Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Got the call last night: Elder Arèvalo is outta here. I'm staying in Picsi, and I'm going to train another new missionary!"


Wow, guess what? It's already time for transfers! Got the call last night: Elder Arèvalo is outta here. I'm staying in Picsi, and I'm going to train another new missionary! Honestly, even though I've done it once before, I'm way nervous, but whatever. I wrote in my journal: "President Risso seems to trust me a lot more than I trust myself, and it always ends up okay in the end." Still, lots of pressure! I could make or break this new kid's mission! But, it should be fun. Picsi is gonna be a way hard first area to serve in. But, maybe it will make the rest of his mission feel like a breeze when he gets transferred. My first area was pretty hard too. Anyway, transfers are crazy this time because 35 new missionaries are arriving tomorrow!! That's by far the biggest group of missionaries that's ever arrived! Before that, I'm pretty sure my group was the biggest group, and we were like twenty-something people. 35 new missionaries this time. That is nuts. Opening up a bunch of new areas this transfer! Pretty rad I think. Elder Arèvalo is also going to be training a new missionary in who-knows-where. I think Dad was telling me that something similar was happening in Eugene. Like a million new missionaries are arriving. Pretty cool stuff.

As for this week... Honestly... It may have been the worst week of my entire mission. But, that doesn't mean that there weren't good parts. There were just a lot of bad parts. However, I think I'll try to focus more on the good than the bad. I vented enough in my journal, so that I don't have to repeat it in my e-mail. Many angry journal entries. No problems with my companion or nuthin'. Arèvalo is still awesome, and I'm sad that he's leaving. Just a lot of problems with the members. This little group of members is struggling a whole lot.

So, I'll skip right on ahead to the best part of our week: we had another baptism!! I didn't tell you that we were going to baptize someone last week. That's because I didn't even know! On Saturday, our pensionista's 16 year old step-daughter Melissa was baptized. We've been visiting her every now and then since I've been here. She usually understood everything pretty well, but she never really read anything we left her to read, and she never wanted to accept a baptismal date. Basically, she's been investigating the church for a whole year, ever since Picsi opened up last March (March 21st. We celebrated the church's first anniversary in Picsi this week!). She's gone through a whole lotta missionaries. We already knew that one thing she did not like was when the missionaries tried to make her accept a specific date to be baptized. So, we never set a date. On Tuesday we had another lesson with her. Pretty normal. Taught about the Word of Wisdom. No problems. But one thing was different about this time. She had actually read the chapter of the Book of Mormon that we had left her, and she had even highlighted the verses that really stuck out to her! She read 2 Nefi chapter 31. She told us that she specifically liked verse 5. She told us that she knows that baptism is necessary for our salvation, and that all the commandments we've been teaching her are important to keep. She told us that she really believes that the Book of Mormon is true, because when she reads it she feels a peace, and she feels good. We knew that Elder Arèvalo was gonna get transferred this week, so Elder Arèvalo asked her if she was willing to be baptized on Saturday, and she said yes!! We were so happy! So, on Saturday she was baptized. The coolest. It was a double baptism. She was baptized with a sweet old lady from the Lopez Albujar ward named Mavila, who I interviewed for baptism on Thursday. So, there were a lot of people at the baptism! From Picsi and from Lopez. Elder Rich and Elder Sanchez were there, because Mavila is their investigator, and the zone leaders showed up too. We threw together a special musical number at the last second (so last second that I don't even remember what song we sang) which was pretty kewl. As we were outside taking photos, President Risso showed up too! And he totally joined us in singing the hymn! Haha, way cool. Some people recorded it, I'm gonna try to get the video from them. I actually have a bunch of videos, but I can't send them to you because they're either too big, or the computers are just too slow to send them. But, when I get home, you can watch some vidz from my mish! So, we were very happy about Melissa's baptism. I felt like it was a miracle, because for a whole year she's been listening to the missionaries, and not accepting baptismal dates. Now almost the whole family are members. The only one who isn't is Melissa's dad. We'll have to see what we can do to complete the family. Heh. Way awesome though. A great way to end a bad week!

