Monday, September 30, 2013

Be Happy! Always Smile!

Hola Familia! :)
         Week number 11 down. That means only one more of my training. AHHH! Scary! This week flew like no other! I’ve never felt more stressed than I felt on Wednesday. We had exchanges... And I stayed in La Cruz with one of the sister training leaders while Hermana Rios went to Talara with the other. That meant I was in control of all of La Cruz... By myself haha yeah. I was freaking out. Wednesday we had all of our day planned out.... But nobody was home. Seriously. We went to Hermana Corona, Yesica, Milagros, Rosalia, and Monica and NOBODY. I tried to keep my cool and all, but on the inside I was about to explode. So finally I was like welp! Guess we can go see if Hermano Victor is home, secretly hoping he wasn’t because lessons with him are intense. Well guess what? He was home haha. And I had no lesson plan... With a total different companion... And a member with us. Pressure on. At first it was suuuuper awkward, but somehow I said something about my family being sealed in the temple and he says, "What’s that mean?" YES!! Perfect! So we went on to teach about eternal families and I’ve never seen him so interested. (That could be because he was focusing really hard so he could understand my sucky Spanish haha) But it was great! The stress was all worth it! Gotta love the Spirit. I know this wasn’t coincidence at all :) 
         I also realized that I know much more than I give myself credit for. I have just kept thinking that there’s no way I could teach a lesson by myself. Hermana Rios always starts the lessons and I just say a little bit here and there, but she does most of the important explaining. Well with no Hermana Rios that meant I had to do it and I was terrified. But somehow I did it. There’s hope for me to learn this language! Haha It was good though and taught me a lot :)
         This week Juan and Said were baptized!! It was so great! Nothing like the baptism of Hermana Maryuri. There was reverence! Crazy, right? It was so great, and I know Juan will be such a strength to our ward. One thing he needs to work on is his prayers... Oh boy. We have taught him how to pray soooo many times! Even made him a little paper to remind him and every single prayer he still begins with "Oh Senor Jesus" and throughout the whole prayer he says it over and over. One day he’ll get it... One day ;) He really is so chosen though. 
         I have also seen the Atonement change a family this week. Said almost didn’t get baptized. He has had past situations with one of his cousins that he hadn’t taken care of or even told us about until the night of the interview his mom finally told us. It was so sad to see an 8-year-old have these problems. BUT we aren’t perfect. And God doesn’t expect us to be. It was so amazing to see his family change in only two days. They went from being so so sad and discouraged to being so happy Saturday! I’ve never seen a little boy with a bigger grin on his face :) And his mom as well. The Atonement changes people. I’ve seen it this week! 
         Another awful situation with an investigator is Hermana Rosalia. I’m not sure if I told you, but she’s the one that we’ve been suspecting is pregnant. Welp! yep she sure is, and her "husband" doesn’t want kids. He’s 65 and one of the most prideful people I’ve seen. He is a captain of a boat here and has money and thinks that’s all he needs. She came to church Sunday and wanted to talk to us. She just started sobbing! Pretty much he told her if she doesn’t have an abortion he’s leaving. This leaves her without a house, two kids, and no money. It was so sad. All we could do was hug her and tell her this baby is a blessing. I don’t know what she’ll do. She was going to the hospital today to see how far along she is and we’re going to visit her tomorrow. Ugh Hermano Vicente is awful though! I don’t know how to have more love for him. It’s his baby and he wants nothing to do with it. She shouldn’t have to put up with that. He has over 10 kids with 5 different women. When one of his "wives" gets pregnant he leaves to find another. So sick! Rosalia definitely needs prayers goin her way. 
         Now I can give you something to laugh at.... I got peed on. No. Really. It happened. We were walking and someone was peeing off a balcony and yep. Right on our heads. YUM. Ooooooh Peru. Gotta love it! ;) 
         It’s so crazy to think I’ve been in the mission field 4 months though. I never thought so many experiences could fit in such a small amount of time! I’ve had ups, downs, good days, bad days, but one thing I’ve learned is no matter how alone or abandoned we feel, the sun always comes up the next day. There have been days where I’ve felt beyond inadequate, days where I wanted to give up, and days where I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but guess what? Somehow I’m still here! “Seguir adelante.” It’s probably my favorite phrase in Spanish. Keep going. Keep pushing. The hard times don’t last forever. Christ is always there to lift us up. "For I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." He knows exactly how we feel; He’s already felt it. There’s nowhere we can go that Christ hasn’t already been. He knows us inside and out. Yes, this life is hard. Really hard. But that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Christ suffered for every single one of us. How can we expect to become like Him if we don’t suffer a little bit too? We’re here to grow! It’s in those times of difficulty that we learn the most about ourselves. I’ve learned more about myself in these last 4 months than I’ve learned in my whole life. For example, I’ve learned I’m not really a fan of chickens, dogs, or scorpions. I’ve learned I have a lot of patience... With everyone but myself!  The most important thing I’ve learned though is that I have a Heavenly Father that loves ME. He knows ME. He has a plan for ME. He loves each and every single one of us. Yes, we will still have hard days, but we don’t have to do it alone. What a blessing this gospel is in our lives! We have so many reasons to smile :) So be HAPPY! Don’t let the little things get in the way of our eternal happiness :) Always smile! 
         Thank you again and again for EVERYTHING! I have the best family in the whole world :) Tell everyone else thank you as well. I couldn’t ask for more :) Have a great week! I LOVE YOU! :)

