Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 61


Welp, this has been probz the most stressful week of the mission. But also not, cause I have too much experience for that. BUT the crazy news is that I`m doing a freaking pink wash in Itaugua (Capiata) with Hermana Torres! And you`ll never guess where she`s from. OH WAIT, YOU WILL, cause she`s Peruvian. And ALL MY COMPS ARE PERUVIAN. She`s Hermana Pisco`s neighbor in Lima though, so that`s crazy! And also we share two areas (Anahi and Horqueta) and also two comps (Hna Valdivia and Hna Pisco). So it was about time we got put together! 

Alright, well mostly we`ve just been stressed out trying to get to know the area and the members and everything. The apartment we moved into was TRASHED, so we`ve also been trying to get that together. And the good news is we`ve only found one scorpion so far #notsarcasm #Paraguayprobz

Our area is freaking HUGE. Google it. Like, I`ve just been out in the campo farmland for my whole mission and I am having a way hard time adjusting to city living. Like, Itaugua (pronounced mas o menos Eee-taw-waa) has over 100,000 people and 12 different sectors, each of which requires us to take a different collectivo to a different area. Like, we have to take a minimum of four buses a day, and I`m freaking spending all my money on that. Outta control. There used to be eight missionaries here, but they`ve had to close areas cause our mission has more missionaries leaving than coming in. So anyway, we just don`t know anything or anyone and I have mad respect for missionaries in Asia and stuff who probably have a billion people in all their areas, cause it`s just really hard. And I really think we should get a car, just throwing that out there. 

But the good news is there is a lot of potential in the area and we already have investigators who have come to church. There is a super awesome family of five that attended yesterday and they have a ton of potential. The wife needs to divorce her first husband and marry her current boyfriend before they can get baptized though... BUT they are way cool and it will for sure work out if it`s God`s will.

Also, today we got to go to Pizza Hut and bowling, which was super awesome. I like my zone and things are looking pretty good. I just gotta have more faith and not stress out so much about the area! Cause I seriously know God won`t let anyone slip through the cracks. There`s just kinda a mantle that comes with being in a missionary in an area where you feel super responsible for everyone in it. And even more in this white wash cause I just know we`re not going to be able to visit everyone that used to talk with the missionaries. But this is God`s work and He will hasten it in His time.

Love you all so much!!!!

Hermana Ross

Saying goodbye to Hna Dure </3

Jose Castro
that time Hna Torres and I spent literally FOUR HOURS looking for this sign. They were like "it`s on the street that sells queso!" OMGOSH

Our investigator, Wilson (on the left). He`s literally so much like Joaquin (a family friend we adore), it`s ridiculous
Familia Oviedo
Hna Gomez
My favorite jovenes <3

da krew
Familia Ojeda
cleaning our new apartment #ratchet

Hna Torres`s dog-bunny

Washing a puppy!

 More #almostthesecondcoming

My new hood

We also went bowling for the first time in 5ever

We went to Pizza Hut for the first time in a year!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 60


UGHHHH I just realized as I started this email that my list of notes of what I was gonna write is in my old agenda. THAT I LEFT AT HOME, dangit. New change probz. So this is just gonna have to be straight up stream of conciousness, sry. Which is a bummer, cause there were actually a few specific things I was gonna mention. Oh well, guess if I can´t remember them right now they aren´t that important.

Anahi: So last Monday we went back to my first area on the mish!! It was crazy surreal but strangely fulfilling. Like, I just remember how much I didn´t know anything while I was there. I had no idea what the mission was gonna be or who I was gonna be and I sure as heck didn´t know Spanish! lolz, but rly. So it was nice to go back and mark my own progress, in a sense. Also, I was there with Hna Pisco the first time as well, so it was nuts to walk the same streets again together.

Ok, I´m actually real sad cause I can´t think at all right now and can´t remember like anything I was gonna say. What even happened this week? It was such a blur. It was probably the most successful week I´ve had on the mission though, numbers-wise. Like, everything just finally came together for a few days in a row and we surpassed all of our goals. This Sunday I was sitting up at the piano looking out at the ward as members walked in and I just really, really felt like I´ve done my best in Juan de Salazar. I haven´t been perfect, but I´ve given the most I could give in the circumstances I´ve been in. And the asistencia was the highest it´s ever been, we had several investigators in la reunion sacramental, and a bunch of menos activos we´ve been working with came (including one YSA named Francisco who asisted Sunday for the first time in FIVE YEARS. Wow.) 

Anyway, so I´m still not sure if I´ll leave the area or not (we find out tomorrow). BUT if I do, I feel good about it. Which is a blessing.

Other news is that I went on a division with Hermana Mera from Mexico this week, so now I have more friends to hit up on future vacations ;) Seriously tho. 

