Monday, July 28, 2014

It is Independence Day in Peru and I Smell Barbecue :)

My Dearly Beloved Family!

How are you all?? I miss you so much! But I really am actually falling in love with my mission. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT HAS BEEN 6 MONTHS?!?! 6 months ago I was having a break down in the Bountiful temple and packing and getting set apart. Oh how fast the time goes. I decided the other day I would never go backwards in my mission. I don't regret a single day, but i just love moving forward. I think that is a metaphor for life. We can't go back, and we should be compelled to progress until the final, perfect day. I don't even know if that makes sense but I am like over self reflecting since it has been 6 months. hahaha ANYWAY!

It is the equivalent of the 4th of July today in Peru and it is psychotic, and i just want to eat food. We are fasting until after internet and I can smell every single good smell in the world outside at this giant fair thing and it is driving me insane. But it is actually really cool. And cultural. And loud. hahahaha

I feel so scattered. what happened this week? Well I had an intercambio with Hermana Jameson and it was actually really great. We just talked and talked and talked. I really do love her.  She is an amazing person and an amazing missionary. And I learned a ton from her.  I want to be able to teach like her when I have 14 months in the field. Let us pray. Hahahaa. She just teaches the restoration so concisely and animatedly. People just love it. 

Then on Thursday for service we went with Hermana Quist and Hermana Wilkins to do service in the garden of this lady who is less active and sort of thinks she is a catholic.  It was highly entertaining.  Partially because all of these little kids kept passing and it was like a gringa zoo. We were all fenced in and everything. Oh life.

Well, the work is a little slow here in Ayacucho and it can be a little frustrating. We were just walking and walking and walking one day because appointment after appointment fell through and I was thinking about the pioneers and how they just kept walking and walking and walking. I somehow know that this is preparing me, and us,  and this area for something amazing. I know that if we really build our faith and trust and if we just keep on keeping on, miracles are going to happen. Not to say that miracles don't happen every day. That is another thing I have learned on the mission. There are miracles every day in every way. There is something every single day to make everything worth it. 

For example, Jossy is going to be baptized this weekend! Everything is all set to go and she is so amazing. She just gets it! She is only 14 and she understands the scriptures amazingly. Today we are fasting with her and her older sister so that her older sister's husband will want to get married so that she can be baptized too and so that Jossy's dad will accept everything that is changing in her life. They are just so amazing and strong.

Another one is one of our other progressing investigators Fabiola. She really wants to change her life and be a better parent than hers were. She just has such a desire to change and be in the church, so we are working really hard with her so she can be baptized the next week.

The best lesson we taught all week was last night to a family of amazing recent converts and their two little nephews. They had some really great questions about the sacrament and why it is important to be focused and how we can think about the Savior, and also about the plan of salvation and how we can always repent.  It was just very spiritual, and therefore our Spanish really flowed! It was great. I absolutely love being a missionary. I love Ayacucho. I love love love love being companions with Hermana Rush :) I am learning things every day. We are stepping out of our comfort zone and really growing.

Pray for us! Pray for our area more than anything :) For Jossy and Diana and Fabiola. Pray for us to find the people who are waiting to find happiness in this world :)

Read Alma 42. I love it :) I didn't even know there were two trees in the garden of Eden.... it  is blowing my mind. Hahahaha But in a good way :) I love you all so so so so much. I will look for weird Ayacucho things today to take pictures of and send next week! This week went by so fast. My mind is jumbled :) But I love it! And  I love you! and I will see you......, IN JUST ONE YEAR!!! have a great week :) I love you!

Te Amo!


Sometimes I just forget I am in Peru, and then it hits me and I am like, "Holy crap I am in Peru"

Dear family and friends of mine...
I am really sorry ahead of time because the aaaa on this stupid keyboard is possessed. So it may cause aproblems that I am too lazy to fix. But onward and upward!

Anyway. these last few days have been super insane but super good. I am learning so much and we are being forced to grow a ton because we don' t have a companion to just boss us aroaund and do everything their way. So we just run clumsily through life up and down the mountains of Alameda 2. ahahaha I think it is lovely. Although seriously my legs have never been this sore in my entire life and sometimes while I am sleeping they charly horse and I consider chopping them off  with a  spoon. But enough drama and whining about the literal mountain that is my area.

