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!...err...no 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!!
“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."