Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Monday, June 29, 2015

Just an update, I'm all gee with my ankle. Xrays showed up and I'm all good. I can walk normally without any pains, but it's still not normal. It hurts a little to sit crosslegged ... which is my favorite sitting position but that's okay. Anyway, this past week was great like any other week with Hermana Maltos :D We've seen a lot of miracles. It's a little hard right now because we don't have too many investigators nor references from members, so we've been contacting a lot. Rafael cabrera has a baptism date for Sunday July 11 but we'll see how that goes because we still have a few things to teach and that he needs to do. Also, we have a family who is golden! The only problem is that because they own their own business, they don't have a lot of time. But they have a sincere interest and our bishop is good friends with them and has been talking about the church with them so it's slow going and we teach when we find them at home, but they are super amazing and are prepared for something great in the church :D maybe future stake president :D

As a missionary, you have many awesome opportunities to meet new people and to be able to teach them and get to know a little about their stories. If there's one thing that I can say about the members here is that although they are few, they are very strong. One of the gifts that the Lord has given me is to hear the stories about the members and investigators. If you ask the right questions and follow the spirit, they open up and tell you their story. And wow, it's an amazing thing to discover. Sometimes the stories are sad and you want to cry with them. For example, when a wife and mother of three tells you her husband has another woman who is pregnant. Or when their child passed away a couple years ago and it still hurts them. But then you hear the conversion stories and realize that these people, although having had trials, discovered the gospel and the happiness that it brings to the family. And that's when you realize that there is hope. and that's when you can truly testify to your investigators that there is hope, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, there are the open arms of the Savior waiting for them. And when you see them walking toward those arms, whether or not they get baptized when you are still around, that's what I love about the mission. That's when you can rejoice. D&C18:10, 15 I believe talks about the joy you can feel when you see them walking toward the Savior. 

I hope that this week we can all look for someone who is struggling and give them this hope and this light: the gospel. Sometimes we don't have a lot of physical materials to offer to meet their needs. But we do have the gospel and the Lord does have his promised blessings for us D&C14:7. The greatest gift we have to offer with Him is eternal life. And it doesn't matter if this person is active in the church, or someone who doesn't know about it. I invite you all to look for that person and help them along. It may be a process, it may not. But it's our job to look for them.

Thank you all for all your love and support! Love you all and enjoy the summer break! 

Love, aloha, y amor,
Hermana Ho

It’s not like you guys need these pics because you always get to see the beach, hahaha but here's what we did a couple minutes ago before we came to email

and more pics of us...

a structure in the capital ... idk what it means but its nice! 

our zone activity ... where I hurt my ankle hahaha but after the volleyball, they brought out some water balloons! Or i should say some regular sized balloons full of water! Everyone was soaked by the end!

I tried to take a picture of the twins lol they had matching shirts. This is elder aquino, he's dominican. Right as I said "three!" a huge bucket of water was thrown at them! 

Elder Aquino and Elder Gomez are the best! They are the office elders and are like my bros :) Elder Gomez is from Guatemala and Elder Aquino from the DR. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hakuna Matata

It means no worries!! Me and my comp might've sung that a couple times this week ... hahaha but it's okay. First of all, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to the best dad ever!! thanks for all that you have done for me and thefamily and for supporting me in my choices. I love you and wish I could video chat with you for this grand moment, but ... sorry, we know which gender is better :D just kidding! Love you dad!! 

Also, Congrats Ammon on receiving the M. Priesthood! I write it like that because I forgot how to spell it ... sorry. But that's so special! I'm learning more and more here in the mission the importance and grand responsibility it means to be worthy to possess this power of God. Use it wisely and always represent it, as you are know capable of doing many more miracles in the Lord's hands. 

So this past week was a little slow... we might've stayed in for a day cause of my ankle. Just to let you know, I'm getting some xrays done on it just to make sure that everything is okay. 

But yeah, slow week, physically. Man, i hate not being able to walk fast. But it's okay. The Lord knew I needed another lesson in humility and patience. So that's what I'm learning. And our ward here has taken a big turn around and has become very motivated to help us in the missionary work. We don't know what happened, but whatever it is, its good for us! 

