Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Week 46: "When we pray, we are wanting to talk to God, but when we want God to talk to us, we read the scriptures and listen to the prophets."

Lunes, 16 de Febrero del 2015
     This morning I studied John 4-6.  Jesus always has amazing words to offer those who are willing to listen.  He is a cool guy.  I can't wait to talk with him after this life.  Well my challenge is to read the New Testament.  It is amazing.  Christ's teachings are amazing.
     After studies, while Hna Furness was writing in her journal, I deep cleaned our cuarto and reorganized my things.  Once it was 12:00pm, we went out and I bought new pens!  Finally I have found a pen that works!  I hope I didn't just curse it! :)  After buying our needs, we headed to lunch. After lunch, we headed to internet.  I really enjoyed the messages that I received and I also got some fun pictures from my mom.
     After emailing, we printed out some things, bought some snacks and headed back to the cuarto to relax, write letters and finish up some organizing.  At the end of P-Day, we headed out teaching.  Our first cita was with Beatriz, but she wasn't home, so we contacted for a little bit and then headed to our next cita that was with Rosa.  Rosa's husband, Carlos, joined us and we read the Book of Mormon together.  We read the testimonies at the beginning.  Once we finished, they agreed that it has been a long time since they read them, and they agreed to continue reading.
     Then we headed to another cita with Carlos and Marilyn.  We shared Mosiah 2:41.  It is about the happiness that we can have if we keep the commandments.  Then she asked us why we have the Book of Mormon.  We explained why, but she didn't really accept our answers, so we challenged her to pray about it.  She said that she would and then we told Carlos that he should study with her and pray together.  They both accepted willingly.  As we were leaving, Carlos told Marilyn to give us some mangos to take with us, which usually means one for each of us...well, she came out with a huge bag!
     Then we went to dinner, went home and planned, filled out the area book and then got ready for bed.  I want to close today's entry with a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  Today we testified over and over that the Book of Mormon guides us and helps us to understand the Bible more clearly.  One other thing, is that the Book of Mormon was prepared for our day.  And luckily, we had so many people who fought for this book so that we could have it.  Because of them, we have easy access to it, so we should use it, read it and apply all the teachings that we learn from the words Christ prepared for us through his prophets.  I know the Book of Mormon is the most true book in the world.  It is of God and has the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know that we can know that the Book of Mormon is true if we ask God with real intent to know.  God is not there to confuse us, so when we ask, He will tell us the truth and help us to grow within it.  I know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith translated it.  I know that if we will read with intent to learn, apply and better ourselves, we will find guidance and purpose.  I love the Book of Mormon.
     Read the Book of Mormon.  Ponder it in your heart.  Ask God the Eternal Father if it is true. When you do, you will receive an answer.  Do it.  A testimony of the Book of Mormon will help you have a testimony on everything else that we believe in the church.

Martes, 17 de Febrero del 2015
     In the middle of last night, Hna Furness threw up, so this morning, she slept in a little later.  As she rested, I called some members to do divisions with us, so that I could go out teaching, while another member could stay with Hna Furness.  By 9:00am, when we had our cita scheduled, Hna Furness started feeling better, so when Shirley and Lourdes Estela made it to our cuarto, we separated into two pairs and went out visiting.  Shirley and I headed to visit Lili.  We broke the bad news that she wouldn't be able to be baptized on her birthday (Feb. 22)...she was a little disappointed about it.
     Then we went to our next cita, but no one was home.  At 10:30am, we headed to our last cita with Moroni y Karen.  On the way, a woman stopped us in the road and asked us when we were going to visit her son...we asked who her son was and she told us Victor Joel.  She said that almost everyday he comes home asking if we showed up to visit him.  She says that she always has to tell him no...and he always looks really sad and just goes to his room.  She also said that she has been working hard for years to get him to study church things, and has had no success....and then she tell us that she finds her son reading and studying the pamphlet along with the Bible.  She asked him what church it is from, and he told her it was from the Mormons. She is really excited that someone is getting him to study.  She begged us to please go and visit him soon, because we are making her son a better person.
     We met up with Hna Furness and Lourdes at Moroni's house.  When we entered into their house, we could feel the tension between Moroni and Karen.  Turns out that Karen cannot see herself doing the things that the gospel teaches them to do, and said that as soon as the kids are a little bit older that she is going to leave Moroni.  Shirley testified with faith and hope that they can have happiness if they work together as a couple, but Karen did not want to try. :(
     After that, Shirley and Lourdes went home and we went by a woman's house to drop off a Book of Mormon that she had asked for.  Then we went home and had our companionship study.  At 1:00pm, we headed to lunch.  After lunch, we studied language and went to meet up with Meri to have her go visiting with us.
     Our first cita was with a less active member named Patricia.  We asked her about the Book of Mormon.  She told us that she has never read the Book of Mormon.  At this point, we became concerned.  Why did she get baptized if she hadn't read the book before?  We decided that we would read it with her. When we asked her to start, she said, "I can't read."  So we just read to her. Hopefully we can help her to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon.
     Next, we headed to visit Graciela.  We talked about baptism and found out that she is married to one man and living with another...hopefully we can help get this problem fixed....
     Then we visited Maria Vasquez about prophets.  She agreed to prepare for baptism.
     Then we taught another woman named Petronia.  She is really old and when we knocked on her door, she opened it crying.  We found out that her son left and won't be back for a couple of years. We hugged her and shared some comforting scriptures about Christ's love and sacrifice for us. We left her feeling a lot better about her situation.
     On our way to our next cita, we walked passed a man who is always calling out to us to "bug" us, but this time, I felt that we needed to stop and talk to him.  He told us that he is member and wants to come back to church.  His name is Jose and he is super cool and really funny.  He ended up offering to take us to our next cita in his moto.  He drove us to the house of familia Risco, but no one was home.  We were early, because of getting a ride, so we decided to do some contacting while we waited for the actual time.  We ran into Gma Risco who was heading to make some copies. She told us to go to her house and wait for her to get back.  When we got to her house, Enmanuel and his mom were there.  We chatted with them while we waited for Gma Risco to get home.  When she got home, we taught them about faith.  At the end of the lesson, Gma Risco invited us to have some fried popcorn kernels.  I really love them.
     Then we grabbed a moto to take us to Jose's house.  We taught him about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and that the gospel blesses families.  He loved it a lot.  He was excited to talk about the blessings that he will see in his family when he is baptized and is obedient to the teachings.  He is super ready.
     After his lesson, we went to dinner and then went home to plan and go to bed.

Miercoles, 18 de Febrero del 2015
     This morning during personal study, I listened to a talk from Brad Wilcocks about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.  It was two different talks, and they were amazing.  One talked about Joseph Smith and all the evidences that we have to show that he was a prophet.  My favorite evidence was, "The Bible says we should have a prophet, so if Joseph Smith was not a real prophet, then where is the real one?"  Brother Wilcocks also told a story about an investigator who got invited to join a lesson and she said, "I will listen as long as they only talk about Christ, but as soon as they talk about Joseph Smith, I'm leaving."  That is when her little son turned to her and said, "Mom, you don't understand then, because to know Christ, you have to know Joseph."  Her son reminded her that we must know about the prophets who are speaking for Christ.
     After study, we headed to La Cria to have our district meeting.  We ended up being early, so we talked with Elder Olsen, Elder Brunis, a different Elder Olsen and Elder Watkins.
     During the meeting, we talked about how we can find new people to teach.  When we opened the door to leave, a kitten ran into the church.  We chased it and caught it, but then it would just run back inside.  This happened four times.  We finally caught it and got it to stay outside.  It was so funny. We were laughing so hard.
     Next, we went to lunch.  After lunch, we went home and with the last of our lunch break, we took a little nap.  When we woke up, we studied language.  At 3:00pm, Hna Francisca met us at our cuarto to go visiting with us.
     Our first cita wasn't there, and neither was our 2nd or our 3rd.  We ended up visiting a reference from Hna Francisca.  Her name is Maribel.  She is a young mom.  Her kids and her husband are members.  During her lesson, she asked us why we bless babies.  We explained and then told her that she and her family could be sealed together forever.  She got super excited about that and wanted to hear more.
     Our next two citas fell through, so we visited the aunt of Hna Sharon (return missionary).  We talked about having patience with ourselves.  It was a nice lesson.
     Then we went to visit Maritza.  She walks with a limp and she has pain from her head to her feet. We were talking about faith, when Hna Francisca asked if she could say something.  She bore testimony to Maritza and also invited her to be baptized, because she has a lot of love for her and wants her to have the same blessings and happiness that she has.  Maritza said, "When I know, I will get baptized."  We told her to come to church and she agreed, but told us that it depended on how she was feeling from her accident.  It was a very powerful lesson.  I am completely in love with the testimony of Hna Francisca.  She is amazing.  She always has the most amazing words to tell everyone.  I feel so spoiled as a missionary here, because not only are the members easy to work with, they do work with us and are really excited to teach and testify to everyone.
     After our lesson with Maritza, we went to teach Yohana.  We ended up teaching her and her kids about the Word of Wisdom.  We used the game I made to teach the kids.  She gave us Bon Bons (little chocolate balls with a creamy chocolate filling).
     At 8:00pm, we went to Enmanuel's house.  It was only him and his Grandma.  We shared about Repentance and how we need to be examples for those around us, and help them make changes that are necessary.   At that moment, Enmanuel turns to his Grandma and tells her that sometimes Maria Jose acts spoiled, so he is going to help Maria Jose with that.  He looked at me and said, "I am going to counsel her, and this time I hope she listens."  I couldn't help but smile.  Enmanuel also said another adorable thing.  He was telling us about a time when his Grandma called him a name and it hurt his feelings.  His Grandma said, "Yeah, but I said that I was sorry and I asked for forgiveness." His response was, "I know...but the pain in my soul (touching his heart like a damsel in distress) can not be healed."  We all busted up laughing!  I love this kid so much!  He seriously makes me so excited to have kids! :)

