Sunday, August 31, 2014

Semana 31 in Punchana (August 25th, 2014)

This week was full of surprises.

We had zone conference and it was awesome. We talked a lot about hastening the work and how our pace has to keep up with the pace of the lord. We need to walk faster, focus more---harder, better, faster, and stronger! In our mission we are now planning differently to be able to have a lesson every thirty minutes.  It's new but I already love it, I feel like I am able to cover so much more ground. I always love zone conference, it is like our mini general conference specifically for us missionaries and I always walk out feeling like I can conquer the world.  But it was fun because I got to see old friends from another zone.
So a couple days ago we were walking and some guy yelled at Hermana Lozano 'Hola Paisana!' which means a person from the same country as you. She turned around to tell him that she's not peruvian, she's Mexican, and as she did that she stepped bad and sprained her ANKLE. and now she can't walk for a WEEK. Some lady came and massaged her foot with oil and pushed on the bumps and she screamed and now she has it all wrappped up. She's gonna rest real good and Our pensionista, Hermana Rosalia is taking good care of her so that she can heal up nice. But the moral of the story is that I won't have a companion for a week which is a little bit stressful because now all of our investigators are having major problems and we're feeling a bit frustrated because we have been here two months and still don't have much to show for it. BUT....I'm gonna keep working hard and not get discouraged even though I'm working alone, I know the Lord will help me to find people who are prepared and help our current investigators.  But for real please pray for me because I need all the help I can get this week.  
But hope you all have a great week and I love you!

Hermana Benyo

 Zone Punchana

 Hermana Linford and Hermana Ruesch---friends since the start in Tarapoto!

Hermana Simonson--this lady goes home in two weeks! my sister leader in 9 de Octubre, she is someone who has helped me SO much in my mission.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Semana 30 in Punchana (August 11th, 2014)

Hey everybody!
This week we got to head down to the military Hospital in Iquitos to help translate for a medical mission group from the United States. It was a group of doctors and Med students from Pennsylvania and Michigan state and it was my first time translating and it was so fun!! First of all it was SO weird being surrounded by so many gringos speaking all kinds of English and I forgot how good the doctors are in the United States…hehe.  But it was cool, a lot of them spoke Spanish but many of them don’t and even the ones that do have a hard time understanding jungle Spanish because the people here talk really strangely and add ‘ito’ or ‘ita’ on the end of practically every word. It’s called the ‘cariño’ form of a word or ‘with love’. For example the ‘loving’ form of the word ‘agua’ is ‘aguita’. Cute right? But less cute when it’s every single word and you’re like Marlin in finding nemo trying to understand what  the baby sea turtle saying and having no idea.  “It’s like he’s trying to speak to me…’’ haha But actually now I can understand perfectly jungle Spanish or Charapa as they call it, so that was fun to help translate. I realized a few things from this experience:
1. I can actually speak Spanish! (Legitimitely, I think I’m bilingual, thank you Heavenly Father the gift of tongues is real, people.)
2. I’m going to be SOOOOO awkward when I get back from my mission. I legitimately don’t remember how to small talk with people in English and I was stuttering it was SO weird I hated it. Also the doctors were like ‘’What’s your name’’ and so at first I said Hermana Benyo and then Sister Benyo and they were like no what’s your first name and I tried to explain that we don’t  use our first name while we’re missionaries and they were just like ‘oh…..’ Yeah it was weird, but it’s ok I love being a missionary here the people here don’t think I’m just some weirdo nun chick in a skirt, they always say sweet things and call us ‘Hermanita’ or ‘Eldercito’  right off the bat without any questions. I’m never coming home the people here love me for who I am. Haha.
I feel like I am at the peak of my mission with and awesome companion and just loving life.  We are such a great team and we are always working together---when I fall she helps me up and vice versa (both literally and figuratively in my case).  Our purification is going well and we can feel the spirit so strong in our lives—which makes all the difference. The spirit is the force that inspires us to lift the bar a little higher, be a little better, and teach on a more personal and loving level.  It truly is the antidote for everything and lately I have been reflecting on how much I have truly changed in my mission so far. I am already SO different it’s so interesting to me, I feel like a completely different person. In a good way, a better version, one that is so much more happy and capable of conquering her old goliaths and selfish habits.
The coolest part about being a missionary is feeling the Lord work directly through us and it is such a humbling and beautiful experience.  In recent weeks we found a less active sister by word of mouth, she isn’t on our records or anything and so it was a less conventional visit. She invited us in warmly and we could see in her face that something troubled her but we weren’t sure what. She is a young mom of three with a baby and as we sat and talked she seemed so relieved to be there talking to us. We decided to come back to teach her and her husband who isn’t a member and he came to church and is really awesome and wanting to know more about the gospel. That week we stopped by and she was there alone with just her kids and we talked a little. She told us about her life and why she stopped coming to church. She was baptized in another city and all her family are members of the church and she told us about how when she was young, she had such a strong testimony (and still does!). She looked at us with tears in her eyes and told us that it was always her dream to serve a mission just like us and was preparing to do so but that dream was stolen from her. When  lived in another part of Peru, they lived in a complex where they rent rooms and her mom left her home one day she was abused by one of the other tenants and became pregnant with her first child. I can’t even describe the pain in her voice when she told us that for this reason her dreams of being a missionary were crushed and from that point she couldn’t bear or was ashamed to go back to church. Up until now, ten years later. She has been fortunate to have an awesome husband who treats all three of the children as his and together they are coming back to church and we are teaching her husband. She told us that she felt like we were sent to her from God and in this moment I can’t even describe the love we felt for her, and I know that love came from our Heavenly Father. I told her that he loves her SO much and that He would never abandon her. This live is a time of probation and difficulty, a test of our strength, but if we endure it well we will be clothed in glory with our families in the last day.  She has been blessed with a beautiful son who just turned 12 a few days ago and will be ordained a deacon. She expressed to us her desire for him to serve a mission. I was struck with such a feeling of peace and love for this sister and the comfort of knowing that although bad things happen, the Lord blesses us with tender mercies and I am confident that she will fulfill the dream of her youth as she prepares her son to be a missionary. Even as I am writing this and reflecting on my experience as a missionary I feel so much peace, gratitude, hope and love for my life and everyone around me. I am grateful for the miracle of being led to this sister and the opportunity to help reactivate her (She’s come to every activity and Sunday meeting so far!) and to teach her wonderful husband, it is humbling in a way I can’t describe. I never want to stop helping people and serving the Lord. Ever.
I know this gospel is true. It changes, shapes and transforms lives, and it’s changing me too.

