|My favorite Hermanas outside of Chilis! Hna Sepulveda (Mapleton), Hna Thomas (Ogden), Hna Mauricio (Paita), Hna Sandison (Twin Falls), Hna Mitchell (St George)|
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|
|District hermanas, Hna Dionicio (Cali) and hna Gutierrez (Argentina)|
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|
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.
|The district. We had to have our meeting on the roof of the building!|
|Cute Hermana Aida getting her haircut (: Love that woman!|