Monday, December 29, 2014

White Girl - Give Me Your Hand!

We hiked a tiny tiny hill today in the blasted heat!
Hello Family and Friends!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!!!!!! 

I have reflected a lot this past week on where I was a year ago in my life. We were all together as a family in Costa Rica. I said goodbye to Brandon, Marianna, Jack, Melissa, Hannah, Jackson, and Jane. Each one of you gave me advice. I remember Jack drilling me with things as we were driving in the car. And I'll be honest but I don't remember what you told me...or what anyone told me. So I am started a new year. I want to be a better missionary than I was the last year. I WANT YOUR ADVISE. Again. But this time I'll hopefully remember. I want to come home a better person. I want to change for the better. I hope I can fulfill my purpose as a representative of Jesus Christ. 

I was reading my patriarchal blessing this last week in a frustrating moment. It was during our personal study time. I was well supposed to be studying for my investigadores, but I kind was feeling selfish and wanted to study for me today. So I pulled out my blessing. I got stuck in the first paragraph. A line stuck out to me that I had never before really pondered. I hope I site it right. It says something like "You are His daughter Sarah. He knows you and He loves you so much." In that moment I was filled with my Savior´s love. He was with me and I felt a peace and love rush into my body. He understands my frustrations and weakness. But he loves me despite it all. 

This Christmas was not like any other. I tried to think in Christ more. Serve more. Love more. Be a better me. We went around singing Christmas carols to many less active and active members. They were filled with joy as they opened their door and found us four dorky missionaries singing Christmas carols with Santa Claus hats. We also held a live nativity outside of our church to show Catholics and other people that we believe in and celebrate the birth of Jesus. And of course I got my best and probably only present Christmas day. I got to talk to my Family!!! The whole morning I was trying to ya know think and serve others, but man I couldn't focus I was just so excited to see your faces! Also worried that Skype wouldn't work. There are allwayyyss problems with Skype here. One of the Elders here used Skype before us and he could here his family but his family couldn't hear him. I prayed real hard that something tragic wouldn't happen. So you can say our Skype call was a Christmas Miracle. 

Another Christmas Miracle. Hermana Carola was baptized yesterday! She was so nervous. After her baptism I gave her a great big wet hug, and she told me she felt a peace she had never felt before. She is someone very special to me. She works two jobs to provide for her two kids because her husband passed away  months ago suddenly. Her husband is Italian and sold pizzas. When he died the business was Carola's. She now runs the business and another job. She gets about 2 hours of sleep. I only want the best for her and her two kids. We are hoping that know her  year old son will want to be baptized too. 
This was the invitation to the marriage we threw. I didn't chose these cards....trunky.
Annnnd we had the marriage! Well kind of.....Legally they aren't married yet because there were a billion and one problems with their papers. But we couldn't cancel the reception at the last minute. They will be legally married this Friday! I can't even explain the stress we went through this week. Satan was ONNN US. 
I almost forgot to tell you about my experience with the drunk man. It was Christmas Eve. Hna Guachalla and I were waiting at the Church with the Elders for some members to come. We were ready to go sing our hearts out when a drunk man passed by on his bike. He slowly passed staring straight at me. Yeah it was a normal thing I didn't think anything of it. I began taking some pictures with my comp when he got off his bike and walked up to us. He yelled at me "Colorada! Dame la mano!" "White girl! give me your hand!" I just laughed and turned the other direction to ignore him. But he didn't stop. He kept on insisting. He had his hand out waiting for me to touch his hand. My companion looked at me and said "Don't do it." He wouldn't leave. then he said "Do you have faith?" I was silent this whole time, and so were the other missionaries. I was waiting for an Elder to stand up for me! Por Favor! Finally Elder Calderon said Sir "I think she feels uncomfortable." They talked for a while and I walked away. That is my story of the drunk guy on Christmas Eve.

