Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year, New Experiences


I’m gonna be a mom! You could say I’m freaking out a wee little bit. We had transfers today and I’m training a new missionary. I don’t even feel like I’m trained! How in the heck am I supposed to train someone else?! I´ll receive my new companion tomorrow. Right now I’m here in Los Ficus with Hermana Escalante and her new companion. So sad to leave her  :( She’s been my best friend for three months so it’s sad. Her area is close though so I´ll see her a lot. Definitely feelin a bit inadequate and nervous, but I know there’s a way to do it. I asked Hermana B for her advice training and she told me, "Just don’t kill her, even if you want to.... Cause you’re gonna want to." Umm thanks haha. I’m excited though for the opportunity to serve more and learn new things. This week will definitely be interesting. New year, new experiences. 
This week was amazing! I loved every minute of talking with you all, and it makes me happy that everyone is SO happy! I also thought it would be a "sob fest" like you said mom, haha but I, too, just felt so at peace afterwards knowing you all are so happy and we are all being so blessed by this experience. Love you all so much! And Hermana Escalante loves you all too. :) Good to know you’re all still funny too ;) 
This week didn’t quite go as planned. Remember how we were supposed to have a baptism this Saturday? Well... That didn’t quite work out. He got married though Friday! Anyway... Yeah. So we had his interview Thursday with the District Leader. We showed up and the church was locked. So Edwin waited with the Elders while we went to go get the keys. Well, during this time Edwin goes on to tell them that he had been drinking with his brother only an hour before, and how bad he felt and everything. So we didn’t know any of this happened. We just get back and Elder Gonzales says he needs to make a phone call.... Little did we know he was calling Pres. Rowley. He ended up telling us what happened too. Pres. Rowley said that he needed at least another week. It was SO sad. When Elder Gonzales told him he couldn’t be baptized this week he cried, and was just so bummed. He hadn’t drank since we´ve been teaching, and went with his brother to rent a tux and his brother took him to celebrate. I learned a lot from this experience though. At first I was so disappointed in him. I was just like, "What was he thinking?!" But then I thought about all the mistakes I have made. When I make mistakes, God doesn’t say "Oh Hermana Roper. Really? Again? You knew better than that!" But no. He lets me try again. He encourages me and continues to love me. Just because Edwin made one mistake doesn’t mean everything is ruined. If anything, it means his conversion will be that much better. He can feel the peace of the Atonement. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned this week. We all make mistakes, but we all can keep going and keep improving. 
I also learned a lot from his wedding... Pretty much I learned how grateful I am for a temple marriage! His wedding was just a total of five minutes signing a few papers. The words "Till death do you part" are awful. I’m so grateful for forever families! 
We also had a cool spiritual experience this week. One of our appointments fell through, and we were bummed about that cause we had a member and everything. (Which is really good here) Anyway, we were leaving and walking away when I just thought, "We need to go back." So we went back and this investigator’s neighbor ended up being a less active, and was just waiting for the missionaries. It’s so neat to have the Spirit guide us every single day. He is someone who was just needing to feel the love of Christ is his life. We asked him what his motivation to keep going was and he told us he’s waiting for his dad to come back. His dad left and has another family. He was raised by his grandparents till his grandpa died and isn’t married. He just needs to feel needed! It was so great to help him out. It’s so neat to see the spirit guide us to the people who need us. 
This year for Christmas has been different, of course, but one of the best. I have really felt the real meaning of Christmas! All of us missionaries were singing in the Plaza for Christmas Eve and the spirit was just so strong. I felt so proud to be a missionary that night. I felt so blessed to be representing Christ, and to know that I’m important here. Being a missionary is the absolute best. It’s not easy, but there isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be :) 
Sorry this letter is short, but the pictures took forever to load haha so for an update on the others... Edward is getting baptized the 11th. Honestly he is so different. Doesn’t even party with his friends now. He just has a different happiness about him. Such a miracle! Pray for him a lot please... This week for New Years, Satan could tempt him LOTS. D&G are getting married the 28th. We have a new investigator Olinda that is just great. No more time sorry :)
Hope you have a great week and Happy New Year! So many blessings in 2013, and so many more to come in 2014 :) if you want to celebrate New Years like the Peruvians make a statue, figure thing that looks like you and is wearing your old clothes, and burn it at midnight :) They take it literally when they say they’re gonna be a new person this year haha. But really... Happy New Year :) Love you all SO much!

