Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Morning

March 31st, 2013   Easter Morning

This posting was actually written by Maren on Christmas Day, but it bears such beautiful testimony of the Savior that it seemed most appropriate to post it today:

Today we had a devotional with Elder Russell M. Nelson. It was such a powerful meeting, and not just because of what he said. Yesterday we were teaching our investigator about modern day prophets and apostles, and we were explaining that, just as men walked with God in antiquity, there are prophets, seers, and revelators who walk the earth today, and commune personally with the Lord on a regular basis. As we were teaching, I realized how amazing our message really is. Granted, I believe I had realized it before, but as I bore testimony of the truthfulness of modern-day prophets, the spirit bore witness to me of modern-day prophets, and I felt the power and spirit of those men who are called of God to preach his word to the world. I've been given the opportunity to preach the gospel to a small portion of the world, but these men have the daily opportunity of testifying of Christ and His life on a global scale. What an enormous blessing and responsibility. I've heard it said that "Elder" means "defender of the faith, and I know that, both he and I have that opportunity to defend the faith. Today as Elder Nelson walked into the room and we all rose, I could feel the power of God enter the room with him. He carries the mantle and authority of one who holds all of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and though Thomas S. Monson is currently the only man authorized to utilize ALL of those keys, I was impressed with the love of God in giving His people wise men to lead us to Him.

I suppose it was just such a testimony to me of God's love: that He sends us means whereby we may return to live with Him forever. He's given us living prophets who lead and guide us, who know better than we the course and fate of the world. However, on this Christmas day, I am even more grateful for the other, infinitely greater means which God has granted us to allow us eternal life, and that is He whose birth we celebrate on Christmas day, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Though He was born in humble circumstances, He came to this earth as our King, and through His mission, He magnified His role as such. This child whose birth we celebrate is the Christ, the anointed one, the Savior of the earth, the great and merciful Lord, the Messiah for our souls. This baby, who once lay in a manger is the Son of Man, who loves each of us so dearly that He was willing to suffer for our sins and perish for our shortcomings. It is He who bowed in agony at Gethsamane, and hung from the cruel cross. It is He who wore a crown of thorns, who walked the dusty road to Calgary, straining to support the cross which would soon bear His weight. This infant whose life we celebrate is He who drank the bitter cup and gave up the ghost, whose body lay for three days in a tomb. This is the Christ, who rose again to minister unto His people. This is the Messiah, who went to look after His other sheep. This is the Anointed One, who gathers His people as a hen gathereth her chicks, and enfolds them in His wing of mercy.

 This tiny little babe, whose birth we all sing about, is the Man who died for each and every one of us. But more importantly, this sweet little child is the Man who yet lives for us, who rose from the tomb that we too may arise from the dust of mortality. This is He, who lives today, who sorrows with those who sorrow, who pains with those who suffer, who cries with those that weep, who stays with those who are alone. On this Christmas day, and every day hereafter, I declare with complete and joyful solemnity  that Jesus is the Christ. That He lives. That it is He whose name I bear, and his word which I declare. That He is my Savior, and the Savior of all mankind. That this wonderful and beautiful Redeemer knows our pains and trials and shortcomings, but more importantly: He loves us in spite of them. For those who have power to read my words or hear my voice, know that I know. I know that He lives, and that He, who is greater than all of us, loves us with a love that is infinite and complete. He knows and loves us perfectly, and that is the true miracle of Christmas. He lives! I leave this testimony in His name, Jesus Christ, amen.

 All my love this beautiful day,
Hermana Maren Jenne Bayles



Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013

I have one investigator who has been investigating for 9 years and just can’t seem to join the church. She says she has faith and wants to follow God, but she won’t act (even enough to come to church) until she sees an angel. I keep telling her, if you want to see an angel, you either have to demonstrate faith worthy of seeing an angel or make God mad enough to send an angel down to smite you, and she’s clearly not doing either one. hhaha. In all sincerity, it’s not her time, but she’s married to one of the counselors in the bishopric, so we’re semi-obligated to keep coming back. She jsut needs to read Ether 12. You receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. As brutal as it sounds, she’s currently failing the test-trial of faith, therefore, she won’t receive any witness. (vicious circle, I know). BUT I have faith that some day she’ll come around. I know it because I’ve seen it in her eyes. It’s amazing what you can see when you look hard enough. At times, the very light of Christ which we were born with is visible behind all those layers of doubt and disbelief. Some day. Some day she’ll embrace that light and come unto Christ. And when that day comes, we’ll be waiting. Perhaps not me or my companion, but the beauty of the gospel is that it doesn’t matter who bears it. All that matters is that SOMEONE bears it and SOMEONE receives it. Anyway, I hope you have a beautiful happy week and that you eat lots of vegetables (we may not be able to do proxy work for testimonies, but proxy work for vegetables is almost as good). haha.

