Monday, March 31, 2014

One Week Down in Sullana!

Hello there family! :)
         Week one down in Sullana! They weren’t lying when they said it was hotter... WOW. I haven’t slept too much this week... Waaaay too hot for that. But everyone says summer ends in May so we’re gettin closer haha. But I’ve loved this area so far :) Love the people I’ve met and my companion. She is the sweetest thing in the world. She leaves me chocolates a lot so she’s pretty easy to love ;) I’ve already learned so much from her. This will be a good area. I know it. 
         My first two days in Sullana there was absolutely no water. Nothin! You could say we were quite smelly... So that was fun! But after that, Sullana has been great. The ward has been so welcoming! I actually had one lady pinch my cheeks like I was a baby and say, "Awww a little gringa!" Yep... They love their gringa so far haha.
         Another ward member was super funny too. Her name’s Zully and she helps us a lot. She said, "When they told me a gringa was comin I was sad. The gringas never understand my jokes and never laugh! But you’re funny. You laugh.... A LOT!" I’m not sure if that’s a good thing haha but we really laugh so much. NUNCA! ;) Love you mom haha. 
         I’ve already met so many great people. This week we’ve been teaching Jesus and Moises a lot. They’re two brothers 13 and 14 years old. Moises just showed up to seminary and was going for like two weeks when they found out he wasn’t a member. Of course we jumped right on that! Jesus is also going to seminary now and came to church yesterday for the first time :) Jesus told us he has his answer and wants to be baptized. We’re just waiting for Moises to recognize his answer, but he loves everything about the church.
         Ricardo is also another. He needs prayers! If he could he would be baptized tomorrow, but his mom said he can’t until he’s 18. He is one of the greatest kids I’ve met here. He reminds me of Tyson. Such a good kid. It’s super hard to find here. Everyone is into drugs and alcohol and he is just disgusted by how the world is. He’s so so great! Pleeeease pray that his mommy will come around :) 
         Like I said earlier, I’ve already learned so much from my companion. She and her sister are the only members in their family. It was really hard for her to leave everything and be here, but she did it. She’s scared to end the mission because she will literally have nothing when she goes home, but she has so much faith. I learned how blessed I really am from her this week. Saturday we were talking about mom because it was her birthday. and I was talking about her the way I always do. How she’s my best friend and how much I miss her and she looks at me with tears in her eyes and says, "All I want is one day to have my daughter talk about me the way you talk about your mom." I’m so grateful for you mom :) And I hope you had a great birthday :) Love you!
         This week the craziness begins though. I’ll be in Piura all day tomorrow for a training and again Wednesday. Then I’ll know a little more about what I’m supposed to do. I’m nervous!
         This week I was able to meet a new sister that’s in our zone. Hermana Garner is the cutest!!!!  I just love her! It was so funny. She comes up and says, "Not gonna lie. I’ve totally read your blog. You’re like a celebrity in my house. I’m writing home and telling my family I met Sister Roper!" haha. She is with Hermana Rios in her first area, and I know how hard it is. We're assigned to help them and then four other companionships. I haven’t met the others yet. I don’t know how I’m supposed to do it! Really. We’ve just had to keep saying this week that God trusts us so somehow we're gonna do it. We might not know how right now, but it’ll be a learning experience for sure! 
         Welp I’m out of time :( Love you all so much! Have a great week! :)

