Monday, November 24, 2014

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Some of my family who were able to greet me at the airport.

Still working on a blog for my last week in the mission. I will try to complete the post and add several pictures of our trip to the temple and other activities our last few weeks. However, my parents wanted to share some of the pics from the airport.
We all served in the Peru Lima West Mission together --
one last picture together after we arrived in Utah.

We left Peru at 1:30 AM (Lima time) on Tuesday, November 18th. After a 7-hour flight, we arrived in Atlanta for a 2-hour-plus layover. There were 22 missionaries that left Peru that day. However, in Atlanta, we said goodbye to some of the other missionaries as they caught connecting flights to other states. There were about 12 of us who continued on to Utah. We arrived at 1:07 PM on Tuesday, November 18th. 

My brother, Alex, couldn't be here as he is serving as a missionary
in Nicaragua, but my parents, younger brother, and sister were there, of course!
We stopped for lunch on our way home from the airport, and of course, I chose Cafe Rio. I had been craving a pork burrito with enchilada sauce for about the last 6 months. 

Some of my cousins who met me at the airport.

Later that evening, my parents accompanied me as I met with the Stake President at 6:30 PM, where I was released. After we got back into the car, I took my name tag off, and we all cried together a little bit. Good to be home, but I will also miss being a missionary and working with the wonderful people of Peru.

Mission accomplished!

Monday, November 10, 2014

El Castillo de Chancay, Animals, and Another Miracle

One of the members in Chancay we visited.
Wow, so this next week will be my last full week wearing the Plaque... I've got to enjoy it!

Holding a cui (similar to a guinea pig).
So, this week I finally got the package that my parents sent me on September 13th! It was filled with Halloween stickers, candy, some cards, and copies of my cousin's blogs. I just gave the stickers to some other, younger missionaries that are still going to be here next Halloween and they were pretty happy. The reason it came so late is because Serpost has been on strike for over a month, and so there were no letters or packages until this past week. So ya, glad I got one more package before I came home!

Holding a conejo (rabbit).
Last P-Day, we went up to Chancay, and Hermana Hyer visited a few members and then we went and visited the castle there. Super cool! There are some legit old things there, but also some touristy stuff that wasn't quite as cool. It was still lots of fun, though! We also got to see lots of animals this week (other than the usual stray dogs and cats). I held a cui and a conejo, and we also saw a monkey. Pretty cool, right? However, not all the animals were fun. A few days ago, we went to look for some more less active members to visit. We found their address in the Ward Directory and made it to their house. They actually live behind this big house in a little shack, but a huge ugly dog also lives there, and he seriously tried to eat me. I was so lucky I didn't get bit! The worst is that we had to go back the next day, and I was so scared to go to their house that I started shaking and even teared up. Luckily, the owners grabbed the dog so it couldn't attack me as I passed by to go in to their house, but it started growling really loud. We're also going to go back this week at least twice, so wish me luck!
A monkey!!

Balloon Animal Madness
I was also looking through my stuff and I found the stuff to make balloon animals that my parents sent me in the MTC, so we made a bunch of balloon animals and gave them to some of the children we were visiting. Also, one of the daughters had a traditional dance show she was getting ready for and I took a picture of her in her costume.

A traditional dance show costume
I feel like this past week God has been blessing us so much! He has given us so many lessons to teach and new investigators. I think He is giving us these opportunities to teach and see how far we've come. Out of all the things we do as missionaries, I have to say that teaching is my favorite. Sometimes the lessons don't go as planned or I feel so nervous about inviting someone to be baptized or repent, but the Spirit is just so strong during the lessons and He helps us know what to say. I love teaching people about the Gospel!

Last night we had a little miracle. We contacted a lady in the street named O., and she told us that she had heard the Gospel when she was younger, but had never been baptized. So, we did a Family Home Evening with her and 5 of her 6 children and her niece. Before we could teach them anymore than that, though, we told her that we had to ask permission from her husband to teach the family. She told us she was sure that he wouldn't want anything to do with us because his family is JW, but that we could come by when he was home to ask him. So, last night we got there and he didn't want to come out, but we just asked if we could present ourselves and ask his permission to teach his family, even if he didn't want to listen. So he came out and we told him how we really respect fathers as the head of the family and that we would like him to know what we're teaching his family. After that, his attitude changed and he sat down for the lesson, and even asked us to teach him about Joseph Smith. We are super excited for this family. So we arranged to teach them as a family when the father is home on Sundays, and we'll just stay in contact with the family during the week. I really hope the next missionaries in our area here can help them continue to progress and eventually be baptized!

This Sunday is the Primary program at church, and I get to play the
piano for them. Cuteness!
Hermana Hyer and me, trying to cross the Finish Line
with our heads held high!
So yeah, Hermana Hyer and I are trying not to be too trunky. We're getting out everyday and looking for people to teach. It's pretty great and we want to enjoy it the most that we can! But like I said, God has really been blessing us every day. This last week was the best week that we've had as a companionship. As long as we stay busy, we don't think too much about home. It's just the nights and mornings that are hard -- ha ha. Last night, I couldn't sleep for a really long time thinking about home and all of my family and how I just want to give them all a huge hug! Ok, enough cheesiness. This week we've been working hard, so we just need to keep it up for a few more days. We've found lots of new investigators and I know we can find a few more before we head out. We're going to leave the area better than we found it! Friday we get to go with President Archibald to the temple and lunch and shopping and stuff. So I just really need to make it until Friday -- ha ha.
Hasta la vista baby!

El Castillo de Chancay
The castle also houses a museum with pottery, mummies, and animals.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sand, Dia de los Muertos, and Cui

First off, my parents asked me and my brother, who is currently serving a mission in Nicaragua, to compare some of our experiences. I would say there are some similarities, but also some differences.

BugsIn my mission in Peru, the bugs generally haven't been too bad. Lots of fleas. However, now that I am here in Huaral, which is more rural, I am actually having some mosquito problems. I'm allergic to the bites or somethings because every time I get a bite my leg swells up. But I'm putting on lots of bug spray every day (I knew I brought it with me from for something!) and now I only get a bite or two every week.

Peruvian Spanish: I'm really lucky to be serving in Peru because the Spanish is really good. Sometimes they mumble, or they don't have any teeth, but normally I don't have any problem understanding them now.

Cat Calls on the Street: Ok, so every single day at least 10 men whistle or cat call or yell things to me and my companion as we're walking down the street. I am pretty much used to it by now and I can ignore it for the most part. I think the funniest experience I've had is when someone actually started singing to me about my eyes -- ha ha. I was so embarassed!

The view from the hills above the sand dunes.
Having a picnic in the sand dunes. I think we ate more sand than rice.
Walking Everywhere: Lots of walking, but now I'm used to it and it doesn't bother me too much. I think I'm also not bothered by it because I already liked to run before my mission. I think the area where I did the most walking was in Prolima because there they had lots of hills and stuff. I saw Alex's pics of the dirt streets and run down houses in Nicaragua, and it reminded me of the barrios in Prolima. In Prolima, I saw more places like that than in any other area of my mission. And actually, I feel like it was the best area to work in because the people are just so humble and giving. You'll have to read his blog to see what he thinks on his mission.

Hermana Hyer and one of the Elders.
Not a whole lot new for me this past week. Last Monday for P-day we went to some nearby sand dunes. On our way, we bought some chifa and took it with us to have a picnic halfway through the hike. I think we ended up eating more sand than rice, but it was still pretty good. The Elders kind of got lost (they had hiked there before), so we ended up walking up and down the hills and we didn't have time to go all the way to the dunes. So, we just stayed where we were and played some frisbee and long jumping. I had sand everywhere by the end of the day!

The piano classes are going pretty well. I left the students a homework page and they seem to be getting it. Unfortunately, I think I'll only be able to teach one more class before I leave to come home, so hopefully they can remember the things I've taught and be able to play a little bit.

Playing frisbee in the sand.
On Halloween, we couldn't really do any activities that night becuase lots of people in Peru think it is of the devil, so we did a Ward Mission Night at the church and played pictionary-charades. Lots of families came with their kids all dressed up and we had candy and refreshments with them. It was a lot of fun!

More sand.
The next day (Saturday) they celebrate the Day of the Dead in Peru, which we don't really observe in the States. Well, we set up a table outside of one of the cemeteries with folletos (pamphlets) and things, and a sign that said ¨Lo veré otra vez?¨ At first, no one came over, but over time curiosity brought many people over. The Elders in the ward were there with us and we were all able to do some contacting inside and outside of the cemetery.

Yesterday, our pensionista, Hermana Liñon surprised us by making cui (gerbil)! I told her that I would kind of like to try it before I leave because it's a typical Peruvian food. However, I told her she shouldn't tell me what it is until after I had already eaten it. So, yesterday she brought out my plate of food, and at first I thought it was chicken. As we started eating, I realized it definitely wasn't chicken, and I started to notice everyone was kind of acting weird. They just kept looking at me! So I figured it had to be either cui or rabbit. After I finished everyone was like, "Guess what you just ate?" I guessed it was cui, and we kind of laughed. I decided it was great, and I was doing fine with it until Hermana Liñon took the cui head out of her bowl and started making it talk to me...yuck! It was definitely something I'll never forget!

So that's about it for this week. Working hard and loving it!