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