Tuesday, December 14, 2010

tomorrow is the day!

Just thought I'd share Shelly's last email. My parents and I are off to see her tomorrow morning. I can't believe it. I can't wait to see Shellykins! Her homecoming will be December 26th at 9 am and I'm sure she would love to see all her closest friends!

Hi Family,

I will be very brief in this email. I am feeling many different emotions at this point, but I can say I feel fulfilled. I got to spend my last Saturday at the Baptism of Angelo Guanoluisa. His father Giovanny baptised him and he did it so perfectly! It was a very spiritual experience. For the first time, nothing felt hectic in a baptism! We weren't missing anything, it was organized and spiritual. For the last one! Haha. My companions sang Silent Night in English and I played the flute.

I have learned so much on my mission. It's impossible to write it all in any number of emails. I feel closer to Christ, and I feel a deep love for Him. I feel a desire to always share the Gospel throughout my whole ife. I hope to have changed for the better, and I hope to continue changing and progressing in my whole life. He is our Savior, and His Atonement is the reason we can even have any hope in this life. Remember that and share it with someone this Christmas! Many millions of people don't know that. They can't feel the joy of His Atonement without His restored Gospel ordinances. It is literally impossible. We are very blessed to know and live it daily. It is our responsibility to let others share the same blessings if they desire!

I am excited to see you all! Many good stories to share, and many to hear!
Hermana Groesbeck

Thursday, November 18, 2010

4 more weeks.

We are getting so excited to see Shelly in a few short weeks. Until then here's a little snippet of her last letter. I thought it was a great, although kind of sad, glimpse into a lot of the issues Shelly has been faced with over her mission. And of course there are pictures. Enjoy!

....Speaking of Lucia, she made me cry yesterday. Some of my most spiritual lessons in my entire mission have been with her. It is just amazing to teach her. She gets it. She repeats back her assigned reading with actual phrases from the scriptures, and she applies it to her life. At least verbally. She is not married, and her husband does not listen to us. We hardly even see him, which makes it really hard to try and persuade him to join us. This impedes her progress so much. She has come to church twice, but not for over a month. We have done everything under the sun to try and get her to church. We´ve gone by to get her, helped her get appropriate Sunday clothes, had Family Home Evenings with really great members so they could fellowship her, we´ve talked really directly about it with her. But she will not act. We have tried to teach her that if she shows faith by at least obeying the commandments she can, God will help her, and she will be able to have the family she wants someday. Her husband will never change if she doesn´t show him how, and give him a reason to. But she chooses not to. We left her house for church yesterday without her and I couldn´t help it, I just started crying. I don´t understand. Maybe it is just not her time. I love her so much though, and I would love to see her progressing. Someday I really hope she will be able to take those leaps of faith, with or without her husband....

Today Dr. Weidmer, our Area Medical Advisor arrived here! We are going to have dinner with him and then off to Otavalo to do shots and stuff tomorrow! It is going to be another crazy week. At the end of the week we have our own Zone conference, and have to set up appointments for Dr. Weidmer to meet with doctors and yada yada....but I love it! Being busy is just what I want right now:)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

5 things Shelly did this week

I am the worst sister ever. Every time I write Michelley I just talk about all the fun things we'll do when she gets home. Oops! Enjoy :)

Here are 5 things we did this week:

1. Right as we were inviting Lucresia Rodriguez, a really great new investigator to get baptised on the 20th of November, her neighbor a Jehovah´s witness came through the door and sat down. Started bickering about who knows what, wanting us to recite the 10 commandments from memory, challenging everything we said, and being a little devil! I was so mad! We really just listened and didn´t contend, but as we were leaving I said, ¨you will be judged out of the words of this book (holding the Book of Mormon), thanks, we have to go!¨. It was kinda funny. But really annoying! She was going to say yes!! And since then, we keep missing each other and haven´t been able to teach her again yet. Don´t worry, we will. Appointment tomorrow.

2. We helped a drunk lady get to her house, took her liquor away from her and dumped it out! She was super old and so cute, poor thing. She was so grateful and kept hugging us when we got to her house. She probably would´ve gotten hit by a car out there on the street stumbling around.

