Monday, October 26, 2015

New Blood!

Monday, after I wrote you guys, Elder Bell and I just chilled in the room and slept for a little bit. Later we went and played basketball. After playing, when I picked up my phone, I noticed that I had a missed call from President Henderson. So I called him back and this is what he said to me, "Hey Elder Durante, I would like you to train another missionary." Of course I said yes. Tuesday I arrived in Huancayo and there were sooo many white people in this group that just came in. We had pizza from Pizza Hut, which was really good, and it was fun seeing everybody.

Wednesday we had a training in the morning for the trainers and we found out who we are going to be training. I am training Elder Gonzalez. He is 21 years old and from Denver, Colorado. His dad is from Mexico and his mom is from Seattle, Washington. We got back to our area on Thursday and then had a full day of work. We are working hard and had really good success. I was wiped out at the end of the day. I was super tired but we are killing it.

Friday we had another full day of work. That night we played some volleyball and had a good time. I received some pretty sad news. Hermana Avila received a phone call from President Henderson saying that her grandma died. Her grandma basically raised her and so she was devastated. I hope she gets to feeling better soon. Saturday we had a service project for the Espinoza family again. We made this oven/grill for them made out of brick and mud. It turned out really well. They are so happy, they really have been wanting one and it was great to be able to help them. Afterwards we had another full day of work. Sunday was stake conference in La Merced. All the missionaries from Satipo and everywhere came. We had a good time but we did not have any investigators there, which kind of sucked.

So last Pday I was looking at some schools online because President Henderson gave us permission to do that; and I don't know why but I never ever have thought or felt that I should go to BYU, but as I was looking at and thinking about it, I feel so super, super calm about going to BYU in Provo. So if I can get in, I really feel that is the next step I need to take—I don't know why. Love you!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pampa Michi

Monday was actually a pretty fun day! We went to Pampa Michi! Pampa Michi is this little village where everything is all dirt with huts of straw. They talk to you in a different language and make you wear dresses (in the heat)! There are a lot of animals there. Funny thing, the snake I was holding with Elder Barahona tried to bite his face and if I wouldn't have been holding the head, he would have gotten bit. Haha, dang snakes! Elder Bell and I got flung around by this overweight lady in this cultural dance thing. It was cool. Then we went to a waterfall called "La Encantada" that is close to El Tirol. It was nice but not as pretty as some, but definitely still enjoyable. After the waterfall we went back to Hermano Henry's recreational place and played volleyball. Tuesday we had a zone meeting and we learned some pretty awesome things, but I don't really remember right now. We spent time working really hard the rest of the day.

Wednesday we had a pretty good day of lessons! We have a new couple named Edwin and Sonia.  It is really, really cool to see how Edwin is changing and understanding the things that we are teaching him. For example, he really did not want to follow the word of wisdom, but as we began to teach him he was like "wow, that is really cool—that's right!"  It is just really cool to see how people change when they apply the things that we are teaching. Thursday we did some service for Jose Wanambal—we basically dug trenches and replaced a water pipe. No one on the block had water so we needed to fix that. Everything is going really well. I really did not want Elder Barahona to leave. I know that he has his own mission to get started on but I have really enjoyed this time with him. Friday was Elder Barahona's last day of proselyting. There was a little going away party at Hermana Alicia's house. He and Elder Garcia left Saturday morning. Elder Garcia went home and Elder Barahona went back to Huancayo. His calling was supposed to be waiting for him at his house, but I got an email that it had not yet arrived. I look forward to seeing where he will serve.

Church went well on Sunday. We ended up going to my ward even though I am here with Elder Bell in La Merced. We had five investigators at church – Jersey, Kevin (his little brother), and his sister came today too! It was super cool and they learned a lot. Jose Wanambal and Malangali, his wife also both came. That was all awesome.

I forgot to tell you that one day after Elder Bell and I left his ward council, we were going to head back up to visit someone to see if they had a chance to go to church. Before we went up this little passageway, Elder Bell stopped me and said "hey, so I have heard that people get mugged in this area, so we just kind of need to be careful!"  He asked me "do you feel OK? Do you feel like we're good?"  I said "yeah, I feel fine?!?  Do you feel OK?"  He then explained that they come in pairs... There will be two coming down the stairs and two coming up the stairs if there is a problem. We started walking up and then suddenly we heard this loud whistle. I said "did you hear that?"  Elder Bell said "ya". We kept walking up the stairs and out of nowhere these two guys started walking down. We kind of hesitated for a minute and I said "all right, just keep walking". We freaking just bolted and blew by them. Nothing happened; really they were just punky men. It was just kind of crazy how out of nowhere, two guys start coming down the stairs and one was coming up behind us also. Well, I love you all and will write you next week!

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Heat of the Work

Monday we played soccer and basketball with the Espinoza family, Elder Bell and Garcia, and a couple other random kids. It was a good time. Afterwards, we went and got some Oreo milkshakes which were really good. Tuesday was a long day of work, but it rained hard that night, so all is well. We also found two new investigators Joselyn and Madelyn—mom and daughter. The big miracle this last couple of weeks is that we had ZERO investigators a little bit ago and after we prayed to find some, we have quite a few that are progressing! We had a few investigators that lost their baptismal date this week because they didn't come to church, but we have Jersy and Kevin still for the 1st of November!

