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Sunday, June 30, 2013
[Email dated June 24, 2013]
So I am still here in the same are and still with Elder Bravo, which means that I'm officially an Iquiteño. The mission will officially divide this week when President Blunck finishes and President Gomez comes this Friday. We had a farewell type thing with President Blunk this week and now he's not coming back here. President Blucnk really is the best, and its really hard for him to leave. Then this Friday President Gomez will come and we'll actually have a President and the mission and everything here in Iquitos. So as long as everything goes well, I shouldn't go to Lima for anything other than to do paperwork one more time until the end of the mission. President Gomez comes from Puebla Mexico and that's about all we really know about him. Also, Justin may have seen him because he was one of those 7,000,000 new mission presidents in the Marriot center yesterday.
But yeah, that thing yesterday (I don't remember how it's called in English) was really actually exactly what we needed here. [It was a training session, broadcast church-wide, see HERE]. For us, it's like pulling teeth to get members to go to lessons, give us references, or do anything related to missionary work. I still don't really know what it's like to have a ward mission leader or a real ward council meeting because the wards here just don't give that much importance to it [wards are like congregations, organized by where the church member lives]. What that whole message was yesterday is that being a member of the church is so much more than just going to church on Sunday, or even reading your scriptures. Being a member of the church is a full time thing, with constant work and effort. What President Blunck told us is that the members should really be the people who find most of the investigators and we should be here to be a support in that, and then our main job would just be to teach the Gospel. For us right now, we're doing both jobs and it is much less efficient. So if you think that the message wasn't directed at you just take another look at it and find something you can do to improve. Just think, if every member was always looking for someone to help or to invite, how many more people would the missionaries in your ward have to teach?
So today is a national holiday here in Perú called Día de San Juan. Basically, everyone goes down the river, eats thousands or juanes, and drinks chicha de maíz. So there is basically nobody here today, and we're just lucky the internet is open. I'm sending a picture of a Juane, which is supposedly representative of the head of John the Baptist. It's a ball of rice with chicken or a hard boiled egg inside. They're actually pretty good. Chicha de maíz is a drink made of corn and some other juices. It's actually really good, so you can’t judge it until you try it. But the past 2 days were fairly difficult because on Saturday everyone was making the chicha which is an all-day process and then yesterday everyone was making their Juanes. Everyone else was drinking and having a party in preparation for the holiday....Not exactly perfect conditions for missionaries. Should go back to normal this week though.
I love all of you and hope you all have a good week!
Monday, June 17, 2013
First of all, happy Father's Day dad!!!also to Grandpa and Grandpa and everyone else who is a dad...Can't name all of you that's for sure.
So I don't know if I'm staying here or going, I have a lot of time here but I still feel like I'm going to stay where I'm at with Elder Bravo. This change felt like a week in all honesty. I feel like we just picked up Elder Bravo from the airport. I'll let you know next week, but this transfer will have the split of the mission!! And I will officially be a part of the Misión Perú Iquitos....I think and hope...you can never really know. Just to clear things up, I've gotten some questions in letters...Iquitos is a part of Perú, it's not another country or anything, just in the jungle. But things should be exciting with the new mission and everything and President Gómez comes from México. Not sure what part but it'll be different having a Latino Mission President for sure.
So this week was awesome, as usual. On Monday night we were leaving to go to an appointment and this guy stops us to talk. His name is Carlos. We talk to him and he tells us he wants us to go to his house and talk to him more. He gives us his address and I instantly know we have a problem because the street he gives us is so unorganized with the numbers so I know it'll be tough to find him. Later in the week we go to look for him and, of course, we can't find the number so we decide to ask this lady sitting outside. She tells us that Carlos lives in the house right next to hers. So we go to that house and there isn't a number so we figure it's gotta be that house. We knock the door and this guy answers the door and tells us that Carlos is taking a shower but should be out in a minute so we start talking to that guy (named Roger) and he's cool. We're still waiting and then he goes to get Carlos...they come out and I have no idea who the other guy is, I just know I've never seen him before in my life! Sure enough, he's Carlos... the best part is, he didn't even think it was weird that we were looking for him even though we had never seen him before. We went back later in the week and he asked us if we were really looking for him that first time--he didn't realize until after that it was weird that some random guys were looking to talk to him and that we knew his name before talking to him. Haha-- maybe it was a “had to be there” moment but it was really funny.
