Monday, January 25, 2016

Birthday Baptism!

For Pday this week we went and played basketball at this like public pool place. We played with the missionaries, some members came and that one team that wanted to play us again. That was fun. We went and got something to eat and then went to the church and played some soccer. So nothing new there. Later we went and visited the Villegas family.

Tuesday we had our district meeting and we learned about challenging our investigators to baptism. Afterwards we went and helped the sisters move a few things out of their room. They are moving completely at the beginning of February so we were helping them get organized and ready. That evening, President Henderson came and interviewed the sisters (we got our interviews the next day).

Wednesday our interviews with President Henderson went well. In my interview we laughed almost the whole time. We talked about how things are going back home and how we can help people here—normal things, it was just really funny. We also watched a worldwide broadcast for all the missionaries which was cool. They talked about a lot of things but I really liked how they said that we teach repentance and baptize converts. That is our purpose. After our interviews with Pres, I started shaking in my stomach and I was feeling really, really bad. I had a bad fever and I ended up going to bed—so we didn't get any work done that evening, we just rested.

Thursday I was feeling a little better. I took it kind of easy—we went out to a meeting and then came back in afterwards because my head was just spinning and spinning. We had pretty good success though. Kevin had his baptismal interview and it went well. A couple of people in the zone are sick, which kind of sucks. I seriously slept like crap Wednesday night.

Friday was Kevin's baptism and birthday! Everything turned out really nice and he was super happy! Things are going well in the area. We have a new investigator whose name is Santiago and he has already come to church twice. He also came to Kevin's baptism. We challenged him to be baptized but he wants to learn a little more about the church before committing to baptism but he says he's going to be with us until he dies. He is about 65 years old and he moved here from La Merced for health reasons. A lot of people came out to Kevin's baptism. We sang him happy birthday and the branch got him a cake. I am feeling a little better; just have an upset stomach still.

Saturday I woke up with some weird thing on my head (rash?) anyways, we had a full day of work which is kind of rare for us because we usually have to do a lot of things for the zone. It was nice to work. We had five lessons. We did divisions with José Villegas.

We had five investigators at church on Sunday--Santiago, Jackie (Kevin's sister), Sergio (Kevin's dad), Rosa Pizarro and her husband. We should be putting a lot of baptismal dates this next week. I confirmed Kevin a member of the church and gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was my first time doing that and it was by far the most spiritual thing that happened to me this week. When I put my hands on his head, it was kind of hard to speak. I really didn't feel like it was me talking. It was really powerful. It actually reminded me of the first time I used the priesthood to consecrate some oil with dad. It was really cool and I felt the spirit a lot! The blessing he received was really cool. It was specific and I felt like I was just the mouthpiece. I've been waiting to feel that and it was awesome! Well, that was my week. I love you guys!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Chilean Hot Dogs--"Completo"!

On Monday we had a zone Pday and we made Chilean hot dogs and played soccer on a turf field. The Chilean hot dog is called a "completo" and it's like filled with meat, salsa, guacamole, onions, on a hot dog in a nice piece of french bread! Later we went out to dinner with Elder Bajania and Elder Bruño.

We gave our training on the doctrine of Christ on Tuesday. Transfers are this week so we went and printed off the changes for the zone (my companion and I are staying here together). Since we are in Tarma, we print off the changes for the whole mission because we are kind of centrally located and a lot of missionaries pass through here. It is kind of cool to see all of the transfers. My "kid" (Elder Gonzalez) is going from San Ramón to Huancayo.

Wednesday our day was filled with sending and receiving missionaries. After we finished with the transfers, we visited Sergio and after our visit, we took him to the chapel for his interview with President Durman. We then visited the Villegas family. We had a good lesson with them. Hermano José really opened up about some of his challenges and we were able to talk about not losing faith and overcoming hardships. We then went and played soccer at the church.

Thursday we did some service where we helped organized a store, like stocking cookies and a bunch of things like that. We had a couple of lessons and then headed out to Palca to visit the Osorio family. We talked about their wedding and got some numbers figured out. We went to the hospital and gave a blessing to Hermana Berta's dad. It was also Hermana Lizet's birthday so we went to the store and bought her a little birthday cake. I think she liked it.

Friday we visited Sergio and he is doing okay. We had a meeting with Sergio and the Osorios, they came to church really sad because they went to sell potatoes in the morning and their selling price for a bag of potatoes dropped from 100 Soles to 30! Another thing that didn't help was that the driver that was supposed to take them to the market slept in, so they didn't sell very much and did not make enough money to get married this next week. They were really sad and bummed out but after talking with them they felt a little better. The wedding might not be as fancy but it should be all right. Thoughts go through their heads like, "why is God doing this to us when we're trying to get baptized?" So we're trying to explain and help them out.

Saturday we went to a wedding of a couple in Mantarana. They throw rice everywhere, it was kind of funny. The wedding was really, really pretty. They are really happy and are getting baptized Sunday. We also went out to Palca and visited the Osorio family.

Sunday we had an attendance of 86 and our investigator, Hermano Kennedy came to church. It looks like the Osorio marriage will take place a little later when they have saved a bit more money. Their son, Kevin, is still going to get baptized this next Friday. He is super cool and should be heading out on his mission as soon as possible. He wants to leave one year to the day of his baptism.

