Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 42: "Hna Dodson, you are on my great missionary list."

Lunes, 19 de Enero del 2015
     We started out today running around town and then we stopped by the doctor's office and used their scale to weigh ourselves....well, I'm still fat.  haha  After our run, we had our studies, and during our studies, we got several calls.  First call was from Juan Luis (recent convert) asking us to come and visit him because he is sick.  We decided to call the Elders to have them visit him instead, so that they could give him a blessing.  Then we got a call from Elder Watkins telling us that we have interviews with the President tomorrow.  Then we got a call from the Hna leaders telling us that they are coming to Patapo to do divisions with us on Viernes.  After being on the phone for almost 45 minutes, we started studying again.  Then Hna Williams called and asked, "Do you remember when you were on crutches?"  haha  Do I remember?  Faintly, those 2 1/2 months I told her, "Yes." and she said, "Oh good, because we have another Hna on crutches because she broke her foot falling off a curb.  She is having some of the same problems that you had."  I asked who it was and turns out her name is Hna Fairchild, and Hna Reid was her trainer, just like me, and now she is on crutches, just like me!  haha  I asked Hna Williams what it is that Hna Reid had done to us...she giggled at the comment and then continued to ask me some questions about what helped me get through the tough times.  I gave her some tips and medicine names that helped and by the end of the call, we didn't have much study time left.
     Once study time was over, we went out shopping.  We bought some toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, food, and I bought some more animal print pants (cheetah).  When I wear them, I feel the need to sing Cheetah Girl's songs!  haha ("Cheetah girls...cheetah sisters...")
     After shopping, we headed home to drop off some stuff and then go meet up with the elders, so we could get a USB of music from Elder Dagley.  Once we got the USB, we headed to internet, but it was packed, so we decided to go to lunch first.  At 1:00pm, we went back to internet, but it was so slow, so we decided to try a different place (Joana's internet shop) and finished emailing.
     Then we headed home and cleaned and organized our cuarto.  Then we relaxed for a bit.  I read a talk that Hna Furness had printed off called, "One for the Money."  It is about financial plans.  It has really good counsel for new families...and everyone for that matter!
     At 6:00pm, we went out, and as we were locking up the house, 6 young men showed up outside our gate and asked us if they could have some coconuts.  We have several coconut trees with hundreds of coconuts, so we grabbed some for them and then went to our first cita with Beatriz (less active member).  We read Ether 12 with her and talked about humility, faith and charity.  She is a wonderful woman and is faithful in her studies and prayers, but struggles with coming to church. We are hoping to help her want to come back to church, and let her know that it takes more than just studying and praying at home...
     After that, we went to meet with the Bishop at La Dulceria, so that we could go out teaching with him.  We went to the house of a couple named Leonidas and Elicida.  Elicida had to leave, but Leonidas still let us in, and told us that he let us in because he could feel something special coming from us.  He said that other religions come by, but he doesn't feel the same "spirit" as the Mormons bring.  He is really open to our messages and is willing to change.  Let's hope he doesn't get caught up in the world now....
     After that, we tried to visit Victor Joel, but he wasn't home, so we tried a couple other houses, but no one was home there either.  So we headed to dinner.  We had to eat fast, because Enrique and Shirley were coming by our cuarto at 8:30pm.  Well, they never came, so we just planned.  Then at 9:30pm, they finally showed up!  We joked around with them and of course Enrique laughed at my humorous jokes!  haha  Then we got ready for bed and talked about the day.

Martes, 20 de Enero del 2015
     Today I had my prayers answered.  The beauty of the spirit just spilled out all over me all day long.  It started out on the drive to Chiclayo for interviews.  The entire ride, I was praying for peace in my heart, that the work that I am doing here is good enough to be a representative of Jesus Christ. Once we showed up to the office, we waited for some elders to finish their interviews.  Elder Williams came out and called Hna Furness into his office, and then Hna Williams came out and called me into her office.  We started talking about Pimentel problems that they are seeing.  Turns out that the elders have had 3 baptisms since getting there 5 weeks ago...and even though the sister missionaries work really hard, the members will not support them...they only want to support the elders.  After talking about that, Hna Williams just stopped talking and smiled at me and said, "Hna Dodson, you are one of the most humble missionaries I have ever met.  You are so dedicated, patient, and loving, and I'm not just saying that.  I really believe it."  That is so what I needed to hear.  I thanked her for her kind words.  Then she told me that she and President Williams talk about me often, about what a great human being that I am and that I am one of their best missionaries in the field.  She thanked me for being an amazing trainer and gave me 2 cookies (1 chocolate chip and 1 peanut butter).  We hugged forever and she said again how grateful she was to have me in the mission.
     Then  President Williams called me into his office.  Whenever I am with him, I always feel like he doesn't like me, because he has a serious face and he demands perfect obedience.  Well, I am not perfect, and I hold that against myself all the time.  I shouldn't, because no one is perfect, but I tend to feel worse about it anytime I am in an interview with Pres. Williams.  Anyhow, when I walked in, he handed me a pamphlet to look over.  We talked about it for a bit, and then he said, "Hna Dodson...when I sit down every night, I start thinking about all the disobedient missionaries and the missionaries that have problems...and then I tell my wife, 'I don't want to be a Mission President anymore'...but then I start thinking about my good missionaries and my great missionaries....and Hna Dodson, I want you to know that you are on my great missionary list.  And I want you to know that I have so much trust in you.  You are one of my strongest missionaries we've had and you are great example out there.  Continue working hard and continue being you.  We love and trust you!"  We ended with a prayer and then he told me that my Spanish is great.
     After the interviews and on the car ride home, Hna Furness told me that during her interview, the Williams praised me and talked about how strong I am and about the positive attributes that I have. Peace was in my heart.
     When we got home, we went out teaching and found a woman named Maria Santos.  Her husband had died 5 years ago and she wants so badly to be with him again.  We testified of forever families and about life after death.  She loved it so much and told us to come back as soon as we could.
     Then we went to lunch.  We ate rice, beans, chicken and chocolate cake with caramel frosting. After lunch, we had language study.  After language, we went to a meeting with the elders at the church.  The meeting was to talk about area divisions, and we decided that we are not going to have any.  I am very excited about that and really hope that we can work closer with the elders.
     After our meeting, we went out teaching with Hna Francisca.  She is great.  Every house we entered, she bore such a strong testimony.  The spirit was definitely felt.
     One of the people that we found was by happen stance.  His name is David, and small world, his wife is a member!  She is less active...okay...not active, but she is great.  Her name is Clara.  They are cool people.  We talked to David about his past visits with other missionaries.  He told us that he wants visits again, and hopes that this time, he can receive an answer to his prayers.  He said several times that he felt nothing when he prayed before.  We decided to set up another cita with them and told them that we would return and teach him about recognizing the spirit and answers when they come.
     Then we headed to Moroni's house.  Today his house was totally chill.  Their kids were quiet and doing reverent things.  Karen was sleeping, so we only taught Moroni.  We asked him about his favorite scriptures- 1 Nefi 3:7 and Malaquis 3:8-11.  We got to talking about commandments, tithing and obedience.  Most of the time when we teach Moroni, he tries not to be serious, but today, he was serious.  We talked about personal and deep things.  He confided in us.  He told us why he doesn't go to church and why he won't get married.  Once we established the changes that he would need to make, we had a kneeling prayer together.  Moroni said the prayer and it was beautiful and REAL! Once we left, we walked for a second, and then we stopped and said a prayer to bless him that he could remember the spirit and desire to change that he had felt tonight.
     Then it was dinner time.  We had fruit salad and pineapple juice.  After dinner, we walked home really happy about the day, and planned.  Right before doing our carpeta (area book) we remembered that the  district leader, Elder Watkins, wanted us to teach a class tomorrow on how to have better success with members and references.  Our points are going to focus on obedience and love.  When we love the members, we build trust and confidence with them, and then we will be able to teach with them more successfully.  I am excited to teach this class tomorrow.
     After planning, carpeta, and planning our lesson, we talked about the spiritual experiences that we had today, and that today was an answer to my prayers.  Everything that happened today helped me to know that God, President Williams and the members all trust me and my work. It feels good.  I love the mission and I love the growth that I am seeing in myself and others around me.  God loves us.  I know that , and I can feel His infinite love more fully everyday that I pray to see His love in my life.  God bless you!!

