Monday, January 28, 2013

"Elders, I don't know if this is good news, or bad news, but you both have to go to Lima tomorrow." WHAT?!! I was not expecting that.

Hello real life! What's up?

This has been sort of a weird week. Had to go back to Chiclayo a few times to show Elder Davis some stuff for the end of month payments that happen each month. That's all taken care of now. Shouldn't have to go back very many more times. I'm slowly getting to know my new area. Picsi is little, and very, very dusty. There is only one paved road, which is basically a highway from Chiclayo to Ferreñafe, which goes right through Picsi and splits the whole town in half. A lot of unexpected events happened this week which caused us to spend less time in our area than I thought we would get, so I still don't really know this place or these people that well! Luckily, Elder Arèvalo knows his stuff, so he's helping out a lot. Elder Arèvalo is awesome!! He's a way great companion. He's super funny. He's 24 years old, and he's from a part of Peru called Pucallpa. He's a convert to the church, and was baptized about four years ago. His family are not members. He was the first to get baptized, and actually got baptized without telling his parents. Haha. He told them like a month later. About a month before he started his mission, his mother got baptized too. He's helping me a lot, and he's real patient with all the extra stuff that I have to do going to Chiclayo all the time. He's super rad. I got lucky!

During the moments I was actually in Picsi this week, a buncha stuff happened. First, something sad. We have this girl we're visiting, who's super ready to get baptized, and really, really wants to. She's made a ton of changes in her life and has developed a strong testimony and has so much faith in her Savior and in her Father in Heaven. She was originally going to get baptized this past Saturday, but this week out of nowhere her dad changed from an indifferent "do whatever you want" attitude, to a "there is no way I'm letting you get baptized!!" attitude. She's 18, and technically doesn't need permission from her parents, but she doesn't want to cause any problems in her family either. Apparently her dad got really mad about it. Her family is very broken. She lives with both of her parents, but they fight all the time and basically it seems like everyone in the family, including her mom, is afraid of her dad, who gets drunk and angry and has told them that he's "tired of his family." Sadly, I've seen this a ton of times in Peru, and I feel like it's way more common than it should be. Awful dad, and the rest of the family is afraid of him and afraid to stand up to him and it just wrecks the family. I've met a lot of families like this here. This girl also needs an operation, but her family won't let her get one. Are you kidding me?! That is so bad!!! I feel so sorry for this girl, who just wants things to get better and to feel loved and receive the blessings of the Lord, but her life is just a huge mess and it's out of her control. She told us that she's going to talk to her dad and that this weekend she thinks she'll be able to get baptized. We'll see. I sure hope so. Pretty sad situation.

On a happier note, we also have this other way cool family we're visiting. Edgar and Jacqueline (probably not how you spell that in Spanish), and their two kids Nayeli and John. The first time we visited them we started sharing about the Plan of Salvation and they started asking a ton of questions and started questioning why their church has changed and skewed the teachings of Jesus Christ, and that what we were teaching them was how they thought it should really be. They readily accepted another visit, and the next visit was just as good, and the whole family accepted the invitation to get baptized!! Not with a date though, because first the couple has to get married, which is probably the most common problem in Peru. But, we're gonna keep working with them, because they're awesome!

Also, one day we were walking down this street, and this old man named Victor came up to us and started trying to speak to me in English. Awkward, because it was hard to understand. He told us where his house was, and then we went to his house to sit down and visit with him. Part way through the lesson I realized that his breath smelled like beer, and realized that this lesson probably wasn't going to go anywhere. However, he wasn't super drunk, and stayed interested and even got down on his knees to offer the closing prayer. Told us we could come back, and told us he'd be at church on Sunday. I wasn't sure what to think, but figured if we could catch him on a sober day that he might be able to progress. Well, on Sunday, this guy actually shows up at church!! Wow! And he was the first person there!!! Let me tell you, Sunday was super frustrating to me. It makes me feel bad when we invite someone to church, and they actually come, and there aren't any members there!! Church starts at 2:00. He showed up right on time. Nobody else was there. 2:15, like one other person is there. 2:30, still basically nobody. At 2:50, the bishopric shows up. THE BISHOPRIC. Are you serious?!?! How?! How can that even be real?! The bishopric shows up to sacrament meeting fifty minutes late. We started the meeting at 3:00. Great. But, luckily, Victor still had a good experience at church, and we had a few other investigators there too.

Anyway, things got interesting on Thursday. I had to go to Chiclayo to help Elder Davis with end of month payment stuff. Well, remember how I said our IDs are expired? We need those to get a few things done that we absolutely cannot do without them. Usually, the mission just takes care of this, and sends all of our stuff to Lima and they take care of it there for us, but it takes a while because we're not actually there doing it in person. Well, on Thursday, while I was working with Elder Davis, Elder Muhun, who is the new Personal Secretary who took Elder Samamè's place, told us "Elders, I don't know if this is good news, or bad news, but you both have to go to Lima tomorrow." WHAT?!! I was not expecting that. So, later that afternoon Elder Arèvalo and I went back to Picsi, got my stuff ready so I could travel, and headed back to Chiclayo to spend the night. My part-day trip to Chiclayo all the sudden turned into me not going back to Picsi until Saturday afternoon. Thursday night, this is what I wrote in my journal:


Getting on that plane is going to be the trunkiest thing in the world. I'm excited, but I'm also dreading it. Too much trunkiness.

Seriously getting on a plane was ridiculous. It felt like I was going home, and it was so weird.

Lima was kinda fun. Well, not really, but it was fun because I was with Elder Davis the whole time. We went to immigration to get everything worked out for our IDs. Waited in hours of lines, all for nothing, because the people there don't even really know what they're doing and messed up and told us we couldn't get our IDs renewed because we don't have a piece of paper. When they told us that we called the lady who was helping us and she came and told us that they were wrong and they should have let us do it. But, by then it was too late because they had closed and wouldn't open again until Monday morning. I was very frustrated to say the least. Sometimes I just can't handle how inefficient and unrealistically out of order this place is. I have had to develop a lot of patience in Peru, and it's something I still need to work on. So, in short, we didn't even get done what we needed to get done. Went to Lima for nothing. Seriously! But at least I had some fun with Elder Davis. Here's what I wrote that night:


Today. Was. Nuts!! Today was the weirdest day ever. It’s like I took a vacation from my mission. Just spent the whole day outside of my mission chillin' with Elder Davis and speaking English the entire day. Two flights. Trunky airports. Lima. And basically it was all for nothing because the people at immigration messed up and because of them we didn't even get our cards renewed like we were supposed to. Actually, we literally didn't get anything done. Just waited through like five hours of lines for nothing. Seriously. But, the lady who was helping us, Hermana Campian, was way awesome and took us to McDonald's (drive-thru!! My first drive-thru in so long!!), and then to the Lima North Mission office which was kinda fun.

