Things are good, even great. This week we got an email from president saying he would be minimizing the transfers for this transfer, so it is really likely that two of the three of us stay in Año Nuevo, and that might mean that I go back to AN2 (the room is only across a main street in this part of Lima) If we do that I`m excited to be back in the lower area, without so many hills to climb :) This week I plan to write some Christmas cards of my own, just know that they won`t get there until later haha.
This week was kind of a prep week for all of the changes, less missionaries in the upper part and two new missionaries to divide the area, so we didn`t get as much done as we wanted to. We are working right now on two marriages for the end of December, the 20th exactly, and one of the families is already done with their papers. If you know what marriage is in Peru, that is some kind of a miracle to have it all done almost a month early. This couple is a part member couple. Beatriz is not a member, but she`s known that her partner is a member for a long time. They were high school sweethearts and now have been living together a good ten years. Slander has been to church 3 times in the last 12 years, so we`re excited he`s starting to come back. Even more, Beatriz used to send her kids to church with a member neighbor, and finally is starting to go with them. It`s exciting to see what reading the Book of Mormon does to change people`s lives. This book is more than a best seller, it’s more than some self help guide or bible commentary. It is the most correct book on earth and “a man can bring himself closer to God reading it than with any other book" (you can fix that quote right?)
In other news, we got Liahona`s from the ward the conference edition, and I`m super stoked to start reading it again. The other missionaries and I are all in agreement that this is an unprecedented time in the history of the world, and especially the church. We feel like something big is coming, something more than the age change, and we can`t wait to be a part of whatever the Lord has in His grand plan for the final sowing and harvest of the world. As missionaries, we plant seeds, we nourish them, sometimes we move on and somebody else gets to harvest, other times we are there for the whole process. As members, we have the opportunity to be the resident farmer, who sows nourishes and harvests and then gets to enjoy the fruits of the labor. The other step that we don`t always remember is that people aren’t plants, people are people and as such they need to be continually nourished by the good word of the Lord, they need a friend, and they need a responsibility. Sometimes they fall back, but it’s our job to seek them out, pick them up, dust them off, and watch them take the decision to get back on the horse. We can`t force them back to church, but we can love them, and show them that we need them.
Yes they vote, and it is mandatory to vote, with an option to vote in blank. At 65 they don’t have to vote and they aren’t penalized for not voting. It`s a real vote, and the system is really interesting, but hard to describe, so I will just have to tell you later. The dog whistle must be in the Christmas package. One tradition I have already experienced is paneton (fruit cake...but better) and hot chocolate, but super rich (evaporated milk) and with cocoa `plant extract (100% pure chocolate!). There are movie theaters, but we don`t go in them ;) there are probably three or four movie theaters within 20 minutes or 30 minutes of our area, so yeah that’s available, but more people just buy pirated movies because the movie theaters here get everything about 3 or 4 months later than the US. Leisure time is spent drinking with buddies (Inca cola or beer) or sleeping to be honest, and Mormon standard time is Peruvian standard time...so with the church its worse, like a half hour late. There`s a little dose of culture for ya :)
I am loving this work, I can`t imagine anywhere else in the world where I could be and be happy. I am looking to do His will in my life, more fully and truthfully than ever have I done before. I love the scriptures, they are true, they are the guide that our loving Heavenly Father has provided for us to survive the wiles of the Adversary. I know that Joseph Smith Jr was a prophet of God, he saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and he restored this gospel under divine direction. Thomas S Monson guides His church now, and has guided it through revelation directly from Him and will continue to do so until he has completed his mission. I know that through simple actions, we maintain ourselves progressing spiritual, but that they are conscious actions, choices we make with our own albedrio (will). Jesus Christ is my Saviour, my Redeemer, my Brother and Friend. His mercy sustains me, and the Holy Ghost maintains me in the course that my Father has for me. I know these things are true. If you don`t know it, seek divine assistance, help that will always be available when you sink to your knees with a question and faith.
I love you all, Thanksgiving there is a tender mercy of the Lord and I know that we are blessed when we see things as He sees them. Look for His hand in your lives, especially this time of year. Praying for each one of you,