Friday, December 30, 2011

Pictures of Seth

Thanks to the Sister Turk for these pictures.
Link to comments on Seth and their blog.

Seth and Elder Olivares

Where in the World is Seth game...he's in each one of these pictures, can you find him :).

Getting a little harder

Almost a New Year!

I'm doing well, as always and really enjoyed my Christmas. It was really fun to go around to all the houses and share a message about the birth and importance of Christ in our lives. Everyone was so happy and receptive and I could really feel the Spirit. Yeah, it's really hard being away from everyone for Christmas, but my calling now is to share the Love of God with all of the people here. I'm willing to go wherever the Lord asks me to go. And I know I'm growing closer to the Lord through this as well. He is supporting me through all of my difficulties and challenges. It's really something else to be a missionary, though.

Well, story wise, I had my first door angrily slammed in my face! That was pretty interresting. We went to a reference's house and were super excited to talk to her. The member seemed like she really wanted to change her life and hear us out. However, when we showed up at the house, we rang the door bell and waited. She didn't come, so we rang again, and after the third time, she came out (this is completely normal here, I've only had the door answered once or twice before the third knock). She had a smile till she saw us, then yelled at us, "You can ring my doorbell once or twice, but three times!? Can't you just leave the people in peace?!" Then she slammed the door with the full force of her body. We're still not sure quite what happened there, but she's the 1% of people who aren't so kind to us. Everyone else is pretty kind to us. So that was interresting. Not as depressing as it may sound, only interresting more than anything.

As for missionary work, it was really slow Christmas week, but it's all good. We did manage to find a new investigator, Renato. He's the brother of Paul, one of our progressing investigators. He let us in even though Paul wasn't home because he wanted to learn about God too. So we're pretty excited to teach both of them. If he accepts a baptismal invitation, Paul will feel comfortable enough to accept one as well. So we're really hoping that goes well.

Oh, and we did a really big program for Christmas, that I don't believe I've told anyone. You can check Hermana Turk's blog to see more of the program. But it was 100 missionaries singing Christmas songs in the center plaza of Trujillo. We had thousands of people sitting and watching us, and we had missionaries walking through the crowd talking with people the whole time. We had a Narrator who read scriptures and introduced each song and such as well. That and children who were acting out the Nativity. So it was really big and tons of people were introduced to the church, so that was exciting.

Other than that, all is going well! Hope everyone is doing good at home.
Oh, I also have a request to know some games that I could teach to families for Family Home Evening too. Games that really don't require much (nothing that requires a lot of pieces or a board or something like that). But games kinda like Ninja or something of that sort.

Until next week,
Elder Seth

Monday, December 19, 2011

Almost Christmas!!

So it's really coming close to Christmas! I hope everyone is in the Spirit of Christmas and really enjoying the season. It doesn't hardly feel like Christmas for me, really, but that's alright. I guess I did kinda get a Christmas present a little early this week. And that's a wonderful week of work. The week went great and we had a lot of success sharing the Gospel. We have a baptizm this Wednesday and another on the 30th (if all goes well).

Okay, before I get to the little boring ramble about my life, I'll try and share a new funny story with everyone:

Okay, first off is just how crazy cheap things are here. An investigator sent their child out to get some bread and handed him 2 soles (not even a dollar). I laughed and thought he'd come back with 4 rolls at most (because I already had the mind that everything is cheap here), but when he returned, he had a big bag of rolls. There were about 20. I'm pretty much just amazed at how much you can buy here with so little money.
And since that one really wasn't that funny, I've got another one. I was walking down the sidewalk and saw a strange pile of cement in the middle of the sidewalk. I mean, all of the sidewalks are horrible and junky (they're filled with holes and cracks and are usually worse than the dirt roads) but this sidewalk was one of the very few new ones I've seen here in Peru. So I wondered why in the world they would put a pile of cement about 6 inches high. When I got close, I realized that they just mostly covered up a firehydrant. Yeah, they just built a sidewalk over it. They really just don't care sometimes.... It was just the first time I've seen a firehydrant coming out of a sidewalk...

This week was a really good upward turn from our previous weeks. And I feel like that's coming from our increasing desire to work and to serve the people. I'm slowly learning to really enjoy this lifestyle. Really, I've enjoyed every day, but the moments of distraction or depression are going away. I'm learning to focus in the investigators and what I'm able to do for them. Because I know that I'm not down here for me, I just need to focus a lot better. And that's coming in time and mental training. And it comes easier and easier as I learn to love the poeple (and learn how to talk to them).

I really feel like my companion and I are learning how to work together quite well. After an exchange with the Zone Leaders, I really realized that there are very different styles to teach. And I also realized how smoothly I'm able to transition while teaching with Elder Olivares. I can really pull out where he's going and when he wants me to jump in. But with the Zone Leader, I couldn't quite pick it out perfectly. And I wasn't always sure what he wanted me to add. So it was a good moment to be re-humbled, but also to learn to appreciate and see that I've learned to work with my companion. It helped me realize that I truly am learning and progressing every week that I'm here.

I've also seen the tender mercies of the Lord in the simple things here. The Lord putting putting people in the right place so we can reach our goals and really find success in the work of the Lord. I'm truly thankful more and more each day for his hand in my life.

Hope all is well!

