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!

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