Hermana Roper 


Monday, December 23, 2013

TWO DAYS til Christmas!

FAMILIA!!! TWO DAYS!!! I’m so excited to see all of you :)
         This week was good... Crazy busy, but good. I have one thing to say... Props to anyone who has planned a ward Christmas party. I have so much respect for you all now lol. Saturday was crazy! It all went really good though :) more than 170 people showed up, and tons of investigators and new people, but the bummer was that since we were running around doing a million things all night we didn’t even get to contact any of them!     
         Edwin came with his soon to be wife :) They’re getting married Friday and his baptism is still Saturday. Richard, Edward, and D&G came too. President Rowley also came, and WOW! he’s the greatest. We talked to him a bit about D&G and they happened to show up. So we introduced them and D&G went and sat down. Well I watched President Rowley think for a minute and off he went walkin around and casually sat down and talked with them for hours. Him and Hermana Rowley were with them practically the whole night! I told you, he’s the best! Hermana Rowley is also great :) She learned the Innkeeper song in four days and we performed it that night too. I also was the lucky one who got to sing with a little girl, and when she ended up with stage fright Hermana Roper pretty much got to sing a solo of “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.” Awesome. The whole party was great though. We found people for our live nativity and everything and it ended up being really funny. I seriously love this ward! 
         Saturday morning we also had a mission Christmas Party with two other zones that was so great. I love our mission. We got to watch the Polar Express and played Bingo and last, but not least, each zone had to do a talent. Our zone decided to do a live nativity and everyone got to choose their parts... Except me. I was the one who was chosen to be Mary lol. That was interesting to say the least... The party was great though! And of course there was Paneton. Yuck. 
         Speaking of paneton, there are also other traditions that I can tell you about. Here they celebrate Christmas at midnight the 24th and eat tons of Turkey and open gifts. In their nativities they also have Jesus missing until midnight because he isn’t born yet, which makes sense, right? Haha for New Years they eat 12 grapes at midnight while thinking of their wishes annnnd... Yep that’s all I can think of for now :) Its been fun to be a part of all their traditions though :) 
         Time for some embarrassment eh? I have some this week! We´re eating lunch and this guy says, "You’re gonna go home with my color!" Well, color is the same in Spanish but the word Calor means heat. I thought he said something about it being hot in Utah... So I say "Ooooh noooo" and Hermana Escalante looks at me like, “What the heck are you doing?” That’s when I realized the mistake I made lol. Pretty much made myself sound racist or something! Color... Calor... Same thing, right? Ooops!
         I’m gonna leave this email short because I get to see you all so soon! :) I also want to thank everyone who has sent me a card or letter. I’ve received SOOOO many this week and am so grateful for the love and support :) THANK YOU!
         Time to goooo, but I’ll see you in TWO days! Woot woot. 

