Monday, July 28, 2014

I touched a leopard!

dad! ok i think the reason why you didn't get the pics is because it takes forever to load in the internet cafe place i was at!!! the internet it almost like dial up. but today we are at a different internet place and it seems to be working way faster! so i will try sending pics after i write this email. anyway yes i am in iquitos and i'm pretty sure my address is #680 Lourdes De Leon.

it intersects with the street called Tupac. haah i hope you can find that on google maps! sometimes i feel like the rest of the world doesn't know iquitos exists because its so out dated here and old school and they don't even have a place you can buy toys for kids! its cray cray. so last monday after i wrote you we went to the jungle! it was soooo cool! saw tons of animals in cages (outdoor) and if i wanted to i could of reached my hand in the leopards cage and touched it...  soooo when it wasnt looking i quickly touched it just to say i did... haaaa.

 then after we were done at the celva (jungle) there was this place on the way out where you could buy suri( that ugly gross nasty looking slug thingy) and ALL the missionaries in my zone were trying to get me to eat it cause its like initiation when you eat it and i was like "i PROMISE its not going to happen and ill never eat something that's alive" and they were sooo sure that they would be able to convince me and all the other new missionaries did it but i was firm and stubborn with my decision. EW. there was no way i was going to eat one of those things. it seems so unhuman. hahah sooo they tried to get me to eat it for about half hour and i said NO. hahah 
   whats lanas mail daddy so i can write her a letter? so last zone meeting i had to give the lesson. i was a little uneasy about it cause i'm still getting used to speaking spanish. but the words flowed and i was able to teach a good lesson. hna rodriguez said she could really feel the spirit so that made me feel good, i taught about why it is important to use the spirit to adjust the lessons of the investigators. sooo i wish i could show you what the peruvian accent is like! its an accent that i honestly do not want to pick up. hjahahah we always talk with the accent in our zone meetings just for fun. its not an ugly accent i just know that you and mom and bren would make fun of me if i got the accent cause its soo obvious.
    so we have this fam. carlos y espaƱa and there baby Cielo. they are soooo cool! Carlos lost his leg in an accident and that's why he accepted us because he wanted to know why god let it happen. so he has been progressing and coming to church and at first his girlfriend (noone here gets married and they just call each other hubby and wife) didn't want to listen to us but she was always nice so we prayed that we would be able to get her to listen to us and she is now listening and they both accepted a baptism! and are going to get married! we are so happy. their baby though... SOO GORGEOUS! seriously she reminds me of bryella with all her hair. i am going to get a picture with her and send it next week. but they are super cool.
   so... highlight of the week.. well kinda: i decided to wear my hair down in iquitos for the first time. WORST IDEA!! and since everyone is asking me about my hair and how its doing here in the humidity and what not ill tell this story. so we go out and soooo many guys were yelling really inappropriate things at me and they always make this high pitch kiss sound and say i love you. its weird annoying and uncomfortable... and i wanted to put my hair up but i didn't have my ponytail. and so a little while later about 6 little girls attacked me! touching my skin and asking questions and grabbing my hair!! i was overwhelmed at this point. then one of my investigators started calling me baby and reina (queen) and i got real uncomfortable. and another investigator got all creepy with his words. and my comp was like what the heck is going on... and EVERYONE was staring... ;( sooo when we went to have dinner with our pensionista she was like hows your day going?? and i was like oh not to bad! then all of a sudden i started bawling!!! and she was like woah whats wrong!! and i was like everyone stares at me because i'm white and i'm different and i don't get it because i'm still a human like them and i feel like i don't fit in and people are always yelling things at me and starring so obviously!!... and she made me feel better and hna rodriguez had to tell the zone leaders about the investigators and what had happened and sooo ya i'm not allowed to wear my hair down anymore. they told me to keep it up. which i'm sad about because that means i cant wear my hair down for almost 17 months....but i'm okay now! we had interviews with the president of the mission and he made me feel better and now i'm all good and loving the mission!!!
      when i get home i'm always going to go out with the missionaries and help them! cause we really appreciate the help that the members give us here. and i feel bad that i didn't do more to help the missionaries in lethbridge. so hows your new comp(uter) dad! love it? so we had divisions. that's where the missionaries separate and go out with a member so that we can have more lessons. and at first i was like NO. i am not ready for that... and then i asked the president if i have to and he said it would be good for me and i was like ughh now i have to do it cause the president said its good for me. so i did it and it was sooo fun! i got to teach by myself and lead and it was a really good experience.tell ten happy birthday!!!!!! and i cant believe he is 17. wow. well i will try sending pics! thanks dad for the email. like usual i'm going to print it off :) I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!! OXOX
forgot to say something.. haha so i had candy in my bag and i put it down for like a second and picked it up and strapped it on and i felt weird feelings on my body.. EVERYWHERE. and it was ants !! i looked down and on my bag there were literally hundreds! i was like whoa what the heck! i quickly unstrapped the bag and was trying to get the ants off. it was NASTY! there were seriously TONS all over my upper body. dad i think that when i get home i would be able to spend the night in the middle of the forest and not be scared of a single thing. haha i can now kill any spider no matter what size... i can kill any beetle and i can touch any squirmy living creature... but i wont eat it :) and i also think that spending the night on forest grounds would be comfy :) lol
oh and i love the gospel dad and i love the plan of salvation and i love the BOM and i love that my testimony is being strengthened. thank you so much mom and dad for supporting me financially and with all your HEART!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

