¡Sonrisa, pues! Dec. 30, 2013

Ahhh hello my dear family. I am very happy to start this email by saying, I am so happy to start this email! This week was great. 

Warning – parts of this email may or may not be in Spanglish. 

As always, I don’t even know where to begin. I had this little notepad where I’d written a few things I knew I wanted to tell you but I forgot to bring it so here comes another spacy email. 
First of all – highlight of my Spanish career so far. The other day we stopped by this less active member’s house. I hadn’t met the family before so we’re just chattin ya know and the dad asked me where I’m from. I mean I suppose it’s pretty obvious that I’m not Peruvian…but I told him to guess thinking he was probably going to say Utah, aka “la fabrica.” And guess what? His first guess was Venezuela…and then he said a couple other different countries in South America before I let the cat out of the bag that I’m actually a gringa. Haha it kind of made my day, and then it happened again with a different member. I think I’m having an identity crisis though. If people ask me what part of the US I’m from I still can’t decide if I say Utah or Jersey…but maybe from now on I should just say I’m from Peru. I forgot what it’s called but there’s a city in the more north part where the people are white and have light eyes. Yeah I’ll start saying I’m from there. 🙂
Christmas on the mission was different for sure. I loved getting to talk to you guys! In Peru, the 24 is celebrated more than the 25. Emily said the same thing but it seriously felt more like the 4th of July…hot and lots of fireworks at midnight. And we didn’t exactly get a lot of work done on the 24 or the 25 tampoco…but we went around to some members and investigators and sang Christmas hymns and shared little Christmas reminder messages. It was sweet. Oh yeah, and we ate LOTS of paneton…which is basically sweet bread with little pieces of fruit and raisins in it. Seriously I think everywhere we went this week we were offered paneton and Inca Kola. Poor Hermana Sassetti really doesn’t like paneton…haha. And at first I thought IncaKola (imagine bubblegum flavored soda) was overrated but I love it now. Oh but the awesome thing was a member in the ward gave us a ton of used kid’s clothes last weekend and on Christmas we took it to the part of area where there’s a lot of kids that really needed it with the elders and gave it to a bunch of the kids there. By the way, there’s elders in our ward too. The ward is really big and they cover the other half of it that we don’t. It was a pretty sweet experience to spend Christmas doing a small little service. 
Well we had a lot of time to make up for after the holidays and trust me, we made up for it. There are soooo many people to teach in this area and we have been a little bit overwhelmed with citas lately! I have really gotten to love Salamanca. I think I could stay here for my entire mission and be happy to be honest…the field here is white and ready to harvest, as the scripture would say. And the ward is awesome. And I feel like this week Hermana Sassetti and I really started to work together too. I love her and I love our investigators even more…I just can’t imagine leaving them! Which probably means once I’m done being trained here I will get transferred…boo. 
Really the only thing that’s missing is to actually have a baptism…the one we had planned for this past Saturday fell through. But we are teaching so many people, it’s gotta happen soon. My only worry is that because we have so many people to teach I don’t want any of them to fall through the cracks. It’s already happened though – we’ll have a first lesson with someone that apparently seems as it’s sometimes said “golden” but then they’re not there when we come back for the next lesson and we can never find them again. Sad and frustrating at times but lots of exciting things are happening too.
So get ready for my favorite story of the week. On Friday night after dinner we didn’t have a set appointment with anyone so we decided to go visit this one family that have been investigators for seriously about a year now. On our way this guy in the street calls out to us and started asking if we belong to this religion that he found in Chile years ago I don’t remember what it was called but it sounded like it’s middleastern or something. The way he was talking I think he noticed us because I was wearing one of my longer skirts and had my hair in a bun and that’s why he was reminded of that. And we said no but starting to talk to him about who we are. He was carrying something and asked us to wait for him a minute. He ran and took whatever it was to wherever he needed to bring it and then came back and we sat on the curb and starting talking to him and basically he begins to tell us that he wants to change and has been looking for God. He has a problem with alcohol but just went on and on about how he wants to change and for 3 months or so has been looking for something and he knows that this is it. Turns out he has a couple friends that are members of the church in Colombia and he said he wants to be like them because they are happy and the Church changed them. He told us he knew it was a sign from God that he met us. It was about 8 when we met him and we ended up talking with him until it was time for us to go home and set up an appoinment for the next day and he told us he’d be waiting and was excited. We took a member with us and long story short, before we even brought it up he told us he wants to be baptized. And he came to church yesterday and said he felt happy to be there. We’re going back to teach him again tonight and I’m really excited! He’s really smart. He’s 28 and lives alone here in Lima for work, his family lives far in another part of Peru close to Ecuador. He works by where the temple is and told us he really wants to go there….well lucky him we can tell him how he can do that! It was one of those “Wow that was totally Heavenly Father’s hand in this and not me at all” moments. I feel really blessed that I get to be part of it though! 
Also we were walking by this park one day and there was a guy sitting on the curb, I have no idea what he was doing just sitting there. And usually I really don’t like contacting random people but Hermana Sassetti looked at me and basically said “that guy, it’s all you.” So we walked up to him and she wouldn’t say a word and made me do all the talking…turns out his dad is a member of the church and he said he thinks it’s a great religion, sure he’d be happy to learn more about it. Before we left he even said “yeah, maybe I’ll be the next one in the family to join!” 
The biggest miracle I saw this week though was in me. I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers in his own timing, but can I just say I like it when his timing is really fast? I was studying charity one morning because I was thinking I needed some more of it and read in Moroni 7:48 where it says we should pray for charity with all the energy of our heart. And lots of other scriptures that basically tell it like it is and say if you don’t have charity, well guess what you ain’t got nothin. So I prayed for charity and that very morning in companion study Hermana Sassetti and I really figured out how we could work better together and I started to realize how great the area is and how awesome the investigators are and all of a sudden my heart grew just like the Grinch’s and I’m a lot happier! I had a really hard time at first with changing my own attitude because I kept thinking – the reason I’m here isn’t to change me! It’s to help other people change and bring the gospel to them! But learning to be like Christ is a lifelong process and if I want to help others get to know Him, I have to try better to be more like Him too. 
As always, I miss everybody sooooo much. Thanks for the prayers and love. It was so good to see your beautiful faces on Christmas – only a few more months til Mother’s Day! 😉 Haha but I’m not counting the days or anything…even though some of you may be! (Mom?) 
Love love love love LOVE LOVE LOVE

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