And a lovely bathroom that I used this week. When you gotta go you gotta go. The no toilet seat thing is very normal here, I literally used the word ¨classy¨ to describe this bathroom after I left just because it had toilet paper. Welcome to Peru.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Not a lot to say this week! After skyping with my family yesterday I feel like there isn´t much left to say!
My companion and I are still struggling a little bit, just because no one that we teach, whether investigator or less active, seems to have any desire to progress or change. We keep saying that we´re just a little tired of not seeing the fruits of all our hard work, but we also know that one day the results will come. And that maybe we´re just here to plant a lot of seeds. We´re now calling ourselves chacra workers. Just planting and planting and planting and watering and weeding and waiting. Maybe we can´t see the results yet, but we know that without hard work the results will never come. So we just have to work. That´s always the answer.
I just want you guys to know that even though I´m having a little bit of a hard time and I´ve been feeling exhausted and have diarrhea basically just all the time, probably thanks to my parasite friend who we decided has come back with a vengeance, I´m happier than I´ve even been in my life. I´m learning and growing everyday. And in these hard times I´ve learned, once again, to rely on my Heavenly Father. My testimony of prayer has never been stronger. I´ve never prayed so hard in my life, and I know that He listens. He loves me and He knows me.
I love you all! Have a great week!
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Honestly, this was a really hard week for me. My companion and I just found ourselves exhausted and not knowing what more we could do, what more we could give. It´s hard to work and work and work and come home at night absolutely exhausted every single day, and then not see any results. I found myself asking my Heavenly Father ¨Why?¨. Why the people here don´t want the gospel, why they don´t understand how beautiful and important it is, why in months we haven´t had an investigator come to church, why He can´t just give them the desire to come and to accept the gospel.
And then today I was reminded of a talk that I love by Elder D. Todd Christofferson (Mormon Message- The Will of God).
President Hugh B. Brown, formerly a member of the Twelve and a counselor in the First Presidency, provided a personal experience. He told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”
President Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”
Years later, President Brown was a field officer in the Canadian Army serving in England. When a superior officer became a battle casualty, President Brown was in line to be promoted to general, and he was summoned to London. But even though he was fully qualified for the promotion, it was denied him because he was a Mormon. The commanding general said in essence, “You deserve the appointment, but I cannot give it to you.” What President Brown had spent 10 years hoping, praying, and preparing for slipped through his fingers in that moment because of blatant discrimination. Continuing his story, President Brown remembered:
“I got on the train and started back … with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. … When I got to my tent, … I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, ‘How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?’ I was as bitter as gall.
“And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, ‘I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.’ The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness. …
“… And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to [God] and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”
I love this talk, and mormon message, and it was exactly what I needed to hear right now. As I was typing out this email I looked over at my companion and saw that she was watching the same video. Sometimes it´s hard for us to accept God´s will, and to understand that He has a plan for us. But He does, and His plan is far better than anything we could ever imagine for ourselves. We just need to trust in our Father and His plan, and submit our will to His.
This week I was the sad currant bush, not understanding why the gardener would cut down my branches. But I know that as I was upset and asking God ¨Why?¨, His answer was ¨I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be¨.
Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.
I love you all!
P.S. I really do promise that I´ll send picturse later day. I owe you guys.
Monday, April 20, 2015
So today are changes, and I´m thrilled and super grateful to say that Sister Sullivan and I will have another 6 weeks together here in the beautiful Majes Valley. I´m looking forward to this next transfer and Sullivan and I have lots of goals and hopes for the Branch and the work here in the valley. We have lots of work to do!
One of the adventures of this week is that we went to do a service for a member of the Branch Presidency. Presidente Vigil amazes me because in order to get to his house from the town where we live, and where the chapel is, you have to take 2 different convis for an hour, and then walk about an hour and a half to this beautiful little town of like 10 people that´s at the base of a little mountain. We went to his house to build some walls that were destroyed when we had that storm a few weeks ago. It was super fun because to build the walls they just have a bunch of sticks stacked up, and then they make mud and just throw the mud at the stick wall and smooth it out. And as you can imagine, after throwing mud with 4 elders for a while I ended up covered in mud. And then I became a Peruvian woman, after washing all the mud off me and cleaning out my hair in the river, I washed a bunch of potatoes in the river, then we ate way more than we wanted to (I ate 6 potatoes and 2 steaks (Vigil has a rule that we can´t leave any food uneaten)) and then washed the dishes in the river. So it was a good Peruvian day.