Hermana Roper 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Miracles Happen Everyday!

Hola Familia!
         My advice to all: DONT DRINK THE CORN JUICE. I think Hermana Zoila has it out for me... She had us go to her house for lunch.... That’s when she serves us corn juice. Two HUGE glasses. We were both soooo sick that whole day. Yuck. Good thing I have a pharmacy in my suitcase :) Thanks mom haha. All better now though. Let’s just say my body was cleaned completely out lol. Oh and when she asks if you want more... DONT SAY YES. Take my advice on this. 
         Other than that this week has been great :) We have been preparing Juan for his baptism. We also have another boy getting baptized Saturday as well. His name is Said. Two baptisms! Yay! We’re actually hoping for four. We are going to go try to find Carla and Nuri’s mom. We couldn’t find her at all this week! She’s a member, so we’re hoping it goes well. You’ll just have to wait till next week though :)
         We were also able to work with the members a lot this week too. One member though... Ooooh Hermana Benilda. Bless her heart. She wanted to go out with us so we say yes, of course because members  are great. She fell asleep in almost every single lesson! What the heck?! The peace of this gospel must have just been too much for her to handle haha. I have no idea. We kept trying to include her and every time we looked over she was sleeping! So there we were in lessons trying to teach about how great this gospel is and she’s sleeping lol. Like I said... Bless her heart ;) 
         One of the lessons with Hermana Benilda was quite exciting too. She missed out. We were teaching a family, the Chores family. They’re in their 80s and Catholic. We’re teaching about baptism and how babies don’t need baptism. She agrees with us completely and is just telling us how horrible infant baptism is so we invite her to be baptized and she’s like, "I was already baptized when I was a baby" uhhh.... But remember how babies don’t need baptism? We just talked about this lol so we explain again the correct way of baptism and she looks at us and says, "This is iniquity." Aca-awkward eh? Haha Its so frustrating when people don’t have the same love for this gospel and when they don’t understand how true it is! But we can’t make people believe. Just gotta teach them and let them make the decision. And obviously Yolanda Chores has made her decision haha.
         We also are super bummed with Hermano Adolfo. We go over to their house Wednesday to see how his goals are coming. (We made him a paper to hang on their wall with both of their goals) He had been doing so good... For two days. When we get there we notice the paper is torn down and all the other things the missionaries have given their family are thrown around the room. Definitely not a good sign. So we ask Hermana Maryuri what happened and she goes on to tell us the events of their night. He was doing good for two days, like I said. He was reading, praying, and hadn’t drank. Then he flipped out. He straight up beat Hermana Maryuri with a nice, big, wooden chair.  She was cooking and he came up behind her and slammed it down on her head. The worst part is that her kids were both watching. Makes me sick! I have no idea how I can think my "struggles" here are bad. I have no idea what her and her family go through every day. The thing that makes me sad is what happens to her? My struggles here are temporary. She has to be here living with him for life. The missionaries come and go, but she is still here stuck. She doesn’t have the money to move or do anything about it. SO sad. We haven’t seen Adolfo since, but we have to keep trying for her. "Nunca va a cambiar" is what she said to us, which is "He’s never going to change." So sad to see someone lose hope like that. Good thing she has the gospel! It’s one thing that keeps her going. 
         Funny story of the week was with Hermana Vicky. We finally teach her how to pray, and we’re so excited! (It’s harder than you think for people here to understand how to pray normally) So she asks us to show her one more example of a prayer and then she was going to try after. I’m saying the prayer when Hermana Rios just screams! A goat started eating her shoe! Haha so we pretty much laugh our way through the prayer and now Hermana Vicky thinks this is how to say a prayer. Yeah.... Stupid goat. It’s never a dull moment around here!
         Peru never ceases to amaze me though... This week I have seen waaaaay too many nude people lol. They just walk into the rivers here to bathe. I don’t think things will ever seem normal here! 
         This week I was also able to finish the Book of Mormon again. I am again reminded how true this gospel is, and how lucky we are to have the Book of Mormon! So blessed! I really loved in Moroni when it talks about miracles. Miracles happen here everyday! Sometimes people think miracles have ended with the prophets and miracles don’t happen today. They do!! We have so many miracles here on the earth today. We just need to find them. I love the Book of Mormon! 
         This week was great though :) Each week is getting better :) Its weird to think I’ve been here for 10 weeks! There’s no other place I need to be right now than here. Hope you all have a great week! Always smile! :) I LOVE YOU ALL THIIIIIIIIS MUCH! (that’s a lot) 