I forgot that it’s a little cold there. Here it’s the hottest week of the year! We’re just about dying. Today the expression "sweating meatballs" came to mind. I don’t know if it’s one people actually use, but I think it’s just about right for what goes on with my body every moment of every day (and we all know I’m not a very sweaty person... pobre sitos that sweat a lot hhaha). This week is also the vacation week for all of latin america, meaning that there are soooooo many tourists here. I live on the beach. In a port city. This equals 500,000 drunks on the beach 24-7 for the next week. hahaha. Luckily for us, they tend to stay on the beach, so we just go about our business as usual and just stay inland. Sadly, almost no one is home (because they are also at the beach) and there are almost no buses this week to go to other neighborhoods to find people. Did I ever mention how big my area is? It encompasses the beach, the port, and allllll the area around a VERY large lake (with crocodiles). If we go from one end of our area to the other, it’s more than an hour in bus. And that’s just one direction. Whew.

I’m soooo stoked for General Conference!!!! Especially because there’s the elusive hope that I get to hear it in English. I had never really thought about what a blessing it is to speak the language the prophet speaks until I watched the Teguc temple dedication in Spanish and everything was translated. I had the privilege of hearing and understanding both the English and the Spanish, and even though the translator was very good, there are certain things that are lost in translation. The sad thing is, the people all around me knew it. My companion looked at me with such sadness and said, “you don’t know how lucky you are to hear the words of the prophets and apostles directly from their mouths.” It’s so true. How blessed I am to speak English. Really. How blessed.

I’ll bet they announce at least one new mission president (in my mission!!!!) seeing as he hasn’t been announced yet and he starts his work in June..... hahah. Bueno, I should correct my sentence: I don’t actually know if it’s my mission or not, but for the moment it’s my mission. I’m also betting there’s going to be a MOUNTAIN of temple announcements. Mark my words, Nicaragua is coming. Maybe not this conference, but it’s coming. It’s the only country in Central America without a temple. Also, with all the new missionaries, temple work is going to explode as the church inflates to the fullest. SO AWESOME!!!

I hope you have a groooooovy weeksi-doodle doo. Lovesies!

Funny that you should sometimes call me Herman. In the MTC all the hermanas called each other Herman A. (last name). I always liked that cause it reminded me of Herman Daggett Bayles. Therefore I will gladly take the title Herman. haha. In fact, Hermana Carpenter and I still call each other Herman (Herm for short).  hahahaha

Que Tal. haha. Macheteadas are a form of bubbly baleada tortillas that have slits in them and puff up when you deep fry them. They are delicious, but will definitely make you feel like the stay puffed marshmallow man afterwards. Oh man. I just had a vision of what I’m going to look like to the people of Honduras. Hugely tall, very white, and “puffy” to the max. hahha I am stay-puffed marshmallow Maren. Ugh. hahahaa Here’s the thing about Honduras. You try to eat healthy. You try to exercise. But at the end of the day, you just can’t stay ahead. Here’s why. It’s rude not to eat the things people offer you. So you eat them. No problem. But they give you so much rice when you go to their house for lunch. No big deal, just skip dinner (you’ll still be full anyway). But wait, every single house you go to is going to give you a little something. A package of cookies, crackers, baleadas, licuada, SOMETHING. Multiply that by how ever many visits you have in a  day and you’ve successfully consumed all of New York. Also, consider that even if you tell someone you’ve already had lunch or dinner, they’ll still give you lunch or dinner as  a sign of how much they like you. It hurts to be loved here. haha. Stay-puffed marshmallow Herman it is.

The package arrived. Thanks so much!!!!! I’ve been saving mostly everything for Easter, but the reeses peanut butter eggs fell out of the package and into my stomach. Don’t know how that happened......