"Melissa's baptism."

Also on Saturday, the zone leaders caught my by surprise and told me that I had to go and teach English again in that same university as last time. Except, this time I had to teach alone!! Uhh, no way was that going to happen! I've told you before how bad I am at teaching English. Let's just say that in my year and a half in Peru, I haven't been able to help a single one of my companions learn any English, and when I taught the English class before, I had no idea what I was doing, and I was just sorta following Elder Greene who mostly took control. Luckily for me, in the end Elder Rich came too, so we taught together. But still, same thing, he mostly taught, and I kinda just followed along, sorta lost. We all have our weaknesses I guess. One of my big ones is teaching English. I sure hate doing it. But it turned out well, thanks to Elder Rich.

Speaking of English, in our weekly zone meetings (which, by the way, isn't it kind of weird that we have weekly zone meetings? Preach My Gospel only talks about district meetings. I think zone meetings only exist in the Peru Chiclayo mission...) we have a 15-minute English class for all the latin-american elders taught by Hermana Lee, one of the sisters in our zone. This time she announced that from here on out the opening and closing prayers in our zone meetings are going to be in English. Aw great! And I was the one who was going to give the closing prayer! I wrote about it later that night:


When the meeting came to a close, I had to pray in English. I gave the absolute worst prayer of all time!! I had no idea how to say the things that I wanted to say. I was thinking in Spanish, and trying my hardest to translate it to English. Trying and failing. The exact opposite of how it was at the beginning of my mission! It was kinda like "and... bless us that... err... that we can help... many people today." Ha! And that's not even what I wanted to say! But it was all I knew how to say, so I said it instead. Bad, it was so stupidly difficult. Kinda funny. All the other gringos knew exactly how I felt. For some reason, even though we can still speak to each other in English fairly normal, praying in English is the hardest thing ever!!! I don't know why. Especially since I say all my personal prayers in my head in English just fine...

Lolol. It was the worst. I can speak English just fine to other missionaries, but trying to speak to anybody else in English is the hardest thing ever. When I was in the office, there was little I dreaded more than having to speak to the parents of some missionary in English on the phone. I felt like such an idiot because I had no idea how to even talk to them! Haha. And it was confusing the heck outta me, because one thing that's funny in español is that we just call everone "hermano" or "hermana." Not only members of the church. Everybody. And it really helps me a whole ton when I can't remember the person's name, because I can just call them hermano and it's totally fine. And when I say brother, I don't mean, like, an actual brother, but I mean it like the way black people use it. Which is more meaningful I think. Hehehehe. But seriously, I was talking to this missionary's mom one time on the phone, en inglès, and it was really awkward because I didn't know how to address her. I saying stuff like "oh yeah, thank you... err... sister..." Haha. I hate English!! Just kidding I love it way more than Spanish.

Hmm, well, I also got mail from you guys finally! Two weeks worth I think! It was so good to finally hear your voices again via my imagination whilst I was reading your Dear Elders in my head! Good to hear what's up in Oregon. As far as me being able to change into Bryn's same track at BYU-I, as far as I know, it's not possible, but, if you find out otherwise, DO IT! Fall/Winter is way better than Winter/Spring. Though, you also told me that Zach got into Winter/Spring. Ooh, depending on when I start school, perhaps Zach and I could take back our ol' apartment that we both used to live in, at different times. Ha. That would be fun!

Anyways, seriously? Another dog?? Well, I'm still waiting to find out if you're keeping him or not. Weird. And way cool about all the people you keep telling me who are going on missions! Basically all of them at this point I feel like are people I met at EFY who I don't actually know that well, but still, COOL! Espesh since they're almost all girls.

