Monday, November 25, 2013

We Are Never Alone

Buenas tardes familia :) 
What an amazing week! For real. The trip to Chiclayo was so great! Elder Nelson just radiated with the love of Christ. We each got to shake his hand and introduce ourselves and WOW. There’s no denying he’s an Apostle of the Lord. And pretty much he’s shaken the hand of President Monson so it’s almost like I shook the prophets hand right? ;) haha. I learned so much though! We were taught a lot about how we are never alone. We have help on both sides of the veil and the ancestors of these people are hoping and praying that we will find their family so that they can have these ordinances done for them. There’s so many people that didn’t have the opportunity to know the gospel and they are just waiting for their chance. It was so neat to realize how much help we really do have. We also have 15 million people praying for us daily! We are NEVER alone when in the service of the Lord.
Something that was talked about that I really liked was something his wife said. She was telling a story of a mom in their ward that said, "Someone must have kidnapped my son, because this person that is emailing me, sharing his testimony and telling me to come closer to Christ can’t be my son!"  We all laughed at that one because I think every missionary can relate. We all change so much while we’re out here, but what she told us is that this a good thing. She said, "It’s a compliment if your family can’t recognize you. This means you have truly embraced your mission." Sometimes I am scared to change! I’m scared to be that awkward sister missionary haha, but change is good :) Don’t worry though... I’m not gonna be thaaaat awkward ;) It was great though. I need to embrace change little more :)
Elder Nelson also gave us all a priesthood blessing at the end, which was amazing. How many people can say they’ve received a blessing from an apostle?! Other than the other 400 missionaries there... Whatever. It’s still amazing!
As for investigators this week, we only had Edward and Edwin at church. Edwin is hilarious. He wants to be baptized so bad! A member asked him at church if he was getting baptized and he told me, "Well, I have to get married first. But if I don’t get married, I’m separating so I can get baptized" haha. That's how bad he wants to get baptized. We can’t complain though :) And Edward... Ooooh Edward. I’ll save that one for later. 
D&G are great too... Except for the fact they moved and aren't in our area.Yep. Awesome right? NO. But we're gonna get permission to leave the area and teach them hopefully. And guess what?!?! Gabriel has a job!!! Thank you sooo much for the prayers! The problem this week is Diana. We were talking to her and she said her one doubt is that Joseph Smith saw God AND Jesus Christ. She knows the bible inside and out and told us that there’s not one time anyone has seen God. They’ve only seen Jesus Christ. So that's her doubt. She’s also been having dreams of temples. Uhhh HELLO!? What more of an answer does she want? Another dream involved me chasing her with fire soooo that’s great haha. But tonight we’re going to watch the full Restoration video with them and just pray she feels the spirit. She said if she can resolve her doubts of Joseph Smith she´ll take off running to get baptized. This fast Sunday if you could keep them in your prayers that would be great! :) They’re going to fast as a family too :) 
And now for awkwardness yeah? Edward called us Friday and... Okay first, in my defense, the exact translation from Spanish to English of what he said was, "Can you leave and eat?" and so I was thinkin he was askin about our rules or something right? Nope. He calls and says, "I have a question. Can you leave and eat?" I was just thinking, "Well duh! Yes we can leave and eat. It’s not like we're here in the room all day..." Well, in Spanish this is pretty much how someone asks someone out on a date. Not. Funny. Don’t even laugh. I’m still embarrassed... For him AND me! Not one of my finest moments....
My thought for this week is SMILE gosh darn it! I realized this week that nobody smiles at anyone anymore. President Rowley tells us to greet everyone and we do all. day. long. and almost nobody greets us back. That's when we turn to each other afterward and greet each other lol. But really! Everyone is so preoccupied these days and looks so sad. So yep. Just smile, please :) 
Also best quote ever from Diana. "Algún dia no existe." That means "Someday doesn’t exist." She’s so right! People always say, "Someday I’ll do this... Or Someday I’ll be happy" but the truth is that it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t have a date. "Algún dia no existe." Make changes TODAY! :)
           I better go now though. LOVE YOU ALL! Have a great Thanksgiving and eat extra for me :) 

Hermana Roper

Monday, November 18, 2013

Yay! Staying in Piura Central!

