Monday, December 26, 2016

Week ... 72? I think? I lost count!

December 26, 2016


So this week preparing for Christmas has been very action packed!

First,  my companion went home on Thursday leaving me WITHOUT a companion for a few days! Thankfully, Hermana Lazarte´s companion also went home, so we´ve been two lone wolves out here in Moyo.  It's been a little hard trying to work a lot in both areas, but we´re doing well.  Hopefully, our new companions come soon! :) 

My companion finished her mission!

FHE with Noemi and Richard and another family!

Next... on Friday night we had an activity in the chapel.. it was a chocolatada! (in case you missed my last email that's what everyone does here for Christmas, they eat paneton and hot chocolate and call it a chocolatada).  Noemi called me a few hours before and said that she wouldn't be going to the activity because she's has a fever, but that Richard would come... but it turns out that they both came! Even though they were sick ... they still came! and they really enjoyed it!  They loving coming to church activities, how great is that?

Then, Saturday was CRAZY BUSY!  We went with Orlando and Elsa to the town municipalidad (Mom, I know you told me the word for that yesterday but I forgot) and dropped off all their marriage papers! It's all set... this Friday at 2:00 PM we will be having a wedding in the chapel! We´re super excited :)  After getting back, we went out to work for a little bit and then went over to our pensionista´s house for dinner!  I actually have two pensionistas, one gives us breakfast and lunch and the other gives us dinner. the one who gives us dinner lives in the other branch but they bring us dinner everyday to our apartment.  Due to the fact that Saturday was Christmas Eve, we got permission to go over to her house to eat! and let me tell you.. she is one of the best cooks!  She made pasta salad! Do you know how much I have missed pasta salad?  That stuff doesn't exist here in Peru, but for some reason my pensionista knows how to make it!  It was the best Christmas gift I could have asked for! hahaha. 

Chocolatada with all the missionaries in Moyobama!

Our pensionista, Elizabeth!  She is from the Dominican Republic (cool right?) and is hilarious!!

After eating... we went out to Rioja! (It's a neighboring city.  There is another branch out there.)  We went to the town square and sang Christmas hymns and contacted the people listening to us!  It was a very spiritual experience, you could really feel the Christmas spirit.  I don't have pictures though, just a video which is too big to send in an email. Sorry!!!

In Rioja ... where we have our district meetings!

Then, of course, Sunday I got to talk to you all! It was actually quite the experience... we had two laptops that we borrowed from members and when we went over to a member´s house to use his wifi.  We were only going to bring one laptop, but Hermana Lazarte told me that she felt we should bring the other laptop, just in we did! and it was a good thing too, because the first laptop we were going to bring, didn't have a camera!! We were super blessed that the Spirit guided us in bringing the other laptop with a camera!  :) 

With Analis ... and a cool caterpillar thing in her backyard!

Jhonny driving us home from church.  He works for a taxi company!

Anyways,  I love you all!
Have a super de duper week!
Talk to you next YEAR
Hermana G


Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 71

December 19, 2016

So this week was very.. Christmas-y!

We had a Christmas Zone Conference this week with Presidente and Hermana Li and the assistants.  It was super fun!  We learned a lot about our purpose as a missionary to find, teach, and baptize.  Afterwards, we had a Christmas dinner and watched a slideshow of pictures of Presidente`s family.

With Presidente and Hermana Li!

All the Hermanas in the Moyobama Zone!

... And dessert was the Peru classic... Paneton and Hot Chocolate.   Paneton is a like a cake thing, I don't really know how to describe it... hahaha!   I didn't like it at first but now I do. Paneton only comes out at Christmas time because that's the favorite dessert for Christmas down here.  I'm going to try to bring some home so you can try it :) 

This week... ORLANDO`S DIVORCE PAPERS FINALLY CAME IN!!! after MONTHS of waiting... they finally came in!  We`re so happy! Next Friday, they're going to get married and then next Saturday, Elsa will get baptized! We`re super stoked!