old school

dad! ok ummmm i'm pretty sure i sent like a million pics last week and the week before! why aren't you getting them! k ill try and send them all again. soooo my charger for my cameras somehow broke!! so now i have my other camera for backup but that one is going to die eventually so i have to wait till i get my bank card to buy a new charger. sooo lame! iquitos is so old school. the people are seriously living in the 80s or 90s. even the photography is sooo old school and everything is cheesy. haha its so funny. i feel like a jungle girl. iquitos is the most under developed city in peru apparently. and i believe it. but i seriously am loving my mission! at first it was sooo hard. but now i think about home so much less than i did before. last week we were pretty discouraged because we didn't have many investigators and there are so many less actives and the members have a hard time with accepting calling. none of our contacts wanted to hear our message and i had a little break down in the streets because i felt that satan has so much control over the people. he is so real and its so frustrating and sad when people reject the truth. i wish i could just make the people believe in us and accept our message. our faith and hope was low. my comp had a break down that night and so i spoke up and we both said that we needed to just put a smile on our face and have trust and faith. i mentioned how it was never easy for the prophets in the book of mormon and sometimes they felt discouraged but they always knew that anything was possible through the lord. so we motivated ourselves and said long heartfelt prayers and now this week we have a few new investigators that are progressing! and have a few baptism dates set! and we see less actives coming to church AND some of the members have committed to keeping on top of things with there callings! so we have been super happy this week. the days are going by slow but also fast.... like the days are slow but the weeks are fast! its crazy. i've already been here for over a month..... WOW.
    so the places that we can go to serve in our area is iquitos, moyobamba, tarapoto, pucalpa, and a place called yurimahras but apparently only elders can serve there cause it is literally in the centre of the jungle. haha and apparently the elders are even allowed to grow beards there! hahah. but everyone wants to go to moyobamba. so i hope i get to go there sometime! but i have a feeling that we will be in this area till christmas. i'm okay with that cause i really am loving the people and area more and more. so about my little house... we are trying to find a place to move because i CANNOT sleep with all the noise. even with earplugs. i despise the dogs here. there are more dogs than people. and they bark for absolutely no reason. especially at night! ahah. so the other day hermana price (zone leader) spend the night with my comp and i spent the night with her comp from dominican republic because hna price tells us the things we can change and goals we can set. so i went to hermana prices house and hermana vasquez house and when i got there i was like WOAH! PITUCO!(rich) because there place was big and sooo nice. i wondered how they landed that place haha so i had fun spending the night there for a night. i had so much fun with hna vasquez. she has the most hilarious accent. like everything sounds like shes asking a question and she sounds so high pitched ahaha. like when we were giving a lesson we had a member present with us and all of a sudden somehow he fell out of his chair and it was so funny and i was trying not to laugh and hna vasquez was like HAYYY HERMANO!! but it sounded like a question... lol i wish i could record it and show you cause its not really that funny when i write it.... you have to hear her lol. well dad thanks for the email. once again i am going to print it out and read it. you email you sent me last week helped me alot. helped me have faith. i read it about 7 times. so please never ever miss a week of emailing me and emailing me gospel doctrine. seems like everything you talk about in your email is exactly what i need to hear. i love you all so much. ten still hasn't email me!!!!! tell him to get on it!! i love hearing about your day and work and what everyone is up to. thank you for being the best dad in the world. XOXOXO ps ill try sending pics right now.

