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!
Well, it`s been an interesting week I guess you could say. I guess I`ll just start off by saying.........."Happy Fathers Day!!!!" I spent my day seeing all the fathers here outside playing with their kids on bicycles, laughing gleefully, and holding hands with...............beer bottles haha. And forget the kids on bicylces cause their weren`t any........just a bunch of loud music, drunk laughter and hangovers this morning........... Yup. Happy Fathers Day Peru. Hope it went a little better up in the alps of good ol` Utah. Holidays here are always the same......Christmas, Labor Day, and just about any weekend here just involves a lot of drinking and dancing. But hey. Nothin` like the big bad world. Anyway, thanks Dad for never even trying a drop of beer in your life. You really are the best of em` all!
It was nice however last Friday because we got to go to the temple as a zone again! As usual, I ended up spending another good bit o`cash on gifts for converts, ties to send home, and such. Elder Borda and I woke up at about 5 am to take a taxi with our district leader and his companion. We ended up being like an hour and a half early, so we went inside the visitors center to sit in the comfy chairs and doze a bit before all the others showed up. The session was incredible as usual, and I just sat in the sealing room with Elder Borda for like a half hour just thinking about the investigators, my mission, you guys, and how grateful I am to be serving in Peru. It was a nice time to just sit and half a moment of peace. Nothing like the temple to renovate the good ol` mission vibe.
This last Wednesday we had a surprise Multi Zone Conference with President Douglas and the assistants. Oh hey, I think I forgot to mention that one of the assistants is Elder Whiteley from Lindon. He was super good friends with Spencer Harris and played basketball a bunch in our chapel gym. Kinda cool. We never met each other before, but ya know, small world experiences. We had a long conversation about amonth ago in the mission office and he`s an excellent missionary! Anyway, President Douglas came in a little heated to burn us on obedience. Our mission is already pretty darn obedient, which is great, but whenever the elders do something a little out of line, President Douglas literally has zero, I mean about negative two thousand tolerance for disobedience, and we all get chewed out. I haven`t done anything wrong personally, but he about burned our eyebrows off haha. He also talked about how it is now time to "Catch the Wave" and make a big jump in the mission work as the number of missionaries in August will climb to 90,000 throughout the world. The mission will climb from about 220 to 270, and their will be a lot of younger missionaries throughout not only the mission and in the entire world. Kinda exciting. I was pumped up to get to work, and when Elder Borda and I got back to our apartment, I decided it would be good to set some new goals as a companionship in our area according to what we had learned earlier that day.
I also had some sort of sad news from my old companion Elder Luque. Apparently our dear convert Lucio from Mala has passed away. I wasn`t surprised to here the news however. I remember so clearly the blessing that I gave him, and had the impression that he wouldn`t live for too much longer. During the two months after I Ieft Mala he faithfully attended church every Sunday with his wife despite terrible health and trouble walking, and excitedly received the Aaronic priesthood in May after expressing his desire to serve his family and the church as a priesthood holder. One week later, he passed away quietly in his home at age 49 from brain cancer. I didn`t hear much more, neither did I shed a tear because I know he will serve faithfully in the Spirit World. I am SO grateful and privileged for the experience I had as his missionary.
I also had an interesting experience with the Miranda family last Thursday. We arrived at about 8 pm, about thirty minutes late for the appointment, but we walked in on Jose Luis sweeping up glass from the floor. The kids let us know that the mirror had fallen from the wall after a glass cup had landed on it. Then I knew.....there was a fight. We sat down at their table as he finished cleaning up the accident, and I asked her how she was doing. She just said, "fine". Then I asked her again, "Hermana, segura? Esta bien o mas o menos?" She then just started to cry and let us know that she was NOT ok. She had just had an argument with her soon to be spouse and it had ended in them not wanting to get married, and that the baptism would be canceled. A full blown argument started right in front of us, and there was a spirit of contention. After about a half hour of listening to both sides my marriage counselor kicked in. I stopped them, and told their kids to come to the table. We said a prayer as a family to calm down and bring the Spirit to the room, and I told their oldest son Alexis to take all the kids outside to play. I then thought of 3 Nefi 11, when the voice of God begins to speak in the American continent announcing the coming of his Only Begotten after terrible destruction, fire, and many deaths. I let them know that it would be important for them to listen to that soft spoken voice of the Spirit, and not the voice of contention. After about an hour, the whole thing ended in a hug between the two, and a renewed commitment to marriage and baptism. So that was great!
