Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mucho Mucho‏

We got a surprise call from Cara as she waited at the airport in Lima the day she flew out. Her flight had returned because of fog and she was expecting to wait four plus hours. It was really good to talk to her. The next time we heard from her was this past Monday when she wrote the following:

Mi familia!
So much has happened since the last time we talked! I’m in Iquitos! I mean like I’m actually here. We finally got here after the hectic airport trauma, we arrived around 8 at night. We got to the mission home and ate, got our new companions, got assigned to our areas and then were off. My new companion is Hermana Salinas, she is from Paraguay and is very…strict? But I love her, she is cute and is very sweet, she is learning English. Hermana Ruesch was off to Tarapoto the next day, I was sad to see her go. We drove in motokars the first night we were there to our apartment, they are so much fun, it basically is just a guy drivng a motorcycle and there is this little carriage thing in the back for people to ride, we ride in those a ton! You haven’t lived until you have rode in one of those in the pooring Amazonian rain. J The first couple of days have been full of me being overwhelmed with the language and many busy things to do. My companion is the sister leader of the hermanas and so she has a ton of stuff to do all the time, this last week though we had a wedding and three baptisms. So we were running all over the place.
Everything I learned in CCM, language wise, I feel has went out the door and I’m starting from scratch. But I’m understanding more and more each day. My companion is extremely patient with me. Iquitos is gorgeous, our area is huge and basically is just dirt roads with a ton of shacks squished together with jungle mixed in there. If you have seen the Other Side of Heaven, Imagine that, It’s pretty close to the way it is in my area.
There is a couple areas in our mission, three you have to fly to in order to get there. Tarapoto, Maybamba, Pacalpa and Iquitos. Yesterday we had a reunion with everyone in our mission at least in the Iquitos area. It was great, all the latinos get together and speak Spanish while the gringos get together and speak English, It kind of has gotten to me, the no speaking English thing. So everyday at lunch we have lunch with the zone leaders and one of them is from Utah so I just talk English to him the whole time while my companion speaks Spanish to the other the whole time.
It was my birthday, and lets just say I have the best pensionista ever. She got me American food and baked me a cake, they sang happy birthday to me, it made me happy. J She is the sweetest thing, and the best cook, all of them are so patient with me not knowing the language. I’m just really quiet and they just smile, I can understand a lot of what they are saying it’s just the responding part that is the problem J
Also the internet is horrible here, you have to pay for the time and the internet is tortoise slow.
Hermana Larsen

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Buena Suerte Hermana Larsen‏

Five days and counting...I will be in Iquitos in FIVE days! :) We are all freaking out, time is moving so much faster...rapido rapido!
We have this amazing teacher at night who is just hilarious, he can speak pretty good English but he speaks as little English as possible so that we get the hang of ONLY Spanish. Every night we go and practice teaching on other districts that pretend to be investigators and the other night, it was so cool, we came in and were sitting in our classroom and he looked and us and in perfect English he said.'you are angels' 'you can create miracles' He is seriously the best teacher I could ask for. He is so powerful in everything he does.
Our other teacher in the morning told us a story the other day and I get to share it with you guys. A missionary at the CCM many years ago came on the first day and was loving every minute, he was excited ready to learn Spanish, then the next week he went to the president and said 'I can't do it, Spanish is too difficult and I want to go home.' the president tried to convince him to stay but he refused. So the president said His flight was Monday and that he still had to go proselyting Saturday. The missionary was so excited that he got to go home. When he went proselyting he didn't get into it at all. He was silent and just went through the motions. Then they came to one house and they came in and the missionary suddenly had a feeling to talk. He opened his mouth and spoke fluent Spanish, right then and there. The old man that he was teaching had a third chair sat out when there were only two elders. The elders said that is was just them two and the old man said no. He said 'when I opened the door I saw a man in a white robe in the middle of you' Now when my teacher was telling us this story he told all of it in Spanish until he got to the last was probably one of the coolest moments ever. :)
We had a 'real' investigator come to the CCM the other day. Our teacher ran in and said we had a person who was interested in the church that were friends of the maestros and we were so excited! 'we're gonna teach a real investigator' well the guy came in and he was from LasVegas, spoke fluent English and Spanish. So we were pretty suspicious. We taught him as a class, that was pretty cool. Then after he left we asked our teacher where he served his mission. And he was like 'I promise I didn't know, I really thought he was a real investigator.' PFT! Ha ha it was pretty funny, I guess he served his mission in Lima Central :) And was visiting with his girlfriend.
We are going proselyting again this Saturday, our last time before going out in the field, CRAZY!
Guess who is coming tomorrow to the CCM? Elder Nielson...The apostle. We are all really excited, my next letter, I'm gonna have a lot to tell you!
Sister leader is good, mostly just making sure that not all the sisters get extremely overwhelmed and go home. Haha :)
Spanish is picking up, I'll get there someday, maybe sooner than I think :)
I love you all so much.
Hermana Larsen