Monday, January 11, 2016

"Hoopy" New Year

Pday this week was kind of crazy. We were told that there was a team, here in Tarma, that wanted to play us missionaries in basketball. So we show up and they said, "hey let's go to the coliseum" (which is kind of like their rec center). So we said, "sure, that would be a lot better." The court there has a wood floor, even though it's kind of crappy (wood pieces would get kicked up as I ran) but they have decent hoops. Little did we know that we were walking into the biggest game of our lives. Haha. All of a sudden they had fans rolling in and they had a referee there to officiate! So there was me, Elder Larson, Elder Walker, and Elder Calle. We played for like three hours straight. It was kind of nuts but fun! Elder White and Elder Roberts stayed with us for the night because we were heading to Huancayo the next day for the zone leader council.

Tuesday in Huancayo we had KFC for lunch and lasagna from Pizza Hut for dinner. We learned about the doctrine of Christ and also watched a training on how assistant's and secretaries should be the best proselyters in the mission. So they are going to be in the office a lot less now. There are a lot of changes in the mission right now. For example, when we do divisions, the other missionaries will be coming to our area instead of us going to their's because our area should be a model of how it should be.

We got back from Huancayo on Wednesday and Jersy from San Ramon actually drove me back. He's doing really well and Kevin is going to be baptized soon, which is awesome. We had a decent day of work. We played soccer at the church and visited with a number of people.

Thursday we had a full day of work. We cleaned the church for our service. We were going to go to this chakra (farm) for this lady but she turned us down. When we showed up, she said they did not have time and already got "it" done. But that is all right, so we clean the church instead. We had some lessons and that is about it.

Friday we did our weekly planning. We visited Sergio and when we got there he was drunk. He told us how he just can't stop drinking and smoking marijuana and everything. It was sad. We talked about the atonement and how he has power over temptations. José Villegas came with us on a couple of visits, which was nice. We had our weekly meeting with the district president also (the district president is kind of like a stake president of the district). I did a baptismal interview that night and then went out for hamburgers. We found a nice little burger place for 5 soles.

Saturday we went to La Oroya to do 2 baptismal interviews. A mom and her eight-year-old little daughter are getting baptized. I interviewed the little girl and my companion interviewed the mom. I almost didn't pass her. I had to explain most of it and it seemed like she wasn't quite understanding things. I went off to the side for a moment and prayed about it. I basically explained to God that I was going to pass her. I felt really calm and peaceful about it. When I thought about not passing her, I felt like I was literally choking, which was kind of weird. It was a pretty cool experience. Her mom is awesome and is really on the ball. We got to lunch really late and we were only able to get in 2 visits before dinner. The missionaries had their baptism, which was awesome and that was about it for the day.

The new schedule on Sunday seems to throw us off a little bit. We didn't have a single lesson. We tried to visit people in the morning and they weren't there, then we had church and then we had our branch council. That took up a good chunk of the day but, we had about five of our investigators at church so that was nice! Well, that was my week. I hope you had a great week and we'll chat later!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!

Monday for Pday we pretty much played soccer and basketball at the church all day. We played with some members from the ward, El Milagro, and it was really, really hot. I was exhausted! Later we visited the Villegas family.

Tuesday we had our district meeting in the morning and we learned about how to find people to teach from Elder Perez (missionary from El Milagro 2). After our meeting, we went and spoke with the hermana's landlady about their housing contract. We got it figured out. Their room is really kind of crappy. So they are going to stay in their room one more month and then we will help them find a new place in February. That evening we went on divisions with the youth in the ward. It was a good activity. We found a couple new investigators and visited a couple of other families. We also went out to eat with the branch president to La Madera.

We had a lot of errands to run on Wednesday. We had to send off some packages and pick up some packages. We bought tickets for some missionaries that are going to Lima for their migration paperwork. We didn't have much time to proselyte, however we did find a new family to teach. It's a family with a mom, dad, and two kids about seven years of age. The mom is a Jehovah's Witness and the dad was very interested in what we had to say.

Thursday we did not have too much success because nobody was in their house. I can't believe the year is already at an end. Time sure flies when you're working hard. At night we ate Panaton and drank chocolate milk with Elders Larson and Valencia. We watched the fireworks from our roof and had a good time. Our pensionista (Hermana Berta) even gave us ties, which was awesome.

Panettone is a kind of fruitcake popular here for the holidays. Consistent with Peruvians' distaste for really sweet things, it is not. Also, they go kind of light on the fruit.

Happy New Year's! On Friday we did not have one single lesson. We went out to this little village called Acobamba with the Villegas family and sat and talked with members. We got a reference from this little house in the country. They cooked Pancha Manca for New Year's but we couldn't eat it because we don't have permission. It's kind of freaking me out that it is 2016 now. I hope you have put your new year’s resolutions, I have put mine into effect.

Saturday started by taking out money with everyone and then we went to Junin to do a baptismal interview. On our way back to our room to start our fast, we noticed a man and his wife moving his house. It was literally all of their stuff that had just been unloaded into the street. So we helped them move their things up to their new house. The thing is, their house was like a 10 minute walk up this giant mountain. It was rough! It showed me how out of shape I am. It was cool to help them out though. We headed to our room and started our fast and then went to our lesson with the family whose mom/wife is a Jehovah's Witness. The husband (David) is amazing. He read the restoration before we even showed up. We answered his questions and things went well.

Sunday our church now starts at 2 pm. It's going to take some time getting used to. There were not that many people in church because of the schedule change. We went to Palca before church and found a new investigator named Brian, he is 15. He's actually the nephew of Hermana Luz Osorio (the family we are teaching there).  His mom is actually less active so if you could please keep them in your prayers. Today it was a pretty spiritual fast. We received a lot of answers that's we were looking for and things are going well. I hope you all have a great new year and I love you!