Monday, April 11, 2016

Goodbye Sweet Perú

Can you believe how fast the time has flown? I'm pretty blown away that this is the last email I'll be writing from a Peruvian Internet cafe with my black tag that's practically sown itself into my heart. I'm kind of at a loss for words, but I just want to share the love I've found in this special country and especially in this incredible work. Coming to Peru was more than a chance to meet and live a different culture, and I learned that pretty quickly after my first few days in Pátapo. It was even more awakening though to change from a hot, mosquito filled, sugar cane town outside of Chiclayo to the more isolated Guadalupe down south. In a town that is right next to a high hill with the Virgin Mary atop, I found faithful saints too and began to understand that the church is not floating on the surface here, but it's roots are deep and it is continuing to grow more and more rapidly. As I made a transition to Huanchaco, I developed a strong testimony of being my own commander, and understanding that I determine my own succes based on my faith in the Lord. I was sad to leave that beach-fronted town with artistic scenery but I couldn't have ended in a more beautiful spot than on the grounds of the Lord's House. Sleeping in a cuarto right next to the temple every night was a privilege but what was most exciting, is seeing that the Saints really are flocking towards the temple more and more. In reality, I can't write a list of all that I have learned, but the people I have been around in each of these places have left me more changed and improved than when I stepped off the plane in hot and dusty Chiclayo. 

A los amigos y mi familia que está en Perú, les quiero con todo mi alma. Hay una belleza que existe en Perú que es única y divina. No la encuentra en Machu Piccu ;), ni en las playas, ni en la comida, ni en el idioma. La encuentra en las personas que aman tan fuerte y son pioneros en una época de mucho obscuridad. Lo agradezco a Dios por enviarme a ustedes y nunca olvidaré las personas y las lecciones que aprendí. Tampoco no voy a dejar de hablar el idioma celestial (no es Alemán por los que vieron conferencia 😉) y cocinar ají de gallina. Volveré pronto y para los que no voy a ver, nos encontramos mas allá en los cielos, ¿diga? (: Les quiero muchísimo. Cuídense mucho.

Seems that that's all the time that I've got. I want to say that I have come to not just believe in Christ, but believe Christ and what He says. I believe His promise that those who ask will receive, and I have seen Him through the examples of so many people. The Church of Jesus Christ is the kingdom of God on earth and it is perfect and established in all parts of the world. The Book of Mormon is God's instrucction to us on how to get back home to Him and I read it every day to keep me on the path. I know that the purest objective of all that we do in the church is to keep our families protected, united, and happy. The Church of Jesus Christ is true, Joseph Smith restored it and brought the priesthood keys back again, and we will never lose it again. I love you all and I'll see many of you soon!!

Hermana Furness

P.S. I picked the most Peruvian photos I could from this past week and it turns out that I finally saw my first llama and we also ate guinea pig on top of that. Solid week!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Conference Weekend

So while everyone is raving about conference weekend, I had to say amen to the spectacular messages that the our dear leaders shared with us! I can hardly pick a favorite but I loved hearing Elder Uchtdorf's message from the Sunday Morning session. What an incredible story about the destroyed city in Germany--we should have such hope in Heavenly Father that He can restore us to our heavenly traits when we think that there are things beyond His reach or it goes against the laws of agency. Holland was amazing as usual and I died over the photo he shared of the "T-Rex named Tomorrow." There's a lot of trials that come our way and escape routes that pass us by because we simply forget to remember Christ. I've set a mental goal to refer my thoughts constantly to Christ this week and it's already been a great "tomorrow" today (: 

We had a pass by to Huanchaco this morning to do a study sesion with the hermanas and snagged a photo on the way out. Hna. Alvarenga and I are both very aware that our moms and dads are going to be hurting from a lack of photos from the mission...:3 

I told President Marler a little bit about 2 investigators we're working with who are incredible. Here's what I wrote:

We have 2 investigators that are really progressing--both are named Sonia. Sonia Muñoz, a young single girl who recently moved from Cajamarca came to 3 sessions of conference and had an incredible dream the other night after church--a man in white robes hugged her and came from waters in a lake, hugged her and said "I love you so much" and invited her to "follow me" into the waters. She decided to rethink her last minute flee to Cajamarca and will stay here. In the dream, the man supposedly told her that "you're just worried about work. Work is much MUCH closer than you think." Interesting, no?

