[Email dated 9.20.14]
I think I forgot to mention something about the changes last week. You know how in elementary school you have those logic problems where you have corn, chicken and foxes and for some strange reason you have to get them all across the river and there are just some weird qualifiers for how you can do it? Well I think we all thought that that would never actually be a needed skill, or maybe that was just me, but as it turns out I had to do that the other day for the changes.
We had to make sure that everyone has a companion to be able to get to the airport and to get picked up and to do a few other things during the day. We also had to coordinate 4 zones of missionaries, with 3-6 changes apiece with the missionaries leaving and coming in at different times with the trainers having to be at a meeting at one time and the newbies at another time. There were just so many groups and nobody can ever be without a companion so it was just kind of crazy. It actually took about an hour and a half to coordinate all of it....haha. Who would have thought that that type of logic problem would actually be a useful skill? I definitely could not have guessed it.
We were in Pucallpa this whole week. As I mentioned last week, we’ve kinda changed how we're doing things and we had extended the trip a lot. Normally, we would have gotten there on Wednesday, had the training on Thursday and left on Friday. This time, we left on Monday and were there working with missionaries out there on Monday night, all day Tuesday and Wednesday, had the training on Thursday morning, worked with missionaries later that day and left Friday morning.
Apparently, the Zone leaders hadn’t told anyone that we were showing up a few days early and when we showed up on their pday..... SURPRISE!! haha I guess people naturally freak out when they unexpectedly run into the assistants, especially in a city that we don’t live in. We went to Tottus (Peruvian Walmart) where there is also a Pizza Hut and a KFC and we ran into a couple of missionaries there. Haha, one of them just acted all normal and said hi to us like it wasn’t a big deal but everyone else was clearly just surprised and confused. I remember when I was a Junior Companion and later a District Leader, I thought that the assistants were like a big deal and I definitely freaked out when I saw them. Now that I am one of them, I feel like it’s not even a big deal--perspective changes a lot of things. But yeah, there were quite a few scared and surprised missionaries, even though I really don't understand why. It is definitely funny to see reactions like that though.
So the whole week was spent working with missionaries and just one morning of trainings. It was so much better and I feel like the trip was actually worth it this time. I got to go out with one companionship of zone leaders in my old area, 2 companionships that are training newbies and another one where they are both relatively young missionaries. With both of the companionships in training it was fun because the new missionaries were both American. Both of them thought that they were somewhat lost. The funny part is that both of them spoke better Spanish than I did at that point in my mission. A lot of these new missionaries, especially the ones from this group, get here really prepared and just need to have more confidence. I think that's the thing I probably saw this week. The Lord really prepares us to do what He calls us to do. Really, if we have faith in Him, we'll do it with confidence because we know that the Lord has already done the preparation for us.
This week we're headed out to Tarapoto and Moyobamba. We leave on Monday and we will get back early afternoon on Saturday. Right when we get back to Iquitos, we're going to take a car to Nauta, a little city with 4 missionaries. It’s about 1.5-2 hours from Iquitos by car. We won’t get back to Iquitos until next Monday. ( I have no idea when I will actually be able to write you again, I may or may not find time on saturday morning...).
Well, I love you guys and hope that you all have a great week! I would have pictures but really I haven’t had many opportunities to take pictures recently...maybe someday.... [someday? how many times will he be in Peru on a mission? aargh. Thanks Google for the pics to spice up this post.]
P.S. As far as the flights go, I have no real control over them. How they typically work is I’d leave here at 7ish to go to Lima and then during the early morning (1-4ish) the flight leaves to the US. They usually send the flights to Atlanta first and then from Atlanta to everywhere else. The flights are purchased in Salt Lake and the Personal Secretary has already made the request. The only other thing that might affect it is the possibility that I would stay an extra day in Lima to go through the temple with a family that I taught. They already have been members of the Church for more than a year [a requirement to enter the temple] and they’re awesome. It just depends on getting it scheduled. Absolutely nothing is for sure yet.