Monday, July 21, 2014

Family and Friends!! Such a stress filled week but such a good week. Tuesday we visited with a new investigator that we contacted on the street last week. His name is Marcelo Diaz. He was super impressed that we came at 10am sharp. He has been one of our good investigators because he read the pamphlet that we gave him and had lots of questions. He said that he wants to be a better person. We scheduled another lesson with him since we forgot that we had District Meeting at this time. Tuesday afternoon we went out with a member and he gave us some references to go visit. The reference we went to visit was a 19 year old boy who he went to school with. When we were talking to him his parents drove up with his sister and they started unloading lots of boxes out of the car. We instantly went to help and at first they were resistent but then accepted our help. This was my goal for the week, to find more opportunities to serve others. It was a good way for them to build confidence with us. Then they invited us in. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation. He didn't know what happens to us when we die but after the lesson he really liked the whole idea of the Plan of Salvation. He was really interested and focused during the lesson. He said he would pray to know if the church is true. Later we went to visit Jorge and Camilla and Ghilmar. We taught them about the Book of Mormon. We told them about our activity coming up that Friday and they seemed pretty excited to come. Wednesday. In the morning we visited our new investigator Marcelo Diaz at his work. He seems very interested. He is progressing since he had read everything that we have given him. In the lesson we taught him the Restoration. The spirit was really strong in the lesson when he asked us how we got our testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel. We told him to pray and if he prays he will receive an answer for himself that this church is true. In the afternoon we went to the mission home to help Hermana Zobrist out with notebooks together for the new missionaries coming in August and September. At night, we went to visit Samuel. We asked him why he didn't come to church and then he told us that he really didn't know what to believe and why he needed to go to church. We began to teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the five things we need to do while here on the earth. Which are Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Recieve the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End. He told us that he faults repentance. We then talked about the importance of the Atonement and how repentance is a HUGE blessing from God. While he was talking I started thinking about my testimony of repentance. I told him that was my favorite part about this church, then I bore my testimony on how I felt about repentance. I started crying and saying that only through Jesus Christ we can feel the burdens of sin leave us and have happiness come back into our lives. He then wanted to know the steps of forgiveness and wanted the pamphelt that talked about repentance. He told us, Voy a arrepentirme! I am going to repent! It was such a good lesson! Thursday. We spent a good part of the day planning for our awesome activity we were going to have Friday. We got a few things that we needed and then invited more people to come. We planned this activity to get investigators to come to church, to get less actives to come and to have more unity in the ward. We were getting so excited for the activity. It was super stressful since we did 90 percent of the whole acitivty all by ourselves. Friday! The day of our activity! The theme was Este es Guerra, This is War, which is a TV show here in Peru that EVERYONE loves. It's a competetive game with obstacle courses, games, trivia, and other similar things. There are two teams, the cobras which are blue and the lions which are yellow. So for our activity we had two teams, The Lamanites, blue, which was my team! and the Nephites, yellow, which was Hermana Ogdens team! We put up yellow, blue, and white ballons and decorations. When the people started coming we divided the members into different teams. Little to say, the activity turned into such a success! It was STESSFUL! I never want to plan an activity again! But this one happened to be worth it. So for the activity we had different games similar to the TV show, such as cup towers, obstacles courses, and trivia about the gospel and about the members in the ward. We got everyone super animated during the activity! It was so fun. Thankfully the Elders came and helped us because we couldn't have done everything on our own. Anyway, my favorite part of the night was the end. The final game or challenge was when we asked for the most powerful man on each team to come up. We had them do an arm wreslting contest to see who was the winner. We then told everyone that because he is the most powerful man in this chapel he will recieve a huge prize. It was two