Missionary Monday: Sister Guderian In Managua

Here is a recent blog post from Sister Guderian:

mallory

“Coal and Diamonds”

April 17, 2017

Hi everyone! Semana Santa is FINALLY finished. Oh hallelujah. We survived! There were definitely a couple times when I legitimately thought I was going to pass out, but luckily, that didn’t happen. 🙂 This week hasn’t been too eventful. It has been a bit of a tough one again, but we are working through it. Here’s what’s happening:

The week started on a great note because we had interviews with President Brown! I know almost everyone will brag to you about their mission president, but really, this man is amazing. Before the mission, I thought the mission president would be an unknown, far off figure who would do all the behind the scenes stuff. I didn’t expect us to come to know each other so well and so personally! President Brown has helped me in more ways than I can describe, and this interview was no exception. He helped me with a lot of the difficulties I have been having with my companion and with this area. He told me how proud he was of the way I have handled everything that has been thrown at me. I did express sincere frustrations with him about the lack of success we seem to be having in terms of helping people progress in the gospel. He told me, “Hermana Guderian, you just keep running in the right direction. Every time I see you, you just get better and better. I don’t know why you haven’t turned the corner yet. But, I PROMISE you are going to. You are going to start to see fruits of your labors, and are going to help many people.” MAN, did I need to hear that! It feels so good knowing that President recognizes my efforts and sees my potential as a missionary. I will be eternally grateful for him.

This week, we actually had more success than the last in finding new people to teach. That was great, because the days always go by a tad bit quicker when that happens! The problem comes in with retention. We will have a great first lesson with each person, and then we’ll go back the next day and they’ll be gone, or their family makes an excuse for us to leave, or we actually do meet with them and they haven’t read in the Book of Mormon or prayed. It is frustrating! And I do feel bad for Hermana Santamaria, because she is getting really good at teaching the first lesson, but hasn’t had an opportunity to teach any of the others! We find new people, and then a week later, they are off the radar completely. This week we went to visit Donald, and he was really drunk. Like, scary drunk. It is going to be a struggle, but we are going to continue to try and help him. We have gotten a lot of slack from our district leader. It has been hard. He is a great guy, but when it comes time to talk about the area and our numbers, it seems as if he likes to focus on what we’re not achieveing rather than what we are. I am just grateful to have two great zone leaders who have helped us out so much here!

The members of the church here in Granada have contributed to a completely different dynamic than any area I have been in before. Los Sabogales was crazy dangerous, insanely poor, really ugly…but you better believe those members would have done absolutely anything for us!!!!! Granada has had a years-long reputation of members who aren’t exactly on the greatest terms with the missionaries. I didn’t want to believe it at first, but, I have seen firsthand, more than once this week, that the members tend to look for our faults and can be very judgemental. It has been hard. The best thing we can do is just try to change that relationship! Maybe my new calling as the pianist in TWO wards will help out with that a bit?! Gone are the days of ever sitting with my investigators in the chapel pews haha!

We are actually moving houses tomorrow morning! I had to laugh when my mom saw the pictures of the new house and said she cringed. Yeah, it may look a little rough, but just come to this country and see how 99.9% of the people live here, and our new house won’t seem so bad! A family from Nebraska who bought a ranch here and moved their whole family to Nicaragua is helping us move. They are so nice. I am still a little confused as to why someone would move their family and their teenage kids to Nicaragua…I told my dad not to get any ideas! Haha, but we are thankful for their help!

The companion situation has been a little better; still hard, but a slight improvement. I took the suggestions of President Brown after actually talking to him about what was going on. The mission has taught me to be really proactive and to be a really good problem solver. Hermana Santamaria is willing to work and learn, which makes my life a little bit easier. She is new in the church, and is still learning a lot, so I get about a billion deep doctrine questions every day and I actually love answering them!!! I have learned so much! She has yet to stump me! I know she wants to…but I am going to keep studying so that I can answer all her questions. Socially…still a bit of a struggle. We’re slowly working on it.

I know this email is not too exciting! Just know we’re working hard, and I am relying every single moment on my Heavenly Father and Savior. I had a good long chat yesterday with our zone leader, Elder Foster. He is going home in June. We sat and reflected on all we have learned during our time in the mission. As hard as it has been, as hard as it continues to be, through all the sweat, blood, and tears, I know that the mission has, and will continue to mold me into a better person than I ever thought I could become. I have seen the biggest improvements in myself these past 8 months; much bigger than I could ever convey in an email, a Skype call with my family, or even in my own journal. It is an introspective sort of thing. The best way I could explain things to Elder Foster was that my perspective of everything around me has completely changed: my future, myself, those around me, the people I work with, every hour I live, my testimony of this gospel, and just the way I think is 100% different than it was before. I don’t think I was a bad person before the mission, but I think about how I handled some situations, or how I viewed certain aspects of my life before, and compare to how I would deal with those things now, and it is entirely different. More than I can describe! I just want you all to know that that is what a mission does to a person. Through sticky situations, hard times, and many adventures, it takes a lump of coal and creates a diamond. I am grateful I have 10 more months to become that diamond. 🙂

Love,

Hermana Mallory Guderian

Sister Guderian is serving from the Heritage Park Ward. You can read more about her mission by visiting her blog by clicking HERE.

