Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 55: "I showed them pictures of my family, and like always, they asked me if my dad was a movie star."

Lunes, 20 Abril 2015
     We went on a doctor hunt this morning.  We went to so many clinics, and every time we showed up to one, the doctor wasn't seeing patients.  All I needed was for a doctor to look inside of my ear and see if the entire infection was gone.  My ear feels great!  We finally found a doctor and she was so nice. She told me that all was well and prescribed me some pills to help with my hurting stomach.
     After that, we went to the mission office to report about my health.  President Williams was there. It was great to see him.
     Then we went to the Tottus to buy some things and ended up buying some pizza for lunch.  It wasn't very good. :(  I miss American Pizza.  After lunch, we walked around for a bit and ended up running into Elder Brunis and Elder Olsen.  They were eating lunch, so we bought some cake and sat down and visited with them.  It was fun to talk with them.
     After eating our cake, we went to look for a watch to buy.  We ran into the Patriarch and he was so excited to show us his official paper license that states that he is a Patriarch.  He was really nice and helped us find a watch for Hna McGinnis.
     We found a taxi, with the help of some English speaking Peruvians, and headed home to Pomalca. When we got back, the entire city of Pomalca was without electricity.  We couldn't write home until the power came back on, so we were pretty late in writing.
     We did some visiting and then went to dinner.  On our way home, we found Hermes sitting outside enjoying some fresh air.  He told us that he and Carlota had a Family Home Evening together, just the two of them.  He said that they sang a hymn, read the scriptures and shared some thoughts. It brightened my spirit to hear that. :)  Then all I could do was picture me and my husband doing the same the beginning of our marriage and also at the end of our mortal lives.  I love it.

Martes, 21 Abril 2015
     In the morning, we headed to a part of Pomalca called El Chorro, to visit a less active family, the familia Soplapuco.  When we showed up, they said that just last night they were talking about how they were feeling like God was abandoning them...and then we showed up.  They told us that we were an answer to their prayers.  I love being a missionary, and following the spirit.  I also love that that all members can do the same...everyone can follow the spirit and be an answer to somebody's prayers.
     In the afternoon, we went to San Antonio.  We picked up Betsi, a return missionary, to go teaching with us.   She has been home for 3 weeks now.  We went and visited Eric, who is a friend of Juan Carlos (17 yrs).  It was a really good lesson, and Eric is so excited to be baptized.  Juan Carlos wants to be baptized, too, so we told him that we would have to teach his family first.  He agreed.  He told us that his family almost got baptized a few years ago, but then something happened, and they didn't get baptized.  Maybe now will be there time. :)
    Later in the night, we visited with the familia Isique Garcia.  We sang a hymn together by candle light.  Then Pedro told us a story about his dad.  He said, "My dad came home from work and his arms were full of things, when all of sudden, something exploded and wetness got all over us. It was beer.  My mom asked my dad why he had beer, and he told her that he was going to drink it.  Then my mom said, 'Well, God is showing you that you don't drink anymore- that is a sign.'" And then Pedro said, "I told my dad that when people invite him to drink, to not say yes.  Say NO, I DON'T DRINK...or just say you are busy."  haha  I love this family.

Miercoles, 22 Abril 2015
     This morning we were given homemade yogurt.  It was really good.  Nothing really special happened today, but there were a few funny things.
     We went and visited with the familia Espinoza.  It ended up only being Diana (mom) and Enrique (youngest son).  During our visit, Enrique covered my arm with stickers.  I looked like I had a tattoo sleeve on my arm.  It was quite the look. hahaha

     Then we went to visit with Graciela.  She is such a hoot.  We taught her about the Ten Commandments.  All was well until we reached #6, Thou shalt not kill.  She looked at us and said in a very serious voice, "That is so hard."  Hna McGinnis responded, "Well, it is super important that you don't kill, hermana."  I almost busted up laughing.  Then we got to #8, Thou shalt not steal, Graciela got all fired up and started ranting about how she can't believe that people could do such an awful thing, as stealing.  Killing doesn't matter, but stealing on the other hand....haha....she keeps things interesting here in Pomalca. :)

Jueves, 23 Abril 2015
     This morning in our district meeting, I was asked to teach one of the classes.  I taught about stress and how we can deal with it while we are in the mission.  We met the new district members, Elder Coca (from Bolivia) and Elder Epperson (Louisiana).  They are really cool!
     Today we visited with Fany and Jade.  We were talking about the importance of going to church. She started to tell us about some problems that she has with some of the members in the ward, so she won't go into classes if they are there.  It breaks my heart when people stop coming to church because of grudges and offenses.  The entire situation is ridiculous.  This is exactly what Satan wants....Don't give into it!!
     Our last cita of the night was with Judith, Blanca and Francis.  Francis sent in his mission papers! I was so happy to hear that!  We read Alma 22 with them, and the spirit was strong.  It was awesome. At the end, Francis begged us to come back as soon as we could, because he feels the spirit really strong when we explain the scriptures to him.
     We went to dinner and then to the ward mission night activity.  We watched two videos.  One was about agency and the other one was about the ten virgins.  They were really good.  After it was over, we helped serve the refreshments (soda y crackers).
     We went home and planned.  Then we talked about how sad it is that people hurt other people's feelings so much, that people quit coming to church over it.  People need to try harder to love one another and people need to stop being offended so easily.  If only we could all just be perfect! ;)

