Monday, July 25, 2016

#59 There can be miracles...

Well this has been the TRUNKIEST p-day ever.

Here's why. We went to Chili's to lunch and then got frozen yogurt. 2 things that I have not done in over a year. Then a Michael Buble song came on in the mall. And then I logged onto my email to find emails about college, an email from the mission offices asking me questions so that they can buy my plane ticket, and an email from Elder Winzenreid saying he gets home next week! Like what the heck! I still have like 6 months left. So I'm nooooot trunky nor will I ever be. But today, yes it was trunky.

But we're not going to focus on that. 

Instead we'll focus on the miracles. There's a song that I always listen to that is actually from the movie The Prince of Egypt which I have never even seen but the music is top notch and it's a song that is called "When You Believe". The original from the movie is lovely, but I am partial to the Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey rendicion because you know I love it when the black girls belt it out (I strive to be able to do that better, for that I listen to the masters). I invite you to listen to them both. In the chorus it says "There can be miracles when you believe. Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill. Who knows what miracles you can achieve, when you believe, somehow you will, you will when you believe." Inspirational right? And now just imagine two powerhouses busting their lungs out singing it and try to hold back the tears. 

So this has kind of become my.... lema? how is that in English... 
Because you see, we had concilio this past week, and all we talked about was the missionary broadcast that there was this past January about preaching repentance and baptizing converts. Our new president is really focusing in on just that. So me and my companion were discussing about how we could better incorporate that into our proselyting and we decided to have repentance be it's own lesson because sometimes we don't put enough emphasis on that. But it kind of scared us because who reeeeaaaallly likes crying repentance to people? It's uncomfortable and awkward. But we decided that there was a reason that this had such a large emphasis, not only in our own mission, but in missionary work as a whole.
Well this determination that we had was put to the test yesterday. We found a new investigator last week. His name is Reinar. His wife is a member but he has absolutely ZERO interest in the church. He's heard the lessons before but quite frankly he just made fun of the gospel. Last week was our first appointment and it was... awful. His poor wife has been going through some hard stuff with her autistic son and just with being the only member. Struggling. And we tried teaching them that the gospel could help us cope with these things, that their son would be perfect in the next life, and that they could be an eternal family. He didn't believe it and wasn't too excited with our setting a return appointment. But we did and it was for the next Sunday, or yesterday. So we go to the appointment yesterday, kind of nervous and scared because we didn't know what to teach and we didn't know how he would take it. The night before we planned to do repentance as a show of our faith that this is what God wants us to do, but I don't think we really trusted in the promises that had come with the invitation to preach repentance. But we did it. 

We started the lesson, putting on our brave faces. We read with them from Alma 36, Alma's conversion story, and we just discussed it. How Alma felt, how we feel when we sin, how it feels when we repent. All that jazz. And during the whole lesson, the weirdest thing was happening. Reinar was LISTENING. Not just listening, but intently, drinking in the words, nodding in agreement, reading the scriptures, participating. It was a miracle. A complete 180 from the first time we had visited him. And we asked him how he felt, to which he responded that he believed that everything we had said was true. A miracle. 

Now he's still not the golden investigator that every missionary hopes to find and baptize, but now he's a man open to learning. Maybe he'll get baptized, maybe he won't. but I am sure that when he does get baptized, it is because he is converted to the Lord through sincere repentance. It's the only way we can be converted. 

So what I learned is that God knows what he is doing. He gives us the opportunity to act on his promises and then fulfills them. Every time. it was kind of lame of me to not trust in this promise, what can I say the flesh is weak, but every time my testimony is stronger and stronger about the fulfillment of the promises of God. He works miracles. If you believe. 

I just want to end making a few birthday shout outs and these people will get their own emails of course because I love them, but just so everyone else can see how great I am to remember birthdays even when I am on another continent ;) 
Happy Birthday to  my favorite of all the Chuppies, Phat Knat. You're a great sister and I love ya to Peru and back. 
Happy Birthday to my main Bae Ansley Jo. Stop having dreams that I'm going to desert you ok?
Happy Birthday to my Hal Pal who doesn't even know who I am anymore and calls me Natalie... kind of destroys my heart completely but I still love her and I hope she still watches Reba at 2 everyday and then takes a nap. That was our routine. 
And a very belated Birthday to my Poppo! I'm sorry it's taken so long, I'm a bad daughter sometimes, but I love you too Paps! 

Well that has been my week! Enjoy the 100+ weather, I know I will be enjoying the 60 degree weather here.

Send my love to all and remember that there are miracles when you believe! 
Hermana Rust 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

#58 Transfers Week

Holy Hannah Montana, I am EXAHSTED. Like too tired to even try to  remember how to spell exahsted. So we will leave it at that.

