Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"The fact that there's green everywhere, and lotsa rain kinda reminds me of this one place I used to live. I like it."

Hello hello hola hello from Olmos, Peru! Pacasmayo is a thing of the past, and Olmos is where it's at these days. Olmos is an area about two hours away from Chiclayo... So basically the same amount of time as Pacasmayo to Chiclayo, but two hours in... some other direction. Olmos is waaayyy different than ol' Pako. For one, it's a lot less like Tattooine and a lot more like Kashyyyk. In other words, it's not a desert full of garbage; it's extremely green and full of plants! Way pretty compared to Pacasmayo! We're surrounded by the most awesomest greenest mountains and it's such a great change. Although it's about 500 million degrees here. But fair trade, I guess? It's a lot hotter than I'd like it to be. I am drenched in sweat every day. And when I'm not drenched in sweat, I'm drenched in rain! It rains a ton here, and really hard. And it's sort of a problem because more than half of the streets are dirt which turn into deep mud piles and it's sorta tough to get through them. The roads turn into rivers when it rains. It's... so different than Pacasmayo! Haha. But I like it. The fact that there's green everywhere, and lotsa rain kinda reminds me of this one place I used to live. I like it. Though it doesn't look like Eugene. There's not a pine tree in sight. But it looks a lot closer to home than the garbage dump.

So... I got a new comp too. Elder Lobato! He's way chill. He's a little guy from Lima. My first Peruvian companion! In the field at least. He's awesome. Every day we're getting along better and better and I like him more all the time. He's way funny. He's been out for 21 months, which means there is a decent chance that I will serve with him until his death. Though we shall see. Never know what to expect at transfers. But he's great and I'm way glad to get to serve with him!

Olmos is in the Chiclayo Peru zone. This is weird, considering Olmos is two hours away from Chiclayo. Motupe, the only other area in our district, and Olmos are both way far away from Chiclayo, and because of this we only go to every other zone meeting. So every other week we head down there to meet with the zone. We also don't have any planned p-day activities with the zone because they're all so far away. Kinda weird. We might try to plan some stuff just with us and the elders in Motupe. Today we went to Motupe and climed this little hill, got eaten alive by mosquitos, hung out by a river for a while, and ate lunch. Pretty fun. The elders there are Elder Vasquez, from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and Elder Huntsman, from Idaho Falls. Vasquez is on his last transfer. Huntsman is on his third. Cool guys. Also Motupe is kinda cool because their branch doesn't have a chapel. They have a "casa capilla," which I guess translates to "house chapel" but that sounds weird to me. They meet in a house, and it was my first time seeing something like that and I thought it was kinda neat. Haha. We have a pretty nice chapel here in Olmos. The branch seems pretty cool so far too.

In Pacasmayo we always had a member come by to pick up our dirty laundry on Wednesday. Since we left for Chiclayo Tuesday night, I didn't get to have my laundry done, and within two days of getting here I had run completely out of shirts (I only had two clean ones when I got here, and they were both long sleeved... and it's an oven here.). To top that off, I also ran out of deodorant on Friday, forgot to buy more on Saturday, couldn't buy more on Sunday, and finally just barely bought some today. Haha. I have gotten really used to smelling really bad. Even with clean shirts (which I now have, thankfully) and deodorant, you just get so sweaty and gross so fast here it's ridiculous. The grossness basically becomes a part of you that you can't get rid of. Like when I take a shower now sometimes I come out still smelling bad and then I have to get back in. Haha. Ugh. Oh well. Life in Peru.

Anyways, I like Olmos because we actually have tons of people to visit here! Unlike in Pacasmayo where we hardly had anybody, and we spent so much time looking for new people, and not finding them. Here we always have tons of appointments, and if one falls through we have tons of other people we can go to visit instead. It's such a nice change! I love it! I feel like I'm working hard and really doing some good. Also there are significantly less drunks in Olmos. Pacasmayo was like the drunk capital of the world... that I know of. Haha. Sundays here are way better. Sundays in Pako were unreasonably bad. Everybody in town is drunk and partying. Huge groups of people drinking on every street corner, loud music blasting from every house and in all the streets. Seriously, Sunday was the day I could feel the Spirit the least. It was awful. Here... Not really a problem. Welcome change.

