Just so you all know, this is the THIRD time I’ve written this letter. The Internet keeps crashing here, so I’m really hoping it goes through this time and doesn’t crash. I’m still in Oxapampa, but now I’m no longer in trio - Hermana Cadena left for Castilla, Huancayo on Wednesday, but Hermana Alva and I are still here! It’s been great, she’s always so funny and I’m super agradecida to have her as my trainer and compi.
Last P-day, fuimos a Chontabamba, a neighboring city to Oxa! We were all super excited to go to Catarata Suiza, but that didn’t end up working out; we got to Chonta and the driver told us it would be another hour by taxi to the catarata, so we stayed and visited Rancho Victoria, which has a lot of gorgeous jungle trees and hammocks! We hung out in the estacionamiento con hamocas for a while before realizing that all of us forgot repellente and were getting eaten alive by the mosquitoes and bugs there. Sin embargo* (*Nevertheless), it was a really fun p-day! We hung out in the hamocas, ate granadillas, met a pine marten that tried to bite Hna Alva, swung on tire swings from trees at another estacionamiento, and explored a cueva* (*cave) (that I wasn’t very excited about) in which the elderes almost killed a familia de murcielagos* (*bats). I never said our pdays weren’t interesting! Then we had a farewell noche de hogar* (*family home evening) for Elder Molina and Hermana Cadena, who we were all pretty sure were leaving (we were right). Elder Molina is un Chileno, so we surprised him with completas, a favorite dish of the Chilenos, which is basically just hot dogs with avocado and tomato.
El Martes* (*On Tuesday), the day began with a very odd dream of mine that combined Star Wars and Harry Potter and left me with a quite memorable quote that we laughed about for a while. Hna Alva: “Hna Schmid, don’t kill!” I responded with “But it’s Voldemort, we HAVE to!” Anyway, we have zero pasaje, so we have to walk everywhere in our actually huge area. We visited with Hermana Jocelyn, a converso reciente who shared a ton of problems her son is having with an abusive teacher at his colegio. We taught her about how she should pray to know what to do to solve the problem and let her vent a bit, and she gave us cake! Her husband’s in Huantabamba working, so she’s always grateful for the company and someone to actually talk to. Then we visited Rosa, a menos activo. She talked about problems in her matrimonio, and we shared about the importance of forgiveness and united families. Hopefully we could help her a bit! Then we visited Arlety, one of our relatively new investigadoras. We taught the restauracion again to her, and she’s going to seminary and la capilla with her prima, a miembro, Celeste, so we’ve got high hopes for her! Later, we watched Los Testamentos with the elderes and their investigators Lizandro y Bruce. We were waiting the whole time for the cambios call but didn’t get it until around 9:30! Both Elder Molina and Hermana Cadena are leaving us for Huancayo tomorrow morning. We visited with a few members and the bishop’s family to say goodbye, and spent the whole night packing and didn’t get to bed until 2 am.
Miercoles empezo con* (*Wednesday began with) EXHAUSTION due to very little sleep. Since we didn’t have pasaje, we called our lider de zona to ask what to do, and he said to just send Hna Cadena with the elderes to La Merced, where they’d switch to go to Huancayo. Our first cita after sending her off fell through, and on the way to our second, we got a call from Elder Hernandez saying his new compi was at the terminal here in Oxa because of travel confusion and we had to go get him. We went to the terminal and waited about an hour for Elder Riser to show up, and when he did, we were planning on playing a joke on him, saying I was from London and had an accent and that Hna Alva was from Trujillo and spoke no English. However, upon his arrival, I figured out that Elder Riser also went to Wasatch Jr. High and we had at least one class together, entonces our joke would never have worked. We left him at the terminal with a miembro, John, to wait for Elder Hernandez to get back. Then we went to two citas that fell through, taught a family of menos activos, and were walking to teach a recent rescue, Hna Maruja, when the power went out. It was SO DARK, so we called our zone leader and went back to our room for the 30 minutes it took for the power to come back on and spent some time there by candles. Then the power came back on and we visited Hna Maruja and taught some stories and talked about llamamientos. 2 Nefi 17.