I'm way jealous right now that you're in California. Not fair not fair!!! How many times have you gone now without me? Like, three? I've only been gone for a year and a half!! Why didn't I ever get to go that often?! Anyway, do what you did last year, and buy me an In-N-Out shirt! And buy me an In-N-Out burger too! And strawberry shake. Mmmmm... It has been such a freaking long time since I've had a milkshake...

Well, I gotta get going. This week should be an adventure! New comp! Fresh off the airplane! Just think about how weird it is, now that missionaries are in the MTC for less time, this means that two weeks ago, my new companion was totally making out with his girlfriend!! Hahaha.

Okay, I miss you a heck of a lot of a ton! Talk to you next week!

-Elder Hemsley

Here are some other pictures that Victor sent this week:


"Scary eyes!"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Anyway, something different about this week is that it's been raining a ton!..And it's a problem, because the streets here are all made of dirt, and so when it rains, it turns into deep mud, and it makes getting around difficult."

Ooh boy am I tired!

Well, another tough week in ol' Picsi. Not so bad though. Just a ton of appointments falling through all the time! The people here just don't understand how to keep commitments, and it's a little bit hard for me to understand such a strange cultural difference. If people tell me they're going to do something, I believe them, and the fact that they never do what they tell us they're going to do is something I can't quite adjust to or wrap my head around. But eh, just gotta deal with it.

Anyway, something different about this week is that it's been raining a ton! Lots and lots of rain! Well, compared to Oregon, not that much rain. But still, for here, lots. And it's a problem, because the streets here are all made of dirt, and so when it rains, it turns into deep mud, and it makes getting around difficult. The streets sometimes are more like rivers than streets. Another big problem is that the houses here are not built for rain. Which, honestly, I don't understand at all, because it’s not like it never rains in Peru. It’s really bad though, because if it rains a lot, some people are in huge trouble because their adobe houses will fall down and they'll be left without a home. Why don't they build water resistant houses? Because it’s cheaper I guess. But is it really worth saving a few bucks (err... soles...) when the next time it rains hard your house will fall down? Ouch the mosquitoes are biting my ankles!!

This week we had what we call an "ataque de distrito" here in Picsi, which is where the whole district comes to a certain area to go tracting to find new investigators for the missionaries in that area. Kinda neat. We got a lot of names of people that we need to go visit now. Kewl.

Ugh, this computer is causing me problems right now. I'm not sure how much I'm actually gonna get to write to you guys... I'll do what I can!

Another fun thing about this week was that I ate guinea pig for the second time! Woo!! It’s actually pretty darn tasty. I don't know how true it is, but everyone here always tells us that it's one of the healthiest foods there is. However, these are also the people who say that drinking cold water is deadly, so, I don't really know when to believe people here on health issues, but still. It was tasty. Guinea pig is like a special treat for people to eat here. It’s one of those meals that everyone gets way excited about to eat. So, that was fun.

As far as appointments falling through, my journal does a good job of explaining what it was like:


Today was a little frustrating because of the four hour block of time in which every appointment we had fell through. Had fixed appointments at 3:00, at 4:00, at 5:00, at 6:00, and at 7:00. At 3:00, the people were getting drunk in the street in front of their house. At 4:00, the people were getting drunk inside their house. At 5:00, the lady was "doing her things." We said "but hermana, you told us to come at this time," and she replied "yeah, but I'm doing my things." Worst excuse ever. At 6:00, the people we were supposed to visit were in Chiclayo. And finally, at 7:00, Melissa was at home and we had a pretty good lesson with her.


It’s kind of sad how many appointments are falling through. More are falling through than aren't. Bleh. Frustrating.

Sigh, that's how it’s been. It's not just Picsi though, this has happened in every single one of my areas. It’s this country's culture. I don't get it.