Noemi and Richard accepted marriage and we`re going to work on that this week!  We were actually super worried because Richard`s dad came to visit and we thought he might be opposed to the whole idea of baptism and marriage .. but actually he`s totally for it!  His dad`s name is Ricardo and he was actually receiving the missionaries in Chiclayo.  He came to church with is son yesterday! He`s going to stay here in Moyo for a time and so now we have one more investigator in our teaching pool! 

This week.. my companion is going to end her mission! On Thursday, she goes to Iquitos and on Monday she flies home! It's gonna be weird working over here in Moyobamba without her... she knows so much about the members (she served here for seven months).   I don't know what I'm going to do without her expertise! One of the other Hermanas in this zone is also going home so I'm going to be with Hermana Lazarte this week... (their apartment has HOT water!!!)  When I call on Christmas you' ll get to meet her! She's super cute... she just started her mission this transfer and I'm stoked to get to know her more!!

With my companion

With Hermana Arteaga

With Hermana Lazarte ... she will be my companion for a week!!

Love you!!  Merry Christmas!!
Hermana Gurney

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 70

December 12, 2016

Hello everyone!!  How is December going??  We´re almost halfway through, how crazy is that!!

The month of December is known in Peru as the rainy month. I thought they were joking cause they always tell me it's going to rain a lot this month, but this time they were serious! It has rained literally EVERYDAY this week.. and hard! It has made all the roads super muddy and I have to go out proselyting in my rain boots... which now have holes in them ... so they don't really keep my feet that dry! I'm going to take them to a shoe repairman this week maybe.   (She told me that she has been just filling the holes with superglue and that will keep the water out for a little while!)  Anyways, due to the rain, no one can leave their house (I don't really understand why but it's like an unspoken rule here) so that means more people are in their homes! but also less members that can accompany us! It's been a little difficult.  The good thing is, when it rains, it gets cold! like super cold! I've actually been sleeping with a blanket every night! I think the Lord sent me here in this time to start preparing myself for the freezing cold at home in February! hahaha

This is a cool place in our area called Las Palmeras!  It's so pretty!

So the other day we didn't have any appointments in the afternoon, and we went looking for a few people, but no one was home... so we started knocking on doors.  For about an hour we were knocking on doors and either no one answered, or no one wanted to listen to us.  I was getting a little discouraged, and I almost wanted to give up, but my companion suggested we enter a street that we´ve never gone on before. So we did. We started knocking on doors and a few people told us to come back another day... until we got to one door.  We were going to actually walk past it but I guess it was the Spirit, and I just suggested that we knock on that door. We knock and an old lady answered and she told us to come in! We were a little shocked, because that's not the reaction we usually get hahaha.  She told us to sit down and (wow that felt so good to sit down after walking for so long) and she told us she is a member of the church! She hasn't gone in years because she was sick and couldn't go.   Now she feels better and is super excited to start coming with us again! I know the Lord really leads us to the people He wants us to find!

Noemi and Richard are doing SUPER well. I actually almost cried in our last lesson with them because they told us about all the changes they've made in their lives and how happy they feel! Richard used to drink A TON, and this past week they went to a party where everyone was drinking and Richard said he felt bored... the first time in his life that he was BORED in a party with alcohol.. so he and Noemi left! They said they didn't feel well there.  How cool is that? Noemi said they get so excited Saturday Nights because they get to go to church the next day! They´re a little hesistant about getting married though, but I can see them warming up to the idea. This week were going to teach them with a family that recently got married and baptized to help support them with this decision.

With Noemi and Richard at church!  Such a cute family!

Orlando and Elsa are still waiting for the papers... We don't really know how else to help them except wait! I feel like we should do more but we can't!

Orlando's daughter, Angie, decided to "drive" us home!

Hope you guys are all getting ready for Christmas! I know I am!! Everyone is putting up their Christmas trees and it's putting us all in the fun Christmas spirit.
Hope you all remember to take a few minutes in this Christmas season and remember the birth of Jesus Christ! I know he really is our Savior and without him, we could not return to live with our families!

Love you all!
Hermana Gurney

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 69

December 5, 2016

So this week has been great!

