Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Week 19 & 20

December 28, 2015


Our zone after Christmas dinner!!  We had a pinata! 

So for those of you who aren't my family, this is what has happened the past two weeks:

TRANSFERS! Right now I am in Tarapoto, in the area Partido Alto (which directly translates to the tall part, and everyone thinks it's hilarious that I'm so tall and I'm serving in the tall part).  
View from a member/neighbor's home!

The wonderful Tarapoto jungle!

Tarapoto is super cool.  It's jungle but it also has lots of mountains, so it basically looks like a greener, poorer Utah.  It's pretty cold here too. During the day its hot, but in the mornings I always wake up freezing. I'ts quite the change from Iquitos.

My companion is Hermana Inca, who is hilarious! She's so funny and crazy and I have lots of fun with her.  She´s from Lima and has been studying English for most of her schooling, so she can speak English pretty well! We still talk in Spanish because my Spanish is actually better than her English haha!

Christmas dinner with my new companion, Sister Inca, and my zone!

We have lots of fun pretending she cant speak Spanish. Lots of times we'll pretend she's from California and she´s a new missionary and I´m teaching her Spanish. The people actually believe it sometimes.  One time we started talking to a lady and she looked at my companion and said "where is that gringa from?" which in my opinion was kinda rude.  Hermana Inca looked at me and so I responded with "I'm from the United States, and so is my companion.  Sorry she doesn't understand Spanish!" The lady actually believed us and then tried to redeem herself by complimenting me on my Spanish hahaha. We never actually told her the truth ...it was funny!

Also I learned something interesting this week in Spanish that I felt like I should share... Studies in Spanish is "estudios", which if you separate the letters says "es tu dios", which in English means "is your god" and I don't know I thought it was hilarious because really, during finals week, your studies really are basically your God! (Since so many of my friends just finished finals!)

I don't know, I have lots of stories but I don't know which ones to share! Hermana Inca always has to go the bathroom when we're out proselyting.  One time we literally ran into an ice cream store, (which is basically just someones front room, where they have a freezer with ice cream you can buy) and asked to use the owner´s bathroom, and luckily she let us. But then we were like, we need to contact this lady, we need to talk to her about the gospel. So we decided to buy ice cream so she would come out from her house into the front room.  This would let us see her and talk to her. So not only did we get ice cream, but we also got to share the gospel with her, and now we´re going back to visit her today!  We call her the ice cream and toilet lady haha.
Basically I have a lot of other stories similar to that, where we used the sketchiest bathrooms!

Tarantula we found in the sink outside our apartment!

That's my week, more stories to come!!
Love you all!!
Hermana Gurney

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 18

December 14, 2015

and thus ends my second transfer in the field...

I´ll find out tonight if I change companions or areas or whateverI.  I actually have no idea what's going to happen tonight. Everyone is saying Hermana Tituaña is going to leave the area but at the same time, it's possible that we´ll be together another transfer. So I don´t know! I´ll let you guys know next week where I am and who I´m with!

Since this week was the last week of the transfer, we yet again, had another Hermana with us in Secada so she could do paperwork in Iquitos. Hermana Jackson! She´s super awesome, also from the United States, and she also started her mission in Secada. So she knows a lot about this area and the people LOVE her, I felt like I knew who she was before she even came because everyone talks about her! (It was also awesome because I got a lot of her extra clothes ;) ) 

All the missionaries in my ward with our Bishop.  He is leaving to go to Lima and we are super sad.  He's like the best Bishop ever!  From left to right ... Elder Fox, his companion, Elder Huamani, Elder Plaza (who doesn't have a companion this transfer because his companion when home sick ... so he is just with members), the Bishop, Hermana Jackson, Hermana Tituana, and me! 

What else? Presidente and Hermana Gomez came with us to visit a family in our area and it was super nervewracking, but we survived! Haha!  We got to ride in their car (it's my first time in a legit car since the CCM and it was super strange!) and they came with us to teach a family of recent converts in our area. They have three teenage boys who NEVER listen when we go to teach them, but for some reason they were super attentive and it made for SUCH a good lesson. We talked about the spirit of Christmas and then the mom of this family bore her testimony about how much the church has changed and influenced her life and it was such a special sweet moment that I never want to forget. It was also pretty funny because Presidente and Hermana Gomez drove their nice new Honda in these neighborhoods where nobody has anything, and then they just left it parked next to some houses while we went and taught. I was super worried someone was going to steal the car, but I guess Presidente has much more faith that I do, because when we finished the lesson, their car was still there and untouched! It was borderline a miracle.

