Monday, August 26, 2013
This past week has definitely, I would say, been one of the hardest so far on my mission. What a contrast it has been compared to all of the weeks before!
This is the first time I`ve had so many challenges with the investigators accepting baptismal invitations, and also just been feeling low overall. However, I have hope. There`s always hope because two good things happened this week:
1. Carla got baptized! It was actually sort of a miraculous feat. On Tuesday we brought a member with us as usual to accompany us in the lesson. We got on the theme of living prophets and Carla, confused, didn`t want to accept that there`s a living prophet named Thomas S. Monson. To make it worse, the member began to argue with her, and the Spirit zipped out of that place on rollerskates! Carla got all annoyed and said she wasn`t sure if she wanted to be baptized because she had a weird dream the night before. I had this urge to punch the member in the face, but being a missionary and as members of the church, we don`t normally punch people in the middle of lessons with investigators. It was just a bad thought. So I witheld myself and said we would just come back the next day, leaving Carla with Jacob 4, which talks about the purpose of prophets.
Thankfully, it worked! The next day we came back with full force of the Spirit,and cleared it all up. On Friday she had her baptismal interview, and Saturday afternoon she was baptized. Normally, converts get confirmed the next day at church, but in Carla`s case, she had a surprise news source let her know that her university enrollment back in the selva (or jungle) had started early. So she was confirmed right there on Saturday, and had to high tail it out of town at like 4 am on Sunday morning. We sent her on her way with a couple gifts, and a letter from each of us as her missionaries. The good news is that where she studies, she lives across the street from the LDS chapel! The place is called La Merced, in Junin, Peru.
2. Elder Cook gave a surprise visit here in Lima! It was literally a "Cook" Off. Saturday morning we had the privilege of shaking the hands of Elder Waddell, a seventy, and Elder Cook and their wives. During Sister Cook`s talk, she had us all stand, 400 missionaries, and sing Hark! All Ye Nations for her. She conducted the whole things with big happy arms and had us do some interesting renditions of the hymn. It was fun haha! She bore her testimony on the power of the hymns in helping us develop Christlike attributes. That lady has musical talent!
Elder Cook spoke to us about the accelerating speed at which the missionary work is progressing. He said that before the age announcement, it took two apostles each week to make about 500 assignments. Now, it takes about four or five apostles to make about 1500 each week. Before he was an apostle, he worked in the missionary department in the church offices. He told us how President Hinckley called him to the office for an interview, he was taken aback by the calling extended as an apostle. At first he wanted to reject, but the prophet just waved his hand up and down saying, "I don`t want to hear any of that. Will you accept?" After about an hour of sobbing after saying "Yes." He went home later that evening and, opening the door, he saw his wife and said "Honey, we´re in BIG trouble!" Anyway, he was able to testify that, as an apostle who now makes the mission call assignments, he was absolutely amazed by the power of the Spirit in letting them know where each and every single missionary needs to serve, and for what reason. He testified that we are where we are meant and needed to be as messengers of the Lord.
Anyway, thinking of Christlike attributes, I read D&C 4 this morning while studying which reads:
Now behold, a amarvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
If you look up chapter six of PMG, you can read in detail about each and every one of those attributes stated in that scripture. What a marvelous time in life to be able to serve a mission. There is nothing more precious than representing the Lord in his great work and a wonder. I love this gospel, and know it is true. I testify that Jesus Christ bears us up as we strive to be more like him. He promises us to guide and protect us as we serve, and to bless us eternally as a reward.
I love you all so much! Have a great week!
Monday, August 19, 2013
So basically, I had like a huge realization the other day. "Some Peruvians actually know German really well." There´s probably a ratio of about 39,999,999 to one. That´s according to my calculation.
