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.