The 31st was HERMANA ALVA’s 22ND BIRTHDAY! I made a little pennant banner saying Feliz Cumplanos out of Liahonas and hung it, because surprises were only possible in trio. Following study time, we walked in the crazy rain to meet the elderes at Feliz Dia to celebrate her birthday! We got choripan, jugo de fresa con leche* (*strawberry juice with milk), and torta de chocolate. It was so fun and delicious, but it is also weird and cool that we have an area full of gringos now! So much Spanglish. That’s all we’re fluent in at this point jaja. Anyway, we ended up contacting after this and helped a woman move her stuff from her tienda* (*store) to her cart and set a cita with her, and talked with a few more people and went to Santo Domingo and contacted there too, but this time the monkey wasn’t there, so we were a little sad about that. Then we went to the capilla to find Hna Luz for our cita and ended up running into an ex-obispo member from Lima who was thinking of moving here! He was passing by in a moto and stopped the moto to get out and talk to us, and immediately gave us the reference of the moto driver! (Update-he’s moving here. We’re pretty excited for all the help we’ll get from him!) Such good times. Then we visited with Mariella, a converso reciente y menos activo, and talked about the Book of Mormon. Then we taught Yisela, a menos activo, about the naturaleza de Dios* (*nature of God) and how he can do all things and change even the hardest of hearts! How cool is it that we are trusted to teach that? I love the mission work. We visited Rosicela, un investigadora, and shared Elder Holland’s testimony of El Libro de Mormon with her and talked about how she can recognize the fruits of the Spirit. We also visited with Mara and discussed Fortaleza de la Juventud*! (*Strength of Youth) I was reading and tried to say “saliendo con jovenes puede traer inmoralidad”(going out with boys can bring immorality) and ended up saying “saliendo con jovenes puede traer inmortalidad”(going out with boys can bring inmortality) so that was hilarious. At noche de deporte, we played voleibol y futbol, and in futbol a member tripped me on a breakaway and I ended up shredding my knee and hand on the cement and they were bleeding feo, so we went back to our cuarto and cleaned it up with some isopropanol torture. We also received a call from the brother of one of our investigators, Dessyi, asking us to stop visiting her. The end of today was hard, but all in all, today was good.
Viernes*, (*Friday) we went to our cita with our investigators Luisa y Angelica, but they weren’t there, and neither was Jocelyn! Entonces, we went contacting in that area. We talked with one woman, Claudia, and set a cita with her to return and teach her! Then we went down a fun little dirt jungle road complete with gorgeous flores and found a woman who invited us in! We taught her about the Restoration, shared the video for Pascua* (*Easter) because she asked about our Pascua beliefs, and answered her questions. She’s a devout Catholic, part of one of the sects of Catholicism that shares the word like missionaries, but we chatted with her for a long time and I’ve got some hope there. Then we visited Katty, a menos activo who is conviviendo with dos hijos* (*living with a man and their two children) not casada* (*married), and gave her The Family Proclamation and read it with her. She said it was very clear to her about the importance of matrimonio, and she said she’d talk with her esposo about matrimonio! Then we visited Hetvit, a menos activo, and shared a video about El Libro De Mormon. We also had Noche Misional, where we talked about faith and Elder Hernandez conjugated a word wrong and accidentally said a bad word in Spanish, and we played a game with the people there. Without Latinos in our area, our Spanish is a little worse!
Where even to start with the last 2 days of conference! When they announced another temple in Lima, all of us freaked out, because the people here in Oxa have to go to Lima to go to the temple, so having another one there will be even better! About these two days, I’ll just share a few conference highlights and thoughts. NOTHING, and I mean nothing, can replace our divine identity! How cool is it that we know of our divine identity? Magnify that knowledge. Una corazon que no da perdon no va a cambiar* (*A heart that does not forgive will not change). Use the gracia de Dios para perdonar* (*Grace of God to forgive) those who have wronged you and para perdonar yourself. The Savior will always be there extending his hand to us, all we have to do is reach out and take it! I don’t know the exact quote because I was listening in Spanish, but “What path you take depends on where you want to go. If you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter what path you take.” – Alice in Wonderland. Choose where you want to go and seguir adelante* (*go forward). Also, everything Elder Holland said. God is ALWAYS on our side. Remember this always and seguir adelante.
Con amor y mis oraciones para siempre*, (*with love and prayers forever) Hermana Schmid
(*italic translations by Karissa's mom using google translate)