November 25 2013
So this week has been CRAZY (when isn't it a crazy week?). We had training in Baranca on Tuesday. What that means is P-day we traveled to Huaraz, and then straight on to Baranca---6 hours in a combi (minivan) is NOT fun. Especially when you're on windy mountain roads and you end up sitting on a row with two elders...you can't even play Jell-O and you have to try really hard to stay in your seat, seriously it was like a four hour rollercoaster ride ha-ha. But we finally got into Baranca at 1am Tues morning and Hermana Brown and Hermana Mendoza took us in. They were so sweet and let us sleep in too. Then we got ready and went to training with President Archibald. It was really cool, and I was the only new North American there---but I was able to understand most of what he was saying. It was a little embarrassing because I struggle to think in Spanish and English at the same time, so when he directed a question at me in English I was totally caught off guard...still trying to translate what we had just been talking about, and gave a really simple answer. I'm sure he thinks I'm such a ditzy sister missionary ha-ha. That's okay though. I learned a lot about the importance of our purpose and how important it is that we BAPTIZE here. After that meeting Hermana Cueva wanted to meet with him and talk to him about some of our concerns. He basically just told us to keep on trucking, love the ward, and remember our purpose. Things are pretty hands-off here, which are good in some ways but in others I struggle because I'm still trying to figure out what the expectations of me are and what all the little rules and traditions are. We rode a combi back to Huaraz, stayed the night, had a Zone meeting and didn't get back to Caraz until late on Wednesday. So we only had Thursday, Friday, and Saturday really to work--more about Sunday in a minute.
But Saturday was really rough. We went to a reference from the Elders. They had given a blessing of health to a really sick little boy and the family said they wanted to learn more. When we got there though the mom was super exhausted and the little boy was in a terrible state. Moaning in his sleep, high fever, and there were flies everywhere. It was really hard to stomach. We taught a short lesson and did what we could to help. We taught her to use a cold wet rag to help with the fever, she didn't even know about that. The poor boy was boiling. I just kept thinking about the Lord's timing and the faith that's involved in blessings. I don't know what the Lord has in store for the family but I pray for a miracle for him. Also, there's an elder here that I think has typhoid fever, Elder Olsen. Please keep him in your prayers.
Yesterday I had to give a TALK. My third Sunday. I was so nervous, because I never know how the people here are going to take what I say. But I fasted and prayed and I can testify to you that those two things are so powerful. I was nervous and we were sitting in Sacrament meeting when I suddenly remembered Dad's joke/story about the Sister missionary that accidently said embarasada instead of embarasoso, so she said "I'm pregnant and it's all his fault" pointing to the bishop ha-ha, I smiled thinking about doing it...of course I didn’t ha-ha but it instantly took away all of my nerves. I was so grateful. I got up, spoke about charity, and everyone understood it, people kept mentioning it in other lessons and I was so grateful the Lord helped people to UNDERSTAND ME! After church we had to go to Huaraz AGAIN for regional training. Things are a little unorganized sometimes, and the elders told us last minute we were coming here and staying the night for Zone Pday. What they didn't do was tell the Sisters we were coming...so that was an adventure, and we had to give up some good appointments because we had to be here. It's hard when we have a goal and want to reach it but don't have a lot of opportunity to actually work. It was good though, we went on splits last night and Hermana McCleud and I were able to have some really good conversations, IN ENGLISH. I love that. She's had a really tough life but she's such a light and she's a total inspiration to me.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING. I love you all and I hope you know how grateful I am for you. I have more and more gratitude every day for the way I was raised and the love that I feel from all of you. I've been so blessed to be born in the covenant and ALWAYS know who I am. I'm so grateful for loving parents that have taught me the truth and have strived to keep their covenants and followed Christ all of their lives. I'm grateful for younger siblings that have taught me so much and have strengthened my testimony. I'm so grateful for great bishops and leaders in the church all my life-- I never realized how perfect our ward has been for me, and how blessed I have been to grow up in the area I have. Thank you to everyone that has impacted me in this way. Please don't take your Sundays for granted, don't take our ward for granted, and Kacey, Brett, TJ, Jake- don't you dare take your parents for granted. They love you so much and they work so hard to help you to know the truth and to become good Disciples of Christ.
This church is true. I am so grateful for the Lord and the blessings he has given me. This work is HARD, I'm not going to lie to you ever, I will be very straight forward when I say this is the hardest thing I've ever done. I often feel like it would be so easy if the Lord would have called me state-side, because at least I could speak my own language, but even then I know every missionary faces challenges in their areas. I'm just going to keep trusting and keep praying that the work moves forward and I can be a good instrument in the hands of my Savior.
Thank you for everything. I hope you have a fun, crazy, busy thanksgiving with all of our family coming to town. I hope that you eat some cranberry salad (A LOT OF CRANBERRY SALAD) and pumpkin pie for me...dang I miss that good stuff ha-ha.
Love you with all my heart.