Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 77

January 30, 2017

Well, this is it.  My LAST EMAIL HOME.  Can you believe that? I still can´t.

This week has been a little nuts because little by little it has been hitting me that I will never have this same life experience again... I've been trying to take pictures of everything and record some things too, but I know it won't be the same!

Wow.. I can't believe it. I feel so conflicted-- I'm super stoked to see you all again and be back home in my nice comfortable bed with hot water and air conditioning. But I'm so sad to leave the world of mosquito nets and constant heat.

The Amazon River!

All of the Hermanas going home this transfer!

Last pday, we went out to eat with some other sisters at an expensive
restaurant.  I only ordered a milkshake!  :)   

It will be a very interesting last week here.

We were very blessed this week-
The Elders before us starting teaching a man named Raul. He´s really awesome.   He comes to church every Sunday and is always reading the Book of Mormon. He just never wanted to commit to a baptismal date. We had been working towards the 4th of February all transfer but he always told us he needs to prepare more. Anyways, this past week we were teaching him and I felt impressed to share a scripture in Mosiah 18:9-10, which says,

"Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mournyea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrectionthat ye may have eternal life—
Now I say unto you, if this bthe desire of your hearts,what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord as witness before him that ye have entered into covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?"

Anyways, it hit him!  We testified to him that he was prepared enough for baptism and that God is just waiting for him to say yes. He said, "yeah, I'll get baptized. When?" We told him the fourth, like always and he said "I accept".

You guys can´t even imagine how happy I felt in that moment. After a month he finally accepted!! And for my last Saturday in the mission... how awesome! He had his baptismal interview this past weekend and everything is set for this Saturday! When I'm home I'll update the blog and put up the pictures!

Eloy and Nelida keep coming to church, and that is great!  They told us they want to get baptized, but they also have to get married first so they don't have a date set yet... once we get their papers done... it will be all good to go!

With a pet monkey!

This is a super cool tree.  Those random things are birds' nests!

Giant lizard in a member's back yard.  They said that it sometimes comes all
the way up to their back door.

Also, this week we had the blessing of finding many new people! One of them is Juan Sebastian. He is always sitting outside his house when we walk by and every time I see him I think about talking to him.  So finally this week we talked to him and he is super cool! He told us he wants to change his life because three months ago he had a really bad accident due to alcohol. We are excited to start helping him on this path! 

The other is Bertha.. she´s a referral from a ward member who is really excited to start meeting with us.  She has two friends who are returned missionaries and told us she wants to get to know our church! Hope things go well with her this week!

Anyways, I love you all ton! Thanks for always reading my emails!
See you next week!
Hermana Gurney

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 76

January 23, 2017

So this week went by super fast! I can´t believe my last transfer is almost ending! That is so crazy!

I finally got pictures from Elsa's baptism and wedding!! YAY!!

So ..this week was good. 

We had an interesting encounter with an Evangelist lady. (I think that's what you call them in English!)  The elders that were in our area before us told us about a young man they were teaching named Eduardo.  We decided to go look for him because they said he was pretty cool.  We found his house and only his sister was there, but she told us to come back another day.   So we did ... this time only the mom and the sister were home.  The mom just stared us down though when we walked in.  She looked at us from head to toe as if we were some type of garbage. It was like something just didn't make sense in her brain.  Then while we were introducing ourselves, she interrupted us to say, "Where are you from?  You're not from here right?"  I told her politely that I wasn't from here, and my companion explained that she wasn't from here either.  We told her we want to start with a prayer and I asked what I could pray for for them.  She then said "The thing is... we had a lot of confidence with the elders.  We knew them well" to which I responded "I'm sorry, they're not here anymore, but we would like start with a prayer, so I can do that".   She looked to my companion and said "Does she not understand??" I was quite offended, because when people insult my Spanish... it hurts.  So I told her that I did understand, and my companion explained that she knows that it might be hard, but the elders aren't here any more but we came to teach the same message.  Then she started a huge rant about how she had told the elders not to come anymore because she is an Evangelist and she won't change her faith.   So my companion and I looked at each other and told her we would leave.   As we were leaving, she told us "don't feel uncomfortable! I accept all religions, but I just wanted you to know!"  We walked outside and just started laughing because it was so ridiculous.  We`ve gotten quite the laugh about it all day! hahaha

We found a new style of living out here.  People have homes along the river but some people build their homes ON the river ... behind the houses along the river.  To get there you have to walk down narrow passages between houses to get to the river out back.  Then you have to walk on lots of planks of wood to get to the houses.
One of the narrow passages!

