Hey Family! How’s it going! So today I just finished my second change here in Iquitos and we’ll find out who stays and who goes (I’m 99% fingers crossed sure that I’ll still be here). On Saturday the municipality had a massive wedding and the family of our investigators Luz and Jaime went and signed some papers to get hitched before their baptism this week. We're really happy about the change we've seen in Jaime, when we first got here he didn't want to get married and much less baptized, but he prays so sincerely now, tells us that he knows the gospel is true and is making the arrangements to set that example for his family and be married and baptized. We're happy for them.
This week was truly a week of serious reflection. Our leaders talked to the zone about obedience (everyone's favorite topic as missionaries!) but it really got me thinking and reflecting. That honestly I'm not doing my work like I should be or like I could be. When we came here to be missionaries we left behind our families, friends, studies, dating life, hobbies and all that. For 18 months to 2 years that's all behind us now. But what I really realized is that that literally isn't me anymore. I'm not Lauren, I'm Sister Benyo, a missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ. Never again in this time will my thoughts be directed towards my personal needs, desires, and passions but for this short time in my life I am serving the Lord and his Children. I have forbidden myself to come home the same person, I will never be the same so now while I'm here, our 100% must be focused on the Lord and His work. What a blessing to have this experience, but at times I feel like I am impeding myself from undergoing that transformation. I think about what I'm gonna eat next, time till the next P-day, how long I've got till I go home one day, I don't fill in the area folder at night and we leave the house 10 minutes late. It's all these things that add up, and I feel myself being a little bit too Lauren than I should be. But she is so gone and not welcome here. Here in Iquitos is a sacred place for me and never will I let these selfish distractions from who I once was keep me from being who the Lord wants me to be. On the eternal perspective a mission is SO short. This isn't 1.5 to 2 years, it's 1.5 to 2 seconds. We're throwing it all behind us now. That all is over now, 100% focus on working, on helping others and on having the spirit at all times. Without work and 100% obedience and self-discipline we are nothing. And frankly there's just no time for me to be Lauren. I'm so grateful for the strengthening power of Jesus Christ that helps us to be strengthened in our weaknesses. I love the Book of Mormon in Ether where it says "
But now is the time to repent and be perfected, to be a little bit better, a little bit more focused and selfless and hardworking than I was the day before. To contact a little more, to talk to more people, to find more people waiting to hear the gospel, to pray and fast more. Because honestly this time is so so short. And let me tell you I'm gonna remember it as the best 1.5 seconds of my life.
Love you all,
1. Luz and Jaime signing the papeles!
2. Zone 9 de Octubre...Take 1....
3. Zone 9 de Octubre!!!!!
4. A monkey in it's natural habitat in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest....no just kidding it's the zone leader's pet monkey posed on a tree (note the leash)