Also, Lucero, it turns out had a fear of water. During her baptism, she sort of had a panic attack and refused to let her head be covered in water. The mission leader got nervous in trying to baptized her and tried to basically force dunk her whole body, but she resisted! And the whole thing ended with a mouthful of water, and a throbbing hand that smacked against the wall. She was super embarrased, and so we talked with her after church and practiced with her how the baptism goes. Anyway, we`ll try again this coming Saturday haha when Luis gets baptized as well. These are just things that surprise us from time to time.
Anyway, that`s my letter for the week. I am so grateful for all the wonderful experiences I`m having each week. This is truly the Lord`s work, and this is truly his church. I love you all and wish you another great week!
It was an interesting week in that not much happened that`s new, but we continue working with several old, and a few newer investigators.
Lucero had her baptismal date for the 8th, but after some consideration, and worry on her and our part, we all felt like it would be a good idea to give her one more week to prepare for the 15th. In the end, it was an inspired idea, and she`s excited for the occasion at 7pm (Peruvian time: 8pm), this coming Saturday! She has a family with a sizable group of "Piranhas" which is a term here for lazy bums who play soccer all day, do drugs, and rob at night. So in the end her family likes to make fun of her and tease that she`s going to church and such. Lucero, not being so confident in herself, sort of slipped into feeling dicouraged, but with the love and encouragement of some neighbor friends, the Nieves family, we helped her forget what her family says, and obey what the Lord says!
Luis Urbina has shown a lot of interest in the church lately, and always greets us with a firm handshake and never fails an appointment. The awesome thing is that his oldest brother, Andres, who is the only one left who doesn`t have a goal for baptism, is starting to listen to us again, and take more interest in the gospel. Soon enough he`ll have a baptismal date as well, but the thing is getting him to shed his "Piranha" costume and cut his Jedi braid haha. The amazing thing is seeing how the Urbina family has developed since I arrived in Floresta, and the change has been tremendous up until now that almost the whole family will baptized on the 22nd!
As always, we`re experiencing diffuculty in trying to get the Miranda family married. The only thing is the birth certificate of Marilu has been hard to find since her sister who lives close to her birth place doesn`t want to help Marilu get married. So anyway, we`re searching other options through the mission office and ward counsel. Just help us out by praying that we can get the document in time for the deadline to enter the mass marriage!!!! But it was a miracle this past Sunday because Jose Luis came to church without his future spouse and enjoyed it!!! We had trouble getting him to follow through with his church attendance commitments, but after fasting, he came!!!!! It was basically the greatest thing ever.
We also talked with our dear Lucia yesterday in a member home, and she basically told us she`s determined to get baptized, but for some reason didn`t want to put a date on it. However, this Thursday we have a visit with her and she let us know that she would have the day decided by then, she was thinking around July 6th. It`s kind of interesting seeing an investigator wanting to take all the iniciative in deciding to be baptized, but she really shows her desire to follow God in her personal prayer and revelation. She reads her Book of Mormon every day when she takes the train to her work, and love it. Much of her behavior reminds me of Regina doing and saying the same things. By the way, Regina continues to be a rock solid Relief Society Counselor.
Anyway, that`s what`s up with me this week. I`m grateful to see y`all wrote me this week. I`ll be printing and reading all the letters this week. I love you all so much and think of you often. Continue forward as always!
So here´s "what up" ladies and gentlemen:
Anyway, this has been an exciting week for the Lord´s work here in Villa El Salvador. Yesterday, we had the privilege of having stake conference. Two members of the Seventy, Elder Wardell and I forget the other, came to speak and make a special announcement. A brand SPANKIN´new stake! There are currently two stakes here now, Villa El Salvador and Pachacamac! Elder Waddell expresed his great thanks to all the members for working with the missionaries in this great work with his lisp using a Spanish accent from Spain. So that was fun to hear as well. Also, our beloved mission president, President Douglas, talked how now it is the time we catch the wave and climb to even greater hights using the words from Elder Nelson in General Conference. The attendance was so packed that after filling the sacrament hall and all the classrooms to the brim there were two huge tents with seats outside and a broadcast of what was going on inside the chapel. Even then there were about 200 people without seats just watching and listening to the conference for two hours standing on foot, which included me and my companion.
This next week we´re focused on the baptism of dear lil´ Lucero. She´s a quiet type, and it´s been a long road working with her for the past month and a half, but she´s feeling more and more confident each time we visit. She left behind many things in her past as part of her repentance process, and this Wednesday will be her baptismal interview. On Saturday we should have a great attendance of members and family to see her baptism.