Missionary Monday: Elder Groom Serving In Brazil!

Here is a recent letter from Elder Groom:

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Hey guys!

This week has been really good, its not the type of week where a ton of crazy stuff happened, or maybe thats because crazy is the new normal for me haha. We had a zone meeting and Elder Barbosa and Medina focused us on being ´´fishers of men´´. It was a very inspiring topic.
Elder Lorenzoni and I worked hard to begin the first week of transfers, it was cool that nothing changed since we didnt even notice it was a new transfer. It was super hot as always this week, but we are noticing more clouds in the skies these days at least, apparently the rainy season begins next month.
We have been working a lot with one couple thats progressing a lot. Diogo and his girlfriend Maisa. We have been teaching them to live the commandments, and we are seeing a great increase in their faith and desire to improve. We have their baptism marked for this Sunday.
One thing I noticed this week is how I knew nothing before I went on the mission!! Now everyhting is so clear like the purpose of things and its so cool, Im applying the gospel to my life more than I ever have before. I know Heavenly Father is proud of me despite my many imperfections. I Felt really well focused on the work lately, I do things and work hard out of my own desire rather than necessity only.
I love you guys! HAve a great week. I also added a pic of last weeks baptism.
Elder Groom
Elder Groom is serving from the Heritage Park Ward.

Missionary Monday: Sister Arbuckle in the Amazon

Arbuckle

Here is a recent letter from Sister Arbuckle:

Oi oi oi FAMILIA AND AMIGOS!!!!

I am officially leaving for Manaus in 3 DIAS!!!!!!!! I am so freaking excited!!! My flight is going to be just over 4 hours long haha – yeah Brazil is GINORMOUS! This week was super super good. It is our last week at the MTC and we are finishing strong. We are so sad to leave some of the people and friends we’ve made here but super ready to move on!

Going to cosmetology school was pretty much the best idea ever. I seriously use those skills all the time for the girls I live with. This week we focused on everyone’s eyebrows J

This week was daylight savings in Sao Paulo which meant we got an extra hour of sleep!! The sunrise in the morning now is breathtaking – I’ve become obsessed with it haha. Sao Paulo is so beautiful! I can’t even imagine what Manaus is going to look like.

Today we were told that a general authority was going to visit so I spent time curling my hair (yeah, huge waste of time because now I look like I have dread locks because of the humidity). Turns out a former mission president was visiting our area and he was super cool.

Sis. B and I are starting to love the beans and rice which is good considering we eat it at almost every meal. One day they actually ran out and we craved it all day!

Mom, please don’t be mad, but I gave away one of my suitcases. I’ve been so stressed about my carry on being too big and when I measured it this week it was two inches over the limit. So, I went to one of the Hispanic sister’s rooms and asked if anyone needed a suitcase and this sister from Guatamala raised her hand and said she would love one. Then she pulled out an old duct taped suitcase she had brought and said it was the only one she had. She was so amazed and so so grateful that I could give her mine. Before I go I’m going to stuff if with things I don’t need. She then tried to give me a bag her mom had made for her out of her baby clothes!!! So sweet and so so generous and oh my goodness…so humbling. Don’t worry though – I bought a backpack and will use that instead. I’ve discovered there aren’t a lot of things I actually need.

Someone asked me this week if I was Brazilian?!! What. Yeah, made my lifeeee!! Something that I love is when you randomly hear over all the Portuguese “Hallo how a you?” or “what is sup?”.

Learning a new language is hard. Like, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. It’s the most overwhelming, frustrating, demanding, takes all my concentration, but coolest experience ever. Everyone should study the Book of Mormon in a new language. I firmly believe this because you actually come across words and phrases that make more sense in another language. You can also start to see patterns of different prophets, what connotations they used, tenses, forms, etc. In the end though, we just need to teach by the Spirit and teach what Heavenly Father knows the investigator needs to hear.

My spiritual thought this week is from a note my Dad sent me. I read this all week and am memorizing it in Portuguese! It’s in Doctrine and Covenants 76:2-7:

2. Great is his wisdom, marvelous are his ways, and the extent of his doings none can find out.

3. His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand.

4. From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail.

5. For thus saith the Lord – I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.

6. Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.

7. And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.

What I am learning is that although each of us are unable to understand all of God’s ways, the things He has asked us to do, the callings we have or the things that are placed in our individual path we can be assured of two things: 1) He loves us. He loves us so so much and as a missionary it is so awesome to get to learn about this love through teaching people about Him. Learning how to be a disciple of Jesus Christ allows us to feel of His love for all the people we teach. It’s so amazing that the Lord has given us the gift of tongues not so that we can be fluent but so that people will be able to understand our message the way that they need to. All so that His children can come to know of His existence and eternal love and plan for them. 2) He has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost. (This is a gift we receive after baptism). Through the Holy Ghost we can feel comforted, loved, happy, and like Moroni says when we have real intent in our hearts we really can come to know the truth of all things. What a huge promise.

The Lord is at our side every step of the way and I would never be able to do this without him.

Everything is really good here and my when I send my next email I will be officially in the Amazon with my insanely broken Portuguese! Love you all so much – keep sending me pics and stories and emails. They help so much!

Sister Arbuckle is serving from the Heritage Park Ward. You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.