Monday, May 20, 2013

"I am now in Cajamarca, Peru! Woo! A.K.A. the place that everyone wants to go in the mission. I am no longer in a hot desert. I'm in the mountains, and it's chilly. It is about 20 gajillion times prettier than any of my other areas."

Hey guys!

Well, this is weird. I just talked to you guys last night. Even though I couldn't see your faces! I am sorry that I have never once found fast internet in Peru. It is not my fault. Some people tell me it exists, but I'm not so sure.

Anyway, for the rest of the world who I didn't talk to, I am now in Cajamarca, Peru! Woo! A.K.A. the place that everyone wants to go in the mission. I am no longer in a hot desert. I'm in the mountains, and it's chilly. It is about 20 gajillion times prettier than any of my other areas. There are actually plants here! It's actually green!! Not gonna lie, it’s making me think of home a lot more than I wish I would. But, it’s rad. Cajamarca reminds me of Park City, UT. Except, like a not as nice, Peruvian version of Park City. Hehehe. And it’s missing ski slopes. But, this area is awesome! Compared to my other areas at least. It’s a heck of a lot more Statesy than Chiclayo is. Some examples.... My first full day here, I wake up, and go eat breakfast. Peruvian breakfast is like the lamest excuse for a meal I've ever seen. I have never enjoyed breakfasts here. Well, I go to eat breakfast, and my pensionista gives me a bowl of Froot Loops. FROOT LOOPS. I can't even remember the last time I had American cereal!! Soo good. There's an actual mall here too. Like, a real shopping mall. I went there today. And I bought A CAN OF ROOT BEER!!!! OH MY GOSH ROOT BEER I CAN'T EVEN BELIEVE IT I HAVEN'T TASTED ROOT BEER IN TWENTY MONTHS!!!!! So, that was a happy moment.

You know what's not United Statesy? The amount of porn there is all over the place. And not just here in Cajamarca, but in Peru in general. Usually it’s not flat-out pornography (but sometimes it is) but on basically every sign of every business there's an almost naked girl. Some random store? Girl in a bikini on the sign. A construction company? Girl in a bikini wearing a construction hat. Place to eat? Girl in her underwear eating chicken. Haha. Okay. On every newspaper the entire back page is just one huge photo of an almost-naked girl or a girl taking off her clothes or a girl sticking her butt in your face. In tons of stores (and in tons of people’s houses) there are just these huge posters of girls in bikinis, girls in their underwear, girls in mega-short skirts (and no shirt) or flat out porn posters. The absolute worst I ever saw, and the one that made me maddest, was in Pacasmayo when Elder Choc and I went to this one store to buy a map of the city, and the walls are just covered in posters of naked ladies, and then right in the middle is a giant painting of Jesus Christ. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! When we have to travel by bus, they always put a movie on. Sometimes it’s an okay movie (okay, the best time was when I was going to Pacasmayo from Chiclayo and they put on Gladiator), but, usually, the movies are full of nude and sex scenes and it’s bad because there are little kids on the bus! Not to mention missionaries!! Yeah Peru, I won't miss your porn.

Okay, sorry if that's not the kind of stuff you wanted to hear. But it's been something that's bothered me ever since November 2011.

Anyways... Let's see if I can talk about something a little... more appropriate...

Well, it is cold here. And not just "not hot", but it is legitimately cold. At least in the mornings and at night. During the day I still go around in short sleeves. But, it’s a nice change. I haven't felt cold since... like February 2011!!! So, I do enjoy it. Except, I need to buy new socks. My ventilation socks seemed like a good idea, but, they're just making things worse here. Haha. And they really sucked in Picsi because it made it so much easier for the zancudos to bite my ankles!!!

I am now in the Aeropuerto Ward. I AM IN A WARD AGAIN!  I'm finally in a BIG, strong ward!!! I am so excited! I am serving in the Aeropuerto 2 area. There are three areas in my ward. The ZLs are in the first, we're in the second, and two sisters are in the third. Going to church was like going to heaven after living in hell for the past four months. You have no idea how nice it was to go to church in an actual church building, show up, sit down on the bench, and just listen. I wasn't in charge of anything! Not in charge of leading the meeting, or picking the hymns, or assigning the talks, or taking care of problems in the primary, or teaching the Sunday School lesson. I was just a normal church attendee, and it was the most awesomest thing ever. Another fun thing about my ward: one of my teachers from the Lima MTC recently moved to Cajamarca and is now living in my ward. Hermano Casanova. He's so awesome! And yesterday he was set apart as our elder's quorum prez. Too rad.

