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Halfway through the MTC

Today marks my halfway through the MTC and wow how time has flown! So many things have happened, it is often hard to keep track of everything!


I was able to go to the Central Market and Map this past week. What an amazing cultural experience! There were so many things and so many people, it was so fun! The entire market is underground in two levels. The first is all textiles, jewelry, shoes and such, and the lower level is all foods. It was amazing!  As we were leaving the market I even got hit by a car! Well, they popped the clutch and so it bumped me… no worries I am totally fine. Not a bruise or a scratch…except on my pride but I am working on my humility….  Nothing hurts a missionary! It was my first intense experience. It was great to be out of the CCM, though it was a shock to hear the language…. I think they might be teaching me the wrong one…. People talk so fast! I am a little nervous and I have made more of an effort to listen to the native speakers here.  The map was equally amazing. How crazy to think that the BOM took place in this part of the world! My favorite part of our outing was definitely Wendys. Nothing beats a good hamburger.


I was called to be the new Hermana Cacipadador, or Zone Leader for all the Hermanas in my Rama. It is a lot of responsibility and has been such a humbling experience. Two thirds of the sisters are native Spanish speakers and speak absolutely no English so communication has been hard. I have really relied on the spirit and I know that the gift of tongues is real. Our last three lessons with investigators have been completely in Spanish!!


This past Sunday I was really struck by a devotional that we had. We watched that super old movie called Zion Camp. At one point a group of mobsters came up to two of the brethren and asked who was in charge of their camp. One replied, “God of Israel leads the Camp.” Wow… how powerful is that. I bear testimony in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, and as a missionary called of God to preach his work, that God of Israel leads the Camp. God of Israel leads this Church. God of Israel leads the missionary work all over the world. Nothing can stop the hand of the Almighty. I pray every day that I can make him proud and I know that if we give him everything that nothing shall keep us from seeing and helping bring to pass miracles comparable to those we read about in the Holy Scriptures.


There is so much more I want to say and yet so little time… Suffice it to say, I know that my Redeemer Lives. I know that I am not perfect, or fluent, but the Lord and his message are perfect and the Holy Ghost has no language.


I love you all and I am so grateful for your examples.

God of Israel leads the Camp.

Hurrah for Israel!



Hermana Hipol

Another amazing week here at the CCM…

Another amazing week here at the CCM in Guatemala. I love being here and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve my Heavenly Father. First off, this week is going to be a little crazy scheduling wise so, thankfully, I get to start off the week with emails! It is “transfers” this week, meaning that we are saying goodbye to all but one companionship of sisters, and (hopefully) getting some new ones. It is a very bittersweet feeling all around. I am so excited for my fellow Hermanas and somewhat jealous that they get to leave now, but I will definitely miss them. They have taught me so much and I am forever grateful for their patience and charity towards me. They will all leave on Tuesday, and the new Missionaries will be here Wednesday. So, in honor of their passing into the real world, tonight we are having a chocolate fountain, Guatemala Style. I am not sure what that means but I am sure that It will be great! Also, our PDay will be on Tuesday, instead of Wednesday this week. We are going on a field trip! My district is going to the 7.30 a.m. temple session here at the Guatemala Temple and then later in the Day, since there will not be very many missionaries, we are going out into the city!!! We are going to a historical part of the city with a huge 3D map of the country, then going to Central Market, and then, having lunch at WENDYS!!!!! That is right, semi-american food!. I am so excited! And the best part of it is that we get to take our cameras with us to record this momentous occasion! How positively awesome-sauce! I am not sure how I can send them, since we will have to turn our cameras back in when we return, but I am still so psyched!

