Monday, November 30, 2015

#26 Of Risks and Riots

So this week was a really interesting one. We'll just jump right in ok?

So I was getting really tired of my ratty hair that I flat iron all the time that would literally break off if I even touched it so I handed Hermana Baker my paper cutting scissors and she just went to town. She cut off a good 2 inches and now my hair is a little less ratty and a lot shorter. But hey she didn't do half bad! I kinda butchered my bangs, but hey when in Puno! So that was fun. I'll attach some pictures. 

 Theeeeen Wednesday, I was in divisions with my beloved Hermana McMahon and we were just doing our studying, feeling the spirit and all that jazz, and all the sudden, we hear yelling and glass bottles breaking. I thought it was just a couple of kids having fun the Peruvian way (well really in any way. Breaking glass is fun) But little did I know, there was a huge group of women sitting outside our apartment breaking glass and stopping traffic and starting fires and I was just like.. hmmm this can't be right. Well, supposedly, there was a big paro planned for Wednesday because the price of water and electricity went up. And this isn't just your normal everyday riot or strike,. Nobody had their cute little picket signs with offensive but clever names. No this was angry Peruvians with glass bottles and ignited tires. It really was something to behold. They had stopped traffic completely, which is nuts because we live on a pretty busy highway, and if anyone tried to pass on their motos or in their cars, it was rocks and bottles to the head. It was kind of scary! And the weirdest thing was that the majority of them were women! With babies on their backs. Rioting. We watched for a little bit because come on. It's a riot. I didn't take any pictures. Tells us not to in the white bible. But it was just nuts. We were stuck inside for a little bit because we were scared to leave. But it passed after 2 or 3 hours and then we went on our merry way again, preaching and testifying.
Later that week, one of the members of our ward (she actually lives in the other stakes but she comes to our ward) Invited us and the Elders to thanksgiving. She and her family had lived in Utah for like 7 years so they got really good at american traditions. But it's a little harder to complete the traditions here in Peru. So we didn't have turkey. Or potatoes. Or Cranberry sauce. We had a good ol fashioned Peruvian meal complete with Inca Kola. But it was fun to just be with a family on Thanksgiving. WE all went around and said what we were thankful for and I was just thankful to feel somewhat at home. Hermana Silvia is a Peruvian Version of Natalie, and her son would have some fun conversations with Travis and Derrick if they had the chance. So it was like I was in a regular old Thanksgiving sass battle with the family. I liked it a lot. Then that night, Hermana Baker and Tirrell treated us to instant potatoes with a mushroom soup that tastes freakishly like gravy and canned chicken with bread and jam (kind of like rolls...) and no bake cookies. It was actually really satisfying and almost tasted like thanksgiving. But it was fun to share it with the Hermana's . I'm so glad they're here. That was thanksgiving. 

Then we had some of the greatest lessons of our companionship!!! We have this lady named Isable. She's kinda a stubborn one. She's not married (not a big surprise) and we've been trying to  get her to introduce her husband to us for like ever she we can plan a wedding and get this girl baptized! But she's been refusing because she knows that he's going to say no and doesn't want to ask him and it's been super frustrating. Buuuuuut this week, we were leaving and as I was walking down the stairs, this man starts frantically waving at me. Now I just thought he was a renter there too , but he shakes my hand and gives me a big kiss (this part was unexpected and I didn't have time to react!) and tells us "thank you so much for visiting Isabel!" And I'm just like Hey no big deal who are you? And he tells me he's Isabel's "husband" (partner... whatever) and we're like SWEEEEET! So we're going to have an appointment with him because he just seems super nice and receptive and now we're gonna get them hitched and baptized in one fell swoop (that's how that goes right?) and it's going to be sups chevs. (Super Chevre AKA super Cool. I can't remember if I've already explained that or not... but it's gonna be big in Peru. Imma start a slang.)
And then other miracle this week : WE GOT THROUGH A WHOLE LESSON WITH JULIO!!! This is unheard of! Julio looooves to talk and give us the philosophies of life and the heavens and stuff, which don't get me wrong is really interesting and cool, but not exactly why I'm here. So we just went in thinking si o si, he's going to listen and we are going to teach the restoration (probs not the best mindset to go into a lesson, but oh was it necessary) so we start, and we talk, and we ask him questions, and he responds in a normal amount of words, and we testify, and we move on, and repeat! And we finish! And it was a really great lesson. HE told us before that he didn't want to get baptized yet because he doesn't know anything (because we could never get a word in our lessons) But now he's learning more and faster and we're going to challenge him again and pray he says yes! Because he's attended the church pretty regularly since my first transfer here. So since July. That's a ton of time guys. AND he went, all by himself, to the Priesthood session of stake conference this weekend. Just up and went! Like is that not amazing? So we're just gonna teach the daylights out of him ( I don't think  I used that expression correctly...) and the he's going to be ready and I really feel he'll take the plunge this month. Like for reals. It's gonna be awesome.
Well everyone, my time is far spent. I think I covered everything I wanted to cover with you guys and I hope you enjoyed it just like I enjoyed my makeshift thanksgiving. Well I hope you enjoyed it more than that actually! Hey how great is the Christmas video? Super simple, but really powerful. Do me a favor and spread that thing like wild fire. Don't let any of your friends leave your presence with out putting it on first. And then tell them to share it. and before long the world will feel of the blessing that a savior is born. For unto us a son is Given. I love that line. He was given. To us. And how can we go through life living with people that don't know that. So help a sister missionary out and help all your loved ones out. Share. Share! SHARE!!!! That's your homework. And send me your ideas and experiences of how I can share it too! I need some ideas. There's a zone competition and mama's gotta win! Thank you all and I'll see you real soon! Christmas is just around the corner! It's actually coming a lot faster than I expected.Slow down! Love you all share it and preach it!
Hermana Rust

