Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sentenced to the House

What a week it has been!I spent the majority of the week stuck in the house, but the good news is that I got lots of studying done.:)

It all started last Monday when P-day finished and we left the house at 6 to begin proselyting.  As we started walking to our first appointment I began to notice that my ankle was hurting but I didn't think much of it and we continued walking.  By about 7:00 I realized  how many bug bites I had on my legs and feet that were very red and starting to swell up.  We continued on and by 8:00 I was limping around to get to our last appointment.  We taught our last lesson and when it ended I looked down at my feet to see how they were doing.  They didn't look like they were even my feet anymore.  It looked like someone had inflated them during the course of the lesson.  They were very red and puffed up and swollen.  When the member whose house we were in saw them she gasped and went running to find something to put on them.  She came back with a bottle of green gel which appeared to be something close to aloe vera.  She sat down and told me to put my feet up on her lap so she could put it on me.  After she had finished her and her husband told me I should go home and put my feet in salt water to help with the swelling.  So I slowly limped my way back to the house and my companion warmed up some salt water and put it in a bucket for to soak my feet in,

Everyone here really loves to help.  I have learned that if you tell someone you're sick here, members, investigators or strangers in the street, they love to give all kinds of suggestions and advice as to what you can do or use to get better.  I don't know that the aloe vera gel or the salt water really helped all too well, but the love that was shown and the intentions to help were there just the same.  It helped me feel better just by the fact that they were worried about me because they care about me and wanted to help.

So that was Monday.  Tuesday I woke up and they were even worse.  After personal study, companion study and planning we went to the Dr.  He told me it was an infection from all the bug bites I had and gave me medicine for it.  He sent us home to rest and told me I was to stay in the house until Saturday and walk as little as possible so the infection would clear up.

So I spent the next 4 days in the house.  Though I wanted to go out and work, it was a great opportunity to get some good studying done!  My companion has the Book of Mormon stories in animation on video, so I watched some of those.  My companion was able to do discussions and leave with members to teach because we had lots of appointments to be at.  By Saturday the infection was cleared up and we were able to go back to work.  It was so nice to leave the house again:).  The good news  is that this Saturday 3 of our investigators are going to be baptized.  Noel and Lupita, a married couple in their mid twenties will be baptized along with Victor, a 12 year old.  Victor will be baptized by his older brother, Carlos who is preparing to serve a mission.  They will be the only 2 members in their family after Victor is baptized and are such great examples.  I have learned a lot from them.

One of the awesome things about being a missionary is that I get to work with such great people every day.  Though we are technically the ones teaching our investigators  I often feel like I am the one who is learning from them.  We have so many investigators who have such a desire to learn.  As we teach them and help them learn and progress I feel as though I learn and progress with them.  Being able to see the changes and progression in those we teach is one of the sweetest gifts I could've ever asked for.  We often get asked if we get paid to be missionaries and for our service.  Though we don't get paid in money the opportunity to see the changes in those we teach is irreplacable.  The Lord truly does bless his servants, I am a witness of it everyday!

I sure love yoou guys!  Have a great week.  Also have a Happy Thanksgiving (that day doesn't exist here!:)

Monday, November 17, 2014

How to Change Your World

This week was awesome!  We worked so hard this past week it was ridiculous. I have never worked so hard before and I've also never been so happy doing it.  Our hard work is paying off, we currently have 10 investigators with baptismal dates.  I am so excited for them!

The day in the life of a missionary is the best!  Every morning we wake up at 6:30 and say our morning prayers.  We exercise from 6:30 to 7:00 and at 7:00 we begin to get ready for the day.  At 7:30 we eat breakfast.  Hermana Canul and I have a system where we switch off who makes breakfast every day.  This morning it was my turn.  We had french toast and scrambled eggs (both of which Hermana Canul has never eaten before.) From 8:00 to 11:00 we study, 3 hrs divided into 1 hour of personal study, 1 hour of companionship study, and an hour of language study.  At 11:00 we leave the house and begin proselyting.  At 2:00  we do what the call the comida, which is lunch, with members.  The relief society signs up for days to feed us during the week and each day we eat with whoever signed up to feed us that day.  There are tortillas present for every meal, it doesn't matter what we eat, there is always tortillas or the meal isn't complete.  There are also usually beans as well and salsa as a condiment.  I have learned to always just assume the salsa is hot and...about 99% of the time it is!  I will usually put 3 or 4 little drops of it on my food and it's about the right amount of spicy that I can handle.  My companion and everyone else we are eating with will put about 3 or 4 spoonfuls on everything.  After lunch we continue working for the rest of the day.  At 9:00 we return home and plan for the next day from 9-9:30.  From 9:30 to 10:30 we prepare for bed, write in our journals and say our prayers.  At 10:30 we go to sleep and the next day we start the day over again.

