Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another week, another letter!

Hello everybody in the world!

Happy birthday Keegan! It's the best time of the yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrakjsdñfklajsñdklfjaklñsdfasd. Whoa I didn't even know I could type these ññññññññ. Also happy birthday Okeefe yesterday, and Tyler last Sunday! I don't actually remember everyone in the world's birthday, so don't expect happy birthday shoutouts from me ever. I know Hunter's birthday was sometime this month. So happy late birthday dewd! And happy birthday Bryn on Friday! Goodness, October is ridiculous.

For some reason we have to e-mail in the morning today, so I can't even tell you about what I did on p-day today because I haven't done it yet. This place is confusing.

Anywayz, not much has really happened since last time. That's kind of a lie. We did go proselyting for five hours on Saturday. That went really well. Started out really slow. Elder Paredes and I started out in a really poor area (huge culture shock all over again) where we really didn't get any success. We were up on a really steep hill in the middle of Lima with super long steep staircases going uphill between the houses. These houses didn't even have real roofs on them. They were made of cardboard and whatever else they could find. I also had a tough time trying to figure out what was a house and what wasn't. A lot of the time the building was both the family's house and their family store. We hardly got to talk to anyone there. We made our way down the hill to a more wealthy area with houses that actually looked like houses. We talked to a bunch of people down there. We didn't get into any houses, but we talked to a lot of people. Probably the best experience of the day was when we approached a woman at the park. It was later in the day so I was feeling a little more comfortable with my Spanish and everything. Elder Paredes still led the conversation, but I was able to speak more than usual. This lady was very receptive to what we had to say. We told her where the church was and when it starts and she told us she'd go on Sunday (the next day). Partway through a man walked up and joined her. I don't know if he was her husband or what, I totally missed that. He came right about when we were talking about when church was and he said he couldn't go because he had work. As we spoke to them more he was basically like ''wait... what time is your church at again?'' He was getting interested. I spoke to them and explained that I'm still learning the language, and they pretty much said it was fine and that they could understand me, and I bore my testimony about prayer and the scriptures and explained that I'm in Peru because these things have blessed my life and I want to share them with the whole world. These people were awesome. Elder Paredes gave the lady a Book of Mormon and she reassured us that she promised she would be at church the next day. I think the man wanted to too but he didn't say he'd for sure be there. They both seemed touched that we would want to invite them to come to our church. So that was an awesome experience.

We also spoke to a guy who was working in his bakery/store (we were hungry and wanted bread) and he was really interested in what we had to say too. So interested that he was being distracted from helping customers, which I felt kind of bad about, but it was a good talk. haha. He was interested in coming to church too.

Those were the highlights. We spoke to a lot of people. On Monday night Elder Paredes flew off to Mexico. I miss that guy! He's going to change so many lives. On Sunday he was talking about how he was going to Mexico so soon and he was so excited he was almost in tears. He has such a strong desire to go spread the gospel to the world. He's one of the best examples I've ever had. He's going to do amazing things out there in Mexico. I'm so blessed to have had him as a companion.

We get new Latin companions tomorrow or late tonight or something. I dunno. I never know what's going on here.

I finished the Book of Mormon on Sunday! Took me 18 days. Wow! I got a ton out of it. I thought the 19 day challenge was kind of unrealistic (actually I still do, because I was reading the Book of Mormon at times when I wasn't supposed to. Which by the way, it sounds really stupid to me that there's ever a time when we aren't supposed to be reading it.) but I did it and I really enjoyed it. Also I burned through two yellow highlighters and now I need a new one or ten. I'm reading the Pearl of Great Price next and then the New Testament. So that's cool I s'pose.

For some reason Elder Marker and I are getting moved to a new district. We're the only ones leaving our district and we are not happy about it. Why??! I've given up on trying to make sense of the things that happen here.

Congrats on Sam becoming a Deacon and Dad getting called to the High Council! High Council sounds like something from Star Wars so that makes it especially cool. Also the hymn Battle Hymn of the Republic always always always reminds me of Star Wars just because of the title. Random.

Thanks for sending me Mitchell's and Porter's letters! I love reading them. Good to hear mission experiences from other people I know. Love it.