Elder Seth

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Month in the Field

     Well, it's almost been a month in the field. So that's about 3 months in the mission. It's really something else to think that I can actually talk with people in Spanish after only 3 months. I feel like it's a huge blessing for me. Because I seriously couldn't have done that without the help of the Lord. Even on my way over here, I talked with the taxi driver and told him who I was and gave him a bit of what we teach and such. Then I got his address and phone number so I could refer him to the missionaries in his area. It's nice to be able to do things and actually feel like a missionary. Because at first, when I couldn't understand much of anything, let alone respond, I really felt like my companion's shadow. But now I can do a lot more, which is really nice. I still have to practice a ton, of course. More moments then not, I can`t really say what I want to say, but I'll get there in time.

     So I got 32 letters this week!! It was pretty crazy. That's almost unheard of in the world of missionaries. Well, alright, so 31 were DearElders, which is totally fine. The thing is that they were all from Chris Logsdon, which is also totally cool too. The problem is that 30 of them were random numbers and letters that Chris added just to fill up space and see if I would get them. And sure enough, the Church sent them all to me. So that was pretty fun. I was handed a huge stack of DearElders and the Zone Leader just said, "I'm pretty sure they all just say the same thing."

     Okay, so another funny story. Most missionaries have those moments when they say something that they really shouldn't have said so loud. So I now have one of those moments. The story goes something like this:
     I was walking down the street and Elder Olivares and I happened upon 2 missionaries who were Jehova's Witnesses. So we kinda made a few jokes under our breath about apostasy and all was just swell. Except Elder Olivares made a comment that both of the missionaries were Peruvian. I responded, "Yeah, they don't have Gringo missionaries! Apostasy! " (Yeah, hilarious, right? Oh, the fun of missionary jokes... But being a Gringo is always a big deal and they all make jokes about us, so it actually makes sense and is funny, I promise) Elder Olivares laughed and we realized that the Lady who was walking a ways in front of me heard what I'd said. And we just kinda said sorry and walked away a little faster. 
      So yeah, that's my story of the week.

     As for missionary work, Laura (our only baptism so far) finally got confirmed (3 weeks later). She actually made it to church on time and we got it all set up. So that was pretty exciting. But we also needed Rodrigo to come to Church so he could be baptised (they need to go to church 2 times before they can be baptised), but he didn't show up. He was there ready to go, and the members knocked on his door, but Rodrigo's Dad wouldn't let him go. I guess he got angry and really doesn't want him to get baptized. But Rodrigo's mom does want Rodrigo to be baptized, so he's going to be once his dad leaves again (his dad doesn't usually live with him, he's only here for a few weeks). But life will go forward for us.

Other than that, all is swell. Hope everyone is in the Christmas Spirit these days!
Until next week,
Elder Seth

Monday, December 5, 2011

3 Week in the Field

Hey Everyone!
To start off, thanks for the package! I finally got something to recognize that there was a Thanksgiving this year! And I really appreciate the sweets. They're super good! But I also thought of something I really miss, and that's Jolly Ranchers. So I have to make a request for those too at some point, if that's alright.
So I want to start off with a couple stories:
So Elder Olivares and I are teaching this family now. One that likes to laugh. Sometimes at us. The first time we went to teach them, they really found what we had to say funny. Not our message, but our accents. My companion is from Chile, so he talks like a bullet and doesn't pronounce the letter "s". I'm from the US and talk like a turtle with pretty poor Spanish. So sometimes the kids can't contain themselves and kinda laugh at our accents and how bipolar it is when we switch off sometimes. But we're both kinda lax and jokers at times too, so we make for a pretty interesting companionship at times. At least it's entertaining.
We've also come to use the phrase "He/She/It is SO Catholic!" We've found that the people who are really Catholic kind of have a similar attitude about life. They're all very set on tradition and not open to change. For example, we have a investigator who we've been teaching tell us that the Book of Mormon in true (he knows through prayer) and that the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of Christ and God. But he won't be baptized because he feels that his tradition is more important that changing his religion to be closer to God.
This was pretty much amazing to me. I couldn't understand how someone could do that, but I guess that's just the way it is with people sometimes. So we've developed a phrase for people/things that are really stubborn or stuck in a tradition. All in good humor, of course.
Well, I think the struggles are starting to set in. The life of a missionary is quite the challenge. The Lord thankfully blesses me with many tender mercies, though. Every time I get down, the Lord reminds me why I'm here and why I work so hard to share His Gospel with the people around me.

It's really suprising how much better my Spanish has gotten in only three weeks. It's quite a difference. I still can't understand some things, but during lessons, I can understand almost all of it. So long as it's about religion, anyway. Normal conversation is over my head sometimes. But I'm excited to be learning so quickly. It's very clearly through the blessing of the Lord, though. I have no idea how I understand and remember what I do, if not by divine assistance.

I've also been learning how to teach and the lessons much better. It helps so much to apply them to real people in real situations. Three weeks in the field teaches somethings that the CCM just can't teach. I think the thing I've learned most, though, is to rely on the Lord. I had a lot of other things I could fall back on before, but now, I have to lean on Christ for a support in all that I do. I can already see this as being a blessing in my life that I can't obtain any other way.

