Monday, August 26, 2013

My First Baptism...And a Straight Up Fiesta!

Hola familia!
         6 weeks down! 66 more! Haha this week went by sooo fast though. It was a crazy week, but it was great :) First of all HERMANA MARYURI WAS BAPTIZED!! She had her baptism Saturday. First, we went to a Primary activity, which was crazy. Our primary activities are nothin compared to here haha sheesh. It was a straight up fiesta! It took all I had in me not to join... But okay, so we were filling up the font for her baptism and the power goes out and along with the power we have no water. Worst thing ever on the day of a baptism!! So we just had to wait and it finally came on :) So... I thought her baptism was going to be this amazing spiritual experience. NOPE. Baptisms here are nothing like at home. Probably the craziest baptism ever! We had a lot of support from the Ward, but that doesn’t mean they could shut up for two seconds haha. It was so loud, with kids screaming, including Hermana Maryuri’s daughter Catalina. Actually, Catalina was whipping the other Elders with her balloon so that was great... Oh and then Hermano Dios, the one who baptized her, had to repeat himself 7 times. Aaaawesome. But ya know what? The covenants are all the same :) She was confirmed on Sunday so it was great.
         This week we also had a training in Piura for all the new missionaries. I feel so much better knowing I’m not the only one who doesn’t know Spanish yet! Haha annnnd it was so good to see everyone. I miss Hermana Petersen so much! I pretty much ran and tackled her. It’s true when they say you make best friends on the mission. Yep. One made.          
         So, I spent a lot of time on the bus this week. It takes 6 hours to get to Piura so I got to spend 12 hours on a bus haha. We went the night before and stayed at the mission home... WITH HOT WATER!!! It’s a miracle... I know. Hermana Rios and I were there with Hermana Callizaya and Hermana Hood. Hermana Hood is from Utah and it was so nice to talk with her. There’s other people who feel the same way as me!! We just talked about how we don’t know how to forget ourselves and go to work. We want to love it here soooo bad! We both have the same personalities. We both just want to find a way to be happy NOW, not after we learn Spanish. We want to enjoy every minute. So that’s our goal. But, for a few minutes, it was just so great to talk in English :)
         Another investigator I LOVE... Hermano Victor. I don’t know if I told you about him, but he’s so great. His wife is a member and they have the two cutest kids. (They don’t even spit on me or stick gum in my hair or whack me with balloons!) He’s seen a lot of missionaries. The last Elders that taught him stopped visiting when he said he didn’t want to be baptized so now he thinks that’s all missionaries want to do is baptize so that’s a struggle. But last night we decided to go visit him. He really opened up to us. He told us that every time he reads the Book of Mormon something bad happens. Since we’ve had him start reading, their house was flooded with sewer water and he’s had trouble with work. So he stopped reading. He said when he reads the Bible nothing happens, but every time he’s ever read the Book of Mormon, he or his family struggles. Satan is so real. God has a plan for us, but so does Satan. I know Satan sees how much potential this family has! They’re so close to being a complete, eternal family. AHHHH! He’s so great.
         This week we’ve also had problems with our branch. There’s so much contention and the blame is always put on the bishop. We don’t really now how to strengthen our branch at this point so that’s what we’re working on this week.
         This week I learned a lot of things, but an important thing I learned was that I need to be myself. At first I had this picture of a perfect sister missionary that I needed to be, but this was sooo wrong. This week I’ve loosened up a lot and it’s been such a better week! I know that certain people need certain missionaries, and that if we were all the same this work wouldn’t progress. I don’t want to lose myself in this process and need to enjoy the time here. Missions shouldn’t just be endured. They should be enjoyed! :)
         Each week gets a little better, I learn a little more, and I gain a stronger testimony. I’m grateful for these times of struggle because I know there’s a light at the end, and I’m so determined to get there. I haven’t been spit on, sat in pee, had gum in my hair, run from knives, and had dogs chase me for nothing haha. I’m grateful for this time because I know it will bring many laughs in the future :) Love you all soooooo much! Have a great week! :) Here’s to week 7 in Peru :)

Hermana Roper
Hermana Maryuri's Baptism & Catalina

Moto :)

Primary Activity

Let the "Fiesta" begin!

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Listen To The Word Of God"

Hola Familia :)

