Well, first things first, I FINALLY got the packages that you guys and Grandma and Grandpa Simonson sent me. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I almost cried when I saw Nutella....okay, let's be honest. I did cry. The clothes were VERY well needed as well. I also loved the beautiful necklace and, my other favorite, peanut butter from Grandma and Grandpa. Thank you so much for thinking of me on my birthday.
So, I feel like I'm in a completely different mission right now. Not a good or a bad different, just a different, different. It's hard. I mean I definitely feel a little bit alone in the work sometimes as my companion keeps learning Spanish and teaching and everything. I have to take the load of just about everything. But, at the same time, it's nice to also feel like my companion is a good, close friend. I decided that we can speak English after 10:00pm, and we always have some good chats when she can talk freely. We get along great!
Our area is really cool! I was sad at first because it all looked like a really wealthy area and you all know how much I loved my humble, "tarp-hut" people. Well, now that I know the area better, I've discovered that there is an awesome balance. There are houses up on stilts for the water to rise and bridges made of 2 by 4s and little rivers and huts and it's just great! I'll have to get some pictures.
We've had so many amazing experiences these weeks. I can't remember what I have and haven't told you, so sorry if I repeat anything! We found one family where that father is inactive and neither daughter was baptized. He stopped going to church 10 years ago when his wife left them. Well, we went in and started visiting them since he first got here, and he has gone to church the two Sundays that we've been here for the first time in 10 years! It's amazing. His two daughters are getting baptized this Saturday and we are stoked to be a part of it.
We also had another experience, which, now that I look back on it, is quite hilarious. Those first few days that we were here and we didn't know Iquitos, someone would just give me an address and I'd tell it to the Motokarrista and hope he got us there. Well, one Motokarrista was really, really funny (or so he thought) and decided to drop us in the middle of nowhere and told us that that was the place we were looking for. Well...it wasn't, at all! We were walking around like lost little girls when another Motokarrista, holding his little girl in front of him, passed by and greeted us. He passed by again a few minutes later and got the hint that we were lost. He asked if we were looking for the Mission President's house and we figured out he was a member.
Well, we told him what we were really looking for and he explained to us that we were quite a ways away from that. He told us to hop on the back of his Motokar and he took us to the place we were looking for and he himself got off of the Moto and started asking people if they knew the family we were looking for. We finally gave up, but he wouldn't just leave us. He found a little restaurant, went in and paid the lady for two meals, and left us there. He wouldn't even tell us his full name or anything, he just took off like an angel.
We are still teaching single mothers. Not in all of Iquitos, but in all of our Stake. The next day, an Elder called us and told us about how Jose, this "angel" that found us, has a sister that is a single mother and he wants us to teach her. She accepted baptism the first visit. It was a miracle and it really helped us understand that God has a plan for everything, even when we're lost. It was definitely a bit of a heartbreaker to see Jose's "house" and think of how much he really sacrificed to drive us around so much and buy us lunch. The LEAST we can do for him is help teach his sister, and we are happy to do it!
We also found an old reference card for someone in our area and we just thought, why don't we visit him? We found his house and knocked on the door and when I started to say who we were, he said "I thought you weren't ever gonna come!" He also accepted baptism the first visit.
God is looking out for us and it is truly amazing. He lives. Miracles happen. The truth exists. All is well, All is well!
Love you all so much!
Until Next Monday,