Viernes, 24 Abril 2015
     This morning, we had weekly planning.  As sister leaders, we have to schedule a work plan of when to do intercambios with the other hermanas.  So after lunch, we went to an internet place so we could print out a calendar of our work plan.  When we got to the internet place, the zone leaders, Elder Brunis y Elder Epperson, were there printing up their plans, too.  We talked and joked with them for a bit and then left.
     We went home, so we could get our things and to pick up Bertha (mother of our pensionista, Cecilia).  Bertha introduced us to her cousin named Elsa.  Elsa did most of the talking....
     Then we headed to San Antonio to visit a member.  Turns out that this member wants to start going to different church....awkward.....
     Then we went to visit Erick and his mom, Mary.  We had a great lesson with them and then started planning his baptism.  When we asked him if he had a favorite hymn, he said really strongly, "NO." We apologized for asking, and then he giggled and said that he thinks that all the hymns are nice, he just doesn't like to sing.  haha  We planned quite a bit of his baptism program before we had to leave.
     Then we went to visit with the familia Isique Garcia.  We ate dinner with them (bread and cheese) and then went to the Stake President's house for FHE, who is their next door neighbor.  We watched a video about Joseph Smith's experience and then talked about it.  Since it was getting late, we tried to excuse ourselves, when we were told that we couldn't leave until we helped serve the refreshments. We quickly handed out cups of Inca Kola and packages of crackers to everyone, and then hurried to catch a moto.
     We went to dinner (broccoli and corn),  and then went home to plan and got ready for bed.

Sabado, 25 Abril 2015
     We ran into Elsa this morning and she asked us if we could help walk her to her house. (she walks with a cane)  Once we got to her house, she invited us inside.  We talked and shared a message with her.  When it was time to go, she wouldn't stop hugging me, and she kept saying, "Please don't abandon me."  I told her that we loved her and would come back on Martes to visit again.
     Later, we visited with the familia Isique Garcia.  They told us that they had all been having really weird things happening in their lives, like strange dreams and strong temptations.  They were feeling a little down about it all.  We shared Helaman 5:12 with them.  By the time we left, they were all feeling better.
     We visited with Antero's family next.  Antero was in the hospital, so we just talked to his nieces and friends that were at this house.  The girls wanted us to sing to them.  We sang I am a Child of God in English and then in Spanish.  They loved it, and ended up putting it on YouTube.  After we sang, we taught them about the Plan of Salvation.  We had church music on in the was just like in the movies. :)
     Then we went to visit the familia Espinoza.  Only Diana and Enrique were there.  We taught them about families and showed them pictures of our families.  Like always, they asked me if my dad was a movie star. :)
     After that, we visited a few more people and then went to visit Hermes and Carlota.  We talked about Alma 24- about burying your weapons of war.  Hna McGinnis shared about an activity that she participated in at a Youth Conference.  She said that they compared the weapons of war to sin.  They had every youth write down a sin that they needed to bury, and then they put the paper in a hole and buried it.  Hna McGinnis said it was a very powerful and motivating experience.  I want to do it. Maybe for a P-Day activity. :)
     We went home (upstairs) and planned for tomorrow.  We showered and got ready for bed.  We were so physically exhausted.  We have been working crazy hard this week.

P.S. We saw a huge pig today!  It took three men to get that porker into the moto and it just screamed and screamed!   Everyone was outside watching it happen.  hahahaha

Domingo, 26 Abril 2015
     At church when I left Sunday School class, Clara Leyton was waiting outside for me.  It was such a surprise!  She told me to tell my family hi! "Hi!"  :)
     After church, we went to lunch.  We were given a huge bowl of Chaufa (Chinese rice), a huge chunk of watermelon, an orange, a cup of jello and a huge glass of melon juice.  Whenever we eat with members, Hna McGinnis brings a plastic bag, so she can put some of the food into it....well she forgot it today...but the best part was that she had her backpack sitting on her lap, and the entire meal, she was eating some and then putting some into her backpack pocket.  I ate all of my food and I almost died!  I felt like death...but the image of Hna McGinnis scooping food into her backpack made me laugh and kept me alive!  It was hilarious.  Luckily the lady who fed us lunch didn't come in until we were done eating.
     Since I was feeling sick, we went back to our cuarto, so I could rest for a bit before our church meetings started.
     Ward Council was pretty intense this time.  Here in Pomalca, they have a problem with the members ward hopping between the two wards and our bishop is sick of it.  He got up and said, "We are going to start the process of getting people to attend their own wards....and to do that, we will not give callings to those who are attending the wrong ward, and  they will not be able to receive temple recommends either."  Holy Cow!  Well, our church is a church of order and when the members break the limits, they are not following the order of God.  We are probably going to see a lot of inactivity because of this, but they need to try and regain order again.
     We had a good week.  We visited tons of people and we are exhausted! In a good way :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Week 54: FELIZ UN ANO!

Lunes, 13 Abril  2015
     After studies today we went out to buy some more cleaning supplies.  When we got home, we cleaned like mad.  After cleaning, we showered and went out to buy lunch.  We bought ourselves yogurt with cereal.  For dessert, and to help celebrate our one year mark in the mission, we bought milk and Oreo cookies. The milk here is different, so it tasted a little weird, but it was still good.