So, apparently back home I had this habit of writing songs that were totally fictional or at least exaggerated truth and then later on in my life what I wrote about comes true. The whole song ''Game Over: Continue?'' was a totally made up story that more or less really happened to me later in my life. In the song ''Looking Back'' there's a line that goes ''now I just can't wait until I fall asleep, because in every dream I'm with you.'' That line is basically exactly how I feel now about all of you guys back home. I literally can't wait to get to sleep at night after a long day because it means I have a chance to be with my family and friends again in my dreams. It's weird, it's like I can relate really well to my own lyrics or something. Odd. Next thing you know I'm going to be dating a 500 pound 23 year old girl, or my horse is going to get shot and killed by dirty bandits, or it's really going to be Keegan's birthday or something (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!?!?!?!!!!1). Anyway, I really miss writing and playing music a whole lot.

Well, I gotta go now. I definitely had more to say but I can't remember what it was and also I have 29 seconds of e-mail left. I love you all mucho! I miss you tons and I can't wait to e-mail again next week. buh-bye!

Your best friend in the whole entire world,
-Elder Victor

Friday, October 21, 2011

A new e-mail from Peru...finally!

Sorry I didn't e-mail on Wednesday! Our p-day got switched to Friday for just this week, but we found out about it on Monday and never had a chance to let our families know. Lame. The schedule here is incredibly frustrating. It's always changes. They require us to write down the schedule for the next day in our planners every night, but it's stupid because 95% of the time the schedule is wrong, and so basically we never really know what we're supposed to be doing. It bothers our teachers too. I don't get why it's so unorganized here. bleh. So, sorry about that. I can guarantee that I would never forget to e-mail you guys, so if I ever don't e-mail you on my p-day it was because for some reason I wasn't able to. Next week it'll be on Wednesday again (at least that's the plan so far, but I never know).

I got mail today!!! FINALLY! Thanks family! I got mail basically every single day in Provo, and up until today I had only got one piece of mail the entire time I've been here. That change is no bueno. Mail is frustrating. It's weird too that every letter I get is like at least nine days old. I'll try to reply to as many as I can, but it's weird because you'll get them like a month after you wrote me. Odd. But it's all good. It felt so good to finally read some letters, even if they were all asking me questions I already answered in my e-mail last week because they're so old!

So is my lil' bro a priesthood holder yet? It was pretty frustrating to not be able to talk to him on his birthday or find out if we was ordained a Deacon this Sunday. Hope your birthday was awesome Sam! Sorry I can't send presents. I'll still be in the MTC on my birthday and I won't be able to get any presents either. Sad time!

K, this e-mail is sounding a little too depressing for how not-depressed I'm feeling. Sorry about that! There's not a whole lot new that's good. All that's new is kind of dumb so that's mostly what I have to share.

Good news time!

I'm getting a lot more comfortable with teaching in Spanish. Tuesday I was teaching with Elder Paredes and I spoke so much more than I ever had before, and we totally committed our "investigator" to be baptized! Haha. Win. Since then most of my lessons have been pretty good. Also, they other night Elder Marker and I were practicing teaching with two sisters in our district, Hermana Steimle and Hermana Sheridan, and after we finished teaching them Hermana Steimle told me that when I was bearing my testimony my Spanish got a lot better and she could feel the Spirit. How cool is that?!

So, kind of big news, last Saturday we went proselyting. For real. Elder Paredes and I went out into the streets and starting approaching real people and talking to them about the gospel. We split into small groups and Elder Paredes and I were the first in our group to talk with anyone. We spoke to a man who was out sweeping his driveway and had a conversation with him for about a half hour. It hit me so hard that I'm actually a missionary while we were talking to him! I didn't understand a whole lot, and I didn't say a whole lot. But wow! We talked to two guys who really didn't seem interested at all when we approached them, but by the end seemed very interested, asked us for pamphlets, and asked us where the church was and what time it was at. Cool! We also talked to one other guy, and I literally couldn't understand one single word that came out of his mouth. So that was interesting. It was a scary night! I actually felt pretty discouraged afterwards because of how much I struggled with the language, and how far out of my comfort zone approaching random people is (even in English), but that's what practice is for I s'pose. Tomorrow we're going out again. For five and a half hours. Whoa. I'm excited and super nervous. It'll be good though.

