Saturday, August 23, 2014

Motokar Getaway

As a few of you may have commented, I did not write anyone last week.  I didn’t forget, I just didn’t actually have a chance to write last week because we were in Moyobamba and Tarapoto.  It was really weird to have to report our key indicators on Sunday because we only were in our area for 2 hours last week.  It was a nice change from being in the offices all the time. 


Last Tuesday we left to go to Tarapoto and Moyobamba for a couple of trainings and a District Conference in Moyobamba on Sunday.  We were in Tarapoto, working with the Zone Leaders, when we had a very interesting encounter.  We were going by motokar to a place that none of us knew so the motokarista pulled over to ask someone for directions.  Two seconds later he pops back over to the moto being held up by his collar by another man.  The other guy was just yelling at him and I really don’t know a lot of bad words in Spanish, but I knew that that guy was using a lot of them and after about 3 seconds it was readily apparent that the guy had been drinking fairly heavily....

So, we were just sitting there not really having anything to do when all of a sudden, the drunk guy looks over at us and yells "hermanos!!" He continues to tell us that he was Mormon (all of the drunk people tell us that) and starts talking to us when out of nowhere he grabs the motokarista and starts yelling at him again.  During this whole thing, the other missionary companionship is in another motokar just watching this all happen--just kinda weirded out and confused, but laughing at the same time.  Our motokarista got back onto his moto, backed it up and started to go, but the drunk guy was just holding on.  Motokars don’t really have powerful engines, so we couldn’t keep going.  I took the guy’s hand off of the motokar and we took off.  The drunk guy took off at a full sprint, caught up to the moto and jumped on the  back of it just yelling again.  I thought he was about to hit me for pulling his hand off. 

Both of the motos stopped and we all got off to try to just calm things down, but the drunk guy thought that we wanted to fight him.  He started to take his shirt off but it got stuck and we were just there watching the guy struggling with his shirt stuck over his head.  So we just got back on the moto and took off, but he caught the other moto before they could leave, after giving up on taking his shirt off.  Then he commenced to yell at them, asking to talk to us.  At that moment, we had turned around and went flying by.  He chased us, but wasn’t able to catch us, thereby freeing the other companionship to be able to take off.  

We all came away unscathed and, just so you know mom, I was never in any danger.  My comp and I are approximately 95% larger than any of the Peruvians.  Also, one of the missionaries in the other moto was a sniper on a SWAT team before his mission, so I don’t think there was ever much danger....we were just laughing the whole yeah, then we were in Tarapoto for 2 more days working.

IMG_2224When we were heading out to Moyobamba (it's a 2 hour car ride), it was a little bit windy so one of the hermanas with us got a little car sick and just let it go out the window.  It was just really funny because it’s the first time that a sister had ever gone anywhere with president and his wife and she just had to throw up on the first trip....haha there’s a picture for you guys too. [Poor thing!  I apologize to her family (if they see this) for my son’s sense of humor!  I’m not really sure the re-enactment was necessary, so I left the picture kind of small.] 

When we got out to Moyo, we did more training and went out working  with missionaries in their areas and it was pretty cool.  On Saturday, we went to this place with natural pools with President and Hermana Gomez in the morning.  We had District Conference the rest of the time through Sunday morning.  I got to see a lot of the members from Nueva Cajamarca and a lot of my converts out there as well.  It was actually really cool to get to see all of them and they’re really close to being able to get the chapel built out there too if they just keep going where they’re at right now.  


In the afternoon, I got to go out to Nueva Cajamarca again.  I was with President, Hermana Gomez and Hermana Simonson, so Hermana Gomez had 1.5 companions and I only had half. [I read this sentence several times and still don’t think I quite understand the math.]

We went out to Nueva Cajamarca to eat lunch with a family that was baptized about 2 weeks before I got there the first time [a year ago], and they are one of the coolest families ever.  I also got to go out and work in my old area for a few hours.  It was a really cool afternoon and I loved it.  Got to see some really cool people and I got to show the missionaries there what I had learned because it is a really different area and you have to work differently.  It was a great week out there.  We got back on Monday, a full week outside of the city.

This week had more training and visits with missionaries.  It’s a good experience, but a little weird to give the same training every time, even though it is always a little different.  Things are going really well and I’m having a great time out here.  Love you guys!! This week I'm heading back out to Pucallpa, it should be good.

Elder Peacock

[Mom/Editor note:  The Spanish syntax is getting deep, even when he’s writing in English!  And, he has forgotten how to capitalize.  Took me forever to “translate” this email.]

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Day in the Life

[Email dated 8.9.14]

Hey everybody,

This was a fairly "normal" week.  I don't think there is any such thing as a normal week anymore,  but it was as normal as it could get.  A least, we didn’t travel anywhere.

We've been doing a lot of preparing for the trainings that we are going to be doing this next month and planning for the next couple of months.  We actually had a 5 hour meeting with President and Sister Gomez.  When we got out of there I was thinking, “That was a pretty long meeting” and then I looked at my pocketwatch [see HERE and HERE regarding his “pocketwatch”, clearly still getting the job done] and noticed that the meeting that started at 4 took us until 9....haha!  That was surprising.  We did not plan it to be more than an hour and a half!  It was very productive though, so that’s good.  