Hmm... other than that nothing really interesting happened this week besides getting rejected a lot but thats okay, because it really taught me in the importance of choosing to be happy. Everyone always said happiness is a choice but to be honest I never really believed them. How can happiness be a choice when bad things are always happening? Hermana Tituaña taught me that when she first started out her mission, she hated it, but she wanted to be happy. So every time she thought of something sad, or complained, she sang a hymn. She just forced herself not to think about it. So I tried that this week, and even though I had so many reasons to be discouraged, I just sang hymns and smiled. And yeah, even though I was discouraged at times, I forced myself to be happy and I really felt that I could be happy. I could smile, and I could brush off the rejection and it made my week SO MUCH better. 

So I guess that's my advice for anyone struggling to be happy right now, just force yourself not to think of the bad. Sing a happy song, smile, and just pretend to be happy, and before you know it, you really will be happy and you won't know why!

My feet and shoes after one significantly long day of rainstorms

With Hermana Jimenez, my sister training leader, and one of my most favorite people ever!
She finished her mission today!  

Okay I love you all!
Hermana Gurney

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Week 17

December 7, 2015

So this week was kind of hard... I finally felt comfortable speaking Spanish in our lessons but then it hit me this week that I can speak in lessons but I can't talk and be friends with anyone.  Most of the members run up and hug my companion, but then they just greet me like just another person.  Lots of them will even talk to my companion about me, with me standing right there. It was kind of frustrating. Even when I was trying my hardest to ask them questions and just talk to them... it seemed like it didn't change anything.  But I know with time I will be able to do it! Just for now I have to struggle!

Fun thing we did this week: Sanded down the wall of a member´s house so they could then paint it.  We were covered in dust from the previous paint  afterwards but it started raining and washed it all off.  So I couldn't get a picture of me covered in paint dust. I do have a picture of us sanding the wall though! hahaha

Sanding down the wall ... everyone thought it was so funny that I only need a stool to reach the top!  

So down here they have a superstition, that if it rains on the first day of December, it means this winter season is going to be full of rain.  And so guess what happened the first day of December this year? It rained and it rained hard.  Basically it hasn´t stopped raining since Tuesday, so I guess their superstition is correct.  It's actually a big pain because all the roads are sand, so when it rains we have to walk in mud and my legs are always super gross and dirty when we get home at night. Also it prevents anyone from going anywhere. Usually we have 200 people come to church each Sunday, but this past Sunday only 70 people came, mostly because of the rain. So while I love the rain because it cools things down, I also hate it hahaha.

A sweet story though- we´re teaching this sweet elderly couple that want to get baptized, but they have to get married first.   It's a huge pain to get married because they don't have their birth certificates ... it's going to take a long timeeee.  They have no money, like literally no money. They walk to church every Sunday (except this past Sunday because of the rain...) and neither of them can walk well!  They walk with their canes and they leave their house at like 7 am in the morning. It made me really think about my life.. if my car wasn't working one Sunday would I walk all the way to church? I don't know if I would... They´re certainly a great example to me of the importance of going to church!
The sweet elderly couple that always walks to church! 

Yeah and basically that's all that happened this week.. lots of rain, lots of mud!
I hope you guys all have a fantastic week!!!!!!
Happy early Christmas! Feliz Navidad!
Hermana Gurney

We sprayed cockroach repellent before we left the house.
We found about 10 dead cockroaches under our beds when we came home.  

Monday, November 30, 2015


November 30, 2015

So I don't really know what to talk about this week...

We found another family that really seems to want to progress... they're just never home haha. The mom and dad work all day every day so we can never go visit them at a set time. It´s kind of rough. It's a fun story on how we found them... so like a month or so ago we contacted the driver of a motokar and he told us he wanted us to come visit his family and share our message with them.  We wrote down his address and told him we'd come by that Thursday.  When we went to go find his address, we couldn't find the street he lived on and so we couldn't go visit him.  But then THAT night, we took another motokar back to our apartment, and guess who was driving it? The same guy we had just been looking for! So then he told us where is street was and we promised to come by the next week. The next week we start looking for his house on the street.  We know we have the right street but we couldn't find his house haha. We got really discouraged cause it seemed like too much of a coincidence that we contacted him twice. So we decided to ask everyone who lived on this street if they knew a Sergio. And that worked! We were able to find his house... only his wife was home. She told us that her husband had been telling her about us and that she was so happy we found her, and she told us to come by the next day. So we come by the next day... and no one is home haha.  So then as we were walking to our next appointment, the wife drives by and sees us and so we start talking to her and set up another appointment in the morning. The next morning we go and visit them and both the husband and wife were there (it was such a miracle) and they were like "we want to get baptized" so yeah we´re now working with this family, whenever they´re home.  We´re going to go visit them this week again so hopefully we can visit them at a time when they are all there!