Alright, well I love you so much!! 
Hermana Ross

With a super funny/crazy old guy in the ward. True story is that he gave us a group hug right after this and Hna Pisco and I were both like "UHHHHhhhhhhh"

Familia Oviedo

With Reina and some of the fam <3 (also from my first area)

That time a crazy storm formed in like t-5 minutes and we feared for our lives

#ratchet. We got SOAKED. Like, more than normal. 

Cool sunset after the storm

With my mission bae, Hermana Lundberg (first time in TWO changes)

That time we all went to McDonalds #swanky

Out of order. Back to the day of rain. 

A big PS from Lee:  I was asked to share some of the blessings of having a missionary at church this Sunday, and I asked Holly if she wouldn't mind sharing some of her perceived blessings for serving a mission and what she wrote was so meaningful to me, that I wanted to share it here as oftentimes these are not the sorts of things that are shared as part of her weekly letters.  I am hoping she won't mind if I post it here because it has strengthened me and my hope is that it might have the same effect on those of us who are connected to her.  

Ok stream of conciousness list of blessings from being on the mission: Lolz, there are too many.

-Increased testimony of Jesus Christ and His atonement. Like, before I understood logically that Jesus was my Savior (in that through Him I could repent of my sins). But now I not only understand, but feel that Jesus Christ is my friend and that He loves me. And when I can´t rely on my own strength anymore (aka 10 minutes after walking outside of the house in 115 degree heat + 90% humidity), I use HIS enabling power to get me through the day. Because I COULD NOT COULD NOT COULD NOT do this alone. Everything about the mission is the hardest part, but when I put my trust in Jesus Christ I find the strength I need to go out in the sun and trabajar CON el Señor. 

-OMGosh increased love for home and family. Now, this may feel like a curse sometimes (you know, when you just miss everything 10/10 badly), but it is actually a very real and very powerful blessing. There is a love I have never felt so strongly, and I know it is divine. "God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be - THIS (THE FAMILY) is how He shares His love, for the family is of God." 

-Increased appreciation for the ridiculous amount of blessings that exist in the 1st world. I honestly can´t remember the last time my bare feet touched the ground. I can´t even imagine seeing carpet, using a washing machine, having more than a hand-mirror to get ready, etc. Everything that I didn´t even think about before is now something I will never take for granted EVER AGAIN. How could I when this type of sacrifice has been engrained so deeply into my heart and soul?

-Greater appreciation for all my friends, BYU, Provo, Salt Lake City, social gatherings, movies, music, activities, the internet, social media, tv shows, etc. Pretty much everything I liked to do that I now cannot. Again, stuff I will appreciate for the rest of my life and will never take for granted ever again.

-SPANISH! Gosh, I almost forgot about that one, HA. But seriously, God has blessed me in a way I´ve never experienced before to be able to speak and understand a totally new and foreign language. He blessed me more than I deserved (on account of I didn´t study like I should have), and it´s something I will be grateful for all of my life.

-My ability to feel God´s love for me. I feel it ALL THE TIME. In all the world around me. For me. For others. For the Savior. Charity is the realest.

-Increased testimony of prophets, apostles, scriptures, latter-day revelations, general conference, priesthood power, etc.

-Tender mercies and my increased ability to look for and recognize them. They are everywhere all the time.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 59


So I totally spaced to tell you last week that we got to go to the temple on Tuesday!!! My first time in ONE WHOLE YEAR, omgosh I was so excited. It was great, as was to be expected. I could probably realistically go twice a week after the mish. Maybe I`ll make it once a week so it`s more of a S.M.A.R.T. goal, but we`ll see. I`m setting my sights high.

Anyway, that was the highlight of the week. We`ve also been super blessed this change to be finding a BUNCH of less active members. Like, easily 1 in every 125ish people we`ve contacted has turned out to be a member. Super trippy. I feel like that`s been my theme with Hna Pisco. The last time we were comps we unfotunately weren`t able to llograr a baptism together, but we were able to reactivate a super boss family. And this change we were like "Yeah, we`re gonna baptize!" But you know, other people`s agency and stuff... BUT, we have been able to work a lot with reactivating again. So it`s been a pretty good time. Although sometimes menos activos really give you a run for your money lolz.

In other news the weather this week sucked sooo bad. Like, it had finally cooled down a little bit the past week or so, but this week it came back FULL FORCE. Like, HEAT OF SUMMER. Like, 110 degrees with humidity status. And then this whole weekend it POURED rain. As per usual. But anyway, that was rough and this week we actually struggled a lot to have lessons. But, we`re out on the other side and starting week 6! Crayzee. True story tho is that I have no idea what will happen with changes. I`m like V chill to stay in Juan de Salazar with Hna Pisco, but I also actually feel like I shouldn`t. Or at least like I won`t. IDK. We`ll see #thewoG #pray4HermanaRoss

Love you so much!! 
Have a gr8 week!
Hermana Ross

Post temple trip. 10/10 would recommend

 Outside of the temple!! 