The other Sonia, who's about 55 years old and investigated the church awhile ago, is pretty solid on being baptized on the 16th and is coming along splendidly. She didn't come to conference however and we plan on investigating why. I think Satan is trying to attack her and us by making us think that contact with her once in awhile will keep her afloat. I really believe that we need to make daily contact with her and keep her safe from Satan. We will be teaching her about tithing tonight and she really loved learning about chastity the other night. She's so adorable and I can't believe how much I cannot get frustrated or annoyed. It seems that every time we are in her house, an overwhelming power of love comes and I can't help but teach with so much understanding and care. I really feel like she's a chosen convert. 

We've been very blessed this week to see so many people thirst for the gospel and actively particpate in the branch activites. I love my Heavenly Father for blessing this area and us as a companionship in these last weeks that I have. The trials have still come, but I feel more confident and capable with each miracle that He gives us. I really took to heart what was said in conference--if we are distanced from Heavenly Father, we feel more entitled to His grace and blessings. If we are close, we will know of all that He gives us and we will not be ungrateful for what we receive. The Lord never gives more blessings to someone because of who they are or what they already have. The quantity and quality of our blessings is measure by what we are DOING to ask for them qualify for them, and is determined by our ability to recognize them. May the Lord bless each of us and let us SEE the blessings with spiritual eyes this week. Have a good one!

Hermana Furness

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Temple Trip!

I attached a photo today of our trip to the temple as Zona Primavera and Zona Central. The other is of the charla fogonera (fireside) we had on Sunday with my companion and the sisters from Primavera. Both of those experiences were spiritual highlights and I can't BELIEVE how much revelation I received. There were so many things I learned and the Spirit I felt was incredible. I am having some fantastic experiences and Sister Alvarenga and I are growing closer every day. This week we have some more meetings and best of all.......GENERAL CONFERENCE!!! Are you all ready?? I love what my companion is doing and we've both created a list of questions to things we want answers to--things both temporal and spiritual. I invited everyone to write up a quick list of things you are searching an answer to and dare you--not challenge, but DARE you--to put your faith in the apostles and prophets of the Lord to see if they don't answer them. The Lord is providing answers and direction 24/7 and we just need to tune into His channel to hear it! I testify that Heavenly Father does NOT wait until the moment when we don't know what else to do and are in a crisis to help us know where to go/what to do. He can give us constant direction and help if we turn our will over to His-the very thing which provides a deeper joy and richer purpose. 

I came across a verse that I really love this week. It's found in Hebrews 5 in the New Testament in verses 12 to 14:

12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

When I read the verse I wondered if I should be "drinking milk" or if I was mature enough to eat "strong meat." I think I overestimate the amount of doctrine I should learn sometimes before getting down the milk. The curiosity and thirst for heavenly doctrine might sound the most appealing but it won't do us good if our stomach (spirit) can't handle it. The key for me in these verses is in verse 14 that speaks of those that "have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." That is one of the hardest things for me to master--discerning the good and evil easily. I learned a lot in the temple today and admire that Adam and Eve were such faithful examples. They easily recognized Satan and understood what special blessings the Lord had given them. I desire to follow their examples and understand what comes from the Lord and what comes from below. For this reason I'm commiting to frequenting the temple and continuing to observe the Sabbath to maintain the ability to detect evil from righteousness strong. The prophets have warned us that it will be harder to do such things in these days when there are many who "call evil good, and good evil; that
darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20). May the Lord bless each of us this week to find the subtle evils that can enter into our spheres if we lay our guards down for a moment. I wish you all the best week; talk to you soon!

With love,
Hermana Furness

Monday, March 21, 2016

I feel like it's been awhile since I've wrote! Sorry for keeping any of you hanging but as far as a quick update on what's been going on in the mission: everything's been incredible! Hna. Alvarenga has been the best to work with and we're seeing quite a few fruits in the pool of investigators and less actives we've got. There's a mountain of spiritual highlights in the coming weeks as well--including a trip to the temple, a fireside between 3 stakes, a multi-zone conference, women's conference, and general conference! 

