Monday, May 26, 2014

I Don't Fit in Here - But I Love This Place!

Buenas Tardes!
This week was sooo good. We had a five hour conference with Elder Grow. I was in heaven. He taught us so much about having faith in Christ, truly seeking for revelation, and setting goals. We all had fasted, studied A LOT, and came prepared with a talk. In the end he didn't end up calling anyone to give a talk. phew.....i was stressing. He also changed somethings for our mission. Now for an investigator to be baptized they have to attend church 3 times it's no longer 2. He told us that we should focus on families. If we want 12 baptisms in one month than find three families of 4. Hermana Rivera and I have a new goal. Every family we see in the street we HAVE to talk to them. I want to bring a whole family to the temple. That is my goal. Instead of giving us a goal for how many people we should be baptizing each companionship through prayer and personal revelation we are supposed to come up with our own number. After much prayer Hermana Rivera and I have our number. NINE. yikes! This number is for the month of June. I have so much faith and I want it so bad. I want a baptism soo stinkin bad! After the conference with Elder Grow I was soooo pumped!!!!

Remember how last week I was telling you about how I am baby still and can't talk to people. Well your prayers must have worked because my fear is gone. I talked to everyone I saw after hearing Elder Grow. I even got in a little arguement. Some guy named Jorge wanted to test my Bible knowledge. Haha he asked me what Juan 14:3 says. Yeah I didn't know. According to him I need to do a lot of studying (yeah I know). Anyway after the conference a member saw us walking and ran up to us and said Hermanas I have a family that wants to meet with you! We met with the wife, she said her husband doesn't want to meet with us though. But wow I saw how faith works.

Remember Maria? Her husband left her with three young kids, and she has almost ended her life a few times because of it. I love this family so much. Maria had a baptismal date that fell through. Well we have another baptismal date for her and her nine year old daughter Alexandra for June 14! But Alexander has Catholic school every Sunday during church. I don't how she can attend church but I have faith. Our other investigator that is progressing is Evelyn. She is 25 and has a two year old. She said she feels that our church is true, but her husband doesn't want her to join our church. grhhhh. It's always the men here. The women are so faithful, and the men just party. We have a lot of investigators but none of them are progressing much.

We had a ward activity this last week. It was supposed to be last week but very few people showed up, so we rescheduled it for this week. It was our (the missionaries) activity called Learning Parabolas. Every organization had a parabola to act out. Well no one showed up it was very sad..even less people than last time. Our investigator, Evelyn, came which was great! But inside my soul was clenching because no one showed up. It is hard to want to invite our investigators to activites because our ward is not very strong. No one supports each other. You can't count on anyone ever. 

We are working hard. I am filled with joy. I am a missionary!!! This is the greatest thing my life has seen. Really I am so HAPPY. Every day I look around and think where in the world am I. Then I smile because I think it's funny I am in Piura. I even put on a sweater this week! It was bloody hot but I did it for the outfit. I don't fit in here but I love this place. The men make kissy noises and I have learned to not look. My calves are strong because of my sandy surroundings. My hair is looking curly these days. I try to hide from the sun and cancer. I eat a lot of rice and pray that it doesn't stick. I pretend to understand jokes. I try not to sound like a 5 year old when I teach, but sometimes that's just the reality. This is the place. PIURA. Truly I couldn't be happier!
I love you all!!!

Hermana Stringham

Monday, May 19, 2014

COW STOMACH .................

Hermana Callysayas
Hoooollla Amigos

Another week has passed. I am sitting at the computer once again! I can't remember what happened this week...But all I know is that we need some new investigators and I need some more courage. We all get in our routine even as a missionary. To stop someone on the street is still not as natural as I had hoped it would be in the mission. But yeah...we aren't very good at street contacting. That is my goal this week. Just to TALK to people. Lots of the times I think as humans we justify every little thing. For example I justify not talking to every person I see because I can't speak very smoothly. Or at home I justified not sharing the gospel because heck I wasn't a missionary! But in reality we can't procrastinate all the things we know we should do! You can't justify not praying or reading scriptures as a family because your family is too busy. My lesson to you all and to myself is stop making excuses! haha I don't know why I am talking about this but I am trying myself to stop justifying my work. I can work harder, I can be better, TODAY not tomorrow or not when I know how to teach or speak Spanish.

Oh I forgot to tell you  I ate COW STOMACH. Ughh the texture was disturbing I felt like I was eating chewy flesh. My bishops family is amazing. His wife is my pencionista. And his sister is Analy. Today Analy resucued us from some park, fed us lunch.  Man the list goes on and on and on. Analy goes with us to almost every lesson, buys us ice cream everyday. Wow really there fam is amazing. just a side note about the people I love here.