I love being a missionary.  There are days that are hard, days that are long and times that I feel like I honestly can't go any farther.  But through it all I have learned to trust in my Savior and in my Father in Heaven. When I work as hard as I can and trust in my Heavenly Father I always see the blessing that comes from it.  Through all the long and hard days there are miracles along the way that out weigh any hard time and make it all worth it.  We may have a day completely full of appointments and every single one falls through and we end up walking the entire day.  But if we find 1 person in whose life we could make a difference or help in some way or another it was all worth it!

This week I have really been focussing on how we see things.  We all live in the same world and live the same 24 hours each day, but we all see the world from a different perspective.  I have noticed personally how my perspective has changed while I have been on my mission.  The world around me hasn't changed it is completely the same, but my way of looking at it is different.  We all have different experiences in life, different challenges and different circumstances that we may not be able to choose.  What we are always able to choose however is how we look at them.  2 people can be facing the same exact trial but 1 of them may choose to look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow while the other sees it as a reason to be unhappy and lose hope.

There are several things in life we will never be able to change.  But rather than spending our time focussing on these things we can't change we can focus on those that we can, one of which is our attitude.  I remember something my brother said when asked what he did when he was put with a companion that he didn't get along with and how he dealt with it.  He said, "Instead of trying to change them I focussed on how I would change myself.  I could spend all the time I wanted trying to change them but it would never work.  It wasn't until I focussed on how I could change that it made the difference."

By changing ourselves and our attitudes we don't change the world, but we change our world.  By changing our perspective we have control over each day we live.  It's only a bad day if that's the way we choose to look at it.  Our lives are ultimately what we choose to make them.

I love you all! Choose to have a great week this week and make it happen.

Love, Hermana Peine

Monday, November 10, 2014

David and Goliath

This week Hermana Canul and I decided the mission is like mothering.  Each lesson we verify if our investigators are reading their scriptures and saying their prayers.  We give them assignments and then later verify if they did what we asked them to.  We make appointments with them and then remind them throughout the week so they don't forget.  I feel like a mother here everyday, it's awesome:)

This week of course I had several interesting experiences, I think that's part of what you sign yourself up for when you serve a least in my case that's how it is. This week we had a lesson with an investigator who was of another religion, I'm not sure which but we taught her lesson 1, The Restoration and when we finished she offered to say the prayer to finish the lesson.  So we closed our eyes and folded our arms and she began to pray.  During her prayer she stood up and walked over to us.  The next thing we knew she put her hands on our heads and began shouting.  I'm not sure exactly all that she said, but after she finished we thanked her and left to our next appointment.  On our way to the next appointment my companion explained what had happened.  Apparently the sister we were teaching gave us blessings when she put her hands on our heads and prayed for us.  So that was an interesting experience.  It strengthened my testimony of the power of the priesthood.  You can feel the difference when you get a blessing from a worth priesthood holder, they have the authority of God.

This week we also had an interesting experience in the Combi...surprise! (I seem to have a lot of crazy experiences in the combi's) We were in the combi on the way to Santo Domingo to teach a recent convert named Ana.  Me and Hermana Canul were sitting in the back seats of the combi when all of a sudden we felt a big gust of wind come over us.  The trunk door had flown open!  There was a rope attached to the handle to pull the door shut.  I stood up and reached to grab the rope but I couldn't quite get it.  So they had to stop the combi and get out to go close it.  It was a nice try.:)

We also got completely soaked this week.  We decided not to bring our umbrellas with us when we left the house because we didn't want to carry them around with us all day can probably guess what happened.  We got drenched!  We were so wet that at one of the lessons we arrived at they gave us towels to dry ourselves off.  I would say we learned our lesson, but...I'm sure it will happen again.

My companion continues to be a tiny little thing and I continue to learn more and more Spanish everyday.  My dictionary has become my new best friend this transfer.;)  Although my vocabulary continues to get bigger and bigger each day, it is still not where I would like it to be.  But for the most part me and my companion can communicate pretty well.  She does spend a lot of time laughing at me though...either I'm really funny of I make a lot of mistakes while I'm talking.  I have yet to figure it out?

This week during one of our lessons I realized just how tiny my companion really is.  We were teaching a group of little kids all under the age of 12.  As I looked around the room I saw that all of their feet were hanging about 5 inches off the ground swinging back and forth in the air.  I turned to look at my companions feet and hers were the same, dangling off the ground.  One of the sister training leaders came to Cacahoatan to do a companion exchange with the other sisters in our area.  Me and my companion ate lunch with them.

