Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Week 16 - Monoperu

Wow yet another week here in Sicuani but it was a great week with it being Christmas and being able to have the joy of Christmas around. I was able to Skype the family and it was amazing and so nice to see how everyone is doing. Just made the week so awesome and so worth it all, definitely miss everyone so much and so glad everyone is doing great!

Well our numbers this week honestly sucked because things for Christmas were in the way but we were able to still visit people and help people out. But Christmas Eve was the time in which I skyped all the family, with dad and with mom. So happy to see almost all the family there in both places and seeing the progress of everyone. Wyatt I saw for the first time, and the other growing nieces and nephews! So crazy how big they are all getting. But it seriously was so great talking to everyone and just such a nice break to talk. So now I can't wait until May for Mothers Day!! haha

Well Christmas day was great but it was awesome to visit the family of Shiomara and Jhon and give them a gift as a family. So we gave them a whole chicken, and a Paneton. Which Paneton is huge here, basically a fruit cake but better and they eat it all the holiday season. I like it a lot. But it was great seeing them with their smiles on Christmas. That night before we stayed up all night waiting for Christmas with our Pension and her family, then had a gift exchange too. I was able to get Monoperu! A Peru addition of Monopoly and it is pretty sweet. And when midnight hits, things here get crazy and it is kinda like New Years, with a bunch of fireworks! Crazy! We couldn't sleep even if we wanted to do so, so loud. Honestly but overall, a great Christmas with talking to the family and seeing how things are going, food especially Paneton, and enjoying our time with other people celebrating about Christ. Which is the most important part.

That is about it and cant wait to see what the new year has in store for us, only two weeks left in the change. And today I am in Cusco visiting and seeing what is with everything, so I will update on that next week on how well it went. Well talk to all of you guys next week!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 15 -- Merry Christmas!

Hey everyone!! Merry Christmas!! Can't believe that this week is going to be Christmas and that I get to Skype all of you guys.... :)

But my week with Elder Martinez was not very successful honestly but we still had a great time trying our best to work. But our numbers were not good and it sucked honestly when most of our lessons fell through and we ended up just walking around all day. This is definitely not fun. But we did get an investigator to church this week and we got a lot of help from the members to support her and she loved being at church. So we are hoping for this to continue and her to progress. Also I got the chance to work with our district leader Elder Sanchez and he is super cool. We actually had a pretty good day with all the lessons but that was our only day that was good. But love working with other people at times and see how things work and how they teach. So my teaching skills are growing more. Lessons are no problem now, I can basically teach all the lessons pretty well it is just when I have to have conversations with people that is the hard part. But I am working on that and hopefully get better soon.

But right now the weather is SUPER RAINY!!! Seriously it rains every afternoon now and it just sucks to walk in it all day. Our clothes are being soaked every day and it is just wet all the time. Really annoying. But other than that our week was normal, Christmas here is not too big but there are decorations and music, but I really miss all the good food and desserts from the states. What they have here is Paneton.....or a cake like thing with fruit but not like our fruit cake. It is actually super good and it is so popular here. When we have a visit at a house, this whole week we have gotten a piece of Paneton and hot chocolate too, soooooo good! But I can't wait to have Christmas, we are having a gift exchange with our pension and the district so hopefully I can find stuff to buy today.

And finally hope everyone has a great time this Christmas and I can't wait to talk to mom and dad and the family!! Merry Christmas everyone!!

An alpaca hat

The same hat inside-out

Elder Martinez broke the bed

Working in a "chacra" or little field of a member

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 14

Wow another week here in Sicuani!! Pretty good week of work and getting things done and really enjoying my time here. First is that we had a baptism this week!!! So awesome to see Shiomara accept baptism and go through with the whole thing. But it was the most awesome because I got to baptize her! How exciting is that, to be able to help someone enter into such a great covenant with the Lord!

The baptismal service was great with hymns, great talks, and many people came to support her. It was difficult at first because the water was sooooo cold because the heater wasn't working for the font. So we had the baptism in freezing water. But she was very scared at first b/c of the cold, but we eventually helped her in the font and we quickly were able to perform the baptism. But it was so relaxing with the whole thing and I could definitely feel the Spirit in the room. I luckily remembered the prayer in Spanish and everything went well. It is just so crazy that I was able to perform this and be a part in this special moment in her life. Also she has considered me her Godfather, so not too sure what that entails, but we will find out haha

Other than the baptism the week was normal with lessons and work with investigators. The other part is that we had splits with the zone leaders and it was great to work with Elder Jackson. He gave me so much advice and it was so nice to see how others teach and see how things go, so I had a good time with him. And to finish it all off, I finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish!!!! I went crazy this week to finish it and it feels so nice to say I did it in another language. And I understand most of the things going on too, so my studies are going real well. Other than that, not much has happened and we are just hoping for the best in the week to come to get more baptismal dates and more lessons with investigators. Well hope everyone does well on finals and does well with preparing for Christmas! Until next week!

Elder Black and Elder Allen

I got to see Elder Kline at the Christmas Dinner. He is from my CCM group.

The primary did an activity where they shined our shoes.

Our wonderful Christmas tree.

Shiomara's family

Cheesing with Shiomara

Crazy kids of the Macedo family

I found this nice dead Alpaca after church

Playing some rope game with some neighbors.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 13 -- Christmas Dinner in Cusco

Wow, what a week it was! Loving it more and more here and so excited to get going more in the mission. But overall it was a great first week of the change.

