Bwhoa! Today is transfers so let's see if I can crank a decent e-mail out before things start getting too crazy.
Mom, I got your package on Saturday. The 13th. I immediately opened it up and was excited to see that my BIC pens had arrived! And other stuff I was expecting like a journal, a book, and Mike's BOM comics. Yes so awesome! And then a note fell out of the package wishing me a happy birthday... uh, oops! I didn't know it was a birthday package! I strongly considered not looking through the package any further, but, I had already seen almost all of the contents anyway, and so for the first time in my entire life I spoiled my birthday for myself. I, the king of waiting and never opening presents early, opened my birthday package a month early. So, I destroyed my birthday, and I am sad about it, but the package was so awesome!! I loved the photos! All my little cousins are freaking gigantic now!!! What happened?!? Star Tours photos made me jealous. Rocket photos make me miss Rocket. Thanks for everything you sent! The little stickers and CTR rings I'll have to start giving to the kids. Also for the first time in my entire life I'm now wearing a CTR ring. Haha. I'm going to keep the snacks safe until my birthday. I need at least something to look forward to. Star Wars gummies are for sure going to be delicious, because they're Star Wars. And chewy gobstoppers!!! And of course, the most awesomest part of the entire package... An ocarina!!! Coolest thing ever!!! I have been having fun playing with that. It actually distracted me quite a bit from my office work the day I got it. So much fun!! I'll be a Zelda song pro in no time! The ocarina is a lot easier than the dumb quena. Thank you thank you thank you! I assume that was Dad's and/or Sam's idea because the songbooks came from Pike Place. Yes, I am happy. I loved the package! Then, like a half hour later, the Dear Elders came, and I read Mom's letter that warned me that I might not want to open the package because it had birthday stuff in it... oops. Anyway, that was fun. Speaking of birthdays, I hope Sam had an awesome one!! I thought it was stupid when I looked at the calendar, and since dates are backwards here I saw "11/10/2012" and was like "wait a second, that's my birthday, not Sam's!!" I dunno, in Peru, our birthdays got flipped. Elder Hatch's birthday was also this week. Birthday's every day!
Yesterday something cool happened that we weren't expecting. Well, we were, but we didn't know when it was gonna happen. Our ward (El Porvenir) got combined with the Chiclayo Central ward which is Elder Chero's and Elder Samamé's ward. While combining wards is really more a sign of regression than progression, it's going to be a huge blessing for the two wards because both wards have been suffering for a really long time. Chiclayo Central hasn't even had a bishop for years. Anyway, the two wards combined and now the one ward stuck with the name "Chiclayo Central", so now my ward is different and its likely that my area will now change names from "El Porvenir" to "Chiclayo Central 2." That's my prediction anyway. Who knows. The new bishop of the recently formed ward is a member from Porvenir who's a really awesome RM who's definitely a great choice. He stepped up to the pulpit to speak, and for like two minutes he just stood there trying to fight back the tears and work up the strength to open his mouth and start speaking. He's super excited about the new ward and he already has tons of plans for how to help and make everything work right. So, we're excited. For me, the best part was seeing the chapel full for the first time since I've been here. Usually it's so empty! Now church attendance won't be so embarrassing. Hehe. I think it'll be a great change. Just what this area needs.
This week I got to wait in a heck of a lot of long lines. I sure do not like going to the bank. But I gotta do it all the time. Because transfers were coming up I ended up not being able to do too much on Saturday. We had planned to go teach like crazies and ended up stuck in the office until like 7:00. That's just kinda how the office is. It’s kind of sad sometimes. One day I will get back out there and teach all the time like a normal missionary. But for now, I will enjoy the benefits of an air conditioned office, seeing the President all the time, having fun with five other guys every day, etc... The office ain't so bad! This week I've had the privilege of having to deal with the zone leaders of one zone discovering that for the past three transfers four missionaries who live together have been receiving too much money for rent every month, and they never said anything and kept the money, and now we have to get the money back somehow and now a bunch of elders are in debt to the mission. Not that fun! Being the financial secretary you sorta get to learn who are the trustworthy missionaries and who aren't based on their willingness to cooperate with financial problems. Also beggars always get the most mad at me when I don't give them money. They don't really care if the Peruvians don't give, but when the "filthy rich American boy" doesn't want to give up one sol to buy their candies they're selling they sometimes get pissed. That bothers me a lot. I literally don't have a dollar to my name. I don't have any money to call my own whatsoever. Whatever I had I spent it to be here, and now I have nothing, and the whole Peruvian world just assumes I'm filthy rich and stuck up and selfish.
This week I finished my third journal! Whoa! This one took a little longer to fill than my last two. Shorter entries every day I think. Sometimes I don't have much time to write at night. Or much energy. But, I still haven't missed a single day! Although I am secretly excited that when I get home I will no longer be obligated by myself to write in my journal every single day. Because I don't want to. Speaking of writing, I have been making a seriously good effort to write some letters. I have been trying really hard, and I just have to say, that no mail is leaving Peru from Elder Hemsley. I just don't have time!! I've been writing one letter for like the past three weeks, adding a little bit here and there whenever I have a free moment, but never finishing it. I am trying though. Really hard.
While I'm on the subject of my journal, here are some scattered journal entries that might give you an idea of how my week went. My thoughts are scattered right now because today is ridiculous because of the transfers. Luckily I don't have to think too much when I have journals to copy from instead!! Here we go:
10/10/12 (my last journal entry in my third journal.)