You know what scripture I love? D&C 75:24. Check it:

 24 Behold, I say unto you, that it is the duty of the church to assist in supporting the families of those, and also to support the families of those who are called and must needs be sent unto the world to proclaim the gospel unto the world.

Kinda my favorite thing right now. My family will be okay while I'm out here. I love that.

My teachers are great. We have three. Hermano Romero, Hermano Garcia, and Hermana Boza. They're all awesome. Hermano Romero and Garcia remind me of Mario and Luigi. Speaking of video games, the birds here sound like Zelda sound effects. Okay random. Elder Hickey brought up how awesome it will be when we get back and there will be two whole new seasons of Family Guy to watch. Haha. So true! Also two seasons of Clone Wars! It's gonna be so weird to get back and see what's new. It's like time traveling two years into the future, except it takes two years to get there.

Anyway, I gotta get going. I've been marking my scriptures like crazy these days. I highlight missionary scriptures in blue. I have a ton of them. Here's a few random ones. I don't even know which ones these are, so maybe they say the same thing, but whatever. Maybe I'll send a few each week.

Matthew 28:19-20
Mosiah 3:20
D&C 42:14

Maybe those are good ones. Who knows. Well, I gotta go! Thanks for everything! Hearing from you guys even if it's stupidly delayed was the best! I'll e-mail again on Wednesday! (hopefully)


(Ditder is what Jacqueline used to call Victor before she learned to pronounce his name correctly -- it sort of stuck as a nickname.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another letter from Peru...and PICTURES!

Hey family!... and other people.

Mom, I got both of your letters. Here's the thing. Mail sucks at the MTC. We only get mail on Wednesdays so I got both of your letters today. Try that experiment again when I get out into the field. Okay, if getting mail once a week isn't dumb enough, our mail we send doesn't get sent until Monday. So basically when you write me it will take more or less forever for you to get a response from me. It won't be like this for my entire mission, but this MTC is just a little messed up. Uh, also I still basically have no idea what the best way to mail me is, but if you have any idea post it on my blog or something for others to see.

Okay, I'm getting a little more used to things here! Including this Spanish keyboard. ¿See? Cool.

My companions are pretty awesome. Elder Marker is great and we get along real well. It's good to have someone to speak English with. Haha. My latino companion's name is Elder Paredes and he's basically the coolest person in the entire world! He hardly speaks any English, so it's still tough to communicate, but he is always so encouraging, supportive, and patient with me. He's probably one of the happiest people I've ever met. He's 21 years old and he's only been a member of the church for two years, and he's the only member of the church in his family. Wow!! He's a huge inspiration to me, since I've been a member my entire life and so has my family. I've always known I was going to serve a mission, and I've always been encouraged to do so my whole life. He had to make the choice to serve the Lord for two years as the only member of the church in his entire family sometime in these past two years. He is kind of amazing! My roommates are all real cool too. There are six of us total. They're all super nice.

Things are really different here than in Provo. One of the rules I've had to get used to is that we absolutely have to eat everything we take at lunch. I don't always like the food, so I have to be careful what I grab! Actually, today at lunch I broke that rule for the first time. I got some weird dessert thing that I just... hated... and I just couldn't make myself eat it. Elder Paredes said he didn't like it either so luckily it wasn't just me and my weird North American appetite. But yeah, that rule is kinda tough, since they serve us huge portions. Some of the missionaries here come from from such poor backgrounds that it breaks their hearts to see any food go to waste. It's kind of sad. But that's why the rule is there I think. Also we have to brush our teeth after every meal. I don't mind that rule so much. Clean teeth is probably a good thing. I'm not allowed to take pictures, except on p-day, and never inside the buildings. So that's weird. If we don't keep our rooms looking nice we have to run laps during gym time! haha. So far I haven't had to do that. We aren't allowed to have any food outside of the cafeteria either, which is annoying. In Provo I had massive stockpiles of food in my room. But weird rules aside, this place is pretty cool. I'm having a good time.