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    Eat, study, sleep, repeat‏

    Hola! I feel like there isn't much to tell this week, it's been kind of boring, we basically eat, sleep, study and repeat! :) We went prosylyting on Saturday and that was way different than the last time, we went to a different part of Lima North. We got a lot of doors that didn't answer and a lot that we taught just on the street, we got one contact and a lot more of me bearing my testimony and saying 'leer el escritura?' which is completely grammatically incorrect. Haha, spanish is stressful, I have two weeks left and I feel like I know nothing, which isn't true, but it feels that way. And all of our district just keeps hearing that the people in Iquitos talk so fast! Ah! This is going to be interesting. Go gift of tongues!
    So Hermana Ruesch and I are the sister leaders but we have no idea what we have to do! We haven't gotten the binders or anything because the CCM presidente is out of town for the week at the mission president conference. So we are just flying blind. We got more hermanas today so we will see how it goes :)
    I am completely surrounded by latinos at the CCM we just got 70 new ones today! When the last three days we only had americans...
    Three of the people from our district are switching over to the latino district today because they are great at spanish, it's dumb. So our district is basically spliting up. Today was the last day we all got to go to the temple and spend p day together...triste.
    Está bien.
    Well...That is literally all I have to tell you guys, just know that I'm studying a lot and eating and sleeping and repeating it everyday. :)
    Hermana Larsen


    Sunday, November 3, 2013

    Qué no mundo!

    Long time, no talk. It feels like years since I've talked to you guys. Let´s just start, so my district is finally getting down my sarcasm...kind of.:) My sweet roommate Hermana Monchego has this constant quote she said, you might have heard of it...'asta lavista baby!' everytime we went to bed, everytime we did anything. She is adorable. She was slowly learning english, she learned how to say 'you are crazy' she would say it to me constantly. She left to her mission along with all our other latina roommates tuesday. Now we have three american roommates...pft! Haha, they're nice :)
    It's earthquake season here...we have felt two during the night. it's pretty fun. :) the elders completely sleep through all of them and the hermanas are always talking about them the next day.
    It's interesting here at the CCM, and being on a mission, you can go from being extremely happy and excited to completely frustrated with yourself and others in a blink of an eye. Hormones. No, everyone feels that way, but we all kind of lean on each other.
    The showers here are the best though. They are seriously so bipolar. It will start out wonderful, nice and warm, then suddenly start scalding your skin, then goes freezing cold. The best part is that those will probably be the best showers I will have on my mission, so awesome! :)
    The Peruvian sun is extremely strong. Hermana Ruesch and I do our personal study outside and we will sit on the step things and we sat there for ten minutes and I was burnt...I don't mean like tan, I mean burnt. I've already gotten pretty tan just from being out in personal study.
    The big story is though that we went out proselyting for the first time in the real Peruvian world! We went to the ghetto. I was with an american companion, a teacher who knew a farely good amount of english and was fluent in spanish and also a member who did not know any english. It was amazing, so we were pushed to speak a lot of spanish, I bore my testimony like 5 times and prayed twice. It was amazing. We read a scripture to a lady and we asked her how she felt afterwards and she started to cry! She started to spout off something really fast in spanish and I just kept asking our teacher what she was saying.. he translated the whole time, basically she had a sick aunt that was dying and how she needed to be strong for her and how that scripture really helped. It was pretty much awesome. :) Every woman in Peru greets women with a kiss on the cheek, gladly! They go out of their way to greet you that way and say goodbye that way. Going into people´s houses was insane though. They were terrible, so small, so dirty, America is spoiled.
    Oh! And before we went out prosylyting the teachers were trying to get us all pumped and make sure that we knew that we could do this, I think they could see in our faces that we were freaking out. So we were in our spanish class and suddenly these adorable kids probably 1st or 2nd grade come in and the boys shook the hermanas hands and the girls came and greeted us with a kiss. They were a primary class that wanted to come visit the missionaries. The girls told us that they wanted to be hermanas just like us. It made me cry. They were so sweet. It definitely did some inspiration for our district.
    It's crazy the differences here, there are bars on the churches and bars on the temple. We are so blessed.
    Today we went to the temple again. We went with just our district this time. It was so much fun.
    I love you all so much. I can feel all your prayers.
    Buenas Tardes!
    Hermana Larsen

