We’re in the middle of week 5 here in el CCM! Time is flyin’ by. It’s pretty crazy. I really want to just be in the field already though! So excited. I don’t know if I told you guys before, but I’m part of the 3rd generation here. This CCM is brand new and each week when new missionaries come is a new generation. The 1st generation that the CCM graduated just left this week! I’m going to be out of here and ready to go in only a little over a week!
That’s SO COOL that my cousin Zach is down here now! I was sad because I know literally nobody here and everyone else has friends and classmates here, but now I have a cousin here! I really really hope I run into him so I can give him advice about this place. During this devotional we had on tuesday, President Pratt announced that we were going to have even more people than usual because more people from the Peru CCM and the Provo MTC were coming. That must have been his group!
We still have no idea about where we’re going once we are done here because we don’t have our Peru visas. Everyone else here has had their next set of travel plans since day one for returning to the states or wherever. As for us four Perù misioneros (it’s nuts that all of us ended up being in the same district!), we could be going to Perù as tourists, we could be going back to the states for a while, who knows? I literally have no IDEA where I’m going to be in less than two weeks, and that’s pretty scary. We are all PRAYING to be able to go back to somewhere in the states just to serve there until we get our visas, I can’t even tell you how badly we would like to spend even just TWO GLORIOUS WEEKS back on US soil. I think we’ll find out the friday before we leave, which might be monday, tuesday or wednesday in the week of the 26th. So you’ll probably just get a call from me from some random airport and I’ll just be like ”Yeah, so I’m in Minnesota right now, I got temporarily reassigned.”
Caroline—-one of the girls in my zone who is super adorable (Hma. Walstrom, she’s going to Everett, WA) just got an email from a friend of hers who is at the Provo MTC learning Korean and in it she was talking about what mission life is like and she said ”You’re going to suffer…. but you’re gonna be happy about it…?” Ten pesos to you if you get where that quote is from!!!! I thought that was so funny, we laughed about it for a really long time. Everything is funny in the CCM. Honestly. I hope you saw all of the silly pictures from this week. It was a good week.
Speaking of pesos, everything is SO CHEAP HERE! It’s the GREATEST. La tienda (the store) just got Sprite (it was all sold and gone within 2 hours) and I bought some this morning. It was 6.5 pesos!! That’s almost exactly 50 cents! Mèxico is redeemed. Just a little bit though. I forgot how much I missed carbonation. I swear the only thing they have to drink here is spooky scary juice that’s extremely concentrated and dirty water. ¡Pero està bien! This week I made the mistake of eating a dried, buttered kiwi. Trust me, never. Ever. EVER. Eat a buttered kiwi. It was the sickest thing I ever ate. And it was in some spaghetti noodles. Super random. Also this week there were some workers in our bathroom and they were fixing our sink, and Hermana Capps left a bag of open chips on her bed, and when we came back the workers were still there but the bag was EMPTY. We found a piece of chip under the sink later that night when we were sweeping. Evidence! It was hilarious.
On tuesday, we were able to be a part of the first ever worldwide MTC devotional satalite broadcast from the Provo MTC! We were one of maybe 5 or so global MTCs who were able to see it live. We met in the auditorium and waited 40 minutes to be able to see it. The apostle Elder Scott talked about prayer and revelation and it was probably the best talk/devotional I have ever heard in my life. Definitely in the top 3. I exhort ye to watch it. Mom. Do it. It’s FANTASTIC. So beautiful.
This week was REALLY GOOD. Do you guys remember how we were having a hard time with our ”investigator” Javier? Well, basically we talked with him some more and we straightened things out with him and were able to teach him a couple more lessons and last lesson (Tuesday) he told us that he felt like el Libro de Mormòn (Book of Mormon) was the word of God, and he could feel the Spirit every time he met with us! He went to church last week and he LOVED it; he’s been keeping his commitments to pray and to read and to ponder and find out for himself if our message is true or not! Best of all, he accepted our invitation to follow the example of Jesucristo and be baptized! It’s SO exhilirating. We are so happy that we were able to learn from that experience and turn it around into being this rewarding! It was hard but it was SO worth all of the work! For sure. Our other investigator that we’re teaching right now, named Paulina, is doing really well too! After every lesson we teach, the hermanas and I turn to each other and say ”That was the BEST lesson we’ve ever taught!” ¡Poder de las chicas! We also taught a Mexican woman in TRC last night and she shared us her favorite scriptures and they were both about the powerful women in el Libro de Mormòn and we were PUMPED! Yeah!