Elder Seth

----------Note from Dad's email
So funny story, the Taxi drivers try to charge me more because I have blond hair. They say I have money because I'm from the US. It gets really annoying, though. A lot of people try to jack the prices up. It makes things difficult sometimes, but I know better, so that's good at least.

Monday, November 28, 2011

One more week down!

The Lord really does bless me in this work. I know I couldn't do it without Him. I know Spanish was incredibly hard for me to learn and remember before my mission, but as soon as I got called, I could somehow remember and understand it. I've really been given the gift of tongues. But my Spanish has really picked up since being here the first day. Only because I can understand when other people talk (not just my companion). I still have a ton to learn to understand it all, of course, but the Lord is really helping me progress and learn.

He also helps me through each day. It's quite the adjustment coming down here to Peru and living a misisonary life, but the Lord has helped me adjust and move in smoothly. We were even blessed to have a baptism this past week. And it's wonderful to see people fell the Spirit and grow a desire to change their lives and follow Christ. I feel like this is going to be one of the most rewarding works of my life, and I'm excited to work hard and fufill my calling.

My companion is quite the good trainer. He's been pushing me to go forward and be the first one to talk and to do things I didn't think I could do. He's had me do contancts totally on my own, and had me start a lot of them. And that's probably one of the hardest things for me. But he's helped me get over the fear and just talk. He doesn't feel that my lack of Spanish is ever a problem, well he doesn't express it if he does feel that way. He's supportive and always allows me to teach and share what I can. I'm definitely appreciative for that.

The baptism we had was quite the adventure, though! It was for Laura (make sure you say Laura like it's a Latino name, though). Her husband was inactive for years and she decided to listen to the missionaries. Through this, her husband is active again and he was able to baptize her (just barely). He had to have an interview with the Bishop and it fell through until one hour before the batism. So that was fun. And he forgot his baptizmal clothes that we'd spent all the day before running around Huanchaco to find for him. Thankfully my companion brought a backup pair (as is necessary each time). And the next night after the baptism, we got a call saying that they didn't have the records for her husband's priesthood past Teacher. So that was great too. But we were able to get it by Sunday so she could be confirmed. Then, they didn't show up till 45 minutes into Sacrament Meeting, and her husband wasn't there. So! She'll be confirmed next week. But that was the adventure of the week!

That and the woman walking her Monkey. Which was way exciting too.

Hope all is well up there in the States!
Elder Seth

---------------------- Letter To Dad -------------------
But Huanchaco does have tourists from time to time. Lots of hippies come here to surf. It was SO funny to see the hardcore steriotype hippie playing soccer with a bunch of latino kids/teens/university students. But those kayaks are called something funny, I'll write it down for next week, but they're really weird. But pretty much ocean kayaks. And it's fun to watch people use them. And there are surfurs out there every warm day. I've always wanted to learn, so it's fun to watch as we walk by the beach (the street there is called the road of temptation because it's along the beach XD). And the part that's actually Huanchaco is crazy rich compared to Los Lomes where we live. You go in 15 mins from the beach and it's dirt roads and shacks. It's pretty crazy.
(Picture of the "kayaks" I asked about. They are called "Caballitos de totora" and are made of reeds. They have been used for 3000 years --Dad)

Sounds like Brenna's having fun with decorating and whatnot. It's good that she's doing more than videogames. I really wish I'd not wasted all of my life on those up to now. It's really cool to have talents and spend time in things more productive. I'm glad that you had a good Thanksgiving, though! My Thanksgiving dinner consited of rice and chicken!! What a surprise! =P

My companion gets called a Gringo alot because he's with me and is as white as me. Though he has Latino features. It's really funny, though. He absolute HATES it when kids call him a Gringo. It happens all the time too. But he's got lots of Chilean pride. He's a great guy, though. Just talks funny and I'm learning from him, which is kinda funny. BUT, he described the differences between Chile and Peru and the difference of the US and England, respectively. Peru speaks very clear and fine and people are very manered. But in Chile everyone is more relaxed and speaks a bit slopier. So we kinda make a fun companionship as two foreign missionaries who like to laugh.

But I know that when I get back, I'll definitely be doing more donating of what I can. That'll be something I learn to do throughout my life from this. I'll just remember the shacks and dirt floored houses and appreciate my carpet (which doesn't exist down here).

Funny story, though, I hear more US music here than Peruvian/Latino music. It's English in the homes, busses, soccer games. Kinda funny. And all of the TV shows are the same, too. XD

----- To Mom ---
As for the culture, it's a shock, that's for sure. It's somthing else not having clean water and needing to hike massive tanks of water up hill for 15 minutes just so you can have a drink for the next week. We have a penchanista, though. She cooks all the food. For every meal. It's really quite the sacrifice of time on her part, and we certainly love her for it. She cooks some amazing food, and it tastes great. Most of the time... Sometimes I have to slam it down as fast as I can. I have to say, though, my digestive system doesn't really agree with the food. So hopefully that adjusts fast...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Free letters to Seth

If you would like to send Seth a letter, you can for free using Select the Peru, Trujillo mission and enter his name. The company will print out the letter and will mail it via pouch to the mission office. The office will then distribute it to Seth.

If you would like to send a real letter or package to Seth, email me or add a comment to this post (which will email me) and I'll get you the address and instructions. 