So I'll take some time to talk about some experiences that I've had. First, when me and hermana Maltos were contacting a couple weeks back, we weren't having too much success. As we passed by an apartment building, an older man called out to us and asked us if we were okay. So we contacted him and were able to get a return appointment with him. his name is Rafael. I didn't know how much success we would have with him, but the Lord knows what his children need. And since the time we have contacted him, he came to church these past 2 sundays! And the 2nd time, in a white shirt and black pants (we hadn't even told or asked him to wear that!!). So we have a baptism date set for him on July 4th!

We have another elderly man who is also learning. Every time we pass by his house, we share outside and he likes to talk a lot. But he's a cute little man and he also has a date for the 4th! He has been through a lot of long days because he works all night as a watchman and so for him to come to church at 9am is a little hard. But he's done it once so far! 

Also, we are teaching a young woman called Shyna. She's 14 years old and has a ton of support from her YW president ... but not much from her family. But we are working so that she can be baptized in August. the only thing is that we need to share with her fmaily so that they can at least support her in keeping her covenants. 

These are only some of the few wonderful people that I have the opportunity to visit and get to know, but most important, get to share the gospel with. i've also learned a lot from my wonderful sister and companion hermana maltos. And I can truly testify that this is the true church of Jesus Christ that has been restored by our prophet Joseph Smith. There is a general conference talk from this past april that is titled something like "is it still wonderful to you?" and it talks about the restoration. I invite you all to read it and to study on the restoration. and then share it because it truly is a wonderful work and a glory to behold and to see it unfold. 

Thank you all for your love and support, your prayers, emails and letters. I'm sorry that I haven't had time to respond to you all or to write correct English, but please know that I remember you all and the roles you have played in my life, in my conversion. It doesn't matter if we only met for a couple seconds or for a couple months. What matters is that you have helped me to become who I am today and I thank you for that. Love you all and have a great week!

Love, aloha, y amor,
Hermana Ho

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hey guys! So this past week was amazing! Thank you so much for sending the packaged and for looking for the mosquito repellent. I appreciate it! And no worries, it isn't a big hurry. I get bit anyway, with or without the repellent. Yups, lets just say that I'm going every day with a lot of prayers lol. As of right now, there aren't any sicknesses going around. But there is a lot of heat, so I'm still drinking tons of water (dad) and resting when I can. The heat exhaustes us easily and by Sunday, I can barely walk lol. But it's all good :D I love the feeling that comes after a nice long day of hard work. 

I'm glad that you guys were able to go to the temple! I wish that I could go more often. I think i might only have 2 more chances to go to the temple and see the session in spanish. And that is so cool! To see and understand it in spanish has brought a lot of things into my perspectiv, believe it or not. I know we always learn from being in the temple, but wow, it's been pretty cool! 

As Hermana leader, there are a few more responsibilities, but I love them. It makes me feel like I'm giving a little back to the mission. I know I will never truly be able to pay back the mission for all that it has given me, spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, so this responsibility makes me feel a little better, like I can help just a little more. We have a few extra meetings (which I love going to!) and we also have exchanges to do with the other sisters in our zone... which there are only 2 out of the 20 of us. But they are super great and we really don't need to worry too much about watching out for them. 

And yes, dad, i thought of you and how the temple is the end goal. I'm sorry that maybe this mission is a few steps behind your brillant mind, hahaha!! But yes, I really have thought of it since the beginning of my mission, about the temple being the end goal. Really! But now in the mission they are putting more goals so that it is one big goal that everyone is working towards. There is a new policy too that we aren't allowed to teach kids unless we teach the parents with them. And as for couples, we have to teach them together in order for one to get baptized. So things really are changing here in our mission. And it's renewed my excitement. 

Not gonna lie, being a missionary isn't easy. But when things are going good, they are amazing! I have an amazing companion, an area with a lot of potential, and a lot of good ward members to work with. Now, we know that there must needs be an opposition in all things. Yups, the only thing holding us back is that we are SOOOO tired!!! All the time! it really sucks. Our minds and hearts want to work, but our bodies rebel against us. It sucks. And today, for PDay, I kinda rolled my ankle.  We were just playing volleyball! And it was according to the rules too! I even landed on an elders shoulder and that knocked the wind outta me. But then what happened? I jumped up and when i came down, my ankle just rolled.So shame. and I'm mad. But No worries, I can still walk. It's just swollen. So I'm gonna elevate it, put some ice on it, and wrap it when I'm not using it. DON'T PANIC DAD!! I'm OK!! hahaha still feeling ridiculous, but ok. 

