It was so good to hear from you all. Sorry to Darci and Joe and Braden that I wasn´t able to talk/see them more. I would have loved to hear and talk with them. I hope grandma feels better soon, nobody likes being sick. Elder Arce has been sick with a stomach bug for a few days, so we have to return to the room often sadly. It´s hard to take a break when I know there are so many people waiting, but well when duty calls haha. As for the blog, I really think Melissa and Kolby have techno genius as well, or at least enough to know how to manipulate a blog page. If not, Carrie has a blog and so she should be able to show you how to get things back to how they were, that is if she´s in town and willing to hop on over to our house.
Melissa looks a lot...older? I don’t know if that’s the right word, but she definitely looks more mature, tell her to stop that growing business, and not to look at boys unless they are at stake dances. Kolby...well le falta una corbata, pero todo está bien allá. (lacks a tie, but all is well there.) His question reminded me that he will be on a mission while I am here, and that was both a happy and sad thought. He will be learning how to do the work while I am teaching others to do the same (that is if I am training at that point). What a wonderful thing the mission is and how it changes people into more than they think they can achieve. If you get a chance, a great parable from the scriptures is described in Jesus the Christ (I’m reading that lately) It´s the parable of the secret seed, all about leaving the word of God and not knowing when it will come to fruition, so so so missionary work.
Well, stories from the field time: Dennys and Mary, the couple we´ve been working with recently told us one night that there was a problem that was out of their hands that would impede them getting married on the 11th, two days back. The next morning in a special visit with them during our usual study time, Dennys told us that he had an old girlfriend levy a claim for food support for her son of 12 years. That’s a monthly fee for 12 years of support, to the tune of 8000 nuevosoles. Basically it’s more than he might make in a typical year as a musician and he has 4 kids with Mary to support. He´s been super positive through the whole thing, even though he can´t get married because the claim includes an order of capture, so he can´t appear to be married without being arrested. He wants to work it off and we are thinking of hiring Mary as a pensionista so we can help them gain a little faster. They are so positive about all of it, and they have been gold from day one, reading the Book of Mormon as soon as they got it and saying prayers in spite of some otherworldly resistance. They can use a few prayers for sure.
The other is Brenda, the 15 year old daughter of an investigator family. 15 is the age of junior year here, so she studies night and day solid without breaking for much. We caught her on Friday night free and so we talked to her about her lectura of the Book of Mormon. She hasn´t been reading and forgets to pray. This is especially hard because she didn’t believe in God before Elder Arce and my grandpa (Elder Arce’s trainer) started visiting their family in January. She read a few verses from the Book of Mormon with us in between games of the Peru V Mexico volleyball game that she was watching and was able to understand when I told her about primary prayer rocks. She didn’t really love that idea of a rock under her pillow, but really that’s the idea right, its uncomfortable if you don’t pray. Well I gave her a little extra homework for the weekend we will be checking on tomorrow: Read Alma 34 and pray every night minimum. She reminded me a lot of Melissa and Kolby combined in a weird way haha. But really she´s the last member of her family that needs to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, so I´ve been hoping she goes through with it.
The ward had a mother’s day dance activity at the church on Saturday night. The men of the ward had put the chairs in a square in the chapel and set up these huge speakers. True to form, no one really showed up until a half hour in, but the music was super loud salsa and huayno, which is a kind of salsa from the sierra (mountain regions) Hermana Valer, the one that reminds me of grandma nelson was pulling sisters from their chairs to join in the dancing. She has sooo much energy! It was a success, we even had two of our investigator families show up after we left, which was super duper exciting. It can be hard to get people to take the step of going to church or even an activity, but if they just get there, the members can step in and give them a reason to keep coming back.
In other news...it finally happened. My CROSS pen from Brother and Sister Strickland that I got for graduation died. There was no more ink left during planning last night and I had to write super big to get continuous lines to come out. Refills for that would be really great, but I know it’s tough to send things, it can wait until much later for sure. I like the other pen I have a lot too, it’s a Pilot Easytouch. Funny how when you use things all day long, you get attached to them though.
In response, all the sisters I have met while here are super effective, especially because we as elders can´t teach single sisters or single mothers without a priesthood holder present. They can take all of those references and whomever else they find in their area and I don´t think they have to tract much because of the sheer number of single mothers there are everywhere.
I read my patriarchal blessing from time to time, and keep it in the top drawer of my desk for easy reference. It´s cool how different things stand out at different times, even when you think they only apply to a certain facet of your life, they apply elsewhere too. That´s really vague, just know that I am getting guidance out of my patriarchal blessing too haha.
It´s sad when missionaries lose their vision of potential in the field because I know that in the CCM there were those who weren´t focused, but everyone was at minimum obedient. We can literally turn an area around with the help of the members if we focus ourselves on the work, but that’s not possible with disobedience. I´m learning that sometimes my stubborn nature is a good thing, but only when employed in the correct way. It can benefit everyone to be a little stubbornly righteous right? All in all I love this mission and I know that I have come to this mission with these missionaries and these wards and investigators for a specific reason. It´s my work to figure it out and use it to bless those around me.
A quick note about pictures. There will be extensive replacement of all the pictures on the blog when I get home, because I send you pictures that have been reduced 50 fold in quality so that I can send them in email format. I have all of the originals in full quality and I wish I could send those instead, but I would have to use 4 or 5 hours for internet time haha.
I love you all, and I hope that my being here on my mission is a blessing to you individually. I don´t try to think of home during the day because It’s easy to lose focus, especially because home is associated with English, which isn’t really understood in these parts. Just know that in the quiet moments that I am reminded of each of you and that is when I petition for your blessings. I have specific things that I ask for each of you related to your success or happiness, and I hope that you are doing everything in your power to trust in faith that your Father can give you what you need when you need it. The scripture says that if you open your mouth, you will be given in the very moment what you need to say. That goes for all other things as well. When you need it, heavenly help will come.
I love you all and hope that things are running smoothly on the homefront.