Hi hi HI!
Whoa! Yesterday was Mother's Day! And you all know what that means, right??... It means: Nobody in Olmos comes to church! Woo! Ha. For realz. There was almost nobody at church yesterday. Worst church attendance I've ever seen in my entire life. At 9:00 (when church starts) there were five people there. The third hour of church got cancelled basically because none of the teachers for the third hour were there. Ha. How silly. I swear the people here look for every possible excuse not to go to church. I feel like not too many people here truly have testimonies of the gospel, but that's why I'm here I s'pose! During church I got to give a lady a blessing for the second time in my life. So that was neato.
Anyway, it's been a tough past month or so in Olmos. Little by little we've been losing investigators, and have not been able to find new ones to replace them with. It has gotten really hard to enter a house lately. Including a house that we had an appointment to go visit! The vast majority of our appointments all fall through. It's a little frustrating. On Tuesday it was really bad. Elder Villatoro and I went out to do some tracting (because the appointment we had fell through. Duh.) and we were just having the worst of luck and facing more rejection than ever before. The worst part was that we stopped by a house of a family we taught once who was really cool and seemed receptive, and when we knocked the mom opened the door and told us "Look, I'm gonna be honest. I'm Catholic, my children are Catholic, and we go to the Catholic church" in a "I never want to see your face in my house again" kind of tone. Ouch! That was a real bummer, because its rare for us to be able to teach entire families! So all the rejection we faced that morning started getting to me and I just all the sudden started feeling way down and super discouraged. Probably one of the lows of my misson. It was like all the sudden all the lack of success I've been having in Olmos just started all weighing down on me at once. I felt pretty crappy. So after a morning of less-than-sub-par tracting, we headed to Hermana Rosa's for lunch. After we got there and started eating, Willian, a kid who's our age and is a recent convert of like seven months (and only member in his family), stopped by to say hi. After a few minutes he looked at me and asked "hey, what are you guys doing tonight at 7:00?" We didn't have any set-in-stone appointments so I told him it was flexible and asked him why. "Because if you're free at 7:00 it would be great if you came to my house because my mom wants to start visiting with the missionaries." Whoa, are you serious?! There are two main things I've been really wanting more than anything lately. One: to find someone who really, truly has a desire to learn more and progress in the gospel, and two: more referrals from members. Bam! Two-in-one combo!! So that night we went and had a great visit with Willian, his mom, and her boyfriend. One of the first things she told us was "we want to be a part of your church." !!! Best opening line of visit of all time I think! So she was way super receptive and we're gonna keep on visiting them. So awesome! That experience was exactly what I needed. I was at one of my lowest lows, one of my most discouraging moments of my entire mission, and right as I was feeling my worst, Willian shows up and brings us the good news. Just another tender mercy from the Lord. You know what it brought to mind? Alma 26:27, that's what. A scripture that's been a huge source of comfort and encouragement for me my entire mission. An example that I can apply directly to the experience I had on Tuesday. It says:
Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
My heart was depressed, I just about wanted to give up, and the Lord comforted me and blessed us with success. Huge faith and testimony builder for me. The scriptures are just the coolest! I can apply them so much to my life. I really wish I had way more time on my mission to read the scriptures. I can't get enough of them.
Anywho, on Thursday we got a call saying that Elder Villatoro has to go to Lima with some other missionaries to get some stuff taken care of so that they can live legally in Peru for the next two years. So Thursday night we headed to Chiclayo and I dropped my comp off at the airport. Holy heck I never thought I'd have to go to an airport again before my mission ended. Being there made me... trunky... for lack of a better word. Being in an airport made me super want to go home! Plus there was another elder there from Mission Viejo, CA and so I talked with him for a awhile about SoCal and then about Eugene and the UofO and other homesicky stuff and it just added to the homesickness and gaahh I had to get outta there! So my comp left and I got the heck outta there with Elder Badilla who I stayed with all of Friday in Chiclayo. Phew! So I got to spend a day in Chiclayo, in Las Incas, which was a pretty cool area. Had a good time.
Yesterday was pretty awesome! Skyping with the fam!! Best thing ever! Even if the picture was slightly extremely blurry. Oh well. It was the best. I love you guys a ton and I miss you guys a ton. And I got to see Rocket!!! That was way awesome, because I've called you guys once before, and we've had communication through e-mails and letters this whole time, but I haven't heard from or seen Rocket in eight months, so that was much needed! Oh yeah, speaking of eight months, you know what I was doing eight months ago today? I woke up, went out to breakfast with Tyler Balkman, went out to lunch and smoothies with Gretchen and Aunt Debbie, and... at dinner in the Missionary Training Center. How weird! Time is going pretty quick. I'll be home soon!
Oh yeah, great news! I got robbed this week too!! Haha. The whole time I was preparing for the mish, everyone always told me "it's not if you get robbed on your mission, it's when you get robbed." I've been counting on being robbed this whole time and it finally happened. After we visited Willian and his mom, his mom gave us yogurt and four little bags of cereal to take with us to eat later. We went straight to dinner from that visit, and after dinner as we were heading back to our room this drunk guy stops us and starts being a typical drunk guy telling us that he wants to change his life and come unto Christ and all that jazz. Uh, okay, bye! I couldn't really understand him, but then I realized he started asking us for money so that he could buy food. I reached into my bag and pulled out one of the little bags of cereal and told him "well, we don't have any money, but we have cereal..." He said he didn't want it and kept asking for money so that he could buy food. My comp told him "look, my companion told you that we don't have any money, all we have is cereal!" So the guy was like "...fine." So I was gonna give him one of the little bags of cereal, but he went straight for the big bag with all of my cereal in it and tried to rip it out of my hands. I didn't let go at first, but I figured it wasn't worth it and let him rob me of all my cereal. What a butthole! I was excited to eat that! But yeah, so I finally got robbed. A guy stole my cereal from me. Haha. And have I mentioned that I freaking hate alcohol?
Well, that pretty much sums up this past week. I also finished my second journal!! I'm onto number three now. Wow! I figure if I keep up writing every single day like I have been I'll be on my seventh journal by the time I get home. Crazy! Way cool though.
Oh yeah, P.S.: How's Elder Litchfield doing? I haven't heard a thing about him since he left! I remember when he left it finally hit me pretty hard that it was almost time for me to leave too. All summer we were temple prepping and mission prepping together and then BAM he was off to Brazil, just like that! I realized at that moment that my life was near it's end. Haha. But fer realz if you know anything about how he's been doing, I'd love to hear!
Oh yeah and also one other thing you could send me are more sharpies. Mostly the Ultra Fine Point ones. Mine died after very minimal usage and I would love some more. Thank you!
Aight, I gotta get outta here.
Clean your bodies, love your mommies.
Note from Victor's Mom: We were able to speak with Victor via Skype for an hour on Mother's Day. It was so fun to see and talk to him. The quality of the picture we saw of him was poor, and progressively got worse. By the end he basically looked like an alien. We all got a good laugh from that! I'm including a few pictures I took during our conversation...