3. Talked to a member of the church who was asking us what he can do to someday become the Prophet.

4. Spent almost all day Saturday making phone calls for 5 sick missionaries that called us, one we had to call his family and send him to the clinic for chest pain, which now is apparently an inflamed nerve? Good news is, all is well with them. And, we got some action for Hermana Rodgers.

5. Had an amazing Stake Conference on Sunday where I got to see all the Iñaquito people. An area seventy came Elder Mestre, and he held a meeting of new converts before the general meeting. Hermana Sloan said that El Eden ward (our ward), had a really good showing and everyone was there on time. Our ward is so great. The members helped all the new converts know where the stake center was, etc. I was proud :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

two months out!

Shelly just got her replacement companion, a gringa! And also a nurse. We are getting excited for her to come back to us but know she'll be sadddd when it happens as well. Anyway, happy reading! There are a few pictures as well.

Hi Fam!

Well, I got my new companion Hermana Rodgers! It has been really fun being with her. We understand each other in so many ways! We have the same calling. We have worked hard and really pushed ourselves to find new investigators, as well as trying to learn the ropes of the nursing stuff. As we´ve conversed I have really realized how much I have learned. Thinking about being in her position, I just remember having no idea what to say to the missionaries when they called. Now, I kinda know what to do! It´s cool. I´ve also been telling lots of stories, and it has made me realize what a fun experience it has been to be the nurse. I really do have some pretty good stories. I´m trying to convey to her all I can, although I know that she will have to gain her own ¨tribal knowledge¨ just getting out there and doing it.

We will be traveling the mission during November, so she can see all the different climates, meet all the missionaries, and see the clinics as well. It is so crazy to be with her. But it´s really fun. I haven´t given her the cell phone yet, but every call I get I go over afterward with her. She will be getting the phone in the next couple weeks, and I will just sit back and relax. jk She is very quiet, but super super smart. And such a sweet person. She did her capstone at Primary Children´s, just before she came on a mission, so we have that somewhat similar background.

Believe it or not, my time is almost up. It seems that recently my personal emails to you are more interesting to me, and I run out of time to write about the week! Well, I´m attaching the photos of Michel´s baptism. She was very happy. Her family was there, we are working on getting her Dad baptised but it will require two more divorces...........grrrrr

Being with a new missionary is really great. We have a goal to make a baptismal invitation in every lesson. Including our first with people. It has really helped us exercise our faith. Sometimes during the lesson in my mind I resist it, but I am so certain that we must invite wherever we are. Otherwise I am wasting my time here, just traveling around Ecuador, but I am not a missionary. I love living my mission with faith. Have you thought about what it means to live with faith? I think everyone should live with more faith. No regrets! Follow every prompting you get, even if it seems weird or uncomfortable. If we are comfortable in our lives, we are not improving! We have so much potential to be instruments in God´s hands, but we let those opportunities slip by because of fear, laziness, or conformism. We should be the best we can be! And do what we know we should do. In every calling we have, including home visiting teachers, moms, grandmas, dads, brothers, and friends! We should live with faith. It is a long process, but we can do it!

Anyway, gotta go.

Love you all!

Hermana Shelly G

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

update from shellykins!

Hi Family,

Another week has passed. It was cold and rainy, and I couldn´t convince myself that it is July! Especially because the time is going so fast. It is crazy. I forgot to say Happy 4th of July last week, so happy 4th of July! We ate root beer floats that night, that´s pretty good for being in Ecuador. I also went ahead and wore a blue skirt, tan sweater, red headband. So I did festijar a bit here in Ecuador for the good ol´ U.S.A.

This week we have grown really close as a companionship. I think we have a special chemistry, the three of us. Three can be hard, but we don´t have problems, and that is the amazing thing. We laugh so hard, and we all really like to work. I am learning so much from Hermana Rial. As well as Hermana Cooper. I am pretty sure this coming week President is going to change us, but we are so happy! I love them a lot. But change will bring new opportunities and challenges. I always know that I will be staying, that´s the one thing that doesn´t change :)

