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!

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