Monday, February 1, 2016

Talara - week 1 report: baptisms, las brisas, "mountains", and referencias

Great first week here in Talara! Busy, busy, but fun getting to know the area, my companion, and the members and investigators here.

Here are some details of life in Talara!:
- When we walk up the hills to appointments we can see the ocean! It seriously makes me so happy. There`s a constant breeze and I think I scored the coolest place in the mission to be during summer! 
- Another tender mercy is that we have mountains near our house! K well, I call them mountains -- it`s more like a hill of dirt. But nonetheless we`re going to hike it sometime and I hear the view is awesome! Piura is flat as a pancake so I`m loving the calf workout we get everyday walking up streets! 
- Our room here is teeny tiny -- we wash our dishes in our bathroom sink and have COCKROACHES. But the walls are teal blue and we have a window and our neighbors don`t blast music at night so life is good!
- We can buy fresh fruits and veggies from a market in our area which is super fun and makes me feel Peruana :)
- So here bodoques are called chalacas and they sell them everywhere. -- de mango, tamarindo, coco con leche, mani con leche. They`re like 10 cents and a blessing when it`s hot. 
- So right now Peru is in this season called carnavales. You`ll have to look up exactly what it is but all I know is that we got annihilated by water balloons this week! Seriously we have to be on our guard. This week it was while we were walking near the market on the way to an appointment and these teenagers ran past and nailed us! Not even cool, they know we have scriptures! haha. 
- At night you can see these oil rigs (at least that`s what we think they are) out near the water and they`re all lit up, along with this makeshift lighthouse that is basically a tower with fire coming out of the top -- to warn the boats -- Love being so close to the ocean! 
- The members in our branch are super sweet and guess what -- Hno Freddy Gomez works in Talara every week so we ran into him on the street and I`ll probably get to see Hna Socorro while I`m here too! Yay Ignacio Merino reunions! Also HERMANA GLUNT IS HERE IN TALARA TOO! Crazy, right? So far we each have 3 areas in the mission and they are the SAME 3 areas! Crazy stuff. Love seeing her again!
- We hear ¨hey guapas!^ every day in the street here. I guess that`s what happens when 2 gringas are together but we get good at ignoring it, ha. 

So our area was struggling during Hna Shumway`s last transfer but we are getting it up and running again! 
We had a Noche Misional on Friday but our ward mission leader couldn`t make it last minute so we basically did an improv plan & direct it! There were 50 people there and we watched 2 mormon messages (Mountains to Climb and EarthlyFather Heavenly Father) with some member testimonies, then played a huge group game and had yogurt & fruit at the end! Our investigator Katy came with her son Lucas (9) and she was crying after we watched Mountains to Climb! Lucas LOVED the games and he is seriously exactly like little Ricky except Latino version! Haha. 

Speaking of Katy and her family, Hna Shumway had mostly taught their son Angelo (15) last transfer and his parents never seem interested ... until this week when Katy told us that after praying one day she felt a strong sensation that she needed to go to church (she had been resisting for a week or two before that)  -- and she came!! She`s reading the BoM and praying and preparing for baptism. She is the sweetest -- we went over to her house today and she taught us how to make pie de limon! Super super fun.

We have an investigator named Alejandra who is progressing as well! She is 18 and a reference from a branch member. It was really cool teaching The Restoration to her and her brother and watching their focus change as we taught The First Vision. She came to church and really enjoyed it! The hermanas found her a week ago when they did a show de talentos for an activity and Alejandra danced in it! -- goes to show how important ward/branch activities are in finding new investigators! 

This week Hna Shumway felt impressed to stop by a family who are members (Gisela is a recent convert and washes our clothes and Walter is a rescatado). Turns out we showed up at the perfect time because their son had just been put in jail and they were prety distraught. I felt impressed to share Mosiah 24 about the people of Alma and their struggles, and it was a very spirit-filled lesson. I`m grateful to have the companionship of the Spirit guiding us through every day here. 

Other events from this week--

Leadership council in Piura with the zone leaders and sister leaders -- it was a great meeting and I learned a ton! I love the scripture in Matthew 20: 26-28 about leadership as a service opportunity.

We got to go back to Piura on Saturday for Martha and Ximena`s baptism!! It was so beautiful! I love them so much. And so fun seeing Hna C and her new comp! 

Man my time is up! Hope everyone has a great week -- I sure will as I soak in this ocean breeze here in beautiful Talara!

Hermana Parks

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