This week has been pretty crazy...don`t know where to start!
So first thing...you may be getting a call in the next week or two from some random person named Kevin Foutz! Elder Foutz ended his mission just yesterday and is now touring a bit of Peru with his family! He`s heading back to the states in about a week I think, and he`s going to Utah for the weekend! I sent him with a DVD of all the pictures and videos I`ve taken since I because a missionary. :) Hope you enjoy it, but more importantly, I hope you get to talk to him! He`s amazing, and because of his example, I am a MUCH better missionary and person. I`ll forever be greatful for him. He worked to the very last day, you couldn`t have guessed that he was going home. I love that man.
As for how I am personally doing mom, I`m great! :) I am learning and growing rapidly here, and I love it! My spanish has drastically improved, I think, and I continue to progress with it. Haha, this week I had Elder Turcios teach me the first lesson in English! It reminded me of the MTC when I couldn`t speak hardly ANY Spanish! Now I understand a little how the teachers have to interpret our attempts. His English is GREAT! Just not the best grammer, which he`s working on. I can now pretty much talk about anything I want. The accent is coming, and I have a lot more to learn, but I`m ok now. :)
Health this last week has been...fun! I think my body is just still adjusting to Peru, that`s all. Nothing like you all have been going through, that`s for sure! I had a bit of a scare thinking that I might have a parasite, I was showing a few symptoms, but that`s all cleared up now. Just two days of running to the toilet. It made for an exciting adventure! Pretty sure everyone goes through it on their mission.
So this week we focused on a few investigators, and tried hard to find new ones. Ours just aren`t progressing. They don`t want to keep their commitments. Elder Foutz said this is the only area that`s been this bad with following through on commitments. It`s kinda weird. They all like to listen, but don`t follow through. Anyway, we tried to find new ones, but not much luck! Many people wouldn`t open their doors. Haha, kinda funny sometimes, we see people outside and they hurry and run inside before we can talk to them! You`d think that we have the plague with us or something...I think they just are afraid, they don`t know what we believe.
As for a new companion...that happens tomorrow!! I`m super excited to meet him, but at the same time I`m sad to leave Elder Turcios. He`s going to train someone else!! I`m finally going to have a brother!! ;) Haha, I know he`ll do great! He`s been an amazing first companion. There aren`t many like him. He`s had a really tough life, yet is so faithful, it`s inspiring.
So this weekend we had our District Conference! President Chipman came down and spoke with Hermana Chipman. They talked a lot about families and strengthening them. His councellors also talked, and one of them was VERY straightforward about the law of chastity. It was incredible! The people here need that though. The law of chastity is one of the most important commandments, yet so many people break it here! It makes for broken families, and makes us really sad. I hope that it did some good, and that the people in the District of Talara will strengthen their families.
One of my experiences this week I don`t think I`ll ever forget...Elder Turcios and I were just walking down the street when we saw an older man sitting alone outside his house. We felt that we should talk to him, so we introduced ourselves and asked if he lived there with his family. He then began to relate how his son just died two months ago, and his wife was really struggling with it, hadn`t been able to do much since. You could literally hear the pain in his voice. He said he had been praying for months and months for his son to live, yet God had `not answered his prayers.` I felt so sad for him. He said he doesn`t believe in God, doesn`t believe in Christ, and that this life was just horrible.
When I heard that, I just felt the strongest desire for him! Here`s a loving father who hoped his son would live, but he didn`t. Now he has to live without him, and is feeling so lost and doesn`t believe in anything. I tried to communicate my desire to help him, and show him that he can have happiness through the gospel, but he just wouldn`t even listen! When he knew we were missionaries, he just shut down. We ended up leaving a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation. I really hope he reads it and feels the spirit, that he will see his son again.
We had another experience, quite the opposite actually! We had one investigator a while back, Sara, that was SUPER interested in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She told us the first visit she felt the spirit and practically knew it was true. Well, then for a few weeks we couldn`t find her! We found out her mom was sick so we kinda just passed by every once in a while, but never could encounter her. This week, we finally did!
We saw her from down the street, and practically ran to be able to talk to her! Once we got inside, we found out that she`s been in the hospital with her mother this whole time. Her mom was in a coma, and it didn`t look like she was going to make it! She said she prayed almost all night and all day for her mom, and really tried to do everything she could to help. Her mom made it! Sara said that she felt the spirit comforting her then, and now is really devoted to her mom and family. She`s just so grateful for the Lord`s help!
When we heard that, I just felt so happy! I`m so grateful for the Lord`s hand in our lives. She truly felt His love, and I know we all can feel that too. We talked to her about it, and I could tell she just has so much more faith in Him and prayer now. We told her this was a blessing, and we need to stay on the path and serve our Father in Heaven. She was really willing and ready, and I think she`s really committed now to reading the BOM, going to church, and trying to strengthen her testimony. She hasn`t accepted a baptismal date yet, but I know she will. :) She is going to be a great member! We just have to keep going back, and hopefully she`ll recognize an answer from God that this church is true. I think she already knows it, she just needs to keep acting, and things will go great!
So while I`m thinking about it, those pictures I sent are of Elder Turcios, McDonough, and I overlooking Negritos. The one with the plane is actually in my area! It`s a plaza de armas where they just randomly have that plane. No one has been able to tell me why...but I thought it was cool! Also, there`s one of Elder Foutz, the last one I got with his suitcase all ready to go! Also, there`s one of us with a family, that`s a less active family, the family Velez. They`re super nice, and we`re hoping to get them coming to church! So many less actives here...
Well, I have to go. Tomorrow I find out who my new companion is!! Very excited!! I do know that I`ll still be in my same area, and that Elder McDonough and I will continue living together! Way excited about that. He`s awesome, and definitely a life long friend!
Dad, did a Utah Jazz player REALLY win the Dunk Contest??? Incredible. And a broken nose??? Haha, that`s kinda funny!
Jen! I got your letter with the blog post! Very awesome! All the northamericans liked it! It was really cool to read. If you find any other cool mormon stories, or missionary stories...that would be awesome! I love reading of people`s experiences and testimonies. I always feel the spirit when I do. :)
I love you all, and thank you so much for all of the letters! Mom, I got your really spiritual one and wow...thank you so much for sharing that with me!! It makes me just so excited to read your conversion story! Btw, how is that coming along?? Hopefully I`ll get it before next Christmas...:P Haha, I`m just a little anxious!!
Get feeling better everyone!! Love you!!