Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 28

Sorry, I have misplaced my adapter to the SD card, and I need to buy a flashdrive thingy to transfer pics to the computer! I`ll try to buy one this week, or at least find the adapter and use my comp`s next week! Hna Vazquez is not quiet lol, we laugh all day long! But she also knows when not to talk too, which I so appreciate. We had divisiones this week with the Sister Leaders who live an hour and a half away. I got to travel while my comp stayed. But the Hermana I was with literally never stopped talking. I have no idea how she came up with so many things to say, and sometimes it wasn`t even real conversation, just filler words that are so unnecessary to me haha. But a whole other story with the divisiones - I ate something or maybe its just adjusting to the mission, but I got pretty sick.. Threw up a total of like 5 times that day, away from my mission mama and with members I didn´t know and everything was rough haha. I threw up the first time right outside this member`s house, and then another time in an investigator`s toliet right after teaching her a lesson haha. But I'm all better now! Just fat as a cow! Literally, Hnz Vazquez and I have goals to not eat as many tortillas, or even 0, if possible, to get ready for Christmas where they're gonna feed us a ton!!

Our place is nicer than other houses we`ve seen, but for some reason there`s ALWAYS dust, no idea why though. We have water, occasionally is hot haha. We have a clean water source in 5 gallon jugs, but not sure when we`re getting another one. But the church developed these water bottles that are their own filter, you can literally fill it up anywhere and you won`t get sick (they cost like $100!!) but they give one to every missionary serving in central america and I think south too.. So don`t worry, it`s not the water that`s gonna kill me.
We have made really good friends with this awesome family of cucarachas!! (Cockroaches) They are literally everywhere lol. I've pretty much gotten used to it and just accept it, although I still kill them when I can haha.
One of the members, Ingrid, cooks us lunch every day (so good and fattening) and I eat honey bunches of oats with bananas for breakfast most days. Also, our neighbors aren`t members, but they are this family that is so sweet and brings us tamales every Saturday and other things throughout the week. Also, peanut butter was such a great idea!! I eat it with everything!! or even just a spoonful if I'm feeling low. Usually I'm not hungry for dinner or we`ll buy some bread from one of the thousand panaderias in this place. The same member does our laundry every week too.

Mum I miss ya a ton. I love the custom of half-hugging everyone (or the women) and their little kisses things, but I miss your hugs. Thanks for the poem, I'm gonna try to put it into practice. Pls pray for my spanish cause its a struggle lol. Love you all, please share with everyone cause Imma have to get off. I`ve been sharing 1 nephi 4:6 with everyone. The spirit is so strong here. and the gift of tongues is stronger when the spirit is stronger lol. Sometimes you have to talk or open your mouth without knowing what you`re gonna say.

Be brave! Be bold! Happy Christmas!! MAS CHRIST!!
Hermana Townsend(:

Family letter

November 21
So much to tell! My mom (first comp) is Hermana Vazquez, from Mexico and she is absolutely amazing. She understands a ton of English and speaks some, so she understands when I speak in Spanglesh hallelujah! I`m literally in the farthest area from the mission home - JALAPA and its way up in the mountains!! We took a 3 hour bus ride out here with 2 other sets of elders. We`re the only hermanas in our zone of almost all gringos haha. Our house is crazy small and full of dust every single day and there's cute pictures of Jesus and gospel stuff other sisters have left. The people are amazing. They are almost always open to talk to us, even if they say they're catholic in the next sentence lol. We eat a huge lunch every day at a member`s house with our DL and his comp and they're so funny. The members here are so willing to help us with the work and to find people and I can`t understand everything that they're saying all the time, but I just smile and give all the hermanas hugs and add in my two Spanish words every 10 min or so. Last night.. oh my goodness we found a spider that was literally the size of my palm! I guess my temple worker friends were right!

I`ll tell more in my group email but that`s just some. I absolutely love it here. I seriously can`t think of a better place to be, or something better to be doing. Harry Potter Marathon sounds like so much fun!! Is thanksgiving this Thursday? I honestly can`t remember anything about timing or holidays haha. A few people here have tiny Christmas trees but people don't do huge gifts or anything. It's more like family time, which i love lol. Oh my goodness, Natalie`s getting married.. wow. Crazy. I'm so glad I get to be here and learning so much and growing. I still feel small and inadequate, but I'm learning. My companion only has had 4 months in the mission, but she`s so confident and adultish. One day, I'm gonna be like her(; Thanks for all the details! Let me know all the cool stuff y'all do this break!!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Townsend

EL CAMPOI!!! What do you take for granted?

November 21

TOLIET PAPER! My first night here in the crazy far out mountains of JALAPA and our casa doesn`t have toliet paper! What a fantastic way to start the mish!

