Mission Accomplished – April 13, 2015

Usually when we imagine some future point in our lives, we imagine ourselves quite differently than we presently are. 18 months ago, I thought today would never come. I couldn’t possibly have imagined how I would be or how I would feel. I often thought about it but my expectations were way off. I know I am a changed person but I can’t attribute it to any one circumstance. Every trial and challenge, joy and tear has molded me to become more like the person God wants me to be.

In the CCM, I remember one elder threw out a question to all of us that has made me ponder for these 18 months – Why did God call me to Guatemala? What contribution or work would Andrea Page do in a simple year and a half? As I come to finish my mission, I’ve come to think less of what I’ve done for Guatemala and more of what Guatemala has done for ME. This culture and people have taught me much more than I could’ve imagined.

I’ve learned humility from those who are perfectly content with the little they have, and generosity from those who give it away. What greater example of charity and selflessness? Being happy in uncomfortable and unfavorable circumstances requires a great amount of patience and sacrifice, which in turn favors those who submissively obey the Lord with meekness of heart.

I’ve learned about myself – controlling my tongue, utilizing my God-given gifts to exercise love, and recognizing the huge impact I can have on someone’s life. I feel more aware, more receptive to the Spirit, and more trusting in the Lords plan.

I have a deep appreciation for the scriptures, especially after scrutinizing them in Spanish. I’ve organized my priorities.

All of these wonderful things I’ve been able to gain in my short time here serving the Lord, however they are nothing compared to the most valuable thing I’ve obtained – my personal relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ, and how its helped me to more fully comprehend His Atonement. Working shoulder to shoulder with my Brother has opened my eyes to the eternal importance of His mission, and how unimportant my little pre-mish life seems. He really gave everything for all of us. A perfect sacrifice for imperfect people who don’t deserve it. And that’s why I love him so much.

He loves these Guatemalans too… Ill miss the tuk-tuks, tortillas, jungle greenery, cobblestone roads, close-knit communities, saying BUENAS every 10 seconds. Maybe I wont miss the cold showers or mosquitos, but I’ve come to love my little Guatemalan life because its taught me what’s most important.

Choosing to come on the mission was hard. Staying on the mission was hard. Going home will be hard. Its all a difficult ride but I’ve learned that hard things make us better, stronger people. Maybe I don’t yet understand exactly why God called me to go on a mission or why it was Guatemala, but I completely trust in His plan. He called me here, and now my time has come to an end. I learned principles to apply to my life. I’m scared for how hard it will be, but just as I was led by the Lord into the field, I know He will guide me as I return.

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Page

Last temple trip.

Last temple trip.

McDonalds breakfast run with the hermanas.

McDonalds breakfast run with the hermanas.

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Conference – 5 Stars!

Well wasn´t General Conference just great? Great talks, awesome topics. Such a spiritual feast!

I don’t want to talk about next week, so I will talk about my weekend! Woo!

Last Monday we received a referral of a complete family of 5! Two days later we found them; they live pretty far away from the center of our area. They are absolutely INCREDIBLE. Golden. 5 stars. (get it?) As we taught the parents, Walter and Irma, we noticed their sincere desire to know more and to attend church. While we were sharing the Restoration, Irma mentioned many times “We are definitely going to church this Sunday.” As she walked us out to the road, she told us Walter always had trouble going to church but that he felt especially impressed to attend when the two sister missionaries contacted him. We called them many times before Sunday to confirm that we were going to go pick them up in a truck. As we drove up the beaten-up dirt and rocky road to their house, I saw in the distance 5 figures running toward us. As we approached they immediately got to the side of the road and waited for us with huge smiles on their faces! They hopped in and we went to conference. They loved it and then went home.

I will never forget seeing that little Guatemalan family running toward us, its an image engraved in my memory connected to a deep feeling of love for those people. Every day I find more things I love about this country and people. Usually I can describe my feelings with words, but its becoming more difficult as I feel more and more conflicted everyday. All I know is that God is guiding me and I´ll be alright. I love my time here and preaching the gospel in Spanish to my Guatemalans is one of the greatest blessings I’ve received in my life.

God lives and loves us. There are so many things that distract us from the path that leads to eternal life, but if we keep our sight on Him we wont be swayed.

