Thursday, December 25, 2014

Week 37: My new area is Patapo-Polmaca!!

Lunes, 15 de Diciembre del 2014
     Well this is my last P-Day here in Pimentel.  How crazy is that?  For P-Day, we went to Chiclayo to send a package home.  And while we were there, we ran into Elder Coons and Elder Alvarado...small world.  :)  After we sent the package, we headed to Pimentel and Fonavi to say goodbye.  I said goodbye to Daniel Diaz and the familia Leyton.  Daniel was sad that I was leaving, even though he is always joking and asking me, "When are transfers?"  haha
     After saying goodbye to him, we ate lunch with the familia Letyon.  We shared childhood stories. They really want my family to come and visit them, so they can tell childhood stories about me.  :)
     After eating, Hna Corona and I headed to internet so that we could email home.  Then we went back to the Leyton home and did our gift exchange.  Before we gave our secret friend their gift, we shared some kind words.  Turns out that everyone had someone completely different and Marco and I picked each other's names.  He is a good guy.  He is going to send his mission papers in really soon, and I am super excited for him!  Well for my gift, he game me a wallet and made me a poster of pictures of us with little notes on every single one.  It was the sweetest Christmas gift I have ever received.  We ate popcorn and drank hot chocolate with milk.  (In the words of Clara, "Chocolate and combination there is!  as she points to her skin and mine.)
     Then it was time to leave.  That was the hardest thing, but the only thing keeping me sane is that I am going to come back someday.  I am going to miss the familia Leyton.  They made my whole mission here in Pimentel shine.  They are my everything.  I have never had so much love for a family that isn't my own.  I love them like my own family.  They are all recent converts in the church and they are so strong and they just shine with the light of Christ.  They are my angels.
     Transfers are tomorrow in the morning.  I hope all goes well and that I will feel the love from the familia Leyton where I go.  I love the mission.  I love Peru.  I love the familia Leyton Ruesta!

Familia Leyton

Martes, 16 de Diciembre del 2014     MY NEW AREA IS PATAPO-POLMALCA!!
     Cambios!!  Well this morning Clara Leyton came to our cuarto to help me with my luggage.  Once we got a taxi, we headed to Chiclayo to find out who my new companion is.  We sat in the meeting forever.  Hna Corona found out her new companion before I did.  Her companion is Hna Wood, from Canada.  She is fresh from the CCM.  She is so cute.  She was talking to me the entire time trying to understand what was going on.  I was the last person to find out who my companion was.  Her name is Hna Furness, and I am going to be her trainer...haha...I don't even know how to train, but she has 1 month in the mission field and she speaks really well.  She is from Idaho and she is almost 21 years old.  Her birthday is 21 de Diciembre.  I love birthdays!  I am really excited to work with her!

Hna Dodson y Hna Furness
     After finding out our new companions, we said goodbye to our friends and found out that we had a meeting at 4:30 pm in Chiclayo.  Before we left, we went and grabbed cards from home.  I had 7 cards and then everyone was handing me recuerdos (pictures with cards).  We talked a little with Elder Chavez and he was really upset that I'm not going to be there for his last month of his mission.
     We left and took my luggage to our cuarto!  It is awesome here in Patapo, but there are millions of bugs here!  Then we went to lunch.  Our pensionista owns a restaurant and she is a baker.  Now I'm going to get even fatter!! Oh well, it is totally worth it!  :)
     After eating a really good lunch and drinking the best lemonade frost (frozen lemonade) I have ever had, we went back to our cuarto, so I could unpack for a few seconds.  Then we headed back to Chiclayo for our meeting.  I found out that this meeting will teach me how to train.
     After the meeting, we went into the office to get money to head home.  Then Pres. Williams asked us to walk his wife home.  Once we got to the mission home, Hna Williams invited us up for some cold chocolate milk and some home baked rolls.  We talked for a bit and then went home to Patapo-Polmalca.
     On the car ride there, we contacted a few people in the combi.  They are really cool guys.  They said that they are going to visit the church!  Hopefully they really do!  haha  Once we got back, we unpacked the rest of our stuff and then headed to dinner.  Rossana, our pensionista, gave us her famous chocolate cake.  I am truly going to die here!! haha  After dinner, we headed home and planned and then talked forever in our beds about our lives before the mission.  Hna Furness is a great girl.  I am super excited to work with her!

Miercoles, 17 de Diciembre del 2014
     This morning, we had district meeting.  We have 8 missionaries in our district: 4 elders-  Elder Dagley, Elder Watkins (district leader), Elder Olsen and Elder Encalada.  I call him Elder Ensalada (salad)! :) and 4 hermanas- Hna Yaulii, Hna (can't remember her name) and us.  Today we had the zone leaders there with us, too.  (Elder Ararrayo from Argentina and Elder Escobar from Bolivia. The meeting was really good.  After it ended, we went and bought frozen chocolate milk packages (chicolas) and ate those on our combi ride back into our area.  When we got to Patapo, we walked with Elder Dagley and Elder Encalada until we got to our pension....then we went in and ate lunch.
After lunch, we studied lanuage and then went out teaching.  While we were out, Hno Franco (ward mission leader) called and told us we need to visit his girlfriend, Hna Cynthia.  So we headed to her house, and it ends up that Hno Franco also invited the Elders, too, so we were all there.  We decided to go out visiting less actives all together after we left Cynthia's.  As we walked, Elder Dagley and I sang Christmas songs!
     After teaching with them for awhile, we headed to dinner, and there was a huge party going on at our pensionista's restaraunt.  Tons of men were there to watch soccer!  After we ate, we went back to our cuarto to do Hna Furness' training.  Then we planned and went to bed.

Jueves, 18 de Diciembre del 2014
     We taught a lot of people today.  One of the couples we taught are named Santos and Santos.  They are both 80 years old and wear matching Peruana beanie hats.  They totally don't have an interest in the church, but they are so stinkin' adorable.  We ended our visit with a prayer, and left with smiles on our faces.  They reminded me of my parents when they wore a scarf attaching their heads together!  haha (please attach that photo here)

my weird parents!
December 2011
     The next family that we went and visited are members menos activos.  There names are Carlos and Elena.  I walked into that lesson completely blind, but the father who usually says no to church actually said that he would go to church because he felt something special from the words I shared through the spirit.  I love the spirit! I don't remember what I said, but what's most important is that he felt the spirit of God.
     Later in the day, we visited a couple named Wilmer and Rosa.  They have 5 young kids.  We taught a little about Christ's life and the apostasy.  In the end, they asked if we could say a kneeling prayer.  During the prayer, Hna Furness and I both saw the same thing...we both saw them as an eternal family...we saw them being sealed forever and it made us cry.  It was a beautiful vision.  I love missionary work!
     After that, we went to teach a left active named Moroni and his non member wife Karen.  Moroni was the only one home, but we got him to agree to come back to church.  I really hope that we can baptize his wife and get him active again, so they can be sealed in the temple forever.
     We were completely exhausted at the end of the day.  The sun is getting stronger and stronger every day.  As we walk and walk and walk, we get drained from the sun's heat, but I seriously love missionary work!

