Sunday, December 15, 2013

So it's Pday again and we're going to El Picacho (Cristo statue) again! But this time we're also going to the zoo up there! I hope I see a baby animal. 

This week was wonderful. But the mission is like a big montaña rusa (roller coaster)! 
English class went really well this week! We had 14 students and a lot of fun! 
Two days ago, we fasted and were so blessed! One of the many beautiful things that happened was that we were walking at night in the rain and our plans fell through and we remembered a man who said he'd gone to Temple Square more than 10 years ago! We visited him and taught his wife (who's a lawyer) and his 19 years old daughter who's studying medicine and speaks English. A new family to teach!! And theyr'e married! And ¿sabe que? It was the most beautiful Restoration lesson we've ever taught. And what more? They have two fluffy toy poodles that were on our laps the whole night! (Awwwww --Elizabeth voice) 
After that, we brought the bishop to give an hermana a beautiful blessing before her surgery and after that, we celebrated the birthday of Marcelino Matamoros! 
Remember when we baptized Ambar and Monica? Well, they live with their grandparents, Marcelino and Carmen Matamoros, who had been inactive members for about 20 years. We met them through a miracle and have been reactivating them and it's been one of the biggest blessings of my mission! I LOVE them! And they love us too! Marcelino used to work with wood, and he's making Hna Vasquez and I a beautiful surprise! And the whole family was in church for the first time to see Monica in the Primary Program!! (Which was hilarious and adorable by the way.)

Yesterday, Hna V and I had a miscommunication (imagine that) and got into a fight during church in an empty classroom that would've gotten heated if someone didn't come in and interrupt us. It can be SO hard to ALWAYS be with someone, especially with a language and cultural barrier. A member came and wanted us to come help teach the Young Men about preparing for a mission. We sat in front of the class, still flustered, as he asked us questions like ''How do you two feel as missionaries?'' Awful. We felt so bad! The Lord has an interesting way of teaching us lessons, doesn't He? 
The mission can be so hard! But most of the time it is so fun and beautiful! And I'm grateful to have had a bad day so that I can appreciate the good ones! And Hna V and I forgave each other and are on better terms than ever. A companionship is like an arranged marriage without the romance. And unlike a normal marriage, we have to always be within seeing and hearing range. But we need to be on the same team in order to do this work. And humility is a key component in a successful relationship. I'm going to take these important lessons I'm learning into my own future marriage. 

So those are some of the ups and downs of the mission! I am blissfully happy. And I'm excited to see all of your faces via Skype in a couple weeks! 

Have a jolly week! 

We had cambios in the mission this past Friday and I didn't move! I'm rejoicing! I'm going to stay in La Joya for Christmas with Hna Vasquez! 
Yesterday we fasted and saw IMMEDIATE blessings. We had 8 investigators in sacrament meeting, including 2 families, and had 4 other recent converts there too! Wow, that is not common here! 
We taught a girl, Yesenia,  who is 22 and so excited about the gospel! She accepted a baptismal date for Dec. 21 con mucho gusto and is willing to do anything to prepare. Her cute sister also loves the gospel, but we need to get her married before she can be baptized! Her husband doesn't like the church, but we know that if we're exactly obedient and faithful, we can work to see miracles. They defend the church against the criticism of their family and friends and already call themselves Mormons. And they've only had 3 lessons! It's so touching to see how much people can grow to love and trust us in such a short time. And it's even stronger ''al reves''! I'm so in love with my area and with all of the people here. I know that this is my last change here, and I can't even think about leaving them. It hurts too much.
We also found a new family to teach!! We're visiting them tonight! The Dad told us to come right at 6pm (when Pday ends) because he knows we have to be in our house at9pm... I'm pumped to give him the 3 hour lesson he's hoping for!  
I'm so happy to hear all about your Thanksgiving! I love holidays because they bring the family together. And I LOVE our family! I'm attaching a picture of my Thanksgiving feast! Tacos and 7 up in a plastic bag! We had dreams to make mashed potatoes and buy half a chicken, but English class ended late and everyone had closed their little tiendas because of the cold.
It's cold in Honduras! Surprised? So am I! I think it's mostly due to a Hurricane that passed in Guate or Mexico this past week. But in the nights it's freezing so I'm super grateful for the new Christmas PJ's! I sleep in the sweatshirt I stole from Madie Hart before I left and in socks because I don't have a blanket, just my sheets! But it's warming up real fast. It's hilarious to see the people bundled up in scarves, hats, and gloves during the day when it's like 69 degrees outside. They're just so used to the constant 85º we usually enjoy. 
Well, I hope you have an incredible week! I am very happy here. And very grateful.
Enjoy the snow!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