Also this week on Saturday our stake had a service activity where we went into Iquitos and cleaned the streets.. but in proselyting clothes. So it was super confusing because we were there in white shirts and ties or dresses cleaning the streets... hahaha but it was good. The only problem was I forgot my sunscreen.... so yeah I'm basically a lobster right now.  It doesn't actually hurt that bad, only when I'm sleeping cause then its rubbing against my burn. But now I have a nice watch tan! I'm going to try to find aloe vera today in the stores but I don't actually know what its called in spanish so wish me luck finding it!

Also fantastic news: they all gave us DVDs of general conference... and mine is in ENGLISH! so I get to listen to general conference in English whenever I want! (okay well not really whenever, but when I have "time" I get to watch it! yay!!)

(Thank you to Sister Cummings for sending me a package.  I haven't opened yet I'm trying to be patient and follow the instructions on the box and not open it until Christmas, but it certainly is veryyyy tempting! even my companion is dying to open it hahaha)

Okay I love you all! Thank you so much for your examples and love and emails!
Talk to you next week!
Hermana Gurney

Week 15

November 23, 2015

So this week was kind of rough...

Remember our family of gold? Well they told us they don't  want to keep meeting with us anymore.. we´re not exactly sure why.  We think it might be because there were so many problems with getting their marriage papers.  They blamed us for that because we told them they could be married the beginning of November and now its almost December and their papers still haven't arrived. (Funny coincidence, the papers arrived the day after they told us this.)  Also apparently some guy came to their house and told them lots of bad things about the church.  We talked to the Bishop about this and he told us there's an excommunicated member who goes around telling people lies about the church.  We don't know if it was him or not, and if it was him, we don't know how he even found this family, but yeah needless to say they told us they don't want to keep talking to us.  Were going to try to go back one time this week and bring their marriage papers and remind them of the blessings they are walking away from, but we don´t know if this will even help much.  

It was kind of hard on us, but in another way I think it was actually good.  It brought me and Hermana Tituaña closer together and so now we can work harder and in more unity.

Us with Alis (in the pink shirt).  She is 14 and the sweetest girl ever!  She is going through some rough times but she started coming to church with us and reading her scriptures.  We are so proud of her!  Carol is hugging Sister Tituna.  

Us with Carol ... she is a young woman in our ward.  Teddy is the blurry face ... he kept trying to mess up our photo.
Funny ... I don't even know the little girl!

On a brighter note, we ran into missionaries for the Adventist church (I think that's what its called in English...) Anyways it was hilarious ... they just walk down the street singing about how they have the truth and Christ is coming and what not, and then they have little kids run in front of them handing out papers advertising the church... they even handed us some.  I just thought, wow there is a huge difference between their missionary work and our missionary work... we have more power and success because I know we have actually been directed by God as to how to help people.  

This week we were able to help an investigator decorate for Christmas!! I didn't think I was going to be able to decorate a Christmas tree this year, but I did! Basically this sweet sister needed help setting up her fake Christmas tree because her husband is only home at night, and so we volunteered to come help her one morning... set it up and decorate it with her kids. It was super fun.. it was a little strange setting up a Christmas tree in the middle of November, but to be honest, we have been seeing Christmas trees since the day after Halloween. Everyone here is in love with Christmas. 

Also this week we had a zone conference! so basically we spent all morning and half of the afternoon in meetings with Presidente Gomez. We learned A LOT and we now realize that we need to improve A LOT but we're working hard on that. It was also great because they combined two zones together for the conference.. so my Hermanas from the CCM were there and so it wasn't quite so lonely. It was super long and it was in a room that was air conditioned so we were all FREEZING, but then we left and started sweating again so it's all good. Haha   Another funny story, one young woman told us that her grandma said she always laughs when she sees us pass by her house because Hermana Tituaña is always sweating hard, and I just look like a doll.  It was super kind of her but I'm not sure its true because I certainly don't feel like a doll when were walking around.. I'm definitely sweating just as much as she is, but apparently i don't show it as much hahaha.

Anyways, despite our great challenge of losing our golden family, this week was actually pretty good!  We found new people, a lot of the less active people we are teaching came back to church this past Sunday, and the work is going well!

I love you all!! Happy almost thanksgiving!!
Hermana Gurney

Since Thanksgiving is this week ... I wanted to add a note that she shared with her brother Jared.  "Something that helps me be happier when I'm worrying is to make a list of five blessings or things I'm grateful for everyday. I usually write them down or tell them to Heavenly Father in my prayers. Sometimes its really hard to think of five, but I make myself do it. Little by little ... it becomes easier and easier to think of five so sometimes I change it to 6 or 7.  During the day something funny will happen and I'll be like OH this is my blessing for the day! and then I´m super happy because something good just happened! It has really helped me be happier when things are hard" 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 14

I now officially have three months in the mission! only 15 more to go....! ahhh!

