Monday, December 15, 2014

“The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Loved to Do…

...Was Getting on this Plane and Coming Home to You´´

Well, This is it.

My official last letter as a missionary, and I can`t lie, the tears are pouring down my face as I write this. This has been a super emotional, but amazing last week. Full of Goodbyes and See you Laters, Lots of hugs, lots of kisses, lots of tears, lots of work, and many memories that I will never forget.

This last week I had the amazing opportunity to go to the temple and watch my wonderful Peruvian Sandoval Family be sealed for time and for all eternity. There aren't words to describe the joy that was felt to know that I had been a tiny part in helping them get to that point, and to see them make that covenant together. This week was also the wedding of the family C., that the Elders have been teaching but that we have come to know really well as well, and then on Saturday they were baptized, Mom, Dad, and son, along with our investigator R. It was wonderful. 

Yesterday both Hna Ortuño and I gave talks in church, and then cried together last night as we walked out of our last lesson as missionaries. Being a missionary is the hardest, most exhausting, amazing, fulfilling experience I have ever had in my whole life. I can`t believe how fast these past 18 months have gone, and it seems surreal to me that tomorrow I will be released. It also seems surreal that I will be in a different country, Peru has come to feel like home to me and I will miss it so much, along with all of the wonderful people I have met. 

The gospel changes lives. Of this I testify with all my heart. I am so grateful for the opportunity my Heavenly Father has given me to have front row seats to the change in so many people. But most of all I am grateful for the change that has happened in me. I know that I am not the same Hermana Shelton that left home 18 months ago, and I hope that I have become who it is that my Heavenly Father wants me to be.

Yo amo esta obra. Amo la mision, amo ser misionera. Amo Peru. :) Se que esta es la Iglesia verdadera, que Jose Smith fue un profeta y que por medio de el hoy en dia tenemos el Libro de Mormon que fue escrito por estos tiempos para ayudarnos a volver a la presencia de nuestro amoroso Padre Celestial. Se sin ninguna duda en mi corazon que el Evangelio bendice a las familias. He visto la differencia que hace el Evangelio en la vida de muchas personas, y he tenido experiencias que nunca olvidare. Espero poder ponerlos en practica ahora que voy a ser misionera, que extraño. :)

(Translation- I love this work. I love the mission, I love being a missionary. I love Peru. :) I know that this is the true church, that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that through him we have the Book of Mormon today. The Book of Mormon was written for these times to help us return to the presence of our loving Heavenly Father.  I know without a doubt in my heart that the gospel blesses families.  I have seen the difference that the gospel makes in the lives of many people, and I have had experiences that I will never forget.  I hope to be able to put these things into practice now that I will be a returned missionary...ahh, how strange. :)  )

I love you all. Thank you for all the support, love, and prayers that have been sent my way, I have felt them. I can`t wait to see you all soon :)

Les amo con todo mi corazon. Nos vemos mañana!

Con mucho amor, y como siempre....

                            Hermana Shelton

Monday, December 8, 2014

“I’ll be home for Christmas” …for reals this year!

^ if that’s not the trunkiest subject line! jaja

Hello Everyone!

In answer to your question, I think I will email you one more time next week, but I`m not sure. This just may be my last email of the mission! Ah... no pressure or anything...

So. How am I? I would be lying to say it hasn`t been a pretty hard week. But, those hard weeks are just as much a part of the mission as the good ones.
Raul and Marina won`t be getting married or baptized this week. We went to sign them up for their marriage only to find out that on the birth certificate of Raul it was missing his second last name....and that is something that will take about one month to fix. So it will be postponed for about one month. sigh....Marina and I cried together in the municipalidad for a good ten minutes, but what can we do? I had to humble myself and realize that the important part isn`t that I would be present in the wedding or baptism, si no that the important part is that they will be getting baptized when they are ready, and prepared. They promised to send pictures through facebook. :)

Good news, An hermana that we have been working with since my first week will be getting baptized this saturday :) Hna Rut. I am so happy for her!

I also had the opportunity to go back and visit Independencia and Begonias this last week. It was incredible being able to see so many people I love! Goodbyes are always hard, but thats why we`ve got facebook and skype :)

  I hope you have all had the opportunity to ``sharethegift`` or as we say here in Peru, ``compartir la dadiva``. I am really grateful i have had the opportunity to be a missionary still and contact in the streets with the little cards and share my testimony of Jesus Christ in this Christmas time. He is the reason for the season, El es la Dadiva.

