Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Great Leaders and Cupcakes

My new skirt and a new Peruvian scarf.

I just wanted to start off again by thanking everyone for the birthday packages and letters. Thank you so much! I love all of the chocolate, books, letters, and love. With some of the money from my Grandma, I went and bought new speakers because mine are dying, as well as a couple of cute scarfs. Yay!

Hermana Larsen was super great and bought me pickles and peanut butter for my birthday -- ha ha! I'd been wanting a pickle peanut butter sandwich so badly, and those two things are super expensive here, but Hermana Larsen surprised me by giving them to me for my birthday!

Hermana Larsen approves of
pickle peanut butter sandwiches
Our neighbors, Sol and Aurora, who are recent converts,
gave me these gifts for my birthday. I named the toucan 'Roy.'

Yay for Thanksgiving! Not sure if they really do anything down here in Peru. It might just be a holiday in the USA. Well, maybe Hermana Larsen and I will eat potatoes on Thursday to celebrate -- ha ha. It would be nice to make a pumpkin pie, but they don't have pumpkins here whatsoever! They don't even know what a pumpkin is! Craziness, they don't know what they're missing out on!

Yup, still living in the garage and walking 20 minutes to get to our area. We're also still getting to know a lot of the members, but one thing I have found is that a great, caring leader makes all of the difference. In the current ward I am serving in, they didn't have a Young Women's president for over 3 months, and there were only about 3 girls coming each week. Finally, the bishop called a new president, and last week, there were at least 8 Young Women that came! It is amazing how much difference a great leader can make.
This is the bishop's wife, Hermana Sarah, and Hermana Margarita
at the Relief Society cupcake activity.

We were also able to finally make cupcakes with the Relief Society sisters. We had visitas de trabajo that day, so Hermana Agle was with me. It was lots of fun and we had some investigators and less actives come and join in the activity. It was great! Yummy!
Me and Hermana Agle making cupcakes.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Computer Troubles and Election Day

Sorry, I'm almost out of time because of all the awesome birthday wishes. Also, the computer won't recognize my flashdrive so I can't download any pics this week of the cupcake activity or anything until next week! I was able to get some of my birthday money, so today I get to go buy something in Plaza Vea for my birthday! Thank you to both of my Grandmas! Fortunately, I didn't get pelted with any eggs for my birthday, but our next door neighbors, who are recent converts, knew it was my birthday and gave me presents. They are so sweet!

Well, like I was saying last week, we found a new apartment, but we couldn't move in yet because the mission didn't have the money ready. So, we waited until Wednesday to hear something and then called them to ask when we could move. The Mission Office told us that night that the money was ready. So, Thursday morning we go get the money, start to get things in order, then call the landlord to tell him we want to move in on Saturday. The only problem is that he's already rented it out!! How rude, right? So, anyway we're looking for an appartment again and we're still living in a garage 20 minutes away from our area. We haven't had any luck so far this week, but we're going to keep looking. I really hope we can find somewhere else soon!

This week, we had the opportunity to find two people that have been prepared by the Lord to be baptized. So as of right now, we have two fechas. The first, Christin, is scheduled for the 13th of December and the second, Karen, is scheduled for the 14th. Christin is a 10-year-old girl whose parents are less active, but goes to church with her grandmother. She wants to be baptized on her birthday, the 13th, and so we are going to help her be ready for that date. Karen is the mother of 3 children. One of her sons, who is 10, was recently baptized with his aunt. Because her children go to church and want her to come with them, she has decided to investigate the church. She has seen how the gospel has blessed the lives of her family, and so now she has accepted to prepare for the 14th. We are super excited for them both! Please pray for them to be ready for their baptisms!

This next Sunday is Election Day for all of Lima, and everyone has to vote or they pay a fine. All of the church meetings have been canceled and I was told that we are probably not going to be able to leave our apartment that day. Interesting, right? We'll see what happens, but I'm super OK with having a day to study haha! There never seems to be enough time. The sad thing is that we have to wait an extra week for our investigators to be baptized because they need to come to church at least twice before they can be baptized.

Well, that's all I have time for this week. Thank you again for all the birthday wishes.

Monday, November 11, 2013

New Area, New Pensionista, and Celebrating My 6-Month Mark

Well, we started working in our new area this past week. So we're learning where people live and who our new investigators are. Unfortunately, we're still living in our garage apartment in the old area, which is a 20-minute walk to the new area. However, we're hoping to move out of the garage and into our new apartment this week. We'll see how it goes. The apartment is really nice and has a kitchen, so I am super duper excited to live there.

So in my new area, we've been trying to find members and get to know them. One thing that really improved our relationship with the Relief Society President was that we asked her if she could be our pensionista. She accepted, and so a few days before we went to her house to pay her and explain the details. When we knocked on the door, she was really stressed out. We saw that she was rushing to get platters done for her catering business. One of her clients had called only a couple of hours before asking for all of the food. She had a lot to do in only a little time. We offered our help, and talked with her while we helped prepare little sandwhiches and plate food. She was very grateful for our help, and after we had delivered the food, she took us back and talked to us for a little while. She really opened up to us. Now, when we go and eat with her, she told us she is grateful for the opportunity she has to serve us and that she recieves lots of blessings in her family when she does. This was a strong testimony builder of how service can open up the hearts of people and allow us to help them. One of our goals in our new area is to look for all of the leaders and find a way to serve them.

