Monday, March 16, 2015

Wednesday, March 16, 2015

Hola Familia Y Amigos!!!

Wow, wow, wow! So much to say and so little time! I don`t even know where to start. Well I got into the field on Tuesday and got my new companion, Hermana Ramirez, from Mexico. She has been out for 7 months and really is so great. It`s a little hard to communicate sometimes with the language barrier but she knows a little English and is so patient with me. I`m really so lucky to have her.

 My first day was pretty overwhelming, not going to lie. New house, new people, new language, new schedule, new food, new everything. It`s a lot to take in but luckily we got right to work so I didn`t really have time to think too much about it. :) This week we have been teaching like crazy, 37 lecciones este semana!!! Wow, the mission goal is 25 per week so we definitely met that goal this week. It was really good for me to just jump right into teaching and practicing my Spanish. It`s a lot of work and I have a headache every night from focusing so hard all day long on trying to understand and speak. It`s coming poco a poco, little by little. Sorry for the Spanglish, it just sort of comes out now that I`ve been surrounded by Spanish completely. :) I`ve gotten to the point that I can understand almost the whole conversation, even if I don`t know certain words I can figure them out by context clues. It`s still not enough to feel super confident jumping into the conversation because it`s easy to miss key words but I’ve gotten really good at smiling and nodding at the right times. :) My comp helps explain things as well which is so kind of her. Speaking is the hard part, especially non gospel topics because that`s all we really learned in the CCM. But it`s getting better every day. 

The people here are amazing and so humble. Also very talkative, they will tell you just about anything, even if you didn`t ask for it. :) It`s so fun to interact with them and see their culture. Very family oriented and lots of kisses and hugs :) Our area is apparently one of the richer, nicer areas so we do a lot of work with the less actives and recent converts. But we have one investigator,Dina, that I got to invite to be baptized yesterday!!! She agreed, but hasn`t committed to a date yet. Please pray for her heart to be softened and that she can have a desire to learn. Her sister is a recent convert in our ward and that`s how we met her so hopefully she can help a lot as well. I am in Mayorazgo right now which is like 5 min. from the temple. Our apartment is probably 2 min. walk from the temple which is so fun. I already miss being able to go every week...but we get to go every 3 months which is a huge blessing. The living conditions vary a lot here. I`ve been in houses that look like a nice apartment back in the states and houses up on the hill that literally have dirt floors, and piece of metal as a roof, and hardly any furniture but some wooden chairs and a table. It`s really humbling and makes me realize how blessed we really are. Yet they are so happy and it doesn`t even seem to bother them that they wear the same clothes every day, are covered in dirt, and have flies all around. Also dogs everywhere....lots of dogs. Kylee would be in Heaven ;) Super friendly but probably not the cleanest. :) 

The food is delicious...usually. I`ll be honest a lot of the time I honestly have no idea what I’m eating, but I just don`t think about it and go for it. :) I`ve only found a hair in my food once so far and usually not too many bones and other crunchy things. :) Mosquitos are crazy here at night, I’ve got 20 bites at the moment, 18 of which are on my legs and feet. Good thing we got all those shots before I came ;) Lots of weird bugs I’ve never seen, and cockroaches around at night, and huge flies. But it`s all part of the experience and even though it`s nothing like what I’m used to it really hasn`t bothered me which is a real blessing. It`s really hot here, I’m constantly sweating...constantly :) But I’ve just gotten used to that as well. :)

The kids are always out running around in the streets and playing in the dirt.  They are super friendly and always ask for candy when we walk by...I should probably stop carrying candy in my bag but they are just so cute.  I can`t resist! I have a few special handshakes with some of them and I am currently having a competition with one of our recent converts, Leyner, (11) to see who can memorize the first 4 articles of faith in Spanish first.  Haha, the kids are the best. Speaking of which, I wanted to tell you about one girl I met a few days ago named Hillary. She is also 11 years old and the only member in her family, at least that`s active. She comes to church by herself every week, riding the crazy bus system with her scripture bag and hymn book, and is just so faithful and wants to be good. We taught her this week about the Santa Cena (sacrament) to help her Faith in God requirement. Then yesterday she sat by me in church and during the sacrament she pulled out the pamphlet we gave her and started reading about the sacrament and then pulled out her faith in God to study that too. It was so precious! Then we had a 70 come and speak to us in our ward which was awesome! It was in Spanish so I didn`t understand it all but I’m pretty sure it was fantastic :) I watched her pull out her little Tinkerbelle notebook and she took notes on the speakers the whole time. It was adorable and was just another testament of the faith of the members here. I could tell story after story of people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had but there`s just not time. Wow, I love these people already :) 

I`ve really learned so much this week it`s amazing. It`s been so hard. So, so hard. I`ve definitely had my ups and then lots of downs. Everything is different and I feel so inadequate not being able to speak and not knowing what I’m supposed to be doing. But It`s been a huge test of my faith and especially of my ability to rely on and trust in the Lord. I wake up and plead that He`ll help me through the day, pray all day long, pray in lessons that I can understand and speak, pray that our investigators will feel the spirit and understand what we are teaching, pray for my companion to be strong and have patience with me, then go home and pray with a heart full of gratitude that I made it through another day. My relationship with my Heavenly Father is growing exponentially. I`ve learned this week that sometimes the Lord has to show us how WEAK we are so that we can discover how STONG He is. D&C 123:17 says that we must cheerfully do all things that lie in our power and then stand still to see the salvation of God. I`ve seen that this week so much. I can`t do this alone, there is no way. I have to rely on him. And thankfully this is His work and he really wants to be involved in it and help me and all of us missionaries. His love is real and his grace is sufficient. I love him so much and I’m so glad he`s given me the opportunity to share his love with the People of Peru cada dia, every day! I am so lucky. A missionary in the CCM told me something that I`ve found to be very true. On a mission the hard outnumbers the good, but the good outweighs the hard. Missions are so hard in so many ways, and I’m only just starting to see it. But the experiences I’m having and things I’m learning and people I’m meeting outweigh any of the hard I have to experience. It`s not easy, but it`s so worth it. 

Sorry it was another email of scattered thoughts and information...I need to figure out how to write these more organized :) There`s just so much going through my head and it comes out as a bunch of word vomit, but hopefully it makes sense. :) I love you all so much! Thank you for the thoughts and prayers.  I feel them and I need them. Please pray for our investigators! Dina, Nalia, Raul, Alejandra, Estuardo. These are the ones we`re focusing on at the moment but you can pray for them all in general too. Love you love you love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you have a wonderful week, I know I’m going to here in Peru :)

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Cox

(Sorry.  No pictures this week.  She ran out of time to send any.  I'm anxious to see her companion and beautiful Peru.  Hopefully next week.)

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