Monday, September 29, 2014

Our Lessons are B O R I N G..........


Dear Fam and Friends,

It is always good to hear from each one of you. Really thank you for always emailing me! Mondays would be sad if I didn't have such a good support crew back at home cheering me on. First off DAD no I didn't get called on to speak! But I was well prepared. We traveled an hour and a half to Talara...such a nice get a way. Sometimes you feel trapped in the mission because we never get to leave our area. President and Hermana Rowley talked all about having the Holy Ghost with us at all times. I felt like I got a slap in the face. I love multizone conferences because afterwards I feel so pumped to preach the word of God! I have been praying to know of my weaknesses and my prayers were definitely answered in the conference. My comp and I were talking recently about how some of our lessons are just plain B O R I N G. Then we realized it's because we have no energy. Lots of the times I am fighting to not yawn. So we have a goal to go to bed earlier, because no one can teach with the spirit waking up on the wrong side of the bed. These past couple of days after much prayer and fasting I have felt the spirit a lot more in our lessons. I pray everyday that the people I teach will feel of the spirit and will be able to recognize us as true disciples of Christ. You would think that finding the spirit is easy as a missionary, but it takes work and I am trying to figure out how to tune in to it at all moments. 
Multizone Conference September 2014

I loved the General Womens Conference too. It is cool to think that my mom and sisters are watching it at the same time. It was in Spanish.....so I didn't get the full effect of it but it was still beautiful. I loved President Uchtdorf's talk about how God is so giving and willing to pour out blessings upon us, but we have stirdy umbrellas above our heads that are getting in the way. Interesting how everything lead to our temple covenants. In the mission we teach all 5 lessons before baptism so that our investigators know about the temple because really our goal isn't just to baptize it is the TEMPLE. 

Today we painted the wall outside of our apartments because Elders before us had spray painted it and our President wasn't too thrilled... 

My comp locked the bathroom door from the inside two times this week! We almost didn't shower before church yesterday. Smart us we thought we would try to crawl under the door, but no we aren't as skinny as we thought. shoot. Then we tried going over the top of the door but no the door a very fragile wood. The last resort we asked our Land Lord for the keys. And guess what he had the keys! Woop. 

Alejandro called us the other day....ugh. We are terribly sad. He found work in another city and it looks like he won't be living in Sullana. There isn't a church where he is at either which is the worst part! Please pray that he will find work in Sullana so he can come to church. 

We have a new investigator named Deysy. Her son is a member so it was our turn to have lunch with them. Since then we have been teaching her and a little bit her husband. She has recently been wondering the purpose of her life and that day we showed up to teach her the plan of salvation. miracle. She is so prepared by the Lord. We asked her to be baptized but basically she said she won't be baptized unless her husband is too. The other day we had divisions and I taught Deysy and her husband Juan. I was with a member who doesn't say a word in the lessons. So I taught it all. And oh man Juan is a smart man. He knows a lot and kept asking me questions. I truly felt God giving me every word. I didn't want to argue with him and he was trying to argue with me. He asked me how old I was and then told me I live in a bubble and need to learn about other religions before I settle for one. I just bore my testimony and the spirit burned within my chest so strong. My testimony grew of Joseph Smith. I felt that he truly did see God the father and Christ. Even though the member I was with didn't have any words to say or to help me Heavenly Father did not leave me wordless, he was right there with me. 

I realize this time in the mission is short. I won't be able to ever live with Hermana Valencia again. I won't be able to ever be in Sullana again. God has given me everything I have. I want to make the most of his time that he has given me. I am so blessed to be here. 

I love you all. Have the best week! Also are we in a third world war or something?  I am hearing scary news that the United States is going to go to war again in Iran. Please keep me updated. Remember I love the news ;)

xoxo Hermana Stringham 












Monday, September 22, 2014

"Where in the world are we?"