Hermana Roper

Monday, March 24, 2014

On My Way To Sullana

Hola Familia! 
         Sounds like everyone had a horrible week sheesh. I’m sorry to hear about everything that happened, but hope everyone gets feeling better. You’ll definitely be in my prayers. 
         My week was good. Sad to say it was the last week in Piura Central :( I’m now in Sullana, which is like 30 minutes from Central. I don’t know much about the area yet. My companion is Hermana Callizaya from Bolivia. I think she’s 23. She’s a sweetheart! I knew her from before when I was in Tumbes. She knows English and is gonna finish her mission in July. All I’ve heard since we got the news of transfers is bad things about Sullana lol. This is how most of the conversations were.
         "Oh where are you being transferred to?"
         "Ooooh... Yeah. Good luck."
         Thank you, guys. Thanks. Apparently it’s one of the hottest parts of Piura... We all know I love the heat haha. But I’m gonna love it. I know it :)
         One thing I’m suuuuper nervous about is my new assignment in the mission. I thought my assignment training was a surprise. Nope! President Rowley has given me the assignment of Sister Training Leader. It’s like a Zone Leader for the sisters. So each week I’ll be doing lots of exchanges with the other companionships and helping them out in their areas and doing presentations and all that fun stuff. I feel sooo inadequate, I won’t even lie. I don’t know how I’m supposed to train the other sisters when I feel like I have so much to learn myself! I just keep telling myself that everything happens for a reason. This is just an opportunity to learn, grow, and come to know my Savior more. But wow... This will be interesting lol. 
         It was a good last week in Piura :) We had a neat experience. We found a new investigator. His name is Adam. We had contacted him like two months ago, but with our luck he had to move and he lost his cell phone. So we had nooo idea how to contact him and had to give up after the third try trying to find him. Well Thursday we got a message that said, "Hermanas. I’m Adam. This is my new number." So of course I called him and set up an appointment :) He had read the pamphlet we gave him and found our number on a piece of paper in his apartment and said he was curious and wanted to know more. We went and it was so great. He has a lot of knowledge about the Bible, but when we asked him how he felt about the things we had taught he said, "I feel good. It’s a good feeling." So sad I won’t get to see him progress, but I’ll have Hermana Arce to keep me updated :)
         This week was super hard though. I never knew I could have so much love for people I’ve only known 6 months. I know I need to work hard in this area, but a little bit of me will always be in Central haha. I just love them all! 
         Yesterday, since Hermana Escalante is finishing her mission today and I was leaving the area, Juan had a little goodbye devotional. It was more like a testimony meeting. Hermana Arce spoke first and made me cry that little stinker! Then Julio, Edward, Cesar, Hermana Escalante, and I talked. Julio couldn’t even talk he was crying so hard and the love that was felt in that room was incredible. :) Then we all sang "Para Siempre Dios Este Con Vos." Whatever that is in English... God Be With You Till We Meet Again... I think. But Hermana Arce and I couldn’t even sing because we were crying like babies haha. It was so great, but so hard. 
         Okay now funny story. I’ve learned a BIG lesson this week. Apparently here in Peru they don’t flush their toilet paper down the toilet. I was always wondering why our bathroom garbage had SO much toilet paper in it haha. Now I know. Someone could have filled me in on that little secret though sheesh! As you all know, I was in Piura 6 months. That means 6 months of built up toilet paper. NOT GOOD. Let’s just say after the experience Hermana Arce and I had this week, we could both be plumbers. It’s not something I’d recommend. It was AWFUL! So if anyone ever decides to stay in Peru.. Don’t flush the toilet paper down the toilet. Bad idea. Now you know. 
         Well that was my week :) I’m sad, but so grateful for the time I’ve had in Central. I’m ready to work even harder here in Sullana and I know there’s people just as great here waiting for me. I’m just amazed at how blessed I really am. I remembered the saying this week, "How lucky I am to have someone that makes saying goodbye so hard." It’s so true. I’m SO lucky to have been able to meet the people I’ve met. It isn’t goodbye. It’s just see you later :) Cause were all coming back to Peru after my mission! These people have to teach you all how to dance. Us folks in the United States don’t even know how to dance haha. We are coming back. We have to! Decision made :)
         Well time to go. I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Hermana Roper 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