I still ahven’t found pretty shoes yet, but my day will come.

I loved the quote from presidnet Hinckley. There’s another one by him that says [if you want to be happy... live the gospel of Jesus Christ.[ I love that becasue so often we say, [I have faith, I’m a good person, why am I not more happy_’ But at the end of the day, we haven’t LIVED the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s engaged. Holy Cow. Good for him. ;) Tell him congrats.

I’m not sure about Easter day, but here Easter is a whole week long, full of partying and [worship.[ hahah.

Elise sounds so cute. I met a cute little girl named Brittany )Breeeeeetaneeeeee) haha who always makes me think of Elise. You should definitely send me pics of Elise.

Pizza. Mmmm. We have a pizza hut here in El Centro (the center of Puerto Cortes). It’s funny cause here, pizza hut is a classy sit-down restaurant. It reminds me of applebees in the US, but for the people here, it’s like the top of the Eiffel tower or the palms or something. Good stuff. I hope you have a rockin week! Love a dove a doo!!

 Ok, to be brief:

A short list of things Rocky has destroyed with his face (Rocky being the overly large and excitable puppy-man-dog we have).

 one pair of short, one dress, 4 socks, one bra (my comp’s), 4 dog bowls, 2 buckets, three pails, one pot for plants, one wooden post, one cat, two toads, one screen door, 3 soccer balls that got kicked over the fence, 2 large water jugs.

 Aria, thanks so much for the post card. I got it this tuesday and it was AWESOME. Tahnks so much!"

Yesterday I met one of the counselors to the bishop. He’s completley inactive, so we went to meet him. Imagine a mormon Professor Snape with short hair and a Honduran accent and you’ve got him. He talks exactly like Snape!!!! So awesome.

Birds of paradise grow like weeds here. Makes me think of mumsie. The weird thing is that they’re so good at growing that they have 5 or 6 heads.... Doesn’t make me think of mumsie. She’s only got one head.

Yesterday I saw the tree that Rafiki sits in in the Lion King. It was awesome. It lives near Brother Professor Snape.

Cat on a hot tin roof is so much more than a cliché here.

For Heidi: you’ll be repulsed to know they don’t refrigerate their Mayo here. It’s a miracle I still have intestines. (for you others: every good lab scientist knows that Mayo is the swimming pool that bacteria love to pee in. Ew. Don’t know where that came from, but let me refrase. If you want food poisoning, eat something with Mayo in it that hasn’t been refrigerated for more than one hour.)

Food for thought, bc I have to go and don’t have time to elaborate:

What are you willing to fight like a dragon for? (Mosiah 20:11)

The Father introduces His Son like so: “This is my Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” How would He introduce you?

The future is as bright as your faith.

Somebody give my love to Ari! Tell her I hope everything’s great for her.


Love you all bundles and bundles and bundles!!! Send me pics ;)

Herman A Bayles.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 18, 2013

Thanks for the ST. Patrick’s Day wishes! To be honest, I forgot about it. It doesn’t exactly exist here, but there’s plenty of green to go around, so I think we’re good on that account. hahha. That’s so funny about the little girl. hahaha. And how great that she was able to be sealed to her family. Some days the song [families can be together forever] just plays through my head all day, because that’s the end goal of all of this. Yes, I’m here to help people come unto Christ. Yes, I’m here to help people realize the need to make covenants like baptism with their Heavenly Father. But in the end, I’m not here to preach, I’m not here to baptize; I’m here to get families to the temple. What a beautiful moment for that family, and what a great example of how all of life can be seen through happy and innocent eyes.  To be honest, I don’t really know much about St. Patrick, but I’m sure he’s a lovely person ;). haha. I’ll have to do some research when I get back.
I’ll have to ask about the alien tree. Maybe I’ll cut one of the fruits open to see what happens. I’ll let you know if an alien comes out. Or if it’s the fruit you’re thinking of. :)
Thanks for those quotes. I always love getting tidbits like that. :) The one by Elder McConkie reminds me of what Elder Holland talked about in the Tegucigalpa temple dedication this Sunday. He said: ALL things in our religion take their significance from the Atonement of Christ. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the culture or the details of the church that we overlook the entire foundation of it, and that is the Atonement. It’s always nice to remember the Atonement, and the fact that we’re never alone. :) Anyway, I hope you have a stellar week and that you laugh until you cry at least once (those are always the best). Love you lots!

