Hello hello hello!
This has been one of the more hectic days of my entire mission. Transfers. Missionaries leaving (Problems. Two missionaries who were supposed to go back to the United States today ended up getting stuck here because their passports got sent to Trujillo by accident and they can't leave the country without those things... Going home tomorrow instead.), interviewing each missionary who's going home about their financial situation (if they have any debts or stuff). Missionaries arriving (in a couple hours). Plus monthly payments happening at the exact same time (still working on them). And my regular weekly financial report I have to do every Monday (I'm having a lot of problems with that this week. Lots of money that was supposed to get sent to the mission account never showed up. Basically, the equivalent of 2,000 dollars that belong to the mission is missing). Plus not feeling too hot health-wise. Plus I'm tired and I want a rest!! I just have a little bit of time to kill right now because Elder Hatch has to update the IMOS (Internet Mission Office System) page we use to run the mission and it takes about and hour and a half and basically I've done all I can do for now until that gets updated. So I'm just waiting. Thought I'd send you guys an e-mail or something. I am tired, and stressed.
But, this week was a good week!... Sort of. Well, honestly, not really that good. I think I've gotten sick with three different things at three different points this week. With periods of feeling just fine in between each one. What gives?! We've all been really busy this week too. Hardly any proselyting at all. However, the big highlight of the week was Piter's (yes, that's the real way his name is spelled) baptism! Piter got baptized on Saturday, and so did another kid who the other missionaries taught named Jeffrey (probably not how you spell that name. I don't know with all of these English names spelled in Spanish). One big first for me this week was that I did my first baptismal interview (just wondering how many times I can use parenthesis in this e-mail...)! For Jeffrey. A lil' kid, so not too intimidating. Seriously, I don't know what I'd do if I was interviewing an adult and all the sudden they just started confessing to me their worst sins. Kids are a pretty safe interview. It went really well too. I did what I could to make it less of an interview and more of a conversation/lesson with Jeffrey. He's a pretty awesome kid. Gave good answers. Knows his stuff. Has a lot of faith for a kid. I helped him understand a few things that weren't so clear to him. Read some scriptures. Signed his baptismal record. Good to go! It was a neat experience.
So, this week we went to go visit Piter again, and then just in the middle of the lesson, completely randomly, he's like "I have a question... who is going to baptize me?" We told him that it was really up to him and his family, as long as the person is a priesthood holder. We asked him who he wanted to baptize him, and he was like "Elder Hemsley!" Haha. Alright! I haven't baptized in a while. But that made me happy. The actual baptism was kind of hectic. But I guess that's just expected. It was super stressful actually, but in the end it all turned out well. Piter is such a champ! He's always been so excited about getting baptized, and he was so ready. But, when we actually got in the font, and realized that the water is a bit colder than we were expecting (okay, it wasn't really that cold to me. But to a Peruvian, it was freezing, and possibly life-threatening) he turned to me and was like "Elder Hemsley, no puedo. No puedo!" I can't do it! I was just like "si, puede." Yes, you can. It'll be quick! And with that he calmly faced his fate, and went under the water, possibly never to return. One second later, he came back out. Baptized. Freezing. Haha. But he's honestly one of the most amazing people I've met on my mission. The coolest kid!
On Sunday he got confirmed. The bishop invited Piter to come up to the front for the confirmation, and then caught us by surprise by asking us missionaries to confirm him. So, we went up there, and I got to confirm Piter too. Pretty cool. That meeting was also the primary program, and Piter gave a short talk and it was pretty awesome. The only dumb thing was that the microphone wasn't working, and so basically we couldn't hear anything because little kids are shy and do not speak loudly at the pulpit. It was kind of sad honestly. But whatever.
Piter's seven-year old cousin Karina came to his baptism, and at the end I asked her what she thought of it. She told me that she really liked it. I asked her what her favorite part was, and she told me it was the part when I baptized him "in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost," and she liked that part because she's happy that her cousin received blessings from Jesus. She told me that she's turning eight in July and that she wants to be baptized too. Pretty awesome. Haha.