Monday, July 14, 2014

almost jungle

DADDY!!! ahhh i miss you all but i'm doing super well. yes you may post all my emails to the blog anyway i always write down the things i want to email you about on a piece of paper so i don't forget.but first off i did something bad... i lost my bankcard!!! UGH! i cant believe i did that. i searched everywhere and phoned the CCM (mtc) but i cannot find it anywhere. soooo i'll need you and mom to order me a new one and send it. and IF it doesn't cost a lot maybe send it fast? but don't fed ex it cause apparently you shouldn't. please send it to the mission office. not my address. i left my mission packet at home and the address is in there. thank you!!!! please do it asap! luckily i accidentally took too much money out when i was doing a transaction so i have that to help me out for now.
          soooo its almost like living in the jungle here! the technology is super old. you don't see a single person with an i phone or ipad. people never wash there hands and are always wiping there face and cooking at the same time. that's something i had to get used to watching before i ate. but i'm not gunna lie i LOVE THE FOOD! its just so yummy. i always eat so much and they laugh at me and can't believe i can eat that much haha. one lady tried feeding me liver and i couldn't do it. hahaha she didn't care tho.because i ate two helpings of the other stuff she fed me. i wanna eat this country! did i mention that our water shuts off at night so i haven't had a shower in two weeks? lollll we fill up a garbage bin full of water and i use that everynight. crazyyyyy. we also don't have a mirror which sucked at first but now i really don't care. its weird when we are at someone's house teaching and i see myself in the mirror! HAHA. i also wash my clothes by hand. i can't believe my life is like this! lol its awesome though because i learn to appreciate everything i have in canada. we do have a mamasita that washed our clothes but she takes long to do it and i only have so much clothes... so i wash it myself.
      thanks for the talk you gave me on the spirit!!! its all marked up and underlined with my thoughts. i read it all the time. i also print out your emails and use that alot during personal study. its helped me so much dad! you better never miss a week writing me! mom didn't write me this week and i'm sad!!!! my comp is awesome. super patient and a good teacher and strict with rules and i love that. i don't want to break any of the rules. i feel safer that way and more in tune with the spirit.she is from Mexico and her name is hna rodriguez.she got an ear ache on friday and its still hurting her. the doctor prescribed her ibuprofen! i was like what the heck! you can buy that stuff at the store!!! so he kinda sucked. apparently the doctors here aren't great. she was in ALOT of pain. i felt so bad for her. we went to a members home and she was awesome because her son gets these ear aches and she did this thing where you roll up newspaper thin enough for it to go in your ear and then she stuck it in her ear, lit it on fire on the top and let it burn down.. then all of a sudden this gust of air came out from the top! the smoke pushed the air out of her ear and hermana rodriguez was like WOW I CAN HEAR! haha and she is feeling a lot better now but it still hurts a bit. then all this pus came out! it was crazy. i'm glad she is feeling better. and i'm glad i haven't gotten sick... yet. no diarhea or anything! yay.
        so the bugs here.... i haven't been bitten once. honestly there are a million trillion more mosquitoes in bc than there is here! maybe when i fly to a new area it will be different but there aren't nearly as many here. lots of people have nets but i don't feel like i need one. maybe to keep the cochroaches away! lol. so there was this one family we went to visit and there house was totally a jungle house! i was teaching the lesson and someone was walking on the top floor and all of a sudden i felt dirt fall on my head and my body cause of the steps they were taking. lol and its hard to get off because i'm all sticky and gross from the humidity. they have dirt floors. its crazy. i wish i could just buy everyone a new house. but after the lesson we walked to the back and she had a pet monkey!! i realllly wanted to touch it. so i let it grab my finger  from a distance that it couldn't bite me. when the lady was carrying it she fed it food from her own mouth! i was like woahhhh...dangerous... lol when we walked home that night it started POURING! we booked it home.. like we ran and by the time we got home it was like we had fully immersed ourselves in a lake. haha it was so fun. we were laughing about it.
