Saturday, June 30, 2012

"Olmos has been hit with a plague, and I am killing a jillion crickets a day in our room. Yeeeuk."

Hola hola hello!!

If you would like an accurate description of how my week has been, might I direct you to the Book of Exodus:

And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt. (Exodus 10:14-15)

Just replace "locusts" with "crickets" and its pretty much spot-on. We are breathing crickets here. You can't walk outside without automatically having at least five giant crickets crawling on you. Olmos has been hit with a plague, and I am killing a jillion crickets a day in our room. Yeeeuk. But, it was the worst on Tuesday, and has been very slowly been getting better every day. But still, there are way too many crickets in Olmos. And I discovered for the second time a big ol' cricket inside my pants. INSIDE. Anywayz, it’s kinda gross.

But let's just get on to the good stuff, like the great news that I've been waiting three years to hear!: Bryn is switching to Classic South!! WoOOOoOOoOOoOOoOo000000!!!! This is the happiest days of my life!11!!1! Classic South pwned IHS so hard the difference was ridiculous. Gonna be way more fun. And Classic South Senior Project > IHS Senior Paper. Just remember, because I switched to regular South for my Senior Project I got to spend multiple days with Mike Allred watching him make his comics and then our entire family got to go to Comic-con for free. And I got school credit for it!! Also because Mike is the coolest guy ever. Haha. Speaking of Mike Allred, I'm low on reading material and just this past week I was thinking about how rad it would be if you could send me some of his Golden Plates comic books. I don't know that that's technically approved reading, but I've read everything that's approved already and I need something else!! Or any other sweet church book or just something. But priority are the comics. K thanks.

Hmm... Well... This week went pretty well. Out of nowhere my companion suddenly got a little bit more stoked about being a missionary and his newfound enthusiasm really helped us a lot actually. I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders, and that I was no longer just one missionary dragging around a bunch of dead weight that was slowing me down. Saw an improvement in our numbers this week. Nice rice. I mean... Rice is not nice.

Today we had lunch at a restaurant in the main plaza of Olmos because Hermana Rosa is poisoning her house to kill all of the crickets. Haha. It was the first time I've eaten at a restaurant in a super long time, and it kind of reminded me of being at home. Specifically, it reminded me of eating at Tom's Tea House. Haha. The food was way different, but the restaurant itself reminded me a lot of that place. It only lacked the awesome comics that brought us unreasonable amounts of entertainment when we used to go there for lunch during high school. I wanna go to Tom's Tea House!!

Yesterday at church the branch chorister did not show up on time, and so for sacrament meeting I got to be the chorister for the first time in my life, which was kind of sick. Except really hard because here the people don't really know how to sing so like half the congregation is singing in a different key and at a different pace and really it's just hopeless being the chorister because nobody pays attention and even if they did, they don't understand what a chorister is, or how to follow one. But still, I was the chorister, and it was cool. The end.

These week we had some interesting contacts. Usually it’s boring same ol' same ol' nobody wants to talk to us and half the people saying that nobody else is home when we can clearly see and hear other people in the house. Well, this week was more of the same, but with a few stand out special examples that made things a little more interesting and also a little more frustrating. Like how the other day I knocked a door and this lady just says to me "No, sorry, I can't listen to you. We can't listen to you because you have different beliefs and you're just trying to convince us." "No Hermana, that's not what we're here to do" I told her. "Yes, that's what you're here to do" she told me... are you serious? I told her a little about how we have a message to share that centers in Christ and His gospel to which she said "No, I know that you guys speak a little bit about Jesus Christ, but mostly you talk about other Lords." What? "No Hermana, that's not true at all. Everything we share is centered in Jesus Christ, and we only worship Jesus Christ and God the Father." It ended with her telling us "Well no, we can't listen to you because you believe differently than us. Maybe we're wrong, maybe you're wrong, but we can't listen to you." I wanted to stay and tell her that everything she thought about us was wrong but I decided to just let it go because she was making me mad and there's no way you can have the Spirit with you when you're feeling like that. She was definitely the rudest person I've ever contacted.

Another silly one was the classic we knock a door and someone comes out to tell us that nobody's home. Well, I got kinda sick of just accepting everyone's lies, so sometimes I start questioning people. We went to this house that we had an appointment at and after like three attempts knocking the door this girl comes out and tells us that nobody is home. "But, you're home..." I told her. "Yeah, but... nobody else is home" she replied. "Are you sure? Because I can hear someone else back there." I totally heard multiple other people in her house. She just got this embarrassed smile and said "yeah, well... I'm... alone..." I didn't push it any further, but I just do not appreciate how kids are trained to tell lies for their parents.

This week was also Habibi's and Mommy's birthday!! I think Hermana Rosa put some photos up on Facebook or something. That was kinda fun. Birthdays are way different here, and I'm kinda happy we do not celebrate them the same way back home. They're kinda chaotic here. I like just chillin' at home with the family, eating the most unreasonably delicious chocolate mousse cake and opening presents later that night. Except my past two birthdays have not been like that. But still, that's how a birthday should be. Fun to see the cultural differences though. The other pictures you saw were from Eliana's 15th birthday, Hermana Rosa's oldest daughter. Yes, it was a quincenera, or whatever those are called. Big ol' great ol' 15th birthday party.

