Hey Gordos!! ¡¿What's up?!
Well, transfers happened. I guess you probably want to know what's up with that. Although, I do know that you have secret Facebook connections with Hermana Rosa in Olmos, so perhaps you already know. But whatever, here's what's up: I'm now right smack in the middle of Chiclayo, in the Chiclayo Central Zone, and my new area is called Porvenir. My new companion is Elder Navas. He's from Costa Rica and he's basically extremely the best. I prayed real hard to get a good companion, and a good companion I did get yes. And.... I'm now the Financial Secretary for the entire Peru Chiclayo Mission... I got transferred to the Mission Office! Are you for serious?! I'm in charge of all the money for the entire mission. The only person above me is President Risso. What's going on?? How am I qualified to do this?! But, it's kinda awesome. Well, we don't get to proselyte as much, since we're in the office until at least 4:30 every day, which is kind of sad honestly, because I do like teaching lessons, but, it's all good, because of the following: For one, the office has air conditioning. AIR CONDITIONING!! So, that's one gigantic plus. Two, my new room is the best awesomest room in the entire mission. I mean, it's kind of bad, but compared to all the other rooms, it's awesome. I now live with my comp, who's the secretary of... something that I don't know how to say it in English. Basically he's in charge of all the mail and ordering stuff and delivering stuff in the mission. And I live with the personal secretaries, and also the assistants to the prez. Elder Hatch, who's fam you guys met in Provo, is one of the new APs, so now I know who you were talking about. Haha. He's rad too. So six of us are all together. Our "room" is the entire fifth floor of a building not too far from the office. I also now get to make my own breakfasts and dinners. We only go to the penchant for lunch. Our penchant is also awesome. Anyway it all reminds me a lot of being in college, having five roommates, eating total crap, and... I don't know what else. It's a lotta fun. AND, my room has hot water! I haven't showered with hot water since November! Sooooo good. My new assignment is kinda overwhelming me at the moment, but that's because it’s the end of the month and I have to take care of end of month payments and I don't even know what the heck I'm doing. For the past week Elder Karl, the old Financial Secretary has been training me, but he's leaving to his new area tonight, and so starting tomorrow I'm all on my own. Yikes stripes! My new Zone is rad too because Elder Choc is one of my Zone Leaders, so I get to see him at least once a week at our Zone meetings, and usually a few times a week in the office too. Elder Marker is also in the Zone. And a lot of other elders I know. Siiick.
Apart from that, here's where things get really exciting: At the transfer meeting, when I got assigned to Porvenir with Elder Navas, I fulfilled my mission-long dream of letting the amazing flavors of McDonald's touch my lips. President Risso ordered McDonald's for all of the new missionaries and their companions and all of the missionaries in the office! So, that was basically the highlight of my entire life. SO FREAKING GOOD. Is it too much to hope for Taco Bell now?... Yes. Anyway, also at the transfer meeting, the office elders had a little meeting with all the new missionaries who just got into the mission, and right off the bat Hermana Risso asked me to be the translator for the new North Americans who still don't know how to speak Spanish. Well actually there was only one missionary from the U.S., so I was only translating for one person. But it was hard! However, I did a fantastic job by my incredibly low standards. Basically all the elders and Hermana Risso said like a million paragraphs of stuff in Spanish, and then I was like "uhh... basically they said this and this or something like that. I'm pretty sure." Lolz. Look, it's hard to speak English. I don't know how I used to do it for twenty years.
My last night in Olmos was pretty good. After I e-mailed you guys we had a Family Home Evening with Hermana Rosa's fam and a bunch of other people who they invited. It was like a Family Night / Goodbye Party for me. Hermana Rosa baked a cake for me, and because of that the entire day little Habibi was convinced that it was my birthday. Haha. The FHE was pretty good. Hermano Victor shared a message about missionary work and asked me to share my testimony with everyone. Then we played some games and ate some cake. Said some goodbyes, and left. Too sad! Then the worst part: packing all of my stuff. I did indeed put that off the entire day. So I went to bed at like 3:00am. Ha. I'm dumb. Bummed about having to leave and not being able to see Edwin get baptized. But, Elder Chero is in charge of entering in all the baptismal records for the entire mission here in the office, and yesterday he told me that there was a baptism last week in Olmos. So Edwin did get baptized!! Soo rad.