And you must be asking why I am even tired. That's a very good question. Because i didn't even get transferred. Didn't even move. But I am tired because I was basically the mother to 19 hermanas this week as we picked them up from the bus station, took them to our house, made sure they had food to eat and a place to sleep, and then took them back to the bus station the next day to go to their new areas or to the hospital to work out all the stomach infections that go around here. I think we can say that I am pretty darn prepared and will have a good hand on motherhood. 

We had Hermanas at our house from Tuesday to Friday, and for that reason we weren't able to work in our area as much as we would have liked, but I think Heavenly father must have seen that we runned our little hind quarters off, so he gave us a few miracles by having a new investigator come to church yesterday and finding 4 new investigators on Sunday alone. It was exactly what my little worn out heart and mind needed. Tender mercies! 

But one of our lessons  yesterday, oy me asustò! She was one of the most closed off people I had ever met! Me and Hermana Conde were scared to death while we taught her. Like she would listen to us, but the minute we would stop talking, she told us how much she disliked everything we were saying. And I've never been in that situation before. Like there are people who don't really  want us to visit them, but at the end of the appointment, they still listen and are gracious and then just stop answering our phone calls. We part ways peacefully. I sooooo prefer that! But I think that this must have been a little test for me, to see if I could still, in the face of blatant opposicion,  share this message with the conviction and spirit it deserves. To be honest, I don't know how well I did, but it was something terrifying that I'm pretty sure that I had to go throw to test the strength of my own testimony. So It was necessary and it was what I needed. 

Well That's really all that happened this week. 

This Wednesday is our first concilio with Presidente Herrera, so that will be fun to kind of get to know him on a more personal level. Looking forward to it!
Hope you have a splendid week and we'll talk to ya next week!
Hermana Rust
 "Be happy!" 

This  is a perro peruano, or Peruvian dog. It's probs the ugliest thing I've seen because it does not have hair and it feels like a rat. For that reason, i have named it smegol (i knew how to spell that at one point... maybe thats right.) his owners weren¡t too  pleased with my naming it. But they should have picked a less repulsing dog.  

from this angle, he looks more like dobby. Smegobby I will call him. 

   funny story. We were picking sisters up from the terminal and we just so happened to run into two guys that hermana conde and I reactivated from Talavera!! what a strange coincidence that once again, 
hermana conde and I were companions! Fun small world stuff that happens. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

#57 Golden Girl

So we've got an investigator who just Rocks! She's golden.  Her name is Susana and I looove her!

 We stop by her store everyday to chat for a few minutes and she is ALWAYS, without fail, reading on her tablet from the church library app a conference talk, or from the scriptures. Last week she started and finished the Pearl of Great Price and thinks that Moses just blows Genesis out of the water. How cool is she! She's had a few baptism dates now that have fallen because she wasn't ready yet or because she was passing through difficulties, but we have full confidence that she will get baptized. She wants to get baptized with her two children, Eduardo and Claudia. Eduardo is 10 years old and at first did not want to get baptized because he was afraid of the water, but now he's all for it if he can wear white socks so that the people won't see his feet. We told him that we are just fine with that.  Her daughter is Claudia. She's 19 and she's a little less excited. We're having some problems with her and we hope that we can help her to come to the knowledge of the truth of the gospel. We hadn't known what to do lately, because Susana won't get baptized unless it's the three of them.
Well last week, Eduardo got sick. He's got asthma so he gets sick really easily. We've told Hermana Susana about priesthood blessings and she said that she'd like Eduardo to have one. So we set it up with the Elders and we went over to give her a blessing. To our surprise, Claudia was to receive one as well because she has the same problem. So elder Huallparuca and Elder Lopez gave her a blessing. And the words that were said literally were the words that she HAD to hear. The words she NEEDED to hear. We didn't tell the elders anything about Claudia, we didn't even know that she would be there. But because the power of God is so undeniably real, he communicated the things to her that he wanted her to know. And it was incredible. I was so grateful to be apart of the experience. 
Now we haven't seen Claudia since that day, so we don't know if it's had an impact on her or anything. But I trust that it's something that will change her life. Because it changed mine. I am so grateful to know that we have a God who loves us enough, who trusts us enough, to give us his power so we can feel of his love and power even more. How incredible, no?
Well that was my favorite experience of this week. Nothing really funny happened this week...

