Monday, April 11, 2016

The last one.

Changes have never been hard for me. In fact, I have always loved fresh starts, new beginnings, and blank pages.

In the mission we always have cambios - new areas, new assignments, new companions, new people - and I have loved it :)

This week, as many know, I will be having a new change. 

I will be coming home. 

It sounds strange to me, because right now I feel like Peru is my home. But I know that God has a new area, new assignments, and new people that I need to know.

A lot of reflecting has happened in these last few days and weeks - and under the impressions of the Spirit, I have been able to put on paper some of the feelings and impressions I have been having these last couple weeks.

As my last email home as a missionary.... I would like to share them with you. My mission means so much to me, and I wanted to preserve a small part of the waterfall of emotions and thought I have been having recently.

Here it is :)

_________________________________________

"Earthly and Heavenly Homes"
Hermana Sintay
Misión Peru Lima Sur

I had a thought the other night,
A thought profound and deep.
It came when I was too worn down,
Too tired to go to sleep.

A day of teaching, sweating, walking;
Just like every other one.
For 18 months and a little more
Representing His Perfect Son.

I remembered when I made that choice
To come here to Peru.
My mind was made, my heart was set –
God had a work for me to do.

“Forget yourself,” and “Be like Him,”
The advice from Dad was clear.
 And my mother’s tear-stained promise,
“He will ALWAYS be near.”

Now the weeks have flown (the months have, too)
I’ve almost reached the end.
Mind still made and heart still set –
But emotions I can’t comprehend.

I’ve been bit by dogs, chased by men,
Even shot at once or twice.
I’d be an understatement if I said,
“The mission’s changed my life.”

I now can say with all certainty
That I know and love the Lord.
I can testify with them of old
As I preach His holy word.

I know what He felt in Gethsemane
Is too much to comprehend.
I know He did it all for us;
We have no greater Friend.

18 months might seem a lot,
2 years is even more.
But our sacrifice is minuscule
Compared to blood from every pore.

While they might put me on a plane
And tell me I am done –
My mission has NOT finished;
I can still represent His Son.
  
There will be hands to lift, hearts to heal,
Smiles to give, and His DOCTRINE to share.
My mission is my life on Earth;
It’s His name I have covenanted to bear.

Our mission as children of God is this:
Find the lost sheep that roams.
For we ALL must return with honor
To our earthly AND heavenly homes.

______________________________________________

The doctrine is true. As a representative of Jesus Christ - I testify it.

I will see you all soon,  

Hermana Aubrey Michelle Sintay
Misión Peru Lima Sur
Oct 2014 - Abril 2016 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mom - this one is for you :)

Remember that workshop I was going to give in Leadership Council? Well, President had asked me to give an interactive one-hour discussion about the focuses that we had been given last month as leaders..... well, given the fact that the Council was the last week of March, and I had to figure out a way to successfully interact with 40 Elders for an hour without losing their attention................................. I decided to host a March Madness Championship. It was golden.

We discussed everything EXACTLY as President wanted, but were able to stay awake and energetic for the whole hour. The details were sweet, and I should have taken pictures of when they were shooting baskets and everything...... but it was just so exciting that I forgot! Definitely a great Leadership Council for this month :)


I really wanted to be a part of family General Conference traditions this year..... so I woke up at 5am and started making wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too many pancakes for my companion and I. (I really wanted to make crepes, but I didn't trust myself to make them as good as Dad) :) I hope you know how much I LOVE our General Conference traditions! 

PS, please excuse the photo taken at 6am. I was just too happy and excited to wait and shower and look like a missionary. haha :)

All of my life, as I have listened to the prophet announce new temples, I have loved to imagine how the people watching feel as they hear that is a new temple is to be built in their country or home.

This conference, I was able to be a part of such a once in a lifetime experience :)

Let me tell you a little bit about it.

Just like last conference, I got permission to watch it in English with the other gringo Elders in the zone. We were in a different room there in the Stake Center. Due to the translation and transmission glitches,  what everyone else was watching in Spanish was about 20 seconds behind the live transmission in English. You can just imagine how excited we were as missionaries to hear the announcement of a SECOND temple in LIMA, PERU - but what we really wanted to see was the reaction of the humble and faithful members who really called Lima, Peru their home.

Study journals and pens were practically thrown into the air as we jumped out of our seats and booked it down the hallway to where the rest of the members were about to hear the announcement - exactly 20 seconds after us :) 

The gasps and exclamations of joy are just something that you would have to SEE and HEAR to understand. People were crying, they started to pray in their seats, hug their family members, shout "thank you" to President Monson... it was a sight to behold. 

I know that the members here in Lima, Peru are faithful and prepared to use BOTH of the temples that the Lord has blessed them with. What a blessing it was to be a part of such a historic day in the lives of these humble and joyful Saints :')

Ok, Mom - this is a story that I have to tell just for you :)

 So we had been teaching a less active sister named Pilar - she is a return missionary who went COMPLETELY inactive after a bunch of really unfair things happened to her in her life. Even when we went to visit her, she never went to church.... never read her Book of Mormon.... and just never progressed. She had lost all of her hope of salvation for her and her 3-year-old son. 

Well..... this week we visited her, and she was 100% different. She had come to church. She was reading her Book of Mormon. She wanted to have an interview with the Bishop ASAP. She told us that her goal was to renew her temple recommend and start to use her garments again in these next couple months. 

Obviously, we were shocked. We asked her WHAT IN THE WORLD had changed her attitude and perspective so quickly. She was a little timid to tell us, but then she looked at me and said, "Hermana Sintay, does your mom bake bread?" .. I wasn't sure if I understood the question, because it was so out of context. She could tell it caught me off guard, and so she asked again, "Hermana Sintay, does your mom bake bread?" I told her yes, that my mom baked bread to help support me on my mission. Pilar then told us how somehow she had come across on Facebook a picture of the bread you make, and for the last name "Sintay" knew that you were my mom. She said that it touched her so much - the sacrifice that you made and are making so that I can be here serving a mission. She said that in that moment, she realized that she wasn't making any sacrifices for her 3-year-old son. She still had a hope that he would serve a mission someday - but was doing absolutely nothing to honor her covenants and prepare her son to make such covenants one day on his own. She told us, overcome with tears, "When I saw the picture of the bread that your mom bakes for you, God told me so strongly that I needed to be braver and make sacrifices for my son - just like your mom does. I realized that I was being selfish. Seeing what your mom does for you gave me the courage to come back. It gave me the courage to make the changes I need to so I can enter into the temple again and be sealed with my son."

Mom - THANK YOU for the sacrifices that you make for all of your children. You are not only changing our lives, but you are changing the lives of SO many others around you. I love you forever. Thanks for being a part of my ETERNAL family :)

The doctrine is true. I love you all.

Hermana Sintay :)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Updates from this side of the world

Another trip to the pretty part of Lima for some doctor's apts - this time we snuck away to the playa to take some pictures! GORGEOUS, no?

I wish that pictures could help you smell the ocean and hear the sound of the waves.... that was my favorite part. :)



WHAT A WEEK OF SUCCESS.

So, remember that stake activity that I commented to you all the last week?
What a POWERFUL experience! Over 150 members of the Stake participated, along with the 14 full-time missionaries in our zone. 
My favorite zone of my whole mission :)


After returning from proselyting in the morning, the members were sunburned, exhausted, and covered in dirt from head to toe (that is what happens with the missionaries here in Perú Lima Sur). They looked physically destroyed, haha :) However - they were spiritually FULL. When I asked them how it went, they first pointed to their shoes, completely covered in dirt - "LOOK! I am just like you missionaries! I feel SO GOOD! When are we going to leave again?"

The Spirit is the work is REAL, people! It is what converts people and turns them into true disciples of Christ.

The results of the activity were out of this world - just in our ward we received 37 referrals of nonmembers, and another 22 referrals of less active members. We have a LOT of work to follow-up with in these next few months :)


Natalia was baptized this week :) It was a great day.

The Stake President came! And a TON of investigators!  Natalia was so happy :) She bore her testimony in Sacrament meeting on Sunday, and probably made about half of the congregation cry. She is powerful.


Tomorrow is Concilio de Lideres. President has asked me to give an hour workshop for the rest of the Zone Leaders and Sister Traning Leaders. I am excited - the Spirit always teaches us so much when we are prepared and humble.

The doctrine is TRUE!!!!



Hermana Sintay :)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Get ready to get ANIMATED!!

Hello, everyone!

I never get tired of going to the temple :)

Here are some photos of this weeks converts and rescues that entered to do vicarious baptisms for the first time. 

¡Que grandioso es mi llamamiento!

Some hermanas that came up from the south to go to the temple. I remember those days........ 8 hour bus rides to bring converts and rescues to the Lord's temple. Again........... ¡QUE GRANDIOSO ES NUESTRO LLAMAMIENTO!


Espeically for Mom and Dad..... Happy 23rd anniversary :) I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!



Hey! Guess what!! We only have 2 more weeks until GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!! I am so excited! 
This week was stellar, like always. My companion is going to finish her training in 2 weeks - that blows my mind. I feel like she just got here. She is so prepared to lead the area and take over everything at the end of this cambio. I am so proud of her!!

The Stake President has organized an AWESOME activity this week. The full-time missionaries and all of the members of ward council from every ward will be participating in a FULL-DAY of missionary proscelyting. From 7 am to 9pm, we will be organized into companionships of missionaries and members to leave and visit less actives, part-member families, and new converts. Over 150 people are committed to participate. After a breakfast and morning training, we all leave to work in the areas of 3 different wards. Bishops have organized themselves and will provide lists of names and directions along with maps of the area. After 3 hours of proscelyting in the morning, we will return to eat lunch and give reports about our successes in the morning. After another missionary training and a little rest, we will head out FULL SPEED again for another 4 hours of procelyting. This time, our efforts will be concentrated in the other 3 wards - again, with lists of names, directions, and maps. To finish off the day, we will eat dinner and have a small fireside and testimony meeting. 

I AM SO STOKED.

Nothing better than injecting the missionary spirit into our ward leaders. It is the best way to ANIMATE them!!!!! (animarlos? anyone anyone? ya fue.)

HURRAH FOR ISREAL. The doctrine is true :)

Hermana Sintay :)

Monday, March 14, 2016

#ALELUYA

Good morning to all you wonderful children of God!

Friday's extra-special-and-yummy lunch.

Shish-ka-bob, cow hearts, and fried cow stomach. 

One of my new favorite Peruvian dishes!

Small testimony from this week: Revelation comes, but it has to find you working.

This week was full of WORK and REVELATION.

With the new #ALELUYA initiative, we have been working together with our ward council and the rest of the mission to bring more people to follow our Savior Jesus Christ. Contacts in the street, ward mission activities, visits in homes of the families....... Hallelujah :) We are happy as we do it all. And that happiness comes from Jesus Christ and the new life that we can find in Him.

I have been meditating a lot on the word "revelation" this week. Chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel has helped me to learn on a deeper level how I can prepare myself to receive revelation and recognize the promptings that I receive. 

Speaking of receiving revelation - This week our mission had the chance to participate in a special training with Elder Lynn G. Robbins from the Presidency of the Seventy. Almost 600 missionaries from all of Lima participated. My companion and I were SO LUCKY (and blessed) to sit in the very front row! In the center! Wow. Pretty neat :) Elder Robbins speaks Spanish, so he was able to address us all without a translator. 

One of the things that I learned was the importance of being a missionary (and person) of "high faith." I loved what Elder Robbins taught us about optimism and valiant repentance. He said, "Success is going from failure to failure without losing your hope." In Spanish, I liked it a little more... instead of "hope," he used the word "ánimo." I really can't find a good English word that means the same thing. But I know that we really can increase our faith as we keep our ánimos high :)

When was the last time you received revelation? 
.. Can't think of a time? How about a better question...

When was the last time you marked something in your scriptures? Why did you mark there? An impression? A thought? An "aha!" moment?

Hey, check it out :) You are receiving revelation. Make sure you remember to thank Heavenly Father every day for talking to you through the Holy Ghost. #HALLELUJAH for continuing revelation :)

The doctrine is TRUE!

Hermana Sintay :)

Monday, March 7, 2016

The price He paid.

I had a very happy reunion with my hija, Hermana Luna, this week :) When I finished her training and left Pisco, she started right away to train a new missionary. Now she is serving as an STL in Ayacucho - boy am I a proud mama :)

My two hijas Argentinas! Hermana Luna and Hermana Calderón.

This week my companion and I had an experience that strengthened my understanding and testimony of the Atonement of Christ. I would like to share with you all.

First off - to prepare you to understand the story - here in Lima, the main mode of transportation are buses. Now - when you think of a bus, I promise that you are not thinking of a PERUVIAN bus. Better explained, they are giant 12 passenger vans with the slide open doors (think "stalker van," and that's pretty close), with all of the seats ripped out so that 25-30 people can cram inside standing up and ride to their destination. There is a man that sticks his head out the window yelling where the bus goes, and if you want to get on you just stick out your hand so he stops the bus. Once you are in - you are IN. Crammed against a bunch of strangers, screaming through Lima traffic and INSANE driving (there is NOTHING in the United States that even compares).

My companion and I got on one of these buses the other day (like we do every day), and we saw a young man get on the bus. The cobrador (the guy who goes around charging everyone for being on the bus), asked the young man for his pasaje (..passage? the money you have to pay to be on the bus.) The young man handed the cobrador 1 sol (a sol is what we use here in Perú). Immediately, the cobrador told the young man that 1 sol was no longer sufficient - the price had raised to 1.5 soles. The young man, who was obviously just coming from the university or something of the sort, did not have any more money than the single sol that should have paid for him to make it home. He tried to explain himself to the cobrador, but in these types of situations, there is no mercy. You pay - or you get off the bus. That is how it works.

The young man kept trying to plead his case - but it just made the scene worse. The cobrador started to yell at him, INSISTING that he get off the bus RIGHT then if he couldn't pay. My companion and I were crushed in the back of the bus, and we watched the whole scene from behind. My heart just broke - I wanted to reach out and do something, but it was impossible.

The young man, almost in tears, starting to push his way towards the door of the bus so he could get off at the next stop. Right then, an older man reached out his arm and grabbed the young man by the shoulder. "I will pay for you," he said gently, "Don't worry." The older man handed the extra money to the cobrador and got off the bus at his stop. The young man really did have tears in his eyes and was only able to get out a "Thank you," before his life-saver got off the bus. 

Friends, family, brothers, sisters - the standard that our Father in Heaven expects us to live is a HIGH standard. It has to be - because the blessings of exaltation are real and eternal. We alone cannot pay the price that is required to enter into His kingdom and deserve such celestial blessings. Alone, we will ALWAYS come up short.

.... But Jesus Christ has already paid the price. He is the one that gently reaches out His hand, puts it on our shoulder, and promises us, "I will pay for you. Don't worry." Even with all that we do, we NEED Him to pay that price. 

There is nothing more marvelous and astounding like the doctrine of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Every time I think about it, I give thanks to my Father in Heaven for letting His Son pay such a price for me. I cannot wait until the day when I can kneel before my Savior, know Him face to face, and express my eternal gratitude for the eternal and infinite gift of His atoning sacrifice. Words will be hard - but I know I will have tears in my eyes as I tell him, "Thank you. Thank you for paying for me."

I testify that He lives. I know that this is His doctrine and restored church. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is my best friend and my greatest teacher. 

I testify that He loves YOU. He paid for you, too. Let Him heal you and make you new - the blessings are REAL and eternal.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Hermana Sintay 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Joys of the Work.

Happy Leap Year Day!

Well, folks, we are officially ONE WEEK into the SUPER CAMBIO of the MISIÓN PERU LIMA SUR........ 8-week transfer. Those who haven't served a mission maybe don't see the big deal about such a SUPER CAMBIO. Maybe those who have served a mission don't even think it's a big deal............but bueno, it emotionates me :) (there we are again.. silly English. Me emociona. Lo siento.)

In these last few weeks, we have been having a lot of work and success in family history. We work with 13 other programs (other than our own) to bring all of their rescues and converts to the temple to do vicarious baptisms. Within a week (or 2 weeks maximum) of their baptism, the Elders that have taught them bring their new converts to us so we can 1) teach them about family history, 2) help them create an account in FamilySearch, 3) prepare their own family names, and 4) take them to the temple :) The zones that we are working with have been baptizing and rescuing lots, so that means WE have a TON of work!

