It´s been another good week at the CCM. I´ve gotten a lot more comfortable being here and it´s been a lot better since last week. Thank you for your prayers and your love because I feel it--I am strengthened by you all and I love hearing what´s going on each week. Well, after I finished emailing last week, we headed out to Lima for a couple hours to shop. Everytime we head out it´s always surreal to think I´m actually in another country. The day was so fun. We all got on the bus to get around--buses here are these old vans where they fit in as many people as possible. It is definitely an adventure. There aren´t actually bus stops. They´ll stop stop with the door opening yelling to see if they can take you somewhere. All of us had to yell "templo, templo!!" to get on the bus that would get us the stores we needed to. Walking around Lima is great--we are really in a nice part of town. The stores are nice and the people are so friendly.
We stick to the same schedule at the CCM. Eat, Study, Class and One hour of physical activity so there´s not a ton of adventures going on. But, here are some highlights from this past week:
-Last Saturday we went out and proselyted for a couple of hours!! It was quite the adventure. Here at the CCM we do this every other week so I´ll get to do it 2 more times before I leave. I was paired up with Hermana Ramierez from Mexico. Although I didn´t talk much, I felt so much love for these people. We stopped and talked to quite a people at the park, and met with a less active member. I got the general gist of the conversations which was good. And I got to testify and talk about the Restoration with a few people. It was great!! When we stopped at Catty´s home, I was so humbled. She´s about 16 or 17 and had a couple other siblings running around. They were all so cute. Their living conditions were very humble. I was taken aback to be honest. But I felt the spirit as we talked about attending church and feeling the spirit. It was a good experience to have, and it reminded me why I´m out here.
-My highlight of the day at the CCM is teaching our "investigators." Our Spanish gets better each time we teach. As we were waiting to teach one night, we started talking to the Latinos. They are all so nice and it´s fun to practice our Spanish with them. One Elder gave me a nice compliment saying that my accent was great--he wondered why all the other elders and hermanas still speak with a "gringo" accent. Hermana Wheelock and I also got a compliment after we taught a lesson with Matias and committed him to come to church. He said that he felt the spirit as we taught and that we were the best missionaries at the CCM. While I don´t think the latter compliment is quite true, I felt the spirit as we taught as well. Even though our Spanish is broken, and we require a lot of time to plan and prepare our lessons, I feel the spirit helping and guiding us. The Lord is making all the difference and for that I am grateful.
-One thing I keep realizing each week is that we all have stories. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences and each of them are valid. We can´t discount other people and their differences just because we haven´t experienced the same thing--and our initial judgements are never right. Just this week I´ve had so many experiences on my knees praying asking forgiveness for the judgements that I´ve made. Like this past week I found out that one of the elder´s in my district--his brother came home from his mission early because he got some sort of genetic disease and isn´t expected to live much longer. He left for his mission earlier than planned hoping to get back and spend as much time as he can. This is just one example of many. Sometimes it can get frustrating being with the same 12 people for 10 plus hours a day--they really are just a bunch of 18 year boys, fresh out of high school. But there are so many moments when you know that we´ve all been called of God. That we all--each with different backgrounds and experiences-have come to Peru to serve the Lord. I love that sense of unity knowing that we are all in this together.
- I love studying each day. One of the challenges at the CCM is to read the whole Book of Mormon from start to finish. I love this book! I just finished reading about the Anti Nephi Lehis. What beautiful examples they are to me of a people who are whole heartedly committed to God.
Well, I love you all. Can´t wait to read all of your letters. I am so proud of each of you and what you are doing! I want each of you to know how seriously I take to wearing my missionary tag because I get to represent my favorite people in the world--Our Savior Jesus Christ, and My Family. It is such a privilege to be a missionary for the Lord. Each time we sing Called to Serve I just can´t get through it because how many times will you actually get to sing that song in your lifetime being an actually missionary!! I love it. Love and miss you all, Besos Besos (that means kisses;)