Friday, September 20, 2013

Sept 16, 2013 - The Week of Wishes Come True

God works miracles. Here are some I saw this week:


>Concepcion and Josué finally got baptized! She was insistent that they were going to be baptized the 6 of October, but this last Sunday, we went to her house and she said she couldn´t be baptized the 6. She asked when she could be baptized, and I almost jokingly said, ¨This Saturday if you want.¨ Then she said nodded her head and said, ¨Así sera.¨ I just about cried.

After months and months of her telling us there´s no possible way prophets exist in these days, that there´s no possible way the priesthood exists in these days, that there´s no possible way the church was restored through a modern-day prophet, we reviewed the baptismal interview questions, and when we asked her about Joseph Smith and the Restoration (if she believed that the church had been restored through him and that we have a modern-day prophet), she responded ïn an old-lady growl ¨seguro que si!¨ You´ve no idea how happy I was.  J She is so beautiful. Mi abuelita de la misión.


>This week I finally got up the umph to try out Sopa de Mondongo, which is cow stomach soup. It´s actually pretty good. One side of the cow stomach is all smooth and muscular and the other side is like a honeycomb of flesh and muscle. It was really fascinating to look at, and it tasted pretty good too. I was telling someone about it afterwards and they asked me, ¨oh, sopa de tripe?¨ It was only in that moment that I realized I had just eaten tripe of the cow variety. I know we always joke about people who eat tripe, but don´t hate it ´til you´ve ate it. Hahaha It´s funny. Some of you might remember my first-ish week when I ate chicken feet and was absolutely repulsed… now I see people boiling chicken feet and I almost want to try them again. I hear people talking about cow tongue and I get all excited. I hear about snail soup and I get all curious to try it. I think Honduras might be messing with my tastes in food……. Hahahaha


>Happiness is that moment when your recent convert shows up to church in a white shirt and tie and sits himself at the Sacrament table. Happiness is watching him worthily and respectfully parting and blessing the sacrament, then hearing him bear testimony twice of how happy and grateful he is for the gospel. Happiness is when he accompanies you to an appointment to teach another man of roughly the same age and spends the entire lesson testifying of the miracles and tender mercies that led him to be baptized. Happiness is when he tells you of his plans to marry his recently-active-again girlfriend in the temple in one year.  Happiness is when God takes over and we get to sit back and see the hand of God.


>We challenged Alan to be baptized. Alan, who didn´t believe a single thing we said. Alan, who had innumerable doubts. Alan, who rejected all we said. …He looked at us for half a second, then said, ¨Porque no?¨ He will be baptized the 28 of September, and receive the Holy Ghost and the Priesthood the 29. He has already told the whole ward and all of his friends. He is so excited.


>If you want to talk about faithfulness to the Lord, let´s just talk for a moment about Ana. Ana is approximately 1,576,248 years old. She can´t hear a thing, and she is always chomping gum with her slightly-too-wobbly-to-be-healthy jaw. She comes to church every Thursday, just to watch the kids play soccer and watch the Relief Society have their activity (which usually involves verbal cooking instructions for new and exciting recipes). She comes to church every Saturday, just to sit and watch the people come and go as they enter for Institute classes. She comes to church every Sunday just to sit in a Holy place for three hours. She doesn´t hear a single word during all three hours of church. She doesn´t come for the words; she comes for the spirit and she comes to obey the Lord´s commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy. She shuffles to the hard metal chair in a room that is too hot and lowers herself painfully into a sitting position. She then sits, chewing her gum as she waits for the first hymn. I pass by to say hello, and she screams, ¨Mi muchachita! Cómo está? Cuando puedo invitarle a comer pollo?!!!¨ I give her a hug and a kiss and say, ¨Cómo está mi abuelita?¨ She pats my hand and smiles. She doesn´t hear a thing I say to her, but still she smiles as if she knows exactly what I mean. We all sit for Sacrament meeting and we begin singing the first hymn. She shoves her hymnbook in my hands and says, ¨Busquemelo¨ as she fumbles with her glasses. Then, with my finger tracing the words we´re singing, she begins croaking out a warbly testimony of song. Sometimes she gets impatient, waiting for the rest of the congregation to sing the words she´s already read, so she skips ahead of where my finger is indicating and sings as she pleases in her little croak of a voice. The whole congregation can hear her singing as they pause to begin a new line or verse. Some children giggle, some adults shift their eyes, but she just keeps on singing. The song ends and we pray. Later they pass the sacrament tray and she stops chomping her gum long enough to take the bread and water.

