Monday, February 15, 2016

8 months a missionary!

Man the weeks FLY by -- especially when we have intercambios every week!ust like in Piura Central, Hna Shumway and I have 4 companionships of hermanas (2 in Talara and 2 in Sullana) so we do intercambios just about every week! 

This week was pretty crazy because I went to Sullana in the same area where I had my first intercambio with Hna Shill over 7 months ago! It was just funny reflecting on how far I´ve come...last time we were on the bus on the way there and I was talking to Hna Shill about the emotional side of things (with a grand 2 weeks in the field at that point) and I was about to quote something my dad had said in an email but I choked up and couldn´t even talk -- (true story, Dad :). Now I´m on the other side of it helping other sisters in their areas and companionships. Pretty cool how it runs full circle. SPEAKING of full circles, back with Hna Shill we taught an investigator named Carlos -- and he accompanied us this week as a convert of 6 months! Super cool to hear his testimony and see how he´s changed! 
And did I mention I was with HNA GARCIA?? My MTC comp!! Crazy stuff. It was so fun to be reunited -- I could understand her Spanish way better than last time we were companions, haha. She is currently training and such a strong and capable missionary! Super funny too -- we went tracting in the pouring rain and cooked mac&cheese together. Maybe it was because of the rain but we got into literally every house we knocked and found some great new investigators -- and set a couple baptismal dates! And RAIN oh my goodness it felt so good! 

I must have been inspired when I picked my ponderizing scripture last Monday because it basically sums up this week! 
2 Nephi 33:3 ¨For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.¨
Those tears were pretty real -- we both kind of broke down in weekly planning on Friday. We have found a lot of nuevos but NO ONE accepts a baptismal date or comes to church. It´s seriously so hard. There´s a difference between finding new investigators and finding los escogidos (the chosen/prepared). At one point this week we were walking miles because no one was home and I was praying super hard to find ONE escogido. We found a contact, Jessica, and seriously I thought she was it -- super humble, super sweet, super interested to learn....until she mentioned she was Catholic... like way Catholic.Dang it. She listened to our message (which we taught in about 15 minutes...our mission is making a push on teaching simply and having shorter lessons) but at the end she rejected the baptismal invitation and basically said it would be impossible for her to come to chuch. 

Fantastic, I thought. Not seeing my prayers answered....until about a half hour later when we knocked on the door of another contact and this dad with his baby invited us in without even asking who we were -- they honestly seemed like a family of gold from the start...until we found out they were members. Noooo, haha. But we found out that they ARE actually golden -- golden less actives! He is a returned missionary and they were married in the temple but inactive for several years but they want to come back to church!! And the cutest 3 little kids. We felt so blessed! 

Also this week another less active contacted US (19 year old Stewart) and said he wants to come back to church! He is so great.

In all, we didn´t find any newbies who are escogidos but we DID see a ton of progress with the less-active work. I have gained a testimony of the importance of rescuing people -- we are here to help people becoming converted -- in whatever stage of life they are at -- nonmember, less active, or active members. 

With all the hard moments, we really should be counting our blessings because Katy and her sons are progressing really well. We had a DTR with her yesterday when we realized she DOES want to be baptized and she´s ALREADY been praying to know when. I finally put myself in her house and man, she has some amazing courage. None of her family are members -- in fact some are hard-core JW´s. And yet she shares quotes she likes from her Teachings of Howard W Hunter book on social media! I love teaching her because she truly has real intent. She takes praying to know if it´s true really seriously and she has gained her own testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon by her own studying and praying! And she´s always inviting us over to learn how to cook things -- Katy is the best! 

And the list of blessings this week is actually pretty long:
- We received 7 references from a member family this week. That´s more than we´ve received this entire transfer -- and possibly last transfer -- combined. We were so stoked. 
- Our Noche Misional turned out really well even though we were left in charge of absolutely everything without a ward mission leader -- we ended up doing valentine´s cards, games, and refreshment! A lot of less actives and a couple investigators came! Now to get ALL the branch members to bring their nonmember friends :)
- President Alguilar gave us a free moto ride
- Hermana Juana wouldn´t let us pay her when we bought a piece of her vanilla cake on the street 
- Presidente Granda sat down to talk to me when we were locked out of the church on the night of the NOche Misional (long story haha) and I got to hear his conversion story -- he is the cutest and most faithful old man! 
- And FAMILIA ROSALES. I can´t say enough about their kindness and love that they show to us. They are honestly our second family and all their kids feel like my siblings now. It´s impossible not to feel super loved when we are with them. (they are our pensionista fam!) 

To close I´ll share on of my fav quotes from Pres Uchtdorf:
¨ True Gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony. It comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trails of life (or the mission) but that one day we will.¨ 
I´ve talked about gratitude a ton but it´s because Heavenly Father keeps teaching me that I need to be more grateful! ..and patient..and humble...and charitable. Oh man, a long ways to go but I love my life right now! This work is the best work there is.

Hermana Parks
On of my favorite fruits - pepino


Hna Garcia!

Hna Shumway is seriously the best

 Mac and cheese
Invasion in Talara Alta

the donkey cart guy

bus ride back to Talara from Sullana

We fixed our own toilet

Ensalada rusa

Susana - our Peruvian madre

post-egg attack on Mahonri's birthday

branch noche misional

this morning we climbed "the mountain"

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