Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Feliz Nuevo Año!!!


Happy Happy New Year!!! I can't believe how fast this year flew! I feel like every year of my life gets harder, but better at the same time. I'm in the decade of decisions... I'm excited that in 2014 I can make the decision to serve with all of my heart, might, mind and strength. 

I'm also setting a goal to avoid catching parasites in 2014... I couldn't take it anymore so I took a parasite test this morning (you guys know the drill) I won't go into detail.  Anyway, I went to district meeting this morning and then after the nurses walked in with this huge white garbage sack full of pills. I have 3 evil parasites, fungus stuff, and another bacteria (they aren't entirely evil because I've lost 15 lbs). The names of the parasites look like this: e. jsdfhjisfhuwef, f. jhsdfjhiosdf etc. But don't worry parents every missionary gets parasites here. Anyways, I feel like I will have pills to last me a lifetime and the nurses call them "bombas" for a good reason. For the first time in my life I am happy to take pills!! 

Are you guys excited for 2014?! I am!! I hope you all set meaningful goals that make it past March! I know you can do it! I love setting goals! I remember when I was little I thought they were called "New Year's Revolutions" instead of "Resolutions" sometimes I think it really does take a revolution to change. But hey, anything is possible! 

This weekend I had a testimony building experience... One of my recent converts passed away last night. Her name is Flora Chavez, she is member of the first family I baptised. She had cancer, was suffering and it was her time to go. On Sunday night we went to visit her. I felt such a sweet spirit there. We went into her room with the Bishop. She couldn't talk, but will all of her strength she reached her arm up and placed her hand on the Bishop's head. She wanted a Priesthood Blessing. I definitely felt the comforting power of the spirit. After we sang her favorite hymn, "I Am a Child of God". I thought about the Plan of Salvation and how I know its true. How comforting it is to know that I will see my loved ones one day. Then on Monday we got a call that she had passed away. 

This experience reminded me of when my Grandma Mary passed away. I can still remember walking down our little hallway with green carpet (I am glad the 90's are over) looking at my Dad crying. I remember him telling me that my Grandma had died late in the night, but that everything was okay because we were going to see her again. I love my Grandma, and I love that I get to see her again. When we got to the house I gave little Melani (Flora's granddaughter) a hug and reminded her of the sweet and perfect plan. I love this gospel. I love that I know where I came from, who I am, and where I am going!! 

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and that tonight on New Years you celebrate classily and cleanly... 

Make 2014 the best year yet!! Strive to be a representative of Jesus Christ in all times and places! Here is a quote that I love:

"We acknowledge that your path will at times be difficult. But I give you this promise in the name of the Lord: rise up and follow in the footsteps of our Redeemer and Savior, and one day you will look back and be filled with eternal gratitude that you chose to trust the Atonement and its power to lift you up and give you strength.   

My dear friends and brethren, no matter how many times you have slipped or fallen, rise up! Your destiny is a glorious one! Stand tall and walk in the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! You are stronger than you realize. You are more capable than you can imagine. You can do it now! Of this I testify in the sacred name of our Master " -President Uchtdorf

Hermana Minnick

P.S. Sorry for my scatter brain today, I blame it on the parasites.

SHOUTOUTS (I got a HUGE pile of letters):
Grandma Linda! I love your cards and I love you!
Tanner!!! I got the package! I cried when I saw the goldfish!! YOU ARE THE BEST!
Zane, I loved your letter! I'm so proud of you!
Grandpa John and Grandma Shirley! I LOVED the card! I love and miss you!!
Matthews Family
Hermana Bangerter
Hermana Alvarez
I LOVE YOU ALL...letters are coming back!

Our companions have never had Christmas,
so Hermana Ostler and I gave them one!

Oscar got baptized on Saturday,
he is going to be a great missionary!

Reunited and it feels so good!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas!

After 3 months of crossing this river,  I have finally learned the exact rocks to place my feet...This river is not clean. I call it "The Brown River" it smells like brown tambien.

