Sunday, April 30, 2017

Week 86 - "Disciple" April 21 - April 29 (Primavera)

Here is the latest from Trujillo.  Not sure where all of the pictures were taken, but some place they visited for P-day.  It sure will be fun to catch up on all of the things he has done and the places he has visited.  Does it sound like I am counting down the days?

Another wonderful week has flown by here in Trujillo. This past one has been filled again with interchanges, teaching, and miracles. It seems to be sort of a pattern in the mission, it's pretty great to be able to see so many things here, and see how much easier it is to follow Christ than any other thing. That's kind of something I've thought about a lot during the mission. I feel like a lot of people, especially here in Trujillo, have a hard time ''changing their lives to follow Christ'' because they have the fear of failing after they try or they are too caught up in the way they're living right now. Most people think that it would require radical changes in order to be a member, and in some cases that's true, but in the majority, it's not. Becoming a disciple of Christ is usually a process that requires faith, love, humility, and patience. It means choosing something difficult to receive a reward that we can't see yet. Some feelings are difficult to receive and to feel, like long-lasting peace, hope, forgiveness, and can only truly be received through living how Christ taught us to live. And the only way to really find out if it's the truth isn't just by believing someone for it, it's by trying it out for yourself with sincere intent and a willingness to accept that it might work. That's basically the only thing we do as missionaries is to invite others to try it and watch it work miracles in their own lives, always respecting the freedom to choice of every person. If I hadn't tried it myself in my own life, I wouldn't be in Perú, and I definitely wouldn't be a missionary. And that's why I love being here so much because I'm just sharing what I know is true to other people and hoping and praying that they can recognize the worth. It's the best!!

Anyway, this week has been great! We had a great interchange with the zone leaders in Porvenir and in Primavera. Elder McKamey and Elder Larrosa are in the Porvenir zone and it was such a blast working with them, we were able to teach a lot and find several new people. Elder Larrosa is going home this Monday so we sent him out to contact for the whole day so that he could stay focused hahaha! But they were able to meet and teach some incredible people so that's really cool. Later, we were with Elder Argueta and Elder Parkinson and we were able to do some great services those couple days. The cleaning in the main part of the city is winding down a lot and is almost back to normal, just with lots of road damages. Further up in the high part of Trujillo is still quite affected and there are still lots of service projects going on there, but luckily, the government has responded and is doing a lot to help. It's been a wild experience to go through all of that stuff, and we very thankful that it wasn't any worse than it was.

Update on Hermana Hoyjaní seems that her phone has either been broken or stolen because her phone number is no longer in service and the number no longer exists....its very difficult to find her in her home, so we have been searching for her. Today, we will try to find the hermanita that was giving the job, but she is hard to find as well. Anyway, we're sitting on pins and needles with the whole situation and I will hopefully can give the good news next week. We'll be praying!

I love you all so much! Hope you have a wonderful week! Keep doing your best!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Week 85 - "Great Week" April 15 - April 21 (Primavera)

I love the stories Jonah tells about the people that he meets and how their lives are changed.  Sometimes seemingly 'simple coincidences' become life changing interventions and blessings from our Heavenly Father.  Jonah has a great story exemplifying this with Hermana Hoyianí.

Hey, this week has been quite wonderful! We were blessed with a lot of different things and we had one of the coolest spiritual experiences of my whole mission. It was a great week :)

So on Tuesday, we had our last zone conference with the Casa Grande and Guadalupe zones. It's always great to see them because they have to come in from a little further away (Casa Grande is an hour away and Guadalupe is around 3 hours away). In the fotos that I uploaded, there was one with 3 other missionaries and me. They are Elder Rios, Elder Olsen, and Elder Moncada. I trained Elder Rios, Elder Rios trained Elder Olsen, and Elder Olsen trained Elder Moncada. SO COOL!! I love these missionaries, they are all so great. Every one of them works so diligently and have such great attitudes even when things get rough. Anyway, we had a great conference that Tuesday and it was great to see all the missionaries from my past zone in Casa Grande.

