Being able to send you guys an email is the highlight of my week!! I miss you guys like crazy and cannot even tell you how much I loved receiving an email from all of you this week!!!! I am going to try to respond to all of them but if I don’t have time I will for sure do it next week!
So it was just another superb week at the CCM in Lima, Peru! To begin, I thought I would answer some of your questions about this place. The food is INCREDIBLE!! A typical meal for me is usually rice, chicken or beef, a lot of carrots, beets and granadilla (look it up, it looks like brains!!). It is a fruit that you slurp out the inside stuff and it´s so good. Then there are these little pastry breads that are homemade right before the meal and dessert (SOMETIMES EVEN ICE CREAM CONES WHICH ARE SO GOOD)! I sleep in a room of six girls, all in bunks. I love them all so much! Oh and my district has 10 people--me, my companion and eight elders. They are THE BEST!!! Holy toledo they crack me up all the time! One of them looks, not even kidding, like Dwight Shrute and acts just like him too! His name is Elder Humble and he is hilarious! They are all just incredible! I think there are about 100 missionaries in the CCM--not a lot, which is great because we all end up being friends! And every two weeks missionaries leave and new ones come in!
Peru is beautiful! It is just a bunch of random colored box buildings/apartments everywhere! The temperature though is a wee bit chilly. Not freezing, but I pretty much always have my cardigan on! But Piura is going to be sooooo hot (when I was proselyting that is all people would tell me about Piura) so I am enjoying the cold weather while I have it.
Speaking about proselyting, yup, it happened last week! And my most common phrase was.... no entiendo! Hahaha woohoo!! The people talk so fast, but it was such a great experience to be out teaching this wonderful gospel! I bore my testimony a few times, and I did place two BOM´s so that was great! But my companion pretty much spoke the entire time! But no worries family, this little hermana is going to be killing it and converting all of Peru in the next few weeks! One really cool experience about teaching though was when we were teaching in a home and decided to sing a hymn for the family! We sang “Nearer My God to Thee” in Español and the family started crying!! Music can be such a powerful source to bring the spirit! It was such a great experience! No, we did not end up baptizing them right then, but it still was such a special experience! Oh and as we were proselyting there was this sweet little member named Aymi who was 14 and wanted to join the missionaries. So she came with us and she was incredible! She took us to her friend’s home that wasn´t a member, and then to her own house to teach her mom who isn´t a member. She even helped us teach lessons! A 14 year old!!! I am still a little nervous to teach the gospel and I am older, but this 14 year old had such a testimony and set such an example for me! We seriously should all be like that. Not unashamed of the gospel and always striving to do what´s right! She could have been hanging out with friends, or watching a movie, or doing whatever a teenager does but she decided to preach the gospel! I just thought that was so cool!
Another teaching experience was when my companion and I were teaching here at the CCM to an investigator. I had prayed and prayed to understand what the investigator would say during the lesson and to have the gift of tongues present so I could testify and teach what I felt I needed to. I literally was praying over and over and over again (it had kinda been a rough day) and my companion and I go into the lesson and start teaching. Amazingly I was able to understand and testify and teach throughout the entire lesson! I even conjugated all the words I wanted to say! It was incredible. And I ended up even extending (in Español) the baptismal invitation! I seriously wanted to cry after! I don´t even know how to tell you how special that experience was for me, but I guess what I am trying to say is that if we have faith, and not just have faith, but act on that faith, we will be so blessed! I am struggling so much with my Spanish but I am trying so hard and praying so hard to have the spirit with me so I can testify and I have felt so blessed these last few weeks.
So we have devotionals here all the time and a few days ago we had one with Elder Ballard. I just want to say one quote from his talk that I loved! He said, "Live in such a way that when the Lord needs you, you will be ready." Isn´t that great! That definitely applies to me as a missionary but I totally believe it applies to all of us! It is so important to be spiritually ready ALWAYS because the Lord needs to know he can trust us! I would hate to have an investigator that the Lord doesn´t lead me to because I wasn´t ready for that. Be so spiritually and physically ready, so that when the Lord needs you he knows he can trust you!
I want you to know that I have a testimony of the gospel! I love it, and I hope to continue to grow my testimony of this incredible work! I am so thankful for the courage of a 14 year old boy to ask a question, and who prayed with complete faith to know which church was true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, who endured trials and hardship but never denied what he knew to be true! I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us infinitely and is so willing to give us blessings if we trust in him! I know that prayer is such a testimony builder and is a powerful way of feeling the spirit and receiving comfort. I love this gospel! They teach us to always be 100% obedient. Family, be 100% obedient, and always be an example of Christ! I love you all so so so much and pray for you always!!
XOXOXO - Hermana Shumway