Hermana Sarah Gunderson

Retalhuleu, Guatemala Mission, September 2015-March 2017


October 2015


We get our cameras back but only on PDays!!!! I cant send them at the CCM but there will be photo documentation of the CCM!!! Some news of the week is that my companion Hermana Bernal and I were called as Hermana Leaders! We work with the zone leaders to get the sunday devotional schedule together. We also run the Hermana devotionals every night and carry the Botoquin or medicine cabinent to help the Hermanas learn how to take care of their basic health needs! Im really excited to serve!

We were sitting with the latinas at lunch one day and I had a very funny revelation. Farts are funny in any language. They were talking about their room and farts and they were all laughing and I was laughing and it was great! They left today so that was sad, but they will be amazing missionaries.
I was playing volleyball last tuesday and I went to hit the ball backwards (which I have done before) and instead of hitting it i caught it with my arms and face. It was so funny. Everyone playing volleybal was on the ground laughing.
President Cox changed our deportes time to 6:30 in the morning which we were all kind of bummed about because it meant that we would not have a break in the middle of the day. President was giving us a hard time about it and said “are you guys ready to be 6:15 missionaries?” So now, me and all the Hermanas are going to wake up at 6:15 every morning and be early to deportes and when we see President down there working out, we are going to yell “We´re fired up!!!!!” We are turning our trial into a way to grow and embracing being a 6;15 hermana.
But the most exciting part of the four days since you heard from me last is that WE WENT INTO GUATEMALA CITY TODAY!!!!!
We went and toured the Governor´s palace and it was absolutely beautiful. WE then handed out copies of the Book of Mormon in the plaza. It was so amazing to do actual missionary work with real people. I was worried beforehand that I wouldnt be able to understand people or I would forget what to say, but neither were a problem. I loved talking to people and telling them that this Book can change their lives! Hermana Bernal handed out two copies of the Book of Mormon! It was amazing. It solidified the fact that I am supposed to be here in Guatemala on a mission. Teaching is amazing in the CCM but you are teaching your teachers pretending to be investigators. I treat them like real people, but there is something amazing about teaching real people. Im touching real lives. I know the Book fo Mormon is true and that it truly blesses peoples lives and brings us closer to our Father in Heaven. Although its scary to think about leaving the CCM, Im ready to go to the field. I cant wait to bless the lives of people in Retalhuleu with the gospel that has blessed my life so much!!
We also went to a giant market and I bought a super cute guatemalan dress! Im so excited. There is also a tienda that comes to the CCM and I got scripture cases, a cute bag with my name on it and a cute guatemalan skirt. They are awesome! Im done spending for a while though haha.
I love this gospel. I know its true. I love being a missionary. Even though sometimes its hard to sit in a classroom all day and spanish is sometimes hard missionary life is amazing, I know my savior Jesus Christ lives and loves me and gives me strength to do His work!!

Hermana Gunderson


Marcos Oct 4 2015


No ingles!


My district is great. We have great elders. Granted sometimes they still act like 18 year old boys but for the most part they are focused on learning and teaching. We love to sing as a district, but sometimes we fail at singing miserably. At one point we had an older district in the room next to us and we were talking with the hermanas from that district about if they could hear us failing at singing. They were like yes and then told us that it was remarked that sometimes we sound worse than the latinos. It was pretty funny. The latinos arent all bad singers but some of them have not ever really heard the true tune of the song and they just sing it how they want.
The new latinas are nice. They are more pushy with us about speaking spanish. than the old ones. If they hear us speaking english at dinner they tell us NO INGLES and then make us speak spanish to them. The first couple of days they didn’t get the memo that they needed to talk slower for us. BOY DID THEY TALK FAST: I came out of that dinner feeling exhausted from trying to understand spanish at the speed of light.
We have to memorize a lot of different missionary things in spanish. As a district we had to memorize both of the invitaions to baptism. If we missed a word we had to run a lap during deportes. We ended up having to run 15 laps. We also had to memorize Doctrine and Covenants 4,

“Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; for behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bright salvation to his soul; And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen. ”

but we all got that one perfect so we didn’t have to run any for that. I also memorized the first vision one morning during language study and I was so gald I did. That day, a teacher that looks like Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite made me recite the first vision to get into the computer lab.
I learned a very important lesson about the spirit this week. It was an off day and everyone was super tired and dragging and just not normal. Hermana Bernal and I were trying to plan our lesson for one of our investigators and we were just struggling. We struggled for like 30 min before we decided to set it down for a while and take a walk. While we were walking, we realized we hadn’t prayed. It was like DUH that’s why nothing is working. So then we went inside, prayed, and we had our lesson planned within 10 minutes. The spirit is so important. This is God´s work and we need to involve Him and do it His way.
I continue to dominate in volleyball. But I’m also sometimes a danger. I’ve hit many elders in the head with a volleyball. Its bad. On Tuesday, Presidente Cox played volleyball with us! It was so fun! I was so glad that he played with us because the first time he played volleyball with us it was raining and the Hermanas aren’t aloud to be oustide during deportes while its raining. We have to do stuff in the gym. So I’ve run on the eliptical quite a bit this week because it has rained alot.
It is alwasy so cold in our classrooms. It is this constant battle between the elders and the Hermanas. I’ve started bringing a blanket down to class. Both of my teachers were like Hermana Gunderson what are you doing? But they let me keep it so I can be warm while I learn spanish and the gospel. Its in those moments that I can’t wait for the ‘mucho calor’ of Reu. Im sure though I’ll miss the cold at some point. But not now.
Here are some gospel things that Ive learned this week:
-One of the elders said in our district class on Sunday that the scriptures are little love notes from Heavenly Father. I love that and think its so true. When I read the scriptures I feel the love of my Heavenly Father and I find verses that bring me comfort and strength.
-In the CCM, all the Hermanas are good at comforting and supporting one another because we all understand somewhat what everyone else is going through and that gives us strength. I thought of the atonement and how much better our Savior understands everythiong we go thorugh and the immense comfort and strength it brings us.
Fun facts
-I wrote a cover of Do you wanna build a snowman? to teach the first discussion. It’s pretty amazing. Now I just have to translate it to spanish.
-we had visits from Elder Alonzo and Elder Steven R Snow of the seventy.
In closing, I want to leave you with the words of Presidente Cox. He said that we should wake up every morning and yell FIRE UP to ourselves in the mirror to get ourselves ready for the day and to serve the Lord. We should always be excited to serve the Lord and to do missionary work! FIRE UP!!

Hermana Gunderson: The Volleyball Tornado

I got a hug from Jeff and Bonnie (our uncle and aunt, who are presidents of a mission in Fresno, CA) from Hermana Cox, the President of the CCM´s wife. They live in the Fresno mission and know Chelsea Bell (Sarah’s friend from college) as well. Well, I guess their son went to a baptism and Uncle Jeff was there and said that I was here in Guatemala and a hug was passed on from there! And President Cox said they have friends that live in Pleasant View that knew Jeff and Bonnie before they left!
Sunday was my favorite day this past week. It was an amazing Sabbath day full of the spirit and wonderful lessons. Hermana Cox taught a lesson on gratitude that really touched me and two of my favorite latina Hermanas gave beautiful talks on repentance and the Savior. Relief society and sunday school (or district class) were both in English but Sacrament meeting was in spanish. We also had several deviotionals and a health presentation for out in the field. Basically I know how to prevent most sicknesses and bug stuff. I plan on being a healthy and able vessel for the Lord!
The latinas are leaving today. Its so sad! They are amazing people and missionaries. We have gotten so close to them. But we get a new batch today so new people to meet and more spanish to learn.
The 6 weekers are leaving today as well and all Saturday we taught them lessons. Hermana Bernal and I taught these two Hermanas that we had practiced with our first time teaching in spanish. They were really impressed with how much our spanish has improved and how much our companionship unity has improved. I definitely feel more confident teaching. We now have two investigators that we are teaching, Miguel and Gabriel. I love teaching. Im working on listening to the investigator and the spirit more because right now I am so focused on trying to understand what they are saying to me and trying to figure out how to say what I want to say and remember what we wanted to teach them. As a district, we have decided to try and speak only spanish during all of our meals. We want to be the first Norte district that speaks only spanish to each other. I dont know about the rest of my district, but that little hint of competition has really sparked my fire and I want to accomplish the most that I can here!
Its been great having Hermana Bernal as a companion. We work really well together. Sometimes we forget that we are now a single entity and that we have to go everywhere together. Its not ‘I have to go to something’ its ‘we have to go do something’ But its great. Shes so funny and sweet and a really hard worker. She is an example and teacher to me sometimes.
Here at the CCM Im learning alot about the application of 1 Nephi 3:7. “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”                                                                              There are so many times that we are sent to practice teaching something that we have never done before and really dont know the spanish for. But you just go and do it and know that the Lord will bless you and help you grow. It doesnt work to be scared or fight it. Just go and do it.
Now for the fun and less spiritual stories. I am a force to be reckoned with in Volleyball. I have 1) accidentally hit a Latino Elder in the head with the volleyball. I didnt have the vocabulary to express how bad I felt. I just kept repeating ‘lo siento lo siento’ which is im sorry. He was a good sport about it! haha And 2) knocked a Polysnesian Elder from my district to the ground when we both ran for the volleyball. It was really not the outcome any of us were expecting but I guess i was going way faster that he was! It was really funny.
Last night we played a game during our grammar lesson. We had to each write sentences with the new verb that we learned which was poder. The team that had the most sentences that were correct won. We had a minute to write the sentences and each person got a different pronoun to use. Well when it was my turn I wrote an amazing sentence only to sit down and realize that I HAD FORGOT TO PUT PODER IN MY SENTENCE. The reason we were doing this game was to practice using poder AND I FORGOT IT. I was really struggling that game. It was so funny though and so much fun!
My arms have been getting these wierd bruises from volleyball. They are healing now but for a while I looked like a leper. It was the wierdest thing. I’m normal now though,haha.

