Monday, July 28, 2014

¡Feliz Dia de Independencia!

Yup. Today is Peru`s day of independence. Don`t have cool stories yet, but we are going to a cool fair later today. Pretty excited about that!!

As for this past week, it`s been good! Didn`t get a whole lot of work done because Hna. Nelson was in Lima for legal stuff, but it was still good. Side note, trios aren`t my favorite thing in the world . . . Fun to be with them, but holy moly, praying I never get put into a real trio.

I do have a couple good stories for y'all  :)

One is about Lida. I think I wrote about her last week a little bit. She`s Jimmy`s wife. We still haven`t found him because of work, but she`s doing SO good! We visited her  again on Saturday. I can`t even describe how happy she makes me. She`s one of those people that missionaries pray to find every day. She just gets it. And she`s willing to do the things that she needs to, to progress. We were ending the lesson and she stopped us and asked if it was ok if she came to church with us again. We just kind of laughed and said of course. Two weeks, and she already talks to us about how good she feels in the church, how she knows it`s something special and that it's something she wants. Ahh, I just love it! I`ll try to get a good picture with her and her ADORABLE little girl this week for y'all to see :)

We have a man in our branch, Pedro. He`s been a member for almost two years now. He`s about 60, doesn`t have a leg, and his life is a little rough in general. BUT, every time we stop by his house he`s always so happy. I`m learning so much from him about gratitude, something I`m trying to work on. He has EVERY reason to be a grumpy old man. But he`s not. He`s so happy. And he can make everybody else happy too. It`s cool to see how the gospel really can change the perspective of everything in our lives. He knows that someday everything will be better and lives every day with just a great attitude. I love it. Reminds me of Presidente Uchtdorf`s talk from conference. I could talk about that for days and days, but I won`t. Yall should just go read it :)

What else? Not much to report from this week, sorry. But things are great in Puerto. Oh yeah! And I don`t have a change!!! WOOOO!!! SO ready for the next six weeks :) 

Sounds like everything is going well in the states.  Jonathan, holy moly, I can`t believe how old he looks. Don`t know how I feel about that... haha, Y'all are so awesome. I`m so glad you`re my family :)

Oh, and another thing. I have that picture of you two in front of the temple on my desk. One of the other hermanas said that Dad looked like Superman. I set her straight and said well duh, because you ARE Superman :)

Love you all!
Have a great week!

Hamburgers . . .

maracuya juice (*mom note:  I looked it up, it's passion fruit)    

My favorite family.  The twins in the front left on missions this week!! Going to miss them. 

Hna. Nelson walking thru the river . . . I mean street!
Talent show :) 

Old lady and the borracho

Incredible kids! 

Don't mind me. Just cutting down a tree with a machete :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Where's Waldo?

We`re going to start this week`s email with a flashback to a favorite childhood game. Sometimes missionary work kind of feels like 'Where`s Waldo'. Looking and looking, knocking on doors and trying to find a referral.  We`ve had an address of a guy named Jimmy for almost 3 weeks now. We went out the first time a couple weeks ago and looked for almost an hour. The second time we took a member with us (a very dedicated member) and looked for another hour and a half or so. Both times with no luck. Then the third time (about a week ago) we went out again with a different member trying to find this guy. Aaaaaand, we didn`t find him. Almost just gave up on finding him. THEN . . . we decided to look one more time. Thirty minutes later we finally found the street. We talked to a lady that sells bread if she knew a Jimmy and if she could help us out. She pointed us to a house down the street. Wasn`t him. We kept walking and found a house that met the description that he gave us. We knocked with a good amount of confidence on this door. A 20-something year old guy opens the door. Between the excitement of thinking we finally found this guy and the shock that someone that met his description opened the door I just kinda yelled "JIMMY?!" He looked at me kind of funny and said, "umm, un ratito... " Haha, maybe I`m a little crazy, but it`s ok because it was his house!!!!! He was sleeping, and we haven`t actually met him yet... But we made a cita (appointment) with his wife, Lida, for the next morning. 

Let me just say, miracle find! We came back the next day and she told us her whole life story. She`s SO ready for the gospel. She was at church the next day for all three hours and double checked with ME that we had another cita during this week. Incredible.  Two days. Some people we`ve been working with for months aren`t even like that. I`m super excited about her and her family!!

