Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Don't be confused .....that's just the way things are here

Hola Familia!

   Well, can I just say I have the best family ever!  Seriously the
letters that you write me make me laugh out loud!  And I just love
reading parts of your testimony each week!  It is the best part of P
day!  Thank you for the support and the love, it makes it a lot easier
to be out here so far from you all.   It has been another great week
in Abancay!  I am loving it here and believe I am living in paradise!
We had a busy but really fun week!

   Some responses from last letter:  First off I want to know if
Sophie got my letter?  I want to track the time so I can make them
more prompt for birthday and things.  So let me know if you ever get.
Also congrats on almost completing your personal progress! That is so
great!  A girl in my ward just got hers on Sunday and her medallion
was gold.  She asked me what color mine was… haha awkward.  I wish I
had been a better example and gotten mine.  It’s probably why I have
to suffer through this mission…haha Chiste!... But really I had and
have a lot to learn.   Hannah you are slacking but I heard about your
job through dad and wanted to say congrats!! Hope you aren’t slacking
off this week!  And one more thing…. Thank you dad for your thoughts
on faith and hope.  There is a lack of hope here and it is very sad.
It’s a really cool experience to teach someone about the plan of
salvation and see the hope in their eyes. Even if it’s just for a
split second.  I am grateful for the hope that the Gospel has given
me.  When you know that there is a point to all your trials and
challenges and life, it makes each day brighter and full of laughter.

                Time for some Ungoogleable facts about Peru!

1.       People play volleyball a lot here!! Like soccer, it’s a
favorite pastime.  Every city has a town plaza, and usually they have
a volleyball net.  The best part is that they are seriously amazing at
volleyball!  Everyone plays and everyone is way good!  I am sure that
the only thing that is keeping them from the Olympic podium is their
lack of height.

2.       Peru does not own window screens.  I haven’t seen one since I
left the CCM.

3.       In Peru you do not need refrigerators.  everything is made so
that it doesn’t need to be kept in a fridge.   Yougurt, milk, butter,
you name it!  Hermana Rene has a fridge but the only thing in it is
mayo.  Remember this fact because I have a story about it.

4.       IN Peru they only use one cup when they give you a drink, so
if someone opens a bottle of soda or coke, you pass around one cup and
share it with everyone.  Of course I haven’t done this because they
will usually give me my own cup, but I have seen it done, and let’s
just say it makes the soda last a lot longer.  This may be why they do

5.        Mormon standard time in Utah has nothing on Mormon standard
time in Peru.  Just this week we waited one hour for a meeting to
start. And Hermana Sandberg said last week a meeting started 1 hour
and 45 minutes late.  That’s just their culture.

   This week has been really hard but tons of fun!  Last P day we went
to Hermana Rene’s Chacra.  It’s on the hills of Abancay and it’s
beautiful.  We walked there with her family and took their family dog
Shadow.   (Update on him: He got bit by a tiny tiny tiny dog and spent
most of the week whining at the bottom of the stairs… I guess he knows
how the poor duck felt).  Anyways Dogs are very very very territorial
here.  IF you are a dog you do not go to another neighborhood.
Especially if you are not a street dog.  So we walk through a
neighborhood called Victor Acosta, which is basically like the suburbs
of Abancay.   Dogs just come out of the nowhere, barking and growling
at shadow!!  I think I counted at least 12 dogs.  It was probably one
of the scariest/funniest things I have ever seen.  Robert  (Rene’s
husband)  is just tranquilo through the whole thing.  He just keeps
walking and walking!   So then we go to the Chacra.  It was like
stepping back in pioneer time.  I downloaded pictures of the house
there to drop box.  But anyhoo, we walked back but this time we were
prepared.  We all had sticks and rocks in our hands, and walked
through Victor Acosta!  All the dogs came out and even people were
looking through their doors and windows at us.  Haha two gringas with
this family!  I’m sure it was a sight to see!  We laughed the whole
time and the dogs left us alone!   It was something out of a movie for

    One day this week we stopped by Yaneths and taught English to her
and her brothers.  It was super fun.  It’s good to teach the kids how
to speak English in their youth because they don’t have such a heavy
accent.  Her little brother Jose knew a surprisingly amount of nouns,
and he asked how to say “you are” and then he proceeded to say “you
are a seat, you are a chicken, you are a cow”  Pretty hilarious!  It
was fun to talk to them and hear them speak English.  Their accents
are thick and I am sure that’s what I sound like!

                A couple nights ago we were sitting down for dinner
with Rene’s family and we couldn’t find the butter.  We looked
everywhere for it.  And we couldn’t find it so we sit down and a
couple minutes later.  Dianet whispers in my ear, “I know where the
butter is…. It’s on the roof!”   Before I could ask why she ran
upstairs to get it!  Hermana Holland, Rene and I Just laughed and
laughed.  I guess Her and Sebast had a picnic up there and forgot
about it.  And I guess that is why the butter doesn’t need to be
refrigerated here.

    Anyways  its been a really good week and it finished on a really
great note.   On Sunday we had a lesson with Carolina.  She didn’t
come to church so we were really worried.  WE took a member with us
named Lisbenia.  She is 19 and is preparing to go a mission!  Her and
I are best friends!  Anyways we go to Carolina and something’s
different.  She doesn’t run up to us and she doesn’t invite us inside.
So we sit outside on this beautiful hill in a meadow overlooking
Abancay, and the sun is setting.  (you need to picture this).   We
talk to her and she tells us that her parents are absolutely against
her getting baptized, and Carolina tells us that she doesn’t think she
will be ready for her baptism.  My heart just sank and I realized for
the first time the real reason why missionary work is hard.  I didn’t
know what to say and either did Hermana Holland, But Lisbenia, bless
her heart, She just starts sharing her conversion story.   She was the
first member to join the church and since then four of her siblings
have join.  Her parents haven’t yet.  She talked to Carolina about how
she needs to be example now and how God sent her these missionaries
and that she might not get another opportunity to join this Church.
It was the most powerful testimony ever and it set the tone for the
rest of the lesson.  We just shared our testimonies with her and
taught her the doctrine of Christ.   Carolina felt the spirit and at
the end of the lesson she prayed and it was the most powerful prayer I
have ever heard.  There we were kneeling in this beautiful meadow, and
it was thundering and lightening all around us.  Carolina asked for
the strength to overcome this trial and asked Heavenly Father that her
parents hearts would soften.  It was amazing. Wow.  The spirit was so
strong and I don’t know whats going to happen in two weeks.  But I do
know now that Carolina has a testimony and that she knows this church
is true.  IT was truly powerful.  I believe there is a power that
comes from bearing testimony.  I am grateful for Lisbenia and her
willingness to share her testimony.

     Well that is all!  Love you all so much!  I have been so blessed
in my life and I hope everyone is reading their book of Mormons! J
Till next time!

                    Hermana Russell
Hermana Russell and Hermana Holland dressed in traditional Peruvian dance attire

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