Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Semana 25 in Punchana (July 7th, 2014)

Heyo family!

This week in Punchana.
Not gonna lie this week was pretty LONG. But really rewarding.  
Hermana Lozano and I are both new here in the area, when I got here she only had been here in the ward one week so we're basically lost and learning together. But she seriously is so awesome and our style of working and teaching is so similar that we just clicked together instantly as if we had been companions before. I tell ya, Mexicans are the COOLEST.
Our area isn't all that big though, so that has made it a bit easier to learn the way.  Also something I realized is that here in Punchana the people are different than in Las Colinas, we may be in the same city but it's for sure a different way of life.  I was commenting to my companion the other week that there in Colinas we rarely ever face rejection. Literally everyone received us, and even if they didn't progress as investigators, they pretty much always listened, none of that door slamming in face anger that people usually associate with missionary work. I think here in Punchana the people are still a lot friendlier than other parts of the world but it's definitely different than what I was used to. It makes for a day a bit more tiring and a lot more walking, but in this strange way I kind of like it. I feel like with every harsh ''SOY CATOLICO!!!!!!!!!!!!''  I get just a little bit stronger, and just walk away with a smile, it's like every rejection is an extra blessing for me. hahah.
So as far as investigators go, right now we're basically teaching purely single women, but we're working and finding families :) But the one's we've got are pretty great!  We have three investigators who are working towards baptism for this month, two of which are in the area of the zone leaders called Bella Vista. Bella Vista is a whole another world. It's like 4 minutes away from Punchana but a very very different standard of living. But it's really cool. Bella Vista is an interesting area because it covers purely river bank and like 70% of the area is inaccessible except by boat for a good chunk of the year here in Iquitos. Like I said all the houses on the river are wooden built in stilts or floating platforms and the people get around on little wood plank bridges until the river goes down again. Most of the houses are built like 20 feet off the ground and when the river swells the water goes right up to the top. So we're teaching two women (the elders cant teach single women, so we get to :) in Bella vista, but right now the river is low so no worries there.  They're names are Elba and Sarahi. Elba has a son who is a member and just left to serve a mission in Brazil. She is really great and loves her son so much. She struggled a little bit accepting a specific date to be baptized, because she wants to wait for her son to get back, but we talked to her and explained to her that if she gets baptized now, she and her son can go to the temple together when he gets home from his mission. She was still reluctant and we invited her to pray with us and ask Heavenly Father if he wanted her to get baptized now or wait for Mateo to get home. We prayed together and she got choked up with tears and asked God what she should do. She told us that right there she had gotten her answer and that she was ready. we're working with her and she is preparing to be baptized on the 26th of this month.  We are also teaching a girl named Sarahi, who lives just a few houses down from Elba, and she is really great. She just turned 18 and was really interested learning about repentance and how to become cleansed and changed through the atonement of Jesus Christ. She has made a lot of changes in her life and turned away from some not so great habits, but we are so proud of her and how she has applied repentance in her live, she really is so prepared, and working toward the 19th of this month.  Our third investigator preparing for baptism is Ana. She lives in our area in Punchana and is a 19 year old single mom. She's really smart and I know she's going to be a really solid, faithful member of the church. We love her a lot!
So yeah that's the low down on our work right now and we really want to get this area up and running, get some families to teach, and help lift up the ward because it's kind of suffering right now. Iquitos is kind of the city of inactive members of the church. You would be shocked to know how many inactive members we find just through street contacting.  
But yeah so that's my life right now, one thing that I've noticed lately is that my mission has helped me so much to learn how to help other people.  I feel so lucky every day to get to help people that are truly suffering and just listen. Sometimes that's all anyone really needs, and it helps me forget all my silly problems. There are so many single mothers here or women who have been abandoned or mistreated by their partner that just need someone to listen to them. Someone to tell them that they are loved, that they are so much stronger than they know. I don't know what it is about being a missionary that like 80% when you get talking with someone they end up in tears, but I love it so much because it is a chance to really teach to the needs of these people. When they are suffering to teach them that Heavenly Father is there, He has a great plan of happiness for them and that these trials and sufferings are only but a second, a trial of their faith and their loyalty.  Like we can totally just a lesson and teach a but about the restoration but when you really get them talking, usually the tears come out and that's when the spirit really leads us to share with these people what they need to hear, the strength to get them through disease, death of a loved one, or problems in a relationship.  Changing lives, that's what the gospel is all about people!!!!!!   I am so thankful for how my Heavenly Father has changed me. Before my mission I was never one to give advice....ESPECIALLY when theyre crying but i've learned so much and I owe it all to the spirit. Sometimes I am amazed with the words that come out of my mouth when I tell these women that they are so much stronger than they think they are and promise blessings to them that I know did not come from me. I know I end every letter this way but man....BEING A MISSIONARY IS THE COOLEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love you,
Hermana Benyo
 A family Hermana Lozano and I helped bring to church on sunday :)

Normally I attach a cool photo of what we did on P-day, but as I mentioned last week Pday got changed so that we stay in our areas, which basically means that we just sit in our house all day and not much as far as the cool photos go, so here's a really cool photo of what I did on P-day!!!

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