Well, my final week in Puno is now in the books! I know that you are all probably dying to know what my Change (Transfer) is and what exactly is going to happen to me. Well, let me tell you. I have a change to the Zone Juliaca in the Ward and Sector Alborada. My Companion is going to be Elder Aguilar from Lima, Peru. But that’s not all of the big news. I have been asked to serve as a Zone Leader for the Zone of Juliaca. I was absolutely incredibly shocked when I got the news of my change. It NEVER happens! It is so early in the mission to be asked to be a Zone Leader! I am very humbled because I know that I have a LOT more to learn in this new assignment and I know that I will learn a lot from it. In the Zone of Juliaca, there are 18 missionaries, 3 District Leaders, and my new Companion and I will be doing everything possible to help all of them. To be honest, I am really scared and nervous because I don’t even have 7 months yet in the mission field and I know that the Lord has A LOT for me to learn and experience in Juliaca. I myself know that alone, I cannot do this. My Spanish is not near perfect, my knowledge is growing each day, and I need to do better in so many things. I am not qualified, but I know that my Heavenly Father will help me fulfill this assignment in every aspect so that I can help all the members of my Zone.
As for my Son, as they say in the mission since I am his trainer, Elder Barrios will be staying in the Inca Pachacctec Ward and will be training a new missionary, which means that I will have a Grandson in the mission. HaHa! I am so thrilled for him to have the opportunity to train and I know that he is going to be a great trainer! It has been a blessing to have the chance to train him and watch him learn and grow.
As for some stories of the week, here are a few. So during the past few changes, I’ve had the opportunity to teach a return missionary and his wife who is not a member. They were not married when we first started teaching them and the wife began to have a desire to be baptized. It was then that we told them they needed to get married before she could be baptized. It took some time, but I am pleased to say that they were recently married. The wife now has the ability to be baptized and we have set her date for the first Saturday in March. The family which contains the husband, wife, and a son who is a year old, now are planning to be sealed for time and all eternity in the Lima Temple in March 2018. What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to share the message of the Gospel and help families be eternal!
One last story. So this week there is a special festival for the Catholic Church. Apparently down here in Puno they throw a HUGE festival for the virgin of Puno called the Virgen of the Candelaria. She is a statue or an idol or something like that. So they have dances and get crazy drunk to celebrate. Well let’s just say that today, P-day is the HUGE parade and celebration and it’s pretty dangerous. So the Mission President has told our whole Zone we have to spend P-day locked in the Church building because it’s dangerous due to all the drunks and the girl dancers don’t wear a lot of clothes if any so we were locked up during all of that today. Haha!
Anyway, thanks so much for all your support! I am really sad to leave Puno tomorrow (Tuesday) and drive an hour to my new Zone of Juliaca, but I am so thankful for all the experiences I’ve had here and for all the people I’ve met. My life has forever been changed for my time here in Puno!
I love you all so much!