Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy March :: February 29, 2016

Hello Everyone!

I have no idea where February went but I am grateful for all the miracles we saw. I want to share the story of one family in particular that has had a really big impact on me.

In my email last week, I shared a little bit about a someone named Alex. He was baptized this week.

Alex and his family live way out of the way in an area we hardly ever go to because it is by the river and there are no houses there. It is divine that we even found them. God found a way to help Alex and his family and I am grateful I was have been able to witness this and work with them. They call us their daughters and always make us feel at home, feeding us avocados and mangos and bananas from their trees.

First of all, his mother is amazing. All Guatemalan women are. I think about all the women in my life and I am grateful for all the strong influences I have, here and at home.

Alex's mom, Fidelia, gets up everyday at 5 to walk half a mile to the bus stop, takes a bus to the market, buys 50 pounds of corn, and takes the same journey home with the corn bucket on top of her head. There, she starts making her Mazza (corn flour) and has to cook it all morning. By noon, she takes it all from a giant pot and thickens it to make the actual flour to make tortillas. This takes 2 hours. Then, she spends all afternoon making tortillas. She makes 1,000 a day and leaves her house by 6 pm to sell them in the market.

She doesn't get home until about midnight and then she wakes up again the next morning to do it all again. Every single day with no break. Every time we visit, we ask her how her business was the day before and she always, whether she had a lot of buyers or just a few, she says "God has blessed me so much. Sometimes He gives a lot and sometimes a little, but He knows what we need." Her tortillas are the family´s only source of income and she cannot take a break because her family depends on her.

The day of Alex´s baptism, she got up 2 hours earlier to start her corn so that she could make time to go to Alex´s baptism. She said that they had prayed and prayed for help for their son, Alex becuase he was "in the streets" and was not making good choices. She and her husband, Elias, say that we are an answer to their prayers.

So, the day of Alex's baptism on Saturday, Elias and Fidelia and Alex's little sister, Elsa came to the baptism. They made sacrifices to be able to go and it was incredible to see how happy they all were there together. We are teaching his family too and we have the faith that they will be baptized as well.

I don't think we can fully comprehend the changes that have come about in Alex because we did not see him all day everyday, but his parents say he is absolutely, completely different. The Savior´s atonement changes all for us. Alex is preparing to serve a mission in a year.

Oh, and Guatemalans do not smile in pictures. But, look at Alex and his family! So happy and smiling! I love the photo of him and his family!!

God works in mysterious and beautiful ways. I am so grateful to be part of His beautiful work here in Las Flores. I know my Savior lives and I love Him with all my heart.

I love you all. Have an amazing week. XOXO

Hermana Jessop

Monday, February 22, 2016

Life in Las Flores :: February 22, 2016

Good Morning Everyone!

This week has been fun, crazy, challenging and everything else but overall so full of miracles. Hermana Powell and I have a lot of fun and are loving working hard and laughing all the time. I love being part of missionary work.

First, we found a few different new families to teach this week. The Lopez Family is especially so prepared and excited to learn about the gospel. They came to church and we are having a family home evening with them tonight. Over and over again, I am so amazed at every single miracle I witness and am humbled to know that this is the Lord´s work and I get to walk along to see the miracles. We are finding people, teaching them and baptizing. It is all so busy but really incredible. Alex, who is 17, is getting baptized this week. He has left behind a lot of old habits and we are all really blown away by the changes we have seen in him. He is amazing. I am starting to understand how the Savior's Atonement really does change hearts and lives.

Oh.. this week, I had lice. I had never had lice before in my life and I was pretty freaked out realizing that bugs were living and multiplying in my hair. But, I am grateful for lice shampoo, lice combs and a really amazing companion who combed through my hair over and over to get the lice out. Members helped too. I bought a bunch of lice combs and will be using them every day to double check my hair, haha. We also found a scorpion in our house and it was really cool to see one in person. A neighbor came and killed it for us. It was actually prettty cool to see a scorpion!

The different trials we had this week were kind of silly, but something I have learned is that the Lord's promise that He will qualify his servants is absolutely true. I feel Him carrying us every single day. When we are tired, sick, worn out, etc, the Lord carries us from house to house to teach lessons. I feel his angels around us bearing us up. It is all Him.

I know this is true with all of us. If we trust the Lord´s promises, He will carry us. We just have to let Him. No matter how silly we think something is, He cares about it because it is important to us.

Through all the ups and downs, my testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown. Reading and studying it everyday makes a huge difference in my day and gives the eternal perspective I need to conquer the day´s challenges. As a part of daily spiritual practice, the Book of Mormon brings a very real power into our lives. We need daily spiritual practice and the Book of Mormon and prayer need to be our center.

As humans, we are easily distracted and tempted and I have a strong testimony that every morning and night we need to rejuvenate our power source, which is The Spirit of Christ. Along with the Book of Mormon and prayer, we as humans need balance, brought about by exercise, deep breathing and relaxation exercises, good food, sleep, etc. These are our resources and they are here for us to take advantage of and use to have strength in body, mind and spirit. God has given us these tools to be the best we can be.

Thank you all for support and love. XOXOX

With love and good intentions,
Hermana Jessop

She caught a catfish in the river!

