"Planting some rice."
P-day got changed this week, and they didn't let us know until the last possible second. Sunday night they told us that Monday wasn't p-day, and that Tuesday is gonna be our p-day this week. Oh great, thanks for giving us plenty of time to plan for that! We had a bunch of appointments scheduled for Tuesday, and nothing scheduled for Monday! That was sort of annoying. But it's all good. I'm currently in Chiclayo because my district decided to go out to lunch at Norky's for P-day. Mmmm. So, I'm actually in my last area right now, which is weird.
I think this journal entry serves as a good intro for this e-mail:
My room is so stupidly hot. I haven't slept with sheets since I got to Picsi. Which has left me vulnerable to zancudo bites all night long. I've actually been covering myself with bug spray every night before going to sleep. It helps, but it feels disgusting! And I'm running out of bug spray real fast. I've gone through an entire bottle already just in my short time here. Ugh. Air conditioning would solve all my problems. I wouldn't die of heat, and I wouldn't die of bug bites because we would never need to open the window to let the breeze in. Wouldn't have to bathe in repellant.
Yes, there are way too many bugs that like to feast on my delicious blood here in Picsi. Just the other day I walked outside and this mosquito landed on me and started sucking my blood. But then I realized that it was no ordinary mosquito. It was a green mosquito. AND GREEN EQUALS POISON!! And then I realized that it wasn't actually sucking my blood, but it was kicking my legs really really hard! It broke my legs and I passed out. After who knows how many days, I finally woke up sitting in a wheelchair.
Actually that didn't happen. But it sure makes a good story.
Anyway, transfer week! You know what that means right?... I'm not extremely busy because I'm not in the office! Woo! I was real nervous about transfers though. I've been with Elder Arèvalo for only like three weeks, and he's been in Picsi for a while, so there was a strong chance he was gonna get booted. But, luckily, the transfer gods had mercy on me and let me keep my companion one more transfer! Woo! Except there's actually going to be transfers again in three weeks, so its possible he might only be here three more weeks. But still, three is better than zero.
This week was pretty good! Lotsa stuff happened. The best of which was that we had a baptism! I baptized an eleven year old girl named Daniela. Her parents aren't members, and they aren't married, so they can't get baptized yet, but they agreed to let Daniela be the first in their family to take that step. Way rad! More on that later.
I still haven't gotten any mail from you guys. Probably won't until like next Tuesday. I expect to be handed a huge pile of mail from my Zone Leaders. But until then, I have no idea what has been going on in real life lately.
This week we've been busy teachin' lessons! I like it. We're still visiting Victor, and he's still awesome! This week we taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and at the end we asked him if he was willing to prepare to be able to be baptized, and his answer was so awesome! It was basically "Isn't that what I've been doing this whole time?!" Haha. So cool! We also taught him the Word of Wisdom the other day. I was a little worried about that lesson, because the first time we met him he was a little drunk, and one of his neighbors also told us that he has a drinking problem, but ever since that first visit every time we've seen him he's been sober. Anyways, he totally accepted everything we said, and he even started teaching us about exactly how tea, coffee, and beer damage our bodies. Haha. Too cool. He said he'd have no problem keeping the word of wisdom. Somehow I believe him. Rad!
This week was another first for me: I had my first work visit as district leader. I went to Campodònico, which is in Chiclayo, with Elder Sainsbury. Rad guy. Had a fun ol' time speaking English and talkin' about music n' stuff. And working hard of course! Knocked a lot of doors, because here, it’s just normal that your appointments fall through, and they all did. Did some good work with Sainsbury. Way cool guy. Then, when that ended, we had a district tracting activity in Lopez Albujar, the other area in my district, also in Chiclayo. We split up and went searching for elect souls. I was paired with Elder Bracho. He's from Chile, and I was in the Lima MTC with him. He's way fun. We actually had a lot of success together in the short few hours we tracted. We talked to a ton of people and got into a few houses n' everything. Good day.
Anyway, let me tell you about Daniela. She's this little girl we met not that long ago because we've been visiting her aunt Thalia. One day our appointment with Thalia fell through, and so we knocked on the door of Daniela's house and talked for a little bit with Daniela's mom, Jovana. Made another appointment, and from there things just took off. My journal explains it pretty well:
Visited another cool family who came to church with us on Sunday. The Bautista Ramirez family. Valdomero and Jovana, and their four kids. The parents accept the baptismal invitation, but they're not married yet, and it doesn't seem like Jovana is too big on the idea of marrying her boyfriend. She seems depressed to me, and I think their relationship has had a few rough points in the past. But, they're cool. They accepted supporting their eleven year old daughter Daniela in getting baptized first. Rad! This is a good family. I wanna help them in whatever way I can.
Daniela is still set to get baptized this weekend. Visited her and her family tonight. Her mom has a lot of doubts and trust issues. I feel sad for her. I feel like she's suffered a lot, and she just looks so sad all the time. But, whenever we say something that makes her smile, it’s like the best thing in the world. Seeing this sad lady smile just for a second makes me feel so good inside. That's what being a missionary is all about. Making people happy. It's the best.
This has been a weird past few days. No normal days. Work visits, district activities, baptismal interview... that was today! Today Daniela was interviewed, and totally passed! She's getting baptized tomorrow. Rad! Stoked on that. Hope her parents can follow her soon. We had a visit with their family tonight, and we watched a video, and as we were watching it, I just looked at this family, and pictured them being sealed and being an eternal family, and it made me so happy to think of that. I want this family to be together forever. I want them to have all of these blessings. That's my goal. Daniela is taking the first step, and being the example. Someday I hope the rest of the family can do the same.