My language skills are slowly coming along even though I don't always realize it. A few days ago, I finished reading El Libro de Mormón for the second time since a I started my mission! By reading El Libro de Mormón, my grammar has improved a lot. My new goal for language study is to learn new words through my textbook. Hopefully I can learn new words that will help people understand me. Yesterday, we were having lunch with some recent converts who are just awesome and cook amazing. We talked during lunch about lots of different things not gospel related. Afterwards, I realized how far I've come in the language since I started my mission. I can have real conversations with people! Wow. My aunt and uncle even sent me a card and wrote it all in Spanish, and I could totally read it, which felt super awesome.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. It feels weird to think that I'll be turning 22 next week. Right now, I hope I don't get egged on my birthday! Sometimes the missionaries do on their birthday. I'll let you know. Also, this week the Relief Society will be having an activity where I will be teaching how to make Red Velvet Cupcakes! My parents sent me the recipe and I have it pretty much translated, so hopefully I can explain it to them ok. It will be fun to make cupcakes again!

And on Friday, I celebrated my 6 month mark! Yay for chocolate cake!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy Halloween from Peru! A Rescue, Transfers, and Big News.

We painted our nails orange for Halloween.
This year for Halloween, I totally dressed up! I was Hermana Larsen! That's right! I wore yellow and orange and black and pulled my hair up like her and we switched name tags. Our zone had to go to the bank that morning, so Hermana Larsen and I gave them all candy and waited to see how long it took them to notice we had switched. It was pretty fun, and most people didn't notice and kept calling me Hermana Larsen. Those who did notice thought it was pretty funny. Happy Halloween! That same day after the bank, Hermana Larsen got four packages! Three from her family and one from a friend. One of the packages was filled with candy and stuff for halloween. We ate some of it, but mostly we are giving lots away to some of the kids in the families we're teaching. They think it is the coolest thing ever. I actually did eat quite a bit of chocolate on Halloween, thank you very much! Yum!

So some people do celebrate Halloween here in Peru. We did see lots of little kids dressed up and going from tienda to tienda asking for candy in some neighborhoods, but it wasn't a huge deal here like in the States. However, in some parts of town, they don't like to celebrate Halloween because they think it's like worshihping the devil or something, so some tiendas had signs up saying not to come by because they 'love Jesus.' It was an interesting night. Since our zone was going crazy with cambios and we were trying to look for an apartment, Hermana Larsen and I went with the Elders in our ward and the zone leaders to a pizza place for dinner. We were all pretty tired, so it was fine.

Hermana Larsen with our new cell phone.
This week, we had some less active members come back to church. Francisca and her husband and son came to sacrament meeting because they wanted to have their infant daughter blessed. We had been trying to have her come to church for a while, but she and her family wouldn't ever come. Finally, we were inspired to tell her about baby blessings and how it could bless her daughter. She said she wanted that for her daughter. Saturday, we stopped by her house and told her if she wanted her baby blessed, she needed to come to sacrament meeting the next day. Hermana Larsen and I were super excited when right before the meeting was about to start, her and her husband and son walked in. We told the first and second counselors that we needed their help to bless the baby, and they willingly gave a baby blessing to the beautiful little girl. After sacrament, the family stayed for the other meetings. In Relief Society, Francisca got up and bore her testimony about how she knew that she needed to come back to church and that she knows it is true. She is very different now than when we were first visiting her three months ago. We are so grateful for the opportunity we have to teach her and her family and help them come back to the church.

Part of our morning exercise routine!
Well, last Saturday we had cambios (transfers) announced, and now it is official that Hermana Larsen and I will be staying together for another transfer! Yay! Tomorrow, we are officially giving our area to the Elders and we are taking over the Elders' area. In the past week and a half, we have found 3 great families to teach. You're welcome, Elders! Other than that, we are just trying to find a good place to live in the new area, because our garage is a good 20 minute walk from the edge of the Elder's area. It will definitely be a lot of walking.
I think this dog sign in the park is freaking hilarious!

And finally, the big news is...

Our mission finally has cell phones! Woohoo! Now I feel like we will be super efficient and be able to get hold of lots more members and investigators. I am super excited!

A funny thing happened last week. Hermana Larsen and I went looking for shoes in some of the nicer shoe stores in a shopping mall in our zone, and I found out that I am a size 42 or 43. Guess what? They don't sell women's shoes higher than 41 in Peru. Holy cow my feet are huge! When my shoes wear out, I'll definitely have to have my folks send me some from the States.

Since we're leaving our area tomorrow, we took some pics of us having fun in the park during morning exercises.