Monday, December 8, 2014

Week of December 8 2014: El es la Dadiva

Happy Monday!

It's hard to believe that it's December, and I kind of refuse to accept it. The weather here is pretty much the same as summer in Seattle, yet somehow the sun is even hotter. The nights are pretty chilly, by which I mean it gets down to about 55 degrees, and everyone is always telling us we should be wearing sweaters and that we're going to get sick, but so far I haven't, so HA. 

My companion's birthday was yesterday, so earlier this week, we had a lot of gatherings and shennanigans to celebrate. Here, the 7th of December is the day of the devil, and to celebrate, everyone buys piñatas of the devil and burns them, instead of putting candy in them. We're not allowed to burn stuff, so we bought candy and had a good ol' time with the other hermanas in our district. I also asked them to buy a cake to surprise her, but we didn't have candles, so we stuck a bunch of matches in the top of the cake and they kind of exploded everywhere. But the cake survived, and it was pretty tasty. 

This week we had another baptism! Her name is Flory, and she's 15. She's the only member in her family, but her mom and aunts and uncles came, and it was really special. We sang Christmas hymns and ate cake (again). The sad thing is that she lives in the boundaries of a different ward, so she's not our convert anymore, but we snuck into the other ward's sacrament meeting to see her confirmation. She told us that she felt something really special while she was being confirmed, and I got all teary. Here is a photo if you want to see:

We as missionaries have been assigned to start working with a new church initiative that you've probably heard about/seen on the internet. It's called 'He is the Gift,' or, for me, 'Él es la Dádiva.' I think they have it on YouTube and everything, or you can go to watch it. We have little cards to give to people that have a picture of Mary and the baby Jesus, and so far we've given away about twenty. People are much more responsive when you're giving them stuff, for some reason. But, for obvious reasons, I've been thinking a lot about Christ lately (duh, but bear with me). I was reading in Mosiah 3 this morning, where an angel appears to King Benjamin and speaks to him, saying (and sorry if the formatting is a little weird):
"...Awake, and hear the words which shall tell thee; for behold, am come to declare unto you the glad tidings of great joyFor the Lord hath hearthy prayers, and hath judged of thy righteousnessand hatsent me to declare unto thee that thou mayest rejoice; and that thou mayest declare unto thy people, that they may alsbe filled with joy."
The angel then proceeds to tell King Benjamin about Christ, who will be born of Mary, and the work he will perform on the earth. 
I'm sure some/all of you have heard this before, but the meaning of the word 'gospel' is 'good news.' I love to think that by being a missionary, I'm bringing to people "good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of hope, peace, and, most of all, joy. Through him, we have strength, purpose, and eternal life. I'm so grateful to have the chance to share the happiness that I've felt through this gospel, and I hope that all of you will be able to feel a bit of this happiness this week and this Christmas. 
Once again, I'm out of time. Have a good week, keep your chins up and watch some TV for me. 
Hermana Campbell

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Week of December 1 2014: Tiny Tree

Hi everyone, 

Happy December! It's getting pretty cold here (down into the 50s...brrrr), and everyone has up Christmas lights and trees and everything. We have a tiny tree in our apartment, and it's pretty cute/sad. We've also started singing Christmas hymns in church and in lessons, and it's weird to sing them in Spanish, but I'll get used to it (eventually). 

We have a baptism coming up next Saturday, I can't remember if I already wrote about her or not. Her name is Flory, she's 15, and is really excited to get baptized. We're going to try and make a cake to have after her baptism, but as we don't have an oven, it's going to be a pretty complicated venture. 

Here is the most striking memory I can give you of this week: we had a lesson with Juan Diego, who also has a baptismal date, but the church was locked, so we waited for half an hour to see if anyone would show up. No one did, so we walked down the block to a Burger King, and we sat and taught him about temples and family history while "Hello" by Lionel Richie played in the background. They also had a screen showing the music video, and I kept getting distracted because it's hilariously 80s and weird and makes no sense. 