It was fun spending a day in Lima with Elder Davis! And we brought 36 donuts from Dunkin' Donuts back to Chiclayo with us. Awww yeah!!

Lima was pretty cool. It is such a gigantic city. It's like Chiclayo on steroids. Kinda fun to get to see a new place. Really weird to not only leave our mission, but also visit another mission's mission office. Haha.

We got back to Chiclayo late on Friday night. Slept there, and on Saturday morning Elder Arèvalo and I went to this university in Chiclayo called Juan Mejìa Baca with our zone to teach some English classes! That's a first for me. Most of the North American missionaries from my zone were there, with their companions. They split us into groups and sent us into different classrooms. I got paired up with Elder Greene. I thought we were just gonna sorta be like helpers in the class, helping the teacher and interacting with the students and stuff. But, when we get there, the teacher was just like "okay elders, you have two hours. The time is yours." WHAT?!? Was not expecting that. At first I really had no idea what to do, and it started out a little boring perhaps, but by the end it was a lot better. Thank goodness for Elder Greene, because he taught better than I did. He remembers English better than I do too. Lolz. Elder Juergens, who's our zone leader, also came in and helped for a bit. In the end it turned out well. However, I absolutely never ever want to teach English as a second language. No way Josè. One career path I for sure do not want to take. I wrote this that night:


If there is one thing I never want to do for a profession, it is teach English as a second language. I hate it! It is so hard!! I don't even understand the rules of English! I don't know why I speak the way I do, I just do it! My whole mission I've struggled so much trying to help my companions learn a little English. It is too hard and I hate doing it. English teacher = NO. It went well though.

That was pretty much my weird week. Today Elder Arèvalo and I decided to rest. A lot. We got up, ate breakfast, and then went back to sleep basically until lunch time. Hahaha. It is the most I've ever slept in one day on my mission! It felt SO GOOD!!! I really needed that rest. Seriously, there are very few times in my mission that I've woken up later than 6:30, or been able to take a nice nap, but those few days that I do get it, I feel so much better than any other day! I remember once when I was a new missionary and we had a conference and we were talking about obedience and some of the mission rules. It got to the theme of waking up on time. One of the older missionaries raised his hand and was like "I'll admit that I've slept in late a bunch of times on my mission, and I can honestly say that I feel much better on the days that I stick to the schedule and wake up at 6:30 when I'm supposed to, than when I wake up later." I was just sitting there thinking to myself "are you crazy?!" Sure, you feel good about yourself when you're obedient, and I try to be, but I would be lying if I said I feel better when wake up earlier. Getting more sleep makes me feel so much better. SLEEP!! No, I have not made it a habit of sleeping in. But on the occasional p-day I will take a much deserved nap. Heaven.

Anyway, that mail I wasn't going to get for a very long time ended up getting to me real quick because I was actually in Chiclayo the day the mail came. So, I was super excited to get the news that Anna got her call to Tokyo!!! That is like the most awesomest thing ever!!! Seriously! I didn't really have any specific preference to where I was gonna get called. I thought maybe Austrailia would be cool, because it’s another country, but it’s still English. Haha. But as I was getting closer and closer to getting my mission call I remember thinking that going to Japan would be one of the coolest things ever. I think I always really wanted to come down here to South America deep down in my heart though. Haha. But, I'll admit, I'm jealous, because I still think serving in Japan would be awesome. Honestly, I'm jealous because every time you tell me that someone I know got their mission call, they're all going to all these rad first-world countries all over the world, while I'm taking bucket showers and visiting people who live in stick houses. I have really grown to miss the comforts of home. But, I love my mission, and I love the people here. Seriously it's going to be super hard for me to go home and leave these people behind. That will kill me.

Dad, I liked your talk idea about the 7 step plan for every member is a missionary. I might have to copy that idea and use it one Sunday here. We need a lot of help from members!! The problem right now for me is that there are barely even any members here in Picsi. Haha. When are you going to speak in the Spanish branch? I have no idea what you should talk about. But if you feel like you can, it would probably be cooler to read it than have a translator. I wasn't a fan of the translator talk I heard a few weeks ago. Too slow.

Jacqueline seems like a violin master by now! Keep practicing! Is Sam still playing cello? It seems weird to me because I've never in my life heard or seen him play cello. That still doesn't seem real to me. Awesome for me though, because it means free musicians I can hire to help me with my music! Haha.

Falco seems ridiculous. I swear, if he pees on my Star Wars books, I will disown him. I hope he calms down by the time I get home. I just miss Rocket :(

Sam, stop making me jealous about drinking Voltage. I want that so bad!!!! Okay, you can keep doing it.

Any news about colleges for Bryn yet? Since this week my mail didn't get delayed, it means that next week it will. I have to wait so long for your next letters! Unless I end up going to Chiclayo on Saturday again, which is also possible. Haha.

Okay, well, I've spent much more time than I should have writing you guys this week. Gotta get going! I hope life is still fun in the real world. Life is still fun in this fake one.

See ya!

-Elder Hemsley

Here are some new pictures that Victor sent this week. You can see the rest of them by clicking the slideshow at the top of this blog.

Victor's been reassigned to the Lima North mission!! (just kidding) But he did go to Lima this week!



"Airplaning around."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Greetings from Picsi, Peru! A little pueblito in the middle of nowhere!"

Greetings from Picsi, Peru! A little pueblito in the middle of nowhere! This is my second day of not setting foot in the office ever since July. Wow. But, I still gotta go back a couple more times sometime this week. This week, I had my first ever sacrament meeting not in a chapel! So weird!

"My new church! And apartment."

Anyway, here I am sitting at the internet cafe, watching my timer ticking down before the machine shuts off. I don't like this pressure!

Spent most of this past week training Elder Davis again. I was in the office full-time until Thursday, when my companion, Elder Arèvalo came by to come take me to Picsi! Friday and Saturday I spent the mornings back at the office, and spent the afternoons in Picsi. I'm enjoying my new area, and my new companion, and not dealing with money problems. Training was/is stressful!! I'm still not completely done. I have to go back and get a few more things taken care of and teach Elder Davis a few things for end of month payments. I'll be happy to finish it all and not have to worry anymore. I don't know if I'm teaching him good or not! But he seems to be getting it all a lot quicker than I did, which is good.

Also spent a lot of the week saying more goodbyes. Not fun! My old bishop's wife made me this super awesome picture frame that has my name on it and says Peru in big ol' letters, and gave me a bunch of photos and short letters from the family too. Way awesome. The Yatacos gave me this really cool journal with a little note to me written inside it on the first page. I don't like goodbyes! I miss these people too much!