Anyway, this last week we had inter cambios Hermana Callysayas came to my area and Hermana Rivera went to her area with her comp. Hermana Callysazas is one of the Sister training leaders. And wow she is amazing!! I learned SO SO SO much. She is such an effective missionary. When we are in a lesson she gets right to the core and speaks from her soul. While I stumble around my words and testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet haha. Well we had to teach the Law of Chastity...It was my first time teaching it in the field. Ouch. That's all I can say. At the end of the day I was really tired and felt kind of down with myself. I told Hermana Callysayas that I feel like I am not helping these people here like I want to. They have so many problems in their families it's unreal. I have never dealt with problems anywhere near what these people face and I was born in the church so I don't know how life is without the gospel. I have been so blessed in my life! She turned to me and said, your duty Hermana Stringham is to tell these people how amazing it is to have a family who is sealed in the temple and how happy you are even though you have never drunk, smoked, etc. Hermana Callysayas's parents are not members and haven't written to her once on her mission. For her it is really hard to teach about eternal families because she doesn't have that in her life. That is when it all clicked. Right then I thought of a line in my patriarchal blessing that says I will share with others the blessings I have receieved because of the gospel.

My purpose here is to share the joy of eternal families and the gospel. All I have to do is pull out the picture of my family in my scriptures and immediately there faces light up. It is so rare to find couples cealed here in Peru. The popular question here is ´´were you born in the covenant.´´ I feel so grateful to say YES I was. I am so thankful for a family who is all strong in the church and who support me, write me, pray for me. Because in the end nothing else matters. 

Elder Grow of the Seventy is coming this Friday to speak to us. President Rowley had us fast this last Saturday, because in all of the mission of Piura there were only 5 baptisms in the month of April. Ahh anway I don't much time to write more! But Maria our investigator was not baptized this last Saturday as planned.....we are working on it. 

I love you all! xoxo

hermana stringham

Hermana Callysayas and I :)

Monday, May 12, 2014


Hola Buenos Dias!

ADRIATIC NORTH MISSION SLOVENIA MISSION REGION! What the random!!!!!!?? That soo awesome Katie! I am so thrilled for you. Holy cow good luck with the language I can't even imagine----I can't even learn Spanish! Happy Happy belated birthday Grandma Lucy!!! I love you so much! Sorry I am late. But I think about you often and pray for you. Thank you for everything. I miss you! Tell Gramps hello. Tell Becky Sorenson Hello! She is the cutest. Kelly Nichols is soooo cute. I have thought about lining her up with Steve. She is the best. Thanks for the password Sam! haha youuuuuu. I will call next week at about 1:00 YOUR time (2:00) my time. But Peruvians are always running late so don't freak out if I don't call you right at 1:00. I am jealous you are in Florida with my peeps tell them hello. I miss those kiddos! Who is Alex Hall? I dont know if you know but McKay Roberts was called to Peru too! I think it is funny because me, jake bentzgten, nate obrien, and mcKay alll went to Cambodia with youthlinc AND ARE all serving missions in peru.
I made it half way through my training! WHoop WhoOOP!!!!! This past month was definitely one of the most trying times of my life. I still can't speak much or understand but I feel stronger. Cynthia told me in one of her letters that the ´´mission doesn't get easier you just become stronger.´´ It's definitely true.

My companion has had the biggest knot her neck for the past two weeks, so first one of the members did some acupuntcure on her....ouch I couldn't watch I don't know how in the world I can be a nurse. Then later this week she went to the hospital. I don't think I will ever tell a member that I don't feel good. They do weird things to us. Anyway while she went to the hospital we had divisions so I went with a member to teach our normal lessons. That was the first time the I have had to teach and direct the whole lesson by myself. I have gotten over the nerves and feel comfortable however a lot of the times I can't spit out the words I want to it's so frustrating! But after our lessons the member with me said I love when you speak Castillano. She said she can understand me but more than that she said she feels the spirit everytime I speak. I felt relieved when she told me that because most of the time I feel like a hopeless slug in the corner of the room who can only bear their testimony.
We have a member in ward who is basically my best friend. Her name is ANALY and she is hilarious!!! And she speaks English...but we can't really speak in English because yeah we just can't it's a rule. But she's always talking in English I just have to respond in Spanish. She goes with Hermana Rivera and I almost EVERY day to our appointments. Thanks to her we had eleven lessons taught to investigators this last week with a member present. Today she is spending her day with us also. We are going to go to lunch, shopping, and getting ice cream. Really she has been one of the biggest blessings. She makes me laugh which is just what I need. We are truly the 3 musketeers.
They like their fiestas here! This last week was labor day. Every corner in the streets was filled with people dancing, drinking, and blaring their hispanic,drink, and be merry...That's the life style here. Seriously every man drinks here if they aren't a member of the church. This is my first experience being around so many drunks. I am not a fan of alcohol that's FOR SURE. Lots of the times we can't enter houses of our investigators because the father is drunk and we can here him yelling. It is very sad.
FHE with Maria and her family
We have an investigator named Evelyn. She is so sincere and I know she feels that this church is true. She attended church on Sunday!! We have only taught her twice, but I can see her potential. I am trying to see people not as they are but as they can become. Lots of the time with investigators I feel like they aren't progressing and will never accept our message, but I am trying to not give up on people so fast and have FAITH.
Jose Correa--our golden family--said they need more time. So their baptismal date has been cancelled. They know it's true I know it. But they live with their mother who is a devote Catholic and I know she is the one who is influencing them. Such a bummer!!
My nicknames: My companion calls me Elder Stringham because I beat her in an arm wressel and I always accidentally slam the doors not meaning too haha, Analy calls me Spanglish because that is the lanuage I speak, others cannot for the LIFE of them say Stringham so it's usually STRINGHMMY, STRINMAMMA, or lately I just tell people to call me Hermana String. Who knew Stringham was so hard in Spanish?