I love missionary work.
I love Puerto.
I love Hna. Nelson.
I love it all!!

I`m really hoping I don`t have a change next week!!! So many good things are happening. I CAN`T LEAVE NOW!! Is it bad to ask for prayers that I stay in Puerto?? :)

This isn`t really news, more of just a thought, but still worth sharing. I`ve been studying a lot about our Savior. Who He is and how we can get closer to Him. There`s some really incredible stuff in the scriptures. So, I have homework for everyone. Read Mosiah 14, and really focus on verses 3-5. It`s incredible. For the bloggers reading this, if you don`t have a Book of Mormon, you can get one. There`s lots of missionaries dying to give you one :) You can also look it up online.

Scriptures, Book of Mormon, Mosiah

 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Definitely worth reading!

Speaking of reading, I hope you are all caught up on your 9 or 22 pages of the Book of Mormon for the week. It`s amazing how much it really makes a difference in our lives. There`s so much we can learn from the scriptures. And for me at least, I feel so much closer to the Savior when I read. I`m calmer. Happier. Everything is just better when we`re focused on the gospel rather than whatever else is going on in our lives. And the blessings of reading every day are REAL. I see them every day in the families and people that read opposed to those who don`t. And I love you all and I want you to have more blessings in your lives. So read!! :)

Oh, and thanks for all the pictures :) I love getting pictures!! And thanks cousin Tom! I love hearing things like that. 

Finishing this transfer strong! Hope you`re all doing well at home as well. Give everyone a hug for me!


Just a bit more of Puerto

Epitome of Puerto
colorful house . . . fruit trees . . . dogs

"Hola, soy un ladrón y lo único que quiero es robar tu corazón"
// Hi, I´m a thief and the only thing I want to steal is your heart

Hna. Nelson's birthday dinner, I forgot what it's like to eat in a real restaurant . . .

Found this little guy on the side of the road! 
Just kidding, it was in the zoo. Still cool :)

Some families we are working with right now

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ummmmm. Hi!

Happy Monday :)

This has been a good week! Lots to do, not enough time to do it all. I need about 50 hours a day and more than just 18 months to do it all! But, it`s all good. Great things are happening in Puerto Maldonado right now. Where to even start?! For one, we have a lot more members helping out right now than we have had in the past. The members really have NO IDEA how much they help! It makes me want to be so much better when I get back to help the missionaries out. The progress is so much faster when our investigators or less actives have somebody besides us to confide in. 

I`m glad you have time to read! I was thinking this week and I`m giving EVERYBODY a challenge! Read the Book of Mormon either before the end of the year or before I get home (depending on how ambitious you are). Don`t worry. I did all the math for yall.
End of the year : 24 weeks of reading 22 pages and then you`ll have 3 pages for the last baby week.
End of my mission: 55 weeks of reading 9 pages and 2 weeks of reading 10 pages.
Piece of cake. No excuses!! :)
In all honestly tho, I`ve learned and seen so much how the Book of Mormon really does strengthen people and families. And I want that kind of strength for all of you. Especially right now :)

So, funny story first. We went to visit a new family the other day with a member from our branch who`s leaving for his mission next week. We didn`t actually get to teach them because they were working, but we helped out and chatted. So we`re sitting there cracking and peeling these weird nut things with them and they offer some to us to try. How to describe them, I don`t really know. They were kind of like really hard, condensed dirt. No flavor. It literally tasted like I was eating dirt. After we all took the first bite, Josè (the member with us) and I looked at each other with the same face and he says (in English) "what doesn`t kill you makes you stronger." I almost choked. Between the situation and his English it was really funny. Maybe you had to be there?? I don`t know, but I laugh every time I think about it.

Other notable news, I gave a talk in sacrament meeting this week. The talk itself wasn`t that exciting, nothing out of the ordinary. BUT, the exciting part, we went to visit a family that we`ve been working really hard with later that night and the husband pointed out how good my Spanish was!!!! WOOOOOOOO!!!! It`s especially great because this same guy pointed out to me how terrible my Spanish was and said he thought I didn`t really have a right to be talking to him on my first day here. So that made me feel really good :)

Anyway, so yeah, another great week over, looking forward to the next! And again, nothing crazy out of the ordinary happened, but we can see the hands of the Lord in everything we do. Even in the little things. Well, ESPECIALLY in the little things. Progress is slow in Puerto, but it`s happening. And it`s really cool to be a part of all of it.

