[Email dated 2.24.14]
This may have been one of the most stressful weeks of my life and I'm fairly certain that I have pulled out quite a bit of my hair. Let's just say that it is really hard to get birth certificates here and that’s a very necessary thing to be able to get people married. And, of course, everyone has to be from some little town on the river that doesn't have a phone number. Sometimes it’s a little frustrating.... That and there were just a whole lot of other problems and we had quite a few marriages that fell through after spending many hours this week doing paperwork. Well, at least now we have all of the paperwork ready, right?
Aside from that, there were just some people with problems this week which resulted in quite a bit of time on the phone and a few hours in the clinic. In all, it was a very busy week on top of teaching and normal missionary responsibilities....probably one of the most tiring weeks as a missionary that I've had up until this point. But it was still a good week! I'm still definitely very happy and all is good for me so don't be worried about that, it's just a lot of stuff and I'm definitely figuring out how to organize myself and keep things in order because if it weren't so, I would probably actually go crazy...(I won't though, I promise!) [This is a good thing! I’m actually pretty excited for him to learn organization as a life skill. For all of his intelligence, I have failed miserably to teach him organization, which is a topic I, myself, usually feel quite competent at.]
So If you guys remember last year, I wrote about a holiday called Carnaval where everyone danced around those weird tree things and got each other wet. Well, this year, it was a lot different. In Iquitos, it was basically just for kids to play around while the parents watched, but here everyone was just in a huge party and there was a lot of music and alcohol consumption and everyone was outside....it was basically impossible to teach anyone because nobody was home and even if they were, there was no way we'd have been able to hear them or talk to them at all. So that was a few hours of walking around and not getting much done. I'm not a fan of holidays here, it's just a lot of noise. We kept working and all we just didn't get much out of it.
Here in Pucallpa, there is a stake [geographic organization of congregations] with 8 wards [congregations] and a branch [small congregation]. 7 of the wards have 2 companionships and are pretty big. Our ward is the only one with one companionship and it's tiny. A lot of people moved a couple of months ago. It was also closed down to missionaries for like a year with nobody here until October, so the ward needs to be revived out here, especially because of the lack of missionaries for so much time. The ward just got smaller, so now we’re still trying to get it back to where it was before because it used to be the strongest ward in the stake. The stake is actually really strong out here though.
Everything is good for me out here and I'm loving life. The good and the bad is all a part of it and I love it all. There is nowhere in the world that I would rather be right now. Love you guys!
PS Pictures next week!
Note. So we were a little, um, put out with the lack of detail and/or length from Tyler’s recent emails. So we might have mentioned that in our letters. All of them (Jeff, Lisa, Justin). I think he got the point. Jeff took a more direct approach by asking specific questions in his email, with Tyler’s responses (Jeff in gray, Tyler in black and Lisa in red):
I think your Mom and I have decided we need to ask more questions to enable us to learn details about your life. So here goes the standing list of things we’d like to know:
- Tell us about your apartment. My apartment is 2 big rooms-- one with desks, the other with beds and a bathroom. On the second floor and there is another family with us that I do not know. [I have no idea what he means in the last sentence. Is it a duplex, their apartment on the bottom and another on the top? Or, is there a 2nd floor IN his apartment and there is a random family that lives there? AND. They’re missionaries! How come they don’t know them? Even answers bring questions…]
- The Branch? How big? What do the members do in Pullcapa for employment? We’re in a ward where the attendance is between 60 and 90 and has the smallest area in the stake. The members are good but were missing a lot of key callings. I'm thinking about talking to the stake president to get the boundaries changed a little bit to give us a new part of the area to work in (it`s tiny). [Wards are organized by geographic boundaries. There is no paid ministry in the Church so adult members do various jobs, or “callings” to help the Church function. It’s one of my very favorite aspects of the Church because you get to stretch and grow to fill jobs you’re called to do. The majority of callings rotate regularly as needed].
- Elder Limon--Wildcat or Sundevil? [If you’re from Arizona, you’ll know what this means] Devil
- How are your clothes/shoes/socks holding up? Anything you need? All good. I've decided my shirt sleeves are too long on my long sleeve white shirt so I’m thinking about getting a new one that fits better and the majority of my white shirts have some kind of stain that won’t come out but nothing huge....
- Do you have all your suitcases with you now? I have one suitcase but I’m fine. [He left with 2, I don’t think he’s had both with him at any one time since he got to Peru…]
- Are you catching up in your mission journal (since you got all your packages…) I have not gotten around to the journal yet.
- Any follow-up thoughts and/or discussions about M&D coming to Peru? Oct/Dec determination yet?. And the food: Any different where you are now? What are you eating these days? I don't know when I'll get home. Prez doesn't write me back about it and I really had stopped thinking about you guys coming down to get me. What would our itinerary be like?
- And the food: Any different where you are now? What are you eating these days? RICE