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