Monday, August 25, 2014

Sheep Germs

Week 63August 25, 2014

Riding in the best mode of transportation EVER! They are these tricycles with a bench attached in the front. Terrifying at times, but smooth. We have taken them on a few occasions, once while eating empanadas.  Delightful.

Dear Family Wamily, 
I hope you are all doing great! It was quite the week. 
Elmer and Ever gave us a referral of their friends. Turns out one was actually baptized when he was 9 or 10 but he stopped going. He doesn't really consider himself a member, I think. But how amazing that Heavenly Father led us to him to be able to help him come back.

Also, this week Hna. Hunter and I were struggling because we know that God hears and answers our prayers, but sometimes it is just hard to hear Him and we really wanted some direction. Well this week we went up to visit Maria and she told us how she prays but sometimes she just doesn't feel anything. We just testified that sometimes we don't get answers right away, but we have to keep trusting He is there, that it is just a trial of faith. It was cool to be able to tell her even us missionaries feel the same thing sometimes.

Speaking of Maria, one of the first things I noticed when we went is that she had one of her sheep inside instead of outside in the pasture with all the others. And the sheep was not liking it.  Also, mind you, this sheep was rather large and tried to bolt for the door but Maria kept it pinned inside. I don't know how because I think if I collided with the sheep, he would knock me flat over. He baaa-ed really loudly from time to time but I kind of forgot about him as we had an intense lesson.  I was super focused and leaned over to grab something and was startled to find the giant sheep's head alarmingly close to my face.  He then proceeded to try and eat my coat I had taken off (it was actually hot up there and my arms got sunburned in their first little bit of sun exposure in a while) so I thought a friendly swat with my Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet would do the trick. Well, you know what, that fat, spiteful sheep went straight for my water bottle. My thirst will never be quenched quite the same again...

Also, remember how I said we were winning against the dogs again? Well, yeah, I take that back. They have gotten smarter! This week a dog apparently broke his rope (because part was still around his neck) and came after us out of an open door.He went after me first and got me away from my comp on one side of the street and then turned around to get my comp and chased her around the corner down an alley.  I WAS ALONE IN A STREET IN PERU. Pure panic. Dumb dog. I heard my comp yell and she scared that dog away and we got reunited again. Maybe next week we will be back on top. But I better not jinx it.

Okay, now for the BEST part of the week. Elmer came up to me after sacrament meeting (I had been playing the piano) and he said, "I'm getting baptized Saturday." What?!  I didn't know what to do so I just gave him a big high five and told him it was the best surprise ever. Apparently he had a bit of a scary life threatening situation when he traveled this past week to Puerto Maldonado and he told me, "You told me I shouldn't postpone things". Hahah that is the truth, brothers and sisters. It made me feel good because I had said that to him in a lesson where I was trying really hard to listen to the Spirit but I felt like we weren't getting through to him and it made me doubt myself afterwards, maybe I should have been more loving and less persistent, yada yada yada. But it was what the Spirit wanted me to say and he is getting baptized Saturday!

Also, his mom is starting to want to be baptized as well. His last non-member brother also but is out of town. We will complete this family! They are great.

Love you guys! Have a great week!

Quinoa power

scattering the pigeons that were eating a pile of rice 
 The supplements on our face. Yeah...didn't work.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What is this, a mission or a vacation?

August 18, 2014
Week 62

That's what Gina, one of our favorite members, told us when she found out in this mission we pay someone who makes us lunch and washes our clothes. Laundry is hard work here, so if you don't have to do it, you are probably on vacation.

Remember Margarita? The funny less active we were teaching that moved away? Well her daughter in law is a member and lives in our ward. Her name is Magnolia. We were passing by Margartia's house and the lights were on and curtains open and we peeked in and it was Magnolia! So we excitedly start knocking on the glass and a lady that was definitely NOT Magnolia looks up at us with kind of a freaked-out look on her face. Hahah oops! 