Thanks for the thoughts et al. :) I always love hearing from y’all too. I forget about pday every single week, so I wake up, ready to rock and then I’m like, HEY, IT’S PDAY! haha. Yuperdoodles. Macizo.
That’s great that Sunday school is going so well. You can always tell if you’re a good teacher by how interested the class is by the subject. The fact that you have good participation means people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences with you. I’m glad everything’s going well with that. :) That’s cool that you got to hear from pres. Teshima. I love spiritual giants like that. My mission president is like that. We’ll be sitting on his couch and he’ll be like, ‘what do you see in that picture?’ and we’ll spend the next hour talking about all manner of spiritual things, all based on a picture of the saints crossing a river. How cool. :)
As far as mowing the lawn goes, just be glad you’re not Catracha. They ‘mow’ their lawns here with machetes. hahah. They just walk outside and start hacking away at the ground with a machete and when it’s short enough, they walk away with their machete over their shoulder (likely going to hack through the jungle or chop up a coconut). hahaha But That is a lot of grass if it filled up one trash can. holy cow.
The hermanas here almost all wear plastic? rubber? shoes. In fact, I’m wearing a pair of my companion’s right now. I was looking for a pair of my own, but they only had ugly ones and bright pink ones. I’ll look again tomorrow in Choloma. I still wear my leather shoes on non-rainy day (which are soon to be non-existent) because they’re more comfortable and give MUCH better support, but I’ll switch over in the rainy season, because goodness gracious there’s a lot of water here when it rains (which is frequently).
I liked your Delta joke. hahahahahaha.
I heard from Greg today. I’m glad that everything’s going well for him. I bet it’s weird for y’all having 2 chillins in different countries, but we’re blazin trails here. :) It’s all good.
Thanks for everything and for all your support. I hope you have a loverly weeeeek. :) Lovesies!

I successfully made pupusas and yesterday I forced a less active member to teach me how to make macheteadas. hahaha. Perhaps forced is too strong a word, cause she loved teaching me (she thinks it’s fun talking to me in Spanish because she just can’t wrap her mind around the fact that Spanish words are difficult for a Gringa to pronounce haha). Anyway, they’re pretty rockin. I’ll make them for you someday. I’ll also make you wicked awesome salsa. People here don’t value vegetables unless they’re fried, and even then they don’t like them. haha. If it’s not fried, sugar, or lard, it’s not food. At least that’s how it seems here. hahaha
Our runaway is completely fine. She’s kind of hilarious. She’s a little bit crazy because she has very severe diabetes that has gone untreated for years and years and years, and she lost more than just her big toe because of it (I’m implying that she’s not all there in case it’s not clear in the text). (Moral for you and Faja: take care of yourselves, cause once the diabetes takes out your toe, your vision, and your brain, life gets a little loopy). (Did I mention that she can’t really see because of the diabetes? Cause she can’t. Everything’s dark, and she can only see well enough to do daily tasks, but not much more). Anyway, as I was saying, she’s completely fine and, as always, determined to be baptized. Every time we see her, she’s like: I’m going to be baptized. And we’re like, Yup. And her daughter’s like, ‘name even ONE prophet’ and she smiles loopily at us, cause we all know that she can’t hardly remember anything. She’s a beautiful person and has such a kind heart. Though it’s obviously hard for she and her family, it’s a blessing that she has the difficulties that she has now; sometimes when we can’t be baptized at 8, the Lord takes us back to 8 to be baptized so that after the baptism, we can remain pure and clean until our time is done. How beautiful for her.
Very good stuff to think about right thurrr. :)

Greg’s translation stuff sounds wicked awesome and way over my head (meaning that things are completely normal in the Greg department. :) ) Tell Gail I say Hi! I think she’s so great. There’s a cute little lady in my ward here that reminds me so much of Gail. Every time I see her it’s like a little piece of home. She comes to English class every Tuesday and Thursday, so I get to see her a lot. :) If Gail had a Latina doppleganger, it would be this marvelous woman. :)

Awwww. I’m glad my palm is a-growin. You know how I feel about plantypoos. ;) Yes it’s hot and humid here, but we have a fan, so most nights things are manageable. :) We’re just becoming accustomed to constantly sweating. It’s not so bad when there’s no other option. :)
Thanks for the letter and the love; I hope you have a groovy week! Love you! :)

Andrew and Kristen,I forgot to wish you a happy anniversary last week. Happy anniversary!