Our other dear investigators, the Miranda family, was almost lost from our grasp this last week as they announced the possibility of moving to another living space in another area of Villa El Salvador. When they told us the news, I wanted to cry, but I just smiled and told them that there would be some changes, and that they should do what is best for the family. Where they live is a tiny space without heating, and witht the winter coming on, it´s been pretty cold at night and in the morning here. They weren´t happy when they asked me what kind of changes and I let them know that if they move, other elders in our zone, and in another ward, would be able to visit them. So we kind of just left them hanging after the visit, and I was feeling pretty down, but prayed that whatever happened, the parents would be able to be baptized into the restored gospel, completing the family. Two days later, just before I was about to pass the reference to the other Elders, Alexis, Amy and their Mom let us know that as a family they all voted against moving. So they´re here to stay! They let us know that they would just look for a living space within Floresta so we could continue teaching them. Hooray!
Also, we continue to teach Luis Urbina, whose parents, Yhon and Rosa, recently got baptized on the 18th, and whose brother, David, was baptized in March. It´s amazing to see the change in heart that Luis has had so far. At first contact, he didn´t want anything to do with us, but now he listens, reads and prays with real intent to know for himself if these things are true. He continues to progress well towards his baptism on the 22nd of June. His older brother, Andres, is the only person left in the family, but after inviting him to be baptized he decided he didn´t want to. And now he might be headed to Cusco in July to live with his biological mother (Rosa isn´t his actual mother). But I guess we´ll see what the Lord has in store for Andres. I feel like there still might be hope before he heads out o´ town. Rosa and Yhon continue to prosper as new converts, and little by little are becoming accustomed to the church culture. Yhon will soon be advanced to the office of Priest in the Aaronic priesthood. David will be able to bless the sacrament with his Dad! What a blessing!
Regina is an absolute gem of a convert. As the second counselor in the Relief Society, she has literally lifted the spirit of the whole organization, especially the President, Hermana Lucinda. Last week we visited Hermana Lucinda and she told all about how Regina really has surprised her with her spirit, love of God and for the gospel. She was surprised how a convert of only a month and a half could have such a strong testimony and dedication in a church responsibility. It was also a fun visit because we got to learn some quechua from Lucinda´s mom who was visitng from the Sierra. Such as, Alilachokaykanki, which means, "how are you?" and some other sweet frases! I´ve come to the determination that one day I will speak quechua, the language of the Inca! Anyway, been practicing some good ol´ frases with some of the members who speak quechua, and all of them have been surprised to see a gringo now speaking quecha. Such as "Imataruraykanki pani/huaque?" (what are you doing sister/brother?) or frases like "huarakama!" (until tomorrow!). Oh dear! Peruvian Life is too good sometimes.
My time as a trainer has gone pretty smooth so far. Elder Borda is a great missionary who really tries his best and has progressed nicely so far. He continues to be teachable and humble, which makes training a lot easier! We´ve been working hard and walking fast together. His legs have been hurting as he gets used to the fast walking as a new missionary, and I haven´t really been too merciful whenever he complains that his calves hurt. He has a bit of a belly, so he needs to lose weight anyway haha.
Yup. So that´s my report for the week. I´m so happy to be a missionary. More and more I am convinced of the power of the gospel in changing individuals, families, and communities in places where Satan takes more and more control of the wheel each day. There´s nothing like winning the Saving Game. I love this work and love working hard in it. Remember to stay faithful and to continue doing the little things like saying your prayers, reading the scriptures, and going to church to particpate in the sacrament. The little things seriously make such a huge difference! And I´ve come to that simple realization here in the mission. I know this church is true. The Book of Mormon is everything to me. Peru is better than Guatemala (aka Elder See) and I´m pleased to say I don´t miss you guys at all, but I sure do love you all and pray for your behalf!
Enjoy your week!
Well folks, it´s been a fun little week here as usual. I think probably I´ve never had such an up and down week in my life......no I lie. But hey, there´s always something new here to tell.Ok soooooo basically last Thursday Elder Borda and I were bored watching some training videos and to mix things up I decided to put on Portugese translation. The coolest thing was that I could UNDERSTAND it. It´s basically like speaking Spanish but with a bunch of little rocks falling out of your mouth. No I jest. It´s more like speaking Spanish with a French twist. So now, just check off Portgugese off the list please. No I jest again. There were some things that I couldn´t understand but I´ve determined that when I get back I´m going to take Portugese as a third language. Also Quechua, if they even offer that in any place in the United States haha (I might have to make a return trip to Macchu Picchu to learn that one). I tried the German, Japanese, Korean, Italian, French, etc translations and didn´t get a thing out of it, so those will just have to wait.
