The past 72 hours, I was in a car for about 20 of them. And in those 20 hours, I had a lot of time to just look at the overall beauty of the highlands of Peru. And one thing I noticed, Particularly in Apurimac where I am currently serving, is that the mountains look like patchwork quilts. They are absolutely gorgeous. And its because it's farm land. they have their lots of corn and alfalfa and potatoes, which up close might not be that cool, but from a far off, on the main highway, it looks like God has been stitching and patching away at the earth for hundreds and hundreds of years. It's my new favorite thing like... ever. And sadly I don't have a picture. But I'm going to be traveling again tomorrow so I'll take a picture then!
And now the big question "Why are you traveling so much?" Well if my last letter had gotten to you, you would have learned that this past Saturday was our WHOLE MISSION CONFERENCE in CUSCO with ELDER HOLLAND! So that's why I've been traveling. And now we are going to devote my time to being very specific about the details that took place.
So Cusco from Talavera is 8 hours. So Friday in the early evening, 5:00, we jumped on a combi, which is just a van, and took it to Abancay, 3 hours away, where we stayed the night, And when I say the night I mean we stayed for 5 hours and then left again to go to Cusco. We woke up at 12:30 to make ourselves pretty despite the 5 hour bus ride that awaited us at 3:00. And then we bused it all the way to Cusco. We were scheduled to get there at 8:00 in the morning. Perfect to eat breakfast and to take pictures with other missionaries and catch up with people. The only problem is that we didn't get there at 8:00. Because our bus driver pulled over for 45 minutes to sleep, so we got there late. And I was freaking out because guess what, I had to sing a special musical number with 4 other missionaries with whom I had never practiced before because I was out in the middle of no where in Talavera. But I'm actually very grateful that the bus driver pulled over because that's better than us dying.
So we got there at 9. And I had a frantic Hermana Frame calling me because we needed to practice! But it ended up being ok and we got to run through the song a couple times. I also got to see Hermana McMahon again before she dies!! Ahh that was the best! Oh and the song was Fuente de Mis Bendiciones or Come thou Fount. But yeah I was reunited with my Hija and she's doing well. Gave me some good and bad news regarding Puno, but there's nothing I can do about it so I'm just going to keep moving on. It was a good time. Saw some missionaries that I hadn't seen since I first got to the mission and it was just fun! And then we went in for the conference. I was sitting in the first row, right in front of where Elder Holland would be sitting! I pick my seats well. And then he came in. And it was really cool. I have been in the same room as him before, but never up close. He's older in person. But boy was he... emotional? I don't know how to say it. Like enthusiastic? Something like that. Energenic! Thats what I wanted. He shook everyone of our hands and asked us our names and where we were from. I told him Overton Nevada and he says "Oh Overton! Very good. Thank you for coming." and then continued. So that was cool.And then, we sang. I was so nervous! I had spent the whole week before memorizing the words and the harmony which was actually really hard because I didn't have a piano at my disposal to even play the part for me so I just had to figure it our and then memorize the words in Spanish and I think my comp was getting really tired of my song. But it went well. I think it definitely could have been better, but Elder Mann, Elder Andromedas, Hermana McMahon and Hna Miceli all sing like angels so I was able to ride on their wings a little bit. But it was still a huge honor and super cool.
And then he gave a great talk. It was very Elder Holland. He told us he loved us, but then burned the heck out of us. I have never been so happy to be burned before. He said a lot of things that he has said in previous missionary addresses but things that totally apply to every missionary and that I think was all needed to hear it from him personally. To feel the urgency of his mission more than anything. I'll just share a couple of things he shared. He talked about us being committed. Forever. This is a very common topic of his. He told us that he loves the mission so much and the missionaries so much that if a missionary decides that after, or even during his or her mission, that they don't want to live like this anymore, he can't stand it. He gets angry. He said that we can never go back from what we have experienced in the mission. And if we do, shame on us and shame on him. We are COMMITTED FOREVER! This is real life. Capital R capital L. He told us that we don't have the right to abuse our image as missionaries. That's something that stood in my mind for a while. He told us that we are symbols as well as servants. He told us that we are God's investigators. He said that the road to salvation always goes through Gethsemane. He told us that if we don't give him our life during this time and forever, we won't be happy. Not really. And then he said a poem that I really liked. It was something like "He told us to come to the edge. No we said. We'll fall. Come to the edge he said. Again, No we said. We will fall. COME TO THE EDGE. So we came to the edge. He pushed us. And we flew." How interesting is that? I don't know if he has ever shared that before. But I really liked it. He said that the edge doesn't mean we fall. Sometimes we never fly because we never go to the edge of miracles. The edge means up, flight, glory. And when we go to the edge, we stay forever. Incredible. To hear the words of a real living day prophet. Face to face. I will never forget. So those were his thoughts and they caused me to think. A lot.
And now I'm here in Talavera again. But tomorrow I'm headed to Abancay AGAIN to do divisions with the Hermana Capacitadoras. So I'll be with Hermana Baker tomorrow! Yay! Well that took about all my time. I'm sorry you didn't get my letter until just barely. But I hope this one gets there. And just remember. You can't ever go back. You are committed. If we choose to stay, it's forever. Feel the urgency. To keep going. To honor our temple covenants. To stay on the road to salvation and pass through Gethsemane. it was never Easy for Christ. So who thought it should be easy for us. But we're in it. Forever. Now and forever.
Love you all! Talk to you next week!