Anyway I love you all and I am so grateful for all of my family and friends who I miss so much. It was a good Christmas to learn a lesson for myself, but I want to be with you all next year. 

xoxo Hermana Stringham 

Monday, December 22, 2014



I am excited for this Navidad. We have 2 different dinners with members and we plan on caroling in the plaza. I plan on eating a lot of turkey and panetone (sweet  bread). I will let you know how they celebrate the Navidad here  in Peru next week.  

This last week we had our Christmas Zone conference. It was spiritual for half of it then we had some fun. We watched a MOVIE!! I felt on cloud 9. We watched Miracle on 34th Street. Then we ate some greasy chicken, fries and tres leches. mmmm. The only bad part about Chulucanas is it's far from Piura. Well it's an hour away so we have to travel a lot for conferences and such. 

This week all I can think about is weddings. And no it's not my own. We are planning a wedding for this friday so our investigator Rosa can be baptized. We have run into so many problems. Satan is attacking us, and I can't say I am 100% sure it will happen. But we have planned everything out from the dress to the witnesses the only thing we lack is the shoes! She's got the dress but we don't got the shoes or rings. Oh well. The most important thing is that they get married and baptized. Rosa is 16 and pregnant. Very young but a mature thing for her age. She is honestly one of the most prepared people I have seen on my mission. Her first Sunday at church she asked how much it cost to be baptized. That's when you know they're golden. They have plans to be sealed in the temple the next year. But we are having so many problems with this wedding. I NEED your prayers. Thanks. 

Carola is going to be baptized this Sunday too! I love her. Her husband died of an heart attack 7 months ago and was left with 2 kids to raise on her own. Her life is terribly challenging. I am so very happy for her. 

Sorry guys my internet time was cut short today for lack of time I have to travel back to Chulucanas for a family home evening. I hope we make it.......I  always get on the internet and my mind freezes I forget everything I wanted to write. Like right now I can't think.

Love you all and Can't wait to talk to my family so very soon! Look your best for me. 

One last word of advice. Never plan your wedding in two weeks. It's not pretty. 

xoxo Hermana Stringham 

Monday, December 15, 2014


This is what I mean by ANTS EVERYWHERE!!!!

I got to see my mom and Analy yesterday in the meeting! What a joy! 

 Well hola!

Wow time flies here in the mission! I can't believe I hit my 10 month mark. When I tell people I have been out for 10 months they say something in spanish like oh you are on the downhill climb. It doesn't feel like it at all. 

Anyway I am grateful for the power of the priesthood. This last week my companion shook me and yelled my name in the middle of the night. I woke up and was like what on earth happened? She had a worried look and was sweating heavily. She told me about a nightmare she had, and then about how she felt something dark in our room. Well that just kind of startled me. Our pencionista came to the rescue at 1 in the morning to help my companion calm down. She did something weird to my companion. Then she left. We were fine. I kept my calm. I knew we were fine. But to feel better I pulled my mattress (top bunk) on the floor and slept by Hermana Guachalla. After saying a prayer we tried to go back to bed  listening to hymns. It was then I realized I am alone in this apartment with just another girl my age, but I knew God was protecting us. The next day the Elders dedicated our apartment. Since then we having felt anything weird. I didn't believe in this kind of stuff before now, but I realize the influence of Satan is real and he wants to do everything to ruin us. Because we are having success right now! 

 Right now we have 2 investigadores with a baptismal date for December 25. Hermana Carola and Hermana Andrea.  I am so happy for them. Both come to church every week alone and are so excited for their baptisms :) 

Elder Uceda came to Piura yesterday. He was awesome. He told us some rules. First is we should divide wards!! The church here in Peru is on 57 years old. When we have a strong ward and then divide it we have to start all over again and we lose many many members. The problem in Peru is activation. Out of 100 members here in Peru only 17 remain active. I never knew that missionary work is actually a lot of less active work. 

