Monday, September 8, 2014

rain, hail and a baptism

Hi!!! How is everyone?? Well I dont have much this week, but there is some good stuff. Its been raining and hailing every day here! And everyone gets so scared its so funny. anyways...

  First of all, we got this referencia from a member of another ward so we went and visited her on Tuesday. Her name is Ana and she is 24. SO cute!! Anyways, we started talking to her and she told us how she told her cousin she would go to church with him one time, but just once. But she loved it so much that she said she wanted to meet with us and come back again!! She even told us that that morning she went out and bought three skirts to keep coming!! I asked her what made her want to come back and she said that she just felt this peace and love there and wanted more. I then explained to her about the Holy Ghost and how we can tell if we are feeling His influence and how she can feel more. Then, the coolest thing. She opened up to us about her life and she asked us not to tell anyone, but it was amazing. It was our first time meeting her and she told us something that absolutely no one knows and she is scared of anyone knowing. It was such an amazing spirit there in that room. It was exactly what me and my comp needed and by the end we were all in tears together. I love Ana already. Keep her in your prayers! I wish I could say more, its kinda hard to be able to understand, but just pray for her!! But I know that we were sent to her. She needed us Hermanas to open up to and now we are really going to be able to help her. I am so excited!!

  Second, ELMER GOT BAPTIZED!!!! FINALLY!!!! Oh my it doesnt feel real!!! It has taken a LOT of hard work to get him to this point, but I am so happy. And he is so happy!!! His inactive sister came for the baptism and after she told us that she wants to come back to church. Now Nilton said he will be baptized. Thaira has a date for the 13th this month, the mom, Gala is really thinking about it, and the dad said that when he gets back from his travels in December he will be baptized!! his exact words where "December will not go by without me being baptized" WHAT?!?! It was like a domino effect!!! I am so so so happy!!! We visited the family last night and talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then I told them that baptism is just the door to the real goal, the temple and there was such a sweet spirit and then Gala said "I want my family to be able to go to the temple together" Oh my. This was one of the happiest moments. We also found out that before, Elmer was Athiest and we helped him belive in God and that Ever used to be so mean to the missionaries when they would knock on their door and would reject them so hard, but he let us right in. He said he was praying and wanted a different life and then we came. I am speechless. God is so powerful. Their hearts and lives have completely changed thanks to this perfect, powerful, and TRUE gospel.

  I know this church is true more than ever before. I know my testimony has strengthened so much. I have a lot more to go and a lot more to learn, but now that I will be hitting 6 months, I have reflected on how far I have already come and I am grateful for this opportunity. The gospel changes lives. I know for asurety that God and Jesus Christ live and we will one day live with them again if we do our part. Hang on to the iron rod with all that you have, and keep going forward. Hold on to the truth, it will lead and guide you through the darkness.

  I love you all. Seguir adelante con FE

Hermana Hunter

Rollar Coaster

I dont know if I spelled that right, Im kinda loosing English and spelling is horrible all the time now, sorry! Anyways, ok well this week was a crazy one.

  I started off the week on exchanges with Hermana Olivaras and shes from the jungle and super tiny so everyone thought it was so funny- us walking around together. Anyways, well one of her investigators left her key in her room and so we were locked out and Hna. Olivaras decided to climb through the window! I held her up and pushed her through as the investigator just sat there and stared. I was laughing so hard. It was quite the sight. But then we also visited this woman that had an artificial heart and she didnt get it replaced so now she is partly parylized and can barely talk, and her mom kept telling us she is going to die. I was overwhelmed with love for this woman immediately! She would always look over at me and just smiled and I would smile back, that was all she could do and it wasnt even a full smile, but you could feel that we were communicating through simple body language. We then sang some hymns to comfort her and her mom and it was so powerful! I was so grateful in that moment to know that one day she will have a perfect body and live without pain. I am so thankful for the gospel message and the hope it brings!

