Oh hi I didn't see you come in.
Well I'm still alive and well in Peru. Thanks all I really have to say this week, so bye.
Okay fine. I figured last week my e-mail was full of plenty of obscure references and inside jokes that probably most of the people who read these didn't catch. Actually all of my e-mails are like that. Haha, oops. Well once upon a time in the summer of '10 I was at Comic-Con and I went to the Family Guy panel, and Seth MacFarlane was talking about how in every Family Guy episode they have what they call "one percenters" which are jokes or references that only one percent of their viewing audience are going to catch or understand (and then he sang a song live in Stewie's voice and Angry Video Game Nerd was in the same room as me and I didn't see him). Yeah, that's how my e-mails are too. Sorry about that. But those one percenters are funny to me, and that's possibly all that sort of matters. Speaking of the 'Con, I liked that letter Bryn sent me (probably a really long time ago but I got it recently) that said I'm so going to be one of those guys who meets a girl at Comic-Con.... Yeah, probably. When I get home I think I should go wife hunting at Comic-Con. I mean, Olivia Munn is there every year so that's already one possibility. (lol lol lol lol lol lol lol)
Okay enough Comic-Con. Uh... this week... I don't know! Oh yeah, I just remembered some stuff.
This week our branch Mission Leader, Wilson got married, so that was kind of awesome. Wilson is one of the greatest people I've ever met in my life and he always gets us so stoked about being missionaries. His wife Dora is also one of the greatest people ever. So we're pretty excited for them. They're the coolest in the world.
We went teaching with a member the other day and we went to see this lady who started telling us about this dream she had where a young man dressed in white came down in a plane to show her which was the true church of Jesus Christ. And that he gave her a book but she can't read so she couldn't read what it said (tons of people can't read here. Lots don't know how to read, but even more suffer from terrible eyesight and can no longer read). So... I'm dressed in white... I came in a plane... I'm here to help people find the true church... and I have a book too. So... that's oddly coincidental, eh? Oh yeah, and then she told me the person in her dream looked like me. OH OKAY. So yeah, that happened. We'll go back to see her sometime.
Uhh I don't know really what else to say so instead I'm just gonna copy an entry from my journal for you to read because it's better than me trying to remember what happened. I did end up going on a split in Chepén this past Tuesday/Wednesday with Elder Quinton who's a brand new North American Elder, because both of our companions are District Leaders and the leaders had a meeting in Chiclayo. So yeah, just read what I wrote before because I'm lazy:
Hola myself and various other readers who are for some reason reading my journal. [I seriously write dumb stuff like that in my journal. My journal is even worse than my e-mails.]
Today I spent the day in Chepén with Elder Quinton. He's been in the field for one week, and he's struggling with the language, but he has a desire to do the Lord's work which is awesome and even though it's really hard for him he doesn't let it stop him from trying. He's pretty sweet. This morning before we went out to teach I was starting to get kinda nervous as I realized how little we know of the language and especially that of the two of us I have the most experience both in the language and in the work. I decided to put all my trust in the Lord. He knew I would be put in this situation and he knew I would be able to handle it. I prayed hard for His help and His guidance, and trusted that He would lead us to where we needed to be and to fill our mouths with the words we needed to say when we got there. I had never put so much trust in the Lord before as I had today. I'd never needed His help so much to do His work. But even though I was nervous I felt a sense of comfort the whole time knowing that I'm out here doing the Lord's work, and as long as I try my best He'll always be right there with me to help me do what I can't do on my own.
So we went out and hit the city of Chepén armed with nothing but a few pamphlets, our scriptures, and a lot of hope and faith that God would help make up for our combined lack of experience. We had a couple appointments lined up, but other than that it was up to us to make contacts, or "short lessons" [I dunno what you call them in English. I only learn this stuff in Español.], which is where we talk to people and tell them a little bit about who we are and about our message and hopefully get their info or schedule and appointment with them. My whole mission I've depended on my companions to do this. I always left it to Elder Despain and now to Elder Choc because it is something I'm so uncomfortable with. Even in English. Going out of my way to talk to random people on the street or knocking doors is super uncomfortable, and I've basically never really done it so far on my mission because of that. Well, today I made my first contacts. In total Elder Quinton and I had 13 contacts for the afternoon. We approached people in the streets, and we knocked a lot of doors. We didn't always understand what the people were saying to us, but we were doing our best, and 13 contacts is better than I've been doing with Elder Choc and Elder Despain too.