Walking on the planks of wood!

Walking up to one of our investigator's home!

This week Eloy and Nelida didn't come to church because they went to see family members, but they were really sweet and asked for forgiveness in their prayer in our lesson yesterday and promised to come next week!

Wilder was sober for a whole week... until Saturday morning when he drank a ton.  He didn't come to church yesterday cause he was still a little drunk.  We're going to try to pass by him again this week to help him out.  We need to find a new way to help him but I know God will help us!

This is Paola.  She is super cute and wants to go
on a mission this summer!

This week I also got to work with Hermana Fink again!!  Do you remember when I started out the mission and Hermana Fink and I were companions for a day and we had no idea what we were doing?? Well we had companion exchanges this week and I got to work with her again ... but this time we could speak and we knew what we were doing! hahaha We had fun remembering all the funny stories from the CCM and the start of our missions! We even went and as a service activity helped a member with her English and it was a great reminder of how much we have learned out here in the mission!

This is Romy.  She is the one we were teaching English.  She is hilarious!  I love her tons!
She went on her mission to Argentina!

Anyways, I love you tons!!!
Have a great week!!
Hermana Gurney

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 75

January 16, 2017

Hey everyone!

Wow weeks keep going by faster and faster... I can't believe it!  This week was full of miracles.  I feel like I say that every week, but it's really true.

I got news from Hermana Laura that Noemi and Richard are receiving the new missionaries in Moyobamba and have a goal of getting married at the end of January! I'm so happy for them! I wish I knew more, but my communication is kinda limited.

Eloy and Nelida came to church again! We called them an hour before church started to remind them and Eloy told us they weren´t going to go because a family member was coming to visit them. We were quite sad, but then when we got to church they were already there waiting for us! Nelida heard her husband tell us that they weren't going and she told us that she told him “How are we not going to go? We have to go!“   Anyways, they really enjoyed church and are reading their Book of Mormon!

For service this week, we helped Orito.  She is super cute.  She gets sick alot
and has two little kids.  So we helped her wash clothes, helped her cook, and washed her dishes.
It was so cool!

There is a family in the ward that sells fish.  They had a bin full of these snails ...
snails that live in the ocean??  They were so cool that I took a picture!

The biggest miracle of all has to do with our new investigator this week.. his name is Wilder.  We actually had met him when we first got to the area because his entire family are active members.  His niece is a returned missionary and his mom has been a member for over 30 years. He has never been baptized because he has a big problem with alcohol. He basically drinks everyday. When we were talking to his mom a few weeks ago, we asked who else lived in her house, she said, "her two daughters, her niece and „el borracho“, which in English means "the drunk".  That's how bad his addiction is.  Saturday morning we decided to go visit the mom (her name is Nelly) because we wanted to get to know her family a little bit better. We get there and Nelly tells us her son Wilder is sober and she wants us to talk to him, so we did.  She accompanied us and we taught Wilder. We talked a lot about how he needs to stop drinking and we really felt the spirit.  We were super direct and told him about the consequences and blessings he would get from living or not this commandment. He told us he would try to stop drinking and would come to church with us tomorrow. We kinda didn't believe him because so many elders have tried to teach him, but he has never changed. So when sacrament meeting ended yesterday and his mom came up to us to tell us that Wilder was dressed and waiting for us that morning, we were shocked! Apparently,  he thought we were going to pass by his house to walk with him and his family to church, so when his family all left at 7:45 AM he stood there waiting for us. We felt bad because we didn't know he would be waiting for us, we had told him we would wait in the chapel! So we called him and told him we would wait outside the doors of the church building for him. He said he would come! And he came! He hadn't drunk the night before and came to church! What a miracle! We're planning on calling him today to remind him of his goal not to drink and we have an appointment tomorrow! What a miracle! His family is in shock... as are we!

