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 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 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 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. :)

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