Last night I was picking up dinner from my pensionista's house. She told us it would be Aji de Gallina which is a chicken dish that is AMAZING and I'm going to have to learn how to make it, but they only make Aji de Gallina when tourists come to there house. So we figured we be seeing a bunch of gringos in their house which isn't anything out of the ordinary, so we walked in. But was it just an ordinary tourist? no! It was ELDER MONTOYA! Who is in the area presidency! And I had no idea who he was!! I walked in and I saw them and just smiled and then Hermana Vickey says "Sisters, this is Elder Montoya." I was just like "Oh! I'm sorry! How are you?Good night!" just a wreck. Then I went and hid in the kitchen. And then when it came time to say goodbye, I went and shook his hand and said "Nice to meet you! Good night hermano! Wait no! I mean Presidente! Oh no wait I mean.... what's your title??" And Hermana Vickey once again "ELDER hermana! Elder Montoya." And yeah. Mortified myself. It was fun.
If you walk into your pensionista's house and find yourself with an area 70, please don't do what I did. Learn from my mistake.

That is all!
Hermana Rust

That's Hermana Susana with Eduardo and Hermana Borja when she was ending her mission.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


*  Holly had her ID and Debit card stolen over 2 months ago, and her new one finally came in the mail!!   Yeah!! She has access to $$$ once again!  -

Well this week was fun. And sad. Hermana Borja left for home, and so did President Harbertson. But it's ok. I only cry at night now. 

But we strangely had a lot of success this week. I want to tell you about Brenda!
Brenda Huessenberg is her name, and yes she is Peruvian. I don't know where she got a German last name, and she doesn't even say it right, but she was one of our new investigators last night. We contacted her the Sunday before and it was kind of a weird contact because we stopped her in the street and offered to give her a card, to which she responded with a slightly blank stare and then said "Uhmmmm, yeah. I need to go to the pharmacy, but wait for me I'll be right back." And then crossed the street and entered the pharmacy. Well Hermana Borja and I were a little confused... we just kinda looked at each other with a "should we wait" look, and then with out words, decided that we would wait. We waited like 5 minutes, and she came back and told us that now we could give her the card. She told us that she had heard of the Mormon church through documentaries that she had seen. When we heard that we just thought oh no that can't be good, so we set an appointment to tell her the TRUTH about the Mormon church. She accepted and then yesterday was our appointment.

 She started like suuuuper cold. Like she didn't really say anything when we walked into her house and it was painfully awkward. She we started with a prayer, and then we just asked her what it was that she already knew, or thought she knew about the church. Now I thought that I had heard some weird rumors about the Mormons, but I had never heard these. Like weird reasons for being excommunicated and requirements for getting baptized. Just some weird stuff that we couldn't help but laugh. And that's how we broke the ice. We were laughing, she was laughing saying "yeah when I heard that I thought it sounded a little strange." And just laughter. Then we explained to her in what we really believe. And she really liked it. I mean go figure, because the things that she heard were awful. And we invited her to church, and she said that she would love to and now she's going to come with her children, and it was just a suuuuuuper cool appointment. We also met her sister in law, who has attended the church like 5 times in Puerto Maldonado and wants to learn more and it was kind of just the perfect appointment. And so what started out as a weird contact became one of the most golden investigators that I've found on the street. Goes to show that we should always trust in God and that in one way or the other, he's going to present us with the prepared. 

And there's something else that I've kind of learned from this, and that it's that no effort is wasted. In missionary work, I think that's the most common misconception, that if I don't talk to such and such person, it won't matter because it's just a quick contact in the street or in a store. What difference does it make right? But it makes all the difference. Even if they completely reject you! Because there's a cool metaphor that I want to share. People are like fields, right? You need to plant the seed in order to receive the fruits right? And we always expect to see the fruits of the seeds that we plant. Well sometimes folks, that just doesn't happen. You aren't always going to see the fruits, the results of your efforts. And you know what, sometimes, you're not even going to plant the seed! There are people who have soooo much anger, or sin, or misconceptions of the church that there literally cannot be a seed planted in their heart, or in their field. But sometimes what we do when we share the gospel with people is that we are clearing the field of all the weeds. We are tilling the ground, preparing the earth so that when the time comes, a seed can be planted. Sometimes, that is our part. We don't plant the seed, we just clear away some of the bad stuff so that the seed has room to grow. And how cool is that! It literally defines that no effort is EVER wasted. So your efforts will not be wasted either. So share the gospel. Do it fearlessly. Because the worst that can happen is that you'll be pulling a weed or clearing the field. Don't expect to see the fruits right away, just trust that the will come.
So that's what I have learned this week. I meet Presidente Herrera today... Ahhh I'm nervous! But I've only heard lovely things about him, so I'm also excited. 
That's all for this week, I'm heading out! 
Hermana Rust 

 In honor of the fourth of July, we ate dunk and donuts (just the donut part, worry not) and Papa Johns. Cusco is very americanized.

 This week, Hermana Conde braided my hair like a big beautiful black lady. 

 Here are the results! I was Alexa Seely for the day. 

 Dog with a serious underbite.

Sister missionaries with equally serious underbites.