Once we finished eating, I felt a little sick, so I went and laid down on the couch.  After a bit, we went to internet.  I got to talk with my Mommy and it was so nice to talk with her!
     After internet, we headed to Chiclayo so I could see a doctor because my ear is still hurting. When we got there, we had to wait for awhile...and then when the doctor looked at my ear, he didn't believe me that my ear was hurting because he said that the infection is gone.  I told him that I wasn't able to sleep a blink last night because my ear was hurting so bad.  He said he would give me some more pills in hopes that it will help....then he offered to give me shot...and when I looked at my arm, he shook his head and motioned toward his behind...what?  A butt shot?  Yeah. No.  He saw the look of terror on my face and giggled and said, "Okay, just pills." haha
     We left and headed home.  As we were waiting for a moto taxi, I saw Noemi, from Motupe, riding in a combi.  We stared at each other for a second and then she started yelling, "Hermana!  Hermana!" I waved at her, and then the combi drove away.  It was fun to see her.
     Once we got back to Pomalca, we taught Carlota, Hermes and their son Jesus.  Jesus had been drinking, but he listened pretty well and even answered some questions.  After the lesson, we stayed to eat some food with them, and then Jesus started flirting with us.  We left, and decided that we better pass this family off to the Elders. :)  When we called the Elders about teaching them, they were so excited because Hermes wants to get baptized soon.  You're welcome Elders.  haha
     We planned, got ready for bed and got stuff ready for intercambios that we will be doing tomorrow with the sister missionaries in Las Delicias. (Hna Mejia and Hna Hernandes).  Las Delicias is in Pomalca, but in a different area and a different ward.

Martes, 14  Abril del 2015
     Right before lunch, we started intercambios with the hermanas in Las Delicias.  I went to Las Delicias with Hna Mejia.  She is a cool girl.  We had some hilarious visits.
     The first lady was a less active member.  When we got to her house, she was about to sit down and eat lunch, but she let us in and while we were sharing a message, we heard a noise by the kitchen table.  When we all turned to look towards the table, we saw a cat up on the table eating this lady's food.  The lady jumped up and scared the cat away.  We continued to teach, and then the cat came back out.  The lady pulled her flip flop off of her foot and began to chase after the cat.  Hna Mejia told her not to chase the cat, and the lady looked at her and said, "But I want to hit it!" hahaha
     Our last cita was with a woman named America.  She has 3 kids, two boys and one girl.  She told us about her pregnancies and doctor experiences.  She told us that when she was pregnant with her boys, the doctors told her that she was having a girl each time, and then when she was pregnant with her girl, they told her she was having a boy.  The way she told the story was so hilarious.  We busted up laughing so hard!
     After that lesson, my ear was hurting, so we headed back to the cuarto so I could take some pain pills, and to call Hna Williams. Hna Williams was worried about me and told me to come into Chiclayo right then and see a doctor.  So we headed into Chiclayo around 7:30pm.  When we got there, Elder Casas and Elder Allgaier helped us get into see Doctor Julio, who is a member. Unforturnatly, Dr. Julio doesn't know much about ears. He checked me out, but said he wasn't able to help me, so he set up a cita for me to see an ear doctor tomorrow.
     We went back to Pomalca and had dinner.  We ate pancakes and manjar. :)  Then we went back to the cuarto and talked until it was time for bed.

Miercoles, 15 Abril 2015
     We ended intercambios at 9:30am.  Then Hna McGinnis and I headed into Chiclayo for my doctor appointment.  We got to see the doctor at 11:30am, and apparently while the doctor was looking at my ear, I passed out.  The next thing I know, was that I was laying on a table with tons of people gathered around me.  They put me in a wheelchair and told me that I needed to rest for the rest of this day.  Dr. Julio gave us a ride to the mission office.  I was feeling really weak and sick, so President Williams wanted to give me a blessing.  The blessing was so beautiful, strong and powerful. I walked away from it feeling completely lifted spiritually.  I love President Williams and Hna Williams.  I know I couldn't have anyone better than them to help me.  Even though I left the office still feeling sick, I felt really happy, too.
     Once we got home, we rested for the rest of the day.  We ate lunch and dinner in our cuarto.  Hna McGinnis is the the best.  She has taken care of me through all of this.  She has loved me and made me feel special.  She is my best friend.  I am so blessed to have her with me through this trial of my faith. She has kept me strong and faithful.  She has kept me happy and uplifted.  She is amazing!

     Hna McGinnis told me about what happened Tuesday when I was gone.  She told me that Royer told them a story about a job he had been asked to do.  There is this house on top of a mountain that had a huge wasp nest.  Anytime any of the workers tried to get it down, they would always come back with hundreds of bites and stings, and still not get the nest knocked down.  Well, Royer was the next worker in line to try.  Before he climbed the ladder, he said that he said a prayer, that God would protect him and help him complete this job.  He went up the ladder and brought down the nest and didn't even have one little scratch on himself.  Everyone asked him how he did it.  He said, "I prayed...and it helps that I am changing my life to join His church."  The other workers asked him what church, and he said, "The Mormon church."  They started to tease him, and he said, "I am getting baptized on the 9th of May and it will be one of the best decisions of my life."  I love him.
     At 10:30am, we had a district meeting.  It went until 1:00pm.