Viernes, 19 de Diciembre del 2014
     We had our weekly planning this morning.  After that, we went and met up with a member named Betty (20 years old), so she could come teaching with us.  We went and taught Nicol (15 yrs) because her mom is less active.  Nicol understands everything and really wants to be baptized.  Now we just need to get her mom active so that Nicol will have support after she gets baptized.
     Then we went and taught Lizet.  She loves our visits and she has quite a bit of knowledge of the church, because she lived two houses away from the church in Caljamarca and the bishop lived across the street from her.  She is excited to learn more.  She has a Book of Mormon, so we got her started on reading the introduction and the testimonies.
     Then we went and visited a member (Pres. of the Priesthood) named Hno Kaycara.  He is really smart and spiritual.  After talking to him for a minute, we got a call from the Elders Dagley and Encalada, saying that they were leaving to go to Chiclayo for an if we wanted to go with them, we needed to leave right then.  We hurried and ran to the paradero and caught a combi to Chiclayo.
     Once we got to Chiclayo, we helped set up for the activity.  We put up microphones for singing Christmas hymns.  We also got to watch fun Christmas videos.  Our activity lasted from 6-9pm. During the activity I saw Hna Kingsford and Hna Corona!  It was so fun to see them again!  I also sang with Hna Williams and we were having so much fun.
     At 9:00pm, we tried to leave but everyone kept trying to get us to stay longer.  We ended up staying a little longer, but we left with some other hermanas and caught a taxi and then a combi.  We got to Patapo around 9:40pm and we called the zone leaders to tell them that we made it home okay, because during our entire trip home, they kept calling to see if we were okay.  At 10:30 pm, we got a call from Elder Dagley asking us if we were safe and in our cuarto.  Thankfully, all was well.  We planned and got ready for bed.

Sabado, 20 de Diciembre del 2014
     This morning, we went out contacting, and we actually got invited inside by a few people.  One of them was Rosa.  She let us in right away.  At the end of her lesson, she let us know that she has a daughter that is a member, and that she would love for us to come back and teach her with her daughter.  Then we taught Coyla.  She let us in right away, too.  She gave us cake, which was super cold and tasted refreshing on such a hot day.  She was really friendly.
     After contacting a few other people, we were walking home, when a woman called us and told us to come to her house.  Obviously, we went...and it turns out that she is a less active member from Chiclayo.
     Then we went home to train Hna Furness.  After training, we went to lunch and today all the wonderful people in the restaurant were playing English music!  haha  We got to meet Rossana's dad, who lives in West Jordan, Utah!
     After lunch, we had a heart to heart about difficult trials that we have had and we are even closer than before.  Hna Furness is so cool.  We totally would have been friends before our mission, if we knew each other.
     After our talk, we headed out teaching.  We were knocking doors when a woman named Jenifer opened her door.  We asked if we could teach her and she said yes, but then shut her door and we waited and waited and waited.  Then a little girl opened the door and said, "My mom can't come, she is cleaning."  We talked with the kiddos for a bit and they tried to take pictures of us.  We started to walk away when another hermana came out of a house asking a question.  We asked if we could enter her house and talk.  She said yes.  Turns out that she is a member!  How crazy.
     Then we went and visited an older man named Victor.  He was alone and started talking about how lonely he is, so we sang some songs to him. He is a sweet heart.
     Later in the night, we visited an older woman who is 88 years old and only has 2 years in the church.  Her name is Bermalina.  She is the sweetest thing.  We prayed with her and just sat and held her hand.  She has such a precious spirit!  I love her so much.
     Today was a crazy day.  We were teaching and contacting everyone!  It was a super successful day! By the time we got to our cuarto, we were so exhausted that when Elder Watkins called us to ask us a question about Christmas, I answered the phone saying, "Buenas dias" and well he and his companion thought that was the funniest thing.

Domingo, 21 de Diciembre del 2014   [FELIZ CUMPLEANOS A HERMANA FURNESS!]
     We went to church today super happy and bubbly because we knew this would be our first impression, and everyone will decide whether they want to help us or not.  Luckily, we made a good first impression.  For sacrament meeting, it was a primary program.  The children here are amazing! Sweet, sweet spirits.
     During sunday school, Wilmer walked in!  In Relief Society and sunday school, everyone kept calling me a doll, and asking me to help them teach.  I'm super excited that they have that much trust in me already.
     After church, we headed over and started helping Cynthia with cooking lunch for all of us missionaries.  We ate arroz con pollo, cebiche de sting ray, papa de huancaina.  After lunch, we had coordination with Hno Franco, our ward mission lider.  We all were having a good time giggling and sharing experiences.  We have great friendships here in this ward.
     At ward counsel, tons of people showed up to surprise Hna Furness for her birthday.  They had cake and soda.  We sang, took pictures and giggled and joked around with one another. Then we got our assignments for our gift exchange.  I got Hno Nelson.  He is a young guy and I barely know him, so it will be interesting to find him a gift.
     We left ward counsel and headed to dinner.  At dinner, we had a birthday party for Hna Furness. We smashed eggs on Hna Furness' head and then covered her in flour.  We shoved her face in a cake, too.  It was so fun!  Then we went next door so Hna Furness could shower off and change her clothes. Then we went back to the restaurant so she could open her presents.
     After the party, we went home and planned and popped some popcorn and ate it with chocolate.
     Today was a good day.  We got sick from all the food, but it was worth it. :)

Lunes, 22 de Diciembre del 2014
     We went out contacting this morning and almost every single house we went to let us in without question.  It was awesome!
     We knocked on a woman's door to teach her husband, but he wasn't there, so we asked if we could go into her house to share a small message, but she denied us.  So I asked her if we could go in and sing a quick Christmas song, and she said yes and let us in.  We sang a song, and shared a short thought.  By the end of the message, she begged us to return tomorrow, because she wants us to visit her family.
     Then we went and visited more people and one of them was Victor (the sweet old man).  We sang for him and taught him about our purpose on earth.  And when we asked him to offer the closing prayer, he kept saying a bunch of little prayers and then said a big amen at the end.  Bless his sweet old man heart.
     As we were walking to another cita, we decided to contact a couple sitting on the side of the road. Turns out that they had been living in San Antonio, Texas.  Jorge is from Peru, but his wife, Kimberly, is from Michigan.  They were speaking English to us because Kimberly doesn't know Spanish.  It was kind of hard to speak English.   haha They are super cool and they actually want us to go over to their house and teach them.  We are going to teach in English.  I am super pumped!
     We then headed to the last cita of the night with Wilmer and Rosa.  This lesson was beautiful. Their kids were being super rowdy, but the spirit was crazy strong.  We taught about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  Wilmer and Rosa were completely radiating with desire to know if it was all true.  They promised to pray about the Book of Mormon and ask if it is true.  We left that cita with so much happiness and hope that we stopped and contacted a bunch of people.  Every time we contacted someone, we would sing them a Christmas song.  Today was a super successful day!

Martes, 23 de Diciembre del 2014
     I woke up this morning throwing up.  And not too long after that, Hna Furness threw up, too.  It was like this all morning.  We were on bed rest.  We couldn't move.  It was so painful.
     We left for a little bit to go and buy crackers and powerade, and while we were in the little store, I had the urge to throw up.  The woman giving us the food told me to throw up in her dirt garden. So...I threw up in her garden...haha.
     Later in the night, we tried to call Rossana, but she didn't answer, so we called the restaurant (Dulceria) to see if she was there, but they told us that she was in Chiclayo.  So we asked if someone from the Dulceria could bring us Powerade.  Victor (25 yrs) showed up with our drinks.  He was super worried, so he said that he would be back with his aunt.  During this time, we called the elders to ask them to come over and give us a blessing.  They showed up, along with almost everyone from the Dulceria.  The elders gave us blessings and during my blessing, I passed out.  They put me in my bed and called Hna Williams and asked what they should do.  She told them that we needed to go to the doctor.  I didn't want to because the doctors here don't make me feel comforted.  Elder Dagley told me that I had to go, but I really didn't feel like I had the strength to move.  The women helped me get into the moto.  We took the moto to the doctor's office and it turns out, there were no doctors there.  The elders called Hna Williams, and she told us just to go back home and rest and see how we feel in the morning.  All night long, people were calling us and bringing us powerade, crackers and jello.