My first day here (or maybe second...) we went to go drop off something for this one lady. As we were walking up to her house Elder Lobato warned me that this lady likes to find every excuse to complain and burn us for whatever. When we got there, I introduced myself, and she was like "Nice to meet you, but I'm very unhappy that the other elder didn't come to say goodbye before he left." Haha. Then we gave her the paper she wanted, but she got mad that it was only a copy instead of the original, even though it had all the necessary signatures and authorizations and everything. We stayed to talk a little longer, and she made sure to let us know over and over again that she is "very unhappy" that the other elder never said goodbye. Haha. Oh wow. Some people. Well, at least I don't have to be like the elders in Eugene who keep track of how many times they get the finger every day. Hahaha. People here are generally really nice to us.

Our new room is kinda cool. Well, not literally. It's really really hot, and our fan doesn't work. Haha. But it's on the fourth floor of this building (was not so fun getting all my stuff up there) and you can go up one more floor to get on the roof and its basically the tallest building in Olmos and you get such an awesome view of the entire city. I took some pictures. Don't have too much time to send pix though.

Yikes, I'm running outta internet time! I might not get to send as awesome of e-mails while I'm in Olmos. The internet is slow and we're on a strict timer in this internet cafe that will turn off the comp at an hour. Haha. So yeah, still gotta e-mail Prez Risso. I'll talk to you someday! Or, as Jacqueline said in one of her recent letters: See you in less than two years!

Love you so hard.

Dit. (this is what his younger sister called him before she learned to pronounce his name--it sort of stuck as a nickname)
Victor did send a bunch of new pictures this week.  You can see them all in the slideshow at the top of this page.  Here are our favorites from this week...a comparison of Pacasmayo and Olmos, Victor with his new companion, and one where you can see Victor is still his nerdy old self!
--Victor's Mom

"The ground is Pacasmayo is clean enough to eat off of!"

 Olmos (view from his apartment)

"Some way cool mountains!"

"Elder Lobato and I in Motupe!"

"I'm such a punk."

Monday, March 19, 2012

"I'm getting transferred to a new area! Wednesday I'll find out where I'm going and then...I'll go."

¡Hola familiares, amigos, y otros!

Me voy. Hoy es mi última día completa en Pacasmayo. Mañana vamos a Chiclayo para ver cual es mi próxima área. ¡Estoy tan animado! Pero también un poco triste que estoy saliendo de este zona. Los misioneros aquí son los máximos. ¡No puedo creer que voy a salir de mi primer área! ¡Siento freaking extraño! Wow, escribir en español es demasiado difícil. No me gusta hacerlo.

Whoa. In case you didn't catch that, I was asking if Star Wars Episode I is already playing in theaters in 3D. I AM SO JEALOUS OF EVERYONE WHO GETS TO GO SEE THAT. But it's okay because the reason I'm curious is because this week they started selling pirated versions of it in the streets here. Hahaha. Totally gonna buy one too. At least I'll only miss Episodes I and II in 3D and get to see all the best ones. But still, I'm missing seeing Star Wars in the theaters and that is barely okay with me.

Okay, what I actually said (or attempted to say) was that I'm getting transferred to a new area! Tomorrow night we leave for Chiclayo and on Wednesday I'll find out where I'm going and then... I'll go. Wow! Elder Choc is staying in Pacasmayo. He's gonna train another newbie. We dunno if he'll be a North American or a Latin missionary yet. We'll find out in a couple days! It feels so weird to know that I'm leaving. Ugh, I have to pack my stuff! Not even worth it. Haha. Actually I'm way excited though. I'll miss my comp, I'll miss the missionaries here, and I'll miss a bunch of great people I've gotten the chance to know here in Pacasmayo. But... I won't really miss Pacasmayo that much. Just the people. How weeeeeeeeiiiird. Mega st0ked though!

This week we continued trying to find new people. With more success than last week! Found some great people who seem promising. I hope we're gonna be able to help them! And by "we" I mean Elder Choc and his new baby comp. Favorite visit of the week: We knocked on this one door and this lady immediately let us in. She invited us to sit down and then called in her husband so that he could visit with us too. Well, her husband is an old man who's a little loopy in the head. He walked in, and he was sooo excited to have a gringo in his house wanting to visit with him and his wife. Haha. At one point in the middle of the lesson, after sharing something (I think I was explaining about what prophets are) this man looked at me with a huge smile, gave me a big thumbs up and said "perfecto!" like he was so proud of me for actually being able to share something in Spanish. Hahahaha. They were both great though and really receptive. Glad to have us come back again. Sadly I won't be able to make the return visit.

