First things first, I am sorry that I was in the funkiest mood when I wrote last week!
Honesty hour – (maybe I shouldn’t be this honest but I’ve always liked to use the phrase “let’s be real” …) it has been so hard to adjust to the field! I really just missed family and home and friends A TON. We’re always talking about how important families are and love and the gospel and I keep thinking “ahhh yeah I wanna be with MY family!” But that’s why I’m here. The Lord has blessed me SO SO SO much, I’m taking a little time to give a little bit back. I think it was different in the MTC cause I had a bunch of friends around all day and people spoke English and now it’s just me and my companion and the work is real and it’s all in Spanish. I don’t know why a lot of missionaries don’t like the MTC, that place was cushy compared to real mission life haha. But what’s that thing I have a lot of? Oh yeah, attitude…once that changed things got a lot better. Go figure! Also I think I was a little more freaked out about Spanish than I should have been. For someone who only has two weeks in the field, I guess I’m pretty lucky to already understand basically everything and at least communicate enough of the basics. And the reality is that my companion and I were both kind of scared cause she only has 3 months here and just barely got done with her training and now she’s training me and obviously it’s my first time being a missionary but I think we’ll end up making a pretty swell team. Also, I remember having a hard time the first week in the MTC and then I ended up loving it, so there’s plenty of hope.
So basically, this place is just like New Jersey. I had more culture shock moving to Utah than I did coming to the mission! Seriously though. The only difference is there’s palm trees and prettier flowers. I haven’t eaten anything I really don’t like yet either. Something I think is kind of weird is that there’s a ton of hair salons everywhere…and they have posters of random American celebrities like Katharine McPhee and Hilary Duff and Taylor Lautner. There are tons of people and crazy traffic in this area too! It’s wild…there are some other details I will spare for the sake of Mr. Safetey, or “Señor Seguridad” as I’ve began to refer to him. 😉
Funny stories…we were walking around contacting one day and talked to this really old lady who has a little bodega (there’s tons of those too) and gave her a pamphlet and set up a cita to come back in a few days. When we came by at the time we had set up, she was sitting in her store and two Jehova’s Witnesses were teaching her…we just said we’d come back later but ending up not having time. I honestly thought it was kind of hilarious…
One day sitting on the bus this guy started talking to me and I explained that we’re missionaries and a little bit about the church. Then he started telling me how I pretty I was and that I could get anyone I wanted to be baptized…and I just laughed, not even an awkard laugh like a real laugh…which maybe I shouldn’t have but I don’t know how else I would have reacted! But I gave him a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet. When he got up to get off the bus he said it was a pleasure to meet me and before I could stop him he gave me a kiss on the cheek….ahhhh that felt so weird!!! Haha everyone here kisses each other and it’s usually not too hard to avoid…but he was too quick. It’s cool though cause I’m slowly losing my fear to talk to people. What’s awesome is that people come to us. A lot of people we pass by will ask us for folletos and they stop us to talk! One of the elders told me that’s only cause we’re sisters haha. Not to say we don’t get our fair share of rejection too…I’ve quickly learned that just because someone says we can come back, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be there (or that they will answer.) Or that they will come to church if they say they will. And sometimes I don’t understand because I just think “but we have the best message ever! Why isn’t everyone dying to talk to us and to be baptized?” I wanna carry a huge neon sign that says “True Church” and people should just flock to us…but the Lord doesn’t really work that way, does He.
He does however, prepare people to hear the gospel. We are teaching a few great people that have really showed me that as missionaries we really don’t convert anyone, we’re just the messengers and the Lord does all the work. And we’re in a huge ward that is really excited about missionary work and works with us so that’s great too.
Well of course I love you all from the bottom of my heart and am always thinking about you…even though I try not to because I want to be focused…haha.
Wow I’m so sorry there is a ton I want to say but this week was so up and down for me again and I don’t know where to start! But for starters, not to make anyone jealous but I am in “lo mejor mision del mundo.” My mission president is so awesome. The morning we left the CCM we literally just walked over to the stake center next door and were in our mission, and we had this long orientation/training with him. I can tell I will love being here. And my area is really cool too! I’m in Salamanca in the zona San Luis. My companion is Hermana Sassetti from Santa Fe, Argentina. Unfortunately I forgot my camera but I’ll try to send a pic next week!
So a couple things to give you a quick summary…
The people here are wonderful! But none of them are married…and they all work on Sunday…and they’re all Catholic…haha
Rice, all day, everyday.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…I can hardly believe it’s actually December or Christmastime cause it doesn’t feel like it at all!
I spoke English the other day and it felt sooooo unnatural. Haha.
I can feel your prayers and love. Please keep them coming cause I really need them! To be honest I have felt insecure and worried a few times this week but I just happened to find a couple scriptures that totally made me feel okay…coincidence? Probably not. Josh 1:9 and 2 Cor 12:9-10. Read them 🙂
My last week at the CCM I ran into Brad Van Wagenen from the stake in New Jersey at the temple who’s serving in the Lima North mission. That was crazy, and exciting!