We also had a hard time finding new investigators this past week. It was weird because we contacted five member references, and not even a single one had solid results the past few days. Yesterday, in my desperation to not come out with zero new investigators at the end of the week, something which I´ve been able to avoid all my mission, I prayed that we would be able to find at least one new person to teach. Later that day, we met with one of our newer investigators, Charo, who is a single mother. To my surprise we found out she has a daughter, Vanessa, who is 9 years old. It hadn´t even dawned on me that Charo had a daughter old enough to be baptized. Precious little Vanessa came and sat down with us for the lesson like a little heavenly answer to my prayer that morning. So, after teaching a lesson on the importance of faith, repentance, and baptism, we placed a baptismal date for the 6th of July, and now Charo and her daughter are excited to follow the example of Jesus Christ together as mother and daughter!
The Miranda family is excited to get married and baptized. The hard thing is that we still have not been able to get a hold of Marilu´s birth cirtificate so they can complete their marriage documents. Yesterday we held the pre-interview to see what they lack as far as the lessons go, but they´re pretty darn ready, except for a little review on tithing and in keeping the sabbath day holy. The only thing left is getting that darn birth certificate from a little town in the Peruvian Sierra. Everything hangs on that single document.
We´ve also been teaching a new lot, the Chipana family. They´re a family of six, two of the kids are just little wee todds, but Miguel is 12, and Siomara is 14, with their parents Eusevio and Felicita. They have a few problems as a couple such as alcoholism and fighting, but it´s not something the gospel of Jesus Christ can´t resolve. Eusevio came to church yesterday alone, which was a surprise. But we have hopes in teaching them and helping them progress in the restored gospel as a family.
Anyway, it really has been an up and down week. I was reading Preach My Gospel chapter six this morning which talks about Christlike attributes, several of which are faith, patience, diligence, and humility, several things we have to work on as missionaries every single day! I just need to keep my head up! After watching the worldwide training yesterday, I´ve been very inspired to work even harder and get on track. The great thing is that Floresta has some fantastic leaders, and so we´re all excited to work together and get this work of salvation thang rolling forth like a "stone cut out of a mountain without hands."
I love you all so much!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Well, I´m currently about to bang my head against the computer screen because the music in this internet place is so loud! I´m not sure what the new zone leaders were thinking.Well, last Saturday we got the call for the new transfers. It was surprising to find out that I´ve been transferred to a new zone......Pachacamach 2......BUT I´m here to stay in Floresta! Yay! President Douglas changed the zone limits here in Villa El Salvador and changed the names to accomadate the division of a new Villa El Salvadar stake! On June 2, there will officially be a whole new stake called Pachacamac here. It really goes to show how hard the missionaries are working to advance this great work!
Jhon Quintana had a vision the night after his baptism that comfirmed his future role in bringing his whole family into the gospel. Apparently, in his dream, I was baptizing him in a huge river with ward members and missionaries observing from the banks. Suddenly, it was the end of the world and an angel descended from heaven saying "Choose which door you must enter". Then two doors appeared in front of him, one wide, the other narrow. All the members and missionaries entered into the narrow door, leaving Jhon behind to choose which to enter. He said there was an evil voice that was tempting him to enter into the wider door, but he resisted when he thought it would be better to follow the rest by entering the narrow door. After entering, he said he was surrounded by a beautiful, cloudy landscape, where all the missionaries and their families were there. He said he had never felt such joy and peace, and that he never wanted to leave. Once again, a voice came to him indicating that their were 10 people he was meant to bring there but 6 hadn´t yet entered through the narrow door, and Jhon realized that his family wasn´t with him. Before he could respond he woke up, but knew what he was supposed to do. All this he told was right before his confirmation at church on Sunday morning. What a nice coincidence when you read 2 Nefi 31:9.
At the baptismal service, Alexis and Amy´s mom, Mary Lou, gave them both big enthusiastic hugs and kisses as they climbed out of the baptismal font. Alexis and Amy are now on a mission to get their parents married and baptized in June.We have plans to get in gear with collecting their documents as the massive marriage ceremony is on June 22.
Well, let´s just say that Saturday night, after the baptismal service, I slept more profoundly than ever before from exhaustion.