  So the funniest lesson, oh my. We went to visit a less active woman and she told us her non member uncle was going to join us- well he stormed into the room holding his bible, opened it up and said "Tonight I would like to share a message from the bible" whipps out this message about giving up your life for your friends and had me then share my thoughts on it. Well I related to Jesus Christ and his atonement and how he is our best friend and he gave his life for us because he loves us and we can trust in him and that he knows us more than anyone. Well every other couple words I said this man would shout "AMEN hermana hunter! Amen!!" "Amen halleluya!!" I was trying not to laugh and trying to really testify! Oh my it was pretty funny. 

  Well then the week went really interesting. I went back to my sector and companion and we were in weekly planning and we just poured out our hearts to each other. We both have been struggling with getting answers to prayers and feeling Gods love, it has been SO hard and I have been trying to just figure out whats wrong and figure it out on my own, but I found out my companion was struggling too. We talked for hours about the atonement, obedience, repentance, and what might help us. We then decided to get blessing from our zone leader. Well we basically got the SAME blessing and it left us so confused and I hate to say it, but comfortless. My companion then kinda broke down, and I lifted her up and said "For some reason God has given us this trial, for some reason to the both of us, for some reason He can not help us the way we need Him to help us right now. There is something we have to learn from this, we have to grow." It is sometimes so hard thought to really accept challenges that come our way. Its hard when I only have God to rely on and sometimes He cant come to my rescue. Sometimes I cant help but ask "why? wnhy this? why now?" The trials come, and even though we may feel so weak, we have to realize that we are strong and that we can only become stronger. After that, we had consejo de barrio and we walked in and ALL the members were being so cold to us and just straight up rude, my companion kinda went "this is just icing on the cake" it was really hard, we have no idea what we did wrong, but something was off. Its God handing us more trials, but I know that I must be strong, I know that I can do this. I know that there is something that we have to learn right now.

  But I do have an announcement, yesterday in church Elmer asked me for my parents response about his baptism - he has been out of town all week- I sat him down and told him that he should be baptized now, because there is something greater ahead. The temple is the real goal for all of us, to make the most sacred covenants. I told him to be baptized now and that my family would like to go to the temple with him in one year. He sat there for a second, then looked up at me and said "Ok Hermana Hunter, tell your parents thank you. Can I be baptized this Saturday?" I sat there SPEECHLESS!!! ELMER IS GOING TO GET BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!!!!! I can not explain my happiness!!! I am SO excited!!! I know that soon, the rest of his family will follow. Thaida, the 8 year old told us that she wants to be baptized. We are watching the family come together and make this big step and open the door to eternity together. It is SO happy!! Last night we had a lesson, gave Gala, Thaida BOM with messages, Ever a picture of his baptism and Elmer a BOM in English- hes actually pretty good at english- and evryone was so happy and excited! Then we ate dinner with them. It was amazing how fast I forgot about everything else, and just was overwhelmed with happiness for the Family Luque. I know they will all go to the temple together one day. Keep praying for them!!

  Well I love you all, thank you for the love and support. I want you all to know that despite how hard it has been, I am so happy and would not want to be anywhere else. I know this is Gods work and I am part of His army, and He is just helping me grow.

Hermana Hunter

What is this?! A mission or a vacation?!

Well to quickly explain the headline... we were at the bishops house and we were talking to his wife and she wanted to give us money to go to our next cita and I said "Oh dont worry, we have money!" Then she looked confused and I told her how each month we get a certain amount of money for food, laundry, transportation and all that stuff. She asked who cooks lunch for us - we cook our breakfast and dinner- and then she was so surprised that someone does our laundry and she said "que es esto? una mision o un paso?!" We were laughing sooo hard!!! Then I told her that they are some of the little luxuries that we have and we enjoy them. Also, tthere was about 6 dogs chasing us from our door of our house and they were big! and then all of a sudden our neighbor just DUMPS water on the dogs and literally saves us. How great is that?