    Toda Dia Cada Dia‏

    HAPPY HALLOWEEN! So...I got the whole first vision memorized... in SPANISH!! Go me! :) I can successfully recite it in lessons now. :) I wanna say this week has been boring but it really hasn't something funny has happened everyday but I just have to remember to write it down so I can remember to write it in the email.
    So our district is singing in sacrament meeting on Sunday and it is very exciting when we practice, we are the most impatient, funny, ADD group of people. It's ridiculous. Haha :) We are probably singing Abide With Me Tis Even Tide in spanish and english. We really need some more practice first though. All the people that came the two weeks before us are leaving tomorrow morning, so that means guess who is the oldies in the CCM tomorrow?! US!
    Oh... and guess who became a sister leader today? Me :) Hermana Ruesch and I are now the sister leaders of the hermanas in the CCM. :)
    Hermana Ruesch and I taught a lesson to our district Sunday about Christlike attributes, it was actually really cool to see our district get all spriritual and was different, that's for sure. But very good, who would have known we have such big testimonies.
    Hermana Ruesch and I have this little problem during personal study, we sit out in the sun and study then we go lay on the grass and suddenly, I don't know how it happens...but we fall asleep! I fell asleep for a good hour yesterday. It was amazing. Best. Nap. Ever. I am an awesome missionary.
    Oh, funny story. Last week when the newbies came, that night we were going to take showers and suddenly people were screaming, and it was loud! They ran out of the bathroom and were yelling that the water was scalding hot! And then it just stopped. I mean the water was completely gone. No water was working, we couldn't use the bathroom, we couldn't get water, nothing. So we had to walk downstairs in our pjs to find a toilet that wasn't already used...nasty, I know. It was an interesting night. Luckily, it is fixed now. Good news :)
    Yesterday we went to immigration so that I could really go to Iquitos. So we all fit into this mini van and the driver turned on music! Maroon 5 came on and if you know me, I was stoked, totally jammed to Sunday Morning, with my sister missionary plaque and all :) Yes, MUSIC!!! We were so excited! We all jammed out..and most of it wasn't even music that we really liked but we all hadn't heard music in so long that we were loving it. We are not allowed to listen to any music in the CCM while we are here so all of us are randomly singing songs that just ´pop into our head! Yesterday I was singing the grinch. It was Halloween! :) Also, yesterday at immigration a man came up to us and was sincerely interested in how to become a member of the church, he asked how he could get baptized! What?! Crazy! So we gave him pamphets and I taught in spanish, no big deal :) Oh...And the gift of tongues is very real. I've experienced it.
    The mail here is very delayed just so everyone knows. It varies. Some people have gotten it fast and others just got mail yesterday that was sent on the 10th so...yeah.
    Oh my, I miss Cache Valley and I miss everyone, but I love it here so much. It has defitnitely hit me this week that I will be in Iquitos in 2 and a half weeks and I feel like I know NOTHING. And I just keep thinking...BRING IT ON! I got this. Whenever I mention that I am going to Iquitos to any of the Latinos this is their reaction..'mucho calor!' Very hot and you eat weird things. :) Yeah!
    I love you all so much!
    Hermana Larsen