Later on in the week, we had such a great experience, that was more of a string of events that really showed how much God does to make people meet in the most precise times. Before I got to the area, Elder Nuñez and his companion had met an hermana and her daughter that came from Chimbote (2 hours south of Trujillo) that had talked with missionaries and was almost baptized, but a lot of difficult things happened the same week that she was going to be baptized and she had to leave everything and all of her belongings in Chimbote and come to live in Trujillo without even knowing anyone here, knowing where she was going to live, or what she was going to do to make money. Elder Nuñez was only able to teach them once and then they kind of disappeared, and we had only heard from her over the phone and she was struggling a lot, but could never meet with us. So last Wednesday, we went to go eat out at a place that we had never eaten before and when we were leaving, we happened to run into this hermana (her name is Hoyjaní), so we sat down with her there in the restaurant and talked to her for a little while. She told us that everything was pretty hard right now, and that her daughter got into a car accident and is now in physical therapy and that her work was going really poorly. We encouraged her but she was not convinced of doing something different yet, but we set up a different appointment and went to go teach her again on Thursday. When we got to her house, she wasn't there. We were disappointed to find that her phone was off as well. We started heading over to a different person, when we found Hermana Hoyjaní walking towards her house. We stopped her and began talking and expressed her worries about her daughter and work again, when we remembered that someone we had just met was looking for someone to help take care of someone with poor health. We offered that to her and called the person up right there to ask. We passed the phone over, and it turned out that Hermana Hoyjaní had a lot of experience in the field and was a certified nurse. She set up an interview for the next day and seemed very pleased but very quiet. She asked us if we could go to a park to talk with her and so we found one close by and sat down on a bench. We started with a prayer and talked to her about the blessings she has received and what she can do to thank God for them. She seemed much more sincere and willing to change. At the end of the short 10 minute lesson, we asked her to offer the prayer. She began to pray and then began to cry and expressed her love for God and for all that He was doing. She asked for forgiveness for not looking for the Church and the missionaries sooner and promised that she would be more diligent in seeking Him. She ended the prayer and we all had tears in our eyes and had felt the Spirit so strongly. It was so incredible. Today, she called us at 12pm and told us that the interview went very well and that she will hear back this Thursday. She also told us that she had made sure to get Sundays off so that she could come to church. We are so happy for her and are having so many great experiences with the Spirit! We love helping people so much, but we are not good enough to fulfill all of our desires, so that's when God comes puts everyone where they need to be at the right time. We are praying for her that she can get the job and start to live the Gospel.

We are doing great here and we love every moment that we're here. I love being a missionary so much! So many miracles are seen as a missionary, and it is so incredible to be a part of it. I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Elder Babbel → Elder Rios → Elder Olsen → Elder Moncada

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 84 - "Great Week" April 8 - April 14 (Primavera)

I find it amazing to think about all of the missionaries in Jonah's mission, and the other many missions, out in the homes of the Peruvians helping to rebuild and clean up.  The missionaries and the church have provided some great relief in the flooded areas of Peru.  Here is a link.  So happy Jonah is finding joy in service.  Here is his latest news!

So, this week has been a great one! We've been keeping really busy, still doing a lot of service, but also getting back to training and teaching again. It's also been really great to be here during Semana Santa and tomorrow with Pascua. So here in Perú, it has a lot of Spanish traditions which includes Semana Santa, which is basically like celebrating Easter but the whole week. Except there aren't any Easter eggs haha. So if you look at the life of Jesus Christ, His last week was a very special one, and it was kind of a roller coaster. Yesterday, Friday, He was crucified and laid in the tomb, and tomorrow, Sunday, He rose again. Everyone here has been celebrating in a lot of different ways, and we have been sharing different messages about the Resurrection, and it's been a wonderful experience. Just today, we were sitting in a combi (it's like a van that's used for public transportation), and we shared a message to everyone onboard about the importance of Easter today. If you want to know more about Holy Week, 
here's a cool link

During this week, we had 2 different multi-zone conference trainings and they were really fun! We were able talk about extending commitments and we did different practices with the missionaries. It's always really fun to see all of the missionaries together, and it helps us to keep us improving so that we can help the other missionaries as well.

We are still doing services here, but it's a lot less wet which is great. We were helping the same Hermana Juana this week, and we had to tear down her entire roof, so Elder Nuñez and I had a great time with that haha. So the roofs here sometimes vary a lot, but this particular roof was made out of something called calamina (not sure if there's a word for it in English..) but it's basically like metal pieces that kind of fit together, and you just nail it into wood so that it stays. (I think he is talking about corrugated tin) They leak a lot, but most people are okay with it because it basically never rains here.....but it just happened to rain A LOT here, so people were in pretty bad shape. To take her roof off, we just used a ladder and a couple hammers and a brick, and did a mini-demolition kinda thing. Now we just need to get new calamina up and her house will be as good as new, so that'll be great. She couldn't make it to church because of sick kids, but she is very committed for this week. We are so excited for her!

