Monday, May 26, 2014

Ecuador Adventure

Bunch of illegal aliens departing the plane
at the airport in Tumbes, Peru.
So, two weeks ago we were getting ready for a zone conference when my leaders come up and tell me that I'm going to Ecuador. I didn't believe them for about 10 mintues, but then I realized I was actually going to leave the country to get my visa resolved. I was excited, but also really nervous about flying. I almost always feel sick on planes.

Our bus load of illegal aliens heading for the (Peruvian) border
So, on Monday morning we met up to the Mission Office. I went with seven Elders, Hermanas Jones, Morgan, and Hewitt, and two other sisters from Mexico. We were all super excited! We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, so naturally all the Americans decided to buy donuts! (see picture below) There aren't many places here in Peru that sell donuts.

The plane ride went well, and I didn't feel sick becuase Hermana Hyer (who is in my district) was so kind as to give me her motion sickness medicine that she brought with her from the states. I felt great!

We landed in Tumbes, Peru in the early afternoon, and then we boarded a big car that the church had waiting for us, with a really nice man to drive us to the border.

Bienvenido a Ecuador!

The car ride was really short, only about 15 mintues, to get to the border of Peru and Ecuador and arrive at Ecuador immigrations. It was super super super humid! I felt like I was back in Missouri! It was also really green and beautiful! I had forgotten how nice it is to see green everywhere, becuase in Lima it's just dirt everywhere.

Ecuador is green and beautiful!
So, we get to the immigrations in Ecuador, and first, we have to get our visa stamped that we're leaving Peru. Now, I was a little worried because everyone had to pay a fine for being here illegally. Everyone had to pay about $100 or less, but my fine was more than $300!

Well, when I came here, the Church did something really weird to get me my visa. I had some rare-type of visa. I had to stand in front of the lady for about 20 minutes as she was calling people and trying to figure out what kind of visa I had. I was a little worried they wouldn't let me leave! But, she turned me over to someone else and he figured it out after about 10 more minutes and I got through! Whew!
Once our visas were stamped, we turned around
and went right back to Peru, but now we were legal!
We then all left and drove back to Peru immigrations (a car ride of about 5 minutes), and I got my stamp to leave Ecuador and enter Peru. I am now legal for 180 more days! So, pretty much until I finish my mission.

A condor and llama monument in
Jerusalem Walks (Paseo Jerusalem).

A statue in Tumbes, Peru.

A large bas relief in Tumbes, Peru.

La Plaza de Armas (Armas Square)

An amphitheater in Armas Square (Plaza del Armas).
We then spent a few hours in Tumbes, Peru. It's a really old city with some cool history. There were some pretty good photo ops. We ate lunch, bought a few souvenirs, ate ice cream, and then we headed back to the airport.
The Elders were dying of heat and had
to resort to drastic measures.
We got there at about 7:00 PM, but our flight wasn't until 9:30 PM. So, we waited a really long time. I felt fine, but the elders were dying of heat! It was a little uncomfortable....

The coolest thing was that it actually started to rain! REAL RAIN! I haven't seen real rain since NYC. It was so nice! The sisters and I ran outside to feel it for a few minutes, but then it started to rain really hard and we went back inside. Our flight was delayed for about 30 minutes as they got the plane ready in the rain.
We got back safe and sound to Lima around midnight. We got back to the Mission Offices, and I went to Palmeras, an area really close by, to sleep for the night (it was about 2 AM when I finally hit the pillow). In the morning, I met up with Hermana Jaramillo again, and things were back to normal. It was quite an adventure!
Silly Americans -- went straight for the donuts!
Hermanas Morgan, Jones, Hewitt, and me.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Visa Fun

Hola! This is Hermana Jaramillo :)
Hermana Olsen won't be able to write today because she has gone to Ecuador to renew her visa! She'll write and explain next week, but she said to send her love and hopes everyone at home has a great week!
Thank you!! :) Bye.

