Monday, November 24, 2014

Progress in Pampas!

Hola!! Well my first transfer/change is over. I have a new dad!!! That’s what they call your trainers here. His name is Elder Arnez and he is from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. He has been out 6 months longer than me and he doesn’t speak a lick of English. Haha. Elder Torres and Elder Rasmussen left, so elder Fitzgerald also has a new companion; his name is Elder Rojas and he is from Santa Cruz as well. I have a lot to write about and the computers are extra slow today so I can’t send pictures (I don’t think). Sorry.

First of all I received packages from everyone!!! Thanks sooooooo much I loved it. I thought I had developed patience until I saw those Swedish fish and then devoured them. Haha. I am playing with all my fun stuff. Thank you guys so much.

Last Pday we hiked to a waterfall and it was crazy pretty! It was in a place outside of Huancayo called Miraflores.

Alright guys I have a little bit of a surprise......I had my first baptism this last Saturday! Her name is Albina Diaz Huaman. She has been meeting with the missionaries for the last 8 years and she has finally gotten baptized. Her son was able to be baptized the same day but the companion of Elder Fitzgerald baptized him. I taught them some but they were primarily the investigators of Elder Fitzgerald and Elder Rasmussen. She asked me if I could baptize her, especially because Elder Fitzgerald had to conduct. The service was crazy. The branch president left the morning of the service without doing a single thing, so Elder Fitzgerald and I had to plan it all. It all worked out but it was hard. I baptized her in this nasty community pool place. The original place was totally full so we had to go to a different place for the baptism—it was an actual pool, kind of like a rec center, just Peruvian style and nasty. Seriously it was nasty! Afterwards, I was like all itchy and I had to go back to our place and shower. Elder Fitzgerald had to conduct the whole service so he wasn’t able to baptize anyone. The place is so disorganized here, it’s crazy.

Next week I am going to Lima for my immigrations, I think. I don’t believe that I will be able to write. I am going to try, but if you guys don’t get anything from me that is why. I will have lots of fun stuff to write about though when I get back. It will all work out I am sure. Oh, I have to go. Thanks for everything. I hope I can write next week but if I can’t just know that I love you guys!!! I can’t wait to hear from you guys again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Onward, Ever Onward!

Hey guys!!! Well not a lot has happened. I am feeling a lot better.  This week we had divisions with the zone leaders which was pretty fun. I went to Huancayo and taught with Elder Lopez. It was way fun. It was nice working with Elder Lopez in Huancayo because it actually felt like I was helping people compared to how slow it is in Pampas. I hope for better days.  We are in Huancayo today because the zone leaders wanted to have one last Pday as a zone before the transfer. I don’t think I am going to be transferred this time, but who knows! President could suddenly decide he wants to. I love the days we travel to Huancayo, even though the drive sucks, haha—it’s an hour and a half basically on a dirt road.

I am sending those pictures of the Wawas that we made. In the photo with me are Elders Torres, Fitzgerald, and Rasmussen. I gave Elder Rasmussen the nick name “The Rassinator” and he really likes it. We are the 4 missionaries in Pampas. Oh, by the way, I am the ward mission leader and I teach the gospels principles class every week. It is so hard to run the church. There is virtually no member support, but we pray and work hard and keep doing our best.

To answer your questions, when I got to the CCM we received some Spanish books, a dictionary, and a couple other little things. When I got to Huancayo I got a water filtration bottle, a blanket, and a debit card. The water bottle is awesome I use it a lot. We have a cell phone that we use to communicate with. I miss my cell phone, but I miss you guys more! Every month we use our debit card from the mission and we get to take out like $90 for personal use and $168 for “pasajes” which is travel expenses and things like that. I’ve been eating a lot. We have beans, rice, and some sort of meat usually. Our pensionista fixes everything.

One thing I really like is called, “pollo a la brasa”. It’s chicken and a bunch fries and we cover it in ketchup and mayonnaise—it’s really good.  Yesterday I got a package from Nana! It was filled with all kinds of food, haha. I really miss you guys. It’s gone by pretty slow lately. I am glad that everything back home is going well. That is so cool that Dane is doing well and Rachel has the school play coming up. I hope Kenna had a good birthday. I love you guys so much.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

To The "Rescue"

Hey guys!!! This week was alright. I have been having a lot of stomach problems. I hate it so much, it makes being a missionary so freaking hard. We had zone conference on Friday in Huancayo. I got to see the guys that I was in the CCM with. There is one elder that I’m pretty close with, Elder Tolbert, that I was able to see. He is from Cache Valley and went to Mountain Crest—he knows Anthony, Jack, and all them. While I was at the office, I got a package!! It was the Halloween package. Thank you guys so much, it made me so happy. I haven’t eaten hardly any of the candy because of my stomach. I have been eating crackers and all kinds of voodoo drinks—probably some of which are illegal (at least they would be in the states). I hate eating like this though. I feel like a woman. This week I also got letters from the Hunters and Brooke! I love getting stuff from you guys.

