Monday, April 28, 2014

Agency . . .

... can be a bummer sometimes.

Let me explain.

I´ve been here long enough to not just be the" new missionary" anymore. I can see how people are changing and progressing. It´s really cool to actually feel like I´m a part of missionary work now and not just struggling and learning Spanish and stuff like that. We have a couple really strong investigators and less active members right now.  Every time I think they´re on the brink of something, they don´t come to church or they go out drinking or whatever thing they decide to do or not do. Sometimes I wish I could just drag them and make them do the things we tell them to do!!! This is for THEIR benefit but they don´t follow thru!!! And it´s frustrating! I´m told the people here are really slow when it comes to progression and conversion. I´m trying to be more patient. It´s hard when you know how much the gospel can bless them and help them yet they refuse to take action and do something! Let me just say also that I´m so grateful for our family. The the example that you and Dad give to us and the strength that we have because you raised us with the gospel in our lives. 

Another more possitive note from this week, I had a thought. I was getting a little tired of my companion. As missionaries, we are representatives of Jesus Christ. We are taught that WE should act as such also. But I flipped it. My companion is just as much a representative of Him as I am. So the thought is, would I treat Him differently than I treat or think about her?? Food for thought.

Events from this week...
President and Sister Harberson came and talked to all of us on Tuesday. First of all, I was asked to play prelude music, and I was more than happy to do so. They ended up being an hour late, so I got to play for about an hour and a half. It was actually really nice! I miss just being able to sit at the piano and play. 

We went to an appointment one night, but the guy we were supposed to teach wasn´t there. His grandma was in the back peeling a bunch of potatoes tho, so we stayed to help. Side note, these people don´t have kitchens or kitchen supplies. And it was night. If you ever need a good object lesson about light or tools or something, have people try peeling potatoes in the dark without a potatoe peeler... It was rough. But it was fun :)

Lets see. Ok, Julia´s weekly winner!!! (my landlord´s food) One morning she invited us out for a glass of apple juice. Hearing that, I was pretty excited for something normal. Nope. We go out and it´s apple milk. I think? Nice and warm, chucky, apple flavored whipped cream something or other. Can´t even have a nice glass of apple juice where I live...
One more great food story! For lunch yesterday we had "Juane" - a JUNGLE SPECIALTY. It´s wrapped in a large leaf (about the size of two pieces of normal sized paper). I was nervous in an excited way when I saw it. Not rice and chicken, but uhhhh.... anyway, when you open the leaf, there´s a huge clump...

... of rice and chicken.

They kept asking me if I thought it was good. If we had it in the U.S. or not. I didn´t even know how to respond. Their jugle specialty is the same thing we eat for every meal of every day. It´s all good. At least it wasn´t llama feet or something.

I might start teaching English classes here! EVERYBODY wants to learn English, so we think it might be a good way to get investigators involved and introduce more people to the church. We´re running it by our zone leader today. So I´ll keep you updated on that.
Anyway, overall I´m doing well. Only one more change until my training is over!!! 


*** Mom note: Amie made a list of things from home she misses for whenever we send packages. It's expensive to send packages.  The best way to send a package is in a padded envelope - it goes through customs better. The best way to send letters is through the pouch service.  You can also send a true hand written letter to the pouch address in Salt Lake. Thanks for all the support you all give her!
Small hand sanitizer
Mints if you´re feeling really generous
More stickers
HAND WRITTEN LETTERS (and more pictures??) 

Good day! . . . hair down for about 5 seconds


Riding in luxury vehicles after a great FHE
We went to the zoo

First time in my life I've been the tallest!

We scraped this lady's house so we could repaint it.

I felt like Hulk because I was covered in green!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Don't mind me. I just found a parrot!

We´ll start with the spiritual events from the week. 

1) We have a couple/family that we are working with right now. He is a member but hasn´t been to church in years. She is an investigator and has a really good grasp on the gospel and wants to do more. The first time I met them (my first day here actually) it took us about 10 minutes to get him to say the prayer, and when he finally did it was super simple and routine-like (if that makes sense). We had FHE (Family Home Evening)  with them and a family from the branch and the dad asked him to say the closing prayer. I was expecting a bit of a fight like always, but he willing said the prayer and it was BEAUTIFUL. Also, the whole fmaily was at church yesterday!! WOOOOO! 