big plates of cookies. We asked him if he would like to keep this all for himself or share with everyone at the activity. He said he would share so then we started passing them out. But when we gave the cookie to one person we said that the winning man had to do 5 pushups for each person to recieve a cookie. By the time we passed out 8 or 9 cookies we had people yelling at us saying CASTIGO! CASTIGO! At the time I didnt know what that meant but I knew they were getting a little upset haha One member came up to me and said that we needed to stop since people were getting upset. We continued on but the people got more angry with us. Finally Hermana Ogden said, Who doesn't want a cookie: Then I said that he still needs to do a pushup for them. I thought the members were about to kill me at this point haha the commotion was so strong and SO LOUD. Then the second I said this is the same as what Jesus Christ did for us. It was dead silent. I said that since he was the only winner in this room, Jesus Christ is the only perfect one in the world. He is the only qualified one to do that job. The cookie is significant to the great gift that he has given us, Whether we accept it or not it will always be there for us. He suffered for us whether we want it or not. Then we asked them to think about people they knew that aren't partaking of this great gift that Jesus Christ has given us. We ended up getting some references that night but more importantly we had a super spiritual ending to our activity. My favorite part was seeing the change in the people when they were yelling at us to the dead silence in the room when we compaired this activity to Jesus Christ. SUCH A CHEVRE ACTIVITY! Saturday morning we went to Independencia to give service to the less actives in Hermana Smith and Hermana Sullivans ward. We moved rocks from one side of the yard to the other. The sun was so strong that day, but it was fun to be able to serve the sisters and the people in Independencia. I love service! Sunday. This week had just been a week a stress. We were both dead by the time Sunday came around. Hermana Ogden and I both were assigned to give talks. We were planning our talks in the morning and I was getting a little nervous because I had been praying for awhile to recieve inspiration on what to talk on, but nothing really came. I prepared my talk and everything. When I got up to start speaking I got though half my talk when our investigator came in the room, Marcelo Diaz. I instantly felt that I shouldn't read the rest of my talk. I then stopped reading my talk and said that I wanted to try and express the feelings that I had in my heart. I could feel the Spirit testifying through me and helping me be able to speak the desires of my heart. Never would I ever do that in English but here I go, just speaking from my heart in SPANISH in front of my ward! Wow, things have changed! haha This is good!! In this experience I gained a testimony on preparing for a lesson or for a talk but then changing based on the needs of the Spirit. The Patriarch, which is the house we live at, told me that I did a really good job on my talk. It was like recieving a compliment from my dad because he doesn't just give out compliments unless he really means it. He told me that he understood everything I was trying to say also that I was an instrument in the hands of the Lord because I was letting the Spirit testify through me. This week was filled with lots of stress and Hermana Ogden and I have been super tired but I haven't been happier. I am thankful for this opportunity I have to be a missionary and to be able to share this wonderful gospel with those here in Peru Arequipa. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it. Thank you for all the support and love that I am recieving from home. I know that I am being blessed while here on the mission. I feel blessed to be able to speak and understand the language so fast. I feel comfortable with the language and I have no more fear. I can't speak perfectly and I learn something everyday, but this is the life. Change. As long as we are changing for the better this is a success. Everyday try to think about what Jesus Christ would do if He were in your same position. That's what I try to do everyday since I have his name on my chest. I try to do my best to be the best representative of Jesus Christ that I can be. Siempre gracias, Hermana Flora xoxo

Monday, July 14, 2014

This is the Mission

