Monday, January 27, 2014

Feliz Cumpleanos ...a mi!

                                                                                                                            January 27, 2014

Hellooooooooooooo Everybody!!

It is a bright, sunny, super hot day in Lima Peru which is super weird cause normally on my birthday there is snow! But hey. Thats ok! I guess since today is the 27th that means I´m 21 years old....weird. I can´t believe how fast the time is going!!

I am just super lucky that my one birthday as a missionary happens to fall on a P day because my companion and I received special permission to go to Indepenedencia for the day! My pensionista and her family and a bunch of my dearerst friends from my old ward are all going to be there. I am really excited to see everybody :) Some of the elders here have been talking about some crazy tradition where they crack an egg on the head of the birthday girl and then throw flour at you.... I am really hoping that is a joke but I guess we´ll find out!

Answers to questions..No, I haven´t received my package yet, but that doesn´t mean that the office hasn´t received it. Right now I am about as far away from the offices as I can get so it might take while to get it from there. I still haven´t gotten the package from Jeff either. I am almost out of contact solution so I hope one of them gets here soon! :)
My area is good! Yes, it is much flatter than my old area and in some areas there is a lot of traffic, but others no. The church is pretty big here! We have the institute building right next to our chapel which is super nice because we have been able to teach a couple lessons there. The institute building is my favorite place in our area :) 
My companion is pure Peruvian! All the way down to thinking that buying fried chicken feet from vendors off the street is her idea of a delicious dinner. At first I told her NO WAY that I was going to even try that, but then I said, YOLIPAAMO (You only live in peru as a missionary once) and took a little bite next to the claw. It wasn´t awful,but I think I´ll buy my dinner somewhere else, thank you very much. This week I also tried anticucho for the first time! anticucho is barbequed cow heart and it is actually pretty good! 
But my companion is super great and I love her a whole lot. Fried chicken feet and all :)
I am still having episodes with my heart every once in a while, but I´m doing pretty good health wise. Yes, I am eating :)

Tell everybody THANK YOU for the birthday wishes, especially Sis Mcbride. Thank you!! :)

Funny coincidence, turns out one of Sarah and Holly’s really good friends is in my zone! I found out about Sarah’s call last week from him when we made the connection that he knew them. Elder Aoki. We took a picture together and I think he sent it them. It’s crazy how small the Mormon world is!

Shoot. We have to go. There is never enough time to tell you everything I want to tell you! But before I forget, way to go Jess! I am excited for you for your first date! 

Love you all!!!! 

Hna Shelton

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hello Begonias

So, we had cambios and I am now serving in San Juan de Lurigancho, zona Canto Chico, Barrio Begonias with my new companion, Hermana Apaza de Huanaco Peru. :)
It’s been a LOT of change, I was surprised at how different it is here. I thought all of Peru was like Independencia :) In my new area we don`t have any hills and the houses are pretty nice and it is HUGE! It’s taken some getting used to but all is well, it’s a great place to be. My trainer, Hna Mamani actually served in this ward for 9 months and so it’s been cool to meet all the people that she told me about.
Not gonna lie, I`ve been super homesick for Independencia, I think I`ve been more homesick for Independencia than I was when I left home :P haha but it’s part of the mission and I know that change is good and that eventually I will come to love it here as much as I loved Independencia! 

Something cool we started doing this week, my companion and I, is that every morning at 6 o clock we have been going to the house of a family that is less active and reading a chapter in the Book of Mormon out loud with all of them and then we say family prayer. We are trying to help them get in the habit of reading and praying together as a family, and we are hoping that it is something we will be able to continue doing with other families as well.

Something interesting about this ward, there are about 900 members in the directory, but only about 150 to 200 of them go to church. So. We have a lot of finding and reactivating to do and I am excited to work with them! My companion and I have decided that they are going to be our focus, and we know that it won’t mean less baptisms because a lot of times when we find a family that has been inactive we find members of their family that haven`t been baptized and so we are able to help reactivate a family and at the same time teach new investigators. It was also a promise Elder Uceda gave us. That the baptisms wouldn`t go down if we focused on helping less active members.

So anyways, that's about it for this week! In my new cuarto there lives a cat who is technically the pet of those who live next door, but he thinks he belongs to us. We can`t open the windows or doors without him running in and hiding under our beds. I have some pretty funny pictures of the dumb thing. We`ve named him Señor Gato and he reminds us of the cat from shrek with the big eyes, Puss in boots. I`ll keep you updated on his adventures :) haha

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week! Keep on reading your scriptures (dad that is so cool that you were able to finish the Book of Mormon in 4 days!) saying your prayers and going to church. Remember that it is the small things that make the difference! Love you all!!!