This week I finally sat down and started writing some short letters to a bunch of people. Converts, members, and other people from my past areas. I sent a huge pile of mail to Pacasmayo, and a couple letters to Olmos and some for Chiclayo. I had this whole big list of people I wanted to write to, and I didn't get through it all. Maybe I'll have more time here in Picsi to write than I did in the office. I stayed up late a few nights writing letters. Caused some extreme tiredness.

This week I wrote some fairly crappy "it's really late now and I'm tired" journal entries, and I wrote some decent ones too. Here are some extracts from my journal to give you an idea of how my week went:


Well, here I am in Picsi! Finally! This morning I had to go to the bank with Elder Davis to get some money back that we sent to a missionary who never picked it up. It should have been a quick go-in-go-out thing, but it took like an hour and a half! At one point the employee who was helping us told me to call this service number and tell them I was Elder Cuadros (who I sent the money too) and that Elder Hemsley sent me money that I never received. Are you kidding me? That is so illegal!! And then, I actually did it! And all they said was that I can't do anything and that Elder Hemsley has to annul the payment. So dumb!!

After that Elder Arèvalo came to the office and chilled there a bit while I showed Elder Davis some more stuff, and then we went to lunch. I felt so sad going to lunch today! I love the Yatacos so much and the thought of leaving them is just awful to me. They gave me this really cool journal that's really nice, and on the inside on the first page was written "Con mucho cariño y aprecio, para Elder Hemsley, un gran amigo y parte de nuestra familia." Reading that almost makes me want to cry! They are some of my favorite people in the entire world. But, Elder Arèvalo and I have to go back to Chiclayo in the mornings, and I think we're going to eat lunch with them too. I hope!

After lunch we went to the room, threw my last things into my suitcase, and took a taxi to Picsi. It feels weird to be here. It feels like I'm starting my mission for the second time. Like my time in the office didn't count and I'm just now finally returning to the mission field after a six month break. This place is so much more like Pacasmayo or Olmos than Chiclayo. I feel like I'm starting again. Starting over. Dinner was a huge pile of rice with a piece of chicken on top. Now I'm back in Peru for real.

Elder Arèvalo seems super awesome to me. I'm way stoked to serve with him! I've heard that this transfer is going to be five weeks long instead of six because of the shorter amount of time missionaries are now in the MTC. So with one week less, plus this past week that I was in Chiclayo, I might only be with Elder Arèvalo for three weeks! That's so not fair! We'll see what happens.


Oh boy am I tired... I did not sleep well last night. I was being eaten alive by zancudos, and dying of heat at the same time. At about 12:30, after two hours of suffering and itching, I finally hopped out of bed and covered my body with bug spray. I was able to rest slightly better after that.

This morning we got up and headed straight to Chiclayo to train Elder Davis s´more. It's weird going back ´n forth between my old and my current area. Today I ate breakfast with my current pensionista, ate lunch with my past pensionista, and ate dinner with my current one again. Weird blend of worlds and transfers.

Today Elder Davis and I finally got to meet with President and talk to him about how things are going. Looks like I'm going back to the office tomorrow, and then one or two days next week, and then one more day for monthly payments.

I was very pleasantly surprised this morning when William, and Jesùs and Heber Chicoma from Olmos all showed up at the office to talk to President Risso because they're all getting ready to serve missions!! So awesome!! Grabbed a photo with them and with President. So good to seem them again and talk to them a little. Way awesome.

Had lunch with the Yatacos again. Yesterday I said goodbye to them so it was kind of funny that I came back so quickly. Yesterday when I said goodbye it almost broke my heart because little Alison got really sad. Apparently she cried after I left. Today when I showed up she gave me the biggest hug! What am I going to do without this family?! Today I took over my favorite big blue so-ridiculously-comfortable blanket that I love so much and I gave it to the Yatacos. I have too much stuff and that took up a ton of space in my suitcase. But now I miss it. Haha. I've only used it like three times in 16 months.

After lunch we came back to Picsi. Had a few lessons. Met a few people. I like Picsi. I feel so much more at peace being here proselyting than being in the office worrying about money problems. I like being in the pueblos more than in the city. I really think I'm gonna enjoy it here. And my comp is super awesome.


Wow! Look at the date! Time is flying!

Went back to Chiclayo today. I probably won't have to go back for a few days. Tomorrow is my first full day in Picsi. Stoked! Today I went to the bank with Elder Davis to take care of some stuff for me and for him. Basically neither one of us could do what we needed to do because both of our foreign resident cards are expired. Oops. Gotta get those renewed! Until then I'm stuck with a bank account that I don't want or need. After that, finished some other stuff in the office, and then went to eat with the Yatacos. Today is Saturday, and Saturday = eating lunch with members, which is what the other missionaries had to do, but not us!! Ate with the awesomest family. They took us out to lunch because Hermana Yataco didn't want to cook. Haha. She needs a break. So I got to go out to lunch with one of my favorite families in the world, and it was awesome.

After that we came back to Picsi and did some ol' missionary work. Lots of appointments fell though. Just like in the good ol' days before the office! But we had a few good lessons today and I'm getting to know the people here little by little. Our pensionista seems really cool too. Food's not quite Yataco level, but so far I've liked it. Stoked to be here! Gotta give a talk tomorrow. Aww man...


My first full day in Picsi! My first day not setting foot in the office since... basically since July. Wow. Today was a good day. Proselyted in the morning, because church starts here at 2:00 PM. So late!! I think it's because the bishopric from Lopez Albujar has to come to our meetings, but first they have to attend their own ward. I live in the same building as our makeshift chapel, which is convenient. Church only lasts two hours, because there's no Priesthood or Relief Society. Interesting. Gave my talk. No microphone. No pulpit. Just me standing in front of a room full of people. Everything here is so different!! Mario, the recent convert who took my place as a mini-missionary for a week also lives in this same building, and he's way rad! Really funny. He lives like ten feet away from us. There's this recent convert 11 year old kid who's also funny. His name is Harley. Yesterday and today we taught his aunt Mario and his cousin Sandra. Yesterday they didn't seem like they cared, but today they showed a ton of interest and asked tons of great questions. And got excited about this idea of having an FHE with them. Rad! Hope we'll see some progress.

We have two investigators with baptismal dates for the 26th, this Saturday. One of them I don't even know yet because he's not in Picsi right now (gets back Tuesday). His name is Daniel. The other's name is Jasmín, and she seems really cool and like she truly wants to be baptized. But she wasn't there for an appointment we had today and she didn't come to church. Hmm... We'll see what happens.

P-day tomorrow! I want to rest! I am exhausted!! And dying of zancudo bites and extreme heat.

So, there's basically a brief overview of my week. Picsi is way way different than where I was before!! It's nuts! But I like it. Hot water is no longer an option, and the shower just sort of drizzles water, which makes it especially annoying to try and clean off the stupid sunscreen I wore to play soccer this morning and the water pressure is just not doing anything to help take it off! My actual room is pretty nice though. Not as big as it was in Chiclayo (duh, that room is enormous) but it's probably the nicest room I've had so far in my mission. I like it.