****Fun fact: Peru has a population of aprozimately 40 million.****
So anyway, I was totally buying a pen in the market when this lady with a long robe and strange blue hat walks up to me and asks in English something along the lines of "Can you herlp me wit a slate?" I was all like lookin´around to see if there was someone to translate, but realizing I was the only blue eyed blonde person around I just simply replied "yes." Suddenly, like Mary Poppins she wips out a big bag and flips out a few sheets of paper with English writing. I realized she wanted me to translate it for her, so I began to read it as she continued to speak absolutely imperfect English into my trained deaf ear. But my face went red because the things it said was a sexually empowered love letter to an ex-boyfriend of some sorts. In my head I was all like, " Lady, WHAT is your problem?! Can´t you see the name on my plack that says Jesucristo written in big white letters?" but instead it came out, " I´m sorry, but I don´t understand very well because I´m from Germany."(but in Spanish) I thought I had done a great job in getting such a wacko off my back, but instead this lady, with a frigtening smile begins moving her lips around and perfect German comes spewing out of her mouth. I was totally taken aback! So in response I just walked away, thinking that would solve the whole encounter. Ten minutes later, I telling the whole story to the rest of the missionaries in our zone. We all started laughing about it when the same wacko appears in the middle of our group and begins to burn me in German. (I wish Christian were here to explain to me what she said!) Once again, feeling totally wigged out I just walked away and got inside a mototaxi to take me away from the whole situation along with my companion. All the missionaries in our zone still laugh about it to this day.
So that was another strange ecounter I had in Peru.
Anyway, Rony was baptized last Saturday! His mom, Ana Maria, decided she wanted to wait more time before getting baptized. It was sort of frustrating at first, but we´re not here to force dunk her into the water, but the follow the example of Jesus Christ as a humble desire of her heart. We´re doing our best to help her receive more conversion through the Book of Mormon, which is a big focus in the mission. There was a small problem in filling the baptismal font and so, with water at my knees I had to baptized Rony. At the fourth try, we were able to get his whole body submerged into the water. It was definitely like on of those moments in sacrament when the prayer to bless the water is said like ten times because of little mistakes. But it was a great experience and only strengthens my testimony that were not here to only bake half the cake on these sacred ordinances!
Anyway, my time has actually run out. I sent several emails to a few friends. I´ll keep you updated on the Roxana, Gladis, Karla, Ana Maria, and the rest of the gang next week! I´m sorry if my letter wasn´t all that spiritual, but please understand. Last night my companion, Elder Cano, had his own miraculous realization that our apartment ceiling was literally covered in green and white mold. Last night I had a bunch of dreams about mold and woke up thinking I was going to die breathing the air in our room. But we spen the whole morning taking all the furniture out and scraping it all off. Now we just have to repaint, and it´ll be like spankin´new! These experiences just make companions the best of friends!
I love you all to little tiny pieces!
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The past week has seen several falls, yet several rises in the work as well. Just normal mission ups and downs right?
First of all, the birthday bashin` was great last Tuesday. My stomach wanted to explode by the end of the day. For lunch, Hermana Cabrera invited us some delicious pasta, with stake and a famous peruvian side dish called "Papa a la Huancaina". She also surprised my with a beautiful birthday cake. Fue lo maximo! Later that evening we supposedly had a meeting in the chapel, but the mision leader surprised me with a little party where all the previous converts were present, including the Urbina and Miranda families. They all expressed a few words and in the end I got a face planted in a cake which read "Feliz Dia Elder Lamber". Elder Lamber???!!! Well, now you know how they pronounce my name down here. Lamber is a word which also means "to lick". Looks like I fulfilled prophecy as I licked icing off my face. haha.
Elder Borda and I were feeling pretty great with ourselves last week as well. On Saturday night we were happy to report six investigators with baptismal dates! And Sonia got baptized as well! However, despite arranging plans for everybody to come to church, Gladis, Karla, Roxana, and Ana Maria didn`t end up in sacrament meeting for several reasons.
I was feeling terrible in sacrament meeting. I felt so frustrated and inside my head I had lost patience. While playing the piano during the first hymn, I was biffing all the notes and the whole room was singing slower than I was playing. As I sat down with a red face full of embarrasment, I just lowered my head for a while and suddenly the sacrament bread was in front of me. That`s when I realized how slow I had been in my faith. I thought of the Savior, and of all the time I had seen those videos where the apostles sleep as he bleeds from every pore, or when the rooster crows as Peter denies his greatest friend, and when the Roman soldiers spit in his face with grit between their teeth. It was one of those Atonement moments that helped me climb out of a spiritual funk. I opened my Spanish scriptures to Moroni 9:6 which reads,
"And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor adiligently; for if we should cease to blabor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God."
