This week I got my new companion Hermana Salinas and seriously she is the best!!! She is super loving and helps me so much to not stress about everything. We are also very obedient when it comes to schedule and I am honestly so happy in general! Man it's nice to have a companion again.
We also got a new zone leader, Elder Carter, who was assistant to the President but just got transferred here to finish out his mission as Zone Leader in Tarapoto. Both him and Hermana Salinas are really good leaders who are going to help our zone and Branch Tarapoto SO much.
This week we worked HARD. So hard, and honestly I was happier than I have been since I have been here. But what I never noticed until Hermana Salinas was my companion is how much I stress about everything. Tarapoto Central (my area) and branch Tarapoto is what all the missionaries have pinned to be 'the toughest area in the mission'. Which is a little daunting, and often I get discouraged and stress that we aren't doing enough. There are also a lot of members who are going through hard times and I stress about that too. This week our branch president got released suddenly and we currently don't have a bishop, but next week is district conference and we should get a new one. Hermana Salinas is helping me to learn that It isn't going to help to stress, just need to take it one day at a time and do everything we can. Maybe there are challenges in the area, maybe there arent many leaders, but we are here to help strengthen this branch, help them be animated about missionary work, and help them to become a ward. I know that this isn't a 'bad' area or a 'hard' area as people say, and we have a lot of hope for March. I know Heavenly Father is preparing people here in Tarapoto to help build up this little part of Zion here in Tarapoto, it's just a matter of finding these families through the help of members.
There is a sister in the ward named Hermana Marisol who is kind of a rock for the branch. She has 4 kids and a baby, but her husband Nixon died a year ago saturday from cancer. He was a very strong member of the church and it was a huge blow for the whole branch. On Saturday, we climbed up this big hill, a part of our area that is more secluded and jungley that we don't often venture to. But we were visiting people on our list of less actives when we knocked the door of a member named Janet. She let us in but her parents were screaming at us angrily telling us to leave. We talked to her a little and she told us that she was formerly a member and married to the brother of Hermana Marisol, but he left her for another woman, and that she left the church and joined the Evangelical church because she associated here with her husband and it was to painful, because her husband was a member and she has a lot of negative feelings toward the Church. She then went on to tell us that Nixon, the husband of Marisol was her blood brother (two sets of siblings married). And it just so happened (not so coincidentally) that we knocked her door exactly one year on the day from when her husband passed away, A time when she and her family were thinking about him and their hearts were softened. We just testified that we know that what her husband did was wrong, no one in the church is perfect and simply put what her husband did was very wrong, but the Church of Jesus Christ is perfect. It isn't a museum for Saints, it's a hospital for sinners. And sincerely sincerely expressed how much God loves her, his daughter, and how much we love her. I don't know what she felt, but it was such a cool experience for me. I know we believe in angels and that they watch over their posterity and family on the Earth but seriously for the first time in my life that I felt a confirmation of this. I know it wasnt a coincidence and I could feel the presence of Hermano Nixon watching over his family, pleading for them to come back and that we had been guided to them at a time when they were more willing to listen. The parents were still screaming for us to leave, but I felt the spirit so strong. We invited her to a memorial service that the branch was holding for her brother that night, and she showed up! I don't know how it will turn out , or if she is ready to come back, but it was such a spiritual experience for me this week to feel so guided by the holy ghost. I am so grateful for this experience to be a missionary, it is unlike enything I have ever experienced.
I am so grateful to be here and honestly so happy. Everyday is a refining fire. I love you all so much, I pray for you and I hope you are well.