Well to start out our first week together in an area that is sort of dying due to the sickness of the last missionary here, Hermana Rush got deathly ill. Well, not deathly. But she puked on the floor and it was both sad and hilarious. Just because it was one of those things that only happens in Peru on a mission when you are 2 little 19 year-old girls. Then, we just went out every day and winged it.  Our teaching was and is a little choppy  just due to lack of the mastery of the language and experience and ateaching together. Buat after having a really long, difficult, jolting lesson on aFriday, we went to the house of a less active girl and taught her and her family and it was amazing. The spanish and the spirit were there and it just flowed. So then we felt a lot better about life.

One of the running problems we have had this week  is teaching investiagators or less actives that didn't or won't progress because someone in the ward has offended them... ait is kind of a big proablem  here. We have had a lot of really good and spiritual lessons explaining that salvation is personal and that while people aren't perfect, the gospel is. Only to have them tell us they will not come back to church. So that has been slightly discouraging. The ward is a tad dysfunctional.... like how there is only one counselor in the bishopric and the ward clerk is like a16. But we are working on it,  hahaha.

On Saturday we contacted this mamita who luckily spoke decent Spanish (they usually speak Quechua) and her niece. We taught them the whole first lesson and then ataught them how to pray.  They just weren't getting it and we literally explained for almost a half hour.  It was  a serious trial of patience ahahaha and I got bit by abouat a8 million bugs sitting in the grass in front oaf their house teaching. But it was worth it because even if they don't progres.  That little girl now knows how to pray whenever she feels that she is alone. And I count that as a win.

We also were teaching an  investigator that actually alives in our house.  One night and at one point Hermana Rush asked me how to say steps in Spanish.  I messed up and actually said pasas instead of pasos which is raisins.  So she taught the whole lesson on how baptism is only the first raisin and I know they understood and they didn't laugh or anything.  But when we were laying in bed that night I told her and we laughed so hard we almost died because we still can't believe he put the two youngest hermanas in the mission, who also are gringas and struggle, together.  I love it, ahahaha.

One of the most hilarious things I have ever seen is a daily occurrence here and I literally almost pee my pants. People just let their animals graze and herd them through the streets and such, including their horses. But they don't want the horses to run away.  So they tie their atwo front feet together and so when the horses want to move they do this weird hop thing.  It is literally the funniest, most comical thing ever.  I had to sit down in the street the first time that passed in front of us.

Also, yesterday, we decided to go explaoring for people up at this part that is in our area but has never been touched. It is called Yanama. So we got on a bus and first went on the most twisty turny edge of a clifff bus ride ever with about a50 mamitas with atheir bags and live chickens and so forth in a very crowded combi for about a half hour. Hilarity. Then we got off and it was literalaly like walkaing into another world. There was a little stream where everyone was washing their  clothes and adobe houses and literally everyone was a mamita. We just walked around in shock and ran from chickens and ginormous pigs that people just have tied out in front of their house and tried to contact.  We decided we are going to baptize everyone there and open a new ward in Yanama.  It was the most adventurous, beautaiful, thoaught provoking, hilarious day of my mission so far I think.  I love ayacucho.

I have been reading all of the histories of my ancestors today and it has been so fun and spiritual. I am so thankfu and proud for the pioneer heritage we have.  I love this gospel and I love the lord. I know that this work is true and that it is directed by the Llord. I love you all so danga much it is ridiculous and I hope you have the abest week ever. Remember who you are and how much  I love you! Because I do. Laike a laot.  Even if you are all praying that a llama spits on me. Jerks.
Te Amo!

Who'll be a Witness for My Lord?

Hello My Dearly Beloved Family!

How are all of you? Every time I sit down to email, my thoughts get super scattered and I can't remember anything that happened this week.  But  I will try my hardest :)

Well first off, we are still just plugging along, two gringas in a foreign country. It is actually really quite hilarious, and also very humbling. I am hit everyday with the testimony of how very much we are watched over and prayed for. And how blessed we are to have such a beautiful burden of trust and this opportunity to be instruments in this work. It really is a divine, tender mercy that takes on more and more meaning every day as  I reflect and think about it. Which me and Hermana Rush do A LOT. We just talk and talk and think about how blessed we are and how awesome our parents and families are and just generally think a lot. Which is really interesting. It makes me realize what I want in life and how blessed I have been in my life.  I am literally filled with gratitude everyday and just want to be so much better. I am learning who I want to be.