Ernesto is still on for this weekend. Teaching him the Word of Wisdom was probably the funniest thing I have ever experienced. I don´t think I mentioned that he´s also hard of hearing. So we have to practically yell at him when we´re teaching. But also, it is amazing how much it seems that his hearing has improved ever since we started visiting him. I am serious, he hears so much better now. I think it is the Spirit. But anyway, he was debating with us hardcore about the Word of Wisdom. He is so intelligent, and it´s not like he debates to contend, but he debates to understand. We had to explain every nook and cranny of D&C 89, and he really did understand it. He accepted to live it! He´s not an alcoholic or anything, but he likes to drink a little wine for his birthday parties, or once in a while drink a coffee. I wish you could´ve been there. We left with his coffee and disposed of it down the sewer drain, and he promised to give away his wine. He really is such a good guy. I wish you could hear his dramatic, poetic prayers. He didn´t want to do it forever because he felt he wanted to do it in perfect prose. But he has expressed to us how different he has felt and how much joy he feels thinking about Joseph Smith and how that could be possible. I would really love to see them go to the Temple.

Hugo and Cecilia have done everything necessary for their divorce papers. The only thing they don´t have is the money to pay for it. We are planning to do a fundraiser selling cakes, popcorn and drinks and showing a church movie on a projector. Think it will work? They did that in Iñaquito to raise money to go to the temple and they made about 150 dollars. That´s about how much we need. The amazing thing is that they are very proactive about it, and they have done all the paperwork. I think it shows they are achieving a true conversion. They are showing their self-sufficiency in their spiritual well-being, which is rare among investigators. I think that God had really prepared them, as he has all people who accept the Gospel.

We met a special family this weekend, and I am really excited to go back and teach them. They are from Manabi, a town in the coast of Ecuador, where Lourdes is from. They had wedding rings on and a picture of their wedding :) Also, they were really receptive and let us in to teach. The Dad let us in! We were really happy. We were looking for someone else´s house and ran into them. We´ll see what happens. Their names are Francisco and Vanessa, and they have three kids Nicole, Maria Victoria and Jonathan.

One thing I have been thinking about this week is what conversion really means. I remember reading D&C 18 recently which talks about saving souls. It is used a lot as a missionary scripture, but what hit me is that it talks about the joy we will have in the kingdom of the father. Not here on earth. That means that the point of missionary work is not baptism, but temple covenants and enduring to the end. Or: CONVERSION. Then we will really receive the benefit of that true joy when this life ends. I hope and pray that we can all have part in someone´s conversion. People we teach here are all different. There are some who tell you everything you want to hear, and even accept a baptismal date, but are not sincere. People who are honest and share their problems with us can overcome them and little by ltitle put in practice repentance and the atonement. As humans we never want to own up to things or accept blame for something. I think this is a dangerous part of our nature, because really if you think about it, the only people who cannot receive the saving power of the Atonement are the dishonest. If we cannot admit our sins, we can never repent, and never progress. We can never enter into the Kingdom. We must learn to be responsible for our actions, and realize that this is the only way to improve.

Next week I will send you a picture of Ernesto! I don´t have one yet, but I will get one. He is so awesome.

Love to all, and take care!

Until next week,
Hermana Groesbeck

Monday, June 14, 2010

news from shelly shellita

i've said it before, i'll say it again, i'm the worst sister in the world. here's an update from your favorite hermana. she's been with a gringa which has been a nice change! i hope you understand spanglish.


I am now in Santo Domingo! After a 4 hour long bus ride through the jungle, we changed locations. We are here for Zone Conference tomorrow. On the bus this seller man got on and tried to sell us this miracle seed that would literally cure everything, taste good, AND give you good breath. He sat in the back of the bus and it was disgusting every time I got up he would do this little flirty wave and smile at me. I was like, hey, back off mister. Ew. Luckily I was with the Gigantic Elder Rose, this really big white haired senior missionary (I was with all the Senior Missionaries, actually). But Elder Rose always protects me.

What can I tell you about this week? We had new Hermanas coming in, staying at our house on Tuesday night with their trainers, and it was a CRAZY day. Maybe I´ll tell the Top 5 things that happened (since I don´t have time for 10).