Our district:
Back: Elder Hinostroza, Elder Lewis, Elder Brunis, Elder Olsen
Front:  Hna McGinnis, Hna Dodson, Hna Mejia, Hna Hernandez

"I laughed forever about this picture because the elders are so tall and so short!"
     Then we had lunch and rested because I wasn't feeling very good.  When I felt a little better, we went out and taught Eric.  He is going to get baptized on the 16th of Mayo.  He is 18 years old and has been listening to the missionaries for years.  He has always gone to church every Sunday, but never wanted to get baptized until recently.  As we were teaching him, he shared something very special with us.  He told us that earlier, he didn't want to get baptized when he was invited, because he had doubts, but now he doesn't have any doubts.  He said that it feels right.  He said, "If I could go back to those years and say yes to baptism when the Elders asked me, I I could have had the blessings that I know I'm missing out on."  At the end of the lesson, he said, "I know that now is my time.  I am ready to be baptized."
     Then we went and visited with the familia Isique Garcia.  I asked Royer about his new job, and he told me that he works in construction.  I asked him if he has to work on Sundays, and he said, "Heavens no.  I told them, I don't work Sundays."  He is the greatest!
     Then we left.  Royer walked with us to find a moto.  After we found one, Royer paid for our ride. They hardly have enough for themselves.  He and his family are going to receive so many blessings for their sacrifices for us.

Viernes, 17 Abril 2015
     We had our weekly planning and by the end, we were both feeling really sick.  We decided to nap. We still felt gross when we woke up, so we just stayed in for the whole day.

Sabado, 18 Abril 2015
     This morning, Hna McGinnis was feeling really sick, so we were in the cuarto for a good portion of the day.  I was feeling pretty good until I ate lunch... then I started feeling sick again.  We just rested and studied.  I finished reading Mosiah.
     When we were both feeling a little better, we went to our citas.  We met up with Bishop Iman at Eric's house, but no one could listen to us.  Bishop Iman left to go visit some other families and said that he would meet up with us a little later to visit with the familia Isique Garcia.
     At 6:30pm, we met at the familia Isique Garcia's house.  I wasn't feeling very good at the beginning, but then I started to feel a little better.  We taught them about the Law of Chastity. It went really well.  Bishop Iman was such a great person to be with during that lesson.  He bore a strong testimony about the strength of family prayer and scripture reading, and that they work as weapons against the temptations from Satan.
     At the end of the lesson, Royer asked the Bishop if he could give baby Moises a blessing of health.  We hadn't taught Royer about blessings yet, so it was neat to know and feel that Royer believed that the Bishop had the power to bless his son.  I can't wait to teach Royer more about the power of the Priesthood, and that he will be receiving the Priesthood after he is baptized.  It will be such a beautiful day to see him and his sons as active Priesthood holders.  I love the familia Isique Garcia.

Domingo, 19 Abril 2015
     I led the music again today.  haha  I am always sitting down in the congregation, nice and cozy, when over the pulpit they thank me for my willingness to lead the music....that is how they ask people to do things here.  hahaha
     Unfortunately, none of our investigators came to church today.
     After church, we went home to fill out our paper work for ward council, and then we went to lunch. The members who fed us today own a huge restaurant with a pool in front.  It  kind of looks like a Cherry Hill water park, but it's in the middle of a sugar cane field.  :)
     After lunch, we went out teaching.  We didn't have much luck, but we found a lady named Roxanna and her daughter Fatima. (15 yrs)  Fatima is attending church in the other ward and really wants to be baptized, but she knows that she can't be baptized until she is 18 years old, or unless her parents gets baptized....and Roxanna told us that she won't get Fatima will just have to wait. We talked to them for a while and they seemed to really enjoy it.  By the end, they said that they couldn't wait to hear more. :)
     We also visited Judith and Santos and their son, Francis.  Francis is preparing to serve a mission. Blanca (the mom of Judith) and Cruz (the sister of Judith) joined us for the lesson as well.  We read 3 Nephi 11, which is about the coming of Christ.  It was an amazing lesson.  The spirit was so strong and everyone was feeling it.
     Our plan with Judith and Santos is to just read the Book of Mormon with them, until they feel it in their hearts that it is true and know that they want to get baptized.  After tonight's lesson, we feel that they will feel it sooner than later. :)
     After several other visits we went home.  At 9:56pm, we got the call with the transfer information. Well....WE GET TO STAY TOGETHER!  We are very excited that we get to be together for another 6 weeks, but we are sad because Elder Olsen (zone leader) and Elder Lewis have transfers. :(

     Something that I really loved from this week, is the power of the scriptures.  The Book of Mormon is true and it is POWERFUL. Read it.  Pray about it everytime.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 53: "Hna Dodson, are you baptized?" I smiled and said, "Yes." And then Pedro said, "I knew it."