2) We have another family in the same sort of situation. She is a less active and he is investigating. We set a baptism date with him yesterday!!!!

Those are the two big ones. Other than that, lots of teaching and walking and trying to meet up with people. Overall, good. It´s cool to finally see people progress and things happen. The first week or so it was not knowing what´s going on or who these people really are. Missionary work is pretty cool!! Even when you don´t speak the language, the spirit speaks to everyone!

Things not quite so spiritual:

1) Food. WE ATE BEEF THIS WEEK!!! AND FISH! TWO MEALS WITHOUT CHICKEN!!!!! Umm, yeah. So that was exciting. Like I´ve said a million times, she is great. Our landlord makes us food a lot that I can´t finish or that makes me sick for an hour or so. One example, she gave us this dessert the other day. I wish I could tell you what it was... it was the consistency of chuncky peanut butter and jelly and it tasted like bubblegum toothpaste. Hna Ruiz, bless her heart, finished it for me. 

2) We watch the District for companionship study. This week we watched one about members and missionaries working together (you´re exactly right by the way!)  There was a part with Sister Gottfredson talking about an expirience that she had with a neighbor. It was cool, but it made me super homesick!! Tell the Gottfredsons that I say "Hi" for me please :)

3) The stickers are working great! I gave one to a little boy who was super uspest the other day. Then I gave one to his sister to be even and fair.  Afterwards I talked to the little girl for a while. It was great because I actually TALKED to her. She´s only 5, but it´s fine. I had a real conversaion. The children are actually harder to talk to because they don´t understand that I can´t speak this language. So that was exciting. 

4) We got to teach in a house with a couch this week!!!! Most people just have plastic chairs that they pull out and use.  This family had an actual, soft, fluffy couch!! I haven´t been so happy and comfortable in a long time. (2 months actually, give or take.)

What else? Not much. The weeks are starting to become similar. Teaching. Walking. Sweating. Smelling bad and not understanding but trying to love every moment :)

Ok, love you all! Tell everybody hello and that I'm thinking of them :)
Until next week!

Oh yeah, and I forgot to tell you, we ride motorcycles here! :)

Don't mind me.  I just found a parrot!
P-day activities are a little bit limited during the strike . . .
This one time at the park . . .
Service with the district

Monday, April 14, 2014

Here We Go Again!

Ok! This week! So there´s been a huge strike going on since we got here. As a result, we have no money and it's a little bit dangerous. Not crazy tho, don´t worry. We spent four days sitting in our room this week (I haven´t been to our branch yet). Lots of studying and sleeping and talking and other missionary type stuff. So sorry but there´s not a lot to report this week.

I'm starting to actually participate in lessons a little bit more. I still struggle to understand when they go off talking, but for the most part I can follow and put in my two cents. Hna Ruiz has had to save me a couple times, but for the most part it´s good!

Two stories:
1) We finally got to leave our room yesterday. We were walking down the street and this lady yells to us, runs over and grabs my arm. She started bawling and talking right up in my face. I had no idea what was going on so I just let her cling to me while Hna Ruiz talked to her. Afterwards, Hna Ruiz explained what happened. Apparently she heard that we could save her soul and started confessing a bunch of stuff to us. Sooo, yeah, that was exciting. We have an appointment with her this week.

2) While we were walking home last night this guy on a motor cycle sees us and yells "elders!" so we stopped and looked at him. He started talking and I immediately felt absolutely terrible. I couldn´t understand anything he said, but he seemed interested in talking with us. I was confused. About a minute into takling with us he started opening his shirt and saying weird things. We booked it. Just thought it was cool how I could feel that he wasn´t good news even tho he seemed more interested than most people we try to talk to. 

