Monday, November 30, 2015

Intercambios, Mototaxi's, and Salchipollo

This week we had intercambios with the sisters from Imperio. I stayed in our area with Hermana Tunquipa. She had just 1 week in the mission, she is from Lima, and she`s a convert! I had kind of forgotten that ALL missionaries need training when they first get in the field but she is going to be a great missionary. She asked lots of questions, is really humble, and dedicated to the Lord. I didn't take a picture but I will this week with the zone. 

An elder that went home the week after Christmas came to visit with all his family, his parents and 3 siblings, and we saw them at his pensionista's house. They are from San Diego California and so cute. They went to Machu Picchu first and then they had recently started the adventures in Chiclayo. It was weird trying to just speak in english, but cool to see a happy american family!

Hermana Wood and I were using the ward directory to try to find new less actives and to get to know the members. We knocked on a door and were invited in to teach! The man`s name is Rogelio and he had a motorcycle accident 2 years ago and is now in a wheelchair. We found him reading the bible. Because he can only lift one arm and use 2 fingers, he can't flip the pages so he reads the same page a couple of times before calling for someone to flip the page. He said his near death experience changed him completely and being that close to death made him realize the important things in life. He started studying the bible and relying on God more than ever before. He has come to the conclusion that he needs to be baptized, he`s just been waiting...and then we showed up! Sweetness! Well we have taught him and his wife, Esperanzea, two times and they are so great! We are hoping for great things there. They both talk about how their life changed so suddenly. It made me so grateful for everything I have been given and for the amazing gift of LIFE. 

We did another intercambio with the sisters from Pomalca this week. We were looking for a mototaxi to take us to the bus stop. We flagged down one mototaxi and the guy didn't really know where to go. Hermana Wood said, "Do you want an adventure?" Well I said no. So we waited and then called the assistants for exact directions and found a mototaxi to Pomalca. Well the sisters weren't answering their phone and we couldn't get a hold of them. So there we were, 2 lost gringas in Pomalca, walking around looking for the Mormon church. When I went to Pomalca the last time for intercambios, we never saw the church so I honestly didn't know where we were. There was a lot of dirt and really poor houses and we didn't have signal! We started walking down random streets hoping to find signal but never did. Then I remembered that my whole day in Pomalca I never saw dirt streets, it was all paved. So we walked out to the highway then headed for the only paved road that enters into Pomalca. We got then and went in to the town. The first little park looked familiar. We said a prayer and turned the corner. Standing at the corner I saw a house that looked familiar. We walked down that street then I saw the house of their pensionista. We walked one block more and we found the sister's room. 40 minutes after arriving in Pomalca, we found the sister's room. Without cell phone signal. Without asking people on the street. We found the sister's room with ``spiritual signal`` and asking God for help. It really truly was a miracle. 

So Hermana Leiataua and I came back here to La Victoria and we had a great time together. It was fun being with her again. Our relationship got better and even though we didn't have many teaching opportunities we learned so much. 

Jessica Alaya is a recent convert, baptized in September.  She's a 31 year old single mom with a 2 year old baby boy. She is such a cutie. I don't really know how to describe her personality so I will just start with the story. My last day with Hermana Guillèn we went to say bye and she was there with a friend, Ana Rubi. We talked a little bit and she was telling us that she is helping Jessica sell salchipollo (basically sausage, chicken, chips, onions and lettuce) on the weekends. We said, oh on Sundays too? She said yes. AHHH DANGER ZONE. So Hermana Wood came and we suddenly had this responsibility of teaching a single mom who is being influenced by a really powerful and strong personality friend that she can't work on Sundays at all even if she is desperate. It has been quite the task! We have testified and testified and we are teaching Ana Rubì too, hoping she will understand but nothing seems to work! We committed them both to come to church yesterday and they did come. Hallelujah. It's such a warm feeling when someone walks into church like that. So afterwards we were walking by the street that night and she had her little salchipollo cart out on the street and she was selling...on a Sunday night. So we entered into their house and were chatting and I was really sad. And I expressed that to Jessica.  Ana Rubî started defending her saying God understands, she is a single mom and she has to make ends meet, etc. I started to cry and asked if I could just explain something. I said, ``Jessica has made a sacred covenant with God and He does know her perfectly, as He does you, but he can't bless us if we aren't obedient to these sacred covenants we have made.`` I could tell Jessica felt a little bit of pressure from her friend and that she was desperate for money. I wanted Ana Rubì to understand. And she did. After she said, "Wait a second. Jessica is baptized in your church?"  We all said YES and then Ana Rubì completely changed. She said, "No Jessica you can't sell on Sundays anymore. you promised God."  Anyways, it was nice. I felt much better after.  Everyone understands and everything is understood. 

