Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"The gospel changes lives, and seeing those changes happen in families you're teaching is just the coolest thing ever."

Hey familia!

Bad news, I got stuck with one of those computers that has a really old not-working-that-well keyboard. Great. Mostly the "L" key doesn't work. Let's see what I can type here...

Well, before I forget, because I keep forgetting every week, my mailing address changed! The office moved to a new (way less cool) place this week, and now all mail's gotta get sent there instead of where you've been sending it too. The new address is this:


So yeah. Jus' remember that. But, my mail paranoia continues, and, even though it's like way cooler to get an actual physical handwritten letter from someone, I feel like the absolute best way to write me is through Dear Elder, because the church sends those right to the mission office by FedEx and it's way more reliable than the post office. Just a tip. However, if you wanna send me a nice card or a photo through regular mail, I won't complain :) Just don't get too angry if it never gets to me!

Anywayz, so yeah, the office moved this week. That means I will never again set foot in the office I spent six months of my life in. Kinda weird. The new office is way worse (actually, I've never been to it. I just know that it's in a church building now, and it's smaller than the old office, and it's in a way worse location. But it's cheaper, so that's why they moved). I'm super glad I wasn't around for the moving. I hate moving! Moving from one apartment to another in Pacasmayo was like the worst thing in the world! I left just in time. Duude. Elder Perea should have been transferred this past week, but he's totally staying in the office. His fifth transfer in the office! He's gonna be in the office for seven months! Poor guy, he's wanted to leave ever since he got there. Weird transfers.

This week was Valentine's day! Woo! Got your package (however, I still haven't gotten any mail from you guys. My zone leaders should be giving me a few weeks worth of letters tomorrow.) and opened that on the 14th. Thanks for the candy! Elder Arèv says thanks too. We sure like candy. And the photos! Wow, you sent a ton this time!! Way cool photos!! Especially the pictures of mom on her mission! The Guatemala pics were really cool too. All the pictures were way cool. Thank you thank you! I miss you guys!

Well, this was a pretty normal nothing-too-special-happened kind of week. However, one really cool thing did happen. Allow me to share, por favor. So, remember how last week I said it's been a personal goal of mine to find future priesthood holders in Picsi? Well, I found something even better. Once upon a time we were tracting in an area called Vista Florida. It was an especially hot day, and tracting was especially boring that day. After a bunch of unsuccessful door-knocking, we come up to this one house that's front door is already open. There's a guy inside watching TV. Usually at this point in my mission I tend to want to skip houses where people are watching TV because they almost always ignore us or want nothing to do with us because they're watching something really really important on TV!!! But, this time I stayed. We didn't knock, we just said "buenas tardes...". The guy turned around, and without us even saying anything else he invited us right in, and he started speaking to me in English! Broken English, but still. He told me that he went to live in Australia for five years and learned to speak English there. He said a few other things I didn't quite understand, and then I realized he was saying the name of our church in English. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Weird. Then he told us that he's a member of the church! He was taught by the missionaries in Australia, and got baptized, got the priesthood, went to the temple, did baptisms for the dead, baptized some of his friends from Africa, and a whole lot more stuff. Whoa whoa whoa. We ask if we can visit with him for a minute, and he said yeah and got up and went into the other room for a second. He came back out with his King James version of the Bible and his Book of Mormon in English. Haha. Wow! The ward he went to in Australia was English speaking. He doesn't even own Spanish scriptures. He was really active in Australia, but when he came back to Lima he sort of started going a little inactive, and then when he came to Picsi he went completely inactive, because the church didn't even exist in Picsi at that point. We spoke with him for a while. He's a way cool guy. And his name is Victor! Yes, my name is extremely common in Peru... Victor Mendoza. He told us he had no idea that a small congregation had started here in Picsi, and told us that he's never seen missionaries here before. He said he was really surprised when he turned around and saw members of the church he had joined in Australia at his door. He said that when he saw us, it was as if Jesus Christ spoke to him and said "Victor, here I am at your door. Please, let me back into your life." Wow. Sometimes you just have some way awesome experiences in your mission. That was one of them! It was no coincidence that we found Victor that day. Just as I was thinking about how badly we needed to find future priesthood holders to help the church grow in Picsi, we find someone who already holds the priesthood in some random house. The coolest thing ever. I hope we can help this guy. He was very thankful that we found him and shared a little bit of the gospel with him that he had lost. Very cool. That was the highlight of my week.

Some other things... Well, on Thursday I got to interview somebody for baptism. An investigator from Lopez Albujar. A 21 year old named Heber ("Ebber"). Basically, he was super ready to get baptized and has a strong testimony and desire to take this step in his life. No problems. He had some good questions that I was able to help him out with. He got baptized on Saturday. I wasn't there, but still, cool.

On Friday night we had a big ol' soccer activity here in Picsi for the members and investigators, and also the members from Lopez Albujar. It went real well. Everyone had fun. It was stupid though because we rented the place out from 7PM-10PM, and when we got there at 7:00 there were these dumb dance lessons going on until 8:00 and even though we were paying for that hour they wouldn't let us play until the dance class finished. And there was this gigantic stage set up right on the soccer field that took up like a third of the field! It had been set up earlier that day, knowing that we had rented the place out to play soccer that night. I was super frustrated, but nobody wanted to argue with the owners except for me, so I keep quiet too. You just have to get used to stupid things like that in Peru.

On Sunday for some reason they asked me to lead the sacrament meeting. I don't know why, but I did it. Kind of weird. I've never done that before. Cool experience though.

Not much else happened this week. We're still visiting Daniela and her family. I'm seeing big changes in their family, and it’s making me so happy. The gospel changes lives, and seeing those changes happen in families you're teaching is just the coolest thing ever. The family seems way happier than they were before. The gospel really changes lives. It's a miracle.

"Daniela's Baptism!"

We're also still visiting all the other people I usually talk about. Edgar and Jacqueline's two kids, Anallely and John, are going to get baptized this weekend. We're way excited! This is another amazing family. All of our visits with them are so great. It's always been my dream in the mission to teach entire families, and I've never been able to do it in any of my areas. Always just one or two people at a time. Here, I have two amazing families we're visiting all the time. It's just what I've always wanted to do.

Anyway, I gotta get going. I'm trying to not ask the lady at the front desk for extra time this time after my regular hour runs out (that almost always happens every week because I just write too much!) so I can save some serious soles (to spend on soda).

I'll hopefully read your mail tomorrow and so next week I'll be able to comment on all the silly things that are happening at home. Did Grandma and Grandpa get their mission call yet?!?! I want to know! Perhaps I will find out tomorrow. Maybe not.

Alright, until next week! See ya in less than two years!!

-Elder Hemsley

Here are a few more pictures that Victor sent.  The rest can be seen by clicking the slideshow at the top of this blog.

"More rice planting."

"In the rice plantation."

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