Jueves, 19 de Febrero del 2015
     This morning we went out teaching.  We taught Erika (less active) and she was excited for our visit.  Then we visited a woman named Luz who is learning how to read.  We read the pamphlet with her.  We then headed to Victor Joel's house.  While we were walking towards his house, his little sister saw us and ran into the house yelling, "Victor, the sisters are coming!!"  He opened the door and waited for us to make it to his house.  We taught him about prophets and how Christ established his church.  Then he talked to us about his life.  He said that many people tell him that he is happy and cheerful, but he said that he doesn't feel like that.  We told him that our messages and the church will bring him happiness even during difficult times.  He got excited and asked for a Book of Mormon.
     After his visit, we went to lunch.  After lunch, every single one of our citas fell through.  We ended up finding another family to visit.  They are really cool. Dad: Gaspar  Mom: Carmen  2nd Daughter: Fabiola  4th Daughter: Elita  They really want to learn.  I hope they want to do something with the knowledge that we teach them.
     Then we taught some less actives named Gloria, Itamar and Geraldyne.  We read 1 Nephi 1. They had good questions for us.  They were adorable.  They loved our visit.  I hope that we can get them to come back to church, because they are strong.  Itamar and Gloria are reading their scriptures. :)
     We headed to our cita with the familia Estela, because it is the birthday of Lourdes, but when we got there, her brother in law said that she was in Chiclayo with the rest of the family.  So we ended up contacting by the Dulceria until 8:00pm.  Then we headed to our cita with Jose.  When we got to his house, Jose's daughter, Jacky, got mad at us and told us that it was our fault that she got in a fight with her dad.  She never wants to take responsibility for any of her problems, so she blames everyone else.  Since there was a lot of tension at their house, we decided to take Jose to Cynthia's house around the corner, to teach him.  Cynthia's house was a lot more peaceful.  It ended up being a wonderful lesson about prophets and Christ's church.  He had great questions and comments.  We left around 9:00pm.  We walked Jose back home and he gave us Coca Cola.  Then we went to dinner.
     After dinner, we went home and planned and then talked in our beds about American food. haha

Viernes, 20 de Febrero del 2015
     This morning we had our weekly planning and we went to go buy treats to eat while we planned. I bought an alfajor and choko soda.  It was really yummy.  After planning, we went to lunch, studied language and then got ready to go out teaching.  We met up at Meri's house.  The entire walk to her house, we were dripping sweat.  The temp was only 93, but we were melting from the sun just pounding down on us.
     Our first cita fell through, but we found a woman named Irma.  We talked about the family proclamation and that she and her "husband" should get married.  She agreed, but the only problem is that her "husband" works in Cuzco and comes home every 28 days.  Then he stays home for seven days...and they aren't able to do all the requirements to get married.  We hope that we can get them married as soon as possible, because they already have 6 kids and one more on the way.  They have been together for 12 years.
     After visiting with her, we headed to a less active member named Beatriz and her granddaughter Samira.  We shared the last page from the For Strength of Youth booklet.  It is about enduring to the end.  Samira (14 years) was super into it and was sharing a lot of amazing insights.  She made a cool connection with prayers and scriptures study.  "When we pray, we are wanting to talk to God, but when we want God to talk to us, we read the scriptures and listen to the prophets."  I really loved that. I called her a future missionary and told her to practice and handed her my plaque.  She lit up!  She was really excited!  Then we invited her to visit people with us, so she could practice bearing her testimony.  She really wants to go with us!
     At 5:00pm, we dropped Meri off at her house and headed to the Dulceria to meet Sharon.  As we were waiting, Rossana brought us over empanadas filled with spicy chicken.  It was really yummy. Once Sharon got there, we headed out to visit a few people.  They all said, "I'm busy", so we went to visit a reference from the Elders.  As we searched, she seemed to not exist and neither did her address, so we went to visit with Moroni.  Moroni was alone because Karen went to a doctor's appt. We ended up reading 1 Nephi 1.  Moroni told us that Karen has made up her mind and wants to separate from him once the kids are older.  :(
     After his visit, we headed to visit Petronilia, but she wasn't home, so we contacted instead.  A man came up to us and shook our hands and said, "Hello, I am like you...I am Mormon."  We asked him where he lived and he said, "I am visiting here with my wife."  That is when his wife walked up and introduced herself to us.
     At 7:30pm, we had a cita with Familia Risco, but the only person home was Gma Maria Risco. We talked with her, waiting to see if the others would show up.  Gma Risco told us that there has not been missionaries like us ever, and she hopes that when we have to leave, that they can have as special of a relationship with the next missionaries. :) Well, no one else showed up, so we left and went to dinner.  On our way, we contacted some people walking down the road.
     After dinner, we went back to the cuarto.  As we were filling out the area book, we heard screaming outside.  We headed outside and saw Shirley with our clothes.  We went back into our cuarto and put our laundry away and got ready for bed.  It was a long, hot day.  I am going to sleep well.
     I love the mission!

Sabado, 21 de Febrero del 2015
     This morning we stopped by Lili's house to try and visit her, but she was acting weird.  I asked her about her baptism and going to church, and she said that she was going to talk to her husband.  The way that she was talking, made it sound like he is not going to let her get baptized.  We hope that God will soften his heart.
     At 11:00am, we went to visit Erika.  We read Alma 40 with her and she loved it.  We had her end our lesson with a prayer.  It was so sincere and she said many amazing things.  After the prayer, she said with a huge smile, "I'm back.  I have my ways back!"  Before we could leave, she offered to fill our water bottles for us and then she offered us a slice of watermelon.  Well, when she brought the slices of watermelon out, each slice was the size of ....well, it was half the watermelon.  She gave each of us a half of a gigantic watermelon and a big spoon and said, "Enjoy!"  haha  I looked at Hna Furness and just shrugged my shoulders, and we ate our "slices" of watermelon!  As I was getting close to finishing up my watermelon, she came out with two huge peeled mangos, one for each of us. We were dying!

An hour later, we went to each lunch with Celia (member of the church).  She fed us a huge mountain of rice, tons of beans, a huge chunk of chicken and a beet salad.  Once we finished eating, we helped do the dishes.  Then we were "rewarded" with jello!  hahaha  Basically, we did not want anything else to eat for the rest of the day!
     After lunch, we visited Jose and talked about the Book of Mormon.  He is really loving it!
     Then we went to visit Yohana and her sons Esteban (6 yrs) and Sebastian (4 yrs).  We taught them the Plan of Salvation and kids were cracking me up!
     Then we visited with Sharon's aunts, Fransisca and Dormitelia.  Well Francisca had an aneurism and now she can't see very well, and because Dormitelia is older, she can't hear very well- but we didn't know this information when we started teaching the lesson.  So we would ask Dormitelia a question, and she would just stare at us.  Then Sharon would shout out the question and then Dormitelia would "understand".  It was a fun lesson.  We were all giggling by the end. :)
     At 7:00pm, we had a meeting with the elders and the bishop.  At 8:00pm we headed to our last cita with the Familia Risco.  Well Enmanuel was cracking us up with his little lines.  After I explained something to Hna Furness (in English), Enmanuel said, "Your English is perfect!  You guys should be in movies! Especially with your white girl hair and eyes!"  haha  He is  so funny!  Before we left, Gma Risco gave us chokio (big fried corn kernels), and then we went to dinner.
     After dinner, we went home to plan.  As we were planning, the district leader called to get our monthly goals, and as we hung up, we got a call from Hna Meri telling us that she was outside our cuarto.  We went out to meet her, and she was standing with her two daughters, her husband, Yohana and her kids, and they were holding 3 slices of cake.  They were on their way home from a birthday party of Carlos and Marilyn's daughter and wanted to drop some off to us.  :)
     When we got back inside, the sister leaders called to check on us.  Once all the calls were made, we finished planning and got ready for bed.

Domingo, 22 de Febrero del 2015
     This morning we got ready for church and went and picked up Erika.  She and her girls were dressed up so nice.  We walked to church and when we got there, Martin and Carlitos were waiting for me with a bag of food and cards.  We all entered church and sat together.  We saw Celia walk in and I immediately started giggling, because she was wearing a shirt with "Make me Hot" written on the front of it.  (The people here love wearing shirts with English writing on them) :)
     During Sacrament Meeting, Elder Caceres gave a talk.  It was really good.  He teaches with a strong spirit.
     We got a new mission leader named Nelson, so we talked to him for a bit after sacrament meeting to answer his questions.  Then we went to the Gospel Principles class.  Elder Caceres taught our lesson today, too.  It was amazing.
     After that class, we went to Relief Society and they talked about raising families and taking care of our house.  At that moment, I wanted to run home and have a little family and a little house to decorate. :)
     After church, we tried to visit some people but they weren't home.  Francisca's husband drove by on his moto and offered to give a ride to our cuarto.  We took our books and food from Martin to our cuarto and then went to the Dulceria to get water.  Then we went to lunch with Rosa Barbosa and her two little daughters. As we were eating, Rosa's husband, Victor, showed up.  He is a member but drinks a lot and isn't doing too well.  After we finished eating, Elder Caceres asked if he could share a message with everyone.  He shared Ether 12:27, which talks about making our weaknesses strong.  I testified that everyone has weaknesses, and then Victor looked at me and started to cry.  He shared with us that his weakness is drinking, but he believes that he can't overcome it.  He feels alone when he tries to change, because when he goes out into the world, he gets sucked into their ways.  Elder Caceres and I both testified that there is one who we can trust, and we shared Helaman 5:12.  It says that if the sons of God build upon the foundation of Christ, they will not fall...You could see peace and hope come over him.  Then Hna Furness testified of the truthfulness of that, and that because he is a child of God, he will be able to overcome his weakness.
     We left to go to our cita, but they weren't home, so we walked to the Dulceria to get more water. We ended up talking with Victor, Jr. (21 yrs)  We shared a scripture with him and talked about his time in the church, and why he went inactive.  He said that he never wanted to go inactive, but because of school and work, he just became too busy.
     We then went to visit with Catolino and his daughter Hayde.  Hayde is really excited to visit the church again.  She said the closing prayer, and in the prayer she said, "God, I promise I will go to your church." :)
     After that, we went to visit Maria Vasquez and we finished up Lesson 1, which is about Jose Smith and the Book of Mormon.  After we were done teaching, we could see a look of clarity in her eyes.  I love when you can see it "click" in their minds.
     We left and went to visit Wilmer.  We read Nephi 17 with him and helped him know how to apply it in his life.  At the end of the lesson, he was smiling and radiating.  He is so excited about the similarities between himself and Nephi.  He offered the closing prayer and he said, "Thank you for Hna Dodson....and....Hna......then he whispered to me, 'what's her name?'"I told him...and then he said "Furness."  It was so sweet of him to pray for us by name.
     We headed to ward council.  We really lucked out to have Nelson as our ward missionary leader. He has already got the work happening in the ward.  He is awesome!  During council, Enrique and Nelson (The Vilchez brothers) were killing it with spiritual thoughts and comments.  I love them! We ended up having to leave early to go and teach Geraldyne, Itamar and Gloria.  We answered their questions that they had about their studies, and then we shared a scripture with them.
     On our way to dinner, we contacted a few people.  We ate dinner and then headed home to plan and report our numbers.  Elder Watkins was very pleased with our work and told us to keep it up, and that we are good examples in the district and zone. :)
     We stayed up a little later than usual, because we were listening to a talk by Brad Wilcocks about "Why do we believe in Christ?"  A part that I really liked was when he talked about when his parents went on a mission, they took a Book of Mormon to a man and that man said, "Why would you think that Christ needs another testament?"  His father responded, "How many Christian churches are there in the world?"  The man said, "Well...there is like....200...no, 400....no, 500ish?" His dad said, "There is actually 99,000 different churches, and each of those churches are teaching and interpreting the same book (Bible) in 99,000 different ways.  That is why we need another testament of Christ to interpret it correctly."  The man accepted the Book of Mormon.
     Another account that I liked, was when he talked about a young man in a psychology class and that everyone started having a debate whether Christ is real or not.  After days of debating, it was the whole class against this one young man, who was a member of the LDS faith.  One boy in the class got mad at this young man and said, "You keep saying that you know....but you can't know, because you have not seen God...so how can you know?"  The young man looked at him and very calmly said with power, "You're right.  I haven't seen God, but I have met men who have."  Then Brother Wilcocks says, "We have leaders who are special witnesses who have seen Christ and we can learn from their testimonies of Christ, and that He lives."  You must look up this talk because there is so much more, but I don't have time to write about his whole talk. :)

