Ummmmm so I know I start like almost every email saying I don’t even know where to start, but this time I really don’t know where to start. How about with Tuesday night’s phone call from the district leader.
Elder Panta: Hermana Villarini, you’re going to stay in Cieneguilla and you’re going to be with Hermana….Bledsoe.
Me: Hermana What????
Elder Panta: Blexso, Bleso, Bleeeedsoeee.
Me: Elder, is it a JOKE??
Elder Panta: Well Hermana, I don’t make jokes. So, no!
Did I or did I not say a few months ago that someday I was going to be companions with Hermana Bledsoe? I just didn’t actually believe it! Especially because this is going to be her last transfer. I was so surprised (and still am) but suuuuuuper happy. She is so beautiful and teaches really well but is also really humble and we get along great and it’s basically a dream come true, no big deal.
These were the first transfers that President Boswell made since he’s been President and it was a little different than normal. What usually happens is that whoever has cambios and their companion all go to the chapel in La Molina and pick up their new comp and afer chatting and seeing people and talking for a bit go to their new areas. There are 110 companionships in the mission, and 102 of them had transfers this time. So since almost everyone was gonna be there, he told he missionaries that didn’t have transfers to come too. The entire mission was together at once! It was soooo cool! When the bus of all the new missionaries got there from the airport we were all standing in two lines and they walked through us to the chapel and we were cheering and did the wave. Instead of just getting our companions and leaving we did a little devotional in the chapel. For the closing hymn we all stood up and sang “Called to Serve.” Yeah, just try to IMAGINE the Spirit that filled that huge room!
We had so many absolutely amazing lessons this week too. We both just keep saying, this has to be too good to be true! Are we in an episode of the District? Hahaha. (My missionary friends know what I’m talking about….sorry to the rest of you.) I want to tell you about everyone in detail but let’s try to do a really fast run down.
Jimmy and Yanet. I can hear the bells! With a lot of faith, we should have a wedding and a baptism next month. Moroni 7:33.
Luis. This kid has soooo much faith. Really wants to change and help his family do the same! He has a member friend who is a great example for him.
We followed the Spirit and contacted a couple people who are actually progressing. Random contacts aren’t usually like that. I will have to tell you the story about finding Katy someday.
Raul got the priesthood yesterday! All right!!!
Hermana Bledsoe’s birthday was on Saturday and we went out to eat at a member of the ward’s seafood restaraunt. Not exactly sure what that is we were eating, but it was yummy!
I’m glad you all got to Jersey safely. I’ve been praying so that all of you can make the adjusment….especially Sarah & Liz. But mostly I’ve just been praying and saying THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to God for just blessing me and my companion soooooo much. Alma 26:12
Love from Lima,
(I realized this week that for a limited amount of time, I get to sign letters like this. So now I’m always gonna do it.)
Just to give you all an idea of the kind of mood I’m in right now, let me tell you about a couple of things that have happened to me in the last 30 hours or so.
The lesson in Relief Society yesterday was all about eternal marriage. Today on the bus, (squished and crowded) I was standing up next to a very clearly in love, affectionate couple. We just came back from Pday of hermanas at President’s house and watched Tangled, (“you are my new dream”) where Hermana Killian (she was in my district in Vitarte and is an hermana lider so we’ve done divisions together) shared her testimony because she’s going home tonight and I heard her talking to another sister leaving all about their flights…. And I just read a bunch of emails from some of my very favorite people in the world that I haven’t seen in a long time. Okay I’m just gonna take a deep breath and switch right back to missionary mode………………………….GO!