We're staying busy as sister leaders and have been learning so much from the sisters of the Primavera Zone! This week we had an amazing FHE with an investigator named Sonia who is truly converting to the gospel. The other night when we were teaching about Christ's church established on earth, Sonia said "so, THIS is the church of Jesus Christ? It has His authority and is lead by HIM?" My stomach filled with butterflies and I could hardly contain myself from jumping up from the sofa and squeezing Sonia to death. We of course told her that she was right and when we went to the FHE at her neighbor's home, we talked about the temples because she's been excited about going to the temple to learn more about it. She came to church for all 3 hours and went to the autosufficient classes later that day. Her only concern is the standards because she's not familiar with what they are and wants to know if she'll be able to live them. We thought it important to focus this week on helping her gain a testimony of faith of commiting to being baptized regardless of what the standards might be. It came to me to help her gain that testimony this week in Sacrament Meeting and it made me reflect a bit on my faith as well. It's so important that the testimony of an investigator isn't built after knowing what's required or knowing what new paths will bring. Faith is required before knowledge and Sonia must not let her fear of what she might have to do determine whether she'll do it or not. What if one of the commandments seems too hard to live? Would I deny the answer God gave me that this is His church and I should be a part of it? Would I only join the church because the commandments are easy to keep? Or am I willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to follow Christ and be a part of His church? 

I want to invite everyone to read up on faith in the scriptures this week. I don't have a chapter or verse for you to read, but I invite you all to take iniciative and SEARCH the scriptures on faith. If anyone has anything interesting, share it with someone and work to apply it in your life! The power of the scriptures is real and I know that God reveals higher and superior information to us through them. The very reading of scriptures is an act of faith alone in hoping that God will bless us and teach us if we read the words of His prophets. Happy scripture searching all!

Hermana Furness

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Dear family and friends, 

This week undoubtedly was one of the best weeks I've had in the mission! I'm stunned by my companion and the abilities she's brought to the area. I think I mentioned a bit about her in my last email, but after getting to know her better this week, I have to share a little about my dear companion Sister Alvarenga. (: She just came from an area called Laredo, I'm her 3rd companion, and she has about 7 months in the mission. She's from Entre Ríos, Aregentina and is 19 years old. She loves a good meat cooked on the grill and comes from a family of 6 who are all members--her older sister is currently training a new sister on her mission in Chile. Sister Alvarenga is one of the most humble people I have ever met and has completely changed my perspective forever on working with members. The relationship with the branch members in Villa del Mar is so different for me and I am more motivated everday to help them fall in love with sharing the gospel. We also have a kick-bomb mission leader, Brother Miguel, who is shifting the work into overdrive! There are some great changes being made in ward council and we're seeing much more involvement from the members. I can't wait to see the changes that can come! Just this last week we had a record amount of attendance at church-144--and we need to hit 150 to be able to convert to a ward! There were 11 investigators that showed up to church and we feel like it was due to the incredible things we learned in concilio this week. 

President Marler, Sister Marler, and the assistants talked a lot about "inspired questions" at concilio and it has made a world of difference in our teaching. We really narrowed down the questions that usually get asked to stop "checking for knowledge" and start "checking for understanding." Our lessons have become considerably shorter despite the investigators and less actives talking more, because we have to teach little when we ask inspired questions and THEY become their own teachers. It's so incredible what a small tweak in the machine can do. We have been able to reach to so many people and devote time to multiple activites. 

I read a great article a couple months back that I invite you all to read from the December Liahona. It's about asking questions in the right way and for those who teach others, it's highly recommendable. Read up here!

My time is up for today but I hope this week is incredible for each one of you. I am loving the work more than ever and can't wait to see what this week brings. We'll be going to Otuzco to do the zone training and share these goodies about "inspired questions" with the other missionaries. Have a great week!

Hermana Furness

Monday, February 29, 2016

Have I got NEWS!

Just have to let you all know, I am working with one of the greatest sister missionaries in the world!  This week I met my new companion, Hermana Alvarenga from Argentina, and we had one of the best weeks ever on my mission. We accomplished so many things and found so many people! I'm going to take up Sister Smith's advice and basically type my whole week out since I haven't had a wink of time to write in my journal.