I bought myself a new cheap watch this week, to avoid being robbed. I'm seriously way paranoid of being robbed in Peru. This is not a safe place. In the market I bought it at (in Chiclayo) I got super grossed out as we passed through the food section and noticed that there were rats crawling through the vegetables. I WOULD NEVER BUY FOOD THERE ARE YOU KIDDING ME THAT IS SO DISGUSTING. I always always made us buy our food at the grocery store when we went out to buy food in Chiclayo, despite Elder Perea's desire to shop at the market because it's a lot cheaper. I'd rather pay more and not die.

Anyway, the last letters I got from you guys left me with some major cliffhangers. Telling me that next week Anna and Tori will probably have their mission calls and that Bryn might now what schools she got into. I wanna know now!! My next batch of mail is going to take so long to get to me! It's going to get to the office on Saturday, and then on Tuesday in the afternoon my Zone Leaders are going to pick it up, and then the next Tuesday morning they'll bring it to me at our Zone meeting. That's so far away!! Thanks for the cliffhangers though.

I really liked Zach's letter that you sent me! I haven't heard almost anything about him since he's started his mission! He's changed so much!! I could hardly imagine Zach actually saying stuff like that. So cool. A mission is so life-changing. Such an amazing blessing. And it's flying by so darn fast!!!

Sam, I don't know why I told you to buy that Zelda game, because now you're just making me jealous about it in all your letters. And I realized it sucks for me because I'm supposed to be the one in our family who all the Zelda games belong to. Gosh dangit. I'm gonna have to buy my own copy when I get home.

Anyway, I gotta get going!! If you need me, I'll be having an adventure in the middle of nowhere in Peru. I'll talk to you next week! See ya!

-Elder Hems

P.S.: It takes forever to attach photos to my e-mails here. Just so you know, I might not be sending too many from here on out.

Victor sent a bunch of new pictures that you can see by clicking the slideshow at the top of this blog.  Here are a few of them:

"Out to lunch with my favorite family! And my new companion!"

"The best burgers in Chiclayo! (I thought I was going to get robbed for taking out my camera at night...)"

"I have seriously have way too much stuff! And I threw stuff away this time too!"

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Usually when I tell people I'm going to Picsi they start feeling sorry for me. Haha. Don't even care bro! I'm just stoked to get out there and work!"

Yo family! And others.

I'm short on time today. I actually started writing this e-mail yesterday but never had time to get too far.

Anyway, TRANSFERS! I'm still here in the office right now, but I got my transfer on Tuesday. My new area is a teeny tiny area called Picsi (yes, like Pixy) that's probably about 20 or 30 minutes away from here. Basically it’s this really small town that's sort of just in between bigger more important areas. I don't actually know much about it. My new companion is Elder Arévalo, and I barely know him because I've been in the office this whole time while he's been out in Picsi working with a recent convert (really recent) as his temporary companion, or "mini-missionary" until I get there. From the few times I've spoken to him since Tuesday he seems super rad to me. People who know him tell me that he's really awesome. That he works really hard, and that he's really funny too. So, I'm way stoked to get out there and work with him! Usually when I tell people I'm going to Picsi they start feeling sorry for me. Haha. Don't even care bro! I'm just stoked to get out there and work! And, it sounds like I'm gonna have a lot of work to do. It’s an area that wasn't opened too long ago. It's not a ward. It's not a branch even. It's smaller. In Spanish, we call them "groupos familiares." Which I guess in English would be "family groups," except I've never heard of that before in my life so I assume it has a different name in English. Hardly any members. Hardly any leaders. Which means us missionaries get to do it all! Elder Sampson, who was in Picsi a few months ago told me that he had Sundays where he prepared, blessed, and passed the sacrament, and gave a talk. Haha. Elder Davis is replacing me as the financial secretary. His last area was also a "family group" and he told me that one Sunday he had to show up early to clean the... house chapel? (these are terms I don't know in English...). He had to clean the "chapel", then prepare the sacrament, then bless the sacrament, then pass the sacrament, then give a talk, then teach Sunday School, and then teach priesthood meeting. Hahaha. Oh wow, what am I getting myself into... I can't wait though! I think I'll be heading off to Picsi on Wednesday. And then I'll possibly be coming back here for a few more days to train Elder Davis in the mornings and go back out to work in Picsi in the afternoons. We'll see what happens! Months ago I went to Picsi with Elder Navas to drop off some plastic chairs at the house the members meet in. So I sorta have some small idea of what the area is like. Also, there's a prison in Picsi. Random fun fact. Hehe. Apparently it’s also a super hot area with lots of mosquitoes  Except this different kind of mosquito they have here that's worse than a normal mosquito because they're uglier and their bites hurt worse. They're called "zancudos." Woo! But it sounds awesome because Elder Arévalo told me they have a bunch of people they're teaching and a bunch of people who can get baptized. I'm the district leader, and even though I've still not set foot in my area, last night I had to call each area in my district for the weekly report. Elder Arévalo had a baptism on Saturday and has two other people with baptismal dates for the 26th, and a lot of other people to teach.

Been busy this week trying to train a new financial secretary. Training is hard! I have no idea how to teach this stuff! Still got a ways to go, but Elder Davis is doing great. I remember how I felt when I was learning this stuff. So overwhelmed. Like I didn't understand anything. I bet he feels the same right now. But he'll get it. Somehow I got it, and if I can, he can. Elder Davis is rad. Back in the day we were in the Guadalupe zone together. Gooooood times.

This week we also had something we've never had before. A multi-zone conference centered on our health. Two senior missionary couples who are serving in Lima came to Chiclayo to speak to us about our physical, and emotional health. The first time I've seen senior missionaries my entire mission! They were from the United States too, and so basically it was really weird for me because they spoke to me in English and I don't really know English that well. Really they just made me think about Grandma and Grandpa a lot and about how they're going to be missionaries soon too! The first couple spoke to us all in English, and had a missionary translate for them to Spanish. I had always wondered what it was like to hear a live translated talk. Really boring is what it’s like, because it takes twice as long to give the talk, because they say a little in English, and then the translator repeats it in Spanish, and they just take turns like that. And when you understand both languages, it's not that fun to hear it in the second language because you just heard it. But overall I enjoyed the conference.

