Saturday, September 29, 2012

Temples :)

One of my favorite Mormon Messages is about the temple celebration/dedication in El Salvador that happened Aug 21, 2011.  I watch it probably once or twice a week.  (It might help a little bit that it's in Spanish...)  But seriously, I love seeing the youth and watching them realize the marvelous blessings that come from the temple.  It is incredible to see their devotion to the Lord and how they have made the temple such a huge goal in their lives.

This makes me so incredibly grateful for the temples that are so close to me here in Utah.  On my mission, I was the furthest away that I have ever been from a temple in my life.  The record was 18 hours, when I served in Jaén (or 24 hours, if you count our P-Day trip to Kuelap).  Soon though, there will be a temple closer to my wonderful Peruvian Saints.  In 2008 President Monson announced that they would be building a temple in Trujillo, about 3 hours south of Chiclayo.  They broke ground for it while I was in Tumán over a year ago (Sept 15, 2011 to be exact.)  To my knowledge, they haven't officially started construction on it yet, but I hope they will soon.  It is going to be a beautiful place, just like every other temple.  Except this one will be in Trujillo :)

Trujillo Perú Mormon Temple

This is what the temple in Trujillo will look like one day.  I love it.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Gringa from a Small Utah Town with a Latino Culture Influence

For my multicultural education class, we have to create a diorama explaining ourselves culturally using 3 artifacts.  I just thought I would share these with you and let you know a little more about my life.
 My first artifact is a BYU Football Pez dispenser.  Some might think this is a slightly odd choice for something to represent me, but I feel that is can describe much of who I am.  BYU football has been a big part of my life.  I have lived in Utah County since I was born, and I grew up attending BYU football games.  I remember counting down until football season started each year and just being so excited to see my boys out on the playing field.  It truly is a thrilling experience to see your team play to the best of their abilities.
BYU football is also something that makes me think of family.  My grandparents are huge BYU fans as well, passing their love of BYU down to their children, and their children passing that love to me, my siblings, and my cousins.  My grandparents always bought season tickets to the games.  About a year and a half ago, my grandpa passed away.  His instructions to my grandma were to always buy season tickets as long as there was money available.  BYU football, for me, is a family experience.
Of course, BYU represents more than just football to me now.  After working hard in high school, I was accepted to BYU, the university where I had wanted to attend since elementary school.  This university has changed and shaped my life to make me who I am today.  Without BYU, I know I would be a totally different person.

 My second artifact is my name tag from my mission.  I was privileged to be able to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  As such, I spent 18 months serving in northern Perú, in the Chiclayo mission.  This experience changed my life.  It shaped my life by showing me how amazing people really are.  I learned more about myself as a person and as a member of the Church.  I got to meet wonderful people and some not-so wonderful people.  I learned from all of them about the beauty that life has to offer as well as the heartache and frustration that comes along when wrong choices are made.  I discovered a love for the Latino culture as a whole which is something that I treasure today.  Because of my mission, I know it will influence who I am as a teacher.  I have become much more aware of multicultural education.  I have a strong desire to help these kids who have to learn English as a second language succeed.  Learning another language is not easy.  It takes time, patience, and effort.  I understand to some effect what these children are going through.

My last artifact is my hymnbook from my mission.  This captures many different aspects of my own personal culture.  I love music.  I have been playing the piano since I was 5 years old.  When I was a young girl I pleaded with my mom to teach me how to play the piano.  Finally, when we were able to buy a piano, she began to give me lessons.  I loved playing the piano.  I did not always love to practice.  But eventually I was able to practice enough to the point where I could sit down and sight read almost any piece placed in front of me.  My love for music grew.  It was something very prominent in the lives of both of my parents.  I have been able to feel of the power that music can bring.  While I was on my mission, I had the chance to play the piano during Sacrament meeting in all of my areas where they would have otherwise had no one to play.  The Spirit can be brought in so strongly when a righteous song is played and heard.  I even helped to teach a little bit to some of the younger children there so that they could one day play the piano in their own wards. 
I also love this artifact because it is my Spanish hymnbook.  Spanish has become a part of my life.  I love the hymns in Spanish.  My favorite song is one that we actually don’t have in English.  It’s called Placentero Nos Es Trabajar, which, translated means “It is a Pleasure for us to work.”  It captures the joy that is felt when one truly is dedicated to the work of the Lord.  My hymnbook, if you notice, is also very worn out.  I used it so much in lessons and during church. It truly represents a part of who I am today.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Still Bleeding True Blue!

When I was packing to leave on my mission, it said to bring a t-shirt for gym clothes.  So I did.  I brought one.  It was a shirt I actually got for free 3 years ago.  I got it because I decided to donate blood.  It was the first and only time I have done it in my life.  But from that experience I got a shirt that has gone with me to all ends of the earth and back. 

 (And by ends of the earth I mean Peru!)  

Remember this shirt???
Well, here is a look back at some of my awesome P-Days with my awesome "I Bleed True Blue" shirt!

Starting from the beginning....
 I was in Monsefú for this pic! My trainer, Hna Lopez and I, got the same hats, for only 5 soles!  (That's like 2 bucks.  Score!)
 Notice how my shirt still is quite blue.  
And then watch how it fades over time...
I'm giving Hna Choto a piggyback ride after teaching our Latino companions how to play kick ball, which is an awesome American pastime, and now an awesome Peruvian missionary P-Day activity :)

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures with me and my shirt in my second area, La Cria. 
But I did wear it...I think.  Moving on...


So we had an awesome P-day as a zone where we went to see the place where they dug up what is called "El Señor de Sipan"  (Think Emperor's New Groove sort of dealio.)
Yes, that is an awkward picture of me.  
At the end of the museum place, they had a bunch of artifacts we could play with (they were probably replicas, but still cool).  
So I'm being cool and pretending to drink out of an ancient water bottle :)
After the museum, we got to walk around and actually see where they found the tombs of the Señor de Sipan.  And we ran across a tree that looked like a bridge.  So, what do 14 missionaries do when they come across something like that?  They take a picture on it. 

And then....they jump off it.
  I think it's a pretty epic picture of Eld Ruiz and Eld Karl.  Notice me, in the shirt, off watching the crazy elders jump off the tree :)

Of course, I waited around until everyone had jumped off or climbed down.  Then I gave my camera to my companion, Hna Machuca, and she some how ended up taking this epic picture of me.  I think it's amazing, with the sepia and the just looks awesome!

Afterwards, I took a picture of the awesome earrings that I bought there.
It was the first time I had worn dangly earrings since I started my mission. 
But don't worry, I didn't go tracting with them :)
And the shirt was just as awesome as ever.

Then, about a month and a half later,
 I found out I was being transferred out of Tumán.  
So, on my last P-Day in Tumán, of course I had to take some epic pictures...and yes, wear my shirt.

This is what the chapel looked like in Tumán.  It was a house that we met in.  I grew to love it.
I saw "grew" because the first couple of weeks I had a headache after church.
Just imagine listening to people speaking into a microphone while in a cement room with cement floors, walls and ceilings.  
Does that make anyone else's head hurt??
 But I really did grow to love it, and I cried when I found out I was leaving it.  

(P.S.-So Tumán is an actual ward...the reason they don't really have a chapel is that there is a huge sugar factory that owns pretty much all of Tumán and for some reason or another the Church can't buy land there yet.  They would have to rent it, but I'm pretty sure the Church doesn't want to build a chapel on rented land.  Or something like that.  So in the meantime, we have our "home chapel")

Back to my last I got transferred at the beginning of October, and my birthday is at the end of October.  But, I didn't want to not celebrate my birthday with people I knew and loved, so I made myself a cake and we celebrated my birthday!  

In true Peruvian style, 
I got a raw egg smashed on my head and my cake smashed in my face.  
It was okay though, because it was also Eld Ruiz's birthday, 
and I got to smash the egg on his head. SO FUN!!!

I only got a little bit of egg on my shirt!  
You shoulda seen the other guy though...his shirt was a mess!
After I got cleaned up, we went to go play volleyball at the church.  Yarek wanted to play, but he's 3.  And the rest of us...are older than 3.  So while it wasn't my turn to play, I played ball with him.  
I love this picture :)

I ended up being transferred to Guadalupe 
where my True Blue shirt invariably followed me.
One of our first P-Days was a trip to Pacasmayo, where I was truly introduced to the ocean for the first time in my life.  I loved it!
There was a pile of rocks, so of course my companion, Hna Westman, and I had to take Ariel pictures!
While this isn't a complete replica of an Ariel picture, I think it turned out super well!  I told Hna Westman she had to make sure I didn't look fat or weird at all....I think she did a spectacular job!
We tried to take a zone picture at a little cave at the kind of works, but you end up with some crazy pictures...
(and I think an elder or two is missing....)

Fast forward to another P-Day...
visiting another site similar to the Señor de Sipan in Guadalupe.
Again, I think some of the zone is missing...
Still rockin the shirt though!

Now to my last area...

My first P-Day there we went to visit a fun little recreational place.  
They had a lot of animals... a monkey.  Who we named Teancum.
He really liked my water bottle.  
And it kind of freaked me out.  
So I know this isn't me.  But I thought this was an awesome picture.  And I don't think it was one that I had sent home.  Notice the monkey... 
Gotta love it!
Later that day, we found a goose boat.  Also awesome.  
Now just compare the color of our shirts.  Both are BYU shirts. 
 Yet they are different colors...
Shows you what 18 months in the Peru will do to your clothes!
I had some pretty rock awesome days with my shirt.  
And the memories were just too precious...
so unlike a lot of my other missionary clothing, 
I brought my shirt home with me.  

Today, Sept 8, 2012...BYU game against Weber State. 
Still sportin the shirt!  I had to! 
After the game, I got a picture with my dad, whom I love.  He is great.  
And my little sister Emily, whom I also love.

And my "I Bleed True Blue" BYU shirt.  Which will stay with me for a while, bringing back memories and making new ones for years to come.