Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Winter Cold, Independence Day, and Being Guided By the Spirit

So, first off, I totally forgot about Pioneer Day last Thursday until a ward member came up and talked to me about his son who is serving in Utah right now and was like, ¨Today is a holiday, right?¨ So, happy Pioneer Day last week to everyone back home in Utah!

Wow, it sounds from everyone's letters that it is heating up in the Northern Hemisphere, and in Utah in particular. Here in the Southern Hemisphere in Peru, it is getting colder and colder ... brrr! I think I've become accustomed to the climate because it seems I am a lot colder this year than I was last year. Also, now that we are in the middle of our winter, everyone in Peru has a cold. EVERYONE! So far, I haven't been infected. Last year I had the worse cold I've had in my entire life, so maybe this year my immune system will be strong enough to not get sick again. But just in case, I'm washing my hands and using a ton of sanitizer and wearing scarves almost every day. I do not want to get sick!!

The Peruvian flag on our building is just
outside our apartment. At least we have a view up here.

A view of all the Peruvian flags waving for
Independence Day.
So, today (Monday) is Peru's national anniversary, or independence day. In Peru, if you don't have a flag on your house you can get fined, so everyone has flags out. I took a picture with the one outside of our apartment (because we live on the roof). The bad thing about it being a holiday is that there's no work or school today and tomorrow, so lots of people aren't in their houses to be able teach them. But today we have a couple of Family Home Evenings planned so we should be ok.

I also got to start practicing the violin for the conference in August! Yay! Violin! However, no one here has a shoulder rest, and it's killing my neck! The hermana who owns the violin knows where we can buy one, but it's way outside of our mission, so we can't go and get it. I really need a shoulder rest ASAP so I can practice with it, so my parents said they will be mailing mine from home to me. Hopefully it will arrive in time.

I know that God is also guiding us to those people that He's prepared. On Sunday, everything we had fell through: all of our citas, fijas, and even our list of people to call and talk to in Church. So, we had to plan and try to think of all of the people we had contacted to make another try to meet with them. We prayed and asked for guidance. We went out and began proselyting, and we passed by the houses of some of the contacts we'd made during the week. However, no one was letting us in. As we were walking to another house, we saw a woman come out of a house of a reference that we had received about 6 weeks ago. We were never able to contact the family even though we had passed by many times. I'm usually bad at remembering names, but as we came closer to her, I heard something tell me ¨That's Jaime! Talk to her!¨ So I asked, ¨Hola, usted es Jaime? Somos las misioneras!¨ It was her, and her husband came out shortly afterwards and we were able to talk to them both and make an appointment. I know that God was guiding our steps yesterday and put us in the path to help us find this family. Even if our plans fall through, we just need to keep our eyes open and be sensitive to the Spirit and we'll be shown why we're in that area.

I started practicing for my musical number next month, but
no shoulder rest -- OUCH!!
So that's about it for this week. Thank you so much to everyone at home for your prayers and words of wisdom.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Prayer and an Apollada

My family's car accident in Germany.
It's a miracle no one died.

So I was sad to learn that my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin were involved in a car accident while visiting in Germany last week. Wow, I'm so glad that everyone is ok! My parents sent me some of the pictures, and it's truly a miracle that no one died. God must have been right there with them to keep them safe. I pray every day that God will keep my family safe while I'm here in Peru serving, and it is a testimony to me that I know God answers my prayers. I am so grateful to have my family and I can't wait to see them again, especially all my grandparents who are having lots of time in the hospital these past few weeks. I wish I was there to give all my grandparents a huge hug. I'm so glad that I can still see all of them in a few months.

Hermana Pinto is feeling a lot better this week. We were able to get out of the apartment more this week. We were able to find new less actives and one new investigator, and we're going to keep pushing for even more new investigators this week. Fortunatly, we have 3 Family Home Evenings planned tonight, so we're starting off good. Today, we're going to start practicing for the musical number for our Mission Conference in a few weeks! I GET TO PLAY THE VIOLIN! I'm really excited to play today -- ha ha. I hope that I can still play a little because it's been so long. I am excited, but super nervous to play in front of so many people, but I'll do my very best and try to share my testimony with each note.
A bucket of chicken parts

This week, we did the most disgusting service of my life...we helped to clean chickens for an apollada!