Another thing I've been enjoying is that I've started reading the BoM a lot more again. I finished Jesus the Christ, and now I'm reading through the Book of Mormon again from start to finish. Wanna finish it one more time before I go home. En inglés though. No Spanish. I started it from the beginning a super long time ago in Olmos, but I was taking my time to mark and highlight every little thing that grabbed my attention, which was a ton of things! It was really slowing me down. I was basically spending more time coloring my Book of Mormon than reading it. But, this week, I got tired of that, and I put my highlighters down, and just started reading straight through without marking anything, and it's going a heck of a lot faster and I'm enjoying it a lot more. Got through Mosiah real fast. Now I'm starting Alma, which always discourages me because it's like 312987235807 chapters long, but whatever. Having some fun reading the scriptures. Also, Elder Arèvalo and I are still finding tons of great scriptures to use in our lessons during our companionship study. The other day we were looking up scriptures on prayer, but it ended up turning into us looking up scriptures about idolatry because too many people here worship and pray to idols! Found a ton.

Church is kinda chaotic on Sundays. First of all, it normally starts anywhere from 30-60 minutes late, because everyone shows up super late!! For the past two weeks in a row, the first counselor of the bishopric has pulled us aside after church to tell us about how worried the bishop is about this group, because it's just not progressing! Here's the jern entry:


Hermano Miguel, the first counselor in the bishopric, pulled us aside after church to "interview" us, and for the second week in a row he told us about how the bishopric is really concerned because the family group in Picsi is not progressing. It’s regressing even. Lots of problems. I want to help strengthen this group so badly, but it’s next to impossible when the members are unwilling to do their part. We really, really need to do all that we can to strengthen these members.

Yikes. He told us that if things don't get better they might have to close the group and all the members would have to go to church in Chiclayo.

However, there was one good thing about Sunday! Ten investigators came to church again!! Wow! Well, really eight. Eight people we're teaching came, but two of them brought friends! Way cool! So, that made us happy at least. Ten is a lot of investigators.

Shoot!! The computer has not been friendly to me this time!! I gotta go!! I still didn't get mail, but I'll get it tomorrow. Dangit, I wanna hear from you guys!

Anyways, I gotta get outta here. Talk to you next week! Miss you all!

Elder Hemsley

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"For whatever reason, yesterday it was just so much easier and so much more natural to talk to people than usual. Pretty rad. Felt like I was being held up by something greater than myself."


Yikes, y´know what just happened? One member started talking about how in two months we get to call our families, and it just hit me really hard that it will be my last call home! Anyway, that's a little ways off still. BUT STILL. Time is flying so fast!

Time is flying so fast, that last week when I wrote you guys I didn't even realize that Dad's birthday was coming up! I thought it was still farther in the future! I honestly haven't been paying much attention to the date anymore. When you start your mission, you're painfully aware of how many days you've been away from home, and the calendar sometimes becomes your worst enemy. Now, I just keep getting surprised when I notice what the date is and realize how fast the time is going by! Mega fast. Anyway, I hope you had a good birthday Dad! I didn't mean to forget it! Just sorta taking this one day at a time, and didn't realize that March 9th was going to happen before the next time I e-mailed home. Oops.

Anyway, wanna know something weird and honestly kind of scary that I learned about Picsi the other day? Doctors here don't work on Saturday or Sunday. They get weekends off. That probably sounds pretty nice to Dad, but for the rest of us, that's scary! What if you get really sick on a weekend?! Too bad, gotta wait until Monday. Hopefully you don't die before then! Yikes. We have an investigator who got sick on Saturday. We asked him if he had gone to the doctor, and he broke the news to us that he has to wait until Monday because the doctors here don't work Saturdays or Sundays. I assume (or, I hope) that doctors in Chiclayo still work on those days. Chiclayo's like ten minutes away from here.

This week was... also pretty tough honestly. People are just failing us all over the place, not being home when we have appointments scheduled with them. It's been sort of ridiculous. Let's turn to my journal to see what it was like:


Wow, these past few days I just feel like I've been let down so much more than usual. The work is tough!