     I want to bear testimony that we have living prophets and apostles, and that we are lead by Christ. Because there is a difference in following Christ and being LEAD by him.  I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the restored church of Christ.  I know that the Book of Mormon can change lives.  I have seen my own life change, as well as hundreds of people's lives change here in Peru.  I know that families can be together forever and that only as a family can we reach our full potential and receive the highest kingdom of God.  Stay strong everybody.
I share these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Some of the girls from my District in the CCM!
Hna Lofgren, Hna Blackburn, Hna Favero, Hna Kennedy
Hna Blackburn and Hna Lofgren are companions again!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 45: "I saw a HUGE spider the size of a quarter come flying under our door, towards my bed!"

Lunes, 9 de Febrero del 2015
     Of course we woke up feeling a little sick.  Hna Furness has the Gripe (cold) and I just had an upset stomach and my head felt dizzy...so all morning we just rested.  Well as we were resting, I was listening to new music that Daniel Diaz sent me and I found a song that I love.  I have no idea what it is called, but it says Jesus, lover of my soul over and over again.  The song is about 7 minutes long and the man's voice towards the end just melts my heart.
     Well, once we felt like moving around, we went out to buy a few things that we needed and then headed to lunch at Maritza's house.  When we got to her house, she had a lot of visitors over, so she sent us to Celia's house to eat the food that she had cooked for us.  So we awkwardly ate our food at a plastic table in the middle of Celia's front room, while everybody watched us eat.  After we ate our pasta, rice, papa huancaina and drank our maracuya (passion fruit) juice, we went to internet.  This week my mom wrote me and told me that she has made a goal to read the Ensigns each month.  A couple months ago I took time to read inspired words from the prophets we have today, and realized how much council and tips they give us through simple magazines that anyone can receive for less than $1 a month.  Well, as my mom was sharing articles with me, I remembered reading them, too, but I  read them in Spanish.  Anyhow, one thing that my mom shared with me that I loved this week was from an article called, "He ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him" by Elder LeGrand R. Curits, Jr.  He said, "When we turn toward God, He runs to embrace us."  Can't you see that wonderful moment happening?  Just imagine our Father in Heaven running as fast as he can at us to grab us and hold us in his arms, telling us all is well.  That just puts a huge smile on my face and in my heart.  To imagine the most powerful man run to his imperfect children who finally decide to turn back to him again.  I also want to shout out to my mom.  She went to the temple 69 times in 2014!  That is more than once a week!  I hope that everyone who has a temple in their "back yard" go to it, because there are many in the world who don't have a temple, or if they have one, it is hours away from their homes.  Here in Peru, there is one in Lima, which is 12 hours away from my mission.  Luckily God gave our prophet revelation to build one in Trujillo, which will only be 3 hours away from my mission.  My challenge to everyone is to show God you are grateful for the temple by going.  Go to the temple, help in the work.  There is a lot to do!  There is a quote that says, "Suppose for a moment that God began taking from us the many things for which we have failed to give thanks.  Which of our limbs and faculties would be left?  Would I still have my hands and my mind?  And what about my loved ones?  Who or what would be left of me?"  I like to think that if we are using the things God has given us, it is another way of showing our thanks, besides through just praying.
     After internet, we printed off some talks.  I printed one off called "Sins and Mistakes"  It is very interesting. One part that I loved was when President Hunter said, "One of our objectives as a church is to change the world and its thinking."  Identifying how we need to go about that task, President Hunter says, "We have an obligation, as Christians and as members of the church, that we call upon all people to be more kind and more considerate, whether it be in our homes, in our businesses...in any relations in society."  Concluding this plea, Pres. Hunter says that we have the responsibility to teach "a Christ-like response to all the problems of the world."  Understanding and applying the distinction between sins and mistakes will help us fulfill that divinely imposed responsibility. Ponder it.
     Once we got back to our cuarto, we rested.  As I was reading talks and emails, I started to draw.  I miss having time to do my art, but I found time and I'm loving it.  Hna Furness was in pretty bad shape, so we ended up just staying in tonight.  She rested and read scriptures and I finished up my drawings.

Martes, 10 de Febrero del 2015
     Spiritual thought from a talk from Brad Wilcock.  He spoke of the grace of Jesus Christ and that when it comes to the end of our lives, and when we enter into the judgement of God, we will not be begging Christ to let us stay...He will be begging for us to make the changes that we need to in order to stay in Heaven.  If you live heavenly, you will want to stay in heaven.  For others, it will feel uncomfortable to be in the presence of heaven and they will be saying, "get me out of here."  He also spoke about how the grace of Christ was paid in full, and that there is no percentage that we are required to do in order to receive that grace.  It is given to us at anytime, as long as we are showing Christ our appreciation by doing our best to do the things that He asks.  It is compared to a mother paying a piano teacher for her child to learn the piano....when that mom pays the teacher, she pays in full, so when she asks her child to practice and they do, it is like the child is showing appreciation to the mom for paying for the lesson.  He then goes on to explain that when we hear a piano student practicing and they hit the wrong note, we do not tell them that they are not worthy to play the piano again....we just encourage them to practice some more and work towards hitting the right note/perfection.  This is the same with Christ.  He tells us to practice and live our lives, to try to be perfect, but when we "fall", it is not the end.  We have His grace that was paid in full, that we can use to make it.  It is important to remember that grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to have eternal life after they have expended their best efforts.  Grace is always there for us.  We can use it at any point in our lives and we do not have to reach a certain point in order to receive it.  All that is asked of us, is that we follow the things that Christ has asked us to do and then to use his grace along the way.  As we "practice" his commandments, we will become more and more like him. (Moroni 7:48)  I love that scripture because it says that with the help of God, we can receive the attributes of Christ, so that we can become like him.
     I was able to meditate and learn a lot about grace today, because Hna Furness was still sick, so we were stuck in the cuarto all day.  I listened to a lot of talks that I got from Elder Dagley's USB, and many of the talks spoke about the grace of Christ.  It was a peaceful day to ponder on the enabling power of the Atonement.  I want to gain a greater testimony of that, so I am going to be trying to use that power to reach my goals of becoming a better person, so that when I return home from my mission, I can touch lives at home as I have here on my mission.
     Today was a calm day and I was able to find and realize some little things that I want to corporate into my future family life.

Miercoles, 11 de Febrero del 2015
     This morning Hna Furness was still kinda sick, so we stayed in our cuarto until 3pm.  During that time, I studied and read my patriarchal blessing.  I also listened to more talks.  At 3pm, Hna Furness said that she felt well enough to go teach.
     On the way to one of our citas, a man called to us.  He was telling us that he wanted to talk to us. He told us that his daughter is a member of our church but that she doesn't go anymore and he wants us to visit her and reactivate her.  We found out that this guy is not a member and has been an investigator for 4 years.  Anyhow, one of our citas fell through, so we went looking for his daughter named Erika.  On our searching, we got stopped by another man who has children baptized in our church.  He invited us to his house.  He lives alone, so we stayed outside and he told us about his music writing career.  He then ran inside and grabbed his guitar to play us some of his songs.  I completely adore his voice.  He has a sweet, light and raspy voice.  It touched my heart a lot.  After he sang a few songs for us, he showed us where Erika and her dad Rufino live.
     Once we got to their house, Erika let us in with no problem.  We told her that we were angels sent to help her start over and come back to church.  She is a little nervous because after her mom died 5 years ago, she started attending church with the family of her mom at the Evangelica church down the road.  She was scared to return alone, but luckily her dad had the prompting to tell us to visit her. We left with a beautiful and sincere prayer from Erika.
     We started contacting and found Hamar, Gloria and Itamar's mom.  She let us in to visit them. While we were in their house, Enrique came up to the door to give us mangos.  During their lesson, Itamar had questions about starting personal progress.  She told us that she took our challenge and is reading the Book of Mormon all the way through from the beginning.
     Then we visited Enmanuel, Mirella and Gma Risco.  I love this family.  They are so loving and accepting of us and they are always telling us that they have a lot of trust in us.  When we entered into their house, Enmanuel attacked me with a huge hug.  He is always whispering to me and trying to play with me.  He melts my heart.  Today, he kept having me tell Mirella to make him a facebook account so that when I go home, I can talk with him.  He was so excited!  As we were walking out of the house, Gma Risco handed us choko sodas!  I love when people give us food! :)
     Yesterday, we couldn't go to visit Jose in the night, so we went tonight and he let us in so quickly, and the entire time he just stared at us with much light in his eyes.  We gave him some homework of reading a pamphlet and also to reread the intro of the Book of Mormon.  He was excited to do so. Before we left, we invited him to pray and his prayer was BEAUTIFUL!  He asked for God's help to help him use and understand the Book of Mormon and the Bible as one in his hand.  He also said, "God, help me save my soul."  My heart couldn't help but smile.  After his lesson, he handed us mangos from his tienda (store) and then we headed to dinner.
     After dinner, we went home and planned.  We got a call from the sister leaders, telling us that we are having intercambios.  I am going to be staying in Patapo with HNA MCGINNIS!!   I am so excited to see her again!  Hna Furness is going to head to Pomalca to be with Hna Ortiz.

