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Hermana Erickson in Peru

¡hola!

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¿Yo También?

My new compañera is Hermana Valencia! She’s 19 also and is from Santiago, Chile. It’s been a crazy week and training is hard but its been super good. We haven’t died yet, so that’s the accomplishment of the week. But no, for real, she’s great and we’re learning a lot together. She’s super excited to go out and work every day and talk to everyone. It’s been an interesting week because I have to talk to more people than before when I could just look at Hermana Machuruti and wait for her to say something. hahah. It’s all good though. Hopefully my Spanish is improving.

Yesterday we were contacting in the park and the funniest thing happened. We finished talking to this one guy and started heading down the sidewalk toward another guy and he just says out loud, “¡Asu! ¿Yo también?” (like: Oh no! Me too?)* and gets up and runs away. I was cracking up.

We were able to teach a bunch of lessons this week and I’m really happy about that. We have this one investigator, Humberto, who is doing super well. The first time we talked to him he was super adamant that he didn’t believe in any of our message about José Smith or the Book of Mormon or anything, but as he prayed and listened more he said that he knows we’re helping him come closer to God. It’s the coolest thing to help people feel that.

Have the best week!

*From How to Peru “a su madre” is a common expression of surprise, often shortened to just “¡asu!”.

The following is an excerpt from exchange between Hermana Erickson and her mother, Becky:

BECKY: I taught RS this week and loved this President Hinckley quote, “We have nothing to fear. God is at the helm. He will overrule for the good of this work. He will shower down blessings upon those who walk in obedience to His commandments. Such has been His promise. Of His ability to keep that promise none of us can doubt.”

And this thought by Elder Clayton, “The trial of our faith will always involve staying true to simple, daily practices of faith. Then, and only then, does He promise that we will receive the divine response for which we long. Only once we have proven our willingness to do what He asks without demanding to know the whens, the whys, and the hows do we “reap the rewards of [our] faith, and [our] diligence, and patience, and long-suffering.” Real obedience accepts God’s commandments unconditionally and in advance.”

I LOVE these ideas. Keeping mission rules was no real biggies for me but I wish I knew back then the correlation of my obedience and “success” as a missionary. I wandered those 18 months falsely thinking my every misstep and disobedient act would result in a lost teaching appointment or baptism or contact. At times I carried a heavy burden of guilt for silly missteps.

I no longer think my getting up 10 minutes late, or failure to have 100 pure thoughts, or whatever determines “success.” I now think, that although God expects me to produce ‘faith with good works’ and be diligent in keeping the commandments, his work rolls forward despite personal weakness of the players involved. It’s His show and “no unhallows hand can stop the work from progressing.”

Now I have to think if the reciprocal is true … I do like thinking my goodness makes a difference! Haha!

At the end of the day the best bet is to keep your nose clean, repent when you mess up, don’t get screwy and depressed over little weaknesses, and keep on trucking. Now this is a quote for a Deseret Books plaque, eh?!?

RACHEL: hahahahaha I am cracking up. Please put that on a plaque or something. youre hilarious.

Thanks for the quotes from your Relief Society lesson. Obedience is something we always talk about in the mission of course. It’s for sure that we have to be obedient but rebellion and weakness are different. In the scriptures whenever they talk about weakness its along with the grace and mercy of the Lord. SO, yeah were all going to make mistakes, but there’s no reason to beat yourself up about it – just gotta repent and keep on keeping on!!!

Also, last week we went on exchanges with the STLs (Sister Training Leaders) and Hermana Carrasco said something I think you would appreciate. We tried to contact these two young men approximately 20 years old. They just kept walking and didn’t want to talk to us. Hermana Carracci said, “I can’t believe they didn’t want to talk to us! If I were a guy and a pretty girl such as myself tried to talk to me, I’d stop and not even care what they were saying! hahhaha I was cracking up!!!

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Hermana Erickson con Hermana Machuruti y Hermana Tania (our pensionista)
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My new companion, Hermana Valencia
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Pizza Raul
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Happy Mother’s Day

The highlight of this week: getting to Skype my family yesterday! Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom out there (mine) and to all the rest of the moms too! It is seriously such a blessing to be able to see and talk to my fam even though it was of course not long enough.

In honor of my mom, today we visited an old church. There’s a bunch of cathedrals here and we went to one in the center of Lima that’s a museum with a bunch of old art and books and interesting things that we weren’t allowed to take pictures of. Also, there are catacombs underneath the church and the bones are all arranged and it’s kinda creepy but pretty cool. There’s a bunch of femurs and skulls. Today the lady said that 20,000 people were buried there. It’s called Monastery de San Fransisco. It was cool because when I came to Lima three years ago, we also visited the catacombs and cathedral.

This week was pretty normal, we walked around, taught some lessons, ate some rice. I guess I forget that what’s normal here as a missionary isn’t normal back home so I’ll try to give some more information. One thing is that people here don’t really invite us into their houses so when we teach lessons, we mostly do it standing on people’s doorsteps. It’s interesting to pray and read the scriptures and teach in the middle of the sidewalk but it’s all good, I’ll take whatever chance we get to share the gospel with people.