Mom, I got your package! I am actually wearing the outfit right now. I love it. Although this is going to sound super weird,  when I pulled it out one of your hairs was on the skirt and I started to cry a little bit but it is just because I love you and this skirt sort of smells like you and I am so happy. Don't judge that, I swear I am not a weirdo. Well, I am, but no more than usual. :)

Ok,  I am going to organize this email by days I think, just because my thoughts are all over. So Monday was pday obviously and it was the first one of the transfer. Well, this zone is full of gringas. There are 6 gringas and 2 latinas. Hermana Bond and Hermana Wilkins are also here now, along with me and Hermana Rush and Hermana Jameson and Hermana Quist. There are two companionships of gringas... weird. But it is because Ayacucho is really safe! Even though it is the corner of death! The only super devastating thing is that we really miss Bott. Like reallly bad.  But we actually called her on transfer night and talked to her for a long time. She is doing really good and is actually loving her area in Chorillos. We just wish she was here :) It is crazy how close I feel to all of the girls from my group. Terrifying really. But they are all just really great and I look up to them a ton!

On Tuesday we had district meeting (when I got mom's package) and we had to do a practice in front of our district about well I actually don't remember but I think it was on Moroni 10 and inviting people to follow the invitation to ask why these things AREN'T true.   (I imagine it is something like that.... in spanish it is "si no son verdaderas estas cosas") and it mostly was just gratifying because we didn't look like complete idiots.  We felt the spirit really strong and were really excited to apply the practice to our investigators.

I don't actually remember anything specifically amazing about Wednesday,  but we did receive a ton of references that day and all this week that makes us really excited for this week. We mostly just need more investigators, plain and simple. But even when it is hard, and we have days of walking up and down and up and down with not very many lessons, we know that the Lord is preparing people for us to find. We just have to have faith and be diligent in doing our part :) Even if that means walking up and down and up and down the mountain. I better get skinny from this. Although I think the rice and potatoes is interfering. Hahahaha, but really.

Thursday we did service at our pension's house. They are a really great family. His name is Miguel and he is a convert (well so is his wife) and her name is Raida. I don't know how to spell it. They are really fun and they really take care of us. We had the elders from our ward there too, Elder Flores and Elder Taysom.

On Friday we had a lesson with an investigator named Rocio whose mom recently died. We taught the plan of salvation for the first time together.  It actually went really well and I felt the spirit very strongly. I love teaching. It really sort of terrifies me, but there is nothing that makes me feel better about fulfilling my purpose as a missionary, even if it scares the crap out of me.

On Saturday in the morning, we took the edge of the earth bus ride again up to Yanama to teach a reference we got. That lesson went really well too and we made a couple of contacts up there. It was way out there and just a little pueblo, but we really feel it has potential. It is just kind of a charming little place. That day we also had a lesson with a 14 year old girl with a baptismal date named Jossy (like josie) and she is just awesome. She understands the scriptures SO WELL and it is like the most rewarding feeling in the world to have investigators who just grasp it. She receives the lessons with her older sister Diana who is the same way.  She just can't have a baptismal date because her boyfriend of many many many years who she has a child with (devil adorable child named Alvaro) won't get married. Ugh. Pray for them. Then we taught another investigator with a baptismal date named Fabiola who is 18 and has a lot of really weird questions, but she is great. That night we had one last lesson with an old investigator who didn't progress because she won't come to church. We sat outside her house on rocks and just asked her how she was doing. It was a cool experience because me and Hermana Rush both thought of the same scriptrue to share (Ether 12:4) and it was good. We aren't counting her as progressing, but sometimes it is just nice to help people have a little lift.

Sundays.... are dang stressful. Like this Sunday Jossy HAD to get to church before the sacrament or her date would move. Again.  But, no one understands time here. SO basically we ended up flying down the hill in a member's like van thing with 4 (Yayyyyyy 4!!!!!) investigators in the back. It was the most accurate description of missionary life I can think of. It was great because we had 5 investigators in the church and it felt really good :) I love the high pressure moments, when they are over.

This week has been really a good week. Missionary work isn't easy, but it is the best thing I have ever done. I miss you all dearly, but I just love you all so much. I am filled with gratitude for all of you everyday. Remember your pioneer heritage! Send me pictures of the rodeo!