Cuidese mucho! 

Hermana Shelton 

Rachel and Hermana Apaza
Senor Gato

Monday, January 13, 2014

Goodbye Independencia

                                                                                                                                             January 13, 2014
Hello Family!

Well, once again time for cambios has rolled around. And, guess what? I´m leaving Independencia! I don´t know where I am going yet, we find that out tomorrow, but all I know is that after being in Independencia for 6 months, it is time for me to leave. I honestly don´t know if I am feeling happy, sad, nervous, excited, I think I´m feeling all of them together. I am definitely going to miss my ward and the people in my zone SO much, but I think it will be good for me to have a change. I can´t think about saying goodbye to all the members of the ward and all of my investigators without crying so....I´ll think about that later and update you on what happened this week :)

One of the perks of being a sister missionary is that we get a lot of referrals from the Elders of single women and moms in their areas that they can`t teach, so they pass them on to us. Our district leader had a single mom and her 8 year old son that they started teaching and then passed them on to us. So we have been hiking up to their area for the past couple of weeks and on Saturday they were baptized! They are super sweet and I really enjoyed being able to teach them and help them get to their baptism. 

Another random thing from this past week, Hna Espinoza and I got to train in our district meeting on Tuesday! It was super fun. We trained on the ``importance of working with the members`` and Elder Urzola said that he is going to put us in charge of training the district from now on :) haha. He said he gave us that subject because he has really seen a difference in the way our ward has been helping us and he wanted to know our ``secret`` This is something that we struggled with at the beginning of our transfers together, but we prayed a lot for inspiration on how we could work better with our ward and one night it just, came to me. The next day in ward council we trained our ward council on the importance of the new Work of Salvation and how we really couldn`t progress in the work here without them. We talked with them for about an hour and I don`t really know what we said but the next week was like a light and day difference from the weeks before! And it has just gotten better from there, en serio.(Seriously) This last week we had more than twice as much lessons with a member present then without, and when our investigators came to church  they were swarmed by so many of the members that wanted to get to know them. I have seen such a difference in the work in our area in these last few weeks and I know it is because we are finally doing what it is the Lord wants us to do now, which is work fully with the members. 
In our district when we trained we used the example of Laman and Lemuel and Nephi that you can find in 1 Nefi 2. Laman and Lemuel are complaining because their father has told them they have to leave Jerusalem. Nephi as well mentions that he wasn´t too happy about leaving either. In verse 12 it explains the reaction of Laman and Lemuel, that they murmured because they didn´t understand the dealings of God. But in verse 16 it explains Nephi’s reaction that his heart was softened by the Lord and he understood why it was they had to leave and he didn´t rebel like his brothers. In my scriptures I have written something like, ´´Those who murmur, murmur because they don´t understand. Those who obey understand why they obey.´´ We likened that to the members. If they don´t understand their importance in the work, then there is no way they will want to help. But, if they understand, then they will be more like Nephi who in the next chapter says, ´´I will go and do´´ and then we went from there. And it is so true! Hna Espinoza and I feel like one of the reasons why we were here in this area was more to help the members. We were only able to have 4 baptisms together, but we were able to see our success more in the less active members that we were able to help reactivate, and then in the reactions of our ward to missionary work. So my time in barrio Independencia? Success. :)

We were also able to do a ´´mini mission´´ with one of the youth in our ward who is leaving on her mission at the end of this month. She spent 24 hours with us and it was a blast! It was really fun being with her and ´´showing her the ropes´´ of missionary work :)

Hey! Tell Aunt Holly I got her letters and that I loved them! Thank you for the music, and for your talk! I gave a talk in church yesterday and used the same talk from Elder Ballard that you did :) Also, I got the Christmas card from Grandma and Grandpa and I got the Christmas card from you as well. Thank you! :)

Well, we have a farewell lunch with the familia Boza right now (a family from one of the wards above us whose daughter always does divisions with us) our whole district is going to be there and Romina (their daughter who has helped us SO much-I am going to miss her like crazy) and I are going to play the piano and sing songs together so I better go. :) I hope you have all had a wonderful week, sorry I don´t have time to respond individually, but I LOVE YOU ALL!

Ciao! Cuidese mucho! Nos vemos! Hasta la proxima semana! 

Hermana Shelton

Up on my roof, next to of the only flowers I've seen here in Lima:) haha

Baptisms! E. & Y. from the ward above us

So our first day together Hna. Espinoza and I realized that we had the exact same pair of shoes.
Companions for a reason maybe? :)  The little thing with our names was my Christmas present from her.
We thought this was a pretty sweet picture.

