Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Earthquake? and Tallerines Verdes

My parents asked me about the earthquake in Peru on Sunday. Wow, there was an earthquake? I didn't feel a thing! Apparently there's little "temblores" or shakes every few weeks, but luckily, I've only felt one once. I was out washing the dishes and I felt a huge bump and I thought there had been an explosion or something because there's lots of construction going on. But ya, I normally don't feel anything!

My mission president's wife, Hermana Archibald, is helping me get my violin shoulder rest from home for my musical number in less than two weeks. My bishop back home had some family members flying back to Peru a week ago, so my parents sent the package with them. On Wednesday, we had a multi-zone conference and Hermana Archibald told me that she called Mom and got some of the details. I hope everything gets worked out! The only problem is that if I get transferred tomorrow, I won't be able to take the violin with me to practice...it'll be a miracle if I can get the shoulder rest in time to practice! But ya, I know it'll all work out great. I am super excited for the musical number, but still a little nervous. The bummer is that we know that Elder Anderson won't be coming anymore because he has an emergency meeting in Salt Lake City on the 30th and 31st of August...so kind of a bummer, but we're still going to play for the conference. I had to laugh because Hermana Archibald said when she talked to my Mom on the phone it sounded like she was talking to me. She said I sound just like my mother. Even after 15 months apart, we're still the same!

We were finally able to talk to W. on Saturday! She had a crazy week; she was sick, she went with her Dad, she signed up for her university classes, among other things. She is still super excited for her baptism, which will now be on the 6th of September. We went to pick her up for church yesterday, and it was a good thing we did because her mom had to work and W. was left to watch her brother. We helped her to pick up the house a little bit and get ready to go, and we went with her and her brother to church. It was great to see her there, and the ward members are really helping us to befriend her. She will be a great member!
Homemade tallerines verdes and meatballs -- yummy!

This week we contacted more than I ever have in one week during my mission! The sad thing is that almost everything we had for the week fell through, which led us to even more contacting. But it was a good experience, full of little miracles and great opportunities. Next week we have a lot of appointments lined up with contacts. Hopefully some of them become new investigators! At least we know where they live -- ha ha!

Hermana Pinto and I also decided we wanted to try to make tallerines verdes...and it worked! It was so good! I can't wait to make them for you guys when I get back! Hermana Pinto also made her mom's meatballs...yum!

This week will be a little crazy for me. I'll find out today if I get transferred...I'm so nervous! If I get transferred, I'll be in another area until I finish my mission. If I don't get transferred, I have no idea if I'm going to just stay here or if I'll be changed on my last transfer. I hope that I don't get changed on my last transfer, because I'll have to get to know a new area and I won't know anyone. It'll be hard to help the area to progress much before I leave. Anyway, I'll see what happens!

I just wanted to tell my brother, Alex, I love him and I am so proud of him as he gets ready to leave on his mission to Nicaragua! I tell everyone here that my brother is getting ready to go on a mission in one week! I am so excited for him and know he will be an amazing missionary!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Choir Practice and Knocking on Doors

Well, yesterday we were disappointed because W. didn't make it to church. She went with her Dad (her parents are separated) and was gone all weekend. So, we're going to have to change her baptismal date for the 6th of September (because August 30th is a conference). I'm super bummed becuase I'm pretty sure I'm going to be transfered next week and I won't be here when she get's baptized. But hey, the most important thing is that she gets baptized!

Last Monday we had a choir practice, and afterwards we all pitched in and bought pizza! Yum! We took a pic with all the girls in the choir. The song that we're playing is an arrangement of Joseph Smith's First Prayer and Hark all Ye Nations. During the practice, they changed my part a little bit, so I need to practice some more. The notes really aren't hard, I just need to regain my confidence in remembering where to put my fingers. It will be really pretty I think! The choir is great and the pianist is amazing...so I just need to practice my part!

The second picture is our district. Elder Paredes left this week for home, and his companion Elder Huaman is in another area, so we're definitely going to have changes in our district for transfers. And you know what? Hermana Larsen ya se va! She's finishing her mission in a week! I can hardly believe it. I remember when I was with her and she hit her 9-month-mark. Her parents are coming to pick her up on Monday and she'll be headed back home the next week. I hope that all goes well with her and that we'll stay in contact after I get home.

Just a side note: My parents told me about all the tributes to Robin Williams. Well, down here in Peru, they're also lamenting his death. Everyone is watching his movies on the TV. That's really too bad about his passing. He was a pretty funny guy.