I love you and I love missionary work.
Hermana Gunderson

The CCM (Centro de Capacitación Misional, or Missionary Training Center)

The CCM is amazing. Im so busy all the time and learning so much. Its amazing. The spirit is so strong here and I am so happy to be here. Its also a very humbling experience to be at the CCM. I came to Guatemala knowing my spanish wasnt great but als o knowing a little spanish. But then I get here and realize how little I know. Spanish can be hard. All my teachers say spanish is ‘muy facil’ or very easy. The first couple of days I was like “ummm yeah sure. Maybe for you”. But it’s amazing how much my spanish has improved since I got here. Within the past couple of days I have taught around 7 lessons only in spanish. Not perfectly and definitley full of mistakes but I feel more confident is spanish. Yesterday we taught our investigator Jaime for the second time. My companion and I had planned to teach about commandments and the atonement but then Jaime asked about prophets. We were like well I guess we are teaching about prophets haha. I was so glad that we had learned some vocabulary for the restoration earlier that morning. I know God is blessing me and helping me with spanish. I definitely could not do this without Him.
My companion is Hermana Bernal from Seattle, WA. She is amazing! We actually lived in the same dorm last year in David John except she was in the other wing. Small Mormon World. Her dad is from Columbia so she gets mistaken for a latina Hermana all the time. She is way better at spanish than I am so she helps me a lot. My district is pretty cool too. Its wierd to think that I am older than all the elders in my district. We played two truths and a lie as a get to know you game and they believed that I played rubgy haha. I’ll take that.
To get better at spanish the Nortes (me) are told to sit with and make friends with the Latinas. The latinas are so funny. I can have better conversations with them now. They alwasy ask us about movies and actors and singers. My favorite latina moment was when we quoted Nacho Libre with them at dinner. It was amazing and hilarious. I was dying! haha
We picked a district motto and one Elder suggested that our motto be ‘Faith it till you make it’ I really liked that. Especially with the spanish and stresses of the CCM I know I have to rely on the Lord to help me. I have to have faith in Christ and in the power of the Atonement and trust that He will help me! I know He will!
Even though it can be hard, I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. When I think about sharing this wonderful gospel with real people I am filled with such joy. I’m so happy. This gospel has blessed my life so much and I cant wait to share it with others!!

Con Mucho Amor!!
Hermana Gunderson

More Beginnings

Hermana Gunderson has landed safely and is currently in Guatemala City at the Missionary Training Center. She’s doing great so far, and we’ll hear from her via email on Monday, so updates coming soon!

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