Sunday was a great Sunday. I would like to declare it my best sunday in the mission! I shared my last testimony in the ward (next week is stake conference) and I felt the spirit so strong during the sacrament and all of the classes were really good. 

This week is going to be crazy busy! We relaxed today for pday because this week is going to be packed full! 

My lesson of a life time: obedience.
During my mission I have learned about the importance of being obedient to our earthly parents, to our church leaders, to Heavenly Father, and to the Holy Ghost. Obedience frees us. The commandments protect us. Blessings are promised. We feel better. We must always remember that the Lord is bound when we do what he asks of us. He has to bless us. And he always does. 

I had another lesson of a lifetime this week. Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration. 
There is a member who has grown to be like a father to me. His name is Jaime (high may). We were at their house this week and he asked me when the church was restored and I doubtingly said, "April 6th?" He didn't say anything so I started throwing out other dates and looking for it in the scriptures and going crazy! Well it is April 6th. So Jaime said, "Hermana Pilling, you need to know that the church was restored the 6th of April! And be sure of that knowledge!  He invited me to kneel and ask my father in heaven if the church was indeed restored the 6th of April in 1830 by the prophet Joseph Smith. So that is what I did. And I felt good. And when I testified in church on Sunday I said those very words, "I know that the church was restored April 6th 1830 by the prophet Joseph Smith." I promise you all that a testimony is found in the bearing of it. As I said those words my heart was filled with that warm tickly feeling. I testify of this restored gospel. I know it is true. 

Love you all very much.

Happy birthday to my dear brother Cale on Saturday. 


Hermana Pilling

Monday, November 23, 2015

Second Chances

HOLY HANNAH. I dont even know where to start. 
First off. Hola!

Second, we had transfers.  Tuesday we showed up for change meeting! I love those meetings. You see people you maybe haven't seen for a while and president always walks around from group to group cracking jokes, and that is my favorite. He made a joke this week with me telling me I was going back to Jaen and the way he said it and in spanish and his comments after and his facial expression and just everything made me tear up instantly because I thought of my funny daddy. President and Sister Williams each share a little message and then all the newbies present themselves. After that they have a powerpoint to show who the newbies are going to be with.  They opened some areas which was pretty crazy! Then they get to everyone else and the whole chapel fills with anticipation. This time.... President said, "I want to announce the first one please! Hermana Wood please stand up (she was my canadian companion in June). Hermana Wood, leaving the Chiclayo Peru zone, arriving in the Victoria zone. You will be sister leader and your companion will be Sister Pilling. Again. WHAT! I nearly cried!  We hugged and everyone was just shocked. That never happens in our mission. Never ever. So ya! We are sister leaders over 6 companionships now and every single companionship is training, so we have lots of training to do ourselves to help out these newbies. Hermana Avila, my beloved hija, is one of these sisters! She is finishing the training of the Hawaiian sister and I get to do intercambios with her! WAHOO. I am so excited. I thought I would never see her again... you never know. So now I have 2  1/2 granddaughters in the mission.  How fun!
How do I feel about this change? Well, I honestly feel so good. In my interview with president the week before he asked me who I want my new companion to be and I told him there aren't very many options! hahaha Then I said, "Well if I could have anyone I would die to have a second chance with Hermana Wood.  I want to do things better. But Hermana Clegg would be fun!" He said, "Oh ha ha ha you think you are funny. It won't be Hermana Wood, I can promise you that." Well, only God knows. I honestly am happy. It's been weird. We haven't had to get to know each other again but trying to teach together still requires a little bit of an adjustment. She has grown a lot and I think I have too and things will be better. I don't know how many people noticed but my one transfer with her was probably my lowest moment in my mission. After the meeting president came up to us and told us we need to work like crazy, we have lots of sisters, Hermana Wood needs to know the area and we don't have a full transfer! So we are working hard. Since she has been here she has struggled quite a bit. She was in San Felipe for a long time and it's one of the first wards and one of the biggest wards in Chiclayo and now she is here in maybe one of the weakest. It's been hard for her to adjust to everything but I know she will be fine. She is really motivated and she just has so much faith. It's going to be great!
Finishing her mission with Hermana Wood
Saying good-bye Hermana Guillen
We walked a lot and got to know the area better together. We are working with the ward directory to get to know the members. The members don't really have a good relationship with the missionaries so we are trying to change that one. It's been successful, honestly!

My lesson of a lifetime:
Hermana Avila, one of Clair's favorite companions
20 minutes of Scripture Study is essential
I have always read my scriptures and loved them but here in my mission I have learned how to study them and the importance of doing it everyday to protect us and to strengthen our testimonies. I have seen this power in the lives of recent converts too as I help them set goals and make plans to be able to gain a better relationship with their Heavenly Father by reading and studying the scriptures. I know the Book of Mormon is true. Moroni's promise never fails. I love the scriptures with all my heart. 20 minutes is all it takes. DO IT. 

Well, no more time! I will plan better for next week. Love you all and pray for your safety always. 

Clair with her mane.  She
wants to cut it, but said she'll
wait until she gets home.

Hermana Pilling

So much Joy in my Heart

Hi Everyone,

I loved our district meeting this week. I was in such a good mood and I feel like it lifted everyone else's spirits too. It was a fun meeting. I love the mission organization.

Clair with her companion
We did intercambios again! I went to Pomalca, one of the areas where Hermana Brito served way back when... haha. It was fun to get out of Chiclayo a little bit and see something new. I was there with Hermana Yucra from Puno Peru. She has 6 months in the mission and is a really good missionary. I really enjoyed being there with her. Dad wrote me this week about sharing my little ideas with missionaries because suddenly I am one of the 3 sisters with the most time in the mission. I always talk a lot on intercambios. Bad habit. I just have learned so much during my mission! I start off asking questions and getting to know them and then when they start talking about something that has been hard in the mission or something that I can really relate too I just go off and never stop! I don't want you guys to think I am crazy and I just talk and never stop. My point is, I love to share experiences and offer advice. All missionaries pass through similar difficulties and we can all help each other. 

I have so much joy in my heart. 

I love to hoola hoop. It's my favorite part of my exercise routine in the mornings :P

We had interviews this week with President and Sister Williams! And then we also had interviews with the assistants. That was a little strange. President and I talked about the sacrifices of sister missionaries and got a little emotional when he talked about my group leaving. We were the first missionaries to get here with President and Sister Williams and now we are leaving! Que loco! we also talked about how the Lord has a plan, I will talk more about that later. Sister Williams and I talked about the hardest part of faith is trusting the Lord. But in reality, faith IS trusting the lord. I mentioned that I feel like I am just barely holding on and we talked about how tiring the mission is when you give it your all. I feel worn down and tired but I feel SO satisfied knowing I am so tired because I have worked so hard. 

I suddenly got hit with the flu Thursday. It was awful. I didn't even have the strength to take off my name tag, like to pinch it off. I had all the symptoms and almost threw up too.  Okay, too much information. 

We had a miracle lesson! Friday we had planned to go to Aida, a miracle from about 3 weeks ago. But she wasn't home so we knocked her neighbors door, a girl named Mary who we contacted earlier in the week. She let us in and invited her 2 children to listen too, 16 and 12 years old, and we taught the family and it was so personal and by the spirit and it was AWESOME. Then we invited them each to be baptized and without even hesitating for a second they all said yes. I am really excited for them. A little tender mercy from the Lord. 

I would just like to say that The Church is true. Prophets exist. God speaks to His prophets. This church is true. 

My lesson of a lifetime is Heavenly Father has a perfect and individualized plan for each of His Children. With everything that I have experienced during my mission, I have never doubted that God has a plan. With changes in my personal life, with changes at home with the family or friends, seeing so many trials come and go I have FELT that it is all part of the plan. Teaching investigators who are learning bout the plan of happiness I can testify that it is real and that God knows what he is doing. I know that He has guided me to each of my investigators and less actives. He has placed me in each area for a reason. I know that He will always sustain us and if we are faithful and righteous, he won't let us make the wrong decision. President and Sister Williams both mentioned that a little bit. When we are doing what is right we need not fear. I love my Father in Heaven and his outstretched hand to lead and guide me always. I am so grateful for every single experience, good and bad.  I have loved being here on the mission. I have learned and grown. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan. 

I love you all and I am so excited to be alive. 
My companion has transfers. I am also going to be able to see Hermana Avila again! WAHOO. 

Until next week. 

Hermana Pilling

I had to add this one because Clair looks just like my sister, Leah in this picture!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Families Can Be Together Forever

Hola mis queridos amigos!

I love Spanish with all my heart.

Tuesday we had our leadership training meeting and it was fantastic! I loved it so much! Hermana Williams talked about Tithing and how the greatest blessing we receive from paying an honest tithe is that we can go to the temple. It is one of the greatest impediments, is that a word? That keeps people from having a temple recommend. So when we pay, we are worthy to receive our recommends and attend the house of the Lord. We are also paying to help in the construction of temples which is pretty sweet too. Everything I have is from God and that 10% is NOTHING. I just love Hermana Williams. She shared personal experiences and she is an amazing example. 

President taught a couple things that just made me think of my daddy and growing up. 
#1: I listen and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. 
#2: Do your VERY best
#3: Good. Better. Best.
#4: Testify and wait. 

The whole time I felt like he was talking directly to me and I felt like I was listening to my dad. It was awesome. I felt the spirit so strong. 

Wednesday was THE fastest day of my life and I don't know why. 

Thursday I studied a little bit about the atonement and I read a talk from an Elder James E. Faust, The Atonement:  Our Greatest Hope.  He quoted President Hinckley when he shares a "parable" about the atonement and at some point a little boy says, "I will love you forever for taking my licking for me. I will love you forever". Well I read that and thought about my Saviour and his atonement and I cried. I am just so grateful for Him and what he sacrificed for me and for every one of us. What a blessing. He really does love me. 

Friday we had our zone meeting. It was okay. Our zone seems to be a little discouraged. I tried my best to be me and to smile and change things but things are just really slow. I don't know why. 

Saturday we had another meeting with Chiclayo Peru zone and it was great! It was awesome! haha. It was interesting to see the difference in the two zones. That night the elders in our ward had a baptism and the elders asked us to sing. We sang come thou fount. Everything was perfect. Honestly, one of the best baptismal services I have ever been too. 

Sunday was a great Sunday. One of the best I have had in a long time. I enjoyed it. my comp and I had some really great conversations. 

Lesson of a lifetime for this week is: Families can be together forever. 
The guy that got baptized is young, 24, and his wife is a member and they have a little boy and he testified about the temple and shared his desire to be sealed to his wife and his son for the eternities. This is a truth in the gospel that brings us so much hope! I have seen marriages and families change as an eternal family becomes their goal and their motivation. Jayde and Guillermo are the first people that pop into my head. I am so grateful for being a part of their lives and helping them gain an understanding of the great plan. I have been far far away from my family and when I have felt sad I have been able to sing hymns or primary songs and remember that I will be with the Pillings forever and everything will be okay. Also, my desire to be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity has increased. I am so grateful for temples and for the blessing they are to seal families here on earth and those that have passed on. 

Love you all!

Hermana Pilling

Monday, November 2, 2015

Grateful for life!

I am smiling from ear to ear. I have no words to express the joy I feel in this moment sitting on a crappy little plastic stool in a room full of computers and little gaming-addicted boys. I am so incredibly blessed to have family and friends who support me and write me, even if they only write me one time throughout my whole 18 months in Peru, hahahha. I am so grateful for my calling to serve here and for the plaque I have on my sweater right now. I am so grateful for LIFE!

Okay, now my week. It was super exciting. NOT. 

Monday we had a great FHE again with our pensionista and her family. We had 8 water bottles, 4 big ones and 4 little ones.  We had one of each of freezing ice cold, luke warm, boiling hot and empty. We blind folded everyone and then went out with the lights off. They all got on their hands and knees and they had to try to find the little boiling hot bottle. My companion and I were telling them where to go, but we weren't telling them the correct things. Well, the dad of the family, Jaison, found the little boiling hot bottle. The lesson was the apostasy and the importance of finding the correct church. They couldn't just look for it with their eyes but they had to FEEL it. 

That leads me to my lesson of a lifetime for this week. The Holy Ghost. I have learned how to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I have learned He always talks in a language I am able to understand. I have learned that he guides and protects us and comforts us when we stand in need. I have learned that the confirmations I have FELT in my heart by the holy spirit that this church is true is enough. I don't need any more proof to be converted because the Holy Ghost has testified to my mind and to my heart that these things are completely true. And I am satisfied. The storms will come but they can't knock me down. 

We had intercambios this week and I stayed in my area and Sister Wood came with me! It was fun to be with her again. I could tell she has changed a lot as she has trained Hermana Kelly and she has improved as a missionary. She caught me up on all my favorite people in San Felipe. Jayde and Guillermo were able to go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead for their parents. They came home with a bunch of things from the temple store like pictures of the temple and CTR rings and the photo of the prophet. They are doing really well and really focused on getting to the temple in July. I love them so much. 

We got locked out of our room and goliath, Elder Woolstenhulme, saved the day by climbing up and in through our window. We were stuck outside for 45 minutes. Ugh. And it was all my fault. hehe
I was able to face my fears this week. 
I also have been out here in this country for 16 months.  So crazy. 

Important -  I need to do my family history booklet. Attention everyone! I need the dates and places of birth of my aunts and uncles, parents, grandparents, and great grandparents and the death place and date if they have passed away. Also marriage date and place of my parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Thanks a lot family for helping me out!

I love you all!

Hermana Pilling