Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Watch out for Llorona!

The time has come in my mission where I finally slept in my clothes with my plaque still on, the days are really tiring us out. Last week we had divisions three times and we also had over 60 lessons, including 30 with a member. We found 41 new investigators because our mission is preparing to baptize 400 in March! The work is getting harder and harder.

One of the challenges that I am facing is that I now have the responsibility to teach an investigator and prepare her to be baptized in just a week. My companion can´t teach her (I will explain later or you can ask my parents) and I have been told that I need to find members and teach her alone, without my companions. With four divisions this week, I am pretty nervous about teaching her everything alone but I know this is what I need to do. We only taught her 2 lessons before and she has attended church a few times, it feels like I´m preparing one of my own best friends to be baptized.

Besides the challenges, this week has been very, very funny. I was helping a member make tortillas and another woman came over and said, "That was your tortilla, wasn´t it?" I guess it wasn´t as round as the others...and I guess I will have trouble finding a husband because she told me that because of my tortilla talents (or, lack of) it´s going to be hard for me to marry well! ha ha. It´s funny how important cooking skills are here, I have a lot to learn! Also, we often return at night through a dirt road surrounded by dark fields (don´t worry, we are accompanied by members) but my companions have had trouble sleeping all week since a woman was heard crying outside our house, they are now convinced that the llorona is coming to get them...it´s been a fun week. And the last funny thing I can think of is that I was practicing English with them and I pointed to scissors and I asked what is was. When I said told them that they were called scissors, my companion immediately said, "Oh! Like ¨Little Caesars" and now she always says "Little Caesars" and bursts up laughing haha. I love living here and I am excited but also a little sad for changes coming up. I will inform you guys next week of the changes! ADIOS, LES AMO!

(I looked up llorona. She is part of a very common belief/legend among Hispanic and Latin American peoples  of a woman whose soul is condemned to roam the earth for eternity - crying for her children. . . )

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Funny circumstances

This week has been filled with funny incidences. The first started at about 8:30 at night when three police cars passed by us with their sirens. In the first police car, a head poked out the window of the back seat and yelled "ADIOS HERMANAAAAS!" laughing hysterically...the next day, one of our investigators asked, "Did you guys see me yesterday? The police had to take me and my friends home...and I saw you guys walking! I yelled and the policemen asked who you guys were and I just told them, `oh they are my other friends, but they weren`t with us tonight`." It started the week with many funny incidents in the wrong place at the wrong time...The second incident was when a recent convert fell back into a drinking problem and he gave us alcohol to dispose of. I put it in my backpack to throw away in the trash cans outside of his house...but before we could throw it away, another investigator saw it in my backpack. Of course she knew that it wasn`t ours, but it was pretty funny. The third incident was on Sunday when we passed through a field and a baby puppy started crying when it saw us...there was nobody living around there and no way to find his mother and my companion picked it up...which made it think that she was his owner. We tried to just leave it ... then we looked for the owner of the mother but we had no success. He followed us all the way to the chapel...and even into the chapel. With 20 minutes to spare before church, we then had to take a tuctuc to pick up investigators and ask them if anybody wanted a new puppy. He found a new home and is now happy and safe.

Besides all the funny things that have passed this week, it was also a week of miracles. I went and worked with two sisters in Solola (including Hermana E!!!) and also two sisters in San Martin. I am loving the divisions and learning all the different areas of the mission. One of the best things that happened was hearing from G and A. My "daughter" Hermana G is still in S P and is training! She came to my area and we were able to work here and I was able to hear everything that has been happening in my old area. G and A are primary teachers and are loving their calling. A didn`t come to a branch activity and when the sisters passed by later, they asked him why he missed the activity, he responded, `Ah, I know. I was making all these crafts for my Sunday class and I lost track of time because I kept wanting to do more and more." It really is amazing how the gospel changes people. From having a difficult, unmarried relationship with the two of them, to having a strong family with church callings, it`s amazing to see the changes that come. My mission is continuing to change my life every single day, I`ve been thinking about home a little more than usual, but not in a "baggy" homesick way. I`m thinking about it more because I now have a better idea of who I want to be and who I want to become. I am so grateful for all the lessons my mission is teaching me, I would never become the person that I hope to be without this last year. I love this gospel and I love every day here in Guatemala. And I love all of you! Until next week, Hermana Hansen
Beautiful girl in her 'corte'

