Friday, June 28, 2013

"I turn my head to look out the window, and right on the window, like two inches from my face is THE BIGGEST SPIDER I'VE EVER SEEN!! It was seriously a tarantula."


Hey guyz,

Well, new transfer, new comp. Elder Trochez left Monday morning. But, he's still close by. Still in the same zone. My new comp is... Elder Maldonado! He's from Ecuador and he just finished his training (thank goodness, I didn't want to train again). He's pretty awesome! We’re working well together! He's from a part of Ecuador called Otavalo, where the culture is that the guys have real long hair and dress differently than us. And, my companion has really long hair! Really long! AKA Bryn's hair length. Because of his culture, he is allowed to wear his hair long and dress differently than other missionaries. Instead of wearing a suit like the rest of us, he wears a white shirt and white pants, with white sandals. That's how he goes to church. Bet you never had a comp like that, everyone who's reading this who's been a missionary. Kind of awesome.

Well, the highlight of the week was Herbert's baptism!! And also I found out his name is actually spelled "Herber." That always happens. People have weird names in Peru. On Tuesday, right after Elder Trochez left and Elder Maldonado came, we had a great visit with Herber. At the end we asked him if he still wanted to be baptized on the 22nd. He said yes. We asked him what time he wanted to be baptized, and he told us "I would get baptized this afternoon if I could." Yes, good answer. Haha. The next day we had another great lesson with him where we talked about tithing. He accepted it right away. I wrote in my journal: I feel like when someone accepts the Law of Tithing with no complaints or questions, that's a good sign that they're really gaining a true testimony. Kind of rad. On Friday before his baptismal interview, we talked about Thomas S. Monson and our current 12 apostles. I remembered a story I heard once, where I think (I don't really remember) someone asked the President Gordon B. Hinckley what made our church different than other churches, and he responded asking "if the prophet Moses were alive today, would you follow him?", and the guy obviously responded "Yes." Duh. And Gordon B. Hinckley said "that's what makes our church different from the rest. We do have a living prophet." Maybe that wasn't actually Gordon B., but that's how I remember it. Cool story. Anyway, we gave Herber the most recent conference edition of the Liahona magazine, and he asked us "where can I get more of these?" Haha. That night was his baptismal interview. Passed. After he came out of the interview, he asked me if I could baptize him! I sure can!! My journal: I'm scared though, because he's not a little kid, and I've only baptized little kids. Haha.

His baptism was great! I wrote about it:

06/22/13

Duuuuuuuuuuuuude!!! Today Herber got baptized!! It was a good day...

The baptism was great! For some reason, I was really nervous this time. Probably because I've never baptized someone who isn't a kid before. Herber was nervous too! There were two quick little talks. Then us elders (my comp and I, Elder Martin and Elder Driggs, and Elder Trochez and Elder Law) sang a hymn. Then, baptism time! Dude, the water was way cold! Which is bad because Peruvians think cold water will kill you. But, Herber is awesome and didn't complain or nuthin´! But it was cold!! I baptized him, and when we got out Herber told me that as he was coming into the font he felt really cold, but once he was in the water, he didn't feel cold anymore. He later shared in his testimony that he felt cold getting in, but once he was in he felt warm, and when he got out he felt cold again. Pretty cool. He also said that he never knew which church was the true church of Jesus Christ until the missionaries found him and started noticing changes in his life. He said after going to church he always felt so happy. I can't do it justice, but it was one of the more powerful testimonies that I've heard from someone who just got baptized. It was awesome.

After the baptism we walked back to our room with Herber because he lives real close to us. He told us that he felt really good, and he felt really clean. He said he really liked his baptism, and that it’s something that he will always remember. As we were getting close to our room he said that his baptism was fantastic! "Fue fantástico!" He was really happy. This guy is going to receive so many blessings. He is seriously the best.

So, that made for a good week.

"Herber's baptism!"

Last Monday, after I wrote you guys, I went with Elder Tróchez and Jusseff, an RM who lives in our same building, to go see the famous Baños del Inca. They’re natural hot water pools that aren't that far from here. It was pretty awesome! The water is hot! Well, I didn't touch it, cause I was told not to. Lots of steam. There were some ancient ruins there too (not very cool ones, but... ones). It was way fun. Describing it isn't that cool, but I'm sending pics.

