Monday, February 27, 2012


Hey there!

Oh y'know, just hangin' out in Peru, doing missionary work. Don't really have a whole lot of cool stuff to tell you about this week either. Sorry! I said I'd have good stuff to talk about, but yeah no. But we did get water this week!!! After living for three months without running water, I finally got it back. I get to shower for real now. The shower isn't that great, but they're never gonna be while I'm on my mission. I remember the day I checked into the MTC, I woke up at the Balkman's house, and got ready to go and got in the shower, and as I was getting in I specifically remember thinking that that was probably the last good shower I was going to have for the next two years of my life. Yeah, so far that's been true. BUT I HAVE RUNNING WATER!!!

Anyway, we do have the coolest investigator ever. The guy who I said accepted a date after I heard that blink-182 song. Haha. His baptism is this Saturday! I'm way stoked for it! His name is Juan, and he's the kind of investigator I've always wished I could teach. He came to us asking us to visit him because he had been listening to the missionaries in Lima and wanted to continue learning more. He told us the first time we visited him that he's for sure going to get baptized, he just doesn't know when he'll feel ready. He's read the entire Book of Mormon cover to cover. He understands everything we share with him. He actually reads what we leave him to read (it's rare for someone to keep a commitment here...) and he has good questions and is progressing super fast and he's basically the coolest ever. And every time we go to visit him he has drinks and snacks prepared for us. Haha. He's seriously the best. I'm so glad we've had to chance to get to know him and help get him ready for his baptism.

There is another lady we're teaching too who's way cool. I think I've mentioned her before. She's the one who had all those dreams, like her dream about getting baptized, her dream about the sacrament (which she has still never seen). One day we decided to stop by her house and she told us "oh, I had a dream that you two were going to come visit me today. Come in!" She's still having crazy cool dreams all the time. These days her dreams are all way similar to Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life in 1 Nephi. I can't believe it. Anyway she had such a huge desire to change her life and she wants to get baptized but she won't accept a baptismal date yet. She also won't come to church. She always wants to, but somehow every week something happens and she can never make it. It's a little sad because she's getting so much communication from Heavenly Father through her dreams and she just doesn't quite get it... I dunno. She's way cool though and we can always feel the Spirit way strong when we visit her. It helps me teach so much better. Seriously there's like a night and day difference between the visits where the Spirit is there and the ones where it isn't. When the Spirit is there I am so much more comfortable and I can talk and say all kinds of stuff and the language is no longer a problem and I really feel like I'm able to help the people. When the Spirit isn't there it's like going back to day one at the MTC. Like "Uh, sorry, I no speak-o Mexicano..." That's the language I'm learning, right? Mexican? Well why doesn't the food taste Mexican! (Foods I miss most, in order: 1, good cheeseburgers, 2, pizza, 3, Mexican food.)

Anyway this branch is a little frustrating at times. We don't have a whole lot of good investigators, and it's rare to have someone actually come to church. But last week we had an investigator at church (Juan) and after Sacrament this old crazy member came up to him and started talking, and I thought it was cool that he's talking with the members and stuff, and then I learn that the old guy is just giving him all kinds of crap for taking the sacrament when he's not a member and that he's not allowed to do that and that he can never do it again. Seriously? We barely have investigators who come to church, and then when one actually does, the members just make him feel like crap about it. Good job Pacasmayo! Anyway just for the record the old guy is wrong and non-members can take the sacrament. I always knew that. I specifically told my friends at my farewell that they could take it if they wanted. People here have weird ideas about the church and are super judgmental of others and prideful. Pride really is the biggest problem here. Which came as kind of a shock to me.

Yesterday Elder Choc and I had to speak in church again. Of course I didn't want to prepare a talk so I took those scriptures about love I shared with you a few weeks back and used them as an outline and spoke about love. Went pretty well. Elder Choc spoke about obedience, and then the last speaker spoke on paying tithing.

Hmm... Well I'm still practicing the quena. It's hard to play! Basically, it has three octaves. The lowest octave I can pretty much play fairly easily. The second octave has all the exact same fingerings as the first, but you have to blow harder into the flute to play them, and it's hard to get it to sound good at all. The third and highest octave is totally different and I have no idea how to play it. But it's fun though. I love to mess around with it. The first song I started learning was A Decade Under the Influence by Taking Back Sunday. Hahaha. I'm sort of trying to learn some hymns though. Not really.

