How are you?!?! Well I have a ton to say and very little time to say it so here we go.
On Monday I was on exchanges with Hermana Alonso and we contacted this lady and she let us into her house to teach her and everything. And then in the end when we invited her to read the Book of Mormon she was like, " Uh no, I actually don't want your book because I will never read it and I am too busy to be looking for answers like these." And I was ...... dumbfounded. How can somebody turn down their salvation so quickly? How can someone understand at least a little how important this is and then say, well I actually don't even want to look for an answer.... And I think it is fear that does that. And then I started thinking.... am I too afraid to ask for and look for and listen to revelation sometimes? When we have enough faith in the Savior and the Atonement, we arent afraid to look for and act on the hard answers.
Then, right after we went to another house and the lady had this crazy dog with a lime around its neck (because it is sick) (Peruvians do that... I don't know if I have ever mentioned it before ahahaha it is actually hilarious) and she has this 98 year old grandma that her son brings to church and (the lady isn't a member. or the grandma...) and it was a really cool lesson to be able to talk to her about the Plan of Salvation and why we don't need to fear death,... because she is really worried about her mom all the time. I love the eternal truths and comfort of this gospel and the plan of happiness.
On Tuesday we were actually busy all afternoon with medical things and doctor visits (not for me mom, don't worry just breathe). Then when we got back from the clinic we had a lesson with a recent convert named Renzo. He was so cool because he already had an account made and like information in it when he came for the lessson! He is so prepared and excited to go to the temple. He is planning on February.
Wednesday.... was my birthday! And it was a really, really great birthday. Thank you to my family for the packages and to family and friends for all the birthday wishes last Pday :) It was a relatively normal day but when we got to lunch the Galindo family and the Elders and Sisters had made like a huge sign with balloons where I sit. They gave me Inca Kola and a Chocoteja and then after lunch they brought out a cake and sang. One of the traditions in Peru is that you have to bite your birthday cake and when I went to bite it, one of the young men in the ward that works at the restaurant squished my face into it (which is also a tradition that I thought I would get out of considering I had an interview with President in a half hour, but no.) and it was hilarious. And it totally reminded me of the boys.... it is as if they were there in spirit. All in all, it was a really great birthday!
Then, right after all that I had my interview with President. It was great, amazing as always. We talked about faith and finding people to teach and relying on the Atonement. He also said he got an email from mom and dad and that you are awesome, he truly respects and admires you greatly.... that you are exceptional and he is so excited to meet you someday. It was a really great 10 minutes with President :) I look up to him so much.
Thursday was crazy psycho to get ready for the temple. I am going to give a short rundown on everyone who went!
2 went Friday in a ward caravan.
Juan Enciso, who we have been teaching forever, but before couldn't have a recommend. He called us out of the blue one night like 2 weeks ago and was like "What do I need to do to go to the temple right now? I have a recommend!!!", and it was awesome. He did 11 baptisms and confirmations for family members.
Girardo Ortiz, a recent convert of 17 years old. He showed up to the temple with a name to do and we helped him get it ready right then! He looked for 3 weeks to be able to do the baptism and confirmation for his uncle.
On Saturday, 10 more came under the direction of our pension Edwin Galindo (who is also a recent convert)
Maria Cantoral who is a rescue after being inactive for around 5 years. She did the work for 4 people in the temple and came out saying that she felt happy and content for the first time in months.
Fabio Casalino, who was baptized two months ago, was able to do the work for 5 people and has a goal to get married in the temple and serve a mission (close to home because he has bad knees).
Carlos Astocaza, who was going to go back in December, but couldn't because his family opposes the church so much that they literally detained him. But he was able to go and do 3 names :)
Monica Gonzalez, who was baptized 3 weeks ago, was able to do 14 baptisms and confirmations. Her work has helped jump start her inactive family, and her mom is now starting to come back to church :)
Odilia and Guillermo Andia, a mother and son duo, who are both rescues. They are really special to me. We have been working with them since I got here. In all they did 9 ordinances and Odilia stood up to bear her testimony in church yesterday about the power of the priesthood. She also received a calling :)
Edwin and Aurora Galindo, our lovely pension :) Aurora is a returned missionary and recent rescue, and edwin is a recent convert. They are one of the most amazing families I have ever met (I want you to meet them) and in all they did 9 baptisms and confirmations on Saturday and they brought their two little girls :) They still remember (well, the 3 year old) getting sealed last year :)
Lourdes Felipa, who was baptized last transfer, was able to (after a lot of looking and searching and praying) be baptized for her mom. She wore a dress (she borrowed from Hermana Alonso) and came out of the temple with a noticeable glow. She has a difficult life and it was truly a sacrifice for her to go, but she said it was worth every second. She also received a calling yesterday :)
Genaro Morales is a 17 year old recent convert who is prepping full force to go on a mission and he is amazing. He did the work for 2 people and smiled the whole way there and the whole way back :)
It was an amazing weekend. On Friday we got to do a session (first one in 10 months) and it was great.
The temple... reminds me of home. It just feels... like home. I think because it is a glimpse of our heavenly home :)
Also on Saturday I got to see Hermana Rush and Hermana Bott. Hermana Rush was a total surprise, she was there with a convert and it was awesome. It was really cool to talk to them for a minute. When one of the other sisters took the picture she said "one year later " and we were like in shock. I can't believe what has happened in that one year. But I am thankful to have had those two sisters with me in that year and on Saturday :)
I have been thinking a ton about covenants, vicarious work, and the atonement this week. These are my closing thoughts :)
"For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that aredead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."
D Todd Christofferson – Why do we baptize for the dead?