Well, I´d say that this was a pretty super duper week! Apart from some emergency sister leader runs to the hospital with some missionaries and freezing my buns off every night instead of sleeping, definitely a week for the books.
The highlight of the week was Nelly´s baptism! We visited her a couple days before and asked her how she was feeling. She told us she felt terrible because she "did something." First thoughts went straight to word of wisdom or law of chastity. She looked back up at us and told us that she lost her temper with her son´s teacher and yelled at her a little bit. Relieved, we talked to her about it and kept getting ready for Saturday.
Saturday was a little crazy. Long story short, she lost her job for coming to her baptism. She got there about an hour late (along with the bishop and all the members though, so it´s ok I guess. . .). I could go on for hours about all the bad things that happened to her that morning, but to keep it short I´ll just say that a lot of really hard things happened to her that morning. Things that maybe would have kept me from coming if they happened to me. Luckily though, Nelly is a lot stronger than me and came without hesitation. It was one of the most powerful baptisms I´ve ever been in. Regardless of everything, she was happy and strong. Sunday, after she got confirmed a member, she turned to me and just said, "I feel happy." I maybe teared up a little bit. Basically she´s incredible and I´m still learning so much from her every day.
I have another really, REALLY great, umm, noticia? note? *news? I don´t remember. But, I can´t tell you yet. But I´m really excited so I have to at least say that. Just know that next week is going to be another really good email :)
Other than that, good, normal week. Happy and working as always. There´s going to be (another) strike this week. Don´t know how big it will be but pray that it´s not too bad so that we can keep working.
Love you all!
My favorite brothers
Us trying to figure out how to turn the stove on for twenty minutes before the baptism . . .
Well, this week was truly a week of miracles. Here´s just a couple stories to prove this point.
// We have been visiting a less active lady since I got here to Puno with Hna Valverde. And when I say less active I actually mean that she´s been completely, 100% inactive for longer than I´ve been alive and has some really hard feelings against the church for some things that happened when she first got baptized. It´s always been hard to really get to her. We would visit her, teach a nice lesson and from there nothing really happened. I went by a couple weeks ago when we were on divisions with some of the other sisters and (long story short) she yelled in my face and told me that all her problems were my fault. If we hadn´t been coming by she would have had more clients, her husband wouldn´t be so mean to her, etc. Threw us out and told us to never come back again. The next week, when we were on divisions again, Hna Mendez went back and her husband (who´s not actually her husband. I just don´t know what the appropiate word for "pareja" is in English. Basically they have lived together for years but aren´t married, don´t plan to get married, and kind of despise the other´s presence...) yelled at them, basically saying the same thing. After that we didn´t really stop by more. We always pass her house because she lives in the middle of our "investigator pool" but we never knock or go in. The other day we walked by and the door for her store was open and she was sitting there by herself. We decided to just go in for a little bit to see how she was doing. What we thought would only be a ten or fifteen minute visit turned into almost an hour and a half. We had a really incredible talk about the Atonement and true repentance. She ended up crying and apologizing and asking us to come back every day if we could to help her get back up.
// We are visiting a family that´s investigating the church. I think I actually told you a little bit about them. The mom is the lady that gave us dinner on her flipped over barrels with paper for a tablecloth. They´ve always been a little slow to understand and act on what we teach. We were trying to figure out how to help them out a little bit more. We usually don´t teach the Family Proclamation until they are close to baptism, but we thought we should teach it with them. It was a lesson that words can´t really describe. Even better, the next time we went by we taught the gospel of Christ and they both said that they wanted to be baptized. I didn´t really know how to reply because it took me by such suprise. They are reading the Book of Mormon and praying and coming to church and making friends. I love teaching them.
// Nelly is changing her whole life. Before I get ahead of myself, she´s getting baptized this Saturday!! She should get a call from a new job that she´s trying to get on Tuesday and depending on what they say, she might have to travel though . . . pray that all will be well. But seriously, I´ve never seen someone change their life around so quickly and so willingily in my life. There have been some really, really hard things that have happened to her since she was younger, and you can see the scars that they´ve made on her. But in this past week, everything clicked with her. She´s always believed what we´ve been teaching her, but now she really gets that it all applies for her as well. It broke my heart, but she would always talk about how the things that have happened are too great to be forgiven. She just started crying the other day when we were with her. We were caught a little off gaurd, but listening to her talk about the Atonement and what her baptism meant for her . . . again, no words. It has truly been a priviledge getting to teach her and learn from her.
There are so many more, but for time, I´m stopping there. As for news for the week, our distict leader ended his mission. Sad about that, but I´ve only heard good things about the new guy. Hna Mendez and I are staying together her in Puno!! Happy about that :) President is coming to Puno this week. For the other zone though, not for us . . . but that´s alright. Nelly wants us to invited him to her baptism, so maybe we´ll end up seeing him. Haha, we´ll see how that works out. Not too much out of the ordinary going on. Just working hard as always :)
Thanks for the love and support. Love you all! Have a fantastic week.