 Playing Risk. A favorite Pday pastime

Wednesday we had another day of work in the sun. I started to feel pretty sick at like noon. I think it was because it was kind of chilly Tuesday night with the rain and then a ton of heat on Wednesday, but whatever. We worked the whole day and I took an ALERTIL pill that night. Thursday I woke up feeling a ton better. My least favorite thing here lately would be walking around from 11 to 3 every's so hot!

The view from our roof

We had interviews with President Henderson as well. It was fun to see Elder John and stuff. He goes home in December! Super crazy!  My interview was pretty normal… after the interviews we had a missionary come back to San Ramon with us for a bit—strange stuff going on.  Friday I took him to La Merced to go pack his bags. I also did a baptismal interview for a 71 year old lady named Maria. It went well and she asked me to baptize her. However, I wanted my comp to do it while he is still here. So he ended up baptizing her on Saturday. She didn’t even know the difference. Ha-ha.

The chapel in La Merced

Saturday we organized a roof/attic thing for Magali. Then, I received a call from the sisters saying that there was no water in the church to fill the baptismal font. So my companion and I had to pull buckets of water out of this like well thing in the ground. It was during the hottest part of the day!! But, it all turned out well. My companion had to baptize her like 5 times ha-ha. Her feet kept coming out and she has a bad knee. All I hoped for the whole time is that she wouldn’t go into cardiac arrest. Cold water was not the best for her. Ha-ha. After the baptism we worked hard. We also fasted. This fast was the hardest one I have ever done. I think it was because of all the things we did on Saturday. I felt the spirit the strongest this week after I finished my fast. I was just super happy I did it. You guys seriously don't understand how hard it was this time.

Sunday we had an attendance of 142 and lots of less actives and investigators were in church. We finished the fast and everything. We gave a ton of blessings of comfort and health during church. I love and miss you guys a lot! It’s the last week with my companion and I honestly am going to miss him. He has been my favorite companion. He is super humble and funny. He LOVES animals and gets mad if I kill an ant. I love you all! Have a great week!

Monday, October 5, 2015

General Conference!

Well on Monday I hate to tell you that once again we played Risk, we also went to the restaurant Oxon again but this time I ate American pancakes so I am still technically spicing things up. Tuesday I gave a training on the law of Consecration (always a fun topic to talk about) after that it was a FULL day of work, however, God hears my prayers and it was mostly overcast all day with a little bit of rain.

Wednesday we had the chance to work in our area all day. We find most of our investigators through contacting. The members don’t really do too much in that aspect for us. We are finding A LOT of new investigators which is awesome—now we just need to help them progress. To be “progressing” you have to have a baptismal date, keep your commitments, and come to church. So this Sunday, although we had 4 investigators in church, only one had a date and is keeping his commitments, so we have 1 investigator progressing but as soon as we put dates with the other people and they continue to come to church, they will be progressing as well.

Thursday we took out money again in La Merced, we then helped a less active move to his new room. We found another new investigator through Magali (Jose Wanambal’s wife) her name is Jennifer, she is the niece of Hermana Magali and she is really excited to be getting involved in the church. The rest of Thursday was working hard. We rescued 4 people! Jordin and Eumar Espinoza (brothers) will complete that entire family—they are all active now; and also Abilio and Flot Barrientos. They have a goal to go to the temple to be sealed in December. Abilio just has to receive the Sacerdocio Mayor (Melchizedek Priesthood).

Friday was a good day, we had a lot of lessons. We also got a date for baptism with Edwin and Sonia who are a couple we are teaching. We put the date for the 1 of November. We also found 3 other new investigators AND at volleyball that night, one of the members brought 3 of her friends that live in our area. YEAH!

Saturday was a conference filled day. All the sessions were very good. One of the things that stuck out to me was something that President Uchtdorf said, he said “disregard the ridicule of the ungodly”. So many people are trying to pull us down, but it really doesn’t matter in the least bit what they say! In between sessions I also ate an amazing lunch at this restaurant El Dique. I ate a platter of Chicharron de pescado y mariscos. It was amazing!

Sunday conference was good. We had 4 investigators there: Magali, Jennifer, Jersy and Kevin. There were a lot of people for the morning session but nobody came for the afternoon—haha. We watched the session in English on a little TV in another room and then headed back to San Ramon.

When the prophet started falling during his talk I have got to admit it was pretty crazy. I liked a lot of the talks, but I honestly can’t remember them right now, I liked the one about being in “ship shape and Bristol ready”. I felt like there were a lot of talks about faith and obedience—the basics of the gospel are the best! Also, it seemed like there were a lot of talks on how God really does love us and through Christ all things are possible. The “ponderizing” one was good too. I have been doing that for a while, now that I think about it, without realizing it. haha. I have Doctrine and Covenants 98:12-15 right now on my wall.  I agree that President Monson and Elder Hales didn’t look real healthy. I hope they are alright. I think that Elder Oaks is going to be the next prophet. I missed not having cinnamon rolls with you during conference! I am super proud of my siblings seriously. I sure do miss going to the temple, you have no idea. Take advantage of it! I am so glad that I have a family who is so strong and loving. I love and miss you all so much and will talk to you guys again soon!!!