Appointments are falling through all over the place. Kind of discouraging.


Its ridiculous how many appointments are falling through. I don't know what's happening. We've had to result to make people promise us they'll be at home when we set an appointment. We set a time, and they're like "yeah, see you then." And we have to be like "do you promise us you'll be there at that time?!" and they're like "yeah, yeah I promise." And then they're not there still! It’s frustrating.


Gah!! The people here make me crazy!!

Basically, that was how the week went. Haha. Man, I dunno what's up with the people of Picsi, but they just have no idea how to stay true to their word. Although, its not really just Picsi. This has happened in all my areas.

So, the teaching wasn't so great this week. Though, we did have some good moments. Probably the best parts of this week for me were our study time. Seriously. Teaching wasn’t good, but at least I was learning some good stuff from the ol' scriptures. One day Elder Arèvalo and I started studying and looking up scriptures to help us teach about tithing. There really aren't that many scriptures that mention tithing, so it’s not always the easiest thing to teach to people who are like "if it's not in the Bible, it's not true" (classic reason for not believing in Joseph Smith...). But, we actually ended up finding a ton of scriptures to use to teach the principle. Pretty neat. Tithing is a cool principle for me. It’s one of the things that God promises a very clear, very specific, and very amazing blessing for those who are willing to keep it. One of my favorite scriptures, Malachi 3:10. But, its a principle that a whole heck of a lot of people have issues with. Especially here in Peru. If you thought there were a lot of different churches in the United States, that's nothing compared to Peru. There are so many different Christian churches here it's ridiculous. Some of the more common ones that you might have heard of like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventist Church, but on top of those, there are tons more!! Anyway, lots of the people we talk to have problems with the law of tithing, because of their past or current experience with how their church uses tithing. So many people tell us about how in "the church they used to go to" the tithing went straight to the pastor for him to use on whatever he liked for his own personal benefit. When I was with Elder Choc, he told me about how back in Guatemala he had a friend who's dad was a pastor of some Christian church. Elder Choc asked his friend what her dad with the tithing that the members paid, and she said that the family uses it to go on vacations and stuff. Are you kidding me?! That's an even more literal application of a man robbing God of His tithing than members who don't pay tithing! "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings."  But, that's how the vast majority of churches work here. The people don't like that, and they assume it’s just the same in The Church of Jesus Christ. Wrong! Anyway, now that I'm loaded up with some sw33t biblical scriptures on the subject (the BoM really doesn't talk that much about tithing...) I am much better equipped to tackle this issue. Kewl. Plus, this week I've been continuing reading Jesus the Christ, and I've almost finished it for the second time. So good!! And I've been reading the Book of Mormon again in English. I sure love that language a lot.

As for the good teaching moments of the week, they were few, but they were sweet. First, that Adventist couple I told you about before. Their names are Mardokeo and Anita. They are both so receptive to our message! Especially Anita. She is always saying "yes, I know that what you're telling me is the truth." They're both way great. Like I said, they aren't married (nobody in this country is married!!), but they're already making serious plans to get married! We're teaching like four unmarried couples (who all have children) right now. All four of them know that they have to get married, but the only ones who are actively doing anything about it are these Adventists. And, in part, because the Adventist church also taught them that they have to get married. However, it's not a requirement for baptism in that church. Anyway, this couple is progressing fast! They came to church on Sunday and we had a real good Gospel Principles class with them and some other investigators who showed up (much better church attendance than last week. Six investigators came!). They so readily accept all that we say, and you can just tell that they know in their hearts that it's the truth. Really cool to see them progress like this. We're excited for them.