First Week in the Field

Hey, everyone!

So I just had my very first week in the field. And I'm super pumped to get out there and work. =)

Though, I have to say, it's quite the different atomsphere here. I mean, obviously. It's a different country, but it's pretty crazy at times. I live in a humble little home about the size of my old living room in Colorado. Only separated into 3 parts. It's a front room, hallway with a bathroom, and a bedroom. It's pretty tiny, but the fact that I have the nice open sky above me in the hall way makes it feel a lot less cramped. I mean, it'd be nice to have a roof at times, but it's not a big deal. Most of my house has a roof, right? It's kinda exciting. Though the little bathroom we have is probably the most disgusting bathroom I've seen in all of my life. I've already gotten used to just being dirty all of the time. The water isn't even clean, so why worry about it? Definitely a change of mind for me. But I'm gonna love having clean water when I get back.

In the area we live, all the roads are dirt. So that gives it a particular feel. And all of the houses are connected or behind walls. So it's pretty interresting. And wild dogs bark at me from the roof. That was new. Stray dogs are always running around, but it's only really a problem when they're on our roof. They're super noisy. But all these things are a small price to pay to serve the Lord. Expecially to these people. They're all very humble and kind. They show a lot of love. And many of them are open to learn about God, and ready for the Gospel. It's really good to see how they are willing to not only listen, but to change for the Gospel.

We've commited 5 people to baptizm already (in 5 1/2 days) and 4 of them accepted a date and the last just accepted the commitment. We'll go for a date the after the next lesson. But it's really nice to serve a people who, if they like you remotely, will ask to have you back again. So it helps the Gospel move forward quite quickly. I mean, they have many problems of their own, but so long as they listen and accept you, they can work through them with our help and the Lord's.

Well, I'm excited to see how the investigators we have can change the lives of those we're already teaching. I'll have to let you guys know how it goes with them in this next week.

BUT, my companion is Elder Olivares from Chile. He's a good trainer and really wants to work hard. Sometimes he doesn't because he's so tired, but at least he has the will most of the time. I'll just have to encourage him for the times he's not. He talks super fast and doesn't say his "s"'s though. Which is confusing at times. But I'm getting used to it.

My area is a suburb outside of Trujillo called Huanchaco. It's right on the beach and supposedly one of the best surfing spots in all of South America. I guess it's home to the world's longest wave. Which is random.

But that's my work so far!
Hope everyone is doing well,
Elder Seth

Dad's Note: In my email to Seth I mentioned Thanksgiving and how he should take some time on Thursday to think of what he's thankful for. I mentioned how I learned to love the US while serving in Puerto Rico on my mission. This is Seth's response:

And as for loving the country. Yeah, I get SO excited every time I see a flag now. It's not even funny. And we have SO stinking much. We're rich, just so you know. Seriously. It's crazy. I'm having more and more of a humbling moment every day. I don't know the language and I have ridiculous amounts more than these people. So both of those things are kinda teaching me something. But I like our country a lot. Seriously. It's wonderful here, but yeah... I'm gonna be happy to be back in the US too. I just don`t know if I'll want to give up being a missionary. We'll see. XD

Sounds like things are already changing a bit. Though I figure it'll be mostly the same when I get back. But I'm not sure. It's gonna be different to have missed two years of everyone's lives. Though it`s for a wonderful work. So I guess I can't complain. It sure is different, though. Especially being in the hot humid air. Next to the sea. It's weird. But way nifty.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm in Trujillo. =)

Dear family,
I am here in Trujillo.  We got here at about 5:00pm yesterday, all is well. Last night the missionaries, and President and Sister Turk picked us up from the Airport. Then we had dinner, went out teaching with some missionaries here in Trujillo and rested in the hotel, today we have a bunch of trainings and I will meet my trainer later this afternoon.   I am tired, but fantastic!!!
I will email you more next Monday.
Elder Seth

PS: Sorry I don't get to email this week for real, but I'll update you next week! Thanks and be safe! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Last P-Day at the MTC!

Well, by this time next week, I should be in Trujillo ready to work! I serously don't feel ready to leave when it comes to my Spanish, but with everything else... Yeah, I'm definitely ready to leave. It's great here and all, but I really want to bring people to Christ. That's the whole reason I'm here. So I'll be happy to get out there and start doing that, because the fake investigators can only do so much for you.
But I am getting wonderful practice with teaching in, and I'm getting used to listening and understanding Spanish as spoken by natives. Well, from my companion at least. I can understand him when he talks at a normal pace, but I can't understand anyone else at all. I've just gotten used to his voice and style of speaking. He talks really clear too, though, like everyone from Peru. There are some countries where I can't understand a word that the missionaries are saying. But I'll be in shock at how little I understand once I get into the field. That'll be fun...
I wish I could send pictures to you, though. I've got some crazy pictures of what it's like down here, but I guess that'll have to wait. I've been told that I can't send Memory Cards back because that's what gets stolen more than anything else. So that's super depressing. But I'll have plenty of wonderful pictures once I get back or once I get a cable to hook up to a computer if I can.
Not too much out of the ordinary happened this week, since I didn't get to go proselyting. I really wish I had the chance, but no dice. I'll get to go this Saturday, then head out to the field either Tuesday or Wednesday, so I'm pumped!
Though I did kill my toe while playing soccer. The ball was right in front of the goal, and someone was running up to nail it in, but I really didn't want it to, so I kicked it back. We hit the ball at the same time, it went nowhere, and my toe too the blow. I kept playing, and realized it was swelling a little, but I didn't worry about it. It wasn't till that night that I looked at it and it was nasty purple and blue and just looked like a sausage. I just sprained it, so it's not too bad, and I can walk on it. I'll just not play soccer for the last few days while I'm here. I'm not willing to risk it. It just figures I'd hurt myself on one of the few days I play it.
Hope all is going well!
Elder Seth

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Seth's Mission in Trujillo Peru

Seth in the background. Pictures are from his Mission President's blog.

