Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 21: "Thank you for the Holy Ghost, because with Him, I know this is true."

Lunes, 25 de Agosto del 2014
     We went to Aaron's house this morning and turns out, he decided to have us paint a mural on one of his walls in his house!!  So we just drew all sorts of things.  I drew a waterfall of flowers and an octopus.  Hna Kingsford drew vines, a parrot, a volcano and a flower.  Aaron colored in our flowers!  We weren't able to finish because there is a lot of work to do, and we had lunch plans.  Aaron also had to leave to go buy things for his business.  He sells papas velientas con aji.  Bien rico!  Before we left, I played with his son, David, and Aaron fed us papas velientas!  Then we made plans to complete the paintings next Monday!

     We left and went to our lunch plans with an investigador named Elba.  She made us a Peruana spaghetti with rice, chicken, papas with a sauce and maracuya juice. :) 

lunch with Elba

 After lunch we went to internet and the worker lady was so obsessed with us and kept asking us questions for the first 20 minutes. :)
     After internet, we went to find ice cream, but there wasn't any to be found, and then out of nowhere, the man who gave me fruit last Martes came running up to us and grabbed my arm and started taking me to his cart of fruit and gave me and Hna Kingsford some mini bananas.  His name is Wilson.  He is super nice!
     Since we couldn't find icecream, we got the next best thing- CHOCOLATE CAKE!  We went and ate it at the beach!!  And when we were buying the cake, I found an entire bag full of those strawberry candies that everyone loves, but never knows where to buy them in the USA....that's because Peru has them all stashed here!!  Lucky, lucky me! 

     Well at the beach, there was this dog and it started following us, so we named him Max.  haha  We played catch with him and walked forever with him.  

     We headed back to our cuarto to get ready for teaching and when we went out, no one, and I mean NO ONE was home, so we went back to the playa (beach) and went contacting.  We ended up meeting this couple from Columbia.  Their names are Alexander and Katerina.  Alexander has a huge beard and was wearing a fishing hat, and Katerina had long beautiful hair.  They are here to love the life of Peru.  They are really cool.  I can't wait to teach them again.  
     After that, we ran into a menos activo named Martin.  He always rides his bike and has cowboy boots on.  We talked with him and a special ed man that Martin cares for, named Karlos.  They are both beautiful human beings with BIG hearts.  Karlos taught me some karate and told me I was his "girlfriend".  So cute. 
     Then we went to dinner and Lucy tried to get us to eat a chicken foot, and I told her "No way!" and she just laughed forever.  She told me one day, she will get me to try it.  Gotta love her.  She is so cute and so stinkin' funny.  Love her and her cooking!

Martes, 26 de Agosto del 2014
     We had a district meeting in Monsefu.  I love my district!!  We talked about how we can help our investigadors progress and also about our new mission rule, which is, that we can't teach or baptize anyone under 18 years, unless their parents are members or  we are teaching the parents with them.  That makes a lot of our situations a lot harder now.  It's going to take some adjusting.  
     After the meeting and lunch, we went out teaching.  We met Marco Leyton in the park, so we could go out teaching with him.  We had three lessons scheduled with him.  He is so awesome.  He is 17 years old, and a recent convert, who by the way was baptized on my birthday last year.  He is going to make a great missionary.  I was talking to him about his plans and he is super pumped to go on a mission!!  After we dropped Marco off at the combi, we headed to Fonavi to find Aaron and teach him.  He wasn't there, but his "wife" of 8 years was there with their baby, David.  So we talked to her for awhile about our purpose as missionaries.  Our plans for them is to get them married, baptized and help them stay solid and strong and get them into the temple in a year!!
     After we left, we ran into Martin (minos activo) for the fourth time today, and he told us to wait where we were and he went and bought us candied bread with manjar blanco (caramel) inside.  :)
     Then we went and picked up Lucy and went and taught Maria, the mom of Cruzcita, one of our investiagdors who is only 16 years old.  Lucy is such an awesome teacher and friend.  She always makes everyone feel good.  I love her.  
     Right after that lesson, we went back to Lucy's house for dinner.  Lucy and Channy taught me how to do a couple steps in salsa.  They told me I have the body and the moves to be a professional dancer!  haha
     After dinner, we headed home and planned and laughed and talked about our very successful day with many beautiful people here in Peru!

