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 :)