Anyway it’s super no fair that you guys are on summer break now. This is the first summer break I haven't had in my life! Last summer break was just way too good. Sick concerts, fam reunion in Utah, trip to Cali, sickest Disneyland trip ever where when I was at Disneyland Reyn texted me and said "oh hey I'm coming to Disneyland today and I'll be there in like an hour" ajsdasidufhjadsdfkjsad are you serious so awesome!! Star Tours 2. In a recent letter I read from Bryn, she told me that this time last year I was at home playing guitar and taking her to Carl's Jr. Oh great! Way to say the exact thing that could make me most homesick!! Haha, jk. But seriously, I need a Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger right now. Immediately. I got Dad's and Sam's and Jacq's letters from Seattle and ever since reading those for some reason I haven't been able to get Seattle out of my mind and I just want to be there so badly right now. I don't even know why. I think it's because here it's far too hot and there it's a little more pleasant.

Oh yeah, we had one interesting lesson this week too. By pure coincidence, all of our best investigators are out of town right now and so we haven't been able to visit with all of the most promising people. So we're just having random weird lessons with other people. One day we were knocking doors and nobody was answering their door even though everyone was at home, and I remembered this one house that Elder Lobato told me the missionaries used to visit a long time ago. So we went to the house and there was this lady sitting outside who greeted us and was way super nice and invited us to sit down and talk with her. She told us that the missionaries used to visit her and that she was even about to get baptized but then her husband joined another church and because of that she joined that church with him instead. But she was totally willing to visit with us and was way awesome 'n stuff. A few minutes into the visit, her husband shows up, and we start talking with him as well. He seems pretty rad too. And he knows a lot about the gospel, which is not a common thing here. It was kind of a breath of fresh air to be talking with someone who actually knew something about the gospel. So we were talking with him and he was giving us all the right answers to all of our questions. Like my comp asked him what happened to Christ after he died, and the guy replied "he went to the Spirit World to preach to the spirits who were in prison" which is totally right and is found in 1 Peter. But then all of the sudden he pulled a 180 and starting saying all this crazy and contradictory stuff and arguing against everything we said. Saying that the Spirit World and Spirit Prison don't actually exist, even though he was the one who brought up the fact that Christ went there. And then he said stuff like how it wasn't really Christ who preached to the spirits in prison, but it was Noah. Wait, but I thought spirit prison didn't exist? And how do you come to that conclusion anyway?? And then it just got worse and worse and at one point he said "Oh brothers, there is just so much you don't know". The lesson was going nowhere and at one point I just said "look, one difference between our faiths is that we believe that God still reveals his gospel to us through his prophets and apostles." And of course that led to this whole thing about false prophets, but how by their fruits you can know them, and then I, in this super epic move, reached into my bag and said "Hermano, this is the fruit of the prophet Joseph Smith" and pulled out the Book of Mormon. Well, it should have been awesome, but he just blew it off, and... I'm just kind of rambling and I have to go but basically the visit just went nowhere and left me feeling kind of sad because I gave two years of my life to share the most amazing blessings I have with the people of Peru, and when they don't want to have anything to do with it, it just kind of makes me sad...

Well, I had more stuff to tell you guys but I'm way outta time and I gotta get going. I'll write again someday. I liked Dad's story he sent me about Joe and his headaches. Haha.

Well, I leave you with some great words of wisdom from the Book of James:

"have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing..."


Alright I'm outta here.

See you within the next ten years!

-Elder Hemsley

Victor sent a bunch of new pictures--you can see all of them in the slideshow at the top of this blog.  But here are some of our favorites :

"Habibi's Birthday!"

"Crickets part 1."

"Crickets part 2."
"Crickets part 3."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"I write all the stupidest stuff in my e-mails! It’s one of my only times I get to be silly, so just... bear with me until I get home... at which time I will continue to be weird."

Okay fine I guess I'll e-mail you guys again this week...


Look, I'm really sorry, I just can't be normal when I write these things. I write all the stupidest stuff in my e-mails! It’s one of my only times I get to be silly, so just... bear with me until I get home... at which time I will continue to be weird. So basically just be patient with me for the rest of my life. Butts are funny.

Anyway, I guess yesterday was Father's Day. Happy late Father's Day Dad!! I thought it was next Sunday which is why I didn't say anything last week. Oops! Sorry! But to be completely honest, as missionary, there are only two holidays that exist to me--Christmas, and Mother's Day. As a missionary nothing else exists. Halloween doesn't exist, Thanksgiving doesn't exist, Valentines Day doesn't exist, Fourth of July doesn't exist, and I didn't even have a birthday last year. My call home on Mother's Day counts as me celebrating Father's Day too. I miss you so much though and I honestly felt a little sad on Father's Day when we went to eat at Hermana Rosa's and their whole family got on Skype to talk to their Dad for Father's Day. That's what I should have been doing!!

Well, if you can believe it, it has gotten even hotter here in Olmos this past week. This does not make sense! It makes no sense but I don't care I just hope she knows! Seriously, its like Peru forgot it was on the other half of the world and thought it was becoming Summer like it is back home and decided to copy the northern hemisphere and turn up the heater, even though it was already turned up far too much. My goodness. Please stop.

Well this week was a little bit unproductive. Well, not so much... We didn't have many lessons, but we did have a lot of good experiences this past week. My comp has been sick all week so that affected us a little bit. On Thursday we went to have our first district and zone meetings of the transfer. Fun to see all the new elders in the zone. Still no Hermanas. Kinda weird. Now I'm one of only two North Americans in the entire zone, the other being Elder Thomson who's from Utah and has been out six weeks longer than I have. Cool guy, I already knew him from before. Also an elder who has been AP for the past six months got transferred into our zone. His name is Elder Gomez and I've known him for a while. He's way rad. He's from Guatemala, Guatemala! Just like Mom! Cool eh? He told me that I need to come visit someday. I told him I wanted to, but I'm pretty sure Mom's plans to go there this November are greatly ruining my chances of being able to. You shoulda waited for me!! Haha. He also served in Pacasmayo before I did. He's a great guy. Stoked to have him in the zone!