I hope you all are doing well, and that you have a wonderful week!

Como siempre,

Hermana Shelton

This picture just kind of says it all....

Monday, December 1, 2014

"And everyone that hath forsaken houses..."

“...or sisters, or father, or mother, (....) for my names sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29

Hola familia!

Throughout my mission, especially around transfer time I have pondered and thought of all the many people I have met and grown to love in my time here. It’s always amazing to me, I am so sad to leave an area and the people I have come to love as family, and then I get to a new area and meet new amazing people that I come to love as well. And one day I was thinking about that, just counting in my mind all the people I had met and the number astounded me. And then this verse came to mind, and everything made perfect sense.

I had read that verse many times before, but never had really understood what it meant. And it has come to have a special meaning to me since that day. It literally blows my mind to think of all the incredible people I have met and gotten to know in my time in Peru. People that I consider as part of my family, and it breaks my heart to think about leaving them behind. (can I just say that I have never been more grateful for facebook in my whole life?) but there is another verse I found in the bible that I love. It sounds a lot better in Spanish (The bible in English is makes so much more sense to me in Spanish..) but here it is,

But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.
Basically, although we may be separated in presence or in distance, they will always be in my heart. And the hope is that one day we will all be together again with our Heavenly Father. That’s why I`m here isn`t it? I love that about the gospel. If we all continue faithful there doesn`t have to be any ``goodbyes`` just...see you laters. 
At the same time that my heart breaks to leave mi familia peruana, it yearns to see all of you. Whenever anyone asks me what I am most excited for when I get home I say, ``to spend time with my family`` and its true. I can`t wait to see all of you!
But don`t worry, I`m not trunky. :) We`re still working hard, enduring to the end :) Everything is going well with our family. We actually had an amazing experience teaching the word of wisdom. Turns out Hna M. has a coffee addiction... she got super mad when we taught that lesson, but the spirit was the guiding influence. My companion said that she felt prompted to stay quiet and let me talk. And I had a tons of thoughts come to my head. My companion told me after the lesson that I spoke in such a calming quiet way that everything turned out ok. She is really committed now to quit and has been doing so well this week.
Well, I have to go.
Have a wonderful week everyone. 
I love you all!

Hna Shelton

Monday, November 24, 2014

I am grateful for.....being a missionary! :)

Hi family!

Happy Thanksgiving! That sure came fast. That makes me cold just thinking about the rain and snow that will be waiting for me, I like the sun :( Oh well its ok. This week I am grateful for being a missionary and for all of the many blessings and miracles I have seen and received her in the mission. I received one of the sweetest tender mercies yesterday in church, one of my biggest desires getting to this area was to be able to teach and baptize a FAMILY. Well, remember our family that we are teaching? This last week we found out that there will be another wedding on the, wait for it, 13th of December. So now we are preparing everything for this day. It looks like we will be having a wedding and baptism the last Saturday of mine and my companion’s mission. How crazy is that? Also, remember the family I told you about that we found my first week here, the dad who found a book of Mormon and contacted us? Well my tender mercy yesterday was being able to sit in Sacrament Meeting with R and M on one side of us, And G and M and their kids sitting in front of us. And then the elders walked in with a family that will be getting married and baptized this week (the dad has had a hard time dropping his drinking habit, but he has been doing so good.) Elder Johnson gave him one of his white shirts to wear to church and when I saw them walk in to the chapel with his white shirt on, and I looked around and saw my families by my side my eyes just welled up with tears. I can`t explain it, but it was just such a beautiful feeling. And then last night we taught the lesson two (the Plan of Salvation) to a less active family and the spirit was SO strong, especially when we talked about the celestial kingdom and the temple. They have a goal now to not let 2015 pass by without getting sealed. They promised to send pictures through facebook :)

