|Countdown...... Sarah will die in Tumbes...(end her mission)|
|Hermana macias at the baptism via -Skype|
|Peruvian Kisses with old ladies - I will miss these!|
|Relief Society Sisters|
It's hard to believe that I am sitting on the computer writing to my fam and friends for the very last time. How did time pass so fast? I have learned a new meaning of time in the mission, time never waits for us in life we have to always be prepared for new changes whetther we like it or not. SInce the day we were born GOd set a timer on each one of us. My 18 month timer is slowly ticking by. Now I actually have to face real life. THe mission is so structured I never have time to think about things like how my dog Whistler died or how Steve my brother still wears a beard. As I try to set goals for my new life I feel like I'm too young. I know I'm 20 years old but I don't know if I'm ready to be an adult, pay taxed, cook, go to college, get married, have kids, find an actual job. In the mission all of my decisions were already made. I just had to sign up. I arrived here kind of lost no REALLY LOST. I was given a latin companion who I love she trained me well, I dedicated myself to learn a language that seemed impossible, I was given trials, and obstacles to overcome. But I can say I DID IT. And it was the BEST THING EVER!!
So now I am about to face real life...but so what...I am prepared God has prepared me for the last 18 months for this. All I hope and pray is that Heavenly Father is proud of my efforts. I hope I haven't let him down. I know I wasn't a perfect missionary but I know he loves me even when I fail him he is always there to pick me back up, to encourage me to keep walking or talk to an old woman. He has been by my side. I have felt of His presence. He teaches with me. He walks with me. And He laughs at me when I do stupid stuff.
|I won't miss this blasted heat!!|
|A member fixed my hair|
This last week I have seen His hand in my life. As we walked down our street leaving our apartment one day to go meet up with the sisters for invercambios we passed a couple. Something in me pushed me to talk to them. I timidly walked up to them with Hermana Garcia and started a spanish conversation "Buenas Tardes." The husband began talking to us but his wife just looked off in the distance. I could tell something was wrong. Her chin began to quiver and tears rolled down her face. Her husband just ignored her. We tried to say womething that might help her. She then looked at us in the face and said "El me engaño." ("he cheated on me"). We testified that she is not alone that Christ knows what she is going through more than anyone else. We gave her a great big hug and she cried like a baby in my arms. I was sure that day that Christ sent us to this woman who was painfully suffering with her two small children. I realized in that moment how God is aware of each of his children. The best part about being missionaries is people call us their "ANGELS." I am going to miss that.
Saturday came and oh it sure came hard. July 25 the day of our baptism. Jose and Reina passed their interviews Wooohoooo!!!!! However, Satan was in ever corner of our lives. He of course was very angry that a whole family was joining the church. The Hidalgo Family.
This baptism probably was the most stressful baptism of my life! We began the day by doing the usual baptismal prep. Cleaning the filthy church, bathrooms, baptismal font, calling and inviting members decorating the church. Just the usual.
6:30 p.m. came around the baptism was supposed to start but there were only three members there. The investigators (Hermano Jose and Hermana Reina) showed up 30 minutes late and the members a whole hour late. Again no suprise. The Elders came with one pair of pants for the baptism. We had asked them to bring THREE pairs not ONE. Bad communication or lack of understanding on our part. The Elders live about 20 minutes away so we told them to please bring more pantelones!!!! Everyone was waiting for it to start put we didn't have baptismal clothes! Gosh! After much waiting the elders returned with only One more pair of pants. Yeah at that point we just had start the thing. The baptism finally began at 8:00 p.m.