Miercoles, 27 de Agosto del 2014
     We went and visited a menos activo named Cecilia.  She has cancer and has been super sick, so we wanted to visit with her.  She is so cute.  During our time with her, we were showing her and and how awesome those websites are.  Then she pulled up her camera app on her computer, so we took some fun pictures with her.  She was laughing so hard at our faces we were making in the pictures. :)
     After her visit, we went and visited Rosario and her non member husband.  Her husband left to work half way through our lesson.  Then Rosario told us that she has so much trust in us and that she loves us.  I am very excited to be involved in helping this familia.  Rosario is a member, but has been inactive for over 15 years, so we are trying to help her come back and to get her husband involved, so they can raise their sons, Jaoquin (6) y Flabio (2) in the gospel.  I am excited to see what will come of this.
     We went to the work of Jimmy to see if we could set up an appt. with him, but when we got there, a young guy told us that Jimmy was working in the farthest lote in the building, so we couldn't get to him.  So we started contacting the young man.  His name is Aldair (25 yrs).  While we were talking about his beliefs, he told us that he hasn't ever been baptized, "because I haven't found the correct church to get baptized in." We started talking about the Restoracion, but he got called on his phone to go help someone in the business, so we made plans to return.  I really hope all goes well. :)  He likes to use his English on us.  It was really fun, because he actually knows a lot of English.  
     We hurried to the church to open it for English class.  Apparently, you have to enter a code in the alarm system after you unlock the door....we found out the hard way...and the alarm went off.  It was so loud and really obnoxious!!  We called the Presidente de Rama and told him what was going on, and he just laughed at us, then gave us the code and told us that all was well.  We laughed forever after and during all of this. :)
     We had two students for class.  Jaoquin, the son of Rosario and Youleidy. ( When we went to pick up Jaoquin, Rosario's husband, Aldo, gave us bananas!)  It was a fun class!
     After class, we dropped Jaoquin off at his house and then we went to make a couple citas with some people.  We then headed to our cuarto to put together the birthday gift we got for Lucy's daughter, Lucia. Today, Lucia turns 20 years, and when we gave her her gift (a super cute card that we made, her favorite chocolate- princesa, and some aquamarine colored earrings.)  She loved it and laughed at our jokes in the card!!  We had 3 level sandwiches (avo, meat, and tomatoes in between 3 pieces of bread) and also tres leches cake.  It was so good.  Oh P.S., during lunch, we had apple pie. :)  After we ate, laughed and celebrated, we left and went home to plan and get ready for bed.  I am always so exhausted by the end of the day, but I love the work.  I love the growth mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically, and the love grows in my heart for all the beautiful people here.  The true love I have for these people is so pure and I only want the best for them.  I want them to have the peace and joy that I have in my life because of this gospel.  That is why I am help people have a "second" chance and to bring the blessings of the gospel into their lives.  I know this church is true, and I know that God wants all of us to know that so that we can all have His blessing that He has promised.  I know that when we do our part and turn to God for help, that He DOES bless and help us!!  I have not only seen that truth in my life personally here in the mission, but in the lives of my investigadores.  I love this gospel and the promised guidance from it.  Use it to your advantage daily!!!  It will totally be worth it.  Love God.  Love your neighbors and love yourself.  Living like that will be joyous and you will gain a greater relationship with God.

Jueves, 28 de Agosto del 2014
     This morning, our zone leaders came to Pimentel to give us the contract for our cuarto.  Elder Chavez y Elder Smith are great guys!  After that, we went teaching and a woman name Mar stopped us on the street and started bribing us to use her as our pensionista.  We told her that we couldn't, because we already had a pensionista, so she invited us to come eat with her on one of our P-Days.
     Then we ran into Omar, and he was locked out of his house with only jeans on and a bag of apples in his hand.  haha  This is not the first time that we have ran into him without all his clothing and locked out of his house.  We always tease him about how he needs to watch out for those thieves that keep taking his clothes!
     After lunch, we headed out to Fonavi.  We talked with Daniel about investigadores, and then we went and taught Marco Leyton about  revelation and had deep conversations about it.  After the lesson, we were all talking and he found the copy of my passport and saw my first name and straight up says, "Your name is really ugly!"  and directly after that, he says, "I like your last name...Dodson, but Sierra is ugly."  I just sat there and teased him about everything of his, saying that it was "ugly" because he told me my name was ugly! :) He was laughing so hard!
    After that, we left and we were walking and I fell into a hole and Marco was watching us, so right after I fell, I heard Marco laughing!  What a punk! haha  
     We then taught a menos activo named Norma.  Half way into our lesson, her husband, Alinder, came and joined us.  At the end of the lesson, we found out that he is not a member, but that he was almost baptized, because Norma has been a member forever and their sons all served missions and have been/are in the bishoprics of their wards.  He invited us to come by and teach him some more.  I am excited!  I want to help them become an eternal family.  
     After that lesson, we headed back to Pimentel to eat dinner before our 2 last lessons.  We brought Lucy to both of our lessons.  Our first lesson was with Miguel.  He is actually really interested and at the start of the lesson, he was calling us chicas, but by the end, he asked permiso to call us hermanitas, and Lucy told him, "That's what they are, so yes."  It was cool to see the difference in him after talking about the gospel principles with him.  
     Then we headed to a Noche de Hogar (FHE) with Rosario and her hubby, Aldo.  We taught about the Ten Commandments with my activity I have with hand movements.  It was such a success.  By the end, Aldo was really participating and Rosario and Aldo both said that they are going to try really hard to be to church this Sunday!!
     We headed back to our road and decided to hurry and introduce Lucy to her across the street neighbors, Diana, Maneanela, James, Jesus y Victor).  It was a huge success.  They are all going to start attending the ward here in Pimentel, instead of some other ward 20 minutes away.  We are happy that Lucy now has better member support close by.  
     We headed home, planned and got ready for bed.

