Another week has come and gone! Each week I get more and more accustomed to the way of life here in Iquitos. It is surreal at times but I always remember what Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said about the mission--this is REAL life!! Iquitos is too funny--For example, Chickens. Almost everyone owns chickens here, rich and poor. They walk around in people`s houses like it`s nothing. Where we live, the sister of our pensionista has two little pollos. They are named Kentucky (after Kentucky Fried Chicken). They seem to like us sisters as almost everyday they walk into our little apartment just chirpping away while we study. It is the funniest thing.
Here in Iquitos the defiinition of the weekend is party. Music is blasting in many of the houses, and boy do many people get drunk. This past Sunday was elections so we weren`t able to watch conference as there was no church. We were out proselyting instead which was a little tricky as many people were glued to the tv looking for results. Yesterday, we taught Elard--who is set to be baptized on the 1st of November. As we started teaching about the plan of salvation, a man came up--totally wasted (we were out teaching on the front porch). In Spanish they`re called borrachos. Anyways, he came over without a shirt on and started dancing to the music next to Hermana Arone. Her face was priceless as he shook his hips. He then proceeded to sit down and ask what we were teaching. Hermana Arone shared her scripture about the Spirit World and then he asked her how she felt in her heart. He then blew her a kiss, asked me the same question and did the same. It was hilariously--I couldn`t stop laughing. We eventually had to move inside and Elard held him off as we picked up our things and went into his house. As we left the teaching appointment, he was still there but now passed out on the ground. Oh Iquitos. We get some good laughs everyday.
Currently, we have 10 baptisimal dates. It`s tricky to balance them, our progressing investigators, less actives, and recent converts. But who wouldn`t want this problem. We are working away! Zipping up and down the street in a motorcar from one appointment to the next. This week we set a date for Johan (12). He has a smile just like Alvin. When we asked him his little face just lit up. For the past several months he`s been attending church ALONE. He is so excited to get baptised. They youth here are just solid. It is always so fun to work with them! Our closet date is on the 18th with Junior. It`s been tricky finding him--he has a lot of issues at home, but we have faith that the Lord will help us . Step by Step!
This week I had a great experience with Hermana Navvy (25). Her and her husband were recently baptized several months ago. Her faith is firm--it is beautiful to see. I loved what Hermana Arone told me. When we were evaluating our ability to be effective during district meeting she said that she feels like our plans are effective when we can see if the fruits of our labors are firm in the faith. It`s true! Anyways. Hermana Navy shared how her mother passed away when she was 21 and how it`s been difficult. Her older sister is currently in the hospital, pregnant with twins and it`s not looking to good. I felt prompted to share D&C 84:88. I bore testimony that those angels are our family. That her mother is there with her and her family everystep of the way and how if we want help from the other side, we need to help them by doing Family History. I bore testimony of how I`ve felt my family on the other side. Both of us wept and after I felt the sustaining power of the Lord in that home. It was powerful.
The Lord is our strength. I can feel it everyday. Some days are great and some days are not so great. But if we will turn to the Lord we will always find strength. Right now I`ve been studying the doctrine of the Resurrection and life on earth in Preach my Gospel. This life really is the time to prepare for eternity. Only through the gospel can we find peace and solace. Our burdens won`t be taken away, rather we will be given the capacity to handle them.
I`m realizing more this week that my mission is a Journey. The Lord knows of my desires just to share and share some more about the gospel but at the moment I am limited with my abiilty to communicate. And that`s ok. I`ve learned how to say si with like 20 different intonations of my voice. That`s ok. I am on a journey and I am just learning to enjoy it all. To work hard--give my best effors, make mistakes with the language, and just accept that with time it will all work out. Nothing is a surprise to the Lord. What a blessing it is to be here on this earth with a purpose to grow. To become better, to learn how to cling to our covenants and draw upon the strength of the Lord. We must not get lazy with the basics because Satan is definitely not lazy!!
I love you all. Keep pressing forward. Stay true to the faith! True to the faith that our parents have cherished!!!