Monday, February 25, 2013

"I was thinking about it the other day, and between all the members in my family (on both sides) that I know who have served missions (cousins, uncles, aunts, parents, grandparents, etc...), I realized that in total my family has given over 30 years of full-time missionary service. That's super rad."

Wow, the internet here is unbelievably, frustratingly slow. Let's just say I've been sitting here for 15 minutes and I'm just barely able to start typing to you guys. This is worse than the internet we had when I was like six years old. The fact that they're trying to charge me normal price for this internet is a little bit unreasonable, but whatever. I'm in Peru.

This has been an especially hot week. Unbearably hot at times. Usually in the morning. We are suffering here during the day. At night it cools down (and if we're lucky, it cools down in our room too... sort of.). Sadly, it's not going to get any cooler any time soon. We're right in the middle of the hottest part of Summer, and considering even Winter is really hot, I don't really have much to look forward to weather-wise. Also, the zancudos have become unbearable. I'm still covering my body in repellant at night, but I'm still covered in bug bites. And they're starting to hurt a lot worse than before. My legs are painfully itchy these days. I try not to itch that much, but, I don't have enough will-power or something, and some of the bites are turning into open wounds and... I don't know what to do honestly. There seems to be no way to escape it. We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life. I like Star Wars.

Anyway, more baptisms this week! Anallely and Jhon were baptized on Saturday. Way super awesome. These two kids are great. Anallely is especially smart. She gets everything we teach her right away. Once we went to visit them, and Jhon wasn't there, but Anallely had all the right answers to all the questions. At the end we asked her if she was sure that she still wanted to get baptized. She got quiet for a second and thought about it. I was sort of worried about what her answer was going to be honestly. Haha. But she said yes. I asked her why she wants to get baptized, and her answer was pretty awesome: "Because I want to enter into the kingdom of God, and I want to live with my family forever." Yep, this girl gets it. Jhon is rad too, but a lot of the times he wasn't there when we visited them, so he was less sure about some of the answers. But still had the desire to get baptized. On Friday our zone leaders Elder Nova and Elder Lonsdale came to interview them. Before the interview Elder Lonsdale asked them "well, before we get started, do you have any questions for us? Like, where did God come from? Because, we don't know." Hahaha. Funny guy. He's from Canada. The only Canadian in the mish. Anyway, the interviews went great and the next day they got baptized. Their baptism was really nice. We took the dumb ol' combi up to Chiclayo like last time. Elder Rich and Elder Cuadros (from our district) were there and they helped us out a bunch. Elder Rich directed the baptismal program and Elder Cuadros gave a nice talk. Finally, Elder Arévalo and I both got to baptize. I baptized Anallely first. This girl wasn't afraid of the water, which was refreshing, so there were no problems. Except when I baptized her her clothes didn't go all the way under the water, so I had to do it twice. Haha. Oops. They each got a new set of scriptures, and the next day they were confirmed in sacrament meeting. Cool promises are made in priesthood blessings. These kids have some amazing blessings awaiting them in the future if they stay strong in their faith, I really love these kids and their parents. What a great family. Their parents just need to get married and then they'll be able to follow the example of Anallely and Jhon.

"Anallely and Jhon's baptism."


So, that was the highlight of my week. The rest of the week was pretty good too. On Monday night Elder Davis called and told me that our IDs finally got here, so we could go finish everything up in the bank. We went to Chiclayo on Wednesday, and... I didn't finish everything. But, we made progress. Gonna have to go back though. Got to see the new office. It's pretty nice. A lot smaller than the old one though. But it's in probably the nicest chapel in all of Chiclayo. It actually sort of reminded me as a chapel from the United States. Oh yeah, P.S., chapels are different here. They're... not as nice. And they're all fenced in with a super high wall or fence and a giant gate that you have to open to get inside. All the windows are barred. It’s kind of depressing and creepy. But that's what you gotta do I guess when you live in a not-safe culture.

After going to the office (and using it as an excuse to eat lunch with the Yataco family :D ) I had a work visit with the ZLs. I went to Cabrera, Chiclayo with Elder Nova, and Elder Lonsdale went and replaced me in Picsi. I like Chiclayo because there aren't as many zancudos. I always come back from Chiclayo less itchy. Elder Nova is also way cool. I've known him since I entered the office in July. So I got to spend the day with him, teachin' and stuff. We taught well together. He's been out here as long as I have, and it's fun when you have those rare moments to teach with someone else who's been out here a long time (not that Arévalo doesn't teach well, because he teaches awesome. Better than me. He should be senior companion by now) and there's not really a junior or senior companion. Just two missionaries who already know the drill and are just out to save some souls. Fun times. He and Elder Lonsdale live with Elder Rich and Elder Cuadros so I got to spend the night with them too. I miss living with other missionaries. It's really a lot more fun than just living with your companion, no matter how awesome your companion is. Anyway, it was pretty fun to go out and do something different and teach with Elder Nova. Thursday morning Elder Nova had an interview with President Risso, and so I got to talk to President for a few minutes too. He told me that for a group to become a branch there needs to be at least four Melchizedek priesthood holders. Right now we have two I think. And there needs to be like at least three... or five (I don't remember...) full tithe payers. I don't know how we're doing on that one. I guess the members here don't like to receive blessings so big that there isn't room enough to receive it. Anyway, they're seriously trying to turn this group into a branch, and if it happens while I'm still here, they said that most likely the missionaries would be the first and second counselors to the branch president. So, being a part of the branch presidency may be a part of my near future. Scary. Depends on how quick this group becomes a branch!