Did y’all get to see the cultural event for Honduras? It was on BYU TV. Dunno, but it was AWESOME. We got to see a broadcast of the temple dedication which was also AWESOME!!! president Uchtdorf and Holland were the presiding authorities and it was SPECTACULAR. A few quotes from the dedication:
No sacrifice is too great when it comes to receiving the blessings of the temple; there exists no greater goal than to always be worthy of a temple recommend. (don’t remember who said it)
Let us be known as a people who love God with all our heart and who love our fellow man (president Uchtdorf)
Sacrifice is more than an action, it’s an attitude (don’t remember).

Anyway, I hope you all have a happy week and that all is well. That’s all the time I have for now. I’ll be sending one picture in a separate email. Love you all! Adios!

Hna. Bayles

p.s. The cigarette cartons here have a horrific picture of a creepy man with a hole in his neck as a warning not to smoke. Funny, eh? The sad is that people still buy them like crazy.
p.p.s. Tattoos hardly exist here. The only people who have tattoos are the really “bad” ones or the ones who have spent a lot of time in the us. Cool, huh?
p.p.p.s. Hey, will somebody tell Jordan to drop me a line? I had a dream that he’s engaged. hahaha.

Peace and Blessings, all!

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

I'm glad Spring has sprung there. It sprung here about 3,000 years ago and it's been going strong ever since. I take that back: I live in eternal summer. jaja.

I'm definitely eating. The Hondurans take good care of that. The only problem is that EVERYTHING is fried and they have two food groups: carbs and protein. Yes, it's delicious, but I miss baked, non-fatty foods. Also, I'm dying for some veggies and some more fruit. haha
I haven't had to put the snow chains on my tires (aka my shoes) here , so we're good to go on that. hahahaha. The kids all sound like they're doing great and growing fast. Wow. It's weird to think how much everyone will have changed by the time I get back. Wowsers. That's great, though. I love when I see people and they tell me I've changed since they saw me last; I always think, "Isn't that the point?" Haha. God is a God of order, but He encourages (and even asks for) change. That's one thing that's been slightly frustrating about Latin America. Everyone does the same things as their great great great grandparent and everyone else, and when you ask them why they do it that way, they say that it's just the custom. They don't know why they do it that way, and they don't think about how they could do it better, they just keep doing it. In one sense, it's great taht life can be that simple. But for an American Dreamer like me, I'm always trying to think of new ways of doing things (and I tend to be pretty good at it too). Honduras stifles my creativity in this sense. hahahaa. I have to do things according to custom, even if I see a very different path. haha. Anyway, taht was a tangent. Thanks for the quote. I absolutley love Mosiah.

Pasen adelante. :)
Macizo is a Catrachan (what the Hondurans refer to themselves as) word for cool or great. It's like a double s, unless you're from Spain, in which case it's a double "th," a fact which I pointed out to my companion. The English class is going great. I love teaching these loverly poeple, and they seem to like me as a teacher. We've been having 10-ish in class,a nd we think more will come. Hondurans don't commit to something until they're sure it's on the up and up, which means that they should start coming around. ahah
You'll have to remind me of USA manners when I return, because I'm going all-out here. hhahaha. As far as not having slobbery dogs, Rocky has this nasty white booger slime that he likes to get ALL over me. He likes to try to bite my hands and shoes (playfully) and also jump up on me, which means I'm usually covered with indescribable goobers. Also, I'm pretty sure he weighs more than me, so he's just a danger zone altogether. And he's only 6 months old. hahaha. He's a muscular dog, but he's also got chub on him, so he kind of waddles when he walks. (Like dad's dog kissy whose whole booty moved when he wagged his tail; Rocky does that when he walks, perhaps because he doens't have a tail).

