I’m thinking about changing my mission call from “Lima, Peru” to “Cayetano Heredia, Palao” because transfers were this week and I’m sticking around here in the same area. Despite the fact that we can walk across our entire sector in 10 minutes – including time to wait to cross the street – I love it and I’m super happy to still be here. Hermana Valencia kills me every day, she’s so funny, and I’m pumped to still be here with her.
This week everyone had “Sindrome de Fiestas Patrias” (according to Hermana Valencia), meaning everyone went on vacation for the holidays and nobody was home to talk to us and we knocked a lot of doors that nobody answered. It’s all good though.
This week Nicole got baptized! Yay! Her friend, Eileen, was baptized like 6 months ago and invited Nicole to church and has been answering her questions about the church. So Nicole accepted and we are so happy because we got to teach her these past couple weeks and see how much her faith is growing as she reads the Book of Mormon and participates in Young Women’s. It’s the best.
We have for sure seen miracles in our sector these past couple weeks, and honestly every day of the mission. I’m so happy to be a missionary and teach the gospel and learn so much every day. Today I read Helaman 3:27-28 and I love these verses. It’s so true, the Lord is so willing to help us, we’ve just got to trust in Him and work as hard as we can in everything and he makes up the rest.
Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.
Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
– Helaman 3:27-28 –
Oh yeah I forgot this funny story
We were in church yesterday and reading about how Jesus paid the price for our sins (pecados) but someone read it as PESCADOS which means fish. So we were cracking up and it makes me feel better about my Spanish that even Peruvians make mistakes sometimes as well. :)
Hermana Valencia and I almost died from the flu. I was only sick for like a day and a half but Hermana Valencia is still recovering. The funniest part was when we got a blessing from our district leader and they were like, “Sorry, Hermanas. We have to find out your names…” *** Super grateful for the power of the priesthood though and we’ve been able to keep working every day.
One of our investigators got married! Yay! It’s a big deal here. Lots of people live together but aren’t married and can’t be baptized until they do so. So he’s working towards baptism and we are super excited.
Transfer calls are tonight so we’ll see what happens. Honestly, we don’t have any clue how it will be, but if I stay here in Cayetano we’ll still be rockin! :)
That’s all for now folks. Peace and blessings.
*** Explanation why this is funny: A person in need of a blessing for any reason can recieve one via the laying on of hands. See also James 5:14-15. The one giving the blessing will call the one recieving the blessing by their full name. Since it is not uncommon for missionaries as they refer to each other by title – Elder or Sister (Hermana) – and last name, to not know each other’s given names, this becomes a little joke.
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!!!
Yesterday we got a text from the zone leaders that said we weren’t going to have P-day this week – not on Monday anyway – because on Wednesday we get to go to the temple! Yay! But we get to write today, so it’s all good. Also, it’s a blessing because this morning we were able to teach a cute lady and her baby about the Restoration and there’s no way we would have found her if we hadn’t been out working this morning. It’s the little things that are so cool and such blessings.
This week was super rough. Not sure what the deal was but we got yelled at on numerous occasions, lots of people said they couldn’t understand me and just looked at my companion when I was talking, and we didn’t find any new people to teach until Saturday night.
However, this week was also super great. Lesly passed her baptismal interview and is going to be baptized on Saturday, together with her 8-year-old son Santiago! Pray for them that all goes well! They’re super excited!
This weekend was an opportunity to fast. Hermana Machuruti and I decided to fast specifically to be able to find a family to teach this month. So we finished our fast Sunday afternoon and then in the evening we were able to teach a cute family of mom, dad, and 17-year-old daughter about the Book of Mormon. Obviously, I don’t know how everything will work out but I am so thankful for the opportunity we had to fast and get an answer to our prayers so immediately. I know that’s not always how it works but I feel do grateful to know that Heavenly Father is mindful of us and fasting is super powerful. My testimony has grown so much this week, even though there was a lot of disappointment.
This past P-day we spent the whole day with the Zone and it was super fun. We went to the Waka de Miraflores. It’s an archaeological site, ruins, of the civilization who lived here in Peru a long time ago. It’s called Huaca Pucllana and the people who built the temple thing (where we got to visit) worshiped the sea, and we got to learn a little about their history.
Then we ate lunch together with the zone and then we went to the Institute building and had a ping pong tournament while the zone leaders and a lady from their ward made arroz con leche and massamora. Super fun!
We had a multizone conference in Magdalena this week which was great. Our zone met to all go together and at 6:30 AM everyone and their mom is also trying to take the bus towards the center of Lima. So we tried to get on this one bus, Hermana Machuruti and Hermana Zaldivar got on the bus but there was no more room and then it took off so I had a good time being on splits with Hermana Ruiz. We were all cracking up though. Also in the conference, we talked about honesty. I was cracking up because on the mission you have to lie way more than normal because you have to tell people their dog is so cute and their food was delicious and they have the cutest family even when you hate dogs and they cooked something weird and their kids are wild. Pero, así es.
It’s all good and I love being a missionary. This week I especially enjoyed reading Mosiah 26:13,14,33 as it shows a pattern for how we all can receive revelation from God in our lives. I know for a fact that God listens to and answers prayers.
Have the best week!!!!
Just wanted to say hey fam and I love yall tons!
My companion has a bunch of EFY music (in English IDK why because she doesn’t speak English but that’s not the point) and we were listening to it this morning and there is a song about families and how it’s so much more than just mom, dad, kids and a house but it’s also road trips and baking cookies and jammin’ out. Just wanted to say that I’m so thankful for y’all every single day and I love y’all so much! Keep on keepin’ on. Y’all rock! Praying for you!
