We definitely had an up and down week here. Monday was p-day for the missionaries, so we planned and organized things as well as met with the Assistants to plan the week. Boy are they awesome! They have been so very nice and super helpful! Unfortunately they leave in 5-6 weeks. Major bummer! But until then, we continue to lean on them and appreciate their leadership and guidance. We would be so very lost without them! I also met with my tutor, Nehry for the first time. She is super nice, knows English really well. Spanish here I come! I still understand a lot but struggle to form the sentences in the correct tenses. It will take time so I am not going to stress too much! Monday night we ventured out together and drove to a store called Makro—like a Costco. Of course its not as good, but something is better than nothing. It was tricky and hairy getting there! You can’t even imagine how incredibly bad the traffic really is here. So, if there are 2 lanes, people try and fit 3-4 cars across. It’s total anarchy! It’s every man for himself and you just pray you don’t die! Its a good lesson about following the rules and thinking of others first, if people did that, it wouldn’t be so crazy. But no, every man for himself, there is absolutely no patience here. And the best is that they have these huge buses that are packed to capacity and more and they completely bowl you over! I kid you not. It Mario Kart at its worst!
So, on Tuesday we received new missionaries, 4 new Elders and 6 new sisters. Boy did they look young and green—lol. But, they were super excited and so were we! Almost all of them know Spanish super well. It’s awesome! It will definitely give them a jump start on their mission. We took them to the Temple and talked about how important it is to see your converts in Temple clothing, that’s the end goal and not just baptismal clothing. We took a picture and then headed to the beach. Vamos a la playa. So the Archibald’s had this tradition where they took the newbies to the beach and had this ceremony where they told this story about how Cortez came to South America in 11 boats to conquer the Aztecs. Well there were hundered’s of thousand’s of Aztecs who had ruled for years. So, yeah…they were sorely outnumbered. Anyway, Cortez said we are here so here we will stay. We have come this far and we won’t retreat. So he literally burned his 11 boats, signifying that they would stay and do what they had come to do. The Archibald’s had made these paper boats, then they asked the missionaries to leave behind all they had—families, friends and fulfill all they had come to do. Dad added a few scriptures to the story, the one where Nephi says I will go and do the thing which the Lord commanded me. And Wyatt made each missionary a paper boat and we all burned our boats as well, signifying our desire to fullfill our missions as well. It was pretty cool. Ill attach pictures. We then went to the mission office and proceeded to train and inspire these new missionaries. It was great! And now, they are out in the field, it’s pretty awesome!
Wednesday, we had to go to Interpol and work on getting our citizen card for Peru. It was long and tedious. We had to wait in many lines, fill out many forms and give endless fingerprints. Oh and interestingly enough, they counted all of our teeth. Yes, our teeth. So if there is nothing left of us, we can be identified, I guess. Pretty comforting.Then we spent the afternoon with the Assistants planning our first Consejo (Mission Leadership Council) and eating Peruvian Chinese food. It was pretty good. If you like chicken and rice, you will be in heaven here in Peru. Chicken and chicken dishes are everywhere. Its a good thing I like chicken. I am still trying to wrap my mind around what and how to cook here. It’s all so strange and confusing. The grocery store is pretty depressing for me really. It’s hard to figure out what everything is. It’s fine, i know it will all come in time.
Thursday was our first Consejo and it was pretty awesome. It was so great to greet and see all of our amazing mission leaders. Of course I especially love the Hermanas, they are awesome! They bought Colin and I these cool Peru country pins to wear with our name tags. Last week I accidentally grabbed Colin’s Mission President tag, Wyatt had one on too, so basically there were 3 Mission Presidents for Peru Lima West for one day! Pretty funny! Best part was no one said anything all day. Until the day was almost over, this Elder said to me, “Hermana Stauffer, did your tags not arrive yet” and at first I said, Que?” And then I looked down to find out I was wearing Colin’s tag. LOL! And, the best part was that we took hundred of pictures with 40 or our missionaries and I was with the wrong tag. Life goes on.
