Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 85 - An Investigator's First Prayer

Wow!!! It has been a crazy week full of changes and different things happening, but also one of my favorite weeks that Ive had to work. We are seeing a lot of progress, new people coming out of nowhere, contacts in the street, having a good time with my new companion, and just losing myself in this great work of Salvation. 

As you all know, Elder Stringham got transferred to Puerto Maldonado, the jungle, and now I am with Elder Yepez. Elder Yepez is from Colombia, and he is awesome!! He loves to just get down to work, contact, and is so good at talking to the people we teach. He himself is a convert to the church, about 3 years ago, and his testimony is so powerful. But really, we are working really well together and we just love how well things went this week. We contacted more than most weeks and found a few really awesome new investigators. There was this reference to go visit a sister and her son, and we finally were able to have a lesson with them and it went so well. We explained to them the importance of the Gospel and just a beginner lesson, but the best part was when the 15 year old son gave the closing prayer, and this being his first time praying really ever. He began to cry, and we all felt the spirit strong in that moment. They both accepted baptism and are willing to come to church too, so we are super excited to see where things go with them. Also we have Ivan and Marli, who are still progressing well. They both came to church, and they both have a baptismal date for May 28th. They are awesome, Ivan is going with all the young men to activities and he is completing with all the invitations we leave for him. Marli is doing well too, we are just continuing with them and enjoying our time seeing the wonderful progress in Huajsapata. Looking good here!!

Also this week, we have started eating at another member's house, the bishop's house. His wife is now cooking for us and it is awesome there, they are so nice and are very fun to be around. They have 5 kids in their home, now 2 more (the elders) haha, but Hermana Yenny is amazing!! The best part is that she makes pizzas as her business on the side to deliver to clients, so we eat a lot of pizza!! hahaha We are loving it!! But really overall, everything is going well, I cannot complain. Just to continue working hard here in our area of Huajsapata in Puno and see the Lord's hand helping us. Well, Ill be talking for Mother's Day soon.....cant wait!!!

 1-4. Scripture cases and bag that a member here makes for missionaries and members. If any of you guys would like something like them, just let me know.

 5-8. Eating pizza and enjoying our last few days with Gisela, Marleny, and all their family. We are going to miss them a lot.

 9. District Huajsapata

 10. My comp, Elder Stringham and I

 11. Me on the highest parts of our area

 12. Our sun room on the top of our apartment where we live.

 13-14. My new companion Elder Yepez and I.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Week 84 - 5 Transfers Strong!

Wow......crazy time with transfers today and what is happening really. Well, drum roll please.....Im staying here in Huajsapata in Puno! 5 transfers going strong!! haha Elder Stringham is leaving though, going to the jungle part of the mission, Puerto Maldonado, with probably one of my favorite guys as his companion! He is so lucky but Im glad he is going off to another area to learn more now from another person. So now my new companion will be Elder Yepez, dont know him yet but Im excited to get to work and have a blast. So, pretty crazy though, everyone thought it was me going this transfer, but I know the Lord has something else in store for me.

Also this week, our pensionista Gisela and her family, is the last week they will be cooking for us. It is very sad really, they are awesome and so fun to be around. So this next week, we will be eating at the bishop's wife's house, not going to be bad, but we will miss Gisela, Marleny, Helaman, Marcos, Grover, and Hyrum! To end our time with them we bought a bunch of pizzas to celebrate and have a good time, so we did go off with a bang. 

As work goes, we are doing awesome!! The 2 new awesome investigators from last week, Marli and her brother Ivan are great and are progressing super well. We were able to invite and set a baptismal date for Ivan for May 28th, but with Marli we werent able to teach this week. Ivan also came to church, really liked it, and really wants to attend each week and progress toward his baptismal date. We also have another investigator, Yessmeri, who we also put another date for May hoping for some more of God's miracles here in the next transfer to help us with her and all of our investigators we have. 

So, lots of stuff going on and changes to come with new companion, but to just finish off strong here in the mission!! 3 transfers more!! Nothing can explain how fast the time is going and now it is the home stretch, so I need to keep going til the end!! Well, have a great week everyone!!