This week for Thanksgiving, the other sisters in our district and my companion and I went to Domino's and bought a giant pizza. It's the end of the month, so we're all almost out of money, but we pooled our funds and had a feast (more or less). For dessert, we bought chocobananos. It was really fun and kind of depressing and a good representation of my life here in Guatemala. 

Some other things that happened this week: I finished almost a whole jar of peanut butter, I helped make tortillas yesterday (and apparently my skills are improving!), and I jumped out of the back of a moving bus because we were late for an appointment and the driver didn't want to stop. 

BUT more than anything, we're continuing to work and find people and somehow make it through every day. Thank you for your prayers and support; we've felt the spirits of many people in our work this week and we're really grateful. Everyone should read 3 Nefi 11, because it's great, and if anyone gets the chance, eat a burrito for me (that's one thing that I haven't yet found here). 

Love you all! Have a healthy, productive week.

Hermana Campbell

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week of November 24 2014: Out of body experience

Hi everyone, 
Sorry for the short email last week--the elders ahead of me went half an hour over their time, then shut off the computers because they wanted to leave (rude). Once again, however, I have very limited time, so I'm going to try to cram a bunch of stuff into this email. 

1) This week, we committed someone else to baptism! Her name is Flory and she's 15. She told us she felt like she hadn't gotten an answer about whether or not she should be baptized, then later she said that she had felt really inexplicably happy after praying about it, and we were like DUH that's your answer. So then she was like oh okay cool, can we have cake at my baptism? So she's preparing for the 6th of December!

2) On Tuesday we taught a lesson with a member, who's a recently returned missionary, and after, her family took us out to this taco truck to eat something called gringas (which is funny, because I am also a gringa, ha ha). It was maybe the best thing I've ever eaten--they're kind of like quesadillas, but with crispy fried corn tortillas and oh my GOSH the salsa bar was a work of magic. I had like 4 different sauces and they were all CRAZY spicy but so good. We drank Cokes from glass bottles and I was speaking Spanish and it felt totally normal. It was kind of an out of body experience, but pretty cool (and delicious). 

3) One of our investigators lives way up in the mountains almost, and she has a million animals, one of which is a TINY kitten named Luna, who I held and we took pictures with (grammar, sorry). I'll try to send them at some point, but it was probably one of the cutest things that's ever happened to me. 

4) Last week, we helped an investigator carry giant bags of maiz from the store up to her house, because she owns a tortilleria and we wanted to help her out. They're all over the place, and it's kind of cool, because it sounds kind of like music--it's like a bunch of people are clapping their hands and slapping drums. I also helped someone make tortillas this week, so now I know how!

Once again, I'm out of time, but I'll tell you something funny/sad--it's so humid here that all of my envelopes have self-adhesived. So that's a little view into my daily life. Also, I have a horrible watch/foot tanline. 
I love you all, and I hope everyone has a happy thanksgiving! (I won't be celebrating it, because it doesn't exist here, so eat a piece of pie for me.)

Hermana Campbell

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week of November 16 2014: Two Months--Sweet Tan Lines


Today is the official two-month mark of my mission! My companion made me a card that she left on my desk this morning, which was really nice. I kind of can't believe it's already been two months, yet at the same time it feels like I've been here for my whole life. I have some sweet tan lines already, from my watch, shoes, and on my collarbone and arms. I'm amazed they've developed so quickly, but I'm sure they're only going to get worse in the coming months. 

This week was my first baptism! Her name is Sandra and her husband is a member, but he was inactive, and then she started investigating, and now they're planning on going to the temple together! She got baptized on Saturday and it was really beautiful and she cried and I cried. There was also a cockroach in the baptismal font when we got there to set up, which our ward mission leader fished out with a broom (that's one holy cockroach!). Here's a picture, if it will load:

So that was fun. I also had divisions for the first time this week, and I went to another area with the sister training leader and it was terrifying but also fun! We had a recent convert with us, and her name is Maybe--all I could think was "her?" (50 points to Gryffindor if you understand that reference!!)