On a more spiritual note, I have learned and grown so much this last week. I have definitely been tested in a lot of ways, but I have gained such a stronger appreciation for my savior and my Heavenly Father. This past Friday-Saturday my entire district had an ayuna de ingles, or an English Fast. That is, we gave up English for an entire 24 hours. It was extremely difficult, especially in communicating in our companionship (lets just say that we have now mastered sign language). But as a result, we definitely saw miracles. My companions and I have taken on another investigator, Oscar, and for the first time ever, we taught an entire lesson in Spanish. It was miraculous. I know that the Lord was in control of everything, and though we are not perfect teachers, it was a great accomplishment for us. Yesterday, being fast Sunday, we were also able to share our testimonies in Spanish too. Though it was very simple and rough, I felt the spirit so strong, and could feel the words enter my mind as I spoke. I am still not fluent (yet) but I know that the gift of tongues is a very real thing, and I know that if we are in tune with the spirit, then the lord uses his language to touch the hearts of those we teach. How amazing that we get a chance to be the vessels through which he teaches.

I have also learned so much about the enabling power of the Atonement. There were many times this week when I felt discouraged and incredibly inadequate but I have begun to recognize my Savior in every aspect of my life. Hermana Pitcher, our Presidents wife, taught a beautiful lesson on faith and the enabling power of the atonement. She told a story of  a man who was rock climbing. He slipped and fell, plumeting towards the ground head first. Just before he hit the ground, he stopped because his belayer (dunno if that spelling is right, sorry) had grabbed the rope and saved his life. He said, “How do you thank someone who saves your life? Do you give him a strand of worn out rope for Christmas? No. You remember him… You always remember him.” The spirit was tangible as she said that last sentence. I cried, of course, but even now, I am still filled to overflowing with gratitude for the one who gave all that I may live with hope and happiness. Think about that the next time you prepare to take the Sacrament. I love my Savior. I was indebted to him when I left on my mission but now, even though I have given all to him, I am in even more debt. I know that my Redeemer Lives and I know that he is your Redeemer too. I know that he is the source of truth and joy in this life and the next. I love this work. I love you all too! I am so grateful for your love and support.

Hurrah for Israel!

Hermana Hipol

July 30, 2014

Wow! P-Day already and what a perfect day it has been! I love being in Guatemala. CCM life is pretty cool and very busy, but I have learned so much and drawn so much closer to my Heavenly Father. This week I was able to memorize the missionary objective as well as learned to pray and bear testimony in Spanish. How cool is that! The gift of tongues is real.

My Companions and I have started to teach our first investigator, Cathy Lopez. It is hard, but she has a great spirit and I have had so many amazing experiences as I have followed the spirits promptings during our lessons. I have learned so much more about prayer and I can definitely see my relationship with my Heavenly father grow as I have strengthened and deepened my prayers. My heart is always on fire and I love it!

The food here is great, except the horchata, but my favorite part of meals is when we get to talk with the Latina Hermanas. They are so hilarious, and though we cannot understand everything that they say, they have taught us so much and have such a sweet spirit about them. I feel it most every night at orracion, when all the sisters get together to sing a song and pray. Spanish hymns are so beautiful, and I feel so strong when we are all singing together.

This past Sunday we had sacrament meeting all in Spanish and it was a little hard. The Latina Hermanas asked us about five minutes beforehand if we would sing Oh my Father for the musical number, alternating English and Spanish verses. We were so nervous and I was the only one who remembered the tune but as we sang the spirit was so strong and I didn’t completely embarrass myself. I just love being here.

There have been hard days, definitely, and la lucha es real [the fight is real], but every night I am filled with love and gratitude as I pray. Today we went to the Guatamala Temple and it was truly a beautiful experience, whenever I begin to doubt the lord is right there with a bucket filled with tender mercies. Time goes so fast, and I cannot wait to be out in the field. I think one of the greatest things I have learned is not to teach before it is time. The gospel is key and we need to teach the lessons, but first, we need to teach people and recognize that we are all children of Heavenly Father with different needs and desires.

I love this gospel. I love my Savior. Change the world! The work is truly a glorious cause! I love you all!

