Buenas tardes, familia y amigos!!
Time CRAWLED when I first got here, but now looking back it seems like 4 weeks flew by! Crazy.
I´ll start by answering Dad´s questions before I forget-
- 6 weeks between transfers, we have one exchange per transfer
- Our ward has about 80 members..or at least that´s what I counted on Sunday, of course there are several more who aren´t active. Our chapel is pretty teeny, I´ll try to send a picture!
- I´ve never really felt unsafe. There are parts of our area that where we don´t go past dark, about 630pm, because there are hardly any lights. Where we live is definitely safe.
- No sicknesses thus far! They bring us clean water in huge jugs every few weeks and as long as we drink and cook with that, we´re good!
- President and Sister Rasmussen are AWESOME. We had a multizone conference with them a couple weeks ago and then we had interviews this past week! They are from Irvine, President was one of the first missionaries in the Dominican Rep! Pretty cool. He was stake president in Irvine for several years before this. They´re actually pretty young, their youngest daughter is serving a mission in Chiclayo right now! Overall super pilas, they will be fantastic for our mission! And Sister Rasmussen just has to learn spanish, haha!
- I drink SO much water. It´s just so hot. I´m pretty good about staying hydrated.
- I haven´t had cui yet. Mission goals. But also slightly terrified.
- The only regret I have is one pair of shoes I brought that are just flats, no strap across. I need the strap because we walk SO much, in a lot of sand.
- You guys have to pick extra pears for me! That is something I miss!
- And heck yes, BYU football highlights in detail please!
Okay so great week here in Ignacio Merino! Well, at times it was a pretty tough week, actually. We worked super super hard, but there were a couple days when NO ONE was home and all our appointments and backup plans fell through.
During my interview with President Rasmussen he told me to look for the Lord´s hand each week in all we do. Sometimes we´re so busy we fail to recognize that each of our successes happen because HE has led us to the people who are ready to hear this message!
So here´s how I´ve seen The Lord´s hand this week:
Monday- we had a family night with a Rescatada family. (rescued) This means that they were inactive for a long period of time but the missionaries taught them all the lessons again and they started attending church regularly and had an interview with the bishop! The Bautista family. Norma is a single mother to Alexia, 10, who reminds me of Rachel :) Alexia is so sweet, she wanted to teach a lesson on Tithing, and she did a great job! Afterwards I taught them a game I learned at BYU thanks to my FHE group and Alexia and I played with her volleyball. I feel like I´m starting to form relationships with these families and the kids, which is such a blessing!
Tuesday- We taught Angel y Dely! They have been taking the discussions for a while now, so were praying to be able to find out what they´re lacking before baptism. They both have incredible faith and always have awesome insights during our lessons. Hna O and I felt like we needed to teach The Restoration again. We read part of JS History with them, which was a great experience because they got to hear Joseph Smith´s own words telling the story of The Restoration. I think it really helped them to realize why they´ve kept listening to the missionaries all this time, and remember that The Restoration is the foundation of everything we teach. This week we´re going to have a family night with them with another family in the ward. Really all they lack is ASISTENCIA a la iglesia and marriage. Which is actually kind of a lot, haha. We´re praying that they will continue to progress!
Wednesday- Mitchael Carmona! He is one of Yolanda´s sons. 32, lawyer, isn´t a member. We first met him while doing that service project for Yolanda and eating lunch with their family. I think that he´s grateful for us for befriending Yolanda since she´s separated from her husband and works from home, kind of lonely at times. So he expressed interest in taking the discussions and of course we were ecstatic! This week we invited him to be baptized and he accepted! He´s one of those people who you wonder why they aren´t already a member! He is super hard working and respectful, and has great values and goals for his life. He is going to be such a great addition to the ward! Yay for progressing investigators!
Thursday- Missionary work two by two is SUCH a blessing and definitely designed by God. I learned so much from Hermana O this week and I´m super super grateful that she´s my companion. She is always in tune with The Spirit and especially diligent in our studies and planning for investigators. On Thursday, for some reason, I was super homesick! Sometimes I have the terrible, terrible thought that I will lose a member of my family while I´m out here. I don´t know why that thought even came to my mind, but I was on the brink of tears that morning. But then during companionship study Hna O (who didn´t know that I was feeling down) shared DyC 118:3. It was literally a direct answer to my prayer. I felt so comforted in that moment. Heavenly Father chooses our companions. He knows us and knows exactly what we need, and Hna O has been such a great blessing! We´re super different, but I´m learning to be more humble, prayerful, and patient!
Friday- At 3pm we left the house to work. I think we went to THIRTEEN I repeat 13 investigators´ homes and NADIE estaba. In our area, that means a LOT of walking. Hours. But as we were walking down a street, we passed a house with a family inside talking. After passing the house, at the street corner, I had this overwhelming feeling that we needed to go back. The Spirit literally stopped me in my tracks. We knocked on the door and they said we could come back later to teach them! The Lord´s hand is in everything :)
Saturday- We taught a lesson to Gerardo. He had a baptismal date but last week he didn´t keep the word of wisdom. We taught about repentance and the Atonement and he received a priesthood blessing to give him the strength he needs to keep the commandments before his baptism. The Atonement has taken on a whole new meaning for me here as I watch people use and apply it in their lives!
Sunday- Sundays are love-hate relationship here. I wake up excited to attend sacrament meeting and then we walk out the door and it is STRESS-o-rama. We first went to the Paredes house to help Andrea, 14, get ready for church, they´re a menos activa familia. They were talking forever so we left flying to pick up an investigator, Valeria, before church and then Valeria WASN´T THERE even though we stopped by the night before to remind her and she confirmed that she was coming! Ugh. So I was sitting in sacrament meeting really ticked that we had a grand total of zero investigators at church since the others didn´t show up as well. I was basically thinking there was no hope for this area because no one will come to church. But then, in gospel principles class, I just felt this overwhelming peace. It was a feeling that everything is going to be okay and I just need to have the faith to keep working hard. We had ward council directly after church, and I am SO grateful for our ward, they are awesome. It´s a small ward, like I said, but our leaders are fantastic. I´m excited to work with them to help our investigators and menos activos to progress. Andrea had an interview after church to be a Rescatada, since she was less active in the past. We were waiting for her to accompany her back to her house and she came out of the interview with tears in her eyes! At first we were worried that something was wrong but then she said that the interview was an answer to her prayer! She had been having doubts, and didn´t know if she wanted to serve a mission, even though it´s a ways in the future. She said that the bishop helped her to set goals for reading the book of mormon, and she wants to prepare for a mission! People of ALL ages here are such an example to me!
It is super windy here most days. At random moments we get annihilated by sand and dust. I should start wearing sunglasses for my eyes!
When I introduce myself as Hna Parks here, people usually have a confused look on their face so sometimes I just say Hna Parques to make things easier, haha!
Some people here really slack with being on time and being at their house when we´ve scheduled an appt with them. But, if they´re home, whether we´ve scheduled an appt or not, they always let us in! Super welcoming all the time. They will stop whatever they´re doing to listen to us.
The best decision I ever made was bringing stickers on the mission. Seriously. The children of Peru are out to destroy missionary work, haha. Whenever one of the tiny tyrants are trying to destroy a lesson, I whip out the stickers and we´re good!
Hope you guys had a great week! Love you all!