My near death experience…also I claim this land as Nephite territory

Dear everyone! How are all of you? Are you all reading this, waiting for me to tell you how I almost died this week? It has to do with my worst fear… needles. BUT we’ll get there! Just wanted to let you all know that this land belonged to the Nephites! But more on that later! First you guys!

 

Well the admirer … still hasn’t heard anything from them. But neither has their poor mother. But… don’t want to get involved in all of that… The other day, one of their friends was talking to the elders with us there and right in front of the elders they said “Your exaltation is here Hermana.” and the elders thought it was so funny, but I was so embarrassed ha-ha. Anyways, way to go Jazz! But that is so sad … not one game this whole time? But I bet that was fun to be the Steps. Ha-ha. The car doesn’t sound too bad, so I am glad that it is fixed! Ash good job with your concert! Also, good job with your service! The Burgesses really need that right now, and you did so good! You even got the whole neighborhood involved (almost ha-ha)! And Kake good luck with your concert this week! Or in Spanish… Buenos Suerte! 🙂 McKell sounds like she had a great homecoming talk! I wanna read that quote! She is so amazing! And Thanksgiving … Yeah I’m really glad they don’t celebrate it down here or else it would just be another excuse for there to be drunks all over the place. Anyways, we want to write cards to our investigators and people in the ward and say thanks for everything they do! But that’s just an idea ha-ha. Also!!!!! Mom!!!! Send me a recipe of something easy to make down here, our Penchinista wants us to make something for Christmas for us to eat, whether it be cookies or real food ha-ha so just let me know what you got!!!!! Thank you!

 

Anyways, to my week…. So let me explain the Nephite Territory. So, here’s a story about Macchu Piccu. The Incans were under attack and so they burned down Macchu Piccu, so that nobody could take the things that they had and disappeared into the forest. Guess who else was under attack… The NEPHITES! Also, I told you about the altar in one of their temples and the plate with the sun and the moon and the stars on it, so…. I CLAIM NEPHITE TERRITORY! So another story, there is an Incan statue here named Huasapata (oh fun fact! My ward’s name is Manco Capac, which is named after the first Inca! Cool right?), and beneath him…. are tunnels! These tunnels go to all these famous sights here in Cusco area! The Incans would travel in them to get to places, but now they’re closed, because too many tourists were dying in them, and the people that did survive, survived off their flesh and urine and were in there for many years. Anyways, last p-day I was looking for them with our Zone leaders and … wait that’s my big story! Gotta hold off for a little bit longer ha-ha. Anyways more to this week! Gil Lazo is back! But we haven’t been able to talk to him, so I hope that this Saturday we have a baptism! Doing some awesome service this week that started this last week, we’re helping a lady fix up her whole house, we got the whole Elder’s Qurom helping us and lots of people. She’s doing this for her son, she doesn’t want to lose him, but there shouldn’t be a problem, her ex has another girlfriend so all should be good, just keep her in your prayers. JESUS IS GETTING BAPTIZED! That’s his name that is not sacrilegious ha-ha but he’s awesome! He wants to serve a mission and everything ha-ha he’s awesome. He’s getting baptized the 6 of December! Your birthday dad! JESUS IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON YOUR BIRTHDAY! Sorry that just sounds so weird ha-ha. ANYWAYS! Also taught some Atheists and they are progressing! SO HAPPY FOR THEM! Guess who is in Puno! IN my zone! Elder Estrada! Missed that crazy guy! Anyways now to my big story! So I was looking for the Inca tunnels, when…. I got a cactus in my leg! One of them was 3/4th of an inch in my leg! So I pulled them all out (like a boss) said nothing, and moved on.  Anyways, later on it was looking a little worse, so I started talking to members about it. They then told me that the points had broken off in my leg and if I left them in there they would move closer to the veins, go into a vein and then be carried to my heart, therefore killing me. I was rather calm about it but the comp freaked out and I ended up going to the doctor (for 3 soles!), and they removed 3 or 4 points out of my leg. I kind of freaked out when I found they were in there, because then I started thinking of needles and yeah … but all is well! OH! Puno flooded this week! I got that on video! Water was coming out of the sewers and everything! It was bad, I froze because I don’t have boots right now, but all is well now!