That scripture basically made me cry in the middle of sacrament meeting. Although nobody saw me or felt what I felt, I could feel God talking to me personally in a moment of weak faith. Needless to say, I`m grateful for such moments that let me know the reality of such ups and downs in the mission. As we represent Jesus Christ on our white shirts, we`re going to feel at times a part of what he went through. In some small way, we have to pay a small token to someone who gave up all at such a great price.
Anyway, on Saturday night, my district leader let me know that I`m here to stay at least another tranfer in Floresta. I can hardly beleive I`ve already been here for almost six months, and by the end of this tranfer I`ll have seven! I was also informed that I will now be a district leader as well! That`s when the harsh reality came to me that I`m no longer a newbie......I`m about to complete a year in September. Color me blown away people! Elder Borda left to his mission in Bolivia, his visa came, and his temporary moment in Peru Lima Sur has finished. My new companion is Elder Cano from Callao, which is a northern part of Lima. We`re basically like two hours away from his house. Yet this is his mission! He`s a super great missionary with about six months of experience. We`ve really been getting along well and have made instant friends! He has three brothers and a sister who live and work in Utah with their families. He told me that Sandy was one of the cities where his brother lives. Anyway, I`m excited to work with my new companion!
Wellp, my times up. I wish you all another fantastic week. Love you so much!
Que Dios les bendiga en todos sus caminos!
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Well, it´s been another good week for me!
I think the most interesting and stressful part was just getting those darn marriage papers turned in for Jose Luis and Marilu. Can someone rich up there just pay for these people two take a two-way trip to Las Vegas, gettem´ all married n´ stuff, and fly back? I think it would be so much easier than working with the Peruvian government.........sigh. But hey, why complain? We only had to postpone the marriage two more weeks so the municipality ¨has enough time¨ to transmit the documents. Hmmmm.....that sounds like a lot of coffee breaks to me.....(maybe Word of Wisdom pamphlets could help???). Anyway, the good thing is that despite family feuds and blood tests, the whole thing has worked out and now Marilu and Jose Luis just have to wait until the 26th to have a little fiesta and on the 27th a nice baptismal service. I love missionary work combined with marriage counseling!!!! There´s no greater satisfaction.
We had a wonderful baptismal service last Saturday for Rosario and her daughter Vanessa. The water was kinda cold, and all three of us were hit hard with colds, coughs, and runny noses but we still braved it out! The Spirit was strong during the service, and Charo said it felt like she´s been given a fresh perspective on how the Lord has blessed her despite life´s difficulties. The next day at church the bishop presented them both after they were confirmed in sacrament meeting by the elders quorum presidency.
We´ve been teaching a couple newer investigators named Gladis and David. Gladis has been double widowed since she was nineteen and has six kids (what? at what age did she start having kids? I have an urge to ask her.....). David,who´s the youngest and is thirteen, has had a troubled past leaving the house to walk the streets with his friends. I´m not sure if he´s robbed or not, but it´s good that he´s listening to us! He´s come to church with us twice, and is a bit quiet. It seems like he just hates everything, just with the way he looks at you, but he seems to like it becuase he never fails a lesson, comes to church early in the morning, and accepted the baptismal invitation. We had a powerful lesson on the Restoration last Tuesday, and his mom let us know about a dream she had where she found the true church. Ummmm......seriously, these Peruvians have such profound dreams! Anyway, she has been searching churches all her life, and we promised her that if she comes to church with us that she will feel like her search is over. We´ve really been pushing the Book of Mormon lately, and she loves to read it and learn about the teachings of Nephi. Anyway, tonight we have plans to set a baptismal date for August third. Cross your fingers, and let the Spirit do the work!
