Monday, August 26, 2013

Lima "Cook" Off

Haha. My title is just too clever right now.

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.
 Therefore, O ye that embark in the aservice of God, see that yebserve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand cblameless before God at the last day.
 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are acalled to the work;
 For behold the afield is white already to bharvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in cstorethat he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
 And afaithbhopeccharity and dlove, with an eeye single to thefglory of God, gqualify him for the work.
 Remember faith, avirtue, knowledge, btemperancecpatience,dbrotherly ekindnessfgodliness, charity, ghumilityhdiligence.
 aAsk, and ye shall receive; bknock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

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!

Elder Lundberg

Monday, August 19, 2013

I was not sent on a German speaking/mold fighting mission for a reason....

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!


Elder Lundberg

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Conquering the Enemy of all Righteousness!

 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!

Elder Lundberg