Solola in the morning

Monday, February 10, 2014

Missing chickens - - -

The member that makes us lunch has a cage with 6 chickens, I´ve become pretty fond of them because they remind me of the chickens grandma has and I always like to feed them out of my hand. But when I finished writing to you guys last week, we went to her house and there were only three chickens...and we had chicken for lunch. She then explained to my companions the two best ways to kill chickens and the best way to kill cows. After the recommended process, they basically just take out the feathers and boil the whole chicken and so this last week, I had the privilege of eating both cow and chicken stomach. It´s pretty weird that I used to be a picky eater before the mission...

I am really loving my mission and being a Sister Training Leader. We will probably be having 3 divisions this week and we often wake up at 4 in the morning. I am not quite sure where we get the energy, but I do know where we get the source of happiness! I´ve been learning a lot about perspective these last couple weeks, and it really is just the optimism we need to have. As a missionary, we will have the same circumstances and companions and houses and investigators for a year and a half. But the mission depends on our view of it, we can decide the level of happiness that we can achieve. The work is a little hard right now but it just makes me more grateful because it is helping me learn to depend more on the Lord through it all.

Every day, we contact people in the street. On average, I usually talk to about 25 or 30 different people and about 10 families. My agenda is so full of names and addresses, that it´s a little hard to be able to talk with everyone that accepts. But there are often times, when a contact really impacts me and we keep passing for them. It happened this last week, it was just a normal contact of a husband and wife but I couldn´t get them out of my mind until we passed back for them. Her mother had died and their was a mourning type of depression that had come over her life. In a humbled, block house, we were able to teach this family of the plan of salvation and the opportunity given to everybody to have hope in this life and peace in the next. My weekly letters can´t begin to express all the little moments that pass and I´m trying to remember them all and write them down, because I´m starting to realize that I won´t be a called, set apart missionary in Guatemala forever. But it doesn´t mean I won´t stop sharing this message, I know I am where I am supposed to be and I love all of you. My home is here in Guatemala and my family is split through many different countries now. I love this work and I love my opportunity to be a missionary of Christ.  (I had to leave Saras original wording here as it shows how Spanish has become her language!) note the word passing. :)
Baptism of D and M (aunt and her nephew)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A time of reflection - Happiness

HELLO EVERYONE!!!! I am loving every second of my mission, entering the month of February and one year, it`s been a time of a lot of reflectioning. (I had to keep that word in here to show that Sara thinks in Spanish now) One of the greatest lessons I've learned is the element of happiness that can be earned with faith and perspective. Our cook that cooks us lunches is one of the happiest people I have ever met. Her father died when she was young and just years later, her mother died, leaving her at the age of 12 with many little siblings (I think she told me she had 6 little siblings) and she raised them all. I can`t even comprehend the problems that some of these people have but there is nothing more beautiful than their sincerity and happiness in their families. I am so grateful that I can share a message of such great happiness to people who so desperately need it.
Here are the answers to some of the questions I have received...
So how goes life in a Latino world? It definitely has it`s challenges but I am learning many different things and I know everything I learn this change will help me in the future.
HOW do you travel? We walk everywhere but sometimes we take tuk tuks...they are like little motorcycles with seats in the back. It`s like a little taxi. We take buses to the different areas to do splits and we stay in their area for 24 hours. I left my bag on the bus last week and by a MIRACLE, we were able to find it again. We are helped a lot in our travels

What is Chimaltenago like? It is beautiful, most of the people wear cortes (look it up on google) and Spanish is their second language. We had 2 baptisms this Sunday of a woman and her nephew. The people here are genuinely beautiful and are open to learning about Christ.

Where else did you go last week? I went to Patzisia and also to Itzapa.
Do you like the traveling? I love it and I love working with the other sisters, every area feels like a different mission.

My time is running out but I will try to write a better email next week...these last couple weeks have been crazy but it should begetting better since it`s moving into the center of this change. And I will be writing next Monday since we have interviews with President!