Oh boy am I glad to see you! Err... write this e-mail to you. I hope all is well in the land of the trees. All is dusty here on Tatooine. Seriously, I don't even know how it happens but our room gets covered with dust so quickly. I put on freshly washed clothes and then out of nowhere giant dust marks appear all over them. I shine my shoes and take one step outside and just like that my shoes go from shiny black to dirty brown. Maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration...for Chiclayo. But that is literally what happened to my shoes in Olmos. Speaking of black shoes turning brown, my black Vans that I brought out here used to be black once upon a time, but they are super light brown these days. I don't understand why all clothes get ruined here.
Anyways..... Well, last week I forgot that end of month payments were coming up, and this week those hit me hard. We literally only left the office to eat and to sleep for three days straight. Gross!! I don't enjoy being in here for that long. When I'm not out teaching I get more homesick, and I feel less like a missionary. I don't like not feeling like a missionary. I mean, it'll be okay to feel like that when I get home, but not now!! Sometimes the office is rough. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy it here, I just don't enjoy it at the end of every month. Getting to be around other missionaries all the time, and around President and Hermana Risso is pretty awesome if I do say so myself. But I hate money now. I'm gonna live a life without money when I get home. Money is stupid.
So, this week was a lot of sitting in front of a computer. Back home I had many similar days. The difference, is that back home I was doing fun stuff on the computer, and here it’s the most boring thing in the world. I had to find ways to entertain myself like downloading conference talks and devotionals and firesides ´n stuff and listening to them while preparing everything for every missionary in the mission to receive their money for October. Y'know. Not really the funnest thing in the world. You know what I'm excited for? General Conference! I haven't seen General Conference in a year. I didn't used to like it that much at home (well...I did. But for all the wrong reasons. (CINNAMON ROLLS!!!)) but it's something I really look forward to now. I still think it’s weird that the first General Conference I've ever missed in my entire life I missed while I was a missionary. But whatever. My predictions are that they're gunna announce a new temple in Eugene. Yep. That's realistic.
One of the interesting events of this week occurred whilst I was workin' hard at my desk. Someone called the office, and for some reason I answered the phone (I'm never the one who answers it) and gave the usual "Buenas tardes, Misión Perú Chiclayo," only to hear "Umm... hello?"... Huh? What is this strange language I'm hearing?! "Do you speak English?" the person asked me. It was one of the missionary's moms who was worried about her son because he lost his debit card. I proceeded to have a full blown conversation in English which was rather difficult. It felt really weird to speak in English on the phone. It also felt really weird to speak to someone who was in the United States. I talked to the United States this week!! That was fun.
This weekend we went to this member's house who we were supposed to eat with. We show up, and they didn't even remember that they signed up to feed us that day. The member wasn't even there! But his daughter was, and she called him to tell him that we were at his house waiting for our lunch. After like twenty minutes he shows up and decides to take us out to eat because obviously they hadn't prepared any food for us. Okay, cool. So we hop in his sports car (that's a first for me in the mission) and head to this random small restaurant that he just picked as we were driving by because he had no idea where he was gonna take us. So we go in, we order our food, and then he says "alright well I have to leave. I have a lot of important things to do today. Tomorrow we'll have food ready for you at our home. Bye!" and he just leaves us alone at the restaurant. Weird. The food was okay, but it was still a weird situation. So, Sunday after church we head back over to his house. This time he knows we're coming. Actually... I think I'm just gonna copy down my journal entry because it describes the whole thing pretty well:
Yesterday when we went to the restaurant with the member he told us he was sorry but that tomorrow (today) he would have food ready for us at his home. So today we show up, and he comes out and he's all "Okay Elders, let's go. We're going out to eat." I want to think he's joking, but I know he's not. ARE YOU INSANE IT’S THE SABBATH!!! As I'm sitting there in a state of unbelief, trying to find an appropriate response, my companion just says "okay!" as if this is completely normal and there's no problem at all. And then the worst part; we actually go out to eat!! I felt so bad. It seriously made me feel horrible. I'm an official representative of my Savior and His church and I'm breaking the Sabbath in public with my nametag on!! Stupidest thing ever. Elder Perea said it best after the fact; "I don't think there is a single member here who keeps the Sabbath day holy." Elder Perea said that this was the third time that a member has taken him out to eat on a Sunday. Why is it so hard for these people to understand?! Or maybe they do understand, in which case they're all blatantly disobedient every Sunday. I don't get it.