Haha just kidding, I think it’s okay to be honest with you about how I really feel. Also because I know I sincerely LOVE my mission and being a missionary so much so I know I’m not really trunky…because trunky is when you don’t work where as I on the other hand just like to fondly remember what my old life and my life after is gonna be like. But not more than I think about my investigators and the ward or how to help them. 😉
Speaking of being honest, I think it’s time I share some funny/random stories with y’all. The last couple of weeks I’ve been pretty spiritual and forgotten to include a few details here and there. Well actually these details just get lost for lack of time more than anything but I FINALLY started to write a little more in my real journal this week so some of them are getting registered. I’ve learned a lot more on my mish about family history and I really wish I had time to do my own! But at least I can get better at the habit of writing down my own history.
So funny story first. There’s this Peruvian dessert called masamorra and it’s about the only Peruvian food I’ve tried that I don’t like. (Nope, still haven’t eaten guinea pig.) Well we were at a Noche de Hogar with a less active family but had to leave early cause we had another appointment and so we were rushing out but they were all like, “Hermanas, esperen! El refrigerio!!!” And it was masamorra. So they handed us little plastic cups of hot masamorra and we literally ran out the door. And as we’re literally half running to our next appointment, I was all like “ehhh, I really don’t wanna eat this.” And I thought Hermana Gonzales didn’t want hers either. So I was like, well, let’s give it away to someone! So we passed by this little internet cafe close to our house and I walked in and asked if anyone wanted masamorra and held up my cup. Everyone just looked at me like “Who is this crazy white girl and why the heck is she offering masamorra?” And I looked and Hermana Gonzales had stayed just outside the door and was just laughing…..and this guy sitting at one of the computers looked up and was all “huh?” and another lady was like “She’s asking if you want masamorra!” And he was like okay….so I handed him my cup and said “buenas noches” and left really quickly. Then I realized maybe they thought I was selling it because there’s people who walk around the streets selling food and stuff but I was just there alone with one little cup of masamorra…..yeah it was really funny. I hope at least someone is laughing at this.
We found this AMAZING new investigator named Gerson. We actually found a lot of new people this week. He’s the son of a member who’s somewhat active. He’s 19. We can only teach him once in a while cause he studies and works but oh my gosh he is soooo cool! We actually met him when I first got to Cieneguilla but then never actually were able to go back for an appointment until last week randomly. He asks the best questions I’ve ever heard. They’re just so interesting and really make me think. The first lesson about the Restoration has always been my favorite to teach but it was especially fun to teach it to him. The coolest thing about him is how he prays. We wrote the steps of prayer on the last page in his Book of Mormon. When we kneeled for the prayer at the end, he was following the steps from his book. And when he got to “preguntar” he stopped and asked us “Wait, I don’t understand, what am I supposed to ask?” And we told him to ask if the Book of Mormon and what we’d taught was true. He went back to praying and was just like “Well God, um, I guess I’m asking you if this is true but I’m already pretty sure it is. I don’t think the hermanas would come to share this with me just for fun.” Then after he was like, “but what if a lot of people are asking today, will he still respond?” Haha.
Kids say the darnest things. We were teaching a lesson to a 10 year old girl and asked her why she thought Jesus chose John the Baptist to baptize him. And she said, “Well, I suppose it was because of his last name.”
Ahhhhh ya se acaba el tiempo OTRA VEZ. NO PUEDE SER. Ahhhh okay.
Until next week!
Love from Lima,
PS. I kind of took the liberty of betrothing Sarah to Betty’s son, Alejandro. Haha okay so it’s totally up to you of course, sis, but I am rooting for him that way I will always have a connection to Peru plus he is a great kid! I told him to add you on Facebook….so if Alejandro Chavez adds you, accept him it’s not a random stranger.
Another good week. Which makes me super worried because in one more week we have transfers and it never stays like this for too long. But let’s not waste time talking about that.
Do you all look forward to Mondays as much as I do? Ahhh seriously I miss you so much. Not so much that I’m not working or happy or that the time isn’t passing by fast. Just letting you all know though that I LOVE YOU.