Jueves, 12 de Febrero del 2015
     This morning we had our zone meeting in Polmaca.  We had a great time and we learned a lot about the new rules, and what I loved the most, waswhen we had a scavenger hunt that the Hermana leaders put on.  My team was Elder Caceres, Elder Encalada, Hna Furness and myself.  We almost won, but we lost by just a few seconds.
     After the meeting, I left with Hna McGinnis, Elder Caceres and Elder Encalada.  We were all giggling and teasing one another.  We got on a combi to take us to Patapo, where we had lunch. Because Hna McGinnis was here, we got special treats.  We were given ice cream and lemonade frosts. :)
     After lunch, we headed to the my cuarto to drop off some stuff and meet up with Shirley.  Shirley let us know that Elder Dagley was heading home tonight because something is wrong with his knee and he needs surgery.  Bummer.
     The people we visited today were 2 new investigators and they are super excited to find out how they can know what church is the true church.  Then we taught Hna Lili.  We talked about prophets and it went well.
     Then we went to visit Erika.  She was super excited to learn about the Plan of Salvation.  She is really interested in albedrio (agency).  We shared some thoughts with her and she was being super open with us.
     Our last cita was with a less active named Rosa.  When we walked into her house, we started reading the Book of Mormon with her.  It was a beautiful moment to see her interest spark in starting to study the Book of Mormon again.  We left her house, committing her to read the Book of Mormon and to pray about it.
     After her lesson, we went to dinner.  After dinner, we went home and planned for tomorrow. After planning, we talked and caught up with everything that has happened since leaving the CCM.  :)  It was so fun to be with her and we rocked every single lesson we taught.  It was amazing how united we were.  I hope at some point in the mission, I can be with her again.  We went to bed and talked and talked.  haha

Viernes, 13 de Febrero del 2015
     This morning we did our studies and challenged one another to read our Patriarchal blessings and search for the attributes of Christ and to also find our talents.  We discussed Nefi 13-14.  Those chapters are super interesting.  After study, we headed out teaching.
     We ended up teaching two lessons.  One was to Graciela, who accepted a baptism date for the 14 of March.  The next lesson was with a contact named Erika.  She was so willing to hear our message. We knocked on her door and she let us right in.  We explained our purpose and she loved it.  During the lesson, she shared some fears that she has about the Second Coming.  I explained that the coming of our Lord won't be a terrible day...because our brother and Savior is returning to us.  Yes, there will be some destruction, but in the end, we are going to be able to see our Savior again!  She felt tons of peace from that and thanked us for coming by.  Before we left, we invited her to baptism.  She said that she would when she feels more prepared.  We told her that baptism would be one of the many things that she could do to feel the comfort about the Second Coming.  We ended the lesson with a prayer and then went to meet the other hermanas, so we could switch back.
     The four of us shared what we were able to learn from one another and then we had a prayer.  We sent them on their way and went to lunch.
     After lunch and language study, we headed out teaching.  We met up with Hermana Francisca and went to visit Lili.  At the end of her lesson, we asked her about her baptism date and now she wants to be baptized on the 22 of Febrero....because that is her birthday.  We were taking her lessons slow, but now we better get cranking on them!  haha  One thing that happened in her lesson about prophets and revelation, is that she shared a dream with us.  She told us, "I saw outside my window, 3 glowing men in white.  They called to me, so I went to them and they told me to follow them down this path. I ran back to my house and grabbed my 3 sons, but my husband wasn't home, so I just took my sons with me to follow them.  I have never felt so much peace in my heart and I know that they were telling me to stay on the path that you two have been putting me on."
     I am not a dream interpreter, but the spirit that radiated from her was so strong.  It was amazing to see.  Seconds later, there was a knock on the door.  The spirit seemed to just vanish.  It wasn't the knock that did it, but the countenance of the woman at the door.  Lili denied her from coming in.  As soon as the woman left, we could feel the power of "evil" leave with her.  I looked at Hna Furness, and I knew that she had felt it, too.  The peace returned to our hearts.  This was such a spiritual experience.  We talked some more about her dream, and she is without a doubt, that this is what she needs to be doing.
     After her visit, we went to visit Carlos (less active) and his girlfriend, Marilyn, that he lives with. Marilyn was pretty closed off about us teaching her, because she wasn't a huge fan when the elders had visited her years before.  We got to talking and by the end of the visit, she was excited to have us visit some more.  I hope that she is more ready this time and that we can touch her heart.
     Then we went to visit Maria Vasquez, who was a reference from the Bishop.  She let us in, but when we asked her about the pamphlet that she was suppose to read, she said that it talks about baptism and some guy named Smith.  Well, the only thing that was correct was the Smith part.  We started to explain the pamphlet again and at the end, she confessed that she didn't actually read it, but that her daughter did, and when she realized that today we were coming to visit her, she wrote on her hand what the pamphlet was about.  hahaha  The extremes people will go to.  haha
     After a few other visits, we went to see Maritza.  She said that the Monday after she served us lunch, she was walking down the street and a moto hit her from behind.  She flew up in the air and landed on her tailbone and hit her head pretty bad.  She said that she didn't wake up until several hours after the accident.  She ended up going to the hospital.  Today was her 2nd day being home from the hospital.  We helped her do some things that she couldn't do for herself and she thanked us and told us that she was so lucky to have us in her life.  She said, "I can't believe God blessed me with such great friends."  We said a prayer with her and then headed to Yohana's house.
     We really want to get Yohana's husband involved in our lessons and to also get Yohana to come visiting with us on another day.  She told us her conversion story, which consisted of her sneaking books about the church from her sister, Meri, and then searching out the missionaries and telling them, "Baptize me tomorrow!"  They said that we can't just baptize you without teaching you some lessons first.  They taught her all the lessons in one week and then she got baptized.  She said that the reason she wanted to be baptized was because she was searching for answers and the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, answered every single one of her questions.
     Then we headed to the Dulceria to meet the Bishop, so we could go visit Jose.  We had some great questions about the Restoration that we asked him, and then asked him what he thought about it all. He looked at the pamphlet that we handed him and then he looked at us and said, "It's true."  We asked him how he knew that, and he said, "It just feels right.  It is just true. And now I need to stay on this path."  At that point, I invited him to baptism.  He was only hesitant because he thought I was saying "right now".  Once we explained that it was when he felt he could, he said yes, and that he can't wait to be baptized, because he knows the covenant will fill the empty hole in his life.  We ended with a prayer and he thanked God for the wonderful visit and for the correct path that He has helped him to find.
     We went to dinner.  Today was an awesome day and we felt completely fulfilled and we can't wait to see more success.

Sabado, 14 de Febrero del 2015        [Feliz dia de Amistad y Amor!]
     We did our weekly planning today.  Once it was time for lunch, we headed out and everyone was wishing us a happy day of friendship. :)  We ate lunch with a member named Maria Barbosa.
     After lunch, we studied language.  During that time, the food we ate started to "sit wrong" in our stomachs.  We both rested as the food churned and curdled in our stomachs.  After resting for a bit, we headed out, still feeling gross, but our citas were really important.  Our first cita was with Moroni. It turns out that he and Karen want to separate.  Moroni wants to separate because he wants to be good with God, but she doesn't want to get married any time soon.  I guess that it is best that they separate, but it is still sad. :(
     We then went and met up with Hna Meri to come to our next citas.  The first one was with Lili. We taught her about Joseph Smith and she believes it and still wants to be baptized on the 22 of Febrero.  She asked us some questions about modesty and wearing skirts to church.  She doesn't have a skirt, but really wants to have one to wear after she is baptized, because she feels it is the right thing to do.  She was so sweet about it.  She also said, "I want to be baptized because my Heavenly Father wants me to!!"  I love Lili.  She thanked us over and over again for bringing the gift of the gospel and the knowledge of Christ's church to her .
    After her visit, we went to the Familia Risco.  When we reached their house, it looked like no one was home, but we knocked anyways.  We were pleasantly surprised when the door opened by Ana, Enmanuel's mom, who is hardly ever home.  She let us in and told us that she was home alone.  We decided to read Alma 40 with her.  It is about the spirit world.  As we were getting ready to read, Enmanuel and Grandma Risco showed up.  They were excited to see us and came and joined us.  We all took turns reading and discussed it as we went.  Ana was loving it.  During the lesson, Gma Risco told us that we have touched their hearts like no other missionaries have before.  They expressed their love they have for us.  I have grown to seriously love this family as my own.  They are all so special to me.  I am going to be torn apart when I have to leave here.  I hope I can stay here for a long time.  I have grown so close to so many people here in such a short time.  Patapo has to be my favorite area. The only thing that could make it better is to have the Familia Leyton here.  Anyhow, I told the familia Risco that my mom sends love to them, and Gma Risco started crying and held me and told me, "You're family is my family.  Tell your family that we love them and thank them for letting us have you here."  We all hugged and set up another cita with them.  The first date that we picked, Ana let us know that she wouldn't be there, and asked us if we could choose a time that she would be there.  We left their home shining, because of the love and the spirit that was shared.
     We walked Meri to her home and then went to dinner.  Victor, Jr. showed up and he was so excited to see us.  Well, he got us our dinner and once we finished eating our fruit salads, we called Victor over to tell him to get us 2 slices of cake to celebrate "Dia de Amistad".  I got 3 leche torta and Hna Furness got chocolate cake.
     We went back to our cuarto and planned.  We filled out the area book and made our progress record paper for our meetings tomorrow.  As we were writing in our journals, I was laying on my bed facing the door, when I saw a HUGE spider, the size of a quarter come flying under our door towards my bed.  I screamed and started to freak out.  I yelled to Hna Furness to look and then she screamed and jumped onto her bed.  We just screamed and tried to search for it from on top of our beds. After 7 minutes of pure H-E-double toothpicks, we finally found it and sprayed it with the bug killer that we bought.  It ran out from under my bed and then I used my sandal to squash it.