  Anyways! on to other things. Cool experiences this week! Last monday we were just knocking on doors and we saw a cool one, decided to knock and the man answered, Hector, and he immediately said "I believe God sent you to my door. Come visit me this Saturday. My mom was baptized and is old and not active, but now that you are here, I will take her to church." I was blown away!! So we visited them Saturday and oh man, the mom, Maria is hilarious!! She can't hear very well so we had to YELL everything and she just YELLS back. We were laughing so hard. But she is so sweet! shes 86 and still goin! She also said "I want to go back to church so that I can be healed" SO cute!!! But she and Hector didnt come yesterday so that was sad. 

  Another cool thing, so we havent been able to find Marria ever since she agreed to be baptized and we were up the mountain again trying to find her ad then I told my comp we should jut ask her neighbors if they know where she is. So we walked over and their door was open, we said good morning and then the woman, Lidia just said "Come In!!" AH!! So we did! Turrns out she has had this rreally bad infection in her foot for over a year and cant really walk and her husband, Rene, was in bed and he just got his leg amputtaded. We started talking about the church and they said they wanted to be healed but didn't have the money, the other church said the more money they give them, the better chance they have at being healed. How sad is that?! We then told them, you don't need money. All you need is faith in Jesus Christ. It was amazing! Oh and they dont speak much spanish, they speak Amayra and so their daughter was there to help us. Such a cool thing! We talked about the pristhood and how this is Christ church with Gods power. We made an appointment to go to them the next day to recieve a blessing of health. So me and my comp decided to start a fast that they could be healed. We went the next day with the bishop and someone from the stake and we didnt find them! We were so upset! Also their kids said they would come to chuch and they didn't. 

   Well also, of course we visited the Fam Luque three times this week. Ever asked us to teach eternal marriage so we brought the Family Prroclimation and I whipped out a pretty straight up D&C scripture telling Ever he needs to get married to go to heaven. He undertood after that;) And then Elmer told us to come back the next day. Well we did and he dropped a bomb. He is leaving this week to go work in Lima and he doesnt know if its gonna be 20 days, 2 months, or no return. I literally felt my heart break. We have worked SO hard with him and he is SO ready!! Then on Friday he dropped a bomb on just me. He said "Hermana Hunter, I know baptism is close for me, very close. I know its the right thing. And I want YOUR DAD TO BAPTIZE ME" I just stood there shocked not knowing where that came from. I guess he had a dream of all of you, my family, at his baptism, and dad, you baptized him. And then, he told me he got accepted to Stanford and is coming in Septtember 2016. He even asked me again last night in front of his whole family, and our ward mission leader if Dad, you can baptize him. I just told him, I ll talk to my dad tomorrow. So Elmer is just making things really complicated. He then last night was not budging to be baptized this September. I was so broken hearted. He also said he has questions. so i looked at him and said "You have faith, you know the church is true, you want to be baptized. I have told you, I had questions before too, I asked God and I felt peace and was told I wont know everything, and a lot of questtions wont be until we are with God himself. So, you can put your questions behind and keep pressing forwarrd in faith" Ever then began to tear up! Then Elmer just smiled and said "Thank you"
My comp and I went home and just got so frustrated saying what are we doing wrong? We have had all these cool experiences and then nothing happens. It really is hard. We work so hard every day, we fast, we pray, and it seems like nothing goes well. It seems like everything goes so well, and then your world just crashes down on you, even when you are doing all you can. I realized that this has happened to me before in life. We do all we can, but it seems like we get nothing in returrn. Then I was just praying so hard and I got a confirmation.. As long as we are doing what we know we are supposed to be doing, we are doing all God askes us to do, then its ok. Things may not go our way, but that's because its not our plan, Its Gods plan. Also, the only approval that matters is the Lords. If you are doing everything you know you are supposed to be doing, then the rest is up to God. We have Gods approval when we do whats right, its not that we are doing something wrong, yes we could probably be better, but God knows our hearts, our efforts, our desires. He knows we are working hard. We have His approval, the results are just up to Him and we hae to keep going. I know its hard, but once you can recognize that the Lords approval is what matters, the perspective changes.

  God loves us, we are His children. We are part of His plan. Keep going, keep doing what is right.

  I love you all!!!

   Hermana Hunter 

August 11th

makin tacti with Constantina!!
Oh my I cant believe I am already writing again!!! Crazy. 