Miercoles, 21 de Enero del 2015
     This morning, we had a district meeting and when we were waiting for the combi, we finally see one coming and the zone leaders, Elder Escobar and Elder Brunis, were hanging out the window waving at us.  It was funny!
     On the way to La Cria, we were given our mail.  I got a card from my Mommy :) and a card from Robyn Dixon :).  At the meeting, I gave the thought in Spanish, taught the class and had to do practice contacting with the zone leaders....I guess that is what I get for having almost 10 months experience in the mission field!  The meeting went well.  After it was over, we took a picture as a district.  (Hna Furness, Me, Hna Fraser, Elder Dagley, Elder Brunis, Elder Escobar, Elder Olsen, Elder Watkins, Elder Encalada, Hna Ortiz, Hna Sequira, Hna Yaulli).
     Then we went and bought Chicolac (frozen chocolate milk) and I was talking with Elder Escobar again.  He told me that he is from La Paz, Bolivia.  I told him that my dad served a mission in Bolivia, but I couldn't remember where at in Bolivia.  Dad where did you serve?  Anyway, I told him that one day I was going to visit Peru and Bolivia with my parents after my mission, and he told us that we should visit him in La Paz and that he would lend us some motorcycles so that we could ride on the highway of death!  I told him that we would do that, so we are going to have to go and ride bikes in Bolivia! :)
     Then we went to lunch and finished early, so we went home and took a little nap before language study.  It was a much needed nap!
     After our study, we went out teaching.  We went and taught Lili, and we invited her to baptism. She said yes, but she wants to finish all the lessons and will get baptized in a month.  She is so prepared.
     Then we visited Sarela and her husband Luis.  Sarela had surgery on her stomach yesterday, and said that she feels like her stomach is full of air but that the air won't get out of her body.  Well, I had a funny feeling to tell her about Tums.  She hadn't ever heard of them before, but was willing to try them, so we ran to our cuarto and got some and headed back.  She took a couple and said that she started feeling a bit better.  We visited for a little while longer and then set up another cita.
     After that, we headed over to visit Luz, but she wasn't home.  Her mom, Gilda let us in and we talked with her about Luz and Leonardo.  Well as soon as we had the closing prayer, Luz and Leonardo came in.  We set up a cita with them.  They told us that they wanted to feed us yummy food at our next cita. :)
     Then we visited Joana.  Well she is saying her prayers and she is studying the Book of Mormon again!!!  She is so ready to be active again.  We read with her in the Book of Mormon.
     Then we headed to dinner.  We had fruit salad and an ice cream roll.  After dinner, we went home and planned and I started to feel sore in my joints and a little nauseous, so I laid in bed.

Jueves, 22 de Enero del 2015
     I woke up pretty sick, but we had two important citas this morning, that I didn't want to miss.  The first was with Juan Luis, who is a recent convert.  We talked about tithing and fast offerings, and he acted like he had never been taught that before.  I am worried about him.
     Then we went to our cita with Lili and her husband Segundo.  They are great.  They have their marital problems, but they are so ready to change and help one another.  They want more unity in their marriage, so we gave them some homework, which is to read a pamphlet together and to pray together everyday.  I hope they will do it and start to see the blessings from doing such simple things.
     After their lesson, we went back to the cuarto, because I was feeling so sick.  My body was aching so bad and I had bad diarrhea :(  I was out of it all day.  At 5:00pm, the elders came by and gave me a blessing.  They are such good guys.
     The rest of the night, I felt like I was getting worse.  I just slept and as I slept, I didn't feel it, but then I would wake up to sore bones and nasty movements in my bowels! haha  It was an unsuccessful day.

Viernes, 23 de Enero del 2015            [Feliz 4 meses a la Hna Furness!]
     Today was our weekly planning.  As we were planning, we received a phone call from the zone leaders and they were calling to give us their new number.  This is the third time, because they keep losing their phone.  haha  Well, they not only gave us their number, they also told us that we have the best numbers in the zone and that they want us to be the examples for everyone.  Then they said, "Hnas, when the Hna leaders come to your area today, show them how to work, and show them how to get lots of contacts."  I couldn't believe it.  The zone leaders want us to show the sister leaders how to work?  I asked them if they were joking with us, and they said, "No."  So after the phone call, we finished our planning and went to lunch.
     After lunch, we went home to get ready to leave with the Hna leaders at 2:30pm.  At 2:45pm, they still hadn't come, so we called to see what was going on.  It turns out that they were still waiting for a combi to pick them up.  They told us to just start our visits without them.  We went to meet the members that were going to help us, so we could do splits with them until the leaders got there. Unfortunately, one of the members couldn't come, so we just stayed together as a trio.
     Our citas kept falling through, so as we passed by the house of Emanuel, Maria Jose and Mirella, we stopped in to teach them.  That is when the Hna leaders called us to let us know that they were here in Patapo.  We finished teaching, set up another cita, and left to meet up with the leaders.
     I paired up with Hna Ortiz (from Mexico) and Meri (member).  Hna Furness paired up with Hna Fraser (from Canada).  Hna Ortiz and I went and taught lots of people.  The first house that we entered was the familia Tello.  We have been teaching Angelica. (mom of two young boys who are baptized)  Her mom, Alicia, joined us today.  She started off by saying, "I will not come to church because there is a sister in the church who likes to gossip and cause problems with others, so I will not go."  I told her that she would not find perfect people in the church, and if we want something to be better, we need to be the example for others to follow.  We talked about faith and repentance.
     Then we visited an older couple named Virginia and Bartolome.  Hna Virginia had a baby strung on her back by a sheet...just like in the pictures you see of Peruana women.  Bueno! It was awesome!
     Then we visited Catolino, a less active member.  He is pretty old and can't hear too well.  As we were talking, Elliott, his neighbor came in and sat down.  So we started sharing a little message with him as well.  Then Elliott got the hiccups and said, "I'll be right back.  I am going to go drink some water."  He left and we waited and waited and waited.  After waiting for quite a while, we asked if he was going to come back.  Meri looked outside and saw our friend, Elliott outside drinking alcohol. She told us that Elliott was drinking his 'aqua'.  Oh well.  We ended with a prayer and hurried back to the paradero so that the Hna leaders could head back home to Polmaca.
     Hna Furness and I finished up the last of our citas and contacted until dinner time.  We ate fruit salad and a fruit smoothie.  At home, we were figuring out our numbers from today and we couldn't believe how successful today was.  We are so grateful to have God so willing to bless us and help us reach our goals.  I am very grateful for many things, but I am most grateful that I have a companion who wants to work and also that we have members here that love working with us.  I am also grateful for the guidance the spirit gives us in all our lessons.  I just love missionary work.  I never want it to end.

Sabado, 24 de Enero del 2015
     This morning we went to visit a less active member that we met on Jueves.  His name is Arnold. He is 23 years old and has a girlfriend named Leonila and they have a baby named Amy.  We didn't know exactly where his house was, so we went searching for him and his house.  We decided to contact everyone on the street to ask about him. Every single exaggeration!  We finally found him and we were kind of late, and he was waiting for us.  He is super cool and he has so much desire to be a better person.  He only has 2 years as a member and we could see in him a "wanting" to come back.  After our visit, he took us in his moto to our next cita for free.
     Our next cita was with Lili and Segundo.  We talked about faith and repentance and how we need to be baptized, and we set a date for them on 28 de Feb.  They accepted!  Then we invited them to come to church tomorrow...and we got the usual answer from Segundo of, "Oh Hermanas, I can't. I've got...."  But Lili, without hesitation said, "Yes!"  Then Segundo said, "Ok.  I guess I have to if I want to show God that I really want to change."  My mouth dropped open.  I really hope they can stay strong!
     After studies and lunch, we went out teaching again and our lessons weren't super interesting like this morning, but what did happen is that we contacted 35 people.  While we were contacting, we ran into Moroni and as we were talking in the road a crazy cat jumped from one roof to the other and basically cut itself in half by hitting the edge of the roof of the other house.  Moroni started busting up laughing.  We got scared out of our minds, but started laughing as soon as we recaught our breath.

        After watching a cat almost die, we went to dinner.  We had fruit salad and Hna Rossana popped us some popcorn, so we ate popcorn and chocolate.  On our way home, we stopped by the churro stand and bought some churros.  Today turned out being a good day.  I really hope everyone remembers the spirit we brought to their houses.  :)  I love the mission life.

