Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"One day it started raining on us. Like, raining. Like, Eugene style rain. I was out there strollin' down the street in my short sleeves like a boss because I'm from Eugene and we don't use umbrellas or nuthin'. But, Peruvians are terrified of the cold, and especially cold water, and so everyone we visited was horrified..."

Hey guys!

It's been a good ol' week for me. We're not having the greatest of luck investigators-wise. Basically, we've had multiple days where all of our plans, and all of our backup plans, and all of our backup, backup plans, have fallen through. Kinda lame. But... it's all good.

Anyway, first of all, I made a really important discovery this week. Remember how I told you a long time ago that I really love Coca-Cola now even though I never used to like it at home? Well, I knew there had to be a reason for that. I was sure that the Coca-Cola here is different than the Coca-Cola there. But, I've never found American Coke so I've never actually been able to prove my theory. Well, on Tuesday, I found cans of Coca-Cola imported from the United States, and I bought one, and I bought a Coke from here to do a taste test. Well, sadly, I was right, and Coca-Cola from Peru tastes way better than Coke from the US. I don't even know if I'm going to keep drinking Coke when I get home! But, for now, I'll keep drinking the delish Peruvian blend.

If you want to see a good summary of my day in picture form, and a follow-up to the Coca-Cola story, just look at the picture I attached. It’s p-day today and we stopped by the mall to withdraw our money for the month, and then went to the grocery store. Mostly to see if they had root beer for sale or something. Well, to my surprise, they had tons of soda imported from the States (that never happens!!) and, I couldn't really resist, and I went crazy. Plus the Pringles and Snickers. I already blew half of my monthly personal fund the mission lets us withdraw on pure soda and snacks from the United States!! And it's only June 3rd! I'm stupid. But, I'm going to replace it with money from home. Sorry, sometimes I just need American things to keep me happy. Blew like 50 soles on this stuff (which is more than it should cost...). None of this soda exists here, except for the Sprite and 7up (and Coca-Cola), which I bought to do more taste testing to see which country has better soda. I'll let you know the results next week. Apart from that, we played soccer today. Woohoo...

Also, the other day we were jus' walkin' down the street, and I ran into a member from my old ward in Chiclayo! One of the counselors in the bishopric. So, that was pretty random, considering Cajamarca is six hours away from Chiclayo. Pretty fun though. On Sunday, I ran into another member from that ward at church! Juan Goicochea. His mom is that lady that died while I was there... Anyway, he's gonna be working in Cajamarca for the next six months or so, and he said his dad is coming up to work here too. So, I'm just running into all kinds of people I know! Also, I ran into Tyler Balkman the other day...

Just kidding.

Oh yeah, and I ran into this cool drunk guy who told us that we just go around and lie to people to make money. Okay. Why don't these people realize that Mountain Dew tastes way better than alcohol??... Never. Because they don't sell Mountain Dew here. EXCEPT THEY TOTALLY DO SOMETIMES BECAUSE I BOUGHT SOME TODAY!!!

Okay lets get on to the other more important more spirtualish stuff. We had one really awesome lesson this week (well, we had more than one, but I don't feel like talking about all of them) with a 23 year old guy named Herbert. He's been an investigator for a long ol' time, and our main problem is that we can never find him at home to teach him. We ran into him last week and invited him to church, and last Sunday he totally came to church! He got there before we did actually. Well, on Tuesday we went to go visit him, and luckily we found him at home. He said he had a few minutes to talk to us, but that he had a ton of people at his house and asked if we could visit somewhere else. So, we took him to our pensionista's house (well, I guess it's our house too. But only one room of it is our house.) and had a short lesson with him there. We asked him how he liked church, and he told us that he liked it a lot!! He told us that even though he was really tired that day, he really enjoyed the talks and the classes, and he received answers to a lot of questions that he had. He told us that when he showed up at church, and we weren't there yet, he walked in, and tons of people came up to him and greeted him and treated him as if they had been good friends for years, and he told us that he really liked that. He said that after church he felt really good. He described it as feeling like he had a heavy backpack taken off of him. He said that he felt super good after church, and he recognized that it was the Spirit, and because of the way he felt, he decided to pick up the Book of Mormon that was sitting in his house and start reading it. And he read like 30 pages!! Basically, that's one of the coolest experiences any investigator has ever told me about. We were visiting him at like 6:00, and we had a mission activity in the church at 7:00. We asked him if he'd like to come with us, and he came! He had a great time there too. And, my ward is freaking awesome because all the YSA that were about his age came up to him to greet him and talk with him and they were all being really awesome, which for me is pretty much a first in the mission, because none of the members hardly ever even acknowledge the investigators who come to church. It was rad. He told us he would do everything possible to make it to church again on Sunday. Well, for some reason, he didn't show up, and we haven't been able to talk to him to find out why yet. But, I have high hopes for this guy.