Hurrah for Israel

Hermana Hipol

I have made it to Guatemala!

I have made it to Guatemala! I was able to make my connecting flight, and travel without any problems, and I have made it to the CCM [El Centro de Capacitación Misional]. There is so much to learn, and so many rules that I need to adapt to, but there is such a special spirit here. I am sorry, I cannot take pictures, here, I had to turn in my camera. The CCM is literally next door to the temple and all of the missionaries get to go through a session every Tuesday. There were forty three elders arriving in my group and three sisters, including me. There are seven American Hermanas here at the CCM, so we are quite outnumbered but we have such a strong spirit. I am in a companionship of three.  Mis companeras son Hermana Martin, from the airport, and Hermana Biscalera who we met up with in LA. My CCM President is Presidente Cox, and he is so wonderful. As soon as we arrived through the gates from the aeropuerto, Hermana Cox grabbed me in a huge hug crying, Hermanas! Hermanas! And all my fears went away. It is so beautiful here, the air is so thick I cannot breathe sometimes, but I love it. The food is mui delicioso! We got to take a nap after arriving but the best part, was when I was handed my badge. I am officially a missionary with a tag! I am sorry, I do not have a lot of time but I love you so much, and I am so excited to serve. Spanish is coming easy, and I remember a lot. Please forward my email, no tengo mucho tiempo. I love you! Hurrah for Israel! Hermana Hipol

Farewell Talk

Farewell talk notes…

As part of a missionary’s preparation they are asked to study their family history before they enter the field. I have a rich family heritage; many of my ancestors were numbered among the pioneers that we honor at this time of year.

The Prince family was sent to colonize Africa. Missionaries taught them of the gospel, they sold their plantation and made the journey from Africa to join with the saints. Another family, the Jepson’s heard the Lord’s message and also crossed the Atlantic from England to join with the saints.
There is another family I love that embarked on a similar journey. They were asked to leave all their riches and worldly treasures behind. They crossed an ocean, buried loved ones and through their faith saw many miracles. This man’s name was Lehi and I am sure that you are all familiar with his family’s story.
As I read the BOM preparatory to leaving on my mission, I was struck with the many examples of people who mirror our own latter day Pioneers: Ammon’s journey into the treacherous land of Nephi, the Jaredites as they fled the tower, King Lamoni as he lead his people into the land of Jershon where they covenanted to leave their weapons and join the people of the Lord.
All of these individuals were touched by the Spirit, received a change of heart and left their past lives and comfortable circumstances to enter into the wilderness to establish Zion.

What is Zion?

D&C 101:22 Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places;

In his talk, Come to Zion, Elder Christofferson said “Zion is both a place and a people…, for this is Zion — the pure in heart… Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. Remember, “The Lord called his people Zion because they were of one heart and one mind, and dewlt in righteousness, and there was no poor among them. If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard. It will be necessary to become unified in one heart and one mind; to become, individually and collectively a holy people; and to care for the poor and needy… We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen—Zion will come only as they happen.”

As members it is our responsibility not only to establish Zion where we are planted but to help gather our brothers and sisters to Zion.
Israel, Israel, God is speaking. Hear your great Deliv’rer’s voice! Now a glorious morn is breaking, For the people of his choice. Come to Zion, come to Zion, And within her walls rejoice. Come to Zion, come to Zion, And within her walls rejoice.

We have all been called to journey into the wilderness and establish Zion. Are we prepared and worthy to make the journey and prepare the way for the Lord?
The Ancient Israelites and Jaredites in the Old and New worlds were not exactly spiritually prepared for their wildernesses, causing many to fall away from the truth and prolonging their journey to the promised land.

The Willie and Martin Handcart Companies were not exactly physically prepared to meet the harshness of winter, and many faithful members were forced to bury loved ones on their trek to the Salt Lake Valley.

