Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Among other eventful moments was the moment this week when I discovered that there was a giant cricket inside my pants. Ha. That was fun!"


Hey I'm a little limited on time today but we'll see what kind of an e-mail I can pump out with this ticking time limit. Okay 1, 2, 3 GO!

I'm currently in Lambayeque spending p-day with the rest of our zone, and we're staying the night because tomorrow we have a multi-zone conference in Chiclayo (those are the best!!) and it saves us a lot of money and a lot of time traveling to not go back to Olmos for the night. I just spend the past hour or so talking with Elder Huntsman (en ingles...) about SpongeBob and all the funny parts of every episode. Which is a TON of parts! We were just cracking ourselves up remembering SpongeBob episodes. The Tattletale Strangler is still the funniest. "GET YOUR FEET OUT OF MY EYE SOCKETS!!!" Hahaha. How I miss that yellow square.

Well... This week was... not the most successful week I've had... to say the least. Let's just say that on Thursday, at 5:00 PM was the first appointment of the entire week that didn't fall through. Oh man, we just had the absolute worst luck of all time this week! On Wednesday for example, the entire day was full of scheduled appointments. We had seven set-in-stone appointments for Wednesday. Every single one of the fell through. And all of our backup plans and other people we could go visit also weren't available and we couldn't get into any houses! What happened?? Well, I decided to keep track this week, and here is a scary statistic: This week we had a total of 22 set-in-stone appointments scheduled. Out of those 22, guess how many fell through?.... 18. Wow. Minimal success. But... just gotta keep workin' hard. I got a little fed up with all the appointments falling through though, so I took some contact cards that we have that we never use that have a picture of the Savior on them and say something to the effect of "What does Jesus Christ hope of me?" on it, and that's all it is with the name of the Church on the back of the card. Well, underneath that question I wrote in "Revelation 3:20" and I now leave those at the houses of people who have let us down multiple times with appointments. Lolz, look it up.

Last Monday we also went to La Cruz de Motupe for the second time. This time with the whole zone. Highlight of the trip: on our way back down the mountain this old lady passes by who's making her way up, notices our nametags, realizes who we are, and asks us in a really accusing tone "What are you doing here?!" "Just visiting" said one of the elders. She was way mad that us Mormons were visiting the cross. Jeez, its a nice hike. (No, I don't like hiking all of the sudden. Don't get any ideas. When I come back home, I don't want to go on any hikes.)

One silly thing that happened this week was that an Adventist missionary named Cezar approached us this week and gave us a free book. I forget what its called. But yeah, I took it. He was a nice guy. Asked us to pray for him. Yeah, cool. We talked a minute, and then I gave him a Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet. Fair trade, right? Yeah he took it and was all cool about it. I was tempted to be like "oh thanks, and we have a book we'd like to give you too!" and hand him a Book of Mormon, but I thought I'd better not. Anyway he was a cool guy, not offensive or anything like many people of other faiths that call us out in the street. So then the other day while my comp was in the shower I took a look at that book, looked at the table of contents and found a chapter called "In Defense of the Truth" and so I turned to that to see what truths they were defending. I had a pretty good idea before I read it. In fact, I guessed perfectly. All the chapter talked about was how important it is to keep the Sabbath Day holy on Saturday and not Sunday. It was ripping on the Catholic church like crazy too. But yeah, I thought that was funny just because I knew exactly what it was gonna talk about. It's called the Seventh Day Adventist Church. You can tell a lot about a Church by it's name. For example, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's the church of Jesus Christ, and the members are latter-day saints. Pretty clear. We focus on Christ.