That's how much she cut off! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

#25 This is real, this is me.

I feel like all the Disney channel movie songs could be weirdly turned into christian music and you know what, I love it! But really this song (from camp rock, sung by Mitchi, aka Demi Lovato) really has defined my life this past week. "Like do you know what it's like, to feel so in the dark, to dream about a life, where you're the shining start. Even though it seems like it's too far away, I have to believe in myself. It's the only way. This is real this is me I'm exactly where I am supposed to be now, I'm gonna let the light shine on me! now I've found who I am there's no way to hold it in, no more hiding who I want to be, this is me." And now before you all shake your heads in disgust because I quoted an original Disney channel movie song and close out of your emails, just give me a few minutes to explain and you too will be converted to Disney channel Christianity (that might be a big load of apostasy, but hey we're gonna go with it...)

 So I'm like really happy with out numbers this week. I know numbers don't matter, but hey I can still be happy with them! This week we found 2 new families where the dad is less active and the mom is an investigator! I was really excited about these two because also, with one of the families, his mom is also a less active and he introduced us to her! So we found in total 5 new less actives this week. We've been trying to really focus on what our president said about looking for the less actives and the different points we should use to help them reactivate and give us references. And the promises are already starting to fulfill themselves!

It's just really cool to finally see something I do make a difference. I guess the reason I've been so down on myself is because I'm still trying to figure out how I am qualified enough to be training someone when I still have little to no Idea what I am doing. And so I was forced to take a hard look at how I was as a missionary and I just couldn't really see the fruits of my labors. I felt like I was really trying, like I was doing everything right, but nothing was coming from it. I thought "there's no way I can be in this ward for another transfer after this. I'm not changing anything. Barrio Central would be much better off without me." And it's really how I felt. I just felt like I was going to mess everything up that the other missionaries had established and that there was really nothing I was good for. And at the same time that I was going to mess everything up for my companion. Because I really don't want to ruin her. Everything just seemed to be crumbling around me. I felt like the members didn't trust me, that everyone couldn't understand my Spanish, that everyone thought that I couldn't understand their Spanish. I was calling My district leader at every moment to ask questions to make sure I wasn't doing anything wrong, and that made me feel incompetent and made me feel like he thought I was incompetent. I was just kind of in a dark place. (Do you know what it's like to feel so in the dark?)  Like I had no idea where to go and couldn't even see the different options of where I could go. 

But then something changed this week. Things started falling into place. Spanish became a teeny tiny bit easier, and my relationship with my companion got even better. Halfway through the week things changed. I received a blessing from an Elder and in it he blessed me to be able to make it through "this trial of faith". And when he said that, it didn't really make sense to me until later. And I realized, and am realizing right now, that maybe it was a test of the faith I have in myself. To help me see that yeah, I don't know everything, I am far far from knowing everything, but that I know enough to be able to do this work. It's something that has been said to me a lot, that I know enough. That I know enough to help another person know enough. And that's enough. I just didn't believe them until now I guess.

 And I know the numbers don't matter. But the numbers this week, and the people behind the numbers, the lessons, really helped me to figure that out this week. That I'm doing ok. That God and my mission president trust in me, so I need to trust in myself. And that's what I learned this week I think. That if nothing else, out of my mission I will still get a whole ton of people added to my family, who I love and know they love me. I also learned that. And hey, love is pretty good right? All you need is love, as the Beatles once put it, and that's all I need too. But hey, numbers are still a great thing to have!