More photos:
  • What we eat everyday: eggs and refried black beans
  • What our feet look like at the end of everyday of walking around and visiting
  • Beautiful Guatemala

Monday, February 8, 2016

Miracles :: February 8, 2016

Good Afternoon!

January went by so quickly. It was a month of many lessons and experiences but overall a really great one. I hope everyone had a great start to 2016. It is already February! Happy birthday to my mamma tomorrow (February 2). Everyone wish her a Happy Birthday!

I finished training this week and am grateful for all I learned in these 12 weeks and also very happy to be completed. I feel more prepared and understand my purpose and role as a missionary. My trainer has been really amazing. We have changes tomorrow, so we will see if I stay in Las Flores or move onto another area. Only the Lord knows where we are needed.

We had a goal in the mission to baptize 200 people this month aaand..203. people entered the waters of baptism in The Retalhuleu Mission!!! We spent a lot of time finding, teaching, fasting, praying, studying and working. It was a month of many miracles. I wish I could tell all of them, but I can´t so I am just going to tell about a very special experience.

On December 4, Irma and Rafa Muy got married and baptized. They have a 10 year old son named Daniel who did not want to get baptized with them that day. Since November, Hermana Mendoza and I have been teaching Daniel. Every time we went to the house to teach him, he would listen to us but then when we talked to him about baptism, he would run away. The thing is that he has always loved church and loved to be a part of activities and learn about Jesus Christ. He just never wanted to get baptized.

We knew there had to be a reason, so we have continued to visit him. A while ago, he told us that he did not want to get baptized alone and that he did not feel like he had any friends his age in primary, so we started some boys groups to reactivate and teach nonmembers. He made a lot of friends. A few weeks after that when we invited him to baptize, he told us he was afraid of the water. So, we took him to the font and let him walk around and see how it worked and everything.

We tried and tried, but continued to feel like we just were not coming to the actual reason why Daniel did not want to get baptized. We decided to leave him alone for a couple of weeks and give him some time. In a meeting last week, we talked about finding one more person, about inviting one more person to come unto Christ and how great our joy would be.

Hermana Mendoza and I fasted and prayed about who we could teach or invite. Daniel kept coming to mind. Hermana Mendoza had this brilliant idea to make a video for Daniel with kids in the ward. We went around and made a video of kids telling Daniel that they loved him and wanted to come to his baptism.

We went to his house and showed him the video. His dad was there too. It really made an impact on him. As we talked with Daniel and his dad, Daniel told us that he felt betrayed by his dad because his dad used to drink a lot and stopped drinking and got baptized but he still remembered his dad drinking and the experiences he had with his dad. It turned out that Daniel had a lot of anger towards his dad and as we talked about forgiveness and the atonement, something really changed. That night, after 3 months of teaching, Daniel decided to get baptized. He went with us to the church that night to fill the baptismal font. Everything was completely different.

Daniel was baptised on Sunday, January 31 at 8 am.. the last day of the month. It was such an amazing experience. The spirit was so strong. Dani told us that he saw angels all around him in the font. I do not doubt that. This stubborn boy who never wanted to talk to us is smiling all the time (even in photos) and I have never seen so many changes in one person. The Muy Family is completely different than when we met them. Happiness oozes out of them and their house is filled with the spirit. It is incredible.

Attached is a photo of the family and us with Dani at the baptism. The other photo is a picture on the wall in the family's house. The Muy Family has a photo on their wall of their baptismal date (put on the wall before their baptism to remember their goal) and the temple and their goal as they prepare to enter next year. Next to the photo is our photo.

There are more details and I am writing this quickly, so I hope it makes sense. But, the point is that things need to happen in the Lord´s time. I learned that this month. We were trying to force things upon Daniel, but there was more to it. There was more in his heart. We had to ask the Lord and really seek His help. This is the Lord´s work, not ours. We cannot do anything alone.

Also, PEOPLE CAN CHANGE. Sometimes, I can forgive others, but I find it hard to forgive myself or to believe that we can change. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can change, no matter if it is a large issue or a small one. We can forgive others, the Lord forgives us and we need to forgive ourselves as well. The gospel is so beautiful. I have seen Irma, Rafa and Dani change tremendously. It has really touched me. I have the hope that because of my Savior, I can change and I can forgive myself. Also, others can change. We are made to be happy, to be free, to love and to give. The Lord is with us every step and all the tools are here to help us.

With love and good intentions,
Hermana Jessop

Changes :: February 8, 2016

Hello Everyone!

I said goodbye to Hermana Mendoza this week and received a new companion. Her name is Hermana Powell and she is from Bountiful, Utah. She is really sweet and a great teacher and I am excited to learn from her! It is cool how an area feels brand new with a new companion. I cannot believe how fast the time is flying. There is a lot to do and I am excited to be here in Las Flores. I really love my area.

Overall, it has been a great week. I just want to tell all of you to remember that life is beautiful and we have all the tools we need to be happy. We just have to put in the effort to study and pray and ask the Lord. Things come little by little, "poco y poco." The Lord loves us and wants the best for us. I have never been so sure that my Savior lives and knows us all individually.

I am still eating a lot of beans and tortillas, sweating all the time and loving every minute of it. Hope everyone has a great week!

Hermana Jessop