Monday, February 23, 2015

FEBRUARY 2015- This is it!!!!

Regrese al continente!                 February 2, 2015

Hola Familia! 

Update: I'm in Guayaquil! Big surprise we all knew i wouldn't die in peace :) BUT I'm very excited for my new sector called Guabo! Hermanas got put in about 4 months ago and we are having a lot of success. It was really sad to leave Galapagos but i know that God needs me to be here with this new assignment. 

in Galapagos we were going to have a baptism this week of a girl named Kerly, she is so awesome and has been going to church on her own. She is the one that wants to go on a mission! We have been working with the whole family especially her mom, Lorena. She is the one that dropped from 36 cigarettes to 1 a day in a week. Well, her problem was that she works on Sundays so she couldn't go to church very much. We've been praying and fasting that she can find a different job and today when we were in the airport we found her (she works there, hence why she can't come on Sundays) and she said "they called me this morning with a job where i only have to work Monday through Friday!" She was so excited! But she was also really sad that i wasn't going to be able to be there when she gets to progress and be baptized. It was so awesome she said "Gracias por todo lo que ha hecho por mi, nunca voy a olvidarle, ha cambiado mi vida!" Those are the best words that you can hear from a person! But really! I know it was all God, he was helping her out every step of the way, I just got to be the instrument in his hands. 

Now i have a new assignment and i know that there are many a soul to save in Guabo. 

I hope you all have a great week, full of opportunities to share your testimonies, and invite people to feel of the love of God! 

I love you all! 

Hermana Whitmore

I'm in the banana capital of the banana capital of the banana capital of the world!     February 9, 2015

Hola Familia, 

So, this week has been great and my title speaks the truth. Guabo is literally the capital of all bananas! My banana sticker collection has grown A LOT I'm up to 300 plus stickers. (don't worry, i am focusing on my mission :) )  Also, it is soooooo hot here! Oh my word... i never thought i could feel heat like this... but apparently i can! i think I've heard "wow! estas quemada" (wow. you are really burned) more times this week then i have in my whole mission! But I'm not even burned... just really tan! muahaha

Anywho, this week has been great. We had a baptism and the only bump was that it started a little late, but that's normal for Ecuador and Mormons so we were right on time! However, earlier in the week, we had to "save it". Which means he was supposed to get baptized last week but he didn't because he felt rushed. Well, we went to visit him on my first day here and i had the most awesome moment were i thought to ask him if he was reading the Book of Mormon. Guess what?? He wasn't! Ding ding ding! That's the problem! He needed to have a testimony of the good book first! So i promised him right there that if he read the Book of Mormon everyday until Saturday he would feel more then ready to be baptized. So everyday he read and everyday he got more and more excited to get to the font! I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON! I also love the spirit and for the opportunity to be a missionary, so that i can promise things like that and have them completed. It's soooo awesome! 

I love training again.. even though I'm not very good at it. Hermana Hanson is my 4th gringa "step daughter". And she is so great. She reminds me so much of me! But training makes me realized how much i don't know and how much i still have to learn! AH which freaks me out because i have no time left! i have 3 weeks to learn everything i need to learn still! aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh! 

I've decided that one of the things i love most about mission work is hearing people's conversion stories. Because it's soo different from the missionary side. We really are like angels coming out of nowhere for them. When we are just contacting and feel the need to talk to this random person or we are being obedient and contacting a reference, for them it's a miracle that we show up when we do to share the message of the restored gospel. It just reminds me how great the plan of God is and how much he loves us. AND how important it is to be obedient and listen to the spirit as a missionary, because if you don't, someone will lose their opportunity to have eternal salvation! 

Something cool that i learned yesterday from Presidente Torres, who showed up randomly at church, was how great the example of Adam was for all couples. That Adam didn't have to leave paradise and having everything provided for him, but he did to be with his woman. He went out into the world to suffer because his love for Eve was greater then the comforts of Paradise! 

Well, that's all for now folks! I really do love this work and i never want my mission to end, and i know it won't! The mission is just the MTC for life! 

Carnaval!           February 16, 2015

Hola Querida Familia Mia,
Sorry this week i don't have much time to write but i did want to let you all know how much i love you and how much I'm looking forward to seeing you but also how much i am loving this work and how sad i am that it is coming to an end. I need your prayers for Carlos Siguenza that is getting baptized this week! And that we can see a miracle for his son that he can be there in his baptism too. I'm sorry i really don't have much time today but I'm going to write a big ol sappy long letter next week. No se preocupen! Les Quiero mucho!