So I've figured it out. I've figured out that this is real. The mission is real. And that this is me. I am a missionary. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. That this ward is for me and I am for this ward. And now I'm going to let the light (or love from god) shine on me. And I'm not going to hide it anymore. I'm not going to hide behind the fact that maybe I don't know a whole lot. I know where I want to go, and I'm figuring out little by little how to get there. I'm not alone. Never will be. And now I hope you understand the analogy of my use of a Demi Lovato song. And I hope you forgive me for it. But hey I'mma keep on singing it!

 Well that's my spiel for hoy. I don't really have any funny stories or anything, just did a whole lot of growing this week. I hope that doesn't bore you! I hope everyone has a great thanks giving and I will be dreaming of sushi and corn hole all week now. Thanks mom. I love everyone, including you whoever you are reading this. I love you! Happy thanks giving and I'll talk to you all real soon yeah? Chao Chao! 

Hermana Rust 

Monday, November 16, 2015

#24 Manan Canchu Colque

Guys I'm learning Quechua! And it is legit! That phrase up there means "No hay plata" Which in turn means " There's no money" or mejor dicho "I'm broke". When we went to Cusco two weeks ago, we went contacting in the plaza, and all the little street vendors assumed I was a tourist and didn't know Spanish, let alone Quechua and assumed that I was white (ok, well I a white... ) and that I had a lot of money so they're just all in my face (well not really, they were all actually quite kind) but they would say "Comprame gringa! Comprame amiga!" which means buy my stuff, and then when I would reply with Manancanchu Colque, they would all get really surprised and then laugh and then walk away. So now I just say it all the time! I love it! I've also learned a little bit, tiiiiny bit of Imara. Imara is more common here in Puno because it's the language of the sierras, so people here speak it. I've learned Camisaraki (That means como estas) and then you respond with wakili (and that means bien) Imma be coming back to all y'all 4 lingual (what is bilingual but with four?)!

Well this week was a little slow. But I guess that's what you get when you put together a gringa that just barely got out of her training with a Latina who is in her training. But I'm just thanking my lucky stars that I'm not having to teach someone how to speak Spanish. Hallelujah! But as for my Hija linda preciosa, she really is quite something. The first week she was reeeally quiet. But this week holy cow she just broke out of her shell and we're just having a grand old time! It's the best! I mean we still have a huge communication barrier, but with a little Spanglish and some charades, we can usually figure it out.

 One of (our only actually) baptisms fell through because she didn't come to church and now she doesn't have enough attendances to be baptized so that's a bummer. Also Gaby still hasn't tied the knot and we're not sure when that is going to happen. But in happier news, Julio, from like four months ago, is doing really well! ]On Saturday he came to a baptismal service and he really enjoyed it! It's actually the second one he's been to! But here's the kicker, I have an English class that I teach Saturdays at four. So I invited Julio to come again, and he said he would. But I had forgotten that we had a baptism at four. So in comes Julio half way through this baptism because hey 4:45 is the new 4:00, all ready to English it up, but it wasn't English class! Hahah it was so funny to see his face because he was all... que? But he stayed all the same and really liked it! So hey investigator in the baptism gratis!!! I was a big fan.

 My comp is great. I'm still figuring out training. Luckily I have a book that gives me all that I need to know and luckily again, (but also unluckily) I just got out of my training and I know mas o menos what is up!  I really don't have much more to say about it specifically. Like I read a book and it tells me what we should do and then we do it... And that's training. But it's fun and I am learning a lot! 

Well I've gotta go now but I love you all and hope everyone is finding happiness in all the things that they do! Les Amo, y chao! 
Hermana Rust! 

This is elvira. She was a baptism from the elders in our ward. And then Saturday, her husband and son got baptized! Whoop!

This is just funny because she got stuck. Lol.

Monday, November 9, 2015

#23 ...and then I punched her in the nose!

Well people who read these emails (and thank you for sticking with me!) do i have just a ton of stuff to tell you. This week has been like a roller coaster, with crying in both extremities, in the super lows and the super highs. But it's been a really good week and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

I kind of left my last email in an abrupt ending (cliff hanger hanging from a cliiiiff! And that's why he's called cliff hanger! I hope some of you got that...) but it was understandable because, hey I'm a mom now and it was kinda a surprise to me too. But I will get on to the good stuff.