So basically this week was kind of uneventful ... nothing really crazy or cool or interesting happened!

This is Yolanda.  She is very sweet and comes out with us to visit people.
She is moving and wanted a picture with us!  
We went to help this sweet elderly couple wash their clothes this week, and needless to say their "house" is really humbling.  I don't even know if I could even call it a house. It has four walls and a roof, but nothing else.  The walls are just pieces of wood that are kind of stuck together to make a wall and the roof is just a giant thing of metal.  They have two rooms, a room with a bed and another with a table. There's no oven or anything to cook with, and the bathroom is in the backyard.  It doesn't have a sink or anything, just a toilet. It was really sad... it definitely made me appreciate the house that I do have and in the United States.  So if you even find yourself complaining about your house.. remember that at least you have a sink. :)

Here is me hand washing clothes ... it's actually a lot easier than I thought it would be! 
We also went to visit a family of less actives this week, the mom and the daughters are so awesome.  They want to start coming back to church and they try to read their Book of Mormon whenever they can, but the dad is struggling.  He´s an alcoholic that keeps saying he wants to change but he can´t.  We keep telling him ... God will help you! He wants you to overcome your addiction and he will help you! It will be hard but have faith in God and yourself! and he still doesn´t do anything... he´s like "no matter how hard I try I will never change".  So we´re kind of at a loss for what to do to help him.  We´re trying to find members who at one point in their life were struggling with an addiction to help show him that it is possible, but there's not really anyone. We pray for him all the time but we can't really help him if he doesn't try to change.. at least the rest of his family is progressing and can show an example!

Our Golden family is now going to get married the 27th and baptized the 28th. We finally got all the paperwork in and were just waiting for the birth certificate of the dad to come in the mail so they can go get married.  It seems like the date just keeps getting later and later.. I hope we don't have anymore problems because we´ve been waiting for this day for like a whole two months!! 

My Spanish is somewhat getting better.. haha basically I can say what I want to say most of the time when we´re teaching lessons and talking about church things, but when we have conversations about like normal stuff, I'm clueless. But at least I can function in lessons, which is the most important thing for now. 
Two sweet little girls named Genesis and Nicole.  They are like six and four.  They are daughters of two of our recent converts.  They call us "chicas bonitas" which is just like pretty girls and the love to pet my skin and try on my glasses.  

Sorry I have no funny stories... except I guess my Spanish is funny cause everyone laughs, although I couldn't tell you why it was funny cause I didn´t understand their joke!  haha

I love you all!
Hermana Gurney

I had a couple questions ... 

Are you a adjusting to the heat?  
I don't know if I've adjusted to the heat or if I've just adjusted to sweating all the time.  When it rains it really cools down, so I love it when it rains, and in the nights its pretty cool too.  I only really have problems with the heat when we work in the mornings.  But I've really strengthened my forearms by fanning myself with the pamphlets we have hahaha.. everyone keeps telling me that Iquitos is the hottest place in the whole mission, so if I get transferred outside of Iquitos, I wont worry too much about the heat, so I'm looking forward to that! 

I asked if she eats in member's homes... 
Most people don't offer us food, sometimes members offer us dinner and I tried explaining to Hna Tituaña to explain to them that we can't eat it because I don't want to get sick, but she always accepts the food so then I feel bad not accepting it.  I usually pray and ask that the food won't make me sick before we eat it. But then after I got sick that one week, it kind of scared Hna Tituaña so now we just politely refuse and say we have a pensionista.  Most often though they offer us sodas or crackers from their store, and those were allowed to eat, so I accept those.

Week 13?

November 9, 2015

So ... this week was transfers and (drum roll please....) I'm staying in Secada with Hna Tituaña! haha That was actually no surprise since we've both only been in Secada for one transfer and she is training me, but just thought you should know.  Also they decided to split our area, and they sent in two new elders to work in half of our area.  So we lost a few of our investigators, but luckily we still have the Golden Family! ;)

Speaking of which, remember how I told you they were getting married last Saturday? Yeah ...it didn't happen ... there's been some problems with their paperwork and its been this huge mess for us.  Now it looks like they won't be able to get married until the 21st or maybe even later.. we´re not sure. I´ll keep you updated! They still have the desire to get married and baptized, so keep praying for them!

