Try saying that 10 times fast. We woke up at the crack of dawn to go to this place called Saqsayhuaman. It`s ancient ruins of the Incas... really cool stuff. The rocks all fit perfectly together, and apparently is earthquake proof! Smart little incas! It`s 70 soles if you go during the day... but not if you go at 5 in the morning! It was freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :) We went with the other Elders in our district
27 January 2014
I had a great week this week! It went by pretty fast for a lot of reasons, but here`s the highlights...
1. Zone Training with the President. Can I just say that I LOVE our mission president. He is the most amazing man in the world. Seriously, every word that comes out of that man´s mouth is so powerful. He spoke about temptation and how the temptations we have are from Satan... they are not our thougths or feelings and because of that, we have power to dismiss those thoughts and temptations. It was a really good, enlightening message. Probably my favorite part of the conference was his closing talk. He told each one of us in our first interview with him, that he is here to help us on our mission and prepare us for after our missions as well. He talked about the divine nature and role of women. He spoke directly to the Sisters for a bit, then spoke to the Elders. You can only imagine what he siad to them. He told them that he didn`t understand women when he was first married, but now, he said after 25+ years of marriage, he has realized that he doesn`t deserve his wife. He talked about how men need to know their place and realize that Eve was God`s most perfect creation. It was powerful. Especially being in Peru and with the macho culture here... it was much needed for both the Elders as well as the Sisters.
2. Sometimes people don`t come to church... Even when you assigned your mission leader to go pick them up. So sometimes, we have to leave the church when sacrament meeting is about to start and go pick them up ourselves! And sometimes... you get there, skip the knocking thing because that would take WAY too long, barge in the door... and find them still in bed. What do you do? Hm, well if you are my companion, you say "Get out of bed!! Church is starting in 5 minutes! This is the most important day of the week! Let`s go!" And what do they do? They don`t ask questions and they get out of bed. Sometimes they aren`t fully dressed... and that`s kind of gross. Then, they come to church, and thank you later :)
3. We had an amazing District meeting as well this week! We were assigned to teach it, and we felt like we should teach about the restoration of the gospel. A little basic, but it felt right. It ended up being such an amazing meeting, not because of the way we taught, but because we all felt the spirit. We had a little contest with the elders to see you knew the first vision the best. We had them sing it, act it, write it... it was hilarious! Then we asked who had actually felt the spirit during that activity? Who was actually paying attention to the words? No one. Then we had each person read the first vision and focus on their own testimony and focus on the words. The spirit was so strong in the room. It was an amazing experience and helped me remember the importance of the message of the Restoration of the Gospel.
Loving life, my new hair (because it takes less than 5 minutes to do every morning... sorry for those of you that don`t like it, too bad), and of course, being a missionary!
Love you all so much!!
20 January 2014
Another thing you should probably know... Mom, please don´t kill me. Although, that´s not really possible for you to do right now, so I think I´m safe. There is a phrase we say here in the mission... YOMO (You only mission once). With the support of my dear companion and my zone leaders, I took this phrase to heart and did something a little drastic. I will leave it at that and let you look at the pictures I attached. Haha.
I love you all tons! Thank you for your emails! I am praying TONS for you all... especially my little sick ones :(
Thank you for your love and support!
Our pensionista wanted a "family picture" with us to frame and hang in her house. This is the fountain that we live right next to. It´s beautiful! I love our pensionista, Yomira. She is amazing, and cooks amazing food for us... except for that cow stomach we had that one day. ahhh...
My FAVORITE companion! She is the best! We are so goofy together, but also work hard. She has a great spirit about her and keeps life fun and optimistic! Love her.
13 January 2014
Hola familia! I am absolutely loving this new area! Opening a sector has never been so much fun! I can definitely attribute that to the INCREDIBLE members, my companion, other missionaries, pensionista... it´s all amazing. I love the people and the work here. We are working with a lot of less actives, which can be difficult, but things are progressing with them, so I have high hopes! There are also a lot of families preparing to go to the temple, so it has been really fun to talk about the blessings of eternal families, etc. Last night we taught a couple who is going to go to the Lima temple in about a month. I showed them pictures of each one of you! I told them that each of you have been through the temple. I am so grateful for that. So grateful to be able to say that!
As we are getting in the groove of opening a sector, the elders are getting used to sharing a sector haha. As I mentioned last week, everyone is obessed with having hermanas in the ward. They give us all their references, want us to visit them, and walk around with us for hours showing us the area and introducing us to new people. Every once in a while, we have a run in with the elders or at the end of the day they´ll ask, "Oh how was the Espinoza family? Yeah, they told you had already stopped by before us." Yesterday was especially funny, A member brought us to a less active´s house to visit and probably 5 minutes into our conversation, there was a knock at the door. Lo and behold it was the Elders! I guess you could say they were a little less than pleasantly surprised haha. We all laughed about it. What can I say...
My spanish is still happening... haha. Sometimes people tell me, "You don´t speak much spanish, do you?". Oh really? I don´t? Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I wasn´t aware that I´m not fluent in spanish yet! Mostly, I just laugh about it. Ha. ... ha.
There is a teenage girl we are working with who is amazing. She was baptized in a different city about 6 months ago, and later moved to Cusco. She is a really special girl. She doesn´t talk much, but you can feel how special she is when you are with her. Her mom died about 3 years ago, her dad lives in a different house... she is the youngest and living in her own little room she rents by herself. I still have a lot to understand about her and her life. We had a lesson with her last week. We had planned to share a specific scripture. As she got her Book of Mormon off her shelf, she handed us this little picture of Christ wiping the tears of a little girl. On the back it had a scripture reference from Revelations 21:4. It was in english, so she wanted to know what the scripture said. We looked it up in spanish and were completely hit by the spirit. The scripture says that the Lord will dry all your tears. I have never read that scripture before. Hermana Thompson and I just looked at each other and looked at Jacelin. We felt an incredible love from our Heavenly Father for her. I could feel that the Lord has wiped her many tears. My testimony was strengthened once again that our Heavenly Father truly cares and is watching over each and every one of us.