I love you all and am so grateful for your support. Keep smiling at the missionaries in your home ward! Give them a nice handshake, ask them the names of the people they are teaching, and then pray specifically for those people. That will mean so much to your missionaries. I promise. You will feel more involved in your own ward's missionary work. .... you will be a PART of this work of salvation. 

A dear missionary friend that I found in the temple. She came and visited from Bolivia :)

My favorite FAVORITE family from Pisco. I ran into them in the temple on Saturday :)

The doctrine is true!

Hermana Sintay :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

HELLO ALL!

FAMILIA! AMIGOS!

How are you all doing?! I am sorry that I wasn't able to write a proper email last week - I wish I could say that this week I can make up for it. 
The Zona Villa El Salvador!

Sometimes, with a 10 second timer on the camera, we don’t quite make it. The results afterwards are sometimes entertaining, like this one. 


The Elderes from Villa 1, the ward that shares a capilla with us. One of them (the one next to me) just was transferred to be zone leader! We will miss him.

Luicito. My favorite buddy in church :)

Hermana Calderon and I :)

A few other Hermanas of family history and us! We usually run into them in the temple on Thursdays when we take converts and rescues :) 

One of the converts we took this week!
This was in a little goodbye party for Elder Maldonado on Sunday night. Even though the family is from another ward, they invited us to come! Right after we took this picture, they brought out a cake and starting singing happy birthday. Sadly, also right after this picture, my camera died. So I don’t have a picture of the actual cake. Thankfully I charged my camera well for the next day :)

The family Escobar! They are the best. Hermano Segundo is our Elders Quorum President. 
His two sons picked the colors for the cake and drew my face on it. 


Birthday Cake Number 3.

This one was my favorite. Luzmila, our recent convert, invited us to a Noche de Hogar in her house. All in all, it was a surprise birthday party that she had been planning for weeks.

Her family testified that all she had been able to talk about for the last 2 weeks was my birthday. I sure love Luzmila – she is such a special daughter of God that means so much to my heart. I will remember her and her faith forever.

This cake was also the yummiest.



Right when we thought we couldn’t be more “caked out”, the Stake President and his family came down to our room with another beauty. 

We ate another round of birthday cake, even though it was 10:00pm and our sugar levels were already through the roof. I guess birthdays DO only come once a year, right? ;) No problem with gaining a solid 5 pounds worth of frosting and cream filling. 




Well, today we had to spend our whole Pday in San Isidro for a handful of doctors appointments. San Isidro is the richy-rich part of Lima – nada que ver con Villa El Salvador where we are…. Which is full of dirt, dogs, and palomas. While we were there, I enjoyed some very American things that I have not seen in a LONG long time. Namely….
Capt’n Crunch Berries. My favorite cereal. It cost about an arm and a leg, so I didn’t buy any.. but it was good to know that it still exists.

Starbucks. Since we had to wait almost 5 hours in between appointments, this was a given. Also cost an arm and a leg, but somehow my companion convinced me.

Grass. Grass. GRASS. Grass. It has been more than 16 months since I have seen GRASS. I was happier than a clam to lay down and enjoy that luxury for a few long minutes.

We found some cool Incan ruins right in the middle of San Isidro. We didn’t go in to check them out, because it cost a ton to get past the gate (richy-rich San Isidro), but we got to see a little from the outside :)

I hope the pictures were able to speak a lot for how my week has been :) My birthday was wonderful - thank you so much for all of the wishes, prayers, and psychological hugs that I received :) I love you all so much.

In other happy news - my companion and I do not have cambio :) We will be staying here together for this next cambio of 8 weeks! YIPPPEEEEE!!! 

There is a lot more, but it will have to wait until the next time :)

THE DOCTRINE IS TRUE. I know it, feel it, live it, and love it.



Hermana Sintay :)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Baptism!!

It was a FEAT getting Luzmila in and out of the water. It took about 15 minutes to get her in, and then another 15 to get her out. And that was with 3 of us helping her! She told us that she felt another set of hands helping her - soft hands that felt like pillows. It really was a testimony to all of us of the seen and unseen forces that support us in this work. 




We took Nayeli, our convert of 2 weeks ago to the temple to do baptisms :) She was so so happy! As were we!



The doctrine is true!

Hermana Sintay