Hermana Roper 

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Trial Of Our Faith

Oh mi familiaaaaa :)
Sounds like everyone had a great week. Ty... I hate to admit it, but you have MUSCLES! Maybe it was just the picture though... And Haidyn, You are GORGEOUS! And mom and dad... Why don’t you ever send pictures of you two?!? Miss your faces! Speaking of faces... Only 6 more days till I get to see you all! You could say I’m a little excited, but nervous I wont be able to speak in English. We had interviews this week with President Rowley and Hermana Rowley and I honestly struggled talking in English lol. I don’t have a language anymore! But I’m excited :)
One thing I’ve gotta say this week is I don’t think I can take any more breakups lol. D&G broke up with us. :( It was awful. They didn’t show up yesterday to church. Gabriel called the bishop though and told him that they had some problems with some things they’ve read. So after church we raced over to their house with the bishop and talked with them. Pretty much the last visit I, being crazy or something, gave Diana a card so she could read more. Well, instead of typing it in at the top, she typed it in Google. You can only imagine the things she read. AWFUL. They found awful things about Joseph Smith and were questioning about polygamy and garments, and their biggest doubt was, “If Joseph Smith was a prophet, why didn’t God protect him? Why did he die so young?” SO frustrating! They weren’t ready to listen to anything at this point. So we just told them, "You believe in the Bible right?" and Diana was like, "My religion is Jesus. I will believe in the Bible until I die." Then we asked her, "In the Bible it’s a commandment to get married, right?" and she agreed. Then we basically told her that she can’t expect to get an answer if she doesn’t act on her faith, and that if she had faith, she would do something about it. So we all testified and left, thinking that would be the last visit. Well, guess who called this morning? Diana. Without even making any sort of conversation she says, "Hermanas. Can I get all my paperwork ready and get married on the 27th?" Whaaaat?!? We were both shocked! Like, what just happened? Is this a dream? Haha. So we made arrangements, and turns out we missed the deadline for the 27th. If they wanted to get married the 27th we´d need papers today, but we’re doing all their paperwork tomorrow and they’re getting married on the 2nd. If I get transferred on the 30th, I’m going to bawl. I can’t miss their wedding! But for real. How amazing is God’s plan?? I love D&G!! Even if they broke my heart yesterday... 
Other than that this week has been pretty normal. We´re planning a Christmas activity for the 21st that’s gonna be so good! We´re in charge of a live nativity. It’s gonna be so amazing. We also had the ward primary program yesterday, which was cute :) Guess who played piano? Yep. This girl. Who am I becoming? What happened to the girl who was terrified to play piano in front of people?? Haha 
As for other investigators, Edwin is great. His wife... Not so much. She’s a little hard to teach. Reeeeal stubborn. Edward actually came to church this week on his own! We didn’t even have to remind him! Guess what that means? It means he didn’t leave with his friend for the weekend because he actually woke up! He’s getting baptized the 28th as well. We also have the Cruz Family that most likely we´ll be givin to other missionaries because they’re not in our area :( Richard is a new one though, that’s great. And Olinda is great too. Not too much about them yet. Met Olinda yesterday at church. 
Ready for my embarrassment? It’s a good one. Well, either I ate something bad, or this heat is really gettin to me because we´re in this lesson with a less active and I threw up lol. SO embarrassing! And if this isn’t enough, after we go to buy a drink at this little shack of another less active and she’s talkin about how she doesn’t feel good too. Hermana Escalante says, "Oh my companion doesn’t feel good either. She just threw up." And genius Hermana Roper says, "Yeah, we were in the house of a less active... Ya know, Hermana Jenny?" Foot in the mouth. You don’t say less active in front of another LESS ACTIVE. Good one, Hermana Roper. Good one. And then if it wasn’t bad enough, I said her name! Greeeeat. 
It was a good week though. One thing I’ve learned this week is that I ask, "Why?" too much. I’ve been asking why way too much lately. Why do things happen? Why do people lose their babies? Why don’t people listen? Why is it so hard? Why doesn’t God answer prayers how and when we want? Why can’t we be happy all the time? Why are there hard days? WHY? WHY? WHY? The truth is, I don’t know why. But something I do know is that God knows why. He knows what we need. He lets us struggle so we can turn to Him. So we can learn something about ourselves. We aren’t going to understand everything. We´re just not. But if we understand that God loves us, we´re gonna make it through. If we realize that His ways are better than our ways, we´re going to submit to His will, not our own. We´re always going to have doubts and fears, but we need to always remember these feelings are NOT from God. Pray for help. This doesn’t mean all of our problems are going to magically disappear, but it means we´ll have the strength to keep going just a little bit more. God´s never going to give us a trial we can’t overcome. Keep going. :) It will work out. All we can do is have faith. Why? Because that’s what this life is. A trial of our faith. One day we´ll be able to see the big picture, but for now we´re here walking by faith. Just one step at a time, and before we know it, we´ll be where we want to be. :) 
I hope everyone has a great week. I’m so thankful for every single one of you. 9 days and I’ll see you allllll :) LOVE YOU!