Monday, May 12, 2014

One Year Mark!

My family skyping with me on Mother's Day

Skyping on Mother's Day from the casa de la familia Ochoa
It was so great to talk to my family on Mother's Day. I didn't even realize the time went flying by so fast until it was time to go. I miss them all so much and wanted to talk until we had nothing left to say because I only get to talk with them twice during my mission (last Christmas and Mother's Day yesterday). It is so crazy to me to see how much my siblings are changing and growing up! A big thank you to the Ochoa family for allowing me and Hermana Jaramillo to use their computer and internet for the Skyping. They are awesome!

On the other hand, I am happy to be here in Peru! I am ready to go and take advantage of these last 6 months! There is so much that I need to do here. My Dad was telling me about my baby blessing. In the LDS Church, babies are given a Priesthood Blessing shortly after they are born, and my father gave me mine when we lived in Provo, Utah. He said that he felt impressed by the Spirit to bless me to serve a mission, and at that time, not a lot of girls were expected to serve missions (well, not as many as do now). A lot of people were surprised, but he felt pretty strongly about it. And now here I am 22 years later in Peru. I had no idea that was part of my baby blessing until my Dad told me yesterday, so to me that is pretty amazing. My parents and the Lord knew that I would be serving a mission before I did -- ha ha.

Thanks Grandma Langford for the awesome frog! 

Zone Conference with Hermana Morales' companion,
Me, Hermana Morales, and Hermana Jaramillo.
We have been working with a family here in Peru who came to Church this past week. The mom is less active and hadn't been to church in a few years, but we are teaching the whole family now and trying to help them accept the Gospel. We were pretty excited they came to church. They even got to hear me give a talk in Sacrament Meeting, which went pretty well.

So, this week we had a conference with Pres. Waddell that was really good. We learned a lot about working with members and what we should focus on as missionaries. At the conference I got to see Hermana Morales! It was super exciting! I also got to see Hermana Lind and Hermana Hyer and we took a picture together to commemorate our one-year mark. We're all super excited to work hard for our last 6 months!
Two of my MTC companions: Hermana Hyer and Hermana Lind. One year on our missions! Woo-hoo!

Monday, May 5, 2014

BBQ, New 'Do, and Mexican Chili Dogs in Peru

Welcome To the Ward" BBQ
We had a 'Welcome-to-the-Ward` BBQ for Andres, and Hermana Jaramillo once again showed us how they do it in Mexico. She loves to cook, and the activity turned out really well.

Me and Hermana Jaramillo manning the grill

My new haircut and make-up

Hermana Jaramillo studied in Beauty School before her mission, so she convinced me to let her cut my hair. Then she wanted to do my makeup also, and I told her that was fine. So, I got a new look -- ha ha. A few days later, a lady in the ward held a face-painting activity. Only a few people came, so we decided to get our faces painted.

Hermana Jaramillo taught me how to make Mexican chili dogs. They were super good! I will totally make them when I get back home! I also know how to make really yummy tortillas! I made myself some guacamole and tortillas and had a food fest! Also, if there is one food I am absolutely craving right now, it's a Cafe Rio pork burrito! Oh! Hermana Jaramillo makes really good Mexican food, but I am just dying for one of those burritos -- enchilada style, of course.

My first Mexican Chili Dog. Who would have thought
I would serve a mission in Peru and learn
how to cook Mexican food?

Here in Peru, it has finally cooled down! I am soooo grateful to not have to deal with the heat anymore! It's the perfect temperature right now! Hermana Jaramillo, however, is dying! She thinks it is so cold, but winter hasn't even begun yet. It'll be interesting to see how she survives the next 6 months.This week I hit my year mark in the mission! It is crazy how the time can fly!

I hope that my Grandmas have an awesome Mother's Day! Give them a big hug from me! I can't wait to talk to everyone on Mother's Day! I am so excited!

Having fun at the face painting activity.