Yesterday we got to give talks again. Here the missionaries give talks every single month, which I think is kinda ridiculous because that means we give 25% of the talks and the members really need to be given the opportunity to speak more. Heck, I don't think I've ever in my life seen a missionary give a talk back home. Why so frequently here?! Laziness is why. Its easier to just have us do it all the time. Sigh. But it went pretty well. I'm getting better at improving talks these days. Prob has something to do with the fact that every single day in every lesson we just kinda have to wing it. I mean, we have lessons and plans, but every situation is different and we never know completely what to expect. Every visit is different! I spoke about how in the Church we are so blessed, and we have the great opportunity and responsibility to extend invitations to the people we know so that they too can experiences these blessings that we have. Because, if you think about it, every single one of us who is a member of the Church is a member because someone at some time extended an invitation to us, or our parents, our grandparents or ancestors or whoever. But its all because someone invited someone else. Kinda neat thought, so I focused on that idea and asked them to pray for missionary opportunities and pray about who of the people they know has been prepared and is ready to accept the gospel in their lives.

After church we had a giant branch council that included all the district leaders of all the organizations and it was pretty neato. Being part of a district is really going to be a huge blessing for the members of Olmos, I can already tell. I'm excited for them.

Had some good visits this week too. Well, we're still visiting Silvia, and she still doesn't want to accept a baptismal date, but she has desires to progress and to read and she did go to church yesterday, so little by little she's progressing. Yesterday we went and looked for a man who had been listening to the missionaries before I came to Olmos. He let us in gladly and we had a way great visit with him. He asked us about baptism in our church and told us that he wants to be able to be baptized. Serious?! He's been to church a ton of times, he has his Book of Mormon and everything. He has a strong tesitmony and faith. The only problem is that he isn't married. But, he totally has desires to get married, and he already has plans to do it so that he can get baptized!! So rad! Great find on our part. The past missionaries stopped visiting him because he couldn't progress because he wasn't married, but now he's trying to get that all worked out which is awesome. Gonna work with him a lot more now. Also remember when I told you about Juan José a while back, who thought I was from Orange (and was accidentally right. haha.)? Like two months ago I think I told you that he told us that he wants to get baptized and he wants to get an eternal marriage in the temple. Well, he lives in Chiclayo and only comes to Olmos on the weekends, but he hasn't been coming lately and we haven't seen him in forever. But the other day, I saw his girlfriend, who is a member of the church, and I asked her about him, and she said he's doing a lot of studying because he's just about to graduate from the university down there so he can't come down so frequently anymore. But just as she said that, she got a phone call from him, and she told him that I asked about him and he was like "Really? He remembers me? Let me talk to him!" so she handed me her phone and I got to talk to him for the first time in a long while, and he told me that he was gonna do what he could to make it down next weekend so that he could visit with us. Rad!! He's way ready to get baptized too. We have so many potentials... But really he lives in Chiclayo so it'd be better if we passed on the referral to the elders down where he lives. Next time I talk to him I'll get his address and try to do that. But he goes to church here in Olmos so I don't really know if it would be better for him to get baptized here or there but... whatever I'm confusing myself. We also knocked on a door of a lady who the other elders had contacted a long while back. She let us right in and as we started talking we got on the subject of families, and I asked her what is it that she wants most for her family, and she told me "I want my kids to be members of your Church." Haha, whoa, seriously? Was not expecting that answer. Anyway, we don't really know where that will go, but seemed like a promising first visit!

Something weird happened too. A few days back one night before bed I put in one of our Church DVDs, and switched the language to French just to see if I still understood anything. Well... I understood a word here and there, but hardly anything. And mostly just the words that were similar to Spanish. Haha. I felt kinda sad. Eight years of studying that language and I barely understand a thing. How lame! Well, after that just because I was bored I switched the language to Portuguese, and to my surprise, I actually understood a ton. I almost understood everything actually. Haha. I'm pretty sure I've never heard Portuguese before in my life, and I can already mostly understand it. Eight years of French?... Nothing. Never studied Portuguese in my entire life?... Understand a lot. Interesting. Haha. But really I'd always heard that Portuguese was basically like a mix of French and Spanish, and now I can definitely confirm that ancient myth. Myth busted!!! I mean... myth confirmed... Basically it was Spanish and French mixed. Kinda cool. I feel like I'd be able to learn it really easily.

Anyway, that's pretty much been my week in a nutshell. Not the most productive, but had some good experiences and the future is looking brighter! But hopefully not hotter. In two days it officially becomes Winter here, and I can't wait to have a nice white Christmas in July! Not. Also, more importantly, that day is Mom's birthday!! Happy birthday Mom!! I'm actually going to be able to sort of celebrate your birthday, because that day is also little Habibi's birthday and she's turning 3 so we're gonna be celebrating her birthday with Hermana Rosa and her family. I'll think of you!

The mission is treating me pretty good. Its really made me start thinking about what I really want to do with my life when I get home. My ideas are slightly changing. Like for example, I no longer want to be a musician... When I grow up, I want to be a truck driver. They have the best hats.

-Elder Hemsley

Just kidding. Have a great week and don't forget to watch some Star Wars for me!

Here's another video I like:

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Look, we're nine days away from Winter here in Peru, and its hotter than the hottest summer day back home. Unpleasant. But who's complaining?... Me, a little bit. Ha."


I forgot how to swear I think.

Hello my FAMIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRY!!!! How are you?! I shall await your response with much excitement about three weeks or so from now.