We also had to give talks this Sunday. We found out Saturday night, which is typical. Had no time to prepare. But I threw an outline together before church and had a pretty solid talk idea. I spoke about missionary work and how important the members are in the work, and how much they can do. I shared about how Jesus Christ taught that He is the "light of the world" (John 8:12), but also, on a separate occasion, He was speaking to his disciples and told them "Ye are the light of the world" and how they should "let their light so shine" (Matthew 5:14-16) and be examples to the rest of the world. It was a pretty positive encouraging talk, but that was only the first half of the talk. I also had planned to talk about keeping the Sabbath Day holy because keeping the Sabbath is a huge problem here even for members, but... before I got to that point the branch President cut me short. Haha. Maybe it was for the best. I'm not big on guilt tripping or making people feel bad, in fact, I never do it.  Later in Priesthood meeting I got to see William get ordained as an elder and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood along with another kid named Julio. Way cool! William is the best and he's always way willing to help us and go visit people. He's prepping for his mission which is so rad because he's been a member of the church for only like seven months. Sadly we haven't been able to go back to visit his mother since the first time. We're working on it though. Just have this continuing problem of appointments falling through...

Among other eventful moments was the moment this week when I discovered that there was a giant cricket inside my pants. Ha. That was fun! Crickets are everywhere, and they're always crawling all over us, or flying right into our faces. But finding one inside my pants was just a little... shocking.

Last night we were talking to some members about foods, and one thing that's a big deal to eat here in guinea pig. I haven't tried it yet, but everyone eats it. We were talking and guinea pig came up and I told them I've never tried it but that I totally want to (and quite frankly I'm a little disappointed that I haven't had it yet after six months of living in this country). So they invited us over for lunch this coming Saturday to eat some delicious guinea pig! Hahaha. I'm so down with eating anything weird, just so I can later say that I've eaten it. And usually it all tastes good too. Bunny? Delish. In some parts of Peru they eat cats, and I'd so be down to try cat! Sadly, in this part of Peru, eating cat is considered... very weird. Well, yeah, it's weird to me too.

Alright, gotta go, the clock is ticking down and the comp is about to shut off! Send me a Tommy's burger if you get the chance. Thanks!

-Elder Victor

"Way to go buddy. It took us three days to make that potato salad... THREE DAYS!!!!!" (apparently this is a SpongeBob quote...)

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Oh yeah, great news! I got robbed this week too!! Haha."

Hi hi HI!

Whoa! Yesterday was Mother's Day! And you all know what that means, right??... It means: Nobody in Olmos comes to church! Woo! Ha. For realz. There was almost nobody at church yesterday. Worst church attendance I've ever seen in my entire life. At 9:00 (when church starts) there were five people there. The third hour of church got cancelled basically because none of the teachers for the third hour were there. Ha. How silly. I swear the people here look for every possible excuse not to go to church. I feel like not too many people here truly have testimonies of the gospel, but that's why I'm here I s'pose! During church I got to give a lady a blessing for the second time in my life. So that was neato.

Anyway, it's been a tough past month or so in Olmos. Little by little we've been losing investigators, and have not been able to find new ones to replace them with. It has gotten really hard to enter a house lately. Including a house that we had an appointment to go visit! The vast majority of our appointments all fall through. It's a little frustrating. On Tuesday it was really bad. Elder Villatoro and I went out to do some tracting (because the appointment we had fell through. Duh.) and we were just having the worst of luck and facing more rejection than ever before. The worst part was that we stopped by a house of a family we taught once who was really cool and seemed receptive, and when we knocked the mom opened the door and told us "Look, I'm gonna be honest. I'm Catholic, my children are Catholic, and we go to the Catholic church" in a "I never want to see your face in my house again" kind of tone. Ouch! That was a real bummer, because its rare for us to be able to teach entire families! So all the rejection we faced that morning started getting to me and I just all the sudden started feeling way down and super discouraged. Probably one of the lows of my misson. It was like all the sudden all the lack of success I've been having in Olmos just started all weighing down on me at once. I felt pretty crappy. So after a morning of less-than-sub-par tracting, we headed to Hermana Rosa's for lunch. After we got there and started eating, Willian, a kid who's our age and is a recent convert of like seven months (and only member in his family), stopped by to say hi. After a few minutes he looked at me and asked "hey, what are you guys doing tonight at 7:00?" We didn't have any set-in-stone appointments so I told him it was flexible and asked him why. "Because if you're free at 7:00 it would be great if you came to my house because my mom wants to start visiting with the missionaries." Whoa, are you serious?! There are two main things I've been really wanting more than anything lately. One: to find someone who really, truly has a desire to learn more and progress in the gospel, and two: more referrals from members. Bam! Two-in-one combo!! So that night we went and had a great visit with Willian, his mom, and her boyfriend. One of the first things she told us was "we want to be a part of your church." !!! Best opening line of visit of all time I think! So she was way super receptive and we're gonna keep on visiting them. So awesome! That experience was exactly what I needed. I was at one of my lowest lows, one of my most discouraging moments of my entire mission, and right as I was feeling my worst, Willian shows up and brings us the good news. Just another tender mercy from the Lord. You know what it brought to mind? Alma 26:27, that's what. A scripture that's been a huge source of comfort and encouragement for me my entire mission. An example that I can apply directly to the experience I had on Tuesday. It says:

Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.

My heart was depressed, I just about wanted to give up, and the Lord comforted me and blessed us with success. Huge faith and testimony builder for me. The scriptures are just the coolest! I can apply them so much to my life. I really wish I had way more time on my mission to read the scriptures. I can't get enough of them.

Anywho, on Thursday we got a call saying that Elder Villatoro has to go to Lima with some other missionaries to get some stuff taken care of so that they can live legally in Peru for the next two years. So Thursday night we headed to Chiclayo and I dropped my comp off at the airport. Holy heck I never thought I'd have to go to an airport again before my mission ended. Being there made me... trunky... for lack of a better word. Being in an airport made me super want to go home! Plus there was another elder there from Mission Viejo, CA and so I talked with him for a awhile about SoCal and then about Eugene and the UofO and other homesicky stuff and it just added to the homesickness and gaahh I had to get outta there! So my comp left and I got the heck outta there with Elder Badilla who I stayed with all of Friday in Chiclayo. Phew! So I got to spend a day in Chiclayo, in Las Incas, which was a pretty cool area. Had a good time. 

Yesterday was pretty awesome! Skyping with the fam!! Best thing ever! Even if the picture was slightly extremely blurry. Oh well. It was the best. I love you guys a ton and I miss you guys a ton. And I got to see Rocket!!! That was way awesome, because I've called you guys once before, and we've had communication through e-mails and letters this whole time, but I haven't heard from or seen Rocket in eight months, so that was much needed! Oh yeah, speaking of eight months, you know what I was doing eight months ago today? I woke up, went out to breakfast with Tyler Balkman, went out to lunch and smoothies with Gretchen and Aunt Debbie, and... at dinner in the Missionary Training Center. How weird! Time is going pretty quick. I'll be home soon!

Oh yeah, great news! I got robbed this week too!! Haha. The whole time I was preparing for the mish, everyone always told me "it's not if you get robbed on your mission, it's when you get robbed." I've been counting on being robbed this whole time and it finally happened. After we visited Willian and his mom, his mom gave us yogurt and four little bags of cereal to take with us to eat later. We went straight to dinner from that visit, and after dinner as we were heading back to our room this drunk guy stops us and starts being a typical drunk guy telling us that he wants to change his life and come unto Christ and all that jazz. Uh, okay, bye! I couldn't really understand him, but then I realized he started asking us for money so that he could buy food. I reached into my bag and pulled out one of the little bags of cereal and told him "well, we don't have any money, but we have cereal..." He said he didn't want it and kept asking for money so that he could buy food. My comp told him "look, my companion told you that we don't have any money, all we have is cereal!" So the guy was like "...fine." So I was gonna give him one of the little bags of cereal, but he went straight for the big bag with all of my cereal in it and tried to rip it out of my hands. I didn't let go at first, but I figured it wasn't worth it and let him rob me of all my cereal. What a butthole! I was excited to eat that! But yeah, so I finally got robbed. A guy stole my cereal from me. Haha. And have I mentioned that I freaking hate alcohol?