We knocked one door and a little boy answered and I asked his parents were home. He went to go check and came back and told us they were gone but that his grandma was there and she was coming. This was the best part of my day. After we waited a minute or two his grandma came to the door and invited us in. This was the first house we were invited into and it was time to put my trust in the Lord to help us teach a good lesson or share a good message with this lady. Her name was Luz, or "Light." Lots of people have names like that in Peru. We sat down and just started talking. Things were going pretty well. I was understanding most of what she was saying and was able to respond fairly easily to her questions or comments. I wasn't sure what to teach though. I was thinking maybe I'd teach about Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, because most of the time that's what we teach first, but I wasn't totally sure. I explained to her that we're in Peru as missionaries to share the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we can, and she was really impressed that two young guys like us are dedicating our time to preaching the gospel. We get that a lot. It is pretty cool if you think about it. Anyway after talking a little more, somehow it came up that her grandson or nephew or someone (I'm still learning. Gimmie a break.) has cancer and is suffering so much. Boom! I began to explain how each one of us has our own trials and challenges in this life, and that some people have bigger challenges than others, and we don't always know why we have to pass through these challenges, but if we trust in God He can help us overcome them. I told her that my dad was diagnosed with cancer, and that my cousin passed away because of a form of cancer, and that even though they're good people, they still suffered these huge challenges, and it even cost my cousin his life. I went on to explain that because Heavenly Father loves us He has provided a way through Jesus Christ that we can live with Him again and with our families forever. I taught that God has a plan for each and every one of us, and that His plan might be different than our plan, but He loves us and wants the best for us, and He knows better than we do what the best is. I used Ezra as an example, telling her that God wasn't punishing Ezra for allowing him to die suddenly of cancer, but maybe God needed Ezra elsewhere, in heaven (which honestly I had never thought of before in my life until I said it. What a comforting thought...). I explained that there will always be sadness in this life when we lose someone we're close to, but the gospel of Jesus Christ gives us hope and comfort in the knowledge that someday we will get to see them again, and how thankful I am for the knowledge that someday I am going to see Ezra again. I gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet for her to read, and offered a prayer asking God to help this lady and especially her grandson (??) and to help them get through these hard times. She was so thankful that we came by and we set an appointment for Elder Quinton to come back on Friday with Elder Conforme... Wow. I taught all of that... Wow!! I didn't always know what to say, or how to respond, but I just kept opening my mouth and the words just came flowing out without difficulty. I spoke so much. I barely let Elder Quinton say anything which I feel kinda bad about, but I'm still learning how to teach with another person. I felt the Spirit so strong in the lesson though, and I know God was putting the words in my mouth that I needed to say. All I had to do was open my mouth. I learned a whole lot about putting my trust in God today. If we trust in Him, and we do the best we can, He will make up for the rest. I know without a doubt in my mind that this is true after today. I did not, and I do not have the ability to do this on my own, but I put my faith in my Heavenly Father that He would help me and guide me, and He did.
Two scriptures came to mind that remind me of my experience today:
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
"Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voice unto this people, speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and ye shall not be confounded before men, For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, the very moment, what ye shall say... And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say."
The scriptures are coming alive to me in ways I never thought were possible. I'm experiencing so many miracles and so many blessings doing this work, and the more I develop my relationship with my Father in Heaven and learn to put my trust in him, the more frequently I experience them, and the more amazing they are.
So... That was my cool experience for the week. My hands hurt pretty bad because that took a while to type and once again I'm at an Internet cafe that has crappy keyboards. Ouch ouch. Pretty cool though, eh? I bet now you think my journal is full of all kinds of great stuff like that but usually my journal is full of stupid stuff. For example of how dumb my journal can be, look at the attached photo of one of my past journal entries.
It's about Spongebob and diarrhea. Merry Christmas.
I'm really glad I've been keeping a journal this whole time though. Every day of my mission so far. I have a strong testimony about how much I hate writing in my journal, but I love being able to look back and read it later. I love my journals I kept that I very rarely wrote in over the past few years. I had a goal at school to write in my journal once a week. It ended up being more like once every few weeks and then in the winter semester it was more like once every two months, but I'm still so glad I wrote what little I did. Since I'm a missionary I get to challenge people to make commitments all the time, and now for the first time I'm gonna challenge my family to consistently keep journals. Doesn't have to be every day. Maybe once a week or every two weeks. But just do it! Write about whatever has been going on in your life, whatever thoughts you have, or whatever video games you've been playing. Writing in a journal is no fun, but you'll be so glad you did it later. This challenge extends out to anyone else who wants to give it a try. But it's not optional for my family. Haha.
Anyway I gotta get outta here. I like your fat faces.
Oh yeah speaking of fat, we started eating lunch with members on the weekends, and on Saturday the family we were eating with told me I was getting fatter. Here it's not rude or offensive to talk about people's weight so they'll just flat out tell you if you're fat. Haha. I kinda like that. Anyway I don't think I'm getting fatter but I don't have a scale or anything to prove it. Gaining some weight would probably be a really good thing. I'm gonna come back and be a big fat guy for the rest of my life.
Okay bye for real!
*but that e-hug was only to guys because I'm a missionary*
Here are some of our favorite pictures he sent (his comments included):
That's it for now! You can see all the rest of the pictures he sent (full-sized) by clicking on the photo slideshow!