Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Apresurando la obra de salvación!

Well this week was a bit different, but went pretty well.  We had a pretty relaxed p-day on Monday, but on Tuesday we had a Multi-Zone conference in La Molina with 3 other zones which was way cool because I got to see other missionaries that I haven´t seen in a while like my good friend Hermana Ocampo and also Hermana Torres, who I replaced here in Salamanca and she is just amazing!  Presidente Ardila taught us a lot about hastening the work of salvation by working with members and leaders in our areas and also Hermana Ardila gave a really great talk about helping people reach true conversion, which is a process that extends long after baptism. It was a really great day overall and I learned a lot of things that I took back to my area and am trying to apply. The photo I attatched is about a month early, but...FELIZ NAVIDAD de Zona San Luis!  

Yesterday was a bit strange because they had elections here in Lima and we didn´t have church.  We still had to proselite as usual, and the streets were packed with people, but they had all come from other parts of Lima.  Everyone is assigned a place to vote, but its not organized too well and just about everyone has to go to another part of Lima to vote.  Also here voting is obligatory! How interesting!  But anyways, we still made some good contacts and had lunch with a family in the ward, so everything went pretty well.

Mirella didn´t make it to church the Sunday after her baptism because she got sick again, but this week we were able to get her confirmed while the Bishop was doing interviews Thursday night.  It was a little stressful because if she didn´t get confirmed this week, she would have to be baptized AGAIN!  After about 8 times the first time! Haha.  But it all worked out well!  She has now read all of "Leales de la Fe" (i don´t know what its called in English) and we gave her a bunch of Liahonas and she LOVES them! I´ve never met a 14 year old like her  who is always always always texting but also likes to read so much! haha.  She is a great little convert and we got to see her perform last Saturday when the youth of the stake put on a "teatro" and each ward acted out a different parable because seminary here recently ended in the New Testament.  It was so cute!

On Saturday, Eliseo, Lupita´s son turned 8 and was baptized!  All the hermanas that have been here in the ward got to come and see his baptism and it was super cute!  All the missionaries there sang the Primary song "Mi Padre Celestial Me Ama" ("My Heavenly Father Loves Me") as a special musical number.  Eliseo is like my little brother and it was a very sweet experience to share that moment with him and the Valladares family, who have been my family away from my family and take care of us so much!  

We have two people here that we have been teaching for months and are super ready to be baptized, but have some obstacles to overcome to be able to do it (permission, etc.)... please pray for us/THEM!  I am hoping to finish this transfer this week with them finally baptized and confirmed as members of the church :)

Mom and Dad, I´m super glad to hear you guys are helping out the missionaries there and I KNOW that they really appreciate it.  I would exhort you (like Moroni... here I go with scripture language, haha) to help them as much as you can, ask them about their investigators, offer to have lessons in your home and befriend the investigators/less actives they´re working with.  This applies to EVERYONE reading this!  This work can´t move forward without the members.  The Lord is hastening his work by sending more missionaries and every member has the responsibilty to be a part of this too. Elder Bednar says that the missionaries are full time teachers and the members are full time finders and missionaries for life!  The work of salvation doesn´t just refer to non members, but to recent converts, less actives, etc.  I can say as a missionary that members are CRUCIAL to success.  Pretty please everyone do that for me! :)

Love you all and I look forward to calling a MONTH from today! :)

Hermana Bledsoe
FELIZ NAVIDAD de Zona San Luis!

the birthday boy!


Cheo and I! :)

adorable picture of Hno Alejandro and Eliseo leaving the baptismal font and their matching crocs waiting... everyone here wears them!! haha

Monday, November 18, 2013

"Tal como un fuego..."


...As everyone here says to me because they assume I don´t speak Espaneesh :)

Well it´s real great to hear from you all and know you´re doing well at home.  I love getting your letters and pictures and remembering a little bit of American life. Haha.

Well, what´s new in Perú?!

First of all, our ward has had huge changes: a new bishop and bishopric, and just about every organization had changes in leadership. Our awesome ward mission leader, Emil, moved to another part of Lima and also one of our ward missionaries, José left for his mission to Piura (northern Perú) so we are still mourning their absence :(

Yesterday was the primary program and it was SO precious.  There aren´t quite as many kids in the ward (because there aren´t a ton of young families) so it was kinda hard to hear when they sang, but everyone really enjoyed it.

And also yesterday 4 of our 5 less active families assigned to us by our bishop attended church!  That was really cool to see them all there.  I know they came for thir kids in the primary program and not really because of what we´ve done, but it is awesome to see people return after a long time away from the church.

What else...?

