Monday, April 30, 2012

"I'm now changing from Junior to Senior companion and I will be finishing the training of a new Elder!"

Hey dewd what's up? Oh cool.

Another week down in Olmos, Peru! A week full of searching for new people to teach. We're running low on progressing investigators right now, so we're doing a whole lot of looking for new ones. I dunno, sometimes I wonder why I'm not seeing much success in the mission, or why the other district in our area has had multiple baptisms this transfer and we don't have any upcoming baptisms. But then I realized I wasn't called to baptize. I was called to preach the gospel in the Spanish language to the people of Peru. And that's what I've been doing to the best of my ability. I've been fulfilling my calling, and that's all that really matters. All the people here who are interested in our message can't progress because they're not willing to marry the person they're living with which is in direct violation of a commandment from God. The people who don't have problems living together don't have much interest. It's a little tough, because we have some really great people we're visiting but the problem is they can't get baptized. Baptism is an ordinance through which God forgives people for their sins, but we don't baptize people if they're living in a continual state of sin that they aren't willing to change. One lady here told us that it's a cultural thing here that people are afraid to get married because they're afraid of the commitment. They don't want to commit, so that if any little problem comes up in their relationship in the future, they can up and leave guilt free because they aren't married. Thereby destroying the family they have already formed. The way I see it is that if they're not willing to make the commitment and get married, they don't really love each other. They're anticipating future problems that might arise because they don't fully love or trust their spouse. Bleh, I dunno. I love the gospel so much because it gives us an eternal perspective on families. I know that one day I can get married and sealed to my wife for all eternity, and with that perspective it will make me strive to continually strengthen my relationship with my wife and family, even through all the hard times. The people here just don't want to deal with the hard times. They don't have that eternal perspective. Really, if families aren't eternal, then there isn't really that much of a point of making an effort to have good family relations if one day it's just going to end when we die. But I know I'm gonna be with my family forever and knowing that makes the family so much more important to me. I'll be with my parents, and my siblings forever, and my future family of my own too. And I love that.

Anywho, I'm having plenty of experiences dealing with drunk people these days. Like the other week we were heading back to Olmos from Motupe, and this super drunk guy was in the car with us. Well, he just started harassing the heck out of the other lady who was in the car, non-stop. He didn't even know her, but he was yelling all kinds of stuff at her. I didn't understand most of it, but Elder Lobato told me he was pretty much saying the worst things he could possibly say to her. At one point he got mad and started trying to attack the driver while he was driving. Are you kidding me? Retarded drunk guy, you're going to kill us! Every day stupid drunk people talk to us and get mad at us and won't leave us alone. In these past few months I have definitely developed an extremely strong hatred towards alcohol. Nobody can ever possibly justify drinking in my eyes after all the horrible crap I've seen alcohol cause as a missionary. It is so, so horrible. I can't stand it. It destroys lives and it destroys families, and I'm sick of seeing it happen.

As far as other stuff goes... Hmm. Oh yeah! Good news! The other week when I went to Chiclayo for Elder Lobato's leader meeting I got to see Elder Choc again! He told me that two of the investigators we were teaching had baptismal dates and I haven't spoken to him since, but by now they should both be baptized. Ahh so awesome! One of them was that lady I kept telling you about who had all those awesome dreams all the time. I met her on my first transfer, and finally four transfers later she's getting baptized. Sometimes we just have to be patient with people. Not everyone is going to hurry up and accept the gospel in a day. It's a process that sometimes takes a long time for some people. So that made me way happy to hear! Coolest news.

I also got one of the coolest pieces of mail ever last week, all the way from Russia! Got a sick letter from my bud Elder Paul who's out there doing some good in Russia. So so so good to hear from him after almost two years! Came complete with a crisp Russian $10 bill, and a photo! Photos are my favorite ever. I would love to get more photos from... anybody. Anyway, that made me way super happy. He's going home so soon! By the time I find some free time to write him back, and then am able to actually get the thing sent out and make it all the way to Russia, Mitchell would probably already be back home. But maybe if I ever do find the time to write I'll send something to Vegas.

I think I might have told you this before, but we're mostly working a lot with the youth here. We have one investigator who's especially awesome. She's a 15 year old girl named Sandy. We're actually teaching her whole family, and her stepmother is super receptive too. But Sandy's way cool, she's super receptive and likes to learn more about the gospel. With some of the youth we're teaching, they're really influenced by all of their friends, who sometimes make fun of them for listening to "the Mormons" and who sometimes say really bad things about our church. Sandy's friends are the same. She told us that her friends say that we're liars and we're just trying to tear down her beliefs and her religion. But she's so cool, because she told us that none of what they say matters, because everything we teach makes so much sense, when we use the Bible, and with videos we might share, and that we always invite her to pray and ask God about what we teach. She tells us she knows that it doesn't matter what her friends say because she knows that what really matters is the answer that she can receive from God. She knows God can tell her what is really the truth. She has a lot of faith. She's honestly our best investigator here right now.

What I would really like to happen down here in Olmos, is to knock on a door and have someone answer it and tell us "Look, sorry, but I'm not interested" or "No, I don't care, go away." Haha. Seriously. When I went out with the missionaries in Eugene, that's what everybody said to us! They were all so honest. But here, people will never say that. What they will do is come up with tons of the dumbest excuses ever for why they can't listen to us. Look, just tell us you're not interested so we can stop wasting our time! One of the funniest things that happened to us this week is that we knocked a door and started talking to these two people, and we asked if we could share something with them and they said "oh yeah, sure!" (okay fine that's not an exact translation from Spanish...) but you could tell they really didn't want anything to do with us, so after that one of them said "yeah, just hold on a second" and they both went back into their house... and never came back out. Haha. That's not even that rare of an occurrence. Lots of times people don't even answer their doors when we knock even though we know they're there. I would love it if someone would just tell us to go away sometime. We get lied to way too much here.

Aight, I gotta get outta here and go do some p-day stuff. But first, here's the news on transfers: I'm staying in Olmos! Elder Lobato is outta here and he's gonna be a Zone Leader in some zone. But, that's not all my friends! I'm now changing from Junior to Senior Companion and I will be finishing the training of a new elder! We have a new 12 week training program that's been around for maybe a year, and so training lasts two transfers. I'll be training an elder on his second transfer. Wow! I'm a trainer! It's like all of my wildest Pokémon dreams are coming true! I can't wait to walk around Olmos, battling my little missionary against all the other missionaries in the mission, gaining experience along the way, pwning (I had to ask Bryn, but she says this is an actual video game term that means ‘owning’--Victor's mom) all the gym leaders and finally defeating the Elite Four of the mission! But yeah, that's what's happening these days. I'll update you on my new comp next week! The change happens tomorrow morning. I'm way excited! For the past while I've been realizing that I lean way too much on my Senior Comp, and I've had the feeling that even though I don't feel ready for it that the best thing for me right now would be to get some more responsibility and possibly even start training. Well, that's exactly what's happening. And no, I don't feel ready for it, but I know it's for the best and I'm way pumped!

Well, that's about it for this week. Another transfer down, another month down. Wow! I love you all okay bye.

- Elder Hemsley

"Segundo's baptism."

 The cross in Motupe.

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