I am having so much fun and so many great experiences here. My comp is amazing! She is hilarious. Sometimes too much for me to handle. She lost her voice this week and I don´t knowo what I was thinking, but I suggested we sing a song before we prayed while we were in a lesson with this older lady. Well, it ended up being more of a solo sung by me. The lady wanted to sing more... so I sang three songs, yes practically solos (because if you knew the people here... they don´t really sing). I was DYING. I was on the verge of a laughing attack meltdown. Luckily I held it together.
Love you all so much! Thank you Grandma and grandpa Nelson for the christmas card and pictures! So adorable! I LOVE PICTURES!!!! The clasons, hamiltons, and mom send me Christmas cards too! Thanks a ton! SPECIAL THANKS TO NATE FOR THE GO PRINTS. OH MY GOSH I WANTED TO CRY: Those are BEAUTIFUL! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I am so excited to give those to families here. Ahhh thank you so much!
Hola Family! Happy New Year! Or as they say here... ¡Feliz año!
Last week was really sad to leave Sicuani... we ran aroudn like CRAZY trying to say goodbye to everyone! It was sad, but I feel like what I was there to do was done and there really is something great for me to do here in Cusco.
This new sector is AMAZING. SOOOOO different than Sicuani, it´s crazy. I still don´t fully comprehend it all yet... I was in this little town where everyone new each other and I came to know every street corner, every drunk, every dog, every owner of every store... and now I am in CUSCO, the heart of Peru! It´s huge. There´s lots of really big buildings, tons of tourists, cars!... It´s like I´m going through another culture shock haha. It´s crazy and I love it! This first week has been way crazy. So you asked what "opening a new sector" really means. Well, let me explain:
1. You don´t have a home. So you sleep on the floor for a week in the other sisters´ apartment (8 girls in one place... yes it´s insane.) So you have to take a taxi to your area everyday.
2. You are the first hermana´s in the area for a reallllly long time! Everyone we have met from the ward has been SO excited to meet us and say, "WOW, it´s been forever since we have had hermanas in our area!"
3. You don´t know ANYONE or ANYTHING. Therefore you have to meet everyone and learn everything! Luckily we have two amazing elders in our ward (more on that later) and INCREDIBLE members helping us (more on that later too).
4. Area book. Yeah that thing is empty.
We aren´t completely starting from scratch with this area because there have been elders here forever, but we are just added to the ward with them, so we have to start our own area book. What´s hard is that neither my companion or I know this area or anyone that lives here. That is really what opening a sector is. They put two new missionaries in an area to start from scratch, or almost scratch. But honestly, although it´s been a crazy week and it´s a little overwhelming to be in this crazy, yet amazing new city... I have seen INCREDIBLE blessings and miracles here. Do you want another list? Okay fine:
1. We found a house! This was probably the greatest miracle of this week! We thought we found a place in a perfect location, perfect size, perfect everything! We went to check it out with the Elders and the owner... and while we were there, everything looked perfect, yet felt so wrong. We walked away all with a bad feeling, like it just wasn´t right. Yet we didn´t know where else to look! We prayed and began a fast to be able to find an apartment. We had that same bad feeling about that apartment and both really felt like there was something better we would find. We followed those feelings we had and decided to turn down that apartment and continue looking, trusting that the Lord would put something in our path. My comp has been sick the past few days, so our dear Zone Leaders went out in the rain ALL day friday to look for a place for us to live. We continued to pray for a miracle that day. At aboutthat night, the Elders called us and told us a miracle happened! They found an apartment in a perfect location, right next to our pensionista and the Elder´s house. It really was a miracle. We also found out some crazy things about the owner of the first apartment we looked at. I´ll spare the details, but it is a place we would never want to live, nor will we ever live there. I am grateful for the guidance of the spirit, and the power of prayer and fasting. I believe Heavenly Father was truly guiding us and protecting us and prepared an amazing place for us to live!
2. Everyone loves us! Seriously, everyone is stoked to have sisters in the ward! The releif society president is stoked to work with us and we have already recieved countless references and offers from members to come with us to teach.
3. I am convinced we have the GREATEST ward in... well, the world. I have been completely SHOCKED at how incredible everyone is here. Ward mission leaders actually exist? Members actually WANT to come teach with us? Ward council... it´s possible to be under an hour... AND effective? We have a family history specialist... for our WARD? An attendance of 102 at church is low? Yes, it is all shocking, and such a blessing. It´s the ward of my dreams! These people are truly catching the vision of the Work of Salvation.
4. I got placed with the greatest companion ever! Hermana Thompson is incredible! She is so sweet and such a hard worker. She is so positive, yet realistic. She listens to my dumb stories and is so patient with my spanish... even when it takes my a year to get my point accross. She is uplifting and truly a blessing. I am so grateful to be with her here! I really feel like this companionship was inspired and we are meant to be in this area. I´m so excited to see what is to come in this new sector. Especially now that things are calming down and we have a house... we can REALLY get to work and start visiting all these amazing people in cusco!
I love Cusco! It is definitely different than Sicuani in EVERY WAY, but I am already falling in love with the people and the environment here. I know that this is where Hermana Thompson and I are supposed to be right now. We have amazing Zone Leaders and a District Leader, Pensionista, and Ward. They have helped us SO much!!
Welcome to CUSCOTOPIA!!!
"Venid a Cristo... llegar a ser como Cristo."