Week 83 - Surprise Visitors

Basically just another week, but still a good week with the work and just doing our thing as missionaries. 

Well, that super cool investigator from last week, Marli, who attended conference too, is doing well again!! We taught her and her brother this week and it was a great lesson, and we really feel like they are going to attend and progress. They committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and they both accepted baptism, just not with a date yet. They werent able to attend this week because of elections yesterday, so there werent any church meetings at all. But we are excited about it and so happy to see them progress. Not many others progressing yet, still trying to find a few contacts and referrals, but hoping for the best in this next week.

Like I said, yesterday was election day, and here, you cant have religious meetings during elections. So we didnt have church or any meetings. Everyone has to vote here too, it is mandatory or you have to pay a fine if you dont. But its interesting, a girl might actually win too, but they are going to vote in a second round election in June to decide. 

Oh, but the craziest thing happened this week!!! So, we were walking down the street, just doing our thing and then out of nowhere, Elder Stringham looks at a guy and they start hugging. I was like, does he know this guy, and it turns out that he does. So, it turns out also that a whole school group from Provo came to Peru to visit and just happened to run into the 1 Elder from Provo and knew one of the guys in the group. So there was like 30+ people there and they were so nice, invited us to dinner and everything, and we enjoyed our evening with them. One of the moms talked with Mom over texts and sent her a picture too, so it was a weird moment as a missionary, but fun to hang out with some members from Utah. My companion is good too, it was a very unexpected but happy surprise for him, but he is doing well now. haha 

But a great week overall, just working, and serving the Lord here in Puno! Loving life and enjoying it a lot here! Hope all of you guys have a great week!!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Week 82 - General Conference

Great week of work for Elder Stringham and I, I mean for the days that we had time to. Work is progressing and we are enjoying the time left we have this transfer, just 2 more weeks now to do all we can. 

We enjoyed the wonderful moment of Richard's baptism!! Friday he was baptized by our 1st counselor in the bishopric. He wanted a small baptism, so it was very simple and with a few of the ward leaders and his family, but it was still a powerful experience for all of us! He will be confirmed a member of the church and receive the Holy Ghost the next week, because of conference, but we are so happy for the decision he has made to follow Christ and all of his teachings. And that youll see in the pictures....I ripped my pants too during the prep for the baptism...whoops. Not sure if they can be saved. Enjoy that! haha

Overall the work was good this week. Elder Stringham had to go to Cusco again to do some paperwork for his visa, so I was with the zone leaders for a few days. Still had some fun hanging out with them and getting some work done, but not in my area. We did receive this new reference, Marley, who is awesome!! She listened to the missionaries in Cusco and then went looking for the missionaries here in Puno. She has a lot of desire to come to church, accept the Savior and the Gospel in her life. She came to the Sunday morning session of General Conference too!! So we are happy to see another person come out of nowhere but could progress. 

But the best highlight of the week was General Conference! The opportunity we had to listen to our church leaders, especially our beloved prophet and apostles. It helped me build my testimony on the veracity of having modern day prophets and that they gave us divine direction. I had a lot of talks that I loved, a few in the priesthood session, but I think like most was Elder Holland's closing talk of the conference. That we need to not forget the divine counsels we have received during the conference and to apply those things in life, and that the Lord will bless us profoundly. Ill need to study more of them after I download them or in the Ensign, but it was a great time listening and pondering this weekend. Oh, and 1 of the temples that was announced by President Monson was the 2nd temple to be in Lima!!! That is amazing!! It will be the 2nd city, after Provo, to have 2 temples!! So the members here are excited for another temple to be close to them.

But overall a great week full of learning and working, hoping for another great week this week! Hope all of you also have a great week and enjoy the things you do!! Love ya guys!!

 1-6. Richard's baptism, it was a great experience and so awesome to see him make that covenant with God.

 7. I RIPPED.....MY PANTS!! HAHA Bending down to shut off the baptismal font valve outside, and my pants were a little too tight I guess....haha

 8-9. I found my twin singing during General Conference!! haha