Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hola familia!

So my first week in the field... I´m in the area of Petapa, in the city part of the mission.  My trainer is Hermana Espinosa, from Panama, 27 years old and is a convert.  She has an amazing conversion story... she was 17 and had no permission from her parents to get baptized. In fact, they locked her in her room so she couldn´t visit with the missionaries, so she tied her bed sheets together and escaped and met the missionaries at the church on her date of baptism that she accepted. She admitted to them that she had no permission, but they baptized her anyway in a river. They had no baptism clothes, so she used an Elder´s extra shirt and the sacrament table cloth for her skirt. To this day, her parents still don´t know she is baptized. They know she´s on a mission, but they don´t think she´s baptized. Crazy huh?!?! She´s awesome, she is helping me a lot and teaching me well. Presidente Brough and his wife are awesome!! Love them!! This mission is a mission of obedience with exactness and baptism, that is our purpose. He stresses obedience and stresses our purpose, but I like it because it puts that drive in me more not to give up and not to get discouraged. He told us new missionaries that we are going to have to learn how to rely fully on the Lord because honestly, we haven´t learned that yet. I know exactly what he means now, a week later. This week was awesome, I taught many lessons with families, found new investigators and with my companion made 325 contacts. But at the same time, it´s REALLY HARD. I don´t understand all the Spanish and I can´t speak as much as I want to, but it´s coming, more and more each day. Emotionally, it´s exhausting and it hurts. I have really had to rely on the Lord, trust Him, and call out for Him this week, because I needed strength, guidance and comfort. It´s getting better, I´m sure there are more hard days coming, but I´ll cross those bridges when they come. I have to live for today, and do what I need to today. We have 8 investigators, 5 of which are progressing and 5 are families. We also found another family last night, of 6, and they seem like they will progress as well. I love the Molina family!! The mom, Angelica, is super funny and pilas (active in terms of keeping commitments)!! She came to the stake center with us on Sunday for Conference and she really enjoyed it. I gave her a BOM with my testimony inside and she had a huge smile on her face. I listened to Conference with other Nortes in English, and I loved it!! How was it for you guys?? The 3 themes I found were family, trials and the Atonement. Many talks helped me in my problems I am having now, the Lord knows our needs and when we need something to help us, and He gives it to us.  I have never seen such poverty before... yet most people, willingly give you a smile and an Hola. Mama, I hope you don´t mind, but I won´t be bringing my clothes home because they´re not going to last, lol!! It´s so hot here, and it´s dirty and the rainy season is coming.  And I still haven´t got my package yet, so maybe you shouldn´t send packages at all. IDK, I´ll let you know what we should do.  I just don´t want you to waste money on it. Also, do I just send you the memory card from my camera when it´s full in an envelope? Honestly, how are we doing on money? I worry about that...  How´s my baby Bear?? How are Rodney and Sarah?? How are our extended family doing??  Well familia, I want to leave you with my testimony that I know with all my heart and soul that this gospel is true and that´s why I´m here. Even with how hard this is for me and how much it hurts sometimes, it´s also a joy and an honor to be here preaching and teaching as a servant of the Lord. Like Elder Neil L. Andersen said in his talk in October 2012, just like iron is refined to be steel, the more we are fired in our faith, we are refined to be steadfast spiritually. That´s what I long for, to be made of steel in my faith and in my testimony. It´s a long and hard road to get to that point, but Mama and Daddy taught me and raised me to be a fighter, and fight I will. Satan is trying really hard right now to discourage me, but I refuse to let him win, because he´s not worth my time or energy. All of us are enlisted to this work, because we´re here on earth. Called as a missionary or not, you have the responsibility to share this gospel and bring others to Christ. I´m not gonna just stop preaching and teaching in August 2014, I´m gonna keep going, I´m gonna keep learning and growing. Marjorie Pay Hinckley said, what you are doing now is preparing you for something later. That something must be very important and of God, so I´m gonna do my best to be my best so I am prepared. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Mama, Daddy, Michael, Ryan and Rachael... THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE MY LOVE FOR YOU. I LOVE YOU WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING. Please pray for me and the missionaries, and pray for our beloved Prophet. You are in my prayers each day and I hope you all have a wonderful week. Love you more than words can say!!

