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 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