Hermana Roper
Yay for peanut butter and Pringles!

Monday, September 16, 2013

There Is Good In Every Day :)

Hola Familia! 
         Best part of the week: Hermano Juan. GOLDEN. One of our members here introduced him to us and we had our first lesson with him on Thursday. He is SO prepared! He told us he had a dream.... In this dream God told him he needed to join a church, but didn’t tell him which church. When he told us this, I wanted to just scream, "I know which church!! Pick me! PICK ME!" but we calmly said... "Well, we’re here to help" haha. Anyway, we taught him Thursday and last night he accepted a baptism date of September 28th! He is so ready and prepared. Members are KEY! 
         This week was good though. We had interviews with President Rowley and wow! What an inspired man! I needed his help. One thing he taught us is how key the Book of Mormon is. He had us tell him all the problems we have with our areas such as, no member help or contention in our wards, and then he told us that the Book of Mormon is the solution to every single problem. If members are reading the Book of Mormon, they will want to do all they can to help. If members are reading the Book of Mormon, they won’t want to have contention with others because they want to be like Christ. He is SO right. All of the problems we have can be fixed with the Book of Mormon. No doubt about it! 
         My interview was also much needed. It’s crazy how much difference just 15 minutes can make!  At times I feel like I’m making no progress here, and some days I wonder how I’m supposed to do this, but he helped me realize how much progress I’ve made. He said he can see such a change in my confidence in what I can do with the Lord. It’s always hard to see changes in ourselves, so having him tell me that he can see progress in me helped so much. Also, seeing the new missionaries arriving in the mission makes me feel better too ;) haha... But really. It does. Little by little :)
         So after interviews President Rowley says, "Hermanas, is it okay if Hermana Rowley and I accompany you tonight to your lessons?" UHHHH. Wait. Is this a joke? The President never goes out with the Hermanas! You could say we were a bit freaked out.... So we raced back to La Cruz and started tracking down all our investigators and confirming appointments haha. They were all there! It was a miracle... For real.
         First we went and taught Hermano Victor, the one with the fear of the Book of Mormon. I know President Rowley was inspired to come and teach with us because it helped Victor SO much! Pretty much President Rowley flat out said, "We have trials with or without the Book of Mormon. That’s life. I have trials and I read it every single day. The question is how are you going to prepare for those trials?" YES. Thank you President Rowley! We have told him this a million times, but he finally agreed to read! MIRACLE! 
         After Victor, he talked with Hermano Adolfo as well and we thought everything was just dandy... Until last night. He’s drinking again. We had set daily goals with him so that little by little he could quit and then went to teach him last night and Maryuri said he has been out drinking for the past two days. Aweeesome. I do feel bad for him. It’s an awful addiction, but he needs to put forth some effort too. We can have all the desires in the world to change, but until we do something about it, we’re never going to change. 
         Another family that I just love with all of my heart is the Romero family! I just feel such a closeness to them! They are so great. They couldn’t attend church this week, but have such desires to learn. We plan on challenging them to baptism this week :) 
         Little Carla and her sister Nuri also have my heart. I think I’m gonna take Nuri home with me. Cutest thing ever! We also have a goal of getting them to accept baptism this week. It’s not really a question of them accepting, but their parents. Their mom’s a member, but we’re not sure with the dad. We’ll have to see this week :) 