Love,  Hermana Melissa Belnap

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I am so happy that Grandpa is getting better and going home soon!! That is great news!! I hope you and Rachael have fun at the Young Womens general conference, I always loved that. And I am so jealous about General Conference tickets!! That is awesome!! Have a blast!! Hermana Bond{s address is: Panama Panama City Mission Carrasquilla Entrega General AP 0834 Ciudad de Panama Provincia de Panama Panama.  If you would rather not risk it, it is okay. :) I just love her so much!! She is seriously the best I could ask for in a companion!! We take care of each other and we really complement each other and work well with each other.  We already miss each other and we still have days left together. Could you send me family pics when I am out in the field please? Thank you!! I hope you have a wonderful Easter Mama, and I love you with all my heart and soul!! :) Rachael!! haha, thanks, I am trying to stay fit!! That is cool about that guy you listened to, but I just want you to really think about what you want to do, and follow the Spirit because he will tell you. 2 Nephi 32:3. I love you sissy and I hope you continue to work hard and have fun!! Ryan!! Glad you had fun on your date and your having a blast being a teenager!! lol!! It sounds fun to do some MMA training, be careful and stay strong!! ,)) You will have to teach me how to fight when I am home. lol.  Love you lots Buddy!! Have a great week!! Well fam, this week was really good!! I had the best lesson ever with my companion with our teacher who pretends to be an investigator for us to practice on, Noe. At first he was really defiant, wouldn't keep committments and just really hard to teach, but now he is getting baptized!! It was just such a good lesson, my Spanish was great and I was near in tears. Then a for reals lesson this week, Hermana Bond and I taught an inactive woman who did not speak Spanish but Cochi, a dialect of Spanish here in the northern part of Guatemala. She didn't understand us very well, but she understood when we were bearing testimony and she said she would read more and try to attend church. Hermana Nicolaysen, Presidente's wife, taught us a neat lesson in Relief Society this Sunday and she said something that send chills down my spine. She was talking about what to expect out in the field and what we should be doing here, and she said, Where you are now is the training ground for what you will be doing in the future... That is a big reason why I am here, for my kids, so they can have a strong Mama in the church with a strong testimony, just like my Mama. :) So this week, my goal is to speak completely in Spanish, and so far so good!! The only times I use English is journal writing, writing letters and if there is an absolute need to speak it. Otherwise, I am all Spanish. Today in the temple, I went through using Spanish, and it was AWESOME!! I am very proud of myself. Our teacher Hermano Bonilla was talking to Hermana Bond and I and he said that he has no worries about us and he has full confidence in us that we will be okay. That meant so much to us just to hear that someone believes in us, here in the CCM. And he also asked us why we thought he has been so hard on us when he plays the role of Noe. We asked why, and he said because I want you to expand your Spanish, because I know you can. He is an amazing teacher, He has taught me so much from day one, love that guy!! Thanks to him, I am decently prepared!! Just an fyi here, we have been told that the authorities of the church are estimating over 100,000 missionaries by the end of the year!!! HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!?!?! That is so awesome!! Truly, God{s army... and I am part of it and honored to be. Well, I am about out of time family, but know that I am doing  amazing, loving what I am doing and my testimony is seriously growing by the minute!! I love you all more than words can express!! Have a wonderful week and A HAPPY EASTER SUNDAY!!!!!

Love, Hermana Belnap

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hola mi Mama!!

