Hermana Hipol vs. Pinatas, Gripe and Dennis

Another week here in the field. Where do I begin? Really time is such a fickle thing, there are moments when it’s so slow, and then before you know it, its Monday again, and there are only seven more Mondays and tomorrow begins December. WHAT?!

Pues si….. This week we worked and worked and worked some more. I think we were on the devil’s radar but the Lord was always there to pour out a tender mercy.

Hermana Reyes got a nasty cold Wednesday night. On Thursday she was even worse and all attempts to try to do divisions so I could go and work backfired so we got to stay in a couple hours and rest. I was really stressed out, thinking about all the things that we needed to do, about a fickle thing called time, and worried about my companion, and well, basically I was just a little anxious. So, I pulled out our disk of Mormon messages and I happened across one that follows children from their birth to when they enter the mission field. I don’t know what it’s called but it’s accompanied by the hymns “I hope they call me on a mission” and “To bring the world his truth.” I remembered what day it was. Thursday, the 26th of November. A year since I had finished my training, a year since I had said goodbye to Hna Judd, I thought about all that I had learned in a year, all that has happened. I also remembered that it was Thanksgiving. The spirit came and I was filled with such a strong sense of gratitude towards the mission, towards all the people I have met, towards my family that have helped prepare and support me, and more than anything to my Heavenly Father for all he has given me. Sure, I had a weepy moment, but it was a great little reminder that everything is in the Lord’s hands, we are just here for the ride. He longs to bless us, and he is constantly doing so.

On Friday, my comp was feeling much better and so we got back to work, full force! Dennis, the little boy we have been teaching was supposed to be baptized but everything was falling through and working against us. We couldn’t find pants, the cake was too small, the members were getting frustrated, lots of drama. But then before we knew it, it was Saturday.

We got up, studied and left to work. I was still stressed out, and we weren’t quite sure what to expect. We went to the chapel to help support a Relief Society Activity. A less active sister that we have been visiting came, along with her nonmember mother that we have been teaching. #miracles! The activity was beautiful, and encouraged the sisters to be more loving and to look for the good in everyone. The spirit was definitely there. And then a visiting sister stood up to share some thoughts and my heart stopped. I had seen her before, almost exactly a year ago, on my las P-day with Hermana Judd. It was one of her converts. I think that she recognized me to too because she gave me a weird look, but she did not remember who I was…. After the activity I walked up to her, and I introduced myself, and started to explain who I was. I had scarcely mentioned the name of Hermana Judd when she threw her arms around me and said “Te conozco, te conozco!” (I know you, I know you!) We both sobbed into each other’s shoulders and she asked how I have been. I asked a little of her story too. She was sealed in the temple earlier this year and continues faithful in the church. It was a beautiful reunion.

In true El Salvadoran style, Dennis was an hour late to his baptism. People were so caught up in cakes, and piñatas, and all the other logistical stuff, it was a little frustrating that no one was too focused on the ordinance. But then everything was calmed down and we were all there in the baptistry. Primary children all gave the baptismal talks and then Dennis was baptized by his Dad. Our musical number fell through, and so I sang “I know that my Redeemer Lives.” The spirit was so strong, and all the stress and tension that had lingered around was dispersed. It was a beautiful tender mercy.

So some closing thoughts. We had a fantastic talk given yesterday about pride, using a talk by Ezra Taft Benson, and the brother said something fantastic. He said, “Pride is asking yourself ‘what do I do with my life?’ instead of asking ‘what does God want me to do with my life?” Wow, it was a nice reminder that I need to accept the Lords will and trust in his timing.

I love you all!! Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol!

Hermana HIpol vs. Turkey, Talking and the Almost Baptism

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm………………… Where do I begin?

I sure do love being a missionary. There were so many crazy things this week but when I sit down to write, i cannot remember anything at all…… Let’s see.

I taught my first lesson in English. Yep, that’s right, in ENGLISH! The Elders gave us a reference of a young woman. When we walked up to the house a bunch of young girls ran out shouting our arrival. We met Yesenia. She is part of something like the Peace Corps and she wants to learn English. She already speaks very, very well, but she needs someone to practice with. At first, I felt a little bad, thinking that she just was interested in the chance to talk to a gringa, but we started to talk about the church and she was very interested as well. I felt so clumsy trying to teach in English, but the spirit was there. She surprised us both and asked what was required so that she can be baptized!!! What?! It was a miracle, but we will see what happens! She came to our English class on Friday too….