         This Sunday we also had a Stake Conference thing. BEST THING EVER! It was in a real church, with a microphone, and people were QUIET. Say whaaaaat?! Miracle again! It was a broadcast and we had Sister Reeves, David A. Bednar, and Richard G. Scott talk to us. Don’t ask me exactly what they said cause it was all in Spanish haha. Richard G. Scott is quite the Spanish speaker! Elder Bednar just spoke English with a translator. BUT! I understood a little bit! Improvement right?! I’m excited for General Conference here in a few weeks. Crazy to think that a year ago a mission was the last thing on my mind eh? Haha now I’m here preachin my little heart out in Peru! Life is pure craziness.
         I don’t even have that many crazy stories this week. How sad! Or maybe I’m just getting used to the embarrassing moments? One thing that’s totally a bugger here is that I swear everyone thinks I’m dumb lol. We’re eating with a member and his wife and he asks me how many people live in Utah and I was just like, “I’m not really sure.” Then his wife, Zoila, says to everyone, "Oh she can’t count either!" Umm... I’m actually kinda smart in English. I promise! Lol! Oh man it’s so frustrating to have all these thoughts in my head and not be able to talk! It’s times like those when I just want to give up and say, "Welp. I almost learned Spanish." But I cant! I’m going to speak Spanish one day so take that Hermana Zoila! Haha 
         As for the language, I actually understand quite a lot. The problem is that I can’t get my words out. I understand what’s going on, have things to say, but just cant. So frustrating! But I’d rather be like this then not be able to understand either haha. Little by little :) 
         Oh! Story time. We’re having Noche de Hermanamiento (I have no idea what this is in English) and we decide to play a game at the end. So the game is that one person has a glass of water and names a room or place. Then everyone in the circle has to say one thing in that room.  If you can’t, then water gets dumped on you. Well he’s going around to each person and I’m just panicking more and more because I don’t know Spanish haha. He gets to me and of course I had no words in my head. I didn’t even know what was happening! He then goes on to straight up dump the glass of water on my head! At this point I was so confused haha. Like why did I just get a glass of water dumped on my head?! (probably cause I’m a gringa huh?) But yep I had no idea what was happening and didn’t know what happened until after we left and Hermana Rios explained everything. That’s usually how things work.... I just nod my head and smile and then when we leave she explains it to me lol. Oh boy. Espanol. 
         It was a great week though :) I feel so much closer every day to being where I want to be. There’s so much I need to improve on, but there’s also so much I’ve learned too. That’s my goal is to always remember how far I’ve come and not to focus on how far I have to go. Sometimes it’s hard to see the good when I’m getting water dumped on my head and everyone’s laughing at me, or when I can’t understand a single word, but there is good in EVERY day. The good moments definitely outweigh the bad and I am SO blessed :) It might just be learning one new word, or being able to find a scripture that helps one person, but there is good in every day. We just have to find it :) 
         I hope you have a grrrrrreat week! Love you SO much! Tell that stinker of a brother Happy Birthday for me Thursday! Can’t believe he’ll be 17! He’s lucked out this year... I can’t put up any embarrassing baby pictures on facebook. Que triste :( Pero, Ill be thinking of him :) Love you all so much! Thank you for everything! :)

Hermana Roper 

Monday, September 9, 2013

"Make It Look Like A Pillow"

