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

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