This Friday we had our Thanksgiving Multi-zone conference. It was amazing but really weird at the same time because, it was my last multi-zone conference….. AAAAAAAHHHHHH! But moving on, it was wonderful! We talked about some changes that we are making in the mission, new directives, and new goals. We watched the new Christmas initiative that the Church has put out #hanacidounsalvador and wow, it’s beautiful! You should all watch it! I felt the spirit so strongly! We also got our flu shots and celebrated an early thanksgiving! We even had a turkey lunch with cranberry sauce! So very delicious!

So on Monday we went to visit the sister that had told us she did not want to be baptized, and she had changed her mind. We visited her every day, praying with her, reading the Book of Mormon, and helping her to feel the spirit. We had everything ready for her baptism on Sunday. We left early on Saturday to go and buy the refreshments, we confirmed the talks and musical numbers and then we stopped by her house in the afternoon to give her some final moral support. But from the moment we walked into the house something was off, and we sat down to talk with her.

She did not want to get baptized….. She had just changed her mind and that was that. It was really disappointing, but I am glad that she was honest with us and that she shared her anxieties with us beforehand. She said that she still wants to come to church and keep learning, but that she was not ready to be baptized right now. So, we will keep working with her and we will see what the Lord has in store.

On a slightly happier note, we have been working with the son of our ward secretary who just turned nine and hasn’t been baptized yet. He is getting baptized on Saturday!! But his Dad is super busy with work and his calling so it has been really hard to find him and teach him. Yesterday we had to get permission to go to the Stake Center in Chalchuapa so that we could teach him while his dad was in a meeting. We talked about the first vision and the Restoration of the Gospel. It was such a beautiful lesson and it felt so good to be able to explain the gospel in such simple terms. The spirit was so strong and so beautiful!

Yesterday was third Sunday, and the missionaries were asked to give the talks. I was so nervous, in the past there has been a lot of tension between missionaries and members, and it’s all about a good presentation. I wrote my talk about three times and nothing felt right. Finally we were sitting there in church and I still had no idea what to do. I had written some final thoughts but nothing seemed right. For the Sacramental hymn we sang “I stand all amazed” and the spirit hit me so strong, saying “just bear your testimony about the atonement”. I stood up to speak and for the first time in my life, I totally gave an impromptu talk.

I don’t really remember all that I said, but I remembered the story of Alma, how his own experience with the atonement inspired him to share the gospel. How many of us have received a change of heart, have been born of God, and if we have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, can we feel so now? And what are we doing so that someone else can sing it too? I also spoke about the sacrament. How many of us partake of bread and water? And how many of us partake of innocent blood and broken flesh? I was afraid of being to direct, of offending someone, but then the spirit came to my mind and the words of Mormon inspired me. I told them that it is not my job to ask for references, or to ask them to leave and visit with us “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.” I am here to preach repentance, to invite others to come to Christ, not to give a pretty sermon about missionary work. I’m not here to talk about the work, but to do the work, and well, that’s what I am trying to do.

En fin, I think that it turned out okay. My comp said that the spirit was really strong, that’s good.

I sure love you all and I hope that you are never afraid to open your mouth and share your testimonies. Thank you for all your love and support.

Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol!

Hermana Hipol vs. Whitewashing and Baking Therapy

Um where do I start? Another week, working hard, trying to do the Fathers week. It was a rough week I can’t lie. The adversary was trying to get to us from every angle, but we made it through!!

Really I think that is the going away lesson this week, that it despite all the ugly, all the craziness every day we made it back home, and we woke up each morning with a new day, a new start. Those moments when we felt we could not go one more step, the Lord gave us the strength to take two more, and little by little, we kept moving forward.

We lost our baptismal date on Tuesday, and my companion and I were just distraught. But the next day our District Leader called us and went with us to meet with her. We sat down sang a hymn, “Let the Holy Spirit Guide,” and we prayed. My companion started the lesson, and our DL interrupted her, and said that he had come to do the baptismal interview (not planned?!) The sister looked at him and said “But I don’t want to be baptized?!” But, she agreed to meet with him. About half an hour later, we met back up with them. The sister took my hand, looked into my eyes and said, I am sorry that I said I would not be baptized, but now I do…. I am ready now to be baptized.” what a miracle!