So on the day of transfers--Tuesday that is--we were able to visit an investigator we have been trying to visit for the month and a half I have been here. Her name is Mirella and she desires to investigate the church a lot more and attend church weekly but her husband doesn't want anything to do with us. She recently found out she's pregnant and is so scared that she won't be able to raise her children well without a steady home situation. We shared the family proclamation with her and it brought her a world of comfort. She desires to make Jesus Christ the focus of her home. We also visited that day with a recent convert of less than 2 years who is struggling to be consistent in her attendance. We've been trying to have a heart to heart with her and it finally happened! She felt so frustrated because she feels like she is trying to do the right thing and doesn't feel good. Her son, Christofer is rebelling against all the church activity and she wants to feel peace because she is trying to make good choices. We talked to her about trusting in the Lord and continuing on even when it gets hard and promised her that the Lord will make it known to her why these trials are happening. Our last visit was with a less active who was the pension of the hermanas before, and she also has a son who prefers attending the Catholic church instead of the church of Jesus Christ. Ah! There were so many great people we visited that day.

 Ok, so I gotta be more brief (: Wednesday, we found out that 3rd times the charm. We contacted for the 3rd time a reference from the gospel principles teacher, Silvia Holguien. The reference's name is Sonia and she was pretty closed off because she had doubts about the BOM. We gained her trust though and delivered a powerful lesson and when we came back on Saturday, her son joined us and we watched the 20 minute video of the Restoration that melted them. They have agreed to pray and read the BOM to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God and expressed their understanding of how to recognize an answer. I can't wait to follow up with them! That same day, we finished our intercambio calendar that's got all our divisions with the sisters planned out along with the study visits; we also did a small service project with Silvia and she talked about some mission stories and we discussed the beautiful things that teachers experience. She is an incredible example to me!

Thursday we found 3 new investigators that have been SO prepared by the Lord. We invited each of them to baptism and we were able to help them recognize what the Spirit is in their first visit. We also got some great help from the ward in obtaining some references and we met a less active who prayed with us for his first time in 15 years. He teared up after praying and we talked to him about how that's what it feels like to "come home to God" after so much time of being away. 

All the weekend went well and we met up with our new mission leader who has great plans. Unfortunately, I've got seconds on the clock and gotta go. Hope everyone has a great week and I invite everyone to share the gospel with a loved one! 

Sister Furness

p.s. this is a photo of our new district eating at our pensionista's house. Happy P-Day!

Last of many Changes

Solamente quería escribir y decir discúlpeme por los que leen mis mensajes de grupo y no hablen ingles X) Pero me gustaría a mantenerlas actualizados con mi misión entonces sus nombres están en la lista (: ¡Dígame si quieren ser quitados de la lista! 

Wow. Can't believe the time. My time with Hna. Smith in Villa del Mar has been an incredible experience and just have to thank her for the amazing and priceless life lessons she has taught me. This ward is truly growing and I hope to see some more growth with my new companion, Hna. Alvarenga! She is from Argentina and I have met her before; she is a very hardworking, obedient, and joyful servent of the Lord. I know we are going to see some incredible things happen in the next 8 weeks and will be keeping all of you updated! (:

So for lack of time--sorry everyone!--I just have to say that having the Smith family here was a privilege and honor to serve with a faithful, gospel-centered family. They were a hoot as well and Dad better get the tractors ready for a spin when they come to my homecoming 😆. As well, I want to mention a great scripture that I found in D&C 121:41-43 today in studying for a family who can't feel the "harmonizing sound" of the "gospel music" in their home, who we will be teaching later today. Read it. Gotta go!

Hna. Furness

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Letter to Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad:

 The work is sweeter and greater than ever and I love teaching more and more with each visit. I know that when the time comes for me to go that it's going to hurt quite a bit. I love these people so much. They are so incredible. They have so much to offer even when they don't own anything because they are so wise, so sacrificing, and have a different perspective than us. It does require a heck of a lot of getting out of your comfort zone and trying very new things but if you put your faith in the Lord to learn about and love a different culture, you receive so much!! 

 I think I mentioned this, but I have a list of people I want to talk to and visit after the mission. How selfish of me to never have shared the gospel with as many people as possible. I really want to challenge you and Dad to start praying a looking for opportunities to share the gospel. It IS the greatest joy, Mom. I love you so much and when I have something that is precious and I love it, I want to share it with others. Imagine eating the yummiest cake ever--and maybe you have feelings to eat it all yourself because we have those craving moments, but if you could see the expression on someone's face when they taste it and fall in love with it, you'll see that you would never want to keep a cake to yourself again. I thank you for making the us, your children, the best converts I know.  Hna. Marler, our President's wife, said that--"the most important converts you (me and hna. smith) will ever have will be your own children. Whether you realize it or not, you signed up for a mission for the Lord upon having us children and raising us in the gospel. Your example has been an amazing form of missionary work but I really challenge you to pray and ask the Lord to help you recognize the people that need this gospel to heal the wounds that come from life. He will lead them to the living water through you. Being an instrument in the Lord's hand doesn't just reach the lives of others; it helps refine us as well. 

As far as news about when I get home--WHAT THE FLIP! WHAT in the world. It's so crazy to hear about that news and just gotta ask you, how'd you find out? It's ok if not many people come to the airport. I do want a picture though and as long as you and Dad are there, that's all I can ask for. Tell Dad he's a rockstar and the funniest and smartest man I know. Tell him to get in shape as much as he can in the next 2 months because I'm going to try to whip him in basketball with all the energy I've got know. You two are the best folks I know!! (:

Tell hi to Hannah and all the Egberts, to Lee and Lori for the sweet Christmas card, and the Grovers as well. We have a great ward, we really do. I don't know if I'll be attending our home ward or singles ward or a college ward when I get back, but if I'm at home, tell bishop I want a calling upon stepping off of that plane. I'll leave with you for visits or any other sisters that need it as well. We're going to have so much fun building up Zion!!

Last note, I think I've avoid thinking about it but I have to face the reality of setting up jobs and signing up for classes. I'm going to talk to President this week about signing up for classes but what is your opinion on looking for work? I think I told you awhile back about going into teaching, but I don't know if you remember about that. I'm trying to work with a counselor about my options on changing my major and everything but it's difficult to start everything anew. I don't want to make a rash decision and want to be sure that teaching is what I want to do--because Jessica Evans and Christian Garcia have made it clear that those who aren't serious in the teaching program get booted out basically. So. Any ideas, thoughts, or inspiration? Thanks for helping me with my life decisions.😁 

Well, I've got ten minutes on the computer left and want to look for a talk on called "becoming a consecrated missionary" by Tod R. Callister. Love you so much and give my love to dad with a big hug that lasts for 10 seconds. haha. 

Your daughter Hali                                                                                                                           

Monday, February 8, 2016

Righteous Traditions

In summary, this week was incredible. As is every week in the mission it seems ha. But you really can't complain when you see so much growth in yourself and others and see how many miracles God really puts in the path. We had the privilege of going to the temple before meeting for Concilio as sister and zone leaders. It was an amazing session and we learned so much during Concilio. Today, we will be headed up to Otuzco (the mountain area here) for Zone Conference. We will be talking about The Family Proclomation and the worldwide missionary broadcast that was viewed a few weeks back. Those two topics that were addressed have changed the way we prepared investigators to make their first covenant with Heavenly Father. The work is hastening!! (:

Congratulations to Hannah Egbert by the way who just got back from Canada!! Sister South and I are cheering you on for a great mission served with honor!! (: (*yes to the peanut butter bars BTW)

So in our work this week, we have started a ward tradition on Saturday nights from 6-7 to go visit less actives as a ward. We all meet up at the temple at 6 and divide out the visits. We saw how inspired this activity was from our own visit to the Chavez family. They are a family of about 9 people and 3 of them are members. In our visit we talked about prayer and the good and evil spirits that invite us to obey or disobey. The spirit was especially strong because of the members that accompanied us and invited the Chavez family to church the next day. They showed up despite their insecurities about their energetic children and stayed all 3 hours! For the first time in years they came and the members were great to make them feel welcome. Righteous traditions can provide a way for us to make the transition from being members of a church to followers of Christ. What are your family, cultural, or religious traditions?

Here is the scripture we shared with the Chavez family. It's from 2 Nephi 32:8--

And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.
Well folks, that's about all that I've got this week! I attached photos from our trip to Laredo last Pday of me and my comp on top of the hill. The wind was blowing like crazy, but the view was so sweet! Until next week!

Hermana Furness

Monday, February 1, 2016

This week...

