Me with a little stray cat that curled up in my lap.
Before I get into what I want to say, I have to cross some points off my list:
1 – Yes — the rumors about the showers are true. There aren’t water heaters, there’s just a little heater on the actual head that heats the water at that moment. If you touch the metal part of the handle while it’s on, you’ll get shocked. If you touch the metal part of the shower head, you’ll get shocked even harder. You don’t have to ask me how I know this, you can probably just guess. If you turn the shower on all the way, it’ll be too much water at once running through the head at one time, so it’ll be cold. So it’s a funny little balancing game!
2 – It’s so crazy to hear the different accents here. Since my companion is Ecuadorian, I’m starting to have a bit of an accent from Ecuador and it’s kind of funny. Mexicans speak sort of sing-songy, Peruvians mumble everything but speak pretty slow for the most part (there is hardly any accents to the sentences so it’s really hard to tell when something is a question or a statement), the people from El Salvador speak with a lisp…. haha. It’s really interesting. In visits sometimes members will just stare at me and laugh because I’m a gringa (North American). They think it’s so funny when I speak in Spanish. Yesterday, no joke, I swear on a stack of Books of Mormon that some random stranger came up to me in the streets and asked to take a picture with me. It was totally humiliating! Gah! They’ll say ”Oh, her face is like a baby! hahah look she can’t understand us! Is she your mama? (pointing to my companion) ” Of course, I can understand way more than I can speak and I catch when they’re making fun of me. :)
3 – Here, there are both huge palm trees and three-story tall cactuses. When I say cactuses, I mean like straight outta the movies. It’s nuts.
4 – It’s not as humid as I thought it would be. It can get pretty cold in the mornings and at night especially, but it’s getting warmer as spring approaches. The houses are like little freezers because they’re only made of cement. There are no heaters and no A/C other than little personal space heaters and fans. Seeing the sun is a treat.
5 – There are a TONNNNN Of stray animals. All of the pet dogs here wear clothes. Every. Single. One. Now if I see a dog without a little jacket or pants it looks naked because we’re so used to seeing all of these cute little hoods on Chihuahuas and Yorkies and Dobermans!
Anyway, things are going well down here. Every day I can talk a little more, understand a little more. A couple of the lessons have been led by me this week! I was so proud! I love working here. The people here are the nicest people that can exist in the world, holy cow. It’s pretty easy to find someone to talk to because the people are courteous and willing to hear what you say, but it’s kind of a problem because they’re also too nice to tell you no to your face that they’re not interested. So what usually happens is that we’ll schedule an appointment to come by that week and we’ll walk half-way across the area Jesus Maria to get there when the time comes, and they’ll be gone, or they’ll pretend like they aren’t there. Haha oh well! But for the most part, the people are really receptive of our message. They are very curious about us. EVERYONE is religious here, EVERYONE. There are little shrines to various virgins and saints on every corner. There are quotes from the bible painted on walls of gas stations, sayings like ”Jesus is my Redeemer” on busses… It’s a different world.
The hardest thing for us right now is getting ourselves planted in this ward (Pueblo Libre, Magdalena Stake) and getting situated with where the members live and who is the Bishop, Ward Mission leader, etc. Every day we make more and more progress, and we talk to more and more people. The first week we were walking around with our noses in our maps but now it’s a ton better.
Ok, so it’s going to get a little preachy here for a second. :) I read some really cool stuff in the scriptures these last couple of weeks and I really wanted to share some of it.
First off, whip open your scrips to D&C 103: 12-13. I mean it, open them!!!! It’s really really important because I can’t type them out for you. (Mom, maybe you can type the verses in here? Copy and paste them from LDS.org?)
“12 For after a
, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, cometh the blessing.
13 Behold, this is the blessing which I have promised after your tribulations, and the tribulations of your brethren—your redemption, and the redemption of your brethren, even their restoration to the land of Zion, to be established, no more to be thrown down.”
I really love these verses because they are so beautiful. See the word ‘restoration’? You know, we needed the Restoration of the Gospel and Authority of Jesus Christ on this earth again because we were in apostasy. But we need the atonement daily and hourly for our own personal ”Restorations”, you know? After trial and learning, and strengthening of our faith, we can be ”restored.”
There is a lot of hard stuff going on in the world right now. Each and every one of us is facing troubles. I know that in our family, things are rough right now, almost rougher than they have ever been. Mom, Tom, RJ, Emily, Chris, Hamilton, Caroline… I pray for you guys (and your families) every day. I pray for your strength to overcome these things. I love you guys like crazy. I know that this family was meant to be together because together, we have the skills to triumph over whatever comes into our lives. I’m so glad that we can be there for each other and that I have you guys. I want you all to know that. Thank you so much for the support and the letters that you have sent me. I have no time at all to write you individually but I pray so hard that you know how much I’m thankful for every one of you.