Dearly Beloveds,

Okay, after you read this letter, this is what you are going to do:

1. Get in your toasty car with bum seat heaters and drive through the streets (be careful in the snow) until you find a companionship of missionaries freezing their toes off. Or better, if you know their number call them.
2. Don't honk at them (that will scare them)...roll down your window and invite them to your house. Make sure they know who you are so they aren't scared.
3. Give them hot chocolate and maybe even a Cafe Rio meal if you want to be realllyyy awesome.
4. Let them share a message about our Savior Jesus Christ with you so that you can remember the reason for the season. Relax and feel the spirit.
5. Ooppppss I forgot to put this first, but before you go searching for the missionaries: Pray. Think of someone in your neighborhood, ward or stake that needs the gospel or needs service. It could be a less active member, a recent convert, or someone who hasn't heard the greatest mesage they will ever hear. Think of 5 or so names and pray. After you pray, listen. When you have your person, get in your car to hunt down the missionaries.. or just call them. I cant remember what works better in the United States.
6. Continuing on...
7. After the missionaries share their really nice uplifting message and are just about to put a really big smile on their face and ask for a reference, you will cut them off and say, 

      "Elders or Hermanas, I have someone who I would like to visit with you." 

Good. You just made the missionaries day. And, you are beginning your new path to being a "full time member missionary". 
8. Next, plan with the missionaries what day and time you personally can go with them. Maybe you go and do a service project. Or give them the General Conference Ensign. The important thing is that you support this person or family and share what you know with love. Invite them to church, invite them to an activity, or to your family home evening! Be creative. I know you are intelligent, wonderful people. Pray to know how you can best help this person. 
9. Repeat.

I love Christmas time. I love that we celebrate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We can give just a little bit back by sharing His restored gospel with our loved ones during this Christmas season and this new year!! Set goals now to become a "full time member" in 2014, or better, today! 

I know that Jesus is the Christ! He lives and loves us!! Remember the reason of the season! Share the truth! Its the best gift you can give! 

If you don't know what to get someone, I'll tell you right now: A Book of Mormon with a bow. Its the perfect gift. If it's a girl, add a piece of chocolate-she'll love it. 

Anyway, I love you all!!! I love my mission! I get to see a personal firework show every night! Guatemala is awesome! 

Keep on keepin on,

Hermana Minnick

This is how the Guatemalans do it!

Milagros and Franklin!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Amados Hermanos Mios!

Saludes from Guatemala!

First some items of business...

1. I apologize for my letter last week.  I was being a whiner and a little bit negative.  A representative of Jesus Christ is neither of those.  Entonces, I have repented and I am sorry mom and dad if I scared you... I will try to censor my letters more. I'm trying to be as real as I can so that future missionaries can get a real taste of the mission life.

2. MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I hope you are freezing your toes off in Iceland.  I honestly keep forgetting it is Diciembre because it is getting hotter here.  There are palm trees and sunburns and then BAM I hear the Mariah Cary Christmas song blasting from some random house and I'm like, "What the?" Plus, they really love fireworks here and so it's really confusing me.  But hey, they are combining two of my favorite holidays...the 4th of July and Christmas. I get the best of both worlds! Christmas in Guatemala is beautiful!

Every week here has a theme. One week it was cockroaches jumping out at me, the next "call the sister missionaries fat week", this week? "Dog poop meets foot" 

I call em' Guatemalan land mines!

 This country contradicts the general conference talk that says, "It's better to look up." Yeah no.  I'm looking forward to when the theme of the week is "Baptism" or "Hey Hermana Minnick here is a golden reference, and another, and another!"  

Anyway, this week I had the goal to have a happier demeanor walking through the streets of Guatemala --- say hi to everyone and smile with my eyes.  I did a really good job for the first twenty minutes when de repente, I felt warm slosh running through the holes in my crocs.  (I was a croc hater before but if you're coming to Central American they are a must) This has happened four times and counting... watch out for the Guatemalan land mines people.  I learned:

1. I still need to look up and smile with my eyes but...

2. I've gotta stick with the black rubber boots.  (Thank you mom for the foot cream! Works like a charm!!)

I learned an even more important lesson this week and well I guess I have seen it my entire mission, but this week it hit me even harder as we were sharing The Family: A Proclamation to the World  with a struggling less active family.  This family has every material thing in the world they could want... pretty clothes, nice phones, cars, a beautiful home, everything.  But, I have never seen such sadness and contention in my life. They are so unhappy.  Why?  Because they are not living the gospel of Jesus Christ!  This Christmas you can receive every gift on your wish list, but I am telling you, if you aren't reading your scriptures, praying, keeping your covenants, or going to church, your life is going to be just a little bit harder. We can't find true and lasting happiness in the material things of this world. 