One day it started raining on us. Like, raining. Like, Eugene style rain. I was out there strollin' down the street in my short sleeves like a boss because I'm from Eugene and we don't use umbrellas or nuthin'. But, Peruvians are terrified of the cold, and especially cold water, and so everyone we visited was horrified and was like "ELDER!! Aren't you freezing?!!? Do you want to borrow my husband's jacket?!" Uhh... No thanks. Don't be such cold babies.

Uhh, I read a lot of las escrituras this week. Well, not a ton. I'm reading the OT these days, even though I specifically wrote you guys once saying that reading the OT wasn't going to help me that much as a missionary and that it would be better to read it at home instead. Well... I didn't want to read the BoM or NT again (well, I do, but not yet.) so I picked up the OT. Pretty kewl too. Although, yes, it is true that it is not very useful information for me as a missionary. I'm up to 2 Samuel, and I'm studying it along with a Spanish Old Testament study guide from the church that I found in our room. Pretty fun. But seriously, Leviticus through Deuteronomy was the most boring thing I've ever read in my entire life. That took some serious endurance to get through...

Something really scary happened this week too. On Friday, we were eating lunch with Hermana Celia and Limhi. Limhi made us orange chicken that day (it was soo good!!). When we sat down to eat and were talking about I don't even remember what, suddenly I look up and Limhi is choking on his food. We all jump out of our seats to help him. Celia pulls him off his chair and lays him down on his side on the floor in a panic. Then I realize he wasn't just choking; Limhi was having a seizure, which was why he was choking. So, Limhi was having a seizure with food in his mouth and in his throat, unable to breathe. We all had no idea what to do. Elder Trochez and Celia try to stabilize him. Celia is panicking and crying because he's having a seizure with food in his mouth and in his throat and could choke to death. We're all shocked, and in all the confusion, I did the only thing that I knew to do to help; Without thinking I laid my hands on Limhi's head while his mom and my companion were trying to stabilize him. I ask Celia what his full name is and immediately give Limhi a blessing while he's convulsing and choking at the same time. It was a short blessing. I was in a rush and was super freaked out, realizing that I was possibly watching one of my friends die right in front of me. Celia was in a panic. I blessed him that he would be okay and that he would recover very soon. I finished the blessing, and as soon as I said "amen", Limhi coughed up the food and started breathing. We helped him up unto the couch to rest. He was okay, but extremely weak, and he could hardly talk. He wasn't conscious about what was happening. But he managed to slur to his mother "I'm dying... I'm dying...". "You're not dying," she told him. "You're okay now." He was totally out of it. We brought him to his room and helped him into his bed to rest. Hermana Celia told us that that has happened before. He has had seizures throughout his life, but he hasn't had one for over three years, and he's never had one with food in his throat. She thought he was going to die because of the food. She cried as she told us this. But she told us that when he wakes up he would be fine. I went to go take a shower, and apparently when I was in the shower Limhi woke up and asked for a blessing. He was okay. That night he was totally normal, and even went to the church for a meeting he had. That night Hermana Celia told me that when I gave Limhi the blessing, right as I said "amen" he coughed up his food, and at that moment she knew he was going to be okay. That whole day I was thinking about how grateful I am for the priesthood. I was thinking all day about how grateful I am to be a priesthood holder, and what an honor and what a sacred responsibility that is. I feel like what happened that day was a miracle. It was the first time ever that I've used the priesthood like that. I've given blessings before, but always after being asked, and never in such dire circumstances. This time I wasn't asked, I just acted. It was the only thing that I knew to do. I gave him a blessing, and then I prayed, a lot. Putting all my trust in God, knowing that there was nothing else that I could do. And Limhi is okay. Later that night, at like 6:00 (we weren't there), Limhi's dog had a seizure, and died... I don't even know what to think of that, after what happened earlier in the day. A coincidence? I don't know. It just made me so thankful that Limhi was spared. God is still a God of miracles. His power is active in the world today. And that is a huge comfort to me. I'm so thankful to be able to be a tool in God's hands through which He uses His power to bless, or even save someone's life. That experience skyrocketed my appreciation for, and testimony of the priesthood. In my journal I wrote: "My Heavenly Father loves His children. He is a God of miracles, a God of love, and a God of blessings. I love Him so much. And I am so thankful for what He has given me, and for what He did for Limhi today."

Well, that's pretty much my week in a nutshell. Pretty good one. Believe it or not, I still haven't received one single piece of mail from you guys since I got here. I'm really hoping that I get some tomorrow in our zone meeting. If not, I have to wait another week. Kinda ridiculous. But, whatever. Just know that I'm doin' good, and I'm getting excited to drink the best water in the entire planet again in not that long. Imagine drinking water straight from the tap... That seems so... awesome to me...

Alright, I like you guys. Talk to you next week! Buh-bye!

-Elder Hemz

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