Viernes, 29 de Agosto del 2014
     We had our weekly planning, and in order to survive, we went and bought treats!  Mint, peanut butter and strawberry cookies, empenadas con pollo, bread with manjar blanco inside, mini bananas, manzanas y alfahoras (sugar cookies with caramel in between).  No wonder I'm getting so fat!!!

     Once we went out teaching, we were not having luck finding anyone, so we started walking around to the contactos, when we ran into Aaron and Daniella and David.  They invited us to their home.  On our way, Martin found us again...and he gave us a package of cookies, then rode away on his bike. :)
     When we got to their house, they offered us chicha (juice).  It was good.  Hna Kingsford didn't like it though.  Haha :)  Then we had our lesson, and we were teaching them the Ten Commandments and talked a bit about the Law of Chastity, because they live together but aren't married.  Man oh man, it is hard to teach this lesson to people who just "live" together, because they know nothing else and marriage is so expensive here.  So it's difficult.  Once we finished teaching, they offered us sababa (another drink, but this one is super gross because it tastes like the smell of campfire) and papas rellenas con aji and salsa.  The food was really yummy!  
     After that, we left and headed to another part of town to teach Margarita (mama and 48 yrs) and Greysi (daughter and 25 yrs).  The lesson was AWESOME!  We invited them to think about baptism and they said yes!!!  They are so receptive.  I really hope all works out.  As we were leaving, Margarita gave us a bag of homemade crackers from her tienda (store).  Then we went and ate dinner, went home to plan and got ready for bed.
     Oh, during our planning, we got a call from Pres. Williams, because he started a new rule that we can't teach anyone under the age of 18 unless their parents are there in the lesson and no baptisms of them unless the parents are baptized/members.  We have one investigador, named Lucido, who is progressing and he is 17 yrs and turns 18 in five months.  So we called to see if we could teach/baptize him, because when we told Lucido that we couldn't continue teaching him, he got really sad.  He said, "I only have 5 months before my birthday...just teach me."  He also said that he still wants to go to church every Sunday.  We told the Presidente this, and he gave us permiso to teach him!!!!  But if we are going to baptize him, we need to either wait until he is 18 or make sure that his mom gives permiso to do so.  That is fine with us!!  We just didn't want to stop teaching him.  During the entire conversation with Pres. Williams, I had so many emotions flying through my body, but in the end, I was the happiest missionary alive!!

Sabado, 30 de Agosto del 2014
     This morning, our hermana lideres came to Pimentel to do visits of studies and do divisions.  I went with Hna Martinez (Mexico) and we went contacting in a new area in our area!  Hna Kingsford went with Hna Hawks (Utah).  At 12:00, we met at the house of Aaron to switch back so that we could teach Aaron.  We taught about how we have weaknesses, but with the help of God, we can become strong.  Aaron is so awesome, and he told us that he has had lessons from other religions, but he says that he feels something different from us.  How beautiful is that?! :)  I love to hear people say that they feel/see the difference in our church.  Aaron wants us to come everyday because "he feels like a better man after our lessons."
      Then we had lunch and met with the wife of the President of the Rama.  We had chicken noodle soup and 3 chicken salad sandwiches with juice de pinapple. It was so good!
     Then we headed out to Fonavi and met with Daniel and picked up Lucido to teach him at Daniel's house. We taught him about faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Well we invited him to baptism, and he accepted!  He told us that he knows that this is true because when he prayed to ask God about Jose Smith, he felt a strong burning in his heart and knew it was right.  When he offered the closing prayer, he said, "Thank you for the Holy Ghost, because with Him, I know this is true."  When he said that, my heart burned and I wanted to just hug him and celebrate this beautiful moment.  He is so ready to change his life for the better.  
     After that, we went and picked up a member name Cristian Tello (20 yrs) to teach with.  He is so cool. We went to a woman name Teodora, and never, never, never does she let us in, because she is always busy, but today she let us in!  It was beautiful.  We talked about the same thing with her as we did with Aaron and it turned out wonderful.  By the end of the lesson, she was begging us to return ASAP. :) 
     After her lesson, we went and taught Youleidy and Liliana about Jose Smith, and they promised that they are going to pray about it to see if it is true.  Liliana told us that she prays for us every night because she asks God to bless us just the way we have blessed her in her life.  She also told us that she, too, has had lessons from other religions, but never has she had the same spirit/love felt as she feels with us LDS missionaries. Such a beautiful day!  My love for the people here is incredible!  I can't describe the love I have.  It is so pure and all I want is the absolute BEST FOR EVERYONE!!  My heart is so full.  I love this gospel.  I am loving my time as a missionary.  I love sharing the gospel.  I love helping people change for the better.  I love the spirit of God, because these beautiful people know the truth of our message because of it.  I love the opportunity to become their friends and help them create a stronger relationship with God.  This gospel is true.  It does bless families and individuals alike.  It is for ALL!  I know that God loves us and because of that love, He gave us the gospel as a guidance/guide to follow, and when we follow, we will find happiness, peace and unity in all things!