Domingo, 25 de Enero del 2015                [Day of transfers]
     Today was such a great day.  We went to church and Martin was waiting for me on the curb with Carlitos!  He handed me 2 bags full of food and also a card from Karla (friend from Pimentel).  He also showed me the card my mom wrote to him in Spanish.  It was so sweet and he says that he carries it with him all the time.  Then the bad news came out of his mouth.  He said, "They are closing the area of the hermanas in Pimentel, so there aren't going to be sister missionaries there anymore."  I couldn't believe it.  Actually, I could, because the sisters don't get any support, so it makes sense and when I had talked with President Williams, he was upset about the situation in Pimentel.
     As we were waiting for church to start, in walked Maria Jose, Wilmer and Jose Sandoval (a man that we taught once and he promised he would come to church and never did, but he came today!) Also Catolino (less active) and Beatriz (less active) came too!  I was just getting so happy and kept getting happier throughout the day!
     After church, we went to lunch...we ate cuy (guinea pig).  haha  Lucky for us, it was the full body on our plates! hahahaha  It is super good, but the skin on one side was nice and crisp and the skin on the other side was still kinda hairy and chewy.  I really do like cuy though.  haha


     After lunch, we went out teaching.  First, we taught Leonidas.  He has potential and he really likes our visits and our messages.  Second, we visited Wilmer.  We read the Book of Mormon together and talked them through some of their family problems.  Before we left, we took some pictures with him and his kids.

Wilmer and his kids

Wilmer's twins, Jon and Clara
     Our third visit was with Enmanuel, Mirella, Maria Jose, the mom of Mirella and Maria Jose, and their Grandma. When we entered their house, Maria Jose gave us a huge hug and thanked us for her Book of Mormon that we gave her at church today.  We all sat down, but Enmanuel was swimming and didn't want to join us, so I told him that if he didn't come join us that I couldn't "leave" a Book of Mormon for him.  He hopped out of the pool so fast...haha.  As we were sharing scriptures, I finished my thoughts and while Hna Furness was testifying, Enmanuel tapped my leg and whispered in my ear, "I have something to share."  I told him to wait for Hna Furness to stop talking.  When she finished, Enmanuel cleared his throat and said, "I want to bear my testimony, too.  I want to say that I know the church is true and that God lives.  I leave these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." The spirit that radiated from his eyes and words were so sweet and tender.  No wonder we need to be like little children.  They are so humble and sincere about everything.  At the end of the lesson, Maria Jose offered the prayer and she has the sweetest words.  She said, "Help the hermanas not have changes (transfers), that they can visit me and teach me more.  And help us go to church every Sunday."  I am in love with these children.  They are such sweet children of God, with so much desire to do good.
Enmanuel, Hna Furness, Hna Dodson, Maria Jose
     As we were walking out the door, we talked to Maria Jose's mom to ask her that if Maria Jose wanted to be baptized if she would let her?  She said that she would let her, but that we just have to reactivate her now.  haha  Hopefully one day, they can be sealed as a forever family.
     After their lesson, we headed to ward council, and talked with Enrique, Shirley and Elder Dagley. During ward council, we had a lot of success and the members were super involved in helping us.
     Then we went to dinner and hurried home to report.  We reported our numbers and Elder Watkins was in awe by our numbers and the success we are having.  He is so happy for us.  We ended up having to cut the phone call short, because the zone leaders were calling with transfers. He said, "You both have transfers!  Just kidding!  You are staying together in Patapo!"  We started hugging, screaming and jumping up and down because we were so excited!  But Elder Dagley has transfers.

my attempt of drawing our family picture....just starting :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 41: Mr. Sassy (Cesar Aquila), my teacher from the CCM was in Patapo! It was a fun reunion!

Lunes, 12 de Enero del 2015
     This day we didn't do a ton, but a lot happened.  First, we went running and stopped by the bank to take out money from home.  Then we went and got ready for the day.  After our studies, we went out shopping.  I tried to find some more cute pants, but they didn't have any.  They said that more would be coming by the end of the week.  I needed to get a USB and the guy said, "You can buy a normal 8GB for 30 soles or a cute character 8GB for 32 soles."  Obviously I bought the character one, and in the end, he only charged me 30 soles for it, because he thinks Americans are cool.  haha

my cute USB
Then we went to internet and wrote home.  I received great emails and lots of pictures!  I loved it! We did internet in a tienda (store) of an inactive member named Joana.  She never charges us.  :)
     After internet, we went to lunch at the Dulceria and ate papa huancayina (sp.) I love it so much!! I am going to learn how to make it and I am going to live off of it everyday! jaja
     After lunch, we went home and cleaned our cuarto and reorganized.  I put up my pictures and then we put up our new fire alarm.  I really hope that it doesn't go off by accident, because everyone here burns their garbage and sometimes smoke enters into our cuarto.
     After we cleaned up, we laid on our beds and talked about future plans.  By the end of our conversation, the spirit was so strong, and by the time we went out teaching, we were radiating with the spirit.  We felt really good.  We grabbed a moto and had him take us to our first cita.  I contacted the driver and he was listening so intently.  He promised that he would go to church on Sunday. When we tried to pay him, he wouldn't let us and then told us that we could pay for the next ride we got. :)  Hna Furness turned to me and asked me how I did that.  I was confused at what she was asking...then she explained that I was just radiating so much light and love that it was no wonder that the moto driver was totally interested in what I was saying.  I decided after that, that I want to always be like that.  So I tried to keep the same light during our lesson with Luz and Leonardo.  We talked about faith, and that faith without action isn't is just a belief.  For example, I can believe that I can become a doctor, but if I am not working or doing my part to become a doctor, I won't become a doctor.  They were really digging it....and you could tell that they both had beliefs, but weren't really doing their part, so they got excited to apply this principle into their everyday lives.  
     After their lesson, we went and taught Gina.  We gave her a pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation. She seems really excited to read it and learn more about where her husband, mom and brother are. (because they all passed away)
     Then we went to dinner (fruit salad) and while we were eating, Mila came over and said to me, "You're going to lose that skirt."  I asked why, and she responded, "Because I want it!"  I began to laugh hysterically.
     After dinner, we decided to contact for a bit.  Every single contact was crazy.  The first woman told us, "Mormons are dumb.  They don't remember anything.  Everything goes in one ear and out the other!"  The second guy tried to hug us and told us to be careful because there are lots of crazy men out here....haha.  The third people denied us and lied by saying that they were heading to church at that very minute, but they weren't dressed for it and had bags full of food from the mercado.  After them, we decided to just head home.  On our walk back, we tried to contact another man, but he just yelled at us and he ran away saying, "Stop trying to speak Spanish! It's not your language!"  We both just busted up laughing.  We decided that hateful people were walking the streets tonight.  :)
     Once we got home, we planned and got ready for bed.

Martes, 13 de Enero del 2015
     This morning Hna Furness woke up with a high pitched squealing in her ear, so the entire morning we were trying to find a solution.  During that time, I got super nauseous, so I laid back down.  After we were both feeling better, we went to lunch.  They had music from the Grease movie playing in the Dulceria.  It was fun.
     After lunch, we went out teaching, but no one was home.  After what felt like forever, we found Victor Vilchez, and he basically told us that he has enjoyed our visits but right now is not a good time, so we don't need to come back and visit him anymore.  When we left his lesson, Hna Furness started crying.  When I asked her what was wrong, she wouldn't tell me anything.  So we just walked to our next cita.  On our way, we stopped by Celia's house (member) to have her come teaching with us.  While we were waiting for her to get ready, she fed us pineapple jello, cake and oro (it's like a soda).  Well the woman we wanted to visit, actually came over to Celia's house.  Her name is Maritza.  So we taught her at Celia's house.  During the lesson, Hna Furness said that she was sorry and then ran out of the lesson crying.  I apologized to Celia and Maritza and chased after Hna Furness.  She finally confided in me some personal emotional challenges that she was having about the mission.  She feels like she will never be a good enough missionary.  After she was able to feel better about relieving some of her emotions, we went back inside the house and rescheduled the lesson for a different time.  We decided to just walk and talk, hoping that would help her feel calmer. She started feeling a little better, so we went to our last cita with an inactive woman named Joana. We shared Moroni 10:32 and talked about  being perfect through Christ.  We also talked about that if we want to show God our love, we need to do all those things that He asks us to do.  We need to build up good habits and continue to stay strong.  Hna Furness shared her feelings about not feeling like a good enough missionary, but that she will become better as she builds up the good habits that God wants her to.  It was a beautiful lesson, for not only Hna Furness, but for Joana as well.  It was good for Joana to hear that missionaries have habits that we are constantly trying to change and work on, and that it takes hard work and time to change them.  We challenged Joana to start making changes in her own life, and to come back to church.  She said that she wants to and explained her hard situation that she and her husband are in.  We helped make a plan for her and hope that it will all work out.
     Then we went to dinner, went home, and planned.  Then we talked about our families.  I told her about my sister's health stuff, and she wants to see pictures of Danielle's back (scar and xrays).  haha
     P.S.  I got a call from Elder Dagley saying that a friend of mine was at his pension.  When I asked who it was, he said that he called himself Mr. Sassy...It was Cesar Aquila, one of my teachers at the CCM.  Cesar had asked Elder Dagely who the sister missionaries were in this area and when he told him I was one of them, he was excited and told him to tell me hi!  :)