But anywayz, for realz, for serious it’s ridiculously hot here. Somehow it has gotten even hotter this past week. Look, we're nine days away from Winter here in Peru, and its hotter than the hottest summer day back home. Unpleasant. But who's complaining?... Me, a little bit. Ha. But I'm having a grand ol' time out here in Peru. It feels so grand.

I guess I should break the big news to you... Last night the dreaded call came... I'm staying in Olmos!! Woo! Yay a billion times! Elder Villatoro is... also staying here! Gonna pwn some Gentiles with the gospel this transfer. Way st0ked! I love it here. Which isn't really true, but I do love a lot of the people here and I just don't want to leave them <3

Its been a pretty good week. One of the better weeks we've had in Olmos I'd say. Yesterday was the last official day of the transfer, so I added up our total numbers, and compared them with my past transfers, and to my absolute horror I discovered that this past transfer actually hasn't been so bad. Oh wait, did I say absolute "horror"? I meant... surprise. Wow! I thought we weren't doing so good this past transfer, but comparing our numbers to other transfers, we're actually just about average. It wasn't even my worst transfer. Not even second worst. Maybe third worst. Haha. But I only have five total, which makes it my third best as well. I dunno, I think just it being my first time ever being Senior Companion my perception was skewed and I put heavy expectations upon myself, but really, we did pretty good, which made me way happy. This transfer's gonna be even better!!

Last Monday after e-mailing you guyz I went out and bought myself a zampoña, which is another Peruvian instrument with a buncha different tubes that you blow into that are all different notes. I dunno, Google it. Don't really know how to play it. But this makes my third instrument that I've bought since coming out here. The first was the quena. Second, I bought a cheap harmonica a few weeks back, and finally this zampoña. I can't play any of them. Haha. I can play the quena a little bit. The quena reminds me of that one episode of South Park where everyone hates all the Peruvian flute bands and they capture them all and lock them up or something and then without the Peruvian flute bands playing their music all the time the world got attacked by giant... hamsters? I don't remember. And it turns out the only thing keeping the hamsters from attacking the world before was the music of the Peruvian flute bands. I'm just trying to learn the quena (the Peruvian flute) to save your butts. Learning very slowly.

Hermana Rosa has a ton of photos of all the past elders who have been here put up on her wall in her house, and last week I also paid to get a bunch of photos printed out to give to her, and now there are finally beautiful photos of Elder Hemsley up on her wall too. Awh :) Way, way stoked to get to spend another month and a half with the Perez Arce family!

So... is school already out?! Or is it ending this week?! Ridiculous. How has a whole school year already gone by?? Heck, a Ricks College school year ended months ago! The time flies my friends. Soon I shall be home eating a mountain of McDonald's chicken mcnuggets making myself horribly, horribly sick once again. Very soon...

I kind of love your mail, and Mom I love that you're still sending me Mitchell's and Porter's updates! They are the best ever to read! Porter's last (well, most recent one that I've read) was absolutely hilarious and it was something I could definitely relate too. It’s so weird and so cool how even in completely different parts of the world with completely different cultures we're able to have so many of the same or similar experiences. The mission is too rad!! I can't even begin to explain how awesome it is. Just... everyone needs to be a missionary.

Anyway this week we had some pretty good visits. We finally were able to find Sandy again, that girl I told you about a long while back who's way mega Catholic but at the same time super awesome receptive. She's still cool, hopefully we'll be able to start visiting her again. Another good visit with Silvia too! She told us she loved her experience at church and that she wants to put some time aside every week to go to church from here on out! So awesome!! However... she didn't go to church on Sunday because she slept in. Haha, ugh. I was also so sure we'd be able to get her to commit to a baptismal date this past week, but it just didn't happen. She doesn't want to commit yet, but she's awesome, and with patience I know it'll happen! We also had another visit with Julian Castro, and we talked some more about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, and he told us that even though he's never read the Book of Mormon, he's sure that's its true because of what it says in John 10:16. So rad! So we gave him a Book and he's gonna start reading it. Left him 3 Nephi 11 to read. Chyeah.

We had another visit with a family who we've been visiting ever since I first got to Olmos. A lady named Maritza, and her daughter Laury, who's like 15. We read the intro to the Book of Mormon with them, and Laury had some doubts about the part where Joseph Smith says that the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on Earth. We did our best to explain it, and how even though we know that the Bible is the word of God, that over time and, by the fault of man, some things have been lost or changed, and the Bible in its current state is incomplete. There are tons of references in the Bible to other books that are not found in the Bible. Where'd they go? Lost. And plenty of things that just don't make sense. What happened to Enoch? Anyway, she told us that she understood, but I feel like she was left with a bit of doubt. Eh... We're not perfect missionaries, but we do what we can. The most important thing, and the reason they still have doubts, is that the Book of Mormon contains the promise that if we read it, ponder its words, and then pray and ask God if the book is true, that we will receive an answer by the power of the Holy Ghost. They still have doubts because they've never prayed about it, even though we've invited them to do it like infinity times. But they're a good family and they do have sincere desires to learn more. The main problem here is that people don't keep their commitments to read or to pray or to come to church. If they don't do their part, they won't be able to progress or feel the Spirit.

One of the highlights of the week (which was actually really annoying and dumb, but funny...) was when we knocked on the door of this lady who we had an appointment with. Her little daughter greeted us through the front window, and we asked her to go get her mom so that we could visit them. She called her mom, and after a short wait she says to us "my mom says she's not home." Hahahaha. DANGIT. Such a common occurrence too.

