26 December 2013
This week was wonderful! We had a really fun Christmas dinner and white elephant thing at the church in Cusco with three other Zones. As you can see, we got really cool gifts... and I still managed to get crafty here with my wrapping skills haha. We had a really great devotional with music and testimonies. At the end, the President gave each of us a book of mormon for US to read this year. They gave us two scirpture markers to use. One to mark all the things that Christ says and the other to mark all of the references to Christ. He promised us that as we stay focused and find opportunities to serve and teach this week, we will have incredible spiritual experiences this week. I feel like I have already had amazing experiences this past week and had opportunities to testify of Christ and his restored gospel with greater power. I feel my testimony and faith in Christ grow as I share it with others.
Thank you to Mom, Megan, Natalie, and Dad and Keri for the Christmas packages!!!!! HOLY COW!!! YOu all are ridiculou! THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH. It made me so happy!
Here´s one of the many Christmas Miracles... Yovanna and her son Ribaldo are getting baptized! I have never met someone so ready and prepared for this. She has incredible desires to follow Christ and be happy! Yesterday she was supposed to have her Baptismal interview... but she wasn´t home when we went to pick her up! AH it was a littlechaotic, but then we finally found her accross the river selling this weird fish stuff with her mom. Thankfully she was willing to leave to go to her interview. It was crazy, but as soon as she walked out of her interview, she was BEAMING. I could see the light of Christ in her. She is so ready for this. She has been through crazy things in her life and is so ready to leave it all behind, feel clean, happy, and free of her burdens. I am so excited for her and her son . I know this is the greatest decision they could make for their family. Ribaldo asked if I could be his God Mother haha. They do that a lot here when they get baptized haha. Even though it is probably just because I am a gringa, I am honored to be his Godmother haha... whatever that role entailes.... I´m not really sure.
So excited to talk to you this week!! I will be on Skype or google hangout. I will call you in the afternoon 1 to 2 my time. Brian and ALly I would love to talk to you too!!! So can everyone be ready for that? I will call you via google hangout... but just incase, can mom and megan have your skype open too? So I will call Mom first at 1 and Dad 2nd at 1.25 ish. Sound good? Can´t wait!!
Merry Christmas! I love you all so much and am grateful to have such an amazing, supportive family! Eat lots of pie for me!!!! I love you!!
09 December 2013
Well... almost. What, 3 weeks? Woohoo! I got my first Christmas package this week! Thanks Mom! Don´t worry, I saw the little Christmas tree on it and haven´t opened it yet :) But I just want you to know that it is KILLING my companion. I had to hide the package so she can´t see it and try to steal it ;) We found out our plans for Christmas today in our Zone meeting. We are going to Cusco on the 20th for a christmas dinner and devo with the President at the mission home! I´m stoked for that. The mission home is like the happiest place on earth. On Christmas, we´ll just have a normal day of teaching... doing what we do best!
The President is amazing here. He stresses obedience a lot, but also puts a lot of trust in us. I am grateful for his example and guidance here. Something really great happened this week. Maybe you´ll think this is boring, but to me it was an answer to my prayers. Two things have been on my mind a lot this last week: 1) How can we help the ward? and 2) Family History. Little did I know or realize that number 2 would be the answer to number 1. On Sunday a new Family History person was called for the stake and it happens to be someone that we have a really good relationship with and he´s in our ward... so that made me super happy and excited to get going on Family History. And then today in our Zone meeting, the Zone Leaders told us that the President wants to push Family History more in the wards. He said it will be a great tool to help investigadors, less actives, and recent converts, as well the youth who are preparing for missions. I didn´t realize that one of our responsibilities as missionaries is to not only preach the gospel, but to do family history work for the dead. I took a family history class a year or two ago at BYU and I really feel like this is all just meant to be. I definitely don´t know everything about Family History, but I am SO excited to get to work on it here and help others find and learn more about their families. The ultimate goal is the temple and I know this will be a great tool in helping people prepare to go to the temple.
