My companion and I didn't really have a p-day (day off) this week, but we did go to lunch with our zone at Mega Plaza which is a giant mall that feels like America! It was awesome! We ate at Chilis in the AC and then I got a giant Oreo sundae that was beyond amazing. Its funny how missionaries appreciate little things like ice cream from Chilis. When your eating rice and beans 24/7 food from a restaurant like Chilis is a luxury. Then me and my comp left early to attend all of our citas (meetings with investigators). As much as I kind of wanted to stay at Mega Plaza I knew that it was the right thing to go to our citas. I would have to say it was worth it to go. Paulo accepted to be baptized on the 15th! On a daily basis we have about 5ish lessons. Today we actually had 8. My favorite part of the day though was spending the evening with our mamasitas family. We watched Only a Stonecutter and she made us kettle corn. The popcorn in Peru for some reason is ten times better than in the states! Its not greasy and buttery but it still has a butter taste. It's soo good. We then went home only to find out that we were locked out of our room! Ohh shoot! The land lady wasn't home, so we had to break into our own house! It was hilarious. Our back window lines up with our mamasitas kitchen window, so I crawled out through our mamsitas window scaled the roof below us and climbed in through our bedroom window. They all thought I was crazy, but hey it worked! Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not afraid of a little challenge.
Okay so my spiritual awakening this week was that I need to learn how to open my mouth. In my last blog I complained a lot about the language barrier and its true its been really tough. I feel like I can't be myself, and communication is so important to get to know people and build relationships. I've never been one who is afraid to talk, but it can be intimidating to speak in a different language. We have been visiting a Mother named G. She has two children and a husband. She is really interested in repenting and getting married. (A lot of the people here live with their husbands, but never get married because it costs too much money.) Well anyways we were teaching a lesson on repentance, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and baptism. Before the lesson started I said a quiet little prayer that I would be directed by the spirit to know what to say. Even though I honestly couldn't really follow the conversation, I actually received specific promptings of what I should say. Unfortunately, I ignored all the prompting because I was too nervous to open my mouth and didn't want to completely change the topic if I was wrong. A few seconds after I received these promptings my companion would say exactly what I was prompted to say. Then I would think to myself DARN I wish I would just had the courage to open my mouth. At the end of the lesson I thought ohh the plan of salvation pamphlet will be perfect for the next lesson, but again before I could open my mouth my companion whipped out the restoration pamphlet. BUT G started asking questions about what happens to us after death, so now we will have to explain that in a different lesson because I didn't follow the promptings I received. Its hard to explain what these promoptings felt like, but the best way I can write it in words is that I could hear the words being whispered in my ear! Later in my personal study I read 2 Nephi 32-33. It was basically a scolding for not saying what I felt I should say. ("Do you not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tounge of angels_ And now, how could ye speak with the the toungue of angels save it be by the Holy Ghost") Obviously speaking is a challenge and a weakness for me right now because I literally don't know the words to say but i take courage from the words in Nephi 33:4, "And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. AND the WORDS which I have written in WEAKNESS will be made STRONG unto them for it persuadeth them to do good, it maketh known unto them of the fathers and it speaketh of Jesus and persuadeth them to believe in him, and endure to the end, which is eternal life." Nephi a problem similar to mine. His writing is weak like my Spanish, but it doesn't matter because the words testify of Christ. The rest of the week I continued to learn about opening my mouth and following the promptings of the holy spirit. We had a conference with Elder Waddle a member of the 70, and he said that the whole purpose of the conference was to know how to listen and follow the spirit. Then again later this week I was assigned to read chapter 9 in Preach my Gospel for my training and there were two entire sections on the importance of opening your mouth, and tons of scriptures to back it up. So now after all of these things, personal study, conference, and preach my gospel I think its pretty clear that I need to learn how to open my mouth and not be afraid that I don't know the language. This week im going to work on OPENING MY MOUTH.
This week I was also able to see how the lord prepares the people you teach. Our investigator, G, has been having troubles with her husband. She has two kids one doesn't belong to her husband and the other one is special needs. G has given up everything for her children, but her husband hasn't done the same. Her husband was unwilling to pay for her first child's schooling, and would refuse to play with the kids. G has been looking for a way that she could help her family and fix the problems with her spouse. The Jehovahs witnesses came to her door, but never came back, she looked up psychological studies and everything. Then finally we show up! We taught her that families can be together forever, and how to pray. We told her that she can ask God for help with anything. In the next visit she explained to us that she prayed sincerely about the problems with her family and God answered her. Out of nowhere her husband was willing to pay for the education of the first child, and out of nowhere after work one day he actually played with the kids. It was a miracle! I cant wait to continue to teach G about the miracles of the Gospel. I know that it will bring her a lot of happiness.
I also had my first baptism this week! It was sweet it showed me how worth it this work can be!
Its true that companions can be tough. At first I thought that Hermana Olaechea would be perfect. She was the head sister leader and speaks pretty decent English! What more could I ask for right? Well we have had problems. In the first two weeks she expected me to know everything and to do everything perfectly, and I had absolutely no idea what was even going on! We got into some fights that were pretty bad. Then we finally decided that we should probably have an intervention. We met with the zone leaders and received a blessing to help us work through our problems. Now I think things are going to get better. I've been working really hard on humility and distracting myself. When we are walking between lessons its hard because we don't talk to each other and my thoughts drift to home. I really do think the blessing along with fervent prayer have helped though because I am getting less homesick now, and things are starting to make sense.
This has truly been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Everything that is familiar has been stripped away. I feel like I've lost my family, my ability to communicate and love others, my warm house, and I feel like I've even lost myself to some degree. But despite all of these things I know that I will always have my Heavenly Father. Even though a mission is difficult, it is only really hard for a small amount of time. Soon enough I'll pick up the language, and soon enough I'll be able to make friends that will feel like family. Until then perseverance is the key.
Here are some of my favorite quotes for my mission so far:
"I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it."
I love this quote because this is not easy AT ALL! I'm really struggling over here, but I know that in the end it will be worth it. I know that I will be a better person and I know that I will bless the lives of so many people
Another quote that I like is
"God will never give us something that we cant handle."
I've thought about the chance to come home. I've thought that oh maybe this mission isn't actually for me, its too hard. But God will never give us something that we cant handle. I know that I can do this.
Thank you for all your prayers, emails and support! It means so much to know that you are thinking of me. I love you all!