"Los Baños del Inca."

"That water is really hot."

"Pretty awesome."

Wanna know what happened to me this week?! On Tuesday night, we were going back to our room in mototaxi. About halfway through the drive I turn my head to look out the window, and right on the window, like two inches from my face is THE BIGGEST SPIDER I'VE EVER SEEN!! It was seriously a tarantula. That freaked me out and we had to stop the moto to get the spider out of there. It was gigantic. And fat. Sooo creepy. Freaking Peru!!

Oh, here's a fun journal entry. Let me share:

06/20/13

Dude, every appointment we have falls through! Today the entire day was filed with appointments, and only one of them didn't fall through!! So dumb. Here were the excuses for why the appointments fell through today. 1.) We went to visit Luz this morning. She had told us to come by at 10:00. We show up, and her neighbor told us that Luz is never home at 10:00 in the morning. 2.) We ring the doorbell of this house four times before this old lady finally peeks her head out and we ask her if Felicita is there. She "doesn't know" and "has to go check." Three minutes later a little girl comes back and says that Felicita isn't there. I ask when she'll be back. The girl doesn't know. I ask her when she left, the girl looked around awkwardly for a second and then said "I don't know." She was there. 3.) The guy we had an appointment with went to go see his sister. 4.) The lady is out of town. 5.) The kid "went to church." We go look for him at the church. He's not there.  6.) The guy is busy taking care of his baby.

It's ridiculous how many appointments fall through. I hate it really. Last transfer, I marked eat appointment that fell through in my planner. The other day, I went through my planner, and tallied up how many set appointments we had had in those six weeks, and how many of them fell through. 70 percent of all of our appointments fall through.

Oh oh oh!! Last night there was this way super awesomatical live broadcast from Utah that was 100% dedicated to missionary work! You guys probably knew about it too. You probably were even there, considering here in our stake, every single leader in every ward in the entire stake was invited, plus all the missionaries, plus, whoever wanted to come. A.K.A., everyone was invited. It was SO GOOD! That was possibly awesomer than general conference! And all the missionaries in the MTC were there, and since I know like 500 billion people there right now, I was trying to find them in the audience. I didn't see any of them. Did you guys see it?! The only bad part was that I had to watch it in Spanish. And, the English voices are still quiet in the background, and whenever anyone makes a joke, they don't translate it into Spanish. They just don't translate that part! They just leave it blank! So dumb! Anyway, they announced a ton of awesome stuff, like how there's now over 70,000 missionaries serving worldwide. THAT IS SO MANY. And that the church wants the missionaries to use more technology and stuff, and so soon missionaries are going to get an hour of internet time every single day to be online missionaries, using stuff like blogs and Facebook and stuff. Seriously?! These things most likely won't take effect in my mission until after I get home, but still! Exciting stuff. My brother's mission could be completely different than mine...

Well, that was pretty much my week. Ooh! Yesterday I got a whole huge pile of mail from home! But I haven't had time to read it yet. So, if you asked me any questions, sorry for not answering them. I'll do it next week. Alright, I'll talk to you guys later! Buh-bye!

-Elder Hemsley

Victor sent several more pictures. If you'd like to see them, go to the slideshow at the top of this blog...

Monday, June 17, 2013

"I'm getting a new comp tomorrow. It will most likely be my last companion, so I'm excited, and nervous at the same time!"


Dude I just got a super short haircut on accident. Well, I wanted it short, but it’s shorter than I expected. At least this guarantees that I will not have to cut my hair again for the rest of my mission.

Anyway, I TOTALLY FORGOT AGAIN THAT FATHER'S DAY WAS COMING UP!! I seriously thought it was going to be next weekend! Well, that's two years in a row that I've messed up on that. Being back in the States should make it easier to remember next year. But, happy Father's Day, Dad! Even though it’s late. Still think it’s not fair that we don't get to call home for Dad Day, but whatever. I swear that was the last Father's Day that I won't talk to you.