Family and Friends!! Another good week in Arequipa. Tuesday we went and visited Lalo who is 19 years old and hasn't been coming to church. He got to know Hermana Ogden and we had a good lesson with him. We are trying to get him to come to church this Sunday since it's been awhile. We are planning on visiting him with a member that's around his age so he can have some friends and feel more comfortable coming to church! Tuesday afternoon we visited with Elsa, she is the sister of Hna Amparo, she is a recent convert of about a year and is SUPER strong! We planned on teaching her about the gospel of Jesus Christ but we both had the impression to teach the plan of salvation. We felt the Spirit super strong in the lesson and ended up giving her a book of mormon. She accepted it and wanted to know more! She also accepted the challenge to pray if our message is from God. We are excited to see her progress. At night we visited Marianela Fernandez. We have been working with her for the past 2 or 3 months, basically since I've been here. But she hasn't come to church yet. I am losing hope and running out of ideas. We are buds but she's just not coming. She wants a divorce from her husband but she is still living with him because of her 6 year old daughter Camilla. Marianela is from Lima which is an 18 hour bus ride away and Camilla doesn't want to go to Lima so it is either leave her daughter or stay with her with her husband. We are trying to get them to stay together. Her husband, Frank, wants to be with her and is committed to save their relationship. So tonight we talked about forgiveness. She opened up more to us and told us that she doesn't feel worthy to go to church. It made me sad but also frustrated because Satan wants her to feel this way. God wants her to come to church and repent. God never wants us to feel so bad about our sins that we turn away from Him. He wants us to feel bad about our sins so that we would turn away from our sins and turn towards God. We shared this with her and shared Matt 18 about forgiving other 70 times 7 times. We also taught her that she needs to forgive herself as well. Sometimes it hardest to forgive ourselves. Wednesday. In the morning we had zone conference training. The Zone Leaders taught us about what President wanted all of us to know. Then while we were in the chapel there was an EaRtHQuAkE!! It was pretty strong since we were about 2 hours away from the epicenter. It was a little exciting. Nothing happened though, just a little shaking and screaming haha Nada mas. Thursday Hermana Ogden and I had divisions with our Sister Leaders. I stayed in our area Graficos and Hermana Odgen went to Casa Blanca. It went really well. Divisions are always fun because we get to know other hermanas and learn more from other people. The Hermana Leaders told us that they wanted to do divisions with us first since they know that we're not having any issues and they wanted an easy division first. We're the best! haha just kidding. But really Hermana Ogden and I are doing super good together and working really well and having lots of success. This is super good! When I was with Hermana Leavitt we went out with one of the members in our ward and taught some of the families in the ward. It was fun learning from Hermana Leavitt and getting a different teaching style. I like to see everyones teaching styles and ideas because I know that we can all learn from each other. My favorite part of divisions was Friday morning. We ended with writing a letter to Heavenly Father. It was a spiritual experience for me and it was a good way to better express my feelings. It was like a written prayer. I would recommend doing this if you can! Then the other part that I liked was something that Hermana Leavitt told me. She said that she wanted to study the Light of Christ, not because I said anything about it, but because you showed me the light of Christ. I was super touched by this and surprised to hear it, but it made to happy to hear that others can see light in me and that I am spreading happiness to those around me. Then Friday afternoon Hermana Ogden, my sissy, came back! We went and visited Juan Condori in the hospital. It was such a blessing to walk into his room and see him reading the Book of Mormon! It made me so happy! We taught him about my favorite character in the Book of Mormon, Captain Moroni! He told us that he wants his faith to grow and he wants to get baptized! It was such a good lesson. He is super humble. At the end of the lesson he prayed and during his prayer he teared up and was full of gratitude. He told us how thankful he was that we brought this happiness into his life. I was filled with joy! I started to tear up when I heard him say this to us. This is the mission. Saturday. The stress begins. Today is the day for Diana's baptism! In the morning we went to the Pulcha Family house to do service. Elder Wells, Elder Meza, Elder Peterson and Elder Devenberg came to help us out. The Elders helped move things in their house and cut weeds, and we helped clean. It was fun giving service. This is one of our new goals, to give service every week. Then Hermana Ogden and I ran to get the font filled and to start heating up the baptismal font. We called Jaime, Diana's husband at 11 and said remember you need to be at the chapel at 2pm and pronto. They are always late because of him but we trusted he would come....Well at 2pm we were stressing a little because we told all the members that it really would start at 2pm. All the missionaries in our District came to support us so we felt bad that we