 So approximately... 27 minutes after i left ya'll hanging, I had quite the experience that I will add to the book I am currently writing called "Mission Misfortunes that would ONLY happen to Hermana Rust" (No I am not currently writing this, but it's got a nice ring right?)  So we were walking in the plaza waiting to go eat because I was starvin marvin from fasting the day before (But I was spiritually full!) but we were waiting fooooorreeeeevvveeer for these other hermanas to print some pictures. I had just gotten the news that I would be expecting soon (my comp) and I was all flustered and trying to figure out how my name had even been suggested for this calling and my mind was a mess and I think it caused my limbs to go a little... wonky. You'll find out how so soon. So I was hanging on Hermana McMahon's arm because I was just a tad faint from lack of food and understanding, and I looked at her and whined (yes dad I still whine...) "Hermana McMahon lets go eat I'm Hungry!!!" at the same time I swung my arm, rather strongly, in the direction that I wanted to go. Well When I did that, I felt my arm hit something, or mejor dicho, someone, and I heard a crack. I whipped around and behind me I found with what, or who, my arm had crashed. A poor tourist had walked up behind me at the same time that I swung and I totally punched her in the nose! I was so embarrassed and so worried that at first I didn't even know what language to speak because I'm a white girl in Peru who punched a tourist in the face! Like what do you do to that? So I spluttered out something like "Oh my gosh! I'm so...  Perdoname! Sorry! Ahhh!" And then I covered my tag because it's like I don't want her to hate Mormons because of me! Well she didn't say anything, just held her nose, and then walked away. It was bien uncomfortable and I felt foolish all day. Because I totally punched a tourist in the nose. The adventures and mortifying moments continue.
Well there's that. Now I'll get onto the more important stuff. Like how I have a daughter! First things first, her name is Hermana Rodriguez. She is from Trujillo and she is 22 years old. My daughter is older than me... awks. But she's really sweet, really quiet, but doesn't hesitate to correct my Spanish. So she gets straight 10's from me! When I got to Cusco to pick her up, I was soooo nervous. Like I wanted to cry. Before I left, I had our zone leader give me a blessing and he told me in it that sure, right now I didn't think I knew a lot, not sufficient to train another person, but that I would find that I knew enough. And that we would grow together. Well when I heard that, I was a little stubborn and was like "Well yeah I know I don't now a lot! But how am I gonna learn from someone that knows even less than me?!" but then, when we were sitting in the chapel, waiting to know who our comps were going to be, they brought in all the newbies and asked them what they expected from their trainers. And one of the girls, not my comp but another, said that she wanted someone who also expected to learn, not just to teach and be in charge. And that really hit me. I was like, hey that's what my blessing said, so you know, I can do this. I can teach someone and they can teach me. That's how the gospel works right. We help each other in the areas that we lack. So after that I felt a little better. And then I felt a wave of relief when I found that she was Latina and could speak and I wasn't left solo in that area. But yeah that was good. And she's super into doing everything right, she wants to work hard, just walk slow because she isn't quite used to how thin the air is here yet. Which I totally get because it happened to me. But I reflected on how little I knew when I got her almost 5 months ago (can you believe that?!) and how I couldn't speak Spanish in any way shape or form and how much I really have learned in this time. And now I can really see that it is a miracle. That I can understand my companion and she can understand me, that I can converse (is that a word) with the members here, how I can challenge people to be baptized, how I can give our breve informe (I don't know how to say that in ingles) every Sunday, how I know how to set goals and work toward them, how I know how to get off the combi in the right spot and I know where Jr. Carabaya is. Like its literally incredible to me that I can do these things. And there my promise has been fulfilled. That I know more than I thought I did. And I know it's all through the grace of my Heavenly Father. I know that he is with me through 100% of this. And its incredible. It really is something special to recognize the miracles in your life. The miracles you have had for bastante tiempo and just didn't notice hasta ahora. It's soooooo coool. 