All the Hermana Leaders in Iquitos!

Remember Noemi and Richard? They came to a church activity on Friday night, to church on Sunday (even though they came late :( ) and to the Christmas devotional last night!  The branch is doing such a good job of being their friend and inviting them to literally every activity!  They were going to go to a class about how to strengthen your marriage yesterday in the afternoon, but noemi was feeling sick, so they couldn´t go.  They told us they are thinking about baptism and marriage!  We have a family home evening there tonight with our branch mission leader and hopefully this will really help them progress!

Our Branch President has been really good about inviting people to church, and this week he brought a really cool family with him to church who live in our area!  They´re a young couple and have a little baby and are excited to start listening to our message!  We`re going to go try to find their house today! 

Oh yeah, this week I also got to go to Iquitos!  This time it was only for two days, not a whole week (thankfully!) but it was a great trip!

A cool Peru hat!!

Companions Reunited!!
Lunch after leadership council in Iquitos!

Heading back to the airport in President's car!

These seeds are super cool!  They put them on bracelets everywhere and I
finally found the plant.  Huayruru.. at least I think that is what it is called!

 At our training, we talked a lot about the importance of talking with EVERYONE.  It`s been a little bit of a problem with the mission, that we don't contact many people!  But it was a really good advice that was given- "if we want to baptize people, we need to talk to lots of people, but if we want to baptize few people, we need to talk to few people".  It really hit me, because I haven´t been contacting as much as I should, so this week our goal has been talk to as many people as we can! and it really helps!  We were able to contact into this 18 year old student who has recently moved here to Moyobamba and told us she wants to start going to church again. She said she has gone to tons of churches, but she never felt like she should stay there. She told us she would make time next Sunday to go to church and she hopes she will feel it's right!  She reminds me a little of Joseph Smith and his desires! Her name is Mercedes and we`re super excited to keep working with her this week.

Anyways, that's kinda been my week! I can´t remember if anything else interesting or funny happened! I forgot to bring my journal to internet today so I can't even look through this week to see what happened haha. 

Next week there will be more, I promise :)
Love you all! Happy December!!
Hermana Gurney

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 68

November 28, 2016

Well, this week went by super fast! ahh! November is now ending, it just started yesterday!


So no, they don't celebrate thanksgiving in Peru, but I made my district have a little celebration. Thursdays we have our weekly planning and our district leader wanted us to all do it together, so we could learn new ways to plan for the people we are teaching.  So we all got together to plan Thursday morning and I told everyone they had to bring a little bit of food... we had a little feast and we each said two things we are grateful for! It was fun. I have a picture to send.

Thanksgiving ... Peruvian style!

Mini banana tree ... too cute!

During our planning, my companion and I were thinking about what we could do to find new investigators. That entire week, I had been thinking about a family of old investigators from the hermanas before us. They´re named Noemi and Richard. I had heard a lot about this family and I thought maybe one day I would go visit them again. I told that to my companion and she said she had felt the same way! So we took that as revelation and went to visit them Saturday night! They were super excited to see missionaries again and let us in!  We talked for a bit, read a chapter in their Book of Mormon, and invited them to church... AND THEY CAME!! Their whole family! They have three little boys, one of them was born about three months ago and all of them came! It was the first time the husband had come to church in the entire time the missionaries had been teaching him!  The first time! It was a huge miracle! We were so excited that we were able to follow the Spirit and help this family start investigating the church again. 

Zone conference in Tarapoto with Elder Godoy!

Pablo is still convinced everything is true... he went to a family home evening with us last week and was talking to the elder´s quorum president for the entire time we were there. We had to leave early, but according to Pablo, they were up until 11 talking about doctrine! Pablo said he left convinced! He promised us he would get baptized... but not until January! haha We told him he´s ready to get baptized earlier but he's a little hesitant. We´re working on that! 

Orlando and Elsa are... STILL waiting for the divorce papers! ugh! It's been a big chaos but were praying and we're going to fast so that they come in!! 

