Posted in Faith Corner

The Sweetest Missionary Ever (First Experiences in the Mission Field)

 

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My missionary has been out for 8 weeks now. She spent the first 6 weeks in the MTC (missionary training center) in Lima, Peru. Now, she’s in her first area of her mission, in Cusco, Peru. Doesn’t she look happy? She reports to us once a week, via email. Despite having some health issues, due to the changes in bacteria, food, and altitude (Cusco’s elevation is approx. 11,000 feet), she is always positive and claims she is right where she belongs. She loves her companions- her companion now is from Bolivia and doesn’t speak a lick of English, so they are teaching each other. Her Spanish is coming along well. She struggled with it in the MTC, but now she has a lot of confidence speaking it.

She shared one missionary story I’d like to post here in her own words-

The other day we got a reference from a member. The member came with us as we went to the store and talked to them. It was this woman and her mother. We gave the older woman a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation. Explained what it was, talked about it, and all that. Then we asked her to say the closing prayer and taught her how to pray. I have gotten good at teaching others how to pray. She started to pray and then started crying. She was holding the pamphlet to her as though it was the most precious thing in the world. She came to church with us and I was so happy that the members welcomed her. She was so happy!!! This is why I am here, it’s hard and difficult but so heartwarming and uplifting!

♥ Thanks for reading! If you’d like to read more about Marissa’s mission and see more photos, pop over to the blog I set up for her. ♥

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Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 28 (Missionary Mom Moment)

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I’m so excited to be a missionary mom again! Marissa leaves for Lima, Peru in early January, where she will report to the MTC (missionary training center) there. After she completes her training, she will serve in Cusco, Peru. Her father served his mission in Santiago, Chile. Her brother, Zach, served his mission in Calgary, Canada.

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Marissa in her baptism dress

It was special that she was called to serve in Peru because we have lived there as a family, twice. The first time we lived in Arequipa, Peru, for nearly 2 years. Marissa was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while we lived in Arequipa.

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Touring the Maras salt mines just outside of Cusco

The second time we lived in Lima, Peru, for nearly 2 years (10 years after we lived in Arequipa). For our last Christmas there, we spent a week touring Cusco and Machu Picchu as a family. That was an awesome trip.

♥ I’m so proud of my soon-to-be-missionary daughter. She’s going to give her whole self to serving the Lord for 18 months. Thanks for reading! ♥

Posted in My 52 Stories

Homesickness, Brownies & the Maid

A week or so ago I was listening to John Tesh on the radio and he mentioned a study that proves creative activities, such as cooking and baking, lift our spirits and help battle depression. (I couldn’t find that story on Tesh’s website, but I did find this article that says the same thing.)

I believe this based on my own cooking and baking and it brought to mind my next 52 story:

The first time we moved overseas to a foreign country (Peru), I found myself completely out of my element. That wasn’t surprising because so much had changed overnight. New house. New scenery. New country. The money was different. The language was different. The customs were different. Even the seasons had changed. Plus, we suddenly had bodyguards! And a maid!

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Marcus and our favorite bodyguard, Julio.

Everything was so unfamiliar and there was so much to get used to, that I couldn’t help feeling homesick. So one day, my friend, Carol, who was also American, and also longing for home, came over with a brilliant idea- to make brownies from scratch together. (And baking in Peru is a very American thing to do!)

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Marissa baking chocolate chip cookies in Peru, with chocolate chips and brown sugar smuggled in from the states.

I had been given a special cookbook when I first arrived, as a welcome gift from another American. It cleverly contained the same recipes in both English and Spanish, side by side. This was my only cookbook and lucky us, there was a brownie recipe in it. So, we excitedly started gathering all the ingredients on the kitchen table and then we sat down side by side with a mixing bowl and wooden spoon. We had just started to measure out the first ingredients when the phone rang.

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Our maid, Rita, with Marcus when he was 2.

There was only one phone in the house and it was all the way down the hall in my bedroom. I figured it was my husband calling to check in on me. So I told Carol I’d be right back and I sprinted out of the kitchen towards the ringing.

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Marcus sitting with his preschool class. Remind me to share some funny preschool stories someday. The name of his preschool was, Abraham Lincoln preschool!

I kept the phone conversation with my husband short and sweet so I could quickly get back to Carol and our brownies. But as I dashed back to the kitchen, I spotted Carol sitting dejectedly at the kitchen table, her head propped up on her elbows. She nodded towards my maid, Rita, who was placing the pan of brownies into the heated oven. “At least she let me lick the spoon!” Carol told me in a flat tone. We sat there for a minute in silence. And then we burst out laughing.

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The next day I had my tutor explain to Rita that this American woman liked to do her own cooking and baking and we’d have to learn to share the kitchen, which is the maid’s domain in Peru. From that day forward, we shared the cooking, but Rita left the baking to me (although it fascinated her so she’d often watch over my shoulder). I found joy in baking whenever the mood struck me, especially as baking is such a novelty in Peru (and seriously, the Americans there barter with chocolate chips!).

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Is cooking and/or baking therapeutic for you? Do you have any funny baking/cooking stories you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear them.