One of the biggest blessing about serving where I am is having the temple so close and being able to go. I LOVE THAT PLACE. And I figured out why this week because when we went on Thursday it was especially amazing. In the temple I feel like I’m literally outside of the world for a couple of hours. I already knew this but this time something really clicked – our purpose here on Earth is so divine! Seriously! There is so much more to our existence than just this earthly life. After the temple our zone went on a cool little hike and I thought well, this place God created is really beautiful too, but I’m so excited to not have to live here anymore. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to find an early way out but I am so excited for what’s next, and to know that there is something that’s next and that it’s ready and waiting; it’s literally been prepared for me and my family ever since the beginning of everything. It made me think of one of my favorite scriptures that I love even more now, Ether 12:4. “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world.”
The next day we were visiting a family who is super duper completely inactive. They’ve been through a lot. And when I was looking at the mom, for a very short second I saw her how God sees her, as His daughter. And I felt how much He loves her and thought about my experience at the temple the day before and started crying because I just thought about how much it must hurt Him when He can’t give us that amazing gift He has already prepared. Being a missionary makes a lot more sense to me now. And I just pray I can look at everyone like I looked at her so we can help them be obedient to our Heavenly Father and taste that little piece of heaven in the temple.
Speaking of inactive families, we have started to work with a lot more of them. We were talking with the bishop and that’s what he really hopes from us more than baptisms, because that’s honestly what Cieneguilla needs to really grow. And he’s right. And here’s the thing….by trying to find more of the less actives and teach them is seriously one of the best ways to find new people to teach too and baptisms will just happen naturally. I’ve already seen that happen in other areas so we’re excited to get to work this week.
God be with you til we write again!
Your daughter, niece, sister, and best friend
PS. Another great thing about the temple….seeing people from old areas!!! It’s Miriam!!! (Eduardo’s sister-in-law)
Raul got baptized yesterday! But oh my gosh just let me tell you, it was the most stressful baptism of my mission/life. First, trying to get an interview scheduled with President Boswell. Second, traveling to the office in La Molina and waiting during the interview. Then on Saturday we go to the chapel to get the font all filled and ready because he was gonna get baptized right after church the next day. Well it was absolutely filthy. I was on my hands and knees in tights (preferred to get them a little wet than to take them off because it was so cold) getting all the dirt and bugs out. Then we start to fill it. Saturdays members come to clean the chapel. It was the Young Women’s turn this Saturday and while we were cleaning the font the YW president showed up. She sat down and chatted with us for a bit, then she was like “well my stomach hurts and I don’t think the YW are gonna show up, so see you guys tomorrow!” And we were just like whhhaaaat….so since we had to wait for the font to fill we decided we’d clean up the chapel a bit. Then we go check on the font and the water was GREEN. But we had to leave because we had appointments. In the morning we get to church and someone had emptied the font and was filling it again but the water was still green. We joked with Raul about it because we’d talked a lot about how our baptism needs to be just like Jesus Christ’s and said that we imported his water straight from the River Jordan. Then, he’s about to get into the water. Oh yeah, and we had to find someone to baptize him last minute. And the door to the font was LOCKED! And nobody had a key!!!! But by some miracle the ward mission leader got the door to open. And he got baptized.
This man is a real miracle. I was so happy at the end when he shared his testimony because all the stress just got washed away and replaced with the Spirit when he bore his testimony but all he could say was that he was just so happy and started crying. It was an answer to my prayers because lately I haven’t been feeling too much of God’s love. Know that sounds a little terrible, but it’s just that I KNOW He loves me, and I KNOW I’m trying my best. But I hadn’t been feeling it lately. I wanted to feel that Heavenly Father is happy with me. And in that moment I did. Being a missionary, I have realized more than ever how imperfect I am and how much I desperately need the Atonement. I literally have sooooo many faults! But can you believe God still loves me? And Jesus sacrificed his life for me? And for Raul, and for you, and for your neighbor, and your family, and everyone in this big, giant, crazy, fallen, WORLD. Kind of amazing when you really think about it.