Peru MTC

Seth at the Peru MTC.

Just a few more weeks in the MTC!

Well, time is counting down for the MTC. I guess I'll be here for two more Saturdays then I'll be peacing out to the mission field. I'm starting to get really excited to leave. I know I can't speak Spanish well, but I'll learn better in the field than I will here, and I'll get to make a difference. I pretty much just want to actually do something. Though I get good practice with Spanish now that I have a Latino Companion. I'm getting used to speech at normal speed and understanding more common words (not just religion words). I think that's the only redeeming factor of what I'm doing here. That's what it feels like, anyway...
So everything is going very much the same. Though I got to meet my mission president which was super exciting. He was really nice and already knew the names of all of us who're going into his mission within the next 6 weeks. So he was talking with us during our lunch time and such. He told us a little about the mission, like that having hot water is mandatory in their mission, which is really good, because it's not in Chiclayo. So that was a bit of a relief. I guess they have a blog for the mission, though. They said if you look up "Turks in Trujillo" [] then you'll find it. He said that a lot of the parents enjoy reading it and whatnot, and we'll be up there because she's uploading pictures that we took while they were here.
So funny story really quick, the bees and wasps here are super big here. And on the way here, one of the elders was like "Whoa! That's a tiny Hummingbird! Oh dang! That's a wasp!" It was just really funny. But there's this one wasp that's probably twice the size of the biggest wasp I've seen back home. It kinda scares me, not gonna lie. Other than that, though, I haven't seen any large bugs other than butterflies and moths. And I'm not particularly worried about butterflies.
And I'm gaining weight for the first time. Just a funny story. Though I'm told once I get to Trujillo, I'll be losing it again. I only got 10 lbs, but I've been the same weight for 3 years now, so it was just kinda funny.
That's all the fun I have for today, which wasn't super exciting, unfortunately. But I'll go prosyliting again on Sat. so I'll have some stories next time.
Thanks for all the support!
Elder Seth
I had asked Seth what the weather was like there. If it was still warm at 70 degrees with high humidity. Here is his answer.
"But it actually only feels warm from about 1:00-4:00 because a blanket of cloud covers the sky every day, except in the afternoon when it clears, then the sun just goes down. So when that's the case, no it's pretty mellow and sometimes a bit cold in the morning, but on the few days that clouds aren't across the sky, it's super hot. And the humidity just makes it feel worse when you sweat. It makes gym pretty brutal since it's all outside sports."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

To Be a Missionary

Hey everyone!
I have little time, so I'll start with the part I'm most excited about. We got to go prosylite for 5 hours on Saturday in the streets of Lima! So we did real missionary work! It was pretty much the most fantastic thing ever. I really love how wonderful the people are down here. We got into three houses and taught a total of six people. And gave short lessons to many more. So here are the stories of my first ever missionary experience!
So we got sent out (two North American missionaries who don't speak spanish with a teacher here).
We started knocking on doors and I was really confused, because I wasn't sure what was a house and what wasn't. The houses are just lined up, no space between, all the way down the street, so it's like a super dirty and broken up alley way. So at first, it seemed kinda sketchy, since no one was out. But there were houses that didn't have roofs and there were houses that had totally broken windows and doors, and it was the worst living conditions I'd ever seen. By a long shot. Across the river at the end of our road were houses that were half there and covered in trash. They looked abandoned, but no, people lived there and had their laundry strung up. It was super crazy. But despite having little, the people were all very loving and polite.
The first person we taught was an older woman who had an amazing amount of faith!! She has been a strong beliver in God and has had two amazing miracles in her life. the first was when her son fell out of a two story window as a baby, but survived with absolutely no damage to himself. She ran down the stairs and he was completely fine. The second was when her father was hit in the head (I wasn't able to understand how that happened, but it sounded really bad) and he had died from the hit, but immediately after, she prayed to God that he would bring her father back, and he did. So it's amazing to hear the amount of faith she had and the miracles that come through it. She was amazing receptive to the Spirit and by the end of the lesson, told us that she knew that our words about the restoration are true, and that the book of mormon was the word of God. I was stunned. She said that after 15 minutes. So we've sent the missionaries back to her to teach her the things she needs to know, but she knew just after we taught her how to pray and had her pray. It was so amazing to see the Spirit work through her. Oh, and after this lesson, the teacher told me that my Spanish was amazingly better than when I was at the MTC. =)
The second house we went to had some very strong Catholics who were being pretty difficult. They weren't being very receptive, so for the sake of time, I'll skip them.
The second lesson was to a man who started with a question that the Priests who taught him previously didn't answer well enough for him. "Why do bad things happen to good people?" My companion taught this lesson amazingly. He pulled out scriptures of how we are tested and grow and learn, and how God trusts us and knows we can make it through it. And then the second thing was how a priest told him that he would remember his sins perfectly, as would God, when he died, and he was terrified of that. My companion and I could tell he was weiged down by something from the start, and now we knew he was. So we taught him about repentance and the atonement of Christ and how we can be forgiven of our sins. We taught about hope and happiness and that our Heavely Father loves us. He took the lesson amazingly well and asked us to come back. So I was so happy about that.
Anyway, I just ran out of time.
Hope everyone is doing great!
Elder Seth