Have another fantastic week! I`m praying for y'all and everything.  Start the Book of Mormon ;)
Love you all!!

ps- My computer freaked out and something weird happened with all my pictures... 
Don`t worry. Heads up for LOTS of GREAT pictures next week.
Clifhanger, boaconstrictors :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy JULY!

First of all, I can`t believe it`s already July!!! 

This week I hit my five month mark.


I feel like I got here yesterday. It`s cool to look back every month and see the things I`ve learned.

As for this week, pretty normal. I do have one cool story for yàll this week. So we`re teaching this 17 year old kid named Alex. He`s a hoot and a half. He wants to be a rapper. Doesn`t go to school and his job is rapping on the streets near the plaza with his friends.You can assume he doesn`t have a whole lot of direccion in his life right now. But he loves talking to us and the lessons are always good. We got to talk to him about the Restoration about two weeks ago but didn`t have time to explain the Book of Mormon. We finally found him again this week and chatted for a bit, got him a Book of Mormon and all that jazz. We couldn`t actually sit and have a lesson with him because we couldn`t be alone with him and there was nobody else there. BUT, we came back the next day. The first five minutes went something like this...

Us: Hey Alex, how`s it going?
Alex: Good. Really good!
**small talk**
Us: So did you get the chance to read?
Alex: Yeah! (He read the title page, introduction, AND all the testimonies after one day!!) But I have a question. If I want to get baptized, what do I need to do??? Also, am I allowed to serve a mission like you guys?! 

Yup. Needless to say, it was a great lesson. He`s reading and loving it! We`re loving it! Hopefully I can keep sending good news about him :)

What else? Really nothing else crazy is happening. It still amazes me how incredible the gospel is and no matter how much studying and reading I do, there`s ALWAYS more to learn. And it`s always something that just blows my mind.
The church is true. The gospel is amazing! Learning every day. Loving every day.

Love you all!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Little Miracles

I´ve learned something in my mission recently. Before coming I had somewhat of an idea that the mission is full of all these crazy things happening every day. That I would see these huge miracles and things happen that are indescribable. Yeah, we have some moments like this every now and then, but I´ve learned that a miracle isn´t always a "movie moment" that´s going to be brought up in General Conference. Sometimes the greatest and most important miracles are just the little ones. For example, we had our district conference this weekend (like stake conference, but we don´t have a stake here...) and we had a less active member show up. We found him randomly one day after contacting his sister who isn´t a member. He´s been inactive for about fifteen years. He told us the day we met him about two months ago that he would like to come back to church, but hasn´t come to sacrament meeting or anything. We haven´t been able to stop by their house for about two weeks, but I was standing in the church hallway yesterday and he walks in. (side note, the conference was in a different chapel and everything, but he still found it) Without any reminder or invitation (I know, slacking on my part) he still came to church that morning, figured out where to go when nobody was in our chapel, AND he was super excited to be there. Someone might say it was just a guy coming to church. I call it a miracle.
Other examples...

// Members asking to come help us in a slightly dysfunctional branch
// Somebody stopping US on the street to talk to us
// A compliment and thank you from the people you´re woking with

And many others.

It´s easy to shug things off and not realize that they really are little tender mercies from the Lord. His hands are in everything, we just need to step back and realize really just how incredible every little detail of our lives is.

In other news, the president and his wife came this week. Instead of having our meeting in a chapel, we spent the day in the middle of the Amazon. It´s fine. My life is really cool.

Also, this weekend was cold again. Whipped out the cardigan AND the straightener (that caused a lot of comotion with the members at church...)

Life is good. We´re working hard. I love Hna. Nelson!! Everyday has a good amount of laughs and jokes.

Overall, the gospel is incredible. I love the mission more and more everyday! I can´t even imagine my life without it. I thought I was cool before, had things kind of figured out, but no. I´m so grateful for everything I´m learning. About myself, about the gospel, about our Savior, everything. 

As for things at home, sounds to me like things are looking up! Praying for Blackfoot and everything else! Say hello to the grandmas and the aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and everybody.

Love you all! Have a great 4th of July!


                                                    Happy Birthday!

                                   What's a birthday without a little cake fight?

            In the jungle . . .

                                                     The Amazon

                                  Proof . . . Of cool weather and straight hair :)