Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tamales & Temple Work

This week was super cool because we got to teach a few lessons with Floris and Anthony Sierra.  They are both recent converts so it was super cool to see them bear their own testimonies and help share the gospel!

Then Friday night at the Sierras we learned how to make Honduran tamales!  The next day they had a birthday party for Aileen, the 4 year old, so they invited us over to show us how to make them.  The ingredients were all prepared, but we had to dry out the banana leaves.  All we had to do is put them on a hot pan and the wet parts turn white so you have to press the moisture out.  They gave us paper towels cuz the pan is super hot but I wanted to be a true catracho so I did it with just my fingers on the hot pan.  It was rough but worth it!  (Btw’s “catracho” is a native Honduran). I don’t get it, Maira and Gisselle just handled the pans with their bare hands like they weren’t even hot!  But after we dried the leaves we put in a corn paste thing and a tomato paste and then meat, peas, and potato.  Then they get rapped in foil and put in the cooker for like an hour.  They ended up super good!

And then Saturday morning, we got to go to the temple with 4 of our recent converts and 6 others from the ward and do baptisms for the dead.  I was bummed because elders are not allowed to baptize in the temple but I did get to be a witness and do a few font-side confirmations.  It was super spiritual because all of them had family names and they were super happy!

And then yesterday I finally got a taste of the Texas rainstorms. It was crazy!  We would run from the car to the door and just be soaking wet it was raining so hard!  Our phone got a bunch of tornado and flood and crazy warnings.  Too bad there was no tornado but there was a lot of flooding.  Super fun but it was nothing compared to the tropical storm they had last year. Maybe one day…

Next week I’ll tell y'all about the Sierras going to the temple!
Elder Parks

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Sierra Family Gets Baptized!

The Sierras Family.  I baptized Kevin behind me.

My best friends Areli and Aileen

The Houston Temple

So this week the Sierras told us that they wouldn’t be here on their baptism date so they wanted to be baptized on the 18th instead.  So we had to kick it into overdrive to get them ready.  We decided to show them that getting baptized is how we join Christ’s team.   And they love soccer so we could relate it perfectly!  We did a few days of "trainings" where we had little 5-10 minute lessons and had them rotate between three stations.  We did meet the coach (living prophet), equipment (tithing), speed training (ten commandments as fast as possible with the hand signs), rule book (Book of Mormon), team medic (Word of Wisdom), practice (repentance), and a few others.  It was super fun and they loved it!  We found out it is super easy to have a primary teacher come and prepare a little lesson for the kids and that’s what we did all week long with them.

Then on Saturday we had "tryouts" (the baptism interviews).  And later that night there was a ward party for Mother’s Day.  Oh my, it was so Hispanic!  The room was decorated with hand-drawn flowers and frogs.  All the signs said happy Mother’s Day in English with half of them misspelled.  They had classic Mexican music blasting, like the kind that is on a Mexican radio station.  And then they served just rice and chicken and tortillas with pink lemonade to drink.  Hispanics love their pink lemonade.  But afterwards, they cleaned up the tables and had a dance party with crazy lights and stuff.  It was so funny to see all the old people dancing. All of us missionaries decided that if we marry a Hispanic, our wedding could be like that, haha.  But the Sierras loved it and a bunch of other investigators came too.

Then Sunday they all came to church and Sunday night we had the baptism. It was so funny because we forgot to turn the water off so it was super high. With Kenneth, the 8 year old, the water was up to his shoulders!  But all 5 got baptized and confirmed and I was able to baptize Kevin, the 10 year old.  And the best part was Maira the mom said the opening prayer and Jose the dad, who we have barely taught, said the closing prayer.  It was super good and during the closing prayer he was crying about his kids.  We hope it helps him want to change because he doesn’t really have the best relationship with his wife.  We talked to the wife by herself and she said they will probably get their residency and be able to get married in a couple months, but she doesn’t know if she wants to.  The only thing keeping her with him is her 5 kids, so we are working with that.  But the kids were so excited and they all have their own scriptures they read and they love primary so they will be solid.

