Here is a recent blog post from Sister Guderian:
“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.
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.