Lunes, 6 de Abril del 2015        FELIZ CUMPLEANOS ANDY!
     We had our normal study at 10 am and then we headed to Chiclayo (about a 15 minute ride).  We went to Chiclayo because I had a doctor appointment to check out my ear.  We went to the Tottus first and did our shopping.  I bought some really cute shoes!  Then we bought ourselves some chocolate cake. :)  I still don't understand why I am so fat? :)  We also bought ourselves a toilet seat. Be proud.
     After shopping, we went to internet and it was fun to see pictures from Easter and also about everyone's thoughts about conference.
     Then we went to my doctor appointment at 2:00pm.  They told us that the doctor wouldn't be in until we left and went searching for a souvenir shop.  We found a huge one with lots of fun things.  I bought some sweaters, Peruvian made shoes, two shirts (for my Gma and Gpa Pearson), a table runner, a cool notebook and some cool bags.
     After shopping, we headed back to the doctor's office.  Turns out that the doctor wasn't even coming in today, but he would be back tomorrow from we left and went back to Pomalca.  My ear was killing me, so we went back to our cuarto and rested. :(    
    We ate dinner at 8:30 pm, planned for tomorrow and talked until bedtime.

Martes, 7 de Abril del 2015    1 YEAR SINCE BEING SET APART AS A MISSIONARY!
     This morning at 9 am we had a sister leader meeting with Hna Williams.  Today she talked to us about studying and using the scriptures, and how we can teach the other missionaries how to study. Hna Williams is so amazing.  She has such a strong testimony of the scriptures and even in her broken Spanish, the spirit is able to penetrate our hearts.  She and President Williams take such good care of me, and are always checking up on me.  They are great!
     At 10am, we started our leader meeting with President Williams.  I love listening to him.  He knows how to teach and keep us all interested.  He talked about how we must be wise when inviting people to baptism.  He gave us an example: "When you get home from the mission, you are going to go on dates and after a couple dates, you are not going to ask her to marry you without fully knowing what she was going to say"....then he said, "When I asked my wife to marry me, I KNEW she would say yes"....and then he stepped back and put his arms out and looked himself up and down, like he was hot was so funny! He does lots of funny things like that.  I love how funny he is, but that he can still teach with the spirit.
     For lunch, we had hamburgers from Chili's Restaurant! :)
     I got a package from my family.  It had a cute outfit, some bunny ears and some Easter candy.  Thank you!!

wearing my new shirt and bunny ears
     At 4:00pm, we went to the doctor's office.  When we got there, they told us that he would be in at 5:30pm.  We set up a cita with the doctor for 5:30pm and then we went to find a place to get our hair cut.  As we were walking back to the doctor's, we were both craving milkshakes, so we stopped into a restaurant called Kango, and bought an Oreo shake to share.
     We went back to the doctor, and got called back at 6:00pm.  He looked in my ear and told me that I have an ear infection.  He gave me some medicine.  I hope it works.
     We got back to Pomalca late.  We ate dinner at 8:30pm.  We had corn on the cob and broccoli.  It was the best dinner ever!
     By the time we got back to our cuarto, we were dying of sleepiness.  We planned and got ready for bed.  We ended up singing some hymns together.  We sang "Abide With Me Tis Eventide" and "Oh, My Father".

Miercoles, 8 de Abril del 2015  1 YEAR SINCE LEAVING MY HOME!!!!
     We had a really good day today.  We taught a lot of people and we saw many simple miracles.
First miracle, was when we were in San Antonio teaching Jose and Teodora their last lesson before their baptisms on Saturday.  We taught them about tithing and fasting.  It was a powerful and very spiritual lesson.  The best part was when Hno Gaspar, son- in- law of Teodora and Jose, was talking about members who don't want to fast and pay tithing....and Jose, a man who doesn't have a lot of words, said in a serious voice, "They don't have faith.  It is a law of faith."  It was amazing!
     Second miracle was with the familia Isique Garcia.  They were waiting outside the house and they were so excited to hear and see us.  This family is amazing! This family has been struggling with a lot of things lately, but they are staying strong.  They said, "Ever since we started listening to you and we accepted it, we haven't had to work on this or that and so on...and hermanas, we know it is true.  We are sticking with it, no matter what happens." They are so prepared.  Anyways, when we were teaching them, Pedro asked if Moises (the 1 yr old) would get baptized with them on the 9th of May...and sadly we had to break the news that neither he (Pedro) or Moises could be baptized right now.  Pedro started to cry.  So we explained that in August, when he turns eight years old, he could get baptized.  He didn't like our answer, but by the end of the night, he "forgave" us and told us that he loved us.
     Then we went to dinner, went home and planned.

Jueves, 9 de Abril del 2015   FELIZ 1 YEAR OF MY CALL DATE
     This morning we did weekly planning and at 3:00pm we headed to interviews with President and Sister Williams.  I love the Williams so much.  I am very blessed to have such wonderful people to lead me in my mission.  They are so spiritual, strong and loving.
     Hermana Williams is my mom away from home.  She hugs me, and tells me she is lucky to have me as a missionary.  She always has wonderful advice for the mission and life.  President Williams reminds me of my dad, serious and funny. :)
     Later, we went out teaching.  At 7:00pm, we headed to an activity at the church.  The familia Isique Garcia were there waiting.  I talked with them and showed them some pictures of my family. They fell in love with my family... and every day that I see this family Isique Garcia, I fall in love with them more and more.

Viernes, 10 de Abril del 2015
     This morning we had a zone meeting, and being sister leaders, we helped the zone leaders teach at the meeting.  I really enjoy being a sister leader!  After the meeting, we did intercambios (exchanges).  I headed to Tuman with Hna Yaulli (Arequipa, Peru).  She was one of the hermanas from when I had my bad foot and we would stay in her cuarto in Chiclayo...she is really cool.  She is 33 years old and has an amazing testimony of the church and she became a convert to the church when she was 28 years old.
     We didn't find a whole lot of people to visit, but what was fun was that we ended up being accompanied by twins, Stephanie and Carol.  They are 19 years old and are preparing to leave on a mission.  They are cool girls.
      P.S.  I ate cuy (guinea pig) for lunch...not just the meat, but straight up full body cuy. hahaha I ate it....well most of it. :)

Sabado, 11 de Abril del 2015
     We ended the intercambios around 9:45am.  Hna McGinnis told me that while she was on intercambios with Hna Villa (Mexico), they went to visit the familia Isique Garcia and that they were very confused as to why I wasn't there.  Hna McGinnis explained to them what was going on, and they were very relieved that I was not "leaving". :)
     We got back to Pomalca around 10:30am and then at 11:00am, we headed to the church to clean and fill the baptismal font.  While we were cleaning in our nice clean church clothes, two men from the other ward (Las Delicias) showed up to clean the church building.  They offered to finish cleaning and filling the font.  :) So we left and went home to do language study.
     Then we went to lunch with a member.  Whenever we eat with members, they always give us A LOT of food, so we bring little bags to put our food in to sneak it out, so that we don't die from eating so much.  Well, we usually eat alone, but not today.  She came and joined us after giving us FOUR full plates of food.  We ate it all and left feeling barely alive.
     After lunch, we headed to the elder's cuarto to pick up baptismal clothing and then we headed to the church.  We were helping get everything ready for Jose and Teodora.  At 3:00pm they showed up and changed into their baptismal clothing.  We took pictures with them and then we started the ceremony.  It was a very nice service.

Jose y Teodora

The family on the far right side are the familia Isique Garcia.
Maria and Pedro on the back with
Maladiege, Pedro and Moises in the front.
     The best part was when the father of our pensionista, Silberio, who was going to baptize Jose, leaned over to Jose as they were walking to the font and said, "Today, you are going to heaven."  Jose looked concerned, especially because that phrase could be taken as a threat of murder, since Silberio would be pushing him under water in just a few minutes.  Hna McGinnis and I busted up laughing.  I love old people.
     The familia Isique Garcia showed up to the baptism, and they loved it.  During the baptism, I was sitting next to Pedro and as people were talking to his family about their baptismal date, Pedro leaned over to me and asked, "Hna Dodson, are you baptized?"  I smiled at him and said, "Yes."  And then he said, "I knew it." :)  Then with a little sad puppy face, Pedro then asked me, "It's true that I will have to wait until August to get baptized, huh?"  I told him, "Yes.  But guess what?  I had to wait until I was eight years old to get baptized, too....and I turned eight in October and then I had to wait until November to get baptized."  Pedro said, "Wow, you got baptized when you were eight, too? I thought maybe you were old when you got baptized."
     After the baptism, I talked with Maria and Royer for a bit and then we all left.  As we watched the familia Isique Garcia leave, walking down the road together, it was such a beautiful scene.  The best part was when they turned around and waved at us.  I love their family.

familia Isique Garcia
     In the nighttime, we were talking in our cuarto after planning and Hna McGinnis shared Alma 26 with me, and applied it to us as missionaries leaving the States to come to Peru to save our Peruana brethren.

Domingo, 12 de Abril del 2015
     At church, I led the music again....haha.  After church, we went home and studied and then went to lunch at Alaska and Gaspar's house.  Teodora was there, too, so we talked with her.  She is so happy and content.  She is so adorable.
     After lunch, we went out visiting, but not very many people could talk with us because they were leaving, so we set new citas and went to the next house.
     At 4:53pm, as we were leaving San Antonio, the familia Isique Garcia were calling to us because they had a reference for us.  Maria's sister, Magdalena, was at their house and they wanted her to hear our message.  They were so excited.  They were just glowing.  Maria kept saying, "Magdelena, these are my little dolls who I love so dearly." I love her.
     Afterwards, we were walking and trying to find a moto to take us to the church for our meetings...but we never found one.  So we ended up being late, but luckily here in Peru, the meeting started late, so we what actually happened was that we were early! :)
     We were in meetings from 5:00- 8:00pm.  Then at 8:00pm, we went to dinner.  We had lasagna.  It was so good.
     Then we went home and had some hot chocolate that Hna McGinnis had received from home.  I love Swiss Miss hot chocolate, so if you want to send some, I won't complain. :)
     We planned on the floor and then got ready for bed.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 52: "I like listening to the Mormon chicas because they are sincere and help me to understand."

Lunes, 30 de Marzo del 2015
     Just another normal P-Day.  We made ourselves causa limena for lunch and then we went to internet.  I watched the video "He Lives" on  It is so good.