LINDSAY WILLIAMS GOT A CALL TO JAPAN!!!!!!!!! Yeahhhhh!!!!!! That's so great. Tell her I'm proud of her, and that it'll be the hardest thing she ever does, but that she'll love it and the Lord will always protect her if she's doing His will obediently.
As far as people relating to me... I'm a white kid. haha. They're very polite here as far as conversation goes, but they assume that I don't understand them. Once they get to know me, they love me, it's just the first bit that's tricky. Lovey-dovey-doos!

Welps, I gotta go, but I hope you're all so good, and that you're soo happy. Final thought before I go. Sometimes we're more than willing to invite friends, family, and even strangers into our homes, but we're not willing to invite the Holy Spirit. If them, why not Him? Someone told me a story about a meeting in which, as a demonstration, the teacher opened the door to the classroom and "invited" the spirit to enter by telling Him to "pasen adelante" (like, come in). They said that the lesson was so powerful and that the spirit was present. I'm not suggesting that you do goobery things like physically invite the spirit in (unless you're prompted to do so by the spirit), but it was jsut kind of a nice reminder of how easy it is to invite the spirit; it's like opening a door for a guest. I hope that you all have glittery sparkly happy weeks and that you get a little dirt under your fingernails (those days are somehow always the best).

Ahem. HELLOOOOOOO FAMILY! Or should I say Hola. :)
Guess what? This keyboard is in English, so you can expect mostly normal spelling today! Hooray! Ummm. I just sent un monton de fotos. There are more, but you'll just have to wait a year and a half to see those, cause I don't have more time to send fotos and they're not that exciting anyway. haha Except that I'm going to include one of Kathy Zabala and her cousin who loves having her picture taken.
Ok, before I respond, things I have to tell y'all:
*Funny story: Last week, when we were all at the fortress, I asked Elder Cervantes of Mexico (companions with Elder Rodriguez... they're the only elders in our district jajaja) to take a picture of ME right after he had taken a picture of someone else. The only problem is that I said, "Elder, puede tocar uno de mi?" (Not, "Elder, puede TOMAR uno de mi?") For those of you non-speakers out there, I asked the Elder if he could "touch one of me," not if he could "take one of me." He was naturally very confused, very flaburgasted, and slightly lacking in the ability to breath as a result of the guffaws of laughter he was trying so dearly to stifle. He was not successful. (And nor was I when I realized my error. Ooops. jaja)
*Por Favor: ask Ari and Tyler if they've gotten my letters yet. Also, tell Ari happy 3 years as a member!!!!! I know it was in February, but I don't think she ever got my letter, so I'm sending this late. :) I'm so glad you took that beautiful step into this beautiful church.
*Also for Ari: I met the Honduran boy version of you. When he found out that I'm from the US, he proceeded to tell me he's a music fanatic and that he loves to watch MTV all day. He then told me some of his favorite bands: Good Charlotte, My Chemical Romance, Guns N Roses, and (prepare yourself) NIRVANA. He then proceeded to tell me that none of them even came close to his favorite singer, MADONNA. He then talked about how awesome Madonna is for about 3 minutes until I cut him off. Haha. If you ever meet him, you're going to be good friends. His name is Cristian and he's in my ward.
*I now know how to make tortillas, baleadas (the typical Honduran food: tortilla with beans and cream and sometimes other stuff), tajadas (fried bananas or plantains. Also a typical Honduran food), and by next week I will also know how to make Pupusas (typical El Salvadorean food).
*I found a plantain tree in my yard last night. That adds up to one enormous mango tree, 4 papaya trees, 1 mystery fruit tree, 1 alien-growing tree (nobody knows what the fruits are except that they're good for "medicine." My theory: they're growing aliens. If you saw them, you'd be in agreeance), and 1 plantain tree. Translation: awesome.
*Did I ever mention that the sun always goes down at 6:30 here? Because it does. Year round. It was weird at first, but now it's just normal.
*Funny/horrific story:
Our golden investigators have hit the road bump we were waiting for. Marina (the mother) ran away from home last week because of an argument over 5 lempiras (which equates to 25 cents). She went to live with her other daughter, who lives by the creepy toothy dolphin statue down the street. May I note that this woman is over 50 years old. And she ran away. I absolutley adore her. She's so crazy and funny, but underneath it all, she's very sweet and quiet. She has diabetes and lost her big toe over it, so the whole "running away" bit must have been tricky, but Sunday came and there she sat in the pew, waiting for us to arrive. Jajaja. Every time we see her, she says, "I'm going to be baptized." She's great.
Sadly, this episode caused some tension (obviously) between her and her daughter, to the extent that when Yilian arrived at church, she couldn't stand to sit in the same room as her mother and left (crying). We think the crying may have also had to do with the fact that she's pregnant, but one never mentions these kinds of things around an upset pregnant woman. This is going to be a fun week. haha. But no worries. They know the truth, they believe the truth, they just need to fix a few family problems in the mean time. They're still going to be baptized, and they're going to patch things up no problem. They're just being stubborn in the moment.
*It's bad luck to ask someone how many months pregnant they are. Don't ever do it in Honduras. They'll be very angry and lose confidence in you. (My companion made this mistake... apparently it's not rude in El Salvador).
All my love,
Hna. Bayles