But the thing that made the difference was nothing that the Elder said, it was the hymn we sang. As we tried to invite the spirit, the Holy Ghost touched her heart and she received a confirmation that the church was true. #thelittlethings

We are trying a new technique for reactivation and retention: BAKING! We have started making brownies with some of the recent converts and less active members and its has been so much fun! I have now learned how to light a gas stove without making a small bomb, and baking has always been great therapy when things get rough. We are also trying to serve more. On Wednesday we painted the house of a recent convert with the other sisters. It was actually a lot of fun, though I think we ended up whiter than the walls ha-ha. By the time we finished, we all looked like “gringas.”

On Sunday our baptismal date did not come to church, so we will have to put a new goal with her, but she still has a firm desire to be baptized, we just have to keep the hosts of hell at bay one more week. It was so crushing when she did not come, though the Lord was there, as always with a bunch of tender mercies. We had another investigator surprise us, and we sang some of my favorite hymns. After church, the elders had a baptism of a young boy and the spirit was so strong. To see this young man’s excitement inspired me to keep going, and that though we don’t see all the fruits at once, they will come in time…. but in the Lords time, not mine.

In my personal study this week I have been reading through the first chapters of Alma, my favorites! They are the best when it comes to missionary work. The other day I was reading and I came across my favorite story in the Book of Mormon, well, one of my favorites. It is in Alma 8. Alma is sent to Ammonihah to preach to the wayward saints and he is rejected. Feeling distraught and kinda defeated he makes his way back home. I imagine that he felt kinda like I did this week, but the Lord does not call quitters, and he wants us to finish the job. So, he sent an angel, but not just any angel, it was the same one that was sent to call him to repentance. But this time, the message was very different. He says (in Spanish, sorry)

“Bendito eres, Alma; por tanto, levanta la cabeza y regocíjate, pues tienes mucho por qué alegrarte; pues has sido fiel en guardar los mandamientos de Dios, desde la ocasión en que recibiste de él tu primer mensaje. He aquí, yo soy quien te lo comuniqué. Y he aquí, soy enviado para mandarte que vuelvas a la ciudad de Ammoníah y prediques otra vez a los habitantes de esa ciudad; sí, predícales.”

Wow, when I read this I felt the spirit so strongly, and it was as if the angel was talking to me. In this past general conference one of the brethren said something really powerful. I think I have shared it before but it is worth repeating. “The Lord does not call you because of what you have done, he calls you despite what you have done.” But Latter-Day Saints keep on trying day, and Latter-Day Missionaries never ever give up. So, we gotta tighten the boot-straps and keep working, one week more, one day more, and one hour more….

The time is ticking, we are going into the final minutes, and there are no more “time-outs.” We have to run, run, run, until the buzzer sounds and the Great Jehovah says “the work is done.” So, that’s what I’m gonna do.

I love you all. Thank you for your love, your support, and your prayers. They mean so much more than you could ever know.

Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol

Hermana Hipol vs. The Prophet, the See-er and the Birthday Party

What a week!

I’m not quite sure what to share, we just keep working and trying our best to be exactly obedient and give an extra effort. The fruits weren’t immediate, but the Lord always pours out his tender mercies. We had two inactive families come to church with us and some new investigators. We also were able to hit the standard of excellence in lessons with members! Yay!!!

On Tuesday I was able to go work in El Refugio with Hermana Timoteo. She is such a wonderful sister, and I learned a ton! We found a couple new investigators and had some spiritually charged lessons. It was great to be able to leave my area for a day and take a little breather helping out the other sisters!

We went to visit Josefina and Susana and we talked about the first vision. The next day Susana told us she had prayed to renew her testimony of the first vision and the book of Mormon and she had a dream where she saw Joseph Smith receive the plates. Cool story!

The Best part of the week was Friday. The daughter of our first counselor was baptized and confirmed. It was so beautiful, and the spirit was so strong. We had some investigators come and they all had confirmations that they should be baptized!

Sorry, short this week, we are just working hard and seeking souls. Love you all!

Hoorah for Israel!

Love, Hermana Hipol

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!