This week I have been reading Joseph Smith’s History and the testimonies at the front of the Book of Mormon. It’s so special to know that God still talks to us, will answer prayers, and we have the guidance of a modern day prophet.

I also read a talk called “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence”´ by Elder Jörg Klebingat that I loved. It was about how we don’t have to live every day being sad that we are not perfect and worried that we aren’t good enough in the eyes of God because we can use the Atonement of Jesus Christ every single day. Thanks to our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can repent every day and rely on his grace to become better each day and have the assurance that as long as we are striving to be our best, we´re alright before God.

Love,

Hermana Erickson

Post Script:

hey homies

I’m so happy I got to Skype with yall yesterday!!! I didn’t get to say everything I wanted to say but I hope yall know how much I love each one of you individually and you jokers collectively. I’m so so so blessed with the best family in the world. Not sure if I said thanks when you said you sent a letter in the mail but thank you!!!!!!
Happy mothers day to mom. We are so lucky to have you as our mom. for real.
Yall look great, I’m glad everything is going well! Please keep me posted on the goings-ons in your life! and yes, I really do miss yall.
Tell everyone (the fam) hello and I love them!
Thanks for your nice comments about my Spanish  hahaha. I’m working on it. I definitely pray for the gift of tongues every day.
Oh yeah, I was going to ask if we could have a family prayer before we hung up but I forgot, so have one without me and keep me in mind, yeah? Praying for y’all always.
Sorry for crying (honestly it’s like the first time I’ve cried in the mission) but I love yall and am so happy to be able o talk with y’all and share my testimony. I hope y’all now that I love being a missionary and I love talking to people about the gospel all day long. And like I said I especially love talking about the Book of Mormon and for real, there is a special spirit that comes when we read parts of the BOM with people.
You asked what I wish I had known before coming on the mission, and I’m still not sure how to answer that, but I just wanted to say thanks for preparing me for this craziness. For teaching me how to work hard, how to love the scriptures, how to try new foods, be flexible when the plan doesn’t work out, etc. Yall are the best.
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Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Things are Bananas (Bread)

From May 8, 2017

Hola!

Transfers were past week and I am so happy that nothing changed, Hermana Machuruti is stuck with me for another 6 weeks. Hahah, just jokes – we are both happy to still be here.

Yeah, not much else happened this week. We played volleyball with the zone today. And we get to Skype on Sunday! Can’t wait.

Shout Out to Sister Harries for sending me a banana bread recipe last p-day, which we looked forward to making all week and it turned out fantastic. See photos. We’re pretty psyched.

This week (and all other weeks) I was struggling with Spanish. SO I was reading in 2 Nephi 27 and felt like those words from God were exactly directed at me.

19 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say: I am not learned. (aka I don’t speak Spanish)
20 Then shall the Lord God say unto him: The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee.
23 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.

How cool is it that God is a God of Miracles and he can do anything! If he called me here through his prophet to be a missionary in Peru, then that’s what I’ll do and if that means I have to speak Spanish, then I’ll be able to do what God needs me to do. It was a cool experience and made me love the Book of Mormon even more. It’s such a special book, and honestly, we can find answers to all sorts of questions. This week we were able to share the Book of Mormon with 4 different people and testify of its divinity and feel the spirit so strong in those moments because it for sure is the word of God revealed through his prophets!

Mom, I was hoping all week that your lesson would go well! I have been thinking about testimonies this week. There’s a cool part in Preach My Gospel, and I read a bunch of scriptures about testimonies and the cool thing is that whenever the prophets bear testimony they say they know what they know by the power of the Spirit. Even Alma who saw an angel says in one verse that he knows those things by the Spirit (Alma 5:46)

Spanish is hard, don’t laugh at me when we talk on Sunday. I do grammar exercises during language study and write new words in my agenda. I always ask my trainer to correct me but she doesn’t do it very often so that’s hard. I’ll ask again. I told her for real, don’t feel bad at all for correcting me. She and I started reading the Book of Mormon together out loud in both Spanish and English to practice, but we started in Mosiah because I can’t do 1 Nephi again right now. You know how it is.

Good luck with your Book of Mormon reading, it’s such a special book and my favorite to share with people, even when they don’t realize how special it is at the moment.

Love,

Hermana Erickson

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Hermanas Erickson y Macharuti Making Banana Bread
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Happy Mother’s Day! (PS: Check out the guy eating in the window behind me.)
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The Hermana Missionaries at Cerro San Cristobal
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Banana Bread

Joy is Possible

Joke of the week:

¿Que le dijo una pera a otra pera?

¡Espera!

HAHAHAHAHA. Puns are even better in Spanish! Hermana Machuruti told me that joke the other day and I cracked up for about 5 minutes.

This week I went to the immigration offices and received my foreign residence card so now I’m super official and can stay in Peru!