Apart from training all week, this was also a week full of goodbyes! Actually, not really, because we were in the office most of the time. But Sunday was goodbye day! First, on Saturday, I went to visit Piter with Elder Samamé. We had a nice little visit. Answered some questions that Piter had about the priesthood. Good lesson. Piter kept asking when I was going to be able to come back and visit and it was hard to tell him that I probably won't be able to. Aw man. Then, on Sunday when I got to church, Piter came up to me and brought me a little potted plant as a goodbye present. Aww! Piter is the coolest kid ever. I know he's gonna continue to be a huge blessing to his family and to the people in this part of Peru. Then for the rest of the day I went out teaching with Elder Perea and Elder Davis, and basically every visit was ruined by the people wanting to say goodbye to me so much. It was sad!! I didn't realized the people here liked me that much! I hate goodbyes. It was especially hard when the people started tearing up. Really?! You're gonna miss me that much? How?! I never even knew the missionary's names back home!! Kind of an eye opener to realize just how much of an affect you might leave on people. I'm excited to get to go somewhere new, but I've been here since July, and I've met a lot of really great people here that I'm going to miss so much...

Anyway, that's about all that's happened this week. Getting ready to leave! Still gotta pack. Don't want to do that.

By far the best part of my week was when I found out that Elyse got her mission call!!! I was not expecting that at all!!! Seriously it made me so happy! I've always thought Elyse would basically be the best missionary in the world. She's gonna do so much good out there! I'm so excited for her!!!

Sam's making me jealous telling me about the new Zelda game. I guess I asked for that though. Dangit Sam I swear the main point of all your letters is to make me jealous. And it works!!!

Mom, that balloon battle game we played was kinda fun. Basically everyone ties a balloon to their leg and then goes around stomping on everyone else's balloons to try and pop them. I thought it would be a good idea to put my balloon on my left leg and stomp with my right. I was wrong. Put the balloon on the stomping foot! Now, go play it.

Dad, what I think about guy missionaries being able to serve at age 18... Honestly... I'm not really a fan of the idea. I feel like it was only made so that there would at least still be some difference in age between the elders and the sisters. I feel like 18 is too early to serve. I feel like going straight from high school to the mission is not a good idea at all. My year away from home before my mission helped me so much. It was definitely a blessing for me to have done it that way. One year away from home can change you and help you grow up a lot. Gotta grow up before you put that nametag on. Lil' bro, college before mish! Do it!

Anyway, this is a super short e-mail, but I just don't have time! Next week I'll have some fun stuff to tell you about. Let you know how my new area is 'n stuff. I'm way excited!

Until next week! If I can find time before I leave the office I'll try to e-mail you some photos before I leave.

Alright, bye!

-Elder Hems

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"Well, it's official...I've officially started wearing my zipper ties more often than any of my other ties. Thank you, family, for fueling my laziness!"

Well, it's official...I've officially started wearing my zipper ties more often than any of my other ties. Thank you, family, for fueling my laziness!

You know what else is official? I'm getting transferred!! No more money problems for Elder Hemsley!! No more headaches! more mental headaches. Physically, I'm sure I will have many more headaches. And they will hurt. Bad.

I just had an interview with President Risso. He thanked me for all that I've done these past six months, and told me that if he could have it his way, he'd keep me here a year. However, he wants me to be able to teach people and so he's letting me go. Haha. President told me he's always nervous about changing the secretaries. Especially the financial and personal secretaries. It is kind of risky. I'm gonna stick around here another week to train the new guy and hopefully leave everything all set so that he can carry on the work smoothly. I'm gonna get to go out and preach some gospel now! This week was also the monthly zone leaders council (ate some delicious McD's). My last one! It's the first one with Elder Insaurralde instead of Elder Hatch. President Risso told us all about how excited Elder Hatch was to learn about his transfer. He told us that as missionaries and leaders with different assignments, after a while there's just nothing better than being a simple, regular missionary. It's true! I'm very excited. :D Getting booted from the office will have its downsides though. For example, slower communication with you guys. I'll get mail slower. I'll probably have to write shorter e-mails, and send less pictures.  I mean, it's a change from like 50 hours of internet a week, to one hour. Haha. But, I'm excited to be able to get out there! It's a lot easier to get homesick in the office than outside, so I'm also excited about that.

Well, let's see what else... Transfers mean that today is super busy!! And tomorrow! Doing the regular, saying goodbye to the missionaries who are going home, welcoming the new missionaries later tonight, eating dinner at the mission home (my last time!! Nooo!!!). Busy day all day. Busy day all tomorrow which is when the actual transfers happen. One more new missionary orientation thing tomorrow. I can't believe that I've been here since July. I remember getting here, and knowing that I'd be here for four transfers, and thinking about how long that was, and then I blinked, and it's over. Seriously, if six months went by that fast, then I'm basically already on my way home. I'll blink one more time, and I'll be at Carl's Jr. Mmmm.... P.S., the first place I want to go when I get to Oregon, is Carl's Jr. Before anywhere else. Including our house. Straight from the airport to Carl's Jr. I might not survive much longer without CJs...

Not too much really happened this week. We had the zone leaders council, and then the next day we had district leader training. I was dying of sleepiness in that one so I didn't get a ton out of it, but it was probably good. Ate KFC. Eh... People here love KFC. People here love chicken, so obviously KFC is like their most favorite fast food. It's still not very good.

Eh... I taught very few lessons this week. With the two big meetings, and now getting everything all ready for the new secretary who's going to take my place, we haven’t been able to do much. Yesterday we went to visit that same old partially blind man I've told you about a few times. His name is Heber. Except in español the letter "H" is completely useless and is always 100% of the time silent, so his name sounds like Ebber. Seriously, I don't get it. That's why in Spanish they had to throw in stupid extra letters like RR, LL, Ñ, etc, because they're just wasting the 26 normal letters they already have. S and Z are the exact same. V and B are also the same, and can be used interchangeably (actually, they can't. That is super illegal in grammar land. But because they sound the exact same people don't care and interchange them). Sometimes I think this language wasn't as well thought out as English was... I mean, English has some useless letters too, like "C", but at least we didn't have to invent new letters to make up for our dumb usage of the alphabet. Anyway, we went to visit Heber, and as always, he was super happy to see us! As always, he talked our ears off. But this time, he spoke a lot more about the faith that he has in his Savior Jesus Christ, and I realized that this old blind man really has an incredibly strong testimony. He recognizes the Spirit in his life, and he trusts in his Father in Heaven and in his Savior so much. He told us with such certainty, as if it were the most indisputable fact, that he knows that Jesus will heal his blindness. But it’s not the dumb kind of lazy faith that a lot of people have who just sit around and do nothing and wait for a miracle. He knows that God can bless him through others, and he fully expects to be healed by doctors, and not just some miraculous random healing in his bedroom. It was a cool visit because I never really knew how dedicated this man was to the gospel. His memory's sort of fading a little, but apparently he's been in bishoprics and held a lot of callings in the church in the past. Cool guy. We left him with a blessing and went our way.