Hermana Page

All of the hermanas from our zone fit in a tuk tuk! (my comp not seen)

All of the hermanas from our zone fit in a tuk tuk! (my comp not seen)

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Chinese food Guatemalan style! Zone lunch.

Abusive Mangos – March 30, 2015

We were teaching an old man under a mango tree, and I was talking about how he could receive an answer to his prayer. Suddenly a branch 40 feet above my head snapped and a huge mango flied down and pummeled my foot. I was so stunned that I started crying. It didn’t actually hurt that bad but I was just so surprised. The guy got up and said we needed to go to shelter – so we brought the chairs inside and he started to tell me how God would recompense me for the damage done by the mango. In the end he gave us the mango and I threw it against a wall. They’re getting kind of old, ya know?

Today for P-day we played sports in the church, which was alright. Then the elders started wrestling on the grass. It was a real hoot. The good thing is I was able to go the market and buy some souvenirs for friends and family!

Rainy season has made quite the entrance – yesterday it started at 2pm and did not stop until 7pm! We were soaked to the bone but we pressed on! It’ll be a wet, crazy week with all this Holy Week stuff.

It’s so weird to read your journal entries of the past, and view them as if a different person wrote them. I know I’ve changed a lot in the mission, but is shocking to see the difference in writing, and to really notice how the Lord has shaped me to be the person he wants me to be. How grateful I am for the Atonement and the ability to change!

Hermana Page

Waves of Time – March 23, 2015

My weeks are going by faster and faster, and my little amount of time is a haunting reminder. I could say that I’m not thinking about it, but fact is fact. I’m just going to roll with the wave of speeding time and be led to new experiences. My focus right now is having the Spirit guide my steps, my thoughts, my everything. That way I will have a better chance of keeping it with me as I delve into the “real world”…

 

I really didn’t feel this week. It was great, but it FLEW by. We had the blessing of a wonderful baptism on Friday.

Beberly's baptism

Beberly’s baptism

Beberly is the daughter of a recent convert who hated being pressured to be baptized. She’s a divorced 29 year-old with a 6 year-old little boy. When her mom got baptized, she attended and continued to go to church off and on. One Sunday she stood up to bear her testimony and said she liked the “philosophy” of the Church. It was a unique experience and led us to believe that she would soon be baptized, but in the Lords’ time. We put her on pause for a couple weeks until she attended church alone two Sundays ago. The gospel principles class was so great and we felt the Spirit so strongly that after the class she came up to me and said, “I’ve made a decision. I’m going to get baptized.” I was so happy for her! Elder Pereira did the interview in the church and her baptism was on Friday! She really wants to guide her child in a good path and follow the Spirit.

I love the mission and I’m enjoying every moment.

 

Love,

Hermana Page

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Kids!!!

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17 Months Old – March 16, 2015

Happy Monthday, Im 17! Can you believe it?

Fight to the finish.

1. Its MANGO SEASON. Im stoked. Ready to plant a mango tree in Fresno.

2. A couple days ago we took a bus to a faraway part of Mazate called Santo Domingo, which was a closed area of elders. After receiving a couple referrals from members and some contacts, we passed by a bunch of hooded teenagers. They were just chilling, eating granizadas and laughing. My comp wanted to ask why they were hooded but we chickened out and got on the bus. A few minutes later they walked toward the bus and got on! One of them sat right next to me and then they all began to creep hard. “I’ll pay for your ticket” “Talk about love at first sight..” It was awkward but we later found out they were political demonstrators and were dressed like that for a college project.  (Mom note:  This paragraph worried me)

3. While we were walking down the main street, there were a bunch of drunks in the corner near a police car. As the police car was about to drive off, one of the drunks lurched forward and tried to open the police car to hit the police. Seven officers leaped from the car and simultaneously pummeled the guy to the ground and threw him around like an animal. Violence? Don’t worry mom, God protects us.

4. Its Catholic season. Lots of processions with huge crosses, candles, and masses of people in the streets at night. It’s odd, but it helps us distinguish which people are ready to hear about the restored gospel.

5. We were visiting a less-active family whose kids were recently baptized in January. The mother of the two converts is currently going to a different Christian church even though she is a member. As we were talking she mentioned that she had a strange dream. Then she looked at me and said “You were in it.” I was like, what? In her dream I was telling her not to bathe her baby in the pila because it would drown. I didnt really understand the point of her dream, but she said “It might be a sign that I need to return to the Mormon church.” .. yeah! THATS what it means.