Miercoles, 24 de Diciembre del 2014  FELIZ CHRISTMAS EVE!
     We went to a district meeting this morning and ate chicolas (chocolate milk popsicles), which made us feel sick again.  We needed to call home to let our families know when we were going to skype.  When I called home, my sister Danielle answered the phone.  She had no idea it was me, but when she found out it was me, she freaked out.  Later in the day, we did a practice skype to check the connection.  Luckily, at the restaurant of my pensionista, the owner lives in Utah, so she has a phone from Utah, here in Peru, so it is free to call Utah!  After all of that, we went back to our cuarto and just rested and talked until the ward activity of Secret Amigo.  We switched gifts.  Hno Enrique had me.  He is the second counselor in the bishopric.  He is really cool.  After the activity, we headed to dinner.  We were all sitting around waiting for dinner, but it got too late, so we had to go to our room. Everyone was disappointed that we had to go, but we have to be in our cuarto by 9:00pm. The problem is, that here they celebrate Christmas like this:
     8:00pm- Start party
     9:00pm- dancing/drinking
    12:00am-eat dinner and put Jesus in the manger
     1:00am- 4:00am- party

Well, we can't party like that, so they brought our dinner to our room.  We had turkey for dinner.  We had seen the turkey in the room next to ours this morning,  and then it was on our plates at night.  We also had empenadas and a famous Christmas treat here called paneton.  After eating, we felt sick again, so we hurried and planned and got ready for bed.

Jueves, 25 de Diciembre del 2104


Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 36: "You have transfers Hermana Dodson."

Lunes, 8 de Diciembre del 2014  [HAPPY 8 MONTHS IN THE MISSION!]
     Well, we didn't sleep a wink, because the Hermanas we stayed with in Chiclayo, have a Christmas tree in their room, and they like to sleep with the lights we had lights flashing in our faces all night long.  So we woke up tired AND starving.  We hurried and changed into our clothes from yesterday and started walking to the paradero to Pimentel.  As we were walking, we passed a bakery and of course, we had to buy food because we were so hungry.  And since we are "health nuts", we bought chocolate dipped donuts with whipped cream inside! :)  We ate our "healthy" pre- breakfast, and then headed to Pimentel.  Once we got home, we grabbed our clothes from the member who cleans them for us, and then went to our real breakfast.  After we ate, we went back home to shower and get ready for the day.  We went back into Chiclayo so we could practice a skit for our Christmas Party on Wednesday...the skit is so awesome.  It's a twist on Nephi's story about going to get the plates.  We practiced forever, but it was fun.  Then we were able to finally go do our P-Day stuff. We bought a music cube so we can listen to Christmas music and then we bought our gifts for our secret friends. Once we finished shopping, we headed back to Pimentel for lunch.  After lunch, we were finally able to write home.  I got some really beautiful letters from great people, especially my family.  I love reading cards from people!
     After P-Day ended, we went out teaching.  We went and taught Marta.  We were really direct with her and she said that she wants us to continue to visit her and help her progress and prepare for baptism.  :)  After that, we went to dinner and ate and then went home and planned and got ready for bed.

Martes, 9 de Diciembre del 2014
     This morning we had a Reunion de districto.  We did practices of inviting people to baptism.  It was really nerve racking practicing in front of other missionaries, but I did it.  Elder Coons told me that I did a good job. :)

     After that, we went to buy more Nativity sets.  The man selling them to me was super pumped to be selling me so many.  This man is a great guy and anytime I buy souvenirs, I buy them from him because he is so funny and really nice.
     Once we got back to Pimentel, we went to lunch, (arroz y pollo) and then taught Elena.  We invited her to baptism with the invites we practiced this morning, and she said yes...but she wants to go to church first! haha  She also wants her daughter to be working towards baptism, too.  We taught her daughter later in the night and I have so much hope for both of them.
     Our last cita we had fell through, so we were trying to set appointments with other people, when we saw a woman on the other side of the street.  We could have sworn that we knew her already. Well, Hna Corona called out to her and said, "Hna! When can we visit you?"  The woman's response was, "Come here."  So we crossed the street and she let us into her home.  Turns out, we didn't know her.  We sat down at a table with her, but she kept getting up and leaving to help her 3 year old twins. Once we had her sitting and staying, we introduced ourselves and explained our purpose.  That is when we found out that she was taught by some Elders 4 years ago, but they quit visiting her because her husband was worried that she would fall in love with them,  so she is excited that we are women, so we can visit her with no problems.  It started to get late, so we were finishing up our lesson, when all of a sudden, her friend entered and then we ended up staying there for another 40 minutes.  We set up another appointment with them and left.
     We ate dinner and went home to plan for tomorrow and the Christmas Party.  We also listened to Christmas music!!  I love Christmas time!

Miercoles, 10 de Diciembre del 2014
     This morning we were contacting and one woman opened her door and told us "No!" without even giving us a chance to speak.  I stopped her from shutting the door in our faces, and that is when she told me that they are already being visited by the missionaries from the Testigos de Jehova and that they really like that religion.  I invited her to watch the video of "El es la Dadiva" (He is the gift). She took the pass along card and shut the door.
     We contacted a few more houses and then headed to the party at the Stake Center in Chiclayo. Once we got there, everyone was walking out the door because we were walking to a restaurant called Rocky's for lunch.  We sat with Hna Kennedy, Hna Waite and Hna Lofgren (all Hnas from the CCM!).  When the food came, it was half a chicken, a huge plate of french fries, and a huge plate of rice...and then we had a tiny little shot glass of water.  haha
     After lunch, we shared Christmas traditions from different countries.  Each country at the party would then sing a song.  Then we watched one another's skits and they were so hilarious!  Then we watched a DVD of pictures of missionaries from the mission.  Then President Williams got  up and said, "We have gifts for all of you.  First of all, we asked President Monson to send each of you a Christmas card, which he did...and second, my wife bought each of you a little boat and put a little bow on each and every one...and third, each of you get a copy of the DVD of pictures that you just watched." I wasn't in any of the pictures. :(
     After that, we ate banana splits and took pictures as a district and a zone.

Hna Dodson, Hna Corona y Elder Chavez
     Then we went home to eat dinner.  After dinner, we headed home to plan and got ready for bed.  We were so tired.

Jueves, 11 de Diciembre del 2014
     This morning we knocked doors and found new people to teach.  After knocking doors forever, we went to eat lunch.  Last week, Elba had invited us to eat lunch with her today, so we went to her house.  Turns out, they were having a huge birthday party for her Grampa who had passed away.  We ate cabrito (goat) and rice with beans.  It was really good.
     After we ate, we headed to our cuarto to study language.  Then we tried to go out to find a cuarto for the Elders that are coming to Pimentel, but our front door would not shut, so we tried for over 30 minutes to shut it.  We were laughing so hard.  Finally, we got it shut and headed to Fonavi to find the Elder's cuarto, a pension and someone to do their laundry.  We found them a pension and lavandaria really quickly, but the cuarto not so much.
     Our search for cuartos was very interesting.  At the first apartment building, the woman was telling us about the different cuartos we could have and telling us all about the many women that live there...which the Elders can't live around women.  After looking at a few other cuartos, she said that there was one more that we could have but we would have to share the bathroom with 2 single men. Hna Corona responded, "Perfect!  That will be great!"  At that point, the woman was very appalled with us, so we quickly explained that we were searching for a cuarto for two Elders.  Once she heard that, she started giggling, which made us giggle.  It was a hilarious situation.
     We had two options of cuartos for the Elders, so we called our leaders of the zone to have them come check them out, so we can pay for one of them.  The elders said that they could come tomorrow in the tarde (afternoon).
     Then we went to visit Gloria.  We took a lot of fun pictures with her.