It was so busy this week that I haven't wrote in my journal ONCE. I can't believe how quickly January flew by and I have a thousand and five things on my mind. But today is Pday and we're headed up to Laredo as a zone to explore the "huacas" of Hna. Smith's old area. There apparently undiscovered to the public but her old bishop is willing to take us up there because he hopes to get more attention there to turn it a bit more touristic. Until then, I don't think I've got any fun pictures to send home this week! Sorry to be so boring :]

But even though it's a pictureless week, it was beyond priceless the experiences that we had. I've grown so much and learned a huge lesson about being more direct. We had a great intercambio with Huanchaco-my old area-and we will be going to the temple this week for concilio! On Wednesday Hna. Smith and I had the most incredible experience with a taxi driver who's listening to the elders in another part of Trujillo and this is what I wrote:

 We also had a great experience with a taxi driver this week named Mariano. He's receiving visits from the Elders and told us he feels like there is something missing in his life but he can't quite find it. He has been spending all his time working in taxi but wants to be closer to his family and show his love to them. We challenged him to keep the Sabbath Day and he expressed concern in being able to make enough money. I asked him "Hermano, ¿piensa usted que Dios puede efectuar cualquier milagro, incluye con dinero?" And he thoughtfully said "sí, claro." I then asked him "entonces, ¿piensa usted que si usted sacrifica tiempo para adorar Dios que Él no va a bendecirle en su trabajo?" So he understood at that point exactly what faith was. He not only commited to keeping the Sabbath Day holy by being with his family but he commited himself and said "i'm going to take up on what the elders have been asking me to do. I'm going to go to church on Sunday!" and we felt the spirit confirm that he really meant it and is really going to do it. 

As I mentioned, I learned a great lesson about being direct. Sometimes I, as well as others, tend to beat around the bush or tread lightly when we speak or act because we don't want to offend others. From that, however, we become too weak to speak for what we believe or don't say things how we really see them and then feel that others dominate our lives. But my comp has taught me an invaluable lesson in knowing how to boldly speak by the Spirit and be direct while still showing love. Just within 2 days, I have seen a markable difference in the unity of our companionship and spirit during our various missionary responsabilities. I feel liberated as well in being able to speak without hesitation and learn to lower pride when making a mistake. Learning how to be more like Christ doesnt mean spoiling others with all the things they want, it means doing the will of the Father through the Spirit's loving influence. I love the changes we can find in the mission!!

Because of lack of time, I've gotta call it good here. Hope everyone can kick February off to a good start and that we can develop Christ like attributes. Take care!! 

Sister Furness

Monday, January 25, 2016

20 kind of week

So the way that the educational system grades things here in Peru is based on 20 points. So scoring a 20 is the A+ 100% equivalent in the states. This week was a 20 for sure!! We had so many incredible experiences--including an intercambio with the hermanas from the area of the stake center, Primavera. We also attended had.....A BAPTISM!! Hno. Efraín (in the attached photo with his wife Vanessa and son Fabricio), was baptized on the 23rd and confirmed during sacrament meeting on the 24th. He was SO prepared to be baptized and I feel that he is 100% converted to the gospel. We are working to help him get ready for the temple to do baptisms for the dead and prepare to be sealed in the temple in 1 year with Vanessa (who was rescued just recently and is stronger than ever!!) (: (: (: It was the best baptism I have ever attended and we sang Nearer My God to Thee as a companionship.
Adding on to that, Hna. Smith is the BEST ever. She is consecrated to this work and is an amazing Christ-like teacher. Not to mention, we have a hoot laughing and having fun together on our down time in the cuarto. She loves the south and has an amazing family that has raised her in a gospel filled home. Love being with this girl!! (:

I was reading in Alma 5 this morning and came across a verse that I love and have heard before:

26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

When I feel close to God, that's what it's like. I feel like singing or bursting from within but know that there's no way to adequately express myself. It's the biggest inner peace but the most fiery joy and excitement ever. The only way I can feel to express it is being the kindest I can be to everyone around me. I feel such joy that I just want to cheer up all in my path and rejoice together for how good life is. I can understand why feeling the Spirit and becoming converted makes us want to share the gospel. I hope to continually be converted and share the gospel all my life!

Have a fantastic week all! Let the Lord hear your song of how His love makes you feel! 