One of the awkward experiences of the week was when we went to visit a girl, and during the lesson we were talking about the Creation or something, and she stopped and asked us what we thought about the theory of evolution and if humans came from monkeys and that kinda stuff. Without giving me a chance to open my mouth, my comp just blurts out "Oh, that's false." Uh?! Then goes on this thing about how we shouldn't believe in science or something like that. But it gets even better: without anyone even bringing up the subject, he goes on to say, "and about the dinosaurs; I'm pretty sure they didn't really exist... I mean, they've discovered fossils and stuff, but I dunno... Maybe they're from another planet or something."................ Are you serious? Please, please, just can somebody shove a shotgun barrel up my eyeball and pull the trigger?! Haha wow I have never been so embarrassed to be someone's comp before. I felt so bad about that lesson. Just for those of you who don't know, we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, do not believe that dinosaurs are from a different planet. Hahaha. And seriously? Science is such a blessing in our lives. All the life-saving medications we have, all the technology we have is thanks to wonders of science. I've never really understood the whole "religion and science can't coexist" idea. To me, science has always seemed to just help prove to me the genius of God. Of how everything He created just works so amazingly, and makes so much sense. And I'm not gonna claim that I know much about how the earth was formed, but the Bible itself says that God created animals before He created man. Monkeys, or their ancestors, did exist before humans. Not saying anything more, but just... Science is not something we need to avoid and fight against and disbelieve. Personal opinions of a dumb kid named Victor Hemsley.

Anyway, today is some festival (well, actually the whole month is this ongoing festival) and we're gonna go out and see what's happening after we send off these e-mails. On Tuesday there was this big Pro-Green event in the main plaza. What is this, Eugene?! Freaking hippies...

Well... what else? Uh, well, William got called as the new branch Mission Leader! Kinda sick. He's still new in the church and he's prepping for his own mission. Radical City! Wasn't Dad mission leader once upon a time? Neato neato neato.

I swear I had some more stuff to tell you guys, but I can't remember. So I'm gonna finish this one up.

Checkit, the frontman of The Killers says 'hi':

Muuuuuuuuusic! I figure that Cove Reber is a member of the Church, which makes it okay for me to listen to Saosin every single day, right? Haha. And Christian Jacobs is Mormon so that means I can also listen to The Aquabats 24/4, right? And Travis Barker used to be in The Aquabats, so that means I can listen to blink-182, right?!?! Nahh, I'm not listening to any of those. But seriously there is a decent amount of members of the Church who play in bands that I like. Still working on plenty of songs of my own. Stay tuned in two years! (I still have two years left, right?)

Aight, I gotta get out of here. I'll write again next week!

Buckets of love and illegal kisses!

-Elder Hemsley

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

" I sat there with a huge smile on my face I just thought to myself, this is what it’s all about. This is why I'm a missionary."

Bonjour uh... amigos...

Wait, how do you say that in French? Psh. I never knew how to speak French...

Anywho, I really like you guys just so you know. Got an awesome package from the fam. Thank you thank you! Candies (Elder Villatoro very much appreciated his bag of candy too!), some random weird notes from Sam (freaking weirdo...), some vites (I am now less likely to die of rice poisoning!), Sharpies, and best of all, PHOTOS! So good!! Thank you so much!! Maybe made me a teensy homesick, but more than anything it just made me super happy and I love and miss the heck out of all your dumb faces! And what the heck-- Sam looks so different! He's a giant!! What happened?! I couldn't recognize his voice either when we spoke on Momma's Day. What have you done to my little brother?! And its also way weird to me that Bryn went to prom. Wow, my prom was two years ago... Two years is short!! And I also got the Conference Ensign too. M3gaTh4nkyou! I'm still reading October Conference issue. Oh yeah, and also got that letter that Bryce Giles sent me for Christmas. Hahaha. Bryce, it's my mom's fault that it took so long to get here. Thanks for writing though! I remember every Christmas time in seminary I would always be like "oh crap, we have to write the missionaries?! I have no idea what to say to them!!" Haha. Keep preppin' for the mish and go out there and serve with your big bro!

Ham, just so ya know, I will never pick a fave pro sports team! Just to annoy you! I like the Toon Squad from Space Jam.

Well, I guess I'll start telling you about how my week was... Well... I don't really want to that much. It was prob our best week so far of the transfer. But, I have my journal with me, and I decided instead of telling you what happened I'm just gonna copy directly out of my journal so I don't have to do too much thinking. This e-mail will be mostly parts of my journal entries from this past week. Ready?? Here we go!

I'll start with one that really doesn't have to do with anything but it will make for a good guessing game as to what I was referring to:


Hmm... What can I say about today? Not much. Had more than our fair share of appointments fall through. Other than that, three years ago today was one of the best, and most important days of my entire life.

Know what happened three years ago on May 30th?... Me neither. ;)


Today was full of visits which was a much welcomed, and much needed change! At 5:00 we had an appointment with Silvia (The lady I wrote about in my last e-mail who has been reading her Book of Mormón and knows its true), and at 3:00 we went to stop by Hermana Ana's (president of Relief Society) home to ask her if she could come visit Silvia with us. She said yes. She's always super awesome and super willing to help us. One of the strongest members in Olmos. Possibly the strongest. So Elder Villatoro and I left and visited these two old ladies and then came back to Ana's house and from there the three of us went to go visit Silvia. Sick visit! Ana and Silvia hit it off right away. And Ana helped and talked a lot! Lots of times when members teach with us they have no idea what to do and don't really help all that much, but Ana was great. We spoke about eternal families and the Plan of Salvation and it was way good. And Silvia's neighbor, Diana was there too. Silvia's husband died four years ago and so that's why we decided to focus on eternal families. It was a really good lesson and I felt the Spirit really strong. And Silvia's excited to come to church on Sunday! And Diana said she would come too! That would be awesome.