Most of the investigators here are just teachers playing the roles of people that they once taught, but they are SUPER intense about it. They are extremely serious about how they play their role and if the missionaries invite them to do something or read something, they will really read it or do it. My teacher said that she read 3 Nephi 11 like five times this week after class because she had to read it for the missionaries teaching her. We have had some amazing experiences here with teaching. When you get to play the role of an investigator, you learn so much about what it feels like to be taught. It helps us become the humble, charitable, kind and observant teachers we need to be. This week, we had a demonstration in class where one of the Elders (it was Elder Hatchett) played the role of one of his really close friends who was going through a hard time in his life and he had some concerns about the gospel. Hermano Torres, our teacher sat down with him and talked to him and tried to help him figure out what he should do. It was such a powerful experience. Afterwards, Elder Hatchett just broke down and started crying. Almost all of us were choked up, including Hermano Torres. Our teacher had shown so much love for this unknown person. I can’t even tell you how amazing it was. From that experience, I learned more that everybody everywhere is someone’s sister or someone’s son or someone’s best friend. Everyone deserves to be taken care of like that with that much love and that much genuine kindness. If anyone I know was being taught by the missionaries or even served by them, I would want them to be taken care of like that. I want to treat everyone I interact with or teach as a person who is a beloved child of a Father in heaven who loves them more than the world over twice.
If I had to sum up what I’ve learned this week, I would say that charity has been the key point. I learned that the key to having the most powerful lessons is first, inviting and qualifying for the presence of the Holy Ghost and second, having true love and charity for the person you’re working with. It’s not Spanish. It’s not even having an extremely well founded understanding about the deepest most doctorines of the church. The most important thing is that the person has the opportunity to feel the peace the spirit brings and feels it testifying of truth. True testimonies aren’t built just because you can’t find a reason that it’s untrue. True lasting conversions come because in the very deepest part of your soul, with all of your heart, you FEEL and KNOW that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Let me tell you guys, us missionaries don’t teach lessons. We don’t convert people. It’s the power of the Holy Ghost. It’s the power of that love and that comfort and that peace in your heart that is there testifying to you of truth. I’m going to have to work hard here as a missionary because I want to be able to show so much love to these people, and show them how I care about them. Missionary work is NOT about getting people baptized. It’s NOT about going on vacation. It’s about serving people, and loving them with your whole heart. They make the decision to start a new life with all of the blessings that baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost brings. We can’t make that choice for them. And that’s why it’s hard. That’s why you feel the most joy you’ve felt in your whole life, along with some of the greatest disappointments and sadnesses you’ve experienced yet. You have to give your whole heart to the world. Give it all up. Put your life on pause for 18 months and love them.
Also, love for your companions is sooooo important. Living in companionships is really interesting. It’s crazy because my companions are SO different from me, like I wish I had time to tell you all of the ways that we are so different from each other. It’s hilarious. Both of them once said something like ”Yeah, I hate spending time sitting in front of a computer. Like, no more than 30 minutes.” I definitely spit out my water when they said that and laughed for a good five minutes. They listened to music that’s vastly different from mine, they watched completely different movies. They also have never read Harry Potter and don’t really care about it that much. Hermana Brudnicki is super into watching sports, especially football and she talks about the Packers all the time to all of the Elders. (She’s from Green Bay, remember!) She get’s super spirited especially when people talk about Brett Favre because he betrayed Wisconsin or whatever. I know so many football players now, it’s hilarious. Go Aaron Rogers….?? But I love these girls so much. I don’t think we would have ever been friends outside of this experience because we are so different in hobbies, likes and dislikes, but we are all so bonded. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to know them and be their friends. Also, with Hermana Nielsen and Hermana Walstrom. Being a sister missionary is awesome. I’d never give it up for anything. We have so much fun and we laugh until we’re almost crying every single day.
I sent a picture earlier from my Predicad mi Evangelio (Preach My Gospel) manual — It’s a picture of this beautiful painting of Jesus Christ holding a little black lamb in his arms.
That is legitimately my favorite representation of Him of all time. I am so thankful for the atonement every day. My life would be so empty if it weren’t for the happiness that the atonement brings. For some reason, people think that repentance is something scary and really serious, but it’s not! It’s lovely! I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to change and to grow and to start every day and press on, trying to be the very best person I can be. Everyday, I am thankful for this.
I love hearing from you guys and I love getting to see what you are all up to. Thank you so much for the support and the encouragement you’re all giving me out here. Tell Cos and Dorothy hi for me! It means so much to me that they would be interested in the crazy stuff I’m up to down here. :) I hope everyone is healthy and well back home. RJ— I don’t know if you’ve ever read through Preach my Gospel since that came out after your mission, but you’ve GOT to do it. It’s amazing. It’s truly inspired. I’m so glad to be a Predicad mi Evangelio (Preach My Gospel) misionera. Please let me know what you’re all up to! I always look forward to seeing your emails and everything!
¡Hasta proxìma semana!
”You can make more friends in 2 months by being interested in them than you can make in 2 years by having them become interested in you.”