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.
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."
"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!)