Faith is not going to church for the members or the songs or the talks or the benches. Faith is loving God so fully and completely that you would hobble your way to His house of worship, just to be able to feel of His Spirit and partake of His sacraments as you chomp your gum and make faces at the missionaries in your happy little world of silence. Who says the pioneers are dead and gone? Who says sacrifice ended with crossing the plains? Who says faith can only be counted if we´re pulling a handcart. May we all grow up to be a little more like mi Abuelita Ana.


These people are changing my life right before my eyes. I wish you could meet them and see the change they´d work in you. These people are family.

I love yáll oodly doodlies,

Hna Bayles
I sent a different letter separately, but just to respond to yáll and give you some heads-ups:
I have changed my pday back to Monday. It´s a long story, but from here on out, Monday is the day. You can still write me on Friday if you want, but I won´t be reading until Monday.
I´m loving being the nurse. It´s just enough of a dramatic change of pace every day that it´s keeping me moving like crazy and I like it a lot. Thanks in advance for the package. As far as Copan goes, I will probably not ever be able to go. Assuming I´m nurse for the rest-ish of my mission, I will probably not leave SPS for the next 9 months. That´s a bit of a bummer, but that whole ¨I´ll go where you want me to go¨ thing applies in-country too. haha. I´m sad to hear about G and G. I wish I could help them out, but God wants me here more than He wants me there right now. Take care of them. They promised me they´d be in my wedding, and we´ve still got a ways to go before THAT happens. hahahaha.
You can send things directly to me. They've changed the mission rules in the whole world if I´m not mistaken so now anyone can write me and I can write anyone. That doesn´t necessarily mean I´ll have time to respond to all those letters from the whole world, but I will always respond to your letters. :) You´re top 3 in the response list. Actually it´s about a tie for number one. I loved the quote and I loved the clothes story. hahahahaha. It´s funny how sometimes we say things without realizing how it sounds from the outside. hahaha. Whenever I wear pants, the whole world is suddenly very surprised that I have legs above the knee. Surprising, I know.
We´ve definitely had some wet weather these days. haha. But it´s not sooooo bad. We were completely soaked the other day because we gave our umbrellas to some hermanas and we were walking up the river, errrr street, in water almost up to our knees. haha And you thought Vegas flooding was bad. We went to Marina´s house and she just looked at us all confusedly as we dripped on her front step and wrung the water out of our skirts. hahahaha.  
Well, I love yáll lots and lots. Take care and do something crazy for me.
Hna Bayles

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Nine months, hUMp day!

Hola familia!

Yáll didn´t write me. However, I´ll overlook that detail and write y´all anyway. Ummm. I hit nine months in the mission this week, so (according to SPS mission tradition) I took the nine month hump day picture. Hope you love it. hahahahahaha.

Other than that, this week has been utterly and entirely uneventful. Oh wait. Not entirely uneventful. We found 3 athiests this week. Up until now, I´ve only heard of 1 athiest from any missionary in all of Honduras. And I found three in one week. I think it´s a talent or a skill or something. Also, I found a man who thinks the Savior is an alien. That was... fun. We also got railed on by a man in a gas station. Honestly I don´t know what to write yáll right nwo. haha. Ummm yup. 

Visiting Teaching. That´s awesome! It´s like missionary work, but for normal people. :) I´d say if I could put in my two bits for visiting teaching, I´d show the visiting teachers clips from the district and then help them to realize that it´s their duty as members to serve as in-ward-missionaries by doing their visiting teaching. As a full time missionary, I´m still doing visiting teaching... I´m visiting the less-actives in my ward because their home and visiting teachers refuse to visit them. Thus, we have to spend the Lord´s sacred and consecrated time to bring back the lost sheep that could have been guarded in the flock if only their neighboring shepherds hadn´t let them stray. If people really do a good job of visiting teaching, they´ll have better friendships, feel the spirit more, and be guided in the work of the Lord. For VT to be a joy, it just has to be done and the Lord will make it a joy. That´s what´s up. hhaha. Clearly I´m still pretty passionate about visiting teaching. 

Hey, tell Grandma and Grandpa I love them and I hope they´re doing good. 


Also, tell Marylin Allen and Gail and Sandra that I love them and thanks for everything.


