Monday, August 8, 2016

This weekend was practically perfect in every way. Let me share a bit of María´s story: She is 55 years old and has 2 children, a daughter who is 20 and a son who is 21. Her daughter, who lives in Lima, found the missionaries and was baptized along with her husband earlier this year. She had been calling María telling her to find a Mormon Church in Piura! María has been looking for God for a long time in her life. She said that over the years she learned how to pray, began to fast once a week, and pay tithing to a different church. But she still felt like something was missing. One particularly difficult day, as she was overwhelmed with her husband´s illness and financial problems, she said a fervent prayer to ¨el espiritu santo¨ asking to show her where to go and what to do. She says that minutes later, we showed up at her door. (She tells me that I am her ¨angel¨, Hna Martinez unfortunately was transferred before she ever got to teach her) She has come to church every week since we met her and has loved everything we have taught her! She is the most prepared convert I have had. We love her so so much! She experienced a lot of trials this week -- her daughter who was visiting had to leave on emergency back to Lima with the grandkids, so wasn´t able to be there at the baptism, María got really sick and could barely talk, and her financial situation got even more desperate, but NEVER did she doubt her decision to be baptized. Her faith is incredible! 

And as you probably noticed, Mark wasn´t baptized. Long story short, visiting his ultra-catholic family in Mancora last week shook his faith a little bit when he told them he was going to be baptized.... and he also expressed that he hasn´t felt a spiritual confirmation that this is true yet. (Personally I think he has, but just hasn´t recognized it completely). But he is still SUPER pilas (have you ever had an investigator tell you that they were reading the words of Isaiah in 2nd Nephi and felt that it was ¨familiar¨? he´s the best.). There is no doubt in my mind that he´ll be baptized, but we have to let it be on the Lord´s timing, not ours. 

A cool moment -- actually maybe the coolest of the whole week -- was when David, the RM accompanying us to visit Mark, said that he has changed as we´ve been teaching Mark -- like we´ve actually been speaking to him. He decided to fast this past weekend for the first time in 8 months and he said that he received answers to his prayers and has a newfound desire to be fully active in the church. Wow. We just kind of sat there ... like wow. I testified that it´s definitely not us, it´s the Spirit that testifies and inspires and changes people. 

Anddd, we had a rad multi-zone this week on the Book of Mormon which had some mind-blowing teachings from President about the external evidence that the BOM is true (which can strengthen our testimonies after receiving a SPIRITUAL confirmation that it´s true) .. and also we had a scripture chase. Í was like Ï´ve been training my whole life for this!!!! Well, it was the 4th quarter. The entire 2 zones had been eliminated except Hermana Parks and Elder Abbott. We had 5 seconds to look up Alma 41:10 -- and my book of mormon just happened to have the pages stuck together on that exact chapter... noooo! So Elder Abbott walked away with the Chili´s gift card and President gave me some sympathy candy... hahaha but seriously, my testimony was strengthened so much in the conference. 

We fasted, found some great new people, including Karen who came to church!! (who totally belongs in Ashland, OR -- she´s vegan and backpacks through South America alone and has a pixie cut... so rad :)

I invite everyone to look up this scripture that transformed my week: 1 Corinthians 13: 1-2

 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
Hermana Parks
 Maria´s baptism!!!! It was perfect. 

With cute Hna Luzby who has been a wonderful friend for Maria ..

and right after she came out of the water! She was so happy. She just kept saying We did it! We did it! 

Beach time! We hit up Paita today with the district. 

another beach shot, 

and I caught a shot of hermana dionicio :)


and our district at the multi-zone -- can you tell that E Cloninger and E Ballero lost like 15 pounds each from the dengue?? still sickly..

rooftop pic at night

 more multi-zone pics! 

There are few times in my mission that I´ve gotten to play on a REAL piano (not a keyboard or way-out-of-tune upright)... so when we practiced our zone musical number at the stake  center I was in heaven. 

some of my favs at a noche de hogar! 


oh my heavens..... when you ask the Elders to drop off another box of Libros de Mormon... it might take you 2 days to find it, haha

enchiladas with the mexicana herself and hna janet :)


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