February 18, 2014

Not That Easily Persuaded

The other day Travis and I were at the Despensa getting some groceries.  I stepped outside to wait with Emree while Travis paid for our things.  As I was standing there a man rode up on his bike.  He asked me a question about my stroller and then asked me where I was from.  I told him Utah, in the U.S. and he said "Oh I know where that is, I'm from Texas." I proceeded to try and keep the conversation at a general level, but he blurted out "Are you Mormon?"  I said yes and he went on to say how the Mormon church is of the devil and tried to persuade me in every possible way that it was not true. 
 He said he knows all about the Mormon church, because he's studied it.  "I know all about your underwear, your book, your temples. Those men you call prophets they are liars and deceivers, they are of the devil.  They look like kind men, but they are evil."  I felt very defensive at this moment trying to explain that the prophets are very good men, but he just kept going on and on trying to convince me that it was filth.

By the time he was in a whole in depth conversation with himself about things I had never heard of, Travis had come out from the store.  We told him, you are entitled to your opinion and started walking away as he called out to us, "but it's not my opinion it's truth." 

I was very irritated by this man, but I couldn't help, but smile.  He was fully convinced that he was going to persuade me in not believing in the LDS church. He had no idea what it really means to be converted, what it means to be a member of God's church.  Standing there listening to this man I felt like the words were washing over me, not even making a dent and I realized something.  It's not just about being a member of the church that makes you converted. It is devoting your life, your whole heart to our Savior, Jesus Christ.  When you are close to your savior, you are truly converted and no amount of persuasion can keep you from doing the right thing. 

You can't just be a member, you can't just go to every activity, you can't just read the scriptures and pray, your whole heart needs to be in it.  You have to want to make those steps, you have to have a great love for the Lord and once you have that, you will not be easily persuaded.

I felt that love of our Savior talking to this man, not because of the words he was saying, but because I knew without a doubt that we have the truth.  The spirit testifies to me every day of the great love of our Father in Heaven and the truthfulness of this gospel. It's important to do all that the lord asks and that includes going about it with full purpose of heart. You can be converted to a church, but that doesn't mean you are converted to Christ.

 My heart is full and I feel so blessed.  I love the lord with all of my heart.  I will go and do whatever the lord asks of me.  I know we are here at this time for a purpose, to serve and share the gospel.  I can't express it as well as I would like, but I deeply know that this church is true.  I know the Book of Mormon is true, that Christ suffered for our sins and that he lives! I know that I can make a difference and no matter how big or small my actions may seem, I know that I can be an example and a light in the lives of those around me! I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true and living church on this earth and I will not be easily persuaded to believe otherwise.

February 10, 2014

Life in Guatemala

We've had some fun times so far in this beautiful place. Here is what life is like in Guatemala: 

Emree poses for her photo shoot :) 

After the photo shoot a few days later.  Emree got a little confident in her ability to step down off the side walk and face planted it, but she is still as happy as can be. 

 Uncle JC and Emree spending some quality time together. 

Emree has made a lot of new friends while we've been here. Cheena (the girl who is holding her, excuse the spelling) is her buddy :) 

Karen and Bruce made it safe and sound a few days ago and are enjoying their new life so far here in Pana. 

Taxi! :) 

Father, Son time! 

A view of Lake Atitlan

There are dogs everywhere, this one reminded of Jake.

The ladies I have met here are so kind and loving. We've met some amazing people. 

A boy playing with his dog. 

A family walking down the street probably on their way to church. 

One of the many markets/tiendas. 

Now, here's something you don't see in the U.S. This is how most people travel around town. 

If you need a quick ride somewhere here is your taxi a "took took." I think they are so cute! :) 

Travis, looking like a missionary, just missing the name tag.

Beautiful hillside

Daddy Daughter Time. Emree loves her Daddy. 

This is part of our walk home everyday. 

Travis with his new glasses. Looking good! 

One place to get your fruits and veggies. 

Soccer is a big deal here. This is where the kids come to play at the end of the day. 

Fruit Lady

A Mom with her two kids.

Home Sweet Home

Outside our apartment

Emree playing with a new friend.

Casa Colonial 

We're almost ready to open up. Just a few more weeks and we are on our way! :) 

We feel so blessed to live in such a beautiful place with so many great people and to be having this great adventure together. :) 

February 5, 2014

Opening Doors

Sometimes we have so much we want to do that we look at our lives and say, there is no way we will ever be able to do it all.  We shove our dreams aside and say to ourselves "we will NEVER be able to do it, because we CAN'T and WON'T be able to afford it." But what happens if you change that idea?  What happens when you look at your life and the goals and things your want to do, and say "I may not be able to do it right now, but with time I WILL get there and I WILL do it." 

Small-open-doorI have learned a pretty cool lesson this past year that has to do with this idea.  There were plenty of times where I had a want and I said to myself "we CAN'T afford it" or "we WON'T be able to do that."  In studying Stress Management I learned that by saying these things like: can't, won't, never...you stop yourself from allowing things to come to you.  You are creating a hole where your desires fall through and it's like those things will never come to you.  But if you allow them to come to you by saying things like: I will and I can into your vocabulary and mindset often, you allow yourself to open doors that you thought could never be possible. 

There were times when we were in the U.S that I thought there is no way we can afford all the things we need as well as our wants.  I would shove myself in a corner, so to speak, and make myself miserable by creating that hole where I would not allow things to come to me.  Once I realized what I was doing, I began to switch that idea around and I found that we had enough to afford our needs as well as our wants.  It's all about allowing yourself to accept those great blessings. 

The lord grants the desires of our hearts we just need to allow ourselves to accept those gifts and say that "I AM worth it, I CAN have those gifts, I CAN have those things that I want, I CAN accomplish my goals."  

Even moving to Guatemala was one of those moments where I thought it's not possible, how will it all work out?  I've always wanted to travel and learn about different cultures, but I had that idea that money was the key to traveling and that I would NEVER be able to afford it.  Well, look at us now.  We were able to afford moving to a new country and now I am learning about a new culture, learning Spanish and having adventures I kept myself away from.  Switching that idea made all the difference. When I came to realize that the lord does understand me and knows the desires of my heart, I allowed myself to open doors.

February 3, 2014

So Much Beauty All Around

It's been a crazy few weeks making such a big adjustment to a new place.  I've spent a lot of time just trying to get through the day, listening to people and trying to understand them, but most of all just enjoying being here.

Sometimes we take for granted all the beauty that is around us. What a blessing it is to hear the birds, to see the mountains and beautiful flowers.  What a blessing it is to look around at all the beautiful creations the lord has provided for us to enjoy.

For the past few days I've had this song called "I am his daughter" on repeat on my playlist.  It is a beautiful song reminding us of our beauty as women and that we are daughters of a loving heavenly father who loves each one of us no matter who we are.

The beauty that I am enjoying here is not just the landscape, it's the beauty of the people around me. I had this idea ever since I was little that people in a different culture or country were completely different from me. Even though I knew that that wasn't true, it was hard to comprehend.

Watching the people pass by the hotel I can see they have so much beauty about them.  They want to be loved, they want to feel good, they want to be happy and they want to know that they are not alone.  They want to feel the love of our Savior, of our Father in Heaven.  And despite the mistakes they make, they shine with the light of Christ just like you and me.

Take a  look around at people you work with, your family, your friends, a stranger on the street...what a blessing it is to be on this earth, to be able to love and to be loved, to be able to serve and to enjoy the great gifts that the lord has given to us.

Can you see it?  There is so much beauty all around! :)

Here is the link to the song I was talking about: