Monday, November 24, 2014

Let the Spirit guide! Week 2 in Chincha :)

Sooooooo many things to tell you, and so little time. I will try and write as fast as I can, also so I can answer all of Mom's questions!!
First: for the questions!
Yes, we have a real toilet. jaja but there is only water at night and in the mornings, so if you have to go during the afternoon... it just sits there before we have water again. So that's cool :)
The bright colors are super common for the houses and stuff! On the outsides. Our casa is about 10000x nicer than anyone else's here... I have yet to enter anyone's house that has a floor. It is just dirt. Crazy and humbling. These people are amazing, and I love them!
We have a ward here, and there were 165 people at church on Sunday! So pretty big. There is one set of Elders who also serve in the ward with us. I have no idea what kind of cities are next to us..... haha so I can't help you with the google earth thing! We are about 3 hours south of Lima... and that's about all I know!
Bucket showers... yeah... I am getting used to it. hahahaha. It's actually not that bad! Someone does our laundry for us, and we just take it to them and pay for it. So I am good there. We have pensionistas that cook lunch for us everyday, and we fend for ourselves for breakfast and dinner. The food is AMAZING when our pensionistas cook for us. I basically just eat oatmeal and banana sandwiches otherwise. haha. 
I don't know if I will be able to skype on Christmas yet. I will probably find out when we get a little closer! Pdays we write emails in this little internet cafe type of place. It's smaller than our living room and has like 20 computers in it. I am CRAMMED with people on both sides right now. Good thing they can't read English.... cuz you all know how paranoid I am about people reading over my shoulder. hahahah ;)

Ooooookayyyyy now onto some things from my week :)
On Friday, we had to make an emergency trip to Lima. Hermana Leiva has been having some problems with her stomach, so we had to go into Lima for a doctor's appointment. We stayed in a hotel Friday night, and then came back to Chincha Saturday afternoon. 3 hour bus rides both ways! I am so grateful to be in Chincha - Lima is just SO huge, and so loud, and has so many people. I like my little Chincha a lot better :)
The Spanish is coming along well! My understanding is usually spot on, and the speaking gets better everytime I open my mouth. But when it gets late, and I have been speaking/hearing Spanish aaalllll dayyyy.... my understanding goes down the tank. I know when I am tired, because all of a sudden, it sounds like everyone is speaking Japanese, and I am SO lost. hahahaha. But, I know that the Lord is helping me!
I take all the initiative in street contacts and lessons now as part of my training, and feel completely comfortable with that. I love teaching people :)
A HUGE portion of our efforts are focused on menos activos (less actives). Pres Douglas told us when we first got here that 80% of Perú is menos activo. It is so true. We have 7 investigators right now and probably 20 menos activos that we are focusing on. And then a handful of recent converts. So we sure are busy!! There are always people to teach and things to do. 

This week I had an awesome experience as we were walking in the street :) We passed this woman who was sitting on a bench, and I had the strongest feeling that I needed to talk to her. I followed the Spirit and walked over to introduce myself and the other Hermanas. I gave her a pamphlet about The Family a Proclamation, and began to testify of how the gospel of Jesus Christ can bless our families. She was WAY interested, and we had a good conversation for about 10 minutes. Hermana Leiva and Lara just let me do all the talking :) We set an appointment, and I left just feeling on top of the world. The Spirit definitely did guide my words and actions. Made me think of 1 Nephi 4:6-7.... "I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. NEVERTHELESS, I went forth..." Just go forth. Let the Spirit guide. The Lord will help you :)

ALSO, later that same night, I invited one of our investigators to be baptized, and she said YES!!!! We set her date for the 27th of Dec. Her name is J*****, and she is wonderful! She is 15 years old. Pray for her :)

All in all, everything is wonderful here in Chincha, Perú :) I love being a servant of the Lord. I love coming home and realizing our power is out, and having to do weekly planning by candlelight (twice this week). :) I love sitting in these tiny homes and testifying of the truth. I love smiling at people and seeing the light of Christ in their eyes. I love hearing Peruvian children sing "Llamados a Servir" (Called to Serve) in Primary. I love hearing investigators pray. But most of all... I love knowing that I am where the Lord needs me to be. I love being a representative of Jesus Christ. 

Thank you for your love and prayers :) I feel them everyday.
Remember to read your scriptures EVERY DAY as a family and personally. Don't forget family prayers. Know that I love you!

The church is true!
Hermana Sintay :)

PS: Lo siento, no pictures this week! We are going to the beach as a zone right now. Yeah!! The beach!! Like the ocean!! In Perú!! So expect a bunch of beautiful pictures next week :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Showers in a bucket, no paved roads... the LIFE of a Chincha misionera :)


I am in Perú!!! Finally!!! There are so many things to tell you all. The flight from México to Perú was just fine - all went well! I am so sorry that I could't call you from the airport... none of the payphones were working! It was a sad time for all of the missionaries there. haha. There were 17 missionaries in my group from the CCM all going to Lima South. 4 Hermanas and the rest Elders!