Other business. Spoiler: WE GET TO SKYPE FOR MOTHER´S DAY!!!! so send me your skype name so I have it beforehand. don´t know exactly how it works, but be prepared! Also, I got the package!!!! Thank you so much. I may or may not have started bawling when I looked thru the pictures. And I love the music! Thanks :) Oh, and I especially love the pickle card... y'all are so thoughtful.

Ok, questions...
We have a lady that does our laundry. We didn´t do it last week because of the strike, but she´s super sweet. Her husband is investiating the church right now. Cool family. Two cute little girls!

Chicken and rice CADA DIA! But, our pensionista is incredible. I don´t know what I´m gonna do when I have a new one... As for being thin, don´t worry about it. Walking around in the jungle is quite the workout. It´s healthy, I promise! And I eat what is appropriate. No worries :)  

I have not met the ward yet... BUT, Hna Ruiz has already told me that I´ll be playng piano and that I´m talking in sacrament meeting the first time I go. There´s an "invisible" ward of about 500 people who just disappeared, and we´re trying to find all of them and get them back and their records in the right wards and whatnot. Pretty crazy. 

As for the teaching/contacting, a little bit of everything. Mostly working with inactive members around here, but we have a couple good investigators and we contact whenever plans fall thru. Unfortunately that's more often than I would like. But it´s fine.

Our zone has 22 elders and 4 sisters and I LOVE THEM! We get to see them every now and then, but not often. We do see the other set of hermanas every pday. 

Anyway, hopefully this baro [strike] stops and I have more stories for next week! Love you and miss you all!

Just your typical p-day!

Dos Meses!

It's coolish outside :)

After walking in the rain! Never been so grateful for rain in my life!

Rain, rain go away . . . NEVER!

The novelty of an umbrella :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Call Me Mogli

Again, where to start?! Talk about a roller coaster kind of week.

Puerto is definitely an interesting place. The first couple days were a shock. Families of four jump on motorcycle taxis, it´s not uncommon to have the family pig at your feet and playing with the babies during lessions, having water and light is a 50/50 chance every day, and all sorts of other things! Hermana Ruiz asks me all the time how things compare to the US. I think my favorite question that she asked me was whether or not we have potholes. It´s a different place. But I´m tying to get used to it and love it. It´s hard when it´s 1000000000 degrees and your whole body aches from all the bugbites (I have somewhere around 70-80 right now. They say it´s because I´m white...). But it´s good. The people in general are very nice and willing to listen.

The food is getting better. Cusco made me sick, but we have an incredible pensionista! She gives us enough food for the entire week in one meal, but it´s all good. I´m known as the gringa that doesn´t eat around her house. Even tho I eat as much as I possibly can. She´s super nice tho and understands. I´m lucky. I heard most of them would get mad. And I love her kids! Her son, Diego, shoots me with his wrists like Spiderman every time we come over. Funny kid.

More spitirtual stuff. I don´t understand a lot of the lessons, but I can sometimes put in a couple words. One lesson we had we were talking about prayer and how to communicate with God and the importance of it. Our investigator said he didn´t want to because he didn´t have the words to say, or he didn´t know what to talk about. I got to say something about how I feel that way every time I try to pray in Spanish, not  having the words. But God is our Father and He wants to talk to us. So that was cool.  We have another investigator who we taught for the first time last night. Stubborn at first, but by the end you could tell he was feeling something.
And lots of others that I could tell about but don´t have time for. 

Conference! Missionary Christmas! I got to listen in English with four other Americans. It was a great break from Spanish and everything else going on. I´m kicking myself for not lovnig it more when I was home. I seriously wish every week was conference!

Ummm, what else. Hermana Ruiz is wonderful. The other gringos always tell me how lucky I am to have her. She´s patient and so kind. She´s trying to learn English too, so we help eachother out. Couldn´t have asked for a better trainer.

That´s a good summary for the week. Overall, it´s hot. I don´t understand. But I love my companion, and I´m tryng to stay happy! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn´t.

I love you all! I miss you more than you can imagine!
Have a fantasitc week :)
Just found this turtle in the house

Luciana "I'm the gringa with the red hair"

This is Diego in his Spiderman outfit that he puts on every time I come over

Welcome to the main road in Puerto!

This is where I live