Well, that pretty much sums up this past week. I also finished my second journal!! I'm onto number three now. Wow! I figure if I keep up writing every single day like I have been I'll be on my seventh journal by the time I get home. Crazy! Way cool though.

Oh yeah, P.S.: How's Elder Litchfield doing? I haven't heard a thing about him since he left! I remember when he left it finally hit me pretty hard that it was almost time for me to leave too. All summer we were temple prepping and mission prepping together and then BAM he was off to Brazil, just like that! I realized at that moment that my life was near it's end. Haha. But fer realz if you know anything about how he's been doing, I'd love to hear!

Oh yeah and also one other thing you could send me are more sharpies. Mostly the Ultra Fine Point ones. Mine died after very minimal usage and I would love some more. Thank you!

Aight, I gotta get outta here.

Clean your bodies, love your mommies.

-Elder Ditdor.

Note from Victor's Mom:  We were able to speak with Victor via Skype for an hour on Mother's Day.  It was so fun to see and talk to him.  The quality of the picture we saw of him was poor, and progressively got worse.  By the end he basically looked like an alien.  We all got a good laugh from that!  I'm including a few pictures I took during our conversation...

Monday, May 7, 2012

"I'm a trainer who's still learning how to be a missionary, I'm not fully prepared or qualified to be training new missionaries, so where I fall short I gotta ask for a little extra help from my Heavenly Father."

Hello home!

How the heck are ya? I suppose I will receive an answer to that question in about three weeks.

I'm doing pretty a-okay out here on the bottom half of the planet. New transfer, new companion! His name is Elder Villatoro, and he's from Guatemala! From some city I don't know how to pronounce or type. But close to Mexico. He's a pretty cool guy. It’s his second transfer, so he's still learning, and I'm in charge of helping him learn. Yikes! I'm still learning too! But all is well. Actually in this past week I feel like I've progressed so much more than at any other point in my mission other than like the first week at the MTC in Provo. Something I've noticed this week that I've never felt before is that I realized this week that my fear of talking to people has almost completely gone away. I'm always talking to everyone. I gotta, because Elder Villatoro is new and he's still a little uncomfortable talking with everyone. But all the sudden this week I can knock any door and just start talking with people without feeling nervous or anything. I've never felt like that before. Pretty sure it has a little something to do with how much I've been praying and asking for a little extra help and confidence. And I got it! I keep saying this, but seriously all of my prayers are getting answered. All of them! Its the coolest thing in the world. As you learn to trust in God more you get to experience little miracles all the time. I've seen and experienced tons of miracles in these past few months. I'm trusting in God like never before and all the sudden I'm receiving answers to all of my prayers. I never realized how much of a difference faith really makes. The first couple of days here, Elder Villatoro was super quiet when we were out proselyting. He would say almost nothing when we were out contacting or teaching. I've been praying for him every day. I'm a trainer who's still learning how to be a missionary, I'm not fully prepared or qualified to be training new missionaries, so where I fall short I gotta ask for a little extra help from my Heavenly Father. Well, I'm seeing answers to those prayers too. The other day we were teaching a lesson, and I'm doing almost all of the talking like usual, and then I finish my part and pass it over to my comp, and then just outta nowhere he starts teaching like a total pro! He spoke a lot and taught really well. After the lesson I told him that he did a real good job and he told me that's the first time he's ever taught like that in his entire mission. Since then he's been a little more stoked on teaching and I'm seeing him improve every single day. Kind of rad.

Training is super weird though. Being Senior Comp is kind of weird, but being Senior Comp to a new missionary is really weird. All of the sudden I'm making almost all of the decisions, I'm doing most of the teaching, most of the contacts, and it's a big change. Its been a huge faith boosting experience though. My missionary abilities just suddenly skyrocketed at the time I needed the most help. I really like God.