Lima is always cloudy. Well, actually, smoggy. The sun basically never shines. It's a little depressing, but Chiclayo won't be the same. I'm excited to get out there! We got to leave the MTC for the first time today to go to the temple and then to walk around the city for a little while. That's one thing that is waaaay better about this MTC than the one in Provo. Exploring the city was awesome! The endowment session in the temple was really weird in Spanish. But actually I had a headset that translated it into English so all was well. After the temple we went to a few stores. A bought a sweet red tie with a llama on it! Kind of awesome. However it only fuels my growing desire to watch The Emperor's New Groove that I've been wanted to watch ever since my first day here. Haha. I also bought a Book of Mormon in Quechuan (uh, I forgot how to spell that). I don't understand that language at all, I probably won't ever have to learn it, but some people speak it in this country and it just seemed like a cool thing to buy. Will I ever read it?... No. I actually sort of felt like a real missionary walking around in the city! Except we weren't talking to or teaching anyone. I bought a Pepsi though, so that was cool. I don't even really like Pepsi, but the drinks here are weird and I needed something familiar. Haha. I do like the juices here though. They take some getting used to. I didn't like them at first but they're pretty good.

Oh yeah! I never told you about my experience on the flight to Lima! When I got on the plane I sat next to this lady. After a few more missionaries walked past to get to their seats she asked me if I was with them and what church we belonged to... in Spanish. Uh, whoa. I don't speak that language! Anyway I was able to tell her the name of our church, and after I said we're Mormons she finally recognized us. I told her that we're going to Peru to teach people. As far as I can remember that's about as far as the conversation went, but that was my first experience having a conversation with someone who couldn't speak English! Accomplishment.

Teaching fake investigators here is waayyy harder than in Provo. When I'm teaching with Elder Paredes I can't understand the investigator or my companion! It's tough! They speak so fast. I'm getting a little better though. It's coming along.

I can't stop rubbing my head. Short hair is fun to rub. Except every day it feels a little less good as my hair gets a little bit longer. haha. I actually kinda like it. I mean, I think it looks stupid, but it's way easier to take care of since I literally don't have to do anything to it. I wouldn't mind if having hair like this was a mission rule. But I'm glad it's not. When I get home I'm growing my hair out to the floor.

Uhh... my e-mail time's just about up. The other day my roommate Elder Murillas gave me a little card that said something like ''17 Points of a True Church'' and it listed 17 things that a true church has to have based on from what the Bible says. It wasn't put together by our church, but apparently our church is the only one that fits all 17 criteria. It's really awesome actually! Look it up online if you can. I was gonna type up the reasons and accompanying scriptures but I don't have time. There's your next family home evening or home teaching lesson. Real cool.

Oh yeah, and that's awesome that you're gonna try to read the whole Book of Mormon by the end of the year! But I'm gonna one-up you. I'm reading the whole thing in 19 days. We're all challenged to, and I started the day I got here, and I'm ahead of schedule! So that's kind of awesome. I'm pretty sure I read it in a year last time.

Okay, I gotta go! I love you so much! Someday mail will be convenient again. Until then... still mail me.

-Elder Hemsley

Victor with Tyler and Gretchen (his cousins) just before he entered the MTC

Victor and Elder Peterson (his MTC companion) striking a pose in front of the Provo Temple

Victor studying hard at the Provo MTC

Victor with Elder Porter Long (who used to live in Eugene) at the Provo MTC

Elder Marker, Elder Saavedra, Elder Paredes (Victor's Peru MTC companion), and Victor with the standard Peru MTC buzz cuts! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

First e-mail from Peru!!

Sorry it's taken me a few days to post this.  We received this e-mail on Thursday, just hours after his arrival in Peru. I had read on some other missionary blogs about the Peru MTC buzz cuts, but forgot to warn him... I can't wait to get pictures someday!  -- Victor's Mom

Hey!! I´m now officially in Lima Peru!

This is a spanish keyboard and its confusing the crap outta me so Im just gonna not use the appropriate punctuation. Yeah.

