Hola familia that I love dearly!
How are you? Before I begin the random, scatter-brained recount of this week, I had to tell you before I forget that my last weekend in Ica, my pension fed us manta ray (like the thing that stung Steve Irwin and killed him). It was really weird and not very appetizing, and they wouldn't tell me what it was until I ate it. I just felt you needed to know that.
Anyway. Moving on.
On Tuesday for Pday, we bought a bunch of stuff we needed for our house and ate at a delicious cafe. The middle of Nasca is like super touristy so there is random yummy food.... hahaha and then we slept for like 2 hours and it was glorious. That night we had a lesson in family history with this crazy recent rescue. It was really spiritual and tender until she started telling us about how she had a theory that God lived in the ocean and we were all fish until God discovered that he could fly and we all became humans.... I almost died. I just love people so much.
On Wednesday we had our District meetings and so forth, and they were really powerful. We talked a lot about teaching in the Lord's way, and inviting people to make and keep commitments that will really help them progress. There are only 12 missionaries in Nasca, so it is a fun little group. That afternoon we taught a woman named Basilia who is progressing towards baptism. Her and her husband have come to church and she has a lot of desire. They are slowly making plans go get married so that they can get baptized :) It is really fun to teach her because she really lets the Spirit work on her and she understands how she needs to change to be able to follow the Savior. We just are trying to have more lessons with her husband and help them to come to church :) We also taught a recent rescue named Mama Rina, hahaha, and she was telling us about her experience doing the temple work for her mom. It was really tender and I felt once again how important the work of the temple is in our lives, the hope and peace that temple covenants bring to us :)
On Thursday me and Hermana Torres were talking a lot about what we had learned on the mission and what we wanted to see happen here. We talked about wanting to be better followers of Christ and his counsel. We made some really great goals for these next couple of months and we are really excited :) Then we went to visit a bunch of less actives and walked like 8 miles. But it was a gorgeous walk and we contacted a lot, so it was great :) Then that night at midnight we got on a bus with the members and headed to the temple. I just love members. They are hilarious. We got to the temple early in the morning and the senior missionary couple, the Fowlers, and us printed out all the name cards and got them distributed to all the members. They spent the whole day (7-7 ) in the temple doing multiple baptisms, sessions, and sealings for their family members. It was a really cool spirit as they filed out and told us about the work they were doing. We also got to do a session in the afternoon with some of them, and that was really, really fun. I love the temple :) I think about the faith of these members to sacrifice and go to the temple every time I sit in the visitors center in Lima and watch the sun rise on groups of sleeping saints from all over Peru, Chile, and other close countries. It is inspiring :)
On Saturday (Happy Valentines Day!) we found new investigator named Gubin and it was a super funny lesson. He has some weird theories about God and such...
Then on Sunday we had church! One of our investigators named Gustavo came and it was really cool to see him interact with the members. Our branch is teeny tiny, 68 people (and one persistent dog) attended yesterday. Our church is on the first floor of a house and it is so weird. Like a whole new kind of culture shock. But there are a few super duper faithful members here, and I am super excited to be able to work with them and see the spirit of missionary work transform this little branch into a strong ward of families and priesthood holders :)
This week I was really struck by what it really means to live a consecrated life. It means to give everything to the gospel and trying to live a Christ centered life. It is the example of my parents :) It is what I want to have, and what I want the people I teach to have. It is the key to happiness :)
The gospel is true! The Savior lives. The purpose of life is to have joy :) I love missionary work. I love my family :)
I love you!
Hermana Lauren Bailey