I could tell you all about the flight... and the hotel we stayed in... and the training meetings... but I really want to focus on telling you about my area! Because I do not have much time at all!!! Pdays are MUCH different in the field than in the CCM. haha :)

Presidente Douglas is an AMAZING and INSPIRED man. We all had interviews with him so that he could pray and decide who our companions should be and what area we should serve in. They were only 5 min interviews, but the Spirit was so strong. 

After about 6 hours of uplifting and educating orientation meetings, we were all assigned our companions and areas. I actually have 2 companions, and therefore 2 trainers!! We are in a trio. It's funny, because in the CCM, Hermana Lindstrom and I would always say that we never wanted to be in a trio.. but it is SUCH a blessing as my first companionship. Both of my comps are Latina! Hermana Leiva is 21 years old, and from Argentina. She only has one month left on her mission, and then she is going home. She is an amazing teacher and example. She strives for exact obedience all the time - which I LOVE. Hermana Lara is 26 years old, and is from Perú. She has been serving for 9 months. She doesn't speak English at all - Hermana Leiva speaks only a tiny tiny bit. So.... my Spanish is going to improve VERY quickly. haha because that is absolutely all that I speak! They are so impressed with my Spanish, but I still feel completely lost.

Hermana Lara, Hermana Leiva, y yo outside of our casa!!

We are serving in CHINCHA. It is a 3 hour bus ride from Lima. Yesterday we took the bus and arrived around 9pm. This is a very very very very poor area... hardly any of the roads are paved at all. The houses are falling apart, and there are as many dogs in the street as people. I can't even explain what it is like... so so humbling. I will send some pictures so you can get an idea of what I am talking about. Everything here is SO different from the United States - it is even worlds different than México!!
the inside of our house

I have not seen another white person since we arrived in our area. Every single person that passes me just stares, and a couple people have tried to reach out and touch my hair. hahahaha it is hilarious! Also, there are these tiny little cars that we ride often.... they are called moto-taxis? I think? Google that and see if you can find a picture! Anyway, there are tons of those zooming around the street, and they ALL honk at me whenever they see me. They honk and then the driver will just stare at me with his mouth wide open as they drive by. hahahaha. Oh man, this is just so awesome! I love everything about Perú! And I love everything about being a missionary!!!

The main focuses in our mission are OBEDIENCE and the DOCTRINE: During my training, I literally have to memorize 2 Nephi 31. The entire chapter. In Spanish. HOW COOL, right?!?! Oh man, the emphasis on the doctrine of Christ is incredible. Also - obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles. SO BE EXACTLY OBEDIENT :) Selective obedience brings selective blessings. Be obedient, see the miracles :)

I love everything about the mission. I love my area. It is really hard. I shower in a bucket. I won't see a paved street for another 3 months at LEAST. It is so hot. BUT, I am a missionary :) And I get to help people change their lives and come unto Christ :) And that is the best blessing that I could ever ask for. 

The church is true!!!!!!!
I LOVE this work. 
Les quiero mucho :)
 our kitchen
Hermana Sintay :)
To get to our bathroom you have to walk through this little alleyway thing!
and........ the shower :) A bucket :) Whoo hoo! En serio - this is all there is. haha welcome to Perú!
This dog's name is Cholita, and she lives in the little alleyway by our house! She comes in whenever we open the door, and she loves to play. We wish we could keep her!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On the way to Peru

A kind stranger texted this photo taken from the Mexico City airport last night.
Still no word from Aubrey, but I'm sure she has landed in Peru and is happy. 

PERÚ BOUND :) November 13, 2014

Family and friends! :)


4 more days until I fly to Perú!! I got my flight plans this week! I leave the CCM Monday morning at 10:00 am, and my flight to Lima is at 1:45. Just one 6 hour flight, and I WILL BE IN PERÚ!! Holy cow! You know that kind of "excited" when you just want to lay in bed and kick your feet up and down, and giggle and cover your face, and dance around like a crazy person? Yup. That's me. My district saw a whole new side of me when I got those flight plans :) Yiiippppeeeee!!!!!