Miercoles, 14 de Enero del 2015
     We taught some great lessons today and found some promising people to teach.  First  was Emanuel, Maria Jose y Mirella.  We taught them about prophets and they were super interested in it. Emanuel is super excited to almost have a year in the church.  Maria Jose is excited to be part of the church and Mirella is excited to get back involved in the church again.
     On our way to our next cita, we witnessed a moto crash.  We ran over to try and help the young teen girls that were inside the moto.  They were fine, just in shock.  After helping them, we went and taught Wilmer.  He told us that he studies the Book of Mormon, the Bible and the pamphlets every day.  He wanted to read in Joseph Smith history, so we read some parts from that and talked about his questions about repentance and the Atonement.  It was super spiritual.
     After teaching him, we contacted a ton of people and while we were out, a member named Juan Luis saw us on the street and called us over.  He was with his cousin.  When we got to them, his cousin asked me which part of Argentina I was from.  Argentina!?  haha  When I told him I was from the States, he didn't believe me. He later accepted it as the truth.  haha
     Later, we went to set some citas and ended up making friends with some kids.  They were hugging us and kissing our hands.  We danced with them for a bit and then headed to dinner.  On our way, we were contacting, and like always, we found some inactive members.  There are so many inactive members here.  We ate fruit salad, banana and fruit shake and fried chicken.
     After dinner, we headed home, planned and got ready for bed.  All day today, my eyes have felt so heavy from being sleepy.  I hope I can sleep well tonight.

Jueves, 15 de Enero del 2015
     All day today, all I heard coming from all different directions was my name being yelled.  I didn't recognize anyone, but apparently they know who I am.  haha
     Today, we were blessed to have the help of Hna Meri (a member).  She was amazing!  Every house that we entered, she bore an amazing testimony!
     We visited Luz and she opened up a ton with us and thanked us for being such sweet people.  It was a long lesson, and right at the end, her boyfriend, Leonardo, showed up and set up a cita with both of them and left.
     Then we headed to Moroni and Karen.  The entire time, their little boy was screaming and crying, so no one could focus and it was hard to feel the spirit, so we set up a new cita with them and left.
     After that cita, we went to dinner, went home and planned.  At 9:33 pm, Hna Rossana knocked on our door saying that a young woman named Fiorella was outside looking for us.  We went to see what was going on.  So today, we had met Fiorella and and taught her and her friend Juan Luis (member)...well, tonight she had a little 8 year old girl with her named Diana.  She told us that Diana wanted to kill herself, so we started talking to Diana.  Turns out that she doesn't really want to kill herself, she is just scared from her parents fighting.  She had run out and found Fiorella, who is her cousin, and she brought her to us....we don't know exactly why she brought Diana to us, but we said a prayer with them and then they left.  We went back up to our cuarto and got ready for bed.  Gotta love the mision!

Viernes, 16 de Enero del 2015
     We had our planning for the next week this morning. After planning and after lunch, we headed out teaching and almost every single one of our citas fell through.  Today, Patapo was a pretty empty city.  I'm not sure where all the people went, but they were gone.  We did visit with a 13 year old girl name Nicol.  We talked about Alma 32 and it was really good for her to hear about faith and to realize what it is she needs to do to feel prepared for baptism.
     After her lesson, we taught Maritza.  She is so awesome.  She almost had the Plan of Salvation pamphlet memorized.  We talked about the kingdoms of glory and she was loving that there are 3 kingdoms and that your placement in a kingdom depended upon the acts done in your earth life.  She understands it all and that God commands us to do certain things in this life to receive the Celestial Kingdom.  I really hope she continues to learn and act upon the things we teach.
     After that, Hna Celia (member) introduced us to her neighbors Sarela y Luis.  Sarela is really sick and had been in the hospital for almost 20 days.  So I decided to pull out my scriptures to look up a scripture about resting from our trials and hardships.  Once I found the scripture, we had an opening prayer, and right after I said Amen, I didn't feel right about sharing that scripture anymore and I found myself turning to the story about the wise man and the foolish man.  I talked about building our faith upon the rock of Christ, so that when hardships come upon us, we can stay strong.  Then I shared my testimony.  Sarela and Luis both just sat there in awe for a moment and then asked if we could visit again.  We set up another cita and left.  As we left, I thought about the beginning of my mission, and how my spiritual guidance was not very I feel now.  I am really loving this feeling!

Sabado, 17 de Enero del 2015
     This morning we got a call from the Bishop saying that the daughter of the Elder's pensionista wants to have visits from us.  We penciled her into our busy schedule and then did our studies so we could go out teaching.  We had almost all of our citas fall through, so we headed to the daughter of Dominga (the elder's pensionista).  We got to her house at 11:00 am.  Lili is the daughter's name and she is 30 years old and has 3 sons.  She started opening up to us.  She told us that her 'husband' had come over to the house at 10: 00 am today, and got really mad at her.  We then realized that our other appointments were falling through, because Heavenly Father wanted us to get to Lili's house sooner. While we were visiting with her, the bishop came over and gave her a blessing.
     Then we headed to lunch at the house of Cynthia.  We went at 1:00pm and waited until almost 3 pm to eat.  During that time, we talked with the Elders.  We actually had an appointment at 3 pm, so we ran to the cita to reschedule with them and went back to eat lunch.
     After lunch, we went back to work.  We visited with Wilmer.  I really love this man.  He is so ready to be baptized and so ready to have an eternal family, but his 'wife' doesn't want least not right now. :(
     Then we headed to visit a couple of recent converts and less active members.  We ran into some friends and they live right by a field of sugar cane, so they cut some up and cleaned it so we could eat some.  It was weird, because you just bite a piece off, chew it a little and then spit it out.  It is really sweet and really yummy, though.
     Then it was time for dinner.  I got a phone call from the bishop asking, "Did anyone ask you to give a 10 minute talk tomorrow in church?"  I answered, "No." and he proceeded to ask, "Yeah, okay...well....can you give a ten minute talk tomorrow in church?"  I said, "Yes."  He told me my topic could be about anything that I choose.
     So after dinner, we planned quick and because Hna Furness is the best, she did our area book while I wrote my talk.  I ended up deciding to speak about agency, faith and repentance.  Once I got the idea down on paper, I went to bed.

Domingo, 18 de Enero del 2015
     Well, this morning we got to church and 2 investigators showed up!  Maria Jose (9 year old) and Lili (the daughter of Dominga)!  Right before we had the first prayer, Mr. Sassy walked in with his fiance.  After the meeting was over and I was greeting all the members and our investigators, Cesar (Mr. Sassy) called me over and we were talking in Spanish this time!  In the CCM, it was usually English, because I couldn't really speak Spanish.  Anyhow, he was trying to remember how long I had been out on my mission....he thought it was just 6 months, so when I told him it was 9 months, he couldn't believe that much time had already gone by.  We got to talking about CCM experiences.  It was a fun reunion.
     After church, we went contacting until lunch.  We ate at the house of the familia Estela.  The entire time I was eating, their dog would run into the other room and then return and jump up and put its paws on my chair, which would make my seat wiggle.  It happened at least 15 times, and we would all laugh every time it happened!  After lunch, we went out teaching with Hna Viviana.
     First, we went to visit Victor Joel.  He's the cool moto guy who didn't have change for a 10...anyhow, he let us in and we talked about his past of going to church.  He was really religious last year, but towards the end of the year and beginning of this year, he fell farther and farther away from his church.  By the end of our visit, he was so excited to have us explain more that he said, "Tomorrow, come teach me more!"  We set up a cita with him and taught a few more lessons until it was time for Ward Council.  I love working with this ward.  It works a lot better when the members are involved in the work.  During the entire meeting, Elder Dagley kept getting called Elder Dodson, so as a joke they started calling me Hna Dagley.  They thought they were being so hilarious.  Haha They said that we look like siblings, so that is why they confuse us.  Haha  Not.  After ward council, we went to dinner and the Parent Trap movie music was playing.  It made Hna Furness and I so happy.  We both love and miss that movie!
     After dinner, we went home and got a lot of phone calls.  Elder Watkins told us that Hna Furness and I are the companionship with the most success in our district!!

P.S.  Joana (less active) came to church today!!

The Dulceria, where we eat all our meals

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Week 40: Nine Month Mark!