Twas a good week,

Elder Lund

Giselle's Answer to the Book of Mormon

The Colons, the army guy that gave us a bowflex

With JR Sierra after his middle school band concert

The two littlest Sierras:  Kenneth and Eileen

Yeah, the Mother’s Day call was fun, and now I don’t know what to write!  I was super sick all week but it’s pretty much cleared up now. 

Giselle Sierra got another answer.  She went to bed after reading the Book of Mormon and she had a question.  She has a sheet of paper next to her bed to write down her questions but she forgot to write it down.  So she went to bed with a blank sheet of paper.  The next day she woke up and her answer was on the paper.  She ran to get her mom and when they came back the paper was blank! Talk about Twilight Zone over here!   And she won’t tell us what it was because it’s too personal.  She hasn’t even been baptized and she is already receiving personal revelation!

And they all came to church yesterday.  All 8 of them!  It was super cool and they all loved it and said they will never go anywhere else, haha.  Then afterwards the Sierras and the Santiagos (their fellowshippers, a family of 6) just hung out all day after church together.  So I’m pretty sure they are liking the church.  They are super cool.  They are set on all of us being best friends forever and ever.

But I don’t have much more to add to that. Have a good week!

Elder Parks

Monday, May 5, 2014

Great News about the Sierra Family!

This week I met a man who thought he was God.  Turns out he is a fat man from Costa Rica... we talked to him on the street and he said he pays and supplies all his needs with no ones help and he determines his future so therefore he is God because it’s all just him. And his name was Jesus so you can’t really argue with that, haha.

The Sierras got answers that the church and the Book of Mormon are true!  The mom one day just decided to pray in the car and she did and said she was just overwhelmed with the spirit!  So she ran inside to tell Gisselle, her daughter, and found her crying by her bed cuz she just prayed and felt the spirit too!  So they both were sitting there talking and a long lost cousin who served a mission randomly called to talk about the church.  Then after their experiences he wanted to pray with them and in the prayer he blessed the mom’s pains and troubles that she has never told anyone before.  And then Gisselle had a dream that she was in a super bright room with three men, and they told her to keep going on this path if she wants her and her family to be happy and be together forever.  Then they told her to wake up and when she did she realized that it was 7am exactly, when she needed to get ready for her trip, yet she never set an alarm.  Then at her Buddhist temple, her Buddhist monk read her mind and asked her to keep doing what she is doing with us.  And when she thought "keep reading the Book of Mormon?" he just said yes, exactly that and don’t stop.  She never said a word to him the whole time.  So their whole family takes all these experiences as signs from God that they need to be baptized, and not from the Costa Rican Jesus but from Heavenly Father.  And the mom and the dad never wanted to be married for 18 yrs but now they want to so that they can be baptized with their kids on the 24th and live with them forever.  Their main goal is an eternal family. It’s super cool!

(In answer to some questions Dad asked) Yes, I’m DL here but all I do is make calls every day or so and I will probably only have one district meeting this transfer, if that, because we are having a lot of extra meetings.  Yes, baptism is a long process here.  The shortest I’ve seen was 3 weeks and that was because we were seeing them everyday and they missed the first week of church. But the average time here is 6 weeks. 

So we will be Skyping on Sunday probably around 4:30-ish.  We will do it at the house of Hermana Marcela Diaz.  She is super nice and speaks English too.  I’m going to give her your information tomorrow or so and she is going to call you and make sure everything is working before hand.  And she will probably be really crazy excited to meet our parents so it will be fun. 

Also this week I realized I really miss being able to just zone out or stare at a wall for a couple minutes. It’s a real blessing to have that time but you can’t do it as a missionary. It’s too bad.  I miss just being able to be lost and not thinking about anything.  That’s probably what I’ll do for like 3 days when I get home!

Anyways, I’ll see y'all in a week!

Elder Lund