   Well I have a couple fun things to say! First of all,we visited the fam Luque on Tuesday and they told us they had a family night reading the book of mormon, and they watched the restoracion movie! We didnt ever tell them to do that!!! How happy is that?! They are seriously the best. And Ever got the priesthood yesterday and he is going to pass the sacrament next week!! I am so so excited.He has changed SO much! I cant wait for you to meet them. So we also went to their house on wednesday to watch the Testaments movie since they had questions about Christ in the Americas- it was such a fun night! They were so funny, the whole movie they kept saying "This is totally in Peru" "oh this is puerto maldanado" I think they got a little caught up on that part,but it did answer their questions and we ate some cake and hot chocolate! We have been having so much fun with them and making the lessons super fun. But yesterday Ever, Elmer and Nilton all came to church and they sat with me and my comp alñways plays the piano and so I sit with them alone and I somehow always get put in the middle of them. Well the sacrament talk theme was Eternal Marriage and how you need to keep the romance alive. Well that was easily one of the most uncomfortable moments I have had out here. That and their friend kissed me on the cheek yesterday after church. Oh man,I have gotten so scared of men. And to have to listen about romance in your marriage while sitting to my investigators that are all in their early 20s and Nilton is 19. Oh man.
 Anyways, cool moment, We were at the TOP of the mountain visiting a family and I told my comp I wanted to go down the mountain a different way this time, well as we were coming down a woman stopped us and asked for help. She knew we were mormons and knew we could help. Well she started crying telling us that she has no money and that her parents sold her while she was younger and now her mom came back and is living with her and needs her to take care of her, but Maria has nothing. She kept saying "I sometimes dont want to live on earth anymore. I just want to be in heaven" so she came to church, we have had two lessons with her that have been so powerful and all of us are just crying and she agreed to be baptized! But please keep her in your prayers. She has a lot more going on in her life too and we really are doing all we can to help her spiritually. We even were asked to cast devils out of her house! It was so scary. My comp and I agreed to not go inside and deal with all that spirit stuff, but we opened the door and just offered a prayer. So freaky!

 So as we were coming down the mountain one day again, it was raining and dark and then all of a sudden HUGE dogs just started running after us. I thought to myself "this is the day i get bit" everyone gets bit in Puno. But I just grabbed a huge rock, threw it at them and me and my comp just started BOOKING it back up the mountain. Oh my it was so scary! The dog was right at my leg and I just pleaded Heavenly Father to protect me and I kept running and the dogs eventually gave up! God has saved me so many times from these dogs!

Ok to finish, we had interviews with President this week and it was so nice. To just sit down and talk with him and have him asking me questions. He asked me what one of my goals was here on the mission and I told him that it sounds silly, but Ive talked to Heavenly Father about it and I realize its what I need to work on right now. I am trying to be more confident. The Lord has called me, McKenzie Alexis Hunter to serve here in Peru and here in Puno at this time. I have let the lack of Spanish overrule my confidence sometimes and I dont say a wholelot in some lessons, but recently with the Luque family I have completely opened up and I have been completely MYSELF. I have noticed the difference it has made when I open up to my investigators and I try to be confident. Because they need me, not someone else. Im a loud, goofy girl, not a shy super serious person! After I told this to President he started to cry! Then he said "If more sister missionaries or even women in general had your goal, the world would be a much better place." I then felt confident in my goal! I even have had more confidence this whole week with everyone and I have seen the investigators open up and even the members of the ward open up andmy relationships with everyone have gotten a lot nbetter. I have even gotten so many compliments on my Spanish! Elmer yesterday said "I belive that Joseph Smith was able to translate the Book of Mormon with the gift of tounges because I have seen Hermana Hunter recieve the gift of tounges" That was an amazing moment for me. To know that my struggles, then overcoming them and progressing have helped an investigator belive in Joseph Smith. so the message is, be yourself, God has created you the way you are for a reason. Be confident!

 I love you all SO MUCH!!!