Because of the geographic layout of the mission, being that half of the mission is outside of Iquitos, we are travelling half of the month every month going to Tarapoto, Moyobamba, and Pucallpa to either give trainings or to have interviews with president.  We won't always have all that much time here in the offices in Iquitos or even in the city.  For example, this week that is coming up, we're going to Tarapoto and Moyobamba for some trainings we are leading.  The next week we'll be back in Iquitos to train here and then the following week we will be travelling to Pucallpa.  Lots of travelling and training.  It would be great if we could just do this training for the whole mission in the same week, but it's just not possible with the geography here.  

The other weird thing about being the assistant is that we know everything--not that we're smarter than everyone else, but we get told everything.  Just thinking back as a Zone Leader, I called the assistants every once in a while with problems that I couldn’t solve on my own.  Well, when all 8 zones have to do that... you can see how that’s a lot of information.  We get calls about twice a week, which sometimes turns into a project for me and my companion.  It's all very interesting and sometimes somewhat boring.  I didn't realize that there could be so many problems, especially with health and other things like that.  Problems range from health to paperwork to stalkers [oh my!] to just about everything else you could imagine.  Here in the offices, there are 3 secretaries also working here and they have lots of other things to do with immigration, finances, records, supplies, etc and we seem to be involved with all of that too.  

Just one quick experience that I had this week:  We went on splits with a companionship of Zone Leaders here and I went with Elder Bravo, my second companion.  When we were just out teaching, I could see that we are both the same people that we were before, over a year ago, but we've also each done a lot of growing.   It was just cool to get to go proselyte with him again.  BTW we did get out to work a lot more this week, which was a really good thing because if I were in here all day, every day, I would probably go crazy.

I love you guys and I’ll write you all next week!

Elder Peacock

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Los Nuevitos

Hey everyone!

So this week was changes for the mission [every 6 weeks missionaries may change companions and/or areas] which means that there is just a lot of stuff that is going on.  Missionaries coming, others going and just lots of people and suitcases in and out of the offices.  On Monday we said goodbye to all of the missionaries that were going home and had a program for them with some cool stuff.  When I finish there will be no surprises because well, I’ll be making those plans myself!

On Tuesday, we got all of the new missionaries (6).  We picked them up from the airport and had a nice lunch in the mission home.  It’s The Best Two Yearsweird because I didn’t see the mission home in Lima ever [he was originally assigned to the Lima North Mission] and I didn’t see the one here in Iquitos until I had been out 20 months already.  When we picked them up, I started speaking Spanish to them like normal because I don’t really even think about it anymore and well, 5 of them were American and I just saw that look on their faces from The Best Two Years:  "that’s not the language they taught me in the MTC!"  It was funny so then I just slowed it down a little bit and they understood me, kinda.  I also started repeating everything in English for them too.  We got them to the mission home and I could tell that they were all just so nervous and it made me think about how I was on my first day--I had no idea what was going on and I was so lost.  We were sitting at lunch and just none of them were talking at all.  I don’t know if it’s because they were afraid to speak Spanish or if they were just stunned by all of the stuff that was going on all at once.  

After lunch we had a time to talk to their trainers and explain to them what they are supposed to achieve as trainers.  Then we got to train the newbies.  Again, when I got in front of them I just spoke a little too fast at the beginning and got that same look.  I really noticed it because I was conducting the meeting and when I gave instructions everyone just kinda sat there...haha but then I slowed down and repeated myself in English and there were no problems.  They actually did understand me in Spanish when I spoke slowly but I just repeated it to avoid confusions.  Then there were trainings from Hermana Gomez, the secretaries, and Elder Anderson.  I just took 5 minutes to share something small with them because really after all of that, I know they were just completely lost because I was there 20.5 months ago and I knew how they were feeling.  

I wasn't actually even on the program to share something with them but I just took the time because we had some extra time.  I shared with them Alma 26:12:

Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

and related it to them.  I  just reassured them that they’re fine and if they’re lost they don’t have to worry about it because everyone starts like that.  Ammon, even after all that he had done, all of the miracles and all of the stories, still knew that he was nothing.  The Lord is the one who really does it all anyway.  In the work of the Lord, our own capabilities really don’t even matter.  All that actually matters is that we are on the Lord’s side.  Because if we're on His side then He will perform the miracles through us.  It just felt good to be able to share that with people because I knew how they felt because I’ve lived it.  

I think that receiving new missionaries might be one of the best parts of this assignment.  It’s an experience that is both funny and spiritual.  President Gomez shared some cool things with them.  Next change, we're going to get him to do it in English though.  He speaks pretty well but he doesn’t have too much confidence in his English. Luckily, he has 2 APs that know how and we’re going to practice with him because the next group that comes in is big and basically all of them are Americans.

Other than that, we've had the leaders council this week and that was really interesting to be a part of the planning process of that and really to see how much planning actually goes into it and how much president really takes into account what we think.  Also, it was way different to be in the council as the AP.  I know that I didn’t really talk that much when I was back home, but that’s changed a lot actually, and that was way before being the AP.  But yeah, it is a lot of new stuff that’s going on and its just a whole different world out here.

I love you guys and hope that you have a great week!

Elder Peacock