Recently, after 6 months living in a country that eats insane amounts of rice, I have realized that rice does not agree with me very well and have almost completely stopped eating it and as a result I lost like 4 pounds... yay me! hahaha.  I just hope my future pensionistas let me not eat it!

We are learning a lot lately about setting and reaching goals and I hope to be able to use that to improve personally, as a companionship, and in our area.  But things are going well overall.

This week we had a funny visit with a really Catholic family... the mom, Lucy, is the most religious of them all but she found us in the street one day and asked us to come visit.  She always tries to test our knowledge of the Bible and things (but not really in a contentious way) and it´s a humbling experience at times, but we always explain that we don´t have a perfect knowledge of everything.  We taught them the Restoration last Saturday and they had never heard of or understood the Apostasy and so it ended up being a great lesson.  Lucy asked us if we sing in our church and we said of course!  I showed her my himnario and she asked us to sing something right there on the spot. My bookmark was on "El Espíritu de Dios" ("The Spirit of God") and she wanted to hear that one. We sang all four verses and the Spirit was really strong there.  Lucy said that she could feel that "God is with us here in this room" and she invited us to come to a fiesta next week that she will be hosting that will be honoring one of the catholic virgins or something... we were hesitant to make any plans, but she insisted that we, as Mormon missionaries, come and sing that hymn for all of her Catholic friends.  SO, we will see how that goes!

Les quiero muchismo!

Hermana Bledsoe
Despedida de José!

Visiting one of the young women in our ward, Gianella :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Un Bautismo!! :)

Hey everybody!

So this week ended up real great because we finally had a baptism yesterday!  We are just ecstatic because we have waited a LONG time, but finally our prayers have been answered. 

Our convert is Mirella, who is 14 years old and we found her one day contacting in a park (seriously, the success rate of contacting is like 1/100, we found the 1!).  She was talking with a friend and we just struck up a conversation with them and we took down her address and made an appointment but not really thinking too much into it.  When we came to her house later that week, her grandmother told us that Mirella had been pretty rebellious and that she basically needed God.  We were surprised to hear that because she seemed really sweet.  (Over the course of the time we taught Mirella we gained the confidence of her mom and grandparents and that helped a LOT because they have been really supportive of her decision).  But as we got to know her better, we realized that Mirella in reality is really sweet and a great girl.  She really has a desire to follow Christ and choose the right!  In our mission we have a rule that a person can´t be baptized unless they attend church twice beforehand and last Sunday we were hoping she would come, but couldn´t make it.  We kept on preparing Mirella for baptism and one day this last week in the middle of a lesson she interrupted us and told us how much she loves this church and learning these things and that she wanted to be baptized. We thought, sure, let´s make this happen ASAP! It was a Thursday, we got her a baptismal interview on Friday and after her second church attendance on Sunday she was baptized!  All of us,including her mom, are very happy. Mirella has been received very well in the ward and in Young Womens and she will be confirmed next week!

I am so very grateful for this experience.  After a lot of challenges, we have been able to see a huge blessing in our area and I hope it´s just the first of many this month!  We have waited about 3 months to baptize and although it´s been hard, it was very worth it :)

I love you all very much! Never lose hope in our Heavenly Father and His plan! :)

Hermana Bledsoe

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dedicada a La Princessa...

FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS HALEY!  The baby of the family is in Young Women´s now...que loco!  I love you and I hope that you´re having a great day!  I still remember the day that Haley was born, I was 9 (and had horrible buck teeth back then) and Grandma Joan was watching the rest of us while Mom and Dad were in the hospital.  Nathan, Sadie and I had the privelage of giving Haley her first bath and she was so tiny and cute.  Now she is grown and I hardly recognize her in photos!  Wow have things changed!

And good old Scout is 13! I remember our first night with her driving home from San Bernardino and she got carsick and threw up all over me... 13 years later I still love and miss that dog! :)

Things here are going pretty well.  We are having success in working with our ward council reactivating less actives and we are still trying super hard to get a baptism, doing everything possible to get these people moving and taking action with their growing testimonies that they have (being "pleasantly persistent" as Mom would say).  Each one has their own challenges and obstacles and I´m learning that I can only do so much, they have their agency and I am here to support them in their journey. I know that everything will happen in the Lord´s time, and maybe even after I´m gone from the area.  I really appreciate the support and love from you guys and I pray for you every day.  I hope all is going well in the US of A and that each of you are very blessed in all you´re doing :)

My Zone Leaders are bugging us because we´re all going to lunch right now so I don´t have a ton of time but I just want to say I love you all very much! Take care!

Hermana Bledsoe