Church was kinda cool too. Fast and testimony meeting. Among the first people to get up and share their testimonies was little Piter. Again! He's so awesome! He shared about how he knows the Holy Ghost is always with us, and that it helps us do whatever God asks us to do. Piter is the coolest. About halfway through the meeting I just got a really strong feeling that I needed to go up and share my own testimony, so I did. I didn't really know what to say, but I remember I started talking about the atonement of Jesus Christ, and how I've learned that the atonement isn't just to forgive us for our mistakes and our sins, but that it constantly gives us strength to go on, and to improve and to grow, and that it helps us through any situation. I remember that when I was speaking, I felt the Spirit so strongly. It was the exact kind of spiritual high that I needed after many weeks of sitting at my desk in the office. That's why I love sharing my testimony in those kinds of meetings. But never when it's forced. Never when someone tells me that I should go up and bear my testimony. Only when I feel impressed to do it by the Holy Ghost. And when I feel like that, and then I go up and share it, it's always an amazing personal experience for me. Most of the times in my life that I've felt the Spirit really strong, were times when I felt like I needed to share my testimony, and I followed that prompting. Every time that happens I just feel the most incredible, indescribable feelings. That's something I learned at EFY each year I went when I followed the gut feelings I had to share my testimony in the testimony meetings. I went into those meetings not wanting to share my testimony, but then during the meetings I felt promptings to do it, and followed them, and left each one of those meetings in a spiritual high. I won't share my testimony in every testimony meeting I'm in. In fact, in the majority I probably won't. But when I feel prompted by the Spirit to do so, it's always one of the most amazing experiences for me. It’s my favorite feeling.

However, as to be expected in this part of the world, there always has to be something that just comes in and completely destroys the spirit of the church meetings. This time, the stake presidency interrupted the testimony meeting to present some stake business. "Sorry to interrupt your testimonies, but we have some things we have to take care of, after which you can continue to share your testimonies." Are you kidding me? I thought that was just the dumbest thing. Just wait until the meeting's over!! Frustrating. I'm curious how my next ward/branch is going to be...

Other random little things that happened were that I ate horse jerky this week. Mmmm. It tasted yummy. But it smelled gross. It smelled like a horse. It smelled like a still-alive horse. Gross! It was from Chile.

One day Hermana Yataco had a bunch of new bluray movies in her house. I was surprised because for one, I have never seen blurays in Peru, and two, I have never seen legit non-pirated movies in Peru. I was amazed that she actually had legit movies. That was until I saw the back of the case for Polar Express and saw that it was rated R for violence and nudity. Ha! Fake. The movie rating system doesn't exist here, so the fakers don't understand how to use it. I think 99% of the movies, no matter how innocent they are, are all rated R here. Wanna watch Winnie the Pooh? Too bad, it's rated R. Wanna watch Cinderella? Rated R. Wanna watch the Joseph Smith movie that the church put out?... okay, I've never seen that one for sale here. Haha.

Speaking of random things, did you know that the latest and greatest in video game technology in Peru is the Playstation 2? Haha. Nintendo doesn't exist. Xbox doesn't exist. Playstation 3 doesn't exist. Just Playstation 2. Awww yeah.

I also got a bunch of Christmas cards n stuff this week! I got all the ones from the ward. The huge Christmas banner which was really awesome. And all the cards from all the seminary kids and all the young women. And a card from the Swensons! Woo! Christmas! There were multiple comments about BYU-Idaho on the giant banner that got me missing Rexburg. And way more people that I know are now at BYU-I then there were when I was there. Gotta say I'm looking forward to getting back there! Perhaps with my sister. Thanks for the Christmas stuff :)

I was thinking about how weird it has been this past year and a half or so since I've been out here, learning about life at home through letters. So much is changing, and I'm not witnessing any of it, but when I get back, a whole lot is going to be different. It's weird to just read about it and not actually live it. Hey Victor, your brother plays the cello now. Hey Victor, all these people you know are going on missions, or getting married, or having babies. Hey Victor, your friends are going on tour with their bands. Hey Victor, blink-182 released even more new music, and so did all of your other favorite bands. Hey Victor, your dog died. But there's a new dog now. Hey Victor, your sister's getting ready to go to college. Hey Victor, a new Star Wars trilogy is gonna come out. Hey Victor, Sam is like 100 feet tall and his voice sounds like Darth Vader now. Hey Victor, you're an adult now. Hey Victor, EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT!! It’s the weirdest thing in the world.

Speaking of people I know who are getting ready to go on missions, I was so excited to hear that Zanna wants to serve a mission!! Sooo awesome! I know Mom is excited that another Sister Paul wants to serve after all these years. I remember before my mission once Mom was trying to tell me how people were going to pronounce my last name weird here in Peru. Like "Pa-ool." And I didn't get it. And Mom kept trying to explain that because people talk different here my last name will sound different. Until eventually I told her "Mom, my last name is Hemsley! Not Paul!" Hahaha. Anyway I was so happy to hear that! Serving a mission is the coolest. And it’s even cooler when girls decide to serve, than when guys do. Best choice you could make!!

And speaking of people getting married, Morgan got married?!?! Are you for realz for serious?!?! Morgan!! Congratulations!!! :D I told you you were gonna be married before I got back! 

Oh yeah, and Sam wrote me a pretty great letter, breaking news to me that I've been waiting my entire mission to hear!: "I bought the new Zelda game." Wooo! I don't know how that news affects me in any way right now, other than making me jealous, but yay! And I laughed at how Sam describes what Christmas is like without me being there: "it's not as funny, and we don't get as many video games and movies. This year we got one movie and no video games :( " Hahahahaha. Don't worry Sam, next year it's movies and video games galore! Even though you broke my Xbox and got a new Xbox that is supposedly yours instead of mine to replace it. areyouserious.

Jacqueline said I speak with an accent now. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? Do I actually?!?!?!? Get it off get it off!!! Are you serious though? Because I don't notice it :( Gosh dang it I'm going to have such a hard time communicating with people when I get back. I think I'm gonna stick to pure text messaging and online chatting for the first two months.

Anyways, I'm gonna go. I've been writing this e-mail on and off for hours while doing a ton of other things because of transfers all morning, so I think it’s time I finally finish up and just click the darn SEND button. Next time I e-mail you guys I'll be in... the office still! But I'll be really close to leaving. Haha. I'm so ready to get back out on the streets to help people be happier! Okay, I like you guys. Bye!!

-Elder Hems

“Ughbrains, I’ve already searched almost every cave in this pantsy town!”

The Epic Tale of Yeast is the best book ever written. (This is a nonsensical book that Victor and his friend wrote sometime in middle school...I think.)

Victor sent a few new pictures that you can see by clicking the slideshow at the top of this blog.  This was our favorite:

"Elder Samamé, Elder Cabrera, and I in the only part of Chiclayo that felt Christmasy.  The Plaza de Armas."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Whoa whoa whoa, two major holidays have already passed since I last e-mailed you. Weird."