Hna Dodson, Gloria y Hna Corona

We love Santa Claus!

Then Teo, the nephew of Gloria walked in and said, " I have a reference that I was saving for the Elders to teach, but since we don't have elders, I guess you two can visit them... but once the elders get here, they can visit them."   This comment broke our hearts.  Here in Pimentel, the members think that the Hnas don't have success...and believe that the Elders will have success.  What I believe is going to happen is that when the Elders get here, all of the members will be so excited, that they will help the elders and then have tons of success.
     Today was kind of a downer day because his comment made me feel like hermanas are looked at differently then elders....but in reality, here in the Peru mission, the hermanas eat the same at the elders, walk the same amount of time, speak the same language, shower in cold water and live in the same conditions as the elders.  If anything, the hermanas have it a little harder, because the Peruana men are very crude and are always saying rude things to us, whereas the elders don't get that treatment.
     After Fonavi, we headed home and ate dinner and talked with Chela.

Hna Dodson, Chela y Alonzo
Hna Dodson y Alonzo

Viernes, 12 de Diciembre del 2014
     Today was an unsuccessful day.  Besides our weekly planning session, we got a bunch of stuff ready for the Elders that are going to come on Tuesday.  During planning, Hna Corona said, "I want to eat my chifles that I bought yesterday."  I wanted to do the same thing, so I went to grab my chifles but they were no where to be found.  We think that I got robbed...okay, it was just my chifles that were missing, but still...I got robbed. :)
     After planning, we went to lunch, took our clothes to get washed and then headed to Fonavi to wait for the zone leaders, Elder Chavez y Elder Rich, so we could show them the cuartos we found for the elders.  They showed up and we showed them the cuartos, but Elder Chavez wanted the elders to have a nicer we searched from 3:00-6:00pm.  We found a few more cuartos and called Elder Allgaier ( the financial guy) to tell him about them, and he said that he would come into town tomorrow to pay for one.
     We headed back to Pimentel and stopped at some houses to visit, but no one was home.  As we were walking down the road, we saw Ofelia sitting at her computer, so we decided to visit her. During her lesson, I started to feel really sick, so once we said the prayer, we hurried home to our cuarto.  I rested for a little bit and then we headed to dinner.  Alonzo played his drum set for us.
     Then we went back home, planned and got ready for bed.  Hopefully tomorrow we have more success, because this week has been completely unsuccessful. :(

Sabado, 13 de Diciembre del 2014
     Well, today was not successful.  We got a call early this morning from Elder Allgaier saying that he and his companion were in Pimentel to pay for the elder's cuarto.  We met up with them by the super (store) and we told him that we needed to catch a combi to get to the cuarto.  When they asked us why, we told them that our area is very big, that it goes from the University of Sipan to the ocean. The elders said that they needed to call President Williams to ask him about this.  Turns out that we were never meant to leave Pimentel Central, and were told that we are no longer to go into Fonavi. So now we had to find a new cuarto and new pension in Pimentel.  Thankfully, we found one, but it took all morning.  After the Elders left, we called President Williams to ask about our lunch today and tomorrow, because the members feeding us live in Fonavi.  President Williams told us that we could go to Fonavi for lunch today.  When we got there, drama broke loose.  Daniel got really upset about us not being able to visit Fonavi anymore.  A lot of the families that we visited also got upset. We left a lot of houses feeling sad.  We found out that the Rama had been saving/stashing references from us, since May 2014 until now, to give to the Elders when they would come.  Now no one will be able to teach them.
     We went to visit with the familia Leyton.  They are such great people.  They have confidence and trust in us and feel really bad that we have to leave.
     We left Fonavi and Martin found us and gave us cookies.  We went to dinner and then headed home, planned and got ready for bed.  We listened to Christmas music and thought about all that is going to happen tomorrow.

Domingo, 14 de Diciembre del 2014
     We went to church and Clara Leyton came running up to me saying that last night she was crying because she had a dream that I had cambios. (transfers)
     After church, we went to lunch with the familia Monja.

Familia Monja

Then we went to our cita with the familia Leyton.  We are so close to them.  They are my family.  We can talk so openly with them and we trust each other so much.  They said that at one point in life, people are going to have a companionship of missionaries that touch your heart more than others...and then they said, "You two are OUR missionaries.  You are precious to our family."  I almost started crying when they said that, because I love their family more than life.  I almost lost it when Papa Leyton (Isidro) looked at us and said that we touched his heart and that we would always be in his heart.  I love them!!!
     They gave us arroz con leche and juice, and then said good bye to us.
     Later, we went back to Pimentel and Elder Coons called and asked for our missionary numbers. He told us that he looks up to us and that we are strong missionaries and that God trusts in us.  We asked him about transfers and he said that he didn't know yet, but he would call us when he does. During our waiting for Elder Coons to call us back, President Williams called and was asking me about Pimentel and Fonavi, and then told us that we CAN visit Fonavi if there are references there. That is a great deal.  After we finished talking about that, I asked if we had transfers and he said, "Ya. You have transfers Hermana Dodson."
     I have cambios!!?   We called Clara and told her and they all started crying.  I am completely surprised....sad...excited....and nervous.  After dinner, I started to pack up all my stuff.  Chela is really sad that I am going.  She doesn't want me to leave.
    I am so grateful for the time I have had here in Pimentel.  In the end, it has been really hard to work here, but the friends that I have made are amazing!  I have a lot of hope and faith that this area can progress.

beautiful skies of Pimentel

Random pictures from Daniel
Hna Dodson with jello :)
Daniel, Hna Dodson, Hna Kingsford knocking doors
Hna Dodson, Daniel, Hna Corona
Hna Dodson, Hna Corona y Daniel knocking doors...
Hna Dodson and her gigantic bottle of water

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Week 35: "...Satan has power and he creates hardships that most people can't's a pain in the rear."

Lunes, 1 de Diciembre del 2014
     We bought trompos (tops) and then we went home and tried playing with them, but it didn't work. Well, mine didn't work....okay...that is a lie.  Hna Corona got mine to work...I just don't have the skill to play with trompos, but I am going to continue to blame my trompo.  haha  While playing with them, it got kinda loud on the tile floor and the next thing we know, Hno Victor (husband of Berta, who is the owner of our cuarto) called out "Hermanaaaasss!!"  At that moment, we grabbed our trompos and hid them so that he wouldn't take them away from us.  Luckily, he never came up to our room- he just yelled to us to scare us into stopping.  Smooth move Victor, because it worked! ;)
      After we cleaned our cuarto, we bought an air freshener because the chickens that are by our cuarto have a nasty smell.  Then we headed to a new restaurant (where Irene works) and we were really hoping that it would taste good.  Nope.  We ate chewy meat, oily rice, oily beans and oily soup, and a gross drink. The drink is really popular here, and most people love it, but I think its gross because it tastes like a watered down coffee flavor with some sort of green tea flavor.  We paid s/5 (soles) and went home feeling sick.  Next P-Day, we will just eat at Leonardo's.  We went home and rested for a bit and then went and emailed home.  Lucky me, my mommy was on and we chatted as much as we could with "email text". haha
     After that, we took pictures of Pimentel.  We took pictures of our cuarto, the road we live on, and a church around the corner called the Church of Jesus Christ.  A lot of people think we are from that church, but we aren't.  haha

the outside of our cuarto
the street we live on
the street we live on going the other way
the little Church of Jesus Christ
(not our church)
tiny walk path
     Then we went down by the beach and took pictures of some of the cool art painted on the walls.