Also this week we went to Chiclayo (on Wednesday I think...) because Elder Choc's ear has been bothering him for a long time so Hermana Risso told him to set up an appointment to get that checked out in Chiclayo. So we left in the morning. Chiclayo is about two hours away. When we got there we got to go to the mission office, which was a first for me, so that was kind of cool. In two senses of the word. The mission office has AIR CONDITIONING! I haven't felt such delicious air since I was in Provo! It literally felt like heaven. I am convinced that heaven is just a room that has a really good air conditioner. It was so cold and so refreshing. Transfer me to the offices please! Haha. Actually I wouldn't mind that too much. Most people never want to get transferred there. Elder Meza came from the offices and he said it was awesome and that he'd like to go back. Sounds good to me. I also got to see President Risso for like two seconds while we were there so that obviously made my day a little bit better.

Rain is still a gigantic problem in our room. Many nights of water pouring down from the ceiling. Not gonna miss that! The food however has been improving and my rice tolerance has been slowly building back up. Thank goodness. But it's not like I'm happy when I see rice on my plate. Just... tolerant. Haha.

Yesterday at church was kind of awesome. Emily received the gift of the Holy Ghost and was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints en español. And then after that the branch president asked Juan to stand up and announced that he was going to receive the Aaronic Priesthood and become a priest and asked for our sustaining vote. I was not expecting that! That made me so happy!! Then in priesthood meeting he received the priesthood. Ahhh I'm so glad I got to be here to see that happen!! I can't say enough good things about this man. Here's how awesome he is: at the end of priesthood meeting the elder's quorum president assigned three men church clean-up duty for this coming Saturday. After he assigned them, Juan raised his hand and volunteered to help them with the clean-up. He's been a member for two weeks and he's already cleaned the church once. HE IS SO GOOD. He's gonna be an Area Seventy in like a year. I am going to miss him so much. Maybe we didn't see a ton of success in Pacasmayo, but Juan is one gigantic success. He makes me so happy.

Oh yeah and also this week I saw a girl in the street wearing a Pop Punk's Not Dead Shirt. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There is not a hint of pop-punk music here or of New Found Glory and I was so distracted by the shirt that I didn't even notice if she was from the states or whatever. Haha. I think that was the last shirt I bought before my mission. I really miss t-shirts! And hats. I think I miss my hats the most. I loved my hats!

One neat thing I heard this week when we were visiting with a member: at one point during the visit she told us "before I found the gospel, I always felt alone. But now I always have God with me." That kinda got me thinking about just how much of a blessing having this gospel in my life has been. I never feel alone, because I know Heavenly Father is always there, always willing to listen to me, and always willing and wanting to help me. This has been the biggest source of comfort for me since I've left home. It doesn't matter how far I distance myself from the people I love and everything I know; God is never far from me. Knowing that I can talk to him at any moment is such an amazing thing. I feel so safe when I talk to my Father in Heaven through prayer. I couldn't do this if I didn't have the amazing blessing of constant communication with my Father. The gospel is an amazing thing, and even though it can be hard or frustrating at times, devoting all my time to sharing the gospel with people has been the most amazing life changing experience and the most incredible blessing. I can't even believe how much I've grown spiritually. Just after my first few days in the MTC I started noticing a huge change in myself, and I can't even put to words how great this has been. I know I have a few friends back home who are able to serve missions who aren't quite sure they want to do it yet. All I can say is that I promise you that if you decide to serve it will be the most amazing experience, and nothing you hear from others can ever prepare you for the incredible changes and blessings you will experience committing yourself to serve the Lord and helping your brothers and sisters around the world. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss home and wish I could see all my family and friends again, but I'll get to see them again in not too long, and I wouldn't trade this experience for the world.

That's about all for this week amigos. Next week I will be in a new place, with a new companion. I'm kinda super excited to get to know a new area, but at the same time a lil' sad about leaving these people behind. Especially my comp! Elder Choc has been the greatest. I'll try my best to remember to e-mail you again next week. Ha. Keep me in your prayers. I need them and they help me so much out here. I pray for you guys every single day.

-Elder Victor Paul Hemsley

Monday, March 12, 2012

"I think every day should be like Saturday on the mission. Traveling from city to city baptizing people. It's the best."

Hola hola!

Woo. Another week down! Let's see what happened this week...