Anyway, like I said, my new comp, Elder Navas, is in charge of getting and delivering the mail for the whole mish. He told me that I get more mail than anyone else in the mission. Hahahaha. Well, there's one Sister who gets a lot of packages, but as far as letters or Dear Elders or whatever, I get the most. So funny! Every Thursday he gets the mail, which means every Thursday I get my mail now. Uh, kind of bad news though, the postal service in Peru is currently on strike, so no mail is getting through, or going out. They don't know when the strike will end, but it could be anywhere from this week, to next year. Seriously! So, if anyone has sent me any physical letters, cards, packages, Dear John's, etc... in the past few weeks, I haven't gotten them and I probably won't for who knows how long, if ever. They burned down the post office in Lima so it's also possible that if you've sent me anything recently that it was brutally murdered in the flames. So that's kind of reet. However, Dear Elders, and anything you send by "pouch" (which I still don't really understand how pouch mail works...) don't come through the postal service. They're delivered by FedEx, and they still get to us. So, currently, the best way to communicate with me is through Dear Elder. And, now that I'm in the office, I get my Dear Elders really fast! For example, the Dear Elders you sent me on the 22nd, I got on the 26th, so that's a big improvement from before! I'm not sure how I'm gonna be able to write anyone yet. I have some people that I really really badly want to write, but now that the postal service is on strike I can't send stuff so psh. Well, that, and the fact that it's super hard to ever find time to write anybody. That's the hardest part. But to communicate with me I recommend Dear Elder until I find out that this strike is over. And, since I can't write anybody and there's no other way for me to say this, TYLER BALKMAN, I WAS GONNA WRITE YOU BUT NOW I CAN'T SO I'M SORRY AND I'LL HAVE TO FIND SOME OTHER WAY TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU. And thanks for the letter <3
But, speaking of mail, I gotta say, as much as I love getting it, I really did not enjoy the last couple batches. Rocket!!!!! :( :( :( :( I was at my Zone Meeting waiting for it to start when I started reading my mail. When I read that Rocket has cancer and is going to die soon my eyes filled with tears and I went to the bathroom to dry them. Well, I guess it hit me a lot harder than I thought, because when I got in there I just burst out crying and ended up locking myself in the stall for like five minutes until I could get a hold of myself. I am so sick of cancer attacking my family! This is the stupidest thing ever. Anyway, I really, really miss Rocket a whole ton. I dunno if he's even still alive, but if he is I hope he's not hurting too bad. Whenever I imagined coming home, my favorite thing to picture was getting home and opening the door and having Rocket jump out super excited to see me. Guess that won't happen... Sigh... Hope you guys are doing alright too. How awful...
Sounds like you guys had a good time on the Trek. I'm glad it went well! I'm also glad I wasn't there. Hehehe. But for realz it sounds like it was a ton better than the last one. Good job Dad!! I'm glad it was a good experience for everyone.
Well, I'm not sure what else there is to talk about. Oh yeah, this week was also Elder Navas' birthday. July 26th. Birthdays are so bad here in Peru! I think Elder Hatch said it best: "I don't like birthdays in Peru..." Here, the tradition is that on your birthday you get eggs smashed on your head, and you get your birthday cake smashed in your face. Well, on Thursday, we all woke up at 6:30, like good obedient missionaries, and immediately Elder Chuiz (the other AP) egged my comp. Well, Elder Navas was prepared with eggs of his own, and smashed eggs on Chuiz' head, and then went crazy and egged everyone else. Myself included. Not even Elder Karl, who was in the shower at the time, was spared. Hahaha. Later Elder Navas also got caked in the face. I don't want to have a birthday here! I'm lucky though, because my first birthday was in the MTC in Lima, so I only have to deal with one real Peruvian birthday.
Yesterday I gave a talk in church that I didn't know I was going to have to give. Well, on Saturday we ran into our bishop in the street and he asked me to give a talk, but, I thought he was joking. Hahaha. So I didn't know. That was interesting. Went well though. Getting good at talks in this language.
Well, I'm sure I'll have more adventures to share with you next week! I feel like I had more things to tell you but I can't remember them right now. But I'm stoked to be here. I'm happy. Chiclayo is soooo different than both of my past areas. Totally different world. I like the change. I think I'll have a good time here.
I'm gonna go now. I'll try to send some pictures or something whenever I find the time. I'm in the office now which means I'm always at the computer. I won't write you guys during the week, but maybe I'll send some photos while I'm doing other things. I dunno, we'll see what works out.
Thanks for being my best family I've ever had and also my best friends and also my best people who read my blog who I don't know who you are!! Until next week. Chao!