I am really trying to be more descriptive in my letters because I cannot send voice recordings here in Pampas; they take too long to load. But I do have a recording of all the questions you guys asked last week and I have all these pictures and stuff of making wawas but I can’t send them. Dang it! I. It was fun making the wawas, they make sooo many!!!! No joke, and the day of the dead was hard because nobody wanted to listen, they all went to the cemetery and drank. It was fun though because we made the wawas with that less active family we are teaching.

Speaking of Pampas. It might be getting shut down this next transfer. It makes me sad but I think that it’s going to be closed. We are having zero progress here and it sucks so much. I read a book this last week. Yes! I, Will Durante, read a book. It’s called, The Missionaries Little Book of Inspirational Stories. It seriously has changed me. I am applying everything that I learned. You have no idea how amazing some of the stuff is. I can’t believe my first transfer is almost up!!! I am so happy.

So in our mission, especially here in Pampas the mission president really stresses helping less actives. This mission used to be the Lima East mission and their theme was that “we baptize weekly”, and that’s true they did, but they baptized a ton that wasn’t followed up with and they became less actives. haha. so here if we get a "rescue" it’s basically considered a baptism. We have to teach all the lessons to a less active and they have to have an interview with the branch president. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s what we have to do. We knock doors and schedule meetings with less actives or investigators, but I got to be totally honest, this area it hard, we schedule 8 meetings a day generally and MAYBE we have 1. It sucks! No one really knows what to do here about it either. It is really depressing; they haven’t had a baptism here in 6 months. It’s going to get shut down I know it. People are nice but just don’t care. The mission is so much different than what I thought it would be. We are teaching this one less active family and they are going to be “rescues” pretty soon I am sure. Today I am feeling a LITTLE better. I stayed in for a day because my stomach hurt so badly. It’s really hard to be a missionary while you are sick-haha. Being sick gives you more time to think and I have thought a lot about home, but I read a talk today from Jeffrey R. Holland that really helped me.

Nothing new has really happened, my Spanish is better and things are going well. It has been raining a lot lately and I love my rain coat. It is my best friend. It will be interesting to see where I will be in a transfer or two. This week I have had a lot of time to think about you guys because we have been slow and I haven’t felt good. I really appreciate everything you guys do and I can’t wait to see you guys again. Please be grateful for every single thing you have, including toilet paper! People carry it here in their purses and cars because when you need to go, you drop your pants and go. Haha. Yeah..... it’s hard to get used to. I wish the best for all of you and your efforts. I will talk to you guys again soon!!! I love you guys so much, please never forget it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Wawa Week

Hey guys. Well this week has been crazy! They celebrate the “Day of the Dead” and everything down here. It is basically just an excuse to drink. We got to make these bread things called “Wawas”.  We wanted to send pictures this week but the internet is being super slow! I will try to send pictures of me making the wawas next week. It was so fun. Super hard but fun!!! Last night I found out that I have a package waiting for me at the office. We have a multi-zone conference on Friday, so when we get to Huancayo, I will pick it up.

T’anta Wawas (“bread babies” in Quechua) are a type of sweet roll shaped and decorated in the form of a small child or infant. They are generally made of wheat and sometimes contain a sweet filling. They are made and eaten as part of ancestral rites in Andean regions of Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, the south of Colombia, and the north of Argentina, mainly on All Souls' Day. Companion breads shaped like ladders (so the souls of the dead can climb up to heaven), stars, crosses, or angels with wings to help children and babies to rise to heaven are also made. The breads are an important part of family rituals that are associated with Día de los Muertos (October 31), All Saints Days (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2) in Peru. During this time, native customs mix with religious beliefs and some families visit cemeteries carrying a feast for the dead that includes the wawas, tamales and roasted pig. There is a belief that the dead will return to earth if they see they are being remembered by their families and friends. A picnic, with a place set for the dead, is held at the grave site in the hope of enticing the dead to return. Celebrations in areas outside of major cities are even more tied to superstition and can be quite festive because some Andean villagers believe the dead will rise from their graves at midnight to join in the feast. While city dwellers are less enthusiastic, they too, visit the cemeteries and leave small offerings for their dead.

We are thinking about dropping Sheyla because she isn’t progressing. We are teaching this guy named Eliseo. His cousin just died and he is having a hard time. We taght him the plan of salvation and it was one of the most powerful lessons. I got to bear my testimny about KJ and it was awesome!

I really want to have some success. It has been pretty difficult and depressing. It looks like I am going to be the second counselor in the branch presidency I guess. I have included a photo of our pensionista, Hermana Luisa.

You guys are having such cool experiences. I love it. I hope everyone knows how much I love them. You guys are so amazing. I have the world’s most amazing family.