Well this week I officially hit my HUMP DAY!!! To be completely honest with you, I am really sad that I have only a year left here in Perú. I absolutely love my mission and I have learned so much. Looking back and reflecting on the first year in my mission and before I left, I realize how much of a different person I am now! I would have never imagined what my life would be like now as I stepped on the plane and began my journey here to Perú. I feel like the Lord has blessed me with so many incredible experiences, miracles, and many difficulties these past 12 months of my mission. As I remember the person I was a year ago, I know that these changes have been exactly what our Heavenly Father wanted and that I am learning what he intended for me to learn. The mission really is the University of Life that everyone talks about. It teaches you and prepares you for the future in ways that no other experience could. If I were to picture myself as I walk off the plane next year, I know that I will be even more different then than I am now. I am so grateful and blessed to have been called to serve in this beautiful mission, to these humble and incredible people, in this very special and sacred time of missionary work. One of my goals when I left for the mission was to give my mission all that I have. To Serve with All of my heart, might, mind and strength and I can honestly say that this past year I have done the very best that I could and given it my All. I look forward to the coming year and the challenges that I will face and pray that the Lord will be at my side through every moment, just like he has been through this past year.
This past week seemed to go unusually fast. I haven’t even hit the year mark yet, but it seems like I am already just flying down the hump as far as time goes. To talk about this week I just want to start and tell you about what we did for P-Day today. So as you all have seen, on P-days, we are literally touring and going to all of these super incredible ruins that there are to see here in Cusco and surrounding it because there literally is so many places to go. Well, today we went to 3 areas that were really neat. First stop was a Catholic Cathedral (I know a Mormon missionary at the Catholic Cathedral, probably interesting sight) that was built by the Conquistadors when they came to Perú and started attacking and forcing the Incan people to become Catholic or be killed. Well, this Cathedral was built and is the place where many Incan people were forced to attend church and participate in the religious ceremonies. We had the chance to go inside this church and I can honestly say as I entered, I felt the Spirit leave just as I entered the church. It was really quite interesting and just by being inside you could feel that this was a place where the Inca people had been. It was prohibited to take photos inside so I sadly was only able to take some outside. Today we also went to Rumiqolqa and Pikillaqta which are 2 Incan ruin cites that we visited located relatively near the Cathedral. The more ruins I see, the more of a testimony it is to me that the ruins were built by the decedents of Lehi. It truly is incredible to live in such a historically and archaeological place, I seriously love it!
As far as the work goes this week, my Companion, Elder Ordoñez and I have been contacting like crazy and finding and teaching lots of new people. It certainly is not as easy as teaching all day, but we know the Lord will bless us as we continue to look for the people that he has prepared for us. One such person we have been working with is named Felix. He is the father of a family that consists of member and nonmembers. Throughout the years, he has had visits from various missionaries and has had many opportunities to hear the Gospel. As we found him and began to get to know him, I immediately felt that we needed to begin visiting him again. Even after having so many missionaries through the years, I know that it may just take him hearing the right testimony to get baptized. Whether that is from me, my Companion or missionaries a year from now, I know that the Lord needs him on his side.
Another cool thing this week is we were teaching a family that also has been listening to the missionaries for several years. We were getting ready to drop them because they were not really progressing all that well and didn’t really seem to be all that interested anymore. The last visit we planned to have with them, we talked about the importance of the Savior in each of our lives and how important it is to follow him. As we testified of the Savior and his love for each of us, we realized that we shouldn’t give up on them quite yet and should be patient with them, just as the Lord has continually been patient with me in my life.
Final story for the week. So there is this little man that is probably 4 feet tall (his feet don’t even touch the floor when he sits down, really small guy), around 75 years old, and speaks only Quechua was baptized here in Cusco awhile back. He speaks literally no Spanish and collects plastic soda bottles on the side of the road for a living has started attending our Ward. Like I said, he literally speak NO SPANISH and there are only a select few people that can talk to him. His story goes that he one day had a dream in which God told him he needed to come to our Church, so he began attending and the missionaries (with the help of a translator) baptized him. He has been to Church every Sunday since and since he doesn’t speak Spanish I don’t know that he actually gets much out of the lessons. But the one thing I do know is that he has a testimony. This past Sunday I walked up to him and spoke to him in the tiny bit of Quechua that I know and welcomed him to Church. With a smile on his face he responded. Expecting not to understand his response I turned to leave when he responded and somehow I understood enough to know that he was saying that he was happy to be here.
So in closing, I guess the point I am trying to get to is first off God can bless you with the gift of interpretation of tongues (I do not know hardly any Quechua) and secondly that there are people who have it harder than YOU do. This guy hasn’t missed a day of Church since he became a member and yet he doesn’t understand what is even going on in the meetings, but still he knows what he is doing is that which is correct. As I have served my mission I have learned countless times that there are people who sacrifice so much more to be members of this Church than we can even comprehend. The least we can do as members is to do my best to Keep the Commandments 100 percent of the time and do exactly what the Lord asks of us. I know that he does live and that he really does love each and every one of us. I have felt his love for the Peruvian people as I have served them this past year and can honestly say these people are the people the Lord intended for me to serve. I love them and enjoy the blessing of serving them each and every day. I never knew how much a call to serve a mission would change my life in just a year and I am so grateful I have a year more to give the Lord my best in the short time I have left. I love you all and wish you all a great week!
Elder Fawcett's Penchanista Really Takes Care of the Missionaries
She Makes Sure they Celebrate Their Native Holidays!
|Ruins of Rumiqolqa|
|Ruins of Pikillaqta |