Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 29 The Analogy of the Carrot February 29, 2016

My favorite Hermanas outside of Chilis! Hna Sepulveda (Mapleton), Hna Thomas (Ogden), Hna Mauricio (Paita), Hna Sandison (Twin Falls), Hna Mitchell (St George)
Yesterday while sitting in sacrament meeting, I realized that I have been here for a little over 200 days!

It's been a rainy week. I personally still happily welcome the rain, although I'm sure the however many million Piuranos would beg to differ. The problem with rain is that NO ONE is prepared. There is absolutely no drainage system in Piura. So wherever the raindrops fall that's where they will stay until they either soak into the ground or evaporate. Half of the streets in our area have become rivers. Anytime we want to cross the road we look for a part where someone has placed bricks or rocks to step the way over. Close to Hermana Aida's house there is a giant ditch that drains out into a street called Sullana. The ditch is filled with garbage and now, due to the rain, water too. The mix of rain water and garbage has released the most horrible odor. Anytime we walk to her house I feel like I am stuck inside a giant cooking porta potty. Feisimo!! All of the houses here are built only to keep out the sun. So these poor people with dirt floors literally live in mud.
Hna Mauricio and I on top of the Elder's building
Last week at around 1am I woke up soaking wet. At first I thought maybe there was a leak in the roof but quickly realized that the electricity was gone and I was swimming in my own sweat. (I can't sleep without the fan blowing directly on me) Hna Mauricio also woke up from the heat. Both knowing that we wouldn't be sleeping anytime soon decided to go up to the roof to cool down. On the roof of our building we store extra mattresses for when the Hnas need a place to stay. I thought, how perfect! we can sleep on the roof! As I was setting up the mattresses hna mauricio yelled at me to get down. She then told me that there were men on our street below with guns. Yes I was totally freaked out! But just like those ridiculous people in horror movies I had to see for myself. So I peaked over the ledge and there was a group of men attempting to break into the restaurant across our street. Normally in the US I might call the police.... Sadly in Peru calling the police would be a disaster, especially at 3 in the morning. My comp and I were exhausted so we just went to bed. 45 min later we woke up when the rain started to come down. The men had disappeared and the restaurant was still intact. And for the record I did not see a single gun! We didn't sleep much that night...
District hermanas, Hna Dionicio (Cali) and hna Gutierrez (Argentina) 
In this mission we knock doors from 6pm to 8pm every single night. The goal is to get into the house and teach a lesson right off the bat. During Hermana Training pres Rasmussen told us that he had been praying for a way to really help this mission improve. Two missionaries came to him with a new plan. A way to be more simple and direct missionaries. In essence, the plan consists of knocking on a door, getting into the house and beginning by teaching baptism. We tie baptism in with the Restoration and then after all is said and done we challenge baptism. What may seem surprising, a decent amount of the time, we leave that house just 15 min later with a brand new investigator, who is willing to pray and ask to know if our message is true, come to church, and be baptized on specific date! I personally love it. If one person says no we move on to the next house. The more simple and direct I get to be, the easier it is for me to teach, and the easier it is for them to understand. With this plan, we are only looking for those that are prepared and willing! I like to think of the carrot analogy that I heard from hna Sandison, one of my favorite hermanas.

Investigators are like carrots:
On occasion we walk out to our gardens to go and pick a carrot or two. Sometimes we reach down in attempt to pull up a carrot only finding that it doesn't budge. But of course the majority of us struggle with patience. So we try again and again. Nothing. We want that carrot so bad but just cant accept the fact that its not ready yet!
Other carrots, on rare occasions, spring straight up out of the ground with only the slightest tug. They re ready.

Our investigator hno Manuel is like a carrot that pulled itself straight out of the ground without any help at all. He literally came to us completely prepared and ready. Not all investigators that eventually make it to baptism are like hno Manuel, but even then, we are looking for the people who are at least willing to try!

Hno Manuel is the best! He has had a hard history of drugs and alcohol that resulted in the breaking up of his family. From the first time I met him until now he has changed from night to day. Every time I ask how his reading in the Book of Mormon is going he always tells me that he loves reading about repentance. Once he learned how to repent, he applied it. Ever since, The atonement has been working in him. There is a literal light in his eyes, la luz de Cristo! It has illuminated him. At the closing of every lesson he says the prayer and thanks his Heavenly Father with such sincerity that I know he is ready for his baptism this Saturday.
Piura in the heat of the sun
Recently I heard a cool story about a math teacher. One day in class this teacher decided to ask each of her students what they were grateful for. She went around the class while each of her students said the specific things that they were grateful for. Then oddly enough one of her students sat there for a moment and finally said, "I am grateful for my eraser" when asked why she responded, "Because every time I make a mistake I can erase it and then start again"
The Atonement is our literal eraser! Some people feel like their page is full of mistakes and they are too far gone. Its simply not true! Heavenly Father is always there con sus brazos abiertos. Someone once said that the Atonement is the most tangible evidence of God's unending love for each of us. I love this quote from the prophet President Monson. "Your Heavenly Father loves you, each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money in your bank account. It is not change by your talents or abilities. It is simply there.
It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. Gods love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there."

I'm almost positive there were times in Manuel's life where everything felt hopeless,where he didn't even feel like he deserved to feel the love of God. He easily could have stayed there, sinking farther and farther in his hopelessness and bad choices. But he made the choice to apply the Atonement and now look where he is?? Absolutely FULL of Gods love!

Even though sometimes I feel like the mission could not get any harder and I just feel like giving up, I feel way too blessed to be able to be a missionary and help people receive the gospel and watch their happiness radiate.

Hermana Ingram
The district. We had to have our meeting on the roof of the building!
Cute Hermana Aida getting her haircut (: Love that woman!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Week 28 At least she sent pictures... February 22, 2016

This is the extent of Hermana Ingram's letter this week:

I don't have any time! But the good news is that our old investigator Manuel is back and he will be getting baptized March 5th!
Somebody send me some snow it is as hot as hates here and I'm cooking!
Sorry mom I'll prepare a super awesome email next week I promise...
Our missionary work activity. Everyone wrote what they're grateful for. Manuel (our investigator) is on the bottom row second from the left!
My comp and I.
The district at the new casa capilla in Tambogrande
Hermana Shumway is the greatest! She's going home this transfer. 
Oh Hermana Aida is an angel
Even though my face is hideous, I just had to take a selfie while this man told us we were doing the devil's work. 
Making cookies with Hermana Rasmussen, so fun!
The food at Hermana training...
How funny! Elder Simmons with Hermana Sullon, Hermana Aida Sullon and I (:
The old trio!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Week 27 A Baptism!! February 15, 2016

CAJAMARCA! In Peru there is a place called Cajamarca where all of the white Peruvians live. Apparently they wear hats like this one and do their hair in braids. Hna Bobbio, in her motherly ways, told me I needed to wear a hat because of how strong the sun is lately. I was definitely considering but I don't want people thinking I'm a testigo! (Jehovahs witness) They wear hats and carry umbrellas... So Hno David stuck the Trujillo temple on there, good to go!
What a week!

The morning of his baptism I got a call from his mom Marcela. My stomach dropped when she told us that we couldn't baptize her son. I told her okay and that we would call it off. When I hung up I immediately started praying! I called Hna Aida for advice (shes an angel) She told me to wait a little while and then call Marcel back. So that's what I did. When I called Marcela back her brother answered and told me that she was outside of the house talking with William (Marco's dad). So I hung up and long story short we had the baptism!!
Yay Marcos at his baptism!! What a happy day (:
Bad news: It was a rough week! I felt like no one would listen to us, almost all of our lessons fell through. I was honestly amazed at how many things weren't working out. On Wednesday I was really having a rough time. After yet another lesson fell through I was walking down the street feeling sorry for myself. I especially hate feeling sorry for myself when I see what other people have to go through around me. Their trials are unbelievable! So I said a prayer. I'm not even sure what i prayed for exactly. 5 minutes later we passed by a woman and two young girls. The woman didn't look too good, her eyes were all swollen from crying. As I kept walking I could not shake the thought of her out of my head. So finally I knew I needed to go back. So I told my companion we should go see what was wrong. By the time we came back the woman had walked away from the girls still crying. I first approached the girls and asked them if there was anything we could do to help. They stood there and stared at me and then proceeded to whisper into each other's ears. So I left and walked up to the lady. We asked her if we could give her a hug, as odd as it may sound. When I hugged her she bawled like a little kid. So there I was on a street corner hugging a random stranger who was sobbing. When she finally came to herself she told us that she traveled a long way to see her daughters and that they wanted nothing to do with her. When she said that I started to cry too! In my head I was thinking "Oh the things I would do just to see my mom for even 5 minutes!" Seriously! I was almost mad at those girls! We talked to her for a little while and I even shared my testimony with her.
I was grateful that I got the chance to help someone even if it was through a hug. Small and simple things can make a difference too (:

I sure miss my family! Especially my mom (:
Praying this week we will have a lot more lessons and find some people who are ready to receive the restored gospel!!
Hermana Ingram
Hermanas! (: Hna Atencio (Ecuador.. I think) Hna Sepulveda (Mapleton!) Hna Thomas (Ogden) Hna Mauricio (Paita) Hna Spainhower (Payson!) and the always lovely Hna Rasmussen!
The Zone

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Week 26 Six Months!!! February 8, 2016

In Los Ficus (the hermana's area) there is a member who raises guinea pigs to sell to hungry customers! Yum!
Last week was a little bit crazy but super fun! On Tuesday I dropped Hermana Sosa off at the airport. She was a little bit sad but more excited so it was good. We had a good short week together (: I was told that my mini missionary wouldn't be ready until Saturday so I was able to stay with Hermana Sandison and Hermana Mitchell for 4 days!! I called it "vacaciones" because it really did feel like a vacation. We were such a happy little trio and I haven't laughed so much since I was with Hermana Arce. Super fun and way too short. Even amongst all of the fun we had the most amazing lessons!
I had the best time hanging out with Hna Mitchell (St George) and Hna Sandison (Twin Falls)
On Wednesday we stopped by to visit a 14 yr old recent convert named Jose. During the lesson we talked about the priesthood. At one point as we were talking he asked us, "Well why can't girls have the priesthood?" So we started helping him with his question. As we were talking you could tell he was a little bit confused. Hermana Sandison bore her testimony and it was like a light bulb went off in his head. His entire expression completely changed and his eyes were full of tears. Then he told us that as we were teaching him he started to have a lot of doubts. He questioned in his mind whether or not this really is the true church of Jesus Christ. So he said a little prayer in his mind and then felt something enter into his head and travel down into his heart. In that moment he knew without a single doubt that this is the true church! How amazing! I especially love being a missionary and knowing that I will never need to convince anyone, I don't need a perfect doctrinal knowledge or the ability to recite scriptures. We as missionaries bring this information into peoples lives and then leave a very simple invitation. Ask Heavenly Father directly. Its so simple. I have such a strong testimony that God answers prayers through the Holy Ghost. What a relief on my part (:
My comp (mini) Hna Mauricio (Peru)
Saturday morning I picked up my mini missionary Hermana Mauricio. A mini missionary is a member from a ward or branch in the mission who comes and serves as a missionary for a short amount of time. It's pretty scary and overwhelming having to direct the area but I will definitely be growing this next month. Hermana Mauricio is great! She loves to work so I am grateful. The best news is that we will be baptizing Marcos this week! Super exciting!

Hermana Ingram
The District, Elder Norman who is from my group is the district leader! Still as funny as ever.
My comp, Hna Dionicio (Cali) and Elder Lara (Colombia)
Lunch...if I were at home I would have taken one look at those hot dogs and thrown them out...but since we are in Peru they are delicious! ;)
Leaving the beach...
Had to get a selfie with President ;)
After a long day of hard work...and being with gringas for the first time on my mission...we celebrated with pizza!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 25 Adios Hija February 1, 2016

Hna Sosa, Hna Bobbio (member), Marylin (Hna Aidas Daughter) and Hna Arce!!
This week started out with picking up my "hija" and saying goodbye to Hermana Arce.

My Hija is Hermana Sosa! She is from moquegua which is the very southern part of Peru. She is 23 years old and has two younger siblings. Her and her sister are the only members of her family. She is a little bit on the quiet side but is very sweet and thinks that I am the funniest person in the world! (how flattering) (:

After picking her up from the mission home on Tuesday I got permission from President to go and say goodbye to hermana Arce. That was rough! At the very last minute an office elder started ushering her out the door to her plane. She hugged the two members and then started running out. I panicked and yelled WAIT HERMANA ARCE and ran to her. That's when I hugged her and totally started to bawl. It probably had to do with the fact that I absolutely love her and I started thinking "When will I ever see her again? She lives in Paraguay!" So off she went and it took me about 10 minutes to get back to normal. I told President that I'll be going to Paraguay one day! Who wants to come with me? (:
I love Hna Arce con todo mi corazón!
This week I learned a lot! First off, super awesome Hermano Manuel moved to Tumbes for work.... 6 hours away. There wasn't even enough time for me to ask him his new address to hand off to the missionaries up there. Hopefully he goes looking for the church! Hermana Maritza our other awesome investigator just moved as well... But for the good news little Hermano Marcos will finally be getting baptized this next Saturday. Yeah!!!
Chilis!! Trying to get a little taste of America and it's always good to see Hna Spainhower. She is the best!
The day after I picked Hermana Sosa up we started studying in the morning. She then started to cry and basically expressed to me that she didn't want to be serving a mission. I was a little bit shocked and tried to comfort her in whatever way I could and told her that with time it gets easier. But everywhere we went she continued to tell me how much she didn't want to be here. I was super patient and tried to talk her through all of her feelings. After this went on for a little while I sat down with her and basically told her that she should make a decision. I told her that living the life as a missionary is not fun, it is very hard. We can't fully serve a mission in the way that we need to if we have one foot in the mission and one foot at home. Like my mom always tells me, "Jump in with BOTH feet!!" So Hermana Sosa has made the decision to go home. It's a little bit sad and disappointing but I know that she has some other things she needs to do at home. For the rest of this transfer I will be getting a mini missionary who is from Paita. I am a little nervous but still excited! This week I learned a lot of patience. I learned to be a little bit more understanding and sensitive to other people's circumstances. I've learned to trust myself more as a missionary and that my Spanish is a lot better than I think it is! I've learned to Replace Fear with Faith!

I miss you all so much!
Love, Hermana Ingram
I asked the maintenance guy to be in the picture with us (: I'm glad that Hermana Sosa had a fun week as a missionary, she definitely thinks my facial expressions are hilarious.
Right through Piura is this big river with a bunch of bridges that go across it. Sometimes I like to imagine I'm in Portland strolling the streets with Grandma (;
The shrine of Señior Cautivo! The catholics LOVE Señior Cautivo. Here, every morning, they gather and pray to him.