On Friday we had a multi-zone conference, and those are always awesome because we always get to eat pizza at them!... Except this time we didn't get any pizza! NOOOOOOOOooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, that was a little bit sad. But, it was still awesome because President Risso's talks are the best. This time he just spoke a ton about the life of Jesus Christ, and about being representatives of Him. He asked "how can you claim to be representatives of Jesus Christ if you don't even know what Jesus Christ did?" Basically got me way stoked on studying more fully the life and teachings of Christ. The four gospels, and 3 Nephi. Coincidentally, a few weeks ago I started reading Jesus the Christ again, and I'm loving it even more than the first time. Gotta learn more about Christ if I really want to be a worthy representative of Him.

That night we had a "noche misional" activity where we played makeshift bowling with all the empty bottles of Inka Cola that we've been drinking. Which is a lot. I swear, I'm trying to cut back on the soda. But it's so freaking hot here and it's just so delicious when you buy it fresh outta the fridge. I've seriously become worried about my health here in Peru, because like I've said before, I never feel 100%, and my diet of rice, rice, and rice, with some chicken, is not giving me all the necessary nutrients I need. How do these people live normal healthy lives eating this food?!... the answer is, they don't. The people here are not healthy.

I was going to tell you about some of the frustrating things about having to deal with a highly apostate group of members of the church who don't even have testimonies or believe in modern day revelation or living prophets, but, I don't really wanna talk about that. I just have to remember that the church is new here, and like I read in an Ensign you sent me a long time ago, one of the apostles said that for the church to really be strong, it needs to have third and fourth generation members as leaders. So, basically, that won't happen here for another three or four generations, and until then, we just have to be patient and understand! It's the exact same thing that happened when the church was just starting with Joseph Smith. How many of the leaders of the new church were excommunicated? A ton. Generations later, the church has grown into what it is now in the United States, and I miss it a lot! Even in the times of Christ, or soon after his death, Paul marveled at how soon the members of the church fell away and started following "another gospel." Whenever the church is just barely starting, it is going to be difficult, but with time it will grow strong. With a lot of time.

I finally got mail this week! And wow! Tons of great news! I can't believe how many people are getting their mission calls! And I'm especially super excited for Zanna! The Philippines?! That is so freaking cool!! Speaking Hdaieasdfaljkeyieuidjjdnnd, or whatever that language is that I've never heard of. I was thinking about it the other day, and between all the members in my family (on both sides) that I know who have served missions (cousins, uncles, aunts, parents, grandparents, etc...), I realized that in total my family has given over 30 years of full-time missionary service. That's super rad. Super rad super rad super rad!

And Bryn got into Ricks College! WooOoOoo! Duuude, por favor let me know asap what track you get in. I feel like it would be really stupid if they put us in different semesters, but it could happen. I wanna know, because I feel like that would basically be the deciding factor for me in whether or not I want to start school in September, or in January. Both have their big pluses and their big minuses. I don't really like either option, which is why I can't decide (why can't BYU-I just have a normal semester system?!). But maybe I'll just copy whatever you do. Spring semester can go get dead really hard. Anyway, sounds like your senior year is especially easy, like mine was. That's how it should be. I loved senior year!! Enjoy it. Eat Carl's Jr.

You guyz saw the Hobbit, and basically all everyone said to me was that it was "good." Doesn't sound too promising to me. Perhaps the hype was just too darn big so that the movie could never really live up to everyone's high expectations. I'm still super excited to see it though! Even though The Lord of the Rings just totally copied Star Wars by releasing a first trilogy and then releasing the prequel trilogy after. I'm still wondering how they're gonna stretch one book into three super long movies. Anyway, stop distracting me from preaching the gospel... Just kidding.

I miss you all a whole heck of a ton of a lot! It's almost March. The sisters I started my mission with are going home. That is super weird. Those 24 never-ending months I used to have are all of the sudden coming to an end. But not quite. Still got enough time to help s'more families! I'll talk to you next week! Bye!

Elder Hems

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