My companion is Hermana Vazquez from Mexico and she understands more spanish than she cares to speak, but she understands my spanglesh lol. I am literally in the area farthest from the mission home way out in the mountains of >Guatemala and its actually cold here! Who knew! WE`re going to the market today to buy more warm clothes lol.

They call me "Canche" here cause Im a gringa and I have totally embraced it, while at the same time trying my very best to learn spanish and speak it all the time. Sometimes I forget to talk becasue Im just trying to process all the spanish going on around me. They people here are so incredibly open to talk to us and I love it.We eat huge lunches with a plentitud of tortillas every single day which is probably why Im getting fat lolz. But seriously, D&C 84:81 is so true, Ive never wondered what im gonna eat, it always somehow appears. What a blessing!

On Friday we met a woman whose 4 children are all members. Her name is Emma and I felt like I had an immeadiate connection with her. I sincerely can`t speak that well and its kind of hard for these people to understand me, but I try my best and leave the rest up to the Lord and His spirit to testify of the truth of what Im trying to say. She`s gonna get baptized, just give it a week or two.

The Lord will always provide, especially when you are serving Him with all your heart! Don`t take things for granted, whether its toilet paper or time, or your fam or anything else you love! Be grateful! Be happy! That`s why we`re here in this life - TO BE HAPPY!! I love Guatemala! I love being a missionary and sharing this amazing gospel in my broken Spanish!! HAVE a fantastic week yàll!! <<lol spanish keyboards

Hermana Townsend (finally a real missionary in el campo!)

November 14

hola fam!!! I leave for the field in approximately 15 hours and they let us write yáll super quick!!
im al better from my cold and honestly I am just so super duper excited that I get to go teach real people. I gave a talk yesterday in Sacrament mtg which is always super scary cause they tell you to prepare one and then they call people right after the sacrament. But I talked on repentence and how important it is and how grateful I am for this process of changing and being happier and becoming more like our Savior Jesus Christ.

Really quick, a scripture I just found and loved:
Helaman 5:47 Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.

Jesus Christ is my Savior and literally the only name under heaven whereby we can be saved. Guys, this is seriously the Work of the Lord, I know it with everything that i am and I am praying for you all every single day so you can be strengthened and know it like I am learning to.

With whatever you are doing right now, or struggling with or have questions about, remember this: Whether you say you CAN, or you CAN´T, you´re right. Believe in God and that He literally has all power in the heavens and in the earth and in every tiny thing you are going through. I know he lives and is so concerned about our lives. He loves you so much. Have faith in him and in yourself that you can reach your goals and all your dreams.

Love you all so much
Next time we talk, I´ll be a real missionary!!
Hermana Townsend
November 9

Dang I´m really going to miss the CCM! There has been so much spirit here and heavenly help and teachers who love us and who want the absolute best for us, and will push us to do our best. The Lord puts the people in your path that he knows you need, but sometimes you´ve gotta grab an opportunity to talk to those people. I havent really had an experience like that yet, but I leave for the field in 6 dias and I can´t wait to talk to literally everyone, even with my very very mediocre spanish!

Had a first this week: Filling up an entire notebook? Who does that? But there are so many things so learn and experiences to write down, it was pretty incredible lol. I got strep throat last week and caught a cold after that, but its all good, sometimes I really need to be humbled and patient with myself. I love Spanish and grammer is so much easier than English, if you ever want to learn, which you all should.

We had a devotional last night from a member of the quorm of the 12 apostles, (the leaders of our church who are called of God) and he talked about the amazing passages of scriptures about the Savior´s doctrine and especially his atonement in the Book of Mormon. The scriptures have been coming alive to me here. Every page is like a treasure box that I get to find something new.

Alma 7:11-13 describes exactly how much the Savior loves us and how he knows exactly what we are feeling all the time. I have such a huge testimony of my Savior and I know that He lives and loves us and this is his work. I´ve got to do it his way.

Love you all! Have a fantastic week!
Hermana Townsend

Week 4

November 2

(editor note...I think Rach is typing on a Spanish keyboard, and/or trying to type quickly, so I've decided to stop editing and just enjoy the emotions behind the words :))

heyy mama!!! so many cool things happened and learned this week!! i taught my comp and a couple other sisters your Seek Ye First round and we sing it like every night and its the best and i love it and it makes me miss yall so much! Maybe ill teach em the food song too! Also, there´s been a big empahasis on ancestors this week and how they are our guardian angels and protecting us and cheering us on from the other side and its awesome. so thanks for sharing your stories about Grandma Olsen and how youve felt her cause it just makes it all seem so much more real to me. I love teaching the plan of salvation cause i know its true and i can feel their efforts from the other side. ALso, im not like 100% sure but its whatevs, i love this scrupitre.. if you still need one for my plague haha. Alma 32:41 (or42) its the second to last verse in the chapter and its kinda long but i love the diligence and faith required to bring to pass so much good.

