Well, I just logged on to my e-mail to see 22 new messages in my inbox, all error messages telling me that the photos I sent you last week didn't make it through. Dang it, the internet has some serious problems here.
Well, I'm doin' pretty good these days. I can't believe how close I am to being home. But, the weird thing is, I'm a lot less excited about going home now than I used to be. The closer it gets, the sadder I am that this is all about to end. It's so unreal. But don't get me wrong, I'm ridiculously excited to see you guys again! I'm just a little bummed that my only chance to be a representative of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is almost over. This has been the hardest, and most stressful, most frustrating thing I've ever done in my entire life. And the best thing I've ever done. I wish that somehow I could go back and see you guys and still be a missionary at the same time...
Well, I'll tell you some stuff I guess...
We've been focusing a lot more on visiting members ever since that transmission from Salt Lake the other week. I can already see and feel a huge difference in the ward and the members here. We're gaining their trust and their friendship a lot more. They're getting more excited about participating in missionary work. It's pretty awesome. I feel like ever since that transmission the way we work has totally changed. The way I'm working now is so different than the way I've been working for the past two years. I like it. I'm excited to see how this new member-focused work style is going to help this work go forward for years to come.
Fun part of the week: Elder Meza came to visit! Brother Meza, actually. He finished his mish in December. His last area was this one, and so he came the other day to visit with another elder who recently finished too, Elder Cabrera. Way fun to see them again! Elder Meza is one of the most awesomest missionaries I've ever met. Super cool guy. Super fun to see him again. He told me that my Spanish has gotten way better. I can't tell. All I know is that my English has gotten worse. He's now teaching English at a Catholic school in Lima. It's not that weird, this is a Catholic country...
We visited a less active family this week. The Zapana Cordova family. The mom, Judith, went to live and work in Salt Lake City for three years, and met the missionaries and got baptized there. Seriously, why are there even missionaries in Salt Lake City if everyone is already Mormon? Hehe, just kidding. Anyway we talked to her and her daughter about the importance of reading the scriptures. She told us that when she was in Utah she read the entire Book of Mormon and she loved it. She felt so blessed when she was reading frequently and active in the Church in Utah. Her whole life had changed. Now that she's back in Peru she's sort of fallen away from all of that, and she misses it. She misses Salt Lake too. She loved how calm and clean it us compared to Peru. She wants to go back. And she wants to start reading her scriptures again to let that light that she used to have back into her life. Pretty cool. Hopefully we can help this family. But, her husband and oldest daughter are not members. She's now working in a karaoke-bar owned by her husband, and her busiest days are Friday and Saturday nights, all night. So, going to Church is hard. We'll see what we can do.
Something a little not-so-normal is that I taught one lesson this week sitting in the street. Haha. It’s a recently paved street and cars still aren't driving on it. We got a referral to go visit this 18 year old kid named Luis who's a member, and his two friends he lives with named Manuel and Reynaldo, who are 16 and 14. They don't have seats in their house, so we just sat down in the middle of the street and talked to them. Kinda different. Luis is a less active member. He used to live in an orphanage and the director of the orphanage was a member of the Church. The missionaries came and visited and a lot of the kids there got baptized. But then they got a new director who's Catholic who no longer let them go to Church or let the missionaries come visit (we're still not allowed in there), so he and the rest of the member kids stopped going to Church. When the kids turn 18, they leave the orphanage, and Luis showed up at Church on Sunday with Reynaldo. Pretty cool kids. The next day we went back to visit again and Manuel and Reynaldo accepted the invitation to be baptized. But, we can't set a date because they need permission first. They came to a Church activity with us after that. But, for some reason they didn't come back to Church on Sunday. Eh. We've only visited them twice. We'll help them out s'more.
I interviewed another kid this week for baptism. The interview lasted forever because the kid loved to talk! But he was awesome. Nine years old. No problems. Got baptized on Saturday. He, like basically every kid here (basically every person actually) was freaked out about the water, but he got baptized real quick without problems. I don't think he held his breath though because he came up gasping for breath. Hehe. Swimming lessons basically don't exist here, which probably explains everyone's fear of water. But, I still don't understand everyone's fear of cold drinks!! And I never will.
One thing that makes me mad is that people here keep trying to make my companion feel bad about his long hair. Especially people who think they know something about the scriptures. "What does the Bible say about men with long hair?" They yell at us North Americans in the street, and they stare and make rude comments about my companion. And when the smart alecs who try to use the Bible to tell my comp he shouldn't have long hair start talking, I just want to pull out a picture of Christ and be like "do you know who this is?" And they'll obviously be like "that's Jesus Christ." To which I'd respond "Yeah, it's Christ. Go tell Christ his long hair is a sin too." And some Christians here have the strangest beliefs ever. Dancing is a sin, non-gospel music is a sin, girls wearing pants instead of skirts or a dress is a sin, going to parties is a sin, having long hair is a sin, etc... But being mean to anyone who is different is not a sin. It seriously drives me insane.
Cajamarca is cold, and when heated houses don't exist, that makes showering a pretty unpleasant experience. We have a water heater, but it doesn't heat up the water very much. I still shiver every time I shower. I don't shower every day, because I can't handle it. Yesterday morning I took a shower. The electric water heater doesn't heat up the water very much. And if you put your hand up by the nozzle where the water comes out, the water shocks you because it's charged with electricity. Scary! Well, yesterday it was even worse, because while I was showering the water heater exploded!! I heard a pop and saw a flash of light and then I looked up and the water heater was busted and smoking. Kinda freaky. I got out of the shower pretty quickly after that. And now we don't have warm water to shower with. I'm going to have to borrow the other shower downstairs that isn't ours because if I don't I will never shower because it's freezing!
Last night we went to Hermano Casanova's house. He was my teacher in the Lima MTC. We went with the ZLs for dinner. We ate pizza and talked with his family. He's way cool, and really funny. So cool that I get to finish my mission in his ward! Had fun visiting them. They invited us back over on Wednesday for dessert. Yum!
Got yer mail, from like a month ago. And got yer first batch of e-mails! 22 months in, and I just got the first batch of e-mails from you guys. Haha. Cool. I'm so jealous that you're in Park City! Not fair!! But, no Tyler, no Mitchell, and no me?! Seems pretty lame to me. Hehe. And Jacque went to EFY?! Seriously I miss EFY so much, it was like the funnest thing I ever did. That's why I went back even after I graduated high school. Hehe, I had so much fun that year with James. We are silly.
Alright, I gotta get going. Have some FHE's to go to tonight. I will see you so soon! I can't believe it!!