Friday, October 21, 2011

21-10-11 =)

So I've been here in Peru for about a week now! Our P-Day got moved back to Friday, so sorry if you were expecting this on Wednesday. We had some administration guy or something come down and they didn't want us to have a P-Day while he was here for some reason. I guess he was teaching people or something, I don't really know. All I know is that it feels like it's been forever since I've had a P-Day. Though I have to say that I really love it here.
The food is an adventure every day. You have to remember that, if it looks familiar, it's probably not. Unless it's hot chocolate. But basically it's all very deffierent. Everything has been pretty good, well... most of it, but we had "hot dogs" of a sort a couple days back that pretty much killed me. I woke up at 3:00 AM to get it out of my stomach. It was pretty depressing. We all felt like it was familiar, but that was just a joke. I haven't had a problem with anything else, though.
So it was two days ago that I first felt the effects of not having any candy or snacks or anything. I honestly miss having those to help keep me awake during class and study time. And also to tie me over for those days I just get hungry. It's mildly depressing at times, really, but oh well. I only have to bear through it for a few more weeks, then I'll be sent out into the real world... Which is a really scary thought. If there's one thing I've realized, it's that I don't know Spanish... But I'll be given a Latino Companion in a few days and switch districts and I'll have to speak Spanish a lot more. So hopefully a few weeks of that will give me the practice necessary to at least understand a little bit more. I just figure I'll be pretty far behind no matter how far I get in these few week (just like every other foreign speaking missionary).
But, we actually leave tomorrow and do 5 hours of tracting and going and teaching previously contacted investigators and such. I guess they drop us off with a teacher or member who's fluent and we go and teach! So it'll be a major adventure. my first time ever prosyliting¿. I'm pretty much pumped about that. I also get to go to the Temple in a bit, so I get to hear everything in Spanish, which should be really interesting. I'm not gonna have much of a clue about what's going on, but it'll be fun.
So I really don't think I'm gonna have much time to respond to everyone, so I'm really sorry. We still only have 30 mins down here, so I just hope that I'll get more in the field. Everyone who actually cares might just have to hang on until then. =P
Hope all is well!
Elder Seth

A follow up note to me:

Hey Dad!
My first note is gonna be how incredibly weird it is to have this weather. I like it a lot, it's awesome (especially since it's not too hot) but one thing that really throws me are the days where you never see the sun. There are days that have fog, or clouds, or something of that sort, but you can't see the mountains or the sun. I don't mean you can't see it directly, I mean that you can't even tell where it is when you study the clouds! It makes the day less exciting, because I love the sun, but it's still kinda cool. There are also some really amazing sunsets here! It's super cool! The colors are pretty fantastic.
Oh, and I wish that I could record the bird noises from around here! There are TONS of birds and the constant noises that come from them are super exciting. It's like having tons of instruments around you just fiddeling with their instruments. It's fun to just listen every once in a while.
Oh, and I guess the majority of the Latino missionaries here are converts of about 2 years! Tons of them feel like we're the mature seasoned members and often look to us to see how it's done. Which is a bad idea, because we're 19 year old US kids. We're mildly... really loud and not perfect at all. Anyway, I just thought that was really crazy. i've never had pressure to represent my country, either, so that's pretty interesting too. =)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm in Peru!

Dad's commentary: Seth called Tuesday night to let us know he would be leaving at 5am on Wednesday. It was good to hear from him, even if it was only for about 5 or 10 minutes. We heard a, "please deposit 25 cents to continue talking". We asked if he had any more quarters, and he didn't :). Oh well, it was nice talking to him even if it was just a short time.

Hey, everyone!

So pretty much this is the most difficult keyboard to use ever. Not really, but I can't hit shift and I have no idea where the punctuation marks are. Other than that, though, it's fine. All the letters are in the same spot.

Well, I got my flight plans on Tuesday at about 2:30 and they told me that I'm leaving at 5:00 AM the next day! So I had less than a 24 hours' notice before I headed out of the country for the very first time... It was super hectic getting everything together, but I mannaged, thankfully. We left on the bus at 5:00 and drove to the SLC Airport. We made tons of jokes about how the outside world actually wasn't a painting and how we were amazed that there was life outside of the MTC. We flew from Salt Lake to Georgia, then from Georgia all the way down to Lima. The flights took all day. It was midnight when we got to Lima and 1:00 AM when we got to the Lima MTC.