Hermana Roper

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our God Is A God Of Miracles

Hola Familia :)
Don’t worry. I survived another week in the heat. And apparently this is just the beginning because everyone tells me this is nothin haha. I'll survive though :)
It was an emotional week this week! For real. We were eating lunch Tuesday when our pensionista told us that a member in our ward lost her baby. She had him two months early, and he was in the hospital, but the last we heard he was doing better and breathing on his own. They’re not sure what happened, but he died Monday night. So we raced over to her house and I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting what we saw. The baby was there and all her family, and wow, it was just so sad! Then Wednesday was the funeral and she asked us to come. Guess who had two musical numbers? Yep. We did. Haha. Who would’ve guessed I'd be here singin at funerals in Peru?! Not me! The cemetery was gorgeous though. Not like the normal cemeteries here in Peru, but it was really pretty. Such a sad couple days though. She has two other kids. Her son is 16 and her daughter probably 9 or 10 and she took things suuuper hard. It was so sad to see. As hard as it was to watch their family hurting, she said something that I loved. We were talking to her about it and she told us, "Yes, I’m hurting, but it’s normal. Now I know that we need to work really hard to get to the temple so I can see him again." In spite of how sad it was, she knew that God has a plan. I know without a doubt God has a plan for every one of us! Like I’ve said before, sometimes we can’t understand why things happen, but God knows. He knows what we need. Just gotta keep going. :)
As for investigators, Edwin´s papers are all done! All I’ve gotta say is after getting all their papers together this week, is that I’m never getting married in Peru lol. Wow. But worth it. Now all there is to do is wait for the 27th :) And plan a reception... That should be interesting. BUT what’s really great is that she’s so much more open to listening to us! We have an appointment with her this week, and she came to an activity we planned Friday AND the Christmas Devotional last night :) She’s making progress, and I would love nothing more than to see them both baptized :) Pray for them!
We’ve also seen a miracle this week. Cesar. He’s the one with that disease I can’t spell. We decided not to teach him this week, but guess who showed up to church yesterday anyway? Yep. He did! And I can’t even describe it, but he is SO different. I’m not sure why we underestimated the power of God. Our God is a God of miracles! The Gospel CAN and WILL change him. We felt a little bit bad for just dropping him after we found out about his disease. We talked to President Rowley and he said we can just see what happens. So amazing though! Miracles are all around, I’m tellin ya! 
We also have a new family that’s great. The bishop came up with the greatest idea. Every Monday and Wednesday one member of Ward Council will have FHE in their house and bring an investigator. Monday we went to the bishop’s house and he introduced us to the Cruz Family. They’re great! Not much to tell about them though... Yet :)
D&G were also at church :) We haven’t worked with them much this week, so were gonna concentrate a lot on them this coming week. Gabriel is progressing so much! It would’ve been great if they could’ve gone to the Christmas Devotional but they couldn’t :( Love this family so stinkin much. 
            I’ve been thinking of you all a lot though. Mom, you’re always asking me what you should send me, and I’ve come up with the Christmas present that I want from you all :) For this upcoming year I want you to go to the temple once a month :) Yeah? Okay glad you agree :)
I haven’t even had time for embarrassment this week. How sad! The only funny thing I have (that’s not even really funny) is all my names here. People can’t say Roper! I’m Hermana. Ropero, Boper, and Ruth. Ruth?! Seriously? Can you not read? Haha it’s so funny to see them just try to say Roper!
I better get going now though. Time goes so fast! Love you all SOOO much! :) 

Hermana Roperoooo

Monday, December 2, 2013

See The Purpose :)

