Tuesday, May 17, 2016

This week has been pretty rough as far as missionary work goes,
because we've been stuck inside piso for the last 3 days trying to
overcome a Fever/stomach virus that's been going around the Ward and
most of our investigators. All four of us had some degree of sickness
this week, so it's been a fairly difficult experience, feeling cooped
up in Piso while there are things to do and people to see. It's a
really strange sensation, but even after the first few hours we all
felt super antsy and ready to get back out in the world. The time here
is little and precious, and we all felt like there were better things
to be doing than just sleeping and getting better, haha. But, as a
wise man once said, "If you don't take the time to be well, you with
certainly take the time to be ill later." So we've been unwilling
captives of illness this week. Before that, we had a pretty great
week! Tuesday we had district meeting, which is always a fun and
uplifting and pump-you-up kind of activity. Our visits fired on us for
the afternoon, so we did some more contacting, but we didn't find much
success. We tried passing by one of our investigators that we haven't
seen in a while, and when he opened the door he was... Well... A bit
less than excited to see the missionaries. He told us, very passively,
how he hadn't read the passages that we had asked him to, and how he
didn't really have time to talk to us right then. That was a pretty
solid hit to the stomach, but we didn't let it phase us as we started
to stress the importance of reading and WHY we asked him to read it in
the first place. He softened up as we talked and bore our testimonies,
and expressed to us his fear and doubt of the existence of a god due
to a difficult challenge that he and his family have been going
through. We bore testimony to him that God really does live and love
us and guide us when we need his help, but that we have to demonstrate
that we are willing to trust and accept his help by reading the
scriptures, praying with REAL INTENT, and obeying the commandments He
has given us. I know that this is true. And no matter which issue we
are struggling with, big or small, if we do these things with the hope
and faith that we will receive Divine Assistance, we WILL receive
help. This is proven to me every. Day. As a missionary, both in my
life and in the lives of the members and investigators that we work
with. Our Heavenly Father loves us., and the things he asks us to do
are really for OUR benefit.

Wednesday we worked with one of our part-member/Menos activo families
that we've been seeing about once a week for the last little while.
We've kind of started a short cooking class kind of thing with the
wife and daughter, which is great because it gives us time to have
gospel related discussions with a wholesome recreational activity,
(Plus treats at the end!) She taught us how to make Bolones, a dish
from her native Ecuador, which are like platanos that you fry a bit in
olive oil, smash up, combine with butter and (here's the European
influence) really good cheese, and then you knead them together with
your hands and roll them up into little balls. They're SOO GOOD!!!!
Really super delicious, and it made us feel super South American! (Did
I already talk about this?) Anyway, so this week she asked us to help
her learn how to make a carrot cake, so with a little bit of
experimentation, we made a sugar-free carrot-walnut-banana bread
thing. Haha it wasn't exactly what we were expecting to make, but she
loved it, so there you go! We had English class that night, which is
always really fun. (Did I tell you that I got to teach it last week?
It was kind of difficult to teach English when I don't speak much
Spanish, but it ended up being pretty fun because we went over the
pronunciation of the Alphabet and double letters and stuff, then we
taught them some tongue twisters!)

Thursday was a MIRACLE day!! We went over to the metro station to see
if they had any information about my missing wallet, and GUESS WHAT??
They had my wallet!!!! Mostly unscathed and no worse for the wear, and
nothing was missing except my metro ticket! So that was a HUGE
miracle! (Lucky for me I didn't have any cash in there to begin
with.... Benefits of being a tight-budgeted missionary! ;)
MIRACLES!!!

Friday we decided was going to be OUR MIRACLE DAY! After not seeing
much success in the streets over the last week, we decided to spend
all morning going up and down a particular street in our area until we
found some news. We literally talked to EVERY person who we passed on
the street, applying different ideas of how to get them to stop and
listen to us for just a minute. Here are a few things we learned.

-asking if they have time to talk to us doesn't work
-sometimes the people who initially seem really unwilling to talk to
us turn out to be the best new investigators!
-We should always try to leave them with a card, pamphlet, or Book of Mormon
-We should always try to leave them with our testimonies and a prayer.
They should be able to feel the spirit!
-When you plan ahead with determination to lose yourself in the work,
The Lord provides MIRACLES!!!

After a roller coaster of a morning, we ended up finding FIVE news
just within an hour and a half!!! MIRACLES!!!!!!!!

That night we had Noche de Barrio, which is always super fun, And
Hermana Birch and I taught a lesson about the importance of reading
our scriptures. Hermana Birch had a lesson plan that she's used before
which is SUPER FUERTE but SUPER EFFECTIVE! You start out by clapping
and getting everyone excited and telling them that they've won a
prize. The prize is an all expense paid trip to anywhere in the world!
They get to choose! You get them talking about where they're going to
go, what they're going to do, what they're going to eat, etc. Then you
talk about how they're on the plane, they're going to their vacation,
when all of a sudden there's an announcement that the plane is
malfunctioning and they have 3 minutes to write out a letter to their
family/friends, giving them advice, sending love, etc. You give them
paper and a pen and they write out their letter, and then you tell
them that the plane has crashed, and that there were no survivors.
Luckily there's the plan of salvation, but we'll talk about that
another time. Your letters managed to be salvaged from the wreck, and
they were sent to your families. Unfortunately, with all the things
that need to be done- work, school, activities, sleep, vacations,
etc.- they just don't have time to read your note right NOW. They'll
read it someday, once they have more time, maybe tomorrow or the next
day, just whenever they actually do have time. As you're telling them
this, you start ripping their letters up into pieces. That's the super
FUERTE part. And honestly, it hurts to do it! They just spent 3
minutes writing down how much they love their families/friends, their
last wishes, advice, and everything, but then you just rip it up. The
energy in the room which was so high at the beginning, gets solemn
really quick. The days without reading the letters turn into weeks,
then months, then years. And all the effort that you put into it, all
the love, your last moments of life, all go wasted. Then you compare
that to the scriptures, because really, that's what they are. There
are so many many MANY people who have sacrificed their freedom, their
well-being, and their lives for these words because they are So
IMPORTANT. It's a pretty punch-in-the-gut lesson, but it worked really
really well!!! Then we exacted a promise from each person present that
they would go home THAT NIGHT and read their scriptures. It was a
great day!

Saturday we started feeling pretty ill, but we stuck it out and went
to Sports, which leaped from it's usual 10-15 people to about 50
thanks to one Romanian family/friend group that the elders found. That
was a pretty entertaining experience, to say the least! It was
fantastic.

Sunday was a MIRACLE DAY! As we were sitting in Sacrament meeting with
one of our investigators, the part-member/Menos activo family that
we've been working with snuck in about 3 minutes after it started!!!!
IT WAS AMAZING!!!!! Hermana Birch and I couldn't hide our smiles and
after the meeting, we had to jump in line to hug them because the
WHOLE WARD was so happy to see them! It brought some pretty happy
tears to my eyes.

After that, we headed to piso, cause that's when we started feeling ill.

And that's my week! Pretty eventful, pretty sick, and PRETTY
AMAZING!!!! I love this work that I'm a part of and I love you all! I
know this gospel is true and I know the Book of Mormon is the word of
God.
I love you all!

-Hermana Larson

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