pasen adelante

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013

Hola hola hola todo!
My responses to yáll with be a bit brief, bc I want to finally tell you about my investigators. haha. Maybe I´ll talk about them first so I can be sure to get it in.
Familia Sandres: We had had a really bad day on Wednesday and were stopping by our house really quick in the tarde-noche to switch out stuff in our mochilas (which are so hugeand heavy hahah). We had just lost practically all of our investigators all at once. We even had one woman tell us with not-very-nice insinuations never to return. We had also found several people with very tragic stories and we were feeling a bit of the weight of the world. Anyway, we knelt to pray before we left and asked to find the people we needed to teach and the people who would be prepared to hear the word. We´ve already fasted for this twice, so we were really praying hard. Anyway, we got up, walked out the front door (getting mauled with slobber and nose marks from the woof woofs) and started to cross the street. We were about to enter an avenue when we looked up and saw a man sitting on his front steps with his head lowered and his hands clasped in front of him like he was praying. Even though he´s our neighbor, we´ve never seen him before, so it was strange. My comp made a beeline and said BUENAS! (did I tell you, youdont knock doors, you BUENAS doors... you stand at the gate and shout as loud as you can BUENAS!) He lifted his head up, looked at us and said pasen, meaning come in-come here. We stepped inside the gate and he disappeared. We were naturally nervous, but he returned only a moment later; he had gone to put on a shirt. We sat on his steps and talked to him, and a few minutes later, he called out his wife and she came and listened, and a few minutes later she called out her mother, who came and listened. We taught the plan of salvation, and everything we said was met with "claro" (of course!) or "tiene razon" (you have reason). They believed everything we were teaching, and when we discussed the Lord´s earthly ministry (as part of explaining the atonement), we explained the need to be baptized by someone with the proper authority and they stopped us midsentence to say that they didn´t think they´d been baptized witht he proper authority because they hadn´t felt anything at their baptisms and the men who baptized them were just men, not men with the authority to baptize. Naturally we liked this, cause we happen to know a plethura of men who have the authority. The mother then stated that she had never been baptized (with the exception of infant baptism, which she clearly didn´t count) because she was waiting to find the right churhc with the right authority. Checkaroo. We talked about this and invited them to be baptized once they found the truth of our message for themselves.  We then continued talking and they interrupted us again to say "You know, we´ve been thinking of getting married (they´re just "together")... I think we´ll definitley do it now". Checkaroo. We continued and they interrupted us again to ask us what time our church was, becasue they were coming. Haha. Essentiallyy they invited themselved to attend churhc, get married, and be baptized. Macizo. That´s golden right there. At the end of our lesson, they told us that they believed everything we said and that there was something different about us, that they had talked to bastante other religious missionaries before, but they had never felt the way they felt with us.
We came back with priesthood holders to give them a blessing (the mom had just had a toe amputated and the husband had a problem with his shoulder, and the wife was pregnant for the first time). By the next day the husband was practically completely better and the mom was up around and walking. They told us they were being healed because of their faith. We agreed.
We went back the next night to take them to English class (did I tell you, I´m teaching an English class). They came, met members, and loved it. Friday we went back to teach them the Restoration and they interrupted us to say, "It doesn´t make sense to us that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are one person... we think they´re three people." We told them we agreed wholeheartedly. They then told us that, of course Joseph Smith was  a prophet and of course we don´t worship him. Check. They then asked us if we had a Book of Mormon and if they could read it (they had heard about it from someone).  We said of course and handed over two with the assignement to read the introduction. We saw them on Saturday and they asked us if they could please read more. We said of course. haha. Yesterday the mom and daughter went to church for the first time, and when we asked them how they liked it, they said they loved it. Then the mom (she has maybe 50 or 60 years) looked at us and said, "I´m going to be baptized in your church, ok?" Ummm ok. (!!!!!) "It´s my first baptism! I´ve never wanted to be baptized, but I know this is right."
God absolutley prepared them and put them in our path. The husband, who we saw on the porch that first night, had been asleep for the entire day and had only come outside not even five minutes before, just becaseu he felt like he should go sit on the front porch. Just think, there are people just waiting to hear the gospel, and God has prepared them to hear and to believe. The amazing thing is sometimes they´re right in front of us (in this case, literally).

