Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pachamanca for Christmas!

Hey guys!! Things are going good. I am glad you guys had a good Christmas. Things weren’t too bad here I guess. After I skyped you guys, I went back to Pampas with Elder Fitzgerald. That night we didn’t do anything....everyone else stayed in Huancayo and went and sang in the plaza in Huancayo and watched fireworks. Elder Fitzgerald had an appointment that next day so we went back. I read all of your letters you sent me in my package and they were the best. Seriously. Thank you guys so much! They are what got me through the holiday, with a few tears (don’t tell anyone). But still, it was good—thank you.

On Christmas morning we went to see this family who lives in Ocorro. Ocorro is this pueblo outside of Pampas that has like 150 people, and that’s being generous I think. We just talked with them and they fed us lunch. We ate pachamanca. It’s potatoes and meat and corn they cook in this like brick hut thing under the ground. Yes, the meat we ate was cuye (guinea pig). Haha. It was really slippery and hard to chew. But oh well. We shared a message with them and it was good. We came back really late because the car that was coming to pick us up got lost. But yeah, that was my Christmas!! You guys made it really great—thank you!

I don’t know what is going to happen these transfers. It will be interesting to see. I think that I am going to leave. Elder Fitzgerald will probably leave because he has 4 months here and I am finishing my training. The same thing happened with Elderes Torres and Rasmussen last transfer. I hope I do. I am ready for some change. I have got to admit that I wouldn’t mind going and serving in Hu├ínuco. I have heard a lot of good things about it as well. But who knows, the next time I email you guys I could be in a whole different place!!

I am reading the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants every day. I actually found something kind of funny. It kind of shocks me how mean God is to Joseph Smith sometimes haha. He like yells at him and publicly embarrasses him…but it’s for a good cause. It just shows that even the prophet who restored the gospel lacked some things and wasn’t perfect.

I love you guys and hope everything goes well. I will email you next week!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Had a great visit with the family! One of the members has a business and he had computers/internet in the back, so we were able to Skype with our families! It was awesome! Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Multiple Blessings!

Hey guys! Well things are going well. We have been working a lot with that family I told you about last week and they are doing really good. We have been teaching them and the kid continues to want to learn, so that is good. I gave Hermana Villanueva a blessing because she was sick and it was awesome!

Yesterday (Sunday) we had Stake Conference in Huancayo. This last Saturday we had a baptism. It wasn’t technically my investigators but it was a family that Elder Fitzgerald and I have kind of been teaching together. Remember the brother that was having problems with his wife? It was his niece and her son that we baptized. You have no idea how happy they were. The baptism was kind of funny. It was at this like trout farm in one of the ponds. It was pretty dirty water but it was cool. Fitzgerald baptized Monica and I baptized her son Joaquin. They are really happy to be part of the church.

About 4 weeks ago we had a lesson with this brother. He was having a hard time because his family isn’t members. He is the only one. During the lesson, I felt prompted to promise him that through his example and works his family would join the church. Well, I was thinking about his immediate family; but not too many days later, he got a call from his sister who he hasn’t talked to in 14 years. They were in Pampas and wanted to talk. When they talked, they said they saw a change in him from the last time that they had seen him. He said he was a member of our church now and they got really interested because they liked the change. It just goes to show that the Lord really does fulfil his promises. I was totally thinking about his immediate family but sometimes (in my opinion most of the time) the Lord works in a different way than what we are thinking. I hope you guys know how blessed we are and the things we have to offer to other people. The kids don’t even know who Santa is down here, but everyone knows who Jesus Christ is. Kind of interesting right? I love you guys!!

Monday, December 15, 2014


Hey guys!!! Well this week was pretty normal again, sorry. This next Sunday is stake conference for us and the stake presidency and our mission president are coming! It is going to be crazy I am sure! There is an area seventy that has been saying to close down Pampas, but the stake president doesn’t think so yet. It should be interesting to see what he thinks when he sees me running the CD player we have for music. See mom, I never had to take piano!!