           my favorite thing to eat is called chifle. its like platano (fried plantain slices) chips!! MY FAV! haha thought you might wanna know :) so the biggest grocery store in all of iquitos is smaller than overwaitea!!!! crazy ehhh. i thought that was insane considering we live in a small town with a bigger grocery store than this so called city. i really am developing a love for the people here
          ill explain the members a little bit and the ward. soooo its really sad because seriously mom and dad there are sooooo many members here but the seats at church are never filled. there are tons and tons and tons and TONS of inactive members here. we are really focusing on bringing them back. we are focusing on investigators too but we really are focusing on trying to bring people back to church. and nobody likes to have a calling either. like there isn't a young women's president! it makes me realize how lucky i was to have all the women in our ward as an example to me. our ward is AWESOME! i love them so much more because of my experience here. so i really want the members here to have that. i really want to help them develop a testimony of going to church and renewing covenants with the lord. its SO important to do that. when we are baptized we promise to strive to keep the commandments of the lord and that's something we are trying to help the members realize. they are amazing people but they have crazy trials and i know they need the lord but they are slow to heed the word of god and to be obedient. it makes me want to cry and when i'm teaching and bearing my testimony i can feel the spirit so strong and i know they can too and i can feel a small portion of love that the lord has for these people. and i tell them that. and i tell them that heavenly father loves them so much and wants them to return to him and is so sad when we aren't obedient.but my love and testimony for the book of mormon has increased so much. seriously i cant believe how much more i love it.thank you for doing scripture study as a family.i was reading about captain moroni this week. i want to try and be as courageous and faithful as him. its amazing how much faith he had and how loyal he was to the lord. but because of that the lord preserved him and his people as long as they were righteous and moroni had great trust in the lord. i want to become like that. 
            story: so we were walking around finding less actives and on the way we contacted this lady and her husband came out and was like come in! so we were like OK! and we couldn't tell at first but he was SUPER drunk (almost every man is drunk in iquitos on a sunday) and we were like ohhh man.... and he looked at me like i was completely foreign and was like "wow god sent me an angel i cant believe it!!!" and he started crying... and i was like ummm actually i'm a missionary for the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. and he was like "NOO!! you're an angel! i'm so happy!" and i was like uh huh... then his teeth fell out and landed on his dirt floor and he grabbed it and was pointing at me with it saying "how can i make my eyes look like yours?" .. hahah then he stuck his teeth back into his mouth! and they fell out like ten times!. then he reached over and grabbed my hand with the same hand he used to wipe his snot and tears and was pouring his heart out to me and i was like CAN I PLEASE HAVE MY HAND BACK! and he was like NO and i pulled away and he wouldn't let go and i was getting mad and i pulled away hard and then he tried kissing me!!!!! i was like ya ok goodbye! and my comp and i left but he really didn't want us to leave and was standing in the way not letting us pass but we just scooted by. but i scrubbed my hands 4 times that day. hahah anyways!!! hows work dad? :) i hope all is well for you guys. is ten liking work? whats it like for him getting up early everyday haha. i'm glad that vix is in young women's. i remember going into young women's. it feels like yesterday. hows my car? i hope that my subs are still in there when i get home. heheh i'm nervous for when tennyson drives that car in the winter because its so small and it slides EVERYWHERE and its dangerous going as fast as the other cars can go in the winter.but i just hope hes smart with it. is brendan getting excited to move away? i still find it pretty cool that me and lanny are on missions :) it'll be awesome when the whole family reunites for christmas and me and lana can share all our stories! what else is new with you guys? i would love if you sent me pictures through email. please? haha well this email is crazy longgg. i better go! i love you TONS! i pray for you always and hope you all strive to endure to the end. the lord is waiting with open arms. LOVE YOU ALL!!! XOXOXOXO