Anyway, I got about 5,000 letters from you guys the other week! Bwhoa! Almost 100% from my family too. Haha. Way cool. Thanks for all the updates! Keep 'em coming! They don't make me too homesick. I like knowing what's going on back in real life. David Helmick got his mission call to SLC?! So siiiick!! And he's probably already gone by now. I gotta say, I miss that guy a whole lot. When you have seminary every day at 6:30 in the morning, and all you want to do is go back to sleep, it really helps to have a David Helmick in the class to keep things entertaining with all of his hilarious comments. I still remember his talk he gave like three years ago when Dean was leaving for his mission, and how he taught us about how the most important thing a missionary should bring with him (more than faith or a strong testimony) is a plain backpack with no logos on it. Hahaha. Best of luck to him. The mission is too cool!! And Eric Robinson got his call to Africa?!! That's like... the awesomest thing I've ever heard!! So so so rad. Had some good times in Singles Ward with that guy last summer. Tell him that I think that's ridiculously way awesome. And basically everyone in the world is getting married or engaged. Or, at least everyone at BYU-Idaho is. Haha. Weird! Cool though, thanks for all the hit news!

Bro told me that him and Dad started watching this show called The Walking Dead and that he thinks when I get back I'd like to watch it. Well... Old news! I totally already watch that show (well, not literally right now)! It's way good. Watched the first season back at school with my roommates. Way sick. Jack tells me that Darth Vader misses me. I don't really know how to respond to that, other than.... nope. I got nothing. But is the Star Wars live action TV show coming along yet? Probably not. How about that Seth Green Star Wars cartoon series? How about the Family Guy Star Wars trilogy is the funniest thing ever! Speaking of Star Wars, the earlier comparison I made between Olmos and Kashyyyk was totally inappropriate. Olmos is nothing like Kashyyyk, and with Winter just over the horizon (weird...) all the green is rapidly turning into brown. I've actually noticed a few things I've said in past e-mails that after I sent them realized weren't true that I always meant to correct buy never remembered. Like maybe sometime I say something about a non-member, and then after I send the e-mail I find out they're actually members. Haha. I'm still learning

Sounds like Bryn is allergic to everything in the world. That sucks! Too bad for you. There is a cure for the miseries of allergies, and it's called Star Wars. Ugh why am I all of the sudden talking so much about Star Wars?!?!?! Sam keeps telling me tons of things about sports and I don't really care. Haha. Sam, you won't change me! What about Zelda? Is the new Zelda good? I waited like a million years for that game to come out! I miss you guys a whole heck of a lot though. Keep being silly. Oh yeah, and it was finally revealed that the Springfield in the Simpsons was based off Springfield Oregon? Psh, I always knew that. There are tons of references to Springfield and Eugene OR in the show. And Shelbyville is based off of Eugene too. You know, the neighboring city in the Simpsons that's way better than Springfield in every way? That's Eugene. Lolz.

At the transfer meeting Prez Risso spoke a little and he touched on the importance of writing in our journals. I'm still writing every day! I know its something I'm gonna be way thankful for when all of this is over. Journals are the coolest. I still hate writing in it though. Haha.

Apparently way more people read my blog than I thought. Sometimes I imagine my letters showing up on the ward bulletin and I just think to myself, wow... this is so irreverent... Haha.

Mom, those journal entries you sent me are something I can totally relate to. Sometimes we see horrible things on the mission and we feel so inadequate and unqualified to deal with these situations. I don't know how to deal with suicidal thirteen year olds! But we just gotta rely on the Lord and we'll gain the strength to do what we need to do. I also really loved that talk you sent me from President Monson that talked about Great Grandpa Paul and the miracle that happened when he was set apart by Harold B. Lee. Reading the words of my prophet talking about my great grandpa somehow made me love President Monson even more, as if that were even possible. The prophet is the coolest guy ever.

Well I had some other things to say but I'm running low on minutes. Your letters make me laugh. Keep them coming! Sometimes it just feels so good to laugh at something that you shouldn't be laughing at. Haha. 

Until next week my friends!

Momma, I will call you on Sunday. Yay!!



Here are some of his latest pictures.  You can see more of them in the slideshow at the top of this blog.


"Elder L and I in the car...I think this was right before the drunk guy started attacking the driver."