days when no one would open the door, no one would receive us. Really it was astonishing! There were days where I felt tired and sore but I put my trust in the Lord and I left to work, and we worked all day long. Good opportunity to build character 😉

I refuse to believe that this is a hard area, despite that all the members and many missionaries tell us so. I know that there are people here waiting for us, ready to accept the gospel.  We just have to find them.  There are many people who will let us visit once or twice, but our search is for those who are ready to make changes and apply the gospel. That is one thing that I have learned this week. The true followers of Christ are those who are constantly repenting and seeking to come closer to him.

The best part of the week was by far the General Women’s Conference. We stood outside of the chapel almost half an hour waiting for an investigator to come. No one came, and so, feeling a little defeated we walked in and sat down to listen to the talks. Wow, what a beautiful conference! I felt the spirit so strongly, testifying to me that the Lord recognized my efforts and that he is proud of us. I had a guy-wrenching realization of how fast the mission is passing, and how quickly the next phase of my life is coming up. I realized how much the Lord is preparing me and that everything will work out in the end.

Life isn’t always beautiful, but it is a beautiful ride. No matter what we can always choose to be happy, and bear the trials in our path with a smile. Choose to be Happy :)

I love you all! Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol

Photos:

With so many gated communities and armed guards, sometimes i feel like I am in some sort of dystopian adventure!

Um…. so we went to contact a referral from another missionary and this is their house…. We needed house two. The street went House one, giant white wall, and then house three. They literally took out the house!!!

Hermana Hipol vs. Tazumal

So…Where do I begin? What a beautiful adventure we have begun! I am now in one of the biggest areas in the mission, Tazumal! It is part of Ciudad Real, on the outskirts of a bigger city called Chalchuapa. It is really, really, really big, and really, really, really hot! Most of our area is residential. We live in a maze of gated communities, cars, two story houses, and a drastic difference from the humble cobbled streets of Juayua. But even though the area is wealthier, there are so many people prepared who let us in to share the message of the gospel with them.

My new companion is Hermana Reyes. She is from the Dominican Republic and she has almost five months in the mission. She is fabulous! We are always joking around, and she is learning English! Since the first moment that they put us together I have never stopped feeling the spirit, and I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for our team!  Love my companion so much! Hermana Reyes is amazing! She has such a desire to work and is super animated! I feel like she is training me. Our lessons are fluid and powerful, as if we have had months teaching together. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for us.

There is just one minor detail, we are opening our area! Yep, we were dropped off at our house, they handed us a mass of keys and said, and “One of these is yours, right around the corner in the blue house lives a member. Have fun!” We had no area book, no microwave, no stove, no food, and for the first two days our phone did not work! It was really fun! Opening an area is filled with so many adventures and things that I was not expecting. The first night, we could not find our house and I almost accidentally broke into the neighbor’s house….. Oops! When we finally found our house I had to jimmy rig the door open because the door was rusty. No worries, all is well now, we can only laugh and keep on keeping on. Our theme is “Don’t worry, be happy!” But really though, there is something beautiful about literally “losing yourself” in the Lords work. I feel that our area is a giant sheet of blank paper and the Lord has handed us the pencil.

We have hit the ground running, there is so much potential here, So many people have been prepared to receive the gospel, and the ward is more than willing to reach out and help us. The ward is gigantic! We are trying our hardest to get to know this giant area as fast as we can so that we can use our time the most efficiently.

I love you all! Thank you for everything you do!

Hoorah for Israel!

Photos (you can eat the leaves of the fruit trees here…. and it was Sunday and we did not have food ha-ha)

Love, Hermana Hipol

Hermana Hipol vs. Saying Goodbye to Juayua

I have changes!!! Eight months later…. and the Lord is taking me out of Juayua.

My companion, Hermana Funez is going to train! I am really excited for her, and I know that she will be great! I have no idea what is going to happen for me, but we will see. I am really excited to keep working. The mission is going so fast, I cannot believe that this will be my last area!!

