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 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)
3. Crazy Bird Lady
4. Immature I know, but lol