So basically that was my week! Im super glad Heavenly Father is helping find new people to teach! I know He will always help us to accomplish the things He wants us to do! Keep putting your trust in Him!

Love you guys! Happy December!
Hermana Gurney

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Week 67

November 21, 2016

Wow this week was interesting!

We finally hit our goal of lessons with a member! We've had the goal of 12 for the past two changes and every week we've hit 11 but finally this week we got to 12!  We were super happy! The members here are finally starting to help us more and more!! it was great because very last minute yesterday an active family called us to ask if we could go visit their friends with them! We didn't have any plans at that moment so we said yes!  They came and picked us up in their motokar and we got to go visit a super cool family! We haven't met their dad yet, but the mom and daughter have lots of desires to know the truth! Super stoked.

We had Family Home Evening with the Ruiz family.
Their daughter is so cute I just had to take a picture with her!

Welcome to Moyobama!

Cool staircase in my area!

Also we had a huge miracle yesterday... we finally found a less active named Victor!!  He hasn't come to church in over three months and used to be super active at church, but all of us sudden he was never home and never answered his phone.  Last night, an awesome sister named Analis was accompaning us and all our plans fell through, but Analis was like, "maybe Victor is home!"  Wow, what revelation, because he really was and we got to teach him for the first time in like 6 months! He recognizes that he´s drifted away from the church and he promised to pray this week for the strength to go to church next Sunday. whoo!! 

Janina has read her Book of Mormon all the way to 2 Nefi! Whoa!! She´s progressing super fast! She came to church too, but once again only stayed for one hour :( 

Pablo came to church though! He´s friends with Orlando, so Orlando went to pick him up and they had a blast at church! Pablo is a crazy awesome investigator! We went to teach him about the Book of Mormon and he started talking to us about how it makes so much sense because he always wanted to know what happened after the Tower of Babel, and now that he knows about the Jaredites it makes sense! The funniest part... we never even talked about the Jaredites to him.  He just read it in the Book of Mormon on his own!  He´s super convinced and wants to get baptized but he doesnt know if he´s going to travel to Chiclayo in December, so he´s a little hesitant to accept a baptismal date, but we´re working on it!

Orlando´s divorce papers... STILL haven't come in! ahhh it's been a huge pain! We went today in the morning and they said that for sure it will be ready by Thursday. UGH!!!! Hopefully they're not lying to us again!

A cool butterfly landed on the chair next to me during district meeting!

It is my district leader's last transfer ... this is what he put on his agenda.
I thought it was so funny ... I had to take picture of it.

This week a bunch of new missionaries came into our zone! Three new elders and one new sister... like newbies! straight out of the MTC!  To give them a big welcome, we brought ants and told them it was their rite (right?) of passage into the Moyobamba Zone. haha. The elders all ate them!! I'm sure they're all writing their families today about the ants they ate on their first day in the field! hahahahahahaha

So yup, that was my week!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! I might celebrate a little with Hermana Laura but here in Peru, Thanksgiving doesn't exist :(
Hermana Gurney

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 66

November 14, 2016

So this week was actually kinda rough.  We had some really bad luck and literally every day our appointments fell through.  This week was a lot of street contacting and searching for less actives with the branch directory. 

LOTS OF SWEAT but it's all good!  It's a new week and it's going to be a great week!

A GIANT stick of bananas.  This is how they grow and how they sell them here!  

Red bananas!!!  What?  (They are sweeter than yellow bananas!)

Love the jungle!!

So what happened? 

Orlando´s divorce papers didn't come in, but they promised him it would come in today.  So we're praying that it doesn't get postponed anymore!!!  Even if they come in this week, I think Elsa will get baptized next week so we can plan something really nice with the branch!

Janina is still cool, we've just had a ton of scheduling conflicts with her and we haven't been able to teach her this entire week!  She did come to church though, but just one hour.  We gave her a Book of Mormon last week and we hope she has started to read it! 

