Monday, March 14, 2016

Buenos Tardes! Wow, the mission is so fast. I cant believe how fast the time is going by. I have been here in Guatemala for 6 months now! I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be serving the Lord here in Guatemala. I am learning so so much (I know I say that like every post but its so true). Something i have learned in the last couple of weeks is the power in serving others. When we serve others, it doesnt matter if it is our worst enemy or our best friend, we will feel a lot of love and charity for these people. During the mission the relationship that you have with your companion is one of the most important things. We have to have unity, or we cant teach effectively, we cant teach with the Spirit which is the most important. Sometimes being with the same person for 24 hours a day for three months straight isnt the easiest. One learns a lot of patience and how to build good relationships with everyone no matter what is the circumstance. My companion is awesome! I am super grateful to have her. But I felt that maybe we could strengthen our companionship a little bit. I decided to make a goal that I was going to do a random act of service for her everyday the past week (make her breakfast, make her bed, write notes of motivation, etc.) I was amazed to see how much stronger and better our companionship has gotten in the past two weeks! I started to feel a lot more charity for Hermana Godoy. I feel like our lessons are going a lot smoother and that we can teach with the Spirit a lot easier. The next week Hermana Godoy returned the service to me. Serving others is so important in any relationship. When you feel angry, annoyed, frustrated, anything! with someone, I have learned that the best way to fix it is serve them. As we serve others we serve our Heavenly Father. We can feel the love He has for us, and the love He has for them. The people we serve can feel charity, the pure love of Christ, through the service we do for them. 

This weekend we will be having a baptism! It is a girl who just turned 18 years old. Her name is Mercy. She is AWESOME! I am so grateful for the opportunity that we have had to teach her. Her story is super similar to mine so it has been a lot of fun teaching and sharing experiences with each other. She was 16 when she started to go to church and meet with the missionaries. She had a testimony of the Gospel at this time and wanted to be baptized but she didnt have permision from her family. Mercy is SO strong-her family was extremely hard on her for having this great desire to be a member of the church of Jesus Christ. Her family wanted to kick her our of the house, she would always say super negative things to Mercy, and sometimes she would be physical with her. Mercy continued in the church for awhile, but after some time she stopped going. About 2 months ago she came to church and told us that she would like to meet with us again. She turned 18 last week and wanted to prepare for her baptism that is going to be this Saturday! We are so excited for her! 

I am still in my first area, and I love it so much! I love the members here and I dont ever want to leave. I am scared that in 5 weeks I am going to have transfers.. I hope not! This week we went to a members house for dinner. The last time we ate with this member we were talking about all the weird things that people eat here in Guate. I told them that I want to try the weird food but only if they dont tell me what it is until after I eat it. Sooo we got to there house this day and they said, okay we are going to eat sometime weird tonight, but we arent going to tell you what. There was a HUGE plate of meat, some was steak, some was chicken, and some was that weird thing. I tried it and it wasnt bad at all. I actually thought it was just chicken. Well turns out, it was COW UTTER! Haha and I actually liked it! The  next time we eat with them they are going to have something different. i dont know if I am scared or excited.

I am so grateful to have this opportunity to share this wonderful gospel with everyone here. I want everyone to know of the joy that it can bring. Many people we teach tell us that they are happy, that the feel good in the church they are in, or the feel good with how they are living there life. But when they accept the gospel, it is amazing how there opinons about there life before changes. They can see that there is more happiness that they can feel. That when they are following the example that Christ gave each and every one of us, the can feel what the meaning of happiness really is. It is something super special to see the joy that the Gospel brings to people. 

I hope everyone has an amazing week! 
Con mucho mucho amor,
Hermana Baird

my mission family! my "daughter", "sister", and "niece".
 our bishops dog! i am in love!

 one of my best friends in the mission! we have been in the same district since the MTC
 All of the "parents" in our district.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

This week we had an extremely humbling experience. I have never felt my heart break like it did.

A couple of weeks ago we were visiting an investigator. Part of our area is up in the mountains and that is were she lives. Well on our way there we passed a lady and her two kids. The lady was laying in the middle of the dirt path, and the kids were just sitting very patiently. We got to the house of the investigator and she still hadnt gotten home so we had to wait for about 15 minutes. The lady who was laying on the ground starting to yell that she wanted to die. We decided that we were going to go and talk to her and her kids. As we began talking we realized quickly that she had been drinking, and drinking a lot because she couldnt stand up. As we were talking to her kids who were 10 and 6 years old they said that they were actually members of the church, but they attend a different ward.  We got the number of their mom so that we could give it to the missionaries in their ward. 

The next week we saw them in the street in our area. We started talking with them and they told us that they met a member in our ward and it turns out that they actually live in our area and should attend our ward. We were surprised because they live about 45 minutes walking, from our house. They told us that the primary presidency was going to pick them up for church on Sunday to go to our ward. We were excited because we wanted to help their mom reactivate herself in the church. We talked to the primary president about them the next day and we learned a lot about this family. She told us the following...The mom is a single mom with 4 kids who are 12, 10, 8, and 6. They are very poor and live in extremely poor conditions. And that this Saturday she wanted us to come with them to the house. When I heard this I felt a lot of sympathy for this family, but when we went to the house is when my heart broke for them.

They live about 20 minutes walking from the main road, and they live in the middle of the mountains, there are very few houses close to them. Their house is made up of 5 pieces of metal, 4 walls and one piece for the roof, and it is held up by logs from trees. The house is about as big as 2 queen size beds. They dont have electricity, they dont have running water, they dont have a bathroom, they dont have hardly anything. There is a well where they get water, but this water is extremely dirty. If we were to drink it we would be in the hospital in less than 1 hour. But this is the water that they drink. When it is in a glass it isnt clear, it is a yellowish color. There is a big hole in the way to there house and the kids call it there pool and it is where they take baths when it rains a lot. On the way to there house there is an area where all of the trash is dumped. They told us that they sometimes they look for food there because sometimes there is ¨delicious bread¨ or ¨some left over chips in the bag.¨ We got to the house and brought food and clothes for them. When we got there the mom had been drinking a lot again, and she feel asleep after we had been there for 5 minutes. She fell asleep with an open fire because she had been cooking, and the 10 year old was then in charge of finishing the cooking. My heart literally broke for this family. We are continuing to go to their house and helpinh the mom remember the blessings that she received when she was going to church. We want to help her so that she can help her kids. As a relief society we are going to do service at their house frequently and are continuing to bring food and clothes to the family. Every sunday afternoon a member in our ward is feeding the kids and the mom. 

As sad as this situation is, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to see something like this. It has made me relize truly how blessed I am. It made me realize how this gospel truly blesses people. These kids have nothing but are always wanted to go to church and talk about the scriptures because that is where they can find joy. What a grand example this is for each one of us--to always look to the gospel for joy. When we think we have nothing, when we are going through a hard time, if we rely on the gospel we truly can find happiness. I am grateful for the example of this little kids, please keep this family in your prayers!!!

I love guatemala. I love the humilty of the people here. They are teaching me how to find joy in every circumstance. They are teaching me that if we truly center our lives in Jesus Christ we will find the positive in every experience, trial, affliction that we have. I know this church is true, and I know that our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us.

MUCHAS GRACIAS for all of your prayers and support!
Hermana Baird