     It was so scary!!  It was huge and gross!  Once it was dead, we just sat on the bed and hugged. Imagine the scene from the movie She's the Man, when they were on the bed freaking out about a spider....well, that was us! haha :)  Once we were calm and situated, we got back to writing and reading.
     Tonight, I watched my life flash before my eyes when that little bugger entered our space.  Now I am calm.  Thank heavens we are tough!  haha :)
     Today we certainly did not visit as many people as we did yesterday, but the lessons were really spiritual and were with some of my favorite people here in Patapo.  I love the mission.  I love Patapo. I love the gospel.

Domingo, 15 de Febrero del 2015 
     We went to pick up Erika this morning but when we got to her house, she wasn't home...so we just headed to church.  When we entered, we were late, but they hadn't started yet, so we were "on time." haha  We sat with Jose and almost 15 minutes later, the bishop and his counselors finally came in. Hna Furness was surprised when they announced that she would be giving the second talk after the sacrament.  haha  The first speaker, who was supposed to talk for 5 minutes, talked for a whole 45 seconds, so during those short few seconds, Hna Furness was able to "think" of what she was going to share.  She got up and spoke for about 3 minutes.  She did really well.  The last speaker was Elder Encalada.  He did an amazing job.  He really has a gift for teaching.
     After sacrament meeting, we went to Sunday School.  We went to the Gospel Principles class, where I would be teaching about Adam and Eve and their fall.  Because of Sacrament Meeting being let out 20 minutes early, I had over an hour to teach my lesson.  During my lesson, Nelson brought the blind man in and sat him down.  When we ended 5 minutes later, the man thought we were ending the Priesthood meeting, and he freaked out a little.  We explained that we were ending the Gospel Principle class, and he was relieved and calmed down again.
     After church, we contacted people on our way to lunch.  We ended up stopping by Moroni's house to ask him why he wasn't at church today.  He ended up having to work.  His neighbor called us over and asked us for a Book of Mormon.  We set up a cita with her and told her that we would bring a Book of Mormon to that appointment.  We contacted a bit more and then made it to lunch.  We had lunch with a less active member named Maria Clariza.  We ate at her work, which is at the police station.  We ate and shared a message with her before we left.
     We went back to our cuarto to study.  Then we went out teaching.  We went to talk to Erika first. As we were walking to her house, she pulled up in a moto.  She was getting back from Chiclayo.  We shared a message with her and her dad, Rufino.  They both said the prayers and they were beautiful. After talking with them, we started walking down the street to find a moto to take us to Elena- sister of Maria Clariza.  Turns out that an investigator of the Elders pulled up to us in a moto and offered us a ride to Elena's house.  That was a blessing from  God. :)
     We talked to Elena about personal things and then shared our testimonies.  After her visit, we headed to the church for coordination with the ward mission leader.  Well, we don't have a ward mission leader yet, but Enrique and Nelson both help out, until we get a person called.
     After we left, we contacted tons of people and met a lot of interesting folks.  We ran into a man name Jorge.  He is super interested in studying any religion.  He asked us if we had power and authority.  We told him that we had power and authority to teach.  He told me that he believes me to have power, because he studied pyschology and that my body mannerisms "say" that I am a powerful disciple of Christ.
     After that, we stopped to visit Wilmer.  He is doing great.  He is still studying, but he wasn't at church.  Hopefully next Sunday.  After setting a cita with Wilmer, we went to Lili's house.  We taught her and her kids, Eber (15 yrs), Anthony (10 yrs) and Aaron (4 yrs).  We taught them about the Plan de Salvacion.  Lili loved it because she had not known about the spirit world or the 3 kingdoms. In the end, we asked her and Anthony if they would be baptized and they said yes.  Only problem is that she didn't come to church today, so now she can't be baptized until the 28th, to make sure that she has her three attendances to church.  We ended up leaving that house very happy and uplifted because their family is so ready.  I can't wait for them to be a forever family.
     We headed to dinner and on the way, we did a few more contacts to reach our goal.  We ate fruit salad for dinner and were invited to eat cake afterwards.  Of course, I chose tres leches and Hna Furness chose strawberry pie.  Then we went home, reported, and planned.  Then we talked about stories from our youth. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Week 44: "It's all true. Every single bit of it."

Lunes, 2 de Febrero del 2015
     This morning I found a ton of ants on my desk, so during personal study time, I had to kill them and get them all cleaned up.  I found the culprit to the problem...it ended up being the marshmallow tree made by Alicia Leyton.  I had eaten the marshmallows, but the ants found the goo that was left on the sticks... so sadly, I had to throw out the rest.  I reorganized my desk and then read the Book of Mormon.  I read 1 Nephi 5-10.  Chapter 10 is one of my most favorite chapters because it talks about Christ and all that was going to happen to him 600 years before he actually came!  I love the Book of Mormon!!
     After studies, we went out shopping at the mercado.  Life is crazy at the mercado.  Everyone is always calling to us gringas to buy stuff from their little tiendas.  We can't buy stuff from everyone, so we just smile and pass by.  We did buy some really fun stuff.....NOT....we bought a toilet brush, toilet paper, pens, colored pencils and eyeliner.  After that, we headed to lunch. We hate arroz a la cubana (rice with fried egg and fried banana).  It is one of my favorite plates here in Peru.
     After lunch, we went to internet at Yohana's store.  She has the best internet and when we wait and go at 1:00pm, no one else is there, so we get fast internet!  I loved my internet time today.  My emails were beautiful!  I loved hearing from everyone.  I received a beautiful email from Emanny.  It was the farewell talk that he gave in his ward.  It was about following the counsel of Heavenly Father. He shared a story about 2 little ducks that were in a race.  During the race, only one of the ducklings followed the counsel that their mom had given them, and it was fine.  The other duck ended up in a bad situation.  He then compared that story to us...that when we follow God's counsel, we can dodge bad situations.
     After internet, we went home and cleaned and wrote letters.  Once P-Day was up, we went to our first cita with Angelica.  Unfortunately, she wasn't home, so we walked next door to the bishop's house and asked him if he had any references for us to visit.  He took us to a woman named Maria. We got to know her for a little bit, and then we shared a message about commitments.  We ended with a prayer and left to our next cita.  On our way, we ran into Jose Sandoval.  He came to church once and really liked it.  He explained to us why he wasn't at church yesterday, but said that he would be in church this coming Sunday.
     Then we went to our cita with Enmanuel and his family, but only Enmanuel and his grandma were home.  During our lesson, Enmanuel's mom came into the house.  We have been told that she is not responsive to the gospel messages, but we said hello to her anyhow.  I had an impression to invite her to join us, so I did, and I am so grateful that I followed the prompting, because she said yes and joined us!  We taught about the Plan of Salvation and she really loved the idea of paradise and the Celestial Kingdom.  At the end, we invited her to give our closing prayer and she gave such a sincere and open prayer.  By the end of the prayer, she was crying and really wanted to know more.  We set up another cita with them.  Before we left, the grandma invited us to have some shampoo (the drink) and some fried cheese sticks.
     We headed to the Dulceria and realized that this part of town was without power, so we ate dinner by candle light.  It was so fun!  After we ate, we went home and planned for tomorrow.  We filled out the area book and then Enrique called to tell us that he was bringing us our clothes.  As Enrique was dropping off our clothes, he showed us some beautiful art that he was doing for his daughter.  It is a charcoal/pastel drawing of Tinkerbell.  It was amazing.  I told him that I would pay him to do a drawing like that for me.  Now I just have to think of something that I would like him to draw.
     After he left, we talked for a bit and then got ready for bed.

Martes, 3 de Febrero del 2015
     This morning I woke up with a sore throat, so the entire day it was bugging me.  After studies we went out teaching.  First we went to visit Lili.  We taught about prophets and when Christ was here on the earth.  After our lesson was over, she asked us to come back another day this week in the afternoon so she could talk to us about some personal stuff.  We scheduled a time and then left.
     We got invited into the houses of two strangers who were willing to listen to our message.  :)
     After lunch and language study we headed out teaching.  We found an inactive member named Maria.  She went inactive because she got offended when a lady at church told her that she should wear a skirt or dress to church, not just slacks...we shared the scripture of 3 Nephi 13: 13-15, which talks about forgiveness.  We hope that she will be able to apply it.
     We taught several other lessons and as we walked to each one, we kept getting invited to eat something from everyone we passed.  Some young girls invited us to eat some milk suckers.  Luz's mom invited us to eat mangos.  A woman who lives next door to the family that we teach invited us to eat some honey cooked fruits.  We were also asked to be a pensionista for an older woman.  We had to decline, because we don't have time to be anyone's pensionista. haha :)
     We went home and planned, filled out the area book and answered all the phone calls reminding us of our meeting tomorrow morning.

Miercoles, 4 de Febrero del 2015     [multi-zone conference]
     We got ready and headed to Chiclayo.  On the way to the combi, we ran into Victor Joel and some of his buddies.  He ran up to us and asked us why we haven't been visiting him.  We explained that the elders are the ones to visit him now.  He was fine with that, and then went on his way.
     Once we got to Chiclayo, we picked our seats and then the rest of the missionaries started coming in.  Some of those missionaries were Hna McGinnis, Hna Corona, Hna Wood, Hna Cruz, and Elder Thompson!!  Elder Thompson ran up to me yelling, "Hna Dodson!  How are you?"  We talked and caught up a bit.  We couldn't believe how much time had gone by.  He now has 11 months in the mission, and I have almost 10 months!  When we were together in Motupe, we were both fresh in the mission, and now we are some of the oldies.
     At 10am, the meeting started.  The meeting was ridiculously amazing.  Elder Waddell talked about our goals for the new year.  One of the goals I want to do is to find the attributes of Christ from my Patriarchal Blessing and then to strengthen them.  I also want to finish reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish before the end of my mission.
     After that, Hna Williams talked to us about health.  Then we taught English to a group of Latinos. My group taught 1 Nephi 3:7.  The Latinos we taught were all really good at English already, so we pretty much just had to have them read the verses and then we discussed what they meant.
     After that, we had another class by the Assistants to the President (Elder Lalli, from Bountiful, UT and elder Flores).  They taught about how missionaries can have a better connection with the spirit. It was a strong message.  After that, President Williams talked to us and we studied some scriptures.
                   1.  Matthew 16:24   2.  Luke 9:23   3.  Matthew 10:38   4.  3 Nefi 12:30 
Each of the scriptures talk about taking up our cross, denying ourselves and following Christ.  It was a beautiful study.  We talked about what each part was trying to tell us.
     Then the food came, so we ate lunch.  We had Big Macs from McDonald's.  During lunch, I talked to Hna Wood and Hna Corona about Pimentel.