Domingo, 31 de Agosto del 2014
     At church today, I talked and sat with my buddies, Marco Leyton y Clara Leyton.  They were asking me questions about the United States and what they could do if they came to Utah to visit in a couple of years. I told them they could call me up and we could all go to the temple and just chill around Utah together.  They were super excited.  They were also excited that I would be able to skype with them when I get home.  They are worried that I'm going to forget them.  I told them there was no way, especially since they have found me on Facebook.  (add them as my friends please.  Thx)  They said they found photos and videos of me. Marco said that he watched my mission call opening and he said that he loved it, even though he couldn't understand it.  haha
     After church was over, I was talking with Estrellita, when Martin showed up...not just showed up...he came flying in on his bike, which he hopped off of and ran into the church, breathing hard.  Once he was inside, he looked around and saw that no one was there anymore.... looked at his watch and slapped his forehead and said, "I'm too late."  He shook my hand, promised me he would be there next week and ran out the door to his bike, all with his cowboys boots on!  haha  He is my favorite man.  So stinkin' funny! :)
     After church, we went to lunch at the President of the Rama's house and ate pasta with hot sauce and cut up hot dog, with juice de mancuya- my favorite! 
     After lunch, we picked up a member named Diego (13 yrs) and he came with us to teach.  We couldn't find anyone forever, so we went to the park and Hna Kingsford turned to me and said, "We are going to sing to people."  Me thinking it was a joke, turned to Diego and told him that he was going to sing a solo and he started laughing, thinking it was a joke, when all of a sudden we walk up to a man and Hna Kingsford introduces us and tells him that we want to share our message through a song.  So we sang "There is Sunshine in my Soul Today" (Tengo Gozo en mi Alma Hoy)  The man loved it!  It was awesome, but the only sad thing was that he wasn't from Pimentel.  After we taught him a little message, we went and taught Omar. (17 yrs)  The lesson was really good.  We taught him about finding his purpose and how he can ask God for guidance and that he will receive it.  When he offered the closing prayer, his words were so sincere and he asked for help to know and feel his purpose.  Then he promised us that he would pray every day for this!!  
     We had a lesson with the Familia Fernandez.  We talked about their doubt that people can see God face to face, and proved that it is possible with a lot of Bible scriptures.  It was such a good lesson.  Ismael still doubts, but Lis, has a soft heart and was open to our teachings, and promised to ask God if it was right.  
     We walked Diego home and then headed to Cena.  Oh, one thing that happened today.  We met a man last week who is a member.  His name is Jorge Torres and he asked us for the address of Pres. Williams because Pres. Williams was in the ward of his daughter in California.  We didn't know Pres. Williams address, but we told him that he could find him at the mission office.  We then didn't see him again until today, when he invited us into his house to meet his wife.  His wife is from Lima, but she speaks a lot of English.  They have been married for 47 years and all their children married Americanos who don't speak a lick of Spanish. They invited us to food and drink, and told us when they return from their trip, we need to come by and eat with them.  They are strong, faithful members, who are out to serve.  They travel the world helping many people.  Right now, they are paying for 4 missionaries (who are strangers) on their missions and they want to help more people.  They have such wonderful hearts!!  
     It was a good day.  I learned a lot and gained a better relationship with many people today!!  I love Pimentel and my relationships with EVERYONE!  I want to stay here FOREVER!!  I love working with Hna Kingsford.  I learn so much from her.  She is such a deep thinker and is always looking for answers. Her example is so beautiful.  I have grown a lot since knowing her and working with her.

"I love Pimentel!  I want to stay FOREVER!"

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