Monday, July 31, 2017

Hello from Punchana Iquitos

Hello Everyone,
Ive been transfered! I am now in Punchana in Iquitos in the ward Clavero. Its so much different than Pucallpa. Its right by the mission home and this area is pretty wealthy compared to the dirt roads in Pucallpa. It was really weird seeing real roads again! y new companion is Hermana Gomez. She is from La Paz Bolivia and she has been in the mission for nine months. Shes awesome! Im super excited that well be working together. This transfer is going to be a really fun one. We are opening not one... but two areas! We are in charge of a huge area here that was origionally two areas so weve been spending most of this week working with the members of the ward to get to know our new area! I am so excited that we have a big area! More people to teach!! 
The only downside of this new area is that our house doesnt have a working shower at the moment, so weve been showering with a bucket. Its pretty unfortunate but we should be fixing it soon. :) We have also recieved the assignment of Family History Missionaries for the whole mission. I seriously love family history so Im super excited for this new assignment. 
In Iquitos right now there are 60 elders and 4 sisters. In the other areas of the mission there are more but its crazy! I feel really outnumbered. The good thing is that the other sisters are really great :) 
We had  a miracle happen the day before transfers. I was with Hermana Kachkachian in a lesson with our investigator named Viviana and we were sitting outside of her house and she asked us if we could move the lesson inside. We of course agreed and moved inside. In the middle of our lesson we heard gunshots and we had to hide behind the couch! Everyone outside was freaking out and we were too so we decided to say a prayer that everyone would be safe. After a few minutes we didnt hear anything so we decided to look to see if everything was okay. Aparently there was a man with a gun who was trying to rob a kid in the street and tried to shoot him and they were exactly where we were sitting before we went inside! I am so grateful that Viviana felt the spirit that we should go inside. The good thing is no one got hurt and Im am no longer in that area. It was so crazy! (Dont worry parents this new area is a lot safer :) )
We had the special oportunity to hear from Elder Uceda of the seventy this week for a special zone conference. He only spoke here in Iquitos so Im grateful that I had transfers ;) He spoke about the importance of making disciples of Jesus Christ and helping people to truly become converted to the gospel. He talked about how important it is to read the book of mormon, pray, and go to church because these things will help us to have spiritual experiences and come closer to Christ. He taught with so much power and authority that when he finished, no one wanted to leave. The spirit was so strong! I have never felt so peaceful after a zone conference. It was amazing! I am so grateful that I got to hear from him. I am so excited to be here in Iquitos and for all of the adventures that Im going to have here and to help the people here become disciples of Jesus Christ. The church is so true and I love helping people find out that it is for themselves :) I hope you all have a fantastic week!!
Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Toponce

 This was her last day in Pucallpa!
 Her new Companion
This is the view from her new apartment in Iquitos. She says she has the same picture from the first day in her mission because she stayed in this apartment one night when she first arrived.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Soy Libre De Pecado

This week we had the chance to go to the baptism of Hermana Florita. She is and Investigator of the Elders in our district and we brought our investigator Flor so that she could see what a baptism is like. The baptism was beautifyl and there were so many people there to support Florita, when she came back into the room after being baptised, she exclaimed, "Im free from sin" and then took her seat. It was so sincere. She is 70 years old and she is so happy to finally be free from sin. Baptism is so essencial to live with God again and Im really happy that we got to go to her baptism. Our investigator Flor loved the baptism. She said that she felt really good and that she wants to be baptised too!! She is so awesome. She came to everything this week. She even sang with our ward choir for ward conference. I have loved being able to teach her and I am also so happy that she is so excited to be baptised. :)

The ward choir was awesome! It was the first time Ive ever been able to lead a choir and it might not have been MOTAB but it was wonderful! It was so fun to be able to hear everyones lovely voices and learn a new hymn together. It ended up sounding great and it brought the spirit into the meeting. After Sacrament meeting a bunch of the members thanked us for our choir! It was such a great experience :)

This week we also celebrated my companions birthday!! Hermana Kachkachian is now 26 and shes so happy! We celebrated her birthday by having lunch at the home of our Relief society President and she made Sarapatera... Turtle Soup! Its a delicacy here in Pucallpa and it was delicious! I have now eaten turtle and its true, it tastes like chicken! 

An Elder in our district named ELder Barnes has a hair accident this week and is now completely Bald... I couldnt stop laughing! Poor ELder. I really hope that his hair grows back soon. But in our Zone Meeting this week our Zone LEader shared a scripture that made us all laugh even more, 2 Kings 2:23-24!! Haha. I would write it out but I dont have my English Bible with me :) 

Overall this week has been great! I am so happy to be here in the mission! We have transfers tonight and Ill hear where my next area is. Im so happy that Ive been able to serve here in Pucallpa!! Missions are seriously awsome! I hope you all have a great week. Keep serving whereever you are because there are people that need you :) 

Con Amor, 

Hermana Toponce❤

Monday, July 17, 2017

Right Place, Right Time

So once upon a time a rumor was spread around my ward that I was in The Mormon Tabernacle Choir... I have no idea how this rumor started but they are convinced that I was in MOTAB. I have explained about 100 times that this isn't true but my efforts haven't been very successful. haha. I am now directing the ward choir for ward conference this Sunday and to make things even more interesting its a hymn that only exists in the Spanish hymnbook! Oh the wonderful things I get to do here in the mission!
I really love this mission because its full of "Right place, right time" moments. You know, the moments that are kind of unexplainable but are super impactful! I have had the wonderful chance to experience a bunch of these moments this week. We were walking down the street and I felt like we should go to the home of one of our less active members. It didn't make sense because she usually works in the evening but we following my feeling and went to her house. She just so happened to be home and she was talking to her friend who had had a really rough week. We were able to have a lesson with them and at the end the both thanked us for coming right when they needed to hear from us. Another day this week we had a rough day where people didn't want to listen to us, it was finally dinnertime, but we felt like we should keep working for a little bit. We knocked on one final door and the family let us in. Their dad recently had an accident and was in the hospital and was told that he wasn't going to live for very much longer. We had a special lesson with them and helped them understand Gods plan for them and that there is life after this one. They were amazed to hear this wonderful news! and I was so happy to be able to share this moment with them. We also found a man who was sitting on the corner thinking and we decided to talk to him. He said that he had a lot on his mind and he didn't know what to do. We told him about Gods love for him and testified of Jesus Christ. This man, with tears in his eyes, thanked us for speaking to him when he needed to hear from God most. I know without a doubt that God lives, that He sent His son, and that the spirit helps us to be guided and to know what we need to do in our lives! This week has been amazing and I know that everything happens for a reason! I love you all and hope you can listen carefully to the promptings of the spirit this week :)
Con Mucho Amor, 
Hermana Toponce

Monday, July 10, 2017

Five months!!! Peru es Lo Maximo.

Hello Everyone!
I have officially completed five months in the mission and I couldn't be happier. I am so happy that I decided to serve a mission. I have learned so much in these short five months. I've learned more about the gospel, a new language, a new culture, and I've learned to cherish all of the little moments we are given. They seriously are so important! 
This week again has been crazy, but I think everything will be calmer until transfers on the 24th. haha! Hermana Kachkachian had a successful surgery in Lima and is now back in Pucallpa, and she is able to start working again today! It has been a long process for her to recover, but we are both so happy that she is healthy and ready to teach again! She is seriously such an inspiration to me. Even with having to have surgery in a different country, she smiled her whole way through it. Attitude is everything! 
For sservice this week we helped one of our less active member clean her pool and it was so funny. We were washing a giant plastic pool in their outdoor shower. It definitely took a while, but it was super clean when we finished. She was also really happy to have her pool ready for summer!
We also helped a lady in our ward named Dioselina make some yummy peruvian cookies and it looked a lot easier than it is to make them. We didn't end up being very much help, but it was really fun!
There was a trip to the temple in our ward recently and a lot of members have been saving for a whole year to be able to go to the temple in Lima. It was so fun to hear about everyone's experiences when they got back. It made me think about how blessed I was to have the temple so close to my home. It really is so important to have the temple as our goal and go as often as possible! 
My favorite experience this week was that last Sunday I shared my testimony about the book of Mormon in the ward. I wasn't planning on sharing it, but I felt so strongly that I should. This week my ward mission leader Hermano Angel told me that his daughter said, Dad I've decided to read the book of mormon! When he asked her why, she said that my testimony made her excited to read the book of mormon! I was so happy that he shared his experience with me. I t made me realize how important a simple testimony of the restored gospel can be. I hope you all have a fantastic week, and don't forget to share what you know! You can change lives :)
Con Amor, 
Hermana Toponce :)

*I noticed lots of bug bites on Nat's legs in this picture. I asked and she said she forgot bug spray ONE day and she was eaten like crazy! She said she will not forget again. She also said Hermana Briggs left her some benadryl cream and that saved her! I'm glad her usual bug spray is keeping the bugs away!

Monday, July 3, 2017

It's crying!

This week I had an oops with spanish! It was raining super hard out of nowhere on wednesday and the word for rain and the word for cry in spanish are super similar so when it started to rain I turned to my companion and said, "YAY, ITS CRYING." She thought it was so funny. Now I will never forget the difference between these two words. Haha.
Hermana Kachkachian had to go to Lima to have an operation because there arent very many excellent doctors here in Pucallpa. I havent heard anything about how shes doing so I assume that everything went well! I cant believe that shes had to visit the doctor so much this transfer! Im just happy that shes getting the mdical attention she needs in Lima. Because Hermana Kachkachian is in Lima, Ive been working with Hermana Lazarte! Shes super sweet. Her companion had to go to iquitos this week so we were made companionsthis week. Its been a lot of change, but its been great working with Hermana Lazarte. She is from Bolivia, and she is super sweet. Im not sure how long Hermana Kachkachian will be in Lima, so I think that Hermana Lazarte will be my companion until the end of this transfer. 
This week all of the missionaries in Pucallpa had to get flu shots. I was so neervous to get a flu shot here, but everything went wel. It was super funny because there was one nurse and a long line of missionaries waiting to get shots. 
I had my first Inderview with my mission President and it was so great! Hes such a hard working, loving mission president. We also had a multizone conference this week and we talked a lot about faith. Faith is so important in everything we do because faith is what leads us to action in our lives. I love seeing faith lead people to do so many amazing things! We talked about Noah, Moses, Joseph Smith, Abraham, and a few modern day stories of faith. I loved it so much! Having faith helps me everyday to accept all of these new changes that are happening in the mission and learn from them :) 
"Behold, my sould delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard. " -2 Nephi 4:16
Keep reading, Praying, and pondering and have a fantastic fourth of July! :) 
Con Amor, 
Hermana Toponce

  Her companion is having such a hard time with her teeth! It's so sad.
 The new companion while her's is goes to get surgery.
A visit from Natalie's first companion (the other American :)) Her family came to see Peru.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

San Juan!

Hello everyone! This week was a crazy week of celebration here in Pucallpa. This week was the Jungle holiday of San Juan. Its a holiday that people celebrate to honor the death of john the baptist and for all of saturday everyone was making a type of food called juanes. Its basically a ball of chicken rice and egg wrapped up into a leaf to look like a head. Every single house had a firepit outside, with a pot filled with Juanes and all of Pucallpa was filled with smoke. It made me think of when our hill caught on fire and there was smoke everywhere in Herriman. It was all because everyone was making Juanes! It was really sad/funny because last week everyone was buying chickens because they were getting ready for San Juan so there were chickens everywhere outside, and the day after San Juan there wasnt a chicken in sight. Its slightly unfortunate for the chickens but at least Juanes are delicious so all is well. We have an awesome new family of investigators!! We are teaching Peter and Lana. They have one daughter and they are so awesome. They accepted a baptismal date and were just waiting for them to get married so they can get baptised! Lana is from russia and she is such a cool lady. Im so excited to be teaching them. My companion is recovering from an operation that she had to fix a bone in her mouth and its been really hard for her. Please send your prayers so that she can feel better soon. This week my first companion Hermana Prince came to visit peru with her family and it made me so happy! I loved seeing them. It was weird speaking to them in english. I never speak english anymore! Its awesome. I love peru so much. I learn so much every week about the culture and about people. I am so grateful for all of you and your love and your examples!
Con Amor, 
Hermana Toponce 
Also sorry for no pictures! This computer doesnt want to load them this week!

**here is a picture of a Juanes I (mom) found on the internet--It represents the head of John the Baptist in a bag.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

I'm writing from. . . .Pucallpa!!

My companion and I made it through transfers!!! I am so happy that I get to be with Hermana Kachkachian again and that I am still in Pucallpa. I seriously love it here so much. I am so excited for this transfer and for all of the experiences were going to have. Speaking of experiences... this week has been full of them. I have been so sick this week. Dont worry it´s only a cold, but having a cold on the mission is so much worse than having a cold at home. I feel a lot better today so Im super grateful for that :) My companion this week had to have an emergency root canal. This was also an interesting experience. She also felt pretty sick this week. But she is also feeling a lot better! I felt so bad for her but she is tough :) I also got bit by a dog this week... again dont worry it didnt do any damage, it just scared me a little bit. haha. I cant believe that its only the first week of transfers and weve already had these experiences! I also got to give a training in our district this week about the importance of Charity. I was so happy to give this training because charity is my favorite attribute of Christ. I know that if we are always showing our love for others we will always feel happy. I am so grateful to be here and I am so grateful for the loving people that I get the chance to meet everyday. This week I am especially grateful for the members of our ward who are so caring and help us to feel our best so we can keep teaching the gospel. I know without a doubt that this church is true and I am glad that I am blessed to be  member and that I can help others recieve the happiness that this gospel brings. This week with Fathers Day, Ive been thinking a lot about how wonderful it is that we have a loving Heavenly Father who is always here to help us when we need help and to celebrate with us when we reach our goals. I seriously love yo uall so much and I hope you had a great Fathers Day. Have a fantastic week!
Con Amor, 
Hermana Toponce

**The dog bite didn't break skin. Nat says she is just nervous about the dogs now and never used to be. She says there are more dogs than people in Peru.

**in an instant message Natalie said she will not likely get any American companions again unless she begs to be with an MTC companion at the end of her mission. There are only 3 American sisters and they all came together! She said there are 120 missionarys total. 20 sisters. Very few american elders (like 20). She said she is glad that having spanish speaking companions will just help her language skills!!