The Pancha Manca, basically, food cooked in a hole in the ground.
Dear Family and Friends,
Sooo were still working hard down here in Peru! We have our tarde blanca this coming up weekend, I'm really excited and it should be fun!
All of our teaching is going well! J is preparing for baptism. He is 16 and has been attending seminary and church for about a month. He is ready for baptism this Saturday at the tarde blanca! We have been through ups and downs with J because at first he just wanted an excuse to get out of his house, and his parents would let him leave if he was going to talk to the missionaries. However, after talking and teaching him, he has developed a testimony of his own and really has this desire to be baptized into the church!
Other investigator is M. We were so, so happy because M finally came to church this week! We found M about 2 months ago he has a huge desire to be baptized but is having a hard time with commitments. I think we finally broke through to him when we gave him a tour of the church.He is now more comfortable and is even assisting with some of the activities with the young adults!We are trying to teach him the importance of enduring to the end,and that repentance is a process not just a single baptism event. He came to church on SUnday and although I know he thought it was extremely boring he stayed for all three hours, and even came back for an activity Sunday night! His baptismal date is for next month!
For p-day we made pancha manca de la tierra! It was so interesting, here is the process:
1. Dig a pit in the ground.
2. Heat up giant rocks.
3. Put the potatoes in the bottm of the pit
4. Cover the potatoes with some of the hot rocks
5. Throw in the different kinds of meats. Which included pig, guinea pig, chicken.
6. Layer it with the hot rocks.
7. Put the tamales on top
8. Cover the hole with tarp
9. Cover the tarp with dirt
10. Let everything cook in the ground with the hot rocks for 1 hour
11. Uncover the hole and take everything out!
I would never think to cook something like that… its probably not super sanitary either! But it tasted really good actually! It was like a pot of stew in the ground with meat potatoes and hot rocks! Just kind of crazy but its traditional here so that was cool that all the missionaries were able to try it.
I have been thinking a lot about my own testimony lately and one way that my testimony has really grown is through the power of prayer. Almost every single lesson we teach we promise people that God will answer their prayers. I really do testify of this power, if we pray and demonstrate our faith, God will answer us. recently, we have had a difficult time finding new people to teach so we said a prayer for references, the next door we knocked on had a reference for us! Milares is a jovencita and her friend has been coming to activities but not to church. It was a perfect answer to our prayer.
GIFTS FORM GOD:
This Sunday we had a lesson on los dones del espiritu. The gifts of the spirit. I started to think about how I have witnessed every single spiritual gift on my mission.
1. The Gift of tongues, interpretation of tongues and translation.
I am a witness to these gifts every single day that I am in Peru. It is a MIRALCE how far I have come with the language in 5 short months. I came into the field not knowing hardly any Spanish, I couldn't speak or understand. Honestly, it was one of the most challenging and frustrating things that I have ever been through. But now just a couple months later, I understand, I can teach, I can express my self in another language. I can read. I pray for the gift of tongues multiple times a day, during lessons, in the morning, and studying the scriptures. Once while we were teaching a lesson, I was really frustrated because I couldn’t understand what our investigator was saying. I could pick up some words but I just couldn't focus on what she was saying. I said a quick little prayer in my heart for the gift of interpretation of tongues. Immediately after I said that prayer I started to pick things up, I understood her needs. She was explaining to us how she felt like she was never good enough, and how she has been though a lot of trials and a lot of mistakes, she also has 3 kids, and no husband.. I was so thankful for the gift of interpretation of tounges in the moment because I was able to help her feel better, and explain to her Gods love for her. I have experiences with the gift of tongues almost daily and I know it is real.
2. The Gift of Knowledge and Wisdom
I have witnessed this gift in my companion. Hermana Cadenas was baptized when she was 18, not giving her a lot of time to learn or opportunities to learn the scriptures before her mission. When we were first put together as companions she had a hard time finding the scriptures that she wanted to share making teaching a challenge. NOW she is a scriptorian! She can flip to any scripture and her knowledge of the bible, the book of Mormon, and all of the other doctrine grows daily. Its amazing how God has blessed her with the knowledge and the wisdom to be able to teach people and the gift to know that Jesus is the Son of God.
3. I also sincerely believe that to have faith is gift from God. The perfect example is a family that we are teaching. The parents J and C are complete opposites. C definitely has the gift of faith. She is so accepting of what we teach. In fact, the second time we went to visit her she told us that she knew the Church of Jesus Christ was the true church. She has a tremendous amount of faith in God,and it is evident by the way she carries herself. It is such a blessing to have this gift because she doesn't doubt anything, she is steadfast and immovable in faith. On the other hand her husband struggles with faith. He somewhat believes there is a God or some superior being, but doesn't believe in churches or religion. He thinks they are all here as businesses. Its really hard to teach someone with out this gift of faith because they cant understand.
4. The gift of prophecy
The prophets receive revelation for the entire world, but we can receive person revelation. I receive personal revelation every single day. In lessons, walking down the street, before I go to bed. I'm always listening for the promptings of the spirit.
5. The Gift of Healing
In the Church worthy priesthood holders can give blessings of health. Last week I was really sick. I don’t know what it was, but we went to a members house for her birthday and literally the entire time I was laying on her sofa throwing up, it was awful. There was no way that I could have gone out and worked, I had no strength and I was so sick. We called the elders to come give me a blessing of health. Elder Moody blessed me and said that this wouldn't interfere with my work, and that I would be healed and continue to serve. It was literally a miracle. After the blessing I truly felt better I stopped throwing up, and I was able to go out for all of our proselyting hours. We taught 5 lessons in 3 hours. It was a little missionary miracle.
I bear witness of all of the spiritual gifts that we can receive. Its important to realize what gifts we posses and utilize our gifts to the best of our ability. Because every single person is different and posses different gifts but we all have them, and we are all witnesses of the miracles that they bring.
Love you all! See you next summer!