Tomorrow we have zone conference with President and Hermana Rowley. It should be good but I haven't had time to study any of the material or prepare a talk...wish me luck! I have learned to just "fake it till you make it" in the mission. I don't know if that is such a good thing. 

I love you all! I am missing the Christmas snow fall and music. But I am trying to feel the spirit in Christmas in other things like serving God's children. 
pancakes on top of pancakes
This cat meows at us every night. Hey at least someone wants us. 

I hope you all have a fun holliday filled week!! 

Hermana Stringham

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chulucanas = Sweat ...Ants.....and Mangos !

This is my pencionista. She is so awesome and cooks great!
Hello world!
This last week. Well it went pretty well. First week in a new be honest is a little rough. I feel so lost. I don't know the street names or the names of the people I am teaching or the members. I never knew what it was like to be the new kid in school, but now I do. I started the week kind of feeling sad. Sad because I left many people in Sullana without saying goodbye. Church came around yesterday. I am in a tiny branch. I was able to share my testimony with the members and tell them how pleased God is with them. It is a sacrifice to come to church. It is not easy, but they made it. Then I saw the Christmas devotional last night. Wow so good. And I think I spotted KELLY STEWART playing the cello?! Was that her? It made me kind of happy to see someone from home. What I got

out of the conference was I am here in life and right now in the mission to do the will of my father. My earthy father as well as my Heavenly Father. Just as Christ gave his life for his father I too am giving this time to my father. I only want to do His will. Because His will is always and will always be better than mine. So what can I give Him this Christmas season? Christ. I have been thinking a lot about him after the devotional. I am still trying to think what I can give him. I hope you all are too.
A little about Chulucanas. It's a cute little pueblo. Not sure what you call that word in English. It's a quaint little town. There are tiny mountains or hills! I almost died when I saw them! I miss the mountains so much. It's really hot like Sullana but luckily in the afternoon it seems to be always cloudy. It's humid here too. I literally feel wet all day long. My clothes. My face. Sweat.

Hamburgers here in  Chulucanas. What kind of hamburger is this??
There's a million little ants living in our apartment :) I sleep with the fan full blast on my bed. My comp is hot too in the night, but all of the Latinas think it's terrible to sleep with the fan. I think I will live..... Chulucanas is the home of delicious juicy mangos! Everyone gives them out. We have about 6 in the fridge right now. Anyone want a mango? Also they are the home of peruvian ceramics. Very beautiful. I bought some pure honey the other day it should be pretty delicious on my pancakes. The grapes here are big and yummy. Dad I have been looking for Gauvas but is is a guava I need to buy or Guanabana?
One thing about Piura, Every Saturday, Sunday, sometimes Mondays everyone gets drunk. I mean EVERYONE and their dog. We walk past houses I peek inside and everyone is dancing happily with the air filled of the aroma of alcohol. They dance pretty funny even funnier when they are drunk.
We have good investigadores! One of them is named Yeliska. She has a baptismal date but she needs to get married first. In our last lesson she was cried and told us she felt something different. I explained how the spirirt works. We also have an investigador who is a widow with two kids. Her story breaks my heart. Just 6 months ago her husband passed away suddenly. She didn't want to know anything of God after this happened, but her heart has softened. Her kids and her are suffering so much. She has such a hard life. Carola will be baptized this month but I don't know when. Pray for her please.
I love you and I am so excited for Christmas! Thanks for your prayers and love.
Hermana Stringham
please excuse me for any tipos. I never revise these emails. Plus I can't remember how to spell in English, nor do I know how to spell in Spanish. So that's good. Choi!!!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Transferred to Chulucanas

My New Companion
Hello everyone! John and Cynthia Jerman. You guys made my day thank you for the package. Also Kristin Christensen THANK YOU! I feel so loved. 

Goodbye Sullana
I just arrived in my new area. CHULUCANAS. I have 45 minutes to write you, buy food for the week and each lunch (its 5:13). So yeah sorry I have no time today. But I alive and so excited to be here! I am with Hermana Guachalla....I have no idea how to spell her name. She is 26 and is from Bolivia. She has been out for about 14 months. Guess what this place has paved roads! Hallelujua. 

