Saturday, July 30, 2016

Week 50 Keep the Fiestas Holy! July 25, 2016

Week 2 In Tumbes

Missionaries in Piura are not allowed to eat the following; Lettuce, strawberries, pork, and ceviche. Spainhower and I witnessed some farmers flooding their crops with sewer water. It smelled rancid. Almost instantly we both had the thought: "Aaaannd that's why we are not allowed to eat lettuce and strawberries..."

With Belen and her boyfriend Kevin
Belen was baptized!
It was without a doubt the fastest baptism I have ever had! She is amazing and bore my favorite testimony. About 2 months ago Belen was going through a really hard time and felt a certain emptiness, she knew what she was missing was something spiritual. Her boyfriend (a member) had invited her to come to church but she was never able to. Not too long ago she went by herself to a chapel in Trujillo. When she entered the sacrament meeting a feeling of peace overcame her. She testified that she had felt and is feeling a happiness never felt in any other time in her life. She knows that it is the Spirit. "I am here because it makes me happy." One of my very favorite moments!
Isn't Belen just the absolute cutest?
On this episode of Tumbes Gospel Principles: a rerun

*a lesson being taught on talents*
German: "I have many talents."
*The missionaries just trying to hurry and keep the lesson moving when all of a sudden a guy with a full on grill says:
"So what talents?"
German: "I can sing"
Grill Man. "Ok then lets here it."
Elder Meier fuming and thinking "you know very well he can't sing..."
German with his gorgeous voice and gummy mouth serenading the class.. "la luz, la luz de luz..."
At this point about half the class was on the floor including the 89 year old viejita who is about the size of my pinky. We love church in Tumbes.

This week at around 7:30 in the morning the phone started buzzing. To my pleasant surprise it was from Angamos! Upon answering I could hear a faint voice on the other side. It was Hermana Sandison! She continued whispering, "she's in the shower! she's in the shower!" I told her to hang in there and all would make for a good story later. (: It was too short but sweet to hear her happy voice... even in times of crisis like these...haha

Oh happy day! Daniela, Daniel, and Faride
The sweetest moment
Today was a fun one! We had baptisms in the afternoon and decided to take advantage of the little Pday we had left and go to the beach. It's nice and relaxing to escape our chaotic, urban area and go to the sound of crashing waves. Afterwards it was a sprint back to the city for the most amazing baptisms! Daniela and her son Daniel and her niece Faride were all able to be baptized this afternoon. My favorite was their group hug in the bathroom when it was over, so sweet.

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Ingram
The model couple...Belen and Kevin

Belen all ready to go (:
Whoever said that windblown beach-hair was cute....false!!

Bird chasing
Oops...crushed the crab
With the family
The font was a disaster as someone (Spainhower) had left the water in there for two weeks...
Slaving away
Elder Meier killing it in the cleaning department
Clean side, dirty side
The ten Peruvian commandments on the back of the moto, #3 says: keep the fiestas holy...I'd say that's pretty accurate for Peru
The things you see while waiting in a grocery line in Tumbes...
I was a little nervous

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Week 49 Week 1 in Tumbes July 18, 2016

After our zone meeting! (not the whole zone)
Week number 1 in Tumbes was a fun one! I can't count the amount of times we would turn to walk down a street until someone gave us the hand signal that means we are going to get jumped. But all the more adventure I guess!

Tumbes in a nut shell: It's small in size but dense in population. The plaza de armas is in our area and there is always so much commotion. The people are all hustling and bustling about or just sitting around and "tomando aire." It's so much more HOT here! I think it's due to the humidity. Also our room is full of all sorts of bugs, mainly spiders and we share the 2nd floor with a dog also named Negra... It smells like Jasmine's dog kennel. I think Angamos was more like a vacation from the mission and now I am being welcomed back to good old Peru!
Peruvian street art
Other than the fact that Tumbes is very stinky I sure do love the people. They are amazing! The ward needs a lot of work but they try their best. The other day we found and taught the cutest 19 yr old girl named Belen. Her fiancé is already a member from Ecuador and they are so cute together. Belen is so amazing and has had a testimony of the church for a long time! The first time she went to church was in Trujillo. When she walked in to the sacrament meeting she felt a happiness that she has never felt before. Belen is an "investigador de oro" and is so prepared to be baptized. I already love her so much!
Spainy and I in front of the Tumbes River (yes, crocodiles live in there!)
Gospel Principles is hilarious! German (pronounced air-mawn) really spices the class up. The poor guy doesn't have all of his wires connected right in his head. He's also missing almost all of his top teeth so everything he says is even more hilarious.
Hermana Spainhower teaching the lesson on Families Can Be Eternal:
Spainhower: "Sometimes even when we are living the gospel we will still face problems in our families..." Then German butted in and said, "Yeah! Like that guy who tried to give me animal water! (we assume he means pee) I didn't drink it, I told him hey I know this is animal water, I know what you're doing. And he said, how did you know!? and then I said I'm in the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! God told me this is animal water and then the guy said, wow what church!? and I said.. The Mormons, and I'm a messenger from God.. and I invite you this Sunday, all of the Sundays, to the church."
Poor Hermana Spainhower had to use every bodily muscle in her not to burst out laughing and said, "That's very nice, thank you German for sharing."
At leadership council meeting! (Another fun 10 hour round trip)
This week was my first leadership council meeting! So all 6 of us leaders up here in Tumbes went on a fun little excursion down to Piura and back. I saw Hermana Sandison and the poor thing is really having a hard time, she was choking back tears as I hugged her goodbye and said, "You can do anything!" It's her very first Latin companion and in the words of Spainhower, "That will be an adjustment." If you've never experienced living with someone from an entirely different continent take my word for it and know that it's hard! The leadership council was amazing! We truly have some of the best missionaries out here in Piura. President Rasmussen is such an inspired leader and he has made a big impact on my life. The Spirit is so strong when he stands in front of his missionaries and testifies of Christ. I love my Savior and I know that even though at times we may feel alone, because of Him, we are never, ever alone.

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Ingram
Look who I found at the mission home!!! Awe...I love her!
Hermana Rasmussen is so cute!
All of the Angamos Relief Society ladies came over after leadership council to make brownies! Poor Hermana Mata cried when I told her I had already left (I kept it a secret because goodbyes are the worst)

Cute Hermana Richen is the sweetest!
We love Hermana Mcrae!!
Personality pic, my cute, fun Hermana Spainhower
Tacky mannequins are the epitome of South America
Fruit stands! Tumbes doesn't have any type of real grocery store so these are becoming a way of life.
The view of the chapel outside our window! Seeing the house that would'nt sell in the middle of the lot always makes me laugh. (The wanted two million)
Combi riding...

Monday, July 11, 2016

Week 48 Exiled July 11, 2016

Saying goodbye, a sad one!!!
I've been exiled, yes that's right, I got the boot.
Cambios came and yes I was jaw-drop shocked when I heard them. TUMBES.
Hermana Sandison and I talked about it and we agreed that it feels as if we just had a three-month-long sleep over with our best friend and my mom (president) finally called and said it was time for me to come (go) home (to Tumbes). It was definitely a blue Sunday knowing it was our last. I feel slightly bummed that Sayuri, Samantha, Salma and Edgar all have scheduled baptisms this transfer and I won't be around to see them. Buuut that's life!
I had just finished adding a couple last quotes when I got the transfer call!
On the bright side! Hermana Spainhower is once again my companion and we get to be sister leaders together! What an adventure this will be. Tumbes is about a 5 hour bus ride north on the border of Ecuador. It is so isolated that it almost feels like its own tiny mission and Elder Meir (ZL) is our President. This week will be one of adjustments as I feel like I'm in an entirely different world!

The Week:
Hermana Sandison and I found this little lady and her mom while walking down a street. They let us into their house and as we sat down the first thoughts I had were 1) it smells like a casino 2) These women have zero light in their eyes. The more we talked the more the daughter began to open up to us about her "millon de problemas." She started to cry as she said "there is no happiness in my life." When she began saying that we could never understand what she has been going through I found it the perfect opportunity to testify to her of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. It was a powerful moment, but what seemed even more powerful was when she said, "I don't know why I'm telling you all of this, I don't even know who you are." And her mother responded, "It's because you see Christ in them."

Side story: Hermana Sandison has one of the best dads in the world! One reason why: In any moment where Hna Sandison has struggled with something in particular, culture shock, rejection, adjusting to change, etc. her dad spends the next week listening to podcasts or reading books or articles about those specific challenges. Then he sends what he finds to her. Lately his "series" is titled "missionary work is hard" and sends her parts of a book called Kisses from Katie. This book is about a 22 year old girl who moved to Uganda out of High School to care for orphans. She has legally adopted 14 children and cares for hundreds more. One quote I love from a part in this book says, "If one person sees the love of Christ in me, it is worth every minute, in fact, it is worth spending my life for."

It was a powerful moment in my mission when a woman told us that she sees Christ in us! I think I would have to agree with Katie, It is worth every single minute!
"The last almuerzo" in Angamos with the best family, Olenka and Luli
Alla lejos en Angamos Hermana Samantha told us that she is so excited to become a member of the church. In the nighttime she catches her 11 yr old son reading her Book of Mormon and memorizing the Articles of Faith. He also is so excited to get baptized, I am so happy for them and grateful that I had the opportunity to teach them and see their lives become so much happier! So much more light-filled. I love this gospel so much and I love being a missionary!
Watching Meet the Mormons with the family! Third world style
Hermana Sandison is training a new little Latina this week and I know she will do great! She is so loving, kind, and not to mention hilarious... I love her to death and am so happy it's only a temporary Adios.

Cumplo 11 meses manaña!!!!!!!!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Ingram

P.S. Pray for me because if there is one thing Tumbes is notorious for it's DENGUE
These mosquitos aren't phased by deet.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Week 47 Happy 4th of July! July 4, 2016

Time to dust off the barbecue and grill some hamburgers!
Happy Fourth of July!! 󾓦

For some odd reason the Fourth of July in Peru just isn't quite as festive... (;

Today I tried to spice up a boring Peruvian Fourth of July and pretended the moto I was in was my parade float. It was like Miss Piura rolling down University Avenue. Dreams really do come true. We thought we were so funny smiling and waving and saying "Happy 4th of July!" to all of the Peruvians. It was all fun and games until I tried to dismount my princess float and my pointy shoe got caught in my skirt..... splat. Straight into the asphalt. The mototaxista did this annoying latino laugh like.. Ja Ja Ja... Good thing I have Hermana Sandison with me to help...actually just laugh right along with him. Gotta love her!
If this isn't American then I don't know what is...
We were pretty excited for this!
Good 'ole backyard wiffle ball and football for the 4th. Photo courtesy of: Pres Rasmussen
Pierre entered the waters of baptism!! Hooray! Pierre is an old investigator from the Elders who were previously in this area. He has been taking the missionary lessons for quite some time now but has had some Word of Wisdom issues. We had almost considered dropping him for a while until one Sunday he showed up to church by surprise. The night before, he and his friends were out drinking when he got a taste of some of the consequences that may come from that. It was like God threw a bucket of ice water on him while he was sleeping. It woke him up. From that point on he has shown so much determination to really turn his life around. His next goal is to get out there and serve a mission!
Pierre got baptized!!!
The group, even his sister Samantha (our investigator) came out to support him! (on Hna Sandison's right)
Happy day!!
Felipe's little sister Sayuri was supposed to get baptized after church yesterday. When Felipe walked into the chapel without his little sister we both knew something was wrong, so we jumped in a moto and sped out to her house. Sayuri told us that she wasn't able to track down her dad to get a signature on her baptismal form and that she was too scared to talk to her mom. It was a bummer but there is no doubt in my mind that she will be getting baptized here soon. Everything happens for a reason!

On Friday night at about 1 o'clock in the morning Hermana Sandison and I woke up simultaneously to our room shaking. It was the strongest earthquake I have felt so far and very scary. Rather than a slow rocking motion it was more of a violent vibration, I thought for sure the roof was going to come down! Good thing we finished preparing our mandatory emergency backpacks.. I've been really wanting to try those canned peaches!

This week President Rasmussen's younger sister and family came to visit. Sandi is amazing! Their family radiates happiness, they are truly a light! A few years ago Sandi started an Instagram page called Mormon Faces. In essence, Sandi interviews Mormons and shares their stories and testimonies on the page, it is so inspiring! It felt like such a privilege when President texted us and invited us over for an interview. She started by asking, "So how have you seen the Lord's hand in your life?" I thought, wow in so many ways! At first I almost wasn't sure how to respond, I don't feel like I have any moving, inspirational life stories. But I do have a testimony. When Hermana Rasmussen was asked why anyone would ever voluntarily choose to serve a very difficult mission away from their loved ones she said, "Well it really only comes down to one thing. We believe." I believe! I know we have a Father in Heaven who loves each and every one of us very much. So much that we could not even begin to comprehend His eternal and infinite love. We are His children. He paid the price for us and sent His only Perfect and Begotten Son to suffer and die for us. The Atonement is the most tangible evidence of that unending love and when we actively apply it in our lives, we can feel that love. We know He is there. We know that we are never alone. I have seen The Gospel of Jesus Christ change the lives of so many. I have seen The Gospel of Jesus Christ change my own.

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Ingram
Look who cumplió un año en la misión!! The burning skirt traditon!
Helping with La Pollada, It's like a bake-sale but chicken style
All of the raw chicken, probably won't pass health codes...But hey I ate it! I'm still walking and talking (: For now...
Riding Peruvian style! 
This kind man stopped to let us take pictures! Peruvians are some of the kindest people out there! Except when it comes to eating all of their food... (I think she means that you have to clear your plate or they're not too happy)