Saturday, August 16, 2014



"I am good. My companion is good. Our ward is good. I have some new ideas, and those are good too. I will talk to you about them  when I see you (because somehow I always see you)- but I just wanted to let you know that Hna Leavitt is doing good. "

The above paragraph is my letter to President this week, because I am once again, out of time. Way out of time, but- I just wanted to let you all know that I really am doing good. Things are really progressing here in our ward, and we have seen such a difference in this past month and a half.

Changes are today- Hna Clemens and I stayed the same, here in Casa Blanca. I think i will die here. With no posterity. But that's okay- because I am doing good.

Pictures from Paucarpata!

Teaching Moments

So this week, I had the opportunity to work on the Newsletter of the mission for the next change, which meant that I got to spend some time with President and Hna Zobrist, which as usual, was just awesome. I love those two so much, and I feel like they really love the missionaries in a very genuine way. So I always love being around them, and I almost always learn something new. This time, it was something called 'teaching moments' - about when you can use a life situation of circumstance to teach someone a valuable lesson.

It all came about as we sat around the kitchen table, as I took a break from putting all these pictures on a document using a program (Word) that is more frustrating than trying to get Issac to put on sunscreen, because its not meant to be used with lots of pictures. As we sat there, President asked about our zone and the elders, and how things were going- and I sure did have a lot to say. That's something that has been a challenge for me on the mission- working with some people who don’t really respect me, or the things that I have to say. Its happen quite a bit with investigators, less actives, and even some Elders. Actually, most often with the Elders. I'm not saying that its happened with ever Elder, I have had some amazing examples and leadership from them that I am very grateful for,  but there are some have difficulty recognizing that, we as sister missionaries,  have the same calling and mantle that has been given to them, and that ideas that come from a sister should be seriously considered. We may not have the Priesthood, but we do have priesthood power. We are on the same level, one is not better than the other, and neither is one inferior. I don't know if that's "advanced thinking" or anything like that, but its something that I have really run into problems with while being out here.

So anyways, we talked about that for a long time, and President taught me, that if Im ever put into a situation again where an Elder lacks the respect that is owed to me as a missionary and a woman, that I don't have to put up with it, and can use that event as a catalyst to teach a lesson, and about how moments like that will come up in my life often, and when they do, I need to not get mad (something I am, ahem, working on), but calmly, cooly, use the moment to my benefit and the benefit of others.

So that's something I am thinking about a lot this week. About how to make every moment a teaching moment. :) And, that's all I have time to talk about. I love you all, and hope that you have a fantastic week.

Pictures from our sister conference

Monday, August 4, 2014

Being the Answer


This week was much better than the last. :)

On Monday we had our training with all of our girls, and I think that they liked it! We went to the mission home, where our amazing mission president made us hamburgers, and then this lady from our ward brought all these typical Peruvian dresses, so we dressed up, and took pictures, and then we watched Frozen. While this was going on, I was directing an activity with the companionships, one at a time. I will attach a picture of what my companion did for me.

Then, at 6, the spiritual part began. We talked about companionships, about looking for the best in people. and then we showed the pictures we had done earlier in the day, that they hadn't seen yet. Then we talked about Ruth and Naomi, and what we can learn from them. Then, we talked about Christlike Attributes, which was one of my favorite parts, because we had asked each companionship to bring an object that represented that attribute to them and then to teach everyone about it, and to see them all up there, sharing what they thought, made me so proud of each of them! I mean, our goal as STL is to have them be the future leaders of the mission, so giving them chances to lead is when we get to see our girls shine. And I love seeing them shine. :) After the presentations, we had a really spiritual slideshow of some beautiful art of the Savior´s life, put to the music of "I know that my Redeemer lives" and I shared that the way that I have come to develop more Christlike Attributes has been through coming to know who my Savior really is by my study of the book of "Jesus the Christ" and also of The New Testament. Not just knowing what He did, but discovering who He is,  and what that means to me. After that we talked about the Sacrament, about how its a time each week that we can ask "How am I doing Dad?" and then promise to be better. We also talked (once again) about the relationship between the Atonement and the Sacrament, and then we watched the video "Missionary Work and the Atonement" and talked about why its not easy for us- because Salvation is not a cheap experience, but as we come to understand the Atonement now, we will be able to better help our investigators understand, and be stronger in our lives after the mission. And then, sadly, we ran out of time to do the object lesson that I had been preparing for. We had went out and bought these little cupcakes, and were going to offer them to the girls, telling them that if they take a cupcake, then I would have to do 5 pushups, and then, even if they didn't take one, I would still have to do 5 pushups. And we all know, I don't have lots of upper body strength, and I haven't had the best luck in the health department here on the mish, and it would have been for 17 people, so you can see why I would be a little nervous. But I mean, I was more than willing, even though it would hurt a lot. It helped me prepare spiritually all week, thinking of the pain the Savior went through, and how he must have felt. So, maybe another time.