On that same wonderful day I felt like I should knock a door and this very cheery man came out. He told us that he didn't live there, but was just there to take care of his mom, who was a member of the church but couldn't attend anymore because she can't get around very well. But he said, "Jesus sent you," and that he would start bringing his mom to church! We visited them both together and she is a hoot! Her name is Maria and I love her. She is practically deaf and just shouts at you. We asked her how old she was and she shouted back, ALMOST 80! And her son is just like, no, no. She's 85. Haha. And then we asked her how many kids she has and she's like FIVE! And her son was just like, no mom, no you have 6 kids counting Richard. Haha she's the best. And her son isn't a member but he is very open. He said when he opened the door first time he was moved because we had a pure spirit, and God was in our hearts. 

Also, Ever blessed the sacrament! And he has been called as the Young Men's secretary! He seems a little nervous, but he will be great. Also, they called people to lead the music. Which means I get to teach them how. Singing is always a fun adventure here. Definitely a highlight this week.

Also, this week we were going back to the house and there was a pack of dogs lounging outside and when we got close they all took off after us. They stopped after a while and returned to their comfy spot right outside our house and were smugly lying there until our awesome neighbor dumped a tub of water on them. I just gave her a big thumbs up. Take that dogs. Missionaries are back on top. 

Also, the power went out again, and as we came inside, our landlords are like, how do you say darkness (in English) we tell them and the man just can't get past dark. And then when the power came back, they came upstairs and we just hear them saying, como se dice luz? Haha. They are so cute and trying to learn English.

Elmer is going to get baptized! We are just not sure when. He kept telling us he had a surprise for us so we thought that was the surprise but yesterday he was like, I am going to be baptized. But that's not a surprise, that's just my destiny. Haha. He is kinda dramatic but really great. He knows so much and is super prepared. And he wants to be baptized! The only problem is that he is going to Lima for work! And he doesn't love the idea of committing to a date.  But we are hoping he will be able to finish up quick. He would be the fourth kid in their family to be baptized. The parents aren't members and there is one more kid that isn't a member. One of his brothers is on a mission. We sent him a picture of Evers baptism and he was so so happy. I know his family is being blessed for his service, just like mine. One member at a time, but the goal is that one day his whole family will be able to go to the temple together. 

We went up to Maria's house again and she has disappeared for the moment. But her neighbor's door was open and we were just going to ask them if they knew where she was and they saw us and was just like, come in! They are both sick and have been going to the Evangelical church and paying tithing there because they were told the more they pay, the faster they will get healed. Lies! We talked about the Restoration and we talked about the priesthood. All you need to be healed is the priesthood authority and faith in Jesus Christ. We agreed to come back the next day with the Elders to give them a blessing. My companion and I were super excited and we decided to fast that they would be able to be healed. Elder Tandazo had to go to Lima and there were some other little barriers but we got up there for the blessing with two priesthood holders and they weren't there. It was a sad moment but I know it's all for some reason. I am trying to exercise my faith to see miracles but sometimes God has a different plan in mind. We are excited to see them progress.
I was reading a conference talk today and it said that God answers our prayers in the moment that will help us grow the most. I know that is true. The mission is the hardest thing I have ever done but there are so many miracles and also fun moments to enjoy. I love you guys! 

P.S. I am excited to hear about how your study of preach my gospel is going!

Have a great week!

A great snack here. I just love it. The joke possibilities are endless while we are eating them. (Sorry mom, I still have growing up to do)

 Pday. We hiked up to this condor statue.

Ask the missionaries...

August 11, 2014
Week 61
 Pday fun with one of our favorite members Constanina. We hung out with her and made some stuff that is like fried dough. She gave me that hat for the sun and insisted that it was a gift. She is so cute.
This week went pretty swell. 
We were walking down the mountain that is our area and this lady stops us and was just like, "Excuse me, do you speak Spanish?." Yes! She told us about some really hard times she is going through and asked if we could help her. Well of course! Her name is Maria and she lives wayyyy up the mountain. But everyday we hike up there I think it gets easier. It smells like sheep poop but besides that I like it because if reminds me of being at Ragged mountain. Her life is that her parents gave her away when she was young and she was raised by a woman that beat her. Now that she is grown her mom is back and she is taking care of her in her old age. The problem is that she usually doesn't have money to feed her but she does anyways but when they go without the mom talks bad about her to everyone up there. Yeah. But it was really amazing. She has come to church once now. And we visited her once and talked about the Atonement. We felt the spirit really strong. I had been trying to study more about how to actually apply the Atonement, and not for just sins, but pains and sadness. I shared an experience with her and through sharing my testimony with her I realized I had used the Atonement and been blessed by it without really realizing it in the moment. I felt a lot of love for her.