Hermana Furness

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pressed for Time

Today I hope to be brief because I am pressed for time, and have to say that this week all we do we have done in the breath of being pressed for time! We got crackin' down on the study sessions with the hermanas in the zone and being an hermana leader has already taught me so many incredible things! Of course I seem to forget them all when I come to the computer, but I have to say that overall I have learned where to best spend my energy. My sister Hillary talked about that in her email (thanks by the way! (: ) and I have to say amen to her thoughts. With more responsibilities and just nothing for time, I have to learn where my priorities are and planning sessions become my life saver. If there is a plan, all the chaos is organized into distributed times, but if I fail to plan or fail to plan well, I'm left at scrambling here and there to get it all done. With a plan there's peace! And in the plan of salvation we DEFINITELY find peace. (:

Quick scripture reference-no kidding. Quick spiritual experience. So this week we were on the street talking about how to be better guided by the spirit (because our citas fell through and we were a bit stranded because our plan b's fell through too) and we started to walk past a lady who was looking out at the taxis passing by with a concerned look on her face. I thought, "well, this is a moment to find out if she needs help. Maybe the spirit's guiding us to her!" so we stopped, asked if she needed help, and found out she was looking for her daughter who should have returned back from the beach hours ago. Hna. Smith asked her if we could say a prayer with her to ask for comfort and she agreed! She said that we must be angels because God directed us to her and she was amazed that we knew we should stop. It went to show me that the Spirit speaks SO softly and slightly and if we choose to ignore it, a great experience can pass us by. I hope that we can visit her and her daughter who DID return back just an hour after we talked with her. 

Anyway, times up for this email. I attached my goodbye photo with the Gordon Family and another of the temple that's just outside our cuarto. Blessed beyond belief!

Monday, January 11, 2016

As Sisters in Zion

Monday, January 11, 2016

Well have I got NEWS. Lots of crazy things that went down this week. We had the best and I mean THE BEST zone training meeting ever this week. We talked about repentance, the Atonement, retaining through the temple, and improving our studies. Elder Bailey, from our zone, did 10 pushups for each donut that was offered to every one of us. He ended up doing 150 in total and was nearly dead by 100. It was so heartbreaking to see him struggle and think that this is just a sliver in comparison to Christ's suffering. Whether or not we accept it, He suffered for us. Would you let His suffering be in vain? Would we be too prideful to accept that gift? Something to think on. 

But some news on things that happened this week--I got super deadly sick saturday night but made a miraculous recovery for Sunday and gave my last talk in Huanchaco. Wait, did I say last talk? That's right! I HAVE CHANGES! And major ones too. I've been called as a sister leader in Villa del Mar with Sister Smith that I knew from the MTC! I received my training on Sunday with Sister Marler and the assistants. It was a great experience and I learned a lot more about how serious the work of caring for our fellow sisters is. Equally to the Relief Society, the temporal and spiritual well being is placed in our hands and this means that we are to provide TESTIMONY building experiences that might just determine the salvation of each soul. WORK OF SALVATION YEAH!

Oh, and Villa del Mar is the area of the temple, and President said I will be ending my mission there. Spoiler! 😋

I studied some scriptures for a great investigator we're teaching tonight who's name is Carmen. I read scriptures about the Restoration and I like one that I found in Corinthians 12 that testifies of the original organization of the church:

28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

I wanted to include the verses that ask questions about the spiritual gifts because those are what made me think about the purpose of a prophet. I'm sure God would love to give all He has to all His children--referring to all the spiritual gifts He could give us--but D&C 46:12 explains why He won't do that. Besides having cool super power like gifts, prophets use these gifts for the salvation of God's children. Maybe that's WHY it's like a super power. But as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we understand the importance of revelation and prophecy. Without a prophet, we are left at personal revelation--something that could guide us an individual but as a group--as a FAMILY--we need a leader who can receive revelation for everyone. As I've heard, salvation might be a personal issue, but exaltation is a FAMILY issue. I know that if we listen and live according to the prophets' words, we will not only obtain immortality and live in the celestial kingdom, but we will gain eternal life and live in the highest glory of the celestial kingdom, with our Heavenly Father. 

I'll be writing this week about my new adventures in Villa del Mar. Have a safe and fun week all!

Sister Furness 

p.s. we went to the temple this week with our recent convert Frances. She's possibly my favorite person I've met here in Peru!! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Huaca del Sol y Luna

