Ok, so we’re going to start things super didactically today. We’re going to use our imaginations. Ok, picture someone taking a live frog, knocking it on a table really quickly to kill it, taking off it’s skin, throwing it in some boiling water for a minute, then tossing it into a blender with some milk, honey, maca….. and then drinking it! It’s supposedly really healthy!!!!! Well…. seeing as this is my last month and how I’ve gotta go hard and leave everything in the court here in Perú… Hermana Choque and I HAD to dare each other to try it. I sure love that girl so much. We have so much fun together. And guess what?? The extract was REALLY GROSS!!! But hey I did it and I finished it all and now I can cross it off of my bucket list. So there!!
So I’m sure that you have all heard about the lovely He is the Gift campaign — it’s a huge way of spreading Christmas cheer to the whole world by reminding us about the true reason behind Christmas. It’s all centered around this absolutely beautiful small video that the church made, which can be found at navidad.mormon.org or at christmas.mormon.org. Spoiler alert: It’s a tear-jerker. As missionaries, the church is having us work really hard about sharing it with just about everyone that we can. Hermana Choque and I got really into it and we filled the family history center with the contact cards, and even put some more on the window in our apartment, for all of the people who pass by! I really invite all of you folks out there to watch it, or watch it again if you have already seen it, because it has such a great message about how we can really take the best out of this Christmas season. After all, He was the first gift that started it all. And the greatest gift. See John 3:16.
A couple of weeks ago, I found out that two of my investigators back in San Silvestre got baptized!! I can’t tell you guys how HAPPY that has made me!!!! San Silvestre was probably the toughest sector out of my entire mission, and to hear that two of the people that we taught back there made the decision to get baptized…. that makes me SO HAPPY! One of them was this sweet little old man named Teofilo. He was baptized by Jesús, the recent-convert youth that Hermana Sanjines and I took to the temple for the first time back in the day with Martha. So great!! On Thursday, we had my last Mission Council, and we got to announce all of the achievements and numbers from the center! It was a lot of fun. We also got to hear about all of the fun plans for the mission Christmas party this year. It’s going to be a blast!
This week, it was our sweet pensionista Mayra’s birthday on Friday. We got up extra early to make her real-deal banana pancakes. It was awesome! I think I’m really getting the hang of making those things. Hermana Choque loved them too. Also, on Saturday, we got up early to make French toast because we had to have our meeting with our Mission Leader really early in the morning. In this ward, to gain trust, Hermana Choque and I have been taking the ”Ammon” Approach (or in other words, the service approach) and we’ve been having a lot of great success! If you can’t beat ’em, serve ’em! Things are getting better here every week.
At cambios, there were a ton of sectors that were closed because we’re losing a lot of missionaries at once. Especially sisters. In my group that’s going this transfer, there’s 19 of us. Sad enough, the sector that I opened in Barranco a year ago is closed now, so now there’s only Elders there. Crazy, right? :/
And finally…. speaking of cambios…. So on Tuesday I had to get up and bear my testimony in front of the whole mission with the other 18 missionaries, including Hermana Capps and Hermana Brudnicki. I was so nervous, I can’t even tell you guys. I had no idea what to say. For a lot of people, they get really emotional in their final testimony. There is a good amount of crying at change meetings, usually, to be honest. I’m not a crier or anything but I was still a little nervous about caving under pressure. But in the end, above all, I just prayed that something that I shared would help someone else who was there. Sometimes, in the last testimony, missionaries talk about their companions or about their life story, or they just keep it really short and stick to the basics. Every testimony is so unique — I guess that you could say that there aren’t two that are alike. What I decided to do in the end was bear a testimony about the big lesson that I’ve learned from each one of my sectors. Guys, mission presidents really do receive revelation for their missionaries. It’s so true. I have loved each one of my wards so much and I feel like I have learned a huge, everlasting, impactful lesson from each one of them. I’m out of time but to briefly share with you my recap:
- Pueblo Libre (Jesús María) — I learned and can bear testimony that the grace of the Savior is real. He expects that we constantly try our best—-not that we are instantly and absolutely perfect. The grace of God isn’t a motor that kicks in when we’ve done all that we can, but rather the motor that is constantly moving us to reach our goals.
- Barranco — I learned and can bear testimony that sometimes Heavenly Father has to take away everything that we’ve known and everyone that we’ve ever met, so that we can really get to know HIM. I learned that above all, we have a divine nature that nobody can change or take away, and that our life’s greatest work is ourselves.
- San Silvestre — I learned and can bear testimony that the promises that Heavenly Father makes to us will ALWAYS be fulfilled. You must always have faith, hope charity—they are the greatest requisites for this work. Those three attributes of the Lord will be the fuel that will keep us working and working and working through all of the dark times, until we find that moment that is precious and sweet above all others, when we reach our goal and find the reward that our loving Father in Heaven has prepared for us.
- From Magdalena and Las Brisas — I learned, maybe as the greatest lesson of all, that the hard things in this life really are for our good. Sometimes as youth, and even as missionaries, we think that we’ve learned it all and that we’ve already reached our potential; that the rest of our life is just going to be cotton candy because we’ve already figured it all out. But the truth is that we’re just at the front door of our life. We know that hard things are going to come our way. Harder than we can probably imagine. But one of the beautiful things about serving a mission is that it gives us that chance and that testimony that in the end, we really can look back at those moments that were hardest of all and we can see how far that we have come, thanks to them. I know that these experiences and these testimonies are going to be the ones that help us have a strong foundation for the many more beautiful and maybe sad things that we will have to face in this life.
Well, I really have to go now, but I just want you guys to know how much I really do love you and appreciate you. You guys are the best family in the world. And for those of you friends out there, thank you so much for the support too! It means a lot to me. I hope you all have a great week!! Take care!!!!