This week we were 'initiated' into our Zone. I don't know if any of you have ever experienced tocush, but I hope you never have to. Tocush is a fermented potato. You can buy it in a bag off of the streets, and it's some sort of liquidy goo. I believe Elder Moody described it best: it smells and tastes like a petting zoo. The whole zone had to eat a spoonful (or five if you plugged your nose) before we could leave to lunch. Now I, too, can say that I have had tocush in Peru! Never again.
Fun fact: a lot of the members have been calling me Hermana Hombros (Spanish for shoulders) because they can't pronounce Schroader.
This week we learned something pretty cool while Hermana Mamani was in a Leadership Training Meeting. The office missionaries were telling us that apparently there was a very specific reason for the influx of Sister missionaries in our particular mission. In the Iquitos zone (the jungle), they were having some issues with the Elders getting distracted by women, because a lot of the people are too poor to wear very much clothing. The previous mission President reached out to the First Presidency and explained that he needed more Sisters to serve in the jungle and resolve this problem. Right after all of these sisters were called, they received word of the split. Literally the same week. The mission president was worried, because we were all called to the Lima North mission, and not the Iquitos (because it didn't exist yet!). So we were all called with the intent of serving solely in the jungle, the the First Presidency explained that we have been called to this mission for a reason, and they couldn't change our calls. After hearing some of the near death experiences of people in the jungle, I'm pretty grateful for this.
We were blessed with a golden investigator. Her name is Lucia, and she found us. She came to church last week because she had been taught the lessons in Trujillo a year and a half ago, and she has read the Book of Mormon, has a testimony, and wants to be baptized. She is more than willing to give up coffee and social drinking, and has committed to living the commandments. She has her interview this week, and will be baptized on the 24th of this month. I almost feel guilty because we didn't have to do any work to find her, but she has been such a blessing.
We are working a lot with the members. This week we started going on splits, which has been really hard. The Zone and District Leaders insist that it will help me a lot with the language. We'll see... I gave them my English scriptures this week, because I've been using them as a crutch. My next goal is to not talk in English with my dear companion Hermana Shelton.
I know I talk about this every week, but the language barrier is so hard. It's a really terrible feeling to be pitied by those you try to talk to. It's easy to get down on yourself when you feel like you don't know anything, solely because you can't express your thoughts and feelings. This week I've been trying really hard to discern the difference between being humiliated and being humbled. It's really more of a choice as to how I interpret my experiences. I've found a lot of comfort in the words of a song by Paul Cardall... 'God will hear your prayers if you let Him.' Missionary work is hard. Learning a new language is hard. It brings me to my knees. I'm learning that I need more faith in my Savior and the power of faith and prayer.
I love you all. Keep praying for the missionaries, and go out and help them! We have so much more success with the references of the members.