Today we had P-day with a bunch of the Hermanas. We all went to the center of Lima and took one of those open-top sightseeing buses to the top of Cerrro San Cristobal. It was super cool, you can see all of Lima, and all the pollution. There’s a 20m high cross at the top. I didn’t catch all the history they were telling me in Spanish but it was fun nonetheless.
This week we had a multizone conference in the mission offices. It was super good, learned a lot, yay! On the bus ride back we were with 2 other sisters from our zone and one Hermana is such a good example to me because she just starts chatting with the guy next to her. So I’m thinking of how I can do the same with the guy next to me who’s playing Pokemon Go. So I start off by asking him which is his favorite Pokemon and then was able to explain a little about the Church and the Book of Mormon. So, a shout-out to my brothers and their endless hours of playing Pokemon for helping me be able to talk to some guy on the bus about Gyarados and Charizard.
Hate to say it [because I’ve always disliked seafood/fish] but this week I ate some fish and actually enjoyed it :) Our pensionista also runs a cevicheria so it was only a matter of time before we ate some sort of fish (we can’t eat ceviche though)
It’s a struggle to remember what happened this week because every week goes by so fast. Honestly, I feel like it’s Sunday and then the next day is Sunday again.
To learn vocabulary, my companion and I think of random words that rhyme and learn them in Spanish and English. Phrase of the week. When someone is being dumb you can call them cabeza de arcachofa – artichoke head.
This week my favorite scripture is 2 Nefi 2:24. I love the entire chapter about the Plan of Salvation but this one is especially comforting to know that God has a plan for everything in our lives.
We were able to teach the plan of salvation a couple times this week and it always helps me have a greater appreciation for the Plan of God and the knowledge we have to be happy through the gospel.
I will try to send pictures but this computer is ratchet so well see how it goes. [Editor’s Note: No Pictures]
Love you all!
The Following are Excerpts from E-mail to Family Members:
I am happy. life is pretty good. At times this week, I was kinda thinking “What am I doing here in Peru?” It could have been so much easier to be a missionary in the states where at least people speak English and I can go to Walmart. But honestly, I love it here. LOVE YOU SO MUCH! Thanks for everything. Next week (?) we’ll have to coordinate the Skype for Mother’s Day. Or the next Monday, IDK but ahead of time is always good.
I saw my MTC teacher Hermano Castillo this week and he came to the English class I was teaching and it was way funny. Turns out he served in the same mission with Raquel, one of my roommates from last semester! Crazy. (The Mormon world is especially small)
In response to news Elder Uceda, a Lima native, visited Georgia: That is so cool! Everyone here LOVES Elder Uceda. His son is a bishop in one of the wards that my comp was in and she says that ward is ¡vale! because he’s so strict and on top of things. I heard Elders Ballard and Rasband came to the stake! How cool is that!
Please tell Brad and Morgan congrats on their graduations!!! I’m so happy for them, and thankful for the fun time we got to have at BYU together during Fall semester.
If you want to send me a recipe for banana bread, I would love it. With degrees Celcius, por favor.
Thanks so much for the cute package/envelope I got this week!!! I LOVE Y’ALL!!! I really appreciate the old random photos and cute notes (I’ve read them like 15 times since Wednesday when I got them) and of course the Mary Engelbreit pics are appreciated. Y’all are the best!!!
I wish I was there to celebrate Easter with y’all. Nobody hardly even mentioned it here. Everything is Semana Santaon Thursday and Friday. There was a procession/parade thing in the street with all the Catholic people walking real slow holding candles and a crucifix of Jesus through the streets. It was muy interesante.
This week I have been reading a lot of Liahonas. Check out the article/talk called the divine power of grace by Elder Paul V. Johnson from the December 2016 Liahona. It’s the best! Also, I had to give a talk in church on Sunday about Día de Reposo (the Sabbath). Speaking Spanish in front of a bunch of people is always fun.
Funny story, we have these big jugs of drinking water and the guy who refills them came right after we woke up, so we went out in our pajamas and he complimented my Gremlins T-shirt which I wear for sleeping and we chatted about the movie for a bit. I was cracking up!
Our investigator Gustavo was baptized this Saturday!! YAY!!! (To be honest, last week we had no clue if he even wanted to, but this week was pretty cool to see the change and he was super into reading the folletos (pamphlets) and Book of Mormon chapters we would leave with him so it was really good. The only problem with the baptism was that everyone showed up on ‘Peru time’ aka 30 minutes late including the person with the keys to the chapel!
Today we had a Zone P-day and don’t have much time to write. We went to Fortaleza Real Felipe in Callao. It’s pretty cool. I’ll provide more info later if I remember; lots of old swords and military uniforms and such.
Please wish Grandpa Doran a Feliz Cumpleaños/Happy Birthday for me this week!!!!! Tell him I love and miss him!
Hope all is well at home!!! I love y’all. Thanks for all the emails and pictures. I’m so blessed.
Excerpts from notes Rachel sent to various family members:
I wasn’t going to tell you but the first Sunday here nobody in the ward plays the piano so we sang a capella. I felt slightly bad for not [having continued with piano lessons and] being able to play.
This week I was cracking up to myself because all the kids wear school uniforms that are basically sweatpants and t-shirts to match and I was remembering that town in Spain where EVERYONE was wearing a track suit! I was just laughing at the good times we had there and missing ya’ll. It was especially funny because that’s not something I can explain to my companion in Spanish.
I have to teach a 1 hour English class next week so if anyone has of any brilliant ideas of what to teach or an easy game to play, please let me know!
Yesterday I was eating soup and there was an entire chicken heart in my bowl. Yum! I love y’all! Hope all is well! Keep me posted on everything.
Editor’s Note: Given the limited time to email each Preparation Day, Rachel sometimes hand writes notes during the week and then sends pictures of the notes. See below.