Sorry I know this email is kind of lame…I promise next week will be better with more details! What do you want to know anyways? If I can tell you one thing….it’s that the gospel is definitely TRUE. Every piece of it. And I am grateful to be here. Sometimes I stop and think “WOAH, I’m on a mission….in Peru….is this real?!?!” Haha and it really is! I miss you so much family. Pero vale la pena! 😉 I hope everyone is doing okay.
Soooo much love,
PS. Can someone please find out the family history story of the name Villarini? Everybody asks if I’m Italian and I’m always like “uhhhh no” haha. Also, how do I saw “dental hygiene” in Spanish? 😉
Woah…in less than a week I will finally be in el campo….ahhhh!!!! Haha so long to the MTC this is the last email you’ll get from me while I’m still here! Time is so wacked on the mission. I feel like I’ve been here forever but at the same time like I just got here two days ago. At times the CCM feels like an alternative EFY experience…and now that I’m almost out of here I’m kinda like “okay, that was a great mission time to go home!” But in reality my mission is just barely beginning. It only means I have a ton more to learn but also a ton more miracles to witness. How exciting!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I’ll be thinking about the fam. Miss you guys of course but it’s all good cause guess what? We may not be together this Thanksgiving but we will be together for eternity and that’s even better.
This week was full of highs and lows for me. A few of the highs were just some simple pleasures, things that I only appreciate so much as a missionary. Last week right after I got off the computer we went to eat and guess what was for dinner? Hamburgers and french fries!!! Ahhhhhh YUMMMM you have no idea how excited I was. It was no Crown Burger but nonetheless it was delicious to the taste. It was just a nice change from rice. By the way, did you know fry sauce on rice actually tastes pretty good? We have to get creative here. In all honesty the food at the MTC is pretty good it just took time to get used to. I’m way more nervous for the field because I can probably count on one hand (maybe two) how many times I’ve been able to finish everything on my tray…rough life for me and my small norteamericana stomach.
Another thing I’ll miss about the MTC is having a whole hour of physical activity everyday. I am such a nicer person after physical activity, it’s amazing! Haha so sorry I didn’t work out everyday when I was home. Seriously though I’m gonna miss it because it really lifts up my energy level and my attitude. I’m gonna miss seeing my buddies that I made here all the time too. Especially Hermana Waldron cause she’s going to Arequipa. And we wear each other’s clothes so when she leaves my closet size will be cut in half haha.
Also after the temple last week, instead of going to the marketplace we usually do our shopping at we went to this big store called Tottus which is basically a Walmart/Target. Guess what they had? Pantene! And Dove! And Maybelline! I seriously LIT up when I saw that aisle. Honestly when I got my call to Peru I imagined living in a hut and showering out of a bucket but Lima is a totally modern city and I can buy a lot of stuff here.
I’ve been doing pretty alright in the latino district! The first day I thought I was gonna die because when I met my companion, who’s from Chile, I couldn’t understand a word she said and she was talking so fast. I think the most different Spanish I’ve heard are the people from Chile and Argentina. Em, I hope I can understand you when we’re both home! But yeah my companion is Hermana Paris from Chile and she’s 19 too. That first night we met everytime I said something in Spanish she just gave me this blank stare…as if she was thinking “oh my gosh what am I gonna do with this gringa?!” And the first day of class with the new district was a serious wake up call. I thought I knew a lot of Spanish until all of a sudden that’s the only language anyone was speaking to me. I can only imagine trying to learn a language like Japanese or something else because truthfully Spanish is easy. I can’t wait to have that moment when all of a sudden I have a fluent conversation and I start thinking and dreaming in Spanish!
The first couple days I just kept thinking I could do this if it was in English! But then I sat and thought to myself: Girl, you prayed for this! And now you’re gonna complain that you’re being forced to learn? I seriously wanted to speak Spanish on my mission so bad. Then I also realized I understand almost everything. And after the first day my companion and I have been able to communicate just fine and have become friends. So it’s all good! I felt out of place at first but now I actually feel really comfortable. Ahora, soy latina.
There’s a TON of new missionaries (including my companion) all going to Lima East that got here last week so that’s exciting.
Oh yeah there was an earthquake yesterday! It was crazy haha cause I have never felt one before. But it was just a baby one that lasted for a couple minutes but still! It was kinda cool actually.
I have felt really inadequate a few times this week when we practice teaching and the situations are so hard. I feel like I keep realizing that my life has been so easy…how will I know how to help people with such difficult problems and help them realize how the gospel can help them? And it’s not even real yet! But I have to trust that Heavenly Father will change my heart and help me become an instrument in his hands, just like he can change the hearts of those I will teach.
Time to go again….sad. Next time you hear from me I’ll be preaching the word for real!
Mucho mucho mucho amor,
PS. for Josh Magleby (I hope you’re reading this)…I’m down one pair of shoes already! Haha 😉