I miss you so much!! But I am doing fantastic!! lol!!  Life is so good!! That is great to hear about Grandpa!! Did he get his  letter?? By the way, I sent a letter to the house for Kelsey, please  get that and a BOM to her. Sorry to hear about Uncle Steve... Do not worry about the package Mama, it will get here soon. ;) I am sure  Jaycie was a stud up there on the stands!! Tell her I love her and  wish her the best!! How are you doing Mama?? Are you okay?? I worry about you daily. Hope all is well!! Love you lots Mama!! Rachael! Way to work hard and get it done!! I am so proud of you!! I did not play hockey in school... Keep it up sis!! Love you lots!! Ryan!! lol!! You crack me up buddy!! It is true you can lose a lot when you do not do anything, keep working hard!! And way to go to a missionary fireside!! That is one of the best things you could do to prepare!! It is a battlefield out here, but you never lose, it is only winning!! ;) Love you buddy!! Well fam, this week was great!! My Spanish is coming along great!! I am more and more fluent every day, and I even had a dream the other night in Spanish!! lol!! Funny story, during personal study, we looked out the window of our classroom and saw a flatbed semi with stationary bikes on it, and there was loud music and a biking class going on while the truck was moving!! It was insane!! I laughed!! Then today I saw a guy carrying one of those like 5 foot propane tanks on his motorcycle... only in Guatemala... lol!! So today we moved out of the casa and into the CCM because worldwide temple visitors need the casa.  So I am now living with Latinas, and I will let you know how that goes... lol.  My exchange companion for this transfer was Hermana Maye and I love her to death!! She is so flipping cute!! She stands about 4 foot 9, has the sweetest smile and super-fast Spanish!! Love her!! She taught me so much!! We watched a devotional this week and it was that MTC talk that Michael always talked about when he was in the MTC by Elder Holland, Don{t you dare go home. LOVED IT!! Elder Holland is a BOSS!! I love how direct he is, but he is also so tender and so loving!! Amazing man.  Oh!! On Sunday, I gave a prayer in front of ALL the sisters in Spanish!! I am super proud of myself!! The only sad thing this week was one of the Norte hermanas went home due to anxiety and homesickness. It was really sad... I couldn’t imagine going home, especially now... it broke my heart.  Anyway, but it was a great week!! Mama, could you send Hermana Bond some pumpkin cookies when she is out in the field?? She loves pumpkin and there is NO pumpkin here in Central America.  lol.  I will send her address. I am in the field in 2 weeks!! Crazy!! I cannot believe I have been out a month!! The time has absolutely flown!! It is amazing and I am so grateful to be here!! I bear my testimony that this church is true, and is RAPIDLY growing. We have 39 more Nortes coming tomorrow and around 100 Latinos coming. The CCM is FULL!! How can anyone say the work will be stopped?? It simply can’t. There are so many young adults willing to give up their time to serve the Lord and do His work and it is truly beautiful.  We all left a lot behind to come do this, and like Elder Holland said, I am going to pull my socks up to my armpits and get to work!! That is what I came here to do and I am going to do it and I am going to do it hard and I am going to do it right!! Because I love this work, I love this gospel and I love the Lord God Almighty with all my heart and soul!! This is the best thing I have ever chosen to do and I thank the Lord every day for this opportunity!! Well time is short, but remembers this, and do everything you can to spread His work, for it is the reason why we are ALL here.  :) I love you all with every fiber of my being!! Have a great week!!   

Love, Hermana Belnap

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hola Familia!

Mama, I am sorry I am not there to help you with Grandpa. I totally would, and I feel bad I cannot be there, it scares me something will happen.  I am sending him a letter this week, sending it to you, so if you could please get it to him.  I am doing great, just really antsy and ready for the field. I have been told the MTC is harder than the field itself, and I am starting to believe it. Anyway, all is well, working hard every day and feeling the spirit. I love it!! Sissy, the lady I gave my BOM to talked nice and slow for me... lol. She was a sweetheart. Loved her. Ryan, that is awesome about the gym!! Way to be!! Daddy I am so sorry about Uncle Donald. Wish I was there.  Glad you got to talk to some cousins.  Thank you for your advice and your love, that is what gets me through the week. I thought I would email you guys yesterday, but they change our p day every week, so just email me by Tuesday and I will get back to you guys!! I was going to email you Daddy on your birthday yesterday, but that did not work out like I wanted. But, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!!!!!! I hope you had a wonderful day full of laughter, love and happiness!! I thought about you the whole day yesterday, thinking that if I was home, I would have taken you to Javiers, ice cream, a movie then a 4 wheeler ride!! But, we will do that when I am home!! :) The lady I gave my BOM to, I forgot to tell you this awesome bit, she told us she had a dream about 2 angels, and that Hermana Bond and I reminded her of those two angels!! How cool is that! Last Saturday I taught a lesson on the Plan of Salvation ALL BY MYSELF in Spanish!!! I was super proud of myself and I am finally starting to feel like I can do this easier than I thought I would be able to.  Sunday was an incredible day too full of the Spirit.  We sang a Childs Prayer in sacrament in spanish and we did great.  My district and I sang the EFY Medley in Spanish last night for devotional and the Spirit was way strong.  Last week we got 29 new Nortes!! Craziness!! So in our casa now we have 26 girls living together with only 6 showers and IT IS HARD!!! But all good, they are all sweet and we have fun!! It’s like Girls Camp!! lol!! Our goal as a district is to always carry a BOM with our testimony inside so we can give it to people we pass on the street.  Hopefully today I can place another.  With the new Nortes and Latinos.  I am officially half way done with the CCM!! And I have heard nothing but good things from Pres. Brough and his wife!! I am so excited to meet them!! Everytime I see their pic or think about them, I just get a very peaceful and happy feeling, it makes me comfortable. Now familia, I want to bear you my testimony, I know I am here for a reason and that the Lord called me here for a reason.  When I was struggling with a rotten attitude and feeling sorry for myself, I had to repent. I had no right to feel that way or think that way because I can do this, if I could not, He would not have sent me here. The Lord has faith in me, shouldn’t.  The people I have met so far have taught me much and were people I was supposed to meet. I have already felt the blessings and seen the blessing for this decision I have made, and I am already a very different person than I was 3 weeks ago.  Who will I be in 18 months.  I am excited for the day when I walk off that plane and walk into all of your arms in a tight embrace as a whole new person, a better person. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. I hope you all have a great week and have fun and feel the Spirit in your lives!! I LOVE YOU ALL MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY!!