Hmmm... Well I suppose the main highlights would be that this week we had two baptisms!... Kind of. One for an eight year old girl named Emily (I think I've mentioned her before) and another surprise one in San Pedro to baptize one of the sister missionaries' investigators. On Friday we went down to San Pedro so Elder Choc could interview the sister's investigator. She is a 15 year old girl named Milagros (Miracles). So, that went well, aside from having to wait forever for everyone to show up and then wait even longer for someone to show up who had keys to get into the chapel. You just have to get really used to wasting a ton of time waiting on other people here. Her baptism was the next morning. As we were getting ready to head back to San Pedro for the baptism Elder Choc asked me if I wanted to baptize her. "Uh... Yeah!" So I ended up getting to baptize on Saturday. Way cool! The baptism was really nice. Lots of members were there and they were all super helpful and supportive. It was a really good service. The hardest thing for me here is having to pronounce people's full names. It is so stupidly difficult for me! Haha, but I somehow managed to get her name close enough to right when I baptized her.

So from there we headed back to Pacasmayo to get ready for baptism number two of the day. We had some trouble finding baptismal clothes for an 8 year old girl, but we figured something out, and then luckily as a miracle we found something even better for her to wear in the chapel. The baptism was at 3:00. We had a bunch of members tell us that they would be there. We even had members promise us earlier that morning that they would be there at 3:00. So... guess what happens? Yep, surprise-surprise, at 3:00 nobody is there! Just Emily, her dad, her aunt, and luckily she had a bunch of family come to visit from Trujillo to see her baptism. So we decide to wait a little while longer in hopes that somebody will show up. Well, at 3:45, still nobody is there. Not one single member showed up. Emily really wanted the baptism to start, and I'm sure her family did too, so we decided to go ahead and start at that point. I had to make up another talk on the spot. That is not easy to do in Spanish! But it was better than the other one I did at Juan's baptism. Then Elder Choc baptized Emily. Kinda neat that we both got to baptize that day. So there's that experience. Overall a pretty awesome day because we got to baptize two people. I think every day should be like Saturday on the mission. Traveling from city to city baptizing people. It's the best.

I hope Dad had a good birthday! I celebrated his birthday by helping somebody build their house. We had a service project with the elder's quorum, and Juan came with us. He was one of the three members of the quorum there, and he's not even an elder!  Juan is already one of the strongest most dedicated members of the branch. I swear he's gonna be branch president. Haha. So that was pretty cool. Love service. At the service project we got to drink Perú Cola, which is basically the equivalent of grocery store brand colas, only worse. As I took my first sip this was the exact thought that came to my head: "Ugh, this is so sub-par!" And then I laughed at myself for being so weird even in my thoughts. Haha.

We met a way good investigator this week. Her name is Antonia. We knocked on her door, and she let us right in, way happy to see us. We had a really great lesson and she's one of the most receptive people I've ever taught. It was awesome! Well, turns out she lives in Lima and was only in Pacasmayo for a few more days. Aww man! We really need new investigators (we have like none right now...). But we scheduled another visit for before she left and had another great lesson. We knew she was leaving, but sometimes you just gotta plant a seed. Maybe if she likes what we have to share she'll search out missionaries in Lima. That was our goal. She was really really great, but sadly, she's gone. Oh dear.

We had District Conference this weekend (before my mission I never knew that the small version of a stake is a district. Oh. Haha.) right here in ol' Pacamayo, and it was way good! The stake center (district center?) is actually in Guadalupe, but the chapel in Pacasmayo is a lot bigger and a lot nicer, so it was here. It made Elder Choc and I way happy to see our chapel so full of people! Haha. President and Sister Risso came to speak and they were amazing as always. One thing I really loved was something that Sister Risso said about sharing the gospel with our friends. She gave an example of a member thinking, "Oh, my friend could never accept the gospel because he doesn't live the law of chastity..." She said we need to focus less on what people are now, and focus more on what they can become. Everybody has the ability to make a change in their life. Sometimes maybe all that's keeping them from making the change is an invitation. I thought that was really good. President and Sister Risso are my favorite. Just being around them makes me so happy. I'm so glad I get to serve with them and I love them so much!

One funny thing that happened this week was we went to go visit Juan. When we got to his house we saw that one of his windows was smashed, and when we went inside Elder Choc asked Juan what happened. We assumed someone tried to break into their house. Juan told us that he and his wife went to Trujillo and when they came back home they realized they had left their house keys in their house, so they smashed their own window to open their door and get inside. Hahaha. These people are so funny!