We found a new investigator named Pablo, who a long time ago listened to the missionaries.  He was going to get baptized but he went on vacation and when he came back, he  never got in contact with the missionaries again.  He was super stoked to meet with us again!  We gave him a pamphlet of lesson one and he read it all in one night and told us he was convinced it is the truth!  He has a little bit of doubts about the sabbath day being Sunday because according to the bible its Saturday!  We´re working on that though!  He said he would pray about the sabbath day.

Today Hermana Inca ends her mission! She goes home today! On Thursday, we had to say goodbye because all the missionaries who end their missions have to go to Iquitos for a few days for interviews and everything.  It was a pretty sad goodbye but she promised to go to the airport in Lima when I go home so we can see each other one more time! Since she left on Thursday, her companion, Hermana Arteaga has been staying with us and it has been fun being in a little trio! 

Saying good-bye to Hermana Inca!

That's about it! Nothing else too crazy or interesting is going on! 

Love you all!
Hermana Gurney

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 65

November 7, 2016

Happy November! How crazy, time goes by so fast!

So this week was stressful, but I don't know why! Just lots of things to do!!

Jhonny came to church and received the Aaronic Priesthood! Yay! He also went to a YSA dance on Friday night and said it was a fun time! He has a girlfriend that's a member in another branch. Well, at least they were dating but they broke up a few weeks before his baptism, and now we think they're back together... but we´re not sure. :)  I'll let you know! I hope so cause Jhonny needs to marry someone who's an active member of the church! 

Picture with Jhonny at church yesterday

Mini birthday party ... with cake!!

A few weeks ago, we started teaching a girl names Janina, she's a less active´s girlfriend. The less active´s whole family is active.  He is actually a returned missionary too.  I'm not sure how a returned missionary goes inactive, but it seems to happen a lot over here!  Janina actually lives in the Elder´s area.  We told them to go visit her several times because she had been coming to church but they never went to visit her! So now she comes to the house of the active family so we can teach her!   

Just as a side note - this active family´s last names is Jesus.  When their sons went on missions, they were Elder Jesus! Apparently, one of their sons had a lot of success on his mission and everyone told him it was because of his name!

Anyways Janina is awesome! She read the entire pamphlet we left her and had prayed and received an answer! All after one visit! She told us she wants to get baptized, so were going to work with her in these next few weeks! She has a little bit of a problem coming to church ... so we need to teach her about attending church this week! Hopefully, she can come next Sunday

Orlando´s divorce papers should be coming in today! So hopefully this weekend they can get married and Elsa can get baptized! Please keep them in your prayers!

This week our pensionista´s dog gave birth to a bunch of puppies! Whooo! but the funny thing is these dogs don't have hair! There's a certain type of Peruvian dog, I don't know if it has a name, but it's a dog without hair.  It's kinda ugly, but everyone in Peru loves these dogs.  So we got to hold little puppies without hair!  hahaha!  It was cute but also kinda gross at the same time. I'll send pictures!

With a new hairless Peruvian puppy

That's about it! 
More news to come next week!
Love you guys!!!
Hermana Gurney

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 64

October 31, 2016

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!  So to celebrate Halloween... SURPRISE! I'm in Iquitos.  LONG  STORY but basically
remember how I said that Elder Godoy was coming to visit us?  He came last week and it was great! but apparently very last minute, he told President Li that he wanted to meet with all the sister leaders and zone leaders in Iquitos on Friday.  So the poor secretary ... very last minute... had to buy plane tickets and ...very last minute... I was informed I had to go to Iquitos. Due to everything being last minute, I've been here since Thursday night and I'm not going back until Tuesday night! ...which also means I missed Jhonny`s baptism :(((  But I'm dealing with it okay.  Hermana Laura said she took a picture and left a space for me to photoshop myself in hahaha. 

Jhonny's baptism!!

Fun fact- because the tickets were bought so last minute, we had to fly from Tarapoto to Lima, and then from Lima to Iquitos!  We had about an hour to spend in the Lima airport, so what did we do? BUY DUNKIN DONUTS!!! It's been over a year since I've eaten Dunkin Donuts and let me tell you, they were DELICIOUS!!!!

