June 25, 2013
I hope you didn't worry too much about me when I didn’t write yesterday! I was in Lima again. I bought something in the airport hoping you'd see it and realize where I was...and because I wanted pizza. (Just to interject here, we did see that she purchased something at Papa John's and knew that there was NO Papa John's anywhere near where she is serving. . .so we weren't sure if that meant she was near Lima for immigration stuff or if her debit card had been stolen! So, we were super happy to find out it really was her using her card!)
This week passed by in a blur, I really am not sure what all happened! I have officially made it through my first transfer! After I wrote you guys on Monday, we had a zone meeting where everyone was told where they were headed. Welp, I am still in Tarapoto with Hermana Vasquez, but we did lose Elder Turley from our District, which was pretty sad. We also got a new zone leader and a few greenies from Chile.
I have officially had my first Baptism!!!! Luzclarita was baptized Saturday night and words cannot describe my joy. Seriously, I was just so incredibly happy. I also had my first two weddings (since apparently that is a part of my mission, too.). Luzclarita and Thoontiler were married Friday, along with Alex and Alexia. Unfortunately, Alex was not able to Baptized on Saturday like we had planned, it looks like we'll have to wait a little while longer until that will be possible, but I'm glad they're at least married and he can continue progressing.
We weren't able to find Angela for about a week and a half and I was starting to get worried that she was avoiding us. This broke my heart because during the last lesson we had with her I went solo (we were doing splits, but this basically means the other person just smiles and bears testimony while I teach alone), and I was so worried that it was my lesson that sent her away. I was broken hearted.
Well, we finally found her and she was glowing, had been reading the Book of Mormon and had tons of questions, and told us she wants to be baptized this upcoming Saturday!!!! WOW. I am SO absolutely thrilled. This will be the first complete Baptism because Hermana Vasquez had been teaching LuzClarita before I came, but I have been with Angela since day one and it is so cool to see the light that she's gained in this time.
We were finally able to find Siomi in her house and teach her a lesson. It was so great. We also found a new family to teach and they asked us about Baptism about 5 minutes into the lesson. But, their house is about half full of beer, so there will definitely be an obstacle, but it's worth it!
I really feel like I'm getting the hang of things here. We started doing Splits this week where my companion and I split up and take members with us to different lessons. It was great and a huge confidence booster! The lady I was with the first night lives in the "Rich" part of town (more ghetto than anything I've seen in the U.S.) and was actually scared to death to be walking through the “Jungle-Jungle” in the nighttime. She was kind of clinging to me and I was just as happy as ever and the people outside of their huts were calling me by name and I was asking them about their children and giving directions and it just felt great to know that I am starting to feel like a Native.
You know what else? I am speaking Spanish! I think I have been down on myself because I am always surrounded by Latinos or Missionaries that have been here for no less than a year. Of course my Spanish isn't as perfect as theirs! But, in Lima yesterday, I was with a group of Elders that I had known in the MTC (sadly none from my Distrtict) and they were basically all dying. They really don't speak any Spanish outside of bearing their testimonies. Almost all of them are serving in Lima, only 3 of us ended up in the Jungle.
Anyway, they were all sick to their stomachs, complaining about homesickness, carrying around letters from their girlfriends in their pockets, complaining that their companions being Natives, complaining about their food, and all this stuff. I just wanted to say "Hey! You're serving in Lima. Go take a warm shower and eat your McDonald's and stop complaining to the Jungle people about your problems." Haha, but more than anything it made me happy to know that Heavenly Father knew how weak I am and gave me extra help to adjust to life here.
I speak the language, the people love me, I have gotten over the cultural differences that used to cause a little contention between me and my companion, I miss you guys, but I've gotten over that stabbing homesickness, and, even though it seemed disgusting at first, I even love the food and no longer end up in the bathroom every few minutes! I feel accustomed in every way.
I am just so happy. I have learned so much and grown so much. Watching LuzClarita go under the water just made everything so worth it! Knowing that I get to do that again this week makes me unbelievably happy. I miss you so much!