We have the privilege of reading the Book of Mormon as a mission! We started Oct. 1 and will finish Dec. 24th. I made it through Mosiah and this beautiful message really stood out to me:

Mosiah 5:7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.  And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
 And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.

Mosiah 26:18 Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my aname; for in my bname shall they be called; and they are mine.

Mosiah 26:24 For behold, in my name are they called; and if they aknow me they shall come forth, and shall have a place eternally at my right hand.
I love this gospel.
Yesterday, I gave my first talk in the field! The Bishop told me Saturday at noon that I needed to speak for 15 minutes in church, so I wrote a little bit in the night after we planned and finished it in the morning before we had to round up our 5 investigators to bring to Sacrament! A bit stressful, but it went well and I feel pretty comfortable with Spanish! I spoke on the small and simple things we can do to hasten the work and be better missionaries. 
The gospel is so mysterious and immense in many ways, but it's also so plain and simple.
 Like Pres. Eyring said, ''The pattern is simple, but not easy to follow.''

Mosiah 2:22 And behold, all that he arequires of you is to bkeep his commandments; and he has cpromised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth dvary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do ekeep his fcommandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

Also, Mosiah 2:34 says that with the knowledge we have of the gospel and the scriptures, we are ''eternally indebted to our Heavenly Father,'' and are to ''render Him all that we have and are...''
I'm really learning how important it is to keep our covenants.
I love you all more than sweet stripes and cookie dough ice cream!
Hermana FlynnRider

P.s. When the people don't hear you knock, you yell ''buena tardes'' into their house. I know I have a huge gringita accent so I try to mask it by yelling in mexican monotone. My comp called me out on it this week.
She was like, ''Why are you talking like that?''
''Like what?''
''¡Cómo una brujita!'' (Like a witch!)

It was so funny! Now I screech and cackle into every house that doesn't open up within 30 seconds!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

So I found out a little too late that they DO NOT celebrate Halloween here. In fact, they teach their children that it is devilish and sinful. So you can imagine how my English class went when I had ''Happy Halloween'' up on the whiteboard and my lesson plan was to practice Trick-or-Treating and to learn Thriller by Michael Jackson in English... Epic fail.
This week flew by. The highlights were teaching a new investigator an awesome lesson!! She is SO cute and is 18 with a 2 year old baby and a 32 year old boyfriend who she lives with! (yikes) She came to church this week with her sister and ''sister-in-law'' (boyfriend's sister.) Whooo!

We were fasting and saw the immediate blessings! We had SIX investigators in church! A family of three and three others plus a family of four that we're reactivating!
Plus yesterday was fast and testimony meeting and I feel so blessed becuase a woman who's dying of cancer bore her testimony on a scripture that I had shared with her 2 months ago and it was gratifying to know that the spirit had prompted me to do it. And also because another girl bore her testimony on the prayer experience we had a couple weeks ago with the lights in the church. I'm starting to feel like I can make a positive difference here with the Lord's help and guidence.
I'm trying to develop a multitude of Christlike attributes. One of which is PATIENCE. Living with a companion is hard at times, but it's refining me.

Mosiah 23:21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to achasten his people; yea, he trieth their bpatience and their faith.

Mosiah 24:16  And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.
Bondage, or a bad companionship haha. But I believe that you can learn to love ANYONE!