This Saturday we have Lucia and Patrick set to go. Lucia is a super awesome lady with real determination to stay faithful to the Lord and fulfill her commitments. She has two troubled sons who we´re trying, little by little, to work with. But she has faith and prays every single day that the Lord with touch their hearts. Patrick is excited and ready. He´s a smart kid, and he´s the third in his family to get baptized. His dad is a bit of a violent case, but his older brothers help us out so he can continue forward!
Anyway, it´s been a great week! I´m so grateful to be in Floresta and to have the privilege of working in the Lord´s vineyard. It´s a joy to see the seeds of our labor take root, and bring forth fruit for the Lord´s kingdom. I love you all and wish you another happy week all the way from Peru!
We`ll, just thought I`d let you know that on this side of the world it`s actually been pretty chilly lately. Lots of fog and wind to just whip all that fog up into your sleeves and make you icy cold. The temperatures are nowhere near Utah winter temperatures, but it feels colder due to the humid climate. But hey, I`ll just have to buy a heavy duty sweater to accompany my coat.
Anyway, the Miranda family, unfortunately, did not get married last Thursday. We almost had the solution, but we didn`t make it. The good news is that they will be getting married this Thursday, and we`re planning a small party in the Alarcon family`s home. This Saturday we have the newly weds along with Charo and her daughter Vanessa lined up to be baptized. So that should be a great experience! Creo que todos me van a escoger para bautizarles solo por ser gringo. Elder Borda esta celoso haha. Go ahead. Translate that for the kids.
Anyway, the other four with baptismal dates are Lucia, Patrick, Alicia and Sonia. Lucia is a lot like Regina and has great desires to continue faithful in the church. She has two sons that are older and one has been to jail at only 20 years old, but lately he`s taken interest in coming to church and participating with the YSA group in sports and fiestas. It will be exciting to be at her baptism and see all her non-member family and friends join us. She let us know that she`s already invited like eight people, wondering if that was too much. haha. Oh Lucia.........
Patrick is an eleven year old kid whose older brother is an active future missionary named Yan. That kid is darn intelligent! It seems like the kids just understand so easily the gospel while it takes hammers and nails for adults to understand sometimes. Haha but that`s what makes Primary so grand. He and Lucia are set for the 20th of this month.
Alicia is a young adult who has a background in Evangelical churches. She`s super great but doesn`t like to express her feelings too much becuase she cries really easily. We ask her how this and that went and she always says "fine." And then we have to ask more questions to get the details. It`s like when moms ask the kids how school went and they just say, "Good" but refuse to say anything else. Haha. But she let us know that after praying to know the Book of Mormon was true she had a vivid dream that she was in the baptismal font being baptized. Problem solved. Her baptism is for the 27th of July.
Sonia is from the Sierra and her whole family has the whole Catholic deal going on. However, she has taken a recent interest in coming to know Christ more. Whenever she reads the Book of Mormon with us and we ask questions, she always gives such golden answers. Sort of the opposite of Alicia. She`s headed for the 10th of August.
Anyway, it`s been a great week for us. The bishop is really picking things up. I feel really grateful becuase our ward mission leader is the hardest working one in the whole stake. I just feel happy to do the work of the Lord each day as a I wake up and pray to have the Spirit with me each day.It`s a daily routine, but it`s one of the most satsifying, and never gets old!
I love this gospel, and testify that this is the work of the Lord. I testify of the power of testimony. I was reading a scripture in D and C 62:3 which reads, "Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you." I love that scripture. It really bore to my heart the power in pure testimony not only said on earth, but recorded in heaven for all the angels to see. I testify that this is the only true church of Jesus Christ that holds the priesthood power to perform sacred saving ordinances. I know that I have been sent by the Lord to represent his Son. I am His missionary!
1. We had three days straights where the sun came out and I could prance around without a goofy sweater on.
2. 11 investigators came to church last Sunday.
3. We found 6 new people to teach and they`re GOLDEN.
4. We got stopped by a drunkman one night after grabbing dinner from a member`s home. He began speaking English to me and I told him I was from France just to make him more confused. After he babbled a few words I let him know that we were in a hurry to get home. He then proceeded to give me a hug telling me that he needed Jesus and all o` the sudden I get this huge wet alcohol smelling KISS on my neck! I`ve never run so fast in my life....