Hermana Chang preparing the chickens for the apollada
So here in Peru, when someone is having financial troubles because of medical bills or something like that, sometimes they'll do an apollada. It's where the family makes a ton of chicken and food and sells it, and people buy it from them or can donate more money if they want. The Chang family has been having financial problems because their oldest son, A., was recently in a really bad car accident and his infant son might have a tumor in his chest. So, when we learned that Hermana Chang was going to do an apollada, we offered to help her. Little did I realize how gross it would be! She went to the market in the morning right after they killed and defeathered the chickens, and they cut them in four and gave them to her.  There were twenty-two chickens cut into four parts each! So, our job was to finish taking off the feathers and also take off some of the fat and the rest of the intestines. Oh, I thought I was gonna die! They told me that I could just be in charge of taking off the rest of the feathers because I was struggling with the insides...yuk! So, I helped take off the rest of the feathers. It was a great time and a service project I'll never forget!

Glad to serve, but oh my yuk it was gross!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Adios Mundial.

Well, my week was pretty uneventful to say the least. Hermana Pinto was sick, so we stayed in the apartment for the most part of 3 days. Then you throw in the World Cup soccer games and the whole country basically shuts down. Needless to say, I got super bored and our numbers were really low. However, we have high hopes and goals for this next week.

Later today we find out about cambios (transfers). I'm pretty sure I'm going to stay here for one more cambio, so I'm not too nervous. However, one thing I am nervous about is coming up at the end of August, Elder Neil L. Anderson will be coming to talk to the missionaries and leaders here in this mission and a few others. Elder Rojas (my zone leader...who by the way, if we both stay here one more cambio, will have been my zone leader for an entire year straight!) told me that our zone is in charge of a musical number, and I once told him that I play the violin. Know what that means? Elder Rojas wants me to play the violin for the musical number in front of hundreds of people and an apostle! Yikes! If I'm not changed out of this zone, I will probably be playing for the conference. Since I haven't played in over a year, I'm super duper nervous! Well, we'll see what happens. Things change all the time here in the mission. If there aren't any changes, Elder Rojas has found someone who owns a violin and we'll begin practicing this week.

P.S. So a quick note that I did not get transferred after all, but Elder Rojas did. So he won't be my zone leader for an entire year, but that's OK. However, I'm still not sure what this means about the musical number. We'll see what the new zone leaders want to do, I guess.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Getting Out of the Apartment On Time, Miracles, and Installing a Skylight

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Hey, thanks so much for everyone's advice, help, and prayers at home. I am learning a lot about how to work harder and trying to get more done each day. It's really true, when you can just get out of the apartment, you get so much more done. When Hermana Pinto got here, she would always take a nap in the afternoon, and a lot of times we didn't even leave on time in the morning. Things were going really slow. But, when we had interviews with President, I mentioned my frustration in how nothing was happening here. He talked a lot about scheduling our time, and how if I really want success here, I can have it. When Hermana Pinto went in to talk with him, he talked with her a lot about our time, and since then I have seen a difference in her. This week, we've been trying to GET OUT of the apartment and get things DONE! And you know what? This week we saw a difference.

Painting the home of Caballero family for service.
Yesterday was a day of miracles! Hermana Pinto and I were both fasting so that we could find new investigators because we've been struggling this week. After lunch, we went to our appointment that we had planned, and then we had no other appointments for the day. We decided to go to a nearby park to look for families. We went, and there was a family of four!  Then, we went to a house where we had previously knocked on the door and made an appointment, but it had fallen through. We tried again yesterday, and they were home... and it was a family! We taught the grandparents, one of their daughters, and the two sons of the daughter. This family is very special because the grandma and her daughter can't talk or hear very well, and the they talk mostly in signs. When we first entered the house, we were nervous and weren't sure what was wrong, but then we realized the difficulties that this family has. We talked and taught them, and we were able to turn a slightly hostile situation to a welcoming one. We're pretty sure the mom of the two sons is conviviente, but her sons both have the desire to be baptized. So, we're going to keep learning about this family to see if we can help them be baptized together.

It's a second floor home, so it was a little tricky.
Then, after meeting those two families, we had another miracle. We've been working with a less active family where we can NEVER talk to the father. We know that he is the head of the family, so if we can help him come back to the church, his children will follow. We'd been praying that we could talk to him, and yesterday we were able to find part of the family at home. We talked with the oldest son about how to have a happy family and as we went along in the lesson he was able to feel the spirit testify to what he needs to do. As we were finishing up, O., who is the mother and the only active member in her family, called her husband and passed the phone to us. We were able to talk to him (FINALLY!) and set up an appointment when all of the family can be there. This was a little miracle that we'd been praying for. I want to keep working hard and work even harder this week to find even more families. I really want to be successful because I'm tired of low numbers and no baptisms. 
Getting ready to start painting. That is Elder Llaguento
in the blue sweater/green T-shirt.

I only went up on the ladder for a few minutes,
but I did help paint up there! Talk about rickety!
Know how I spent my 4th of July?