Please enjoy beautiful Fall because it's over 90 degrees at noon everyday here.

Happy Halloween! I hope you all watched Haunted Honeymoon together.

Hermana FlynnRider

P.S. There are absolutely no crosswalks here, so to cross the big, busy streets, we play a really high-speed,  high-risk version of Frogger.

One thing that I'm really learning here is what a covenant means and the importance of keeping it. It's fascinating to me. 

This week we baptized a 9 year old girl named Susana! (I included a picture.) She loves the gospel and especially primary! 
Her baptism was a miracle. We planned it really well and so there was a good turn out and a primary kid had a talk prepared and the children were going to sing and everything. But right before the baptism, Susana's mom told us out of no where that she wanted to reschedule. We were so confused and frustrated and my comp grabbed my arm and we went into an empty classroom in the church and knelt and prayed. We went back out and got her to tell us the real problem--someone had said something to her about how Susana doesn't know what choice she's making. We explained to her that 8 is the age of accountability and that her daughter is going to continue to learn, grow, and progress through the support of the church. It was honestly miraculous to see the change in her mom's heart. The baptism was beautiful and we're so happy! We're working with her mom towards a baptism date, but she has to get married or commit to separating from her boyfriend, who isn't currently living with her. She wants to be baptized. 

The work is amazing. Life in Honduras is beautiful. I love La Joya. I ate Chilaquiles today and they were delicious. (look it up.)

Oh, and by the way, I'm right on the border of the river that separates Teguc and Comayaguela. Our recent converts (the girls we baptized a couple weeks ago) live by the river and when it rains (which is often) the big frogs hop along the sidewalks with us and it totally freaks me out!

Here is the though of the week from Elder Uchtdorf: 

 ''Back in that first estate, you knew with absolute certainty that God existed because you saw and heard Him. You knew Jesus Christ, who would become the Lamb of God. You had faith in Him. And you knew that your destiny was not to stay in the security of your premortal home. As much as you loved that eternal sphere, you knew you wanted and needed to embark on a journey. You would depart from the arms of your Father, pass through a veil of forgetfulness, receive a mortal body, and learn and experience things that hopefully would help you grow to become more like Father in Heaven and return to His presence.
In that sacred place, surrounded by those you knew and loved, the great question on your lips and in your heart must have been “Will I return safely to my heavenly home?”
There were so many things that would be out of your control. Mortal life would be hard at times, filled with unexpected bends in the road: sickness, heartbreak, accidents, conflict.
Without a memory of your previous existence—without remembering that you once walked with your Father in Heaven—would you still recognize His voice amid all the noise and distractions of mortal life?
The journey ahead seemed so long and uncertain—so filled with risk.
It wouldn’t be easy, but you knew it was worth every effort.
So, there you stood on the edge of eternity, looking forward with unspeakable excitement and hope—and, I imagine, also with a degree of worry and fear.
In the end, you knew God would be just—that His goodness would triumph. You had participated in the great heavenly councils and knew that your Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, would provide a way for you to be cleansed from sin and rescued from physical death. You had faith that, in the end, you would rejoice and join your voice with a heavenly chorus singing praises to His holy name.''
I love learning about premortal life because it speaks to my spirit. 
I am homesick for heaven. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I didn't move in cambios (changes) so I get to stay in hermosa La Joya! I love my first area! The members are incredible and I think it's so beautiful and I'm making so many friendships. 

This past cambio has really helped me grow. The first two months of my mission were really hard for me in every way. I missed you guys a lot and I missed my culture and I really missed speaking English and I was constantly frustrated because I couldn't be effective without knowing Spanish. But the language is coming really well and I my personality is coming through more and more. I was humbled to the dust in the start and the Lord is helping build me back up. It's true that you learn to have more patience in the mission. 

Honduras played Jamaica and won! The streets are crazy during soccer games and we keep score from our house by counting the number of times it sounds like World War III has suddenly begun--an abrupt chorus of screaming, gunfire, and cannons that slowly wanes until the next goal is scored. I'm pretty sure we qualified for the World Cup next year?? The games are such a big deal here that all school is cancelled gameday and all government paid jobs as well. 