Baptism day!! Today was a nice day. Since there is no baptismal font in Picsi, our baptisms have to take place in the stake center in Chiclayo. We all got in a big ol' combi to go to Chiclayo. Us, Daniela and her family, Edgar and Jacqueline and their family, Harly, and a few other members and non-members. But hardly any members! First of all, there are barely any members in Picsi, and second, none of them could come today. Boo! But, there were like seven investigators there, so it was kewl. We showed up in Chiclayo, and los asistentes were there waiting for us. Good ol' Elder Infante and Elder Insaurralde. Rad! Elder Juergens and Elder Nova also showed up because they had the baptismal clothing for Daniela. The baptism was nice. The were lots of investigators, and very few hymnals, which was a little silly, but whatever. Elder Arèvalo gave a short message, and then I got to baptize Daniela! She, like most kids here, was a little nervous, but was brave and I baptized her without any problem. How come the only people I've ever baptized are kids?! Sam, Haylander, Piter, Daniela, and the sister's investigator Milagros, who was 14 years old, and is the oldest person I've ever baptized. Haha. I'm honestly afraid to baptize a big person. I don't know if I could do it! But anyway, the baptism was nice, and Hermano Miguel, a member of the Lopez Albujar bishopric, gave Daniela a Bible and a triple combination. Cool! A little later in the day we stopped by Daniela's house and re-taught her a little about prayer. Her seven year old brother Fernando totally knew the steps to pray too and was excited to show us. Haha. During the visit Daniela told me that I'm her godfather... what?! Haha. I didn't really know what to say, so I didn't really say anything. Haha. But, I guess if she wants me to be her godfather then I guess that's okay. Honestly it just made me feel happy that she said that. This family is really opening up to us and accepting us more little by little. The kids now get excited when we show up at their house, and even the mom who's still really quiet and awkward and sad seems to be smiling more. Short smiles that come and go in like two seconds, but whenever I see that smile I feel so thankful that somehow we're doing something to make her feel happy for at least a short moment. I know what Daniela did today is going to be a huge blessing for this family. The gospel will bring light and joy into their lives. Their family will grow closer, and grow happier. Daniela took the first step. She's the leader, and the example, and God will bless the entire family for this choice she's made. This family will see changes and receive blessings. My greatest desire for them is that they can one day be happily sealed together for time and all eternity. The first step was taken today.
Today was cool because Daniela got confirmed! We went to her house to go to church with her and her family. Her family wasn't ready yet, but church was gonna start and we at least needed Daniela to be there, so we went to church with her and her brother. Her dad said they'd be there in five minutes. Fifty minutes later they showed up. Welcome to Peru. By then Daniela had already been confirmed, so they all missed it. The confirmation was pretty cool. Miguel, one of the members of the Lopez Albujar bishopric confirmed her. I got to participate in the laying on of hands. The blessing he gave to Daniela was really cool. He blessed her that in the not-too-distant future that she would be able to make sacred covenants in the temple and serve a regular mission. Wow!! Daniela the missionary! I can't wait for that day. Way rad.
So that's the story of Daniela. She's so awesome! I love her and her whole family. I hope we can keep helping them, because they're the awesomest. We have a bunch of women and children who could get baptized really soon. Nayeli (who the other day I learned that her name is spelled "Anallely") and her ten year old brother John are both gonna get baptized on the 23rd. The thing we really need in Picsi though is priesthood holders. There's one melchezidek priesthood holder in the... groupo familiar... and he's like 80 years old and a little slow. My personal goal is to find future priesthood holders, because we can baptize all the women and children in Picsi, and the groupo still won't grow until there are more members who hold the priesthood. We'll see how the search goes. Excited about Victor!
Anyway, I gotta get going. Valentine's day is in two days. Whoa! Happy V-day! I haven't gotten any of your letters, but somehow I did get the package you sent me. I assume it’s for Valentines day, so I haven't opened it yet. No me gusta spoiling surprises. Excited to see what you sent though!
On a completely random note, this extreme heat I'm suffering through messes with my brain and makes me think about being in California at the beach too much. Seriously, that's like what I most wish I was doing right now. Hangin' out at Newport Beach or something, listening to some legit Ocean Avenue. It made it way worse at lunch today when Elder Greene told me about how right before his mission he went to Newport Beach. Haha. Me too! Anyway, that's random. I want to go swimming.
On another kind of note, and speaking of notes, or letters, I'm just super paranoid that none of the mail I send to the states actually makes it to the states. I know a few letters that have been sent to me have never made it to me, and I feel like the same thing happens the other way around. So, just in case my very few precious letters that I actually get around to writing don't make it to the United States, just gonna throw it out there that in the past... I don't even know how long, I've sent two letters to the states. One to Tyler (Balkman... because I know like 100 people named Tyler...) and the other to Keegan. Tyler's should have already gotten there a while ago. Keegan's might not have yet, but if not, it should get there soon. Just so ya know. If you never get those letters, at least you now know that I tried. Haha. I'm seriously legit paranoid about mail here. It is not trustworthy. That's why I put Jesus stickers on my letters. Peruvians are less likely to open and steal my mail if it has Jesus on it. Maybe I should try putting the virgin Mary on them, it would probably be twice as effective.
Okay, I'm outta here. I miss your dumb faces! And I also miss Cheez-its! A lot!! See ya!
P.S.: Didja know that exactly seventeen months ago today was the last time I ate Carl's Jr.? Sad fact.
Here are some new pictures that Victor sent this week:
"Chillin' with Elder Sainsbury at Norky's on p-day."
"My Casa Capilla! Where we have our church meetings!"
"My comp and I."