Well that's all I have to say about that. And now I'm going to focus on myself because IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY AND NOW I HAVE 20 YEAR AND I KNOW THAT'S NOT RIGHT BUT WHO CARES!? My birthday was interesting. First , because It was the day  after I got my hija and she didn't know it was my birthday until Hermana Baker ran into my room Friday morning with breakfast and screamed "Happy Cumpleanos!" So that was a little awkward, but then she was really sweet all day. But Yeah Hermana Baker and Tirrell made me breakfast, pancakes with chin chins (Peruvian equivalent to m&ms) and mango! It was really good. And then later that day we went to our pension, Hermana Eli, and she had a cake for me there and they all sang to me and it was so sweet I love them so much. She like taped balloons on the wall and bought me Inca Kola Because I crave that stuff in the worse way and yeah it was super sweet. She just kept taking pictures of me and yeah. And then they have you take a bite out of the cake right? Well my comp shoved my face in the cake and I had it all up my nose but it was fun! Theeeen that night we had our ward mission night and that all went normally until the end. The Elders, Elder Bodily and Elder Tucto, left before us and I ran after them because I needed to give them a card that one of the Hermanas Left for a member. So I run out and call out to them and I see this giant carton of eggs in their hands. It's tradition here that when it's someones birthday, you just attack them with eggs! So I saw the eggs, screamed "NO!!" and took off! Someone grabbed me by my jacket, but I ripped it off and ran and in the process one of my shoes fell off. I'm a regular ol Cinderella. But instead of a prince delivering my shoe to me with an engagement ring in tote, I had to run back and get my shoe and found that there was an egg cracked in it. In my leather shoe!! Because I ran into the church,and obviously the elders couldn't throw eggs in there, they decided it was still fulfilling tradition to put an egg in my shoe. I wasn't amused. But yeah those were the adventures of my birthday! Oh also today we had a zone conference this morning and because the zone leaders and the hermana Leaders were in Cusco on my birthday, they brought a cake to the zone meeting, in which Hermana Baker shoved my face again. I'm going to have such bad acne. Well that's all I got this week. IT was a fun week and I'm looking forward to training and learning From Hermana Rodriguez and all that jazz.

 Thanks for the prayers and words of encouragement from you guys! Because this email is so dang long, I'm not going to have anytime to respond to people personally, but thank you for the birthday wishes and I love you all and hope everyone is avoiding punching tourists in the nose and eggs in their shoes. The Gospel is true, and we're all gonna work real hard to share it to everyone right?! Right! Well have a lovely week and remember who you are and what you stand for and to make good choices and don't do anything Lauren wouldn't do (that's for you Ansley!) 
Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Rust con 20 anos!

First dinner. I remember this moment in my own mission... es bien rarro. 

Salchipapa. it's a staple here. 
My Hija!!! 
Us in the plaza de Armas in cusco! 

This is the breakfast Baker and Tirrell made. I'm a hot mess, but hey... that's all I got. 

En la casa de Hna Eli 

Queremos que muerda la torta! 

Oh quick explanation about this! Hermana Gonzalez knew that she wouldn't be here for my birthday, so she made this sign and then took it to Manchu Pichu and took a picture with it! Then that night the hermanas gave me the sign and this picture! How sweet is that!? Oh and that's Elder Zerillo. He also went home. He was my district leader. 

This is Silvia! Last night we went to her Despedida! She has come with us in our citas since my first day here, and now she's leaving on her mission today! She's going to Guadalajara ( I have no idea how to spell that) in mexico! 

This is a dog that the elders gave me for my birthday because a dog bit me all that time ago and they still think it's funny. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

#22 Wait what??

Well I am still awaiting my email about whether or not I will be transferred tomorrow so hopefully I will get it by the end of my email time. If not, you will all be waiting in anticipation for a week. How fun will that be!

Well my comp died yesterday. She headed back to the motherland. It was sad. I can't imagine the mission without her. I mean she's all I've ever known. But I'm excited to learn from someone else, and if absolutely necessary, in another zone that isn't Puno Central. But only if absolutely necessary. Because holy cow I do not want to leave yet. I just love this city and these people and this ward and our zone and I can't imagine leaving yet. I mean sure I've had 4 months here and maybe that's a lot, but to me it's not enough. Hermana Gonzalez was here for 9 months. That's what I want! And now I'm just kinda trying to fill up space because I don't know what else to say... I'm sorry this is a super lame email but I'm feeling a little anxious because I don't know whats going to happen yet and I don't like that! 

I guess I can tell you about Isabel. Yeah I'll do that. So in our Mission we have a goal of 1200 baptisms before the end of the year and right now we have something like... 700. So we lack 800. But our president gave us the promise that if we search out the less actives then we will get references and new investigators that will progress quickly and really well 

And hold up we're just going to take a break right now because I just got the news that I am going to train this transfer and I'm kinda freaking out and I don't know what to do because holy cow I am not ready to train and I feel like someone just punched me in the face. Like with a lot of love and stuff. but holy cow I'm terrified. But yeah I'm staying in Puno and I don't know who my comp is yet and won't know until Wednesday so I will keep you posted. OH MY LANTA!!! I can't believe 'm training. I'm going crazy and that's all I've got for you but yeah pray for me! I love you all!
Hermana Rust.