A couple days ago, we met a family in the street who said we could come teach them so we went to their house. The Dad is bien Evangelico and as it turns out, didn't want to listen to our message but wanted to try to teach us his own. With great emotion, he repeatedly slammed us with false doctrine, the motif being that not everyone is a son of God (but he was, of course) and that we didn't have to do anything to be saved. I listened to him for about 40 minutes and showed him 'Faith without works is dead...' but there was nothing we could do because this man wanted to contend. So my comp just bore her testimony and I gave him a Book of Mormon and asked if the cute wife would bring their two little kids over so we could sing a hymn and say a prayer before leaving. We sang I am a Child of God and the dad chose me to pray. It was a really beautiful experience because of the change in the room when we sang together and prayed. The difference in feelings from his rant and when we started talking was comical. There was a really sweet, strong spirit that ended things on a really good note. 
And guess what? They ended up calling us about an hour later and inviting us back for dinner! We were fasting so we couldn't, but we're going to go back sometime! It was a faith building experience that made me SO GRATEFUL to have the knowledge I have! To know that I'm a daughter of the Eternal King. I'm so grateful to know the fundamentals. 

Thank you so much for being the most incredible support imaginable. I love each one of you more than I could ever tell. I love my mission and I don't want to come home. Good thing I have 14 more fast sundays to enjoy here! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

This past month has been incredible! I´m going to tell you about it, but first I want to tell you that I don´t play soccer here and I don´t drink coke. Those were two things I thought I´d be doing but we´re not allowed! Just for your information.
Last week I forgot to tell you about some really cool experiences because I was too excited about conference!
One of them was that we were having a ward movie night to raise money for a lady with serious cancer here. Three of our investigators were going to come and we were setting up and everything when the power went out--not only in the church, but in all of La Joya. And it was completely dark. I was with 5 other girls from the ward and we were all so sad because the activity wasn´t possible and because my comp and I would have to end the day early because it´s a rule that we can´t be out when there aren´t lights in the street. So I suggested we say a prayer so we all knelt together and held hands in the dark and I prayed and within 5 minutes, the lights came on in La Joya. All the girls were yelling and hugging me like I was responsible for the power grid here and some were even crying! I was getting ready to go do something when my comp reminded me that we had to pray and thank God. It was so cool! And then later my comp and I offered another prayer of gratitude together. It was one of those primary-style mini-miracles that makes you know God cares. And by the way I got to watch Despicable Me 2 with my investigators!
This Saturday, we had two baptisms!!!! My first start-to-finish baptisms here in the mission! My first two weeks here we had 2, but they weren´t mine, ya know? Ambar is 17 and reminds me of Jenny and Monica is 9. They live with their grandparents who were baptized about 20 years ago but have long since been inactive. So we´re reactivating their family and it is incredible. Such a tender mercy!
We´re working closely with some other investigators who look promising and we´re taking an investgator temple trip this week! They´ll have a family night with our phenomenal Stake Pres. and tour the grounds and stuff. The work is great in La Joya!
I´m finishing my training this Wednesday and praying I won´t get moved in cambios (changes.) I´ll keep you posted.
I´m so grateful and so happy! I´m used to living here and I don´t know what it will be like to have carpet or a dryer or a shower or an oven or a dishwasher when I get home! Or to have reliable water in the faucets. We only get it for a few hours every other day. But that is so normal to me now.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Conference was absolutely incredible. I got to watch it all in ENGLISH! with all the Gringos in the zones next to mine. And we hung an American flag under the TV for all four sessions. HashtagPatriotism. Conference was pure power. Jefferey R. Holland's testimony caused me to physically shake, it was so strong. I wish I could go through and talk about all of the points and highlights that changed my mission and my life, but I just never have enough time! We are instructed to make conference our 'walk and talk' for the next 6 months, so I hope you all REMEMBER and APPLY all of the messages. I'll try my best to do the same. Before this conference, I read all of conference from April and it was amazing. I LOVE the words of our prophets and apostles! What a blessing in our lives.
Here are some quotes I love from April conference that you might've forgotten (I had):
I have come to know that faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief. There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayer of a righteous mother...Teach yourself and teach your families about the gift of the Holy Ghost and the atonement of Jesus Christ. You will do no greater eternal work than within the walls of your own home. --Boyd K. Packer

