Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rolling my Rs thanks to Hermana Riveros!

25 May 2015

Dear Family,

We are a trio! Hermana Riveros from Pero is with us. She lived in Trujillo for most of her life but moved to Huancayo. She studied law. She is 22 and has been in the mission for six months. She joined the church when she was sixteen and was the first in her family but the rest followed her, including aunts and uncles. Before she joined the church she was agnostic, but it doesn't sound like the kind of agnostic I'm familiar with. She was part of an organized religion. She said she did yoga with her dad in the wilderness, went to meetings where they tried to enter into a candle, and they believe than humans have tails and horns. At least that's what I got out of our conversation over cold cereal this morning.

Shortly after Hermana Riveros arrived Friday afternoon we went to visit an investigator and brought one of the young men from the ward. The investigator wasn't home so we made some contacts on the way to the house of a young man who is a new member. It felt really weird to be teaching with a trio and a member, four people. We taught the young man and when we started to go to another lesson, he decided he wanted to tag along, of course. FIVE people in the street and we couldn't do divisions because both of the members were male. Just try making a contact with four people behind you. Weird. I think it's like that story about the man with all of the animals in his house, though. When the young men left we felt less clumsy as a threesome and are learning to teach in unity with a companionship of three. 

I'm pretty sure it was inspiration that President had to send Hermana Riveros because she taught me how to roll my Rs! So many of my companions and leaders have tried and failed to help me with that and on Saturday as we were cleaning the chapel Hermana Riveros explained exactly how I had to position my mouth and tongue to pronounce it well. It worked! I hugged her. Do you know how long it has been since I gave up? I started learning Spanish a few months after I turned twelve and studied four years in school. When I got a Spanish speaking call I assumed I would eventually learn but I have been her for almost a year and hadn't figured it out. So many people have tried to help me but I just couldn't. I told Hermana Riveros that day that I was embarrassed to pronounce words with double rr and she taught me how! There's a whole world of words I can say now. Just imagine being a missionary in Chile and not being able to pronounce words like dog, ward, restoration, and guitar very well. It made me so happy that I've started thinking about studying communication disorders again. Mom, sign me up for Intro to SLP along with my neuroscience classes.

The mystery of our member/investigator continues. He insists that he was not baptized. He said that he was investigating the church when he was nineteen and that the Sunday he was supposed to be baptized was the earthquake of 1985 and he didn't get baptized. Now he wants to. He could have served a mission at nineteen and now says that his family is his mission. They are not members...as far as we know. They aren't very receptive to the gospel. For a few days we thought maybe he is an investigator after all. Maybe the paperwork was sent by mistake? We talked to the ward secretary yesterday and according to church records, he was baptized March 6, 1983, before the earthquake. He was confirmed the same day and has a membership number but didn't receive the priesthood and records show nothing about his wife and daughter. There is one member who remembers him from years ago, the father of our ward mission leader. He says that our member/investigator went to activities but always alone and that his wife was never interested in the church. He continues to insist that he was never baptized and wants to be baptized. The fact that his name is on the records concerns him. Either he is lying to us or as Hermana Young said, "Something fell during the earthquake and hit him on the head." I feel like I'm on an episode of Monk.

A recent convert has been a great example of scripture study. When we visited her on May 1st and I met her for the first time she wasn't reading the scriptures regularly. We taught her about the Book of Mormon, reading together parts of Joseph Smith's testimony and talking about how Moroni who buried the plates later appeared as an angel to Joseph. She said that the Book of Mormon is kind of like buried treasure and she was really excited to learn about the history. We challenged her to read every day and she committed to do it. When we returned the following day she had read three pages and we discussed it and invited her to continue. We gave her a chart with bubbles to fill in every time she reads a chapter. Due to her schedule, we didn't have the chance to meet with her again until Wednesday May 20th. She gets home around 10:00, after we have to be in the house, which is part of the reason she hasn't been reading the scriptures regularly. When we went to her house she was thrilled to show us her chart. It took her several minutes to show us because she kept saying, "You won't believe me. You're going to say, 'It can't be!'" She has almost finished the Book of Mormon in less than a month! She says that when she gets home from work now at 10:00, she makes herself an herbal tea and reads from 11:00 to 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, finishing several chapters every day! She was so proud of herself and we are too!

When we had exchanges in Curacavi, Hermana Taylor and I visited a less active family, a returned missionary and his wife, one of his converts. She said she gets home from work late and doesn't have time to study the scriptures. I told her the story of this new convert who has almost finished the Book of Mormon. 

Curacavi is outside Santiago and is a little more rural. It was a beautiful fall day and the leaves are changing colors. The members we ate with served us lunch outside among avocado and citrus trees. 

Friday was the talent show. Hermana Young and I sang "Glorioso." An investigator’s mom went and so did the parents of another new member. We didn't get to stay for the whole activity but we were there long enough to see a couple in the ward do a lip sync to Pimpinela "Pega la Vuelta." The wife had a short red wig. It was hilarious. I glanced at our new member’s mom, and saw that it was cracking her up as well. 

So many people came to ward conference! We have been working hard with the leaders and members to get people there and we saw lots of miracles. An investigator’s mom stayed for all three hours of the block. Our member/investigator went. A convert invited two coworkers. A less active we have been visiting was also there. One of the member's less active mom and nonmember dad went and stayed for Sunday School, which the father had never done before. I hope that we can continue to work this way, not just for ward conference but for every Sunday. 

The Stake President used a lot of Elder Holland's talk from some time ago about the ministering of angels. When we visited an investigator last night he said that the talk reminded him of me because he had questions about angels before and I responded with several ideas from that talk because it's one of my favorites and the Stake President used the same scripture that I showed him in Doctrine and Covenants ("angels round about you to bear you up").

It's been a good week. We'll see what happens with transfers next Monday... dun dun dun

Hermana Eva VanCott

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