This is it Folks!         February 23, 2015

Hola Querida Familia Mia,
Well, This is it. The last letter, it's finally come. Are you ready for this super long, super sappy letter? Well i don't actually know how long it will be but i'll definitely try to make it as sappy and cliche as possible.
SOOOO I'd like to start out with a very Cliche statement that I'm sure you've all heard before. This has been the BEST 18 MONTHS EVER! Other cliche statement "it went by soooo darn fast!" I need to have a 'back to the future' moment and take the time machine back to August 27 2013 when i was doing some last minute packing ... and unpacking and my dear kind mother was falling asleep on the bed. I really feel like it's all been a dream and tomorrow i wake up to head off to the airport with another pair of American shoes and some more P.B. That would be soo great, so that i could just KNOW! But knowledge doesn't come without trial and tribulation, so i know it turned out the way it should have. But really looking back on this whole mission thing, I've grown and learned, seen and experienced sooo many things that never could have happened in the real world. Don't get me wrong, it was not all fun and games, there were definitely hard times, rough patches, moments when i didn't think i would survive, BUT the funny thing is ... I don't remember them.. I know they happened, but the details are all fuzzy. However, the great moments, the baptisms, the conversations, the changes in peoples lives, I can remember as clear as this morning.
There are so many things that i have learned here in the greatest mission in the world but the things that stick out to me most of all are:
Number 1: God loves us and is watching out for us, not as a group of people, but individually. He knows exactly what we need and at what time. He answers our prayers how and exactly when they need to be answered. He has a perfect plan for each and every one of his children and all we have to do to get all of the benefits of this plan is be OBEDIENTE.
Number 2: Jesus Christ is MY savior. He came to earth because he loves me, he wanted me to know the right path to take. Jesus Christ is your savior and he died because he loves you and wants you to be clean from sin! Jesus Christ is his Savior, he was resurrected because he loves him and wants him to live in the presence of god a perfect and glorified being. He came for each of us individually.
Number 3: I am soooo blessed. I am so blessed to have been born where i was born, into the family i was born into, that i was born into the church and i never had to go through the confusion of finding the right path. Before, i took that for granted, and now i realize how grateful i need to be. And how much i can never repay God for all of the blessings i have received in my life!
Number 4: The mission is THE GREATEST THING YOU CAN DO!!!! It is the most worth while thing you can do with your time between the ages of 18 and 25. There is NOTHING more important!
And now to just top off the cheesiness of this letter, Imma write my testimony in Spanish! Woo!
YO SÉ que esta es la iglesia de Jesucristo. Que El to dirige. Yo sé que José Smith vio cara a cara a Dios y a Jesucristo, que por medio de el, Jesucristo restauró su iglesia aqui en la tierra. Sé que Thomas S. Monson es un hombre llamado por Dios y que si nosotros escuchamos a sus palabras vamos a estar en el camino donde Dios nos quiere. Sé que Dios nos ama con un amor que no podemos entender, y que El tiene un plan perfecto para cada uno de nosotros. Sé que Jesucristo bajo de los cielos para salvarnos de nuestros pecados, para guiarnos y enseñarnos. Sé que por medio de la expiación de El, podemos cambiar nuestas vidas y podemos ver un cambio en la vida de otras personas tambien. Yo sé que a veces la vida es dificil, pero tambien sé que todas las pruebas y dificultades que tenemos son para ayudarnos crecer y aprender y para preparar. La mision ha cambiado mi vida y no cambiaría nada. Amó la mision y amó a mi Dios, estoy agradecida por mi Dios y su plan que tiene para mi y por todo lo que he aprendido aqui en la mision. Les quiero mucho cada uno de Ustedes!

 See you on the flip side!
Hermana Whitmore

Monday, January 26, 2015

January 2015- Galapagos!

Feliz Año Nuevo!           Jan. 5, 2015

Dearest Familia Mia,
This week and year have gone by so incredibly fast! I cannot believe that it  is already 2015. Just so you all know, I'm loving working in this sector of Galapagos! It is everything i dreamed it would be and more. There is so much work to do and so little time to do it! This week was pretty slow because everyone was preparing for the New Year and then recovering from the New Year. We did find some pretty great people though. so, hopefully we will be able to work with them this coming week and that we can be the best most obedient missionaries in the world so that everything will turn out good and we will see some awesome miracles here in paradise :)
Last night i had a great experience with my companion. We were just feeling bad because this week we realized that we hadn't been doing everything possible to help the lord in his work. We just sat there studying about what our purpose was and how we can change and be better so that we can really be worthy to be here in the mission and especially be here on the islands. We just have a desire to do everything possible to help out this ward and find all the people we are supposed to find. But to do that we have to be working with the spirit and if we are even the slightest bit distracted we could miss the prompting to talk to someone or knock on a door or go visit a specific member. So last night we repented of everything that we had been doing (don't worry it wasn't anything bad... its just the difference between good and greater), Refocused and now we are ready to go for this coming week!
I'm very excited for the things that are going to happen this week. We have a baptism and another possible baptism. Also, a girl that has been waiting to get baptised for 8 months finally made the decision to do it! I'm super excited for them all!
For New Years, my companion and i decided to participate in the Ecuadorian tradicion of eating 12 grapes for the new year and make a wish for each month... however we aren't allowed to eat the skin so in our 3 hours of nothing time, that's what i was doing :) It was actually really fun... but i can say that next year i'll just be eating the grapes with the skin on them!
I love you all! Hope you have a great week!
Hermana Whitmore