Those are the crazy things that have happened this week, and I hope to have more cool experiences to tell next week!

This week I’ve been thinking about the doctrine of the chosen ones. I was thinking – to find the chosen ones, we cant be choosy, because we dont choose them. Our mission president addressed the topic and explained that the “chosen” aren’t people who have been selected to be saved – because Gods plan is that all mankind might be saved. The “chosen” are those who are ready and prepared to hear the gospel. I’m praying to find those people.

Hermana Page

17 Months

17 Months

Things of Value – March 9, 2015

What’s up!

Hna Rosas went to Malacatan and Hermana Oporta is my new companion! She’s from Nicaragua and was the MTC companion of my daughter Hna Gaitán. She’s pretty chill and we are working hard to have success in our area. I told her in the change meeting “You’re going to kill me!” She laughed and joked “I’m going to do everything to make you super baggy!” I laughed in return, but this week I have seen that it’s totally true! Everytime she sees a helicopter or a plane she points to it and says BAGGY! She points out families and temples and says SOON. It’s all in good humor, so I go along with it.

My new and last companion Hermana Oporta! Geez my arm looks huge

My new and last companion Hermana Oporta! Geez my arm looks huge

A couple weeks ago we contacted a referral named Sheny with a member, and she was kinda positive but didn’t commit to go to church. We went back a couple days ago and found her husband, Gerardo. He is the most receptive person I have ever met! He said he was going to an Aventist church because they invited him, but they haven’t been baptized. He heartily accepted to go to church with us, but said Sheny wouldn’t go because she works on Sunday. As we were waiting in the sacrament meeting, we saw both Gerardo and Sheny enter the church gates! We had no idea they would go together, but it made it all the better! They are great and have many questions. They almost accepted a baptismal date for the 21st! Woo.

As I think about the most precious things I’ve gained in the mission, one thing always comes to mind  – my relationship with Christ.

I was reading the Liahona a week ago and found a quote by Elder D. Todd Christofferson that I really related to,

“I came to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father in a way and to a degree that might not have happened otherwise or that might have taken me much longer to achieve.”

This is the exact feeling I have toward my service as a full-time missionary. The relationship I have with my Savior is so valuable to me, and was only developed because I decided to follow a prompting of the Holy Ghost and trust in the divine plan of my Father. He knows whats best for me and my eternal progression.

I’m not baggy, but I have 5 weeks left!

Hermana Page

March Happiness – March 2, 2015

HEY MARCH. Time goes too fast!

News- we moved!

In the other shack house we were living in, there were a couple problems of “losing” money mysteriously so we ditched it and found a perfect apartment! It made the week a little stressful but we are safe and sound.

There have been a couple changes in the mission concerning Pday – so I will no longer be reporting the calidation of our pday because they are no more. Not that we can’t have fun days, but there are certain requirements and goals that we must fulfill to be able to truly enjoy a pday.

I was looking back at my past entries thinking, how did I have so many crazy experiences in the beginning of my mission? But then I thought – I have those EVERY DAY. It’s so common that I forget specific things that happen to me! I’ll try to remember so I can make my entries more interesting.

A couple days ago, I had an epiphany in a tuk tuk. I had just made a joke with the tuktukero and he laughed. I waved and smiled to an old woman outside sitting alone and she cheered up to wave back. I always knew that we can cheer up someone’s day through small actions, but sometimes general truths don’t click for us until we make them personal. We can all make people happy by showing them we care, or even though a simple smile, and now I have a testimony of it! I decided that I want to be positive. Everyday I have the decision of how I want to respond to certain situations. Even though it may be difficult, I have a new goal of firstly – thinking positively. Then – speaking positively.

Happiness is what we all seek, but it’s also something we choose.

I have 6 weeks left and I am HAPPY; not necessarily because I have little time left, but because I’m where God wants me to be and I can see His blessings poured out on me and my family. Wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Love,

Hermana Page

District Breakfast - Bean and egg burritos!

District Breakfast – Bean and egg burritos!

My comp and I, happy about the new house!!

My comp and I, happy about the new house!!

Baskets of Baptisms – February 23, 2015

This week was great because we got to go to the TEMPLE in XELA! You all know how I feel about the temple, so there is no need to describe how WONDERFUL it is. I hope to visit one more time before I return home in April.