For Pday today, we went to 2 places called Shirán and Poroto, and it was SO COOL!!!! It's like halfway in between the mountains and the coast so it is still hot and humid, but there are huge mountains surrounding it. We took a combi out there and then went out to a look-out that was really beautiful. It was a great little adventure with the group.

Anyway, that was basically our week! We're doing great and we're loving every moment. I hope everyone can have a great Holy Week and Easter! Remember why it's a holiday and be grateful for the sacrifice that He made! I love you all so much!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 83 - "Woohoo!!!" April 1 - April 7 (Primavera)

It looks like the flooding is finally beginning to calm down in Peru.  There is a lot of clean up to do and Jonah and the missionaries have been involved heavily in this.  He mentions in his letter that they have been cleaning up sewage mud - he reassured us that "we are really well taken care of so we have masks, gloves, boots, pennies, and nice showers, so don't worry about us".  Good to see he is able to provide service and still find people to teach!

Hey so we had a super fantastic week!!! I had mentioned the General Conference from last week, and that there were some awesome talks, and they just kept getting better. We had such a great Priesthood Session this year! I loved both Eyring's and Uchtdorf's talks, they were so special. The next day, we had two more wonderful sessions, an announcement of the new Pocatello Idaho Temple (YEAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!), and then, right after the last session, Kenia had her baptism!!! It was SOOOOO great!! Wow, seriously, it was a great baptismal service, it was spirit-packed. We had been kind of rushed with all of the details with conference, and trainings, and mud-slides, so we didn't have the chance to explain Kenia's part about her testimony; we just briefly mentioned it to her. Luckily, she had been paying close attention the week before during the fast and testimony meeting, and learned perfectly how to do so. After she was baptized, she had her chance to shine with the testimony, and said something along these lines, ''I am so grateful to be here today, I'm grateful for all the love and support that I have received from all of you. I come from Huanuco (a long ways from here, up in the mountains) and for many years, I have gone from church to church, looking for something that fills me. I'm give thanks to God that He let me find His church, and I know it is the true church. I know that I'm on the right path, and God has filled me.'' She said it with such conviction and such faith, it just filled the room completely with the sweetest spirit. We're so happy for Hermana Kenia! She has already started to share mormon messages on her Facebook, and we gave her some cards with Jesus Christ and has been inviting people to church with these cards. She is so excited to share the Gospel and will give a great new light to the ward. Hermana Kenia is the best!!!

So then later in the week, we have been able to do a whole bunch of service with the clean up. It's pretty crazy, in some places, the mud came up to the second floor, completely covering the first floors of several houses. Luckily, no one has been seriously hurt, and no missionary either. This week, we have been helping this lady named Hermana Juana. She's a single mother with 5 kids all under the age of 16, and her house was filled with waist-high sewage mud. Elder Nuñez and I, and a couple other missionaries a few times have been able to take out all of the mud, and now we just need to fix her roof. It was really cool because she has been so grateful for the service and many others have seen us and have asked for more help. It made inviting them to church very easy and we've planned to pass by their house to pick up the whole family on Sunday. We also have been up to some of the more affected areas like in the high part of Trujillo to take out more mud and get dirtied up a little bit. We have some fotos of us and the Porvenir Zone and also us in Hermana Juana's house attached.

We also had an interchange on Thursday and Friday, and were with Elder Garrison and Elder Turner. It was such a great day! We have several people progressing and have been able to find several new people that have ''real intent'' to follow Christ and to make changes in their lives. We are finally getting back into the swing of things and are now ready to start leave everyday to teach and calming down with all of the organizing and administrating....thank goodness haha. Next week, we have multi-zone conferences, so we'll be seeing almost all of the missionaries (minus the Cajamarca zone) within 3 days, so that'll be super fun.

Anyway, we are keeping BUSY here, and we are having a ton of fun. Here's one of the mormon messages that came out for Easter it's so cool! Lot's of people are looking for peace right now, and He is the only way to find the real kind. I love you all so much! Get out and serve, be willing to get dirty a little haha, it's fun, enjoy it. I love you, have a great week!

Baptism of Kenia

Family and Friends

Cleanup with the Porvenir Zone

Sewage mud

Mom says "Wash your Hands!"

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Some kind of bird