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Years, all!
How did everyone's New Years pass? I can't believe we're already in 2016. Huanchaco had it's fair share of Sodom-and-Gomorrah-like activity for the occasion 😫 yuck. But we were tucked away in our cuarto and got to see the amazing fireworks that were blasting off in all the area of huanchaco, trujillo, and up to the esperanza we could see fireworks going off.
We had a lot of success this week in contacting references we've received within the last week or so. Just yesterday we found 2 GOLDEN families who I hope we can baptize. They are SO prepared and were nothing but the best to us. The Cruz Reyes Family is a reference from our zone leaders who contacted the father of the family in his taxi. His name is "Sugar Ray" who is a famous boxer apparently, and he is married, doesn't drink, smoke, and is a faithful husband and father. They've got 3 kids and his wife was so sweet to us (and she gave us the best chicha morada of my life 😋 ). The Salvatierra family, who we actually contacted the mother of the family (her name is Flor), has 6 kids and when we went to our cita with them, Flor was sleeping but her husband attended us. His name is Julio and he COMPLETELY understands what the Holy Ghost is. He has also had contact with the missionaries before and even has a BOM in english and spanish. Both of the families live in Huanchaquito, and I hope we can establish some more activity on that part of our area.
I love the scriptures I read in Mosiah this week. In chapter 4 I love the verses when King Benjamin asks the people: are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend on the Lord for our life and everything we have? Verse 17 sticks out like a sore thumb to me:

17 "Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—"
This verse hits cold to the heart. I cannot deny that I have passed someone homeless on the street and thought within myself, "perhaps he's had bad luck, but it's possible he's not trying to lift himself out of his situation." We are SO poor. We do not possess ANYTHING. We only possess that which was given to us, and nearly all of it is temporary and we will have to give it back. The only thing that I can think of that we won't give back is our agency and our experiences/memories. God is so good to us. Just look at what God has given us in our fallen state:

 20 "And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy."

Maybe we need to "pour out" and not skim out on giving what we have to others. We do it with prudence and with order (see verses 26 and 27) but what is not OURS we must give unto the Lord (our fellow men.) 

Oh. One more thing. We went to a historic site today as a zone. It's called Huaca del Sol y Luna and it's an old temple that archeologists discovered under tons of sand. It's ENORMOUS and we took a bajillion photos. I attached 1 of me in front of what's 7 stories of the temple. But the 7 stories are actually just 7 levels that compose the outer wall of 5 walls in total. Can't believe the work these crazy Inkas did. 
I also attached one of me and my hija inside the temple (:
Have a great week everyone!! 
*sorry family for not sending an email this week, I forgot to take photos of my journal and we are getting cut short today on our internet time!! :(
Hermana Furness

Feliz Navidad :D

Monday, December 28, 2015

How was everyone's Christmas? For the Huanchicas, it was a great year and although some trials befell us, we had a good week and are hoping to find success in the coming week. A bit of bad news: Hna. Irma was NOT baptized this week :( Despite all our efforts to make sure she was prepared and her own confirmation that she was ready just hours before the baptism, 5:00 rolled around on Saturday and Irma didn't show. When we called, she said that she was having a "proceso de asthma," and that because of the rain, her asthma was acting up. When we went to visit her yesterday, she seemed like it was more a problem of fear but she insists that she wants to be baptized. We will be working more with her this week and I'll keep y'all update :]

I have a TON of photos to send this week in comparison with weeks in the past--my birthday, the Christmas party, our seafood lunch with all the family of our pensionista, and other events have taken up the other half of my camera memory X) But I attached one of all the crazy seafood our pensionista's family prepared for Christmas. There's picante de pescado, chicharrones de pulp (those were the BEST!), ceviche, sudado de pescado, arroz con mariscos, and a whole other load of food. It was all super delish. And I also have a photo of us at the Mission Christmas Program where we had a talent show afterwards. I'm truly surprised at how much talent the Trujillo missionaries have! 

We had a great lesson with a less active this week about setting goals. The Spirit was bursting within the room and he could hardly contain himself from spilling to us what has happened to him lately and all his other comments. As we discussed the importance of goals and the importance of remaining hopeful, positive, and happy during the process of reaching goals, Fernando (the less active) truly lit up with hope inside. It was so amazing to watch the change within him as we filled up his "hope lantern," and he started to glow. In the mission I have seen how easy it is to get discouraged and know that there are always a hundred reasons to be down. But nothing good EVER comes from being discouraged; although feelinggodly sorrow is a sadness, it differs from discouragement in that we can feel sorry or guilty for our mistakes but still mantain hope and faith in the future and in ourselves. Don't mistake discouragement from sorrow, and pray to Heavenly Father when we feel the desire to move forward leave us. I heard a great phrase this week that applies to this very principle, that we must not be "creations of the situation, rather creators OF the situation." 

Have a happy new year everyone! Stay safe and keep away from the cuetes! :D

Hermana Furness