Indeed our heaven is little more than a projection of our homes into eternity. --L. Tom Perry
Isn't that the truth? If nothing else, the realization of how much I love my family makes this mission more than worth it!
I challenge each of you to read 'Your Wonderful Journey Home,' by President Uchtdorf. It is beautiful. I love learning and talking about the pre existence because it speaks to my sould and yes, I am homesick for heaven.
check out these scriptures:

 Matthew 24:46 Blessed is that aservant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

Matthew 7:24 ¶Therefore whosoever aheareth these sayings of mine, and bdoeth them, cI will liken him unto adwise man, which ebuilt his house upon fa rock:
We know that faith without works is dead. How important it is for us who have such great knowledge to be DOING something with it! Remember that we should repent for all the things we're not doing and should be. 
I just watched Mom's 50 video! (Finally got it working.) I love the family so much!
I'm learning patience here and I'm learning how to get along with my comp and I'm learning how much a person can sweat in a single day (3.5 cups, I measured. Just kidding that's weird and gross and impossible.)
We're reading the Libro de Mormon as a mission before Christmas and circling all the synonyms of Jesucristo, highlighting all the attributes of Christ in light blue, all the missionary passages in green, and everything else we like in red. It's so awesome to read it that way! (Especially in Spanish.)
I played volleyball with some Elders in my zone and I killed it. I challenge anyone to a game when I'm back.
I LOVE YOU! You all better enjoy eating cookie dough icecream and drying your clothes in a dryer and walking around barefoot. And vegetables. Those are things I really miss.
I bought a cookie sheet and made chocolate chip cookies today for my zone. That was really cool. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I'm learning and growing here in La Joya!  The weeks are moving faster and it makes me want to try even harder not to waste a minute of the Lord's sacred time. 

I've been teaching a lot of Spanish lately. I teach a class in the church every Thursday and this week I had 12 people there! 5 of which were investigators! And I taught two other separate classes to investigators who couldn't make it. It's pretty cool and makes me so grateful to speak English as my first language. Seriously. 

We taught a really cool lesson about the Plan of Salvation and answered some of the questions of a 26 year old's soul. He was deported from Miami and speaks a lot of English which is awesome because I can teach in Spanglish with a lot of power. He asked lots of pressing questions that caused my comp, a convert, and I to stand up for what we know and we felt the spirit testify of truth in a very real way. The convert and my comp cried during the lesson! 
We had another really awesome lesson with the same member present to a 17 year old girl and my Spanish was perfect and she was so receptive. She accepted our baptism challenge for the 12th of Oct. 

Teaching awesome lessons is better than baptizing. 

We brought 4 investigators to church this week! It was awesome. Seriously a blessing from God. And I played the piano for the 4 hymns in sacrament! I suck at piano. 

Mom, last night the members fed me a hot dog with avacado, tomato, onions, mayo, ketchup, 2 kinds of mustard, and jalapeños. You would've died and gone to heaven. 

There is an old man in a shack up a huge hill above our house and we teach his daughter and grandaughter. He came up behind my comp in a lesson and started playing with her ponytail and grabbing her shoulders and petting her head until all the hair came out of her elastic and I was crying! And then he came over to me and did the same! I got carressed by his arthretic hands! And he said in his Spanish old man voice that we'd have to repent and confess now! It was so funny!   

Monday, September 16, 2013

This week it rained a lot, which was glorious. We taught tons of great lessons and the language is coming little by little.

