MERRY EARLY CHRISTMAS from the Piura Mission! This last week our wonderful President and his wife threw a Christmas Party for the mission. It included the classic movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”, many classy and hilarious Christmas games, and a delicious Pollo a la Brasa. We all made Christmas ornaments for them and it was just a blast! We sure do love them. Also on the mission blog there are videos from us missionaries! Go and check them out! There are five in total videos and I am in one of them.
Well ... I got transferred and am currently in my new area. It’s called ... drum roll ... TALARA! Not sure if that’s how you spell it but it is right on the coast by the beach. It is a cute town about two hours out of Piura and I love it already. My darling new comp is Hermana Valencia. She is from Lima and will end her mission this transfer. She is my pal who has been in many pics throughout my mission. I will take a pic and send it to you next week. And if you can even believe it ... I end my mission the transfer after her. ONLY TWO TRANSFERS LEFT!!! This is going way too fast ... it’s heartbreaking ...
And leaving my last area was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. But I want to let you a few of the blessings and sweet moments this last week. To start, 80+ people came to church this last week. That is the highest church attendance I have seen in my entire six months in Chulucanas. It was a miracle, and many were less actives that finally returned to church. I honestly could not believe it! Some of the people who came included Hermana Carola, the kids of Familia Febres (the ones we made a Christmas tree with), Danuzka (a 13 year old less-active that decided to come to church alone, because her family didn’t want to come), and my convert Leandro and his darling family. I wanted to tear up. We took a big pic of the branch. Also I gave a talk about "Being A Disciple of Christ" as my final goodbye. My comp and I then sang a mix of Christmas hymns, starting with "Cantan Santos Angeles" (I FORGOT THE NAME IN ENGLISH ... sorry!), then "Oh Come All Ye Faithful", and ended with "Silent Night". It was a great way to finish off all my adventures in Chulucanas. Later that night I said my final goodbyes and we just all cried. It was most difficult saying goodbye to my convert Leandro. He has come leaps and bounds from when I first met him six months ago. He is now a faithful member of the church that has a goal to be sealed for time and all eternity to his wife next August. I am sure going to miss this Chulucanas Crew.
Also, we celebrated an early Christmas before I left. Stopping by many members homes and giving them a small present from the missionaries. One of the most special experiences was bringing presents to Family Febres and their kids. Wenefel, Jairo, and Eileen were jumping up and down as they waited for the presents. They will not be receiving presents this year due to financial problems and we surprised them with a few Christmas decorations and some presents! We bought two soccer jerseys for the boys and dolls for sweet Eileen. It made me want to cry with how overjoyed they were to open up the one present they got. This family has taught me many things over these months and I will sure miss them.
And the Noche Blanca was this last week too. Sadly, we were not able to bring anyone to be baptized. It was heartbreaking ... but we went to support the other missionaries. And was I in for the biggest surprise. Three people ... THREE ... that I had taught in Los Algarrobos got baptized this day: (1) Diana, a sweet little girl that has wanted to get baptized for a long time, (2) Zoila, someone who has truly applied the atonement in her life to get baptized, and (3) Christian, whose wife has always wanted for her husband to get baptized. I sent you a pic with a few of them. Honestly, I could not believe it and it just made me feel so much love for this work. This work is done in the Lord’s time and what a joy it was to see those I have taught get baptized!
It was a great week ... and we even found a new family this past week! Guillermo and Liliana have been married for many years and Guillermo has always had a drinking problem. It is his addiction and he feels he has tried everything and cannot give it up. We shared with him that everything is possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. No matter how far down the road we are our Savior provided us a way out. He is so willing to learn more and wants to change. It was an incredible first lesson and honestly it was a miracle he even opened up to us so fast. I think the sweetest part was when he said the final prayer and he started to cry. Afterwards he told us he has never felt that way before and we promised him that this is what he needs.
Our other investigators are hanging in there. We have challenged many of them to baptism but so far everyone has said no. Even though I won’t be there to help them feel the truth of this message, I know that a seed was planted, and someday they will know it is true!
Overall I am excited to be in my new area. Man I am going to miss mi familia de Chulucanas. A lot of tears were shed these last few days but I am excited to take everything I learned in Chulu and help the people of Talara! I only have two transfers left of this ... and it goes by so fast!!
I LOVE THIS WORK!!! Love you all so much ... and have a wonderful Christmas!
ALWAYS choose and stand for the right!!!
XOXO, Hermana Shumway
Me and the cutest comp on planet earth
We made our own snowman ... hahaha
Our dinner as a mission to celebrate Christmas
Everything was so delicious!
Merry Christmas from two defenders of truth
Our President is awesome!
Photo op with the President and his wife ... I am so fortunate to serve with them
We had a white elephant gift exchange as a district ... my gift for someone was chicken feet
It was so much fun
Only in Peru can you give such awesome gifts like this ... I love this place!
My beautiful surprise ... it was so wonderful!
These little kids are all my bestest buddies
My Chulucanas friends are just the greatest
The family – these sisters are MY OFFICIAL SISTERS!!! Their Mom got baptized in the Noche Blanca too! I am going to miss all of them so much!
Oh how I love them!
They will always be my lifelong friends
My heart will always be in Peru with the people I love
Oh man ... I am going to miss them so much
They have forever changed me and have shown me the most incredible love
My comp and I trying to be awkward but cute
Hahaha … we crack ourselves up more than anything
My convert Leandro and Andrea who we rescued and brought back to church
This is my miracle family
What am I going to do without them? I LOVE THEM!!!
Merry Christmas for my sweet Familia Febres
We bought them Christmas presents because we found out they weren't going to receive any this year
New soccer jerseys and dolls ... they were so incredibly excited and it was the cutest thing. This is what Christmas is all about ... such a special time of year!