He WILL always be there

       One of the funnest, best weeks in the mission. I´ve learned SO much! 
Monday, as mom already knows, I made the mistake of getting my hair cut in Peru. Take my advice: Don’t do it! So I was super bummed, let´s be honest. I finally grew out my hair and bam! Two inches! Gone. So here I am bummed about a bad haircut when we get the news that Cesar´s mom passed away. She passed away Monday. SO sad. Even more sad because we had been teaching her for quite some time. That’s how we ended up meeting Cesar. It was super hard to see Cesar on Wednesday. We couldn’t go the funeral but we stopped by his house. He didn’t want to be in the house so we sat in the park drinking Inca Kola and just talking with him. He was sad, but surprisingly calm. He said, " I know I´m on the right path. I know my mom´s happy and I know that she´ll be watching over me every day. Now I need to just keep doing the things that are right." He understands the Plan of Salvation. So yeah... as I’m complaining about a bad haircut, there are people out there who lose their loved ones. I have nothing to complain about :) 
       Hermana Arce also had a birthday this week :) And guess who planned a surprise party?! Yep. Her trainer. Me. haha. Probably not the "trainer" thing to do but... She needed it. We had tons of cake that day, lots of laughs, and she got cake smashed in her face two times so it was great :) Have I ever mentioned how much I love this ward?? Oh and you also have no idea how hard it is to plan a surprise party when in the mission. She is with me ALL the time! I had to wait till she was in the shower to quietly call people. And let´s just say I’m a good liar... Maybe I shouldn’t be proud of that... But I am :) Love my companion! She seriously makes me laugh SO hard. If I could send the videos I would! She is hilarious! It’s funny to hear her all day sayin, "Freakin" and "Oh my gosh" and "Dang it" because that’s the English she´s picked up on from me haha. I don’t want transfers!! 
       Hmm let’s see what else happened this week... Oh! I experienced my first earthquake! We were in the church and everyone started screaming and running outside. I had no idea what was going on. I honestly stood there like an idiot and looked at the ceiling swaying back and forth. I’m suuuper smart. I know. Then Hermana Arce screamed, "Hermana! Run!" and then I ran :) It was fun. It wasn’t too big, but everyone said it was big for Piura. We´ve had little ones before, but this one we could all feel! 
       This week I also ate cow heart and innards. Cow heart is super good! But innards... Yeah. Once was enough. 
       We also had interviews this week. I just love President Rowley! This is what he told me: "There will always be rocks in your life. In your mission life, in your life as a mother, in your life as a grandmother, and in your life as a leader. But God doesn’t expect us to move our rocks alone. He wants to guide you. He IS guiding you." I love that! We all have our own little rocks. But we all have God to guide us. We shouldn’t think we have to do everything alone. He WILL be there. 
       And guess what?!?! Diana came to church!! and everyone knew she was there... wow. She walked into our class for investigators and just like old times was the one with the questions lol. I love her! I’ve missed her. She was asked about who created God and if we have a Heavenly Mother and SO many questions. We actually ended up staying after class another half hour to answer her questions so the others in the class could go to their third hour. So worth it. She felt the spirit so strong. In tears she said, "My heart. It´s beating real fast. It makes me really happy to know these things. It´s a good feeling." And the bishop explained to her that that´s the spirit telling her these things are true. Her husband didn’t come to church, but her son is eating and has gained weight :) she’s super happy about that. Love Diana SO much! 
       One thing I’ve learned this week is we can’t change our environment, but we have the Gospel principles to help us through everything that comes our way. We have a new investigator this week. She´s Elizabeth. She has two little daughters and has a rough life. She lives with an abusive boyfriend and doesn’t have money or her identity to be able to travel to live with her mom. It’s hard to see, but it was amazing to see her walk in Sunday with her daughters in hand. We can’t change everything, but the Gospel is what we need. It is what will help us through any environment we´re in. 
       Time to go :) Hope you all have a great week and remember how much I love you :) 

Hermana Roper 
Only a few more days with this sweet Hermana :(

Surprise Party for Hermana Arce!

Reunited with Hermana Peterson :)

They love Pringles, even in Peru!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Trust Him