 

So spiritual though, D and C 128:22 which reads: Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. courage, brethren, and on, on to the victory! I love this scripture! It is so true, just keep going forward, as I have learned this week. We keep going in floods, with cactus points in our legs, in all situations and we shall be blessed! This is so great a cause, don’t forget it! Love you all!

 

Hermana Irvine

 

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Well…that was weird!

Hey everyone!

 So glad to hear from all y-all! I love reading your emails! I am also so happy to hear that Tyler is happy and loving Uruguay! But first let’s get to you guys! Wait… I never got an email from Noe… Is she ok?  I’ll just be patient and see what happens…. Anyways to you guys!

Thank you so much for the prayers for Gil Lazo! He really is an awesome little old man! Right now he’s in Cusco, but I hope he comes back this week and then we can get him baptized! And Heather! Congrats! Just like Tyler said Owen Misseldine is very classy. I love it! Can’t wait to see pictures of the cutie! And Chris! Congrats on your little girl Love the name Noelle, that is such a cute name! I want to see pictures of that cutie too! That’s said to hear about Dorthea and Bill. I’ll keep Bill in my prayers. And the Philippines! Oh my gosh I got kind of freaked out reading it, but then I felt peace, because I knew that this is all in God’s hands (as always). But I am so glad to hear Brittany is ok and all those missionaries over there! That is a pretty amazing thing that none of them even got hurt! Also… HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZACH! Oh you little 15 year old you! Keep being awesome ok? Hope your birthday was OUT OF CONTROL! I’m glad Kake has been having fun with all those rehearsals that sounds so fun! I know you’ll probably be worn out afterwards, but you’ll be so happy you did! Just like a mission! Congrats Ash on talking in YW Excellence! The temple is such a sweet thing, that was a good choice :). That was so cool to hear about the Veteran’s Day thing! You could have taken my comp’s dad ha-ha. And that woman, that was so cool how she talked about Moroni! I love the way she talked about that! And mom I will let you know when I get them, I shall anxiously be awaiting their arrival :). Anyways, now to this week.

So today was… Transfer day! So here comes the news…… drum roll please…. I have no changes! Still with the same comp in the same place, which means I get to be here for Christmas, which was basically what I asked Santa for this year! But this week I called my email what I called it, because I am going to talk about weird things. Each one will end with my thought of… Well… That was weird. Because it really will be weird. Let’s start with the thing that lets me know that I am in Puno-every morning.

So every morning, we call this the morning traditions, there are usually three things that every morning. 1. Our landlady has a son and his name is Michael. Every morning we hear basically hear everyone in the family calling out “Michael. Michael.” and it’s very annoying. Usually goes on for 5-10 minutes. 2. When we come back from Breakfast, the man that lives across from us is blasting, literally blasting, the most sappy love songs (in English) I have ever heard. As far as we know, he does not have a wife, so we assume it’s for the dog. 3. (And the most disturbing) the man that lives across from us hacks up the hugest lugee I think ever existed. Every morning. The other day he hacked it up for 10 minutes. I literally said a prayer for that man. Every morning I always end with the thought “WELL…THAT’S WEIRD scarring.” Now to what happened a little bit ago, but has been confirmed as real and the thereafter results.

So a few weeks ago, someone in Puno was leaving, but me and my companion have helped this person with a few things (notice I am leaving this as ambiguous as possible). Well before they left they gave me and my companion letters. Well turns out mine was a love letter. A really sappy one. So thinking this is a joke we go to talk to some friends of this person. Before we do, however, this persons’ mom has made us hats, and has invited us over several times. We finally talk to the friends and come to find out, that this was a real letter. Then they went on to tell me that my “exaltation is in Puno”. Good news is that when this person returns, I will be home. So there shall be no problems with this. Then I’m sitting there at lunch when our penchinista’s husband walks in and tells me that my “exaltation is in Puno”. Really? Every time this happens I think “WELL… THAT’S WEIRD.” Now to Hermano Carlos kissing his law book.

Last night, Hermano Carlos was explaining how (leaving this anonymous again) one girl was going to marry this one guy when she gets home from the mission (never mind, pretty sure that probably gave it away) and then goes on to demonstrate that when she gets home he’s going to hug her and then dip her and kiss her, but with his law book (In the middle of the road where everyone can watch this.) I started cracking up, but the person he was referring to just stood there like no no no no not happening. Quite funny ha-ha this girl was thinking “WELL…THAT’S WEIRD.”

