First of all, in this post, I would like to make a dedication to my dear cousin, Steve Evans, who passed away this morning after a long battle with leukemia and graft-versus-host disease. I can proudly say that he was one of the many people who truly encouraged me by their example to become who I am today, and also to serve a mission. I am so proud of him and for everything that he fought here, and I know that even though he had such great challenges and barriers here on earth, he was a shining example of a return missionary who ALWAYS lived up to the person that he became—and He who he represented—during his service. He had the most incredible testimony and was maybe one of the best sunday-school teachers that I have ever had. I love him so much and I love his wife Taryn too, and I will be forever grateful for the impact that they have had in my life. And I know that they have impacted many more lives than just mine. My heart goes out so much to the family, and I pray that even though I am very far away at this time, that we can all feel a little closer right now. I know that that’s what he would have wanted. I love you all so much and I’m so incredibly glad to have the knowedge that we will see him again someday, and that ”For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
I think that Paul put it very well in 1 Corithians 15:52-57:
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I don’t know where I would be without the knowledge of this gospel. I don’t know where my family would be. But I prefer to dwell upon the fact that we have been so blessed. We KNOW that He has a specific plan for each one of us, and that we are in His hands. He is taking care of us. He knows us individually, by name, and when nobody else understands us, He does. He has a plan, and this time on the earth will truly be only a twinkling of an eye in the scheme of the eternities. Steve always encouraged us to remember that perfect love casts out all fear, and I know that we can apply that to this situation right now. We don’t need to have fear that he’s passed on because we have our Heavenly Father’s infinite love, which He sends to us through his Holy Ghost, which testifies that everything will be ok. He has a place prepared for us. His entire work
is to bring to pass OUR immortality and eternal life. There is no reason to fear. I love Steve and I love the whole Evans family and I just want you guys to know how much we’re all here for you right now. Stay strong. And Lauren — congratulations on the new baby!! With passing, comes new life.
I totally have to apologize for my email that I sent last week. I had so many things to tell you all and as I sat down, my mind just went completely blank. And I forgot to mention a WHOLE LOT of things. Let’s see:
- I HOPE THAT TOM HAD A REALLY AWESOME BIRTHDAY!
- I don’t have fleas after all. They were just other bug bites. We think. But then Hermana Capps started getting them real bad. But I don’t have mine anymore. Crossing fingers.
- I saw two members from San Silvestre on Tuesday (Yasmìn and Joseph) and I heard that they both FINALLY decided to go on missions!!! I’m so happy! We worked so hard with them to go out and let them teach with us to try and get them motivated and they both made the decision! There is no better feeling, hearing that news from them :)
- Hermana Suqui (my trainer) is coming back to visit Lima around the 15th of January. I’m PRAYING so hard that she’s going to come a little early because I want to see her, but I’m going to be home by the 9th!! Ah
I think that’s about all of it. So let me catch you guys up on what’s been happening.
Ok, so I was 100 percent SURE that I was going to stay and finish my mission in Magdalena, and we already knew that Hermana Capps was going to stay for another transfer. But the completely unexpected happened—I got transferred out! Just after 6 weeks there. I was finally starting to really know the streets and members and everything! I was really shocked. But what President did was he divided the Family History and Sister Training Leader Callings so Hermana Capps stayed there as an STL and I got sent over to my THIRD WARD here in the Magdalena Stake (!!!) named Las Brisas! I got put over here because it’s right out front of the institute building, where we will soon be opening up an office for family history for the mission! That’s still in the works though. But for mom’s info, our sector is bounded by avenida Venezuela, Avenida Tingo Maria… over there. It’s a really huge factory zone of Lima. Actually, it is THE factory zone of Lima. There aren’t that many people in the streets, and it is funny because it reminds me of the area like 3 west-ish and more west of that in Salt Lake. It’s the sketchiest sector yet that I’ve had, but it’s still sister approved. It’s interesting because even the church has been robbed a few times, and now it has to be locked with a key at all times. If anyone wants to come in to attend an activity or anything, they have to ring a doorbell and wait for someone to come out to unlock it. But don’t worry mom! It’s in the Elder’s side of the ward where we don’t usually go.