Hehe. I was a little angry when I wrote that. It made me so uncomfortable going out to eat on Sunday. Back home it would have been weird too but not such a big deal because back home I'm not a missionary. I was just hoping the whole time that nobody who saw us was a member or someone that understood our belief of keeping the Sabbath holy. Not the funnest thing in the world.
Speaking of food, there's this one little burger shack here in Chiclayo that Elder Navas showed me and now Elder Samamé, Elder Chero, and I always like to go to to buy our dinner. It's called Triangulito. Just this tiny place on a random corner of Chiclayo right next to a gigantic Catholic cathedral. These burgers are nothing like burgers back home, but they are good. So we went there multiple times this week for dinner. Yummo!
We also have been continuing to visit Edith and José. Though not super frequently because of how busy we've been and our schedules clash. I'm not really sure how well they're progressing. At first they were super awesome, and they still are, but it definitely feels like they're a lot less interested than before, and they have a lot more doubts. They are being visited by Jehovah's Witnesses too, who have a reputation of... not saying the nicest things about us. I hope that's not what's happening. We'll see. They haven't come back to church. But they gave us corn on the cob the other day. Mmm.
Sound's like Gretchen's wedding was pretty fun. Wish I could have been there! I think what I'm most jealous about is that you got to see Mitch. It has been quite a while since the last time I saw that guy... I miss going to Utah too. I went so many times the year before my mission! I don't know how that happened. I've never been the biggest fan of Utah the place, but I know like a thousand people there and I love to visit them. So I still enjoy going to Utah. Hehe. Ready for another Park City trip.
And what's this craziness about Bryn wanting to go into music recording or engineering?! When did Bryn get that cool?! I also wanted to do that for a while. I still would like to actually. I don't believe it's an option at Ricks College though. Perhaps it is. Someone please prove me wrong... Psh, what do I care? School is just a backup plan for having fun playing guitar for the rest of my life.
Well, this e-mail is pretty scattered all over the place. I struggle to find good stories to tell you when the majority of my week was spent at a desk. So often people ask me, "doesn't it just suck to be in the office?" And I'm like "uhh... no... not really..." Yes, there are bad parts. Monthly payments is the worst thing ever. But most of it is a lot of fun since I'm always around the other missionaries and we're joking around 'n stuff. But in general none of the missionaries ever want to get transferred to the office. Even though I'm really busy, sometimes I feel like I'm not doing a whole lot, because I don't get to go out teaching as much as I used to. A lot less actually. But it helps (and this actually happens surprisingly frequently) when people ask me, "do you feel like you're helping?... Because you are. A lot." People are always thanking me for what I do. I've even received thank you notes from other missionaries in the mail. Haha. Just gotta realize that I really am helping a lot. And if I don't do my job, the whole mission dies. It’s fun being able to serve like that. That's why I came to Peru. To help people. Now the focus is temporarily switched from helping investigators, to helping missionaries, but I'm still able to help people every day. I like that.