Love, Hermana Belnap :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Holo familia!

Thank you so much Daddy for your advice, it helps a lot!! I love you!! Mama, I am so sorry about Grandpa, I wish I was there to help. Tell him I love him and I am praying for him and tell Uncle Owen I love him too. Are you okay. I am praying for you too. I love you Mama!! Well familia, this week was kind of a rough week for me and my whole district, emotionally. We were all being hard on ourselves and getting a little discouraged, whether it was with the language, why we are here or missing home... just lots of things. But one day I was thinking about it, and I called myself to repentance because I have no business feeling sorry for myself. The Lord called me here for a reason, and He knows I can do this so why shouldn't I. We are all doing great now and we have had some fun times and good laughs. Today we went on a tour of the city and we were at the Guatemala Plaza and we each placed our first Book of Mormons!! The lady I gave mine to was a complete sweetheart named Rosa, very family oriented and spiritual. She's golden!! My Spanish is really coming along, I have taught and prayed in Spanish this whole week!! Also, if you or anyone else wants to write me letters, use DearElder.com, it is free and faster because it is through the internet. Just get on the website type in my name and mission and you can send a letter. If you send hard letters or packages, they say DO NOT put Jesus or the virgin Mary on them. Just put Hermana Belnap and they will leave it alone. P days are on Tuesday now, and I will leave the CCM on April 2, so in 4 weeks from today. Please send me stamps, I need stamps. They use American stamps if I send letters to America. Today was the best day giving that BOM to that lady... now I know why missionaries are always so happy and positive. This is the best feeling in the world. I love this!! But I can{t wait to be doing it every day instead of being stuck in the CCM!! I want to talk to people!! LOL!! Anyway, Sorry I don't get a lot of time to write you guys, it will be better when I am out in the field, I think I get an hour, but I know for sure I get more than 30 minutes. Anyway, hope you guys have a great week and you stay safe!! I'm praying for all of you and I am praying for Grandpa. Keep him close. Love you all more than you can ever know!!!!!!!!
Te amo!! Love,
Hermana Belnap

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Week 1...DONE!!