There's a lady we're teaching named Jaclyn who runs a little food business, and we have to buy something every time we teach her. We usually get chocobananos, which are maybe my favorite thing about Guatemala. They sell them everywhere, and we buy them from Jaclyn for 3 quetzales each (which is like 40 cents). They're basically just frozen bananas dipped in chocolate, but when it's hot outside (which it is, always, despite what all the Guatemalans say--apparently this is the "cold season"), they're like the best thing in the world. 
I'm out of time to write because I got started super late because this guy wouldn't get off the computer, but I'll write more next week! Love you all!

Hermana Campbell

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week of November 3 2014: Dia de los Muertos

Hi everyone, 

This is my first P-day in two weeks, and suffice it to say that it couldn´t have come any sooner. Hermana Campbell is finally out in the field, and BOY has it been tough! My area is called San Cristobal, and it´s infamously difficult. So far we only have two baptismal dates (and I didn´t do anything to procure them), but we have a lot of new investigators. Yesterday we were walking around in Balcones, which is a poorer part of our area, when we stumbled upon a huge family sitting outside their house (I say house, but it´s actually just a bunch of sheets of metal stacked together). We taught them the restoration, and they were really willing to listen and excited about everything we said. It was amazing. 

One of the crazy things about here is the huge variance in living conditions. We live in a little apartment behind a member´s house, and within a fenced-in area called Pinares. There are so many of those types of areas, kind of like gated communities, except not everyone that lives there is rich like you would expect in America. So our apartment is pretty okay, but just down the street lives a member family who live in a metal shack and they don't have electricity. I don´t know. 

One thing I do know is that the babies here are reeeeeal cute. On Wednesday, we went with a member to visit one of her friends and taught her a lesson, and the member brought her daughter Crystal, who's two and so smart. She held my hand the whole way there and she had maybe the worst smelling poopy diaper I've ever encountered.

It´s really, really hard to speak Spanish all the time. My trainer, Hermana Merlo, is from Nicaragua and can understand some English, but she can´t speak it, so I barely every speak English out loud these days. That's a big adjustment. It's also weird to go places like church and riding buses and have people try to talk to me and have zero idea of what they're saying. But whatever! I'm learning!

This is the cold and rainy season in Guatemala, which basically feels like Seattle in spring, except that the rain is waaaay heavier. On Thursday we were out teaching a lesson and it started pouring, and we had to walk home two miles in the rain. We were completely soaked. But it was a good educational experience, because now we always take our umbrellas. 

Saturday was Dia de los Muertos here, which is a pretty big deal. There were tons of people selling flowers on the street and in the cemetary, where we went tracting and taught the Plan of Salvation (clever, right?), which was cool. The members we live with, the Menas family, made us a traditional Guatemalan Dia de los Muertos dish called fiambre which consists of a LOT of different types of meat and a lot of beets. It Mostly I haven´'t had to eat anything too weird yet, but I'm still inside the city, so we'll see what happens when I get transferred. 

This week was mostly tough because 1) it was my first week and 2) my companion got some really bad news about her family on Thursday. So if you all could keep the Merlo family in your prayers, that would be great. 

I don´t really know what else to say and I´m running out of internet time, but I hope you're all happy and healthy and I would love to hear from any and all of you!

Much love, 
Hermana Campbell

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Week of October 20 2014: Leaving the MTC

Editor's Note:  Sister Campbell entered the Provo MTC on September 17th.  After nearly two weeks, her visa was complete and she transferred to the MTC in Guatemala City.  Now she is heading into the mission field!  You can write to her at:

Sister Amelia Page Campbell
Guatemala Guatemala City South Mission
Apartado Postal 340-A
01909 Guatemala City


You can email her at:

Hi everyone,
This is my last P(ee)-day in the MTC, which is kind of sad. Next week I don't even get a P-day, so this is also the last time you'll be hearing from me for a while.