Hna Corona, Hna Dodson, Hna Wood, Hna Furness
at the multi-zone conference in Chiclayo
They let me know that Alinder, the wife of Frank, and also Keith, the spouse of Karla all got baptized.  And then they told me that Elba, my sweet, sweet Elba is getting baptized on Saturday!  I am so happy for her.  It was so fun to see her grow.
     After lunch, President Williams talked to us about Repentance (Arrepentimiento).  During our discussion, he called four elders to the front of the room to do a practice.  At the beginning, it was rough and unnatural, but at one point, the entire mood changed and the spirit took over.  The experience was over powering.
    At the end of the meeting, Pres. Williams called on 3 new missionaries to bare their testimonies. Then he ended with his own testimony.  My favorite thing that he said was, "It's all true.  Every single bit of it."
     We left and I got 2 packages (clothes) in the office and then I was told that I had another package at the post office to pick up.  Once I got it, we headed back to Patapo.
     When we got to Patapo, we tried to visit Yohana, but she was really busy with work, so we just set up another cita.  Before we left, she gave us some chocolate. :)
     Our next cita was with Moroni and Karen.  When we showed up, Karen was really busy and wouldn't come join our lesson, so we decided just to help her with her laundry.  Then Moroni joined in with us.  It was beautiful.  As we were hanging the clothes on the line, the line fell.  Luckily Moroni caught it before the clothes landed in the dirt.  We took all the clothes back off, fixed the line and then rehung the clothes.  As we were leaving their house, we saw a list hanging on their wall.  It was a list of things that Moroni and Karen are going to do, to be better examples to their kids.  We asked them how the list was going, and they said that is is going well and Moroni said that he is trying to be better with his prayers.  Then he asked us if the church is usually that empty on Sundays. We told him that it was, and he said, "Well it will be full soon, because I am going to go again."  We were so happy to hear him say that!
     We weren't able to teach anymore because it got late too fast, but it was a successful day because we were able to learn new things and also that we saw a change in Moroni and Karen.  I love the work I am in.  To see the changes in myself and in those that we teach.  It makes all the hard times worth it.  I love the mission.  I love my mission president and wife.  I love my Savior.  I love my Father in Heaven.  I love this church.  I am in the truth, and there is no doubting that it is all true....every single bit of it."

Jueves, 5 de Febrero del 2015
     Holy crap.  Today was completely amazing.  It all started with reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish, and understanding it all!  Then we went to visit Moroni and Karen.  Their kids weren't there, so it was really quiet and easy to talk.  Karen said that she is seeing a lot of changes in Moroni and wants to know what we are doing to "change" him.  She says that he talks about reading scriptures, saying his prayers and that he wants to go to church for all 3 hours.  He also talks about wanting to get married to her.  My heart almost leaped out of my chest when I heard that!  We have been trying for a long time to get them married! :)
     After their lesson, we decided to celebrate by buying some treats from the bakery.  I bought a trono and also an alfajor.  Then we headed to lunch.  We ate lunch quickly so that we could go home and take a quick nap.  Then we studied language.  I read the February Liahona magazine in Spanish. It is really good.  There is a lot to learn and read.
     Then we met up with Hna Francisca to go out teaching.  We could feel the spirit really strongly at every single house that we entered.  One of the first people we visited was a woman named Maria. At first she refused us, but after using some "smooth" lines, she let us talk to her.  She used to belong to the Jehovah's Witnesses, but realized it wasn't the right church for her and switched over to the Catholic church.  She was pretty closed off at first, but by the end of our visit, she had put her guard down and read with us.  The only problem, is that she is from Lima, so we won't be able to teach her anymore.
     Then we visited a woman name Irma.  She has 6 kids and one on the way.  We taught about the family proclamation, and she loved that families can be together forever.
     Next, we taught Grauela.  She is a mom of 2 inactive daughters.  She really wants to better her life for her family.  She wants us to help her to stop drinking.
     Our last cita was with Maria Santos.  We talked about how she can seal herself to her husband who has passed away.  She was really excited about that.  We invited her to baptism and she accepted and she can't wait to take the steps to better her life. (Every time we tried to invite her to be baptized, something would happen to disrupt the question and answer, but by the third time, even with her phone ringing, she said that she wanted to follow Christ's example and get baptized.)  She said yes without any doubt.  At the end of our lesson, she offered a long, heartfelt prayer even though people were knocking on her windows wanting to buy stuff.  She just kept praying.  It felt like Satan was trying everything he could to stop her prayer and stop the feeling of the spirit, but he didn't succeed. We hope that she will continue to have the strength to get past everything.
     At the end of the night, the daughter of a less active member brought us humitas, which are like tamales.  I love it here.

Viernes, 6 de Febrero del 2015
     Haha..I forgot to mention about a contact that we had yesterday.  We went up to this lady in the street and asked her if we could give her a pass along card.  She just shook her head with a disgusted look on her face.  I decided that she could choose not to accept the card, but I still wanted her to know who we were.  As I talked, she just kept shaking her head and giving me disgusted looks.  She didn't believe anything that I said.  Some people are just so hard hearted and think that missionaries are terrible people.
     Well today was our weekly planning and because my mom loves me, we were able to eat choco sodas with PEANUT BUTTER! (she sent me peanut butter)  It was heavenly!
     After planning, we went to lunch.  At lunch we talked about the little things that we love that make us smile.  On our walk back to our cuarto, I started to feel really nauseous.  So I took a nap when we got home and I felt a lot better afterwards.
     We tried to visit Graciela, but she wasn't home, so we went and visited Beatriz (less active).  We shared a little bit about the Holy Ghost and she told us that she has only had a few moments where she has felt the Holy Ghost in her life.  We told her that at our next cita, that we would share with her how to recognize the spirit more in her life.
     After that, we went and picked up Rosa Barbosa (member) to go teaching with us.  We visited another less active named Rosa Vasquez.  Then we visited Enmanuel, Mirella, Mirella's mom, and Grandma.  At the end of the lesson, Ana (Enmanuel's mom) came in.  We started talking about the Plan of Salvation and then about the Atonement.  Unfortunately, when we started talking about the Atonement, Mirella and her mom started fighting with one another about the past.  It got pretty heated.  We kept trying to keep control by bearing our testimonies about how we are each responsible for our own lives.  We don't just have to accept the life that we see our parents live, but that each person can choose for themselves and change and live a better life.  By the end, everyone was crying. We bore testimony again of Jesus Christ and his atonement and that everyone can repent and change for the better.  Mirella looked us all in the face and said that she doesn't believe it.  That really broke my heart.  We ended the lesson with a kneeling prayer and hugged and kissed everyone.  We invited them to come to the mission night activity at the church.
     When we were waiting at the church, the only people that showed up from that family was Grandma Risco and Enmanuel.  As we waited, the room began to fill up with more and more people. We started the activity by singing, "Praise to the Man", and then we watched a video titled, "On the Errand of the Lord."  It is about the life of Thomas S. Monson.  I love this movie.  It is so good.  We had to leave early in order to eat dinner and get home on time.  After dinner, we went home and planned.  We filled out the area book and talked about what happened with the familia Risco.  It was so sad that they are holding so many grudges with one another. :(

Sabado, 7 de Febrero del 2015
     The time is just flying by.  I can't believe tomorrow is already Sunday again.  It felt like just yesterday that I was talking about the Sabbath day and loving to renew my covenants.  Anyways, today was a good day.  This morning, I read to chapter 13 in El Libro de Mormon.  I am seriously loving reading this book in Spanish.
     After studies, we headed out teaching.  We went to visit Moroni and Karen first.  Moroni is so ready to change and help Karen make the changes, too.
     Our next cita was with a less active named Soledad, but she ended up not being home, but as we were leaving, her cousins came speeding up to the house to hear our message.  They told us that they really enjoyed our last visit.  Their names are Segundo and Juan.  Juan is a member and lives in Lima. He is inactive, but he has a huge testimony of the Book of Mormon, so every time we were sharing something, he would jump in and testify to Segundo about the truthfulness of it.  It was amazing.  We are hoping to reactivate him here in Patapo, so that when he goes back to Lima, he will still go to church.
     After that, we headed to lunch, which was scheduled with Maritza.  When we got there, she said that she couldn't fix us lunch today, so we headed to the Dulceria.  I got to eat my favorite dish again. (rice with fried egg and banana)
     After lunch, we went out teaching.  We went and visited Rosemeri.  She is 17 years old and just had a baby 16 days ago.  We shared about prayers and receiving answers from God.  It was a good lesson.  She told us that she feels like she doesn't receive answers to her prayers, so we explained how she could improve that.  Then we taught her about the Plan of Salvation.
     Then we headed to Yohana's house, and her cousin Carlos showed up.  We taught them about the importance of all three meetings in church, and because they are members, that they really need to be going to all three classes every Sunday.  They agreed to go and realized why the meetings are so important. :)
     After that, we were walking past Wilmer's house and so we decided to stop and see if he was home.  He was!  We have tried to find him home for almost 2 weeks, but he has been working a lot. :( We caught up on all that is happening with him and his family.  He said that all is well, but Rosa still doesn't want the gospel in her life.  He said, "I want you to know that I have been doing my studies and my prayers every day.  And I will be in church tomorrow with my children."  We loved hearing that.  We talked with him about enduring to the end and told him to stay strong.  We set up another cita with him and then headed to the chapel for a meeting that we had with the ward mission leader and the elders.
     When we got there, the bishop and some other members were there finishing cleaning the church. We sat and waited and waited for the others to come....then we called....and got nothing, so we waited some more.  We ended up just leaving so we could go and contact.  As we were contacting, the elders called us back and wanted to know what we wanted. When we told them that they missed our meeting, they were begging us for forgiveness.  We forgave them, but told them that they better not do it again. :)  We contacted a little longer, and then went to dinner. After dinner, we went home and planned and got ready for bed.