At night we were walking and I was telling Hna Carias that I was nervous about our safety. She comforted me and then we walked about 15 feet and a man ran up to us and told us to give him everything we have... We just stood there completely stunned. Then he started laughing and told us he was kidding and he'd heard we offer English classes and wanted more information! Not cool!
So I'm teaching the beginners English class every Thursday to members and investigators and I love it! It's a lot of fun.

Here's your assignment:

Read Moroni 7:45.
Now put Christ's name in place of Charity.
Now read it again with your name in place of Charity. This is my goal in life.

 45 And Sarah suffereth long, and is bkind, and cenvieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily dprovoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Hey guys, 

A whole lot has happened! So before I was in a trio with Hna Carias and Saldate. (Saldate is from Cali and was in my CCM district too.) We all knew that one of the two gringas would leave my area (La Joya) in changes, but what I wasn't anticipating was that Hna Carias, my Guatemalan trainer, was moved too! Here's the thing: I'd been praying each day to stay here because I LOVE La Joya. But without my trainer, I was suddenly in charge of everything: all of our investigators, members, meetings, and even lunch and dinner appointments! I cried all night and all morning before changes because I felt so incapable and so alone and sad. Because sadly enough, I still don't speak Spanish. Anyway, it was so humbling. But I truly felt the Lord make weak things become strong unto me. 
Now I have a new comp from El Salvador and she's great! She came from an area with less people so she's not used to working as hard, but she'll get the hang of things. I'm basically training cause I'm in charge of everything and it's way stressful. But this week we put two of our sweet investigators- a mom and son- on date for the 28th and we're waiting for the permission of parents to baptize two more- a 17 year old and a 13 year old. The work is good and I love where I am! My comp doesn't speak English but that's really going to help me! I still miss Hna Carias, but I talk to her on the phone and it's okay. 
Haha, in a lesson this week we challenged a boy to baptism and he told us he'd already been baptized. We assumed he meant the Catholic church.. No, it was the Mormon church. And in the three previous lessons he didn't bother to mention that! And weirdly enough, he was never confirmed! So we're going to get things settled with him! 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I went to the temple in a yellow school bus with my zone and our investigators this week! Our investigators got a tour and a family home evening from the temple president. I met two guys from Roatan Island who talk like the Jamaican girl in Pirates of the Caribbean. They made me want to visit Roatan after the mish!
I don´t know if I´ve ever felt so close to heaven in my life than when I got off the bus and walked up to the temple. I´m feeling the spirit just writing those words. I get to do a session this week and I am SO excited!
The coolest thing happened yesterday. We were walking by a lady and I just said ¨hey, I like your dress!¨ That´s how this really cool experience started. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. We started talking to her and we could see that she was really, really hurting inside. It turns out that she lost her 25 year old daughter this year and she is raising her baby grandaughter now. I caught a glimpse of the love that Christ has for his children as I watched her talk and I just cried and cried with this stranger. We talked to her about the Plan of Salvation and sang Sophie Barton´s favorite hymn, Abide with me, Tis Eventide. I just wished that I had Anne-Marie here in Honduras to comfort this woman in Spanish. Death is so hard. She told us that she only likes to eat salt now because it´s as bitter as she feels. I told her that I like to bake and that I was going to make banana bread and the corners of her mouth turned up. I guess I found her weakness. So today we´re going to the church to bake and we´re bringing her some love tonight. So cool!

Monday, August 12, 2013

This week was great! We got to eat some awesome food and teach wonderful people! And ¿adivina que? we found a family to teach! This culture is so family-oriented in that adults live with their parents and cousins are often neighbors and people are always hanging out with their families. But the irony is that they don´t believe in marriage here because divorce is expensive and long so there are no real families. So many single-parent homes. But we began to teach a family. It´s a miracle! Also, I visited an 18 year old member who has a baby that looks just like Jen did when she was little. The cutest baby girl.

I sang acapella in sacrament in Spanish with my compañera and it rained this week! I love rain so, so much and the sound it makes on our metal roof is glorious
Hermana Flynn

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Landed in Honduras!