I love this desert!
Hola!
Oh Whistler how sad. She was the best dog in the world and I will miss her! But she is so much happier and feels at peace. It would be hard to see her suffer more. I know it was the best thing for her.
I can't remember what happened this last week.....nothing too exciting. Yesterday as we were walking in the desert, wind blowing, skirts and hair blowing, sweating, panting. My comp turned to me and said "La mision es HARD CORE." And we died of laughter. Many days we look at each other and ask ourselves "Where in the world are we?" My life is completely different than before. Nothing compares to a mission or Sullana. I love it!
The people here make me so happy. This is my third transfer in Sullana so I know the people pretty well and we have become good friends. We are working with the Ortiz Family (The less actives). They are such an awesome family. They all came to church yesterday! It has been 5 years since they were active. They were all nervous to enter again, but they did it! Their son who is 10 (Franco) will be baptized October 18.
Sarah and Hermana Rivera


I had intercambios with Hermana Rivera this last week! It was great to be back together! This time I could actually talk a little bit more in the lessons....

The mission has changed a few rules. To have a baptism an investigator needs to attend church 3 times and for 3 hours! Also they have to pay tithing or fast offerings before their baptism. These rules also apply to less actives to reactivate them. It is a little bit more than before, but President Rowley assures us that we will baptize more. Just have faith. It is better this way, because the converts are true
                                                                                       converts not just numbers.


 
Also President Rowley wants us to talk to every single family we see in the streets. We report every Sunday how many families we talked to in the week. It is pretty funny because we chase down families, but the church needs more priesthood holders and strong women. 

We have a multizone conference this week in Talara with a few zones and President Rowley. We have them every 3 months. Our president gives us things to study beforehand along with a 5 minute talk we need to prepare. We all fast beforehand to recieve more revelation. I am really excited, but hope I don't get called on to give a talk.....

My comp called me an Avatar this last week. Then she saw a picture of Sam and said wow he is an even bigger Avatar! Yes I tower over the world here. Something that is weird here is people drive ATVs in the streets. There aren't many cars just motos and ATVs. I think it's because the cars can't handle the sand. 

Mom I think you once asked me what I do for exercise. Well I don't do much.....My comp doesn't want to go running. So I try to do push ups and sit ups every morning but end up laying on the ground because I feel dead in the mornings. I am trying. But I am weak sauce. A one minutes plank kind of kills me. 
This is our apartment - It is pretty nice!!

I gave a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday on Happiness. How we can find real happiness in this life. It is through obedience to the commandments. It's just that easy! There are a lot of people here who just complain and complain about their problems. They pray a lot and have a lot of faith, but they don't do anything about it! If you want your situation to improve you've got to at least put in your part. Follow the commandments. Don't just pray, but actually come to church and renew your covenants. Lots of people think God is a soft God. Which he is, but he is also just. We have to put in our part.  Dad thanks for your scriptures.
I also stood up to direct the hymns in sacrament meeting as usual but this time the cd player didn't work--I don't know what song we are singing because they have different names. It is a challenge to try and guess the song and tune when I have no clue what hymn it is. Everyone waited for me to start. Haha I just counted to three to the audience and hoped they would help me out.
I love you all!!!!!!!
xoxo

Hermana Stringham

Monday, September 15, 2014

Baptism and Another Dumb Blonde Moment.....





The biggest miracle occurred in Sanchez Cerro this last week. Thank you thank you for your prayers. They really worked. This last thursday we went to visit Alejandro. He told us he wanted to be baptized this Saturday (in two days!), but he wasn't sure if he could because he was trying to get a job. If he got the job he wouldn't be able to attend church for one month or have his baptism for one month. He told us he would give us a call that night to tell us. The phone rang at 10:10. My comp answered. Alejandro said he didn't get the job, so that meant he would be baptized this Saturday. Hermana Valencia was all happy and shouted "que bien!" I got really excited and we jumped (because we aren't allowed to dance). We planned his b├íptism in one day! Everything went really well. He didn't tell his parents though, because they would be really upset. Alejandro is honestly the best investigator and now member. He has a bright future. When he gave his testimony after his baptism he told us all the things that helped him make his decision.( He has been investigating the church for 41.5 months.) He said that my faith and story of how I chose a mission helped him make his decision. I was happy that my testimony helped his grow.
My Dinner - Cereal with yogurt and fruit and oatmeal pancake Yumm!
 
Miracle #2. There is a less active family who we have never visited but they are in our area. Hermana Rios told me that they didn't want to listen to her and her other comp, so we never visited them. But Hermana Valencia and I decided to stop by this week, to give them a try. Turns out they want to come back to church this next Sunday and they want their son who is 11 to be baptized! I might be gone for his baptism but truly the Lord prepared this family. Just two months ago they didn't want to talk to the missionaries. But right now they are ready and excited to come to church. (p.s. you asked when are transfers. they were last week but I will be here for one more transfer to train my bambino. transfers are Oct. 20).
They weekly report in Sullana
Yesterday I had another dumb blonde moment. I tried to ring the doorbell that obviously was broken. But hey trying never hurts...except for this time. My whole arm and hand took a hard shock. I was electricuted. It was like when Sam tried to put the two broken wires back together. I had a little too much faith yesterday.
There is this dude who always waves and stops to talk with us. We met him one night while we were making copies. One week later we were walking and we heard "buenos dias! buenos dias!" I wasn't going to turn around but at the last second I did. This guy was on the top of a building working and was yelling to us. Then yesterday he passed by in a moto, he stuck his head out and yelled "Dios lo bendiga!!!!!!" Just some of the random creepers that we have to watch out for.
Today for p day we played soccer once again. 4 Hermanas and 20 Elders. There is no where to go in Sullana. If you wondered what it looks like here, just picture Africa with a little bit more civilization.
I hope you are all reading the Book of Mormon everyday. I love that book so much. It is the key to spiritual protection. Really I don't believe someone can be close to Heavenly Father without reading it everyday. It is so vital.
Well I these are my thoughts...not sure what else happened this week. But it was a good one. I completed 7 months this week! Weird.
Love you all!!!!!
Hermana Stringham

Monday, September 8, 2014

This is Alcohol! Uh Ohhhhhh!

Leandro
Hola!
You asked a few questions... Everytime I am with Hermana Roper everyone rips us off because we are obviously two dumb blondes, but we fight the Peruvians like we are one of them! I know how to bargan and I am not afraid to do it. Everytime we take a moto the moto drivers say 2.50 soles? I then say NO 2 soles? They always agree. I have gotten more out of my shell in the mish.

On p-days, some days we have activities with the zone where we play games at the stake center. There are no pretty places to go in Sullana so we spend our days in the church basketball court, with the blazing sun. Winter finished here and now it is spring. I don't even want to see summer. The heat is kind of draining. I to keep my thoughts happy at 3 o'clock everyday when we leave our apartment but it is very hard to be excited to walk in the sun and sand. This last week I don't know why but we had about 3 days where no one was home. We walked and walked and walked. But when we get in a house it is the best thing, I forget how I feel.  

One thing that happened this week that was funny my comp was sick and I was trying to help her but my vocabulary for things other than the gospel is just straight out BAD. She was trying to tell me to her a bucket and a quetip (i don't know how to spell either anymore). Sometimes she has to play sherades with me. Last night she was telling me that her someone special was like an immediate magnet. I don't the word for magnet so then she said "You know the thing on the back of my green name badge?" That's when I understood what she was trying to say. She laughs at me a lot and tries to immitate my spanish while I make fun of her English. 

Leandro was baptized! He is the cutest little boy. I feel like he is my little brother. He thought that I was going to baptize him, haha! He asked us if we were going to be his Madrigals (I think that is what is it called in the Catholic church). He went into that freezing water font with the biggest smile, and as he came up out of the water he had the biggest grin on his face! Then he gave his testimony and said thank you mom and dad for letting me be baptized in the only true church. He is nine years old! Well almost ten. But the cutest. 