         This week has FLOWN! I don’t even know why. It went by so fast though. Sad to say, this week didn’t have nearly as many crazy stories haha. Still freakin crazy though! 
         We had reunion de zona this week... I honestly can’t remember what that is in English. But it was good. We have great Elders in our zone! We have quite a few heading out this Saturday to go home. But I really have learned so much from them! 
         This week was weird though... We didn’t have many lessons. One thing that’s really a bugger here is that nobody knows what an appointment is, I swear. We make an appointment and nobody’s ever home. So we spent a lot of time walking... A LOT of time. The lessons we did have were great though! I have really seen the importance of members this week. The hard part is getting members to help us here. We don’t have very many.    Anyway, so we were going to visit an investigator and just happened to run into one of our less active members, Hermana Veronica. We just said hi and kinda kept walking, but she told us to come in. So there we were, having no idea what we were going to teach, but she was really wanting to be taught we started talking about prayer, and how much prayer helps us get through hard times. Well, Hermana Veronica’s husband is cheating on her and she knows it and he knows that she knows, so she really needed this lesson. Hermana Rios and I both bore testimonies on this and it was fine, BUT when Hermana Benilda (the member) bore her testimony, Hermana Veronica just started bawling. It just so happens that Hermana Benilda had the same exact problems with her marriage. I KNOW none of this was coincidence. It’s crazy what the Lord has planned for each of us. He knows exactly who we need to talk to, exactly where we need to go, and exactly what we need to say. Our job is to be in tune with the spirit, and be living in the right way to receive this revelation. We NEED members! (Yes, even you! Haha)  
         This week I also taught INGLES! (English) to two people... Awkwarddd. That’s another bugger. Nobody shows up to activities and when they do it’s an hour after the time it starts lol. Anyway... The two boys I taught were hilarious! Now I see why people laugh when I talk because they couldn’t pronounce English words to save their lives haha but I made them cute little flashcards to practice :) We learned colors and how to introduce ourselves. This week maybe we’ll learn how to pray haha! 
         It’s so fun working with the kids around here though. My favorite thing in the whole world is hearing little kids yell HERMANAS! and come running at us with hugs :) There is one little boy that has my heart for sure. His name is Jose. His mom was just baptized about a month ago and we read the BOM with them every other day. He is seriously the cutest thing in my whole life. For his birthday we were walking with him and his mom and he just grabs my hand and we strolled through the streets of La Cruz :) Probably the best thing ever. I’m bringing him home. Haidyn was right... I found me my baby haha. 
         Sadly, Hermano Adolfo is at it again. Last night was awful. We finally got some member help and decided to stop by and see how Hermana Maryuri was doing. We get there and she’s not there so we kinda talk with him for a minute and he was just being a butt. So we start teaching some friends of Hermana Maryuri outside their house. Well we’re standing there and Catalina (the daughter) comes and tries pulling my skirt down. Yep. She’s a stinker lol but then she does the same to Hermana Rios. Hermano Adolfo sees and freaks out. He takes her and starts whipping her and me, Hermana Rios, and our member Hermana Yauri just stand there. We must have looked disgusted because the friend we’re teaching goes on to say... "Ya know... In the bible it says we need to correct our children" Oh does it? I’d like to see where it says it’s okay to beat 4-year-old little girls. So then he just walks out with this smirk on his face and his belt hanging around his neck... Good job dude, good job. He won’t be baptized anytime soon BUT Hermana Maryuri this Saturday!!! :) 
         My favorite experience this week was one that strengthened my testimony SO much. I’ve had some rough days. Now that I’ve been here for a few weeks people are more comfortable with me, and talk to me more, but I still struggle understanding. So when I don’t understand something they just scream the same phrase or sentence at me and it’s so frustrating! Add homesickness on top of that and it’s just great haha. So this week, some days have had so many emotions! BUT I KNOW God answers prayers. This week I finally just had a moment where I just had so many questions. I just prayed and pretty much begged for answers. Like, why am I here?! Nobody can understand me, I can’t understand them, and life would be so much easier at home! It was a full-on crying prayer while Hermana Rios was in the shower haha. It was so needed though! I don’t know why sometimes I think I can do this on my own. I need the Lord. So after this, we start personal study. I flip open to D&C 100. I don’t have time to type all that I liked, but everyone just needs to read it. The whole section was just like, "Okay calm down. Your family is fine, you’re here because people need you, and I’ll be with you. Now serve." I've never had a prayer answered quite like this. It was so direct. It’s an answer I can’t deny. I’m so grateful for a Heavenly Father that answers my prayers. 
         Now time for some crazy stuff eh? Okay Hermana Vicki’s family. Straight up CRAZY. I’m talking goats, chickens, cats, AND dogs crazy. They attend every lesson, along with the evil kids lol.  One kid in particular is pure evil. Diego. Oooooh Diego. He stuck gum in my hair this week. I’m going to kill him. He also stuck a baby goat on Hermana Rios’ lap haha. I won’t lie... I laughed. But only cause it was her, not me :) Anywhoooo after he sticks gum in my hair, his old grandma takes off her flip-flop and starts chasing him yelling, "ESCUCHA LA PALABRA DE DIOS!!!" which is "LISTEN TO THE WORD OF GOD!!!" Funniest thing of my whole life!!! 
Okay, I have no more time for any more craziness... Darn. Maybe more next week ;) But I love you all so much and am SOOOO grateful for everything. I couldn’t ask for anything more. :) I’m so blessed. Have a great week and good luck in school! :)

Hermana Roper 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Beware Of The Spitting Man!