1 - We got to teach one of my old investigators from Iñaquito because she lives right around the corner from the Sloans and we were going by their house. She is a referral from Hermana Sloan and she is named Sara Molina. She is the cutest single mom ever, and she had accepted a baptismal date back in March but then talked to a Catholic lady and decided she felt she should focus and learn about what her own religion even is. (She is catholic, and like most catholics here has no idea what they really believe, but just follow it because of tradition). Anyway, in the lesson she committed to read the Book of Mormon again and go to Church. She said, you know, what you have taught me has really helped me, and if nothing else I really feel a lot closer to Christ. She is now praying to see if the Book of Mormon is true. I was so happy. Maybe not seeing her for a while helped her to reflect.

2- We ate re-heated on the stove pizza all week from the Sloan´s house. The best part also was that Hermano Saddler smuggled us some root beer from the embssy and we ate ROOT BEER FLOATS with our pizza! Awesome.

3- We had some awesome appointments with the Changos (recent convert family that is amazing) and Hugo and Cecilia´s two kids who haven´t really wanted to listen to us. We really had a good lesson with them, plus we laughed really hard together with the Changos. The Changos got baptized in December, and they are on fire with the work. They are my age, and have a 9 year old and 7 year old kid. That´s how things roll here. But now they are married, baptized and waiting to go to the temple.

4- These health interviews are so awesome! I really feel like I am able to do some benefit here on this traveling trip instead of feeling like I´m kinda just dead weight and then do some random presentation on stress. We are tracking common problems, and come to find out most of them who have problems with insects, stomach problems, etc. are doing NOTHING about it. One of them even told me he has rats in his apartment! I feel like I can help them in this way so much better. I am learning everything there is to know about how to get rid of bugs. I´m finally starting to feel like I am useful to the missionaries, and can make a difference for them!

5- Found a really awesome investigator named Gabriel. He is a 25 year old guy that has had cancer. He is the son of the single dad I was telling you about before. He came to the Church for his first lesson and we taught it with a member, showed him around the church, and he was like, wow. This might be what I have been looking for. It was such a spiritually powerful lesson, and he could really see what we were talking about because we were in the Church and he could feel the spirit of it. It was great.

Ok that´s it for now. Next week I will send you pics of the coast! I don´t have my cable with me right now.

Loves and hugs,
Sister G

Monday, April 12, 2010

update from shellita. so funny.

It´s Mom´s Birthday!!!

She said something about an Ipad...what in the world is that? I really am out of the loop! From my 24 years of new generation wisdom I do know that with an I- in the front it is some new contraption from Mac. But what could it be? Ipad. I¨m thinking laptop? Really small, sleek, maybe you only have to do voice commands for it to compute? Please fill me in.

So, this week was a very good week. We met some really good people. Ran into my first Jehovah´s Witness who threw out the 1,144 people saved scripture. I already forgot where it is. Revelation somewhere. 14 I think. Anyway, It´s really interesting talking about the Gospel with so many different people. It really makes you think about the things you´ve always believed your whole life. The amazing thing about the Gospel is, the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. I love that our challenge (Moroni started this challenge) is to try it out for yourself. No one is trying to convince anyone, but just trying to show them how to realize the truth. And God will show us the truth, the test has been tried and true. The formula works - read, meditate, pray, ask, sincere heart, real intent, Holy Ghost, conversion.

I haven´t moved yet, I will be moving next week, getting a new companion, and moving about 3 miles away. What a hassle for only three miles. But like you all say, I think it will be good for me.

It´s so hard to know what to write in these letters. I wish I could just take you all out with me one day, to see what it´s like! It´s so amazing. I really do love love being a missionary. I am so happy I am here. I am so happy to be with Hermana Sacalxot, she has taught me so much. Really, I have learned a lot about myself being with her.

Mom asked me what my favorite thing is to eat here. I don´t know. I like Patacones. They are bananas (but the green ones, here there are a million different types of bananas), but fried and hard. They sound disgusting, but they are really good. They eat soup before every meal, without fail. A lot of corn, but not the way we eat it. Honestly, my favorite food I´ve had is from the Cubans. Man, they know how to eat. But I really do like Ecuadorian food! Ceviche is mas o menos, not my favorite, but pretty good. That is the most traditional dish. For Easter they eat Fanesca, I really like that actually. You´ll just have to come and see what they eat!

I´m going to end my epistle and send some photos. Love to all sorry for the non-exciting letter, I´ve had a good, regular week and am really happy and love reading your letters! Thank you for writing, please keep writing!