      After taking pictures, it was time to go out teaching.  Our first cita was with Ofelia and Pina.  We taught the entire lesson #1 and we were having great discussions with them.  They want Book of Mormons and they promised us the that they would pray about all that we taught them.  They were really excited to set another cita for this week, so they can learn more.  I have a really good feeling about them. I know I say that a lot and then nothing happens, but that is because Satan has power, and he creates hardships that most people can't's a pain in the rear.
     After we set citas with tons of people, Betty and Victor, some less actives, invited us to eat chifles that they had just made. :)
     Then Martin gave us Oreos and walked/rode his bike with us to our pension.
     Chela had her house all decorated for Christmas and had music playing.  It was a fun dinner.  Then we went home, planned and figured out our money to pay everyone.

Martes, 2 Diciembre del 2014
    We didn't have a meeting this morning, so went to the area Alto Peru in Pimentel (area of fishermen) and knocked doors.  We knocked on and talked to more than 50 different people in their homes, which is almost every door in the area. :)  Then we headed back into central to eat lunch.
     After lunch, we headed out teaching.  Our first two citas fell we did what any normal person would do...we bought bodeques, which are homemade popsicles with a milk base.  They freeze them in these little tube bags and you just bite off the corner and eat it through the corner.  It's like frosting bags in a way.  This bodeque was Hna Corona's very first one, and just like all newbies, she had a hard time eating it and she accidentally dumped some on her arm.  We giggled about that forever.  We were so tired, that everything seemed extra funny today.
     We decided to see if Irene could have a visit, so we went and visited her.  When we entered the restaurant, Irene's father-in-law, Victor, was just sitting down with a bottle of beer.  He came over to us and started dancing and doing fake sign language, like my dad.  He motioned to us that we are angels from heaven, touched his heart, smiled at us and then left.  We busted up laughing.  Well, we taught Irene, and she is so dedicated to receive an answer about the gospel.  Hopefully she will receive her answer soon.
     Then we headed to another cita, but they weren't home, and since there were 7 big dogs that were getting impatient with us being there, we left as soon as we could.  We actually saw our lives flash before our eyes! :)
    As we were walking to a visit a contact, I had a thought that we should visit a woman named Mariella.  She is really Catholic, but the first lesson we had with her was good and she said that she wanted to hear more, but when we tried to return to visit her again, she wasn't home.  But, she came to my mind, so we went to see her.  She was home and she let us in right away.  She told us, "I like listening to the word of God, but I am Catholic."  We told her "That's okay, we just want to share our message, which will help you understand more and strengthen your faith."  We started with a prayer and then talked about families.  At first she gave us the impression that her family life was good, but by the end of the lesson, she had admitted to all her problems.  We testified that this Gospel would bring her and her family an eternal joy.  We said a prayer with her and she said that she felt good, and that if we could, to come to her house every day and teach her and help her reach God.  It was beautiful to see her heart soften.
     We left her lesson feeling really good, but the mood changed quickly when we saw a little friend of ours named Rebecca (9 yrs) walking alone on the sidewalk with a face of fear and sadness and crying.  We walked up to her and asked her what was wrong.  She grabbed me and started bawling. We stood there for a while and let her cry and then we asked her what had happened.  Turns out that her drunk dad kicked her out of the house and slammed the door in her face.  She was walking to the provivienda (which is on the other side of town) to stay with her sister.  We decided to walk with her, because that is way too far for a child to walk alone.  Martin showed up with chocolate and when he saw Rebecca, he left to go buy her a chocolate, too.  Martin was so upset when he found out what her dad had done to her.  He became very protective of Rebecca and joined us for our walk to the provivienda.  When we got there, we dropped her off at her sister's house.  She hugged us again, and then we left.  We decided to catch a combi to get back to where we were.  We said goodbye to Martin and headed to the house of Nidia y Armando.
     Once we got there, we taught them about Jose Smith and Armando really likes that story.  He had a lot of profound questions for us.  It was really fun teaching him.  After our lesson, we ate bread with cut up hot dogs, which they call hamburgers, and avena (oatmeal).  We ate and laughed and then they walked us to catch another combi.
     On the combi, there was a young man named Jonah, who is a member.  He is the only member in his family.  He joined the church when he was 12 years old.  Now he is 21 years old and doesn't go to church right now.  I told him to return to church and to find the elders to teach him, and that he should prepare to go on a mission.  He is a cool guy.  He told me that he would go back to church.
     At dinner, we were laughing all night long.  Chela told us that she was standing on the sidewalk, when she all of a sudden, she just fell over.  She said she just laid on her stomach on the sidewalk laughing after it happened.  Alonzo, a little boy, was laughing when he farted really loud.  Then we busted up laughing even more...none of us could breath!
     Today was an interesting day.  It was full of many miracles and crazy experiences.  I love the mission!

Miercoles, 3 de Diciembre del 2014  [Feliz Cumple 6 meses para Hna Corona!]
     This morning when we went out teaching, we were walking down the side walk when Hna Corona started freaking out.  I asked her what was wrong and the only thing she could do was point at my skirt.  I looked down and there was a huge flying bug, the size of a tangerine on my skirt!  I started freaking out and yelled, "Ayudame! Ayudame!" (Help me! Help me!)  Well Hna Corona had a plan. She said, "Okay.  I am going to throw my pen at it!"  I screamed, "No! I don't need this thing to get angry at me!"  We were really causing a scene, and luckily there were some tough men who came to save us.  One of the men came over and grabbed the bug with his bare hand and tossed it aside.  He told us to have a nice day and walked away.  Well, do you want to know what the big bug was?  It was a black butterfly...a stinkin' black butterfly!  We didn't know that until another person came up to us and said, "That's a butterfly." We felt really dumb, but we laughed all the way to our first cita.
     As we were walking, I heard my name being yelled from a roof top.  When I looked up, I saw a contact from a long time ago.  He was working with a bunch of his buddies and then they all started calling out my name.  And then one of them yelled, "Hna Dodson, you can teach me any day!"  Hna Corona and I busted up laughing again!
     Nothing too exciting happened until language study.  Hna Corona taught me some Spanish slang, and she even taught me how to say stuff with a Mexican accent.  One day I am going to speak like a Mexican and totally pull it off!
     After that, we headed out teaching and one of the families that we visited was Doris and her daughter in law, Crella.  The entire time, they kept changing the subject saying that I needed to return to Peru after my mission and marry a Peruano.  haha
     The sun was really strong today, and it keeps getting stronger every day.  That means that by the end of the day, we are completely drained.  Our days are full of SUN and crazy, crazy wind!  Oh, the life in the mision Pimentel.  Love it!

Jueves, 4 de Diciembre del 2014
     This morning Hna Corona told me that I was dreaming in Spanish.  When I asked her how she would know that, she said that I was sleep talking in Spanish!  Awesome!  I was super happy about that!  Making progress!
     We headed to Chiclayo because we had a zone meeting.  When we showed up, everyone in the office were freaking out at me.  I asked what was going on, and they told me to look in the box of mail for our zone.  I went and looked, and there were 4 packages and lots of cards!  It was so much fun to receive them all.  There was a package from my Pearson grandparents, 2 from my family and one from JDawg Loftis!  The huge joke here is that Hna Dodson is the only person who receives mail! Thanks everyone!!
     In our meeting, we talked about plans for Christmas:
          10 de Diciembre- multi zone party
          22 de Diciembre- no P-Day
          25 de Diciembre- P-Day!  We get to call home on Skype for an hour!
          29 de Diciembre- no P-Day
           1 de Enero- P-Day!

