Monday, March 31, 2014

Oh boy . . .

Wowzers. How do I even start this?! The last week at the CCM wasn´t too exciting. We spend a day at interpol. Spoiler: I´m officially legal in Peru! Other than that, lots of lessons and goodbyes.

My birthday was definitely one that will be hard to top! It was really hard to say goodbye to Hna Child, so that definitely wasn´t a highlight of the day. But, the first present of the day: the Cusco and Iquitos (her mission) missionaries overlapped in the airport for about 15 minutes! So I got to say goodbye to her again. Just without tears.

Flying over Cusco was incredible. The pictures on the internet make it look brown and ugly, but oh my goodness. I have never seen a place more beautiful. Beautiful mountains. Green. Perfect weather. We spent the day touring a little bit and getting to know President and Sister Harbertson. They are incredible. Sister Harbertson had a cake ready for my birthday for after dinner.  We ended the day at a hotel in Cusco. Hermana Allred was waiting for us, with a present for me in hand! She got me a nice llama sweater.

Now the exciting part...
My companion´s name is Hermana Ruiz. She is from northern Peru. Aaaaaaand she doesn´t speak any English. She wants to learn tho, so we´re both helping each other. It´s hard. SO hard. Harder and more frustrating than anything I´ve ever done or probably ever will do. Today is our first day actually in our mission. There was a bus boycott so we got to stay with Hna Allred and her companion/roommates for a couple days.  I love Hna Allred. I definitely needed those days to talk with her and figure things out. But now, Hna Ruiz and I are in Puerto Maldonado! Remember how we thought it would be nice and cool everywhere? Yeah... nope. 
I´m in the middle of the jungle for the next 12 weeks at least!! It´s kind of like Hawaii. Just without the beautiful ocean. And it´s also SUPER impoverished. And all the water is dirty and it smells bad. But other than that, yeah, it´s like Hawaii. Definitely not what I was excpeting or was prepared for. 

Overall, it´s alright. I wish I could say that I love it right now, but honestly, I don´t. I´m trying. But it´s hard when I can´t talk to my companion and the food makes me sick and I sleep in a pool of sweat. But I´m trying. I definitely have a greater relationship with the Lord right now than I ever have before, Him being the ONLY person who I can actually talk to. Patience. Faith. And a lot of prayer. Hopefully I can give you a more positive report next week...

Love you all and I miss you more than you can even imagine!

**Mom note: Before Amie left we read the blog/letter posts of Hermana Allred (see Hermana and the IIamas). Looking at her pictures helped us know what to pack and to get a feel for what it would be like there. We feel like we know her, now Amie does.

Hermana Ruiz and some alpaca

Last good bye at the airport

hogar, dulce hogar! (home, sweet home!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

One More Week

Hola familia y amigos!

This week has been the best yet at el CCM. The highlight was when a group of YSAs (Young Single Adults age 18-30) from about 20 minutes away came to visit. We stopped class and all got to go out and chat with them for a little bit. I spent the first 10 minutes or so being the only North American with two from the YSA group. We talked about our families and school and stuff like that. Nothing crazy, but it was cool to have a real conversation with no help from another English speaker. Then I got a companion. We talked a little bit more small talk then shared a little message with them. 

2 Nephi 31:20.
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
 I just shared a little bit of personal experience about being in Peru and what I'm going through right now. By the end one of the Peruvians was crying and telling us about how hard it is for her right now. She is the only member of her family who is LDS, and it really touched her heart. It was a cool experience. Made me just that more excited to go out and touch more people's lives.
What else happened this week??
There is still a weird virus or something going around. I was sick for a couple days when we first got here, but nothing since. But they're still taking crazy measures around here. The other night they made us evacuate the building around 10:30pm (after I was asleep for about 20 minutes already) so that they could spray some super intense, ummm, I actually don't know what it was. But it was strong enough to make everyboyd leave the building, sit outside for half an hour, and not go into the classrooms for at least 24 hour afterwards. But hopefully we won't have to worry about anything like that anymore.
Overally, same as any other week besides that. Lots of class and studying. Not a lot of sleep. Interesting food and lots of ups and downs.
Crazy to think I only have 6 more days here. Don't know where the time went. Both super nervous and crazy excited to get out of here. Honestly, it feels like it could be something like prison in here. Not that I know what prison feels like. But if I had to guess, this wouldn't be too far off.
Oh, and yes. I am BEYOND excited for some cooler weather. Lima is killing me right now. I can't walk outside without automatically sweating. Also, I have a missionary tan already. And also crazy shoe tans. I'm already planning to sit in the sun and even out my body as soon as I get home.