My comp's name is Elder Trochez, and he's from Honduras. He's way cool! One thing I love about him is that he actually wants to work which really helps me out a ton because when I have a lazy companion it starts making me want to be lazy too. Not no more! He's 24, and he's been out here for nine months. I was in the office when he got here! I still remember that!  I found out pretty quickly that he's cool because the first day he told me that he liked ska music and then I later found out that he likes a ton of the same music that I like. He even listens to Zelda music. Zelda music. Yes, that is awesome. My favorite thing about Elder Trochez is the way we teach together. We teach super well together! We have had some of the best lessons of my entire mission together. Something about our teaching style just clicks so nicely and really invites the Spirit into our visits. That is awesome. We don't have a lot of investigators here, but we're gonna try to help the few that we do have, and go look for some more! I'm super stoked because there are actually active members here!! I can't even believe it!! Haha. So, that's also gonna be a huge help for us.

Our area also includes a tiny "pueblo" called Otuzco. Went there once already. Kinda neat. When we went I just got this really cool feeling that I'm this missionary serving out in the middle of nowhere in this beautiful part of Peru. It was pretty rad. Didn't take pics, but it’s on my to-do list.

We've done three service projects this week. I haven't done service in so long! We went with our district to go clean out this unreasonably dirty upstairs room of someone's house that was full of gigantic spiders and lots of other icky things. Found some interesting things hidden in there. The grossest (apart from the spiders...) was a pig's foot. We actually found a pig's foot underneath all the junk we were clearing out. One funny thing was that Elder Martin lifted up this tarp and this cat jumped out and scared the crap out of us!!! The cat darted out of the room at light speed, and took a suicide jump off the roof of the building, while screaming. Hahahaha. It was so funny to watch! PS, it wasn't really suicide, because it didn't die. Calm down. After that we headed to another member's house to go scrape paint off the walls of one of their rooms. I don't know why, but that's the third time I've had to do this in Peru. Scraping paint of off a wall. But this time the paint was super hard to scrape off! My entire district came, and we barely made a dent. The third service project was really just a continuation of the second, because Elder Trochez and I went back to scrape more paint off the wall. Still barely made progress.

Oh yeah, I'm still district leader. I've been busy too! There are four companionships in my district. Three of them are in my same ward, which is cool. But I've had to do so much phone calling this week it’s been ridiculous. I don't have time to do anything at night! Reporting, checking up on the missionaries, checking up on the sisters who are opening a brand new area and one of them is just starting her mission, talking with the sister missionary whose wallet was stolen in Chiclayo in the church during our transfer meeting that had her ID inside, her temple recommend, a debit card, and 200 dollars in cash inside. Ohh boy. Yeah, it hasn't shown up. And, lotsa other stuff. But, it’s good. Although, not gonna lie, I would love to not be district leader anymore. I just wanna be normal!

Well... I think I gotta get going, Life is good out here in Cajamarca! Pretty sure this will be my last area before I go home. Good place to finish! Gonna work hard and do my very best. I don't have that much longer to do this!!

I had lots of fun talking to you guys yesterday! Even if I talk weird and I don't remember how to say things and I get confused when you try and make me speak two languages. Next time I talk to you it will be IN PERSON! How nuts is that?!?! Okay well I gotta write Prez and ask him when I'm going home. Talk to you next week! I have no idea when the next time I'll get mail is. It will definitely be a longer delay here in Cajamarca.

Alright, see ya! Talk to you next week!

-Elder Hemsley

Victor sent a bunch of pictures this week. Here are some of our favorites (you can see all the rest by clicking on the slideshow at the top of this blog):

"Look at this place!!"


"Scraping paint with my comp!"

 "Traveling in Peru sucks."

 "Comp and I."

"I'm in Peru."

 "ROOT BEER!!!!"

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