The greatest gift I have received in my life is the knowledge and conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He is the Savior and Redeemer of this world. He lived a perfect life, healed the sick, went about doing good and established His perfect gospel with prophets, apostles, and the holy priesthood. And, after a long time of spiritual darkness, because God loves us, He restored the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ again on the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. We have the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. There is a living prophet on the earth today!!!   What are the prophets and apostles teaching us?  

--Spouses, love and respect one another. 
--Teach children faith and who they can turn to when they need to repent. 
--Pray and read the scriptures together. 
--Go to the temple! 
--Share the gospel, share the truth! The truth is the greatest gift we can receive and after we have received it, share it with others.

I love my mission! I'm learning a lot of good lessons! This past Saturday we got to go to the temple!!!!!!!  I don't think I can adequately describe how extremely happy I felt!!!  It was AWESOME!!!!  Why?

1. As we were pulling up my companion saw the missionary that baptized her 6 years ago. There were a lot of happy tears! I hope I can have experiences with my recent converts one day!

2. The food there rocked!

3. I got cold for the first time on my mission.

4. All of the sudden I heard "HERMANA MINNICK, HERMANA MINNICK!!"  I thought it was just the Elders in my zone trying to play a trick on me so I didn't turn around.  But then Hermana Arevalo said, "Hermana Minnick, who is that tall white kid running through the parking lot?" I turned around and there was Elder Rodgerson! The first thing I said was, "OUR MOMS ARE GOING TO DIE!" He is doing well Kristi!! We love and miss you both!

5. I GOT TO ENTER THE TEMPLE AFTER A LONG 6 MONTHS!! I love the peace, comfort and revelation we can receive there! 

Anyway, I hope you are all happy and healthy! Family, I can't wait to talk to you in 9 days!!

Hermana Minnick

Shout out:
Congratulations to Lauren, Josh and Jimmy for breaking my grape record.... I'll beat you next year. You better keep practicing!
Note from Tami -- this is what we do at the Minnick Family Christmas Party....see how many grapes we can shove in our mouths.  Whitney WAS the reigning champion, now the title goes to her cousin Josh--sad day for Whit!  :)  I sent Whit a very short video of the contest!  

This is for Mom and Kristi -- WE LOVE YOU!

My Cute Companion!

I love the TEMPLE...A LOT!
The most beautiful Temple....

Calling All Nations!

This was probably the best day in my mission so far!

When I saw this, I shed a tear!

My worst enemy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Feliz Navidad

After many awesome weeks, this week was a rough one. But that is just life, ya know? We have to have our down days to appreciate the good ones. I think I hit my 6 month dump (I just made that up).  My body got tired this week.  But I am so thankful for the power of prayer and that when I ask Heavenly Father to push me up this hill because I think I can't take one more step, He does. I am blessed. 

As hard as this week was, we still saw miracles. Little Chepe was baptized. I loved seeing his face as he entered the pila. He was so excited. It reminded me of the covenants that I have made and how I need to be more excited about promises I have made with my Heavenly Father. 

Honestly, I am so thankful to be here sharing the message of the restored gospel and testifying of my Savior Jesus Christ! He lives and loves us. As we rely on His atoning sacrifice, we can and will receive peace and true happiness in our lives!

I loved the Christmas Devotional yesterday!  Hermana Ostler and I made friends with the stake president and he let us watch it in English. He loves talking in English to us. He said,

"If you want something done, talk to the boss." 

We made friends with the right guy.  It was so great to hear the prophets voice! 

Anyways, I love you all!  Please remember why we are celebrating this Christmas season!  Serve and love others!!! Thank you for all of the prayers and support!!

Much love,
Hermana Minnick

This was a happy moment!
Feliz Navidad!

This is Chepe!
He comes from a family of a million niños and an abuela
that are recent conversos. Last week I saw them all and I thought,
"I wonder if they are all baptized?"
(that is a regular thought of mine becuase I'm a missionary pues)
Anyway, he is seriously the cutest little guy.
He gives me flowers every time I come.

There are a dozen more niños but they were running wild...

Our stake president called me "chapinga" -- Half chapina, half gringa.

Bug bites and Tan Lines!

This is Alejandra. She has 104. We walked past and I walked over because
she was attempting to sweep the garbage into another pile of garbage.
Anyway, she let me help her sweep and I thought I did a really good job becuase I am Jay and Tami Minnick’s daughter and they taught me how to sweep right.. Well, apparently my sweeping job wasn’t good enough... long story short there were like 5 different piles of garbage and not a garbage can in sight. I hope you can make sense out of this. I can’t speak English anymore.