I hope you all have a great week! Two weeks actually!!! I don't get to write next Tuesday because I'll be on a plane!!!!!!
Love you all,

At the temple

Hermano Gonzalez - "Coolest teacher in the CCM"

District Map Picture

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Yo Amo Peru

Well hello again! This week has been pretty super. Started with a fantastic devotional about the purpose we have as missionaries and ended with the temple again. Not much really to report, just going to class and whatnot. Every day the same. I don't really know how to describe it really. It's long and hard and should be boring, but I'm having so much fun and enjoying {almost} every moment.
We went out on the streets for the second time on Saturday. Can I just say, the Lord has a sense of humor. There was one hermana here who I've been trying to have more patience and love for. She was my roommate until this morning and lets just say that the two of us weren't best friends. I prayed for a way to be more fond of her. Sooooo, He made us companions for the entire day... Crazy enough it worked. I still wouldn't call us best friends, but I learned a lot about her and shared some fun experiences.
Speaking of going out and knocking doors, I am still in awe at the people here. 99% of the people we stop and talk to are more than willing to listen and are excited to hear more. I have a hard time believing that we would get the same response from people in the U.S. They are just so loving and so ready to have the gospel in their lives!
Also, I understood and spoke a LOT more this time than two weeks ago! It was pretty amazing. I'm not anywhere near fluent or anything, but it blows my mind how much I already know.The spirit is a pretty cool thing if you ask me.
Side note, I learned where the ' is finally. Just thought that was worth pointing out. Only took me what, five weeks?
Holy moly, I can't believe I've been here so long. The older group left this morning, making me and my district the advanced missionaries now. AHHHH! No. I feel like I got here yesterday. The days can go by slow, but the weeks FLY BY!! I cannot believe that I only have two more weeks!!!!!
It's exciting tho!
I love and miss you all!! Until next week!

The Book of Mormon in Quechua (native Peruvian language)
. . . more Quechua

Traditional MTC map picture :)

"I'm going to miss this girl so much! But we are both so excited for our missions!"

Cusco buddy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Roller Coaster Kind of Week

The past couple days have been crazy. Lots of up and downs. Overall good, but 'Ive definitely hit some low points. Lets start with a quote...
"The trials in front of you are never as strong as the power behind you."
Somebody said that in our fast and testimony meeting on Sunday, and it couldn't have been more perfect for me. It's so easy for me to get frustrated with myself and nervous about learning Spanish and going out into the real world. I'm not saying it's easy to just let go of all that and be happy all of the time, but with the thought that we have the Lord on our side backing us up every step of the way is really comforting. Along the same lines, I had a nice talk with one of my teachers this week, Hermano Añorga. It was after I had a little breakdown about my Spanish and proselyting the other day. We have an odd number of people in our district so when we were doing one of our Spanish activities in pairs he paired himself with me and talked a little bit. Basically he just said that we have to fall and have those really hard moments in our lives in order to rise up to our greatest potential. He related it to Christ and how he had to suffer in the garden before he could finish the Atonement. I'm not saying that I'm even close to knowing what He did and how He felt, but it was a cool comparision. And now I can look forward and really start living up to my potential.
That was the lowest low AND the highest high. Other than that, it's been a pretty typical week. Tired all the time and everybody is still sick from all the food. They're calling it an epidemic. They sent a letter to Salt Lake and are getting the quorum of the twelve involved. No big deal. I'm still loving the people who I'm with and the teachers that I have. I love going to the temple every week. I've started just listening in Spanish instead of using the headsets. For temple and CCM things. So thats exciting.
In less heavy news, we got our new people this week. We have a cute little girl from Utah and a hysterical girl from Australia as our new roommates. Needless to say it's pretty great and exciting. It's weird to be in the intermediate level now tho. Even more weird, today is the midpoint of being in the CCM. Whaaaaaaat?! Time flies.
On that note, we leave the CCM on March 25! Coolest birthday ever? Pretty much.
Also, I learned that the first Book of Mormon was published on March 25 this week. I'm pretty sure that date is real. The movie we watched about Jospeh Smith was a little weird and I had no way to verify it. But I'll take it.
Basically, this was a great week. Hard, but great. Again, I've never been so stressed and so tired in my entire life, but at the same time I've never felt so good and confident about what I'm doing. Despite the craziness and the confusion, I'm in love with what I'm doing.
Love you all and miss you tons!
Have a fantastic week!!!

A view of Peru

. . . a little bit more of Peru

Laundry is sometimes stressful in the CCM!

Friends :)

a 'granadilla' . . . the inside looks like guts but I don't have the guts to eat it