Well, this week was another busy week. Wasn't supposed to be, but lots of surprises came and punched us in the face with a brick (oh gosh... just imagine how bad that would hurt... haha). But, something amazing happened this week! A miracle perhaps. It’s that yesterday we taught six lessons! SIX!!! Actually, eight, because we also taught Gospel Principles at church, and then we also taught the class the third hour. Eight lessons in one day. I actually felt like a real live missionary yesterday!! Look, in the office, I've had entire weeks with less lessons than I had yesterday. So, yesterday was a good day. It did indeed make me happy. Teaching that third hour class was a little bit stupid though. A few days ago, we specifically asked our leaders if we were going to have to do anything for the third hour on Sunday, so that we would have time to prepare. We were told that we weren't going to have to do or teach anything. For sure no. Well, we show up to church yesterday only to be informed that, just kidding, actually we are teaching the class! ARE YOU SERIOUS? I really, really dislike how unorganized everything is here. The Eugene Third Ward and every other ward I've ever been to before becoming a missionary are perfection compared to everything I've experienced here. Seriously the mission has just gotten me super excited about being in a functioning ward when I get home. Never really appreciated before how smooth everything really went back home. Maybe this was God's way of trying to get me to appreciate church more. It's working really well.
This past week we've really been focusing on visiting less active or inactive members. The vast majority of our lessons (of which, the vast majority were all yesterday) were taught to less active members. We're also visiting the active members to gain their confidence and to get them more excited about and involved in not only missionary work, but in their callings and their responsibilities that they already have. Seems to be working little by little. Elder Perea and I feel like we really need to focus on strengthening this ward and the members. Almost all of the inactive members are inactive because of a problem they had with some other member of the church. The ward is not super close, and it’s something we need to fix before we can start thinking about baptizing more people into this congregation that's just going to end up offending them at some point and adding them to the giant statistic of inactive members. But we are seeing progress, which is a good thing. Members are starting to give us referrals 'n stuff which is a million times better than knocking doors and hoping someone will listen to us. So maybe we're not seeing a ton of investigators right now, but we really feel that what we're doing right now is necessary in order to help the work move forward.
I saw Maria yesterday at church and set up an appointment with her, which I'm stoked about because we haven't been able to visit her in a long time and visits with her are always the best because she was just so super prepared to accept the gospel in her life! She's super active in the church, and she goes to seminary every day, and she was telling us about how she's planning on inviting some friends to an activity we're going to have this Friday. She also told us that she went to that transmission for President Monson's birthday that was a few weeks ago. I didn't even know she went to that! She's awesome. Jessica is also really great. Also active. Visiting her is funny because it always seems like she isn't really that interested or paying that much attention but she really takes everything in and understands everything we teach her so fast. Have some good converts here.
I've also been busy being the Financial Secretary as always. Lots of payments, lots of missionaries asking for reimbursements. That's probably the most common thing. "ELDER HEMSLEY REIMBURSE ME DANGIT!!!" "Uh, are you loco?! You can't just spend 50 dollars of your zone fund on a cake and soda!!" Hehe. Stuff like that happens.
Lunch with members this weekend was fun. This time I noticed that there was a big ol' dead bug in my juice, after I had already drinken (drunken?... drunk?... drank.) most of it. Eww.
One highlight of the week was that at one point while we were in a taxi (here in Chiclayo there are actual taxis, not just mototaxis) the song "Crazy" by Simple Plan came on, and even though they aren't exactly my favorite band in the world, it was the first time in like a million months that I had heard that type of music, and it made me really happy... and I totally knew all the words too. Hahaha. I'm stupid. I guess one time I also heard All the Small Things in a taxi. That one made me just a teense homesick.
Hmm, well, what else... Did you know that headaches hurt a lot worse here? I don't get headaches that often, but whenever I do, they kill. They hurt so bad it's ridiculous. I'm convinced it has something to do with my failing health because of my diet consisting of pure rice and chicken. I think the mission is going to kill me. Here everyone and their dog has kidney problems. The most common problem to hear is that someone has kidney stones or some other problem with their kidneys. "Sorry, I couldn't come to church because of my darn kidneys." EAT SOMETHING OTHER THAN RICE AND CHICKEN. I've been taking those vitamins daily. Dunno if they're helping. They probably are. So far my kidneys haven't hurt. But living in this culture makes me fear for my life.
There is one problem that about 99% of missionaries experience on their mission. And it's called "getting fat." Seriously every missionary gets a lot fatter while they're out here and everyone is concerned about it. I haven't yet had a companion who wasn't upset about the weight he was gaining. However, I, Victor Paul Hemsley, have not gained one single pound (or kilo) since I've been out here. I haven't lost weight either. I am the exact same as I was before I got here. I never change. I suppose it is a gift. Speaking of "kilos," all the measurements here confuse the heck outta me. I don't know how hot it is when someone tells me that it's 30 degrees, because they're using Celsius. I don't know how far away something is when someone tells me it's 10 kilometers away. I don't know how tall someone is when they tell me they're 1.5 meters tall. I don't know how much something weighs when someone tells me the thing weighs 20 kilos. I don't know how fast we're going when we're driving 80 kilometers per hour. And I don't know how big a shoe is when someone tells me it's size 40. SIZE FORTY?!!?!?! Gosh dangit. Why is everything different. The thing is the metric system makes a heck of a lot more sense than feet, and miles, but I don't understand any of it.