Lunes, 5 de Enero del 2015   [Feliz Cumpleanos Hna Corona!]
     We went to Chiclayo for P- Day because we wanted to buy colchitas (summer blankets) for our beds.  We went to El Modelo, which is a huge mercado in the middle of Chiclayo.  I bought 2 blankets, two pairs of cool pants, and two pairs of shoes for about $6 each!  Awesome deal!

new pants
new shoes and other new pants
new blankets!
     After shopping in the Modelo, we went to the tottus to buy cleaning supplies and ice cream from Bembos. Then we went to internet.  After internet, we headed to lunch at the Dulceria at 3:30pm. Then we went home to clean our cuarto and we deep cleaned our bathroom.  Our room doesn't look that different, but it smells a lot better!
     After cleaning, we went out teaching.  We visited a less active member named Beatriz.  She said that she will come to church, so we hope that she will.  Then we went to visit Emanuel Davila (recent convert), Mirella (less active), Maria Jose (9 year old investigator) and their Grandma (member of the church).  We taught them about the Word of Wisdom and they loved it.  We had a fun time, and they asked us to come over everyday!  We can't this week, because we have tons of citas, but maybe next week.  They are a really humble familia.  I love them.
     At dinner, we ate fruit salad and then went home and planned.  Right at the end of our planning, our neighbors decided to have a karaoke night.  So...right now we are listening to some drunk Spanish is solid!  haha  I love Peru!

Martes, 6 de Enero del 2015
     This morning we went and visited a family- Susie (mom), Karla (14 yrs), Consuelo (9 yrs), and Juan (Susie's uncle).  Well, we knocked on the door and Consuelo ran to me and gave me a huge hug, and then let us in.  Juan was pretty drunk, but he was able to explain the story of Lehi and Nephi, and he told us how much he likes the Liahona.  :)  As we were explaining stuff, he interrupted us and asked "She is so beautiful...why is she visiting our family?" ....and as the family would try to answer him and let him know that I am a missionary, he cut them off and said, "We are so lucky to have her beauty here in our house."  haha
     After teaching them, we went home to study.  Then we went and picked up Cinthya to go teaching with her.  We taught a woman named Maritza.  She had a brother killed a long time ago while he was working, so we taught her about the Plan of Salvation.  She loved it.
     Then we picked up Celia (member) to go and teach Aladino and his wife, Juana.  Aladino is blind and has the sweetest spirit.  He and his wife have three daughters (18, 17 and 5 yrs).  They are a great family and they said that they want to prepare for baptism.
     After visiting them, we went to visit Luz (daughter of Gilda).  We found her sitting outside with her boyfriend, Leonardo.  They let us into the house without us even asking, and they were excited to hear our message.  We talked about teen life and finding happiness....we told them that true happiness comes from knowing God.  They were really into it, so we set up another cita to come back on Monday.  I am super excited to work with them.  Leonardo even said, "I haven't been baptized, so I would like to look into that!"  I really hope for the best for Luz and Leonardo!
     We went to dinner, came home and planned.  We talked in our beds...well Hna Furness was feeling sick, so she just listened to me talk.  haha  Then she started feeling better, so we started sharing stories from elementary school.  Love it!  Love her!

Miercoles, 7 de Enero del 2015
     Today during study, I made a list of changes I want to make in my life.  I titled the list "Changes for the Better":  I want to be more humble, have a stronger testimony, know the scriptures, radiate the love of Christ, be perfectly obedient, have strength to overcome temptation, have hope and faith that anything is possible, have better study habits, have a willing heart to repent of all, have good eating habits, have good exercise habits, and have better praying habits by truly crying unto God.  I want to improve all of these things, so that when I come home and later become a mother, I can use all of these traits to raise my children.
     After studies, we went out teaching and had no luck with any of our citas, but we were blessed by God, and received a reference from an investigator named Giona.  We went to find her and realized that she lives in the elder's area....shhhhh...don't tell.  haha  Well this woman's name is Carolina and she has 3 sons.  Two of her sons live with her and 1 lives in Lima.  One of her sons, named Allovi, is physically handicapped.  He slides around on his bum.  He is 16 years old and can't talk, but he is obsessed with bottles.  I had a water bottle that he liked, so I gave it to him.  He has the sweetest giggle and smile.  He is an angel and super precious.  Carolina is a single mom and can't work right now because of a really bad hernia.  She is so strong and just wants the best for her children.  She has no money, but the other son who lives with her, works and takes care of the familia.  This family hardly has anything, but they are all so happy.  They are strong believers in Christ and His love for everyone.
     Then we went to visit Wilmer.  The spirit was beautifully strong.  We talked about the Atonement, and the love and the spirit radiating from everyone in the room could be seen.  The spirit was definitely present.  I shared, "After death, we are going to talk with Jesus, and just imagine that you died in sin and saw Christ.  Christ would look at you with pain in his eyes and heart...because he suffered ALL for you, and you chose not to use it,  basically telling Christ that His suffering wasn't good enough for you."  Wilmer looked right at me and said, "I am starting change...I am changing for the better."
     Then we went and taught Gina (Georgina), and we just shared some stories of miracles with her to help her know the love that God has for us.  It was nice to listen to and see the change in her.
     We went to dinner and drank coconut water right from the coconut!  We also ate rice soup, fruit salad and fresh yogurt.
Jueves, 8 de Enero del 2015     [NINE MONTH MARK!  I'M HALF WAY DONE!]

"Nine Month" mark pic :)
Happy Anniversary note from
Rossana, her daughter Ingrid
and her mom, Mila

     Holy cow!  I have 9 months in the mission.  I can't believe that I will be going home in 9 months. The time is flying by.  Seriously, the time goes by so fast in the mission.  It doesn't feel like I have been out here for that long.  Anyway, we did our weekly planning this morning because we have zone meeting tomorrow.  During planning, we got a call from our zone leaders.  This time it was Elder Bruins and Elder Escobar.  Elder Aramayo had an emergency cambio (transfer) so now Elder Bruins is my new zone leader.
     After planning, we went out teaching.  We met two new women named Julia and Yolanda.  We also taught Beatriz, a less active member.  She told us today that she has a lot of trust in us.  She really opened up to us.  I think that we will be able to help in reactivating her.
     Then we went and visited a woman named Gloria.  Today she told us that the Bible tells us that we should not wear make up or nail polish.  We shouldn't cut or dye our hair or wear nice we left her house feeling quite attacked for doing these things.
     After a few other visits, we went to dinner.  Everyone at the Dulceria came and sang "Happy Birthday" to me for my 9 month mark!  haha  And for dinner, we ate cake, ice cream, fried chicken and a crepe/panqueque with manjar (caramel) inside.  It was so yummy, but we went home feeling quite sick.
     After getting home, we planned and then Hna Rossana and her daughter Ingrid showed up to help us put up nets over our beds to keep the bugs from eating us at night.  My net is yellow and I hope that it will help me find less bug bites!

bug nets!

Viernes, 9 de Enero del 2015
     Well at 4:30 in the morning, I was awakened by Hna Furness throwing up in the bathroom.  At 6:30 am, we could finally start calling people about it.  We called the hermana leaders first because they wanted to do inter-cambios with us, but we can't do that when my comp is sick.  At 8 am, we should have been leaving to go to our zone meeting.  Hna Furness wanted a blessing, so I called our district leader, Elder Watkins and he told us to call Elder Dagley.  Thankfully Elder Dagley and Elder Encalada came over and gave her a blessing.  Then they left to go to the zone meeting.  Our zone leaders called to see how we were doing.
     Hna Furness rested all day long, while I read all of Alma, wrote letters to the familia Leyton about some conference talks that I had read, decorated my new agenda and filled in all the dates.  The elders came by with a fan and cards from home.  One of my cards was from the Laurel class.....9 months ago....with an explanation from Marci Tribe (YW President) that she had just found them and realized that she never sent them.  haha  That totally made my day.
     I studied a ton and learned a lot.  I love Alma a TON!  The wars at the end are awesome.  I love the Book of Mormon!