5. I was reminded of the time when it was my last day in Mala and a naked drunkman/former investigator hugged me as well......
6. We have 6 baptismal dates for July!
7. I didn`t get transfered! So I`m STAYIN` home in Floresta folks!
8. I definitely have E-coli in my water every stinkin`day! So be grateful. Life`s just a hassle sometimes!
9. Who knew that playing mass hot potato was so fun?
So to say I had an excellent week would be an understatement. I was praying so hard not to leave Floresta an I promised I would work harder than ever before for the next six weeks that God has given me. I just didn`t feel like it was time to leave yet, and whatya know, wishes do come true. Things are just getting better every day as usual!
I was super excited because Bishop De La Cruz here is excellent. Although sometimes he has the tendency to talk a lot about his mission, he really just gets the "whole idea," if you know what I mean. This last Sunday we had attendance spike up to about 160 after the month of May had an all-time low of 110. In sacrament meeting the Bishop gave a rallying talk to get the ward more motivated, and later that day we had a celestial count of 11 investigators in church. The last world training was such a booster to the misisonary work. FINALLY, the members and leaders are having an even greater realization that they are so important in missionary work.
Our ward mission leader, Hermano Roberto, helped us plan a Noche Misional last Friday. As usual, it some how came together with a lot of procrastination and waiting until the last minute to cook food, put up the decorations, and wait for the "Peruvian hour" to kick in as the crowd came about an hour and 15 minutes late. With one of the members who lives below our apartment, Jhonatan helped us create a list of "get to know you" questions for the activity so that all would participate in the fun. We had Hermana Franchesca with the games, but when it all came down to it, she hadn`t planned a thing! Hermano Rober brought the tables but forgot to put together the program. So the Spirit just kicked right in as I just played piano for the opeing hymn, signaled a brother to say the opening prayer WHILE playing piano (now THAT`S talent), picked up the microphone, welcomed everybody, plugged in my USB to play some good ol` MOTAB during the activity, and with my list of pre-cut questions that Herman Regina put together for me earlier, we played a mass game of "Hot Potato". I mean seriously people, I didn`t know what I was getting into when my voice turned into narrator for the whole game as well. We broke up into groups who each had their object as the hot potato, each person had several slips of paper with questions on them, and I began yelling into the mic "La papa se quema la papa se quema la papa se quema la papa se quema la papa se quema la papa se quema la papaaaaaaaaa se quema se quema la papa la papa la papa la papa se quema la papa la papa se QUEMÒ!!!" And the whole salon just broke into laughter as the hot potatoes burned up. Whoever had the hot potato land on them had to ask a question like "Have you ever sung in the shower? If yes, then what did you sing?" or "If you could be called on a mission, where would you like to serve?" It literally never got old as the hot potato burned up each round and every laught so hard. At the end we had some balloons that for whatever reason we thought it would be a good idea to fill with white flour. So we popped them over the heads of those who had to ask the most questions as punishment or otherwise they had to do the famous Peruvian "Duck Dance" in front of everybody hahaha. Anyway, it was fun, and we had a great crowd attend. I was exhausted by the end of it all as well.
The Miranda family is doing great but Marilu`sbirth certificate has proven difficult to find and we`ve had to postpone their baptism over and over again. The hard thing is that tomorrow is the dealine for the mass marriage this Saturday but you know, we tried. There is a sister who works in the local government who might be able to pull some strings and get the whole thing rollin´for there little marriage party and baptism this Saturday. But I guess we`ll see!
Anyway, I love just being so busy in the work of the Lord. I am so blessed and know this is the true church of God on the earth. Last week Elder Christofferson visited Peru for the celebration of the 100th stake in Peru. I wasn`t invited to go but his words were something like, "These are the last days. but the end does not depend on the world becoming more wicked, it depends on us preparing the world for the Second Coming of the Savior." Wow. What a privilege to be a missionary at this time.
I love you all so much!