Another great thing... Yovanna and Esther. AH seriously. They are rockstars! They have come to everything we invited them to, including church. In sunday school, they each introduced themselves and got emotional as they expressed their gratitude to Heavenly Father for helping them come to church and for sending us (las hermanas) to them. Yovanna said she has felt so much peace since we´ve been visiting her just in the last week. I don´t feel like it has been me at all that´s brought that peace... it is definitely the spirit and the love of the Savior and Heavenly Father that she is feeling. They have such great desires to follow Christ, and to follow the commandments. They are a miracle family and I love them so much!!
CHRISTMAS DEVOTIONAL!! We got to watch it via satelite last night! That´s right, we´re pretty high tech here in Sicuani. It was incredible! Even though it was in spanish and I couldn´t understand everything, I definitely felt the spirit. It was a great reminder of what Christmas is reallly about. I loved President Monson´s message when he said this is the time to start focusing on giving rather than recieving. I think we hear that a million times during Christmas time, but it really is what it is all about. All the little things than we can do to give is so miniscule when compared to all that the Savior gave for us. I am so grateful to be here in Peru, serving the Lord and serving as a representative of Jesus Christ at this time. I can´t think of a more meaningful thing to be doing during the ¨Christmas Season¨.
02 December 2013
1. Thanksgiving. No, we didn´t have turkey or stuffing, but we had fun talking about what we were grateful for! I was slightly ill... due to something a dear investigator gave us to drink. "Here drink this! It´s good for your health!". Yeah. Nope. Haha. So instead of stuffing my face on Thanksgiving, I was letting my stomach recover haha. But I am all better now!
2. I am definitely a foreigner here. I don´t really realize that until people point it out. People have called us "barbies", "twins", or they ask if we are sisters, to which we reply, "Yes, of course! Sisters of the church!" Haha. One investigator ( The same one that gave me that drink... was surprised to find out we are only 21, because she thought we were 40 years old. Okaaaay. And then she started hitting my stomach telling me that I look pregnant. Thank you Ambrosia. The school kids always try to speak english to us in the street, saying "Hello!". Or weird old men will say things like "hasta la vista bebe!"... like that´s the only spanish we know hahaha. I like to be really funny and when people yell "Look! Gringas!", I look around and say, "What? Gringas?! Where?!!" They get really confused and I think I´m really funny.
3. Heavenly Father works through weak people I have learned that through experience and through stories in the Scriptures. I love the stories of Peter the apostle. He made many mistakes and had weaknesses, yet Christ trusted him to lead the church after his death. Joseph Smith was the same... had many weaknesses and wasn´t very educated, yet the Lord entrusted him to restore his gospel! I am grateful that the Lord works through weak people, because I am weak and cannot do this work without him.
4. Miracle Yovanna! Wow. craziness happened last night. I don´t know if I told you about the girl that we met like a month or more ago... we found her son in the street and helped him carry something back to his house and then ended up having an incredible lesson with his mom, Yovanna. She has been through crazy things, with her ex husband, and has so much pain still from all these terrible trials. We were excited to teach her more and help her overcome these things... but she was never home! We could never get ahold of her! People were telling us she moved... so we kind of gave up on her. Then yesterday, we saw her son walking through the street! AH! We walked with him back to his grandparent´s house where his mom was. His grandparents and Yovanna happily welcomed us in! She explained that she is never in her house, only to sleep, and that her phone broke! The only way we would have found her again was by randomly running into her son in the street again. Seriously a miracle. Long story short, we found out from her mom that their whole family is baptized in the church! Yovanna didn´t even remember at all! They have so much faith and want so badly to follow Christ and to do God´s will. They are amazing examples of faith. That was an answer to our prayers. It just shows that God really is aware of everyone and sometimes sends us places to help people even when we don´t realize we are being led to someone to help.
Loving life and the mission as always! Thank you for your constant words of encouragement and love! I love you and miss you tons!