One of the grandest lessons I have learned on my mission is that the Gospel really does bless families. I have had a unique front row seat to so many home and family situations, good and bad, and I have seen the difference the gospel makes. IT’S SO TRUE. One of my favorite quotes before coming out here was `Missionary: someone who leaves their family for 18 months so that others may be with their family for eternity` because that is really what it is all about. This Thanksgiving I am also grateful that my Heavenly Father blessed me with such incredible parents and sisters. Thank you for all you have done for me, and for supporting me. I am who I am today thanks to you and your examples.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and a wonderful Thanksgiving. Try not to eat TOO much turkey. Save me some pumpkin pie, ok? :)

Love you mucho,

Hna Shelton


Hna Mamani came to visit us! Happiest day ever. It was so wonderful
seeing her and talking with her again. Mi Mami de la Mision :)

So surprise! yet ANOTHER picture of me in the hills. They just never get old.

So, you know you`ve been in Peru for a long time when to celebrate
your 17 months in the field instead of buying cake or ice cream
 or pizza you buy some delicious anticucho y patita (fried
           cow heart and fried chicken feet). Yummmmmmmmmm................

Walking to church yesterday with G and M and their sweet family. :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Feliz 17 meses!

Hola a todos!

So, it’s been an interesting week. Remember how I told you about our family? Well, we got all the way to the center of Lima, waited in line for a long time and started the process when they informed us that something was wrong with their birth certificates and that they wouldn`t be able to sign them up for that wedding. :( BUT they gave us other options and we haven`t given up hope. We are waiting for one more paper and then hopefully this week we will be able to get everything taken care of so that we can get this family married and baptized! They are so wonderful. I absolutely love teaching them. We had two awesome lessons with them this week, and my favorite was when we taught the plan of salvation. The spirit was SO strong, and Raul said afterwards, wow, I feel so much peace knowing this. I love teaching them because they always take notes on everything we say, and then they come up with their own conclusions (for example, when we talked about Adam and Eve he sat there thinking for a moment and said, So it was necessary for them to partake of the fruit, and it was all part of Gods plan.. YES! That’s exactly what we were getting at!) So we are not giving up hope, I know that everything will work out how it should.

Something SUPER exciting is that my Mommy (in the mission) Hna Mamani is here in Lima right now! She came up from Arequipa to visit me and Hna Schroader before we finish the mission. And I talked to her this morning and will be seeing her in about....15 minutes. EEE!!! I am so excited.

I`m sorry, I didn`t leave myself a lot of time to write today, so that’s all for now, but I am doing really good, I still don`t feel like I`ll be home in one month. But its coming quickly! I am just trying to focus and work as hard as I can and enjoy every minute.

I hope ya`ll have a wonderful week! 
Hna Shelton

Rachel will be home on December 16, 2014!  
She will report her mission on December 28, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Hey ya`ll!

Some strange things went down this week with transfers. First, my companion was transferred. We knew it was coming but it was still sad. We cried. It happens every time. I`m used to it by now. I`m on my 11th or 12th companion I think. :P
So that wasn`t the strange thing. The strange thing was when they announced my new companion...and it was the Hna Ortuño! We both looked at each other like...wait what? Because, she finishes her mission this transfer as well! Ha, President made the joke when he put us together that we were to be ``co mayores`` not ``co muertos`` Ummm not sure exactly how to explain that it English, but basically in mission slang when someone is finishing the mission they say that you`re ``dying`` and since we`re both ``dying`` together he was basically telling us not to be trunky. :) jaja, ok. So maybe it’s only funny in Spanish but everyone here got a good laugh out of it. 

So, we`re finishing our missions together! Its super weird, but super fun at the same time. Apparantly there aren`t as many sister missionaries entering, and also our area is a little dangerous for hermanas, so President is going to put in another companionship of elders in this ward when we leave. The whole ward is kind of bummed when they find out, They like having sisters, but we`ll see what happens. 
So Hna Ortuño is`re never gonna guess Mom, Bolivia! My third companion from Bolivia. But this time she`s from Santa Cruz. Each one has been from a different part, Oruro, Cochabamba and now Santa Cruz. She`s awesome! We didn`t know each other when we started the mission because her original mission call was to Venezuela so she served 6 months in Bolivia waiting for her visa to Venezuela, and then she was there for only three months before they took out all the extranjeros (what is that word in English? for someone from a different country? my mind is pulling a blank.) And all of the Bolivians were sent to Peru. Last night we were having a hard time sleeping, the both of us, so we just laid there and talked for a long time and she told me all about her experience in Venezuela and how scary it was, and how hard it’s been serving in three missions. I can`t even imagine! So anyways. Thats a little about her. We get along great and we`re having a ton of fun ``dying together`` :)

Last night we had an amazing experience. Back story: I`ve been praying my little heart out to be able to baptize a family before finishing my mission, and the truth is that I`d been losing hope. But this week we found an investigator that we`d lost contact with for a couple of weeks, and were able to visit with him nuevamente. Yesterday him and his ``wife`` (their not married yet) came to church. And we went to visit them at night and had an awesome lesson. They are literally SO prepared, he had prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and said he felt a calming peace, and his wife said she`d felt the same way in the chapel. He had been attending the Jehovah’s Witnesses before and they both expressed their feelings of confusion that for years they have been looking for the true church, and she said she`d been frustrated because she`d never ``felt`` anything in any of them. So we were teaching the third lesson, The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the spirit was SO strong. I know I have felt the spirit in my mission but MAN I haven`t felt it that strong in a long time. We got to the part on baptism, and I extended the invitation and it was quiet for a moment and first, she accepted. And then R started to talk. He hesitantly said....yes...and then he said, I don`t know how to express what I am feeling right now. I feel like my very heart is on fire, it literally moves me, and I feel like I want to cry, what does that mean? We were able to testify that it was the spirit testifying to him that this was the path he should take. He said that he`d always analyzed all the decisions he`d ever made, and that they usually took a long time but that in that moment his first instinct was to say yes. Long story short. They are preparing for baptism on the 29th of this month. :) But that isn`t even the most amazing part. After that we had to talk about marriage and the law of chastity and I was a little worried but I hesitantly brought it up and they said that yes, it was in their plans. And after we explained that they had to get married before they could be baptized but that we could help with the process he looked at us and said, Ok! Marry us! What?!?! 
So we were like, yeah okay, well turns out that there will be a marriage sponsored by the church on the 21st and the last day to turn in the papers is...tomorrow. He looked at us kind of shocked and was like, ``Imagine that! For God there aren`t any coincidences, are there?`` No there definitely aren`t. Then we came upon the next problem. It can sometimes take a long time to get all the papers ready and the birth certificates sent from other parts of the country to get a marriage ready and so we brought that up and he said, well, we actually have all the papers ready, look here they are! And he grabbed them off the table and gave them to me. At this point my mouth literally fell open and I blurted out, ``EN SERIO?`` haha. Seriously?! Yeah. Seriously. we are giving up our P day to go to the center of Lima to get them all signed up. This morning Satan tried to discourage them and they were worried about the costs and how fast it all is, but we were able to talk about it and pray and they decided to go through with it. :) Every little thing is falling into place. I feel like I am watching a miracle unfold in front of my eyes. But, Satan always tries to get in the way so we are going to be praying SO MUCH in these next few weeks. 
Oh. Ok, so their names are R and M, and M told us that she has a 12 year old son that we haven`t met yet that hasn`t been baptized in any church yet. She`s going to bring him to the next lesson :) 

Heavenly Father answers prayers, and miracles do happen. I love, love, love being a missionary, and can`t wait to see what these last five weeks bring. Time seems to be speeding up with every second and I just want to take advantage of every last one of them. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week, I know I will!

Love ya`ll,

Como siempre, 
Hermana Shelton

Just realized I didn`t have a picture with Hna Ortuño so we just took one in
the internet cafe and here it is! Its not that great but, oh well. :)

Also! Hna Shroader and I are together again in the same zone.
She was my first companion with Hna Mamani. Starting, and finishing the mission together. :)
We matched one day and took a picture.

Doin` laundry like a true peruvian

Me outside the Elders house

With our favorite little family. 
And district VillaHermosa on our last night together with the bishop 
and his wife. Hna Sanchez and Elder Buckner had transfers.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The primary answers aren't just for the primary kids!

Buenos dias a todos!

I have a lot of thoughts running around in my head that I would like to share and I hope it all comes out making sense.

