This week has been an adventure! To start ... this is so hard. I have heard so many people say that but I never understood how hard it would really be. But the best part of being here is that it is also the most incredible thing I have ever done!! It is such an incredible way to strengthen your testimony because you literally have to rely on your Heavenly Father for everything. And that is why it is so worth it! I have seen so many small miracles that have strengthened my testimony and helped me come closer to my Heavenly Father. I just love it!!
To start, my trainer is Hermana Fernandez. She is very sweet and has so much patience with my lack of knowing the language. I know she is probably so frustrated with me, every second of every day, but I am trying so hard to learn the language so I can help her! She is from Chile and makes the most amazing food. My president is one of the sweetest people! His name is President Rowley and he and his wife are so loving and incredible leaders. They remind me of Mom and Dad ... like almost exactly. They are so wonderful! P.S. Mom, so the skirt I was wearing in the picture with them is not mine ... it is the President's wife. Hahaha! So the story goes like this ... I spilled on my skirt and had to change. Surprise, surprise ... I am the same old Allyse! Had to explain that little side note.
So I am serving in the Piura Central District. Everyone says it is the best district to start in! It is full of dirt roads, people who find joy in everything, a beautiful chapel and hardworking ward, tall apartments, a hot sun, and chicken and rice! I LOVE IT HERE! The people are incredible!!! I want to share a quick story that really meant the world to me this week. One of our investigators, a 14 year old boy (his mom is a member but the dad isn't) is really struggling with reading the Book of Mormon and overall having a desire to become a member. But this past week, when my comp and I were teaching a lesson, we started talking about temples. He asked what they look like and I took out this pack I have of a bunch of beautiful temples in Utah, California, Florida, etc. He was mesmerized!! He saw the picture of the San Diego temple and I told him that it is one of my favorite temple and that it looks like a castle! He wanted to hold it, and seriously could not stop starting at it. I said that it is his if he wants it and he was so excited!! I said (in Spanish) this can be your goal! We have a date for him to be baptized on 22 de Noviembre and he is just so excited to work on the goal to go to the temple! I know I talk about temples a lot, but we seriously do not realize how much of a blessing they are!!! A 14 year old boy cannot wait to finally have a chance to go the temple someday and we have a few just 10 minutes from our house!! The temple is such a blessing and I felt so blessed to see that these last few weeks!
Also, you are probably wondering how my first week has gone with preaching the gospel! Well ... it has been great!! The only thing I ever can do in our lessons is share my testimony, but the people are so sweet and understanding! Also, the ward is so great!! And we have a beautiful chapel right near our apartment! Sacrament Meeting was such a fun experience too! We have no microphone, so the speakers have to talk loud so everyone can hear! Many of our less actives and investigators came to church this Sunday so that was SO GREAT!!!
Overall, I just feel so blessed to be a missionary! This is SO HARD, but SO worth it! I really want to share so much more with you but I don't have a lot of time. Just know I love you all, LOVE hearing about your life, and cannot tell you how wonderful it was to hear your voices this last week when I was at the airport! Thank you for all of your support! It means the world to me!!!! I can't speak Spanish but I know it will come in time!! Keep choosing the right and continually grow your testimony! It is so important in this crazy world.
XOXO - Hermana Shumway