Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas! Half Way Mark! And the Work Continues...

December 30, 2013


You know what? It was honestly the best Christmas I’ve ever had. It didn’t matter that there were no packages or presents or that I was thousands of miles from home. I could not have had a better experience and there is no place I would have rather been for my Christmas this year.

It started Tuesday night when we knew we wouldn’t be able to have any appointments because just about everyone was out drinking or lighting fireworks. So, we decided to use the opportunity to find new people to teach. The bright idea: Caroling. The six of us (our awesome district) went all over our area singing together. If we came to a house where they weren’t drinking, we automatically knew it was a golden family.

One problem, caroling does NOT exist in Peru. Everyone thought we were crazy: like the people in the Pharmacy that we walked into or the people on the bus that we randomly decided to hop on. In the end, we did get some good contacts and have a list of people to try to visit this week.

Wednesday morning, the zone got together to go play soccer on some random farm. It was actually a lot of fun! And, I didn’t break any arms, so that’s a plus
J  There was some lady walking by and good not resist the site of some crazy Christmas morning multi-ethnicity soccer game in the rain and watched the WHOLE thing. She was yelling and screaming and enjoying every moment.

Then came the Skyping part. Once I actually got logged in and saw that it was going to work, I loved every moment of it. For just a moment, my whole family was here in Iquitos with me. That’s the best present I could have had.

After that, a few Elders invited us to go eat with them in some American-type
Sports Bar Restaurant. The upstairs bar was reserved for the missionaries….way too ironic. We laughed a lot together as we talked about the experiences we’ve had together this transfer and I knew that I was among family.

Who would of thought that I had such a large family from Maine and California to Ecuador, Guatemala, Chile, etc.? I love watching how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is some sort of Eternal tie that binds us all together no matter where we go.

We had our Missionary Choir presentation and my violin playing actually wasn’t that horrible! That was a talent that I never believed would be such an advantage in my mission. Now, if I can just find a good use out of running, I will be one happy little Hermana!

As far as Hump Day (HALF WAY DONE!) goes, I really didn’t do anything. I wasn’t up to burning anything or ordering Delivery or anything like that. For me,
it was just another day in the field and another reminder that I need to step it up and give my all because my time here is so incredibly short.

Jhuly, a sister we’ve been teaching this month was Baptized on Saturday and it was beautiful…and stressful! Her Baptism was to be Saturday at 4, but Saturday morning at 10 our District Leader called and told us that our investigator that’s getting Baptized this next Saturday needed to have an Interview with President Gómez and that he could only do it that day at 4, during the Baptism.

We had to find members to do splits with us and I sent my companion to the baptism and went to the Interview. I was happily sitting outside of President’s office thinking about how great it is that Jhuly was probably entering the water right then.

I went over to the Church after the appointment to get a glimpse of the end of the Baptism and as my Motokar pulled up, I saw my companion, almost in tears, standing in front of some guy and Jhuly, who was in normal clothes and perfectly dry.

I got there right as my poor companion started to say “I just want to tell
you that…” and she saw me and said “that this is my companion Hermana
Simonson and she can answer all of your questions!”

She pushed me in front of her and hid a little bit. The guy that was there was Jhuly´s ex-boyfriend (he didn’t take the whole law of chastity thing too well,
hence the “ex”) who showed up to tell her that she was making the biggest
mistake of her life and that he would marry her if she didn’t get baptized.

He started yelling at me saying that we couldn’t force her into anything and that he would never come to this church of the devil and lots of other fun things like that.

I asked Jhuly if she wanted to be Baptized and she eagerly responded yes Normally, I think I would have been able to handle the situation more tactfully, but I had already had a stressful day.

As the boyfriend yelled at me about how I’m from the Devil´s Church, I finally just said, with the best smile and patience that I could muster “Brother, I don’t understand what the problem is will you please just tell us how we can help you so we can move on the Baptismal Service that should have started an hour ago?”

He just kept saying that he didn’t know anything about the Church and so I cut in trying to get his address to send the Elders there…he didn’t like that so much.

“Brother, here’s all you need to know about the church. It’s the same Church that Jesus Christ himself established when he walked the earth, restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith and is the only true church that exists and Jhuly has chosen to be baptized because she knows it’s the only thing that can make her completely happy.”

That shut him up for long enough for Jhuly to walk away and get changed into her white dress. In the end, the service was beautiful and, you know what, the boyfriend finally gave in and entered the chapel to watch.

There’s never an easy baptism, but each one is so incredibly worth it. No matter how hard it is for me to get the courage to testify, “even in opposition” like my setting apart blessing says, “it has never led me astray”.

Love- Hermana Simonson

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