A couple of weeks ago we switched pensionista’s. It is not Hermana Luisa anymore. She is moving to Huancayo I think. My new pensionista is the lady I baptized, Hermana Albina! She is really nice and things are going fine.

This is the "Golden Forest" that we hiked to last week.

This last week there was a huuuuuge fire next door to our house. Someone’s house was on fire! We didn’t see it start because it was when we came home after the day. Of course there is no fire department so we started throwing water on it. Lots of buckets of water! The fire burned down the house (which was a little shack thing). It was nuts! Babies crying and everything. Thankfully it all worked out okay.

So lately we have been visiting this less active lady and her son. Her son is a major drunk and he treats his mom like crap. I chewed him out the other night when we had a meeting with them and he was high and drunk, but everything turned out well. Since then, we have had 2 more meetings with him and he has changed so much. Seriously I have been praying he will want to change and he does! He says he wants to help other people and a bunch of stuff like that. It is so crazy the changes people have when they start living the gospel seriously. It is so nice to see. It’s so much better for his mom as well. Tonight we are going to have a family home evening with them!

I got the Christmas package! I gave my companion his stocking. He looooooved that stocking guys. Seriously! They don’t do those in Bolivia, so I explained it to him. He said he is keeping it and taking it home. Don’t worry I am sharing my other things too.

It’s interesting watching the kids notice me on the streets. They look at me like I am some evil person haha. They are like amazed. I like scaring all the kids here, it is what gets me through the day—and yeah, I am definitely bigger than most down here. The poverty and schooling is kind of like Guatemala. They go to these little schools that are like huts, but it is okay and they seem happy. It’s really sad to think about the life these kids have had and are going to have.

I miss you all more than you can imagine. Especially during this holiday. I am going to miss sledding and eating waffles and strawberries….I am here for a reason and I know you guys are being blessed because of it, and you guys are beyond worth it! Things are going well here. I love and miss you guys so much. I am so proud of my awesome family. I pray for you all in your callings and activities.  I know how hard it is. Thanks for all the great advice. Love you!

Elder Durante

Monday, December 8, 2014

I'm a Legal Immigrant!

Hey guys! Well, I was in Lima last week to get my immigration papers taken care of and everything went well but migrations took a long time. No one from my group went to Lima with me. I met up with the new kids just out of the CCM who were going to Huancayo. One of the kids that was with me stayed in the same room that I did in the camp. It was funny because when I saw him he was like, “uhh....Elder Durante, don’t think I am weird or anything but I slept in the same bed as you in the CCM.” Haha. He saw my name that I wrote there; I also hid a spoon in the district room where we learned Spanish and they all said that it is still there!! I stayed in a hotel in Lima and while in Lima, there were so many white people trying to talk to me in English and I just kind of froze. It is hard for me to speak in English now, I felt handicapped! Haha.

I am in Huancayo this week for a zone Pday. Nothing new happened this week. Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting and it was good! I shared my testimony and it all went well. Today we are going to this like forest thing I think. I have no idea what it is but it should be good.

I hope you got pictures of the baptism from Elder Rojas. He said he would send them to you guys. We are teaching some people that are serious Catholics right now and they accepted a baptismal date for the 13th of December. They are going to have to work really hard to get to that date. I don’t think they will be ready by then because they don’t want to attend church (kind of an important part if they want to be baptized) but we are doing everything that we can. We are also teaching a guy named Alejandro C. He has a big problem with the palabra de sabiduria (word of wisdom). President Henderson said that our job here in Pampas is to reactivate and support the branch president, not so much baptism. The branch president has been here for 6 years and is about as frustrated as I am.

This week I also tried to teach my Latin companion how to pray in English. He seriously struggles so hard with it. Elder Arnez is the only member in his family and he has been a member for 2 years. It’s hard to help him but we are going to continue to work. I am so happy that I am getting the chance to write you guys right now. I am so lucky to have a family that is as spiritual and awesome as you guys. Tell the kids to keep working hard and they will be rewarded. Ok, I'm going to go shine my shoes or go to the bathroom, cause that's all I seem to do here in Pampas "Gucci". I love you guys!