Well anyway, we had a pretty amazing meeting. Colin inspired them by talking about John 14:15, If ye love me, keep my commandments” and how important it is for their salvation was well as the work here in the mission. In this Mission, “Seguimos a Criso”, we follow Christ so, we will keep his commandments. My words don’t due justice to how well he taught it! He is really an amazing Mission President! I wish you could see him in action. He’s really got this! The Council approved and loves our new Mission logo—“Seguimos A Cristo-2nd Nephi 25:26”. Do you want to know something really cool? I just found this quote during my scripture study time on Friday, Elder Quentin L. Cook who interviewed us and set us apart one said this,” The message, ministry, and Atonement of Jesus Christ, our Savior, are our essential family curriculum. No scripture characterizes our faith better than 2 Nephi 25:26—from a talk, In Tune with the Music of Faith,” Cool right, it gave me the chills! We picked that scripture and them from how we felt about coming on his mission and what we wanted our missionaries to know was important to us. Then, our Assistants gave the most amazing talks on inviting converts to be baptized, and other commitments, how to plan effectively, charity and how our repentance brings baptism. The Holy Ghost so touched me and prompted me to make a few comments. I was really touched and learned a lot! These two Elders are unbelievable! I then talked about having Unity in the church, in our mission, in our companionships. I was so nervous! But I know it is what the Lord wanted me to talk about and I enjoyed doing it! The Holy Ghost is truly carrying us right now!
Now for the bad news, Colin became really sick right after that meeting. Bienvenidos a Peru! Lets just say, many hours were spent in el bano-bathroom. Enough said! 24 hours later, he was on the mend, feeling very weak and at least 5 pounds lighter. Oh boy, no fun. The tender mercy is that the mission survived without him and there were no huge problems. I spent the day caring for him, studying my Spanish and fielding mission calls. It was also the day we found out that one of our super sweet sisters-Sister M. from Chile (Santiago) has gallstones and needs laproscopic surgery. It’s so sad, but she has been in pain for several weeks. I am anxious and worried for her, but I know the Lord will be with her as well as I. She will come to our home for the first few days next week to recuperate. Please pray for her! It was a pretty down day. I ended the night at KFC getting dinner, listening to Taylor Swift music in the background and asking to myself, what am I doing here, this is crazy. But, there is always a new dawn and another day.
Saturday found us back into mission mode and in better spirits. Colin spent time with the missionaries and meetings he was asked to attend by local leaders. Wyatt played baseball most of the morning, i ran an errand in Miraflores, and we met up together later. Wyatt got to play soccer with a few boys that were at the church, just a pick up game. It was so cute! One of the boys knew a little English. It was hard at first to communicate, at first but it all worked out. They asked us all about America. They were so cute, they wanted to know if we knew the Prophet Thomas S. Monson and if we had been to Disneyland.
We then had the awesome privilege of seeing two sweet sisters enter the waters of baptism and one entire family-a mother, father and son! Me encanta! I loved it. The spirit was so strong and it was really amazing. So proud of our missionaries, how they ran the baptisms and spoke and just everything. One of ur sweet sister missionaries came and said to me,”Thanks so much for coming, it was like my Mom was here.” It really warmed my heart. Incredibly, I feel and love these wonderful missionaries already as if they were my own. She also said, that she has been praying her entire mission to baptize a family and it finally came to pass. There is no place I would have rather been.
Today, Sunday, Wyatt and I went to our home ward and heard the most amazing talks from Elder Uceda and his wife. Wow! what powerful and amazing talks.They were in Spanish so it was hard for me to know all they said, but how i felt the Spirit strongly. Elder Uceda has been serving as the Area President here and will be leaving for SLC this week to work in the missionary department. His main message was how we need to prepare for the Sacrament. How Silence brings reverence, and reverence brings REVELATION. He said the Sacrament is a spiritual exam for us. Its a memorial for the Savior, we should have a prayer in our hearts and really talk to the Savior. We should think of things that will help us change-repent- and how we can be better. His Spanish was so beautiful and his words so very powerful! Its a leap of faith for his wife who knows no English and is sad to leave Peru. I can relate! But we both have great faith and will flourish amidst our difficulties!
Well, that’s our week in a nutshell! Good and bad, we will take it all! God lives and loves us and this is still the greatest thing i have ever done and its the most difficult thing as well! My testimony has grown so much already! I love this work and feel really honored to be a part of it. I love the amazing people of Peru, they have so little materially but are so blessed spiritually and are such a good example to me!