This week was great - it FLEW by! It is strange that we are officially the oldest ones in the CCM. But soon enough we will be back at square one being the greenies in the field. Did I mention that is in 4 days?! Yeah. :)

I worked so hard this week. SO much study and teaching. I love it :) We taught both of our investigators for the last time this week. Both of them are our teachers, but we have been teaching them as investigators for the last 3 weeks. We have been progressing really well with both of them (Fryda and Pedro). Pedro was a lot harder... when we first started teaching him, he didn't believe in God at all. We came so far, and he now has a testimony of Joseph Smith and the BoM. But he was really stubborn about setting a baptism date... he didn't want to make any commitment like that. Finally, the last time we taught him, he committed to a baptism date :) That was such a happy day! Hermana Lindstrom and I were so proud of him :)

Alrighty, so I just have a bunch of funny stories from this week. I have shared a ton of spiritual experiences, but you need to understand how FUN the CCM is, too :)

So.. we got a new district in our zone this week. 8 Elders and no Hermanas! On Friday we went and introduced ourselves to them. Following a long standing tradition, our introductions were pretty goofy and weird. Everyone had something strange they were doing. We all had planned together what we would do, so that no one would break character during the real introductions. The only one who hadn't told us what he was doing was Elder McLaws. The rest of the Elders in our district knew, but Hermana Lindstrom and I were clueless. They insisted that it needed to be a surprise. Okay... just to remind ya'll... Elder McLaws is the funniest/weirdest/quirkiest kid ever. He is from South Dakota and everything about him is just....  it's just so Elder McLaws. I cannot even explain. We love Elder McLaws :) So... the rest of the Elders start making bets with me, that I won't be able to NOT laugh during McLaws's introduction. Now - I have known this kid for 5 weeks. I know he is strange. I have seen him do crazy things before - and his intro was only going to last like 3 minutes. I was pretty confident that I could NOT laugh for that long. Sounds reasonable, right? ........ wrong. Oh no. I was so wrong. Just when you think this kid can't surprise you anymore, he does. Right off the bat, he brings out these finger puppets. Yes - finger puppets. Little ghost finger puppets. With smiley faces.  He proceeded to tell the most involved story I have ever witnessed - about 5 little ghosties that live in the fridge. The Mama Ghost told them only to eat cottage cheese and ice cream (naturally, because they are white), so they could blend in and scare people. Confused yet? That's Elder McLaws for ya. For about 10 minutes, he leaped around the room like a monkey in a suit, telling a story about the ghosts.... and how they disobeyed... and turned different colors because they ate different foods... and then they had to repent... and then they could scare people in the fridge again. Needless to say - I lost the bet. I was WEEPING in the corner of the room because I was laughing so hard. So I had to spend 100 pesos on Chokis for the Elders in payment. This kid.... he never ceases to surprise me. Who brings finger puppets on a mission? Elder McLaws. Naturally. 

Alrighty - another story about the Elders. So our Elders play cage soccer liiiiiiterrralllyyyyy everyday. It's basically their life here at the CCM. Most of them are pretty good and know what they are doing. And then, there's McLaws. He has the most self-esteem and confidence of anyone in our district, which makes these stories even better :) He is seriously great. He is the most aggressive one out there when they play cage soccer, which would probably be really good if he knew how to control his body. As it is, he is just like a little tornado spinning around in that cage. Heaven forbid ANYONE get between him and the ball - or they'll probably get their head taken off. I am scared when McLaws plays, and I am outside of the cage! He looks like a monkey because he doesn't quite know how to control himself! He also wears hiking boots every time they play. His nickname on the court is "The Claws."...... SO fitting. I can just imagine some of these poor new Elders in our zone, playing cage for the first time with our Elders. "So Mom, my first day at the CCM.... these guys asked me if I wanted to play 'cage'. I didn't know what it was, but I thought I'd give it a shot. They literally put me in a CAGE, with a monkey in hiking boots named THE CLAWS. Welcome to México City."

All of our Elders do such funny things. They keep me laughing all day long! And Hermana Lindstrom. Oh dear heaven. She is SO funny. This week she had to give a closing prayer at a devotional, in front of the entire CCM. She was so scared..... obviously it is in Spanish, and in front of 500 people it is terrifying!! She was joking about how she wanted to go up there and say the whole thing in English... but President Pratt would probably have a heart attack and die right there on the stand. She did awesome, though. 

I love everything about the CCM, and I am going to miss this place a LOT. But I know that the Lord has much greater things in store in Perú :) I cannot wait to get there and get to work. This work truly is a labor of love, and it requires all of you. Heart, might, mind, strength, desires, weaknesses, strengths... absolutely everything. And it is worth it :) 

The church is so true!!
Love you all :)
Hermana Sintay :)

I know He lives. November 6, 2014

Hola familia y amigos :) 

Wow... it is really hard to write everything that has happened this week. At the end of every day, I could sit down and write for hours about what has happened. So after 7 days... you can only imagine how difficult it is! But I am so grateful for the opportunity to include you all in this missionary adventure of mine :)

Only 12 more days until I leave for Perú... does that seem crazy to anyone else?! I know it does to me!! I am so excited!! The CCM is AMAZING, but I know that the field will be, too :) Just one more email from México! Wowzers!!