The girls said that they liked our time together though, and some even approached me afterwards, and said that it came at a time that they really needed it, which made the whole thing worth it.

We also tried to do a Pioneer Day Activity on Friday. But not a lot of people came, and everything that could have gone wrong did. But that's okay, it wasn't easy for the Pioneers.... so maybe that's why it wasn't easy for us.

The sweetest experience this week though, has to do with the title of this email. On Saturday, we had the impression in the morning to go and visit this sister in the ward. It was kind of a weird impression, I mean, her and her two daughters had always seemed fine to us, nice and strong members. But, we went anyways, at around 11 in the morning, and when we arrived, we found out why. The sister was sitting across the street from her house, at the little newspaper stand that she owns, and when we came close, she just started crying. Crying kind of uncontrollably actually. We sat down to ask her what was going on, and she just sobbed into my shoulder for a good 20 minutes. When she finally was able to talk, she told us that last night her daughter, who was 20, single, halfway through her college career, the director of music at church, her mothers pride and joy, was 4 months pregnant.

Needless to say, we were shocked. We did our best to comfort her, we read some choice scriptures, talked about forgiveness, and then firmly directed her to go and talk to the bishop, and encourage her daughter to do the same. I felt so guided by the Holy Ghost, I mean, in those situations, you have to be really careful that you don't counsel people on what to do, so I was just praying that we weren't crossing any lines- but the best part of the visit is when the sister told us that she had been crying all night and had been praying to her Heavenly Father for help, to feel some support, to receive some direction, some comfort, and that's why she started crying when she saw that we were coming. Because we were the answers. She said that over and over again. We were the answers.

I felt very humbled that day, and still do, that Heavenly Father would trust us enough to send us to one of His daughters who was hurting and who needed some of the balm of Gilead that His Son offers to all His Children. It was a very sweet, sacred experience to know that we don't just offer prayers, but sometimes we are also given the chance to answer them, and that's why we need to be worthy, willing, and working all the time, so that we can be those answers. A tender mercy for sure.

I love you all, and hope you have a great week!

Hna Leavitt

Monday, July 21, 2014

Little Miracles

This week has been hard. Probably one of the more difficult weeks that I have had on the mission... and it turned out to be a time of trial right before the rain clears and the sky comes out and it suddenly all makes sense, and you end up being grateful for the storm that you just went through.

We've been working extra hard to find new people to teach, because all the ones that we had 2 weeks ago, just all kind of dropped off the face of the earth. They didn't answer our calls, they weren't there for our appointments, and it just felt like on rejection after the other. That's something that we get a lot on the mission, rejection. But this week seemed to be a double dose of "we´re really not that interested." I got a pretty good taste of it. But, we kept on working, planning things out for our training today, our activity this Friday, and the mutual we are in charge of Saturday, and searching desperately for new people.

Also, since we are in charge of 14 girls, that means that we have to do divisions 2x a week, so on Tuesday we did them with Miguel Grau 2 and then on Thursday with Miraflores 2. I love divisions so much- not because I don't like my companion or anything, but because I get to learn so much from these Sisters. On Tuesday I left to go work with Hna Kuhn, and it was an awesome division. She is finishing up her training, and it was her 2nd time leading her area, and she did a great job! She is very very musically talented, and also has the desire to share the Gospel with everyone that we ran into. She is a really obedient, hard working missionary. We had one of the best studies in my whole mission that morning. We shared what we learned in Personal Study, and then we decided to go over the Plan of Salvation. And go over it we did. Especially when Sisters start out on the mission, I like to make them stretch a little bit, I don't want a study of memorized points, I want to know what that aspect of the Gospel means to them and why its important to help other people understand it. So, after every point, we would ask each other "why?" and then share what we thought. For example, we talked about the Preexistence, and then we would ask "Why? Why does our Heavenly Father want us to know that we lived with Him before? Why do we have to help others understand this?" So, overall, those divisions were awesome, and I loved my time with Hna Kuhn.