Hermana Hunter

enjoying solcito in cold puno



   Well I have a pretty great surprise!!! So on Tuesday there was a young single adult activity that all of us missionaries went to and we went into groups to go with the "JAS" to visit some people. Well we invited Ever and Elmer and they came!! They came dressed in their sunday best and were looking sharp! Well Elmers surprise for us was actually just super cool pens, but after the activity I kinda pulled Elmer aside and asked him about how he felt being a missionary. Well he started telling me that the experience was beautiful and then he said "Hermana Hunter, I want to be baptized. I want to get married in the temple for eternity." Then I asked him when and he told me that he doesnt want a date right now and just wants to learn more. I then explained to him that he doesnt have to know everything before baptism. Thats the beauty of this church, we are constantly learning! And as members we also have the holy ghost. That also helps us learn because it is a guide and his mission is to testify of truth. After talking he kinda just smiled at me and said "Ok Hermana, I will promise you this. within this change and before you leave I will get baptized." So we are one step closer! But this is where it gets good.. he then said "well why dont you ask Ever about his baptism? He wants to get baptized THIS FRIDAY!!!" My mouth kinda dropped. I then turned and walked over to Ever and my comp and said "Ever when do you want to be baptized?" He smiled at me and said "This Friday. I want to this Friday" So guess what... IT HAPPENED!!!! We had to teach him SO much, but he was just so excepting of everything which was so amazing!!! Then at his baptism Elmer and his parents came! They were able to see him take this huge step. It was truly amazing.
Before Ever got in the water, Elmer was sitting next to me and turned to me and said "What were you thinking in this moment when you were baptized?" I really got to sit there and reflect for a second about my baptism day. All I could remember was that I was surrounded by people I love and that I was just happy and I understood that what I was doing was right. After Ever went under the water and came back up, peace filled the room and my heart was just so full. I turned to Elmer and asked him what he was feeling and he said that he felt peace and that he was reflecting about his life and the future that he wants and then he said "I am thinking about my own baptism" SO HAPPY!!! I got to give a talk about the Holy Ghost and I was just overwhelmed by the happiness I felt that day. 

So yesterday was Evers confirmation and Ever came with Elmer and their 19 yr old brother Nilton!! Nilton is so awesome and really wants to learn more. Well after Ever was confirmed he came back and sat next to me and I asked him how he felt and he said "Hermana Hunter, I feel new. I feel clean, I feel calm, I feel confidence, I feel happy. And I know what I did is right. Thank you for teaching me the word of God" Then as he bore his testimony I noticed that he now has a light about him. He looks different! Last night we went over to their house and Hes just a happier person now!! It is truly amazing. I know that Evers choice will set the way for the rest of his family. I am so excited for what the future holds for them! I LOVE THE LUQUES!!! Have I said that enough?! 

  Ok one funny story. Well we were walking along the road minding our own business and all of a sudden water just gets DUMPED on us. I looked up and there was a man with a bucket just looking at us. At first I was so mad, then I just laughed. Not everyone likes us here! Thats ok. He just made me toughen up and learn how to take it! Plus, it was actually a little hot that afternoon ;)

Oh also- Elmer yesterday said to tell you all that my Spanish has improved a lot in the short time that I have been with them and that your prayers are working for me. He also said "Tell Dan, Kimberly, Brigham, Tanner, Logan, and Maggie I say hi from Puno Peru!" I dont know how he remembered all your names, but hey! He wants to meet you all one day.

Also, we have a Latina in the house!!! I am getting to practice Spanish with her and she even asked me "How much time do you have on the mission? 9 months?" I laughed and told her I am coming up on 5 months and she was shacked!!! She said that my Spanish is super good and that I sound like I have been out for a while. I guess I am the only one that thinks my spanish is horrible! So thank you for the prayers, keep it up! They are working!!!
 I am so grateful for this gospel and the difference that it makes in our lives. I know that it is the only way to eternal happiness. I know that we all knew the gospel before we came to earth and I am just here in Peru to help my brothers and sisters remember the things they already knew. 

I love you all and miss you every day.

Hermana Hunter

1. Luque family!!! Minus a couple. Plus Elder Brey