Yesterday was pretty boring to say the least. Airports and flying all day. Cool. Saying goodbye to my district in Provo was no fun. P.S. I still dont think I can send pictures. You might just have to wait until November, assuming I can ever figure it out once I leave the MTC! Also you cant send me packages here, and Im pretty sure all mail has to be sent by pouch. I dont know. Im so confused in this place. Its like Im in a totally different country or something. So yesterday I got up extra early with Elders Hickey and Matagi to go to the travel office to get our tickets. Elder Matagi was on an earlier flight, so he left before us, and Elder Hickey and I just sat and waited outside for an hour until it was our turn. I slept on the short ride to the Provo airport. We got assigned travel partners. Mine was Elder Marker whos now one of my roommates. When we got to the airport for some reason our tickets had been cancelled so they had to make some calls and try to get it fixed. I thought we might have to stay in Provo, but I didnt mind the thought of that so I didnt worry. At the last second they got us new tickets on an earlier flight, and all the sudden we were in a huge rush. Luckily, we were in such a hurry that the guy behind the counter didnt even care that one of my bags was way too heavy. Uh, cool I guess? So we hurried and got on the plane to Atlanta. To entertain myself on the flight I played two of my favorite CDs from start to finish... In my head! Haha. I sure miss my music. When we got to Atlanta we headed to the restroom and when I got in there I heard "Hemsley!" from the familiar voice of Elder Matagi. So that was cool to see him. Guess what my last meal in the United States was?... McDonalds! Duh! Large 10 piece nugget combo with a quarter pounder. Mmmm... So much better than MTC food, and so appropriate as my last meal in the country.

I almost called home from the airport. Most of the missionaries did. But I decided not to because es no bueno to breako the ruleso. Im trying to be obedient! The second flight lasted forever. I was sitting directly in front of a big TV screen that played movies the entire time. X-men First Class was on, and it was awesome... except just kidding because I didnt watch it! Nobody would have cared if I did, but I just didnt feel good about it. Im a missionary, and people could see me. I want to be doing what Im suposed to be doing. So literally the entire flight I was either looking down or trying to sleep. Actually, mostly trying to sleep. The TV was right in front of my face though. Stop tempting me! Driving to the MTC last night was pretty fun. It was around midnight and it was cool to see the city at night.

Now Im in the MTC and it freaking scares the crap outta me. Seriously! Last night we got in and some guy was trying to give us directions on what we were suposed to do and Im just standing there like I have no idea what hes saying. Because I didnt. The rules here are way different than in Provo. Theyre more lax about some things, and more strict about others. I feel like I joined the millitary. Seriously we even all had to get buzz cuts. Wasnt expecting that! We got interviewed by the MTC president today (and I really like him. Hes from the U.S. and speaks English so talking to him was a breath of fresh air) and the first thing he told me was that hes going to get rid of the dumb haircut rule. Hes a new MTC president so he still hasnt phased out all the dumb rules he doesnt agree with from the last president. I mean come on its actually against missionary rules to have our hair this short. This culture is different, and I guess the last president just didnt really care about missionary rules. Whatever. See, this is weird! Im scared!

Here we have two companions. A Latino companion and a North American one. I dont know who my North American companion is yet, and... I dont remember my Latino companions name! haha. Hes not with me. Were not always together here. I think how it works is I go to Spanish classes n stuff with my North American comp and do all the rest with my Latino comp. Today we pretty much have the day off though, and my Latino comp still has regular classes, so I havent seen much of him yet. Hes really nice though! I just wish I could communicate better with him!

Okay well, thats about it I guess. Im super tired and Im going to take the first nap of my entire mission after I send this! Im excited! It really bugs me how Im not using apostraphes in this e-mail. Sorry!

Anyway, this is the weirdest experience of my life. Its gonna take a lot of getting used to. I hope itll be a good one though. Ive been here less than a day so I dont have much to tell you about it. I think Wednesday is our p-day so Ill talk to you again then!

I hope we can figure out this mail thing. Pouch mail sounds kind of... dumb.

I love you and now I miss you all more than ever! I just really cant wait to get out of this MTC. I liked Provo better. Eh.

Until next time!

-Elder Hemsley
P.S. look what I can type now! ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿

Youre jealous.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bonus letter from Victor! He's on his way to Peru right now!!!


Apparently I scored a bonus p-day today since it's my last day here. Cool! I still went to class though because I wanted to see Brother Goodman one last time. I'm gonna miss him! Sister Roerig too. Said goodbye to her last night. No fair.

Thanks for all the mail! Still getting a lot more than I expected. I love it. The letters I got last night were cracking me up. Especially Jacqueline's. You guys are the best.