     After the meeting, I was hanging out with Elder Chavez and we were talking about how he goes home in January (Enero).  I joked with him about coming to Utah and he said that he would come in February 2016.  Then he asked me when I was going to visit him in Lima...I said, soon. :)  Then he told me that I am his best friend.  He is definitely my best friend here in the mission!

Elder Chavez y Hna Dodson

     After the meeting, we headed home and ate a late lunch at 2:30pm.  At 3:15pm, we headed to Fonavi and visited a few people.  Then we went to the familia Leyton.  We got talking with Clara and I realized that she and I are the same.  We both have attitudes.  We both are forward and kind of mean, but people love us anyway!  haha
     We left Fonavi late and on the combi ride home, we felt really sick.  We hurried to our citas, hoping to just do quick visits, but none of our citas were home, so we just went to our cuarto to rest for a few minutes.  Then we went to dinner.  I took a lot of videos of Alonzo playing his guitar and saying our names.  He is adorable!

Viernes, 5 de Diciembre del 2014
     Well, we have new tarjetas (pass along cards) about Christ, "El es la Dadiva" ("He is the Gift")  It was hard for us to contact with these cards...either it was the area we were in or it is because the cards are 'new', but we had some really strange contacts using them.  First contact told us a long story about how everyone in her family is a member of a different church and that they already have 'one' Mormon in the family.  Second contact: we stopped her on the road and started talking to her about the new video of Jesus...and she just stared at us and said, "The woman on the card looks like one of the virgins in the Catholic church." and walked away.  When we knocked on the third contact's door, a woman yelled, "Quien?", so we said, "Buenas Dias." and her response was "QUIEN?!!" (really loud and angry).  Then a really small older woman opened the door and started freaking out and told us to hurry inside.  So we hurried inside.  She started taking us around her house explaining every single family picture hanging on the walls.  She never stopped talking.  We found out that she is alone every single day from 3am-8pm, and that she doesn't believe in friends, because it can only bring enemies, and she doesn't like the idea of having enemies.  That is why she is alone.  We left feeling a little confused.  Contact number four:  we knocked on her door and she told us to come in.  She didn't let us talk at all. She just kept quoting the Bible and saying that she is "copying" the Bible into her mind. Then she recited a prayer and told us that her neighbor is of the was intense... We had other contacts that were just as awkward after them.  I really think it must have just been the area we were in, but every visit seemed to be crazy.  We want to come back at a different time, just to see.
     We headed home to grab two Book of Mormons for Pina and Ofelia, and then headed to their house.  While we were waiting for an answer, the man who always gives me fruit, stopped and gave me a bag of grapes.  :)  Two minutes later, Martin found us on the doorstep and gave us cookies. :)
     Finally, they opened their door and we only taught Pina, because Ofelia wasn't home.  We taught her about baptism and invited her to be baptized.  She said that she wants to be baptized, but she wants to wait until she gets back from her 2 week long trip.  We told her that we are happy that she wants to be baptized that soon, but baptism requires changing your life style and that there is much for her to still learn.  She is excited to learn, and so are we!
     Then we visited Segundo and his wife.  We taught them about the Book of Mormon and they loved it.  They are excited to learn more and they can't wait for us to return.  Then we went next door to visit Betty, a less active.  She gave us chicken sandwiches and hot chocolate in milk!  We chatted about the mission and how beautiful it is.  Then I told her how much I look up to my parents and she almost started crying because of the love that she could feel as I talked about them.
     We headed to dinner, played with Alonzo, went home and planned.

Sabado, 6 de Diciembre del 2014     
     So here, the members listen to music in English...and well they have no idea what most of the songs are saying...and...well...some of the music says swear words over and over again, and they have it blasting through their houses thinking it is such an adorable song.  haha
     This morning, we contacted the nice houses on the malecon (the beach).  The houses were really pretty, but the owners not so much.
     After contacting, we went to lunch in Las Pampas with Any (Annie) Vasquez.  This time she really opened up to us about everything.  I love when members feel trust with us, because a lot of the time, the things that they share with us, help us to know why certain people are the way they are. Any is a wonderful woman!
     After lunch, we went to Fonavi and had a short meeting with Daniel.  Then we headed to Alinder's house.  We taught about the Book of Mormon and prayer.  We testified again, that the only way he is going to know that our messages are true, is if he prays to God about it.  But he believes that he just needs to have more knowledge to know if it is true.  I told him some of my personal experiences and that I hardly know anything, but I am still a missionary.  Learning is a life long process.  We are never going to know it all while living in our earthly state.
     After that, we went to visit an older woman named Adela.  She was happy to see us and she thanked us for our spirit and teachings.
     Then we traveled all the way to Nidia's house, but she wasn't home, so we headed back to Pimentel.  We went to our cuarto to start our fast and then we went to Cecilia's house for FHE.  She had invited a friend to join us, but her friend never came.  So we shared the message about "El es la Dadiva." (He is the Gift).  Daniel took some pictures while we were there- so you can ask him for them if you want. :)  Then we ran home, because it was dark and late.

Domingo, 7 de Diciembre del 2014
     Today was a "Don't mess with me" day...okay, only in the morning.  That's because during consejo de Rama, everyone was getting on our case about how we aren't working hard enough, because we aren't having any progress.  Daniel stood up for us again, but everyone started fighting Daniel about it.  After four long months of hearing them question our work, I finally stood up for us. I said, "WE ARE WORKING!  AND IF YOU WANT TO SEE IT FOR YOURSELF, YOU CAN COME TEACHING WITH US!"  Well, they shut up after that, and didn't question our work for the rest of the meeting.  After the meeting, Daniel came up to me giggling because he thought it was hilarious what I did.  He also told me that I need to "Relax and be patient."  haha  We all know that patience is not my strongest attribute, but I really am trying to progress.
     After our meeting, it was time for church.  Today was fast and testimony meeting.  Not even joking, but every single person who bore their testimony said "Estoy en la verdad." ("I'm in the truth.")  It was a powerful testimony meeting.  Almost the entire familia Leyton bore their testimonies.  Papa Leyton bore a beautiful testimony.  He can't speak hardly at all, but his wife translated for us.  It was so powerful.  I love the gospel!!
     After church, we ended our fast and headed to lunch with the familia Mendoza Gonzales.  They have been members for 3 years and the dad of the family was called to be the 1st Counselor to the President of the Rama after only being a member for one month.  The trust that the Lord haD in him and also the trust that the President of the Rama had.  That would be so scary to be baptized and then be called as a 1st Counselor in a Bishopric. He told us about his conversion and also the panic attack that he had when he was first called.  He is now so grateful for the experience that he has had.
     After lunch, we taught a couple families in Alto Peru.  They all want to know the same things that Jose Smith knew.  We explained some things and then left a pamphlet for them to read.  We told them that we would return and answer any more questions that they may have.  They are really awesome families!
     At 6:00pm, we went into Chiclayo to watch the Christmas Devotional.  Turns out, that in Peru, we couldn't watch it until 8:00pm, so we just had a district meeting while we waited.  After our meeting, tons of people from Pimentel showed up and they all wanted pictures with Hna Corona and me.  All the other missionaries were teasing us about how famous we are. haha
     We entered the sacrament hall and couldn't find any seats.  Then Elder Chavez motioned to us to sit with him and Elder Rich.  Once it was over, we were all talking and then Elder Chavez gave me a Woody- Toy Story keychain!

