Earlier this week we actually saw the sun. You would think we had never seen sunlight. We literally spent all of our spare time outside studying. My neck is now a beautiful shade of scarlet, but it was worth it for the Vitamin D. It really does make all the difference in everyone's mood.
We had a devotional with an area seventy last Thursday. His name was Elder Soliz, and he spoke about our important work as missionaries.
On Sunday, Peru celebrated the dedication of the 100th stake in the country. (In 2006, there were 50 stakes). Elder D. Todd Christofferson came to set apart the new stake president and partake in the celebration. We didn't get to partake in the partying and such, but Elder Christofferson paid us a visit here at the CCM and graciously shared some very uplifting words. I was kind of bummed that he spoke in Spanish because we had to listen to the watered down translated version. But even watered down words from a prophet can pierce your heart. I'm very grateful that he took the time out of his busy schedule to come and teach a few missionaries. He explained to us that the Quorum of the 12 Apostles has an important call to spread the gospel to all corners of the earth. Since we have been called and set apart as missionaries of the church, we are literally companions to the Apostles. That definitely put a new perspective on the work for me.
I'm getting to the point in my language study where I can't use a whole lot of proper grammar in English, and I still don't know much of anything in Spanish. Talk about frustrating. Our teachers are very patient though, and I have seen more of their compassion and their love for us this week. I think they can definitely see how frustrated we are, and it's difficult for them because they speak very little English. But with our little bit of Spanish, and their little bit of English, we're progressing. It kind of feels like we're being dragged behind a train. A very fast, very Spanish train.
We finished teaching our "investigator" Carlos last Friday. He's, uh, not getting baptized. But we learned a lot in our teaching experience. It's very difficult to know how to teach someone that you want to love and help in a language you don't know. It's difficult to invite the Spirit into a lesson that you can't really teach without confusion from both parties. But Hermana Haws and I are learning as we go.
This week we began teaching two new "investigators." Alejandro, as played by Hermano Grenados, has recently lost his father and was recommended to the missionaries by his friends that are members. Victor, as played by Hermano Meza, has a young family and is a nutritionist. He doesn't believe in God, per se. But his friend is the bishop of a ward in the area and he agreed to meet with the missionaries. It's been a struggle to know how to meet the needs of our investigators, and both of my teachers said that I definitely need to speak more in our lessons. Hermana Haws has been doing a lot of the talking because she has taken Spanish courses in the past and can actually form sentences. I kind of wish the gift of tongues was an instantaneous sort of thing. It would be much less trying that way.
Today we had a fun celebration at the CCM for the Fourth. After we got back from a temple session (which was fantastic, btw..) we had a big buffet for lunch. There was roast and chicken and ham and potatoes and sweet rolls and pie and cake and ice cream. The cafeteria was decked out in red white and blue streamers and balloons. All of the workers were wearing flag bandanas. It was really sweet that they celebrated with us. :)
We found out this week that our mission has been split. There will now be the Lima Norte Mission and the Iquitos Mission. Iquitos had all of the jungle that we were going to be teaching in, so now our mission is just city. All of the other Hermanas in my district explained that this was an answer to their prayers and they felt it was so right, but I'm really pretty bummed. I'm just trusting that the Lord knows what He's doing.
Since our little district is pretty much in the same room together all day, every day, germies like to spread around awful quick. One Hermana has an awful awful cold that sounds like death. The rest of us have passed around some sore throats and sniffles. I've been fighting off some pretty mild stuff, and we've been told to try to let it run it's course as we're getting used to Peru. I'm keeping up on fluids and vitamins, so I'm hoping I'll be able to fight it off pretty quick. Fingers crossed.
It's fun to hear about all the goings on back at home. I'm thinking about you all when the CCM let's me have enough time to think. They definitely keep us jam packed with things to do here.
Sorry if I don't get around to replying to everyone's messages. We only have an hour of internet time a week, so I take pictures of all of your emails and read them when we get back to our dorms. I really do appreciate all of your love and support.
Desert News, 100th Stake Created (with images)