Whoa whoa whoa, two major holidays have already passed since I last e-mailed you. Weird.

"New Year's Eve at the apartment!"

This week was nuts!! I got to talk to you guys a bit. That was way fun!! Let's see what I can pull out of my memory to tell you about this week...

Well, first of all, after I e-mailed you guys on Christmas Eve, the six of us office guys got permission from President Risso to go to Real Plaza for lunch. I bought a whole ton of McDonald's! Gotta celebrate Christmas right! First McFlurry I've had in a very long time. So delicious... Later that night Elder Perea and I headed on over to Hermana Yataco's house so that Elder Perea could Skype his fam. Because I guess in Guat (and here) December 24th is the bigger celebration day. The 25th is basically just the day to rest that hangover off. Ha. The Yataco family had left for a short Christmas trip to Piura, and so it was just us two in the house and I had nothing to do at all. But under the Christmas tree were two presents. One for Elder Perea, and one for me, from the Yataco fam! While Perea was talking to his family I decided I might as well continue our Christmas tradition of always opening one present on Christmas Eve, so I sat down by myself and opened the gift from the Yatacos. A soccer jersey from Columbia! With my name on it! Haha. So awesome! Hermana Yataco is from Columbia, so that's why the Columbia jersey. The Yatacos are some of the most loving people I've ever met in my life. One of my favorite families in the world! So, that was kinda fun. After Elder Perea finished Skyping his fam, we headed on over to our apartment building to eat dinner with a member family who lives a few floors down from us (and owns the building, which is why we live there). Hermana Eda, and her two sons José, and Omar. Recent converts, except for Omar who isn't a member. They're a super nice and super fun family, and it was fun to spend the evening with them. What I didn't know, was that the Goicochea family was also invited. So they all showed up too! Way fun for me. I felt sad for them, just imagining what they're probably feeling this first Christmas time after the death of their mother. But they all seemed happy and we had a nice calm night together. It was fun.

The next day was CHRISTMAS!! Us office guys had to get up early to go to the institute to get things all ready for the big mission Christmas party. We were very tired. It turned out great though! Way fun, like last year. President and Hermana Risso gave all the elders soccer jerseys from Uruguay, and all the sisters a different t-shirt. I swear I'm gonna come home with a million soccer jerseys. I already have like six I think. We got to set up, help out, and clean up after the party. It was really fun to just see and hang out with a bunch of other missionaries and my friends. We played games, we ate food, each zone performed a skit. It was a lot of fun. Really tiring too. Before the party started I gave all the office missionaries those etch-a-sketches that you sent! They all love them and they all say thank you! Haha. After the party I went back to the apartment, showered, and I think after that is when I went to go call you guys! The first computer I tried to use wasn't working (well, the microphone didn't work) so I had to head on over to the office and wait for Elder Cabrera to finish talking with his parents to get to finally call you! Sorry if the connection wasn't that good! I'm in Peru! From my experience, high-speed internet doesn't exist. Although, actually I'm pretty sure it does exist. Or, at least they have lots of internet cafes that claim to be high-speed. Who knows if it’s true. But it was so fun to talk to you guys! Even if the picture was really choppy, or frozen at some times. I think I could at least hear you guys the entire time. I don't know how well I was coming through. I can't even believe how freaking humongous my little brother is!!!!! What the heck happened?!?!?!?!! I don't even have a little brother anymore :( Not fair. I wasn't expecting to see Grandma and Grandpa either, so that was a fun surprise! I was so excited to hear that they turned in their mission papers!!! I can't wait to find out where they're going!! I'm really excited, I've basically had to tell everybody here that my grandparents are going to be missionaries too! So fun! Looks like I won't be the only Elder Hemsley for much longer. Not a problem with me! And I got to meet Falco!! I'm surprised you actually named him Falco. Even though that was the name I was most serious about in my list of names. Although I still think Butthole would have been a good name. All of the names were good. Ha. Falco! When I get home I'm going to teach him how to play Starfox. And I got the photos of him that you sent me! He looks like a weird version of Rocket. I miss Rocket :( And I think I died a little when you told me that my Xbox broke. Grrr...

After I talked to you guys we went back to the office to get some sleep. Except, I couldn't go to sleep before I opened my presents! They were so awesome!! Basically perfect presents for a missionary. And TACO BELL HOT SAUCE!!! I can't believe you actually sent me that!! By total coincidence, the next day we got to eat tacos for dinner, and I totally put the T-bell sauce on it, AND IT WAS SO GOOD!! For a second it seemed like I was actually eating some real Taco Bell. Oh, how I miss it. I've already shared many packets with a bunch of other North American missionaries. I can't keep all this goodness to myself. However, I'm now running out. Maybe I should have been more selfish. I loved all of the presents! Thank you so much! And the ones that are waiting for me at home! I can't wait to listen to the Yellowcard discography on vinyl! Although contrary to popular belief, I don't think music sounds any better (or different at all) on vinyl. It depends on the speakers, not the format of the music. Still, records are way cooler than CDs. And CDs are way cooler than buying digital copies of music. If I'm gonna pay for it, I want to be able to hold it in my hand. Otherwise I might as well just download it for free. That goes with movies and books and video games as well. Digital copies are the worst. Random tangent. Anyway, that was my Christmas experience. It was lots of fun! I can't believe that next time I'm gonna be back at home!

Let’s see... Believe it or not (you probably believe it by now...) I spent a whole heck of a lot of the week in the office. Basically, the whole week. Except Christmas day. Mostly. Because I was in the office when I talked to you guys. On Wednesday a new missionary came to the mission. Elder Rosales. He's actually been a missionary for like six months, but he was serving in the Dominican Republic. He had a lot of health problems out there, and so he got transferred to a new mission, so now here he is! He stayed with us office elders for a few days before an area opened up for him to go to. On Saturday he went off to his first area in Chiclayo, and later that day, another new missionary arrived. Elder Lattin! He's from LA, and he also came from another mission. He was serving for about three months in Independence Missouri, because he was waiting for his visa so he could come to Peru. I assume Independence would probably be one of the hardest, and most apostasy filled missions in the entire world (I dunno, I don't really know that much about Independence. I've just heard some stuff. Full of "mormon" churches other than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Hatch one time went to the Community of Christ "Mormon" Temple there. Hehe.). But he's awesome! Already speaks español like a pro (though he doesn't think so). He's been with us ever since Saturday, and tomorrow he'll probably get to go to his new area. He's a lot of fun.

At one point this week I gave some of those little candy canes that were in my stocking to las hermanas Yataco. I gave one to little Tamara, and she didn't even know what it was! I didn't know people existed who don't know what candy canes are!! It wasn't until that moment that I realized that I've never seen candy canes here in Peru. How strange. But she liked it a lot. Hermana Yataco asked me where I got them, and then was sad to learn that they came from the United States, and I didn't actually buy them anywhere close by. Haha. Candy canes!

