I'm down to my last week with Hermana Nunez. I still remember our first day like it was yesterday. I could barely introduce myself in Spanish and asked for my "sopa" ("Jabon" really, but I asked for "sopa" which is soup) in the shower that first night. She was with me when I got sick in Lima and taught me how to wash my garments by hand. She took me to a member for a manicure...twice,actually, and thanks to her weekly inspections I have finally kicked the nail-biting habit. She braids my hair nearly every morning which helps control the frizz. I swear she wrote the Bible because she knows it like the back of her hand and can find nearly any scripture on the planet. We froze together in Lima and baked in the rain of Moyobamba. We show off to each other how many bug bites we have and how tan and stained our feet are to each other. Walk around quoting "Los Testamentos" and "Jose Smith: Profeta de la Restauracion to each other because we've seen them so many times. It's amazing that we've had six months together and that the majority of that was in Moyobamba. It's so bitter-sweet to see her return to Colombia.
In the jungle, the people speak "charapa." It is a slang Spanish with a distinct vocabulary and nasally up and down intonation. Anyway, the Book of Mormon was written in "charapa!" When you read it out loud in Spanish it flows in "charapa" style. The way sentences are formed and the behavior of the people is so similar to how they act here. The Book of Mormon is truly a record of their ancestors.
I think the biggest lesson I've learned is that our diligence in the gospel is what will bring us to eternal life. The missionaries spoke in church a few weeks ago and I used Elder Bednar's analyzation on Lehi's dream of the tree of life. I explained that my favorite fruit was a mango, but Lehi didn't eat a mango. When I eat a mango it fills my mouth with sweet goodness and I want it all for myself. Lehi did not eat any mango. He partook of something that filled his soul with joy and he wanted immediately to share it with his family. The following week we had around 10 mangos given away to the two of us and everyone jokes that they know my favorite fruit is a mango. It is only through diligence in having scripture study, prayer, keeping the commandments, etc. that we can stay on the path--It is only through this kind of diligence that I can be a good missionary too.
Love, Hermana Bowles