Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I love you guys

Hola familia!!

This week has been one of the hardest weeks here in my mission but I
think I have experienced one of the biggest miracles of my life too.

First just want to say thank you for the package!  The M&M´s were
seriously the best!  Mom asked me if I see any animals and mostly I
just see sheep and dogs and chickens.  They kind of just roam the
streets.  I defintely see less than I did in Abancay though.  We are
more of a city here in Puno.  The name of my street is Tupac Catari.
We live right behind a huge red school. J  So mom can find me…

Yeah its still cold here especially when the liders of zona ask us for
our blankets to have them washed and we just freeze to death
everynight.  Hahah..  Hermana Minaya keeps referring to titanic.  Its
been super cold and even the people here say its colder than normal.
They also told us that august is the month of winds and I am so not
looking forward to that.

Well Tuesday was probably one of the hardest days ever.  We recieved a
paper that we had to give to our Bishop that had the signature of the
Abuelita that proved we paid her for the month of June.  As we were
walking past her street a store lady came out and ran over to her
house to tell her that we were passing by.  She came out and just
started yelling and screaming.  I think it was the only time in my
mission that i wasn´t grateful that I understood.  She just kept
saying lies and terrible things about us and our religion.   Some of
the things she said are so terrible…  it was so ugly.  It was hard to
stand there and only listen. in this moment I had a million things run
through my mind that I would have liked to say to her, but I am
grateful for the spirit who helped me stay calm and remember who I
represent.  Even though we showed her the paper she didn´t believe us.
Later Hna Minaya hugged me and said that maybe we felt a little bit of
what the Savior felt. I was grateful she reminded me of the Savior and
I am grateful for His example. Even though it wasn´t fair what they
did to Him and He didn´t deserve any of it, he allowed it to happen
and He turned his cheek and forgave them. I am grateful for
experiences like these that help me feel a little bit about what the
Savior felt.  We are going to face so many things like this as members
of the church.  Its so important that we remember that we made a
covenant to represent him.   We got help from the Bishop who had to
call president.  The church ended up paying her beccause she started
going from house to house trying to recruit people to track us down
and maybe throw rocks at us.   All in all I am just glad its over ……
and that is a crazy lady….  Also fun fact: the people of Puno are
really aggressive and they will throw rocks.

And on a happy note!!
After Tuesday, we had a great week! This week we set a goal to ask
referrels from everyone. Its one of the things we are focusing on in
the mission.  On thursday we crossed paths of a member, Hna Marlene.
Usually we would have greeted her and moved on but we asked for a
referrel. Excitingly she gave us one and she showed us from the street
where we were on where they lived. From talking to her we found out
that it was a less active of ten years and she had her family who
weren´t members. Later that night an appointment  fell through so we
decided to knock at this door. She wasn´t home and for the next three
days we kept knocking. Sometime 3 times a day. she was never home.  We
were discouraged.  Sunday came a long  a little back up knowledge… A
lot of the times on Sunday we walk around for five hours because no
one is home.  Everyone goes to their fields or they are at the market.
Its terrible and I usually am so exhausted by the end of the day.
This Sunday we had two appointments with contacts we had made.   I
don´t know if they lied to us or if we weren´t on the right street but
their addresses didn´t exisit and in five mintues all of our back up
to back up plans fell through. With fifty minutes to spare to our next
appotintme we decided to knock one more time at the house of this less
active.. we knocked and... she wasn´t home. I was so frustrated and
not exicted for the rest of the day.  Not far from this house is a
look out of all of Puno. We walked over there and just stood there for
a couple mintues not knowing who we can visit or what should we do.  I
felt so exhausted and tired and I just wanted to go back to the
apartment. After feeling a little sad for myself and saying a little
prayer that the day would pass by quickly we decided to head to
another reference. We started walking away from the house when the son
came out of the house yelling ¨hermanas hermanas!! Vengan Vengan!” I
was like “are you serious?”  He told us that it was his aunt that had
left and not his mom.  his mom was home and told him that we should
enter.  I looked at Hermana Minaya and we were both so surprised… Its
like a miracle to find less acitve people to invite you in. Usually
you are only making apointment and they send you on your way.  At this
moment I felt like a miracle was about to happen.  She invited us in
and we ended up teaching her and her two sons who aren´t members. We
shared with them the message of the restauration and the spirit was so
strong in this lesson.  Because they are younger we asked a lot of
questions and tried to explain very simply.  They understood really
well.  We asked Hermana Sulema to bear her testimoney and it was
amazing.  You could see that she was once again feeling the spirit
after ten years.  She bore her testimoney about Joseph Smith and said
that she wants her to kids to know the Gospel because it will change
their lives.  We challenged them to baptism and put baptisms dates for
each of them. They acepted with enthusiasm. This experience strenthed
my testimoney of asking everyone for referrals and not losing hope. As
missionaries we have to be persistant. We just have to endure to the
end of every day. And I also know that God is preparing people to
listen to us. There our people out there who are praying for our help
and praying for the joy that the Gospel brings.

 I am so grateful for this week.  It taught me so much and I am
seriously loving it.  Hermana Minaya is hilarious!  She is always
laughing and smiling and talking!  She helps me stay excited and even
when we have terrible days and we walk around all day she still
smiles.  I wish you guys could get to know here.   She is literally
the best.  Anyways.  Just want you guys to know that I know this
Gospel is true.  I know Joseph Smith was a called of God and that God
has a plan for each one of us.   Love you guys with all my heart! J

Hermana Russell

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