Holler at Brother Rechsteiner for me. Let me know how he´s doing. :)


Other than that, I´ve got nothing. If I think of anything else before we leave the office, I´ll let you know, but for now, that´s all folks!


Love you all oodles!

Hna BAyles

p.s. IT´S A BLANKET... the mission doesn´t feed us THAT much hahahahaha. 

August 23, 2013 - Nurse!

Hola a todos ustedes!

Cheke pues. Ésta semana ha sido una semana de bastantes cambios. 

There are two bits of news you´ll probably want to be privy to. To tell you the truth, I knew about both of these last week, I just couldn´t announce them because they hadn´t happened yet, but my mission president wanted to make sure I was ok with it before he heaped my plate with too much stuff. 

1. I am officially the nurse of the SPS Honduras West mission. Cheers. That means I help anyone who has any ailment in the mission. I take a lot of phone calls, prescribe a lot of medicine and treatments, and go to quite a few doctors´ visits. I´ve only been nurse 4 days now, but my phone has been ringing off the hook.(Eileen will be interested to hear that our connection here in the mission has been one of my primary callers... there were broken bones involved.) Sadly, as nurse I lose a little bit of prosyliting time and have to carry a cell phone, but I can take care of most of the nursing business in non-pros hours and I´m really careful about keeping the cell phone hidden, so it shouldn´t be that much more dangerous. 

2. I´m training. I was technically supposed to train back in the days of Pres. Veirs, but several things happened in the lives of other people that prevented that possibility, and then I was being trained to be nurse, so here we are. haha. President asked me if I could train as nurse and I told him yes, but it would be better if she was a Latina because we lose a lot of language study time to nursing. Anyway, I´m training Hermana Cardona from Guatemala, who has officially been a missionary for 2 and a half weeks. Jajaja. It´s so different. I forgot that not everyone knows everything there is to know about missionary work. For example, not everyone can just go teach any lesson off the cuff without extensive preparation. I forgot what a blessing it is to have all the lessons down pat. 

Anyway, those are the two biggest changes in my life. Other than that, today Rolando is getting baptized! And next Saturday, Ricardo is getting baptized! (finally). He´s technically a baptism for the elders since we had to turn him over to them a week or two ago because he fell in like with my companion, but seeing as we´re the ones who found, taught, and converted him, I´m counting it as sister power. But really I´m just so happy for him. He´s known the truth for so long, he´s just been putting it off and putting it off, but his time has finally come. :)


Everyone expects me to tell them that a baptism or a confirmation is my favorite mission moment, but for me, the most special moments are when everything is quiet and still and you just look at your investigators (or menos activos) and for a split second, the eternities flash before your eyes and you see them as God sees them, with all the love and tenderness of Father of all. My favorite moment is Marina looking at me and smiling, Yahir peeking through his eyelashes in the middle of the prayer, Norma and Jeysi laughing on the banks of the river behind their house, Ricardo biting his tongue to hold back a laugh as he smiles behind my companion´s back, Ramón doubling over in silent laughter, Concepcion looking at her grandson with an eternity of love in her eyes, Maria hugging us then hanging on as she looks into our faces, Rolando looking into the baptismal font as he suddenly comes to realize the importance of what we preach, Edil looking up from the scriptures open-mouthed after receiving the answer he´s been searching for for years, Edy stretching back quietly in the hammock as he feels the overwhelming power of the spirit for the first time, crazy-old-abuelita Ana taking my hand and leading me down the hallway of the church as she tells me in what her deaf ears thinks is a whisper how special I am to her, the look on my companion´s face when we´ve just walked away from an extremely powerful lesson. The mission is a mixture of a thousand moments that mean nothing to los demás, but will forever be burned into my memory. I´m convinced that the mission is not here to show non-members the truth; rather, the mission is my chance to see and love people as God loves them. I can´t imagine ever leaving these people, and then I get changed into a different area and all I can take is that moment in my memory. I don´t even know these people and they´re already my family. I love these people. So. Much. 


Hey all of you. I love you. I hope you all know I´m not writing those words like a high school bubble-gum-chomper writes them. I´m writing those words like that person who catches you off guard, looks you full in the face and tells you how it is. I really love you all. Really really. If you know nothing else about me or about my mission or about my life, know this:that I love you and I love the Lord, and that kind of love lasts for more than forever. Take care of yourselves and I´ll see y´all on the flip side.


Hna Pilas (así me llamen, jaja).