So, General Conference at the MTC was pretty cool! Lots and lots of sitting around all day in uncomfortable chairs though. Not quite as fun as sitting at home on the couch in my pajamas with a pillow and blanket and a delicious cinnamon roll, but it was fun. Two Provo temples, eh? When President Monson announced that the entire gym gasped. It was kind of funny. Wasn't it awesome how he announced it? He's just all "The Provo Tabernacle burned down, and we're going to rebuild it... AS A TEMPLE." Haha. It was very cool. Kinda neat that I was in Provo when that happened. Now Provo is going to have two wierd looking temples! Except the Tabernacle looks kind of awesome.

There were so many good talks this conference! Jeffrey R. Holland's talk during the Priesthood session was like... whooooa. That was sooo good! Everyone should go watch it even if they are not priesthood holders. Don't read it. Watch it. The way he speaks makes the whole talk. So powerful. So good. President Eyring's talk on our baptismal covenants ruled. I want to watch that one again. Every time Monson spoke was awesome. How is our prophet so funny? He had me cracking up every time he spoke! Especially during Priesthood session. I thought it was awesome how Russell M. Nelson started out by mentioning the first stake formed in Russia and thanking the missionaries there for their work. Go Mitchell!! Also a couple speakers mentioned Peru. Neato. One of my favorite things was when J. Devn Cornish spoke and said that Heavenly Father loves us so much that the things that are important to us become important to him just beacuse he loves us so much. Isn't that the coolest? The answer is yes.

Anyway, Conference pretty much ruled. I'm really glad I got to be here in the MTC for Conference. Such a cool experience. We had a fireside Sunday night and our speaker was Chad Lewis who played in the NFL for the Eagles. What does that mean to me? Nothing. But maybe someone who's reading this will think it's cool. He was a great speaker though and got me so excited to get out into the mission field! These next six weeks can't go fast enough! After that we watched the movie The Testaments. Not the biggest fan of that movie, except the ending scene gets me every time. Here's a basic rundown of church movies: Legacy is the worst. I've always hated it. It's boring and the acting is horrible and I just do not like it. The Testaments is not very good either, but the ending is just amazing. That scene makes the whole movie worth it. Well, not really. That scene makes watching that scene and skipping the rest of the movie worth it. Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration is the best and I love it and I wanna watch it over and over. Except the original cut that was shown in Salt Lake and that we have on DVD is way better than the new cut that's on, which is what we watched. Anyway that was kind of random but we've watched all of those since being here.

Yesterday was just kind of an awesome day. Nothing spectacular happened, but it was just a lot of fun. Played a great game of volleyball with the district, got a bunch of pictures, and got lots of great mail! I was very happy yesterday. Today is packing and letter writing. And then Devotional! I'm excited! Yesterday I also ran into Kyle Lovstedt (Okay honestly I have no idea how you spell his name) who was in my ward in Rexburg and lived right next door to us. I had no idea he was here! So that was cool. He's going to Russia... I think. I don't know which mission though.
So the talk of the town here at the MTC is about how everyone in Eugene 3rd Ward gets into bike accidents except for my dad. Funny how news spreads. Maybe I'm lying. I don't even know.

Uh I guess I still want my plaque scripture to be D&C 25:12. I dunno, that other one I talked about last time (the real one) is awesome too. But... stick with 25:12 I s'pose. I'm going through music withdrawals here! Even though we sing about 29 trillion hymns per hour here.

That's soo rad that Becca Horton is going to Brazil!! Coolest thing. Thanks for keeping me updated. And also awesome that Elyse is studying in Israel! I had no idea. I'm kind of glad my letters are being read all the way in Israel too. Haha. I sure know some cool people.

Anyway, that's about it. I gotta get ready to leave the country for the next two years of my life. I'm with Elder Matagi and he says "hi" to the Elder Hemsley fan-club. This time I'm serious when I say the next time I talk to you I'll be in Peru. I wasn't expecting this bonus p-day. I just found out about it this morning!

I miss you all and I'm gonna miss this place. And by "this place" I mean the United States, and not Utah. Woo! Talk to you... whenever my p-day is in Peru.


Elder Victor Paul Hemsley

I would totally go by my full name if I was an apostle.