Luckily, remembering that I forgot Father's Day, also reminded me that Mom's birthday is in a few days, and just so I don't repeat the same mistake two weeks in a row, Happy Birthday Mom!! Next year I should be home for your birthday. I'm still pretty convinced that I don't want to stick around in Rexburg during the Spring. But, we'll see.

Well, this was a pretty good week. But, tomorrow is transfer day, and my companion is getting transferred! He's pretty mad about it. He hasn't been the most fun person to be around today. He doesn't want to leave. So, I'm getting a new comp tomorrow. It will most likely be my last companion, so I'm excited, and nervous at the same time! I'll let you know what's up next week.

First off, Herbert! I told you about him the other week. The guy we invited to get baptized on the 22nd. He told us he'd think about it. We visited him on Wednesday and had another good lesson like always. We had a ward activity that night and invited him to come, and so he came with us! At the end of the activity, I was off talking to another one of our investigators who was there, and Herbert was talking to my companion. He said to Elder Trochez "remember how you told me that if I prayed I would feel ready to be baptized on the 22nd? Well, I did, and I feel ready." WHAT?! So, my companion asked "so, does that mean you feel like you received an answer from God?" He replied, "Yes. I want to be baptized on the 22nd." So, that's kind of the RADDEST THING EVER. Except, for some reason he didn't come to church yesterday. Still not sure why, but we're gonna visit him a whole bunch this week to get him ready for his baptism. If not this weekend, then probably the next. Either way, awesome. Herbert is seriously a golden investigator. He told us that since he's been praying, reading, and coming to church more frequently, he feels like there's been a big change in his life, and in his family. He said he's been praying a lot that his dad would stop drinking, and he said his dad hasn't been drinking for over a week and that his dad's relationship with his mom has been better because of it. Herbert recognizes the Spirit like few people do, and he is so ready to become a member of Christ's church. He's the best.

Thursday was a good day! Up til Thursday, the week had gone a little slow. We had a good amount of lessons that day (still struggling a bit to have lessons, but this past week was the week I've had most lessons since I've been in Cajamarca!). Plus, that morning I remembered how to play Stay Together for the Kids on the guitar, so that was fun. Hehe. Had some really good visits that day. One with a lady who's daughter told us that she's been hiding from us every time we come to her house, but we actually found her this time and had a good ol' lesson about prophets 'n stuff like that. On Thursday I had a baptismal interview with this 19 year old girl named Hanais. I don't like interviewing people, and especially not girls, so I was kind of nervous about it. But I prayed that I would be able to follow the Spirit and that it would go alright. She was a little bit sad and stressed. She had had a really hard day and a really hard week. I did my best to make her feel comfortable and make her feel good about her decision to be baptized. As I started talking to her I realized how amazingly strong this girl's faith is. I was really surprised. She gave amazing answers to all the questions, and I was bearing my testimony all over the place to help her feel good about her decision. Well, she was super ready for baptism. No problems. She's been making a huge effort to live gospel standards and to follow Christ. She's 19 but told me that for most of her life she's lived alone, without her family, and that she feels like in the Church she's finally found a family. Pretty cool person. Got baptized on Saturday.

I also had fun this week reading Mike Allred's Golden Plates comics that you sent me a while back. That was a fun change of pace from reading pure scriptures for the past two years. Every missionary I've shown those comics to think they're like the coolest thing ever. Haha. They are pretty awesome. Though it made me want to read more comics and less scriptures. Luckily, that's not an option for me, because all I have here are scriptures! Comics can distract me when I get home.

Oh dewd I compared Peruvian and United Statesian 7Ups this week, and, like Sprite, I didn't really prefer one over the other. I did notice a difference, but it wasn't big enough for me to care. But still, Coke in Peru is so much more delicious than back home. That makes me sad. Oh! PS, if you ever find Inca Kola in the States, but it says "The Golden Kola" on the can, that's not real Inca Cola. Well, it's really similar, but it's not the same. It's not what I've been drinking for the past two years. Its an Americanized version that tastes like a mix of Inca Kola and cream soda. Still good, but, not the real thing.