This week I had to close the mission bank account. Or... gosh darn I don't even know financial language in English. Only in Spanish. Basically, I don't even know what I was doing (I do know, but not in English). I had to make sure our account had zero soles in it. We are currently still without money, patiently waiting for the Church to refill our account. Also, this is random, but both Elder Rosales and Elder Lattin told us that it's weird that we're secretaries in the mission, because in both of their past missions all the secretaries were senior missionaries. In Peru the secretaries are always normal missionaries. In all the missions in Peru. But I guess it makes sense that usually the ones in charge of the money for the entire mission aren't 19 year old kids. I don't know if I should say that I guess I got really lucky, or that I guess I got really unlucky. Haha. I think I'll go with lucky, because I've had a lot of fun here. But anyway, stuff like that took up most of my week. Had to make some calls to Lima to get help from the financial guys down there with a few things. I'm going to enjoy never having to make phone calls when I get transferred to a new area. I don't enjoy it. I've never really like phone calls. Text messages saved me. My journal said this:


12/28/12. The day I have to close the mission bank account. Interesting. Not too difficult, but did run into a few problems here and there. Had to end up calling a lady in Lima for help. Left the office at like 10:00. I keep thinking "well, tomorrow is going to be a calmer day." I'm never right. One thing's for sure though: January is going to be a lot calmer than December. However, if things go as expected, I'm gonna get transferred in like a week and a half, and so I'm gonna have to train the new guy. Though it is also very possible that Perea will get transferred, and not me. We'll see... I'd like to be a normal missionary again...

On Saturday one of my favorite things happened: we had no members signed up to feed us!! And so the four of us secretaries went out to eat at a place called Roky's. Which is basically the exact same as this other place called Norky's that I think I've told you about. Ate chicken and fries. Mmmm... Very yummy. A little expensive (well, compared to back home, really cheap) but worth it. I'd rather spend the extra money each weekend at Roky's than get sick with the members.

Sunday was a little ridiculous. Well, church was. The rest of the day was good. Here's what happened:


Sunday! No office at all!! Spent the day with Elder Lattin in a trio. He's way fun. I forgot that when two gringos are together the people in the street like to annoy us about 500% more than when its just me.

Church was dumb today. They asked us at the last second to give a talk in sacrament meeting, and they asked us at the last second to teach Sunday school, and they asked us at the last second to teach the third class for the 5th Sunday. Are you kidding me?! There are like 100 members here! Ask them! And plus, why are none of the teachers or speakers here, and why did they not get replacements ahead of time?!? Stupid.

Today we got really lucky and were invited to eat lunch at the mission home with President and Hermana Risso. We ate homemade tacos and pizza! So delicious!! So awesome. Its really fun to do stuff with the Rissos. Something I'll miss about the office. President Risso started showing me his collection of really awesome books he has about all kinds of different church topics. Biographies, histories, etc... Really cool books that I want to read! He was excited to show me them. Probably because I was the only one who could understand them because they were in English. President Risso also told us that today the exact same thing happened to him at church, and he and Hermana Risso were asked at the last second to speak in sacrament meeting [Actually, not even asked, he was just called up the pulpit in the middle of the meeting to give a talk.] and to teach Sunday School. What a bunch of lazies the members here are!!

Anyway, today I finally got to go out and do some teaching. That felt good. Had four lessons. Well, three, because one of them was just us listening to this lady talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and never giving us a chance to open our mouths. But the other three were legit lessons. Elder Lattin helped us. Everyone is shocked at how well he knows Spanish. He's a pro! It's fun to talk to him. I really want to have a North American companion. Being comps with Elder Lattin would be a lot of fun. I want to be comps with Elder Marker!! That would be the funnest.

Anyway, P-day got changed to Tuesday because Peru is going to have way too much of a hangover on Tuesday for us to be able to get anything done. Ha.

Then, yesterday was New Year's Eve!! Pretty normal office day for the most part. At one point Elder Samamé and Elder Cabrera brought us more chicken and fries from Roky's. That was fun. Last night we were all real tired. At about 9:00 we were basically ready to go to sleep. It was New Year’s Eve and we were in our apartment, and there was nothing to do, other than wait until 12:00 when things got exciting! But we put on our best normal-person clothing to celebrate. Wow, I forgot how comfortable it is to not wear a white shirt and tie! So comfy! Basically from 9:00 to... after I went to sleep at like 1:00, it was non-stop fireworks. However, it was more like the occasional firework here and there, nothing too fancy or exciting. But, at from like 11:40 to like 12:30 it was nuts!! Fireworks all over the place in every direction. And we have by far the greatest apartment of all the missionaries in the mission for a night like that. Up on the fifth floor on top of a building, looking out over basically all of Chiclayo. I've never seen anything like I saw last night. I've seen really cool fireworks shows in the past, but concentrated all in a certain spot. This was different. In every direction, the entire city was lit up, launching a million fireworks into the sky. It was so crazy! So cool!!! I tried to get some videos but they don't do it much justice. The city got so smoky. I probably developed lung cancer. It was way fun though! One New Year's Eve I won't forget! Now, we are tired.

That was pretty much my week in a nutshell. Pretty fun! Sounds like you guys have been having a good winter break too. I miss having winter breaks! Cool that you got to go up to Portland where it actually feels Christmasy, unlike Eugene, where I swear the people are out to destroy Christmas. I don't even get it. I wrote a song about that once. I never recorded it well, but I think a real rough demo of it is on my Soundcloud page. It's stupid. You don't have to be Christian to enjoy Christmas. You could take out the whole Christ aspect and still have an incredibly fun and happy holiday spending time with your family and drinkin' hot chocolate. Anyway, here that's not a problem, because everyone is Catholic. Though it’s still way different than the kind of Christmas that I know and love. Anyone against Christmas is just an angry person.

Well, I can't really believe that it's 2013!! Are you kidding me, I'm going to be in my house in 2013. That is so weird!! My one full year as a missionary is over. See ya 2012! Now I'm just excited about 2015. Back to the Future 2 is so close to becoming a reality!!!

Alright, I love you guyz! I hope you had a great New Years too! Next week it’s possible that I'll have a transfer. Though I'll stick around here a little longer to train the new guy. Or, I might get another six weeks here. We'll see!

See ya!

-Elder Hemsley

Victor sent a bunch of new pictures that you can see by clicking the slideshow at the top of this blog. Here are just a few of them:

"Christmas Eve lunch! Mmm mmm mmm."

"Christmas lunch with the missionaries!"

"Basically we played real-life Mario Kart balloon battle on Christmas."

Skyping with the family on Christmas day!