Monday, July 1, 2013


July 1, 2013

Hola Familia!

I hope you enjoy the pictures! They take a while to send so I am not left with a whole lot of time to write, but I am going to start sending a picture with every letter each week so I won't have to take time to send a whole bunch at once!

I am officially in LA MISION PERÚ IQUITOS!!!!!! Our new President got to Iquitos Saturday night and we have officially been split. I am so ridiculously happy. I just remember how sad I was when I was back home and found out that the mission would split. Do you remember me telling you over and over again "I have to serve in the Iquitos Mission!!"? I could just feel the jungle calling to me and I finally know why. It's because it's where I belonged the whole time. I know that God had always planned on me getting reassigned to this mission.

One of the perks of having a Sister Leader as a companion is that TOMORROW WE'RE FLYING OUT TO IQUITOS to meet the new President! I am stoked. I get to FINALLY see Iquitos and spend a couple days there. AND, I get to see Hermana Price. Life is great!

This week was a little hard as my new District is basically ripping at the seams with contention. It's just not the same without Elder Turley and Elder Gondara. Our Leader is very frustrated with us because, aside from our two Baptisms, our numbers are pretty low. We call twice a week to give our District Leader our numbers from our "Key Indicators", and on Wednesday after I hung up I was practically in tears (getting chewed out in Spanish is even worse than English!) because he was so disappointed and angry with us. It made me feel like I'm not doing a whole lot.

I was totally heartbroken as I laid down for the night and I was praying for comfort when I looked around my room and so a whole bunch of other Key Indicators: The dirt covering my body, my fancy mission-specific shoes that are already wearing out, my well-worn scriptures, stacks of papers on our desk, how exhausted I felt, and all these other things. I suddenly felt at peace knowing that Heavenly Father understands exactly how hard I am trying and how much I am exerting myself. It's not my fault that sometimes Plans A-D fail or that sometimes people don't want to progress.

Heavenly Father is measuring my effort more than my numbers and the important thing is that I'm doing the best I can with an honest heart. I know that Heavenly Father is not disappointed with me at all! I can feel His love for me.

         Ximena's Baptism!!! This was on Saturday and it was so great. She was Baptized by a close friend of hers.

Angela's Baptism!!!! Wow. Words cannot describe the joy that I felt as she enters the water with the biggest smile in the world. My first "complete" baptism as I have been with her since day one. I have also had the opportunity to teach her by myself doing splits with members. I had the most peaceful feeling as she entered the water just knowing that she was truly converted and that she will be strong and faithful. We both cried together and she shared the most beautiful Testimony. "If you shall bring save it be one soul to God, how great shall be your joy!"

Angela entering the water with our friend Elder Villacrés. Such a poignant moment for me. She started up the stairs, then turned around and hugged me and kissed my cheek, and then headed back up to enter into this sacred covenant.

One of the couples that we married last week. Luzclarita and her husband Thoontiler. Luz was Baptized the following day. We visited her this week and it was so incredible to view the change in her. She is literally glowing with a different light and I had the best feeling seeing who she is. She bore testimony that she has never been so happy in her whole life. A few months ago, her and her husband were just two teenagers living together with their baby. Now, they're a real family and are active in the church and I can't express the joy that I feel knowing that, in some little way, I am a part of that.

 The other couple that we married. Alex and Alexia. Alexia is the daughter of our ward mission leader and is pregnant with Alex's child, you can imagine what a relief this marriage was for her father! Alexia has been meeting with the Branch President, and we are preparing Alex for Baptism right now. It's so amazing to see the changes they're making!

 My daily hike! Yes, proof that I am in the real jungle. Try doing this in a dress just about 20 times a day with 98% humidity!

 The 1900's haven't hit the Jungle one smiles in photos. This was my first lesson without my companion! I did this FHE with Angela, her Aunt (member), her neighbors, and some other friends and family members. After the Baptism, her family came up to us crying saying "Please don't forget about us just because Angelita is Baptized." I promised them we wouldn't...Angela's mom just happens to not be a member...yet! We plan on visiting her ASAP.

 A little part of my area! So gorgeous. LOVE THE JUNGLE!!!

Love Always,

Hermana Simonson

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