My hair's getting kinda long. The problem with my hair is that if it's not long(ish) it's impossible to take care of, so I have to grow it out a little longer than I'd like to be able to keep it under control. I bought some gel the other day and it seems to be helping. Except I have always disliked using gel, because I do not enjoy having... crusty hair. It feels so gross. But now that I have it I might get my hair chopped a little shorter and see if I can keep it nice-ish. And then when I get home I'm going Qui-Gon Jinn with my hair and beard!

Oh yeah, one other cool thing about the week was that we had a multi-zone conference in Chiclayo on Thursday. That was fun! The conference was way good. Prez Risso gave a way sick talk on the Book of Mormon and I just wish I was better at this language because I understood what he was saying, but I couldn't process it fast enough to take good notes or anything. As I was hearing it, it was way awesome, but now I already don't remember too much. President Risso is the man though and he always gets me so stoked on missionary work and always makes me feel happier. I am so glad that he is my mission president. Sister Risso rules too.

Well, last night I was reading through my journal to see if I had anything cool to share with you guys this week. As I was reading I noticed that a reoccurring theme this week was the food. I thought it was kinda funny, so here are a few selections from my journal entries from this past week for you guys:


Well, I feel better finally! I feel way normal. Nice p-day with nothing planned for once. Read a lot of mail and wrote like two and a half letters. Woo! Pretty nice laid back day. I liked it. I can eat food now, but I have this problem, and its that I literally can no longer eat rice. I seriously physically can't do it. I'll try and I'll try but a forkful of rice will be in my mouth for like three minutes before I can swallow it. Its a big problem because WE ALWAYS EAT RICE!!


Pretty okay day. Good things, bad things. I have a serious problem though, and its that I cannot eat the food anymore. I can't make myself do it. Trust me, I try really hard to eat what we're given, but I'm always leaving big piles of rice or spaghetti noodles (equally as bad the way we eat them here...) uneaten on my plate after every meal. I used to be able to eat everything no problem, but ever since I got sick eating meals here became one of the worst experiences of my life. I still have an appetite. A big one. Just not for what we have to eat here. Yeeeuck.

[This night we were in Chiclayo and I didn't have to suffer through dinner. We ate basically the equivalent of Chef Boyardee raviolis with the zone leaders of the Chiclayo Peru zone. Not the best thing in the world, but basically the best thing in the world to me compared to what we have been eating.]
Well, we're in Chiclayo now. Just got here. We're staying the night in a way nice room with Elders Morales and Davis and the zone leaders of the Chiclayo Peru zone. I want this room!


The conference ruled. I wish we could have them more often. Its fun to get together with big groups of missionaries. AND WE ATE PIZZA FOR LUNCH!!! It was soooooo good!! I wish I had more. Pizza Hut. Chiclayo has Pizza Huts. One huge plus for Chiclayo!


Dinner was unbearably bad. I tried as hard as I could to eat it, but I barely ate anything. Our dinner was a huge pile of white rice, with a small gross piece of meat on top. Usually I at least eat everything but the rice, but the meat was disgusting too. And that's all it was. A small piece of gross meat and a gigantic pile of white rice. THAT IS NOT A DINNER!! I want more pizza. Anyway I felt really bad leaving an almost full plate of food at the sink but I couldn't help it. I seriously gave it my very best effort to eat the food but I just couldn't make myself. It was possibly the worst "meal" I've ever had in my entire life. Heck, bad meals back home were better than the best meals here. What's wrong with this place? How can people eat this much rice and not want to kill themselves?!?


I think tonight's dinner was trying to compete with last night's for worst meal ever made. I think last night beats it though. But here's what we had for dinner tonight: a huge pile of white rice, with a small gross piece of meat on top. AGAIN. Only a different kind of gross meat that tasted sort of like throw up, but still tasted better than last night's. The rice tonight was hard. Hard, old, gross rice. Kill me! Ate less than half of my dinner again. I can't help it. Trying to eat this food is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and I'm not strong enough to do it.


Dinner was different tonight. Thank goodness.

Haha. Journals are fun!... to read. I'm so glad I'm making an effort to write every day. Even though this food problem is still ongoing, I'm already looking back and laughing at how ridiculous this experience has been. But oh gosh, no more rice please!!

That's pretty much it for this week. Sorry if this e-mail was severely lacking in Star Wars references, but y'know, I can't think of that many good ones right now.

Goodbye Chewbacca. Miss you I will.

 -Elder Hemsley

Here are some new pictures he sent this week:

"Elder Choc and I in Linea! (the bus we always take to Chiclayo)"

"Look! Old Victor still exists!...Wait, who's Victor?..."

"Day we helped paint. Covered in paint dust."

"These shoes are supposed to be black..."

"Elder Ruiz' last day."

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