     After internet, we went back to the cuarto and we rested until it was time to go.  At 6:00pm, we went to teach a couple named Manuel and Berbelina, but they weren't home, so we contacted some people instead.  At 7:00pm, we visited Hermes and Carlota.  Hermes was really into the topic of General Conference.  He said that he can't wait to go and watch it.  He also told us about his studies about the Salt Lake Temple and eternal families.  The entire time that he was speaking, he was smiling like crazy. :)  By the end of the lesson we asked him how his studies in the Book of Mormon were going, and he smiled and said, "Really well.  Every time I read, I feel like I am there with Nefi in the desert."  At the end of the night, Hermes offered the closing prayer and it was so powerful.  I haven't ever heard Hermes pray was amazing.  I was very impressed.  He is so ready to get baptized, but there are a few family Catholic traditions that he is having a hard time giving up, but I know that it will come.  They fed us some chicken salad sandwiches before we left to go to dinner, which ended up being chicken salad sandwiches.  haha
     We called the hermanas in Patapo to let them know that we would be coming to visit them on Wednesday to to intercambios with them.  I get to go to Patapo! :)

Martes, 31 de Marzo del 2015
     Today started out as an unsuccessful day, but every hour got better and better.  The best hour was at 6:30pm!  We were in San Antonio and we were visiting Royer and Maria.  We re-explained about prophets and the apostasy.  When we got done explaining the fall of the church, Royer cut me off and said, "The other day I was waiting at the bank, when a man from another church started talking to me. He asked me what my religion was, and I told him that I was visiting the Mormon church right now, and that two chicas were visiting me and my senora.  The man was appalled and whipped out his Bible and started throwing info at me. I cut him off and told him that I like listening to the Mormon chicas because they are sincere and help me to understand.  They don't just throw info at me."  Then he looked us in the eyes and said, "Senoritas...I feel something different.  I feel good inside.  I feel like I am going to know something."  We talked about his feelings and continued on with our lesson. Hna McGinnis shared James 1:5 and then I shared the First Vision.  The spirit exploded as I shared the words of Joseph Smith.  We were sitting in a humble house with 2 candles lit and 8 people gathered around us in a small dirt walled home.  Maria was nodding her head and Royer had tears in his eyes. We shared a moment of silence, and then I continued by quoting Joseph Smith when he saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  Royer just stared straight ahead and then said, "I think I are telling me that Joseph had a lot of faith and then God and Jesus Christ appeared to him?"  Me: "That is exactly what I am telling you."  Royer: "Well, I feel something (touching his chest) and I think I know what I was missing."  Me:  "We have another invitation for you both. When you both ask God to confirm in your heart that what you are feeling is true, will you get baptized?" They both accepted!  Then Hna McGinnis said, "We like to work with goals, so will you prepare to be baptized by May 9th?"  Royer then said, "Can't it be sooner than that?  I need to join the church." Then we both said, "We still have some things that we need to teach you, so if we are able to teach you these things earlier, and you are ready, we can move your baptism date to an earlier time."  Royer held out his hand for a handshake and said, "I promise."  Then Maria said, "If he gets baptized too."  I know that if you were in that room with us, you would have seen me and Sister McGinnis glowing with happiness.  The spirit was so strong and it got even stronger when Royer decided to share another experience with us.  He said, "The day after your first visit with us (March 26), I felt something special, and well my brother invited me to drink some alcohol with him- and usually I would go and drink, but that day I told him that I just wanted soda.  That same night, my brother talked me into having some alcohol, but when I took one sip, I felt like I was going to die.  I went home and slept off the nausea that I felt.  I know that thanks to the spirit of God and the message that you brought us, that I am becoming a better person."
     I can't believe any of this.  Today was his second lesson, and we haven't even taught him about the Word of Wisdom!  He is already ready! :)
     Before we left, we gave each of them their own copy of the Book of Mormon, and they were so excited to start reading it.
     As we were getting ready to leave, Royer invited us to eat some bread and meat with them.  They barely have enough for their own family.  It was the yummiest food I have ever tasted, and I know it was because they gave it to us out of pure love.  They will be blessed for this service they offered us.
     I love this church.  I know the spirit of God touches the hearts of men who are humble and ready to follow.  I know I am in the truth.  I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today.
     I am filled with JOY.  It is spilling out of me.  I just need to dance and sing!

Miercoles, 1 de Abril del 2015     HAPPY APRIL FOOL'S DAY!
     At 11:00am, I was in Patapo and everyone welcomed me back!  I did intercambios with Hna Aranguren.  At 12:00pm, we went to lunch and everyone at the Dulceria was so excited to see me. Rossana gave us ice cream cones!  Hna Aranguren doesn't know a lot of people here in Patapo, because Hna Furness was sick a lot before she left, so we skipped language study so that I could show her some houses of people that Hna Furness and I visited when we were companions.  We ended up visiting Enrique and Shirley, Francisca and her husband Juan, Yohana and her kiddies, and Sharon and her aunt!  They were all so excited to see me again, and were asking me if I was back to stay.  They said that they miss me. I told them to give the new hermanas a chance, because they are great missionaries.
     We taught some people and Hna Aranguren is an amazing teacher and a really good missionary!
     It was really nice to see everyone in Patapo, but the entire time I couldn't help but miss Pomalca!