 The sister training leader that came is 6'2" and when I saw her next to my companion I just started laughing, it was like David and Goliath in front of me and I made sure to take a picture so you can see it too, it's hilarious:)

This week my testimony has been strengthened of the powers of the Book of Mormon.  There is a statement in Preach my Gospel that says, "The Book of Mormon, combined with the spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion."  It is true!  This week we read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with several different investigators and we could feel the power of it as we did so.  The investigators said they felt something beautiful and we explained how it was the spirit.  I was reminded this week of the words of Joseph Smith that "The book of Mormon is the most correct book on the earth and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book."

I know the Book of Mormon is true.  I have read it and have felt the power in its pages.  Reading the Book of Mormon everyday will help you become closer to Heavenly Father and you will feel the difference it brings in your life.  Make it a priority and you will see the blessings! Have a great week!

Love Hermana Peine

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hello Companion and Good bye English!

Hola Everyone!

This week was one of the hardest and best weeks of my life! I feel like I have grown more in this week alone than any other time since I've been on my mission.

New companion

Old companion

As far as the big news goes for this week...I got a new companion!!! You know the saying when they say the bird grows up and then the mom pushes it out of the nest to see if it can fly? Actually, I don't think that's how it goes at all...I'm thinking I probably just made that saying up huh? Oh well.  The point is that this transfer I have felt like that, but on a greater level.  At the first of this transfer I felt like I had been pushed out of a plane without a parachute (I was more or less terrified and didn't feel ready or like I knew what I as doing.)  My American trainer was transferred and I was left in Cacahoatan to lead out my area.  On Tuesday I went to the bus station to pick up my new companion.  As I sat and waited with the zone leaders and sister training leaders we talked about the new companion I was going to receive, what she would be like, where she would be from and so forth.  At about 2:15 her bus arrived and the people all got off and began walking in the bus station.  A few minutes later there she was, my little Mexican companion named Hermana Canul walked in the doors.  My very first thought when I saw her was "Oh boy, she probably doesn't speak a word of English... I was right :).  We said hello (well hola actually) and I got her things together and loaded everything up in the taxi and headed off to Cacahoatan.  On our way there we talked and I explained to her how our district leader had told me she would be senior companion because she had more time in the mission.  She then explained to me how she was actually re-starting her mission again.  She had been in the mission for for 6 months when she injured her knee and had to go home to get surgery.  She went home and had her operation and then had to stay at home for 3 months while she was healing.  She told me how this was actually her first day back in the mission and not only would I be senior companion but I would be her trainer as well as she is re-entering the field again.  Holy moly that is not what I wanted to hear!  I was already worried enough about having a  companion who didn't understand any English and leading out an area I still wasn't very familiar with.  In that moment my previous analogy came to mind, I felt like I had been pushed out of an airplane without a parachute free-falling into the unknown.  We got back to the house and unloaded her things and then got ready to leave to go to our appointments.  Before we left the house I knelt down and prayed to my Heavenly Father.  I told him I couldn't do this alone and that I needed his help.  I put my trust in him and have continued to do so this entire week and I have truly seen miracles because of it.

Hermana Canul is a tiny little thing, she's probably around 4'10".  She is from a part of Mexico called Yucatan which is about 18 hours from here.  She is Mexican (of course) and speaks Spanish and Mayan.  She is a powerful little thing and she has a very strong testimony, I have already learned a lot from her.

As far as the Spanish goes...holy cow am I learning it now!  It's kind of like a sink or swim kind of thing.  I don't have anyone who understands English that can explain to me things that were said in the lesson that I didn't understand or help me translate what I want to say.  But we are actually able to communicate pretty well.  We do a lot of charades throughout the day and explaining things cave man style but for the most part we understand each other.  The gift of tongues is real, I have seen it so much this past week.  I have been able to teach and communicate with people better than ever before!

This week my testimony about trusting in the Lord has grown so much!  I have learned that obedience truly brings blessings.  When we are exactly obedient and put our trust completely in the Lord anything is possible!  I have seen miracles here everyday this week.  Investigators we thought would have to leave keeping their commitments, finding new investigators who the Lord has prepared for us and being happier and more excited than I ever have before.

This church is true, there is no doubt in my mind that it is.  Heavenly Father does hear and answer every single prayer in his own timing and in his own way.  With the Lord on your side anything is possible!

Mom, I gave one of your pictures you went of the little girl dancing with Jesus to one of our investigators.  The lady I gave it to had her little sister pass away so I wrote my testimony on the back of it and told her how I knew she would be able to see her sister again someday.  She appreciated it very much!  Thank you for sending those pictures mom.  They are going to be very useful here in my missionary work!  


Hermana Peine