So, right now I’m hanging out with Hermana Brudnicki at the local ”locutorio” (internet store). She’s been my companion since last night because Hermana Sanjines and Hermana Loayza had to get up early and go to this special meeting down at the mission offices in San Isidro because last night we found out that they’ll be training this cambio!!! That means that Hermana Brudnicki and I are most probably leaving the Las Flores stake/zone. We’re going to have to pack up all of our stuff today and say goodbye to all of our investigators and the members. The first change or transfer that a missionary has is always the hardest, but it gets easier with time. This will be my 3rd TRANSFER-transfer! Wow! I’ll have to let you know next week where they’ll have put me here in this big old city.
Someone told Hermana Brudnicki and I last night that we only have 4 months left, and we didn’t believe them for a while…. but then we did the math and HOLY GUACAMOLE it’s right. Can you guys even believe it? We’re kind of freaking out… What are we going to do? Time is flying by so fast!
So, on Tuesday we had the amazing opportunity to go to the temple and take a youth, recent convert named Jesús and also our sweet pensionista Martha. We were wanting to go with the whole ward but we couldn’t get the huge group together and reserved in time for a few reasons (the date is planned for the 25th of this month). But we’re allowed to take recent converts to the temple to do baptisms every cambio, so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and just go in a little group! We got permission from the assistants and flew over there. Martha and Jesús LOVED IT. Both of them felt the Spirit really strongly there, and I’d have to say that I did too. It was like there was a weight sitting on my chest, it was so strong. The temple is such a reverent and yet powerful place. It was nice because I got to see the baptistery for the first time in that temple. It’s so teeny tiny but it’s beautiful and new. I had the honor to be able to do the work for the first time for a family member. In this case, it was the aunt of Tom (my step-dad) who had passed away in March 2013. Her name is Linda Kenison. I couldn’t help but feel so much love and gratitude for her when I was there waiting to enter the font. I met her when I was just a little nugget running around, but I’m glad to know that one day, I’ll be able to really meet her and hug her and hear her story. :)
Martha has a son who is the mission too right now, serving in Arequipa, Perú. We wrote him and told him that we had taken his mother to enter the temple for the first time and he wrote us back the sweetest letter of gratitude and pure happiness for his mom. He said that his only desire for her is that when he finishes his mission and comes back, she’ll have completed her temple endowment. Helping her do family history and baptisms was a huge first step in her accomplishing this. It has been so wonderful getting to be a part of the process!
Yesterday at church, it really hit me that I’m probably leaving San Silvestre. I felt surprisingly sad, even though I’ve passed through many difficult moments and experiences here. It caused me to reflect for a good moment about all that I have done, and I really did feel sadness. I felt like things were just starting to really turn around here, and that there were so many goals and projects that I had been a part of, and I am anxious to see them go through. I really have come to love this ward and desire the progress of the people who live within it. I was reminded of a scripture in Jacob 5:
41 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?
I felt sad because I knew that I had done my best, but it’s still hard when everything doesn’t turn out as fast as your want, or exactly how you want. But then I kept reading in the chapter and found some more verses that really touched my heart:
21 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: How comest thou hither to plant this tree, or this branch of the tree? For behold, it was the poorest spot in all the land of thy vineyard.
22 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto him: Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit.
23 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: Look hither; behold I have planted another branch of the tree also; and thou knowest that this spot of ground was poorer than the first. But, behold the tree. I have nourished it this long time, and it hath brought forth much fruit; therefore, gather it, and lay it up against the season, that I may preserve it unto mine own self.
To be completely real, San Silvestre has been a really hard ward for a good time even before I got here back in May. It could have been classified as a ”poor piece of ground.” But I have to remember that I’m only the servant, and that the Lord knows exactly what needs to happen here because he perfectly knows the needs of these people. Looking back, there really have been many fruits here. Look, we brought these new members to the temple. We had a miraculous baptism. We’ve been helping a few youth strengthen their testimonies and prepare to serve missions. We’ve taught a lot of people and we’ve invited them to come unto Christ and to really establish a relationship with Him. This week, two of them accepted the invitation to be baptized before the end of this month, after three cambios of nothing, nothing, nothing… We have had stellar activities and we planned a ward group temple visit to do baptisms this month! This sector is in better shape than it was when Hermana Castillo and I got here, and that’s important. Maybe we can’t see many of the fruits now, but the important part is that this tree has become cared for enough to begin to bud. If I’m not here for the budding yet, it’s ok, because I’ve still been blessed enough to be part of it all and to work under the direction of the Lord of our vineyard.
The other day in a meeting, a missionary made this comment that if the Lord wanted everything to be literally perfectly done in an instant, He would have just sent one of His angels, or He would have done it Himself. But He has given US the opportunity and privelige to do it because He knows that if we’re called to be the servants, we’re going to grow so much. Sometimes we botch things up, sometimes we don’t say the perfect, exactly right thing that each person needs to hear, but what needs to be done, He’ll make it happen. And that’s a promise. That’s something that I’ve really learned here in Lima and I’ll be forever grateful for it.
Well, I sure love you all and I hope that you have a wonderful week! Take care!! I’ll talk to you guys in 7.
These photos are with Guillermo (gee (like gift) -YER-mo) and Mariella and their two sons Gonzalo and Gabriel. Gabriel is the little one and he’s 5! He reminds me EXACTLY of Max and it KILLS ME. His personality, his laugh, his voice, the way he walks and talks… it’s crazy. When Mom and Tom come down, they’re going to have to meet him and tell me that he’s the same too.
I love you all! Bye!!