Sabado, 10 de Enero del 2015
     We took it slow today, because Hna Furness was still not feeling her best.  She rested until lunch. We ate lunch with the elders at a member's house named Lili.  The elders are cool.  We don't get to see them very often, so it was fun to see them.  After lunch, Hna Furness started feeling really sick again, so we headed back home and let her rest until our cita at 5 pm.  We met up with Sharon, the return missionary and taught Maritza about the Atonement and pre-mortal life.  It was a beautiful lesson and she opened up a ton.
     Then we went and taught Aladino and his pregnant daughter, Rosmeri (17 years).  We taught them about prophets and the great apostasy.  They were really into it and want to learn more.  I really hope that we can convert their family because they are at a time in their lives, where they could use some positive guidance.
     After their lesson, we headed back into Patapo Centeral to eat dinner.  At dinner, Victor Jr. was walking around taking pictures of the restaurant, so I posed a few times and made everyone laugh. Then I edited the pictures by drawing on them and writing notes.  haha  The reason he was taking pictures was because Rossana thought one of the customers was really good looking, so he was getting a picture for her.  haha  What a good nephew. :)

Domingo, 11 de Enero del 2015
     During sacrament, the Bishop called me up to lead the music...and I would try and get everyone to start on time, but that didn't happen.  The best was when I couldn't remember how Love At Home started, so I looked out at Elder Dagley and he started singing for me to get it started.  He could see on my face that I couldn't remember it. :)  Thanks for saving my butt Elder Dagley!
     After church, we went out contacting and then went to lunch.  We ate with Shirley, Enrique, Jonny (Enrique's younger brother- 25 yrs), Enrique's mom and the elders.  We had chicken, potatoes, rice, and veggies with RANCH dressing!  It was super yummy!  We all sat around talking and getting to know one another better.  It was super fun and we laughed a lot!
     We left and went out teaching.  We found another hidden inactive member....there are so many here.  His name is Carlos, and he has been a member for 14 years.  His brother is Franco, our ward mission leader...and Franco never told us about Carlos!  haha  Then we went and taught a woman named Maria Violetta.  She swears without a doubt, that she is already a member, but no one has any records of her baptism, so it is all complicated.
     Then we headed to visit Wilmer and Rosa.  We taught lesson 1 because Rosa doesn't know that lesson.  As we were teaching, she kept getting distracted, but every time I would give 'cool' examples of things, she would listen and make comparisons.  By the end of the lesson, we knelt in prayer and Rosa gave the prayer!  It was the coolest thing.  During her prayer, the whole family, including all five kiddos, who are usually really loud, were very reverent.  It was beautiful.  Before we left, we had them promise that they would pray together as a family.  Oh and Wilmer fixed my broken scripture case.  It's been broken for awhile, but now it is fixed! :)
     We headed to ward council and I was talking with Nelson (Enrique's brother who just recently got back from his mission).  He is a really cool guy and we were quoting scriptures and sharing jokes the entire meeting.  After the meeting, we walked to dinner.  We had fruit salad and pineapple pie (pay de pina).  Then we went home and planned and called our district leader to report our numbers.  Then we listened to some fun church music and got ready for bed.

cute hair
me with my new best friend, the fan :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 39: "Holy Hannah! It's 2015! Where did those 9 months go?"

 Jueves, 1 de Enero del 2015
     Holy Hannah!  It's 2015!  Where did those 9 months go?  Time is flying.  Well today was P-Day, and because our mission president loves us, we got to sleep in.  We slept in until 8:00 am.  Once I got up, I read the book "Do Not Attempt in Heels"  It is such a good book.  I am really enjoying it.  After we were both wide awake, I hopped in the shower and then we headed to breakfast.  We had hard boiled eggs, avocado, paneton, empanadas with sugared tops and hot milk with Eco.  After breakfast, we chilled in our cuarto until we had to head to the church to meet up with the elders, Shirley and Enrique to make tortillas.  We were talking last week and I told them that I know how to make tortillas and they decided that today was the day to make them.  So we got together and made tortillas and filled them with avocado, tomatoes, aji and lemon juice.  They were really good and Enrique almost started crying at the fact that he was eating tortillas.  He was loving it.

Hna Furness y Hna Dodson making toritllas

     After making tortillas, we went to internet and emailed home.  I started crying because I found out that my good friend Emanny is going on a mission to Chile!!  I am so excited for him.  The mission is such a blessing.
     After emailing home and withdrawing money, we headed home and chatted for a little while.  At 6 pm, we met up with our bishop and his wife and headed out teaching. We ended up visiting a woman named Jacky.  She is having a lot of problems in her life, so we told her that if she would put God first, that she would get the inspiration that she needs to solve some of her problems.  She didn't listen to us and just started making up excuses as to why she can't put God first.  We invited her to cometo church, but I don't know if she will.
     Then we went to dinner, and the restaurant was packed, so we ate at the computer desk.  After eating, we helped in the restaurant.  We cleaned dishes, peeled potatoes and peeled pineapple.  It was a lot of fun!  I love the people who work at the Dulceria so much.  They are becoming another family to me.
     We hurried home afterwards and planned.  We also had to take care of our crazy bug bites.  

Viernes, 2 de Enero del 2015
     Well we had weekly planning and it was very successful and quick.  After lunch we went and taught Angelica Tello.  Her sons are members of the church.  She let us talk to her outside of her house, so we sat on dirty stools by a pile of dirt and taught about the importance of being united as a family.  I testified of my family and our strength we have as a family because we pray and read together.  She was so excited to start praying as a family, and in the end promised to come to church with us and her boys.  She opened her heart to us today and I am really excited for her progress.
     Then we met up with Sharon (the return missionary in our ward) and went to teach Juan Luis.  He is a recent convert.  He is a great guy.  He had a lot of questions for us, so we did our best to answer as many as we could, but we ran out of time, so we scheduled another cita with him, so we could answer the rest of his questions.  He begged us to come by tomorrow in the morning. :)
     Then we went to visit Moroni (less active) and we talked about his plans for marriage to his girlfriend, who happens to be the mom to his three kids.  He told us that she had lots of things that she needs to change before he would marry her.  So we had a discussion about how we can all improve ourselves and that we need to change and improve our own selves before we start demanding that other people change.  We need to look at ourselves before we look at other people and their weaknesses that they need to fix.  This discussion really got me thinking....because before my mission, I was a lot more prideful and always wanted other people to change....but now in the mission, I am learning that I need to fix my weaknesses.  When you are with someone for 24/7, you become aware of attributes that you like and don't like, as well as attributes that you want to have.  I can testify that changing your own self is hard, but it is possible and with the help of Christ's Atonement, we can all change.
     After that, we went searching for a recent convert.  Once we thought we were in the right area, we would get sent to a different area.  This happened multiple times, and as we were walking to the last area,  Hna Sharon stopped a woman and asked where a young boy named Imanuel lived and the woman said, "With me."  Then she dragged us to her house.  Imanuel is 11 years old and is the only member in his family besides his Grandma and aunt.  He is a sweetie.  He was so excited for us to show up and share a message with him.  He told me that he likes to talk about the church and learn new things.  He is such a smart kid and he is really excited to become a missionary one day.  We shared a message and set up a new cita with him.
     Then we dropped off Sharon, who by the way is so awesome and so full of the spirit.  Then we went to dinner. (chicken, rice, veggies, and banana mango juice)  After dinner, we went home and planned and then I realized that I never got bitten by any bugs today!  Oh the miracles of the mission!!  haha

Sabado, 3 de Enero del 2015
     I finished the Do Not Attempt in Heels book today and the last part of the book has a great quote that I love.  In my words, it says, "Whatever storm life may whirl around, the answer is still the same. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ and keep walking.  Don't lose faith.  Seek for guidance.  Pray for forgiveness.  And with those beautiful, imperfect feet, run toward the mountain  and keep publishing His peace...with or without your tag."  The end of the book talks about the hardships of coming home from your mission and taking your tag off.  As I was reading that part, I started crying, thinking about taking my tag off....I am definitely having a huge change in my heart and I feel like I am more humble and that I am becoming a better instrument in the Lord's hands.  I am only in the beginning stages of my change, but I am working towards becoming more Christlike.
     At lunch, the restaurant had English music playing, and Hna Furness and I about died when the song "Total Eclipse of the Heart" came on.  We both started singing and everyone at the restaurant was loving it.  haha
     After lunch, we went to visit with Hna Celia.  We took a moto to her house and when we tried to pay the driver, I didn't have the right change and he didn't have change for the 5/10 that I offered him. I told him that if he would come to church tomorrow, that I would have the right amount and would pay him then, but then Celia came out and paid him. he doesn't have to accept my bribe.  haha
     We taught tons of people today, but I'm only going to share a few that really stuck out to me. One lesson was with a woman named Gilda.  She is a mom of a rebellious teenager.  She is worried about her daughter and really wants us to help her daughter.  She cried during the lesson when we talked about faith and patience.  We shared the story about Alma the Younger and how his dad had patience and just prayed and prayed for help.  His prayers caused an angel to appear to his son, which helped Alma the younger change.  She took comfort in the fact that she can pray for her daughter and have faith that change can happen.
     We also knocked on a door of a house of a contact, but it turned out that the contact lied to us about his address.  The woman who really lived there politely invited us in.  She said, "I am Catholic, so I shouldn't have to let you in, so hurry up and say what you need to say and go."  At that point, Hna Furness bore her simple testimony and we both saw and felt a change come over the woman. She had a complete change of heart and asked us to come back.  I was very excited for Hna Furness to have that spiritual experience.  The spirit worked through Hna Furness and helped Georgina feel the truth of her testimony.
     We had a really successful day and we reached all of our goals.  I know that if we have goals and plans and we ask God, with faith, He will help us reach our promises/goals.  I love the mission more than anything.  I am so grateful for all my hard times and the growth that I have had.  The mission is awesome and such a blessing!  Serve.

