Monday, March 30, 2015

I Go Swimming...

Who knew you could go swimming on your mission right??? I mean seriously.... isn't that against the rules?
Well let me tell you, out of the many zones in this mission there are two zones in the jungle (the amazon jungle if you were wondering, that's THE AMAZON) Out of the 6 possible trainers for the 6 new greenies 4 were in Huancayo, 1 was in Huanuco and 1 was training in La Merced (AKA the jungle) So I had like a 5 in 6 chance to be cold and pull out my coat right? Well, just in case you didn't know, God has a sense of humor, a hilarious one in fact. So just in case you couldn't guess I am currently serving in the Jungle... and swimming in sweat.

Also, tears, swimming in tears. Because that general women's conference did not take into account the fact that there are missionaries currently away from their families. Of the four sister missionaries in our little room in the chapel with our english television.... The quote of the night was "that was stupid" (of course not really stupid, it was a fantastic conference, but still)

I'm loving the mission. My trainer is fantastic! Her name is hermana johnson, from Idaho. She has 14 months in the mission and she is the most patient, happy person I've ever met. She's great! The first thing we did when we got to the area was go to a fair that sells basically everything to purchase short sleeved shirts for this poor sister (me) who packed the andes not the amazon. The people here are so amazing. The ward is super great. They had me share my testimony yesterday in sacrament meeting and it wasn't even scary. 

I love you all so much!

Love, Hermana Blanca

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Peru Huancayo Mission: Never boring!

Sister Henderson, who is the Mission President's wife, posted an update on the past weeks activities in the Huancayo Mission. There have been several missionaries who have had difficult times leaving to go home and travel into the mission, and she gives a report on why this has been so difficult. While her comments are mostly directed towards the families of missionaries who's return trips have been postponed, Heramana Blanca was caught up into this excitement (as was seen by her last post Stuck in the Mud). Here are Sister Henderson's comments.
The difficulties of simply leaving Huancayo continue. Some background. We have one very small airport in Jauja, an hour away. It has two flights a day, at 6:30AM and 4:30PM with small 30-person planes.  
There are no navigation aids at this airport, so when it rains, the plane from Lima cannot land. This airport is so small that when planes land/take off men are sent out along the runway to keep the cows, sheep, etc. off the runway. There is also a 15k (33lb.) baggage weight limit because of the size of the planes and the thinness of the air at 11,000 ft. where we live which kept your daughters Marnie Law and Marilee Reese Silvester off the plane on Tuesday afternoon. The airline folks said that either everyone could leave with only 15k of luggage, or that three people could stay behind and the other three sisters could leave with all their luggage. Sister Paisley, Sister Silvester, and Sister Witt kindly offered to stay behind so Sisters Moss, Salinas, and Osgood could leave.
This is why we usually send missionaries on the bus; no worries about rain preventing flights and no luggage limits, but the landslide prevented that. 
Due to the huge landslide, flying was the only way in and out of Huancayo for the past week, so no flights were available for the three until Saturday afternoon. 
In the meantime, we had 14 new missionaries arrive from Lima on three groups over two days, the last group without most of their luggage because of the weight limits. We also had to greet, train, and send these missionaries out to their new areas with their companions.
While this was going on, two men from the Lima Area Church offices drove a van with the new missionaries luggage an alternate route that was sketchy at best, and dangerous at times, that took 13 hours of tense driving, arriving in Huancayo Friday morning. The main road to Lima opened again on a limited basis Saturday.
We were also worried about the afternoon Saturday flight being cancelled because afternoon rains have been frequent and heavy this week. The van from the Area office was returning Saturday morning, and kindly offered to take Sisters Paisley, Witt, and Silvester, so we sent them off yesterday morning with big smiles, lunches, and fresh chocolate chip cookies.  
Well this is Peru, and the best-laid plans can go astray. Our travelers got to the landslide at 4:00 PM and it was closed to traffic until 8:00PM, which did not give them enough time to arrive in Lima, fight the infamous Lima traffic and arrive at the airport in time.  
Yes, their are several flights from Lima to the US, but all of them leave after midnight for some strange reason. My own flight for our son's wedding left at 2:45AM. So they have to wait until the wee hours Monday morning to leave. In the meantime, they are at a hotel. Since they are finally in Lima, they WILL leave tomorrow!  
And it did pour yesterday afternoon, so we were correct in sending them in the van instead of the afternoon Jauja flight.  
I'm sorry for the length of this post, but I thought all of you patient moms needed a full explanation of why it has been so difficult to get your lovely daughters home. The unofficial motto of our mission is "Peru Huancayo Mission: Never boring!" 
It's been a difficult week for all with little sleep. We appreciate your patience. And thank you Don Love for rearranging flights yet again. All of these things have been out of our control.  
May you all have sweet reunions tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stuck in the Mud?

For those who do not know, Hermana Blanca has spent her 6 weeks in the CCM and was slated to travel to Huancayo today. Unfortunately, there was a significant mud slide in the Andes that covered the main rode from Lima to Huancayo. It was devastating to the little village and there were several deaths caused by it. Our prayers certainly include the Peruvians who have been affected.