         I am here for another transfer with Hermana Escalante!! :D We’re both so happy about it. One transfer wouldn’t have been enough! I know without a doubt that one huge reason we're here for another transfer together is Diana and Gabriel. They need to get baptized! It’s hard for Diana to trust people very easily, and I don’t know if she´d be okay with another new missionary. (They’ve already had two Elders a month before us). But I really feel like they are the reason we’re here together for six more weeks. They need to get baptized! They came to church Sunday for the 4th week in a row and Gabriel is getting more and more involved every week. Now he’s asking questions and even has started reading the Book of Mormon. It’s been amazing to see the changes in him! And yes mom, the doorbell ditchin worked :) It almost didn’t though haha. We had to send some little girls to go knock again and finally Gabriel got it. But yes, they ended up knowing it was us lol. They were so grateful though. They only have food for two more weeks-ish because they still can’t find work. But after two weeks they will literally have nothing. So sad, but I know the Lord is using this to humble them. If Gabriel will just put his faith in the Lord I KNOW it’ll be okay. We have family home evening with them tonight and are gonna talk about it. Their assignment was to set a date to get married so we´ll see what they decided :) 
         Liniker on the other hand... The dang Law of Chastity! We taught him about Chastity and yep. He has a problem with it. We asked him if he has a girlfriend and he basically said, "You don’t have to have a girlfriend to.... Yeah." hahaha another awkward lesson. But we challenged him to live the Law of Chastity and he said he wants to say that he can do it, but when he’s with his friends things always happen. The good part is that he wants to change! We have a starting place :) I don’t know how much more I can take of these awkward lessons though sheesh ;)
         Kind of a bummer week though because our investigators are just falling off the planet! We don’t know what has happened with Augusto, Edward, or Roger. They all set up appointments with us and then don’t show. We’ve also struggled finding new investigators this week, so sometimes its hard not to get discouraged when we´re dying in the heat at 3 in the afternoon, but we’ve just gotta do our part, and the Lord will do his. 
         We’ve also been in a trio for a day, which has been fun :) We´re here with Hermana Harrison and she’s adorable! She’s from Arizona and has been here the same amount of time as me. She was companions with Hermana Escalante before me. We had a nice lil picnic party last night with PB&Js, pineapple, and watermelon haha. Pretty much the only things we could find :) Sundays we report numbers at 7:30 so there’s always a little extra time to have "Sunday Snack Night" :) 
         One snack I haaaaate is Panetón. Yuck. It's bread in bag with these red and green squishy things. It’s something everyone eats at Christmas time and I’m just not a fan. It freaks me out that bread can stay good in a bag for months and they still eat it. Also the milk here is on the shelf and not in the fridge.... I finally have started drinking the milk here after four months haha AND I also use the water from the tap to brush my teeth. That’s right. Straight up Peruana. 
         Embarrassing story of the week... Don’t really have one :) Yay! But I do have the funniest video of Hermana Escalante trying to say sheet. BUT its too big to send :( It’s seriously the funniest thing to hear natives try to say sheet lol. They can say feet and meet and greet, but when it comes to sheet, they just can’t do it. So funny! Don’t worry, only one more year and I’ll show it to you ;) 
         I better get going now though. Love you all sooooo much! Have a great week :)

Hermana Roper

Monday, November 11, 2013

His Plan Is Perfect

Familiaaaa :) 