Anyway, a little about my area. I'm in the city, basically the capital, Santo Domingo. But my area is called Via Francisca. It's actually 2 big areas, because there were 6 missionaries that were in this area before they took out four. So, it's a big area. A little more crazier than my other areas that I've been in, and a lot faster paced. It's crazy! But I'm closer to everything! It's beautiful! I don't need to worry too much about not having water, I can take a real shower, with a shower head and not a bucket, we almost always have electricity. Wonderful! And the members are super nice. There are some that work more with us than others, but I love them all just the same. It's a little hard to work with them, just because they have jobs, families, and are studying, all at the same time. So we don't really leave too much with the members because they don't have time. But it's okay, we understand. 

As for our investigators, they are great. We are working with one lady who has a smoking problem and loves her cup of coffee every morning. ... to the point she even said she won't get baptized. But we keep trying. Another girl, who is 12, is super prepared for baptism and has a lot of support from the young women's program ... but since the new policy came out, we need to talk with our mission president to see if she can still get baptized because her family doesn't want to listen to us. the rest are kinda new, but we have a lot of families we are trying to work with and are finding a lot of inactive members. We really are using all the things our mission president has told us to apply in the mission, and boy we are seeing miracles! It's pretty awesome! 

Anyway, I want to send some pics to you all, so I'll end by saying this: look for those who haven't been to church in a while. We've encountered some who want to come back to church, but don't have the stewardship they need or want from the members. It's kinda sad to see, but it's true. So I invite you all to help out the missionaries with finding less actives and helping them return to the fold, because they need the blessings of the church too.

Love you all and thank you for your love and support and for updating me with everything. Take care and have a great week!

Love, aloha, y amor,
Hermana Ho

P.S. Love you mom and dad! Thanks for all that you guys do for me, and for emailing me every week, even though you might have a lot to do or you are tired. i really do appreciate it. Know that I love you and I always share about you guys! Btws, mom, a lot of people in this area think you are my cousin or sister because you look so young! And unfortunately, they say I look like dad ... just kidding! hahaha love you guys and have fun this week with no school!

Monday, June 8, 2015

The end goal in sight

Hola! Thanks for the update on how everone is doing. I can´t believe that everyone is coming home already! And pretty soon, Karisa! And dad, about yuliana´s baptism, because we are just a group, we are technically a branch off of another ward. So that ward´s bishopric is who presides over everything we do. we have a group leader, but the bishop is the one who has the keys of our group, even though he may not always be in our group. So he came down with our group leader to get to know Yuliana and to talk with her mom and it was great because then he could get to know the person that was going to join into his branch. Also, because Yuliana is a little special, our mission president is the one that did the interview. And he was very impressed with Yuliana and even came to her baptism! 

So, this week has been amazing! and a little crazy.At first, I spent 2 days with another sister, Hermana Frias (she´s dominican) because some sisters in the mission are a little sick and president didn´t allow them to leave the house, even for transfers. So I was actually in another area with another sister for a couple of days until things got better and I could finally be with my sister! I have definitely enjoyed being with my sister again and our lessons have been awesome. Our district leader has challenged us to mention the temple in all of our lessons because, he explained, even though the baptisms are important, we actually want them to go to the temple, to endure to the end to be able to go there one day. and it´s true. If you think about it, having baptisms without having the temple as their end goal is like making a cake without sugar. It could still turn out okay, but it won´t be as sweet. I speak from experience too. I´ve had a few of my converts go inactive, and I don´t know why. Perhaps I didn´t teach them well enough about their end goal. But this week, in all of our lessons, we mentioned the temple and how that is the end goal that we, as missionaries, have for them, our dominican family. And each time, the spirit was very powerful and you could see them all thinking it over, the old and the young. And a lot of them have seen the temple here in the dominican republic, and know how beautiful it is. 