Well, May is over... Fast! Today we got a surprise call in the morning from Elder Espinosa telling us that he and Elder Llallahui were coming to spend the day with us in Olmos. Sick! So we've been with them all day and we're crammed in this ridiculously small room. We did splits all day and I got to spend the day with Elder Espinosa which was sweet. He's my ZL and he was also comps with Elder Choc. Had a good day with him.

Discovered a soda today that tastes similar to Mountain Dew Typhoon. Not quite as good, but similar. Pinapple Concordia.


Today was 'aight. Started out so promising, but, of course almost every appointment is falling through. Elder Espinosa and Elder Llallahui left this morning after breakfast. I did not sleep well last night. This room is far too small for four elders! Been exhausted all day.

Today we had an appointment to visit a guy we met who told us he's a witch and he used to practice witchcraft but he wants to change his life and wants a copy of the Book of Mormon. Well, we went, and he was just leaving. He told us to come back later in the evening, so we did, and he wasn't there. Psh, go figure. The same person falls through on us twice in one day. Anyway, he's missing his left thumb and I'm convinced it has to do with his witchcraft. One of his rituals probably called for a thumb. Creepy.

We also went to go visit two old ladies named Francisca and Victoria. When we showed up one of them told us "Oh, we thought you were going to come visit on Saturday..." and then after a short pause said "Oh... today's Saturday..." Haha. Silly old people.

Anyway, a load of people told us this week that they'd be at church tomorrow. Tomorrow we shall see...

Pineapple flavored Concordia soda is so good!!!


Today started out pretty awesomeradical. Well, its Fast Sunday which means we had our testimony meeting today. Remember how I said tons of people told us they would come to church today? Well... Only one investigator came, and one inactive sister. Psh, dissappointing. But awesome because the investigator who came was Silvia! She came a little late. We had already partaken of the sacrament and Elder Villatoro and I had already shared our testimonies with the congregation. I didn't see her arrive, but Hermana Ana saw her through the window and went outside to greet her and lead her inside, and then she sat with her. So awesome! Hermana Ana is the best! I was so happy to see Silvia there! A sister named Carmen was sitting behind us, and when Silvia walked in she said to us "Elders! You're teaching her the discussions? She's my good friend!" Ah, awesome! Also the inactive lady who showed up was a sister named Haïdee who we've stopped by to visit a couple times in the past. Years ago she gave penchant to the missionaries and was later baptized. She had some problems with some members and stopped coming to church about a year ago, but the other day when I was with Elder Espinosa we stopped by and talked for a few minutes and got her to agree to come to church today, and she actually came!!

But the awesome part wasn't that they came, it was how the meeting went. So many of the people who bore their testimonies shared how they were so happy to see Haïdee in the congregation and how much they love her. The members were just pouring out their love for this sister and I felt so happy for her. She may have had problems with some members in the past, but there's no way she couldn't have felt loved and accepted at church today. Reminded me of the parable of the Prodigal Son. So, that was the best. But also, Hermana Carmen got up and bore her testimony and shared how happy she was to see her good friend (Silvia) at church and how she's never had the chance to talk with her about her faith but she's always kept her in her prayers. She shared about how she's prayed for "this friend" when she was passing through her most difficult trials, like when her husband died, and asked God to bless her and that one day she'd be able to have an eternal family. We just spoke with Silvia about eternal famlies the other day so that was so awesome! Silvia was teary-eyed. Another sister also knew Silvia and also shared in her testimony how happy she was to see Silvia there at church. Hermana Ana also went up and shared another great testimony. The whole time I was just sitting there taking it all in and just feeling so incredibly good and so incredibly happy during the meeting. The outpouring of love for these two sisters was just incredible and as I sat there with a huge smile on my face I just thought to myself, this is what it’s all about. This is why I'm a missionary. In all honesty, it was truly one of the most amazing things I've witnessed on my mission, and one of my best experiences so far. What a blessing to have been able to play a part in letting these two sisters have an experience like that. Best ever.

Later in Priesthood meeting, a sister named Bertha came in and asked Elder Villatoro and I to come with her. She was in a hurry, and we soon realized it was because another sister who suffers from something similar to epilepsy had passed out in Relief Society and she needed a blessing. The sister's name is Maria. The sisters lifted her into a chair and had to support her as Elder Villatoro anointed her with oil, and as I gave the blessing. As I was giving the blessing (which is always hard for me to do in Spanish...) I just felt this quick, but strong impression, and before I knew it I surprised myself as I heard the words that were coming out of my mouth saying that she would have angels helping her and supporting her. After the blessing the sisters thanked us and we made our way back to Priesthood meeting. I felt strange. But good-strange. I felt the Spirit, and I felt like God had truly put his words in my mouth, because I had surprised myself by what I said in that blessing. God gives us so many promises in the scriptures, and I'm experiencing the fulfillment of so many of these promises out here on the mission. This gospel is so true. I would have to be a total idiot to ever fall away from the church after all that I've experienced and witnessed these past few months, and honestly, throughout my entire life. Today I felt like a tool of the Lord, and that's a good feeling.