This week was another rough week because once again, we traveled a lot. It was a little ridiculous because we traveled 4 hours to have a sisters conference with our hermana lideres, and it ended up just being a spa day. Literally we did face masks and painted our nails while elders played guitar and sang worldly songs to us, and then all of our zone and district leaders made us lunch. Only in the Peru Arequipa Mission. We didn´t have a single lesson , our best work day, to do all that. Sorry that I´m complaining it just frustrates me when we lose good work time.
This week was a little sad because our little district got divided. We were 6 gringo missionaries here in the valley and in the Aplao Branch. Elder Kleinlein finished his mission last week, and Elder Cooley left to be a zone leader in Ilo. Elders Garcia and Paredes will now join our little family. We´re sad but we know it´ll be great to have 2 new elders here. I know that they will contribute to the work and then the Lord sent them here because they can help us to strengthen this little branch. And having 2 latinos will probably help our spanish a lot, it´s hard to want to speak spanish when you´re a group of 6 english speakers. Especially because the 4 of us that remain are all fairly new to the mission.
All in all things are going great. The last couple weeks have been rough, and we haven´t had nearly as much time as we would like in our area, but it´s been great nonetheless. There´s still much a lot of work to do here, and I´m grateful that the Lord trusts me to help do it.
You´re all in my prayers!
Your favorite Peruvian missionary
Is that how you spell unneccesary? It looks weird but who knows, I´m forgetting how to spell in English.
So this week was a little obnoxious. We´ve traveled so far 12 hours in this week. And we´ll have 7 more hours of travel this week. Which is obnoxious. It´s a little complicated so I won´t explain all the travels but to sum up my frustration, in 2 weeks we will have had 7 days not working in our area. But that´s okay, just gives us a reason to work harder!
Fun story of the week: On wednesday we were out working in Pedregal Chico (about a 2 hour walk from the house) and we needed to be back in Corire by 5 to take the bus to Pedregal (for a meeting). After the lesson we waited a little bit for the convi (bus) but it never came. So we decided to start walking and hitchhike in order to make it on time. After about 15 minutes a truck stops with 3 men inside and offers us a ride. And then they open the door of the truck for us to get in and we realized by the smell and by looking at them a little more closely, that these men were fairly wasted. So we decide to just get in the bed of the truck (we´re the smartest women on the planet I know). And after about 15 minutes of crazy driving they pull over in front of a house. At this point I started to get a little bit worried. They get out of the truck and the driver tells us he´s just going to get something. and the other 2 men stand on either side of us and start talking (mumbling mostly) to us. A few minutes later the driver comes out and apologizes to us for his very drunk friends and tells them to get back in. One of the 2 decides to hop in the back with us which made us a little uncomfortable. And the driver gets out of the car and tells his friend to leave us alone and get inside the truck. His friend says no and so the driver pulls him by the shirt out of the bed of the truck and the man is so drunk that he just falls over on the ground. And then 20 minutes later we arrived safely in Corire, just in time to take the bus! Just another Peru adventure I guess. Lesson learned.
This week was a little hectic, more than a little stressful, and we slept a lot less than normal, but it was a great week anyway. We had a conference in Arequipa where not only was I able to see a lot of my missionary friends, including my old companion, but we were able to hear and learn from President and the Assistants. It was great and gave us the motivation to work harder and to challenge even more people to learn about and accept this gospel in their lives.
Also when I spoke with Hermana Lucano, she told me that one of our investigators, emy, got baptized, another old investigador (Jisaac) accepted the invitation to get baptized, and a couple that we were teaching FOREVER are getting married/baptized in 2 weeks! Really makes all the hard work we did there seem worth it. I remember being sooo frustrated with Jisaac, and know he´s so excited to get baptized. And I think of alll the lessons we had with Jessica and Christopher and sometimes I doubted if they would ever get married. I know that hard work pays off, even when you can´t see the results right away.
Well I love you guys! Have a great week!
aka. Marshall Matters