As we were cleaning our room last Monday we found all kinds of stuff, including a pamphlet of Discussion 3: The Restoration. Well, in Spanish. Charla 3. Haha. It's from the 80's and I'm pretty sure that my Momma and tons of other people I know probably used these on their missions! It's kinda cool though. Good to study. I'm just confused as to why the restoration was discussion 3 instead of discussion 1. What were the first two? I'm keeping it.

This week we've been trying really hard to find new people to teach, because we do not have many investigators left who are progressing or who are able to progress. I kept track of how many doors we knocked because I thought it would be fun, and with a total of 69 doors knocked we only got to talk to 18 people, and of those 18, only two invited us into their houses. Door knocking is not effective in Pako. We really need to get more referrals, but nobody gives us any. Gonna try to work more with members this week.

Well, that's pretty much been my week in a nutshell. Gonna go get my hair cut after this. I don't expect this to turn out pretty. Dad, I need you to come and cut my hair! I haven't had a good haircut since like... the night before I gave my farewell. Yikes.

Thanks for keepin' the mail coming. I love all your weekly letters! And I'm getting mail from people I never would have expected to hear from which is way cool. Thanks for all the continual updates of real life. Wow, lotsa kids got into BYU-I. Let me know which ones actually end up going! School is gonna be so much more awesome when I get back than it was my first year! And my first year was way fun! And Hannah is going to Jakarta?!? That's like... the coolest thing ever!! M3ga C0ngrAtz! I keep getting really awesome mail from all my little cousins and it makes me so happy! Except they keep making sure to tell me "please write back!!" and it breaks my heart because I have no time to do it! I will do my best though. I got letters from Abby and Sydney and they were the coolest ever. I opened Abby's letter only to realize it was 100% about Star Wars, complete with Star Wars drawings, and I think I went into shock for getting such an awesome piece of mail! Haha. Abby, I can't write back right now (but I will try my best to do it sometime soon!), but my favorite Star Wars is probably number 5, and my favorite part of Star Wars is probably in number 3 the first time you see Darth Vader in his suit. But that part is kinda scary, huh? Maybe I'll pick a happier part... I like the part in number 6 where Darth Vader decides to be good and saves Luke by throwing the stinky emperor in the pit. Wow, I love Star Wars! And then Aunt Sam told me that Uncle Matt was comparing Satan to the dark side in Family Home Evening. Haha, we are definitely related. I am so going to do that with my kids!

Jacqueline asked me to talk about my most embarrassing moments here in Peru, and I wish I could, but sadly, I honestly haven't really had any embarrassing moments. Yeah sure I've said a lot of things wrong, I haven't understood people too well, but I don't get embarrassed too easily. If you want to see the most embarrassing moment of my entire life, it's on YouTube (and I put it on YouTube, obviously). Just search for "Victor and the LOS/POTs". It's a song called "High Collisions into the Suncrash" (no, that does not make any sense...) that I did for my Driver's Ed final project with Matt and Wes and it's way awesome. Except it was super embarrassing because this was before I had started playing shows and I did not like the idea of singing a song in front of our whole Driver's Ed class. I brought my guitar to play, and then at the last minute they told me that Matt was gonna play my guitar, and that I was gonna sing. Oh, come on! (Haha, don't worry, I still like you guys.) You can just tell in the video how uncomfortable I am. Haha. It's super awkward. But you can learn a great lesson from the song. Just remember the number one rule of driving: Don't hit little kitties, especially when you're smoking weed.

I'm about out of stuff to say. People keep writing me and telling me how much they enjoyed my farewell talk. Well, thank you! I seriously did not expect it to turn out good. I wrote it at like 3:00 AM the night before I gave it, and my only goal was to make it at least 15 minutes long. I'm so glad that I was able to say something that had an affect on people though. I didn't know how it was going to turn out. You guys are the coolest. Can you believe that I gave that talk SIX MONTHS AGO?! How did time all the sudden start going so fast? The MTC in Lima, and my first transfer here in Pacasmayo were basically the slowest months of my entire life. But these past two transfers with Elder Choc have flown by so fast! How is March already almost half way over? All I have is a girl's mission left to serve! Which is basically nothing (hahaha, I kid... I kid...). I may be serving my mission in Peru, but I always hope that I can say something that somebody back home needs to hear in my e-mails. I don't even know who reads these, but whatever. I like you guys a whole lot. Apparently some people other than my family read them, which is cool.