There's really not a lot to report on this week, since every day is just a cycle of eating, studying, praying, teaching, and sleeping. My one highlight from this week is that our super tough "investigator" Gabriel finally committed to baptism. I was so excited when he said yes that I went "EN SERIO???" and he laughed at me. BUT Hermana Canty and I were so happy that we skipped all the way back to class. The other unique thing about this week is that we got to go street contacting outside the CCM for half an hour on Thursday. We talked to real people! It was actually really hard and scary and I started crying because I felt like such a ninny, but we ended up placing a Book of Mormon with a really nice lady and overall it was a valuable experience (probably, even though it was horrible at the time). I guess I have to get used to that, because in a week, that's going to be my whole life all day, every day.

On Sunday, my district sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" (Yo Sé Que Vive Mi Señor) in sacrament meeting, and that was fun. I really love my district--elders are such goons, but also great. We're all really close and it's going to be hard when we all leave. But there will be other districts and zones and people that I will get to spend time with, so I take solace in that. Also on Sunday during our district meeting, we all told the stories of how we ended up coming on missions, and I got reeeeeeeeeal emotional during mine. I remembered talking to the MTC president my first day here, when I thought I needed to go home, and he told me that I was called to serve this mission from the foundation of this world--it's always been something I'm supposed to do. When he told me that in the moment, I was really annoyed because I just wanted to go home, but with time, I've come to understand what he means. Even if I have a single baptism on my mission, I will have least converted one person, and it'll be me (did any missionaries ever see that Jeffrey R. Holland devotional?).

OH and something I forgot to write last week: I've been having really vivid dreams since being on my mission (probably a result of eating too much pineapple--the pineapple here is SO GOOD and I eat probably an entire pineapple a day), and last week I had a particularly haunting one. It was the end of my mission, and I was having my final interview with my mission president. He asked me to take off my plaque (which I guess is wrong, because you don't take off your plaque until you get released, but just roll with it), and in my dream I was SO SAD and I didn't want to take it off. I kept telling him I couldn't go home, and I couldn't leave behind the people I had taught and baptized because I loved them so much. In my dream, there were faces and names of real people that I could see and hear, which is crazy because I haven't taught anyone yet. But I knew all these people, and they were my friends, and I was so sad I had to leave them. And then I woke up crying. I don't know if it means anything, but maybe I'll meet and teach some of those people in the next seventeen months? Who knows. Anyway, I guess it just helps me when I'm feeling inadequate to remember that I am supposed to be here and even if my Spanish sucks too much to convert anyone else, at least my testimony is stronger than it ever has been. Also, everyone read Jesus the Christ because it's so good.

AH lo siento, olvidé que mi maestra nos dijo que tenemos que escribir un parrafo a nuestras familias en español. Sé que ustedes no pueden entender esto, pero voy a escribir mi testimonio. Yo sé que Jesucristo es mi salvador, amigo, y hermano. Sé que él me ama y que él les ama a ustedes también. La obra misional no es fácil, pero testifico que este mensaje puede cambiar vidas, y yo quiero compartir la felicidad que me siento en mi vida con todas las personas del mundo. Yo sé que familias pueden ser eternas, y que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero. Yo digo estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo, amen.

Sorry about that. Also, here's the address of the mission office, in case you want to write me once I'm in the field:

Sister Amelia Page Campbell
Guatemala Guatemala City South Mission
Apartado Postal 340-A
01909 Guatemala City

and for packages (which I don't recommend sending because they're so expensive, but just in case):

Sister Amelia Page Campbell
Guatemala Guatemala City South Mission
Ave. Reforma 8/60 Galerias Reforma
Torre 2 Nivel 6, 606 Zona 9

Hermana Campbell