Hola Familia!
Casi un mes en Peru! :) This week has been crazy... As usual. No surprise haha we had a multizone conference in Tumbes Friday, which was great! It really gave me a new hope for my mission. We learned and practiced teaching a lot, but the lessons I learned came from a few Elders´ testimonies. They are all finishing their missions within three months. The ones that really helped me were those that had to learn Spanish. Every single one of them testified of how hard the first part of their mission was, but look at them now. They´re all amazing missionaries AND know Spanish! It IS possible! Haha but it was just good to know that every one of them feels the same way I do and that I can do this. All of the things taught at this conference were great.
One big lesson I learned was that WHEN is a bold word. We need to not say "if", but we need to testify and say "when." WHEN God answers our prayers, or WHEN we are forgiven of our sins. We need to be bold. That´s one thing I need to work on is not having fear of what people think or what people will say, and just testifying of what I know. Now add Spanish in the mix and I´ve got myself a challenge!
Good news! President Rowley talked with Hermana Maryuri and she´s getting baptized!! The 24th of August :) Hermano Adolfo.... Yeah... No. Haha, but I´m happy for Hermana Maryuri. We had many experiences with Hermana Maryuri this week.
Monday we went to her house and she told us she didn´t want to be baptized anymore. We were both sooo bummed! We walked out and Hermana Rios just burst into tears because Hermana Maryuri has been taught for so long and it was awful. So from this experience my own testimony was strengthened. Remember how I told you I´d send pictures later Monday? Well because of the lesson with Hermana Maryuri it was too late. Hermana Rios said I could send them on Tuesday though, so this was the plan. It´s something really small, but the thought, "Obedience brings blessings, EXACT obedience brings miracles" popped in my head. At this point, we needed a miracle. We needed Hermana Maryuri to know that baptism was the right decision. So as badly as I wanted to, I didn´t use the internet Tuesday haha. Sounds like a small thing right? Well it was hard for me lol. So Wednesday she wasn´t there and we decided we needed to fast. So we fasted Thursday for her. Well Thursday afternoon President Rowley calls and says he´s coming to La Cruz! This means he could talk to her! So he talks to her about all the doubts she has and we go back Thursday night and she is SO excited for her baptism. For us this truly was a miracle! It had been a rough week with her, but she´s finally in a good place and ready for this next step. We´re really excited for her!
This week also had it´s craziness. Oh funny story. So I´m still a freak around here... Nothin new. Every day, at least once, we pass a group of people and they´re like "Mira! Es la misioñera de los Estados Unidos!" (Look! A missionary from the United States!) So we´re walking yesterday and this smart A kid says, "Hellllllloooooo greeeenga" (Hellllooooo white girl) and I looked at him all confused and said, "Que es hellllloooooo? No sé Inglés. Soy de Perú?" Which is "What is hello? I don´t know English. I´m from Peru." and he looks at me with the most confused look I´ve ever seen! Oh wow it was great. Hermana Rios just started laughing. I´m having too much fun being the white girl here :) 
There´s also The Spitting Man. This man is 99 years old. Yeah. OLD. And almost completely deaf. We´re in a lesson with his daughter and Hermana Rios says, "Vamos leer las escrituras" (we´re going to read the scriptures) and he straight up spits at our feet lol. It took all I had not to laugh! I almost got 99 year old man spit on my toesies! What the heck dude? 
         I also sat in pee this week. Fun, right? Yep. I felt something wet, smelled and yep. PEE. I must have looked off guard cause Hermana Maryuri is like, “What´s wrong?” and the quickest excuse I could say as to not offend her was "Bicho," which is bug. I told Hermana Rios the true story later and she couldn´t stop laughing. Ooooooh awesome. Along with pee at Hermana Maryuri´s, I also swept her dirt floor for thirty minutes this week. We decided she needed service, and that was my job. I swept dirt. What is happening to me? 
         Oooooh another great lesson. We´re in a lesson talking about the plan of salvation. So there’s this huge spider coming down from the ceiling and I clap my hands together and smash it. In the middle of a lesson. I obviously didn´t think before I did it alright? Well, they all look at me weird and this is what comes out... "Uhh….For example. That spider is now in the spirit world" lol. Awesome, right? Hahaha sheesh. They all just laughed... I was being serious though? ;)
         Weird things about Peru for the week: They put aloe vera plants above the doors to keep out the bad spirits... Alrighty then... They also hang up Barbie’s for decoration. Literally boxed Barbie’s nailed to the dirt wall. Prettttyyyyyy. :) 
         My question for this week is why so many languages?! Lots of our investigators ask why there´s so many churches and only one God... Well we have an answer for them, but can someone please answer me why there´s so many languages?! Yesterday I was kinda bummed in Sunday school. The bishop had me read a section, so I did, and a lady next to me just kept correcting me. I said trabajo wrong and she was like "TRABAJO!" Okay sheeeesh sorry lol, I´m trying here! But I guess that´s all that matters is that I try my best :)
         Each week gets better and better and I understand a little more. I´m thankful for this time to grow. It´s not in the easy times that we grow, but the difficult. This applies to Michael´s family as well. My heart hurt so much  when I read your letter. This is a really hard time for them and my heart is so broken for the family, but this is something God knows they need right now. It will help them grow. Yes, it´s difficult, and sometimes we don´t see why things happen, but we just have to keep pushing day by day and someday we´ll see the entire picture and be grateful for the hard times. I´m definitely gaining a testimony of this right now! Let his family know I´m thinking of them. 
         Thank you for all the support and love :) I love you all SO much! Have a great week! :)

Herman Roper