I've never been so excited to have a Christmas Tree!
(Note from Tami:  She has a copy of Jesus the Christ on her desk...I used that same copy on my mission.  I ALSO love that she has vitamins and bug spray.  I think I am going to send her some Permethrin.  That will kill everything!) 

Thanks to whoever helped my mom make this banner!!!! :)
(Note from Tam:  THANKS TONI NILSON, and did you notice she KNEW I didn't make it!  LOL!  No crafts around this place~)  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Holidayyyyyssssss!

So, it was a sad moment in my mission when I woke up, saw that is was Dia de Gracias, ran to the fridge and saw:

1. A rotting clementine

2. A version of a cockroach

3. Mayonnaise (They love that stuff here)

I will admit I had a moment of despair. Yes, I am eating worse than a college student. However, we did have the pleasure of eating McDonald's on Thanksgiving. I got chicken nuggets if you were wondering...

This week was awesome. Crazy. Fun. Scary. All of the adjectives you can think of in a bundle. My companion had changes. It was really sad. But, then came my new wonderful companion Hermana Hurtado!   She is from Nicaragua. I have the best luck in the mission because I am getting all of the hardest working companions in the world.  I was a little stressed this week because I had to show my companion around our ginormous area and plan a baptism.  But, surprisingly everything went really well. I understand now why we have changes as missionaries... I'm pretty sure in this last week of my mission I have grown double time. I love being a missionary. It is simply the best. 

Great and not so great things that happened to me this week:

1. I SCORED A GOAL today playing futbol!  Plus, I was playing against professional latino missionaries. I also obtained some rad farmers' tan lines.

2. Jose Roberto was baptized. He comes from the Familia Maldonado. That family has been in the church for YEARS. He was a little stubborn, but man am I thankful that the spirit is the teacher and not me! I am excited to see him go on a mission!

3. We were sitting on a curb teaching a mom and her little girl when de repente the little girl squatted down and peed on my foot. This is not a joke.

4. I had one of those moments where I was like, "Hey, I am speaking Spanish.This is so weird."

5. We now have a shower head and water comes out of it. Cold water, but I am counting my blessings. (Hermana Ostler got mad at me because I was singing God Bless America in the shower.)  If I become the President of Guatemala I will put hot water heaters in every house.  #voteforme

6. La asistencia of our barrio went up! (attendance)

7. The Young Women's President told me that if I didn't fix my hair I would scare away my investigators.

8. I learned how to tortear. (Make tortillas by hand)

9. I mastered crossing the two rivers to Wachipaling without getting wet.

10. My testimony grew and my faith in the Lord's work strengthened.

I am loving my adventure here in Guatemala. I am learning that this is the Lord's work and His work only. I am only an instrument in His hands. I am learning to accept His will. I am learning to keep His commandments. Sometimes I don't always understand why, but, I just know that He loves us and He has His plan. If we trust in Him everything will be okay. 

I am so blessed to be a servant of my Savior Jesus Christ during this beautiful month of Diciembre. I love to serve Him. I love to learn about Him. And one day, I hope I can become like Him. The Guatemalans are beautiful! They have taught me to be more loving, patient, and kind. There is truly nothing better than being a missionary here in the Book of Mormon lands. 

I love my family. Please remember to serve others in this month. This Sunday listen to the sacrament prayers carefully and serve Him by serving others. Share the light of the gospel. Study the life of the Savior! Have fun, go sledding, read the scriptures together, pray together and eat those awesome stuffed mushrooms that mom makes. I will be praying for your safety and happiness! 

With all of the love in the world (ya cheesy I know)
Hermana Minnick

Aunt Kim!!!! Thank you for the package! I got it today!!! I'm havin´me some Thanksgivin´dinner tonight!!!!! Love you!

A members home and a rad blue pickup!

With the Zone Leaders before changes!

This kid loves life!

We know how to throw a party!

Mi nueva compañera: Hermana Hurtado de Nicaragua. She is awesome!!

This was a happy moment until 3,000 red ants 
crawled up my arms and had Thanksgiving.

Baptism Day de Jose Roberto!
It was a good way to start off the Christmas season!!

La familia Maldonado.

This picture says, "My mom loves me." 
You can bet your bottom dollar I got bullied for this. THANKS MOM!