|The Beloved Pants - A little Big?|
Hermano Jose was baptized first. I don't know if you remember but he doesn't have one leg. We had to put a chair in the baptismal font. It all worked great but we were all a little nervous. Next up was Reina. Oh Reina bless her heart. I love that girl. She is so innocent, pure, and funny. We gave a young man in our ward an opportunity to baptize someone for the fist time. Not. A. Good. Idea. The first three attempts were a fail. She couldn't get her head under the water. We were all anxsious---how do you spell that? Anyway we were all nervous like what are we going to do know? Either she isn't very flexible or he doesn't know how to baptize someone. It was a little of los dos. Hermana Garcia and I were dying. All the members were too. Reina kept on saying to her mom "Ma no tengo miedo pero no puedo!" Everyone was trying to give the poor girl and boy baptizing her tips and the spirit of doubt filled the air. I wondered for a sec if she would be able to be baptized. We looked at Elder Vargas and basically told him "Get in there NOW." Elder Vargas came to the rescue. He put on wet pants about XXL size (he looked like a gangster) and jumped in the font! It was a real superman moment! And she went under the first time!!!!!!!!!!!!!! aHHHH We could all relax. My comp and I almost died of a heart attack. You know when you feel so embarrassed or nevous and you just get the giggles hard??? Well the giggles came HARD. Hermana Garcia and I were trying so hard not to laugh. You just had to be there. I LOVE THE HIDALGO FAMILY.
We all ate chocolate cake and Aji de Gallina..using the same plates over and over again. It was definitely a very Peruvian style baptism. One that I will never ever forget!
And my week just gets better....I figure I will write out everything this week because it is the last time....sorry if I am boring you....I understand if you stop reading.
But guess what??! We have another miracle baptism coming up this Friday! Her name is Milagros which means MIRACLE in English. What a miracle she is. She is 10 years old. Her mom is a less active member but Milagros has been attending church for the last 5 months with her 14 year old sister. We have to have special permission to baptize children with less actives parents. We called President Rasmussen and he gave us permission!
It doesn't stop there.......
VALERIA. Is 9 years old and reminds me of my niece Hannah! We love teaching her she is so so smart and acts like she is 15. Her brother is a recent RM but her parents aren't members. We are waiting for her parents to give her permission to be baptized, so if she gets permission she will also be baptized this Friday (my last day here in Tumbes). Please PRAY for her that her parents will let her be baptized!
Yesterday we had to teach Primary and Relief Society. Hermana Garcia went to the Primary and taught them to sing a song for our baptism this week and I was chosen to teach Relief Society. I wasn't very prepared because there is never any time to prepare in the mission! However I was assigned to teach about the TEMPLE.....me? temple? these old ladies are the ones who should be teaching me about the marriage but no. I didn't know what I was going to say the moment I stood up but then I just started talking about my family, my sister, and how beautiful it was the day we were sealed together for the eternity. I can't remember very well but I remember feeling like I was in a castle. I loved every minute of it. My class went actually really well. It was the best class I have ever taught in the mission. I will miss the Sociedad de Soccorro here.
Well my internet time is shot so I got to go. But I want to leave you with my last testimony.
I know with all of my heart that Christ lives. I can testify of his love for us. We have a Father in Heaven who loves and knows each and every one of us. No matter how many times we fail or fall short He always gives us another chance, white pages, and a new start. He is in every detail on our lives. If we listen carefully we can follow Him and become as He is. Each one of us has a purpose and a mission to accomplish. We were sent here for a purpose. Joseph Smith restored this church and I will ever be grateful for him. The Book of Mormon will bring us so much closer to Christ is we read it. It will bring power into our lives that we have never experienced. The Saviour brings us our salvation. Thanks to Him we can live again. I love him and could never pay Him for what He did.
This Gospel is TRUE. If you doubt it ask God himself.
It's hard to leave what I have experienced. I know God has more in life prepared for me. I just hope I never ever forget the things I have learned here. I hope to be the person God has made me to be.
Today I found this scripture. 2 Nephi 9:44
"O my beloved bretheren, remember my words. Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you, I pray the God of my salvation that he view me with his all. Searching eye, wherefore, ye shall know at the last day, when all mean shall be judged of their works, that the God of Israel did witness that I shook you iniquities from my sould, and that I stand with brightness before him, and am rid of your blood."
These last 18 months I have warned, testified, and helped people come unto Christ. I pray that I have done all I was sent here to do. That at the judgement day I can say I gave him and her an opportunity to accept the gospel, without any feelings of guilt or regret. I hope God can say "Well done thou good and faithful servant." And this is my prayer and testimony I leave with all of you en el nombre de Jesucristo, amen.
Love you all and will see you soon,
|The box of food we live off of. It's very delicious.|
|Lomo Saltado - My favorite!|