You know what I don't like?! Church starts at 8:00 here for no reason! Or, I dunno if that's normal back home, but here in Peru, it usually starts at 9:00, unless there are multiple wards meeting in the same building. Which there aren't here. So I dunno why it starts at 8:00. I mean, it doesn't matter that much for me, since I still have to get up at 6:30, but still, it gives us less time to get ready, and it’s early. I miss 11:00 church back home.

Oh yeah and last night the ZLs came over for dinner beause Elder Thomson is getting transferred, and Hermana Celia made us pizza again! So good!! The end.

That's pretty much my list of highlights of the week. You know what else is really awesome? This old Ensign article (or Liahona article... what's the difference even?) from a long time ago, that I read a few months back but I just remembered it. It's called "Four Peruvian Versions of the White God Legend". Pretty fun article considering I live in Peru these days and I hear stuff about these weird legends. Basically, there's a Peruvian tradition that a whole long time ago a white God descended from the heavens and appeared to the ancient people of Peru. Well, actually, basically every country in Latin American believes some variation of this legend. So, pretty much, that's exactly what happens in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is so true! Go check it out. It's a fun read: http://www.lds.org/liahona/1984/01/four-peruvian-versions-of-the-white-god-legend?lang=eng

Alright, that's all I got this time. I'm using a computer that won't recognize my memory card so I can't send any photos right now. But maybe if I can I'll try to send you some from another computer later. More likely, I'll send some next week instead. I barely have any new photos anyway...

Okay bye I miss you a lot I like you guys I hope you're all good and stuff and that summer is fun and stuff. HOLY CRAP BRYN GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL?!??!??!?!??!?!

-Elder Hemsley

"Well, today for p-day we took a trip as a zone to this place like an hour from Cajamarca called La Granja Porcon, which has a zoo in it, so, that was kinda fun. I was way weirded out because the whole drive there looked so much like Oregon, it was ridiculous. Except the trees were shorter... Psh, everything's shorter in Peru."


Home.

I feel like I had a whole ton of random things that I wanted to tell you this week, but, I probably should have written them down in a list or something, because, I don't remember them. Soo.... I'll be lookin' through my journal to see what kinds of stuff I can tell you about this past week...

Ooh, first of all, I actually got mail this week! A batch from April 28th (that is so long ago!!), and another batch from May 12th. So, that's weird, because there's a missing week. But, I guess it’s okay. There aren't that many weeks left that we have to deal with this (I freaked myself out the other day when I realized how few weeks I have left of my mission...).

Well, today for p-day we took a trip as a zone to this place like an hour from Cajamarca called La Granja Porcon, which has a zoo in it, so, that was kinda fun. I was way weirded out because the whole drive there looked so much like Oregon, it was ridiculous. Except the trees were shorter... Psh, everything's shorter in Peru. Anyway, it was a whole lotta fun. Not so much for the animals, but just bein' with the other missionaries. One thing that I don't know if it’s good or not (but I enjoy it) is that in this zone there are a ton of North Americans, and so we talk a whole lotta English on p-days. Probably good practice for a few months down the road. I got pretty burnt on my neck. Possibly it will hurt pretty bad tomorrow. Maybe.

AT THE ZOO
"This was the most American thing I could think of doing with this llama...offering it Mountain Dew."


Today Hermana Celia made us tacos too. YUM YUM YUM! They were very Peruvian though. Not exactly what I was expecting. But, I still have a few packets left of Taco Bell hot sauce that you sent me for Christmas, and I put some of that on there, and it tasted sooooooooooooooo Taco Bell. PS, yesterday Elder Martin and I were talking about how much we miss Mexican food. I MISS MEXICAN FOOD MORE THAN BASICALLY ANY FOOD (except my fave burgers). You know, Crunchwrap Supremes, Cinnamon Twists, Mountain Dew Baja Blast. That is some quality Mexican food right there. Also Elder Greene made me jealous the other day because he said that before he came to the mission Taco Bell released Doritos Tacos. I WANT THEM.