       Everything is just great here :) Sadly, we didn’t have7 investigators at church, but we had 3 so it was still good. It was Diana, Gabriel, and Edwin. Okay update on Diana and Gabriel... Or D and G as I call them. D has her answer! We went to see them Wednesday and Gabriel wasn’t there so we just talked with her. She has her answer!! She told us that she knows it’s true, but she doesn’t want to do it alone. She wants for Gabriel to have the same desires. He drinks a little bit, and doesn’t want to give it up, and she won’t marry him until he does soooo that’s just great. But man, she’s doin great. It’s been so great to watch her change! She went from hating the church (a RM got her sister pregnant if you remember) to loving it! She has such a determination to go to church every week and I know her example will lead the way. Their family is having a hard time right now though. They can’t find any jobs. Gabriel had an accident in moto (moto accident) and had to quit his job and now they can’t find anywhere to work. They have no money, and are just livin day to day. It’s so hard to watch! Today we bought them some food and are gonna fill a box and doorbell ditch em :) They need all the prayers they can get! Thanks for all the prayers already. I know they’re heard because Diana has her answer! Can’t even thank you enough :) I just love this family so much. After all they’ve been through, they just have this faith that is amazing. 
         Edward, on the other hand, not only has problems with the Word of Wisdom, but with Chastity too. Talk about an aca-awkward lesson yesterday lol. I’m pretty sure the flies in the room could feel the awkwardness.... 
         We also met Edwin’s wife... Also awkward. She’s 42... He’s 29.... Yeah. Not quite sure what to say, because she’s pretty against the whole thing, but he wants to be baptized more than anyone I’ve ever met! 
         We have another investigator named Liniker too and wow he’s had it hard. We taught him the plan of salvation this week. He’s 23 I think, and lives alone. His mom died a few years ago and he’s really struggling, but doesn’t admit it. He’s kinda just livin in the moment.  saddest thing. We asked him what he wanted most in his life and what his plans were and he basically said, "I don’t have plans. I’ve learned not to make plans. I had plans with my mom, and they obviously didn’t work out. I don’t know what I want now." So sad! He’s trying so hard to be strong. 
         I’ve also been teaching English this week and it’s sad, but I honestly can’t talk in straight English anymore lol. It’s been interesting to say the least... 
         Now for my embarrassment yeah? Okay were contacting people in the street this week, and we’re just talking and explaining a pamphlet and the lady straight up pulls down her pants and squats and starts peeing! Right there in front of us! I was honestly just thinking, "This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening...." But it happened. Nolie. Wow. Definitely not gun shy...
         And...drum roll please...Guess who gets to see Russell M. Nelson on the20th?! This girl! And 500 other missionaries haha but still! We’re headed to Chiclayo as a mission to hear him :) It will be great! 
         Another great week here though. I love Piura Central. All of the missionaries talk about how difficult the area is because of the money, but I love it so much! Just because there’s a lot of doors slammed in our faces, doesn’t mean there’s not people here prepared to hear the gospel. Just gotta find em. I’m sad to see this transfer end, but I know everything happens for a reason :) 
         I know this church is true. I know it without a doubt. I’ve had prayers answered too personally to deny it. God loves each and every one of us. His plan is PERFECT. He never leaves us alone. When we feel alone, it’s because we have forgotten to turn to Him. His love is perfect. 
         Love you all so much! :) Have a great week :)