         Week number 8 done here in Peru :) It’s so crazy to think I only have 4 more weeks of my training left. I don’t feel trained at all! Haha I still understand hardly anything, but I understand more than the first day so that’s all that matters right? 
         Okay so this week did NOT go as planned... At alllll. But I guess that’s the fun. The only constant thing in life is change ;) No. But really. This couldn’t be more true this week. Remember how I told you I’d be going to Lima for my visa this week? Yep. Didn’t go haha. That was the plan Monday, but who sticks to plans nowadays? My companion went to Lima Monday afternoon with another Hermana and I stayed in Puyango with her other companion.... That has been here the same amount of time as me.... And doesn’t have Spanish.... And is from Utah too.... And we had to teach.... Real people.... Did I mention neither of us know Spanish?!?!?   And we’re both blonde? Also, the District and Zone leaders for both of us were in Piura, which is 6 hours away. That left two blonde Americans in the middle of Peru with nobody haha. Talk about stress! The original plan though was that we’d just teach Monday night and then we would go to the airport and I’d fly to Lima. The plan was for me to go by myself... No Elders or anything! So I was freakin out lol. But as we were about to leave to the airport, an Elder called and said our companions wouldn’t be back til Wednesday. I’m not sure what is worse... Traveling to Lima alone or having two blonde Americans try to preach the gospel haha. But we did it! We survived! I have no idea how.... We probably made no sense at all. Thank goodness for member help!
         I learned so much in Puyango though. Hermana Hood gave me a copy of “The 4th Missionary”... READ IT! So good. It has really changed my perspective of the type of missionary I want to be. Yes, I want to serve my entire mission, be obedient, and bring others to Christ, but I also want to be changed by my mission. I don’t want to serve and look back and realize that I have gotten nothing out of it. The only thing we can give the Lord that he hasn’t already given us is ourselves. I want to give myself to this work! 
         I also have a new motto for my mission... "Make it look like a pillow." Pretty much we’re walking in Puyango and I totally biff it. HARD. I wish I had it on video. So many people around and there’s the dumb greenga laying on the ground lol. That’s when Hermana Hood says, "Wow, you made that curb look like a pillow!" So yep. That’s our motto. When times get hard, just make it look like a pillow ;)
         Okay okay most embarrassing story of the week tops my nice fall though... I GOT KISSED. By a MAN.... It was awful.... I’m still embarrassed.... Don’t worry though, just on the cheek haha! But still! He just came around and snuck up on me! Kissing around here is totally normal. That’s just what everyone does. Every time we greet women it’s always kisses, and for people around here it’s the same with men.... But it’s not okay for missionaries! Haha so yep. I was kissed. And all my companion could do was watch because it happened so fast! I don’t think my face has ever been more red... 
         This week we have the cutest new investigator! Her name is Carla and she’s 10. She also has a little sister that’s 8 and loves being taught! Her mom’s a member so were hoping to teach the entire family because that’s what it’s about. Completing families. Satan is working so hard with families! I can see this so much more now that I’m here. He is tearing families apart. I’m so grateful for my family and the strength we have! 
         Oh... But during a lesson with Carla I tried papaya for the first time. That should NOT even be considered a fruit! I just had to bite and hurry and swallow it whole. So gross! And the kids ate it like it was the best thing ever! Oh and speaking of kids... TEN kids came to church with Carla Sunday haha. Remember the kid that stuck gum in my hair and his grandma chased him with a shoe? Yep, he’s one of em, and then there’s nine more just as evil! Haha! Talk about a crazy sacrament meeting!
         We also had a great day of service with Hermana Maryuri. We cleaned her lil house and I will honestly never forget the smell of her fridge, as much as I want to. All she feeds her family is fish and she had never cleaned her fridge. It was YEARS of fish juice! Oh man it was so hard to just smile and clean it. I am honestly so humbled just after 8 weeks here. We had such a great talk with Hermana Maryuri. She has so much embarrassment of her house and we just talked about how the important things in life aren’t things. This is so true! I know that to be truly happy, we need more than this world can give us. 
         Also...We received the best excuse ever this week. We went to teach an investigator and a little boy answered the door. So we ask him to go get his mom and he runs away and comes back and says, "My mom said she’s not here right now." Oh did she? Well that’s just great haha.  We’ll try another day ;) 
         The talk in La Cruz right now though is the boy who hung himself this week. He was only 19. Every lesson we taught there was some talk about it. It’s like Emery County! Everyone knows everything about everyone haha. But this boy didn’t leave a note, nothing. We watched all the funeral procession people walk past our window again and it was so sad. I can’t imagine being that unhappy. Life is so so precious! It’s been quite the sad week here in La Cruz for a lot of people though because of it. 
         One more thing I learned this week was a quote from Elder Holland that Hermana Hood gave me. SO great. It’s kinda long, but so I’ll write some of it. "Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it get better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head.  How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? In turn, how could we possibly bear any moving, lasting testimony of the Atonement if we have never known or felt anything of such an experience? As missionaries we are proud to say we are Disciples of Christ, and we are, but mark my word. That means you must be prepared to walk something of the path He walked, to feel something of the pain He felt, and at least occasionally, sometime during your mission, shed one of the tears of sorrow that He shed." I don’t have time to write the rest, but so so good!  It’s from a seminar for new mission presidents 2008 if you can find it. You need to read it :)
         Thank you so much for the support from everyone! I’m amazed at how blessed I am! Have the best week :) LOVE YOU ALL!!

Hermana Roper