Domingo, 8 de Febrero del 2015  [Feliz 10 Months in the mission!]
     How?! 10 months!?  Next thing I know, I am going to be home.  I am not ready yet.  I love the mission too much!  So as we were walking to church, we ran into Jose, the dad of Jacky who we taught one time, but works too late, so we haven't been able to teach him since.  Anyhow, he was walking to church and he had a huge smile on his face.  After we got to church, I was talking to Jose and he told me that he was reading the Book of Mormon and that he really likes it.  Next thing I know, the Bishop called me up to lead the music.  As I was on the stand, I could see everyone....I saw Yohana, Carlos, Wilmer and his kiddos, Rosa, Catolino, Geraldyne, Itamar (inactive young woman), Lili, Moroni and Karen!!!  I must have looked like a little child on Christmas morning after opening her Legos from Santa!  I could feel my face getting sore from smiling so much!  haha
     Then, as we were sitting in Sunday School, the bishop popped his head in and called me out to the hall.  When I got in the hall, Alicia and Gladys Leyton were standing there!  I couldn't believe it.  We talked for a little bit and then we all went back into class.  During the class, Gladys was testifying and sharing personal experiences.  It was awesome!
     After church, everyone kept coming up to me to ask me how I got the familia Leyton to love me so much...that they would travel to see me.  The familia Leyton told everyone that I was very special and that they are lucky to have me here in Patapo.  It was really sweet.  Before they left, they told me that they loved me and missed me.
     Then I went to a meeting in the Bishop's office.  He complimented me on my work and is really impressed that I touched so many people's hearts in Pimentel.  As we were talking about how many people came to church today, the bishop realized that everyone who came are people that Hna Furness and I are working with.  He was so amazed.  He said, "I can't imagine what kind of power you two would have if you had the priesthood!"  haha
     We left, so that we could help Cinthya cook lunch, because if we help, we can usually eat by 2:30pm instead of 4pm.  After lunch, we went out visiting and visited a lady named Maria Vasquez. She is really cool.  When we got to her house, she was just getting out of the shower, but she invited us in to talk to her dad while she got dressed.  Her dad is blind, and as we were talking to him, he asked me what part of Peru I was from.  I told him that I was from the United States, and then he said, "You know Spanish really well." :)  I highly enjoy talking to blind people, because they don't focus on skin color or gringa accents.  After getting to know her dad, she came out and brought milk flavored popsicles dipped in chocolate.  We ate and shared a message with them.  She is excited to learn more.
     After her lesson, Hna Furness wasn't feeling well, so we went back home so she could rest, before we had to go to consejo (council).  On our way home, we stopped by the Dulceria to see if Rossana could mix up a hot drink to help Hna Furness.  As we were waiting, I was talking to Anthony and Victor (Rossana's brother and Anthony's dad).  They really want to come visit me when I get back to Utah because Victor's sister lives only 30 minutes from our house.
     We went back to our cuarto, and Hna Furness rested.  I meditated and listened to some church music.  At 6:30pm, we went to ward council.  We had a pretty successful meeting.  After the meeting, Enrique was printing off a list for us, so we hung around and I was talking with Elder Caseres about his family.  I showed him pictures of my family, the Leyton family and a picture of Matt.  Elder Caseres couldn't believe my hardship of losing Matt, and that I have stayed so strong and happy.
     As we were leaving the meeting, Hna Francisca called a moto over for us and it took us to our pension.  As we were talking with Anthony, he told us that he is a member!?  So the only person that isn't a member in his family is Victor (his dad)....I have been here for 2 months and I had no idea that they were members!  Less active members, but members still the same!  There are so many inactive and less active members here.  All we can do is continue to help them come back to church.

studying Spanish

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Week 43: "The mission is the greatest thing anyone could ever do, besides having a family!"

     Today turned out to be a great pondering day.  I got thinking about my studies and I have now decided to look into the field of finances.  I don't want to be an accountant, but I want to learn more about how money works, for my future (single life, married life and kids).  I want to be more wise and responsible.  I also want to study interior design, because I love that, too.  I just want to have odds and ends jobs so I can just be a stay at home mom.  But whatever God has planned for me, I will do.
     Anyways, that subject came up because Sunday, Sharon taught a class about being self reliant and also about asking God for help and inspiration about important decisions in our lives, like marriage, career, kids, etc.  So we printed off talks about these subjects during emailing time.  The talk is titled, "Eternal Marriage, Student Manual".  It is really interesting.
     This week I got some really amazing emails.  One of them was from my friend Emanuel Chavez.  He sent me a poem that a friend had written.

                                        I challenge myself.....
          to be so strong that nothing can disturb my piece of mind.
          to talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.
          to make every person I meet feel that they are important and loved.
          to always look at the sunny side of everything.
          to make all of my dreams come true.
          to be honest in words and deeds and always speak the truth.
          to think only of the best; to work only for the best; to only expect the best.
          to be confident, content, and open to others.
          to be pure, compassionate and gentle at all times.
          to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
          to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greatest achievements of the future.
          to wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every person I meet.
          to give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others.
          to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, too happy to permit the                        presence of trouble.
          to think well of myself and to live in faith and proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud                        words, but in great deeds.

I loved this.  These should be goals of all people.  The world would be a brighter place.
     Well Yohana (the menos activa that I previously spelled her name Joana).  She didn't make us pay for internet today and then she handed us 2 slices of moist, caramel frosted cake.  It was so yummy. She is the best.  I am very blessed by all that I have met here in Peru.
      We weren't hungry for lunch after that, so we went home and cleaned.  Then we read the talks!
After that, we went out teaching.  We ended up teaching Luz and Leonardo.  Leo is so cool.  He read the pamphlet and had tons of questions, and he has so much excitement to learn.  After sharing a message, we ate muffin cake and drank ginger ale.  We talked for a bit about what our lives will be like once we get home from our missions.  It's weird to think about it, and there is going to be a lot to do when I get home....bleh....
     After that, we went to dinner and went home to plan.

Martes, 27 de Enero del 2015
     This morning we headed up the elder's cuarto to say goodbye to Elder Dagley.  We took pictures with him and helped him bring his luggage to the curb.

Elder Encalada, Hna Furness, Hna Dodson, Elder Dagley
     After he got on the combi, we left and got back to work.  We went and visited Lili, and she still wants to be baptized!
     Then we knocked doors and every single person accepted us and asked us to come back!  Our last couple were menos activos that we found on accident.  They were excited to have visits from us.
     As we were walking to lunch, we turned down a road to find a man, drunk and dancing....and it wasn't just any dancing....it was 5,6,7,8...with claps and snaps!  He was really getting into it, but once he realized that we were watching him, he ran away...but he was still counting 5,6,7,8 as he ran. :)
     After lunch, we went and taught Enmanuel, Maria Jose and Mirella.  Mirella was acting really different today, so we were trying to figure out what was wrong.  We taught a message about the Book of Mormon and about the Sabbath Day.  Enmanuel said, "My mom wants to take me to the tottus for my first time on Sunday, but I am going to keep the Sabbath Day holy."  At the end, Enmanuel and Maria Jose left to get in their pool outside, so we stayed inside with Mirella.  I hugged her and told her that I loved her.  She started crying and let us know what was going on.  She is having problems with her mom and with school, and so she is feeling really bad.  We talked with her and let her cry and then told her that she could call us anytime she needed us.
      Then we went and met Angela (an investigator that the Elders had to give to us because she is young single woman).  She is really cool and had invited a friend to listen with us.  She wants to prepare for baptism. :)
     Then we went to teach Maritza.  Hna Francisca came with us to visit and she bore her testimony. The entire room fell silent and she just glowed as she bore truth of the church.  I love when members do that!
     Oh, one more thing happened today.  We ran into the elders today.  Elder Encalada and his new comp Elder Caceres.  He looks Latino so I asked him where he was from.  He said, "I was born in New York, and raised in Texas."  I was so thrown off guard that all I said in response was, "I love Texas!  Well, we have a cita over there...see ya later."  The new elder seems cool.  I am pumped to work with him and Elder Encalada!

Miercoles, 28 de Enero del 2015
     This morning we had our district meeting.  We got two new people in our district- Hna Villa, from Mexico (she has 6 months in the mission) and Elder Caceres from Texas (he has 23 months in the mission!)  I am completely in love with my district.  We get along great and I can feel that everyone in our district works really hard.
     Once the meeting was over, Hna Yaulli gave us all a treat and an Orange Crush soda.  Then we headed to get our mail.  I got 2 packages (Valentine's Day), 4 letters from home (3 from my mom and 1 from Danielle- which got sent to Malaysia on accident- haha).  On our walk to the combis, to head back to Patapo, a member from the ward in La Cria stopped us and invited us to Inca Cola.  He was funny.
      Once we got on a combi, Elder Caceres asked me why I came on a mission.  I told him about my experience with my seminary teacher, and that I wanted people to know that when you make a mistake, that it isn't over...that we can always become better and that God gives us a second chance.
     When we got to Patapo, we went to lunch and read our letters and opened our packages.  I loved all of my cards and the copies of all the Christmas card pictures of everyone!
     After lunch and studies, we went out teaching.  As we were walking from one area to another, we ran into the elders by Yohana's house.  Yesterday she had asked for a blessing of health, so we asked the elders if they would come with us and give Yohana a blessing.  They jumped at the chance!  They talked with Yohana and made her feel really loved.  Her blessing was so beautiful.
     As we were leaving Yohana's house, she gave us a water balloon to throw at the elders.  As soon as we were walking in different directions, I threw the balloon towards them, and it almost hit them. We laughed so hard, and some guys who were sitting with their motos started laughing too.
     We ended up just walking around and contacting because no one was home.  At one point, we decided to talk with Moroni.  He really wants to make his life better for his children, so we made some plans for him to follow.  1st:  Go to church for all 3 hours  2nd:  Read the scriptures every day 3rd:  pray 5 times a day- when he wakes up, breakfast, lunch, dinner and bed time. He says that he wants to do it.  I really hope so.  He is a good member, he just has fear of judgment from the other ward members.  We tell him all the time that it is not between him and them...it is between him and God.
     We left and went to dinner. After dinner, we planned and got ready for bed.  We didn't have much success today, but we worked hard and got super tired.  Tomorrow is going to be a good day.