Jueves, 2 Abril del 2015
     Well, I didn't sleep hardly at all because my ear was hurting me so bad.  We got back with our original companions at 9:00am and then Hna McGinnis and I went back to Pomalca.  We had a district meeting.  I got a lot of cards from my mommy.  I am so lucky to have her as my Mom.  All the missionaries are jealous. haha  I also got a painting from Elder Escobar, from Bolivia.  He painted me a picture from my favorite movie, Howl's Moving Castle.  (It's his favorite movie, too!)  I was so excited! :)
    After the meeting, we went to lunch and then my ear started to hurt again, so Elder Hinostroza (district leader) and his companion, Elder Lewis, gave me a blessing.  My ear was hurting so bad, that we stayed in all day long.  I rested and read old General Conference magazines, to prepare myself for Conference.  I can't believe Conference is in just a couple of days!  The prophet is going to speak to us!
     P.S.  During intercambios (on April Fool's Day), Hna McGinnis was at the pension, and when she showed up with Hna Walker, Jamie (husband of Cecilia) asked her where I was.  Hna McGinnis responded that I had emergency transfers to Jaen.  Jamie freaked out and ran out of the room before Hna McGinnis could tell him that she was just joking.  So when I returned in the afternoon and he saw me, he was super surprised!  haha

Viernes, 3 de Abril del 2015
     This morning, I had an amazing shower!  Hna Walker had fixed our shower head, so now the water pressure was awesome and we have HOT water!  Yay!  I am living the life!
     We had our weekly planning and then we went out teaching.  We taught a few families and then at 6:30pm, we went to teach Royer and Maria.  They are getting more and more excited every day. They are reading the Book of Mormon and their sons are wanting to read with them.
     We saw many miracles today, which puts us more in debt to our Father in Heaven.
     When we finally got home, we planned and then we got so excited because tomorrow is General Conference!  It feels like Christmas Eve!

Sabado, 4 de Abril del 2015
     We showed up at the chapel and almost all of the missionaries in the zone were waiting outside.  I guess the alarm on the church got turned on and the password to shut it off had been changed and so no one knew how to turn it off.  It went off for over an hour, from 10:00-11:05am.  Luckily, Conference didn't start until 11:00am!  We ended up getting to watch Conference in English, in a classroom!  There were 3 Sisters, including me, and 6 Elders.  It was so nice to be able to watch and listen in English!
     After the first session, we went to lunch.  We ate an omelette with sting ray.  haha  It was really good.  At 2:30pm, we went and picked some people up and then head to the afternoon session.  There was a talk by Elder Michael T. Ringwood, about how members of the church should serve without guile.  Every word that he shared reminded me of my mom.  I couldn't believe it!  My mom is such a great example to me, in magnifying callings and more.
     I learned so much from Conference.  Here are some of my favorite sayings:
     "Two essential ingredients to a successful marriage are a cookie and a kiss."  Elder Packer
     "It's a priority to live what you believe."  Elder Oaks
     "The Islamic leader quoted 2 full paragraphs from the Family Proclamation." Elder Perry
     "I can teach you to dance, but you have to hear the music."  Elder Anderson  I loved this talk!!  
After the second session, we went and taught.  We visited the familia Espinoza.  We taught them about the Plan of Salvation.  Everyone loved the lesson and they thanked us for the lesson.  Cesar thanked us for helping him to put his focus back on the temple.  When we were teaching them about the Kingdoms of Glory, Cesar didn't think that he could make it to the Celestial Kingdom.  I told him that the Celestial Kingdom is a kingdom full of repented sinners, who changed their lives around. And that no matter what, God gives everyone a chance to make it to that Kingdom.  It was beautiful and when I said that, his eyes lit up, as if a light bulb went off in his mind, and he knew that he could change and that he could make it to the Celestial Kingdom. :)  It was great!
     After that, we visited Maria, the sister of Antero.  We taught her about the Plan of Salvation, too. We also watched the "He Lives" video.  We invited her to baptism, and she accepted, but doesn't want to set a date quite yet.

Domingo, 5 de Abril del 2015
     This morning we headed to the church early so we could teach Teodora and Jose and go over the baptismal questions. They did fine, but when we asked Jose if he had ever been in jail before, he looked at us and said, "Yes, because one time I was drunk and I punched a guy.  The police told me that I could either pay 2,000 soles or go to I went to jail." :)
     After that, all the English speakers went upstairs to watch General Conference.  After Conference, we went to lunch at the Relief Society President's house. (Rosario)  We ate with her, her husband and 3 daughters.  We got along great and we were laughing a lot.  After lunch, we headed back to the church for the afternoon session of Conference.  We got there 10 minutes early, but no one was there and the church was all locked up.  Everyone finally showed up at 3:00pm, so we missed the very beginning.
     After conference was over, we met with the Elders and our ward mission leader, Theo.  Then we went out teaching.  We ended up teaching a convert of Hna Reid named Rosita.  It was fun.  Then we went and visited Victoria, Anaximandro and their kids.  We taught them about families.  It was really good.
     Then we went to dinner, and then home to plan. Hna McGinnis found a great scripture that we are going to share with President Williams.  It is Doctrine and Covenants reads.....
"And let them journey together two by two, as seemeth them good, only let my servant [Sierra Dodson] and my servant [Haley McGinnis] with whom I am well pleased, be not separated until they return to their homes, and this for a wise purpose in me."

     Awesome scripture, right?!  Hopefully President Williams will get the hint.  What's another 6 months together?