HAHAH 2 typical 4 Paraguayan directions. "Where do you live?" "Two streets that way then make walk two more blocks in an S shape and then on the left side but the right street. Past the mango tree and the two pigs." For REAL tho. (note for those who don`t speak Español: It says "My address: My house.")

Ok, so this is mostly for Colin, but you know the voice of the witch in Banjo Kazooie? WELL, this precious Paraguayan grandma LITERALLY has the same voice. It`s so trippy and I want to record it soooo bad. I probably will at some point, cause I can`t pass up this opportunity. Even more when she laughs. You`d die it`s so funny

Las hermanas at the temple

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 58


What a quality week finished up by a quality #LDSconf. Rly tho, so spiritually uplifted RN. V good. Alright, alright, stop asking. I´ll tell you my favorite things about conference:

-Let´s just start with the MoTab. Very good. Maybe just cause all the hymns they sung were in English, but I just felt the spirit super strong. My #1 vote would be cast for "I Feel my Savior´s Love," which I actually thought was even interesting that they sung, on account of they did it in October´s conference too. BUT that song actually really sums up well how I feel about the Savior´s love these days. Like, I feel my Savior´s love. In all the world around me. I know that He will bless me. My #2 vote would be "The Day Dawn is Breaking." Also V inspiring.

-Ok, other stuff. I don´t know, it was just really good. I´m not going to lie, I struggled a bit to make my questions this conference. I don´t know why, but I just was feeling very uninspired. So sadly I didn´t receive direct answers on account of I didn´t have direct questions. But nonetheless, I felt the spirit throughout and it was just really good. Not underrated. 10/10 would reccomend.

My other favorite part of conference weekend was that on Sunday afternoon between sessions my comp and I got to have lunch at Hermana Speakman and her comp´s apt. Their apartment literally looks like a Provo apartment, and it was just a really nice time. And she had EasyMac and it was the first time I´ve eaten Macaroni and Cheese in like 14 months. Soooo good. And I was able to have a nice realtalk with her and it was just super awesome. Like, I don´t know where all this love came from, but it´s totally there and I just loveeee Hna Speakman. And everyone. And everything.

Which leads me to my next topic, CHARITY! Lolz. But seriously, I remember when I was having my LITERAL internal crisis about charity last year, and Rachel wrote me and was just like "It´ll be fine. One day you´ll look back and just realize how much your charity has grown and how much love you have that wasn´t there before." And gosh, it´s been true #theRaeBaeissowise. I was thinking about that a lot this weekend. Like, I just really have a lot of love in my heart. But it´s not mine. It´s Christ´s. Like, literally, it is the pure love of Christ. I, as a fallen, imperfect human being, don´t have the energy I need to love everyone. I can´t love every stranger on the street, I can´t love every menos activa that has every excuse in the book, etc. It´s just not possible through all my weaknesses to do those things all the time. But I can love them through Christ. And when I lit-rally don´t have the emotional/physical/spiritual energy to contact one more person, I stop relying on my own abilities. And I use Christ´s ENABLING POWER to talk to those people. HE is who is loving these people, and I feel so blessed that I get to be His instrument and feel of that love. Like really, I would love to (and will) devote my entire life in His service. Maybe not 24/7 missionary work (lolz, plz no), but as a dedicated disciple of the Lord commited to doing His will. My life is a gift. My life has a plan.

I love you SO much!!! I appreciate all conference insights, quotes, memes, posts, etc. Keep em coming.

In terms of other stuff:
-So they found out officially that all my pain has been caused by kidney stones. Bad news bears is there are MOAR. And I´m like "noooo, make it stop." But alas, no such luck. But they´re like "they could pass tomorrow or next week or next month, etc." So I should be fine in the meantime lolz.

-Hna Pisco is super great and we´ve had lots of good times this week. Probably the highlight was when she was cooking at our super tiny table and didn´t have space, so she decided to put the phone in the blender to preserve room. What we found out AN HOUR LATER when our zone leader called is that the blender was actually full of water. Lolz, my comp straight up put our phone in a blender full of water without realizing it. It almost broke, but then through #faithandworks, its life was preserved.

Hope you have a sick week. Glad you had fun at your spring break parties! (looking at you, ColinBoo)

Hearts and stars,
Hugs and handshakes,
Hermana Ross

. Me with the childrens. Sry it´s blurry.

Taking selfies while waiting to leave for #LDSconf #yolo

With Sara and Clara at da conference

Pretty much the same pic + my companion!

I bought myself a chocolate bunny on account of Easter happened and I didn´t eat any delicious chocolate AT ALL. Again, #yolo

My bae, Hna Pisco

MOAR conference selfies