One down, 11 to go! Time is flying and I think that this week I loved being a missionary more than all the other weeks! I just felt most emotionally happy with this life I live, and excited for each new day!
First I´ll answer Dad´s questions since the general population might wanna know some of these things, too-
1. Lessons with members present makes ALL the difference. Unfortunately, it isn´t super easy here. When we ask members to accompany us, we choose investigators who are going to for sure be in their house for the appointment. Once, we had a member with us and went to 10 investigator´s homes over 2 hours and NO ONE was home or available. So yeah. We try to have 1-2 lessons with members each day, as a goal. The members of our ward are super great in helping out with the work.
2. 28 de julio was super fun, Hna Gomez made us a huge lunch for us and the whole family, they were all wearing their Peru polos, and there were tons of flags in the street and it was a great conversation starter for contacting!
3. The Peruvian accent is for sure different but I don´t know if I can explain it, haha! They have this intonation when they speak. Also a lot of people speak really fast. I can notice a difference between Hna O and the average Peruvian even though Bolivia isn´t that far away.
4. Personal study - President Rowley on day 1 counseled us to study the BoM for at least 20 mins of our hour, and PME for at least 20 mins. I usually do 30 mins of BoM and then we always study for someone specifially, so I use PME as I study for that person and form a lesson plan. My only complaint about the mission is that we only have 1 hour for personal study! I want 5, haha. The time seriously flies. I loved the scrpitures before the mission, but now I LOVE the scriptures. I look forward to study every single day and I´ve received so much personal revelation and inspiration!
5. The typical LDS family here..hmm.. they actually don´t have a ton of kids. Besides the family with 7 kids, the average is probably 3 or 4. On the other hand, unlike the US, nonmember families sometimes have like 5-6 kids! And a billion grandkids. And all 72 of them live in the same house, haha.
6. We haven´t eaten in a cafe or restaurant yet. P days we usually eat lunch in the Tottus plaza with other missionaries which has Burger King, Pizza Hut, all that unhealthy stuff, haha. Something other than rice.
7. Language study- I don´t know if this is all Spanish missions, or maybe ours especially emphasizes this, but it´s not an option for the Latinos to learn English. They have to, haha. Obviously they aren´t going to be fluent even after 2 years but Hna O actually knows a lot! The Latinos have English grammar and workbooks that has tests to measure their progress. Mostly she needs practice talking so we try to have conversations and practice specific things like past tense. For Spanish, I have a grammar book from the CCM and sometimes I read conference talks in SPansh to expand my vocab.
8. Experiences that prepped me for the mission-
Anything that had a leadership or teaching opportunity. For example, being a JC at girls camp and teaching Relief Society at BYU! Also just having experienced other cultures for service and learning Spanish in Gmala and the Dominican. Also SEMINARY. Especially scripture mastery. And perhaps most importantly personal scripture study. All of those experiences are part of my foundation.
9. Piano - yep, almost every Sunday for the ward. And every day in the CCM, haha. They just have a keyboard in our ward. The wardmission leader is the other person who plays, but his wife lost her baby (7 months along) a few weeks ago, so he has missed a lot of Sundays.
10. The tuk tuk drivers are pretty chill. Sometimes we´ll give them a pass along card or invite them to church as they drop us off and they´ll say oh yeah missionaries already gave me one of these, haha. They know the missionaries really well because we´re always getting rides.
11. Ways that my testimony has grown the most.. well that´s a hard one, haha! I feel like my testimony has grown in so many ways. Probably primarily in the principles of the gospel! You really never know what you know until you teach it. Each time I testify of a principle, it is solidified in my heart! Especially The Restoration and Plan of Salvation. Also I have never felt the importance of daily prayer and scripture study as much as I do now. My prayers are longer, more sincere, I feel closer to my Heavenly Father, and my scripture study is focused on the truths that can bless the people here, not just me personally! It´s the small and simple things, but they bring to pass GREAT things.
Before I forget to tell you guys, ELDER BEDNAR IS COMING TO OUR MISSION. We are stoked out of our minds. I think it´s the 27 of August or something like that. How lucky are we?
Okay a few experiences this week-
We try to visit a member family once a week to ask for references or plan a family night in their home with a nonmember, investigator, etc. This week we visited Hna Arronategui. She told us her conversion story, which is incredible. To summarize- She found the gospel during her early 20´s at asuper rough time in her life when she had several questions of the soul. The Elders answered all her questions using the Bible. She doesn´t have a lot of friends here so we left without a reference but it was completely a miracle what happened next. We left to teach an hermano Crol, he´s in his 20´s, in a wheelchair and was super interested the first week or two teaching him. He prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and felt peace. But during the lesson, he basically told us sorry but he feels like he´s found all he needs from his Christian church and the Bible. Initially we were thinking that was it. We can only invite others to come unto Christ, they have their agency. But he has also expressed to us many questions of the soul he has about hte plan of salvation. Because we had just talked to Hna Arronategui, it came to us that we could use the Bible to give a lesson on the Plan of Salvation and build off the faith Crol already has in the scriptures. So we´re going to return this week and teach him with that strategy. If we hadn´t visited Hna Arronategui, we would´ve let him go. I´m so grateful for the Spirit guiding us that day!
This week during our weekly planning, Friday 10-1, I was stressed out of my mind about our contacts.The Peruvian people are so receptive, and sometimes that´s the problem. We had a billion names and addresses in our agenda from this transfer of people we contacted in the street who agreed to have us visit them. I was stressing that we wouldn´t be able to find the people on the list who are truly prepared to hear our message because it´s impossible to visit them all! But through the guidance of the Spirit we figured out a way to organize all our old contacts, by area and by priority. From now on, at the end of each day, we´re going to decide which contacts we are going to visit that same week. There are for sure contacts where we feel the Spirit strongly, and those are the people that we need to visit as soon as possible after contacting. Anyways, after creating a plan, we found 5 new investigators within 2 days, 6 total for this week! A principle I´ve learned is that if we have a plan, The Lord will make up the rest and consecrate our performance (2 Nephi 32- 8,9) If we don´t plan, especially in lessons, we are less likely to have the Spirit with us.
Favorie food here thus far- Papas a la Huancaina. Google it. Also Alfajores, it´s a dessert.
No more time! I love being a missionary, I love these people, and they are so important to me! It´s really not my own love or care for them, it´s the Savior´s. I feel so blessed to represent Him for these 18 months.