Anyway, I don't think I've ever really told you about my pensionista here, which is dumb, because she's the best!! Hermana Janet Yataco. She's pretty much known as the best pensionista in the mission. Although, I still think it's hard to top Hermana Rosa. They're both awesome though. Anyway she and her husband also run this business selling LDS stuff like rings, scripture cases, backpacks, t-shirts, and lotsa other stuff. I should probably buy some stuff like scripture cases. I've gone over an entire year with naked scriptures because everyone told me in Lima not to buy any because when we got to our mission we'd find members who would be able to make us or sell us better ones. Well, that was a lie. But now it looks like I can finally buy some. Haha. My Bible already broke once, but I superglued it back together, while at the same time accidentally getting some superglue on my pants which is literally impossible to get off, and also accidentally getting a lot on my skin. But that was a few months ago and I think my skin is back to normal. But anyway Hermana Yataco cooks better than anyone I've met so far in the mission and she's basically the nicest person in the entire world. She makes us feel like part of the family, like Hermana Rosa did when I was in Olmos. Got lucky with my pensionistas. Her whole family is awesome too. Her husband and her three daughters. And also some members live with them who are from Olmos, ironically, and they know all the people I got to see get baptized and sometimes give me cool updates about how they're still active and excited about the gospel 'n stuff. So that's fun too. It's fun times at the Yataco's!
Oh yeah, one funny thing is that I brought my Etch-a-Sketch on my mission, and that's not exactly a well-known toy here, even though it is in Toy Story which is a movie that everyone in the entire world has seen like 79 times. But basically nobody understands what it is our how it works. My companion almost threw it away the other day because he thought it was broken because he didn't know how to draw with it. NOOOOoooooooo!!!!!!! But luckily, that didn't happen. Haha. Speaking of that thing, I haven't used it in a while and my dream of becoming a pro Etch-a-Sketch artist is not really going anywhere.
I'm also hoping one of these days to go buy myself a new quena. Remember, that flute thing I told you about that I bought when I was in Pacasmayo? Well, the one I bought was super cheap and it's really more of a decoration than an actual instrument, so I want to go out and buy one that's actually good. I can play some Zelda songs and some Yellowcard songs though. Haha. And hymns. I guess. Clearly I'm focused on hymns. What I'm really looking to buy here is an ocarina. I know that they sell them here, I just don't know where!! When I was in the MTC in Lima and I had my first interview with President Cavanaugh, I told him about how I love playing music and so he pulled out this case of instruments he bought and inside (and really the only thing I noticed) was a wooden ocarina that basically looked exactly like the Zelda ocarina. WANT WANT WANT!!!!!!!!!!!! So I'm hoping to be able to find one of those too. Haha.
Oh! Speaking of ocarinas... Word on the street is that my birthday is coming up next month. Am I allowed to ask for birthday presents? Haha. I'm excited because Dad told me he already found a really awesome Christmas present that we're both going to like. I MISS CHRISTMAS!
Sounds like school is happening. Sounds like Classic South is a lot better than IHS too. Yay! I know from experience that that is so very extremely true. Hope you're all having a goodish school year. I'm glad I'm not studying right now. Though at the same time I can't wait to get back to Rexburg. No, Bryn, I didn't burn any articles of clothing when I reached the one year mark. I need all the clothes I have!! But I'm planning on leaving most of my clothes behind when I come home. I don't need ten white button-up shirts. Especially not the eight short sleeve ones. I've never really liked how those look. When I get home, no more short sleeves! But here, always short sleeves. The days when I have to wear my long sleeve shirts I die because it's so freaking hot. Wearing my suit is torture.
Anyway, I'll let you know when the package gets here. The cool thing about being in the office is that you're literally sending mail directly to me now. I spend at least half of every day at Maria Izaga 390, third floor. I even basically live on Maria Izaga, except the street name changes before it gets to our room. But its the same street. Kinda neato. I have enjoyed getting your letters a lot faster than I used to get them. Will be annoying to adjust once I get transferred to another area. But don't have to worry about that for a while. I'm way stoked because today for the first time since I left the MTC I heard from Elder Hickey! He's in Bolivia, and Elder Matagi, who was his companion in the MTC, is his companion again right now! So awesome. Miss those guys. I miss all the guys from the MTC. The MTC was way fun... in Provo.
It's October now and I realized while looking at that calendar you gave me that October is absolutely dominated by birthdays in our family. 12 birthdays in October?! Ridiculous. Anyway, Hunter's turning old in a few days, so Happy Birthday Hunter!!! I miss you a heck of a ton. Sam's birthday next week. Yikes, I'm missing out. When I get home can you bake me a chocolate mousse cake for every birthday that I've missed? Thanks.
Alright, I gotta go do stuff. I'll talk to you next week! Miss you all!!