houses in Canada

dad i forgot to say that when i tell people i'm from canada like my bishop.. he was like " wow i see on the tv that in the houses there are flat and straight floors. is it like there everywhere in canada?" i was like uhhhhhhmmm.... i felt so bad . and when we were in this inactive family's house the little boy just peed on the floor in front of everyone and his mom let him finish and then wiped it up with a cloth and no cleaner. i felt so bad because they probably can't afford diapers or cleaner. seriously i love canada so much and i'm sooo glad i was born there and i'm so glad that mom immigrated to canada! i love you both so much. thank you so much for caring about my health! mom always kept us so clean and i love that about her. she cares so much about us! and so do you. i'm so so so so so so so so lucky to have you guys. i have the best parents ever! and i'm so grateful for the way you prepared me for my mission. its a luxury that you guys were able to afford whatever i needed for my mission and more. thank you so much for working so hard to provide! I LOVE YOU!

culture shock

DAD!!! man i'm so happy its pday. where to begin.. so i was so excited to fly out to iquitos but that all changed when i got there. so the mission president and his wife picked me up and took me to the mission home to meet my companion. shes awesome. then they took us out for dinner and showed us the mission home which was beautiful. sooooo luxurious and massive. that's where they live. then they dropped us off at out new place. and let me tell you..... i just wanted to go home (but going home early will never be an option) there was a cochroach in the dresser and the beds were super dusty and the house was all dirty from the elders that were staying there before and it smelled like dead cochroaches and dog pee and dead everything. ewwww.... so the next day we went to the pensionistas house to eat. her house is pretty much dirt floor and a tin roof. it smelled bad and that's when the culture shock hit me. i tried so hard not to cry because she was talking about how happy she was that god has been so good to her and she is grateful for her life and as soon as we left the tears came down. i started bawling! and my companion was like whats wrong! and i was like well she is so happy with what she has meanwhile there are mice running around everywhere in her house and back in canada i have it all!.... then my companion was like don't worry they are happy! and then the next few days were super tough. i would breakdown during our studies and cry and bawl and cry and i missed home so much but my companion was super awesome and comforted me and told me she knew how i felt. and then yesterday and the day before that were much better because we went teaching and contacting and found people and we also went to the bank and met up with other missionaries and i saw american hermanas which was nice because they were going through or went through the exact same thing i went through. so that made me feel a lot better. now i'm doing really good. i still get a tad homesick but that's going away now. last night we taught a guy named richard and he told us that all religions are welcomed in his home but that none can convince him to join. so me and my comp were like "well we are the ones to change your mind" and he laughed. so we taught him about the book of mormon and i felt prompted to invite him to read alma 32 because it talks about planting a seed which in this situation was his testimony and it talked about having faith and a little bit about god. so he agreed that he would read it and pray to know if the gospel is true. the spirit was strong and when we left my companion was like " that is totally the scripture i wanted to invite him to read but i couldn't think of it! i'm so happy you thought of it!" so we high fived and it made our day so much better.
           Anyway the members here are super nice and absolutely love the sister missionaries! they are so happy to feed us. there are lots of inactives so we are working with them to help bring them back. its weird cause in the middle of church the women with babies show no shame in feeding there babies out in the open if you know what i mean. haha they don't even use a blanket. lol. sooo the food is SO GOOD!!!! i eat two plates everytime and they say i eat like the elders ahahha but sometimes for breakfast i don't want some of the food that is served cause i have no idea what it is so i ask for a little bit and i say when enough is enough and they keep putting it on my plate and its so annoying!! cause i really don't want to eat it... ahhahaaaa 
       everyone here has a hard time saying my last name, its so weird cause its like the easiest last name in the world to say in canada. haha there are TONS of dogs here. i really don't like it. they are super dirty and skinny. there were two dogs that started booking it towards me and i knew i was going to get bitten but right before they got to me i said a super fast prayer and closed my eyes and i felt like there was a shield around me and they didn't bite me. i'm sure it'll happen one day but i really don't know why they didn't bite me,. they were so evil looking and crazy! i wanted to kick it sooooo hard but i just closed my eyes. hahaha oh man when it rains here... it POURS!"!!! if you stand outside for a second you are soaked!!! and it rains so hard that you have to yell in order for someone to hear you lol. but its super humid and hot. like right now i'm sweating... or else its the humidity. lol and on sundays everyone parties!! there is music blaring everywhere and drunk people everywhere, the neighborhoods don't have roads, its all sand. and all the houses are attached. its crazy. sooooooooo different than canada. i think that when i go home i will be so happy that there is snow and that its the christmas season and that i will get to be with all you guys but for now im here and its where i need to be. i am going to print off your email to me so i can ponder your awesome and helpful advice throughout my week. seriously dad it helps me so much. i think about mom lots and imagine how her living conditions were when she lived in nicaragua. i love you all SO much. more than you know. thank you for everything you have done for me. i think about how fortunate i am all the time and thank you for raising me in the gospel. I LOVE YOU AND MOM AND BRENDAN AND LANA AND TEN AND VIX!! i hope vicky had a great b day!!! BYEEE!!!