Buenas Tardes Familia :)
         So great to hear everything is great at home :) Glad you didn’t have too much fun at Thanksgiving without me, and I’m even happier that mom didn’t go Black Friday shopping without me ;) haha 
         This week has been good here too :) Learned so much as usual, but I think I might seriously die from the heat lol. Oh. My. Gosh. HORRIBLE! There’s no escaping it either! No such thing as an air conditioner... The most awkward part is when I wake up in the mornings and Hermana Escalante finds my shorts thrown in the middle of the floor... Ooops. Then there’s the mosquitoes and wowwww I have about 50 bites all over my legs all the stinkin time haha. I smell real good too during the days with sunscreen, mosquito spray, and sweat... Great combination huh? ;) 
But despite the heat, it’s been a great week :)
         Wanna hear about D&G?! I know you do, I know you do! We had FHE with them Monday right? Well, we watched the Joseph Smith movie and they loved it! BUT... Then we asked Gabriel if he feels Joseph Smith is a prophet and he told us no... Dang it. BUT then here comes the best part. We´re saying the closing prayer and I heard a sniffle, so I peek open my eyes a weeee lil bit (Yes, I know I need to repent) and look at Diana and she is straight up bawling. Like, wiping her eyes with her shirt bawling. Then we finish the prayer and she hurries and says she has to go prepare a drink for us real quick. Nobody but me saw so when I told Hermana Escalante afterwards we were both real happy haha. She finally felt the spirit!! There’s no way she didn’t feel the spirit. They just need to get married already! 
         Speaking of marriage... One of our investigators, Edwin, has a date to get married!!! His wife has made huge changes. At first she didn’t want to get married until next August but then she changed it to May, and then to February, and now December! December 27th they’ll get married, the 28th is his baptism, and 29th he will be confirmed :) How stinkin awesome is that?! What’s even greater is the ward is paying for everything. I have no idea how, but they’re doin it. Edwin is so happy! And what’s even better is his woman is reading the Book of Mormon and praying with him. Hopefully later we can complete this family. 
         What’s really been great this week has been seeing the ward strengthen. For example, our Ward Mission Leader started out not wanting to help at all. We called him so many times every day for help, and he never would come through for us. But guess what? His mission papers are going in Tuesday! And our ward is helping the less actives so much. This Sunday we had 6 less actives come to church, and lots of them with their families. President Rowley had a meeting with us this week to talk about the Work of Salvation and I finally can say I think I understand it a little more. After seeing all the less actives come to church this week, I’ve realized so much more my purpose here. We shouldn’t be bummed when our investigators fall off the planet (well... Okay a little bit) but we should find someone else to help, like the people in the ward, the recent converts, and the less actives. It’s for EVERYONE :) I understand a little bit better now :) 
         Another problem we had this week was an investigator, Cesar. He’s the son of Mavila. He accepted a baptism date and everything first lesson... But the third lesson he finally told us he has Schitzophrenia (slaughtered that word) so we´re not quite sure what to do. He even came to church Sunday and received a blessing! We´ll see what happens...
         And I know you’re wondering about Edward... Not. Funny. Well, another awkward moment. We called to invite him to a fiesta that the church was having and he was like, "Are you chicas gonna be there?" NO. No we are not. So this week we’ve decided to let our Ward Mission Leader take care of him lol. We’re not visiting him this week. He has a baptism date, but we need to see if he has real intentions or... Yeah. You know. Oooh Edward. He just wants him a Bella, that’s all. 
         Other funny thing a member said this week: Okay we were teaching about how important moms are. And I said, "How do you feel with the responsibility of being a mom and wife?" and she goes, "Well, sometimes I feel like I was drugged when I agreed with God to take on these responsibilities..." HAHA! Good one.
         Oh! One more funny thing. So every morning we read a little bit out of the handbook. We were reading about the rules about not having pets and Hermana Escalante says, "But what do I do if my companion´s a dog?" Wow Hermana. Thank you. Love you too. She’s makin up for the lack of dog jokes from all of you! Haha 
         Something I loved this week was something Hermana Huamani told me. We had an exchange this week. I asked her what her favorite part of the mission was and she said, "The difficulties." She said that she’s so grateful for the hard times, because that’s when she’s grown the most. Love that! Looking back, I can see her point. We remember the hard times so much more. We hate living in the hard times, but once we get past it we can see what purpose God had. That’s the perspective I’m gonna have today and the rest of the holiday season. See the purpose in the hard times. Being a missionary for the holiday season isn’t fun haha. I mean, they don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving for cryin out loud! ;) But every day’s a new day, and I’m gonna look at the hard days ahead and know, "This is gonna make me a better person." Find the good, even when nothing is going your way.  That’s what I’m going to do this week and every week from here on out. 
         Better get going though. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Have a great week :)

Hermana Roper