First. Tomorrow marks the first day of my last transfer. EL ULTIMO CAMBIO. If thats not the craziest,scariest,most exciting,happiest,saddest thing ever. Ha. Lots of mixed feelings if you can’t tell! We find out in about an hour if Hna Sanchez is staying with me, or if I will get a new companion. Everyone has been teasing me that I am going to train for my last transfer. We`ll see.....

This last week we had an awesome Family Night with the ward. With our new ward mission leader we have set the goal to have a family night in the house of a less active or recent convert every Tuesday night. This last Tuesday we had it with the family of those super adorable kids that live at the very top of the hill (that I sent a picture with them a couple of weeks ago) y fue EL EXITO.(It was a huge success :)) 31 people came!! 31 people climbed to the very top of the hill to be with that sweet family. We filled up their small humble house completely, but it was so awesome. In the lesson we were able to use the experience several people had climbing up all the stairs as an analogy for our lives. It was dark outside, and so those that got to the top first had flashlights that they used to light the path, and there were groups of people helping those that struggled a little bit with the climb and we used that as an analogy for our lives. That the path to eternal life with our heavenly father is a climb. It’s not always easy, and we are going to pass through a lot of difficulties but we have our families and ward members to help us along the way, and prophets and scriptures etc... to light the path. And that it will all be worth it when we are all together again with our father in heaven. We put on a small Mormon message video about the temple and it all went together really well. The spirit was really strong, It was an awesome night :) 

Another thing I have been thinking a lot about this past week, a lot for some of the things you told me in your email last week mom, and also for some personal experiences and things I have seen in the mission, is that Satan’s power is REAL. In the scriptures it says that in the last days mens hearts shall fail them, and even the most elect will be tricked by the cunning ways of Satan. He is going to be working SO hard to make us fall. To make us doubt ourselves, and our testimonies. He also was with us in our premortal life, and that means that he also knows us very well, our strengths, and our weaknesses, and he knows exactly how to get us where it hurts the most. So what can we do to keep ourselves from his influence? The exact things they have been telling us in church our whole lives!!! In Spanish we call it the ´´OLA´´ como hola...(Orar, Leer, Asistir o, Pray, Read, and go to Church) The simple answers that we give every week in church. But it is TRUE!! This week to help a less active family learn how to really search and study the scriptures we had them read to 1 Nefi 8, to Lehis vision of the Tree of Life. And then last night we studied, and drew out the dream, and applied it to our lives. ESCUDRIÑAMOS juntos. It sounds cooler in Spanish, lo siento. Anyways, I had a huge breakthrough about the four different groups of people it mentions in the dream. To be short there is one group that doesn`t even enter the path, but goes straight to the great and spacious building. The second group enters the path but doesn`t grab hold of the rod. (What’s the rod? It’s the word of God. How do we grab hold of the word of God? OLA!) So that group treats very lightly the word of God, and when the mists of darkness come they wander off and are lost. The third group enters the path, grabs hold of the rod and partakes of the fruit! But afterwards they still wander off and are lost. Why? Let’s look at the fourth group. The ONLY difference between the third and the fourth groups is one word. CONTINUALLY. The fourth group held fast to the rod continually. They were constant in their studies, they were constant in their OLA. That is the only difference. That hit me hard.
I invite anyone who reads this email to be more constant in your study of the scriptures, in your daily prayers, in your attendance at church, in keeping the commandments. Whatever it is that you may not be doing in this moment. Because I know that Satan will come and he will tempt us and make us doubt our very dearest beliefs. He is smart, and it is not a matter of IF he will come, but WHEN. That we may do all we can to be built upon the ROCK that is our Savior, and press our way forward continually holding fast to the rod of iron. 
I absolutely love what one of the apostles (I think it was Elder Holland or Elder Uchtdorf) said a couple of conferences again. Doubt your doubts before doubting your faith. 

I know these things are true. I want to make it through this ´´climb´´ that is our earthly life with all of those that I love so much. That would be all of you reading this email :) It is going to be difficult, there are going to be pitfalls and times when we feel like we have lost our way, but there will always, always, be someone at the top holding a light, guiding the path and cheering us on. 

The gospel is true. It BLESSES and CHANGES lives. I know it.

I love you all con todo mi corazon :) 

Have an absolutely wonderful week and don`t forget to do your OLA. :)

Con Mucho Amor,

Hermana Shelton