Alenjandro!!!!!!! Wants to be baptized por fin!!!!!! He has NO DOUBTS. But he has an issue with his family. His parents are fighting it and don't support him a bit. He is 26 for crying out loud. But he doesn't want to be baptized without their approval. So please pray for his parents. He is really sad that they don't support him. 


So just about 30 minutes ago I sinned real bad. We went out to eat at a restaurant called "Mi Tio Johny" it probably no it was the best restaurant yet! I ate Lomo Sal Tado. So goooood. After we ate some good food Johny the owner asked if he could have a picture with us. We of course were thrilled. Then he gave us free little drinks. What looked like was chocolate syrup with some white slush drink. My companion asked it had caffeine and the lady told us no, so we proceeded to drink. MMMM I thought it is pretty good. Then my comp looked at me with a worried look and said "this is alcohol!" Uh Ohhhhh. I sinned real bad today but I am about to repent. Next monday we are going to give Johny the Word of Wisdom pamphlet. 

Oh I love being a missionary!!! When I think about all the stress back at home my problems aren't too bad. Just the usual. Living in Peru. My testimony of Joseph Smith has really grown this week. I have been studying JST. You should all read it. He is my hero. I love telling his story. The first vision truly brings the spirit.  


Love you all,

xoxo Hermana Stringham

Monday, September 1, 2014

I FORGOT TO TURN OFF THE FONT..... SHOOT!





Hello World! 

Hermanas Roper & Stringham

I am very happy to say I had my first baptism!!!!!!!!!!!! It's about time. This last week so much happened. We had inter cambios, I went with Hermana Roper for the third time! We got taken advantage many times, because were both gringos dang it. I love talking in English wow. 



















We went to Piura because my companion has survived 5 weeks in the mission (There is always a 5 week training meeting for the newbies and the trainers). I learned a WHOLE bunch about how to be a better trainer. I am trying to improve. I love training because I find myself learning a lot more. I am trying to help my companion understand the doctrine, but in the process I think I am growing more than she is...
I love the mission home - It has conditioning! 

We had interviews with President Rowley. I love interviews. It is nice to talk to someone every once in a while about everything. The mission presidents  feel somewhat like my parents. He is such a hard working president. 



And we had a baptism!!! Well kinda of two baptisms! (One for the ward and one for us). Renato was baptized, but Leandro was sick on the day of his baptism, but he will be baptized this Saturday! Renato´s grandpa Hermano Celi baptized him. It was the most precious thing. Hermano Celi is the most faithful hard working member in the ward. Hermano Celi has one son that is a member who lives in Utah, but no one else in his family is a member. He reminds me a lot of Granpa Jack. He is always cleaning the church, visiting less actives, and has been fighting for his grandsons to be baptized since Febuary! Renato has been listening to the missionaries since Febuary. I was straight up with Renato and told him that I don't know what he wants more. We can't really do much more, we have been teaching him for demasiado tiempo! He knows all the lessons, everything. He was an eternal investigator who is now a member!  

We also had a baptism for Maria yesterday. Everything turned out well for the most part, but it was probably the most stressful week of my life. We planned two baptisms in one whole week. Neither I or my companion had ever planned a baptism. STRESS I TELL YOU. Saturday we were running around trying to get the font ready, the baptismal clothes, calling all the members so someone would hopefully show up. We had to clean the whole church because it is always filthy with dirt. Then we filled the font. We left, bought refreshments, and returned again 30 minutes before the baptism was going to start to decorate the place. And guess what. I FORGOT TO TURN OFF THE FONT..... Shoot.



uh ohhhhh "Hermana ecucha agua?" 

One of those "Sarah moments" How smart am I.. Well I didn't forget, I thought I turned if off but I guess I turned the knob the wrong way. We were freaking out a little as we walked in the chapel and heard water. But luckily the construction men build drains. phew...! So everything was okay. 
Anway to say the least it was a busy week. But man it feels good to have a baptism not just a baptism, but a true convert. Renato is solid. I feel so blessed.
XO
Hermana S











Hermana Stringham & Analy