Monday, October 28, 2013

Time Is Starting to Fly!

Familia :)
         First off... This keyboard is awful. Have fun reading this :)
Halfway through another transfer... Crazy! And this week November starts! Time really is starting to fly! 
         Such a great week though :) We’ve really seen miracles here. Remember how we had family home evening with Diana and Gabriel Monday? Well it was AWFUL. Pretty much Diana just started whippin out the Bible on us and saying that all churches worship Christ so as long as they follow Christ and are good people, they’ll be fine. It was bad. So then we retaught the Restoration. The Elders before us said they taught it but apparently they didn’t remember much haha so we really focused on the authority of the priesthood and prophets. At the end of the lesson Diana said, "I think this is true...The bible talks about prophets and apostles and your church is the only one who has them." YES!!!!! Yes we do! So then we were left to figure out how we could push this belief they have into an action. We decided to talk about faith.  We read in Mark 9: 14-24 with a lot of Alma 32. It was exactly what they needed! They have so much faith, they really do. And they have desires to believe. What we had to make them realize is that this is enough. Diana always wants answers in black and white, but there comes a point when we have to take a leap of faith and trust in our beliefs. and guess what? That’s exactly what they did :) They came to church for the first time this Sunday! Diana, Gabriel, and their little boy Camillo :) When I saw them walking in, all I could imagine was an eternal family. They were so happy and couldn’t stop smiling and loved it! But first things first, they need to get married. They accepted the invitation to get baptized, but we’re hoping they can get married here soon. Pray for them! :)
         It was great they were at church and all... But Sunday had its stress too haha. We got a call from the bishop right before church and he said, "Can Hermana Roper give a talk in Sacrament?"
         "Of course. When?"
         "Today." Uhhh... Thanks for the warning. I’m not sure why he picked me and not Hermana Escalante who knows Spanish! Haha sheesh. Hopefully everyone actually understood... But I think not because I introduced myself and said,  “I’m Hermana Roper” and everyone keeps calling me Hermana Ropero now... My Spanish is definitely not perfect lol.
         I gave another talk this week too... In Zone Conference ahhhh! President Rowley assigned us all to read the “4th Missionary” and prepare a talk. Then he picks only two out of 50 plus missionaries to give the talk. Let’s just say I didn’t think it would be me... it’s usually those missionaries that have waaaay more time in the mission field. And let’s just say I didn’t prepare as good as I could have... haha. Anyway I’m sittin there just enjoying the conference when I hear, "And then we’ll hear from Hermana Roper." Whaaaat? Freak out time. I got done with my talk though... With 50 plus native missionaries staring at me like, "I dont understand a single thing you’re saying..." So I was thinking I did horrible and nobody understood, when a new missionary, Hermana Eames, came up to me asking for advice. She has three weeks here in the mission and is at the struggling point. I remember those days allllllll too well. But she asks me, "How did you learn Spanish? I need help and the others told me to ask you for advice." At first I was a little caught off guard like, "What are you talking about? I don’t know Spanish!", but she was being serious.
         At times I seriously feel like I know nothing. Sometimes I feel like I can’t talk in Spanish at all and I haven’t learned anything, but it’s times like that when I feel a little better. At the time, I didn’t want to give a talk in front of everyone in Spanish, but after I felt better and ended up helping another struggling missionary. It just goes to show how every single thing happens for a reason :) 
         I also learned a lot at zone conference about how I want to be seen. Who do I want to be? How will it be like to be around me? What kind of person will I be? These are the questions that President Rowley had us think about and now every time I don’t want to wake up in the morning or when I don’t want to knock on doors in the blazing heat of Peru, I just have to think, “Who do I want to be?” Every decision is important!  We don’t become who we are all in one day. It’s day by day, decision by decision.
         We also have so many investigators accepting baptism! Hermano Augusto, Edward, Roger, and Hermana Mavila and Gracy. They’re all so great! I don’t have time to explain them all, but really. SO great! :)
          I better get going now. No time for my embarrassments of  the week. Too bad :) Have a great week! Love you all soooo much! :)

Hermana Roper

Monday, October 21, 2013

Loving Piura Central!