It was pretty sweet, the other day the Mom of the Golden family told us that when we first showed up at her door she thought we looked happy, and when she talked to us she noticed that we seemed to have this light, or this happiness, that she wanted. That is why she kept talking to us.  When she went to church she noticed that same happiness in the families of the members and decided she wanted that for her family. It was so sweet because even though I sometimes can´t really talk to her, I tried to always smile and act Christ-like.  It made my day that she actually noticed that and that it made a difference!

Hmm what else... for our service this week guess what we did? No, we didn't weed a lawn, like we always do, this time we hand washed stuffed animals! It was very interesting... but there's a first time for everything! It was for this sweet family of recent converts who have two cute little girls who call me "chica bonita" (pretty girl, basically) and always come up and pet my skin.. haha. I wanted to get a picture with them to send to you, but they were at school when we went to visit them. maybe next week!  

Remember how I told you that basically everyone here is less active in the church? This week basically proved that. We contacted so many people and legit almost all of them are members.  It's pretty funny cause they won't tell you right out that they're members.  Well be like "hey, we're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have you heard of this church?" and they'll be like "yeah" and we'll ask "what have you heard?" "lots of things" "well we want to invite you to church this Sunday because we know it's the true church, blah blah blah.. do you think you can come with us this Sunday?" "yeah, well I'm a member of your church"... like wow maybe you should have said that when we asked if you had heard of us.  Anyways it's pretty funny.  We´ve been working a lot with less actives this week and hopefully we can help some of them!

Hmmm... also a Hermana in our ward just came home from her mission in Chile! So now we have a returned missionary to accompany us to our different lessons, and she is awesome! I asked her if she knew an Elder Crane, because I knew he was serving in Chile but I didn't know what mission.  She said she recognizes the name but she doesn't know him... so she might actually have been in the same mission as Josh Crane haha!

Anyways ... sorry this week I also don't have many pictures cause we didn't really do anything on pday and I kept forgetting to bring my camera with me places, but I do have some with members!
Us with Estefani ... she is 18 and a recent convert.  She's always so happy and willing to talk with us!
She's awesome!
With Estefani (again) and Rahicy (a member who literally always comes out with us on visits.  She's the best) They're super cute and I love them despite the fact that they always make fun of my Spanish.  :) 

Love you all!
Hermana Gurney 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Week 12

Hola Hola!

So today marks the first day of my second transfer in Iquitos... I officially have complete my first transfer! ahhh! As of tomorrow, I will no longer be one of the newest missionaries in the field. 

We don't find out about transfers until tonight at 9:30, but most likely me and Hna Tituaña will stay in Secada because she´s training me and you usually stay with your trainer for 12 weeks, and also because were both new to the area. 

This week was pretty great.. partially because we were in a trio (surprise!).  Basically what happens is that the missionaries who are ending their missions who are not in Iquitos need to come to Iquitos for their last week to do paperwork and stuff.  So Hermana Jensen, (a gringa!) came from Tarapoto to Iquitos for this past week to get ready to leave.  It was pretty awesome.  She only talked Spanish to me though, which was really good because I need to practice my Spanish, but it was nice having her there to translate when I needed help. She´s also a super good missionary, like in all our lessons she just said exactly what the investigators needed to hear, and was always direct and to the point while still being loving.  Basically, we learned a lot about how to teach from her. It was also really great because then when we were in lessons I had a lot more confidence to actually speak Spanish because I knew if I wasn't sure how to say something I could ask her.  I actually surprised myself by speaking coherent Spanish without her help! Like I really saw an improvement in my Spanish skills, and I think its all due to Hermana Jensen haha. Anyways so yeah this week was pretty great. 

Hermana Jensen!

A fun spiritual experience: This one woman we were teaching was never keeping her commitments, like she wasn't reading the Book of Mormon and wasn't praying and wasn't going to church, so we went to go visit her and tell her we needed to stop visiting her because she wasn't progressing.  So we go tell her that we might have to drop her if she doesn't start reading this book. And then I bore my testimony about how some days I don´t really want to be here in Peru.. I would so much rather be in the United States, with my family, speaking a language I know, and just being in peace and comfort. But I´m here in your house teaching you, in a language I don´t speak, because I know the Book of Mormon is true, and I know that if you read this book, you will feel the same way I do.  You will feel peace, comfort, joy, and the love of God in your life. I didn´t really feel like it made a difference, but we decided to visit her another time and she had started reading the Book of Mormon!! Ahhh!! So apparently my testimony really changed something and that made me so happy! 