Me in front of Estaca Independencia!  I'm gonna miss this place.

Monday, January 6, 2014

"You know you are in Lima Peru for New Year's when..."

                                                                                                                         January 6, 2014

Feliz Año everybody! I am glad to hear you all had wonderful New Year’s Eve celebrations. So I have been thinking this week about how to explain New Year’s Eve here in Lima to you guys and I think this is the best way. ahem: 
``You know you are in Lima Peru for New Year’s when.....``

...On New Year’s Eve the streets are lined up with vendors selling yellow underwear, as that is the custom here, to wear yellow underclothing on the New Year. Yellow is the color of the holiday because it means happiness and peace. Entonces, everybody and their dog (seriously, I saw dogs wearing yellow as well) wears yellow everything. If you saw the pictures of me that my pensionista put on facebook you will see that I am wearing my yellow skirt. Hna Espinoza and I also bought matching yellow shirts to wear on P day, which we had last Wednesday instead of Monday.

...The fireworks are ten times bigger and louder at midnight then they were for Christmas.

...The party at the stake center STARTS at one o clock in the morning.

...The people down stairs are still partying when you wake up the next morning.

...You walk outside at 9 o clock and it looks like a deserted city because everyone has finally all gone to sleep.

...You are breathing smoke left over from the fireworks instead of breathing air.

...Your pensionista texts you in the morning to tell you not to come to breakfast because there are drunk men fighting outside her house.

....the streets are littered with broken beer bottles and piles of burned paper (they have a tradition here where they make ``dolls`` out of all their old things (clothes papers etc...) from the year before and burn them at midnight.) 

...In your district meeting the day before your zone leaders tell you that under NO circumstances are you allowed to leave your house after 9 o clock because Lima on New Years can only be compared to Sodom and Gomorra. And then an Elder from here in Lima raises his hand and says, ``I testify that this is true!``

...And you have p day on New Year’s day because everybody was sleeping and we wouldn`t have been able to get much work done.

So that about sums up New Year’s Eve here. :) That night we went to my pensionistas house and her nephew gave us sushi and it was really good! And then the next day for P day we went to the stake center and played with water balloons and had lots of fun. 
Definitely a new years I will never forget :P

On the more serious side of things, this week we finally made contact with a family that has been in active for years. Hearing their story made me really sad, and has made me think a lot this week. Unfortunately their story is not anything new, and is a sad reality that I have been seeing a lot as we have visited members who are in active or less active. So this family was married in the temple and had four kids and the dad was serving as bishop. Sadly, their dad made some wrong choices and was excommunicated from the church and after this the family felt excluded and judged from the members. Friends they had had before stopped talking to them for the mistakes that their dad/husband had made and because of that they stopped coming to church. Unfortunately that wasn`t the first time I`d heard the excuse of being judged/excluded from the members and I know it won’t be the last. Things like a missionary coming home early, a daughter getting pregnant before marriage, divorces, problems in the family, etc... have all ended in them not coming to church for not wanting to feel judged and excluded. A lot of times we can only see the outside of a situation and we tend to judge quickly and without realizing what we are doing. A lot of times though all we see is the tip of the iceburg and we don`t understand or know what is really going on. And even if we do know more of the situation it is NOT our place to judge. We all have things we deal with and everyone should feel loved and welcomed in Church. Like Elder Uchtdorf said, ``don`t judge me because I sin differently than you`` So anyway. I have been thinking a lot about that this week and have made the resolve that I never want to be someones excuse for not coming to church. Christ has given us the perfect example of perfect love, and that is to love unconditionally. So, love everybody! Smile at them, talk to them, and let them know that they are loved no matter what. Each and every one of us are children of our Heavenly Father and should be treated as such. That is something I have felt strongly this week, and felt like sharing :)

On that note, I LOVE YOU ALL!! I hope you have a wonderful week! 

Sè que este Iglesia es verdadero y que es por medio de ella que podemos lograr lo mas felicidad posible en este vida. Tambien que las familias son eternas y que no importa lo que pasa en este vida, tengo ustedes para la eternidad! :) Les queremos mucho!
(I know that this church is true, and it is because of that truth that we can achieve the most happiness possible in this life.  Also, families are forever and no matter what happens in this life, I will have you for eternity!  I love you very much!)

Feliz Año Nuevo otra vez!

Hermana Shelton


Hermana Espinoza and I on New Year’s with our yellow shirts and with an example of the ``dolls`` they make here. Also with our sweet 2014 glasses :)

Zona Independencia eating pollo a la braza for Christmas!