Love you!! Ill say more in my groupo email!!

Group email
This week i totally increased my faith that God is still a God of miracles. I was made Sister District Leader this week.. which is a lot less exciting than it sounds lol. I get to carry around a box of medicine and hand out "drugs" when people are sick haha. But I also have to go to the leadership meetings which are totally and completely in Spanish. I went to the first one this sunday and barely understood the gist of the meeting. I went back upstaris and almost cried, but i turned to the scriptures instead. I opened the Book of Mormon to Mormon 9 which is talking about Miracles and how God has not ceased to be a God of miracles. It was literally the exact thing i needed to hear. Im seriously gonna need a miracle to be able to speak and understand this crazy language and i know that God will provide one if i put in my part and study nonstop lol. Honestly just in 4 weeks, ive had the hardest and best days in my life. Don´t really know how that makes sense but it does and i love it.

My comp is an opera singer too, btdubs and shes really good and it was so crazy and awesome to hear her finally break out in song!!!

Couple sweet quotes from the week from my amazing district and/or devotionals:

"See the wickedness of the world and decide to be different"
"We need to engraven the word of God and Christ´s name on our hearts and then share it with others"
"Every good prayer starts with repentence"
"Become and EPISTLE of the Lord"

Take those how you may, but to me, they mean that we all have an amazing opportunity to share the good news of the gospel with everyone and a responsibility too. I love being a missionary and I can´t wait to go find real people in less than two weeks!!

3 Nephi 13:33 - Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Love yáll, Go forth and be amazing!!

Hermana Townsend
October 25

I really want to start with cool spanish but i feel like i can barely even say hola right now..

Anyway, this week has been awesome but today was probably the best by far. We just got back from a tour of downtown Guatemala City which is crazy and idk exactly what i was expecting but, i was a little intimidated. We got to walk around this market place and go to Wendy´s which was glorious lol, but my favorite part was talking to real live people! We got to go into this central square sort of thing and hand out copies of the book of mormon. If you´ve never had a chance to read that book, i promise it will change your life. Ask my family or any Mormon for a copy if you´d like to read one. Anyway, my companion and I felt a tad awko taco just walking into the square and starting to talk to random people so we stopped by a lightpost and said a quick prayer to be able to speak and understand Spanish and to find people who were honestly searching for truth. A couple people were looking at us kinda funny and i kinda felt like they were the ones we needed to talk to. there were these three middle-aged ladies and a child feeding the pigeons (that were Everywhere lol) but we just shared the last two paragraphs of the introduction with them and it kinda hit me how even right there in two paragraphs, these people read words that they have probably never heard before and ive had the privilege of knowing all my life. These simple truths that God loves us indivially and wholly and that His church and the truth is on the earth are so readily avaliable. i feel so incredibly lucky to be able to share that with these humble people. Their faces got brighter as we were reading and they were so surprised that we wanted to give them the book for free. And I could understand casi toda (almost all) of what they were saying. YAY ESPAÑOL!!

We started learning español grammer this week and my brain has felt like exploding pretty much every day but its wonderful and i wouldnt rather be anywhere else. Our Latino friends who have been here for my first three weeks left this morning at like 3 am and i already miss them so much, and honestly we could communicate with them so minimally lol. But we get new ones and a bunch of new Nort-os (north americans) tomorrow too. Im so excited to help teach them and get them pumped for the MTC cause it is seriously like one of my fav buildings ive ever been in. The spirit is so incredibly strong all the time and I love it. Also, people are singing or playing the piano all the time which is how i feel the spirit the strongest so its awesome.

I love Guatemala, I love how happy this gospel makes me and I can´t say enough how happy I am to be un misionera for la iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de Los Ultimos Dias. I know this gospel is true. And i know that God loves you!

Keep being awesome people!!

Hermana Townsend

Week 2

October 19, 2016

Hola! I literally almost just got run over 4 times and almost got eaten by an enormous ant. Okay that's exaggerating a little, but not that much. Guatemalans are cray cray and I absolutely love them all.