We finished our painting service with the family Caballero. We got there in the morning and we began really great. There were two areas, and only two brushes, so we let the Elders paint the high dangerous part. There was a part high above the window on the second story that the ladder couldn't reach, so the Elders were trying to be creative on how to paint it....ya. Elder Llaguento climbed up onto the roof! So here in Peru, lots of times they'll put plastic or metal sheets on the roof held up by wooden planks. These are precarious and can break easily. So, Elder Llaguento climbed up and went on his stomach to where the window was, but he couldn't see it very well. As he was waiting for the others to come up with another plan, he got bored and decided to stand up. He stood up, saw that the roof supported him, and then began to walk around. BAD IDEA! As he was walking to the far part, he FELL THROUGH! I was down below and didn't see him fall, but I heard it. Fortunately, God protected him and he landed in the middle of the tiny kitchen. He didn't break anything in his body or in the kitchen...it was a miracle! When Elder Llaguento opened the door of the apartment, all he said was ¨Mi caĆ­¨ and began to laugh. It was pretty funny. The bad news was that the people that live in that apartment weren't too happy about what had happened. We all pitched in and bought a new roof tile, and in the end it all turned out ok. But, it was definitely memorable for my Independence Day.

Family History and Zone Conference

Monday, June 30th

Well, here in Peru not a lot really happened this week, but my parents sent me some stories and family trees that talk about my pioneer ancestors!! I loved reading about them, and lots of other missionaries looked at them too and think that they are so cool. Here in Peru, they've been focusing a TON on family history work, so the Gospel Principles teacher (who is also our ward mission leader) asked me to bring the papers and share a little bit and show the charts on the back. Everyone thought that it was amazing how far back they go...to the 1700s! Here in Peru, it's a lot harder to find the information about their ancestors because many people are from provincias or the amazon where they don't keep any kind of records. However, many are trying to find information about their parents and grandparents. I am so grateful that a lot of my family history work has already been done! I love being able to read the stories and learn more about where our family came from.
Our Zone Leaders bought us pizza last Monday! It was super yummy!

Just a random gorilla we ran into while tracting
This week has been kind of hard. Almost everything we had fell through, and it was just a lot of running around. Hermana Pinto has taken it kind of hard. However, this week we had a multi-zone conference with President Archibald and afterwards interviews. President told me many things that I needed to hear in my interview. I don't want to come back home with any regrets, and I feel like here I'm just not progressing. He told me that we really need to get out and work and push ourselves even harder. Having success in this area is possible, we just need to put our trust in the Lord that He'll put those that are prepared in our path. So Hermana Pinto and I are really trying to work even harder and talk with more people. We have lots of hope for this week that we will be able to find families that are prepared.

Yeah, we had to stop and get a picture with the gorilla.
I really am grateful for this chance that I have to be here in Peru, and I don't want to waste any time. There is so much that I feel I can do here! I hope everyone at home has a great 4th of July. On July 4th, Hermana Pinto completes 7 months in the mission and I complete one year here in Peru! Woohoo! It's gotta be a good week!

We did help a less active family in our area to paint the front of their house. It was a little hard because it was the second floor and the ladders were kinda of old, but we made it work.  only went up there on the ladder for a few minutes because I'm kinda scared of heights, but I helped paint up there! It was a great service. This week, my companion and I and the Elders in our ward are going to go back to finish. I'll send pics next week.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Struggles, Fasting, and Brownies

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

So, this past week, my new companion, Hermana Pinto, has had a little bit of a hard week feeling sick and discouraged, but I'm trying to help her. I know that we can do lots of good things here. She has had many baptisms in the first 6 months of her mission, so to come here where we haven't had one for a while and it's harder to get investigators, she's been feeling kinda frustrated. I'm trying hard to stay upbeat and praying for her to have enthusiasm and health so that she can keep working hard. I feel like the Lord is blessing us so much here, even if it's not in having baptisms.

This week, we held a special fast, where we fasted for Luis and Raquel, two investigators that are really hard, and also for us to find new investigators. I can attest to the power of fasting. I know that the Lord answered my fast. Saturday night, after we had begun our fast, we began teaching a family! There are 6 in this family, a husband, wife, and four sons, from 23 to 8 years old. We began teaching the parents and two of their sons, and we are looking forward to teaching their other 2 sons as well. Then, on Sunday, Luis and Raquel both came to church! The Lord blessed us so much to be able to find this family and continue working with the families we have, and we're doing everything possible to help them progress.
We made brownies with frosting....it was really good,
 but really sweet. I love frosting!
 It's been so long since I'd eaten it.