Well, looks like I'm finishing another journal. I sure am gonna appreciate these things once I'm done. Don't like writing. Do like reading.
Today was alright. Had a lot of things to do in the office, but I made it more enjoyable by watching an entire three hour documentary the church made about how the King James bible came to be. It was called "Fires of Faith." I watched it while I was working. It was super interesting. Helped me to realize better that the Great Apostasy wasn't just a gigantic period of time where God basically ignored the world, but He was actually there every step of the way, inspiring men and preparing the way for something incredible: The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness. So many people died so that I could have a bible today. And for that I am so thankful. I love the scriptures. I love the hope they bring me, and the feeling that I'm close to my Heavenly Father. I love this church. I love my Savior. I want to spend the rest of my life learning more about Him every day. I am so blessed.
Chicken and rice. That is what I ate for lunch today. That's what my life seems to revolve around these days. Chicken and rice. Yesterday I had to keep myself from laughing or making some kind of comment as one of our investigators was telling us about how varied the food is here. "There's some of everything!" Yes, there is some of everything... if the only two foods that exist in this world are chicken and rice. Yep! Peru has some of everything! All two foods that exist on this planet!! I got tired of it oh so long ago. I long for whatever I used to eat back home. I don't remember what I used to eat. My food memories were wiped out and replaced by chicken and rice a long time ago. All I know is that back home the food was more delicious than chicken and rice.
I am currently suffering an unreasonably painful headache right now. These are starting to become far too common, and I am significantly nervous about my overall health. This place is killing me. As I'm growing spiritually, I'm dying physically. It worries me.
Today is Sam's birthday. I miss that guy. This is the third year in a row that I've missed his birthday. Not fair! He's going to be so different the next time I see him. It’s going to be so weird.
Well, I'm off to ease the pain by getting some sleep. Tomorrow is a new day. And another plate of chicken and rice.
Well it’s like 11:30. Too late to write! It's Elder Hatch's birthday and an egg fight in currently going on between Elders Chero and Samamé and Chuiz. Hatch didn't get egged! Me neither! Woo! Ate dinner with Prez tonight. Rad. Bed.
Yeah, so... there's some stuff. Elder Hatch somehow survived his birthday without getting egged. Somehow I don't think I'll be as lucky. His birthday was fun though because Hermana Yataco made us delicious tacos for lunch. Mmmm!! Think I'm gonna ask for birthday tacos too, since Dad's burgers are out of the question. We got to eat dinner with President and Hermana Risso also, which is always fun and always more delicious than basically anything else that exists in this country. Good times. I gave Hatchito one of my Star Wars gummies for his birthday. I am an incredibly generous and wonderful person.
I dunno what else really happened this week. We had a good district meeting. I seriously don't even remember what we were talking about, but I just remember that I felt the Spirit really strong and was receiving all kinds of inspiration for our investigators. Sometimes in the office we don't get to feel the Spirit as often or as strong, and so whenever it happens its especially special. Can those two words legally be right next to each other in the same sentence? Especially special. Hmm. I dunno, that was really one of the highlights of the week. We also went on splits two days this week as a district. We spent Thursday in Chiclayo Central, and Friday in El Porvenir. Thursday I went with Elder Chero and Friday with Elder Samamé. Had some fun with them and taught some good lessons and met some good people.
Jacqueline is driving now?!! Are you insane?!!? Wow, Eugene better be careful. Hehe. Seriously that is super weird to me. Jacqueline's like two years old!! She can't be driving!! Looks like the Ducks are pretty much pwning everyone in futbol americano. I feel like whenever that happens I'm not in Eugene. Didn't they do really good when I was in Rexburg? Kewl though. Believe it or not going to a football game sounds pretty fun right now. That is a rare occurrence for me. I just miss anything United Statesy. Another missionary from our stake got called to Brazil?? I feel like I'm basically the only missionary in the entire stake who is not serving in Brazil. I remember in Single's Ward there were like six of us who had mission calls. I was going to Peru, and the other five were going to Brazil. Ridiculous! Thanks for the list of missionaries in our family by the way. That was really cool. Was Great Grandpa Paul the first missionary, or were there even some before him? Kind of weird to think that I'm a fourth-generation missionary. Especially when everyone here is a first-generation member. Crazy. I'm super blessed. Oh yeah, Jacqueline, did you really go to a Justin Bieber concert? Because... are you serious?? We're gonna have to talk. Speaking of concerts, I miss concerts. When I get home I gotta hit up the heaviest metal concert in town and get my mosh on. Break some bones, loose some blood. Y'know, all the signs of a good concert.
Alright, today is kind hectic, and I gotta go do a lot of things. Gotta go see Elder Choc off at the airport and five other missionaries. Thanks so much for the awesome accidental early birthday once again! I'm practicing my ocarina. Way fun! Seriously there are way too many instruments that I want to learn. Maybe someday I will be able to learn them all. I miss you a ton!! Stop growing up!!
Hugs 'n stuff.
Elder (means "super old person") Hemsley
Victor sent more pictures this week. You can see them all by clicking on the slideshow at the top of this blog. Here are just a few of them:
"Playing my ocarina!"
"Elder Hatch's birthday dinner! (The mission home is by far the nicest home I've seen in over a year.)"