Monday, October 27, 2014

Just Keep Trying

Hello Everyone!!!

Summer has hit hard here. The mosquitos are starting to make there way to my skin, and I am wearing my sombrero almost everyday. We are looking for a new pencionista. I think Hermana Ortiz will be our new one as of next week. My comp and I lose our appetites everytime we walk into the house of our pencionista. She's great but we are gonna have to change. 

Yesterday 148 people attended sacrament meeting! Our ward is really strong. The attendance just keeps rising! We have been visiting one less active family the whole time I have been here in Sullana, and they finally came to church yesterday! Miracles exist.

President Grow when he came to our mission told us how important it is to not pass one family in the street without talking to them. At first our president gave us to goal of 12 families each week. This last week Elder Grow told us we should be talking to 24 families in the street every week! This goal shouldn't be hard, but sometimes it is. We are always running late to appointments, then we see a couple in the street. First I think man we have no time right now to talk! We are 15 minutes late. Sometimes I pass families and my gut hurts so I chase after them and look like a weirdo. It is a good challenge. I challenge all you missionaries to never pass a family in the street! The church needs families. 

In November a member of the Seventy is coming to our mission. Elder Evans. I can't wait. Everyone is going to Piura for this conference. I will get to see all my friends! 

We are teaching a 30 year old named Claudia. (She and her sister were the ones who invited us to eat sea food, from which we almost died).  Anyway we are teaching her, her sister Silvia, and her friend Wendy. They are very interested. Claudia has a baptismal date for November 22, but she still hasn't come to church because of her work. I am praying that she will be able to come to church and this date won't fall. 

I love this gospel. My testimony grows everyday. I am not some spiritual giant or anything but I feel that this church is true. I just know it. I am not alone. I feel God's peace and love in my life. He is the one who gives me strength and pushes me to walk another step or eat another plate of rice. I am humbled daily as I see all of my weaknesses. I think everyone needs a mission, just to be humbled. It's like God gives me a shovel and shows me really how much I have to grow and improve. But I am trying. I am shoveling that dirt as hard as I can. One day I will be able to see the good soil. And that's what I want to say to all of you. Just keep trying. Just keep trying. 

Love you all to death.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Drink of Death.....


The Drink of Death
It has been a week to remember. I am gonna tell you all about my week, because it was too funny to keep it to myself. So we started out the week just great, the same old. Then Tuesday came and 3 of our investigatores invited us to lunch. So we went to lunch, and everything went down hill from then on. They ordered me a drink called "leche de tigre." yuck!  Warm milk with shell fish. Guys I ate mini octupus, squid, and I don't know what else because it was unrecognizable and incomprehensive in spanish. But a ton of sea animals. In my drink! I don't like milk either. A double wammy. But I chugged it and they all laughed at me. Then we stuffed our faces with fried fish and a whole bunch of "suavacita" carne. After I finished my Leche de Tigre I was relieved inside and decided to eat what I thought was a red pepper. Turned out to be the hottest pepper here in Peru. My mouth died and I felt fire inside. My face turned as red as my dress. Ugh I was so ready to leave that restaurant. 
The Ortiz Family

The next day.....Hermana Valencia and I woke up with 102 degree fever. Hermana Valencia was vomitting luckily I wasn't. I tried to get up to work but couldn't. I've never stayed a day inside so I felt like a rebel, but we decided it's better to rest. Later that night we had an appointment we couldn't miss so we got dressed and left the apartment half dead. Wasn't a smart idea. I came back to the room that night with a cold and even more tired then before. Yeah the next day came, we were still the same. My companion told me she saw a spirit in our room (definitely halucinations). We just layed in bed the day following too. It was horrible - but kind of funny. We watched mormon messages to pass the time. My sweet companion made me oatmeal and oatmeal pancakes every morning. It was some good bonding time in the room this week. And I made a decision to never eat shell fish again. Why did I eat it in the first place? I never liked fish anyway. 

Another story for the week. There are flies here everywhere! We were eating with our pencionista one day and I took a sip of my juice and felt something in my mouth. I pulled it out slowly and saw a live fly! Ughhhh yuck. Not again. 

It wasn't a very pleasant week of eating. I prefer to not eat right now. 

11 Baptisms
We ended the week well with the baptism of Franco! We had a massive baptism in the stake center. President and Hermana Rowleycame. There were 11 people baptized just in Sullana! It was the coolest baptism I have ever witnessed. The turn out was great too! We all watched the baptisms on the big screen! There was a camera at the baptismal font so we all could see each baptism! We saw everything. Even the feet that popped up. It was a great day and my last day with my amiga :( I love Hermana Valencia so much! 

Hermana Hualingua! 
Zone Conference Sullana
Guess what? I am still here in Sullana! I thought for sure I was leaving. I said goodbye to everyone (I even told my name to two families....rats).I am with Hermana Hualinga who has been out for 13 months. She comes from a family of 15 kids! She is 21 years old and is from Lima. I am happy to still be here  - I love my ward! 
Stairway to Heaven

I love you all. I hope your week was a little bit more encouraging than mine. 

xoxo Hermana Stringham 

Monday, October 13, 2014

I thought I might be the first missionary ever to not learn the language of my mission!

Hola! Mom thank you for the package!!!!!! My birthday came early. We loved our dresses and everything else! We are saving the brownies for a rainy day. Also Piura's mail people are on strike so I have a ton of letters to send to you all but I can't.. I have had them for a while now. sorry. Which also means that I can't receive letters for a while if you have sent me something. 

