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! 

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