Jueves, 29 de Enero del 2015
     This morning when we were out teaching, we found some less actives as we were knocking doors. There are so many members here, but hardly any of them go to church.  Unfortunately most of our citas in the morning fell through.
     In the afternoon, when we were leaving our cuarto, a Jehovah's Witness was knocking on our door.  We gave him a pass along card with a picture of Jesus getting baptized and we told him that if he wanted to find us, he could come to our church every Sunday.  He 'agreed' and we went on our way. :)
     We went to meet up with some members, so we grabbed a moto.  When we got to our meeting place, the moto driver wouldn't let us pay him.  God really looks out for us, and those that serve us.
     We first visited with a less active man.  We shared a beautiful scripture of 3 Nephi 27:27.  He didn't listen very well to our thoughts, but he agreed to be at church on Sunday.
     The next cita we had was really special....this family is the Familia Tello.  The two sons, Julio and Juan are baptized and we have been teaching their mom, Angelica.  During our lesson today, we invited her to baptism....and turns out...she is already a member!  She denied the invitation and said, "I am already baptized."  We thought she was just saying that she was baptized in general, so we asked her more questions about her baptism...and she really has been baptized in our church.  This whole time, we were teaching her like she was an investigator.  Well, once we figured out this "little" piece of information, we focused on teaching her about church attendance.  She told us that she works 4 hours away every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so she can't go to church.  As we talked with her some more, she told us about how she could quit that job and try and find a different job that would be closer to home.  It was awesome how willing she was to give up her work.
     After that, we visited a family we had contacted in the street a couple of weeks ago.  Pablo, Rosa and their kids Juana (7yrs) and Pablo Jr. (4 yrs).  Only Rosa was there, but we still taught her a little lesson.  We told her about how our church was restored and that we receive guidance from God through a living prophet today.  And that the prophets wrote a proclamation to the world about families.  She really liked it and wants more knowledge.  We set up another cita and left a pamphlet for her to read about the Restoration.  She is excited to read it with her family.  I think this family could definitely be ready for the truth in their lives.
     Then we went and visited a active member named Rosa.  Her husband is also a member, but right now he has some drinking problems.  We visited with her to help her figure out a plan of action that would help her family and her husband.  She is such an amazing person.  She is one of the few who got baptized as a child, who has stayed faithful her entire life.  She is so active and so happy.  She reminds me of my mom, and the way she acts with her two daughters, reminds me of my mom, too. She is a cool lady.  At the end of our visit, she gave us mangos.
     The next visit was with Enmanuel, Mirella and Maria Jose.  We had a long discussion about the Plan of Salvation.  They have so many questions, sometimes questions that aren't really on topic, so we have to spend a lot of time answering their questions  and then getting the focus back where it needs to be.  haha At the end, they hugged us and thanked us for being wonderful friends to them.
     We went to dinner, planned and then got ready for bed.  Today we contacted a lot of people and most of them were more ready than ever to hear from us.  I am loving everything about the mission. It is the hardest work I have ever done, but I grow spiritually everyday.  The mission is the greatest thing anyone could ever do besides having a family! :)

Viernes, 30 de Enero del 2015
     This morning we went running at a really cool soccer field.  I was able to do a lot of pondering during this time.  I got to thinking about my time in the mission and what Christ like attributes I have gained and what more I need to learn about.  I realized that I need to work on being more "happy" and showing my happiness by smiling.  Sometimes I forget to put my smile on.  I want people to love to be around me and feel happier because of being with me...so to smile more is my new goal.
     This morning from 10am-1pm, we had our weekly planning.  Our companionship  goal is to develop diligence, obedience, charity and love.  We have been working hard to do this and to better ourselves as missionaries.
     After lunch, we had language study and then we went out teaching.  The first house that we went to was an older couple named Porfilio and Carmen.  We taught them about baptism and invited them to be baptized.  Porfilio accepted and said, "Well, we have to because Jesus did."  His wife on the other hand wasn't so readily agreeable.  We left them a pamphlet, and as we we left and were passing by the outside of their house, we saw them reading it. :)
     Later, we visited a sister named Angela and her friend Estefany.  They have had many lessons from the elders, so we asked them if they had any questions and they asked about baptisms for the dead.  We explained it to them.  During the lesson, there were lots of children running in and out of the house with Mickey Mouse ears and clown noses on.  They were adorable.
     After that, we went out to Yohana's and chatted with her.  We asked her is she had any questions and you'll never guess what her questions were about....yep...baptisms for the dead.  So that ended up being the topic for the day.  It was fun to remember back on the days when I would go to the temple and get baptized for the dead.  It is such a beautiful experience.  I can't wait to have more opportunities to enter into the House of the Lord and serve my brothers and sisters in heaven.  The temple is a wonderful blessing that we have here on the earth, to bless the lives of millions who have passed on without the opportunity to feel the forgiveness and love of God.
     Today wasn't super eventful but our day was kept interesting with the bugs that kept flying up our noses and finding our pass along cards ripped up on the sidewalks.

Sabado, 31 de Enero del 2015
     Well January has just flown by.  The longer time I have in the mission, the faster the time flies.  I seriously can't believe I have almost 10 months in the mission.  Today turned out to be a great day!
     This morning, the people we ended up teaching were not part of our plan.  I always walk into those lessons praying that whatever needs to be said or shared, will be.  Well, every single one was completely lead by the spirit.  I could feel the impressions very strongly, and I myself learned something new from "my teachings".  In one lesson, we were talking about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and also about loving everyone and becoming more like Jesus.  I made a comparison that if Christ was willing to die for all of humanity, what are we willing to do to serve and love those that Christ died for...enemies or not, because Christ even loved those that killed him.  I was wonderfully surprised with my comparison, because I hadn't ever thought about it in that way.
     After teaching a few more lessons, we headed to lunch.  We met up with the elders at the Dulceria. We all sat together and shared stories.  We all get along so great!
     After lunch and language study, we went out teaching again.  We visited Beatriz (less active) and she gave us mangos, fresh off her tree.  I can't wait to eat tomorrow after my fast.
     We visited a couple people with Hna Meri and then we dropped her off and went to visit Enmanuel.  During his lesson, it started to rain...and by the end of his lesson, it was really pouring down.  His grandma kept trying to make us take a moto, but we just walked happily down the empty roads in the pouring rain, trying to avoid the HUGE puddles forming in the roads.  As we got to the main part of town, we stopped by the Dulceria and everyone was giggling at how soaking wet we were.  As we were talking with everyone, the power in the whole city of Patapo went out.  It was out for about 15 seconds.  When it came back on, we received a phone call from the elders asking us where we were.  Then they told us that if we didn't have any citas, that we just needed to go back to our cuarto and stay inside in case there was another power outage.  We followed their wishes and went back to our cuarto.  As we were getting ready for bed, the power went out again. We didn't receive a phone call from the elders this time, but we were sure that the elders were probably having a freak out party. haha
     This is a P.S. of the day.  Hna Mila (she lives with us and is the aunt of Rossana) is always giving us "health tips"....so today she told us not to hang our wet clothes in our room, because the chemicals from our clothes would enter the air and we would breathe them in and get sick.  She also told us not to sleep with the fan on, because we would forget how to breathe for ourselves.  haha  I didn't realize the fan was breathing for me. :)
     Also, the entire time we were walking in the rain, everyone was looking out their windows and telling us to get inside because "You are going to die!"  I love Peru and all their crazy beliefs! :)

drawing from Hna Furness of us in the rain

Domingo, 1 de Febrero del 2015
     I love Sundays in the mission because during Sacrament Meeting, you can have that minute to yourself to think only about you and the sacrifice of Christ.  The atoning sacrifice is something so beautiful, that everyone can apply in their lives.  Well as I was enjoying a peaceful moment to myself, the sacrament meeting filled up with 5 of our investigators and less actives.  Yohana, Estefany, Carlos, Karen and Moroni all came today!  I was so happy to see them all there, but it was my favorite to see Moroni walk in with a smile on his face, and a kid in his arms and another kid holding his hand and Karen's hand.  My heart almost stopped because I was so happy!
     During sacrament meeting, the topic in almost every testimony was about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. It was such a beautiful meeting.  After the meeting, we had our other classes and Moroni stayed for all 3 hours!
     On our walk home from church, I just started contacting everyone in the streets, and almost every single person accepted our invite for more visits....and they weren't "joking" around...they were really sincere about wanting our visits.  One of our contacts was Jose.  He actually invited us into his house to teach him and his sister-in- law named Winnie. (20 yrs) We shared a short message with them and had a little prayer.  They are excited for our next cita with them.
     As we left Jose's house, our stomachs were so hungry and making really loud noises, so we headed to lunch.  We had a lunch appointment at the house of Victor (the brother of Rossana) for his birthday.  We ate cabrito (baby goat), yuka, sweet potatoes, rice and beans.  It was really good, but the downside was that we had to leave before the actual party got started, so we missed out on the cake :(  haha
     We went out teaching afterwards and ended up talking with Jacky.  She is a 'forever' investigator. She doesn't want to put forth any effort to progress.  She has a lot of problems in her life.  Poor thing. Before we left, she told us that there are 4 people she trusts- God, Jesus Christ, Me and Hna Furness. I never know what to do for her, but we always pray for her and hope that she will progress.
     At 5pm, we had a meeting with the elders, the bishopric and the priesthood president.  We talked about the people that we are working with and then at 6:20pm, we went into a different room and watched a 2 hour video about ward council from our area leaders.  (Elder Waddell is one of our area leaders and I can't remember the other guy's name)  The video was great, but we kept getting distracted because tons of bees just kept dying on the ground all around us and we didn't know why.
At 8:30pm, we left and went and ate dinner. (fruit salad)  We went home and planned or our P-Day tomorrow, filled out the area book and got ready for bed.  This has been a long week, but we have been working hard to help change the lives of many people.  I LOVE THE MISSION!

I finished the drawing of our family!
my crazy comp! hahaha