Also our golden family is getting married this Saturday!! ahhh!!! Well actually there has been a few problems with their marriage papers, so were hoping they'll get married this Saturday, if not definitely the Saturday after! But I just wanted to share an excerpt of our lesson the other day that just proves how golden they are: "So what is tithing?" "A way to show our love for God and our gratitude for all he gives us. We give a little bit of our money to receive even more blessings!" Like you can´t find investigators much better than that. They are perfect, i get happy just thinking about visiting them.

The Golden Family!

I do have a funny story.. We walked past a parrot the other day and so Hna Tituaña said "hola" and it responded with "hola" and then I said "hola!!" and it whistled back at me.  Like the catcalling type of whistled.  It was hilarious... even the parrots here can tell that I´m a gringa.

Me and a Parrot ... not the same one that whistled at me! haha!
Also the pictures I'm about to send are from Quistococha, which is basically just a zoo in the 
Amazon Rain Forest.  It's pretty cool, and actually pretty touristy.  It was especially cool cause we could get pretty close to the animals, since they didn't have the same protections that normal zoos have.. and it was in the jungle!  

Lake in Quistococha

Actual Piranhas

Just some cool scenery ... you can't really see me haha ... but enjoy the scenery

Swinging on a vine in the Amazon Rain Forest ...life doesn't get much better than that!

Alright I love you all tons, hope you had a happy halloween!!
(Here halloween is on November first and it's called dia de los defuntos, all they really did was have a parade at night which we couldn't see cause it started when we were already in bed... but we got to listen to it hahaha)

Anyways have a great week!

Hermana Gurney

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 11 ... full of challenges

Hola todos....

This week we started teaching a man who was very difficult to understand. Not just because he spoke Spanish but also because he is missing like half his teeth.  He also he doesn't have control over the left side of his body so he can only talk with half his mouth.  Needless to say, I don´t understand him hardly at all... hahaha   BUT he was really nice and he told us he had been praying for a message from God.  When we showed up to visit him, he just knew we were an answer to his prayers.  So we´re going to try to visit him again tonight.

The other day, one guy started arguing with us about baptism.   I was able to share a scripture from the bible...it was awesome.  Basically, he was saying that we need to baptize just in the name of Jesus Christ because that's how it says to do it in the Bible.  We were like no, you baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.  He was like "where in the Bible does it say that?" and so I pulled out Matthew 28:19 which literally says exactly what we were telling him. He was like so shocked too that he didn´t know what to say.  So we asked him where in the Bible it says to baptize just in the name of Jesus Christ?   He searched for forever and couldn´t find it.  Anyways that was one of my proud moments from this week ... hahaha!
This week I had the joy and also horror of being companions with Hna Fink again for 24 hours... hahaha.   Hna fink´s companions is Hermana Jimenez, the sister training leader. and she needs to do "visitas de trabajo" which is where she goes and works in an area with one of the Hermanas there to see how the work is going.  So she came to Secada this week to work with Hna Tituaña.   I went with Hna Fink to their area in Las Colinas.  It was pretty terrifying since neither of us know Spanish at all. It was fun to reconnect with her but neither of us could really communicate with the people and I think we just confused everyone there.  We had a member with us for a few of the lessons, so we relied on her to explain basically everything.. but in general i think we did okay hahaha. I mean it wasn´t as bad as i thought it would be.  I just had to have lots of faith that we could help these people despite the language barrier.  Needless to say it gave us a greater appreciation for our Spanish speaking companions.

On a lighter note; our "golden" family has a baptismal and marriage date! They're planning on getting married the 7th of November and then the 14th they want to get baptized. We´re going to try to get them to be baptized the same day as their marriage, but we´ll see how it goes.  I´m super excited for them!!!

Anyways I love you all! i hope everything is going awesome back in the good old United States.. keep being awesome and keep trusting in God cause He knows best and everything will work out ;)

Hermana Gurney

Lunch on P-Day with my CCM sisters and their companions!

My district ... we went to help a sister weed her lawn.  
Left to right:  Elder Droubay, Elder Greene, Elder Uribe, Elder Plaza, Elder Steffenson, and Elder Vasquez.  
Elders Droubay and Greene were in the CCM with me.  
Elders Uribe and Steffenson are the zone leaders and Elder Plaza is the district leader.   
My zone ...  back row left to right:  Elders Steffensen, Greene, Robertson, Nerdin,
Droubay, Taylor, me, and Hermana Tituana
front row left to right:  Elders Mamani, Tapara, Uribe, Vasquez, Plaza, Ruiz

Week 10 ... finally in the double digits

Buenas Dias!