This week was rough (do I say that every week?). We are just not having any luck getting into houses these days! Not even with people who we set appointments with! This week started out good. Tuesday we rocked it with a solid four lessons. That's maybe not super impressive depending on where you are, but for us, that was a big deal. Plus, it was only a half day of work because the entire morning we were in our zone meeting. So, that was a good way to start off the week. After that the week sorta went downhill. It was still one of our better weeks, but it should have been so much better! Saturday and Sunday killed us, we taught basically nothing on those days. One fun thing about this week was that we had a work visit with the ZLs. Elder Thomson came to my area with me and Elder Trochez went off to who-knows-where with Elder Martin. That was a fun day. It was a fairly good day work-wise too. Though we only had two lessons with investigators. Had some good visits with members too who offered to go out and visit people with us one o' these days. Rad. Man, I would really love to have a gringo comp. I want that to happen.

I have not been sleeping well again. I don't know what's up. Everyone says it’s probably stress, but I'm not stressed. In Picsi I was stressed. Not here! So, I dunno what's up. I have been very tired all week because of it.

We went to visit our ex-mission leader the other day (we just got a new mission leader). It was an lol visit because he just started talking about music and how his favorite music is hardcore and metal. Haha. Gotta admit, I do like talking about that stuff, but, probably not the most productive visit we've had. It was just a few minutes though because it was late and his little boy was sick, so we didn't really get to talk about anything important.

Ooh! When Elder Thomson came to work with me for the day, we pulled out our ward list (which is super unorganized and super out of date) and started looking for members that we don't know to go visit. Well, best thing ever, we found a member who's name is Adolfo Hitler, and we were like "we have to go to this guy's house." So, we knocked his door, but, nobody was home. Sad time. What kind of parents names their kid Adolf Hitler?! (Actually, didn't that happen no that long ago in the US? I totally remember hearing about that.) I hope to find him one of these days.

This week I went to go interview a kid named Cristhian for baptism. Interviewing kids is the funnest, and easiest. Passed. Got baptized on Saturday. Really funny kid. He's now a member of our ward.

Here's a nice slice of journal entries from the week:

06/05/13

Its mega late... Bleh. I'm super tired.

06/07/13

My body is exhausted, and I don't know why. My bed has never felt so comfortable.

06/08/13

I'm dying of tired. I have to go to sleep right now.

06/09/13

And thus ends one of the most tiring weeks of my life... And not because I worked especially hard. Just because I am not sleeping well.

Lololol my journal.

Ooh dewd one day Limhi made us BANANA BREAD. He makes us all kinds of things that don't normally exist in Peru, because he's a chef. One day he's gonna make chocolate chip cookies. I haven't had one single chocolate chip cookie in all my time in Peru. I'm pretty sure that's an unforgivable sin or something.

Speaking of sins, in Peru, we totally do not keep the Word of Wisdom. What about that whole "eat meat sparingly" part? We eat meat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert, snack time, second breakfast, etc. here. It's stupid. And I love meat. But it's stupid.

Had another sw33t lesson with that guy I told you about before, Herbert. We taught s'more about the Plan of Salvation, and he just always loves everything we teach him. He's reading a whole lot of his Libro de Mormón. He's so rad. Came to church with us again this Sunday, and came to Cristhian's baptism on Saturday. During the lesson we invited him to get baptized on June 22nd. He said he wasn't sure, but that he'd think about it and pray about it. I dun' even care bro, if he doesn't get baptized on the 22nd. Because if it's not that day, it'll be some other day. He's for sure gonna get baptized. He's awesome.

Well, that's a lot of scattered thoughts I just had about how this week was. Fairly normal. We have some good people we're teaching, but they all have some problem that prevents them from going to church or getting baptized or doing anything.

Anyway, that's pretty much all I got for this week. This e-mail is kinda all over the place, but whatever. I sure hope I get more mail this week! Though I've grown accustomed to not getting any. We shall see tomorrow I suppose. Thanks for still remembering that I exist! Even if it takes over 9000 years for your mail to get to me!

I miss you guys a lot! I will see you soon! See ya!

-Elder Victor Paul Hemsley

Here's some more pictures Victor sent this week (you can see the rest by clicking on the slideshow at the top of this blog):


"This flag is super authentic.  Peru is king of quality."

"Legit play structure at the zoo."

"Goin' down this sick slide with Elder Lattin. Somehow I turned into a midget."



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