Idon´t have time for Familia Rauda, but let me leave a brief one about the husband. He asks so many questions and genenrally believes the exact same things as us. However, he always wants proof of what we say, especially from the bible. Someday he´s going to be  a general authority, just you wait. Anyway, as a testimony of how great he is going to be in the church: we were teaching and we were coming to a high point in the lesson. The spirit was so strong and he was beginning a serious and question that had great spiritual significanc. Suddenly the chickens all started squaking, the rooster s all started crowing, the cat strted yowling, the wind picked up, someone started pounding a nail peg into a cement house, his neighbor started chopping down a palm tree, the dog barked, and his wife started yelling to him from the house as his daughter started crying in the street. As very real as the Holy Spirit is, the adversary is just as real and active, and sometimes he tells us how great a work we´re doing by how hard he opposes us. Be careful when you embark on a road to spirituality or to bettering yourself, becasuefor every good action, he will try to tear you down to the ground. Don´t you dare let it happen. Don´t you dare. When you feel opposition for something good that you´re doing, count it as a testimony of how great you can become.

Now. Funny things about Honduras. If you try to have manners, they will mock and scorn you. They will look at you trying to cut your meat with a knife and say, "pick it up and eat it like a catracha!" If you´re hands aren´t messy by the end of the meal, you did it wrong. If you didn´t eat at least a little bit of bone and cartilage from gnawingon the bone so much, you did it wrong. That´s not to say that we eat  a plethura of meat, but when we do, we do it right. Also, this week I ate my  first full fish. It had teeth and spines, and it´s eyeballs looked at me while I tried to get the head meat. It was delicious.

Now very breifly because I took way too long. (sorry).
Popadoodle, I´m gladeverything is going well with you and that  yougot to go t the temple. Sounds bien macizo. We definitely don´t fertilize in Honduras, unless you count all the poo in the dirt roads. Good for da Bodda.Hope the birthday party goes smashingly well. no chnges in the mission til June.Ill pet the doggies for you. They like to jump on me and slime me every time they see me, so I don´t think that´ll be too hard. haha. I have nose marks on all of my faldas. haha. Lov eyou lots!

Sounds like things are fun but busy. Did you know that a lot of the temple presidents here are from the US? Theyré called almost like missionaries to serve as templepresident in Latin America. Apparently it´s pretty common. I didni´t know taht.  I´m excited for Nigil and for Evan´s baptism. He just took one of the greatest steps of his life (  that applies to both of them, but it was intended for Evan haha). Power going out, that doesn´t sound fun. Thanks for the quotes. D and C 88 is perhaps my favortie section of modern revelation. Love it. So much. Anyway, I hope you´re doing well. Love you Lots!

Samoans are rather large, I´ll admit. haha Great thoughts youvé got there from the temple. It´s such an important and beautfful place. I´m glad the class is going well and I like that quote from sister Hinckley. She´s a very wise woman. As far as the Whitings go, I think you know where I stand with them. Celestial kingdom on earth, right there. They´re are indeed two very fine people. I hope they realize I´m counting on them as family in the eternities. haha Soudslike a lot fo things were broken, but sounds like life is staying fun. I´m glad your trees are alive and well, good metaphor. I´ve gotta go now, but remind me to send pics of the castle-fortress I visited today. Apparently Honduras has been around for  awhile... it´s almost like it was semi-conquered by Spain or something. Weird. haha Anyway. Love you!!

Lovesies hugsies and all of that! Staystrong!
Hna. Bay