Sadly, I got sick this week.  I had a fever Monday night that lasted all the way till Wednesday morning.   I had to go to the clinic to make sure it wasn't dengue fever. It wasn't so no worries!  I only had some viral infection, and I'm feeling way better now.  Anyways they had to take blood and give me a shot... Hermana Jimenez (my sister training leader who came with me to the clinic) said the shot they gave me was about two inches long...I didn't look because I knew if I did I would faint.  I´m way better now, no worries, it was just really hard not being able to hardly do anything at the beginning of the week.

Okay on to lighter topics

Here are some funny things I have neglected to mention in past emails:

Everyone here wears shirts with English on it, and I just barely started reading their shirts the other day.   It has proven to be one of the funniest experiences of my life.  One thirty year old mom with two kids was wearing a shirt that said "I love bad girls" and another mom was wearing a shirt to church with about five swear words on it.  It was so funny. I tried explaining it to Hna Tituaña, but apparently I didn't do a good job cause she didn´t find it nearly as funny i did. 

Also the dogs here... there's no animal control so there are dogs everywhere. It's really heart breaking actually cause most of them are starving to death or dead or wandering around with no purpose. Hna Tituaña is like deathly afraid of dogs. She won't go anywhere near them...which is pretty difficult to do considering the amount of dogs here.  So like the first week I thought dogs in Peru were rabid and would chase you down because my companion would avoid them at all costs.  It wasn't until recently that I realized the dogs are too tired to even move, let alone chase you down.  Now I have to lead the way past the dogs otherwise Hna Tituaña wont move.
On to missionary work- the family I told you about last week, the family of gold? They all came to a baptism on Saturday and then to church on Sunday! One of their daughters says she wants to get baptized, but the whole family is waiting for all of them to get an answer and then they´ll all get baptized.  We also need to wait for them to get married, so our goal is to have them married by the beginning of November.  Wish us luck!  This family is fantastic.

We have a few other investigators but none of them are really progressing and its hard.  They always want us to come share a message about Jesus Christ, but then they don`t ever do anything else about it.  That has been the biggest struggle here I think.  I'm actually pretty lucky to be in the area that I am because everyone is so accepting of the gospel.

Anyways I love you all tons and I miss you tons! keep being awesome! Sorry if I can't respond to all your emails but I appreciate all of them!
Hermana Gurney

On p-day, we climbed a tower ... you can see the jungle, homes, and part of the airport.
It was pretty sweet!

The Jungle!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Week 9 in the Life of the Famous Gringa

Hola! Hola! Hola!

First off, I´d just like to point out that I have officially been a missionary for two months! TWO MONTHS! That's a long time! It has been one of the best and hardest experiences of my life! 

Height Problems!  HA!

Some funny stories from this week:

Peruvians really don´t understand the concept of a sunburn. We went to go help a lady in the ward weed her front yard, and so naturally I put on my spf 50 sunscreen before hand because I knew I was going to be working in the sun! Anyways, we get there and after like 10 minutes this sweet Peruvian lady brings out a sweater for me to wear to protect my skin.  I tried to explain that I had put on sunscreen to protect my skin, but I guess either she didn't understand or doesn't think my spf 50 is enough.   Basically I was forced into wearing a sweater for two hours while I worked. Needless to say, I didn't get a sunburn, but I sure did almost die of heat stroke. It was super sweet of them to worry, but I don´t think they understand how really minor a sunburn can be hahaha. 

Also: I saw my first tarantula this week.  This family we´ve been visiting have a pet tarantula in this jar that they always show me... its pretty disgusting.  Then after they show me this in a jar, the next time we visit them another tarantula just walks into the room and the dad just literally steps on it like its no big deal.  I mean this thing was literally the size of my palm, and the dad just steps on it! like that thing could kill you!! (okay well not really but it was pretty terrifying!) Luckily there haven't been any tarantulas in my apartment.  Our apartment is pretty nice compared to the homes of everyone else here, so I hope it stays that way...

Our Apartment!

Also for some reason, it's still a foreign concept to everyone that I have white skin.  I feel like I walk the same streets every day, yet for some reason all the kids still stop and stare.  All the teenage boys yell "hello, miss!"  I feel like I want to start pretending that I actually don't know English.. like I´m from Spain or something, and that I only speak Spanish... just to mess with everyone.  It is starting to get kind of annoying how often I get English sayings yelled at me in a really strong Peruvian accent hahaha!
As far as missionary work, we found this "familia de oro" as Hermana Tituaña calls them, or golden family.  Every time we go to visit them I just feel like they're already Mormon, and its not until they ask questions that I remember they know nothing about our church.  They're really curious to learn.   The dad has a brother who's a member in Trujillo, so they kind of know a little bit.  The best part is their whole family came with us to church yesterday!! They have five kids, so all 7 of them were able to make it to 8 o clock church!! haha It was fantastic.