Our room is s c a r y. Everything is covered in black mold, and there are ants everywhere. We’ve got a lot of work to do. This morning we found a rag stashed behind the toilet and it literally had 5 inch tall mushrooms growing on it. Ay ay ay! It is VERY different from my old sector. But it’s Perú!
Hermana Choque is the best. She’s from Cochabamba, Bolivia and has been out for 13 months. She’s 22 and really reminds me of Hermana Suqui. We get along really well and we both feel REALLY motivated about the work. She feels really intimidated about the family history calling but she does a really great job training and her testimony is rock solid. It’s her strength. I’m really glad to be with her and to be able to learn from her in this time.
I share a ward with Elder Scott, who was in my district in the MTC. Crazy, right?
On Saturday, as we were getting ready for the day, we got a call from the area advisors and they were like, ”Hey, can you guys give an hour-and-a-half presentation at the Lima North Institute building about family history to all of the future missionaries at 10:30 this morning?” We just about fainted. We scrambled everything together and in the end, we had a plan. We got there and there were about 200 youth in full Sunday clothes AND the MTC presidents AND the Perú Lima North mission presidents…! We just about died, seriously. But then they told us that in the end we were going to teach for 30 minutes, but just rotate and teach 4 smaller groups. We were way cooler with that. And then there was some weird organization problem and they dismissed everyone for lunch and they just told us, ”Actually, you can just talk to 2 groups for 5 minutes each, and then go home. Thanks!” I was kind of mad, I admit it. After everything that they had put us through that morning to get an hour and a half of material, complete with videos and examples!!! And then they just gave us enough time to introduce ourselves. AGH! But it was ok. We got over it.
Yesterday we were invited to go to the San Martin stake and talk to the missionaries and ward members. This time, the area advisors made us teach for 35 minutes, but it was nice because we already had a bit prepared from what we were going to use the day before. It was still really last minute though.
Things are really busy because this is a really busy sector and we have way more people to visit than in Magdalena! It’s going to be even more of a challenge, balancing our time. But it’ll be fun. I’m excited. We have a lot to do but I love the feeling of accomplishing something.
I have two WAY GOOD stories to tell you guys but I’m going to have to save them for next week. Sorry for the cliff hanger. But they are a couple stories from members that will blow your socks off. Don’t let me forget next week. :)
I am so glad to be a missionary and I never want this experience to end. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. To those of you who are considering to serve one day, take my advice: it’s literally the best thing that you can do for your current family, and for your future family too. For example, even though I’m farther away from everyone than I have ever been in my life, I’ve truly grown the closest to my family than I have ever been. Especially to my Mom. Heavenly Father always makes it work out (D & C 118:3).
I am so out of time but to those of you that I didn’t get to respond this week—I love you!!!
With my testimony,
All of the chaos of Cambios…. 24 new elders came!! That’s a TON! Almost every companionship in the whole mission had a transfer. Now we’re 245 missionaries here in 10 square miles.
Getting my new companion… Hermana Choque!!
Saying goodbye to our landlord, the stake president’s wife Hermana De Loayza. She wrote me a card!
Getting REAL INDIAN CURRY!!!! It was so hot, it made me cry but it was TOTALLY worth it! Cambios splurge!
With Hermana Roca, another sister from the Magdalena ward (hermana Wardle’s companion). She’s really cool.
With mi’hija — Zumbita :) Love that girl. She’s working on her English and she’s in like 2 Nephi something in her English Book of Mormon!
Hermana Ramos and ”Vani”
Saying goodbye to our Magdalena Pensionista Hermana Ramos, and her crazy dog Vanilla.
Picture of a completely normal, poor part of Peru. It’s crazy to think that when I see houses like that, it’s just so normal that it doesn’t even phase me at all! That’s where we are every day. We actually taught a family from one of those houses last week!
New sector. Avenida Venezuela.
Making real lemon bars in honor of Tom’s birthday at the house of our new pensionista Mayra!! A sister who was here a long time ago (I think it was Hermana Bejarano?) got a box of Krusteaz mix and gave it to Mayra, but she couldn’t read the English instructions and so she gave it to us and let us do it!
We had to jump through a few hoops to make it all work, but in the end, they turned out REALLY delicious and everyone loved them!
Meeting with the San Martin zone yesterday afternoon for a family history meeting.
making lunch today as a zone