By the way, Happy Peruvian Independence Day! Speaking of which, Happy Pioneer Day this week. Yes, I did think of y’all. Kind of stinks though because they just told us last night that today is not actually Pday because we’re going to the temple on Thursday. I have no idea what we’re gonna do….according to the missionary handbook holidays are a great time to proselyte cause people are home with their families but in Peru it’s more like they’re drunk in the street….oh well.
Love from LIMA
Your favorite missionary (I hope!)
That’s our phrase of the week. I don’t know why and I can’t remember what the song is (it’s an oldie) but I started singing that little part and I decided to teach it to Hermana Gonzales and it’s our theme now and our motivator.
First miracle: I woke up at 6:30 every day this week! Maybe some of you will judge me, (but please don’t, especially my fellow missionary friends…) but in my whole 9 months on the mission that is just one rule I have had a really hard time following. But I was finally tired of being tired and of getting up late so I made it a goal and every night in my prayers I asked for help to get up on time the next day and it happened. My family knows that this is probably the biggest miracle of all!
Wait a second, I just said NINE MONTHS on the mission? Is that real? Noooooooooo that means from now on the time I have left is less than the time I’ve been here! Why are sisters not called to serve for 2 years? It has gone by way way WAY too fast and I just am trying to love everyday because this is never going to happen again and I’m just so happy to be here. Can you believe something as stupid as having to sell my car was one of the things that made it so hard for me to decide? Ha. 3 Nephi 13:33.
Miracle numero dos: President called on Tuesday. I kind of freaked out at first when I answered and he said it was him, but it was to give us permission to go to the temple on Saturday because Hermana Gonzales’ sister got sealed! When he asked Hermana Gonzales if she was going to be okay to go back to the area and work after she promised she would, and in my head I was like “going to wedding is going to make ME more trunky than her!” Haha but I’m kidding of course. It was a sweet experience to meet her family and to see a sealing in the Lima Temple. I’m not trunky but I am excited to get married because the two sealings I’ve been too have been the most spiritual experiences of my life. We took advantage of being in La Molina and went and ate Subway for lunch. It was amazing. I don’t suffer from a taste of home here and then….(don’t hate me, Em) but do you know what I actually really do miss that I just thought of this week? Banana pancakes. (Cue the Jack Johnson song.)
Miracles 3+: God has just been putting people in our path like crazy. On our bus on our way to the temple, we met a less active and her daughter who is not a member. Yesterday we went to an appointment with a less active family and they weren’t home, so we decided to start walking to the chapel for ward council. (We usually never walk cause it’s kind of far.) There were a couple of guys standing outside a house and one of them called out “Hi, sisters!” We went and talked to him and he was a member from Lima but was in Cieneguilla visiting his friend who lived in that house and he introduced us and said we needed to teach him.
And a bunch more that I wish I could tell you all in detail but time just does not permit! But basically I finally am happy and loving Cieneguilla and Hermana Gonzales too. I don’t know if the circumstances in the area or in our companionship have changed really as much as my attitude have, but either way, things are good.
I hope everything goes okay in the move coming up. I know it’s kind of sad but I’m just glad everyone, well almost everyone….will be together again. 🙂
Oh yeah and I forgot about the other miracle….all my pictures were recovered thanks to the friendly guy who works at the little place we print pictures at. Yay! Next week I will send some. Love you all to pieces.
Love from Lima
There I was, sitting on the bus on the way to internet all excited to write you guys cause I actually had a good week and then I get on the computer to discover that something is wrong with the memory card of my camera and it seems like all my photos have disappeared!!!!!!!!! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Okay, deep breaths. Try not to cry….sigh. Here we go.
¿Saben qué? A veces tengo muchas ganas de escribirles en castellano. Pues la mayoría de ustedes me van a entender….los que hablan portugués mas o menos….¿alguien se molestaría? No, ¿cierto? Bueno para evitar que usen Traductor de Google y me entendian mal, les voy a escribir en inglés. 😉
Sorry, I really wasn’t trying to show off my Spanish or anything, I really do just feel like writing in Spanish sometimes! I realized this week that I finally think in Spanish. That was awesome. Now I just need to dream in Spanish and I’m set.