Hello there family :) 
     Ow ow Tyson! Lookin good in that tux ;) Prom King... What a stud. 
But sounds like everyone had a great week :) It was a great week here, too. Before, everyone told us in March the temperature was a little cooler... LIE. Now they’re all sayin in May the temperature will cool down a bit! I’m not sure what I’m gonna do when I get home... In December! I’m gonna freeeeeeze. 
     We worked super hard this week though. We were a little bummed the week before because we didn’t reach many of our goals. This week we improved a ton! We were really using our time wisely and teaching as many people as possible. One thing President Rowley is stressing is talking with everyone. Not counting lessons, we need 10 contacts every day. Sounds easy, right? I thought so too. Nope! We are always running to and from lessons trying to somehow arrive on time! This week, we improved a lot in talking with more people, but couldn’t find any new investigators. Pray for us to find some! I know there are people just waiting to hear the gospel. We just need to find them :) 
     Also, pray for "C" and his mom. The day after he got baptized she got reeeeally sick. She’s in the hospital. She doesn’t recognize anybody and sleeps most of the day. He is really sad about it. He said his mom has always been there for him, even when he wasn’t making the right choices, and that she never gave up on him. He can’t even stand to see her like she is, he said. Pray for her... And him! 
     Another convert that just never ceases to amaze me is "R". He not only showed up this week in his shirt and tie, but he blessed the sacrament! He was super nervous, but seriously glowed afterwards. Out of all our converts, I never guessed he´d be the one to be SO strong in the church SO fast. He is taking it all in. Already has a calling and attends every meeting, devotional, activity. Everything! I just love it :) 
     One investigator that is so great is "J". We had been trying super hard to find his needs, and finally he opened up to us. We had a super spiritual lesson. Satan was surely trying to stop this lesson from happening though! It just so happened that the member that was gonna be there with us had her son fall face first like five minutes before the lesson. She was worried about him and trying to get him to the hospital, but we ended up still having the lesson. The member that helped us is so amazing. She told us, "I know my son´s gonna be okay because I’m doing what’s right. I’m helping the missionaries." So she helped us real quick and then took care of her son. What faith she has! It was a great lesson. We committed him again to baptism. He told us that if he had to, he would be baptized the 15th, but that April 1st would be super special because that’s the day his dad died. It´s sad that it will be after transfers and that it´s possible one of us won’t be here, but what´s important is that he´s happy. He seriously made my day! He was talking about us and said, "I know you can’t stay here forever, but you are my angels and will be in my heart for the rest of my days." It brought tears to my eyes to hear that we´ve made a difference in his life. He was kinda funny too. He said every time he´s tempted to drink, my face pops in his head saying, "No, "J". Don’t do it!" haha. Whatever works :) 
     We´ve also been teaching the "Z" Family more this week. We´re still not sure when they can be baptized. "N"´s gonna have an interview with the bishop and we´ll see where to go from there. Pray that they will be able to be baptized though! 
     I’m a little nervous, with transfers coming up so soon. I’m trying to enjoy every second here because who knows what will happen in two weeks. But all I can say is I am SO grateful for the 6 months I´ve had in this area. I’ve met people I will NEVER ever forget. I never knew I could have such a love for people I’ve only known such a short amount of time. I just love this area! 
     This coming week we also have interviews. President Rowley has asked us to answer two questions.... "What am I doing as a missionary to gain the confidence of God?" and “How can we improve?” It has really made me think! I came up with a simple answer: Trust Him. If we trust in God, He´s going to trust in us too. If we really trust in Him, we will align our will with His. We won’t have to question why we have to do certain things; we will WANT to do them. If we trust in Him, He will trust us. 
     One person that has really made a difference in my mission is Hermana Escalante. She finishes her mission this month :( She was sharing her testimony this week, and I just felt the spirit so strong. She has such a way to say the words I need to hear. She was talking specifically to the sisters and said, "Sisters. I know we don’t have the obligation to serve, but it´s the best decision we could have made." So right! I never would´ve imagined myself here in the mission. But it´s the best decision I have made. It has brought me to know the most amazing people, and have the best experiences. It´s something I´ll always be grateful for :)
     Well, time to go! No embarrassing moments this week, thank goodness. Love you all so much! I got so many letters and packages this week and felt so loved. Thank you SO much. Have a great week!

Hermana Roper 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Halfway Baby!

