My little weather thing on my computer is telling me that Eugene's starting to cool down. Rain. Clouds. Nice. I wish that would happen here! For some reason I still have it in my mind that it should be getting colder here at this time of year, until I remember that sadly it's only gonna get hotter. A hot Christmas? That's not even realistic. That's not a realistic Christmas! It's a fake Christmas!!! Seriously, not looking forward to Summer. Ha! That's a first. Speaking of Christmas, for some reason we've already started listening to Christmas music here which is complete and total apostasy and blasphemy in its purest form! You can't listen to Christmas music this early!!! Jeez, I love Christmas as much as the next person, if not more, but it’s just not that special of a thing when you start it so early. You can't start Christmas before Halloween! You have to at least let the other major holidays pass by first! There is a difference between "Halloween season" and "Thanksgiving season" and "Christmas season." I think two e-mails ago I described myself as "the king of waiting and never opening presents early." Listening to Christmas music in October is the equivalent of opening presents early. It spoils the surprise. And I guess it’s not really a "surprise" because I know exactly how the Christmas music is going to be, but it still spoils the Christmas season for me. However, I guess it doesn't really matter, because the whole Christmas season as I know it doesn't even exist here. Last Christmas didn't feel like Christmas. This one won't either. I want a nice cold Christmas by the fire with cinnamon rolls and pizza and getting Pokémon Yellow Version and my first Gameboy and forgetting to save my master ball for Mewtwo. Why am I talking so much about Christmas?? I miss Christmas!! United States version. P.S. Christmas music can't start until after Thanksgiving. Yes, I am weird about this. My future wife is gonna have to deal.
Anyways... well, this was probably one of the boringest weeks ever. Monthly payments! I don't know how these happen so often. How do the months go by so fast?? Well, because of monthly payments I was basically in the office all week. Here's what the first day of monthly payments was like:
Well, monthly payments officially started today. Today was one of the busiest days in the office that I can remember. I felt like my head was going to explode at multiple points of the day. With Sister Risso, President Risso, zone leaders, and some guy who works for the church all asking me to do something for them at the same time, on top of having to do regular monthly payment stuff. I felt like I was going to die! Sort of stressful. Tomorrow shouldn't be so bad. But it will be boring.
That day I didn't leave the office. The next day, I didn't leave the office. The next day... I also didn't leave the office. I was going to finish everything on Friday, and I was so close to finishing up, and then both of the websites I had to use went under maintenance at the exact same time (one of the sites is run by the church, the other by JPMorgan. They have nothing to do with each other!) and stopped me from being able to finish. Finished it all on Saturday. Because I was in the office so long this week, this was probably the first time since I've been here that I really started feeling like I wasn't a missionary anymore. But, now that it’s over, we're gonna go out and teach and preach and baptize the heck out of everyone! Starting with these two kids named Dennis and Gustavo. Last Sunday these kids came to church with some friends, and this Sunday they came back. We talked to them a bit at church. Had a makeshift Sunday School lesson with them and their friends, found out that they want to be baptized. Whoa! They're 13 and 14 years old. So, after church later that day, we went to go visit them at their friend's house. One of them told us that he already told his mom that he wanted to get baptized, and she said it was okay. Haha, wow! This is before our first lesson! So, we had a pretty cool lesson. Set a date (November 17th), and got them excited about their decision. Rad! I guess that's how God decided to bless us after a whole week of being stuck in the office. It is actually kind of weird that even though we're not full-time proselyting in this area, and this is by far the most disorganized ward I've been in, somehow I feel like this is my most successful area. Pretty neat. And there's a bunch of other potentials too. Like that kid Peter I told you about a long time ago. I finally got to talk to him again yesterday. He still wants to get baptized and he's way past ready to do it. He'll for sure get baptized soon! And there's this other kid too who's been coming to church forever and even goes to seminary and everything. We'll see what we can do. Things are looking up in Chiclayo! Since we barely got to go out and work this week, we didn't get to go visit the Buddhist lady again. I'm curious how our next visit is going to go.
Well, this week we've also had some electricity issues in our room. I think there were four nights this week where we didn't have electricity. The first night we thought it was a regular power outage, for like two seconds until we looked around and realized that every other building in Chiclayo still had electricity! So we assumed something was up in our building... until we realized that only our floor was without power! Our room was the only room within a million miles that didn't have electricity!! When we woke up the next morning, it was back. But it went out again multiples times throughout the week and will probably continue to do so until someone comes to fix it. Everything in our fridge suffered a painfully warm death. Goodness, first I lived three months without running water, and now I'm living without electricity. What next? Living in a tent?! Not having power made it a little difficult to write in my journal (or do anything really) at night. At first I used my camera screen as a light, until my camera died, with no way to charge it because there's no power! My flashlight died. My shaver died. Everything was just dead. This morning we had electricity. Hopefully tonight we still will.
Oh yeah, one funny thing was that one day while I was busy working on payments, Elder Perea went out with Elder Cabrera to go do some teaching 'n stuff. They went to one of our investigators houses. The dad of our bishop. He's an old man who likes to argue, but not really in a rude way, but because he's really trying to understand the gospel. And based on what he currently knows a lot of stuff we say just doesn't sound quite right to him. He's cool though. I enjoy our visits. However, Elder Cabrera told me that when they went, he refused to visit with them. He wouldn't come out "until the gringo comes back" because "he has the answers!" Hahaha. So, he refused to visit with them because I wasn't there, and apparently I have all the answers. I gotta admit, that made me smile. Funny guy.