This is the Quiroz Family.... they are amazing!!  They were very strong Catholics until the met
the missionaries and the whole family was baptized.  They are super strong in the church.
They have only been members for three years but it doesn't feel that way!

This is Katy Quiroz.  She has a goal to go on a mission so she's been
accompanying us a lot these past few weeks!

Funny story... we were walking to our pensionista´s house and there was a man crossing the street with his Bijau leaves.. the leaves they use to make juanes. They're giant leaves. Anyways, we were going to go help him carry his leaves when he kneeled down and was like worshipping us? I don't even know.  We were so confused.  We just said “buenos dias“ and kept on walking we had no idea what to do! Hahaha.

So yeah, it was a great week! Excited for another one!
Love you all,
Hermana Gurney

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week 74

January 9, 2017

So this week was great!

We´ve really seen how the Lord is hastening his work!

First, I talked to the zone leaders from Moyobamba and they confirmed that Orlando and Elsa did get married and Elsa did get baptized! I'm so happy for them! I still don't have pictures though...

Remember how last week I talked about things I had forgotten about Iquitos?  I remembered another one! BINGO!! Everyone here sits out on the street playing bingo all day every day.  I don't know what is so enjoyable about bingo that they can play it so much, but they get serious! like don't even try contacting people playing bingo because they won´t pay any attention to you whatsoever... apparently bingo is so intense it needs 100% concentration!

The other thing is aguaje... it's a cool fruit they eat here in the jungle, but mostly in Iquitos.  I saw very few people eat aguaje in Moyobamba and Tarapoto, but in Iquitos EVERYONE is eating it.  I've tried it ... it's not even that good!!

There is a really cool part of my area where the houses are over a little river.

River houses!!

This week in church, there was a lizard! a giant green lizard! I have no idea how it got in the church building, but I saw it during Relief Society and wanted to take a picture but when church ended the lizard was gone :(

This week we had the blessing of finding a super awesome family! Eloy and Nelida. They are super cool! The elders were visiting them a while ago, and gave a health blessing to their granddaughter.  Apparently, the blessing really helped so that opened their hearts and they have started listening to us again!  They came to church yesterday and Eloy said "estoy encantado.. encantadisimo"... literally, he's enchanted hahaha.  He said he wants to keep coming back with all his kids too! Sweet guy! Tomorrow were going to go give them a Book of Mormon so they can start reading!! 

View from a member's backyard!

A cool Peruvian nativity in the Iquitos town square.  They already started to take it down
so I hurried and took a picture!

This week our Bishop also told us a story that really hit me... and I'd like to share it with you guys!
He said he and his wife used to work two jobs to support their family.. they would leave the house at like 8 in the morning and get back at midnight.  It was a busy schedule, but they needed to pay some debts. One day he was coming home and he saw is daughter in the window, waiting for them.  When she saw them, her face lit up and then ran to go to bed so they wouldn't know she was waiting for them! He said he felt so bad that he was hardly spending anytime with his daughter... So he decided to quit his second job to spend time at night with his kids. They still had a lot of debt to pay, but he said that God blessed him! Within a few months of quitting his job, he was able to pay off his debts.. he´s still not sure how but he did! and now he said he has seen how God has blessed him and his family throughout the years.

I really liked that because it reminded me of the importance of spending time with our families! They are the most important thing and not even work should get in the way of that. I love this gospel because it always teaches us the importance of putting our families first!

Hermana Velazquez!!  She is now a sister training leader and was in Iquitos for training.
I was so happy to see her!  (One of us just came out from an
air conditioned room ... the other was sweating out on the streets of Iquitos!)

Love you all! Have a great week!
Hermana Gurney