This week actually went by super fast, I´m surprised.  I tried not to focus on myself and I think that really helped.  I can actually sometimes see my language really improving, so I´m really grateful for that. I still can´t really speak at all, but people tell me all the time that they can understand me and that I pronounce things really well.  So I guess that means I´m good at Spanish? Haha!  Also I was asked to pray out loud in English the other day and I actually had such a hard time doing it... it just felt weird coming out of my mouth because all I ever do is speak Spanish.. hahaha.  I don´t know it was the weirdest thing, but I actually couldn´t talk. 

Anyways, I´m just super grateful for the gospel and God´s help throughout this week.  I know I wouldn´t still be here in Peru if it wasn´t for the gospel.  It´s really hard but every day I find some tender mercy that helps me get through the day and remind me that I can be happy even in my trials! I just want you all to know that God loves you all and that he is there to help you through anything you´re going through!

I love you all!
Hermana Gurney

P-Day FUN!

All the zones when to play futbol at the stadium and two of
my favorite people were there!

All the Hermanas in our zone!

Caught in a rainstorm again ... but without an umbrella!  Jungle problems!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Week Ocho and I Know Poco

Hahaha, well this week I was reminded constantly that I am in fact living in the jungle.  

First off, on Wednesday we had this giant thunderstorm where like the entire city lost power.  The only light we had was my tiny little flashlight and our cell phone.  We also relied heavily on the light from the lightning, when we could actually see where we were walking.  We taught two lessons only having the light of a candle in their house. Since everyone's roof here is just a giant piece of metal, I couldn´t hear anything because the rain pounding on the roof was so loud.  When we would have to walk from house to house in the mud (cause all the streets here are dirt and sand), we were slipping and falling everywhere ... it was a disaster.  Luckily the power came back on after about two hours, so we could finish off the day with light.  Hahaha that was one of those nights that I just had to laugh myself to sleep because what even is my life right now? But you want to hear the best part of this whole story? The locals kept telling us that this was pretty light compared to normal. So be prepared for a lot more thunderstorm horror stories out here in the jungle.

Me during the giant storm.  Please forgive me for looking horrible, that's kind of a
side effect of living in the jungle.

The power went out one night and we had to use this little candle for our light... fun!

Another lovely reminder that I live in the jungle this week was the two cockaroaches (how do you even spell that? cucaracha in espanol hahaha) I found crawling in my closet the other day.  And also the cockaroach that crawled onto my foot during a lesson.  It took all my will power not to scream. 

Anyways, but let's talk about actual missionary work... we don´t really have any investigators right now, so there LOTS of contacting.  But the people here are super nice, we´ll be like "hey we have a message about Jesus Christ, can we share it?" and then they will let us in and listen to our message. I just keep thinking how easy missionary life is down here, hahaha we find new people to teach every day.  Also one of the investigators from the Elders who were in this area before us has a baptismal date for this Saturday! We don´t know if she came to church yesterday, but if she did then she´ll be getting baptized this week! We´re also working a lot with the Fasabi Family, who are recent converts and have three 12 or 13ish year old boys.  They are kind of obsessed with me.  They think its hilarious that I don´t understand them and that I can´t say anything.  We went and weeded in their backyard on Wednesday, and one of the boys came over and held an umbrella over me while I worked so I wouldn´t get so hot.  At church they always come up and sit by me and try talking to me but I obviously never really know what they're saying and they just laugh. It´s pretty cute though.

As for the food down here, I´m pretty lucky, my pensionista is amazing.  She always asks me what I like and don´t like so she knows what to cook for the next week. So far there hasn't been anything that I absolutely hate, but there have been a few things I didn´t necessarily like.  But she makes the most delicious juices, so when I don´t like something I just drink lots of juice with it, and then I don´t taste it.  But yeah my meals are mostly hamburgers or fish and rice.
Oh and general conference this week! So I only got to listen to one session in English, which was kind of a bummer, because I didn´t really know what anyone was saying. But wow three new apostles! Not gonna lie, I think my favorite is Ronald Rasband just cause his name is so cool. I was hoping one of the new apostles would be from Peru, but I guess they're saving the best people for other things.  ;)   Anyways, even though I didn´t really understand, I still loved conference, I really needed the pick me up.  I don´t know if you remember, but Hugo Montoya, of the seventy, talked about the influence of a smile, and I don´t know that really hit me, because even though I can´t influence anyone here with my words, I can still smile, and for right now that´s enough

The view of the jungle!

Anyways, so much stuff to write but so little time!

I love you all! Sorry if I don´t respond to all your emails, but just know that I read them every week and they make me super happy! I wish I could respond more! 

okay CIAO
Hermana Gurney