Week of Nov. 14th letter

Wow what an amazing week!!!! Ahhh!!!!! I love Peru and I love being a missionary! Did you guys know that the church is true? Cause it totally is. SOO TRUE. And the Book of Mormon is awesome. Read it. Seriously. You will not regret it because it’s amaaaazing.
 
So I have a little explaining to do, last P-day was kind of crazy. As soon as we got back from the temple and shopping they called us to the main office and said our whole district had to hurry and get on this bus and go to the migration office in downtown Lima to do some paperwork. We didn’t have time to eat lunch or email before we were whisked away. So that’s why I emailed Friday and why we got to go out to eat at Papa John’s since we missed lunch and dinner! Which was soooo worth it by the way. Pizza is like a gourmet thing in Peru. Just a few slices of home. Delicioso.
 
Something way exciting is happening tomorrow. Elder Russel M. Nelson is in Peru and is coming here to the MTC to speak to us! Crazy exciting, right?! Also Elder Rasband from the presidency of the 70 is coming with him and I’m just as excited to meet him. He’s the one that gave that talk about how they assign missionaries their calls that I watched like a hundred times when I was waiting for my call.
 
I had so many wonderful spiritual experiences this week I don’t even know where to start. Part of how we learn how to teach the gospel here at the CCM is by practicing it. We teach “investigators” every day who are really our teachers pretending to be investigators but actually they’re real. At least it feels real to me! It’s crazy how much I love them and want them to gain testimonies when it’s really just for practice. But I have learned so much this week. I swear the lessons just feel so real and I care so much. As I prepare for lessons and rely on the spirit to help me say/share the right things, I see just a tiny glimpse of how much God loves his children. It’s a whole lot, let me just tell you. My oh my being a missionary is wonderful. Something we learned this week was to picture the people we teach as if they were our family members. Every man or woman could be our mom or dad or brother or sister or best friend. How would we want them to be taught the gospel? And how could we not want to share this amazing message with them?
 
For some reason I jotted down Mosiah 28:3 and Mosiah 24:14 on my list of things to write about but can’t remember why…haha
 
Our district was in charge of the musical number for a fireside we had on Sunday. I still had the sheet music for I Heard Him Come with me and Hermana Huppe just happens to have an amazing voice and another elder can play piano beautifully so we whipped an awesome solo together for her and we all sang the chorus. It was amazing and everyone was so touched. Thanks for making me obsessed with that song, Dad!
 
Also I was called on to give a talk on Sunday. It was a real shock because everyone is supposed to write a 5 minute talk in Spanish and no one knows who’ll they’ll call on til right before you’re supposed to speak. I’d been told that they never pick missionaries who aren’t about to leave the CCM so I wasn’t expecting it at all and apparently my face when they called my name was priceless, haha. But I got lots of compliments on my Spanish!
 
Sunday was just an amazing day in general. We had like a block of 3 hours for personal study and there is a ton I learned that I wish I could tell you about! I’ll write it all out and maybe share it next week.
 
P-day was just so wonderful today. The temple was amazing. Pictures that you find online of the Lima temple just absolutely do not do it justice. What a sight to see! Shopping was fun too. The picture of the pineapple juice is for you, Dad! It was soooo good!
 
Quick spiritual thought. “No force in the entire world can stop the work of God.” -Thomas S. Monson
 
I really hate this part…ahhhh…..can I just have like 20 more minutes please?!?!
Bye for now! I think I get to email again on Tuesday this week.
 
-Mandy/Hermana V/Sass Master
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Grateful to be a missionary!

So the coolest thing ever happened this week. On Friday Russell M. Nelson came and spoke to us! Wow, it was just awesome is all I can really say. I was sitting in the very first row and when he asked for a few volunteers you can bet I ran right up there! I was standing right between him and his beautiful wife for a few minutes while he talked and asked some of us questions. He was totally holding my hand, no big deal! Okay yes, BIG DEAL. He asked for 5 volunteers twice and the first time I didn’t get up there. The question he asked the first 5 people was what they were most grateful for. I was sitting there regretting not going up at first so you can bet the next time he called for a few missionaries I was out of my seat in no time! But I wanna tell you what I would have answered for the first question.
 
