|In the mission offices by the woven mission symbol|
Dear Familia, Kolby graduating hasn´t really seemed like a reality to me for a long time, and now that it´s here it´s still a little tough to imagine. He´s an amazing and talented little brother and I´m proud to call him mine, I hope with graduation finished he can focus on the mission now and get himself ready for the greatest thing he´s ever chosen to do. I want to put a little emphasis on that. The mission is a choice. When an elder or sister chooses to come to the mission it is a conscious choice, and therefore brings the consequent covenant to obey the standards of the mission as well as the commandments. I echo Braden when I say that sending missionaries home early has to be the most wrong-feeling and difficult to deal with in the mission.
This week an elder went home after only one change, and though he was excited to go home in the taxi with his mom (he´s from Lima) his mom was in tears and his older brother stone faced. I can´t imagine what I would feel like going home early , but I know I wouldn’t be able to face the guilt knowing that they were my decisions that brought me to the mission and then my decisions again that made me live it.
Enough with the tough subject though, I am excited for Darci and Joe, that sounds like an exciting new change of scenery and a new adventure. Tell me where the job is, the financial secretary is from the Tucson area. I know that it´s not my being here that showers so many blessings on you all. It´s honestly a joint effort. I am firmly convinced that when a group of people have a common goal (ETERNAL LIFE AS A FAMILY) and then make righteous, appropriate efforts, they are blessed with success. Part of my patriarchal blessing mentions that: as I make appropriate efforts, I will be rewarded with what I need. Every time I read it, my mind fixes on that word, appropriate. How do I know what God judges to be appropriate efforts, and is that the same thing as acting within the commandments or is it more? I think over time, I´ve come to understand that it really means that I need to seek His will, His specific will in regards to my personal actions, while taking as a given that I live within the commandments He has given.
This week we did a work visit to Zona Tahuantinsuyo and I ended up with one of the district leaders there and his companion Elders Bailey and Sepulveda. We worked in their ward from 4 pm to 9 pm and were able to have a few lessons with some less actives and then a final lesson with a young single adult named Juan. Juan is the only member of his family to be a member of the church and was baptized about 7 months ago. For a single member of the church that’s actually really really good. Usually if they don´t have some kind of internal support within the famliy, they start to go inactive around 4 months, just after the missionaries who baptized them leave. (on a side note, that’s a problem the area is trying to fix with their specific Work of Salvation plan.) Well Juan had some really bizarre questions because of a growing church in his neighborhood. It´s a church based on the fact that the majority of Christian churches don´t mention a Heavenly Mother. Well, I headed the lesson of with a question of my own, "Have you tried sharing the gospel with any of your family members?" He answered yes and no. He had shared, and the missionaries even had taught them before, but they were a little closed minded (I was born catholic and that’s how I’ll die one too!). Well we left the invitation to have the next lesson with the rest of his family and he said yes. We also let him know that as he changes due to his membership in the church, his family will have questions and he should begin to feel comfortable bearing his testimony to them in a simple and casual way: over the dinner table or when they go on family outings. All in all he was a great guy, 18 years old and planning on a mission within a couple of years, leading the way for his family to join the church.
As for the questions you had: We do cook, but kind of like the old area. There’s not time to dedicate to it, so we end up buying things that are already pretty much made or going to the deli on the corner to buy food made to order. Laundry is still by the amazing mission wide laundry service. That’s available in about 3/4 the mission, and I had the opportunity to meet the owner and a few of the employees while I was in Collique. Permission to go see other areas is a given. If I do a work visit I can do a work visit to any area in the mission, including the sisters if I have my companion with me. It literally means the entire mission is my area. The purpose of the work visits is to lift he missionaries up, to correct problems ( or figure out what problems there are) and to improve on their teaching ability. I absolutely love it. Though it’s hard to not really have investigators of my own, I can concentrate myself on the love that the missionaries feel for their investigators, and help them to be even better.
Coming down after the mission would be great. Obviously when I replied it was as clear as mud. I would love to come back to Peru after the mission. The difficult thing would be deciding between going to see families and converts from my areas, or doing the really touristy things like Machu Picchu or the jungle. I´m still not sure which I would prefer. The overwhelming feeling of the missionaries is that we really don´t get to know what Peru is during the mission, due to the fact that geo-physically and socio-economically, the mission fits in a very narrow band. I want to know more about all the places that people describe to me when we come to know them well. At the same time how can I cross so many barriers to come back and then not dedicate time to see the people who have changed me forever while changing themselves? Still not sure, but I´m definitely open to that opportunity (to come back).
I love you all. You are my greatest support and when I stop to really think about how blessed I am to have you, I can´t help but be overwhelmed. You are examples, you are faithful, and you are wonderful. I hope this week we can all look a little closer and realize the many miracles that God works in our lives.
|Machu Picchu Diorama|
|Monkeys at a park we visited|