Jeffrey got baptized before Piter, and his baptism was pretty great too. The assistants also had a baptism in their area. So much for the idea that the office elders don't ever baptize anybody! Saturday marks the fifth, sixth, and seventh baptisms we've had in the office since I got here. We're doin' good! And more on the way too.
The whole getting sick multiple times this week was a bit of a bummer. Y'know, I'm getting real sick of getting sick. It’s not that I wish my mission was already over by any means, but, I'm really starting to wish that I was at least serving my mission in the United States instead of here, purely for health reasons (well, okay, actually a lot of reasons. But health currently being the main one). Living is a continuous state of unhealthiness is probably one of the worst things ever. I need to get back to my American diet of cheeseburgers and Mountain Dew to regain my long-lost perfect health.
Speaking of America, and stereotypes (because I was totally talking about stereotypes), my whole life I always bought into the whole "Americans are the fattest people in the world" stereotype because all we eat about 700 cheeseburgers every day and all of our food is fake and we hate to exercise 'n stuff like that. Well, that stereotype is wrong. Because whoever thinks that's true has never been to Peru. Peru is by far a fatter country than the United States. By far. Hmm, turns out chicken and rice isn't the healthiest diet in the world.
Hmm... what else. Oh yeah, monthly payments. Those are fun! NOT. Especially when they happen at the same time as transfers. And because of the timing, this month was the first month I've ever had to come into the office on Sunday to do it. Yep, yesterday I worked on the Sabbath day. Monthly payments. Always a fun time. I've only got two more left supposedly. Unless President wants to keep me here a really long time. Which is also possible. But more likely than not, I'll only have to do it twice more. The second time being me teaching the new financial secretary how to do it. I'm not in a big hurry to get out of the office though. I do enjoy it here. Now I'm just worried about what I'm gonna have to do at the end of the year... No idea.
Oh yeah! And learned some cool news from Pacasmayo today! Elder Palacios is one of the elders who went home today, and he finished his mission in Pacasmayo. He was telling me about how Mama Nena and Papi Alberto still miss and talk about "Elder Victor" and always talk about how I was always so thankful to them and how I always ate a ton of food. Haha. I did actually eat a lot more back than. I think that was before my rice tanks overflowed in my stomach. So I started asking him some stuff. I asked him about Juan Piedra, who got baptized when Elder Choc and I were serving together. Elder Palacios told me that Juan is super active in the church and he's basically one of the most faithful members of the branch! He's a counselor in the elders quorum now. Juan doesn't even live in Pacasmayo, he lives in another little town outside of Pacasmayo called Jequetepeque, but Elder Palacios told me that he comes to Pacasmayo basically every day to go visit members and give service 'n stuff. He's always volunteering to help serve! He told me that Juan has been preparing to go to the temple to get sealed to his wife in a few months, and that they're both super excited about it!! Ahh, coolest news!! He told me that Juan's wife's cousin also recently got baptized, which is big news because apparently she was "super Catholic" before. Wow wow wow! Just hearing all that great news about Juan and his family and his plans to be sealed in the temple soon made me so happy. Honestly, probably the best news I've heard since I've been out here. Elder Palacios said "honestly, I think that Juan should be the branch president." Juan Piedra is an amazing person, and it was a huge blessing to be able to get to know him and to help him progress in his faith and understanding of the Gospel with Elder Choc. I wish I could go back and visit!! Seriously, if I ever get discouraged in my mission, or feel like I'm not having much success or whatever, all I have to do is think about Juan Piedra, and I realize that it's all been more than worth it.
Anyway, I didn't get any mail from you guys this week. Except for the missing letter from Mom that didn't show up last week. So, if you asked me any questions I can't answer them yet and I can't comment on all the cool stuff you usually tell me about.
This e-mail is a little shorter than normal, but that's because it’s late and we're still busy and I gotta go do stuff. Transfers are pretty hectic. Fun though. Sort of. The best part is getting to eat dinner at the mission home every time with the new missionaries. Lookin' forward to dinner tonight. Gotta admit, the office does have it's perks. Ha.
Anyways, I gotta get going. I feel like I'm forgetting about stuff that I wanted to tell you, but I suppose if I remember it than I can just tell you next week instead.
Don't grow up too much more! Seriously, don't. You're all super old now in all the photos you send me. Everyone. Old.