     Then Elder Chavez told us that it was too late for us to go back to Pimentel and that we would need to stay the night in Chiclayo.  We ended up staying with Hna Kennedy and Hna Stewart.  Bad news was that we didn't get any dinner, so we went to bed pretty hungry.
     Once we got to their cuarto, we changed into some of their pj's and set the bedroom up for sleeping.  And then we talked and talked and talked.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week 34: "We were able to teach Irene, and the dogs never ate me!"

Lunes, 24 de Noviembre del 2014
     This morning we made our Christmas decorations for our room.  We made a mini Christmas tree, a Santa Claus and we turned Buzz Lightyear into an elf.  It turned out so cute.  I have missed doing crafts like that.

     After we finished those, we went to Elba's house to eat lunch.  We ate arroz chauta (Asian Peruana dish).  It was so good!  After that, we headed into Chiclayo.  First stop was the oficina of the mision, because I had a package at the Serpost (the post office) which means that I needed to get my passpost paper.  Turns out, that I had 4 packages and 2 cards in the oficina!  We bagged up all my stuff and headed to print out pictures, because I want to send some surprise pictures in the package I was sending home to my family.  During the waiting period, I decided to spend some of my birthday money on some new shoes, because my other ones were falling apart.  My new shoes are so adorable!

Happy Birthday to me!
         Then we went and grabbed the pictures and went to the Serpost.  I finally got my package to my family sent off, after jumping from one line to another. Sending stuff out of the country is bien feo. :( After getting my package sent, I got back into a different line to get my package.  It was a package from my Greatma, and it was huge!  So now I was running around Chiclayo with all sorts of packages in my arms and trying to find a place to do internet, so I could write home.  We finally found a place, but the connection was pretty crappy, but at least it worked.
     After emailing, we headed home to Pimentel.  Once we got there, I opened my packages.  Thank you Santa (family) for the peanuts and nuts!!  Thank you Greatma for the treats and adorable Hallmark stuffed snowmen!
Our little winter scene
The snowmen are from my Greatma Buckmiller,
the snowballs are from my family and the Christmas stocking
was left over from a previous missionary.
   Then we went out teaching.  We taught Pina (19 yrs).  She is really cool.  She wants to know what the true church is.  At the end of her lesson, she offered a beautiful prayer.  She prays to God like someone talking to a friend.  It was awesome.  I am so faithful that something good is going to come out of this.
     After that, we went to visit Lucero.  She has so many questions for us that her church doesn't have answers to, but we do.  It is really cool to teach her because she is really spiritual and Bible smart.
     At dinner, we talked with Chela for a bit and went home and planned.
     Oh, I forgot to tell this part.  On the combi ride home, an older woman got on and when she saw me, she started asking me how I was and started hugging and kissing me.  She sat behind me and Hna Corona turned to me and asked who she was.  I shook my head, because I had no idea.  When the woman got off the combi, she said, "It was nice to see you again!  I love you my lindisimo hermanita!" :) Hna Corona laughed forever!

Martes, 25 de Noviembre del 2014
     We had a meeting of the Districto.  Elder Coons taught us about the talents and gifts that God has given each person.  He told us to read Matthew 25, which is about the talents.  Then he had us make a list of our talents.  He told us that we have to know what all our talents are because we don't want to return to our Father in Heaven and have only used 2 talents if there were 3 or 4 that we were given. He also told us to pray for guidance before reading our patriarchal blessing, to see all the talents and gifts that it tells us that we have.
     After the meeting, we headed home and ate lunch.  We studied language and then went out teaching.  We taught Lucero again, and the only thing she wanted to talk about was Joseph Smith. But for her to understand why Joseph Smith restored the gospel to the earth, she really needs to understand about prophets and the Great Apostasy, so while we were trying to explain this, she just kept asking, "But the senor Jose Smith?" and "Why the name Mormons?" and "Why is the libro called Libro de Mormon?"  We tried to explain it all but we had to set up another appointment for another day because we ran out of time.  She has potential and she said that she is going to pray about these things....but she wants a dream or a vision to come as her answer...
     Later, we taught Irene.  She is awesome.  She remembers things and wants to know if it's true. When we first got to her house, her dogs were growling at us, so I started to growl back at them. Then the dogs started barking at me, and then Irene yelled, "Shut up!" to her dogs and Hna Corona started to laugh so hard.  She said, "Those dogs are going to kill you.  You got them in trouble with their owner."  I just laughed, but I had a prayer in my heart that the dogs wouldn't hurt me.  We were able to teach Irene, and the dogs never ate me.  The funny thing was that the dogs would not allow Hna Corona to say anything.  Anytime she opened her mouth, they would start barking really loud. We were all laughing so hard.  When I spoke, they were silent.  haha
     After a few other lessons, we headed to our last cita with Channy. (sister of Lucy)  She wasn't home, but Lucy and her family were home so we stayed for a while and talked with them.(Lucy, Bruno, Nicol, Juanita, and Gerson).
     Then we went to dinner.  We ate quickly so we could get home and plan and get to bed.  But when we got home, our phone was ringing off the hook...we were receiving so many references and setting up citas with so many people.  At 10:20pm, we finally got ready for bed....long day and night.  I love the mission!!

Miercoles, 26 de Noviembre del 2014
     Today was full of bad luck.  First I woke up with my tendon/ligament behind my knee hurting.  Second, when we were trying to leave to go out contacting, the front door almost killed me, because there was a really strong wind blowing.  When I opened the door, the wind blew it open and it almost took me out.  Third, as we were contacting, all the dogs were being really aggressive and kept barking and growling and following us around.  They wouldn't let us knock on any of the doors. Fourth, almost every single one of our citas fell through.  Fifth, we had to take a combi to visit a reference who lived 7 minutes away.  We caught a combi and we were sitting in the back, and when we tried to tell the driver that we needed to get off by the University of Sipan, he told us just to sit up front by him.  So we did, and we got to talking and testifying of the church, and then we were at the University of Chiclayo.  I asked where the University of Sipan was, because that is where we needed to get off.  Turns out that we had already passed it.  He told us to just get off at the University of Chiclayo and walk back to it.  We got off and started walking.  We were walking for 15 minutes when we received a phone call from Hna Nidia (menos activa) asking us where we were.  We explained our situation and she said to call her when we got closer to the hotel.  After almost getting killed by other combis as we walked on the dirt highway, we finally made it to the hotel.  At this point, our luck turned good.  First, Nidia is the sweetest woman ever!  Second, her house is huge and beautiful.  It has a yard, basketball court, fireplaces and tons of seating.  Third, her son, Armando, 11 years old, is awesome and is completely and utterly adorable.  Fourth, Nidia is a return missionary and she wants to be sealed to her husband who passed away a couple years ago.  Fifth, at the end of our visit, we ate panqueques with manjar and bread with cheese!  During this time, we all just sat around the dinner table giggling and eating and learning more about one another.  When it got late, Nidia walked us out and helped us catch a combi.
     Once we got back to Pimentel, Martin found us and gave us cookies. :)  Then we headed to set up another cita with Elba because she wasn't home this morning.  We got to talking with her and she gave us juice (chicha morada) and after that, we headed to dinner.  We ate and played with Alonzo (2 yrs old).  He is the son of Chris, who is the daughter of Chela.  He is adorable.  We laughed and played for quite some time.  I love kiddles!
     Then we went home and planned for tomorrow.