Hola familia :) 
         Everything is great here in Piura! Such a difference, but I honestly love it here so much. I’m secretly crossing my fingers I can be here with Hermana Escalante one more transfer after this one because this transfer is already flying!
         We had a great week here. Found some really solid investigators and they’re doing great. First there’s Augusto. He is 17 and was a reference. He is pretty much begging to be baptized! He has a baptismal date for Nov. 2 but the problem is that he can only meet with us Saturdays because he’s a health freak and is allllllways workin out. Come on, dude. Your hott bod or your salvation. Take your pick! ;) But we might have to end up pushing his date back :( Either way I know he´ll be baptized. No doubt. He is really open with us and loves the message. I also have a really embarrassing story that has to do with him... But we´ll save that for later in the letter.
         We also have Edward, who I have learned so much from! We had another investigator, Hermana Marisol, that we would try to visit. He was the one who always opened the door for us because he’s in charge of the apartments. He would always just open the door and then follow us out and we didn’t think anything of it. I still feel terrible! Anyway, one day as we were walking out he asked us what we were teaching and we set up an appointment with him for later in the week. Well we went yesterday and it was seriously so great! Our lesson was probably all over the place, but that’s because he had so many questions! We wanted to teach him the Plan of Salvation and went from there to Joseph Smith to the Book of Mormon haha. In this one lesson he asked for a Book of Mormon and accepted to be baptized. Soooo great, I’m tellin ya! Anyway, the lessons I have learned from him are 1. Don’t judge and 2. God has a plan for everyone. The first lesson of not judging... Yep. I totally judged him. I thought he was just some mean guy that was annoyed that he had to keep opening the door for us. He never talked to us and never smiled so we thought he was just annoyed with us. But nope! He is so nice! The lesson with him was so great and the spirit was so strong. I feel bad for even making a judgment. I was so wrong! And I know God has a plan. Hermana Marisol ended up not wanting to listen to us, but because of her we have Edward who is so prepared. God has everything so planned out for us it’s unreal! 
         Then we have Diana and Gabriel. They’re a young couple with a little boy (who never shuts up, I might add). But they aren’t married so that’s a bugger. Diana also has issues with our church because a RM got her sister pregnant so she’s a little tough to get to. I’m pretty sure her and me could be besties though haha. She’s hilarious! Dances in every lesson and just cracks me up. We have Family Home Evening with them tonight and are going to challenge them to get married soooo wish us luck! 
         This week I’ve also felt pushed to my limits! Yesterday was crazy. We don’t have much help from our mission leader so of course he hadn’t come up with a baptism program for a little girl in our ward. Because he didn’t have anyone to talk, guess who got to? Yep. Me. Thanks a lot, man. Haha I was freakin out! But I did it. Ended up talking about Haidyn and her baptism. I also have to give two more lessons tomorrow in our District Meeting and Ward Council so I’m definitely feelin a lil stressed! 
          But one thing I’ve learned this week is that we grow the most by doing things we don’t want to do. We may feel uncomfortable, but we need to do it anyway. We need to make the choice to put ourselves in the position to grow. This is something that was also talked about at our Reunion de Hermanas this Friday. Hermana Rebello talked about how we could go through our entire 18 months without changing, without growing, without learning.... IF we want to. We have the decision to grow... Or not. My goal is even when I don’t want to do something, to just put on my big girl panties and do it anyway :)
         Now for the embarrassment.... I straight up told Augusto I loved him. I’m still so embarrassed lol. We were talking about how God loves us and instead of saying "Le ama mucho" (He loves you a lot) I said "Le amo mucho" (I love you a lot) His eyes got reeeeal big and then it was awkward and I started talking half in Spanish, half in English like, "Oh sorry... I mean.... Uhh... Lo siento... Dios. Dios le ama. Not me. Si le amo.... Pero como un hermano... Uh...." So awkward. My face was bright red. When will I know Spanish?!?!? That’s my embarrassment for the week. And every night Hermana Escalante reminds me of how awkward I was. Gotta love her lol. 
         Another great week here though! Thank you all for everything :) Love you all more than you could ever know! Have a great week :) 

Hermana Roper

Yum! Breakfast :)

Reunited with Hermana Petersen!


Getting ready to shop at the mall :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

"Welcome To Civilization"

         Done with training, and now in Piura Central and loving it! My new companion is Hermana Escalante. She’s 22 and of Lima. Lezzz be honest...... I freaking love her. (Yep. I’m gonna quote “Pitch Perfect” for the rest of my mission because I don’t have any new movies to quote. Deal with it.) But really. she is the greatest! I’ve learned more from her these last few days than probably my whole time of training. She has 13 months in the mission and has taught me so much! She also studied in the United States for a while and knows English really well. This helps when I have questions about Spanish because she can explain to me why people say the things they do and the grammar behind it :) We speak all in Spanish though because if I speak with her in English, I’ll never learn haha best companion EVER.
         But anyway... Piura Central. First thing President Rowley said to me Tuesday was, "Welcome to Civilization." CORRECTO. It’s such a difference! There’s a KFC! And Pizza Hut! And stores! And a grocery store with shelves and check out stands! And shopping carts! No hot water... But I can’t complain :) This area is a little harder though with the people. They have money and don’t really want to listen. This week were gonna make packets with DVDs, pamphlets and our phone number and throw them over their gates haha. We have nothing more we can do! Nobody wants to listen. We also have this whole area to ourselves now. Before there were Elders, but this transfer that all changed. We’ve been combining area books this week and have so much to do! 
         This area is also a lot more dangerous. Thursday night there was a gang fight out side in our street. I thought this stuff only happened in movies! Haha but nope. There was shooting and screaming and it was crazy. And there we were laying in our beds not daring to get up and move haha. Finally the police came though and we’re still alive so that’s all that matters right? :) It was crazy though for me to know people were right outside our window dying. So awful! Again... The Lord protects his missionaries. 
         One thing I have loved about Hermana Escalante is that she pushes me so hard. I have learned so much! We had one day where nobody was home and decided to visit a less active. I’m sittin there like always, just waiting for Hermana Escalante to start teaching something because we had no lesson plan, and she turns and whispers to me, "Can you share what you learned in personal study today?" Uhhhh.... Yep. So there I was teaching a whole lesson, and so scared, but I did it. And learned so much! I shared 1 Nephi 16 when Nephi breaks his bow. The thing about Nephi is he always finds solutions. Instead of asking "Why me?" or "Why this trial?" he does something about it. Somehow I made it through the lesson and somehow they understood it haha… gift of tongues right there! 
         This week I’ve seen a big difference in my Spanish. I feel like I’m less focused on my Spanish and a lot more focused on what I’m saying. I’ve never felt the spirit more in lessons than this week, and I know its because I’m not focusing so much on the language. It’s been a great week!  Oh.  Another change in myself. I’m touchy. Yep. I pretty much hug everything that walks..... Except boys cause that’s just not right. But really. I found myself one day hugging everyone and I remember thinking to myself, "WHO AM I?!?!" haha. It’s official. I’m a huggy, weird, Sister Missionary. Oh. NO. 
         I don’t have much time today, or even embarrassing stories! I’m sure Ill have more this week ;) Thank you so much for everything though. I love you all more than you could ever know! :) Have a great week!