Buenos Dias familia!! This first week has been amazing!! I have learned sooo much and grown so much!! Emotionally I feel stable, don´t get me wrong, this is by far the hardest thing I´ve ever done, but my desires to serve and teach outweigh everything else. My district is the best district ever, consisting of the 7 other hermanas and 3 elderes I flew here with. Hermanas Bond, Fraga, Hastings, Holland, Koehler, Hansen and Skousen, and Elderes Andreason, Tarin and Flake.  Our district name is Malaquias and we are rama (zone) B. We have strict rules, I´m only allowed 30 minutes on P day to email you guys and I can´t take any pictures or send any pictures. I´m sure the rules out in the field will be different, but in the CCM (MTC) these are the rules. My P day may change to Tuesday next week, so be aware.  I haven´t seen much of the city, just from the airport to the CCM, but there is a busy street right in front of the CCM and let me just tell you, Guatemalans drive flipping crazy!!! They´re way dangerous!! There´s laws and lights and things like that, but it´s all defensive driving because no one follows the traffic laws. It´s nuts, and I´m sooo happy I´m not going to be driving at all on my mission. The CCM has guards everywhere!! For the safety of the missionaries. I don´t live in the CCM, I live in a rental house a block down, right across the street from the temple. It´s great cuz we don´t have to share showers with anyone. The CCM doesn´t let us walk home at night by ourselves, they drive us home. It´s crazy what safety precautions they take here. Also, the computers we use don´t always work, so if there´s a week you don´t hear from me, it´s because of that and they don´t give us another time to make it up. I hate typing on this keyboard too because it´s way different from the US keyboard. So pardon my spelling mistakes and things like that. I don´t know if you guys heard, but 58 new missions are opening up worldwide!! One of them is in New Zealand!! It´s the Hamilton New Zealand mission!! Michael served there if I recall. It´s amazing how fast and how widespread this gospel is spreading!! Truly a blessing and a sign of the Second Coming!! So wonderful!! I went to the temple this morning and had a great experience, it is a small temple but it is beautiful. Now for the language, I´m learning very fast, and I am proud of my achievements this week. I talk a lot with the Latinos since they out number us gringos (white people, North Americans) by far. In the whole CCM out of 150 missionaries, there are only 22 gringos. It´s awesome!! I taught an actual investigator this week as well, in espanol!!! His name is Jose and he is golden!! Our whole district has been teaching him and we actually have him committed to be baptized on March 16!! We are so excited!! One week into the CCM, and we are already teaching in Spanish!! It´s awesome!! Hermana Garrido is our maestra (teacher) and she is awesome!! We love her and call her Hermana Madre (Sister Mother), lol!! She takes good care of us and she loves us. Madre and Padre (Mama and Daddy) I just want to thank you guys for raising me to be who I am and that I have made it this far, I love you both more than you can ever know, I love you more than anything and I miss you. Michael, thank you for being a wonderful example and an amazing big brother for me. You have taught me so much and I love you more than words can say. Ryan and Rachael, gosh I miss you guys and your  sense of humor!! Thank you for always making me smile, we´ll be together again soon. I love you both more than words can say. I want you all to know that I´m doing great, I truly am. This is really hard, and I am already antsy and ready to go out in the field, but I have more Spanish to learn first, but I´m going to try to get out of here early, because that is possible. Right now I am schedule to leave the CCM on April 2 or 3, but hopefully, we as a district can leave earlier because that is our goal. Anyway, pray for us, for our success, understanding and the comfort of the Holy Ghost that we may be the best missionaries we can be. Next week I´ll try to be more organized in what I tell you and stop jumping from subject to subject, but there is so much I want to tell you and I don´t have the time. Anyway, remember I love you all sooooooooo much and I love what I´m doing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! La iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias is true!!!!!!!! Have a great week all of you, and look for those opportunities to be missionaries!! Ustedes amo mucho (I love you all so much)!!!!

Love, Hermana Melissa Belnap

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'm here!

Hola´ familia!! Regardless of an extremely uncomfortable sleep on a 4
and a half hour flight, I´m in the CCM (MTC) safe and sound and I have
absolutely fallen in love with the city, the people, my district, my
teachers and most importantly the work! I´m super excited and I´m
having a blast! My teachers are amazing, Hermana Garrido and Hermano Lopez, they´re great! My CCM companion is Hermana Bond from Collieville, Texas and she´s a sweetheart!! All the sisters in my
district and my casa (house) are way neat and we all get along great!!
There are only 3 sisters serving in Guatemala, and the rest are going
to Panama, pretty awesome!! The city is beautiful and busy, and so
warm and humid!! The weather is perfect, it´s springtime weather!! The
CCM president is awesome, very spiritual and has a good sense of
humor, he gave us a warm welcome and put all our fears and concerns to rest. I can see the temple pretty much everywhere I go around the CCM and it is BEAUTIFUL!! Muy bonita!! And the food... ay ay ay, muy delicioso!! Breakfast this morning was sunny side up eggs with pico de gallo and chili verde, real black beans, a roll and real cream of wheat with natural cinnamon. It was awesome!! Also, madre and padre (mom and dad), to put you at ease, I will not be flying back to LA, the church has to purchase a flight back to the US because I currently don´t have my visa, but since I will actually be in the CCM for 6 weeks, I will have it by then and the booked flight to LA will be canceled. So, no worries!! Well, my time is up, but I will write again on my P day, which I believe is on Wednesdays in the CCM. Anyway, talk to you all later, and take care!! Te´amo (I love you)!!
Sister Belnap