Also, Eber received the priesthood Sunday and is going to bless the sacrament next Sunday. The Bishop is also thinking of callings for him. He is excited. I think the last convert baptism in our ward (besides Ever) was in January. Yay for miracles!   

Okay so in the Area South America Southwest we only know where about half the members are living. So the area sends us names of members and we go find them! We were in this process this other day and went to ask some old members for help. They invited us in and we ended up sharing something small with them. My companion finished sharing her beautiful testimony and the hermano was just like, well! we like cooking with (insert some random brand of pots). We were just like, uh,,,what? And they were like follow us! And took us into the kitchen. Ahh no. There were stainless steel pot posters and they started bringing them out. And showing us this wonderful  pressure cooker pot that is silent!  It reminded me an awful lot of Napoleon Dynamite. Then they gave us some stuff to make our faces not red. As they were explaining it all it reminded me of nutrition class where we learned how to tell if something was a scam. I wish you could see them. This cute old couple trying to explain why their Malaysian supplement would fix all my problems, including a wart on my finger. They gave me some for free to try. I'll let you know if that works. We haven't found the member we were looking for yet though. 

Love you all so much! Sorry for lots of errors. This keyboard has problems.
Have a great week! 

Maria's lamb had a baby. Me with the lamb when it was three days old. She might be naming it domingo.


August 4, 2014Week 60

The Luque family at his baptism
Dear Family Wamily, 
Ever was baptized and confirmed this week! What? I know right! Well, he was just ready and really wanted it. It was amazing. Ever has always been kind of a shy and serious fella but after he was baptized he was the happiest I have ever seen him. And after his confirmation he said he felt a feeling of warmth come over him and he felt more confidence. Many of his non-member family members were able to attend the baptism and-or confirmation so that was great. We got to teach him temples and family history afterwards and he is looking towards the temple. We are still working with Elmer, his younger brother. I know he will get baptized too, and it was great for his brother to give him a good example. He just wants to know everything beforehand. We will be helping him to strengthen his faith to the point where he can take a leap of faith. Pray for this family please. We also want to keep working with the parents. About half the kids of the family are already members. We want to get them all the the point where they can be sealed as an eternal family. I love you guys! Have a great week! 

Green apples. It's been awhile since I've had one of those

Round three in Puno

July 27, 2014Week 59

Happy Peru Independence Day! 
Well, we got the transfers this morning and I am staying with my hija here in Puno! We are so excited. I really want to be here to see Elmer and Eber make it to baptism. I know they will. Although there was a small setback this week. Their cousin got married and we went to our appointment and  Elmer was a little tipsy. The good news I guess is that we hadn't taught him the word of wisdom yet. It was still really sad though. Drinking is a big part of the culture here but we will teach him and help him!
I just wrote a few days ago, so here are some fun stories:
We  had to say goodbye to one of our less actives who is moving which was sad but fun because she is funny. Her name is Margarita and we asked her if she was excited to have more grandkids and she said no, haha. She was like I already have 16. She always says random stuff like that. But this time we found out she eats coca, so that could explain some of her behavior.
Also, there are lots of parties going on for independance day and also they think it is lucky to get married in August in even years, and so they are getting an early start on that. Whenever we run into drunk people we can get away easy but this time we saw a drunk man and he looked pretty unstable but then he started picking up the pace!  I don't know how he could move so quick but we were literally chased by a drunk man. We weren't in any danger but it was exciting.
Also, we went to this magical place where they give English classes. It is nice and clean and has American flags in it. We  have always wanted to go in but never have until we were helping someone with their homework this week. It was fun because we felt like celebrities in there. Everyone just stared at the two white people. We ran into our neighbor and talked to him a little before his test. As he was walking away, I was just like, Good luck! And then, take luck! Take care of the luck! If you have it, take it, take care for it! (Quoting Brian Regan) It was fun because they all had no idea what I was saying. 
Also, when I was on splits with Hna. Olivares we were at the pensions house and the little boy comes in. I asked him what his name was and he just looked so appalled and was like, you don't remember my name?! Hna. Olivares had to explain I was a different missionary (than Hna, Rasmussen who lives there and is white also). He just got a little sheepish and was like, oh, they look exactly the same! 