Hermana Roper

Monday, October 7, 2013

Shut Up & Serve!

Hola Familia :)

         Welp. My training is DONE! Hardest 12 weeks of my life, but I wouldn’t trade em for anything. I’ve learned SO much! I’m now being transferred today. I honestly never saw this comin. Neither did Hermana Rios! We were both thinking she would be leaving La Cruz since she’s been here 4.5 months, but we got the call last night that I’m the one leaving. She was starting to organize her stuff and I was just gettin ready for bed and writin in my jounal when the zone leaders called. That’s when the panic set in haha. I’m proud to say I packed allllll my stuff in ONE hour! Awesome, I know :) I’m leaving Tumbes today at 5 and headed to Piura. I’ll be staying at the mission home tonight and find out tomorrow where I’m going. Adventure time! 
         I am SO sad to leave though. I don’t feel like I’ve had enough time with these amazing people! They’ve been more than welcoming to me and really made me feel wanted here. I’ll always be grateful for every single one of them! I never thought it would be so hard to leave an area. I can’t imagine how hard it will be for Hermana Rios after her 6 months here. We are both so attached to these people. I know this happened for a reason though :) Hermana Rios is needed here and I’m needed somewhere else. God has it all planned out :)
         This week was good though! We had zone conference and one thing I learned is that there is ALWAYS more we can do. President Rowley feels like there’s a sense of relaxation in the mission, that we’re all okay with being "good enough" and he wants that to change. This month our goal for baptisms as a mission was 108 and we had 71. He was happy with this, and said we should be happy too, but to also remember the goal was 108 and that there’s always more we can do. This is true in every aspect of our lives! Always more to do and improve :)
         I also loved conference... Well, what I understood anyway haha.  It was all in Spanish. Gotta love it ;) I loved the comparison from President Monson. I’ve also decided I want to be a tree. There’s always awesome comparisons of trees! Like in Alma, our faith is compared to a seed springing into a tree of everlasting life and now this comparison from President Monson haha. Who would’ve thought trees could be so awesome? But really... We all have difficulties. Every single one of us! Even the prophet! (Pretty much I cried when he was talking about his wife. Cutest thing ever!!!) But like a tree, we will always come out stronger in the end. Also, every single trial is specific for each one of us! 
         One thing I got out of this weekend wasn’t even from conference. It was from Darrell Gardner! Remember his saying, "Pain is temporary; pride is forever. Shut up and run"? Pretty much we were driving back to Tumbes for another session of conference and I was bummed. I just wanted to watch it in English, or even better, be watching it with all of you. I was just thinking, "Why do I have to be here for 14 more months?" That’s when Gardner’s nice lil voice popped in my head haha. "Pain is temporary; God is eternal. Shut up and serve." Sometimes it seems so hard, but then I’m reminded on days like today that I ONLY have 14 months. That’s nothin! I only have 14 months to enjoy Peru and these people. I’m definitely reminded of this today because it is so hard to have to leave the people I’ve come to love here in La Cruz. Gonna shut up and serve :) 
         Funny story of the week: I didn’t get peed on this week, but Hermana Rios straight up got attacked by a chicken haha! We were reading scriptures with the Ibanez family and it just took off flyin at her face. She screams, falls off her seat, and it just kept goin at it! She has the biggest fear of chickens too, which didn’t help haha but seriously the funniest thing I’ve seen! I don’t know why, but animals just don’t like her lol. Time is up though! Thank you for EVERYTHING! I hope you have a great week :) I LOVE YOU ALL! :)

Hermana Roper