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. EfraĂ­n (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! đŸ˜‹

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 đŸ˜« 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

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015



¡FELIZ navidad a TODOS! Can't believe the end of the year is already here 0.0 And I am super excited for all the happiness that's being spread around. Our Christmas program in the plaza de armas was a big success and lots of people came! I even ran into my old compy Hna. Bronson!! It was the BEST to get back together with her and Mama Angela and her family afterwards. I feel absolutely spoiled!

In news about the work though, this week we finished teaching all the lessons to our investigator Irma Lavendar. She has had trouble making the decision to be baptized in the past, even passing her interview and then backing out the very day of the baptism. But we have focused our best efforts on helping her understand the necessity of personal prayer and we prayed with her in our last lesson to ask if the church is true again. She felt more prepared to receive an answer and the image of the temple came to her mind. She asked if the temple belonged to our church to which we said yes! We will be focusing our visits with her before Saturday on building her faith and putting out the fear. This is the happiest holiday ever! (:

The scripture I have this week comes from Mosiah. I have been reading about King Noah and Abinadi and I love what Abinadi said in verse 27:

 27 Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?

This verse made me think about the ponderizing challenge. When I came to the mission I finally understood the deeper part of what knowing the gospel and living it really means. The verse from 2  Timothy 3:7 runs thru my mind every now and then and this section of Mosiah reminded of it again. What will a piece of knowledge benefit us if we don't apply it to our lives? I appreciate the words of Abinadi and his comprehension of applying our hearts to understand. Be smart, but more importantly, BE WISE!!

Have a great holiday everyone! May all of us act as WISEMEN in constantly seeking out the Savior. 

Hermana Furness 

Work work work

Monday, December 14, 2015

No time this week OR in this Internet hour to get all the things done that I need to! But I want to share the scriptures that the Gospel Principles teacher of our ward used as the base for his lesson. It's Matt 14--the scriptures about Peter's walk on water towards Christ and his little faith that caused him to sink. These are the verses I'd like to share:

30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

What I grab from this is the phrase "when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid." When we relate this example to our lives, we see that it is both our doubts and our fear that cause us to sink and shrink from the Lord. At the least, Peter trusted in the Lord to call out for his help instead of trying to swim out of his problems, but if he had only chosen to focus on the Lord and not the torments, he might have prevailed the fall. It's not always easy to see or focus on the Lord when the torments whip us about and strain our vision. But He will never move and will never allow us to sink without offering His hand. His hand is ALWAYS stretched out, but it's up to us to reach for it. 

Have a good one! 

Hermana Furness

attached is the photo from our last Zone Training meeting with our fearless Zone Leader Elder Cowley in the Santa suit. Merry Christmas!!

Change Up

Monday, December 7, 2015

This week has improved IMMENSELY from the last one. I had been struggling with my personal prayers lately and I felt that I have been not only improving my efforts in the prayers, but seeing the miracles from doing so. I have seen so many prayers being answered and I feel the assurance of a more healthy relationship between me and Heavenly Father. I invite you all to evaluate your personal prayers and make the effort to improve!! :)

The BEST miracle that happened this week was the 2nd confirmation I received from the Holy Ghost that Huanchaco is improving. Lots of the problems lie in the relief society and the gossip circle that has existed for years. Yesterday, however, one of the hermanas who has had problems with many families in the ward taught an excellent lesson and bore her testimony at the end. It was so heartfelt and many other women who are normally involved in this circle gave sincere comments. My favorite testimony was that of our new pensionista, who is also a recent convert, named Lizeth. She bore one of the strongest testimonies I've yet to hear that it brought me to tears. She just bore her testimony on the beauty of the church and the organization and how she can't believe that there are actually people that care about her problems and want to know how she is doing. She is a fantastic person and is a true blue convert.

I don't have any photos to send this week, but I'd like to share a scripture I liked this week:

In doctrine and covenants 59, we read the well known verses about the Sabbath day. I loved what each one of these particular verses say:

 Thou shalt offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God inrighteousness, even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
 And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspottedfrom the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;
 10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;
 11 Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;
 12 But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.
but verses 8 and 11 catch my eye more than anything. I view the sacrament as 2 things: the first being a way for us to give thanks to God (offering the Lamb as a sign of gratitude) and second as a weekly covenant that requires a sacrifice (offering up a broken heart and contrite spirit). I think that it is so beautiful that our sacrifices are from within--I remember hearing that as opposed to offering an animal, we offer "the animal within us," referring to our the natural man side. As important as a Sabbath Day sacrifice can be though, verse 11 contains the key to what makes our sacrifice one with value. We are to VOW and OFFER on all days and at all times in righteousness. I hope that this week, we can work to remain more pure and clean by obeying the spirit's guidance and living the principles of the gospel, to further help us prepare a more excellent sacrifice in the coming Sunday. 

Hermana Furness