Time is flying like always. This is my last week with Hermana Valencia and probably my last week in Sullana. I have loved this place, the people, and my companion. In my first area I'll be honest I didn't understand much. So I wasn't as attached to the people I was teaching, I was just trying to wrap myself around the language they were speaking. I am proud to say that I am so much more comfortable with the language. It was such a trial and I thought I might be the first missionary ever to not learn the language of my mission. God lives and he works miracles. And my spanish is one of those miracles. I can't speak perfect but at least I can understand and don't have to fake it anymore. However the translators in conference talk a million miles per hour. I could understand the messages but it just wasn't the same. I can't wait to read it all in English. But yes conference was amazing. Some quotes I loved:

"If you serve you serve. If you don't serve you don't serve." (he burned us with that one)
"Which way do you face?"
"Are you living in a way that you can have the blessings in your patriarchal blessing?"

I loved how the apostles spoke in their mother language! I got a lot out of conference. What I learned most is that this life is hard we know it's hard. We must accept that we can only grow through challenges, and isn't that our purpose here on earth? Everyone has agency. It's a gift but we must learn how to use it wisely. We are faced with decisions everyday. Are we always putting our lives and decisions according to God's will? I loved how one guy...I can't remember who...said we need our spiritual passport. Now more than ever we need a testimony for ourselves. If we have forgotten our testimony or simply don't have one. Look.Find.Ask. God will give it to you. Our testimonies we stay with us for the eternities. So make it strong. Today. 

I also felt impressed to remind you all to remember to pray everyday and read scriptures not just personally, but with your FAMILY. Please do this! Have Family Home Evening too. You will find a stronger spirit in your home. 

The Ortiz Family
I am so excited for the Ortiz Family. Franco will be baptized this Sunday and their family will be sealed in the temple in November! And to think that we almost didn't knock on their door. But I need your help. We want and need Franco's dad to baptize him,  Please pray with me that Brother Juan Carlos will be able to baptize his son Franco. It will be something really special. This Sunday there are 14 people being baptized just in Sullana! So we are planning a massive baptism and President Rowley is going to come! I can't wait. 

Hermana Valencia and I are two kids who can't control our laughter. Man I definitely haven't become more serious in the mission. I can't contain it with her! We cannot sing together in lessons, it just takes the spirit out like fire. We have become true sisters and best friends. I am sad to leave her. 

Well I can't remember what else happened but it was a good week. 
Love and miss you all terribly!!!

xoxo Hermana Stringham 

Analy suprised me and visited us today! She bought me a birthday cake! I love her to death. She is turning in her papers to serve a mission! I know she will be such a good missionary and her companion will love her.

          We had a cake war. They always throw cake in the face. I am a little scared for my actual birthday. 

Hermana Margoth is the best!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blistering Heat - The poor members have to suffer with us.

Hola Familia y Amigos!....(p.s. I can't say the word familia, my whole mission I have struggled with this word, I feel like I say it fine but the people don't understand me when I say it. Good thing I use this word everyday...not)

Another week has flown by! Where does time even go. This next Sunday I will have been out 8 months! I can't believe it. 

So I didn't see conference this weekend. But I hear it was great! There were elections yesterday and Saturday and it is a law that church cannot be held because everyone is forced to vote. There was a bunch of campaigning this week. The people ride in their little motos waving their flags and shouting, it was pretty great. But I did see the Sunday morning session at a members house! I loved Elder Eyring's talk on receiving revelation. We all need to earnestly seek for revelation in our lives. I am trying hard to receive more revelation in my life for the people we are teaching. I will get to see the rest of it hopefully this weekend! It's a little bit harder to understand for me in spanish. I understand spanish, but the translators talk so fast. When I am trying to take notes and listen my mind gets a little lost. Pray that I will understand it all. 

This past week...
We didn't have water one day so we showered with wet wipes.gross. 

There were a lot of days filled of walking. Somedays no one is home! It is a little frustrating. I think this is when Satan tries to work on us the most. We become discouraged and the blistering heat doesn't help give us more energy either. This last week the members even helped us! But no one was home. The poor members have to suffer with us. 

However there are always happy days and tender mercies. One of them being an old man named Jorge. I love this man. He is like my grandpa. His wife recently died and he is always thinking about her, it breaks my heart. We walk past his house everyday and everyday he shouts "Suerte!!!! MAMALINDA" He calls me his mamalinda haha. I need to send you a picture of my best friend Jorge. He always lifts me up when I feel down. All I need to do is talk to him, then I feel great! 

Remember Ricoberto? We have been teaching his daughter Jackeline. And she accepted a baptismal date for November 1! But she moved this last week so we are going to have to pass her off the different Elders. 

My testimony of prayer this last week has grown. I have been trying to make my prayers more specific. I have been praying that Alejandro would be able to find work in Sullana so he could attend church, and walllahhh he did! I see God's hand in my life more than ever. I am grateful that he listens to the gringa in Sullana. 

We have been teaching 3 women (2 sisters and a friend). Their names are Clowdia, Silvia, and Wendy. The are hilarious and very interested in the church. We had a really great lesson about the plan of salvation. We asked them to be baptized. They said they would think and pray about it. After the lesson Hermana Valencia said "Your brothers are the key to our baptisms!" Hahaha. During the lesson I showed them a picture of my family and yeah they interested in my brothers. Sam and Steve I've got you two set. No worries boys.  

I love this gospel and I love feasting on it everyday! Being a missionary is the best. Have the best week! 

xoxo hermana stringham 
sorry I didn't take any pictures this week. stay tuned for next week