1. Me and Joely and Hannah Miley (The people here have and extreme love for Hannah Montana)
2. Parrot
3. Crazy Bird Lady
4. Immature I know, but lol

Semana 29 in Punchana (August 4th, 2014)

This week Hermana Lozano and I decided that to start the new change,  it would be a good idea to do a ´spiritual fast’ from things that drive away the spirit, so we decided to do a 40 day purification based on a talk that we received from President Gomez a few months ago. We started with a prayer and a fast and made our list everything we felt that we must change. We made up our minds  to sacrifice all disobedience no matter how small (hello repellent and mosquito net!), All thoughts of home and `life after the mission´, singingworldly music, gossip and much more. And really, at first it was (and still is) difficult but every morning we asked for help to strengthen us and invite the spirit and write goals for the day to help us along the way. At night when we come back to the house we kneel and pray and report to the Lord how we did and write how we did in our journal. From the first day we felt a great change in our work and inourselves. We felt the spirit at all times on the street and that same spirit carried us to the people who needed us. Also every conscious thought was related to how we can help our area, investigators, less actives, the ward and the converts. The first day we had so much success I still don’t even understand, but in one day we had in 9 lessons, 10 new and 48 contacts --- and the only thing we did wasfocus on having the spirit. And we really found some awesome families that have the potential to be progress and baptized, one of themhaving attended Sunday. When we arrived here in the area we did not have much and we are seeing miracles thanks entirely to the spirit. But perhaps the most miraculous change we've seen this week is the change in ourselves. We are so sensitive to the promptingsof the Spirit that helps us to change our behavior, and  to correct things we had not noticed were wrong before. And sister Lozano is the BEST, as a team we work together to keep our purification on track and she helps me a lot. We still have a month more of ourpurification and I am so excited to see the progress we make. Sometimes we have to sacrifice things to live our lives on a higher level.And we're doing that. By sacrificing worldly songs, sacrificing thoughts that have nothing to do with missionary work, to sacrifice gossip,negative comments, and to give every conscious thought to this work, we have decided to live our lives more abundantly. And now it's as if Satan has no influence over us---I almost don’t even feel tempted to do the things on my list. How wonderful it is to be a purifiedcompanionship and we will continue this way. Yesterday we were walking in the heat as the sun was setting beautifully over the river and palm trees feeling the warm wind on my face and sang `I feel my Savior`s Love` and in such a real way in that moment I really did feel the Saviour’s amazing love in such an indescribable almost tangible way. I love this gospel, I love the people of Iquitos and the opportunity to sacrifice my time and every conscious thought and action to live my life on a higher plane. Best week of my mission so far. 

1. Our area Punchana
2. Our area Punchana
3. One time one of these fell from the ceiling in the middle of a lesson on to its back and they buzz really loud and it scared me so hard I screamed
4. This P-day we had nothing to do in our area, if you want to know what movie we were watching, see photo number 5
5. Not a movie, We were staring at the wall.
6. A completely unstaged photo of Hermana Lozano and I studying from Preach my Gospel


Semana 28 in Punchana (July 28th, 2014)

Hey everybody!
Not much exciting happened this week.
We had interviews with President Gomez and I tell you every time I talk to my mission president and his wife I just feel so great and so inspired to do and be the best that I can, they are awesome! 
As far as our work goes we're struggling to find new investigators but not getting discouraged....ain't nobody got time for that! I love that about my mission, doesn't matter what happens, nothing can bring me down, just keep going with a smile--which so was not how I was before (drama queen, always expecting the worst).
For service this week we washed our bishops dog Pepe! 
Funny thing that happened this week, I was walking in the house with a bag of coconuts and my companion was making fun of me for buying coconuts (I still don't know why) but she thought it would be funny to close the door on me but it closed on the coconuts and smashed the glass in the door. I told her it was karma for hating on my coconuts, we had a good laugh. And now we need to find a glass smith....
GUESS WHAT! TODAY IS JULY 28th! Happy anniversary mom and dad!! Cant believe you guys already are at 30 years. But even more crazy is today is the 25th anniversary of my companions' parents too! And on top of that 28 de Julio is Peru's independence day today! So don't worry we're all celebrating together down here. Love you and miss you all!!
Hermana Benyo