Anyway, not a whole lot new. I've come to realize the benefits of knocking on doors instead of contacting in the street....when you knock on doors they can't lie to you about where they live, cause you already know! This week, almost all the contacts we made lied about where they live. I think that this week we'll try more knocking on doors and less contacting in the street and see if it yields more fruits. So ya, still working hard.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Stake Conference and "Face the Cookie"


So this week was pretty good because it was Stake Conference! There were lots of really good talks and I enjoyed it a lot. In both the adult session and the general session, President Archibald spoke. I took some good notes. In Stake Conference, it was so cool and such a great feeling to see Luis (who is the last of the Guillen family to be rescued) and Christian Guillen, Andres Cortez (one of the converts I helped teach), and Santiago Tesen receive the Melchizedek priesthood! My testimony of the priesthood has been strengthened during my mission and I am so happy to see these men take this step in their lives. It's moments like this that make all the hard work worth it.
Playing "Face the Cookie" at our Ward Mission Activity
We also had our Ward Mission Activity, and people actually came this time! W. was there, and two other investigators and a less-active member that we invited! The Elders also had some less-active members there. When we first started (30 minutes late), only the investigators and less-active members had shown up and we were kind of nervous that none of the ward members were going to come to friendship them. But, by 8 PM the room was filling up and lots of members were there, Young Single Adults, Primary, Relief Society, and Priesthood. Yay! It was lots of fun. I got an idea for one of the games from our family's Christmas slideshow, which was showing a clip from a Minute-to-Win-It competition from our annual family olympics last summer. The contest is called "Face the Cookie" and it involves getting a cookie from your forehead into your mouth without using your hands -- ha ha. The game was a blast, and the whole night turned out great!

W. is still going strong for her baptism on the 23rd. We're so excited for her! After Stake Conference finished, President Archibald came down from the stand to talk with her. I think he could see that she wasn't a member because she still hasn't gotten a skirt to wear to the meetings. He came down and congratulated her for her decision. I was so happy! This week we were able to meet her mom, N. We came to her house for our second lesson, but W. was late and only her mom was there. At first her mother was a little hostile towards us and told us that baptism isn't a joke and that W. isn't ready for these changes in her life. I prayed that God would soften her heart. We began to explain the importance of baptism and the blessings that we've received for being members of the Church. We explained that we're here to help prepare W. for her baptism, but that we're not going to obligate anyone to be baptized. As we were explaining, W. got home and she told her mom that she had felt that what we'd taught her was true and that she wants to be baptized. God answered my prayers as N.'s countenance changed. She agreed to begin listening to the lessons with W. and this week she said she'll come to church with her. She wants to know if this is true too! We're super excited because we know how much this will bless her family.

So today we're having another rehearsal for our musical number in about 3 weeks for our Mission Conference. The violin practicing has been going pretty well. I know where I need to practice more. But, the musical number should be beautiful! I'm super excited to play (but still nervous too ha ha)!

I just wanted to finish by saying how proud I am of my little (6-foot-2-inch tall) brother. It sounds like my parents are helping him get everything ready to go for his mission in less than a month now. I am so happy that he's going! I am just so excited for him! I know he'll have so many wonderful experiences and grow spiritually, just like I have on my mission.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Miracle of the Tres Leches Cake

Hello everyone. Things are going pretty great down here in Peru even though lots of our appointments fell through this past week. Still, we had some little miracles.

We met an amazing investigator named W. (she is 21-years-old)! On Wednesday, everything we had fell through, and we had been walking around and contacting people on the streets for a couple of hours. We had been avoiding the panaderia (bakery) for a few days because we're trying to eat healthier and lose a little weight, but the thought of a tres leches cake was too much of a temptation. Our path just so happened to lead us past the panaderia, and without the normal mental conflict of whether or not we should, we both just decided to go in and buy a cake. As we were buying our treat, a man began to talk with us and told us that he wanted his daughter (W.) to receive the charlas. She was there with him, and they were eating cake while we talked with them. He is an inactive member that lives in Araquipa but came down to visit his daughter. He told us how much he enjoyed the church and how he wants his daughter to be a part of it. W. was kind and accepted an invitation for us to visit her. It wasn't until after we began teaching her that she told us she really shouldn't have been in the panaderia at that time either because she was running late and needed to get home, but the temptation for a cake was too much for her as well and she decided to get one with her father. So, sometimes God gives us our moments of weakness so that we can learn and be where He wants us to be. Even though we didn't keep our diet, we were able to meet one of God's children that is prepared and excited to be baptized on the 23rd. Maybe we should give in to temptation more often and buy tres leches cake everyday -- ha ha.

Also this past week, we had our first big practice with the choir and it turned out well. The musical number should be really beautiful. I just need to practice a few things and spruce them up. We also did a service to help clean the church with the Relief Society and we are planning a Ward Mission activity for Friday night. This coming up week is Stake Conference and we're excited for that also. I think this is the first time in my mission that I've been to a Stake Conference. So, things are going better and we're seeing some progress with the work here in El Trebol.

Anyway, so this week we are excited to get out and continue working hard and I am glad to still be here. I can testify that I have truly gained a greater appreciation and knowledge of Christ and His Atonement during my time in the mission. Sending my love to everyone back home and hope that you all have an amazing week!