On Saturday we got to do some good ol' service for the first time in a while. We got to help the Yataco family move to their new home! It's like two blocks away from their old home. Thank goodness! Because we didn't want to loose our awesome pensionista! The thing is, they moved to the fourth flour of this apartment building, and we had to bring all of their worldly possessions up a very narrow stairwell. The worst part being when we had to somehow bring the giant refrigerator up there. That took us like 20 minutes. We spent the whole morning helping them. I was glad we got to do it. It felt good to help a family who always does so much for us and who's always willing to help whenever we ask for anything. They treat us like part of their family. Hermana Yataco even calls us her "hijos" (children). They're basically the best.
Hmm what else... Well, church is a lot better these days now that the wards are combined. The chapel is full! Good sight. This week they actually had to open the back part (I dunno what you call that. Basically what happens at our church when there are too many people so they open up the back and start filling the gym.) because there weren't enough seats! Pretty cool. My favorite part was a talk this one lady was giving. You could just tell that she was annoyed with all the noise the little kids were making 'n stuff. And then like halfway through her talk this girl gets up and leaves, probably to go to the bathroom, and the lady who is speaking just cuts herself short and says angrily "Sisters, it's very rude to get up while somebody is speaking. The Spirit just goes right out the door!" Ha! The Spirit also goes out the door when you're being a jerk at the pulpit. That was one of those "I can't believe this is really happening" moments. Those moments are all the time.
Hmm... Well, I've also been reading that book you sent me. "The Continuous Atonement." Well, actually, I already finished it. I loved it!! It has helped me to understand and think about the Atonement in ways I had never thought about before. It was super, super good. There was one part in the first few pages of the book that stuck out to me and I've been thinking about it ever since. It went like this:
"Little children don't learn to walk in a day. Between the time a child is carried in a parent's arms and the great day when he is running on his own, there is a lot of hand holding, baby stepping, and falling. For a child learning to walk, falling down may not be desirable, but the lessons learned from it are.
"Similarly, before we came to the world, God knew we had progressed as far as we were able without an earthly experience. He could no longer carry us by keeping us in his presence. It was time for His children to learn how to walk on their own. That's why He lovingly placed us here--across the room, so to speak--and stepped just beyond our reach, all the while beckoning us to come. He knew the tumbles that awaited us. He knew the ups and downs ahead. That's why He planned from the very start to send our older brother to hold our hands, lift us up, and guide us across the room back to His outstretched arms. We left those arms crawling. We can return to them running."
I just really liked that for some reason. Basically the entire book is full of simple comparisons like that that are easier for us to picture and understand. It helped me understand more fully that the Atonement was not just Christ suffering for and paying for our sins. It wasn't just that moment in the garden of Gethsemane, or that moment as He suffered on the cross. The Atonement is not just receiving forgiveness for our mistakes, but it is receiving continuous help and support throughout our lives. It helps us grow, and improve, and to become more like our Heavenly Father. Little by little. I really liked the book a ton. I wanna read it again. You should read it if you get the chance. Also Brad Wilcox is basically one of my biggest heroes on this earth.
Anyway, that's pretty much been my week. Elder Driggs just stopped by the office and told me that his mom told him that she was talking with my mom on the internet. Haha. That's almost as cool as you guys meeting Elder Hatch's family in Utah. Fun times. This week Elder Samamé and I also started a two-person mosh pit in our room to some Christmas music that Elder Hatch was listening to. It didn't really work that well. But it was fun. Hahaha, I miss moshing. Elder Samamé and I always talk about music 'n stuff because he likes a lot of the same music that I do and he loves to play the guitar too. We usually end up making really funny literal word-for-word translations of English songs into Spanish (he knows English too). He made me ridic homesick one day when he all the sudden starting busting out "I Miss You" by blink. And then starting singing a really funny Spanish translation of it. Haha. Another thing we like to do is make literal translations of funny expressions in English that don't exist or make any sense in Spanish. Stuff like "what in the world?", and "are you serious?!", and "holy cow!", and "you rock!", and "what's your beef?!", and other stuff like that. He and I are always joking around all the time. Fun times.
Oh yeah, and lunch with members was great, as always. This time, I got sick! Woo!
Sounds like life back home is still pretty good. Bryn gave her senior presentation and is taking the ACT?! Weird. The ACT was the most boring thing in the world. 1st, 4th, and 7th period off? Yes! Now you're doing senior year right!! Seriously I loved senior year. It was so good. And what's all this stuff I keep hearing about you guys going to concerts? I don't even know who in the heck is Macklemore, but you're making me miss music a whole ton. Just kidding, I always missed music. Today we went to this music shop, but it was mostly just pure electric guitars and amps 'n stuff. Oh boy did I want to buy myself a nice Telecaster. They were also selling a Deryck Whibley (Sum 41 frontman) signature Squire Telecaster. You have no idea how much "Fat Lip" and "Underclass Hero" and "Ma Poubelle" went through my brain when I saw that. Good times. I sure miss music. I miss concerts. I miss Travis Barker's flying drum solo like ten feet directly above my head. I'm also jealous that you guys keep going to the temple. Not fair! Wanna go!! Sam always makes sure to make me feel good about missing out on things too. Look at what kinds of things he tells me!:
"I had a bunch of Mtn Dew Voltage. It's sooooooo good. When was the last time you had Voltage? Ohh yeah, I also made chocolate mousse. It was pretty darn awesome. You miss out on everything good."
Well I gotta get going. I miss you a lot a lot a lot! I hope Bryn's birthday was awesome! Looking forward to hear about it the next time I get mail. Wish I could have been there!!
Here are two silly pictures that Victor sent this week. You'll have to excuse his strange sense of humor...
"Signs Elder Navas put up in the office bathroom. To keep it clean :)"
"My new and improved version of the bathroom sign."