couldn't start yet since they weren't there. Well we called Jaime and Diana and at 2:30pm Diana told us that she was all ready but the truth was that Jaime just got in the Shower! WHat! But actually everything all worked out. Some members came at 2:15pm but had to leave but a good group of members came at 3pm and said I knew it wouldn't start at 2 haha they just know Jaime too well. So at 3pm we started the baptism! It was such a wonderful experience. Diana was a little nervous but more excited. The baptism was really special because when she came out of the water she started tearing up. I asked if she was alright but she just told us that she was so happy. It was a sweet experience. The best part of the baptism was when she got up and bore her testimony in front of all of us. She told us that when she came up from the water she felt a huge peace come upon her and that she felt like her past life was behind her and she was forgiven of all her sins. She was crying a lot and thanking everyone that was there to support her and then thanked us for helping her get baptized. At that point I was tearing up myself! It was such a happy moment! This is the mission! All the bad times I ever had were all wiped away and I felt like I was helping people come unto Christ. This is why people serve missions. SUCH A GOOD DAY!! Sunday. Well it was just a little stressful. Jaime really has a problem with tardiness. 10am is our sacrament. There weren't there. We were just getting a little nervous. By 10:30 we were getting a little frustrated at Jaime. But the odd part was that there were many delays in our sacrament meeting. For example, they had to say the prayer 3 times and we sung the sacrament hymn twice. I don't think I've ever seen that before. Anyway, these little blessings made it possible for Diana to receive the Holy Ghost. Literally at the LAST minutes she calls us and ended up coming all by herself. She walked in with us right when they were closing the meeting. We sat down and then the first counselor said now we will have Diana come up and receive the Holy Ghost! What a blessing! It all worked out! At night we had a lesson with Edwin, one of the less actives in our ward. It went really well because he opened up with us and told us he wants to stop smoking and drinking and come back to church. SUCH A GOOD WEEK! I love you all! Love always, Hermana Flora

Monday, July 7, 2014

America the Beautiful

Family and Friends!! This week has been such a success. I love my new companion Hna Ogden. We get along so well and we have a lot of fun together. I know we will be doing a lot of good work together here in Graficos! I have been a lot happier now and I feel more animated about the work. Hna Bazan was good for me but I am realizing now that it took a lot out of me to be with her so I am blessed to be with someone that is always excited about the work and that wants to work hard. I am really so happy. Tuesday. Today was a success. I feel a lot more happy about doing the work here in Graficos. We had such great lessons tonight and I’m just full of excitement for the work. I know Hermana Ogden and I will do so much work together. Wednesday. I feel blessed to have Hermana Ogden as my companion. Tonight we taught a 17 year old boy named, Enzo. He has more confidence with us after we taught him the Restauracion and answered some of his questions. The Spirit was strong in the lesson and we ended up setting a baptismal date. Unfortunately he will be going home for a month so in August he will hopefully get baptized! Then we visited more people to have Hermana Ogden get to know more members in the ward. At night, Hermana Ogden got stuck in the bathroom haha When she called for me to help, I couldnt open the door either so of course I went and got my camera and filmed her haha Thursday. Happy 4 years of my family being sealed in the temple! It feels like just yesterday. In the morning we had weekly planning with the zone and met all the new people in our zone. There are three new greenies in the zone. Im so happy to have some new ones in the zone and also to have Hna Smith in my zone! Its unreal. Smith is training one of the new missionaries, Im so proud of her! President Zobrist came to our zone, its always good to see President. One thing that I liked that he said about me was that I am always happy. Im glad to hear this from President. Im not always as happy as I would like to be at times, but to hear him say that he thinks Im always happy made me feel better. He doesnt even know how happy I can really get haha At night we visited with Enzo before he left to visit his family for the month. The lesson went really well and we are both a little sad that hes leaving, but we look forward to the progress he will have when he gets back! FOURTH OF JULY!! Hermana Ogden and I did all the possible to make this day the most 4th of Julyish we possibly could. In the morning we went on a little run to the park in red, white, and blue clothes. Then for the day we wore red white and blue