Probably my favorite visit of the week was with Victor Mendoza, the inactive member. He had promised us that he was going to come to church this week, because he wasn't able to last week because he was caught by surprise and had to go to work (he has no solid work schedule. When his boss tells him he has to work, he has to work.). Well, we went to visit him on Saturday. The first thing he said to us (in English...) was "Bad news... I can't go to church tomorrow." Noooooo!!!! Well, his boss made him go to work again on Sunday. And Sunday was his birthday! Worked all day. Couldn't come to church. Anyway, we had a nice visit with him, talking about keeping the Sabbath day holy. I asked him what his Sundays were like back in Australia when he was an active member of the church. He explained in great detail all the things he would do on Sunday at church and with the members. He told us about how most Sundays he would go out and visit people with the missionaries. As he was explaining all of this, you could just tell that he missed it. Although he hasn't been able to make it to church yet, I think his desires to change and make the gospel and active part of his life again are sincere. Bringing him back to church would be even better than a baptism for me. Victor Mendoza could be such a huge help for the church in Picsi! And his own life will be blessed so much as he lets Christ back into it.

On Sunday for some reason they made me lead the sacrament meeting again. I don't know why, but I did it. I also gave a short talk. Using Christ's parable of how the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed (and makes it clear that the mustard seed is one of the smallest and most insignificant of all seeds) that starts out tiny, but eventually grows into a great tree. I used the scripture in Alma 37:6-7 about how by small and simple means God brings to pass great works for the salvation of many souls. Basically I applied it all to how Picsi is a tiny family group, and how a "group" is the smallest of all branches of the church, but how with time, the church in Picsi will grow into something great, for the salvation of many souls. Not to brag or anything, but I thought it was a cool talk. Haha. :p

Well, I gotta get going. Although this was another tough week, I definitely felt the aid of the Spirit in my teaching. Especially on Sunday after church. For whatever reason, yesterday it was just so much easier and so much more natural to talk to people than usual. Pretty rad. Felt like I was being held up by something greater than myself. Although, I am pretty great. Hehe. Okay, I really gotta go! I really miss you a lot! Didn't get mail this week, but maybe this week... I honestly don't even know.

Well, bye!

-Elder Hemsley

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

" we were strollin' down the street, talking about some sweet doctrine, some guy totally tried to rob us! And by "us" I mean "me." "


Well, this week has been pretty rough honestly. Worked hard, but it was one of the tougher weeks I've had lately. All good though. Sort of. Haha. Just means this week is gonna have to be a good one to make up for it!

First of all, today summer vacation officially ended in Peru, and everyone is going back to school with their silly uniforms. I am so happy I never had school uniforms! Basically the guys all have to dress like missionaries without name tags, and the girls all have to dress... unattractive. Haha. But yeah, school starts today. I always hated school starting day!

This week sort of just punched us in the face with a fist made of cement dipped in acid. Something like that. The biggest bummer of the week was when we went to go visit Victor Retamozo, who is basically our best investigator who progresses so fast and kept every single one of his commitments (which is a miracle in Peru!). We visited with him, and he told us that he's really thankful for all the visits and everything, and that we're his good friends, but he won't be able to keep visiting with us. He basically told us that he's an atheist, and this entire time he's really been trying to change and to believe what we're saying, but it just never clicked for him, and he just can't quite accept anything he can't see. He returned his Libro de Mormon, all the pamphlets he had, and one Liahona magazine we gave to him. One investigator less. We're pretty bummed about it, because Victor is awesome! Maybe one day he'll give it another chance...

Speaking of Victors, the other Victor, Victor Mendoza, who is the inactive priesthood-holding member we randomly found knocking doors that one day, hasn't made it to church yet. He told us he would make an effort to reorganize his Sunday schedule to be able to start going to church again, but he hasn't made much of an effort as of yet. He plays club soccer on Sundays. So, a couple weeks ago he told us he would be at church on Sunday, but he played soccer instead, and while playing he hurt his knee really bad. Can't play soccer for another six months. Problem solved! God works in mysterious ways sometimes. So, basically he has no excuse left to not come, but this past Sunday he was also busy working the entire day. He says it was a random thing and that it doesn't usually happen on Sunday, but this week it did. I trust him, for now, but if he keeps not coming we're gonna have to talk! Haha. He's really cool though. He's been inactive for a few years and he's slipped into some bad habits, but he wants the gospel to be a part of his life again and seems willing to make the necessary changes. I'm just a little worried though, because when he was an active member in Australia, he was a member of a big, well-organized, functioning ward, right close to a temple. Here, it's just a little struggling group with a temple like a day away. It won't be the same. It won't be what he's expecting. But, we'll do what we can to help him.

