Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Last Letter from Peru

Well, I have only got about 10 minutes to write my email today because my district surprised me with a trip to Catac, which is a town about an hour away... and it is beautiful! Our zone is going there today and we have only a little bit of time on the internet. I bet you're asking yourself, ¨Wait, I thought the zone was going to get together LAST week to say goodbye??¨ Well, I'll tell you what happened...

Don't freak at this story, I am totally fine now. Last week on Pday, at the church (outside in the soccer field), we started having a water balloon fight. Some of the sisters didn't want to get wet so they ran in the bathroom. Well, the Elders wanted to soak them , and they knew I could get them to come out, so they sent me to get them out of the bathroom. Well, I went to the bathroom, and as I slowly opened the door to the bathroom, the three sisters ran towards the door and flung themselves at the door to keep me from getting in. Long story short, the door slit my face open and broke my finger!!.I was soaking wet and it was cold outside and when I saw all the blood above me eye, my body went into shock! haha. So Pday was kind of ruined after that! But, luckily the senior missionary couple was there and the they were able to help clean up the cut above my eye and help me with my finger and my arm. The cut is A LOT better now! It is just a scar above my eye now, so that is good...I will always remember Huaraz thanks to this scar :) I am fine now :) 

Also, the story with Manuel this week is interesting(remember him from my last few letters). He came here to Huaraz to train to be a policeman. Well, he told us that he wasn't sure if that is what God wanted him to do. I told him the story of me deciding to serve a mission. I told him that I didn't know what it was that Heavenly Father had planned for me. I prayed and prayed a lot because there were a lot of things telling me to not serve a mission but I felt that I should do it. Until finally one day, I felt the Spirit SO strongly that I should serve a mission. It was as strong as I had felt it when I asked the Lord if the Book of Mormon was true. I knew from that moment on, that it was in God's plan for me to serve a mission and I was determined to do it, no matter what obstacles were in my way. We invited Manuel to pray as well to ask Heavenly Father what he should do. A couple days later, Manuel told us that he had been praying and he felt the same feeling of the Spirit that I felt when I knew I should serve a mission. He said that Heavenly Father had let him know that he should not study to be a policeman and he should return to Trujillo. Well, he had that same determination that I had apparently, because the next day he travelled to Trujillo. He promised us that he was going to look for the missionaries first thing and get baptized in Trujillo. Well, that was definitely NOT what I was expecting!! It was kind of disappointing for us to be honest, but at the same time, I was happy that I was able to help Manuel figure out what Heavenly Father wants with his life. Manuel is amazing, and I know he will be a STRONG member of the church in Trujillo. He follows the Spirit and He trusts in God. One of the most important things I have learned on my mission is submitting ourselves to God's will and not losing faith if His will is not our will. Sometimes we ask ourselves if we have enough faith to receive answers to prayers but sometimes, as Elder Bednar says, we should ask ourselves if we have enough faith to NOT receive answers to our prayers. Even if it means I couldn't be at Manuel´s baptism, I know that it was God's will for Manuel to go back to Trujillo and get baptized there. I am so grateful because I have been able to develop an unbreakable faith on my mission that I know will help me throughout my whole life. Heavenly Father knows what He is doing. And we have to have faith in His will, even if it doesn't exactly align with ours :) I know that He lives. I know that He is our Father and He loves us SO much. There is nothing that I am more certain of.

We did find an incredible family this week.  One morning we woke up and decided we would go out knocking on doors.  I haven't had much success on my mission with this approach, but we prayed about where to go, and we both felt inspired to go to an area of Huaraz that we hadn't spent much time in.  It was raining SO hard, and not many people would open their doors.  Finally, we knocked on a door, and a woman answered.  She was home with her husband and 4 kids, and they were interested in listening to our message.  We asked them if they wanted to strengthen their marriage and their family.  Both Mom and Dad started to cry and told us YES they wanted to make changes in their life, and strengthen their family. The Mejilla family is excited to learn more about this gospel of Jesus Christ, and want to be baptized in November. The Lord answers prayers, and leads us to those who need the gospel in their lives. I am sad I won't be here to help teach them the gospel, but I know they will be in good hands with Hermana Medina. 

Well, I can 100% understand NOW why the Spirit told me that day that I needed to serve a mission :) I didn't understand it at the time, but now I do :) I have been changed and prepared for my life. I know this gospel, and every aspect of it is true. I have experienced the changing power of the Atonement and I have seen the power of the gospel in the lives of the people here in Peru. I will never go back to who I was before, because of this testimony I have gained of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I know that He lives and thanks to him, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. I loved my mission. I am sure you will hear ALL about it for the next couple of months...I wont be able to stop talking about all the amazing experiences that I have had :) I am thankful for everything I have learned...from the Book of Mormon, President Archibald, and the Spirit. I love you all and I will see you next week! I can't wait to see you!! 

Con mucho cariño y gracias,
Hermana Agle

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I Am Changed!

This week has been great!! Enjoying every last minute of walking with my name badge :)

This week was stake conference so President Archibald came with Elder Costa to train the missionaries on Saturday and then to the conference on Sunday. Wow, the work of salvation is being HASTENED, I love it! I am so grateful for the chance I have been given to be a part of this work in THIS TIME. This is a very special time to hasten the work. And I have been able to be a part of it! How lucky am I?? :) I loved, as always hearing from President Archibald and a member of the Seventy. Everytime I hear them speak I just confirm my testimony that these men are called of God. Their Spirit is so strong and every time I hear them speak, I learn new things from the Spirit. It is amazing! Seriously, so many people are waiting for this gospel. And we will have NO idea who they are until we OPEN OUR MOUTHS. It could be our neighbor, our kids teacher in school, our mailman! Anyone! But we need to open our mouths and share it with everyone. If we are going to hasten the work, we need to put in our part and share this amazing gospel with our family and friends and neighbors and everyone so that they can receive it and return to live with their Heavenly Father. I love being a has blessed my life more than I ever thought possible. And I am excited to continue the work of salvation when I get home!!

Manuel de la Cruz is still preparing for his baptism this Saturday! A couple of things have come up that are little obstacles, but he is so excited to be baptized. We are praying and fasting a lot, so that he can make this covenant with his Father in Heaven! I can't believe it will be my last baptism(in the mission field). I have all sort of different feelings...sadness excitement, nerves. But I feel so happy with my mission. I feel changed. I have experienced the miracle of the Atonement of Christ and I know that my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and the Spirit is real. I have no doubt of that. I am not coming home the same Cami (I jump just at the idea of hearing my name :)).

This week was Chile's Independence Day so Hermana Medina and I had a LOT of fun. I left my camera at home, but I will show you the pictures in 2 weeks :) We also did a lot of service this week with the zone. A zone leader, Elder Brimley, and I are finishing together this transfer, so we have done lots of things as a zone. We also had a family history training and we all went out to eat at my favorite restarant that was great :) This week I have LOTS of things to do, it is my last week in Huaraz! Today is our zone Pday where we will have our ¨Goodbye Elder Brimley and Hermana Agle¨ party and this week I will have to say goodbye to Huaraz! So it will be a busy couple of days! I love you all! Thank you for all of the support, and letters and emails :) I know this church is true! The mission has been the biggest blessing in my life! If you are thinking about serving a mission, stop thinking and do it!! :) It is the best. The church is true!

Hermana Agle

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Power of Prayer

This week was a really busy busy busy week with lots of happy things and lots of disappointments as well...and lots of spiritual progression. Anything that happens on the mission teaches you something...I learn something new every week. 

Well Juan and Kari were not baptized this week. Juan ended up working all day on Saturday and he wasn't even able to get to his baptismal interview. So it was a pretty big disappointment. As a missionary, you come to love your investigators and the families you teach SO much and you just desire so much their salvation...and when they don't make baptismal covenants it is devastating. After so much fasting and praying and studying for them and following what the Spirit tells you to do and it doesn't happen...they aren't is a HUGE trial. But here is an experience that was very very spiritually uplifting this week:

This week I had a great experience with prayer and experiencing the power of the Atonement. It was very hard when Juan and Kari told us that they were not going to be able to be baptized on Saturday. I was pretty devastated to be honest. When things like this happen in the mission, Satan attacks. He makes me feel like the worst missionary on the planet. I was feeling like that and I decided to go and kneel down and say a prayer. In this prayer, I felt so much peace. I really felt that Heavenly Father was listening to me and communicating with me. I felt His understanding and I felt so much love. I realized that the atonement of Jesus Christ provides so much comfort to us when we need it. He knows us inside and out and He knows EXACTLY how we are feeling. I could feel that power in this prayer. And I know that anytime in our lives that we are feeling down on ourselves, and Satan is attacking us, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are there to provide the love and comfort that we need. I am thankful for the opportunity that we have to pray and talk to our Father in Heaven. I know that prayer is real and the Atonement of Jesus Christ strengthens us and provides the strength we need in our trials. I have grown to know my Savior in this past year and a half and I know that the Atonement is real. There is a song that I like that says ¨How can I keep this gift to myself, When I can lift somebody else? I am a witness of His miracle and His mercy¨ I am a witness of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and I love sharing this gift and lifting other people and sharing the happiness that I feel from the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love this gospel and I love being a missionary. 

This week we also did and ALL day long service as a zone. There is a house that is 4 stories and we had to sand the walls. Well, here in Peru the houses are all concrete, so for about 5 hours we were sanding concrete walls. and we STILL didn't finish with 24 of us!! It was pretty fun though :) I like being with all of the missionaries and serving those that need our help. The family was so grateful and I love being able to help other people feel good :) Service is a great blessing to everyone. 

Well, in these last 3 weeks of my mission, 2 of the weeks we can't baptize because of stake conference and general conference so on the 27th of September I have my last baptism (as a missionary :))!! I know, on Tyler's birthday!! I am going to be celebrating VERY well with my last baptism as a representative of Jesus Christ. It's a pretty great way to celebrate. His name is Manuel de la Cruz. Ok, lets just remember how my FIRST converts name is Manuel de la Cruz from Leesburg VA. I wasn't there for his baptism because I came to Peru but I set the baptismal date and he was baptized. And my LAST converts name is Manuel de la Cruz :) Just a fun little coincidence :) But anyway, he is from Trujillo and was listening to the missionaries there and just moved here to Huaraz. So, we scheduled his baptism for the 27th of September! He is super great. He is 20 years old and studying to be a policeman. When he goes running in the morning, he brings his pamphlets that we give him and he reads them on top of the mountain and then prays out loud to know if what they say are true. He says that every time he prays he gets an answer :) So Manuel is great. We are going to continue working hard with him to make sure he is very well prepared to be baptized the 27th! 

Wow, I only have 2 weeks left here in Huaraz, and I am just going to enjoy every single minute that I have with Hermana Medina. I love being a missionary, it is an experience that I will never forget and I will have permanent changes in my life thanks to everything I have learned, and the testimony I have gained on my mission. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and this is HIS church and there is no other on the face of the earth. This gospel brings happiness and blessings. The Atonement is real and we can find peace and strength from it everyday. Heavenly Father loves every one of his children and listens to our prayers. Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God and Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet today. Go forward with faith! I love you all! Sè con ninguna duda que todas estas cosas son verdaderas y que Jesucristo es mi Salvador. Les amo.

Hermana Agle 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Temple Blessings

Max and Mandalyn preparing for their sealing in the Lima Temple
Well, I have about 5 minutes to write today! But a quick update:
This week we have challenged Juan and Kari to get baptized this Saturday! It will be a huge miracle...but I know we can do it! We will be praying and fasting a ton this week for them to get baptized. As of now, they still have their old doubts, but last night we taught them an amazing lesson about faith and how their faith in this decision is going to determine whether or not they have an eternal family in the future. We are working to help them walk by faith by being baptized this Saturday and sealed on September 13, 2015 :)

This week we had a pretty amazing experience. A man contacted us in the street and he said ¨Are you guys Jehovah's Witnesses?¨ We just smiled and said ¨Nope, we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we share a message of happiness with all of the families here in Huaraz¨ He gave us his address and told us to come back the next day to meet his family. Well, we got there the next day and this man explained to us his story. He said that the day before, he and his wife had a big fight, and they both just felt so sad and depressed and Edwin felt that he should go outside and look for help. He felt that God was going to put someone in his path to help his family be healthier and happier. And that is when he met us...and invited us over! It turns out his wife is a member of the Church, and Edwin expressed to us his desire to improve his family and be the man of the family that can be a protector and an example to his children. It was amazing!! Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us and He is so aware of our situations and our needs! I am so grateful to be able to teach this family about the gospel and see the fruits and blessings this gospel brings to families.

OH! And Wilder entered the temple this week(See photo above) to do baptisms for the dead! He loves family history and he has already brought his family names to the temple to be baptized for them! The ward here in Huaraz has a trip to the temple every 3 months and this week was the trip and Wilder was so excited! It was the best feeling to get photos of him at the temple :)

I feel a little bit strange finishing my mission. I am going to miss it tremendously. It hadn't hit me until this week when the offices were calling me every second telling me my flight plans and which airport I should fly to and what I will be doing the first week of was very odd. So Hermana Medina and I are just going to enjoy these 3 weeks we have left together and expect miracles :) I know this work is real and that this is the true gospel. I am so priviledged to be a missionary, and to serve the Lord. I love you all! Until next week!

Hermana Agle

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Work in Huaraz

This week was great! A little slow...haha. We had about three days in a row where we walked and walked and walked all day long and no one let us in. So that was a little rough. We got home SO tired at night!! But there were a few awesome things that happened!
This week we went to Kari and Juan's house and taught them how to make lasagna! Oh my goodness, I haven't eaten American food (lasagna isn't American but it's something that I LOVE) in so long and this lasagna was SO good. So we went to their house in the morning and cooked for them and surprised Juan when he got home from work. That was really fun! They are progressing. Kari comes to church every week and Juan comes when he can...his work schedule is really difficult. Kari said that as she was praying this week to know if she should get baptized, she flipped open the Book of Mormon right to 3 Nephi 11 and read about baptism. She said that she felt like it was an answer, and we helped her realize that Heavenly Father really listens and answers our prayers, and that He was trying to speak to her through the scriptures. Growing up we had a quote in our house that says ¨If you want to talk to God, Pray. If you want God to talk to you, Read Your Scriptures¨ That quote is SO true! Heavenly Father communicates through the scriptures and He did that day to Kari. Unfortunately, we have agency and sometimes we don't listen to what He is telling us. We are going to keep working with Juan and Kari so they can both decide to be baptized and make this covenant that is so important to Heavenly Father (the picture of Huaraz is right in front of Juan and Kari's house).

This week we had another interesting experience. We had walked ALL day long, and nobody would let us in their house. We were both really tired and we didn't really know what else to do besides contact in the street. Well, we walked past the church and it was open, so we decided to go in and kneel down and say a prayer and ask Heavenly Father where He needed us to go. I had a very strong impression that we should go visit a less active named Javier, and ask him for references. I felt very strongly that he had references to give us. So we got up and headed straight over to his house. We went in and taught him about missionary work and at the end of the lesson we invited him to share the gospel and we asked him if he had any references for us. At first he said no. He said that he didn't know anyone. Well, I KNEW that he had a reference, so we insisted. Turns out, he gave us 4 references that were great! 

The next day in the morning we went out to contact all of these references. We got to one (that was a family of 5) and knocked and they weren't there. But the neighbor came out and so we started talking to her. Turns out she and her 4 kids have been looking for a church and we taught her about how her family could live together forever in the presence of God and she was so excited to hear our message! She is a widow. The Lord was able to lead us to this family that is so prepared to hear the a very interesting way...but I know that Heavenly Father heard our prayer and provided a way for us to find this family that needs the gospel in their life.
This picture is of a little baby boy named Mattias who comes with us to almost all of our lessons. He is a convert's nephew and we bring this convert with us to a bunch of our lessons and Matty usually comes with us :) He is so cute, he'll sit in his little chair and as we read the Book of Mormon he just sits there and smiles with the book open in his lap. He is really cute :)

Hermana Agle

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wilder's Baptism

Well, this week was a good week :) Let me tell you, it was the MOST stressful week that I have had in my mission, but also one of the best weeks I have had. I learned SO many different things! :)

Wilder was baptized this week!! Wow, we saw a HUGE change in Wilder this week because of the gift of repentance! This week, Hermana Medina and I have been studying our purpose as part of her training. Lots of missionaries think that their purpose is to baptize baptize baptize. But they forget the first two steps and repentance. Hermana Medina and I have been focusing this week on building the faith of our investigators, inviting them to repent, and by doing this, they will choose to be baptized. In 3 Nephi 7:24 it says that all of those that repented, were baptized in the water. I have used that scripture as a reference many times in my mission. Focusing on the repentance of my investigators to prepare them for the covenant of baptism. And when they really repent, they are always baptized. Repentance is powerful. It drives people to have a strong desire to be baptized. With Wilder this week we had a small problem and it required a repentance process before his baptism. After making the mistake he told us that he didn't want to get baptized anymore. He felt all the feelings we feel after sinning: shame, doubt, heavy load. He told us that he didn't want to be baptized anymore, and he came up with a bunch of excuses like ¨it's too soon",  and "I need to learn more¨ and ¨I don't know if I will go every Sunday¨. His face was just dark. We invited him to repent. His faith has grown so much in the past month. He reads the Book of Mormon everyday, and his faith in Jesus Christ is strong. So, we invited him to repent, to kneel down and talk to God and ask forgiveness and ask God if he should be baptized. We set an appointment with him for the next day to see how it went.

When we returned the next day, he looked like a NEW person. The second he walked out of his door I asked him, ¨Have you been praying??¨ And he just smiled and said ¨All day long!" He told us everything. How he was feeling, how he was so excited for his baptism, he bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Jesus Christ and the Atonement. He even told us that the day we arrived at his house, he was unable to walk (he has problems with his feet). ...but when we invited him to come with us walking 15 minutes to the church, God gave him enough strength in his feet to get up and walk down to church. He said he knew that this was the right path and that he was going to endure to the end. So...he was baptized this Saturday :) He really was a new person! He just had a glow to him! I know the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real and that it can change us. I saw it in Wilder this week, and now he is happier than he has ever been :) The gospel makes us happy, and I TESTIFY to that.

Wilder's baptism was part of a zone "Noche Blanca" or White Night...there were 9 people who were baptized on Saturday!

Also, Hermana Medina finished her training this week!! She is so excited and SO ready to work miracles in her mission! She was super excited to finish her training with Wilder's baptism. I found out today I will stay here in Huaraz with Hermana Medina for my last transfer and I am excited to work harder than I ever have in my mission. Tell Sister Gold's dad that I am still expecting miracles, even in these last 5 weeks of my mission. I head down to Lima on October 1st, so I really only have 5 weeks left. It is super weird but I am excited to see what happens in these next 5 weeks! My 18 months is flying by and I have to enjoy every minute that I can. I am so grateful for my mission :) It is an experience that I will never forget!

Love you guys! Have a great week!

Hermana Agle

Finding, Finding, Finding Families

This week has been a little stressful. We have difficulties with our three baptisms scheduled for this next Saturday. But, we are going to keep fasting and praying for our investigators so that they can be baptized!!
With Juan and Kari, a bunch of doubts have entered their minds this week. We had a lesson and we invited Juan to say a prayer and ask God if he should be baptized on Saturday. He said a 15 minute prayer and was in tears as his prayer ended. He said he felt better about it but he still wasn't 100% sure. So every single day this week we are going to be with them helping them receive their answer. They are a GREAT family and they have a goal to be sealed in the temple. We've got to get them baptized first though :)

Yesterday, on top of all the stress, we had an amazing experience. In the morning we received a call from the zone leaders with a reference that had shown up to their ward. They said her name was Luisa and that she had attended a lot of different churches but she really wanted to join the church of Jesus Christ with her daughter. So we called and contacted her and went and met her and her daughter. Her daughter couldn't come to church, but Luisa came with us and she LOVED it. When it ended she said she was sad because she loved it so much. So we are really excited to be able to teach them! It was a little tender mercy that we needed. 

We have been finding, finding ,finding lots of families this week too. We taught a family that in the beginning, were totally against the church and saying horrible things....but after teaching them, we could see the Spirit working in them, and they completely changed. We finished the lesson with them saying they wanted to attend church with us and they wanted to learn more. So I know that the Spirit is working with Hermana Medina and I.

This week Hermana Jones shared with me the story that you shared of Shadrac, Meshac, and Abed-nego, and I studied it along with the story of Abinadi in the Book of Mormon. Sometimes, the outcomes are going to be different. Sometimes God isn't going to answer us like we want Him to. We have got to strengthen our faith and keep pressing on knowing that yes, God is still with us and we are not going to abandon Him. That is an important lesson I learned from serving with Hermana Leyva. I am really grateful for everything I have learned on my mission. 

This week I got to help Nancy Tafur cut up her guinea pig and fry and eat it :) So that was fun! Here are a couple of pictures :) 

Hermana Medina and I are finishing up her training this week! Time has flown by so fast! We can't believe it! But I have loved my time with Hermana Medina! She is one of my best friends! We have gone through a lot together and have seen LOTS of miracles in the work. I have been able to really strengthen my testimony being with Hermana Medina. We will see what happens in transfers next week! 

Alright well that is all for today. I love you all!
Hermana Agle