Hello there family :) 
         It’s been a craaaazy week here! I hate how fast time is flying. What am I gonna do when I have to leave this area?! I just want to stay here 9 more months pleeeease? 
         This week “C” got baptized!!! I’ve never been more excited for a baptism. I can’t even describe how awesome it was. He was SO excited. He said, "I don’t cry, but today I might have shed a tear or two." Awwww :) He has come SO far. I remember when I was scared of him. I remember the lessons I dreaded with him because he never talked. I remember when all he talked about was the voices he was hearing. I remember when we almost gave up on him. Now look at him! I wish you could all see the differences in him! Now he smiles. Now he laughs. Now he’s happy :) One of my favorite baptisms.
         As great as it was though, we still had craziness. Every baptism always has some sort of bump in the road. Seriously. After his interview Thursday we went to have Family Home Evening (with two NEW families, I might add) and it was gonna be super great... But then our zone leader called and said, "Hermana Arce! Leave everything you’re doing and get to the airport! You have 40 minutes until your plane leaves!" The stinkin assistants forgot to tell us she had to go to Lima to get her visa! We seriously took off running to grab a few clothes and head to the airport. Hermana Arce was SO bummed. She had to miss the baptism :( We had this baptism scheduled for Friday and it was too late to change plans. But God has a plan. I ended up being with Hermana Burton and Hermana Cuevas and they decided to bring an investigator the baptism. Well, this investigator has all the lessons and she just didn’t want to accept a date. But at this baptism she felt the spirit so strong and as we were talking with her afterwards she said she wants to be baptized March 15th. How awesome is that?! Although Hermana Arce and I were thinking it was bad timing that this had to happen on this day, but now looking back I know that God had this planned all along. It wasn’t coincidence. It wasn’t bad timing. It was God’s plan. I don’t know why sometimes we doubt His plan! His plan is perfect. 
         All in all, it was a great night :) What was more interesting was our special musical number... We had it all planned out. Me, Juan, Edward, and Hermana Arce had been practicing "A Child’s Prayer." We sang the first verse in Spanish, second in English, and then me and Juan in English while Edward and Hermana Arce were singing in Spanish. It was going super great... Until Hermana Arce had to go to Lima. Hermana Cuevas and Hermana Burton helped, though. But we had no time to practice so... It was interesting. Juan and I totally rocked it! You’ll all laugh when you see the video haha. Even the bishop was laughing! A for effort, right? 
         Want my embarrassing story for the week? I don’t even want to talk about it. Hermana Arce has it all on video, and I’m still speechless. I’m not sure if I told you about “M”. Well... He seemed super interested! He had had missionaries before and was wanting to read the Book of Mormon and we thought it was going super great.... NO. I called him to set up an appointment and it started off super weird.
         Me: "M”! How are you?"
         Him: "Pretty good... I just can’t sleep though."
         Me: "Oh, I’m sorry. Can we stop by your house tomorrow?"
         Him: "Yeah that’s fine. Can I tell you something?"
         Me: "Yeah..."
         Him: "Something just felt right between us. Is it against the rules for you Mormons to marry Peruvians?"
         I seriously couldn’t talk, and there Hermana Arce was rolling on the floor laughing. Let’s just say we haven’t returned to visit him... Such a bummer though. I thought he was super prepared :( 
         Probably one of the greatest things that happened this week happened yesterday. It was fast and testimony meeting, and one I’ll never forget. Hermano Richard... Who showed up the first time to the church in jeans and his torn up t-shirt, showed up in a new white shirt and tie, smiling from ear to ear. Some of our members helped him get all ready, and he was sitting up there excited to pass the sacrament with all the other guys. :) We ended up having tons of Priesthood Sunday so he didn’t pass the sacrament, but guess who got up and bore his testimony? :) Richard! I was crying. It was one of the greatest moments! He was like a pro up there! He talked about how hard his life was. How he was on bed rest all of 2010 because of an overdose and brain damage. Then he talked about how he ended up here in Piura working in a mechanic shop. One day his co-worker took him to church. Richard had no idea where they were going... His friend just said they were gonna go to a special place. He said at first he was super confused and everyone was asking him his name and he wasn’t quite sure what to do, but he said that now he feels good. He feels like he’s on the right path and that God has given him his second chance. It was SO spiritual. Of course after that, Hermana Arce and I had to share our testimonies too and it was one of the best meetings I’ve been too. I told Hermana Arce I'm not sure how we’re gonna find happiness after the mission like we find here in the mission. I love it! 
         As for investigators we’re working real hard with Julio. Pray for him! He’s so close. Right now his baptism date is for the 15th, but he still has his doubts, so he needs all the help he can get these next few days.
         Also... Halfway! I can’t even believe 9 months have gone by. I have my first mission baby! I honestly never thought I’d want time to slow down when I first got here... But now that’s all I want. 9 more months isn’t enough! I’ve seen so many changes in people and in this area. I love this area because I don’t feel like just another missionary. I feel like they’re my family. They’re some of my closest friends! I never thought I’d have so much love for people that I have only known such a short amount of time. I’m beyond grateful for my mission. I don’t know who or where I’d be without it. I remember thinking at first, "This is awful. Everyone said it was the best time of their lives... Liars!" And now I know what they meant. It is the most difficult, but rewarding time of my life. The good definitely outweighs the bad. 
         I was reading today in 3 Nephi 2 when the people witness the signs of Christ’s birth, and then years later they start to forget. Seriously? How could they forget a day that the sun didn’t set?! But then I was thinking that’s kinda like we are. We have all received so many answers to our prayers. Too many to count! Yet sometimes we forget the miracles we’ve witnessed and start to doubt. We need to remember the miracles! When we have hard times we need to think back on the many times God has been there for us. If we do that, we will never doubt and our testimony will never waver. 
         Time to go though! Love you all so much! Have a great week! And Tyson... You better dance alllll night at Prom, and even a little extra for me since I’m not allowed to :) Talk to you next week!

Hermana Roper