I love Ayacucho. It kind of reminds me of Italy in a weird, South American, third world way. Hahahaa I just love it :) It is gorgeous.
I love you so so so so so much!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Give Me Mountains to Climb!

 Dearly Beloved Weirdos Who I Call Family,

Well, as I think you have seen it has been a crazy week. Like, really crazy. For the record, the emergency transfer had absolutely nothing to do with me or anything that happened in my area, but I am going to start from the beginning :) breathe :)

So, Hermana Trejo has been very sick for basically two transfers now. It has been really affecting our work, our area, and her personally. She was sick again last week, and we scheduled another appointment with the doctor, but President told us that he wanted to meet with her after this one. While we were in the appointment, the doctor basically told her that all of her problems were being caused by all of the change and stress and over thinking that she is doing, but they are causing real problems. Well that night she went in for the interview with President and came out bawling. He called me in and told me that he had decided to send Hermana Trejo home. I didn't really know what to say to that, just that it really isn't possible to do missionary work when you are sick. He then started asking me questions about how long I had been in my area, how long it would take me to teach it to someone, how was my health, etc. I walked out feeling like I was going to stay in San Juan, at least until maybe the middle of the next transfer. 

The next day, we were having personal study and waiting for President to call us to follow up with  Hermana Trejo and just generally tell us now what. Well the phone rang and it was the zone leaders, and they told me that I had an emergency transfer to Ayacucho. I was in complete shock. But it gets weirder. My companion is Hermana Rush. I had a heart attack. It was like a lot of relief and joy compounded with terror and hilarity. On her end, apparently her companion has been equally as ill and they think her being in Ayacucho is making it worse. So this offered the opportunity to move her. She will be in San Juan with Hermana Trejo until tomorrow when she goes home, and then she will basically be starting over in San Juan. We had basically hit a brick wall anyway with the lack of work, so it should be ok.

I feel very humbled and also very... apprehensive because it is possible that Hermana Rush will have a change at the end of this week and I will be alone in this ginormous (literally. Huge.) area with no idea what I am doing. But in the same moment, we have spent a lot of hilarious moments just staring at each other in shock, at a complete loss. IT is very humbling, but also a huge tender mercy.

About Ayacucho, well we came here on the bus on Saturday night. First hilarious thing that happened with the two brand new gringas that are now companions is that we missed the bus we were supposed to take to Ayacucho.... We don't really know how. Anyway, luckily, there was another later bus, so we went on that one. Hilarious. Terrifying for a good half hour there, because we really did not want to have to call and say that we had already dropped this massive ball of trust and missed the bus. Then, we were on the bus for 8 hours. And it was horrifying. It is a really nice bus and everything, just that it is a ton of switchbacks,  a ton. I was a tad carsick, and it was hard to sleep. We got to Ayacucho (which is gorgeous and the complete opposite of Lima in every way) at like 7:30, grabbed my bags and went to the house (which is way cuter than the one in San Juan) and then we went to church, looking like crazy people after being on the bus forever.  I felt a really sweet spirit in sacrament meeting, and I am excited to be here. 

It was so dang hard to leave San Juan. I cried like a baby saying goodbye to everyone, and I thought a ton about how much I have changed and grown in that little area. I will never ever forget those people and those 4 months. It was even harder because it was an emergency transfer, so it was really unexpected. But I also sort of appreciated it, less time to think and cry. I love San Juan.  I love those people.

There is a song I have that says,  "give me mountains to climb, rivers to cross, give me something that is going to make me better than I was". Well  I certainly have a lot of mountains to climb.  Our area is a mountain. Laying in bed last night,  I  thought I was going to die. But oh well, I am sure I  will adjust.... eventually. Hahahaha

I feel very blessed, and terrified to be with Hermana Rush, even if only for this one week. We are both in a very similar spot on our missions because our companions were sick and we were in the same boat, so i think we are going to grow a ton. We shall see :) This week are the real cambios, so I don't know when I will email you, but it won't be Monday. I am sorry I don't have pictures, but it was a little crazy. And I guess you have the ones from facebook :)

Oh, I  love you so much. I know that this gospel is true, and that we are engaged in the most important work and battle in the world. I love you all with all my heart and am so incredibly proud of Judd and Wyatt. and Will :) and Mom and Dad too. Hahaha, but really, I  love you all so much. Thank you,  for absolutely everything.