Hello! Just a short note to say hello since I saw everybody yesterday! Also, I´m sending a million pictures of our trip to Los Uros. Look them up.
*I'm putting in a link for Los Uros - they are floating, man made islands from a pre-Incan society, the reeds rot from the bottom and need to be replaced from the top at least every three years.
The elders just picking up houses and moving them around.
No big deal or anything.
They wouldn't let us help . . .
. . . the sisters doing our part!
I match my earrings with my fanny pack ;)
Going back home :(
P-day in Cusco
Chili's after console!
Just hiked to a waterfall for p-day today - kind of pretty :)
Aftermath, victory shot!
Just pretending that I"m actually Elizabeth Bennet just standing on the edges of cliffs in England.
Oh yeah . . . bruises are from walking up hills all week with my boots. And also soccer... and other things. I`ve accepted the fact that I´ll never have pretty legs again.
My main man Andre!
A family we got to visit in Juliaca. The girl in the green coat just got back from her mission and her little sister, the one in the blue coat, just got her call to Argentina. So it was fun to talk to them :)
El mejor distrito.
This is Vicki. She didn`t want to take the picture, but I caught her laughing.
Her two sons. I was trying to teach them to make fish faces. Eddy (the older) started to get the hang of it. Ludwin (the younger) was just too cool for us I guess...
Well, this was a crazy full week. We`ll take it one day at a time so that my brain doesn`t explode.
Monday- Pday. Just playing and buying things. Nothing exciting. BUT, we did start our divisions in the night. Which leads to...
Tuesday- I got to spend the day with Hna Wattles in her sector while my companion stayed in Los Incas with Hna Tuft. I´ll be honest, one of the best days of my mission! Hna Wattles is in the second transfer of her training, but she teaches/talks/does everything basically like she`s been here for a year! Usually when I`m with new sisters I end up leading everything, which is fine. That`s how I was when my sister leaders came to visit me when I was in my training. But she just took off and did everything. I think my favorite thing about being a sister leader is doing these visits. It`s amazing how much you can learn from someone. Times that by six every transfer, and there`s a lot of really incredible things to learn. From Hna Wattles, I think the greatest thing I got out of that day was how to REALLY love the mission and theses people and how to laugh even when things are rough. When maybe there was a reason to complain or rest a little bit, she just kept going with a smile on her face! I don`t think I`ve laughed so much in my whole life than this day I got to spend with her. Needless to say, Tuesday was great!
Wednesday- We were in divisions again, but this time I got to stay in Los Incas. I got to be with Hna Love. She came in the same group as Hna Hill so it was fun to talk to her and get to know her a little bit more. This is a day that can be described with "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Being with Hna Love was so great! Another missionary who knows how to just smile and laugh things off. We did not teach a single lesson this day. And not just because people weren`t home, but because they straight up rejected us. People looking thru windows then never coming to answer the door. Dogs being sicked (please respell that for me . . .? *it's really sicced but we thought this was cute) on us. The list is endless but not really worth listing. So, hard day but a good day I guess. Hna Love was a good sport.
Thursday- More divisions!!! But this time a little different. As sister leaders, we too have sister leaders. So the SL from Sicuani came up and we are all working here in Puno. Highlight of this day was a new investigator that we started teaching! Her name is Nelly. She was a reference from Hna Tuft and Hna Wattles. She`s basically gold. She`s already been to church three times for the full three hours and has told us that she wants to get baptized. We are going to challenge her with a date this Tuesday.
Friday- Finally met up with my long lost companion, Hna Mendez. But, we didn`t get to work. President Harbertson came for our zone conference. As always, incredible. We focused on repentance and what it really means for us and for the people we get to work with. It ended in a testimony meeting for all the missionaries.
Saturday- Another day without working. We had a day-long conference on family history. Unfortunately, I was assigned to take down everybody`s name at the door instead of working on the computers, so I didn`t really get to learn a whole lot... but we all got to listen to a fireside at the end that one of the 70s gave. I`m terrible and I forgot his name, but it was really good! I`m excited to do more family history when I get home.
Sunday- Finally a normal day!!! Nelly came to church with us! There was a "feriado" in the school district, so nobody was in their house yesterday, but it was nice to be walking around and working with Hna Mendez again. All of a sudden we have so much happening in our sector again! Nelly should have a baptism date next week. Our pensionista (who isn`t a member) should be getting married soon and baptized soon after. Alberto and Susana (the grandparents in the picture the other week) are close to getting married. Vicki, who was supposed to get baptized a long time ago, is back on board and might have a date this week too. I`m very grateful.
Time goes by faster and faster each week. Now I`m just trying to take advatage of every second and do as much as I can. Sometimes stressful, but always rewarding.
Love you all. Excited for baby pictures next week!!
PS Sorry there`s no photos. My usb got a virus. I know a guy in Cusco that I can take it to so I`ll have it next week. So, be prepared for double pictures next week!