In the afternoon we went to go visit a man named Julian Castro for the first time. We met him a couple weeks back and he had some good questions about life after death so we gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and today we were finally able to visit with him. Aside from the fact that it took us forever to leave his house because he just would not stop talking, I like this guy, because he asks all the right questions. Why are there so many churches today if they all teach about the same God? How can I know which is the right church? Why does your church use the Book of Mormon, and where does it come from? My favorite part of the visit was when he quoted John 10:16. He said "I have another question. In the Bible it says 'And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.' And my question is: Did Jesus Christ ever make it to the Americas?" I honestly couldn't hold back my smile. Oh man, that is exactly what that verse is referring to! So I pulled out one of our contact cards that has a picture of Christ appearing to the people of ancient America, and it has the question "Did you know that Jesus Christ came to America?" and cites John 10:16. I gave him the card and then we explained to him a little more about that. Way cool! I feel like he will be able to progress. He also has some relatives in the church, so even better! Awesome.

Anyway, after that, Peru starting playing against Columbia in a fierce game of soccer and everyone and their dog and their dog's cat was inside their home watching the game. The streets were deserted. Completely empty. Weirdest thing ever. Peru's playing futbol? The whole town shuts down. Our day was pretty much forced to a halt at that point. Good day though.

Another event of interest today would be that my comp clogged the toilet with like half a roll of toilet paper, and me having to unclog it. Boo...

Overall good week. Best week of the transfer so far. Here's to an even better week this week. I'm convinced we can get Silvia to commit to a baptismal date this week. We're going to visit her with Hermana Carmen. Superb!

Phew... that was mucho typing... Well, I'm outta time now, but that was pretty much my week. Pretty good one if I do say so myself. We have one week left of this transfer. Next Monday we'll know if either one of us is getting transferred to another area. I really, really don't want to leave Olmos!!

Concordia soda is so good!!! Almost Typhoon... well... sort of similar... sort of.

Fun fact: The last thing I drank at my house at like 4:00AM immediately before leaving for two years was Mountain Dew Typhoon. Mmmm....

Oh yeah, here's a cool video:

Aight I love you thanks for being cool okay bye chao.

-Elder Hemsley

Victor sent a bunch of new pictures.  Here are a few of my favorites.  The rest can be seen by clicking on the slideshow at the top of this blog. -- Victor's Mom


"Hey look at me."
  (I included this one to show the size of the bug.)
"Hey just chillin' with this llama."

"Tom DeLonge?"

"Making fried bananas!"

"I don't want to live on this planet anymore..."
(You need to look at this one close up to see why he says that!)

Friday, June 1, 2012

"I ate guinea pig..."

Hola familiarinos!

I don't know what that means but sometimes I make up words that sound españoly to me.

This week... I got sick. Didn't do a whole lot this week. Kinda boring. Kinda icky. Got some good ol' mail from you guys once again! Thank you so much (for to playing my game)! another Super Mario reference

Yes mother, I am equally as confused as you are as to how come everyone here is Catholic, yet nobody is married. Well, actually, not really. The reason so many people are Catholic here is because a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away called Peru, Catholicism was forced upon this country by law, and now everyone here is Catholic by tradition, but not really by faith. Its not like other places in the world where people are Catholic because they actually want to be Catholic. Here it's often just because their great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great aunt was forced to be Catholic.

Dad, your letter in español was mostly good. Haha. But what you said about "la hora Peruana" or "Peruvian Time" is 100% true!!! Like 101% true. Can I just share that quote you sent me with the rest of the world so they can understand as well? Okay, well, I'm gonna. This is La Hora Peruana (according to a book that Greg is reading, Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time): "This is the code, indecipherable to North Americans, by which Peruvians determine the latest possible moment that it is acceptable to arrive for an appointment. The statement "I'll be right back" can mean just that, or it can mean that the speaker is about to depart via steamship for Cairo. . . . By one estimate, each Peruvian arrives a total of 107 hours late each year, a number that is shocking only because it seems so low. My friend Esteban, an Ivy League-trained businessman living in Lima, needed to lie to his mother in order to get her to his wedding on time. He told her the ceremony began at noon when it actually started at 4 p.m. She arrived at ten minutes to four, red-faced and puffing." Real thing. We've had to lie to people about when activities start too, and they still come late. One other thing that La Hora Peruana includes is apparently not being at your house at the time that you invited someone to come over. I get to experience that one every day too. I don't understand!!! It truly is an indecipherable code to me.

Sam writes me weird letters. I would like to share an example of what the letters I receive from my little brother are like:

"I can't even tell you how much delicious foods you've missed out on, but it's crazy, it's like mom was trying to make all the best foods after you left. Mom says soon we're making chocolate mousse and donuts. you're gonna miss out on so much." - Sam

Haha. Thanks Sam. Shut yo' face!

Anyway on Tuesday we had our multi-zone conference in Chiclayo which was way awesome! My favorite part is always when President Risso speaks. He gives the best talks ever! He gave the coolest talk about The Bible and he always gets me so stoked to be a missionary. Also, in some missions in the world, missionaries aren't allowed to drink sodas, or specifically sodas like Coca-cola or Pepsi. But President Risso is so awesome that he gives us Coca-cola at our conferences. Haha. Most people who know anything about my soda preferences (MOUNTAIN DEW MOUNTAIN DEW!!!) know that I've never really liked Pepsi or Coke that much. But since coming to Peru, I love them both. Especially Coke. I think it's a mix between the fact that the sodas taste different here, and that in comparison to all the other drinks which aren't that good, Pepsi and Coke are the most delicious thing in the world. Kinda weird though that my whole life I've never had any problems with drugs or anything but now that I'm a missionary I'm becoming a coke addict. LOL!! Haha. We also got to eat pizza from Pizza Hut which was clearly the best meal I've had since leaving home (actually not, because two times in the MTC in Provo we got to eat Papa Johns. Better). Also I found the elders who are now in Pacasmayo and talked to them for a bit to find out that Diana still hasn't been baptized! Nooo!! Patience...