To start off, we had the chance to go back to Cusco on Thursday and Friday. We had a Christmas Dinner for 3 zones, so it was pretty fun. The dinner was amazing and it was great seeing a bunch of friends already. Got to hang out with Elder Kline, who was in my district in the CCM. While we had free time, I got to go to Real Plaza, which is like a modern mall with everything in it, and it was nice to just get a piece of America again. But we got to have a great devotional about Christmas and hear from many missionaries and the president speak. It was a great chance to feel the spirit and learn more and more about the importance of the Savior this Christmas.

Well after that, the next day we stayed in Cusco because we had interviews with the president. While we were getting interviewed, we received some training from the assistants....and it was pretty great training honestly. We learned more about baptismal interviews, companionship inventory, and many more things to better us as missionaries. Overall, great time in Cusco and received some great training and info about many things for this Christmas season.

Finally, about the investigators and my studies. Well, right now my goal is to finish the Book of Mormon by my training, which I am ahead and just finished Helaman, and now in 3 Nephi. So excited, because 3 Nephi is full of stuff about the Savior and I just love to learn more about it. Then our investigators, well first off, Shiomara passed her baptismal interview and we are having her baptism this Saturday!!!! And it is crazy that I get to baptize her and it is just crazy! I am just loving the opportunity though. All of our other investigators are doing great, we are getting lessons pretty easy and our area is doing really well. Can't wait to see who can get baptized next....should be a few.

Well, overall a great week of lessons, investigators, and training for sure....Can't wait to be able to Skype for Christmas and see how everyone is doing next week! Have a great week!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 12 -- 2nd Transfer Down!

Wow, again another week here in Peru and now finished my 2nd transfer in total and the first one in the field! Crazy! Time seriously is nothing here and it just goes by so fast. But this week was a pretty great week for Elder Martinez and I with a bunch of lessons and finally got another person with a baptismal date!

But this week again is really awesome, especially for me. Well, we have been working with this family whose mom is less active but is almost back to full activity, and the son is Jhon who was baptized a few weeks ago. And we finally got his sister to accept baptism for the 12th of this month now! So we are super excited to see this family be totally members and full activity. And the best part is......I am going to baptize her! So my first baptism!!!! Woah! I don't know why she asked me, but she really enjoys that I am a gringo, and I am so excited and honored to baptize her. So that is definitely the highlight of my week! All of our other investigators are doing well, we are trying to work on another family to reactivity and baptize the daughter too, but it is hard with their work on Sundays, so they never attend. But overall, we are doing pretty well with our work here and enjoying teaching all of these people.

As I said, that tomorrow is exchanges for the mission, so we will be seeing if we are getting new people in our zone and new missionaries in the mission too. But Elder Martinez and I are staying because I am still in training....so 6 more weeks in Sicuani. But most likely we will see changes in the zone and some others in our leadership. But not much change for me, but I am glad because Sicuani is treating me super well and I am loving it here.

Not much else is happening here, but we are excited to start working this holiday season and especially teaching about Christ. Crazy to think that it is December now and that Christmas is coming around the corner. Missed Thanksgiving for sure and definitely gonna miss the holiday season with all of you guys! Enjoy your days in the states and until next week!

A selfie while making bread

Elder Martinez with Jhon, Shiomara, and family

Jhon y Elder Martinez

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week 11 -- Mission Conference in Cusco

Wow, this week just flew by as usual, seems like all the weeks are just blurring together. I can't remember what happened when. But so glad it has been another week here in Sicuani. And this week was a little different from the others, because we went to Cusco on Tuesday, so the week just went by super fast.

Well, to start off, Tuesday, we went to Cusco to hear from Elder Evans. Elder Evans is the member of the Quorum of the Seventy that is in charge of ALL the missionaries in the church, so it was awesome to hear him speak. We had all zones of our mission come for this huge conference, and it was so cool to see some old CCM friends and few others that I had met over my short time in the mission. Elder Evans spoke on some great topics for missionaries and gave us all great advice. He spoke a lot about finding new people to teach, using the Book of Mormon effectively, and just some general advice on how to be a missionary and fulfill your purpose as one. So after, I was so filled with knowledge and just loved hearing from him.

Also while we were in Cusco, we got to go to the numerous shops there and eat at Chili's, which was amazing since I miss real American food. Cusco has parts that just reminded me of the US and it kinda was sad, but I really enjoyed the mall there and eating some great food. Then we had to return to Sicuani and start working again. But Elder Martinez had to stay because he had to go to Lima to get his Peruvian ID card. So I was stuck with some other Elders in my zone, but it was a great opportunity to see how other missionaries teach. Elder Martinez was gone until Friday, so it was a lot of time with other investigators. But by Friday and the weekend, we taught our investigators and had some numbers going for us. Our investigators are doing great, and we are trying to progress towards baptism each time more and more, but some are not getting the real reason we need to be baptized. One girl is almost there, but we are still working with her each week. So our numbers weren't that great this week, because Elder Martinez and I weren't teaching our investigators until Friday. But somehow our numbers were almost to our goals and we nearly hit all of our key indicators.

That is about it for this week, hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving this week and it is gonna be weird not having one here, but I'll be ok. Well, until next week....chao!

Sumaq pizza in Sicuani

Some members who were so proud of their cows, haha

Elders from the CCM at the mission conference

Elder Allen at Chili's

Just hanging out with some members who live wayyyy up on this huge hill

American food!