This week we got a new district in our zone. There are 6 Hermanas and 2 Elders in their district - which is the opposite of ours! I am soooooo grateful that we have more Elders than Hermanas in our district. I think I would go crazy with a million Hermanas spending 24/7 together... haha. I think Heavenly Father knew that though ;) But they are pretty great. And yesterday we got another new district - 8 Elders and no Hermanas! We haven't met them yet, though. So that makes 3 districts in our zone. 

I have had lots of positive, faith-building experiences this week, but the day that changed me the most was Tuesday. And probably not in the way that you would think.

Tuesday was the hardest day that I have had here at the CCM. I woke up and felt this spirit of depression and sadness come over me. I prayed and tried to make it go away, but things were just bad. We were 20 minutes late to personal study because I was dragging my feet while I was getting ready in the morning. Morning classes were rough... I wasn't feeling the Spirit, and I just couldn't enjoy anything. I was fighting back tears all morning, and I didn't even know why. My district and my teacher could tell something was definitely wrong, but I didn't want to talk to anyone (because I knew I would start crying). I wasn't even sure why I was so sad... and that was frustrating to me, too. After morning classes, it was time for Hermana Lindstrom and I to teach our progressing investigator. His name is Pedro, and actually he is just our morning teacher pretending to be an investigator. We alternate teaching Pedro and our other investigator Frida. Our lesson was absolutely terrible. I couldn't teach with the Spirit at all. He asked questions that we couldn't answer, and whenever I tried to speak, I just kept digging myself into a hole. It was so frustrating. When we finished the lesson, I was bordering a break down. We went back into the classroom, and I sat at a table facing the back wall, away from everyone. I knew I was going to cry, and I didn't want anyone to see. I just sat there staring at my open Book of Mormon, reading the same verse over and over, because my eyes were too clouded with tears to actually read anything. 

Finally, I just fell on my knees and starting pleading with my Heavenly Father. I didn't even know what to say... but I knew He could understand my heart. I knelt there in the corner of my little classroom, and just cried. My mind didn't even form thoughts or sentences. But as I was praying, I knew He was listening. 

Before I was done praying, it was time to close our class with a district prayer. I kept my head down as I walked over to kneel in the circle. When we finished the prayer, I quickly gathered my things, hoping to duck out of the classroom before anyone could tell what a mess I was. Hermana Lindstrom and I had almost made it out... when Hermano Gallegos called us back into the classroom. When everyone else had left, he closed the door and asked me how I was. I just started crying. He told me that he knew all morning that something wasn't right... he told me tenderly (and all in Spanish, because he doesn't speak English) that he truly loved me and cared about me. He promised he would do anything to help me that I needed. He then asked me to read a scripture out loud... Alma 26:27. It took me a good 3 or 4 minutes to read the short verse in between sobs. 

"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."

This verse was just what I needed to hear. Right after we left Hermano Gallegos, I went and asked Elder McDonald and Elder Davis in my district to give me a blessing. Elder McDonald said the blessing... but I knew they were Heavenly Father's words. I know the power of the Priesthood is real. After the blessing I felt spiritually and emotionally renewed. 

Things have completely turned around since then. I am back to my noramal, way-too-smiley, happy sunshiney, I-love-being-a-missionary Hermana Sintay :)

In my personal study this week, I have been studying the Savior. What I have learned is incredible... I feel prompted to share a portion of it with you :)

In Matthew 21:10, as the Savior rides triumphantly into Jerusalem... the multitude parts and asks, ... "Who is this?" This question intrigued me as I was studying. Prophets in all ages and dispensations have answered this question - Who is Jesus Christ? 
In Mosiah, the prophet Abinidi testifies that, "He is the light and the life of the world... a light that cannot be darkened." 
Amulek claims that, "He is the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth.... the beginning and end... the first and the last."
Jospeh Smith and Sidney Rigdon know He lives, because "... [they] saw Him sitting on the very right hand of God, and heard His own voice bear record that He is the Only Begotten of The Father."
When Christ introduced himself to the Nephites, in a voice from the darkness He declared, "Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world."
God himself said to a young boy in a grove of trees... "This is my Beloved Son... Hear Him."

So who is Jesus Christ? All of these answers are glorious. As I studied, I quickly discovered that the scriptures are full of accounts bearing witness of Jesus Christ. I have studied for hours and hours these testimonies of prophets. But - regardless of what these prophets say and know - there is an answer that is even more important. 

The most important answer is YOURS. 
Who is Jesus Christ to YOU?

I may not know as much as a prophet... but I know JUST as well as any prophet that Jesus Christ lives. I know that He is my personal Savior. I know that He is my friend and brother. I know that this is His church. I know that this is His work. I love being His servant :) His name is right here on my name tag - and I strive to walk right beside Him every single day. 

Thank you to everyone for your love and support :) I feel your prayers. I truly do. 
Until next week :)

Hermana Sintay :)