Though the journey seemed impossible at times, none of these travelers were ever abandoned. So great was the Lords hand in each of these treks that the results were miraculous. Mannah fell from the heavens, stones shone from the literal touch of the master’s hand, and rescuers were sent to the aid of the weary saints.

Sometimes we are not prepared or strong enough to face the wildernesses that we have been called to journey through, and yet, we are never alone. If we trust in the Lord and remain true to Zion’s cause, we will not be able to count the miracles that will unfold in our behalf as we build up the Lord’s Kingdom.
Though hard to you this journey may appear, grace shall be, as your day.
In 1 Nephi 17:3 the Lord promises us— I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you… inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the Promised Land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.

In the OT Joshua counsels — sanctify yourselves [and] the Lord will do wonders among you.

1 Nephi 1:20 —the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

Though the Lord is with us, giving us strength for every step we take leading us deeper into the wildernesses of life, it is up to us whether or not Zion will be established be it in our homes, our wards, our communities, our families and our hearts.

In order to have the strength to Establish Zion we must have faith in the Lord and trust in his will.

One of my favorite examples of such faith is that of King Lamoni’s father in the Book of Mormon. After hearing the call to come to Christ bowed “down before the Lord upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth and cried mightily saying… if there is a God and if thou art God… I will give away all my sins to know thee” Alma 22:17-18 Do we have such faith?

Journeying through the wilderness, whether it be in Ancient or modern times, is never easy. Often we may feel discouraged and our faith may shake. We might wander for fourty years, or travel around in circles, but we can never give up. It is in these moments of weakness where we must turn to the Lord for strength.

My favorite literary character, a man by the name of Sazed said, “Belief isn’t simply a thing for fair times and bright days… What is belief—what is faith— if you don’t continue in it after failure.”

D&C 101:16-18 Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? Tis not so; all is right. Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight? Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our god will never us forsake; And soon we’ll have this tale to tell—all is well! All is well!

In order to Establish Zion we must make Zion our utmost priority. We are told that where our treasure is that there will our heart be also. Do we treasure Zion?
One of my ancestors James Jepson treasured Zion. After a long life of faithful service and dedication to serving in the early days of the church he became very sick. One night before he passed away, he had a dream where he was taken to a beautiful place filled with many people. He came across President Garfield (who had been assassinated a week prior) who tried to compel him to stay and enjoy their beautiful surroundings. But James said, “No, I am not going to stay here, I have the Priesthood”. He went a little farther and “came to a place of such beauty and happiness and pleasure that no mortal tongue could describe it.”

We live in a crazy world filled with distractions telling us that “this is a good place” and that there is little to worry about except your Pinterest quality home, your expensive brand shoes and the thousands of friends you must have on Facebook. Do we recognize the blessings of the gospel and sacred covenants we have made with the Lord and make the decision every day to go on a little farther?

If we strengthen our faith, put the Lord first in our hearts and endure with a sure hope in Christ, we can establish Zion in whatever wilderness we are in whether it be in our homes, our families, our wards, or El Salvador.

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am the biggest nerd on the planet. I love all things “epic” and love to study stories of famous heroes, mighty battles, and glorious victories and adventures. My dream has always been… now don’t judge me… to join ranks with these heroes, to be burdened with glorious purpose and go on an epic adventure of epicenes. I have often found it hard to face the non-epicenes of every day. As I have prepared to serve a mission, I cannot help my excitement to go on an adventure!

Joseph Smith said, “The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

That is epic.

I may never don shining chain mail or lead troops onto a literal battlefield to save Middle earth. I will never deliver an evil ring to a fiery volcano, or fight a dragon; I am a part of something even more glorious and epic. We all are. What could be more amazing than to all be enlisted in the battle for the souls of men? We all have a part to play, a role to fill, a wilderness to conquer and Zion to build.

Testimony. I am so excited to serve in El Salvador. I hope that I can do all that I can to do my part to build Zion.

Alma 26: 12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things;

3 Nephi 5:13 Behold, 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.

Alma 26:16 …Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.