Okay, so I've been in Honduras for  5 days now. Culture shock is a massive understatement. The first day was really hard because I didn't know how to live here.
Let's talk about my appartment. We have the really nice version of a tin roof and walls painted pepto bismol pink. There are cracks between the roof and walls and between the windows and door where lots of little friend crawl in and sleep in my bed. We have a little kitchen area and a tiny backyard of tall weeds surrounded by a cinderblock wall. We're the luckiest ones because we're the only ones who have a washing machine! It's a really old free-standing one in the backyard that takes 20 minutes to fill up and afterward we hang up our clothes on lines to dry! We only have running water about every other 16 hours, so we fill up our pila (a cement tub outside) and buckets in our house to wash dishes and flush the toilet and shower and stuff!
Now lets talk about the bathroom. After we use the bathroom, we have to fill up the bowl with water to manually flush it. And We have 3 big buckets of ice cold water to shower with! This is how it goes down: I stick my head in a bucket and then scream cause it's freezing and then use a little plastic bowl to splash water on myself as fast as i can. My life is good....Real good.
This is just such a crazy experience! This morning I was mopping our floor and accidentally mopped a little gecko up... There have been at least 4 different lizards in our house so far. I am putting up a mosquito net tonight because I've been religioius about spraying OFF and still have about 11 bites.
Mom, my latina compañeras don't refrigerate our eggs... Is that dangerous?
I have a weird situation because I'm in a quadruple companionship! It will be a trio when one sister goes home in 2 weeks. I have two compañeras from Guatemala who are ANGELS and one from my district in the CCM! It's really fun cause we trade comps each day.
We had our first baptism this past saturday!! It was so, so cool! There were supposed to be 2, but one got scared and bailed.
We teach so much here. Everyone is so, so humble and honestly have next to nothing. They are so kind to me even though I'm the biggest Gringa ever. I'm easily the tallest person on any street I walk down and my skin basically reflects the sun and blinds everyone. I don't speak Spanish, but it's alright! I need to be patient! I had a cool experience in a lesson. My comp asked me to bear my testimony on the Word of Wisdom to a lady who I thought had a problem with smoking. But I bore my testimony about coffee and afterward I was thinking I was an idiot and was kicking myself but then my comp also talked about coffee and it turned out that was the only problem this woman had with the word of wisdom. Things like that are happening every day. All is well.
It's really hot. and humid. We eat lunch at 12pm and dinner at 9:30pm. So basically I fast every day.
Each day gets so much easier as I learn how to live without things I'm used to (like clean, running water). But it's absolutely shocking to see how people can get along with just the very, very basics. And often times without the basics. We ate dinner last night in the dark in the home of a member who doesn't have electricity. This is life here.
I wish I had time to tell you everything, but just know that I love, love, love you guys and I hope you're remembering that where much is given, much is REQUIRED. You guys better be doing all you can because you have NO IDEA how blessed you are.
We visited Children of the Dump many years ago. Most people here are wayy more impoverished and humble than those people. Try to imagine it. Dirt floors, tin roofs, adobe walls.
I miss you all more than ever here, but it's okay because I know that this is important and that it's true!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The first week in el CCM was a success!