So this week, I invite you all to focus on the temple and what you can do each day to be able to go there. It doesn´t matter whether or not you have a temple recommend. I can promise you that there is something that we can do NOW to be able to go there one day, to enter, to make eternal covenants, and recieve the promised blessings our Father in Heaven has for us. That is our end goal. And we should always have this in our sight. And if you all feel like you are already doing something, then share about the temple with others. I realize now that a ton of people know what it is, members or not. Share with them about the beautiful building and invite them to start changing their lives to be able to do it. 

Thank you all for the letters, emails, and pictures! I love you all so much and hope that you have an amazing week! 

Love, aloha, y amor,
Hermana Ho

Pics in my new area :D

The beach was full of trash, but it was nice to smell the ocean again :D

Me and my sister

Monday, June 1, 2015

Dia de gozo luz y paz

Thanks so much mom for the pictures! I loved them all! 
Transfers are here! And you guys won’t believe what’s going to happen. I’m going to be back with Hermana Maltos!! It’s crazy right?! We’re both going to be Hermana leaders in the city of Gascue I believe … and we are going to rock it! Hahaha I’m so happy that I’m going to be with her! And I know that I will be happy with her :D I joke around with people here that the Lord is putting me back with her because I didn’t learn from her from those first two transfers we had together when we were first companions lol but I’m stoked, I really am. And thanks dad, I will take your advice into account.
As for this past week, not much happened until Saturday. Why? Because that’s when Yuliana was baptized! It was great! The night before, we went over to her house with our group leader and our bishop and we had the opportunity to talk with her mom, who had a lot of questions. I think the other sisters that are coming are going to start giving her the lessons. The thing is that it’s hard to tell if she’s interested in the message or if she’s just being nice. But I know that she fully supports her daughter’s decision to be baptized. So the next day, we had her baptism! It turned out pretty good! There were 3 or 4 other people that were baptized with her and it was all really good :D We even made her leis of chocolate and cookies, which is what she likes. Then the next day she was confirmed a member of the church. She’s been waiting a long time to get baptized and she’s made a lot of changes in her personal life and in her thinking in order to enter into the fold. I’m so proud of her and so happy for her! Even though I’m not too sure when the next time I see her will be, I know that I will see her again and it will be a sweet reunion.
In our ward yesterday, there was also a Polynesian brother and sister who came to visit. He had served his mission in the north of the DR and is staying with someone who is in our group. And it was so great to have four polys together, you have no idea how much I miss all the polys and their fun! So it was pretty sweet :D Then, we also went to say bye to some members who I got really close with, and then we contacted. I didn´t really want to, and neither did my comp, but we had nothing else to do because it was mother's day ... aka. everyone is not home or if they are, they are partying. So we contacted a couple of houses, and after a couple awkward moments, we came to a house and called out to the daughter inside. She went back and got her dad and before we could say a word or introduce ourselves, he comes right up to the gate, unlocks it, and invites us in. At first, we were kinda sketchy because no one just does that. But then we started talking and he's super nice and cool! We asked if his wife was home, and he went back and brought her to talk with us. So we got to talk to this cute little family and when we started talking about the gospel, it all just clicked for them! Well, for the parents. They just understood everything. And the dad and I just got each other. I can't really explain it, but I would say something, then he would build off of it, then I would, and so on. It was amazing! And definitely a miracle! And I'm kinda sad that I won't be able to see their progress and where they go. But I have a good feeling about these three. It was an amazing experience to talk with them.

Anyway, that was the highlight for this week. I have never been so stoked for a transfer as I have been for the one that is here! I'm so excited to be back with my mexican sister again! and I know I will be happy and I hope she will be too. It's been a while :) Thank you all for all of your love and support and for always being there for me. Keep being examples and sharing the gospel. Honestly, that is the best way to share the gospel is through your examples. People are more observant than we may think and I know that as you read this, there are people watching your actions and wondering what it is the makes you shine, that makes you happy. Love you all and have a great week!

Love, aloha, y amor,
Hermana Ho

Me and my zone!

Me, my comp and one of our old district leaders

Us four sisters and another of our old district leaders. It was only us four and his comp, so he was the ¨president of the relief society¨hahahaha

Me and a less active member, Doris, who finally came to church!

Me and Saul, our crazy group secretary

This is the sanchez family (the one who fb requested mom) and they are a big help! Well, the dad helps us out a TON!