What a week!                  Jan. 12, 2015

Hola Familia! 
Como estan las cosas por alla? Life on the island is pretty fantastic. I got to see my first beach baptism this week, although it was rather sad for me and my companion. What happened was that we were on track for the baptism of Estefania, but Friday night she calls us and keeps saying " i cant get baptized I've already been baptized!" She had called her familia to ask some info for her ficha. They informed her that she had already been baptized in the catholic church and she was freaking out! We went over to her house at 530 in the morning because the baptisms on the beach start at 6. We even got her to the beach and no one was there. She was more worried about getting to work on time then getting baptized so she left... We went to talk to her later and she had completely changed. She doesn't want to talk to us, she avoids eye contact and its super sad. We have had so many amazing experiences teaching her but from one really strategically placed blow from the devil everything went kerplunck! I really hope and pray that someday she can remember everything she learned with us and someday she can try the whole baptism thing again! 
We had a really great experience this week with a lady named Lorena, she was a reference from a member and when we found her she was in a bad place. She was just ready to give up on everything and she told us that she just felt like she was in a hole that she couldn't get out of. She had made some mistakes for a very long time and felt like she was letting her kids down. So the first day we met her, we taught her about the atonement and everyday she has been getting better and had more hope, she thanks us everyday that we go there and we can really see the difference that the gospel is making in her life in such a short amount of time. THE GOSPEL IS AMAZING!!!! The atonement is sooo real and the more we study about Jesus Christ and everything about the atonement, the more we realize how much god loves us and how misericordioso he is. Also, you can really realize how true the church is just from studying about Christ.. God has a perfect plan for us and you can only find the details in the Book of Mormon. The atonement has no purpose if you don't understand the rest of the plan of salvation. I invite you all to think about the atonement this week and what it means in your lives. Also, think about how amazing the plan of salvation is and how much hope and happiness we receive from understanding this plan completely with the help of the Book of Mormon
 just know that i love you all and i hope you all are doing well and that your testimonies are growing everyday!!! 
Hermana Whitmore

Cambios!                    Jan. 19, 2015

Hola Familia! 

This week has been so great and full of great things and great experiences! 
First off, we are working with a lady named Lorena and her kids.  We've been visiting her everyday and she has made the biggest changes I've ever seen! She started out with drinking everyday and never being at home, chain smoking and depression. NOW she has no desire to drink, she is cooking meals for her kids and only smokes one cigarette a day, AND she isn't taking her pills for depression. She is happier then ever. Yesterday she went to church and was just as happy as could be. Her daughter Kerly told me yesterday during sacrament meeting that she wanted to be a missionary like me! How cute is that?! Also, every time we go to visit her with someone new, she likes to tell the story about how she asked the question about 2 weeks ago, "Why doesn't God just come knock on my door to help me out?" and that's when we knocked on the door and told her there was hope! She says that when we left that night, we took a huge weight out the door with us and that every day she is getting better and better! She is so great and I'm soo thankful that I've been here to see the miracles that have happened in her life because of the gospel and the love of God. 

OH, also there were cambios, and my companion left, BUT Hermana Flinders came, my hijastra of the mission! She is the first comp, and i think the only one, that I've ever repeated or will repeat, and i love it!! Today we went and visited the tortuouses and i'll tell you to feel free to buy me a baby one as a pet for when i get home :) haha 

Well, i think that's all the exciting stuff, we are actually finding people to teach and people that want to learn! I'm loving this sector and the fact that i get to be a part of the Lord's work in this part of his vineyard! 

I love you all!

Hermana Whitmore

I survived another week in paradise!    Jan. 26, 2015

Hola Querida Familia, 
I survived another week in the greatest place on earth, the islands! We haven't had much movement of our program this week, but our investigators are doing really well. We are working with one girl named Kerly and she now has 2 attendances at church so she only needs one more to get baptised. She is soo cute and is reading the Book of Mormon on her own. Yesterday, we asked her how her reading was going and she had made a summery of chapter 2 of nefi. She is super excited about everything with the church. with reading and the young womens. Everything! It's sooo awesome! I love to see the excitement and the light in peoples eyes when they learn about the Gospel.
Nothing new is going on, I'm still with the Hermanita Flinders and we are working hard! I got a serious sunburn last Monday so I've been fighting with that all week! But it is totally worth it because i just remember how blessed i am to be in this place at this time!
 Just know that I'm well and i pray for you all, always :)
Hermana Whitmore
Picture one.... i got really sunburned! haha 
Picture 2- Lago de las nimfas