This week the weather was crazy and one day it was drizzling all day, which was interesting. If you can imagine the lightest rain possible while there is water still falling from the sky, that’s what it was. Also, it was not super hot but people were legit decked out in coats and scarves and sweaters while my companion and I were still rocking short sleeves. Interesting.

Our ward mission leader helped us put together an activity this week to which we invited our investigators. We played the simplest games – like hot potato and fruit basket – but it was so much fun and some of our investigators came and got to know some people from the church so it was good. They have a rule where if you get out 3 times, you have to do some sort of punishment such as sing a song in front of everyone or dance. I will never forget our recent convert Gustavo dancing like a chicken in the middle of the room, it was the funniest thing.

This week I love 2 Nephi 10:20, 23-24. It’s so great to remember that because of Jesus Christ, who is central to God’s plan for us, we can have happiness and be cheerful in this life! It’s so great that we are free to choose eternal life and every day can make choices to bring us closer to the Savior, I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share this plan of happiness with people every single day.

I have a lot of photos to send and will do so possibly later, but this computer is from the stone age so it might not happen. Thanks for the patience, Love you all!

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Pizza de Peru
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Hermana Meroy y Hermana Erickson
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Hermana Erickson y Hermana Machuruti at Cerro de San Cristobal
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What I’m Reading
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We Eat Empanadas Nearly Every Night
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View of Lima from Cerro San Cristobal
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Using Church Magazines as Art
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Inspiration
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The Liahona has pages specific to NW South America, and they had an article about HEFY who I came to Peru with in 2015

The Reality of the Resurrection

As of Saturday, April 8, I officially have 2 months in the mission! WOOT.

This week was wild, including an all day training meeting at the mission offices (where I got to see Hermana Shupe, Hermana Meroy, and Elder Baum from the MTC) and exchanges with the Hermana Capacitadoras (Sister Training Leaders).

Funny story: While on exchanges, Hermana Moffet and I were going to teach an investigator in the church but needed another woman so we didn’t have to teach outside the building. So we walk outside and a lady comes up and starts chatting with us about the Hermanas who used to be in that area. So we assumed she was a member and asked her to come help us out with the lesson. Turns out she isn’t a member but she was super down to come to the church with us, and we shared a spiritual thought with her as well. Super chistoso!

This week we had Family Home Evening (FHE) at the house of our ward mission leader and our investigator Gustavo came. We watched the video of the First Vision and it was great! Hermano and Hermana Ramos bore their testimonies and we talked a little more about prophets and conference and the spirit was so strong! I love sharing the message of the restoration and being able to testify that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ and translated the Book of Mormon because he was a prophet called of God!

This week is a big deal in Peru because it’s Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Pascua (Easter) is on Sunday. I love this quote:

The reality of the resurrection of the Savior overwhelms our heartbreak with hope because with it comes the assurance that all the other promises of the Gospel are just as real.

-Elder Paul V Johnson, April 2016 General Conference

It goes right along with Acts 17:31. I love the opportunity to be here and share the message that we can have hope and peace through Jesus Christ who lives! As a missionary, we make a lot of promises to people:

  • If they come to church they’ll feel the Spirit and love of God
  • If they read the Book of Mormon and ask God with a sincere heart, they’ll receive a witness of its divinity
  • If they repent and follow Christ, they will feel – as in the quote above – the reality that they can be clean from sins through Christ and His atonement

This week I’m thankful for the opportunity especially to remember Christ and His resurrection.

Love y’all!

Hermana Erickson

PS: If you’d like to read some other information about my area in Lima and my first impressions of missionary work, click here: http://wp.me/p8k26H-75

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My Cute Compañera and Me
2 Months
Hermana Machuruti is so cute and made me this note to celebrate my 2 month mark :)
Lunch
Lomo Saltado

Peace

This week was pretty chill. We had interviews with President Larson, and district meeting, and a training meeting and general conference!

We had a training meeting at the mission offices about the new Easter video the church has made. It’s called Prince of Peace and y’all can watch it on Mormon.org. Its the best! When we contact people on the streets or in parks, we share the webpage and ask them to watch the video. The page is also great because there are other videos and 8 ways we can find more peace in our lives through Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace. What a great opportunity we have around Easter time to remember His atoning sacrifice and try to be close to him and find that peace in our lives that we all need. Here in Peru it’s especially cool to share because there is some flooding and other crazy weather related things in the north of Peru and people always say that we especially need peace at this time, so we are able to share that through prayer, coming closer to Christ. We can find it.

Also, General Conference was the best. (if you didn’t get to watch it, hit up that lds.org and check it out. I promise it’s worth it) All us gringos got to watch it together in English!! I loved President Monson’s talk about the Book of Mormon. It’s so powerful when the Prophet of God only speaks for a couple minutes to remind us about how important the Book of Mormon is. One of our investigators came to the Sunday afternoon session and he really enjoyed it!

Life is so good here in the mission. Every day we get to talk to people and share our testimonies of Christ.

Love y’all. Have the best week!

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We made spaghetti for lunch yesterday :)

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