It was sad to leave Sullana because I didn't really get to say goodbye to anyone. This transfer they didn't tell us transfers until the night before (yesterday at 7:30). 

This last week was a week of miracles. I wish I had time to tell you all the miracles we saw. I felt like the last week in Sullana was the best. I saw all the fruits of my 6 months. Out of no where appeared 3 investigadores that want to be baptized. Yesterday at church we had 4 investigadores come! And one  them was a FAMILY! By the way 186 people showed up yesterday at church. There isn't room in the building. 

I love every transfer I get because really God puts someone a companion that I need. That I will learn from. Each one of them shapes and touches my life forever. 
A Teary Goodbye.......

i love you all! Sorry this is such a terrible letter but what can ya do?

Hermana Stringham

Monday, November 24, 2014


Buenos Dias!
This member helps us almost everyday! She always brings makes us empenadas also mmmm. Her name is Ceila. After spending almost every day with us she wants to go on a mission too! I couldn't be happier for her. 

Steve thanks for your birthday card. I am almost didn't see it, found it in the ensign mom sent me a week later I received the package. It was a lovely suprise! Hannah I sent you a letter today!

The weeks here pass like days and the days pass by like hours it's like I am living in God's days and hours. I really don't know what even went down this last week but I had a good week and learned something new. 
God answers prayers through other people.

In preparation for my interview with President Rowley he asked us all to study the gifts of the spirit and strive to develop, study, and fast to obtain these gifts. So first I tried praying to God. This is kind of embarassing that I am going to tell this to you all, but I prayed for many gifts one of which is the gift to prophesy. Because who wouldn't want the gift to able to prophesy and see the future? Then I soon realized maybe I shouldn't pray for a gift like that because I'm not sure how to use it. I mean who am I to prophesy? So I changed my mind I wanted to pray for the gift of Faith, because without faith I cannot obtain any other gift. FAITH is everything. Nothing happens in the mission if you don't have faith. To be honest I can never tell how much faith I truly have. I have always wondered how to measure my own faith? Or do I even have faith? 

Anywho my prayer was answered this week through different people--first in my interview with my president. President Rowley at the end of our interview said the closing prayer. In the prayer he said two times "thank you for the faith of Hermana Stringham." I thought to myself, well maybe I do have more faith then I think. Then later that same day I got a letter from my soul sista Hermana Kaeding. She wrote in her letter how she has been praying to have the faith of Hermana Stringham. She said "Stringham you may not realize it, but when we were comps you taught me how to have faith." It was kind of an eye opener for me that maybe God has given me the gift of faith I just need to use it more. 

I am going to ask you all a question that just came into my mind right this very second.
If you can't answer this question try and find where your faith is at. I think we could all use more faith no matter how strong your faith is. 
This is what I do. The door didn't open but at least I knocked. 

Well this last week none of our investigatores came to church. We always try to knock on their doors before church but we don't have time to pass by everyone. We also call them in the mornings but our cheap cell phone runs out of calling juice......whatever you call it, so we have no money I guess you could say to call people. We have a new investigator with a baptismal date. Her name is Milagros. Her baptismal date is for 27 of Decemeber. I need more faith for this baptism to go through as well. I have faith, but I just don't think she understands the importance of the baptism. 
Well. It's been great writing to you all. I hope you have the best week ever! Transfers are next week! I have no idea what will happen. So if you are following me stay tuned....


Hermana Stringham 



Monday, November 17, 2014

RULE #3 DON'T BE STUPID.---my personal favorite.

Hermana Roper! She is leaving me in 2 weeks wahh! 
Hermana Kaeding makes my whole day! I love and miss her. 


I got the bday package and nutella... thank you thank you!

Grandma Lucy I loved your note. Thank you! 