So, I kind of had a revelation this week no big deal. I figured out why God sent me to Cieneguilla. I think usually we don’t figure out what he wants us to learn until after we already learned it, but I think I got lucky this time. I have been wanting to be more diligent for a loooong time. Really since high school. And especially since BYU….Mom should know what I’m referring to. It’s just something I’m really not good at. And I loved Alameda so much but I think it was getting too easy. And this week I realized what a good opportunity I have in Cieneguilla to learn diligence. And once I figured that out, I was a lot happier for some reason. Kinda like, okay, I’m so up for this challenge! Until this week Hermana Gonzales and I have both been a little low on ánimos and we just didn’t get why. We said to ourselves, but we’re working! Why are the numbers so low! We love these people, why don’t they progress? WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO. And then I figured it out.
Remember a couple weeks ago when I wrote about how easy it is to forget and I thought about Dad telling me remember who you are? Well I thought about it all this week too. This week was good not because we had a lot of success or anything, but because it was full of reminders for me. Just one of them was a girl in the ward got her mission call and opened it in the chapel with everyone after church on Sunday. And it reminded me of when I got my call and how I felt. And I needed that because to be honest, when you’re a missionary, it can be stressful and feels like a job sometimes. But when I remembered those pure desires to serve and the sheer excitement and just how bad I wanted to get here already those 5 months I was waiting it put it back into perspective. And I remembered, gosh, being a missionary is so awesome!
Also, someone accepted a baptismal date. Woohoo! His name is Raul. He’s 67 but I thought he was like 50. We met him because we randomly decided to stop by a member’s house one day and he was there and she was like hey, my neighbor’s over right now you should teach him. That’s kind of how the Spirit has guided me usually I found out, just kind of randomly getting ideas to do something not even thinking it’s a prompting at all but then something awesome comes from it. Anyway, he loves the Church because he says “la doctrina va de la mano con la Biblia.” Everything just makes so much sense to him and he’s really fun to teach. He gets so into the chapters we leave him in the Book of Mormon and it’s cute cause sometimes when we ask questions in a lesson he wants to give a really good answer cause he really wants to understand everything and sometimes if he can’t put his thoughts together right away he’s just like “ahhhh, I’m sorry!”
And do you wanna know one of the best feelings a missionary can have? When someone you weren’t expecting shows up at church! There is a less active member and his wife, the bishop’s brother actually, that we starting teaching a couple weeks ago. And just like almost everyone in Cieneguilla Sundays are supposedly impossible for them because of work but they both came yesterday! Yayyyyy.
That’s all, folks!
Love from Lima,
I don’t have time to write you about all the interesting things that are still not happening….but I thought you might find my to-do list kind of interesting or funny. Maybe not but here it is! At least Mom will cause she will laugh just knowing what a list-maker I am. 🙂
fix shoes (they’ve made it pretty far but are falling apart)
fix English scriptures (also falling apart)
fix Book of Mormon case (beyond falling apart…I don’t treat it bad but I do carry it everywhere)
100 sit ups (this is for everyday. All the walking that we do doesn’t put a dent in a diet of pure chicken, rice, bread, and potatoes)
write people from Alameda
pray for (long list of names….including all of you)
We met President Boswell and his fam on Saturday. They are really awesome!
I had a dream that I was in the testing center at BYU. I was supposedly gonna take a test about Preach My Gospel and then they handed me my nutrition final….more like a nightmare! Haha.
I know these last couple of emails suck but I do want you all to know that I LOVE being a missionary. We are starting to see some progress here and I promise next week I will tell you about it! I think I was just kind of in a weird mood last Monday and today….sorry.
Loooooove from Lima,