Anyway, I'm really diggin' these Mormon videos these days. I don't have movies, and I don't have Youtube, so these are all I got. But I thought this one was pretty neat about the Bible and the importance of scripture:
We're so blessed to have scripture in this day. God has always called prophets, and inspired them to teach and to write. The words they write come directly from Him, and so the Bible and the Book of Mormon and other books of scripture are literally the word of God. God loves us so much that he's given us these books to guide and bless our lives, and He loves us so much that He continues to reveal new truths, and new guidance to us through living prophets and apostles. I was reading a talk a week or two ago talking about the importance of prophets. It talked about how the scriptures are all so important, but what can help us the most right now, even more than the scriptures, is the current prophet God has called. It got me thinking about other examples.... Like in the times of Noah. Maybe the people back then had access to scripture, maybe they didn't. I dunno. But what was the most important thing they could have followed in that time? Maybe they had the writings of Adam or other previous prophets, and those would have been great guides and blessings to them, but obviously in that moment in history, the most important source of guidance they could have followed was Noah. Eight people followed Noah, and they were the only eight people in the entire would who didn't drown. How about the people in the times of Moses? Yes, ancient scripture would also have been a huge blessing in their lives, but more important than anything else at that time was their living prophet. Without him, the people of Israel wouldn't have escaped Egypt. If the Egyptians had listened to Moses, they wouldn't have suffered through all the plagues. The current living prophet we have right now is our most important source of guidance in our lives. What about the times of Jesus? The people knew the scriptures. There were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Scribes, and whoever else. They all believed in God and the scriptures, but interpreted them all differently. But who was the most important person they could have listened to in the times of Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ. Duh. Jesus taught using the scriptures, and explaining them. God loves us, so He sends us scripture. But He knows that there is so much confusion, and so many interpretations, and He knows that the world and our circumstances change over time, so he doesn't just leave us with a few volumes of ancient scripture and expect us to survive on that alone. He calls prophets to give us modern day guidance, and to help us understand the scriptures, like the ancient prophets and apostles did. Although vaguely implied in the Bible, some of the blessings I'm most grateful for come from keeping commandments that the Lord has given us more recently. Like keeping the Word of Wisdom for example. That's why I'm excited for General Conference, because it gives me a chance to listen to a living prophet, and living apostles, who are special witnesses of Jesus Christ, and who will tell us what He wants us to know. I am so thankful for the love and the guidance my Father in Heaven always shows me. I am so thankful for the scriptures, and I am so thankful to have a living prophet. I know that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God. I know that God speaks to us today through President Thomas S. Monson, and through twelve apostles. I know that God doesn't change. If God called prophets back then, He will do it now. If God revealed scripture back then, He will do it now. If miracles happened back then, miracles will happen today. And if God loved His people back in Bible times, He still loves His people in modern times. God didn't just stop caring or stop playing a part in our lives after the Bible was written. That's not a God of love. That's not the God I know and love. Who are we to put limits on God like that? God plays a huge part in my life today, and I'm just barely starting to recognize all the blessings that come from it. I am so thankful for this gospel and all the happiness it has brought, and will continue to bring to me. I'm so thankful for the opportunity I've had this part year of getting to know my Heavenly Father on a much more personal level, and to learn to put my trust in Him and receive the blessings. I love the scriptures, I love the prophets, I love My Savior, and I love my Heavenly Father so much.
I also love cookies. Remember how you sent me two packets of chocolate chip cookie mix for Christmas? I still have them. I need to find an oven. I'm thinking one of these p-days we might be able to go and bake them with Hermana Risso. Hoping I can make that happen before next Christmas! Speaking of Christmas, I really miss it. Last Christmas didn't feel like Christmas at all and so I feel like it's been a really, really long time since I've had Christmas!! CHRISTMAS!!
Anyway, some random favors: I realize there are a lot of people in my family who have served missions, but I don't remember where most of them went. I thought it would be cool if you could send me a list or something of everyone in our family who has served a mission, and where they served. No real reason why, other than I would like to see it. Haha. Also, I was noticing the other day that in my journals at the beginning there is a page that says "Line of Authority" or something like that, and then it goes like this:
I was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood by ______________ on (this date),
Who was ordained by _____________,
Who was ordained by _____________,
Who was ordained by Peter, James, and John,
Who were ordained by Jesus Christ
Well, I never really paid attention to that page before, and I was realizing that I also have no idea how to fill it out, because I don't have the info. I don't know if you can, but if possible it would be really cool if you could get that information for me. It is really awesome to think that the priesthood authority I received can be traced back to Jesus Christ himself.
Alright, well I'm done. Fresh outta things to say. I always miss you guys a lot. Talk to you later!