Hola! Que tal? I hope that everyone who reads this is doing just great. Here in Izcuchaca we have had the most EXCITING week of this change. I´m excited to tell you about it.
The week started off a little odd. A week ago today, the zone leaders told me and elder Doxey that we would have to travel back to Lima to recieve Targetas de extrangeras. ( I think that is how you spell it!) Or in other words some identification that we were foriegnors here in peru with permanent visas. So we flew off too Lima on tuesday earlay in the morning. And guess who was waiting for me in the airport MY OLD COMPANION ELDER NOLAN! I couldnt have been more happy to see him. He is serving in puerto at this moment and i havent seen him for nearly two changes.
We started by asking the usual questions about each others sectors, how´s the food how are the people, clima etc. etc. Eventually the conversation moved to our trainers and I was happy to tell him just how awesome a trianer elder doxey and i had. While i was telling him just how great my trainer was i could see his face a little crestfallen. He started to tell me who was training him and what type of training experience he had had and i was shocked! He began to tell me how it was impossible to do companionsip study together, and that he practically had to study alone for 4 hours in the morning. That he and his companion usually didnt leave to work until and hour after lunch, and that for the majority of the time they were stuck in members houses for agreat part of the day, and many times just watching football. This coming from a missionary (Elder Nolan) Who is was and excellent Elder in the MTC despite his struggles with the language. I dont think i have ever met someone more interested in serving the lord, and in dedicating all of his time and talents to the work.
I had the chance of rooming with him in the hotel in lima and we sat down for a bit to chat. He told me of his desires to work hard but of his struggle to do so because of his inabilities with the language and a companion who was unwilling to be obedient or work hard. I was able to sit down with him and express my love for him and my confidence that he was going to be a great missionary, and that he was one now. I remember telling him that the lord only asks us to make the best of our circumstances and that as he gives us certain difficulties, it is because he knows our potential and of what we can become... After our little chat he said something so kind that went something like this, " Elder Neff, thank you so much for talking to me, It always helps me so much because you just give me hope."
Hope has been the theme of this week. Izcuchaca has been struggling the last few weeks and we couldnt figure out why. Members weren´t asisting to sacrament mtg. Families were expressing their concerns about their troubles at home and how the gospel was supposed to be helping them to live better lives but it just wasnt working that way for them.
I remember one story of one family in particular. The family Payma Davila. It is a family of two parents and 5 girls! (honestly it makes me think of the wards a little bit minus walk dog) They are the cutest and honestly i love to visit them and share messages of the gospel. One night we were having a family home evening with them and some feelings (that i could tell had been brewing for a long time exploded!) The parents began to argue and i could tell that they had strong desires to share their problems with the missionaries.
In the moment when they were angry and their was some shouting i realized what a great responsibility it was to be a missionary. Here i was sitting in front of two grown adults and their were confiding their very personal problems with me and the other missionaries, confident that we had the answers to their questions. I am so grateful to our father in heaven for his blessings, and the call to be set apart as a missionary. I knew exactly what to say to this family and so did the other missionaries to help them resolve their very personal problems.
I know that this gospel blesses families. It is the only through living the gospel that we can live happily and enjoy strong family relations here on this earth. Our heavenly father is preparing us and our families for happiness now and on into the eternities. I am so grateful for my mission, it has strengthened my testimony of the divinity of the family. I am grateful for the blessing i have at this moment to know on what principles to build my own family! I know that we are blessed as we follow the council of our heavenly father.
I sent some letters last week! I hope they get to all of you soon.
Les Quiero muchisimo :)