     It was pretty crazy getting through the airport and customs and everything, but it all worked out eventually. We got to explain how our first names weren't Elder to a Peruvian who was in line. It was kinda fun to see them bear through our Spanish, but they figured it out. As soon as we got through customs we walked into a MASSIVE group of people holding signs with peoples' names and other things. It was pretty much a super loud moment of my life, but the woman who came to get the missionaries jummped out of the massive funnel of people and was just calling "Elders!" so we all figured out where to go.

     We all loaded onto a bus, and drove through the city. Basically it freaked me out as soon as 10 minutes passed, because we drove through the worst ghetto I've seen in my life, by a long shot. I could hardly see a wall because of the vast amount of graffiti. And there were groups of people wallking who looked pretty sketchey. One of the guides said that this was the most dangerous part of Peru and that we should be super glad that we aren't serving there. He told us that gangs walked around shirtless and had machetties strapped to their chests. But then he said that no one dares to hurt missionaries, so that was really good to hear. They all realize that missionaries are good people there to help them. So people are still called to serve there because no one has ever been hurt. Robbed, occasionally, but never hurt. I was just super glad that we drove around the outskirts and not into it. We were raised up and had a wall between us and the bad part of town. I appreciated that.

     So I asked about Trujillo, and he told me that it was one of the most peacefull places in Peru, so I really don't need to worry about much. He said it's super pretty up there and that he likes it a lot. So that's really cool to hear about.

     Anyway, we kept on driving and it got better. Less grafitti, but still super run down. Then we saw the spotless Temple, which was AMAZING compared to the surroundings. It stood out SO beautifully next to the rest of the dirty city. Then next to the Temple was a really pretty swan park for no apparent reason. But it was cool. Then it was the Lima MTC. So that was all really exciting.

     So I got off the bus, and they gave me a piece of damp paper that told me where my damp bed is with damp sheets. I had to walk up stairs ... that were damp. Yay humidity! So pretty much I'll have to get used to that, because I've never really lived anywhere humid. But I'm surrounded by odd palm trees, which is pretty nifty, and there are constant strange noises from animals I've never heard before.
Couple last notes, Gym=Soccer and we can't shake hands or give hugs for health reasons, and I'm gonna love it here! My compainion is Elder Nelson, also American. He came with us. I don't know him yet, but he seems pretty cool. The Lima MTC is WAY nicer then the Provo MTC as well. Especially Food-wise. I have no idea what I've eaten the past two meals, but they were super good.

     I hope all is going really well for everyone back home! I'm super excited to be here and I'm doing well!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Month Out!

Well, it's going to be 4 weeks out in my mission as of tomorrow! I've been out here a month now... It's really crazy to think that I'm 1/24th done! Well, not really when I put it that way, but it's pretty crazy to think about how time just flies by. I'm almost half way done with my time at the MTC. And a week overdue with my time in the Provo MTC. I'm told that the end of this week is a pretty good bet for when I get my Visa. We'll see, though. There are a lot of Visas sitting in the Peruvian consulate that are all passed, and just need to get up to Denver, then from Denver to here. They travel office said that they ship them overnight from Denver, so it's really all just up to the Peruvian Consulate. And they seem to like to take their time.
     My life here at the MTC pretty much keeps going the same way. Except we get to move rooms because they're gutting our building and sending us to another one. So we get to have 6 missionaries to a room! Yay! So we get to dismantle our beds and put them in the center of the room basically. And then live out of our suitcases. I'm not entirely excited about that one, not gonna lie. But it'll be fine. Especially if Elder Hill and I leave soon.
     There was one really cool event that happened this week. We do a thing called TRC, which is when we teach volunteers (all members) from around Provo. They all come and we teach them in Spanish. A lot of the volunteers are returned missionaries from Spanish speaking countries and natives, so they're all fluent. TRC is pretty much my favorite thing we do here, though, because we get to teach real people. Anyway, we were teaching a native Chilean woman and her daughter about how to recieve revelation from prayer. This lesson was the first time we felt that we were really able to teach and have a spirit in the room. Of course, a lot of it was from the experiences she shared herself, but it also came from our own experiences and preparation for the lesson. But by the end of the lesson, she had tears in her eyes and told us that she can feel the spirit really strongly from us. I guess that made me really happy and reminded Elder Hill and I why we're here.
     I hope everyone is doing great! I'm really happy to be out here serving the Lord. Thanks for all of your support and emails. =)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mission Email 10/4