Domingo, 4 de Enero del 2015  [Feliz Cumpleanos Gladys Leyton Ruesta!!]
     We did divisions this morning to go and pick up all the people that promised to come to church with us.  I went with Hna Francisca and Hna Furness went with Hna Viviana.  Unfortunately, no one on our list came, but the day became brighter as soon as we got to church.  Hno Martin, from Pimentel, was outside the chapel waiting for me.  He had a big bag of stuff in his hands.  First he handed me a Christmas present from him, which was a beautiful necklace.

Second, he gave me the skirt and shirt that my parents had sent me. (My parents were trying to surprise me by putting them inside some packages that they had sent to Martin, but because I didn't know about the surprises, I just hurried and gave Martin the unopened packages before I left Pimentel.  I found out about the the new outfit when Martin told me that my parents must think that he is a girl because they sent him girl clothes! haha)  It was fun to get my new outfit.

My new outfit!  "I love it!! :)  Thanks!!"

Third, he gave me a giant bag of cookies, since he hasn't been able to give me any for a month now. haha  Fourth, he gave me a paneton.  He stayed the entire time for sacrament meeting and when he left, everyone was wondering who he was.  When I told them that he was a member from Pimentel, they said, "Again?!!  Man, Hna Dodson, what did you do to get these people to travel over an hour to visit you?"  I just said, "I loved them and did my best to serve them."  Then they told me, "You must have done a good job because they sure love you."
     After church, there was a huge lunch confusion, but it all got worked out and the elders ended up joining us at the Dulceria.  During lunch we talked with the father of the owner (Patti), Patti's brother Victor and their buddy.  They kept complimenting me on my Spanish and got really excited when I told them that I would love to live in Peru after my mission.
     After lunch we taught Wilmer.  He told us sad news.  He told us that his wife, Rosa, tried to take her own life on Thursday.  He said it was a very scary experience.  He also told us that she does not want to be with him whenever we come over to teach because she is tired of hearing the word of God. She also told him that she did not want to marry him.  We shared a scripture from Ether 12, about weaknesses becoming strengths, and that he can be strong for her, and that she can change.  He started crying.  We said a prayer with him.  Wilmer is such an amazing guy, who wants to lead a better life for his kids.  We prayed that Rosa would soften her heart.
     Then we went to ward council, and my little buddy Josue drew tons of pictures all over in my agenda.  The entire meeting I was joking around with Enrique and his brother Nelson....and then out of nowhere, Nelson looked at Enrique and said, "You are fat."  Of course, we all busted up laughing. This ward is great!  Super supportive and so loving.  I am going to grow to love this ward a ton.  This is my first area with a real ward and a real chapel.  It is really different, especially with the leader being bishop and not President.

My reflection entry:
     As I think back on all my experiences thus far, I am very impressed with the growth I've made as a daughter of a King, the all mighty God.  I am a stronger woman with stronger beliefs and also with a stronger testimony.  Everyday I am learning something new.
     As a missionary, life is a lot easier to not break certain rules in the church because there are stricter rules and also we have a companion with us 24/7.  But when we get home, we won't have that.  I got to thinking and proved myself wrong.  We do have a companion....the Holy Ghost.  As long as we have the desire to do what is good, he can help us know what to do.  I am nervous to go home. I am nervous to have all the evils come fight against me, without my "protection" of my calling as a missionary.  I know that with God's help that I can do the good desires that I have.  I know this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the true church of Christ.  I know that thanks to the restored authority that we have the opportunity to seal ourselves as a family for the eternities.

my new cuarto
Hna Furness in our cuarto

in the hallway outside our cuarto
Outside of our house...
it looks like a jungle!
by the gate on the outside of our house


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Week 38: "Feliz Ano Nuevo, all the way from Peru, Patapo, where the bugs think they are vampires!"

Jueves, 25 de Diciembre del 2014
     We "slept in" until 7:15 am.  After we woke up, we got ready for the day and then headed to internet at the restaurant Dulceria to SKYPE home.  I went first, and it was so stinkin' fun to see my parents and sisters.  They were all wearing the shirts that I sent them and they were grateful for all the fun surprises I gave them for Christmas.  It was fun to see the happiness from that, even though I wasn't able to see their faces at the exact moment that they opened them.  We had such a fun time skyping.  We laughed together forever.  I love my familia!  After skyping we hurried and emailed home, too, since we didn't have a lot of time.  It was so fun to open my account and find TONS of emails from my dear, dear familia Leyton.  It made me so happy inside.  After all the internet, we weren't hungry, so we just headed home and wrote cards, laid on our beds, giggled, and told stories. Sister Furness and I are so much alike, its the creepiest thing.  haha  We are going to be best friends!
     Once P-Day was over, we headed to Hna Shirley's house to drop off our laundry for her and her husband (Enrique) to wash.  They talked with us for awhile and they really like us a lot.  After wishing them a Merry Christmas, we left.  We tried to visit tons of other members to sing to them and wish them a Merry Christmas, but no one was home.  We stopped by the house of Wilmer and Rosa, because we needed to give them copies of the Book of Mormon.  They are so prepared to receive the blessings of the gospel in their lives.  They told us that all night on the 24 de Diciembre they were praying for us to have a nice day because they knew we were far away from our families. They gave us empanadas and Inca Cola (bubble gum flavored soda).  They told us that they would read the Book of Mormon and that they want to get married and come to church.  We left that home "floating".
     After that, we headed home to plan.  We planned and then talked all night long about our experiences in the mission and our lives at home.  I love Hna Furness!  She is such a cool girl.  We have so much in common.

Viernes, 26 de Diciembre del 2014
     We had our weekly planning which was really successful.  Then we went out teaching.  We had the help of Sharon (a return missionary in our ward).  We taught a woman named Edith.  She gave us empanadas full of acetuna.  That stuff can kill a gringa!  The taste is really gross!
     We went to many homes, but no one was home.  We went and visited the Bishop and his family. We sang "Secreta Oracion" (Secret Prayer) to them.  I have sung that song so much here in Peru.  After visiting them, we went with Rossana to visit Victor.  He works at the Dulceria.  His sister owns the restaurant and she is the one who lives in Utah.  Victor is really cool and super sweet.  He has tons of kids and is always using his English on us.  Unfortunately, he didn't have time to have a visit from us, so we left and contacted people until dinner.  At dinner, Victor Jr. (Victor's son who is 25 years old) was talking with us.  He is super funny.
     We left and went home and talked about tons of funny stories from home.  We planned and then continued talking.  Today nothing too exciting happened....but that is the mission.  Some days there are days of crazy, spiritual experiences and other days that are just plain.

Sabado, 27 de Diciembre del 2014
     We worked so hard today.  As we were working, we ran into Moroni (less active) and Enrique (2nd Counselor) as they were working, and they jokingly whistled at us, which made the other people they were with start laughing a ton.  I have such a good feeling about my experiences and friends that I am going to have here in Patapo.
     As we were walking to lunch, we walked passed a house and I had the strongest feeling to talk to the people inside.  We knocked and told them that we are missionaries, and they let us right in.  We talked about the church and what we do as missionaries. One of the hermanos named Luis Oliver, kept talking about how he doesn't like when people say "I believe in Christ, but then don't do anything."  He also talked about the standards that God gives us and when we don't keep them, it is as if we are laughing at God.  He is super cool and he really wants to have our visits because he is having some personal struggles in his life right now and he wants to have guidance from God.
     After eating lunch with Hna Cinthia, we went out teaching.  We went and taught Victor Vilchez, the old man who melts my heart.  Today he wanted me to offer the first prayer, so I did and in the end, he said that my prayer was beautiful.  It was such a sweet experience for me.
     After teaching a few more people, we headed to an investigator's house name Maria Violetta.  We went with Franco, our ward mission leader and his girlfriend Cinthia.  Well, Maria is very religious and didn't seem to want to listen, but her husband was distracting us by cleaning up stuff while we were trying to talk.  Well, Franco, who has less than a year as a member, started teaching lesson 1. He is awesome.  He was teaching and testifying and they both started listening really well.  He then asked Maria to pray.  She agreed to pray, but told us that we needed to stand up and put our arms in the air.  We didn't put our arms in the air, and during the prayer, I decided to open my eyes for a peek to see what was going on and then the husband yelled at me to shut my eyes.  oops :)  Well, once the prayer was over, we left.
     As we were walking, we saw a big nativity scene set up in the middle of the dirt road with 5 women surrounding it and talking in some kind of chant.  They had candles lit and kept chanting louder and louder.  It was pretty intense.
     We went to dinner and then went home to plan.  Unfortunately, our neighbors started throwing a loud party, so I hope we will be able to sleep.