I am SO grateful to be a missionary. I haven’t even left the MTC yet but I have already come to love this gospel and it’s message more than I really imagined I could have. It’s definitely hard just like everyone told me it would be, but I know it’s worth it. I thought to myself the other day, what would I be doing if I was home now? Just be back at BYU I guess…and don’t get me wrong BYU is a great place to be but I am just thrilled to be in Peru doing something so much more important. I had a few really great days in a row though so I just hope I can remember how I feel right now cause I know it will get tough again. Speaking of which, I REALLY need to write in my journal. I haven’t since the plane. Woops…está bien. (That’s my district’s favorite thing to say.) Actually maybe it’s “Jesus paid for our fish.” In Spanish “pescados” is fish and “pecados” is sins…it’s a confusing word for some haha.
 
Can anyone believe I’ve been here for a month now? Cause I can’t! That means I only have 2 weeks left in the MTC. CRAAAAZYYYYY. But I think I’m ready. For the last two weeks I’m getting a new companion and will be in a district of all latinos and speak only Spanish…pray for me even harder now haha. Just kidding I’m excited about it. And super excited to be in the field soon.
 
On Saturday we got to go proselyting in Lima North again. I loved it! Last time we pretty much just talked to a bunch of people who told us to come back another time and we gave away a few pamphlets but this time I was in a couple real lessons with members that haven’t been active for years. It’s kind of amazing how much Spanish I can speak when I know that they won’t understand me in English. I feel pretty comfortable with the language but I can’t wait to get even better. This was one of the times that just made me realize how much I love the gospel…I just wanted the people we talked with to know how important it is for them because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love them SO much!
 
I fall more in love with Lima and speaking Spanish every Pday that we get to go out shopping and to the temple. I may have to keep reminding myself that I’m not here on vacation!
 
Also, I want to tell you about how insane riding the bus over to the temple is. But I don’t have time. But now that I started I will have to tell you about it next week for sure haha.
 
Love you all so very much!
 
Mucho amor,
Hermana V

Week 2 – Learning A LOT!

Woah have I seriously been here for two weeks?! Craaazzyyyyyy!!!!
 
Okay so I really hated emailing last week cause I was so sad I couldn’t just stay emailing everyone forever! And it was just a rough day in general because of other things but can I just say that God was SO aware of me? I was seriously really upset and discouraged and that night I got TWO letters! They were miracles that lifted me right back up! No one could believe that I’d already gotten mail haha.
 
This week I’ve learned A TON. First things first, being a missionary doesn’t automatically make you a more spiritual person. Go figure, right?! I need to meet God halfway and do my part by working hard and doing all the things I’ll ask people I teach to do – pray and read my scriptures and have faith! One day I skipped my personal prayer in the morning and oh man, there was a HUGE difference in how I felt. Pray! That’s my advice for everyone this week. Pray and then do what you know you need to do.
 
Last Saturday they actually took us out to the Lima North mission to do some real teaching! It was so cool – and scary haha. I realized as I was walking around in the real world with my nametag that has Jesus Christ’s name on it what a huge responsibility I have to represent him and teach such important truths. It’s a big job! It’s amazing that the Lord trusts me to help with this work but I know He will help me. Even though I have a WAY easier time with Spanish than a lot of missionaries here, I couldn’t help but think to myself a few times that this would be so much easier in English! But I love that doing everything in Spanish helps me focus on the simple truths of the Gospel.
 
A couple Peru facts for you – the sky isn’t blue in Lima. It’s just white all the time because it’s so cloudy but at night it’s purple and looks AMAZING! Also there is this amazing drink called maracuya that I looove! I think it’s passionfruit. And they have strawberry juice that literally tastes like you’re drinking a fresh strawberry! Soooo good.
 
It’s weird but I feel naked when I don’t wear a watch now.
 
The Lima temple is so wonderful!
 
We watched this great devotional talk by David Bednar where he talked about this story from Elder Packer called the 20 mark note. Try and look it up cause it’s AWESOME.
 
I’ve earned the title of “Sass Master” in my district. Don’t worry, I’m Hermana V now but still Amanda on the inside. 😉
 
Crap one minute to go….but I want to say sooooo much more! But at least I got to send pictures and each one of those is worth a thousand words. Ahhhhh someday I will fill you in on all the details that are missing from these emails haha. Or maybe when I call at Christmas which is in less than 2 months! Yay!
 
¡Besos y abrazos!
Hermana Villarini
 
PS. Oh yeah the “real life” thing is from another way good devotional from Holland where he talked about how sometimes we may think being on a mission isn’t real life but actually it’s the most REAL life is ever gonna get! Cause this gospel is what it’s all about. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the LIFE.