Well a lot of weird things happen here, such as drunks and running into tourists all the time, but I love it just the same! Here’s my spiritual thought: Now matter how hard something might seem, there is something we can always learn from it. Just like Batman, we all fall into pits (or get thrown in there) and we just want to feel bad for ourselves and we just feel so sad. But also like Batman, we can rise from there. And become greater than we were before. That’s why we were in that pit, there was something to be learned and something to improve in ourselves, and sometimes it hurts. But you can ALWAYS come out of it. It’s your decision though. I have been having a trial here in Puno and it has been so hard, and sometimes I don’t know what I need to do, but I realize there is something to be learned, and one day I know I will get out of this pit and be a greater person for it, but for now I just need to endure, pray, and work. Thank you so much for all your prayers and for all your support during this time, I can’t tell you how much it means to me in words. You’ll all just have to wait until I get home and I can just give you all the biggest hug. Love you guys so much!

Love, Hermana Irvine

 

This week was…rather uneventful!

Hermana Irvine is doing great.  Her most recent investigator who didn’t want anything to do with the Church last week is interested in being baptized once again.  —Michelle

 

Dear everyone!

 

As I just previously said, this week was rather uneventful, but I still have stories to tell!  But let’s first start with you guys!  Transfers are next week, and it’s very possible that we will have a change, but I’ll probably stay here. Hermano Carlos told us we both are probably going and if that happens he won’t go to lessons with the missionaries anymore, because he gets too attached and cries when they leave, but we all know that that won’t happen he likes the missionaries too much. Yes. Giant Christ is a little sac religious, but it’s Puno. You get drunks all the time, strikes all the time, and idol worshipping, so the whole place is a little disobedient ha-ha. Oh I got some good news! But that’s a story and we’ll get there in a minute! Ha-ha sounds like you guys had a good time this Halloween! I don’t really know what kake was, but she had some fun, but more fun at the dance! I got to see your Gatsby dress that sounds so fun! I have to see Ash’s weeping angel because that what I want to do sometime.  And I am so sad that Zach wasn’t Dr. Who, but I am glad that he had fun at the haunted house! Hey…. do you guys want to send me some of your candy? Because that would be awesome…. kidding! Don’t do that ha-ha. Well I am glad they liked the Hungry Games, but sounds like Bar-J ended up being a little more eventful than expected, sorry about dinner. Maybe you would have been poisoned if your had gone to dinner! But that kind of sucks about the car accident. I have to see Frankenstein! That sounds epic! I hope you have that on video for when I get home! And Zach…. GOOOD JOB! You came in first you little runner! I am so proud of you!

 

Anyways to my week. Here’s my good news. Remember Gil Lazo? Well…. He came to church and…. HE WANTS TO BE BAPTIZED! But he’s going to Cusco soon so we don’t know when we can baptize him, but he wants to be! Also we have started to finally have ward council again (FINALLY! It’s been over a month!)  We’re starting to figure out what this ward needs and what we can do for them! We met with the bishop’s inactive son and he started crying and telling us he wants to change. That was so amazing. Afterwards I was just like… This is why I am serving a mission. It was so amazing! Our cute little Angel (our newly reactivated less active) got the priesthood and his whole family (less active and non members) came to church! That was amazing! Loved it so much! And our mission leader left on his mission this week! He’s going to do great! I have story about that, but that’s for after the mission. But that’s basically it, here comes my spiritual thought.

 

So yesterday, we were in a hurry to go talk to Gil Lazo about baptism, when in the road there was a woman crying and I ran over and starting talking to her. I kneeled down in this dirty road, right in front of her and just talked to her and asked her if we could say a prayer with her. She doesn’t live in our sector, so we have to give her away, but I was thinking about her this morning when I read this: “Agency is a curious thing. Everyone has it, it is an eternal principle, yet, we can use our agency to limit someone else’s. I can force someone to do something, or I can deny someone an opportunity, taking away their choice to not do something in the first case, or to take away their chance at changing or enjoying something in the second. As Latter-Day Saints, we have the opportunity to make it to the highest kingdom through the ordinance of baptism and eventually, the temple. Simple fact is, other don’t, yet. We all know if they aren’t baptized and sealed, they can’t make it all the way. So, the solution? We baptize them and help them to get to the temple. Funny things happen though. With exaltation on the line, and we being the only ones knowing where it is and how to get there, we often exercise our agency, choose not to open our mouths and invite, and we, in turn, deny them the opportunity to access these marvelous and essential blessings. We deny them the opportunity to change and grow. Isn’t that exactly what Lucifer planned to do in the pre-existence? He wanted to deny us our own personal choice and chance to grow and experience. It is our calling and duty to provide those without the chance to change. Would we be so selfish as to not invite them to experience this joy and hope? Would we be so prideful as to think someone wouldn’t be able to change, therefore we don’t ask? That is not our place. People change every day. They want to be happy; why do we limit them? You can’t think of being in heaven without the ones you love, like your brothers and sisters that you have on this earth. You shudder at the thought. When the veil is taken from our eyes, we will realize that everyone that passed on the street, wherever it was, was a very close and personal brother or sister, and you will sadder to think that they didn’t make it back. We will answer one day for how much we invited, and how many opportunities we gave them to change, without delay or judgment on how much WE think they can and can’t change. We can only guess their willingness, but God knows. If they don’t know they can’t act. Once they do, they can and they are responsible. As a parent will one day answer for the misdeeds of his or her child up to the age of 8, we will answer for those investigators, those brothers and sisters that we didn’t give them the chance to change too. God will ask us why and hold us accountable for them. It will be on us. When that “child turns 8”, and they reach the age of accountability. The weight shifts to their shoulders. Do yourself a favor and them one too, and make it know the path to repentance. Do not judge their desires. Be humble and hopeful that they can and WILL change. Put away fear; exercise faith. Never miss the opportunity to determine eternity. Exaltation is at stake. 4 simple words, 2 seconds, one person’s salvation. Will you be baptized?” You can adjust that to where you are, but I loved it, because we should invite everyone to come partake in this amazing gospel! And If I hadn’t stopped to comfort that one lady, who was someone probably very close to me in the life before, then she wouldn’t have to chance to change! I love being a missionary and I want to be one when I get home! I love you all so much!

 

Hermana Irvine

 

And what to my wondering eyes should appear….a giant Christ coming down the street….

First off, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  I love Halloween so much! It made me kind of trunky for it, but I made it through! But more to that later! First you guys!

 

So first off, thank you so much for the extra prayers, they’re really needed. Everything in Juliaca has calmed down, so everything is ok, and the striking didn’t move on to Puno, which we’re all very thankful for, so good job with the prayers family!  And yeah that’s why the stars are so pretty, it’s because I am so close to them, love it :). Good job Zach with running! I know you want to do better, but look at for how long you have running like this and how much time you have ahead of you! You will be so awesome in the future, but you’re also awesome right now with the progress you have made! And good job Kake with your concert! That sounds like a cool concert! Ash I am so glad you went to the dance as Batman! Love it! And that you had fun with your Halloween party and watched one of my favorite scary movies! That sounds so fun!

 

So… let me explain the title of my email really fast. One P-day, me and my companion walked out of our apartment to find people celebrating El Señor de los Milagroes (Lord of Miracles), but there were a lot of people, All wearing purple. So we decided we would just get out of there and out of the way of their drunken fiesta. Well we walk by a group of women who start chanting and wavering incense ball things around like none other, and we’re both like “… yeah let’s get out of here”, when we walk past another street and guess what we see…. this giant Christ is coming down the street being carried on the shoulders of people. And when I say giant, I mean giant. I am pretty sure it is the size of one and a half of me in height, Maybe two. It was slightly shocking, especially when your first thought is “Why is Christ coming at me??” Haha anyways.  I got the package on Halloween! LOVED IT SO MUCH! Those leggings are amazing mom! There are perfect! Tell Noe’s mom where you got them, because I’ve read that Noe has been kind of cold too! But I did one of the hardest things but made me so happy with that package…. For Halloween, I gave out my Reese’s to people here for Halloween. They loved them so much, but it was so hard! But I still had Reese’s so it’s all good! Well today is Puno Day here in Puno. Crazy drunks all over the place. This morning two police officers wanted to give me and my companion a ride, but they were drunk first off, and second…. just no. It was interesting. Not. The other day a guy saw me in the road and acted like I took his breath away. It took every ounce of will power to not punch him in the stomach and say, “Hey now you REALLY lost your breath!” and storm off. I just have to ignore all the crazy weird people here. Well along with Halloween here, there was Dia de lost Muertos, which I kind of liked. It was a little weird, everyone got drunk (but that’s basically normal), but we had an investigator steal food from the dead for us! Which is practically breaking the rules of the whole thing, but it made us laugh. We got a huge bag of cookies and giant popcorn things called Manna, so I like the holiday. So funny story. The hermana leader persons visited us and guess who came… Hermana Black! The awkward thing was is that we had a giant rock sitting in our room that we then had to explain, which that lead to some crazy events. Let me explain. Me and my companion want to put a rock in our room for sisters to sign that have served in this area and it would say “Puno rocks!” Get it? Well the night before, I see this rock and I think it’s perfect. What I didn’t realize was how big it was. My companion did but I was too caught up in the moment of  “It’s the Puno rocks rock… must retrieve…” and I end up running with this rock that is freaking huge all the way back to our apartment! So the hermanas are there, they ask about the rock, had to explain, then… the hermanas helped us create a ceremony. Yes I have this on video. It consists of us running in with scarves tied to our heads, rain dancing around the rock and chanting, finally us all signing the rock, then rain dancing again and running off chanting and whatever in the world you would call that. I will send that video soon family so you can all laugh.