Love you guys! Have a great week! 
Restoration movie night with Elmer and Ever and our favorite member Gina (she is the bishop's wife and always feeds us and loves us) 


The Week I was almost shot for smiling

July 24, 2014
Week 58 1/2

Hey Guys!
Well sorry I´m writing on Thursday instead of Monday. It´s because I had to go to Lima, AGAIN! But this time I left Lima with my Peruvian ID! So I am good to go. Peruvian immigrations office: my message to you is hasta nunca!

Anyways, here is the update on Elmer and Eber. We were sad when Elmer didn´t show up to church on Sunday and Eber made us nervous because he was late but he came! We talked to him afterwards to see if he was still up for his baptism on the 26th. Apparently that is the same day of his cousin´s wedding and it was going to be fun but his mom wants him to help all day. And so he is most likely getting baptized the following week. We were a little sad because it would have just been the coolest miracle to see them both baptized on the 26th but I was reflecting on it. We had our vision so set on the 26th but we felt strangely at peace when it didn´t work out. I think it was because we knew we had worked with that goal in mind and had done all that was possible. It made me wonder why Heavenly Father wanted us to put that goal. I think one of the reasons may have been this: I think if we would have only put a goal of one baptism instead of two, we would have focused more on Elmer because he seemed the most ready, where in reality, his brother Eber was more ready to get baptized. Also I think the Lord wanted us to have this goal as the 26th so we would maybe be a little more bold and with a higher attitude of urgency than we may have been otherwise, and so they will get baptized sooner than they would have otherwise, even if that day isn´t the 26th. That would have been an amazing miracle if they had both been baptized on the 26th and I would have been so grateful to have been able to see that. But we did not lose the faith and we were expecting that baptism right until the very end. But I know they will make it. I can´t wait for one day all of their family to be members and to be sealed together. We will get them there. 

And so about the subject line, this week I had just about the most terrifying experience of my mission. We opened this area and apparently we still don´t know all the ropes yet. Anyways, we got into a combi (these little bus-van things that go everywhere) that was not the right one and it took us right out of our area. We realized this and got off. We started walking back to our area and had to cross this hill where the army station thing is. It was good because that is in our area so we just had to get to the right side of it. And there are houses out there so we knew it was okay to be walking there. But we were walking by the Ejercito and there were guards up there on the walls. I guess I have because friendly I dunno because I´m a missionary or something so I just gave a little smile to the guard and we kept walking. But exactly when I smiled, he cocked his gun! Oh my gosh it was so terrifying. But we got out of there and he didn´t shoot us! So we are happy! 

Also, we have this cute member we visit. She is old and widowed. We happened to show up when the elders and a member were already there. But we were the ones with the appointment. So we stayed and she gave us all food of course. She is just so hilarious. She was giving the member such a hard time for eating slow. She had prepared soooo much food. There is no way we would have been able to finish it all if it had just been us and she just made him eat more and more and was making jokes about him not having teeth (don´t worry, he does) and stuff. He had finally gotten a little tired, and was just like, and what about her? (meaning me, because I definitely was not pulling my weight). And Constantina (the lady) was just like, Naaaaah, she´s a little lady! Haha yes! Probs the only time I have been ¨little¨ on my mission. 

I love you guys! Hope you have a great week! It´s weird. I will email you all again in like 3 and a half days. What? Love, Hermana Beckstead

Special meeting with President Harbertson in Juliaca on the shore of Lake Titicaca

 Hna, Olivares is my sista leader now! And she´s grown! (Just kidding, she´s on a stool)