As you can imagine, we knew this would affect her travel to her mission area, but we did not know to what extent. We didn't receive our normal Wednesday emails, however this short message came in late tonight. We are excited to hear more from her and assume that will happen on Monday as she shifts her p-day schedule to that of the mission field. Here is what she said.

I don't have much time to write today but after mucho tiempo, an extra day in the CCM, serving in the Lima East mission for a day, having a blast, an airplane instead of a bus ride, drama at the airport regarding luggage and weight and everything I am finally in Huancayo! It is beautiful and cold and raining and green and fantastic!
Update (Monday 30 March 2015) - When asked how her plane ride was, Hermana Blanca responded: 
Incredible! it was like half an hour long in the smallest plane I'd ever seen. We were up in the clouds and all of a sudden we go lower than the clouds and you just see green. Green everywhere

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

See This Skirt?

It's actually wrinklier than all my other skirts but you can't really tell, especially when I twirl it like this!

I've got less than a week left in the CCM! That's less than seven days til I am on an eight hour bus ride to Huancayo.... to the Andes! I'm so excited!!!!

However, that does not mean that I have anything more exciting to write about.... I mean, we've still been doing to same thing everyday. So I'm going to tell you about my district:

At the CCM your district is basically your family. You learn spanish with them, you have physical activity with them, you room with half of them.... seriously EVERYTHING! You get incredibly close to all of them.

Hermana Larsen is my compañera. She's pretty much amazing. She is always happy no matter what. Seriously, she's had to go to the hospital because of the food and nobody except our district knew she was sick because she is literally always smiling. We struggled the first four or so weeks in our companionship because we are both very different but we were able to sit down and talk about just everything: our problems, what we do good, etc and now there is no one else that I would take a bullet for. She's a people person and her testimony radiates from her. She's just incredible.

Hermana Pali is someone that I met on facebook before we even got here and we ended up sharing a room! How cool is that. She is basically the sweetest thing ever. She is so knowledgable about the scriptures (like she can pull a scripture about anything from anywhere). She gave us all presents this morning. Her love is really in the details and the small things. She always knows when something is wrong with somone and she's just incredible.

Hermana McDonald is Hermana Pali's compañera. Hermana McDonald can draw like no other. She's currently drawing us four girls as the pink ladies from Grease. She's our fashion advice person so basically we always look good. District 106 is always on point. She's definitely someone who cares more about others than herself though.

And then we've got our elders: Elder Woodbury, Elder Quinney and Elder Garside. They are basically hilarious without trying to be. and The conversations we have with them during free-ish time are crazy: Blood-type, spirit animals, Barbie movies, how nobody actually knows what dry cleaning is, and what Disney characters we would be
(according to Elder Woodbury I am Giselle)

Our district is fantastic and It's going to be incredibly sad when I have to leave them all but at the same time I'm so excited to serve and meet new people. SO excited. 

Cool experience this week actually: a group of activity days age girls came to visit the CCM and our district was outside so we were able to talk to them for like half an hour. They were so small we thought they were like 5 or 6! One of them named Maria became very attached to me and didn't want to leave when it was time to leave. She gave me a bracelet.... I'll send a picture next week, but it's like those beads that always brake so you twist them together. It was so fun to just talk to all of them. They are so sweet. They asked us why missionaries are described as angels so I was able to tell them that angels are messengers from God and so are we. It was very special.

I love you all so very much, thank you for all of your prayers. I can feel them :)
Love, Hermana Blanca

Clear Mind and Poetry

Tara has surprised us with several poems. It has been quite a while since she has really written them, so receiving the poems has been a real treat for us. We asked her why the sudden flow of creativity, this is what she said.
I've really found that my mind has been able to open up so much these past weeks. It's an incredible feeling.
This week we received two (both without titles).

Poem 1
I've lost myself
I'm not my own
another person
owns my soul

I've got my will
but not my name
My spirit is stronger
though my body's the same

How can this be?
I'll tell you how
I'm not my own
I'm the Lord's vessel now

Poem 2
You've got a little piece of heaven in your eyes
Look at the explosions of color that match those of the stars
How could you not believe that you are part of something greater
There's a light that shines, a bright intelligence that shimmers

You've got a little piece of heaven in your eyes
through these windows you can see your beautiful soul
you've got so much potential, so much room to grow
reach for the stars for among them is where you belong

You've got a little piece of heaven in your eyes
Look through them and see the greater perspective, the wider view
See your spiritual story, your beginning and your happily ever after
Know that you're heaven sent, a little piece of heaven

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Juan Direccion

We've made it!!!! We're finally Avansados!!! And this means...
well it means that we've officially mastered the concept of "fake it 'til you make it"
oh and we've only got two weeks left in the CCM!
This week has been incredibly average, except for the fact that my companion got super mega throwing up sick (she's better now, just in case you wanted to know) I told her that if she threw up on me we were done.
I'm literally struggling to find stuff to write about so these next few points are not going to be related at all
1) Texas and Peru just got a lot smaller. The other day we were practicing teaching on some Latinos that are preparing for missions (they just come help out at the CCM on friday nights just for fun) and I said I was from Texas he said "oh do you know Elder Meager?".... yup, yea I do. He said he was in his stake (La Molina Viaja... something like that) His name is Ever is Scott knows him. Also we were at the temple today and and outside were some parents picking up their son from the Lima East mission. Elder Kent... who I found out was Elder Meager's companion for like a week. So, thought that was cool.
2) So the Gringos become Avansados in their last two weeks at the CCM. The zone leaders and the sister leaders are always called from this group. Hermana Larsen and I have been called as the sister leaders for these next two weeks. We're very excited to interview and get to know and love all of the girls here :)
3) One time this week my teacher was trying to explain the difference between the imperfect tense and the past tense so he told a story. He said that Juan Direccion was walking down the road (imperfect) when all of a sudden a car hit him because he hates Juan Direccion (past)..... So now Juan Direccion is our class friend.
4) Also I've gotten to the best part in the Book of Mormon... aka Teancum shows up

I love hearing about all of your happenings :) it's a little piece of home right here in Peru. I was looking at my suitcase the other night just staring off into space and saw the orange ribbon that Mia and everyone put on there. I remember coming downstairs or something right before I left and all the littler ones came running out of the front room and said "we tied an orange ribbon on your bag so it wouldn't get lost" I love that. It's the simple acts of love that define our family. We may not like eachother all the time but we sure do have a lot of love to go around. I love you all so much. There are times when I can just feel your prayers sustaining me. So thank you for them.
I love you all :)
Love, Hermana Blanca

Another Poem


Hermana McDonald has the gift of goodness
Genuine and sweet in every way
Always with a smile on her face
Never selfish, always willing to share
Others, not herself, is her real care

Hermana Pali has the gift of knowledge
Knowledge of who people can become
The ability to know when something's up with someone
Knowledge of scriptures and especially this:
Knowledge of who's daughter she truly is

Hermana Larsen has the gift of courage
Like a lion in more ways than one
She knows she can do it before she's begun
She has courage to have faith and courage to prevail
She's got spunk this one, it ain't hard to tell

And what about me? what is my gift?
I've come to the conclusion that I'm very loved
Someone is watching me from up above
And what is the gift that he gave to me?
I'll tell you, it's simple, he gave me you three

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Secretly, I'm Latina

So if feels like just yesterday was last weeks Pday.... this week has totally blurred together... probably because we've been doing the same thing just about every day. So, let me tell you a little bit about what a day in the CCM is like:
6:00: Herman Pali's alarm goes off
6:05: Hermana McDonald (Hamberguesa) gets up because she actually takes time to do here hair
6:22: Hermana Larsen wakes up because Hermana White is on the top bunk and when she gets up the entire bed makes noise
6:30 typically the lights are on and most of us are somewhat awake
7:00: We make it down to el comedor for huevos (siempre huevos, cada mañana)
7:30: personal study
8:30: class: this could include grammar, gospel fundamentals or teaching our fake investigators
10:00: 2 hours until lunch, still in class, see above for options
11:00: 1 hour until lunch, still in class, see above for options
12:00: lunch!!!!! rice, chicken, some form of steamed yet cold vegetable and the best desserts you'll ever have (you all should be jealous of the food I'm eating, seriously: yum)
1:00: TALL or in other words: work on your spanish on this computer program in the lab with no AC and try not to fall asleep
2:00: Physical Activity!!!! (self expalantory, more to come on this later)
3:00: time to shower from PA but not completely dry off because that is impossible in this humidity
3:30: mas estudio! (me gusta estudiar)
4:45: mas clase (see above for options)
6:00: dinner!!!! (again, see above for options)
7:00: clase! (siempre clase)
8:00: 2.5 hours til bed.... mas clase
9:00: planning
like my peruvian pants???
9:25: head upstairs!!! brush your teeth put on pantalones! (ok, they're pajamas but whatever, we like to pretend), massage your comapñeras super tight shoulder, write in your journal, realize that you're a minute past lights out, say "family" prayer
10:30: lights out
10:33: really when the lights go out
Secretly I'm Latina.... my futbol skills are fantastic :) I talked about Gringo soccer last week but Latino soccer is so much fun! I've played it several times this week during PA (scored a couple goals, no biggie). It's actually super awesome to listen to the Latinos play, it improves your spanish and they're always like: careful with the Hermanas! Super great
We go to the Temple every Pday right? While we were there I looked at everyone dressed in white and said to Sister McDonald "I love how everyone looks like angels in the temple" can you guess which quote went through my mind?

If you guessed "Angel, mother" from pride and Prejudice (Hermana White is getting a bit rusty. The quote is actually from Emma, if you recall) you'd be right.... also you would probably also have guessed that when someone wants me to pass the servietas (napkins) down the table I say "Oh, sorry, napkin"
Also, one of the Hermana's did a fantastic Ros or Roz or Ross voice from monsters Inc You know, the I'm watching you, wizowski, always watching you (it made my life)

Anyway, I'd better save some thoughts for next week
I love you all!!!
Love, Hermana Blanca
P.S. brownie points to mom for the Hercules quote