     Once again, I get to race to type these emails. I've really be enjoying myself here at the MTC. It's tons of fun and really helpful, but I'll take going down to the Lima MTC any day now. Nothing has come through about my Visa. In fact, I heard that since Peru has changed presidents, Visas have been coming weeks late for almost everyone. I guess the president is kinda anit-US. I sent mine in earlier than most people, though, so I might actually get mine soon. But I really don't know. My roommates got their Visas to Mexico and left pretty much exactly 24 hours later. So once you get your Visa, they really just ship you off. So I'll let you guys know when I get it! I should be able to call home before I leave as well. But I'm not entirely sure.
     I've spent most of mine time these days preparing to teach our investigators. Though they're only actors, the situations were from real people and real experiences. Both are personalities that could very possibly show up on my misison. One is taking the lessons just because his wife wants to be baptized (and he's kinda just angry at God for his trials) and the other is a 25-year-old who is lazy about keeping his commitments. So both have their own problems and really teach us to teach people, not lessons (one of the fundamentals of teaching). Very much of what I've been doing is exactly the same. We've setteled down into a regular weekly routine and just kinda repeat life each week. It's not always super exciting, but it's very helpful.  The only real break I get from all the missionary work is gym time. I've been pretty obsessed with 4-Square, actually. It's definitely the last time I'll ever get to play it seriously and it's so ridiculous. I've gotten really into and even find myself diving to save the ball and get a good return. I'm actually getting some solid skills, but I feel a bit silly getting so into it. It's totally fun, though.
     It's pretty crazy that we got an organ. Seems like such a weird thing. In fact, I was wondering how people got into that. I kinda figured no one had an organ just sitting in their house. Guess that proved me wrong. Anyway, I'm working diligently and making it through each day. General Conference was kinda like Cristmas Vacation for missionaries here! No classes both days and we got to have a super spiritual experience. I've never got so much out of conference. It was really amazing.
     I hope all is going well at home! Thanks for all of the emails! Hopefully I'll be able to say more once I get into the field and have more than 30 minutes to email...
Elder Seth

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mission Email: Week 2

     Well, I certainly can't believe I've been here for two weeks. It seems really crazy to think about. Sometimes it feels like I just got here, and other times it seems like I've been here FOREVER. I can't imagine how it feels after your 11th week here (I was talking to a missionary learning viatnamese and he was just finishing his 11th week ._.). But the MTC is treating me pretty well, I think. It's difficult at times, but the Lord always sends something (whether it be a feeling, person, or talk, etc.) that really brings my spirits back up and reminds me why I'm here. At times it's been a bit discouraging  because I'm teaching fake investigators ( completely in Spanish, so it's very difficult to express what you want to say and answer questions, etc.) and I'm not really doing a whole lot to bring souls to Christ, but I know that everything here is directly related to my preparation to enter the field. I know as soon as I get out there (and learn to speak Spanish XD) it'll become more than worth it. =)

     Spanish is coming so much faster here than it could in any other place in the world. It's really amazing how inspired the teachers are and how well everyone picks Spanish up and remembers things. I know that the Lord is helping us to learn and understand the language. He's even helping me really enjoy the learning and love the language. The more I learn about it, the more I seem to like it. I can't wait to really be able to speak it fluently. =)
     We had a fireside this week where Elder Nelson spoke. He gave a really amazing talk about the Book of Mormon. He told us how inspired the process of translating the book really was. When they were translating the Bible into English, they translated from a known language at the rate of 1 page a day through the work of 50 scholars. Nowadays,people translate the BoM or Bible at the rate of 1 page a day with the help of computers and other modern technology. Joseph Smith, however, translated the BoM at 7-8 pages a day from an unknown language. Now if that isn't amazing inspiration from God, I don't know what is. That really built up my testimony of the truthfullness of the BoM.
     Anyway, I'm doing well here. It seems that the days will be long, but the weeks will be short. I figure it'll all eventually mesh together anyway.
- Elder Seth

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First Missionary Letter

Well, I've just about completed my first week as a missionary. Life here at the MTC is extremely busy, but the Lord has helped carry me through each day.

When I first walked into the MTC, I definitely felt like I was at BYU. The dorms felt a ton like Helaman. Everyone was just as crazy and loud (during the one hour of free time at night) and the food in the cafeteria is exactly the same as the food in the Cannon Center. Other than that, though, it's been a new experience. They put me in Spanish classes the very first day I arrived and it hasn't stopped since. I spend about 6 hours a day in class, with another scheduled hour of individual language study in the class room. We speak in Spanish the entire time, so I spend more time speaking in Spanish than English. Especially since our district has been challenged to speak Spanish from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM (it doesn't really happen, but we certainly do our best).

It's really amazing how far I've progressed in the language and in testimony since being here. Every day I see the Lord bless me with the gift of tongues amongst many other things. The days seem really long, but the Lord carries me through when it feels like it's a bit too much. I've been told that the first few days are the hardest, though, and I made it past that. It was really difficult until Sunday, but when that came around, all of the talks (in sacrament meeting, preisthood, and the fireside) were amazing and really helped me keep going.

So I've only been here a week and I've already been assigned an investigator (a teacher here who acts like an investigator that they taught on their mission, usually) and I've taught him three times. When we teach him, we can't use one word of English (and he asks some brutal questions, which are SO hard to answer). The first lesson went horribly, but we've been able to pick up more and more Spanish are are actually able to take the whole 30 minutes to teach him. I imagine it'll only get better as we go, since the most frustrating part is being unable to answer his questions.

My comanion is Elder Hill. He's a good guy. He laughs loud, is really optimistic, and outgoing. He was actually in Helaman halls last year as well (one building over) so I probably saw him a good number of times around there, lol. But I didn't recognize him at all. Anyway, he's from Utah and went to BYU, so he seems to know 30902347957803 people here (more like 15-20). But he's always saying hi to people from his home and from BYU. I've met about 6 people from BYU here and Elder Mark Coleman from back home. So it was pretty exciting to see him. My roomate from BYU is here as well and he's been going for about 6 weeks! So he's really tired of the MTC and wants to get out there in the field.

Anyway, I'm out of time. I hope everyone is doing well. =)