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!"

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