Next, about saviors. With a lowercase ‘s’. I was reading in 2 NE 16 and I stumbled into verse 8.
“8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: a shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said: Here am I; send me.
9 And he said: Go and tell this people—Hear ye indeed, but they understood not; and see ye indeed, but they perceived not.”
Those words of Isaiah in his vision of course echo the very famous, beautiful words spoken by Christ in the Pre-Mortal life when he volunteered to come down to earth to be our Savior; to redeem all of the sons and daughters of God from the Fall. In this case, the words are spoken by Christ from his throne, and this time it is Isaiah who is volunteering. In verses 9-10 the Lord assigns Isaiah’s calling: ”…Go and tell this people — Hear ye indeed, but they understood not;…” This is our missionary work. We need to bring others to Christ. We are called of God. Think on this, Caroline, as you’re leaving REALLY soon!! :)
This reminded me of Obadiah (page 1147 in the Bible). In verse 17, he writes, ”But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness,…” In 21, it says ”And saviors shall come up on the mount Zion… and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” It says saviors with a lowercase ‘s’. I read in the footnotes to jump to D&C 103: 9-10.
“9 For they were set to be a a
unto the world, and to be the b
10 And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as a
that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.”
This alludes to predestination — they were SET. They had a role and a job in this earth. They are meant to be a light to the world, like Christ himself is the Light. They are to be the saviors of men. What does this mean? Souls, I think, in one way. It is missionary work. It’s temple work. Maybe it’s even service to the living. These saviors act in Christ’s name. He is our Savior, and we are his humble disciples. The savior’s role is important — look back at verse 10. Once again, this reminds me of another metaphor of Christ: he is the salt of the earth too. The success of the saviors comes from keeping the commandments. ”And by hearkening to observe (my)… words… they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever.”
So those saviors, those missionaries, they ”go and tell this people.” The last scripture that I tied into all of this was 2 NE 9:18. ”…They who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the same of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be forever.”
Notice all of these allusions to Christ! I LOVE it!
Finding these scriptural gems has been SUCH a blessing and a tender mercy. I have a new perspective on what it means to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I hope you guys can find joy in this like I have. The more you study the scriptures, the more it all ties together and you can whip out cross-reference after cross-reference. Studying the scriptures every morning is such a blessing and I wish I would have done it more before now. I would have had so much more happiness and peace in my day.
Hope y’all are well back in the good ol’ states! Stay safe!!!
Hasta la P-day,
Some kind of fruit called ‘tuna’ cactus or something like that. It’s the brightest fuchsia the world has ever seen. This picture is of it peeled.
there are little lean-to’s and shacks on the tops of the buildings
This is for Emily!
That yellow fruit is called Membrillo. A member made me a drink with it and I kid you not the consistency and the visual was exactly like … *what is a polite word for* … snot. A cup full of … yes that. Oh my gosh it took so much nerve to drink it. Tell Caroline it was exactly like in the first Harry Potter movie.
This is a picture of us with a member family yesterday. We had lunch over there and the dad is a head chef at one of the best restaurants in town. He taught us how to cook this really cool dish. Also we had fried bananas!! So great. Just put some slices in a sauté pan with some oil and presto! The food here is TO DIE FOR. Holy guacamole.
Konked out for just a minute
Except for this!!
Ugh, there is this hard little yellow fruit and the insides look like the Aliens from Men in Black. Looks sooooooo gross!!!! You just sort of slurp it out. I don’t want to try it.
These are some scriptures that I’ve written in my study journal! Dude, journaling is the BOMB. I feel bad for not realizing how cool it was. Mom, I know you journal a ton!
Also, it’s funny because people will be like ”Oh it’s raining outside!!” It never is. if you look outside, you can’t see anything. but when you walk out there you can sort of just feel a little mist on your cheeks, like little cold pinpricks. that’s what they call rain. Ha!
Outside of the city is like Iraq or something……!!!!! Crazy. We went to Chancay last week.
There is this one house with one of our investigators who like, raises a billion and two parakeets or something.
All of the buildings are beautiful colors. I really love that blue.
Our house. That teeny tiny little door is to our teeny tiny ”bathroom”. I was pretty freaked the first day…. but it’s ok now because I love it!
A picture of the kitchen room in our house
There are some of the craziest trees here! Some of the cactus are 2 stories high!
Some pictures from last P-Day
A picture from San Isidro this very morning! I’m in SI right now.
Some of the taxidermy animals in the museum were done really well, but others were just hilariously awful. Please please please show this funny one to Caroline!