as well. And everyone we talked to we told that today was our Independence Day. I was full of energy all day. During the day we went to visit Juan Condori in the hospital. He had a bad fall and needs to get surgery. The surgery costs a lot of money and they dont have enough to pay for it. We have been praying for them and doing all that we possibly can as missionaries to help them. They have a lot of faith in God and know that everything will work out. Juan even told us that he wants to get baptized! This is good news! We are praying for the best possible. I hope that he recovers soon and finds a way to pay for the surgery. At the hospital with Juan he thanked us for teaching him how to pray, he said hes not perfect yet but hes trying. He is super humble and loves reading the book of Mormon. At night we met up as a zone and had a little Fourth of July celebration. We have a lot of North Americans in our zone so it was fun getting together and eating PIZZA! Yummy!! I was so pumped haha Then we talked about why we loved America! Let freedom ring. It was the best way we could have celebrated Fourth of July as missionaries. Then while we were planning we heard a few fireworks go off, so we called it good! Happy Fourth of July! Towards the end of the week Hermana Ogden and I were feeling tired because we have been utilizing our time wisely and visiting a lot of people. She told me that this was the hardest week shes ever worked on her mission, I feel the same, so we will be doing lots of work together. We both have desires to work hard and efficiently. Im soooo excited! Saturday we started our fast. We wrote down names of our investigators, less actives, and other people we wanted to fast for. We prayed for everyone individually and by name. I liked doing this and having many specific reasons to fast. Fasting has been hard for me on the mission since we fast for 24 hours and we are out working and walking all day. Its always a struggle at the beginning for me, but then I always see the blessings of our fast afterwards. Saturday night we went and taught a less active, he served a mission but has become less active ever since he came home early from his mission which is super sad. His name is Edwin. We started teaching him about baptism with D y C 20.37 and reminding him about his covenants he made when he got baptized and that baptism is not just a one time thing. Then we taught Alma 5.26 which talks about feeling a change in your heart and asks if you can feel that change now. We asked him this question to ponder on. At the end of the lesson I was testifying on what we taught then I felt the Spirit helping me on what to say. He has problems with the Word of Wisdom and I told him that the church is for people that want to change. Tomorrow is a new day. As long as we are trying everyday to be better the Lord will be happy with us. Then I asked him to pray for strength in his temptations and the Lord will help him. The Spirit was super strong in the lesson and I really hope this helped him! Fast Sunday! I can feel the blessings of our fast. I love the blessings that come when we are diligent and obedient to the commandments. Hermana Ogden and I both got up and bore our testimonies in front of the ward. The Spirit was definitely helping me out. Its crazy how much Spanish I can speak now. I feel blessed to be able to learn Spanish so fast. Then when Sacrament finished we saw DIANA AND JAIME!!! I was so excited because I thought thy would start attending another ward since they temporarily moved to another area, but they said they want to assist with us and Diana said she wants to get baptized AS SOON AS POOSIBLE! We said, okay, how about this saturday?! YAY! Shes finally getting baptized and they are both so happy about it! So this week we have a baptism with Diana! The other blessing from this week was that we were planning on rescuing a less active this week but when we went to visit him, Juan Diego, he said he couldnt come to church. We insisted and hoped he would come. During sacrament meeting he ended up coming! All he needed was an interview with the bishop, we tried talking to him after the meeting to get him to go to an interview with bishop to set goals on his progress but he said he would come back on Tuesday...but he said that last week and never came so we were bummed when he ended up leaving. Thankful for our blessings....after second hour we saw him in church and he said I had an interview with the bishop!! WHAT!? No way! We ended up teaching him after church and he seems like he will start being active and trying to come back to church and do what he should! At night Hermana Ogden and I made COOKIES! We had an American filled week because this morning with our district we also made French Toast for the Elders! It was super fun! I look forward to the work that Hermana Ogden and I will be doing together! Shes awesome! You can call us Hermana Flogden haha Thank you for all your love and support! I love all of you!!! Love always, Hermana Flora xoxoxo