This week was really full of everything: spiritual, funny, disappointing, exciting, etc. Sorry I can't really explain all of it to you guys. I hope all is well and you have a good week,
Monday, June 10, 2013
So this week was pretty awesome. And I already finished 7 months…this is going way too fast…
So we’re teaching this family who is awesome. The kids are all older but still live there in the house. We’d taught the dad a few times and he’s cool and just couldn’t find the rest of them when we went there. We finally found his wife about a week and a half ago. But the guy always told us “hey can you go invite my son to come join us?” We thought that was kinda dumb, like we don’t even know the guy and every time we try to yell up to the second floor to invite him down, someone else up there tells us he’s not there. But we kept going with it and kept yelling up to the second floor to try to get him to come down. We were just a little confused at why the guy just wouldn’t talk to his son about it and that would be a lot easier. I’m sure you’re all expecting a really cool or interesting reason why he didn’t just do it himself…there’s not, we still don’t really get it. However, we yelled up to him on Saturday in the afternoon to invite him down, and he came out and was surprisingly very excited. He came down and was awesome, came to church yesterday with his family. It’s really not all that cool of a story but it’s just something that was a little weird.
We also had a few baptisms this week. I told you about R* last week. He is a musician (he plays the drums and plays in places all over Iquitos. I’ve only heard a little bit of him playing the drums but he is in fairly high demand so he’s gotta be good. But he was the last member of his family to be baptized and I can just see how much this one thing has changed his life already. His wife is in treatment for an illness. And she was going to travel at the beginning of the month for treatment, but her husband asked her to stay so she could be here for his baptism. Kinda just gives me a little look at the importance of the family in this gospel. Without the family, this gospel really just doesn’t carry quite as much weight and really, his family was the only reason he even started to listen to us.
W* was also baptized and is the 9 year old son of some members that had come to church his whole life but just didn’t get baptized when he was 8. I’m still just trying to figure out why that happened, but it did. I think you can all see the importance of the family with him and his family. There are 42 of them that live in three houses all next to each other that are all members. It’s just a little sad because only about 6 of them come to church.
I love my family and I’m grateful to have the parents I do. That being said, I hope the package I sent last week makes it to the US…also to the house…it was somewhat expensive to send… [You’re telling me!]
Love you guys and thanks for everything!
PS changes the week that’s coming and the mission splits at the end of the month [note the Spanish syntax creeping into his English]
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
So apparently that picture of me in the rain was a big hit, my mom said it was something like 7000 comments... I think it's like that thing with writers and artists where nobody appreciates you until you’re dead but in this case it's more like nobody appreciates you until you’re on the other half of the world...or something like that. haha
This week was good but really not too much happened that was all that out of the ordinary (for a missionary in Iquitos) so I'm really struggling with what to tell all of you...I guess I can tell you what I didn't the last week.
So we have this investigator named R* whose wife and two daughters are members of the church. We had taught him a few times and he said he wanted to be baptized but just wanted to keep waiting. He just wouldn't accept a specific date to be baptized and we just couldn't figure out why he would just tell us that he wanted time to think about it. So then we taught him this lesson and it was really spiritual, we invited him to be baptized again, and told us again that he just wanted some time to wait and didn't want to rush it. Then we invited him to prepare for a date which had been done before, he just wanted to wait, and in that moment he kinda mumbled "ya" his wife looked at him in surprise and shock and asked what?. He repeated himself but a little louder this time and said yes. Then his wife kinda broke down and kinda turned into a mess at that point. He had met with missionaries for years up until this point but just hadn't had desires to do anything from all of that. He's now really excited and loves coming to church and everything. Then this week, we had his first interview (there are 2) and when the Zone Leaders showed up, R* said "ay, a ti te conozco" or in other words, “Hey I know you”. Elder Flores had been in another area about a year ago where they used to live and had taught him and was somewhat close with the family. He was just so excited to see that R*'s time had finally come and that he was changing his life. Although the changes he's had to make aren't that drastic, he's seen huge things that he's received from it. Sometimes when it's your time, it's your time. That's something else that's very apparent here; there's a time and a place for everything.
I love you guys and hope everything keeps going well for you