A week ago, I talked to Hermana Ruiz (our mission presidents wife) about putting together a little gift basket and having a competition in the zone of who could reach every goal they set for the week. When she brought us the basket, it was a BUCKETFULL of expensive goods that could only be carried by two elders. We were shocked, and the whole zone was ooeing over it and everyone kept saying, “Oh we are totally going to win that basket… Nah, dude we got it in the BAG… You guys don’t have a chance..”
The idea wasn’t to focus on the competitive side, but to prove to ourselves that if we are dilligent we can complete any goal we set. We had the most baptisms we’ve had this week, than in all the month. All of our “fechas” have been interviewed and we are set for success in March! We worked really hard for the basket, but another set of elders won it. They baptized a family of 3! Cool beans.

The elders in our ward were teaching a 20-year old girl named Rosi who has a child of 2. She had accepted to be baptized and had the necessary church attendance. However her mom didn’t have trust in the elders and it made Rosi uncomfortable. The baptism was in the air… until they told us to go visit her, gain her moms trust, and challenge her to get baptized the next day. They told us that if we could, she would count for us. So we embarked toward their area and met with Rosi, talked and laughed with her mom, and began a little lesson with Rosi about the Restoration and challenged her to be baptized. She accepted and was baptized on Saturday! She was totally prepared when the elders met her and we were just a part of her conversion and the plan that God has for her!

Still chugging and loving what I do!
Hermana Page

Baptism of Rosi.

Baptism of Rosi.

Meet My Parents – February 16, 2015

This week I met my Guatemalan parents.

We contacted a referral given to us by the elders named Michelle. As we walked to her house and opened the door, we chatted and asked if her husband was home too. He came into the living room and presented himself as Martin! It dawned on me about 5 seconds later and I mentioned to them,”those are the names of my parents!” We all laughed and Michelle said, “You’ll never forget us!” That’s for sure.

Our wedding and baptism fell through this weekend, which was really hard. Glenda was so excited and had everything ready, but Brandon chickened out and went to work. I know the Lord has a plan for them, but they need to understand the importance of obedience in order to receive the blessings they’re looking for. We are going to keep working with Brandon so he can be ready for a different date this month or in March.

We were feeling pretty sad after church yesterday, and as we were sitting outside the gate waiting for two sisters to arrive, a super thin old man in running spandex passed by. As he passed us, he twitched his shoulders and touched his toes and kept going. I defnitely laughed. I’m glad he was put in our path to give us a smile.

My cousin, who is also Hermana Page, shared with me a quote that I loved:
I am competely dependent upon the Lord, and I know I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t trust in His plan. If he called me here, I have faith (future oriented dependence) that he will provide and lead me to become a better instrument in His hands.

Hermana Page

Zone Pics

Zone Pics

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I Went to Taco Bell – February 9, 2015

What’s up America

Another week in the mission has gone by and we are still chugging. Finding people, dropping people, teaching, exhorting, stressing, planning, eating, sleeping, walking, walking, walking. That about sums it up.

Today we didn’t do anything extremely eventful, but we played “beach” volleyball and basketball with another zone of missionaries. Then we all went to Taco Bell and I ate a chalupa. Fattening? That’s okay. My comp and I have new goals to run at 5:30am and do ab exercises. Ask me in a week how those goals are going..

Interviews were on Wednesday. President asked me, “When are you leaving?” I responded “In April.” “Woah, that came up fast!”

Well, VALENTINES day is coming up and we have a WEDDING. How perfect, right? Anyway the couple, Glenda and Brandon, are in their 20s and have a 2-year old daughter. Its been hard to get Brandon to church because he studies on Sunday, but he went yesterday and loved it! We went to their house yesterday to challenge them to baptism/marriage, and we weren’t too surprised to find out they have problems (as most people do), but the fact that we were able to have an inventory of everything going on, really helped them out. They are now ready to change and live the commandments of God. Families are forever man!

This week I have a stronger testimony of GOALS. Its good to think about what you want to achieve and write it down, but the accomplishment of said goals requires us to act. I can put down any number of people we want to find in one week, but if I don’t make plans to achieve it, I wont ever have that satisfaction of saying “YES I did it!!” Set goals. Make plans. Do work.

I chose a bad computer without a USB thingy so I can’t send pictures.

Hermana Page