Jueves, 27 de Noviembre del 2014  [HAPPY THANKSGIVING!]
     This morning during our companionship study, we got discussing about the end of the world.  We ended up reading most of the book of Revelations.  It is super intense.  I love studying things that are really deep, like el fin del mundo.
     After studies, we headed out to teach Lucero.  She told us that she is grateful for our testimonies that we have brought, but she doesn't want to change her religion.  She said no more visits. :(
     After lunch, we headed to Fonavi.  First we visited the familia Leyton.  Marco was home, so it was fun to be able to visit with him.  We taught a short little lesson about faith.
     Then we went to our cita with Ivan.  This lesson we had was the most successful lesson we have ever had with him.  His whole family was gone, so the house was silent.  The spirit was able to dwell there easily today.  We taught about testimony and prayer.  During the lesson, the spirit got super strong and we invited Ivan to offer a prayer with us, to ask God if the Book of Mormon was true.  He agreed to pray.  We knelt down and he offered a simple, sincere prayer asking if the Book of Mormon was true.  After he asked the question, we sat in silence....then a really beautiful thing happened.  He told us that he felt really good and that he felt peace.  It was so beautiful to see him light up.  We set up another cita with him and when we return, we are going to help him plan a day for baptism.
     We headed to a few more citas and then went back to Pimentel.  We went to dinner and then went home to plan.  We got a call from Elder Coons asking us about our day and to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving. (Feliz dia de Gracias)  The funny thing was that he was trying to get Hna Corona to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving, but she couldn't understand his he tried to tell her in English, but she couldn't understand his English either!  It was hilarious!

Viernes, 28 de Noviembre del 2014
     This morning, we had our planning for the week.  During the entire planning session, we were searching through old registros de ensenonza to find people who could maybe make progress now. We were laughing the entire time at some of the notes that other missionaries had written on these registers.
     After planning, we went to lunch and ate chupe- my favorite soup here.  We also had a slice of watermelon because it is almost summer here!
     After lunch, we studied language, and being the good missionary that I am, taught my sweet angel companion how to say CRAP!  It is adorable when she says it in her sweet Latina accent.
     After study, we went out teaching.  During that time, Daniel met up with us and helped us teach. We taught quite a few people, but we had one lesson that was awesome.  We had headed to the house of Pina, but she wasn't there, but her sister Ofelia let us in to teach her.  They have a dog named Nieve (snow) and it did not like Daniel at all!  For the first half of our lesson, the dog kept barking and growling at him.  At one point, Ofelia took the dog upstairs. but anytime after that, when Daniel would get "sassy" with one of us, we threatened to have Ofelia get the dog to attack him.  :)  The coolest thing about this lesson, was that Ofelia had a lot of deep questions, and we could tell that her interest was sincere.
     We taught a few more lessons and then went to dinner.  Then we went home and planned.
Oh, contact of the day was a woman with some dishes in her hand, and trying to carry her laundry basket, too.  I ran over and told her that I would help her out.  She told us that she really needs more angels like us in her life, who are willing to serve and share God's word.  She invited us to visit another day.

Sabado, 29 de Noviembre del 2014
     We always have "really good" studies.  I built a tower during personal studies because my mind was "on one".
     We had lunch with the familia of Luzziel. (Melita, his mom)  Then we left to have our meeting with Daniel about the progress we are trying to have here in Pimentel.  After we talked for quite some time, we headed to the familia Leyton and I helped Alicia with some of her homework.  Part of her homework was to translate an interview into English.  Translating is really hard, because it is difficult to think of two different languages at the same time.  It was mentally exhausting....
     I love the familia Leyton and they love me.  Thank heavens...

Domingo, 30 de Noviembre del 2014
     Holy cow, the last day of November.  The time is just flying by.  I am going to have 8 months in the mission in one week!  How crazy is that!  It feels like yesterday that I was in the CCM.
     This morning was interesting.  We had ward council before church and we left 15 minutes early to meet with Nidia, Armando, and Ofelia.  Well, no one was there so we were calling to ask where they were.  No answers, but about 5 minutes after calling, Nidia showed up.  On our way to the church, Ofelia called and told us that she would meet us at the doctor's office near the church.  We were so excited to have some of our investigators coming to church with us.
     Church was great.  Ofelia loved every second of it.  She said her favorite part was when the Young Women talked about "your body is a temple."
     After church. we were running around the church setting up citas with people.  Then we walked Ofelia home and went to lunch with the familia Sanchez Siguay. (Gaby and Ivan)  Well, like always, the food was AMAZING!  After eating, we played with Gabriel, Ivan (hijo) and Gaby.  We played Tops. (trompos)  It was so fun.
    Then we got to work.  First we visited the familia Cachay because they had a death in their family. We had a plan... to just give a short message, offer a prayer and leave, but that didn't happen.  When we entered, the house was in complete chaos.  We dropped our bags and started to help clean.  I was cleaning the kitchen while Hna Corona cleaned with a big scrubber thing.  After cleaning, the family thanked us for helping and then we left to do other visits.  It was so nice to do a service for them.
     Our second visit was with Gloria Monja.  Like always, Gloria did tons of funny things.  First, Paula (Gloria's mom) was telling us a story, when Gloria interrupted her mom, looked at us and said, "Que guapas!" (You are so good looking!) We smiled and thanked her.  Then she said, "You both just get more beautiful every time you visit."  Second thing, she had my scriptures and she found my pictures and cards from family and friends inside of it. One card had my first name written on, and Gloria said, "Sierra is spelled with a C, not an S."  Not knowing that Sierra was my name, everyone just kept saying Sierra over and over again, talking about its spelling, etc.  Hna Corona knew that it was my name and she started laughing.  That is when everyone looked at me and asked, "Sierra is your name?"  When I nodded my head, they all freaked out, saying that I was the first gringa that they knew named Sierra, and that Sierra is not a common name here in Peru because it means 'saw mountains' and it is a place in Peru with really bad food.  haha
     After that, we decided to do secret friend gifts ( amigo secreto) for Christmas with the familia Monja.  I am super excited to do that!  We shared a message about the Word of Wisdom and then headed to the familia Leyton.
     We talked for a bit and then Marco wanted to test out my mision plaque, so I drew a little Elder Leyton tag and put it on my tag for him to wear.  The whole family was super excited to see his missionary tag.  He was glowing!  At the beginning of our visits with this family, Marco didn't want to go on a mission, but we have talked to him a lot about how cool it is to serve a mission and now he wants to serve a mission!  Yay!!  We are all hoping he will get called to Salt Lake City, Utah!
     Then we headed to visit Nidia and Armando.  Armando came running to the door and hugged us before he let us in.   He is such a sweetie.  We sat at the table and taught a lesson.  We played games with Armando so that he would like the lesson and be able to understand it better.
     At the end of the lesson, Nidia brought out tacos and hot sauce- tabasco.  We were both super excited.  As Nidia was serving us our plates, Nidia accidentally dropped a hot wing in my tea.  We all laughed and laughed.  After we ate, we played a game where you name things that go along with the category of the leader.  For example...'Names of boys that start with the letter B'...well whoever answers last, has to sing a song.  I lost three times...I sang three songs.  Armando was so cute, because after every time that I would sing, he would clap.  haha
     We left, and it took forever to find a combi.  Once we found one and were riding along, Elder Coons called us.  It was so loud on the combi and we were trying to report our numbers to him, without him knowing that we weren't actually in our cuarto...but he heard all the talking and the music and told us to just call him when we got home.  We hurried home and reported to Elder Coons and then headed to dinner.  At dinner, Alonzo (hijo of Chris) kept asking what our names were and we would tell him Hermana Dodson and Hermana Corona.  Then when we would ask him what our names were, he would say "hermanita CORONA!!!!" and "hermanita DODSON!!!!"  He would say hermanita really quiet and then he would yell out our last names.  It was so funny.
     After dinner, we left and went home and planned out our P-Day, which consists of sleeping and buying trompos! (tops!)