Reunited after a year!
So this week in Iquitos, I get to stay with and work with two hermanas... and one of them happens to be Hermana Gillingham!!!! Whhooo! It's been awesome! I finally get to hang out with her after so much time!
Happy Halloween!!

So let me tell you about Elder Godoy...  he is from Brazil, but he speaks Spanish AND English very well! And he is HILARIOUS!  He was the mission presidente in Brazil and his mission was also in the jungle... very much like here! He told us lots of funny stories about how thin and tan all his missionaries got after two years in the jungle! So hopefully when I get home you guys don't think I've gotten thinner and tanner!  He's a convert to the church.  He joined when he was 16 but went inactive.  One day he decided to go to EFY (I don't know why because he was inactive, but he went!)  He met a girl there that treated him like a normal person (according to him) and when he went home from EFY, he found out that the same girl was in his ward! He started going to church again, and even went to seminary so he could hang out with her...anyways, that girl is now his wife! How crazy! Anyways,  he talked to us a lot about our responsibility to find out the needs of the people we teach. We did an awesome practice about how to find out needs by using the baptismal interview questions, and it really works! My companion and I were going to use it with some people, but then then next day I went to Iquitos hahahaha ...but this week were going to do it! It's going to be great!  And, to make up for missing Jhonny`s baptism, Hermana Gillingham and her companion had baptism this at least I could pretend I was there! So yeah, its been a CRAZY week! 

We were able to see our old pensionista.
She came to the church when we were at the conference in Tarapoto!

Love you all!!
Hermana Gurney

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 63

October 24, 2016

Hey everyone!!!

This week has been pretty great!  So what happened?  Lots of surprises because things in Peru always happen at the last minute!!  

Thursday at 1:30 PM my district leader called me and told me that I had to go to a meeting in Tarapoto that day at 2:30 PM.  He assured me that we would be coming back that night, so we went home, I grabbed my books and we went to the taxi place. I get there and SURPRISE the zone leaders tell me we´re actually spending the night... but there is no time now to go back for clothes.  We went over to Tarapoto and luckily that night Hermana Dickman lent me a toothbrush from her emergency kit, and I just rode home the next morning in the same clothes from the night before! hahahaha. It was quite stressful, but everything turned out alright. 

Then we had another surprise... Zone Conference on Saturday morning! We had appointments that day that we had to cancel because they told us Friday night! It's very fun living in Peru!

Zone Conference!

Good news- Jhonny passed his interview on Saturday so now we´re all set for his baptism this Saturday! We´re stoked to help him in this new step in his life.   :)  Yesterday,  we had District Conference (stake conference, but Moyobamba is full of only branches, not wards) and it was in Rioja! Basically, District Moyobamba is made of three cities- Moyobamba, Rioja, and Nueva Cajamarca. Rioja is in the middle, so whenever there are meetings, we go to Rioja. It's about thirty minutes in car from Moyobamba. We were a little worried about how that would affect the attendance of our investigators.. but Jhonny was super awesome and came to Rioja for church!  He even went to the Priesthood meeting that was two hours earlier! Yay!!

This week we had an AWESOME service! I'll send pictures... but basically it rained really hard a few weeks ago, and it made the wall fall down in the house of recent converts.  Their wall was made of hardened mud. So our service was to help them rebuild it! We went over, they had a pile of dirt, we brought water over from a little pond nearby, poured it on the dirt, stepped on it until it was mud, and then plastered it on the wooden sticks that made up their wall.  We got super dirty but it was probably the best service I´ve ever done! The other Hermanas in Moyobamba came over to help us too because it was a lot of work! 

Hermana Inca "dies" (which means she is going home) this transfer so
we are pretending to kill her in the pile of mud! :)

We're a little dirty!

It has been a great week and this week is going to be even better because Elder Godoy, the President of the area is going to come speak to us on Wednesday! We all get to go to Tarapoto and meet up with all the missionaries there to listen to Elder Godoy! We have to wake up at like 5 in the morning to get on time to Tarapoto, but it's going to be worth it!!!

Miss you all tons! Have a fun week preparing for Halloween!
Hermana Gurney