On Tuesday I went to Chiclayo and had a work visit in Lopez Albujar with Elder Cuadros. Fun guy. The main highlight was that in the morning, as we were strollin' down the street, talking about some sweet doctrine, some guy totally tried to rob us! And by "us" I mean "me." We were walkin' and talkin', and then out of nowhere this guy sneaks up behind us and grabs by wrist, going for my watch. Elder Cuadros comes from a dangerous part of Lima, where this sort of thing is common, and he actually knew that the guy was going to rob us before it even happened. As the guy grabbed for my wrist, Elder Cuadros immediately pulled my arm away, turned around, and said to the guy "What are you doing?! We're missionaries. We don't have any money. We're missionaries." The guy just sort of stood there dumb-struck, and a little embarrassed that his plan was so easily foiled. He just stood there looking ashamed, and then calmly let us leave. I think he was drugged up. He was trying to steal my watch that I bought for 15 soles. Which is like five dollars or something. It doesn't even look nice! But yeah, that was exciting.

I went to Chiclayo again a few days later to finish up my office stuff. I think I finally finished everything in the office. I am no longer in possesion of 6,000 soles of the Church's money. Haha. I canceled my bank account. They destroyed my bank card. Awww, I kinda wanted to keep that as a souvenir. Oh well. I need to have less stuff.

Hmm, what else... On Friday I went to interview a nine year old girl for baptism in the Chiclayo Campodònico ward. Her name is Mayli. Nine year olds don't usually have serious sins that they have to take care of, so, pretty easy. Passed. Has a strong testimony for a little girl. She got baptized on Saturday. Kewl.

Anyway, time is short today. Gotta finish up. The other reason this week was rough was because normally we have tons of investigators come to church. This week only one showed up. Fifteen people who gave us their word that they would be at church on Sunday, didn't show up. Fifteen people! That was a mega bummer. This week is gonna be a better one.

Yikes, I had more stuff to tell you, but I gotta get going. Yes Bryn, I miss the cold, a lot. In fact, I can't wait to get back to the freezing temperatures of Rexburg. I am tired of hot. This week was the hottest week yet. It made fasting more of a sacrifice than usual (I was almost to the point of passing out...). Family! Help me decide when I should start studying again! I don't know what to do. If I don't start in September, I have to wait until January, which is a long time. But if I start in September, I get like no time with you guys! But I could start school with Bryn! I don't know. Both options are lame. My original date to come home was September 17th, but a week got cut off all of our missions, so my new date is one week earlier, but there is a group of missionaries who are coming home three weeks earlier than my group (so, four weeks earlier than my original date) and I was thinking if I'm gonna study I'd have to go home with them. Be home for Jacque's b-day. I dunno. I don't like to think about this stuff. I want your opinions. How the heck is it that time has gone so fast that I already have to start thinking about going home?!? Oh yeah PS, to answer your questions, yeah, the girls dorms at BYU-I are like a hundred-finity times nicer than the boys dorms. If Bryn wants dorms, it'd be an okay choice.

Mom, Peruvian Spanish is really slow, just so you know. They told me in the MTC that it would be easier for me to learn Spanish in Peru than in Mexico. Peruvian Spanish is really really lazy Spanish. When people talk fast it still confuses the heck outta me. And yes, I heard about all those missions that are opening, and I was excited about all the same ones that you thought I would be excited about! The Church is growing!

Okay, I really have to go now! Talk to you next week! I miss you!

-Elder Hems