Monday, July 8, 2013

Guinea Pig is NOT a Myth!

Meg wants everyone to know that she hasn't been ignoring you.  If you have been writing her, she just got her very first delivery of pouch mail (on July 4th) since she has been in Peru.  She said to tell all of you THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING, and that she will respond as soon as she has time.  Oh, and to Grandpa and Grandma Phillips, she said she got her package that day and it was such a blessing to her because she was feeling so bummed about not being able to celebrate the 4th of July and getting your package was just what she needed! It really means a lot to her that so many people are thinking about her and writing to her.  Thanks again!
July 8, 2013

Well, I finally got to fly out to see Iquitos! I'll be honest, it was a slight disappointment. Not that Iquitos was the disappointment, but that I was in the central, city part and I didn't get to see a single river or straw house.

The biggest disappointment was Wednesday when the assistants were assigning who would work with who while the Sister Leaders were in the conference and Elder Uribe said that Hermana Simonson would be working with Hermana Price. I was SO excited...until her companion shot a dirty look and asked him if he was sure. So, they changed us and I went to work with other sisters. Oh well, I'm sure we'll gain some trust soon enough. 

All the pain and stress from my numbers disappeared in Zone Council this week. We were being eaten alive because we weren't getting the most references or teaching the most lessons, but guess what. Out of the 16 people in the zone, my companion and I made up almost one third of the total Baptisms this month. What? The majority had either 0 or 1. I finally decided that so what if the other numbers aren't as good as everyone’s, we had the most of the numbers that are most important.

The Elders were all dumbfounded and did not understand what had happened. They complained that it made no sense because their numbers were so great so naturally their Baptisms should be great. For the first time, I finally opened my mouth and explained what my companion and I had learned. The problem is that as a zone, we were focusing on the numbers of that day.  We were thinking "Wow, this person needs help, but our numbers for new investigators are low so we're going to go knock on some doors." Then, that person decides not to be baptized because they didn't receive help when they needed it. As a zone, we made a goal to focus on the people more than the numbers, and in one week, we've already seen a difference.

I had to teach Relief Society this week, and it actually went pretty well. I just love to talk about the Gospel. It doesn't matter if it's in English or Spanish, in church or in someone's home, I just LOVE to share my Testimony.

My biggest Testimony builder this week is the way that the Gospel literally changes lives. It is so amazing to watch. I love watching Alex and the way that he has changed. When we first met, he just came off as some punk kid. His girlfriend dragged him to church in his jeans and baseball cap and he didn't say a word to anyone. When we first started teaching, he didn't understand a thing.

Now, I swear that kid is a different person. In the month or so that we've worked with him, he's gotten married, started loving church, understands everything, and is excited for his Baptism. He now shows up to church every week in his shirt and tie and sits holding his wife’s hand. I don't know how to describe it, but his face is LITERALLY different. He looks different. It's insane. He is not the same boy that we found a month or two ago. I hope that after his interview with the Mission President everything will be okay for him to be baptized.

THIS is why I am here. I'm not here to get people to come to church. I am here to help CHANGE people and change their lives. This work is so special, so amazing. God can take some punk kid and turn him into a Gospel Man. He can even take some spoiled little girl from Utah, and somehow turn her into a Jungle-dwelling Missionary. I am just so incredibly happy.

I miss you, but I know I'm where I belong for 15 more months.

Love Always,

Hermana Simonson

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