I shall write again next week, with news as to whether or not I'm getting transferred to a new area! Seriously, transfers again already? We just had them! Time is flying. Until then, keep your bodies clean and stay clear of all signs of rice! Two things I'm currently struggling with. I miss you almost as much as I miss cookies. Cookies don't exist here. Oh wait, I mean, I miss cookies almost as much as you. Oops! That was close. What I meant to say was that I miss you almost as much as I miss Mountain Dew.

-Elder Hemsley

He sent a bunch of new pictures.  You can check them out in the slideshow at the top of the blog.  Here's a few of our favorites:

"Hey, just driving one of these."


"Ducking through the unreasonably low "ceilings" of the Pacasmayo market."

"It's a new trend I'm starting..." 

Monday, March 5, 2012

"Well, this whole week was really all about one person. Juan!"

Oh hey.

Well... first of all... Happy birthday this week DAD!! No fair that I can't celebrate with you... But I couldn't last year either. Sad :( Also happy birthday James and also happy birthday Chad Gilbert! Lolz. All on the same day! Woo! March 9th is apparently a good day to be born. Also its all about that moment when you realize the Paramore song "The Only Exception" is probably about Chad Gilbert and it all of the sudden makes the song way more awesome.

Anyway, that got off topic fast...

Well, this whole week was really all about one person. Juan! I talked about him last time. We saw Juan every day this past week either at his house or at activities to help prepare him for his baptism and to help him get to know more members and feel involved. For realz he's the best investigator ever. He just gets everything. When we visit with him the Spirit is always present. I remember I heard once that you know you're teaching with the Spirit when you learn something from what you teach. That has happened to me multiple times while visiting with Juan. I'll be teaching, and I'll be saying something, and then all of the sudden I realize what I said and something just clicks in my mind like "wow, I never thought of that before... This all makes so much more sense now!" Seriously that happened a lot. Especially as I was talking about the Atonement and the fall of Adam and Eve. Visiting him has been a huge testimony and faith building experience.

On Wednesday we had a Family Home Evening planned at his house. Last Sunday we announced it in elder's quorum and got a bunch of people to say they'd come with us. So on Wednesday we all meet up at the chapel so we can travel together to Jequetepeque and have the FHE together with Juan and his wife at their house. Obviously we left way late, because that's just to be expected when you involve members, but it all worked out. (My favorite was that 15 minutes after we were already supposed to have left one of the people there called someone else who said he was going to come, and he tells him "oh yeah, I'm still planning on coming! I'm at home right now and I'm just going to take a shower first. Wait for me." Haha, uhh... okay...) We had a great turnout. In total there were 13 people there which way exceeded my expectations, including a few inactive members that Juan and his wife invited! So cool. The FHE was really nice, and after I left I just felt really good. I dunno, I just felt so happy and I felt like we did a really good thing and that it was a good experience for Juan. It was a good experience.

On Thursday there was a district activity in Guadalupe because Elder Uceda of the first quorum of the Seventy who's in the area presidency was coming to speak. So we were pretty excited for that. Elder Uceda also spoke to the missionaries in Chiclayo in December and it was way good. Juan came with us, which was awesome. I felt pretty sick that night (really really sick actually) so sadly I didn't get to enjoy it all that much, but the parts of his talk I heard or paid attention to were really great. Before the meeting the power went out, which delayed the meeting from starting a lot. After waiting for a while for the power to come back, they decided to just start the meeting anyways. Elder Uceda started speaking, without light, and without a microphone. He told us that he felt impressed that the meeting needed to start and that he got the impression that God would help us be able to go forward with the meeting. As he was explaining this, the power came back on... Wow!! Not to mention basically his whole talk was about light. The light of Christ. So it all tied in and it was basically the coolest thing ever. Juan had a good time. Even though I felt absolutely horribly sick that night, as we were leaving I just felt so thankful for being able to have that experience listening to a member of the Seventy with Juan. Something overcame me as we were traveling back to Pacasmayo and I just started praying in my head and pouring out my thanks to my Heavenly Father. I don't know what happened, but it was just a really spiritual experience for me, and as I was praying and thinking I just felt the comfort of the Spirit and God's love for me so strongly. It was incredible.