This last week we constructed a house! It was quite the challenge. We did it with bamboo sticks and leafy plants. Quite a sturdy house...not. I always want to do service projects but all the Elders and members always think oh the Hermanas can't do anything (whaahh). So we are usually not invited to these kind of things. But por fin I got to do a big service project with my district! It was just a little hot and my nose burnt pretty bad. We left at 6:30 am and came back at 2:30 pm. We had nothing to eat but little boloques (popsicles). While we were outside trying to build this thing I heard next door one of my favorite songs that says "Oh Oh your half way there, oh oh your livin on a prayer!" Or something like that. I can't even remember who sings that song, but it's a good one. Then I remembered that yeah I am half way there. I have completed NINE MONTHS!!! so loco! I can't believe how fast time goes. 
We had to burn the house before we built it...I didn't take any more pics of the house sorry. 

Random thought. Everyone here waters their front lawn. The front lawn consists of sand. But every morning they water it! Even sweep it. It's pretty hilarious. 

On Saturday Elder Evans and his wife came. Wow it was such an amazing day. The moment they arrived in the car with President and Hermana Rowley, they saw us all lined up ready to take a picture with our WHOLE mission. The four (Evans, and Rowley's) got out of there car and were blown away to see the whole mission together. Sister Evans just cried, and in that moment the spirit FILLED my chest. I felt on cloud 9. In moments like this I feel oh so grateful to be a missionary. I just felt the power of God. I know he is real and loves me. This is where I need to be. 

Elder Evans started his talk by saying "Well Piura. It's a different world." He described it as "Old School" "Hot Desert" "Not very pretty" "Amazing people" "Lots of moto taxis." I think that somes up this place pretty well. But these things about Piura that aren't so pretty make it pretty to me because there is nothing else in my life like it! He taught me sooo much and even moved me to tears. He told us how it is so important that are converts repent. Lots of the time we go from FAITH to BAPTISM and we forget the REPENTANCE in between. We are not authorized to baptism people who truly haven't repented and won't keep their baptismal covenant. Then he gave us three rules that I loved. 
RULE #1 STAY WITH YOUR COMPANION. So that you can always SEE and HEAR her. 
RULE #3 DON'T BE STUPID.---my personal favorite. 

If we would keep these three rules he said that 99.9% of his job would be taken care of. 
Mi HIJA! Hermana Valencia, she lives and is healthy. 
Then he urged us to ask references from EVERY single person! Which is something I lack. So that day I asked every person on the street that I talked to and in every lesson we had for referrals.  And guess what we only got one! HAhaha, but I won't stop. This is my new goal. 

Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach.  I left the conference feeling so happy to be a missionary. We talked with 20 people that day and found 7 people in the streets! 

None of our investigadores came to church------YUp. 

This is the hardest but best time of my life! I love you all. 

xoxo Hermana Stringham 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Everyday here the sun shines whether you want it to or not.....

Hola Familllliiaaa y Amigoooos. 

How is everything back at home? Not much happened this week but things are going good as always. The week started out great with an intercambio with Hermana Child! Yes an American. Full English. That's a huge blessing right there! I love intercambios. I get to feel somewhat normal. I can talk about whatever comes into my mind! And Hermana Child cut my hair! Yayyy! I've gone a whole 9 months without a haircut, and let's just say it was a much NEEDED cut. My hair is so dried out and damaged because of the sun. 

We had one of those days this week, where you just fight every bit to not sit down in the sand. Thursday. We left the apartment at 3:00 p.m. met up with a member and headed on out to our appointments. DOOR after DOOR was busy or not home. We walked and walked and walked for 2 1/2 hours. My feet were all jelly and I felt like I was going to fall over on top of my companion. But we kept going. We all have days or times in life where God gives us trials or makes us walk a billion miles. But ya know what, these days are some of the best because we can show our Heavenly what we are made of. I'm not going to let Him see me give up. We came home that night exhuasted but feeling satisfied. Maybe we didn't have very many lessons but we did our part, and that is all that matters. 

The investigadores....are well progressing kind a... Not one of them came to church yesterday. Which means that two of the baptismal dates we set won't go through, but I haven't lost the faith! 

Today is P Day. The name just of P Day just makes me smile. It was a great day. We got permission to leave Sullana and go to Catacoas! It is the most touristy part of Piura. They sell a bunch of cool Peruvian souveneers. It kind of hurts though to go there, because I want to buy everything but I've got no room in my bags! So I had to go with the small items. Then we went and ate pizza at Papa Johns! It's been a while since I've had I ate 5 pieces. Rightfully So

This week Elder Evans of the Seventy is coming to Piura. I think he is over all of the missionary work in the world so it should be awesome. Our WHOLE entire mission gets to go! We never have meetings like this with everyone so it's a pretty big deal. I can't wait. We have been asked to fast, prepare a talk, and study a lot in preparation to be able to recieve revelation. 

Everyday here the sun shines whether you want it to or not it never fails. I feel like a maniac pedestrian because we literally cross the street in zig zags just to walk in the little tiny shade that the houses provide. I don't want skin cancer. 

I love you all a lot. I have been blessed beyond measure. I challenge you to NEVER DOUBT A PROMPTING. This is my challenge to myself this week. 

xoxo Hermana Stringham 

Happy Halloween and Birthday to Me!

My Comp Decorated my Room
 Nov 3, 2014 
The Agguire Family Wishing Me Happy Birthday!
Abby Jones thank you for your letter!!!!!!!! I haven't read it yet but I will tonight. And Hannah I finally got your letter!!!!!!! I loved it so much! It made my day. I am sorry I forgot you are 6 years old! Man time flies fast. You can write so good! I am so impressed! I will write you back soon! 

First of all they don't celebrate Halloween here because they all think it is evil. Kind of a blow. To celebrate my companion and I bought hamburgers and dressed up in our apartment and took a few photos..pretty classy. THOM happy birthday the other day! Can't believe you are 30??????? wow. I don't like being 20 either I feel for ya.

I had a great birthday by the way! On Saturday Analy (who I always talk about..from my first area in Piura) suprised me and drove all the way to Sullana with the whole Agguire Family! 14 of them! Can you believe it. I was blown away. It's about a 45 minute drive, and the WHOLE intire family came. They baked an enormous chocolate cake (my fav). It was so great to see their family again. (My old bishop, pencionista, and best friends in Piura).  On Sunday I woke up to the room decorated thanks to my companion. We had a lovely time at church. I bore my testimony. Then we ate at a members house who also had her birthday that same day! We ate more chocolate cake....The Ortiz's invited us to dinner. So we ate with them too and I had yet another chocolate cake. 3 CHOCOLATE CAKES. I scored big yesterday. 

Today we had a zone activity. We played volleyball in the scourching sun. Then everyone threw eggs in my hair. It's a tradition. But yeah it was yucky and my fingers and hair smell eggy still.....what can ya do. Thank you everyone for all the birthday wishes! I opened up my email today and it is filled with emails! I know I won't have time to read them all right now but THANK YOU THANK YOU. It means a lot!!!!  

Mission work is going great! We are inviting everyone to be baptized, 3 more people accepted a baptism this last week but none of them came to church....sigh. We are not losing our faith. 

One tip for you all if you come to Peru. Never get ready. Don't do your hair or makeup. It is dangerous. I rarely straighten my hair because bad things come of it, like drunk men. Just a precaution. 

I am sorry I don't have a ton of time today because I have so many letters to read but I love you all and I am doing just dandy! I can't tell you all how much I love the Book of Mormon and this gospel. Two of my favorite things. Ya'll are the third. just kidding. 

xoxo Hermana Stringham 

My comp made this sign for me - Big Foot

Our Halloween Costumes

The part of the cake that is messed up ended up on my face - Another tradition!