The worst thing I have to eat here----OLIVES----Yuck yuck yuck. They are horendous. They put them in like every meal! Luckily usually only one BUT still. I gag everytime.

I know the church is true with all my heart. The spirit time and time again manifests to me of the truthfullness. I love my Saviour. He is my strength.
I hope you all have a fabulous week! I can't wait                                                                                  This is what I ate yesterday at a members house. Seriously I eat one meal here and I am full for the rest of the day. Thank you rice. talk to you next week!!!!!!!!
xoxo-- Hermana Stringhhhhmannmny

Analy. I love her!

Mother's Day = Day of the Drunks

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Oh Family

What can I say. Yesterday was the best day. It was SO GOOD to talk to you. And hard to, I try not to cry as I type. But really it felt like no time had passed since I talked to the fam. Talking to you lifted me up. Susie Astle thank you for  your letter!! It was an answer to my prayers. I loved the analogy of the blackberry bush. Things start out rough, ugly, but in the end a bush can bloom into something beautiful! Just like I know God is molding me into the person I can be. We cannot become the people we were meant to be without some heartache, prickles, and work. I know God is with me and His Angels are round about me to lift me up when I am down D&C 84:88 (thank you mom and dad). I often like to imagine my Savior walking by my side or Grandma Marian cheering me on as I lead the congregation in the worst hymn every  sung. 

Ward Activity
Anyway, this past week was a little slower than usual. We had a hard time finding people. One night all of our appointments fell through. No one was home.   Yesterday was Mother's other words a day
Tres Leches
of the drunks. They go crazy here every holliday. We are told to take advantage of the Saturdays and Sundays in the mission field because that is when people are home. yeah... no that is when the people fiesta all night longgg. Yesterday we tried to proselyte for an hour but no one was home and it is dangerous so we went back to the Agguire's house. They really are the best family. There house feels a little like home. They are also really good cooks. We have eaten at their house four times now. Everytime afterwards I feel like I have a rock in my stomach from all the food, but it is the best food I have found yet here. 

It's winter here yet it feels like the firely furnance. They call Piura ´´la ciudad de eterno calor´´----something like that. Basically it is the hottest place in Peru and I can testify of that. I sit in lessons and feel the sweat drip down my neck. It is great!  We had a mother's day activity with our ward on Friday. Hna Rivera, Analy, and I performed a skit. hahaha I wish you could see it. Peruvians love to make fun of each other and are brutally blunt. I played hna Rivera, Analy acted as me, and Rivera acted as Analy. They talk in my gringo accent. Things like COMO SE DICE ANALY? QUE ES TRABAJAR? YO TENGO PLATO PORQUE YO SOY AMERICANA. Everyone was dying of laughter. 

Maria attended church yesterday again! That is TWICE. That means she can be baptized this upcoming Saturday, but she is kinda iffy about baptism still. We have an appointment with her tonight and we will see where she stands. But I pray, hope,and have faith that she will be baptized. If not this week in the future. 
A toast to mother's at the Bishop's House
Another investigator we have who is progressing well is Evelyn. She said she prayed and feels that our church is true. She knows it. Yet she does not feel prepared to be baptized. We are trying to teach her to have faith. But how else can you help a person feel prepared to be baptized?
Kevin Olaya. Won't attend church because of his work.. He sells ceviche. But he too doesn't want to be baptized because he is afraid he will fall back into the same ways. He currently is sober but is scared he will mess up again after his baptism. 
Another investigator Rosa won't come because she sells fritos on Sunday. I don't know what fritos are but I don't think they are worth more than her salvation. We are going to teach her tonight. 
Milenka is 12 years old and very very excited about the church. But then again she didn't attend church..... 
That's the run down on the investigators we have others but they aren't progressing too much. We need to find new investigators this week. 

I am so priviledged to be doing the greatest work on this EARTH. Really this is the only time in my life I can consecrate everything I have to others and to Christ. The gospel is marvelous. I know it is true. I love my family so much.  Thank you for your constant prayers.  

xoxo Hermana Stringham