This week we went on intercambios with the sister training leaders. I got to go visit with Hermana Arrieta! I love this sister so much! She was hermana Steels comp before she came with me.  I got to spend a great day in Ahuachapan, meeting people and teaching powerful lessons. Really, it was a great little boost, and I learned so much!

Wow, what a week. We have been trying our hardest to prepare the area for changes and make sure that Hermana Funez is prepared. She is super awesome and I am excited for her to train! I know that it will be really good for her. She is developing good relationships with the members and I know that the future is bright here in Progreso.

We have shifted our focus a little bit in the ward, we are going to be heavily focused on reactivation and retention. The sisters are going to be helping the families visit their assigned families, and we as sisters are going to receive a visiting teaching assignment. We hope that as we help the members learn to visit and serve each other that their desire to reach out and serve nonmembers will increase.

I am excited to see what the Lord has in store, and I am excited to keep working.

I love you all so much!

Hoorah for Israel!

Hermana Hipol vs. Guadalupe

Where do I begin? What a week. The Adversary was definitely out to get us, but we kept on working and the Lord truly did bless us.

In our companionship studies we have been looking up the themes that Elder Nelson left for us and wow, what a beautiful trove of knowledge! In this last week with all that has happened my personal understanding for the need of an Atonement has expounded a hundred fold, and with that understanding, my love for my Savior has grown as well. A lot of our studies focused on the Fall of Adam and Eve. I took one day to focus just on Eve, on who she is and the importance of her calling. As I have studied each theme, I have gone back and read my Patriarchal blessing and the Spirit has taught me even more of who I am.

So here in Juayua there are a lot of homeless people that kind of wander the streets. They are very nice and friendly…. usually. One of them is a little old woman named Guadalupe. She is about four and a half feet tall, has curly hair and is skin and bones. She is a little crazy and usually just walks around barefooted with her head bowed. She does not speak or do anything, just walks. Well as we passed her the other day, she looked up and totally out of the blue, punched me in the arm!!!!! For only weighing about eighty pounds she is sure strong! I had a nice little bruise, but it was a good laugh…..

With all of the things that have happened this week I have come to have a greater love and appreciation for my companion. Hermana Funez is so strong. I hope that she has the opportunity to train, it would help her a lot! This week was especially hard for her. A close friend of hers that was in her previous area, was killed this week, and it was a huge blow to her. She has picked herself up and kept working. Wow, I love her!  But I know that as this new change comes, that it will have a ton of new beginnings and she will have a lot of help, especially for the members.

 

The area is doing okay. We are trying our hardest to find news and be of good cheer at all times. We had a couple investigators fall hard this week and tell us that they are not interested………..so we got to go find new people!!! Yay, news! This is the last week of the change, and President told me that after about eight months, I am for sure leaving Juayua. We are going to work really hard so that Hermana Funez has a lot of potential for this upcoming change. I want to leave her agenda filled!

The most beautiful part of this week was the baptism that we had on Saturday of a young mother and her Son. Yeni and Brayan. I love them so much!  This woman has faced so much, and has waited over a year to be able to be baptized. Her husband has left her alone to raise two little boys, but she is so diligent and hopeful. She cannot read, and so Brayan reads the Book of Mormon to her at night before they go to bed. In the baptism, she shared her testimony, and said that she loved the Lord, and that he was worth every suffering and sacrifice that she had to endure. She expressed her gratitude to God for giving her the patience to keep trying, despite all the trials she faced. The spirit was so strong, and I know that she will be a huge example for many in the years to come. I love her so much.

I think that is my message this week, that no matter what, our Heavenly Father always gives us the strength to keep on trying. He does not always take our burdens away, but he makes us strong enough to be able to bear them, and as he helps us overcome them, we become witnesses of his mercy and grace. Thank you for all you do!

I love you!

Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol