Hermana Hipol vs. Plague of the “bichos”

What a week of miracles. Really I am not sure where to begin.

I think that the greatest miracle was definitely yesterday. We have been praying and fasting so hard to be able to start seeing fruits in our area. On Sunday we came to church, and none of our investigators had been able to come. But, just as the meeting was about to start, in walked an inactive sister ( a convert of Sister Judd) and her nonmember mother! What a miracle! We stopped by later that afternoon and asked her how she like the meeting and how she felt in church. She said that she loved it and that she could feel the spirit so strongly. She asked forgiveness that she had waited so long to come to church and to feel the spirit so strongly, despite what sister missionaries before had always said. We invited her to be baptized at the end of the month, but she said she was still unsure, that she needed to ask the Lord. So, we invited her to pray right there and ask him. She offered the sweetest, simplest prayer and the spirit was tangible. After she finished we asked her how she felt and what the spirit was telling her. She looked at us and said, “that yes, I need to be baptized”

Words cannot describe how happy I felt! Not only are we helping reactivate this family, but they are helping us reach out and convert their family as well.

I love this gospel so much!  What a tender mercy from the Lord.

From there the work is going, and going, still progressing. It has rained a lot this week and we were attacked by this new tiny mosquito…. I have never been bitten my whole mission, and now my legs are a nightmare! What a great humbling opportunity. But no worries, the off is working just fine. We are still in the search for “escogidos.” We have adopted a new slogan, that for every door we knock, someone gets baptized in Mexico. So we keep knocking, sending good mission vibes up north! :)

I cannot believe how the time is flying by. I just want to work, work, work, and I am so grateful that after opening our area, the Lord is beginning to pour out his blessings. He was just waiting for us to give him a little more.

I love you all! Thank you for your love and support!

Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol

Pics. Hermana Avila, mi hija is now a sister training leader!!! I am so happy and so proud!

Hermana Hipol vs. Making History

Hola!

Well this week was filled with so many tender mercies. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and never ceases to bless me. This week there was no miraculous increase in numbers, not a lot of super positive new investigators, and a lot of room for improvement, but there were so many tender mercies from the Lord. As we sought the spirit, we were guided to people who needed us, be it members or nonmembers. Too see that the Lord led us to those who needed us brought a lot of comfort and peace, knowing that despite the difficulty we are doing our Fathers work.

When it gets a little rough we take a break, say a prayer, give thanks for our many blessings and keep working. I just love being a missionary!

The perfect cure was the Conference yesterday. We had a surprise visit from Elder Steven Snow in the first quorum of the seventy. He is the Church Historian and Recorder, and he came with his assistant, Brother Turley and Elder Alonso from the Area Seventy.  It is the first time that the church historian has come to El Salvador, and it was the coolest conference ever! They came to ask about the missionary work here and to share a little with us. They talked about being pioneers and how our work is fulfilling prophecy. I was reminded of my own pioneer heritage, and that despite all the trials, they held firm to their testimonies and were able to accomplish great things. I also was reminded that in being the first missionary, I am also a pioneer and the great responsibility to work hard.

They counseled us to work hard, to be obedient and to keep a journal, keeping careful of what we are learning and how we are changing. Sister Snow shared a powerful testimony of how the mission is preparing us for so much more afterwards in life, and how we need to live it to the fullest and work our hardest while the Lord has given us this time. Then, they whipped out their tablet and pencils and paper and got to know us. They asked for stories from convert missionaries, a multi-generational missionary, and an elder and sister who have more than a year in the mission. When he asked for missionaries with a lot of time, Elder Snow called on me! He asked me how I have changed in my mission, and I was left speechless. Wow, I am not even close to the person who stepped on a plane 15 months ago. I have come to know so much more about the gospel and come so much closer to my Heavenly Father. As I have been able to serve others I have come to learn so much about the Plan our Heavenly Father has, and that it is perfect. I have come to better understand and apply the atonement in my own live, as I have come to help my brothers and sisters apply it in their own life.

I was reminded of a Shakespeare quote they used in this last general conference “Twas I but tis not I. I do not shame what I was, since my conversion so sweetly tastes being the thing I am.” My mission has made me a new person. I am not who I was yesterday, and I am trying my hardest today to make myself better tomorrow.  I am so grateful that the atonement makes us into new people and I am excited to work this new change.

That’s right, a new change, and my second to last agenda! I am not baggy or trunky, but things are getting real here. I cannot believe how fast time is passing!! I just want to work, work, work, and I am so excited to see what lies in store these next six weeks!

I love you all! Hoorah for Israel!!

Hermana Hipol vs. The Last “Last Rains”

Another week of work here in Tazumal. What a week! We have hit the famous “last rains” of the year and are entering into summer. So of course, it has been a deluge for the last three days. I finally donned the smurf blue rain poncho I promised myself I would never ever put on…. Nothing like a good lesson in humility! But it is all good, I sure do love the rain!

I was hoping that we could use the damp weather to our advantage, hoping that the sight of two soggy missionaries would soften the hearts of the people and let us in…But the Lord has seen fit to try our faith and dedication this week…. I am not sure why it is that when we try our hardest, the work toughens up a little bit. We have found some amazing people, had spiritually charged lessons, committed them to baptism, and then they disappear completely and we can never find them again. The earth has swallowed them up, as my comp says. She has such a great sense of humor, no matter what we can always find a reason to laugh. I have come to notice that when we leave a house, the local preachers and religious neighbors are very quick to also visit and try to break up any foundation that we placed with our investigators. I don’t think I have ever fought harder to try to teach, than in this area, and I am grateful for the chance that I have to strengthen my own testimony.

We have been trying our hardest this week to give our all to the Lord and his work. In our companionship studies we have been focusing on the Atonement and how it applies to us as missionaries and how we can help the people we are visiting come to understand it better. As we have done so, we have felt a greater urgency to share the gospel and we have a greater love for the people we visit.

On Friday night we got an email from our Zone Leaders, saying that they needed us in the stake center on Saturday to participate in a missionary activity. So we got all our stuff together and when to the Stake, excited to contact investigators and to teach…. well it was not that type of missionary activity. They had called all the RMs in the stake and all the young men and women who are preparing to go on a mission together and were trying to animate them to serve the Lord. They wanted me to share my testimony on… well my mission. It was really nice, the spirit was definitely there, but at the same time, it was an awful slap in the face of the reality that my mission is passing super quickly!! The worst part was when they had a mother with a missionary in the field come up front and talk about her son coming home in January (love you mom!)

Yah, so it was a little rough, but I gotta shrug it off and run through the finish line! No time to be baggy/trunky!!

Sunday came around and sadly, we did not have any investigators come, but after two weeks of conferences, what a beautiful blessing it was to be able to participate in the Sacrament. I am so grateful for the atonement of my Savior and that it has the power to purify, sanctify and fortify.

I’ll just close with my meditize scripture this week. Helaman 3:35

No obstante, ayunaron y oraron frecuentemente, y se volvieron más y más fuertes en su humildad, y más y más firmes en la fe de Cristo, hasta henchir sus almas de gozo y de consolación; sí, hasta la purificación y santificación de sus corazones, santificación que viene de entregar el corazón a Dios.

I love you all so much and I am thankful for all your prayers and support!

Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol

Hermana Hipol vs. Platano Picking

Well, another week, where did it go?

I cannot believe how fast the time is going, and I wish we could add another day to the week.  I convinced my companion that we need to become more “consecrated” and give an extra effort to focus in only on the mission. One of the biggest distractions that we have had here in Ciudad Real is MUSIC!  Everywhere we go, people are blasting their tunes, and a lot of times it is music in English… Believe me, I thought that here in Tazumal would be the last place in the world that I would listen to Ed Sheerans new music (though at this point I am not sure if it is new or not….) but, he found his way to El Salvador. So, we are trying to “set ourselves apart” a little more, and though hard at first, some miracles have happened….As a companionship we studied “A consecrated missionary” (this cool packet/talk thing) and we set goals on how we can better dedicate ourselves to the work. We both learned so much about the gifts that the Lord has given us, and our potential as missionaries, if we dedicate ourselves completely to the work. We are trying our hardest to be exactly obedient, and to give an extra effort when we feel tired or discouraged. And the Lord has poured out his blessings.

We are starting to find more and more people to teach. As we are trying to find less active and inactive members, the Lord has guided us to some beautiful people that he has prepared to receive the Gospel message. The largest blessings we have seen this week have come from the Book of Mormon. We have been studying how to better present and teach from this wonderful book. We are trying our hardest to teach in every lesson with the Book of Mormon and to use it not only in lessons, but even in street contacting. On Saturday we went to visit a young man named Johnathan and he was so excited to see us. We had scarcely said hello when he asked if we had brought him his new “bible.” We did not have a lot of time to visit but we shared our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy to read. He held it as if it was made of gold and said that he would start to read it right away. When we invited him to be baptized he looked at us, then at the Book of Mormon, then said “Si.” Wow!!! I love being a missionary!!

We are reading the Book of Mormon as a mission as well, marking all the references to faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. I am also marking all the names of Christ. As we have been reading the spirit has become so much stronger in our lessons, our contacting, even in our home. Our conversation is focused more on the mission, we have achieved almost all of our weekly goals, and more than anything, we are so much happier. All my “mediatizing” scriptures are also from the Book of Mormon. This week is in 3 Nephi 12:6, gotta get the Spirit!!!!

I love the Book of Mormon. As I have read my testimony of the atonement and repentance has grown so much. I feel the spirit as I teach, and I have come to have a stronger desire to help those I come in contact with.

Another weekly highlight, we had Stake Conference!!! We had a special visit from President Spjut and an Area 70, Adrian Ochoa (he said a prayer in General Conference). He came to a multi-zone conference when I started my mission, and it was awesome to see him again over a year later. I shook his hand, and though we did not have time to talk, it was still a neat experience. All of the talks were on the Sabbath day, scripture study and retention. There is so much work to do, and I left motivated to work another week in this great cause!!

As for everything else, the weather is still hot, though we get an occasional rain at night, making sleeping so much more wonderful! The traveling circus has also come to town, and every night is filled with bright lights, scary clowns, and tons of fried foods (they even have something like funnel cake). It is a public menace, but a great chance to contact families!

Thank you so much for all your prayers and support! I love you all and I am so grateful for everything! Keep the Faith, be happy, and be epic!

Hoorah for Israel!!

Love, Hermana Hipol

Pictures (harvesting plantains… it is a knife taped to PVC pipe…..) my companion wanted to cook, so we borrowed some plantains from the other sister missionaries.

Hermana Hipol vs. General Conference Part 3

Wow, what a week!!!

I am not sure where to even begin. The days are flying by and are meshing all together. We are working harder and harder and the Lord is pouring out his blessings.

I loved the Conference this week. So bittersweet, having the last conference in the mission…. ahhhh where is the time going!!! I received so much personal revelation and I am excited to put all of the things that I learned in practice! Our chapel was able to broadcast the conference here in Ciudad Real, so we did not have to travel far, but for a lack of computers, they only had the conference in Spanish…. oh well, thank goodness for the gift of tongues! But really truly honestly, what a wonderful blessing we have to be able to listen to living prophets and apostles who receive revelation specifically for us in our days. I know that these men have been called of God, because every word spoken was something that I needed to hear.

I came away from the conference with a stronger desire to dedicate myself to the work, to align my life more with the Lords will and to truly lose myself in the work.

I don’t have a favorite talk but I was specifically touched by the comments shared by the three new apostles. I loved when Elder Renlund shared, “The Lord does not call you for what you have done, and he calls you despite what you have done.” I have truly come to recognize firsthand that whom the Lord calls the Lord qualifies. I am so far from perfect, I have so much to improve on, but I am so grateful for an infinite atonement that allows me to make changes in my life and start anew. I am also grateful for a mission call that allows me to share these blessings with my brothers and sisters!

I love you all!

Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol

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

Hermana Hipol vs. The Apostle and the White Dress

Another week has passed and this change is just flying by. I am not sure where all of the time is going, but all I know is that it keeps going, and going, and going. But though the time passed very quickly this week, every day was blessed with some sort of miracle.

In preparation for the conference this weekend and trying to apply what we have learned in the temple and in the multi-zone conference this last week, a lot of our studies have been reviewing notes that we took and seeing how we can put them all in practice. This week I also finished my studies of the Christlike attributes… wow, what an amazing experience. In trying to come to know my Savior, I have come to find those attributes that my Father has blessed me with and I have received the spiritual confirmation that the Lord is pleased with my work, and that though I am not perfect, He is proud of me. What a tender mercy!

So this week, speaking of conference, what a beautiful experience. On Friday I woke up at three-thirty, to the beautiful snoring face of Hermana Sheehan…. Apparently I was shouting in my sleep all night long, must have been the excitement for what was going to happen. We all got beautified and hopped on a bus to San Salvador. There we met up with the two other missions of El Salvador: East and West/Belize. There was about 500 missionaries there. I happened to see one of the sisters that was in the CCM with me. The guest speakers of this conference: Elder Alonso and Elder Ochoa from the Area Presidency, another Area Seventy and President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles!!! Yep, I got to hear from the next prophet of the church. He even took the time to shake the hand of every missionary there. Yep, I shook the hand, and had a brief moment to speak to Russell M. Nelson! WOW! 25 years ago, he was sent here to El Salvador and he said the prayer, dedicating the country and opening it to missionary work. It was so amazing. The spirit was so strong, I learned so much. Of course, the trip ended with a long bus ride and some soggy taco bell but hey, got to love American food!!

 

So, after our spiritual high, we came home, anxious and animated to get back to work. Hermana Funez is awesome. I continue to learn so much from her… She has quickly gained the confidence of many members in the ward that beforehand were hesitant to reach out to the missionaries. She works very well with the youth, and I know that the Lord sent her here to be able to strengthen the youth programs of the ward. We are still really struggling to find new people to teach, but we are going to take a leap of faith and trust in the counsel of Elder Nelson, to focus on reactivation and on these prospective elders of the church. I hope that as we do so, that we can grow closer to the members and be able to augment the number of church attendance.

Other than that this week was really peaceful… We have been trying to serve as much as we can, and we have had some cool experiences. One of the coolest is that we are helping a sister in the ward make a wedding dress for a family that is going to be sealed! Yep, you read that right, Hermana Hipol is sewing! Well, buttons that is, I got to put 48 tiny buttons down the back of a dress, madness! It actually turned, out really nice, I might open up a button business post-mish. (That was a joke)

Anyways, good week, great experiences, greater love for my Savior and his work. I love you all!

Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol