July 13, 2015

Dear Family,

 You guys never seem to slow down nowadays. Every week its a new party, a new family that’s coming to town, and new exciting things to do. Just a little something I would like to mention, someone should tell Uncle Louie to cut his hair. I am just saying that’s all.

 It has been a very exhausting week over here in Morropon. The area in which we live is divided into little sectors known as “casarios”. They are like little neighborhoods located all over the Morropon area. I didn’t realize it until now, but this area is actually huge. Its big enough to house more than one companionship of missionaries but the thing is, there aren’t enough people to have more than one companionship. We are kind of in our own world here. Walking and sweating has become a very regular part of my life now. Nonetheless, the work of the Lord must go forth and despite all the physical labors that are placed on our shoulders, I find reasons to smile everyday. The people here are indeed wonderful and the Spanish isn’t too much of a struggle anymore. Still there are times when the language seems to fight me, but more often than not conversations run smoothly and I have really committed the discussions to memory. My courage and confidence are strengthened every day by the spirit of the Lord that accompanies us in all our efforts and while we cannot always see the fruits of our labors, I know that as long as we give it all we got, the Lord will make up the rest.

 I have really come to love the families in the branch here. There is a recent convert family that owns a Chinese food restaurant (I know right, Peruvian Chinese food haha) and they always take care of us and every Wednesday seems to have become Chinese food night for us. Their little daughter named Lea cant pronounce the letter C very well, so she calls me “Elder Toos”. I think I am okay with my new name. The branch president is a convert as well of only about 3 years but nonetheless his testimony and love for this gospel burns strong and I am always so impressed to see how much the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change the lives of people. It makes me regret all the wonderful spiritual experiences I have thrown away in the past for I never truly realized just how wonderful the message of this Gospel is. My companion as well is only a convert of 2 or 3 years but yet whenever he bears testimony I know that the Spirit speaks with him. It is amazing to see the miracles that the spirit can bring forth in our work as missionaries. Just the fact that we can knock on the door of a complete stranger, enter their home and share the message of salvation is a miracle in itself. Its even more miraculous when they invite us back again.

 This past Sunday I had to give a talk on the fly. My  companion failed to mention that due to the lack of members in the branch, the missionaries are always the backup speakers when there is a vacancy in the sacrament meeting agenda. I remember once someone told me that I should always have a 5 minute talk in my back pocket. I realize now that person was right about that. It went well, it was on a rather general topic (prayer). As for cool stories and what not, I hiked a mountain today but when we went to hike back down, we hiked down in the opposite direction and well, lets say we had to do some “trailblazing”. Haha, we wont be hiking again for awhile.

 That’s about it for me. Some missionary advice from a missionary: Pray always, read the Book of Mormon every day, always thank your church leaders for their service, pray some more, and pray some more after that. Love you lots family, hope the Lord will watch over you in this coming week and will continue to do so forever. Thanks for the support, hope to hear from you soon.

 Elder Cruz

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