Life is so incredible here in el CCM. This will be scattered, but I'll try to
start from the beginning. The plane rides went all through the night
and I met up with about 38 missionaries by the time I arrived to
Guatemala. They trashed the hard case carryon bag Mama, so sorry! I
didn't have the time or the Spanish to get things worked out at
Customer Service or something, so I just have a bag with a broken
handle that's slightly cracked and has sticky juice (hopefully juice)
all over it. The baggage handler must have either been the Hulk or
just totally drunk. Pero esta bien. We all got picked up by a dusty,
red school bus to be taken to el CCM. Guatemala City is GORGEOUS! I am
in heaven here. The first day was literally the longest of my life,
but I loved it! We got to take an hour nap and then had to stay awake
and busy until 10:30pm. Great news: I survived! So everything from
here on out has been muy facil. My companion is named Hermana Garfield
so the natives call us the cartoon companionship because of the cat
and Flynn Rider from Tangled. It's appropriate because we are the most
animated and fun ones here! We are also the most humble... So she went
to East and she's almost 21. I am the youngest girl in the CCM as far
as I've heard. My compañera is the best. Even though they matched us
up alphabetically, it was inspired. I'd show you a picture, but we
gave them our cameras and ipods and stuff the first day for security.
And that is the true reason. There are cleaning people that aren't
members in our rooms every day and also a ton of construction going on
here, so it's a good thing we don't have anything super nice! Hermana
and I got moved out of the normal rooms of 3 bunkbeds to an awesome
new one with only one other companionship! It was like Christmas! We
have a bathroom between the 4 of us! Hallelujah! About the bathroom...
There is something small and furry and dead in our bathroom fan or
vents or something because at random times during the day, it smells
indescribable. Absolutely awful. And i get my ab workout whenever I
walk into our room because the terrible smell makes my almost die
laughing every time! I thought it would be only serious and all
business here, but I laugh until I cry multiple (yes, multiple) times
a day. I haven't cried for any other reason than laughter in my first
week, so I'm very blessed. A lot of the missionaries here are so
homesick and get blessings and cry at night. I'm blessed because I
haven't felt homesick yet. But I think about you guys every day and I
just realize how much I love you. The thing is that I want to be with
my family, but EVERYONE wants to be with their family. That's the
reason I'm here! I'm sacrificing so that I can teach people how they
can be with their families forever! And 18 months is not long AT ALL.
Anyway, running out of time. Yesterday was P Day but the sisters here
call it B day (Blessed Day) because it's a good break from straining
your mind 16 hours a day. And it was AMAZING because we had the
biggest thunderstorm yet! It rains almost everyday, but yesterday we
had a torrential downpour! We walked to the Distribution Center and
the temple in it and the streets were literally flooded (but people
still rode motorcycles on them) and the sidewalks were rivers. And the
thunder was SO loud! There is lightning and thunder almost everyday.
It is one of my favorite parts of Guatemala. I got soaked even with an
umbrella! The temple was incredible! We did a session. We get to do
one every week! We do sports every day on a cement court that I would
liken unto a prison yard and I am getting so much better at
volleyball. Yesterday we played Latinos vs. Nortes and we killed them.
We're not allowed to keep score here so things don't get competetive,
but we killed them. And when it pours, we get to stay out and take off
our shoes and keep playing sports in it! When the ball goes over the
huge fence into the street, the elders climb the 12 foot cement wall
up to the chainlink part and hang there and yell "Ayudame! Ayudame!"
That means "Help me!" It's hilarious cause I'm sure the people outside
think we're in prison, begging to escape. The food is un poco estraño,
pero muy rico and they feed you WAY too much! I hear sirens all the
time and the gate is usually open to the CCM but it is so safe here!
Our windows are always open and we've gone out of the walls to church
and the temple and stuff so many times and it's not scary AT ALL. The
temple is so close--only a gas station between us, so we stare at
angle moroni through the window of our classroom all day. My district
is awesome.My teacher is amazing. I've had a change of heart since
coming here. I'm out of time, but i love you SO much! Thank you for
raising me and loving me unconditionally and giving my rules to help
me grow and choose the right. I miss you all but not really, I'm happy
to be here! Flynn Family Forever! --Hermana Flynn

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I’m serving a mission because I believe. I know that I’m young, but as Sister Dalton pointed out, “The Lord looks at our heart, not our age.” One of the things I love most about this beautiful gospel is that it’s simple enough that a child can feel of its truth, and complex enough that no one can understand it fully. I don’t know all things. But I know enough to be held accountable before God to go out and assist in the gathering of Israel. Where much is given, much is required and we have a charge to spread the gospel, if not as fulltime missionaries, then as lifetime missionaries.

If any future sister missionaries are looking for modest clothing visit this website...

Check out this music video I made for my friend, Carli Barlow! Her new song is called "Two Years".