Then, on Thursday, I got to stay in my area and be with Hna Bennion- from my group! It was my first time leading my area here in Paucarpata.... and I would be lying if I said that I didn't get lost once.... or twice..... or all afternoon. But hey- I guess that's how I'm going to learn, right? Right. We had a great time together, Ive always admired how driven Hna Bennion is, and I learned a lot from her. We had a cool study in the morning too, as we talked about how we can really take our missions home with us, and we shared all sorts of goals that we have for when we are home. We both had a pretty long list. :)

By the time that Saturday rolled around, and all the appointments we had fell through for the 5th day in a row, I was feeling pretty stressed. And then we found out that we had talks the next day, and that we had to teach Principios del Evangelio, and we had to make invitations for activity on Friday (we are celebrating Pioneer Day- a day late),  and we had to gather all the last minute things for our training today, and it was already pretty late on Saturday night, we had worked hard all day to find new people and to visit less actives, with little success. So, we did the best that we could that night- I made the invitations, Hna Clemens filled out our Informe de Progreso for Consejo the next day, and we worked right up until 10:30 and then went to bed just hoping and praying that we could do it all the next day.

The next day, we woke up, got ready as fast as we could, and then raced over to our Pensionistas, so that they could copy the invitations and in form for us, then we went over to the church 15 minutes before it started (at 8am) , so I could practice the hymns (all of them with 4 flats, and songs I never played before...) while my comp called all the possible investigators that could come to church. And then, when they started the meeting, I sat down and started to try and think about what I was going to talk about.(Becoming Perfect in Christ, from the recent Liahona)

Attendance was not the best when the meeting started. 20 people. And our bishop was 10 minutes late. And none of his counselors were there. And the Stake President came. By the time the meeting was over, we got up to 89 people, and by some miracle, two new people of ours came to church! We were worried though, because a sister that we had planned on rescuing didn't come to church, and she was just missing her interview with the bishop... that she was supposed to have last week.

So, as soon as the meeting was over, we tried to round up all the people to be in Principios, and then taught the class. Then, we had to go find scissors to cut out the invitations, and finally found some in the Primary room. So we cut those out and then made it to RS and the Priesthood just in time to hand them out. Then, we had ward council- which actually went pretty decently.

And, our Ward Mission Leader, who is usually pretty busy all the time, invited us over for lunch at his house, along with the Bishop and his family, who is also too busy to meet with us during the week- so that was a prayer answered. We have been trying to figure out how to build a relationship with them, and that was how. We had a great time together, and I learned a lot about them. I shared all my weird talents, and that seemed to make their kids warm up to me.

The best part: after the lunch, we told the bishop about this sister that we wanted to rescue and report this week, and that she was missing her interview, so he actually came with us to her house, and did the interview there, because she was too sick to come to church. That was so nice of him. It really helped us. :)

Then, by the time we got out of there, we still had so much to do for the training today, so we ran around trying to get it done,, and we actually ended up finding all sorts of loose odds and ends that were exactly what we needed exactly when we needed them. And we actually ended up with 4 new people for the week!

It was getting later, so we decided to go by the sister who had the clothing that we are going to use today. We finally got there, and she was getting all the things out, when we realized that we forgot to get some sacrament cups that were going to be a huge part of the presentation, and we both just sat there and wanted to cry. We had done so much that day, and to get that done, it would take another hour. We just kind of sat there, not knowing what to do, and I just said a little prayer in my heart, asking for help, telling Him how tired I was, telling him I just wanted the training to go well. I felt impressed to ask the sister if she had any, and she said she didn't, but then 10 minutes later she walked out and said that she remembered that she might have some, but she didn't know how many. She went to look for them, and then came back with 14 cups. The exact number that we needed. A little miracle, that let us know that Heavenly Father really is looking out for us.

I will report next week about the training. I love you all so much!

Hna Leavitt

A Floral Division

Its crazy how fast the time flies, isn't it? Every time I sit down to write I think to myself "wait, wasn't I here just the other day?" But here I am again, to tell you all about my awesome week-

-We had consejo this past week, and as usual- it was great. We talked a lot about the Savior, about obtaining Christlike Attributes, and about the Sacrament. The last one especially gave me a lot to think about, and I find myself pondering a lot more during the week and on Sundays about what the Sacrament means to me. There is so much beautiful symbolism in every aspect, there is just so much that someone can draw from it if they just look. For me, the sacrament is the personification of the Atonement. We know that through Christ and His sacrifices for us we can overcome the two types of death that entered into this world with the Fall- physical and spiritual, and if you think about the Sacrament prayers, they address the two- the body that was sacrificed that by which we can all resurrect, and the blood that was shed so that we can all repent and be clean again to stand in Gods presence. I have a whole page of notes that I will send in my next letter that talk more about it- let me know your thoughts, will you?

But, overall, consejo was awesome, I got to see Hna Robinson again. :)

-Our area is doing pretty good. We had a week where a lot of people made a lot of empty promises, but we are excited to find some new people this week that are actually willing to progress. I love my companion, and am so grateful to have her.

-One time we were walking in front of this garage shop, and the guys out in front thought that they were so funny, so they cleaned the ground in front of us as we went by with the air compressor that they had been using. We laughed so hard afterwards.

-I went on divisions to a place called "Graficos" with a sister named Hna Flora, and I had such a blast! She is one of the most genuinely happy people that I have ever met, and just by being around her, I felt lifted up. She has so much light in her, and I have a theory that by spending time with her, someone  can have "Happiness Osmosis" where her happiness just makes you happy. I had a really cool teaching experience with her, where we read the story where Moses rejects Satan's temptations to worship him with a less active who was drinking again. I didn't even know that I knew where the story was- but I just opened right to it without thinking. Now we know- Pearl of Great Price, first chapter. It was so powerful. But anyways- I love these sisters so much, and I learn so much from them every time that I go on divisions!

- Next Monday, we have an awesome Sister Training planned, for just our girls. We are going to eat lunch in the mission home, take pictures in traditional Peruvian clothing, watch Frozen, and then have a spiritual training, focused on the savior. I have to do a pretty big part, where I make a small sacrifice for each of the girls, in an Atonement object lesson, that I'm pretty nervous for, because Im not all that strong anymore, but I suppose that "greater love hath no man than to do an object lesson for his friend." I  will tell you more about it after its over.

-That's something we talked a lot about in Consejo too, that the only way that we can really start to develop these Christlike attributes, we have to come to understand who he really is. And, being halfway through "Jesus the Christ" for a second time, I can testify that is true counsel. I know that He lives and loves each of us so much. And I feel like I am lucky enough to get a small taste of that love that He has for His children by the love that I feel for the people here in Peru. And for my family and friends at home.

-We are going as a zone to a place called "Sogay" (pronounced "Sogai") which is supposed to be really beautiful. I know, I laughed at the name too. I will send you pics next week!

I love you all so much, and I hope that you have a fantastic week!

Hna Leavitt

Making tacos with a member, and then eating them.

The White House

That's the name of our ward: Casa Blanca. So we have decided that we feel pretty cool- working in the White House and all. We both are very excited for the next round of elections though. Anyways....

My first week in the city has been a week of "getting used" to things again. Do you want to know what happened on my 2nd day here? A family invited us over to have a FHE, and they then presented us a good friend of the family that they had prepared to receive the lessons, and then proceeded to bear their testimonies, and offer their house as a place to teach her. I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped to the floor when it happened- I just couldn't believe it! Something ideal had actually happened, something that could have been put on the Preach My Gospel DVDs, and I was just blown away. I couldn't stop talking about it all night. I have never ever received anything like that before in my mission. In Hunter, the members were super shy and afraid to prepare people like that and would usually just give us an address to visit (not a number of course, more along the lines of "you know the blue house? Yeah, well on the opposite side of the street, where the tree is, on that corner, you go down the street for two... or three blocks, and then you see an apartment building, and then you go past the gas station, take the road to the right and go waaaayyyy back there, and then youll see the another apartment building, and they are on the 4th floor... but I cant remember the number.... so just knock on all the doors") and then they say to not tell the person that their friend gave us the reference. And in Corire.... yeah, no way jose.  They aren't there yet.

So, that was really cool, and I am super excited to teach this girl, I think shes got amazing potential. Plus she has been to church over 10 times..... so I can already see her in white. :)

We had other cool experiences like that all week- where the members are so willing to help. (They took us out the eat the other night. And I had sweet and sour chicken. And it was so good. That was a first as well- for both things) These 2 Laurels were with us all day yesterday for one of their Personal Progress Projects (speaking of which.... I am 3 projects away from finishing mine.) and its been fun to work in new and different ways. No lies- our Consejo de Barrio (Ward Council) needs a lot of work, but that just gives us something else to learn and do. Everything will come with time.

Our 4th of July celebration wasn't anything too big. We wore red, white, and blue, sang some American songs, I accidentally broke that big blue glow stick you sent me all over my skirt, and we ate french toast in the morning, Italian food in the afternoon, and Chinese food at night. So it was a "melting pot" of experiences... which I guess IS pretty American, now that I think about it.

I think my companion is exactly what I need right now. It was hard to leave Hna Robsinson, but I really have lucked out with Hna Clemens. She is really great and willing to work. She doesn't have as much experience as a STL, so we are going to try some new and exciting things with our girls this transfer that I am psyched about. We have plans to eat tacos today and get some things (like another camera cord.... because mine was stolen last Monday. Its the only thing I have consistently lost on my mission. But don't worry, we will find one today.)

Our motto, for us and our girls is that we are going to be "examples of faith and obedience" because that's really what the purpose of Sister Training Leaders is. Examples of faith and obedience. Faith. Obedience. :)

I have discovered that I really love teaching. I do. And its so much fun, and has made me realize how much better I can participate in lessons when I'm home. Ive just got lots of confidence- that what I know is true, and that it will help the lives of these people if they do the small simple things that they ask. For my Faith value project, I decided to reread Jesus the Christ, and getting to know my Savior on such a personal level, has helped me better reach people in my lessons.

Have you read that article in the Ensign, about becoming Perfect in Christ? If not- I suggest that you do. From someone who likes things to be a little bit too perfect sometimes (something I believed I inherited from Mom) it really got to me. I cant be perfect now, but I can be made "complete" through the Atonement, and I need to trust in the grace of a loving Father who knows that I will make mistakes, and do the same for people in my life.

We had a good "momentum building week" and hope to see the results in these coming weeks, as we work and strive for our goal of 5. Pray for us will you?

Thanks for all the support (like the amazing 1 year package) and the love. Have fun in Hawaii mom and dad! I love you all so much, and know that the Lord really is hastening his work and perfecting the saints, and I am so lucky to be apart of it.

Hna Leavitt

This is me with my pensionista.... after she burst into tears. So cried on my shoulder like a puppy for about 10 minutes.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


The subject of this email is the name of my new Zone. That's right/ transfers came, and then they went, and they took me back to the city. We were both pretty positive that we were going to be staying together, so getting the call at 10:25 on Saturday night was pretty unexpected.... and very unwelcome. But who are we to choose where the Lord needs us? The zone leaders called, told us I had changes, and then Hna Robinson and I just sat in silence for about 20 minutes, and then I pulled my blanket over my head and started crying. Change is tough. Goodbyes to best friends are tougher.

We had a little goodbye party for me and Elder Praag, and it was well attended.... with both people and tears. One of the hardest moments was saying goodbye to all "my kids" in the Primary. I will have to send some pictures along of the last little bit we had together.

But I am here now, back in the city, back in the thick of things, with 12 sisters to take care of, and with an area to help, and I know I'm supposed to be here.

My new comp is Hna Clemens, from my group. She likes the Red Socks, and I think shes awesome, and I am so excited to work with her. Our area is called Casa Blanca.... so watch that movie for me, will you?

 We are right in the main city... which has been a bit overwhelming. We went to church today for our District Meeting, and it was weird, that we weren't in charge of cleaning it or taking care of it. I have to find my role as a missionary all over again.... But I can do it. It will just take some time. That's what I have to focus one, doing things one thing at a time.

I already miss Hna Robinson a lot. But we have plans to hang out in Mexico when I get back, so I really shouldn't get too sad about it. Ill see her soon for Consejo next Monday and Tuesday.

Everything will be okay. Change happens so that we can learn and grow. (Can you tell that I'm giving myself a pep talk? Hahaha.) Hna Clemens and I have adopted a "sprint to the end" mentality, since we both only have 6months left... we are going to finish strong, in a "sprint" so to speak.

Okay, well, we have got a lot of work to do today, so I will respond more to individual emails that you have sent next week. I have an amazing Pensionista with amazing, clean food again... so you can tell mom to stop worrying so much. :)

I love you all and hope that this week is fantastic!!

Hna Leavitt

Me and the goofy elder Praag at our party

Us with Prezzy V
With our Rescues- William and Elizabeth (who now have the callings of 2nd counselor in the presidency and 1st counselor in R.S.) Best recuse EVER!!

With a recently reactivated family