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.