Hermana Roper

Monday, November 4, 2013

We've Got God on Our Side

Faaaaamilia :) 
       I know I say how fast the weeks are pretty much every week, but it’s true! This week flew just like the others. First of all...SEVEN investigators at church yesterday! This is amazing!! We had Diana, Gabriel, Edward, Edwin, Roger, Mavila, and Kayla. It was the best day ever! We were both a little scared...It being fast and testimony meeting... We all know how those can go sometimes eh? But it was GREAT. The testimonies shared were perfect. The members, who usually sit back and don’t want to go up, were seriously fighting for a turn. Okay, not really, but pretty close. Everyone wanted to share! So stinkin great.
       Best lesson ever this week with Diana and Gabriel. Even better than last week! We just felt like they were losing interest. Diana wasn’t asking questions (which is reeeeally weird) and they just weren’t feeling the spirit. So we knew we needed a lesson really great, but we couldn’t figure out what they needed. We decided to talk about how they can receive their answer. We were there in the lesson, saying all the right things, but the spirit just wasn’t there like it should have been. We asked Diana how she feels when she reads and she told us she always feels scared. How were we supposed to tell her that that was the spirit? Haha we couldn’t! We had nothin....And that’s when the spirit saved the day. We were sitting there... Hermana Escalante had nothing to say, they both weren’t saying anything, and it was just bad. That’s when the image of Joseph Smith struggling popped into my head. He only saw God AFTER he was tempted by Satan. So I hurried and found verses in Joseph Smith History, and went with it. Hermana Escalante laughed after and told me she had never seen me so determined haha but anyway, we explained basically that Satan isn’t stupid. He knows what a great family they are. He can see an eternal family. Just like Joseph Smith, their answer isn’t gonna come easy. That’s not how it works. Joseph Smith kept praying. He kept going. That’s what they've got to do. She says she wants a certainty like us, but it’s only gonna come after her faith is tried a little bit. Great lesson! And even better, they stayed for all three hours of church! The only downfall.... They’re not married. BUT there’s a mass wedding thing in December that we’re going to challenge them to tomorrow. Ahhhh:) Fingers crossed! Pshh. Who am I kidding? We don’t need luck when we’ve got God on our side right? ;) (Your prayers would help though...Just sayin)
       We also had exchanges this week and I was in Los Ficus with Hermana Johnson from Nevada. She’s the sweetest thing EVER. She really is! The confidence she has in the Lord is amazing. Funniest story though...So of course it was a little bit rough with 2 gringas, but we were having this really great lesson. It was the first lesson with this lady and her daughter. Her daughter’s a member and Hermana Johnson told me her mom wasn’t. Long story short...We challenged a member to baptism lol. And she accepted! Haha so funny.
       Hermana Johnson: "If you receive an answer that this is the true church, will you be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?"
       Member: "Baptism is essential right? We need to be baptized to follow Christ."
       Me: “Exactly. So will you be baptized?
       Member: "Yeah. That would be really great."
       Her daughter: "My mom's a member...."
       That’s when we both looked at each other like Ooooooh Snap. Yep we just did that. Challenging them to baptism, one member at a time. 
       And a little explanation on all the investigators at church... Edwin is lovin the church. Wants to be baptized ASAP but is living with his girlfriend. He's gonna talk to her about getting married in December too. She’s really catholic though so he needs all the prayers she can get!
       Roger is an only child and his mom is really catholic too. We have lessons with him in the church because she doesn’t know he’s meeting with us. He’s 28. The only stuff he knows of the church is from the Internet...So he has LOTS of questions but it’s great.
I think I told you about Edward. His problem is drinking we’re pretty sure...He called us at 2 in the morning this week a weeee bit tipsy. We think so anyway, because he called us again that afternoon and remembered nothing...We’re teaching the Word of Wisdom this week that’s for sure lol.
       Mavila is 68 and Kayla is her 13-year-old granddaughter. She has a disease, (forgot the name in Spanish) and is going to die soon :( We just need the support of their family now. That’s why we are super happy Kayla came to church with her!
       Augusto won’t answer our phone calls :( He had a baptism date for Saturday but apparently that didn’t workout... Hopefully we can find out what has happened with him this week.
       This week my goal has been something a little different. I kept having darn discouraging thoughts this week. Like when people can’t understand me I’m always like, "I can’t do this...When will I be fluent?...Or why can’t I learn faster?" But these thoughts aren’t from God! Fear and doubt is opposite of faith. So I decided every time I think something like that, I’m gonna think of all the reasons I have to smile. If when Satan tempts me and I do something to better myself, it just makes sense that eventually he’s gonna stop right? Right! He’s not stupid. He’s not gonna want to put those thoughts in my head if I use them against him :) It really has helped so much! I find myself a lot more grateful at the end of every day for the things I have :)
       Welp.  Time to go :)  LOVE YOU SO MUCH! Have the best weekend and pray for my investigators pleeease? :)

Hermana Roper