Domingo, 28 de Diciembre del 2014  [Dia de los Inocentes:  Fool's Day]
     Well, we went to church this morning and while we were in Relief Society, one of the young women knocked on the door and called us out.  When we got out in the hall, I saw Clara and Marco Leyton!  I almost started crying and ran up and hugged Clara and shook Marco's hand.  I was in awe. Well, they had a gift for me. (hand made heart pillow, flower made of marshmallows, cards and a home made frame with a collage of pictures with a scripture and also a home made key chain)

     After church got over, we walked them to the combis so they could head home.  On the way there, I was talking to Marco and he told me that he got called into the army and so now he won't be able to go on his mission.  Then he told me that he has to get married in 5 months, because the army requires that you be married and have a family- and that his marriage has to take place in the Catholic church. I almost started crying, because I wanted him to go on his mission and then come home and get sealed in the temple.  I couldn't think of anything to say, so as I sat in complete silence, Clara came up to me and whispered, "Do you know what today is?"  I said, "Yeah, the 28th."  Right when I said that, I remembered that today was the day of jokes here in Peru, like April Fool's Day in America. They started laughing and I wanted to punch Marco.  So within a short amount of time I felt complete happiness, to sadness, to anger and then back to love.  I was completely exhausted from all those emotions.  :)  We said goodbye and then headed to lunch with Hna Francisca (R.S. President).  We had to climb this huge mountain to get to her house.  After we ate, we shared a short message.  She told us that she has a lot of trust in sister missionaries, so that made us feel happy.
     After lunch, we went and taught Wilmer.  He told us that he knows the Book of Mormon is true and that he believes that Jose Smith is a prophet of God.  :)
     After visiting Wilmer, we went to Rosana's house ( a less active member).  She burned her entire front of her body with boiling water.  A bunch of members came with us to visit and one of the members was a nurse, so she took care of her.  Unfortunately, we had a cita we had to get to, so we couldn't stay and visit very long.  We left and met up with the cutest Grandma I have ever laid eyes on.  She looks just like the little lady from the movie UP.  Her name is Juana.  She is so religious and she radiates so much light.  I don't think that she will accept our message, but I love teaching her.
     After that, we had ward council.  It was nice going to a ward council where people show up.  They were late, but they showed up.  haha  It felt like a successful meeting, so I hope this week we can see lots of success.
     Patapo is very different than Pimentel, but I love it.  It is a lot like Motupe, so I know I am going to fall in love with it as I serve here.

Lunes, 29 de Diciembre del 2014
     We visited tons of people this morning.  We were lucky because we found the mom of Enrique and she let us come in for a minute.  We talked to her about forever families and she started crying because her husband had died about 1 1/2 years ago.  She really wants us to come back and teach her some more.  We are excited because she really wants to have a forever family.  She loved our testimonies and it was a really beautiful experience.
     In the afternoon, we didn't have too much success.  We returned to a couple who we had taught before and they told us that they didn't want us to come anymore.  :(  And then every door we knocked on were either not home, or denied us.
     But then we went to the house of the familia Estela. They are a less active family, but they are super spiritual.  They invited a family of non members to their house and we ended up teaching them all a family home evening. The entire lesson the familia Estela kept bearing their testimonies to there friends.  It was a beautiful night.  After the lesson was over, they drove us to the restaurant in their truck so we could have our dinner.  We had fruit salad and panqueques (pancakes). It was so super yummy!
     After dinner, we went home and planned.  Then we talked forever.  We have so much in common, and the things we don't have in common just compliment one another.  We are going to be best friends, even after the mission!  Hna Furness is so awesome!!

Martes, 30 de Diciembre del 2014
     This morning was an off day...but we tried to find people.  Well, we went to visit a family and we knocked on their door, but no one was home.  There was this little string sticking out of the door, so Hna Furness, like a curious child, pulled on it and it made the door open.  We closed it and then left and we laughed so hard!
     We then went to the house of Moroni.  We told him about our last visit of how his daughter had come to the door and when we told her to go get her parents, she left and then no one came back.  So Moroni called Rianna, his daughter, into the room to ask her what had happened the last time.  She said, "You were in bed and Mami said that I couldn't play, and that I couldn't go back to the door." We all started laughing.  We will be able to joke about this for a long time.  :)
     Later in the night, we visited a woman named Maria Violetta (woman from Saturday).  When we got to her house, and when she heard our voices she tried to run up and slam the door in our faces. Her husband stopped the door.  He then explained that his wife is mad at us because she thinks that we made her sick.  We could hear her yelling and screaming in the background...saying that Mormons are of the devil and that our souls are in danger.  It was super intense.  The saddest part was that Luis was telling us that he really liked our last visit and that he had read the pamphlet that we left, but that his wife burned it. We invited him to church and then left.
     After that visit, we visited Rosana, the woman who had burned her front side of her body.  She invited over a neighbor, who ended up being a reference that we were supposed to visit on Saturday, but luckily we got to meet him today.  His name is Abdino and his wife's name is Juana and he has a daughter named Rosmeri.  we talked about hope (esperanza) with them and shared some scriptures and experiences.  It was a really good lesson and we ended with the hymn, "Gran Eres Tu" (How Great Thou Art)
     After that, we just went to dinner.  We had fruit salad, Inca Cola, empanadas with spicy chicken and homemade alfojores.  After dinner, we went home and planned for tomorrow and got ready for bed.  Today started out terrible, but ended up a lot better!

Miercoles, 31 de Diciembre del 2014
     First off, I read the talk by John M. Pontius called "Die Buek van Mormon".  It was so good.  I love it, love it, love it!  And Hna Furness also has a book that her mom sent her called "Do Not Attempt in Heels".  We only read one chapter, but I highly enjoyed it.
     Today we had a district meeting and the zone leaders gave us all of our cards and packages.  I got a package from Ron and Deborah Brown, members in my home ward in Bountiful.  They were so sweet to think of me.  The funny thing is that they sent me leg warmers!! haha  It is like 90* in the early morning, so I won't be using them quite yet.  haha  Thank you Browns!!
     This morning on our district meeting, Elder Watkins wanted us to do a study on questions that he had planned.  The question that he gave Hna Furness and me was, "Why is there so many trials and suffering in this life?"  We did our study and found some scriptures to share.  2 Nephi 2:11 and 13 and Doctrine and Covenants 122:7.  Then the coolest thing happened in the afternoon.  We went to our first cita with a woman named Milagros.  We entered her house and sat down and started talking and I started praying in my heart for an idea of what we could teach her.  At that moment, Milagros turned to us and said, "I have a question....why is there so many trials and suffering in the world?" Our jaws dropped.  We were so shocked and then we shared the scriptures we had found with her. She started sharing all of her life problems with us and then we expressed that she needed to become closer to God and that good things would come from that.  She began to cry and thanked us.  We set up another cita to visit her and she was so excited for that.  She even offered the closing prayer and it was so beautiful.  She is an amazing person and so ready and prepared to hear our messages.  I am super pumped to teach her!
     Well all day today we got eaten alive by the stupid sancumes!  Dumb little things!
     Later, we got a call from the elders and they told us to stop by their cuarto because Elder Dagley broke his leg.  We stopped by their cuarto and Elder Dagley didn't really break his leg, they just didn't want to have to walk our stuff that they had for us all the way to our cuarto.  They had some more cards for me and some pass along cards for us.  We got the stuff and and taught a few more people. We headed to dinner at 7:00 pm because we had to be in our cuarto by 8:00pm.  We ate tres leches torta, empanadas with spicy chicken, turkey, ice cream and cinnamon hot chocolate.  It was all so yummy!
     We left and went to our cuarto.  Hermana Rossana had popped us some popcorn, so we ate that while we talked and talked.  We read some more chapters from the Don't Attempt in Heels book.  At 10:00pm, Elder Escobar and Elder Aramayo (zone leaders) called and wished us a Happy New Year. They are such cool elders.  I love that they are my leaders!
     At midnight, everyone went NUTS and burned their dolls and lit fireworks.  They really know how to celebrate New Year's here!  :) haha
     I love you all!  Happy New Year!
     FELIZ ANO NUEVO all the way from Peru, Patapo, where the bugs think they are vampires!

Happy New Year!
Home made doll from Chela
Me and Elba
Marco, Clara and Me
Me and Clara right before I left for Patapo
Look who I found at the Christmas singing activity!
Me and Hna Kingsford
Birthday party of Hna Furness!

dog that lives in our house