After the conference Elder Monzon came back to Olmos with me for a work visit which was way fun. He's a way cool guy from Cuzco and he's just about done with his mish. Learned a lot from him. And a miracle happened too! On Wednesday, four appointments in a row didn't fall through! Wow!!! Amazing!!! Thursday morning, when the work visit ended, was when I started feeling sick. Ick. We had our district and zone meetings, and then I could barely eat my lunch, and then on the way back to Olmos I started feeling way worse and we couldn't go out for the rest of the night. Friday we went out for a little bit but I started feeling horrible and had to go back to the room to do a lot of nothing for the rest of the day. Saturday I still felt sick too. But like I told you last week, we got invited to eat guinea pig with a family from the branch and even though I felt like crap I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that so we went, I ate guinea pig, it was really good, I got sicker because of it. Hahaha. That night we went to our last appointment even though I felt bad just because we were so bored in the room we had to go out and do something. I learned from experience that the busier you are on the mission, the less homesick you are. We barely did anything for like three days, and I got homesick! Haha. But being in the room so much wasn't a total waste of time. I read over 30 chapters of the Bible on Saturday. Haha. I read all of Revelation, thus finishing the New Testament (!!!) and like ten chapters of Exodus. I read Revelation when I felt like studying, and Exodus when I was more in the mood for a story. Haha. Revelation is way cool because the whole rest of the New Testament is the life of Jesus Christ and the life of his Apostles after his death and then you get to Revelation and BAM it's the freaking apocalypse!! Which is actually what the book of Revelation is called in Spanish: Apocalypsis. A lot of it went right over my head, but I understood a lot of it too. Way awesome stuff. Exodus was fun just because its the famous Moses story that everyone knows. Kewl stuff. And now that I'm done with the NT I wanna start reading the BoM in English again. Since I've been on the mish I've read the Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price (twice), the New Testament, Our Search for Happiness (twice), Our Heritage, Jesus the Christ, and this other missionary book that Grandpa Hemsley gave me. Lotsa reading! I wish I had more time to read too. The scriptures are the coolest.

Oh yeah, also on Thursday when we were in Lambayeque eating lunch with our zone a kid from the church came by hoping to find some North American missionaries because he had to interview native English speakers in English and get it on video for a school project. Elder Scrivner and I were the only ones, so we both got interviewed separately. It was a really short, really basic interview, but the weirdest thing happened: I had such a ridiculously hard time speaking in English!! It was so hard for me to come up with answers to his questions in ingles. It was ridiculous. He asked me simple things about Lambayeque, and to make it worse, I don't know anything about Lambayeque, but he asked me something like if I could improve one thing about Lambayeque what would it be, and trying my very best to make words come out of my mouth that made sense I struggled and said something like "uhh, the dirt roads." Haha. Dang. That makes one of two experiences on my whole mission where it's been hard for me to speak English. The first was in Pacasmayo one night when Elder Choc asked me to say a prayer in English. That was really hard too. Which doesn't even make sense because I still say all of my personal prayers in English. But whenever I pray out loud it's always in Spanish.

One silly thing that happened when we went out for a little bit on one of the days I was sick was that we knocked a house that we had previously knocked a few days earlier who told us we could return. Well, they weren't there, but there was this brand spankin' new "This is a Catholic Home" sign in their window. The guy must have thought "oh crap, did I seriously just tell the Mormons they could come back?! Ohh no, better put this sign up now!!" But the whole reason the sign was so great was that the background image was an LDS image of Jesus Christ. Haha. Classic newb mistake.

Yesterday we also went out and after two appointments in a row fell through (typical...) I got the feeling that we should go stop by and visit this other lady we've been visiting but didn't have an appointment with. But she lived mega far away from where we were. We decided to go anyway, and after a half hour of walking (which is way too much when you're feeling sick) we finally got to her house and she let us right in. The last time we visited we gave her a Libro de Mormón and left her a chapter to read. Well, we asked her if she was able to read it, and not only had she read the chapter, but afterwards she also started reading it from the beginning and said that when she reads the Book it feels her with feelings of hope and relief, and that she knows it's true. Wow!! This was a lady that I wasn't so sure would be able to progress before, but now we're def gonna focus on her a little more. So cool!! The Book of Mormon is so powerful if people actually read it and ponder it. Coolest ever.

One thing we get to eat a lot here that I actually really like are fried bananas, and I told Hermana Rosa that I wanted to learn how to make them, so today for lunch we went to her house and she taught me how to make fried bananas! Haha. So fun! So good. I got pictures but I can't send any from this dumb computer. So now on top of scrambled eggs and macaroni and cheese from the box I also know how to make fried bananas. Woo! Haha. In school I remember I survived on Eggo waffles, Spaghettios, microwavable hot dogs, and a lot of Subway sandwiches because I lived like six seconds away from Subway. Maybe I should learn how to make food someday.

Yeah, anywayz, that was my icky sick week. I sure like you guys and I'm excited to probably get mail from you tomorrow (I dunno, sometimes we don't get mail...). You are all the best and I really miss you and Mountain Dew! I miss the United States more than anything. We have these missionary DVDs we sometimes watch to study but they're of missionaries in like San Diego and the whole time I'm watching them I'm like "gah, their room is so much cooler than mine!" "Hey! They get cell phones!" "No fair, their appointments don't fall through!" "Why do they get to drive cars?!!" "Their ward is so awesome!!!" Hahaha. But whatev, the mission is the best. See you all via e-mail next week!


-Elder Hemsley