This week has been exciting, interesting, and I have come to love the CCM so much! The spirit is so incredibly strong throughout this entire building it feels like I'm on cloud nine from the moment I wince my eyes open at 6:30 to the second I fall asleep. Cool little miracle that happened last night: I was crawling into bed right at 10:30 (cause being obedient is easy when you´re incredibly tired every single day:) when my chest started to feel like it was pretty much caving in. I honestly don´t know why but my companion (who is a nurse) told me this morning that it probably was something called Angina, which is just like a stress response but could get worse and lead to respiratory failure if the person gets scared and can't breathe and such lol. Anyway, I just tried to breathe normally and slowly and calm myself down for like 20 min cause I really didn't want to wake up my companion or try to wake up the president to go get some elders to give me a blessing.. So I basically poured my heart out to God in prayer and just plead with him to let me breathe and sleep for the 8 hours I needed, and at 6:30, if I was still dying, I´d ask for a blessing. I honestly can´t remember actually feeling relief and falling asleep, but I woke up this morning with no pain and just a testimony that God answers prayers. even and maybe especially simple fervent prayers where His children sincerely need his help. I know our heavenly Father hasn´t forgotten about me down here in the middle of nowhere in Guatemala, and I testify that he hasn´t forgotten about you. If there is something you need in your life or a question you need answered or you just need to feel love, I would urge you to pray, even a simple prayer, and I know Heavenly Father will answer your prayer.

We had a devotional from the area president down here in Central America. I think his name is Kevin Duncan? Anyway, he talked about the phrase for missionaries ´´Teach Repentance, Baptize Converts´´ which I really liked and honestly hadn´t heard before. I think sometimes in the church the word ´´repentance´´ has a bad rep and we don't talk about it in the right way. But he described it not as suffering or punishment or even just the feeling of remorse, but as a CHANGE. A turning around and back to the path of happiness. turning away from our sins and don´t ever turn back. I love that description and it makes repentance seem like such a happy process. If we teach and talk about repentance in that way, it will seem like such a better thing and we will all be able to be relieved of any guilt or pain from our sins. And the way to that happiness is through the Savior.

This is God´s mission, not mine and I know His hand is guiding my every step, so long as I trust in Him and remember him the whole time. I love you all and I know that this is where I need to be right now.

I don't have time to translate that - stick it into google translate lol cause its incredible and I know it's true and I'm trying to live by it every day.
LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!! write me!!

Hermana Townsend<33

Mosiah 4:9 Creed en Dios; creed que él existe, y que creó todas las cosas, tanto en el cielo como en la tierra; creed que él tiene toda sabiduría y todo poder, tanto en el cielo como en la tierra; creed que el hombre no comprende todas las cosas que el Señor puede comprender.

October 12, 2016
I´m alive!! And literally have like 8 min but here goes nothing. It is absolutely glorious down here. I've actually been able to stay mostly vegetarian this week, especially with all the american food lol. Okay the Gift of Tongues is real. That is Mormon vocab for the amazing spiritual power that comes when you are preparing to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in another language. I love Spanish so much and I know that it is way important to teach everyone here in Guatemala in their own language. We taught our first investigator (who is actually just my teacher in a tshirt lol) on day 3 so okay? but The spirit was so incredibly strong. I had a really strong impression that I need to remember this mission is about the people I'm going to teach and not about me, although I know I will be changed in the process.

Guys this gospel is so true. There are people here that have helped me already in ways no one else could and I know Heavenly Father orchestrated that perfectly. I have such a testimony of the work that I am privileged to do and I can´t wait to actually speak real Spanish and teach real people in the field.

Times up. I love you all!! The church is true.

Mosiah 4:30, if you get a chance is amazing and was so good for me to hear this week.

Hermana Townsend (:

I'm Alive!

October 5

MAMA!!!! AND FAMILIA!! I´m alive!!! <<<<<<<<<<and im in guatemala!! <that flight was crazy and im on a spanish keyboard right now so i reaally have no idea what im doing. <everyone is talking in spanish and telling us to go this way and that and i already had an interview with the MTC president and I LOVE IT HEREE!!! GUATEMALA IS SO AWESOME!!! <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<the spirit is so strong and even though ive only had approximately 3 hours of sleep in the past 28 hours, <i feel so alive and happy and <i know Im supposed to be here.

<there were like 30 missionaries with me on that flight from LA to Guate and we´re all now really great friends as we discover how to get around and speak spanish and struggle together. The Lord has seriously trusted the small and weak ones to bear his gospel, but i know he will make us all strong. I´m so thankful for prayers and for the protection of the HG and know the LOrd is smiling as I´m struggling to find my way around. I can´t wait to speak spanish oh my goodness!!

Okay I have to get off and go unpack and take a nap before lunch. I LOVE YOU ALL. sorry for my terrible spelling and grammar. I´ll get better at these keyboards someday. <talk to you later this week!!!

Hermana Townsend (cause I have a legit nametag now!!) <<333