 

So some sad news…. remember Gil Lazo? Well….. he doesn’t want to talk to us anymore. Literally. (How familiar does that sound? Very.) And so he never got baptized and I don’t know if he will right now. We’re going to try to talk to him one more time, but we’ll see. On a lighter note, my friend Nestor got set apart last night for his mission! He leaves this Wednesday! It made me kind of trunky because it made me think of when I got set apart, but it was so cool, and the spirit was so strong! LOVE IT! So some of you have asked some questions and so I will try to answer them now. First off Amanda’s-contacting… We don’t do a whole lot of contacting. They want us to more activating in the ward. So I don’t have a cool answer to that question :/, but my favorite lesson example I like to use is my plan of Salvation!!!!!!! First off my family made it for me, and second off it is just so fun! My people now have names, the girl is Saternina, and the guy is Gil Lazo, and people just love it! It is so fun! So that’s also my favorite lesson to teach. Now to Kake’s, people you can pray for… Pray for the family Apasachoke (A-Pass-A-Choke-A), their son is the only active one right now and he wants to serve a mission and is only 14, he’s a stud, but his sister lost a baby at birth and she has been really hurt by that. You can also pray for Ruth Charaga, she has a baptismal date, she is 50 and hasn’t gotten married, and really likes the gospel, she is just afraid her family will be even ruder to her than they already are if she joins. Um… those are our two that are needing the most prayers at the moment, besides Gil Lazo. What do I eat for breakfast? Bread with Manjar, or butter or jam, eggs, oatmeal-normal stuff nothing too exciting there. But I have had a new fruit called Pepino which was kind of good but I still prefer Mango! And my favorite thing about Puno I see everyday… I love going up by the Apasachoke family’s house and looking at the lake and the whole city. You can almost see the whole of Puno up there and you can see all the way into Bolivia up there, it’s pretty cool.

 

Anyways, spiritual thought! I want to tell you about a friend that I have here. His name is Juan Jose Membrillo. He is 32 and not married and the only member in his family. He first heard about the gospel when he was 25, he was baptized catholic and was looking for truth, he looked into some interesting religions, but at 25 he first met the missionaries. However, he told them he wouldn’t be baptized. He researched the gospel for 3 YEARS! He looked for flaws in the Book of Mormon and everything for 3 YEARS! Afterwards he was then baptized, and he has one of the strongest testimonies I have heard. He comes with us to lessons when he can and he tells them his story and tells them that he spent 3 years just to find out this was true, they don’t need to spend 3 years to find that out too. He wants his family to be baptized so badly, every time we’re teaching them he just wants them to know what he now knows and you can just see it. He is such a great example to me, he has such a strong testimony and is willing to do anything to spread the gospel and help the missionaries spread it. I want to be like that when I get home and be that example and help the missionaries with everything like that. You guys will just have to meet this guy! I want my testimony to be like his!

 

Anyways, love you all so much, can’t wait to hear from your guys again in a week!

 

Love Hermana Irvine