The next day was Juan's baptismal interview. The zone leaders also had a baptismal interview in their area at the exact same time, so we had to do splits. Elder Meza (our new zone leader if I never mentioned him before) came to Pacasmayo to interview Juan, and Elder Choc went to Chepén with Elder Burton to interview their investigator. Elder Meza is way awesome. He's a great guy and I'm way stoked to be serving in the zone with him. Anyway, he interviewed Juan, and I played piano in the chapel for like 40 minutes. It was the best ever. But I was running out of songs I know, and I still can't read sheet music so my options were pretty limited... But anywayz, Juan passed the interview!

Saturday was his baptism. I would describe the experience as a horrible nightmare with a happy ending. Basically, everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Multiple times. We trusted in members to take care of things that they didn't take care of. Elder Choc and I ended up having to rush around the city of Pacasmayo to pick things up that were forgotten (after the baptism was already supposed to start...) and basically had to put together the baptism from scratch way late. There was no program for the baptism, so Elder Choc and I quickly threw that together too. Elder Choc asked me if I could give the first talk. Uh no, that is not something I felt like I could do in a foreign language with no time to prepare. But I couldn't refuse. This baptism had to happen. "Yeah, I'll do it" I told him. Since there was nobody else Elder Choc volunteered himself for the second talk. All of this extra waiting and confusion was making Juan nervous and I felt so bad for him! Finally the thing started (waaaaay late) and we ended up having a really nice baptismal service. I went up and gave my improv'd talk in Español. It wasn't that great, but considering I had no time to prepare it was pretty okay. The Spirit was way strong at the baptismal service. My favorite part was that Juan got to share his testimony after he got baptized. The first time we met him he told us his main concern about getting baptized was that he'd have to share his testimony in public and that he wouldn't know what to say. Haha. Well, his testimony was simple, but powerful. The next day in sacrament meeting he received the gift of the Holy Ghost and was confirmed a member of La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días. This experience getting to know Juan and helping him prepare for this huge step in his life has been such a huge blessing for me. It's been amazing and I'm so happy we've been able to help him get to this point. We're gonna keep on visiting him. He's already going to help clean the church on Friday, and he's also volunteered to help in an elder's quorum service project, and he's excited about a sports activity the branch has planned. He's always one of the first to help set up or put away chairs before and after every meeting. He really is the best. This week was all about him. The baptism was chaotic and incredibly frustrating at first, but it ended up nice in the end. 

Today was pretty fun. We went to Chepén to watch a movie with the zone and eat hamburgers (well, sort of hamburgers, but they were better than most of the food I've eaten here.). We watched 17 Miracles which was way good! Wasn't that the movie we were gonna go see in California and then we decided to see Captain American instead? (Haha, good choice by the way. Captain American owned and it was my last chance to see it before I left. Superheroes fighting Nazis is the best combo.) Have you guys seen it yet? It was really sad. It really made me appreciate a lot more all the pain and suffering the Mormon pioneers in the handcart companies had to go through. Really horrifyingly sad stuff. It also reminded me of how much I didn't like Trek. Lolz. But it was about the Willie handcart company and I didn't realize it until the very end when it started showing the names of the people that were portrayed, but I'm pretty sure some of the characters in the movie are our family members, because I recognized the names and I'm pretty sure I did a report on them in middle school or something. Patience Loader... ring a bell? I don't remember for sure but I'm pretty sure that's our family. So if you haven't seen it yet, see it. It's way good. Really sad. But now I want to watch it again because I didn't catch during the movie that those people were in it.

Elder Choc and I had to pick up the projector last night so that we could bring it to the activity to watch the movie today. Well, we decided to test it out first, and ended up watching the Joseph Smith movie in our room on our wall. Haha. Never expected I'd get to do that on my mission. It was way fun. And after seeing the movie like ten times I finally saw Porter in it! I always forget to look for him when I watch it but I finally saw his part. Haha, good to see one of my friends out here after so long.

Well, time is short and it looks like we gotta go. I hope you guys are all awesome and I still like you and I just can't wait to see your dumb faces again. I was thinking this week, that I'm pretty sure that true happiness is coming home after two years... and playing Spider-man 2 on Gamecube. Hahaha.

I leave you with a part of another journal entry that I randomly stumbled across this week as I was looking for something else:

Today I saw a lot of Spider-man toys at this one store and I really badly wanted them.

lolol alright I miss you okay bye okay.

-Elder Hemz

These are the pictures he sent this week:

"Juan's baptism."

"These are everywhere. Seriously."

"Thanks for the shirt!"