Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Finishing the Hottest Month of the Year!

Well, it was another long week, but we're still working hard and strong. We still have a wonderful progressing investigator, but I'm just waiting for something to go wrong. I feel like it never goes perfectly, but I guess the Lord can make it happen every once in a while. He's very prepared. He shows that he's honestly excited to recieve our lessons and learn more. He really confides in the answers to his prayers and in our teachings.

Something really interresting happened the other day. Just another moment where I learned to appreciate the Gospel that I have in my life. We were teaching someone the first lesson and how he needs to pray to know that the Book of Mormon is true. He laughed and said that answers from God are super rare experiences and he wasn't sure he could recieve something so special. We taught him that we're all capable of recieving personal answers. We just need to have the faith and desire. He seemed very impressed by that. It's wonderful to teach people simply that they're children of God and that God listens to them. It doesn't matter who they are, they can recieve an answer. What a special truth that is. Just another one of the things that I've never appreciated enough.

And I'm just about out of the hottest month of the year!! YES!! I can't wait for it to cool down just a little. That'll be a wonderful break. Even though we got to play Water Gun Capture the Flag today. That was actually really awesome and way fun.

Okay, more Peruvian culture/funny experiences:

It's only three dollars to fix up destroyed shoes. How awesome is that? They'll fix them all up and even polish them for you.
I played basketball for the first time here as well! Let's just say that Latinos only play soccer.
I saw a child just devouring a greasy chicken foot.... That really didn't settle well in my stomach.
My companion has taken up the hobby of killing insects with air freshener spray. It's suprisingly effective. Just as long as he's being productive, I guess.
I got to teach with Elder Nelson again (my companion in the Lima MTC)!! We were companions for a morning again! And it was awesome to see how much we've learned.

I hope all is well! I'm still working hard and teaching!
Elder Seth

------------- Sent to Chris, for the gamers -------------
So I totally had a Sonic Adv. 2 Battle experience. I was walking down
a narrow dirt road, and a massive truck turned in behind me. I had no
escape, only striaght. I looked back and that first level immediately
popped into my mind. My heart jummped and I thought, dang it's close!
I gotta run! I don't want to loose my rings. Then I realized I was in
real life. Phew. Talk about zombie walking. I gotta take a nap every
once in a while. But It seriously looked like it. Especially since I
turned some corners and the truck followed. And it took up the ENTIRE
road (which made the truck look even more massive than it already
was). It was just a funny moment.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I have never experienced heat like this before... Never in all my life..

The week went by really slowly. It's really brutal when you can't teach lessons in the afternoon and the sun beats down on you all afternoon. I think the heat makes everyone in Huanchaco a little lazy. Especially the members. They all arrive to church late and only half of the ward shows up each week. We even see some families of the ward at the beach during church. It's certainly not a strong example to our investigators...

But other than the weeks going by slowly, it's been good. We've found several new investigators. I feel like our best new investigator is the brother of our last convert. His name is Daniel and he was actually listening to several of our lessons from another room when we were teaching his brother. He heard when we challenged his brother to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true, and wanted to know for himself. So he read parts of it (some of the first chapters and the introduction) and prayed to know. He told us how he felt something like a fire in his heart and the feeling was so strange, he just had to continue learning. So we're teaching him. He even told us it was a "privlidge to go to church" and learn these truths that others don't have. So we're super pumped to teach him and I hope all goes smoothly.

As for some more fun experiences:
I got to handle a bug collection (David owns it as part of his reasearch in Agriculture), like the ones in the museums with all the giant butterflies and beetles that are stuck with pins. I actually got to pick them up by the pin and look at them all. It was crazy awesome. There are some crazy looking bugs out there. 
It still gets me when I see them fix up the roads down here. They fix them by hand. I mean, I was watching someone lay down tar with a BROOM. Just an old fashioned kitchen broom. And they were just tearing up the road with pickaxes. It looked like quite the backbreaking work. It was just funny to see.

Well, just a bit more odd things. Peru is getting very normal to me, so the stories are less and less, but I'll keep my eyes out for more weird culture things. Because there are definitely a lot. It's an adventure down here.

Best of wishes!
Elder Seth

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Week Walking in the Heat...

Well, a new companion is definitely an adjustment. I'll have to spend
a while learning how to deal with a new style of teaching and a new
way of doing things, but it's certainly not all bad. I've already seen
more goods and bads of being a missionary and I can always learn from
that. But my companion's name is Elder Vilchez and he's from Lima.
He's a pretty laid back nerd type, so I figure we should be able to
get along pretty well.

The week went by really slow. Probably because we couldn't teach a
single lesson in the afternoon. One of the biggest downsides of
Huanchaco is that everyone leaves to the beach on hot days and your
appointments just fall left and right. So I'm hoping for a few more
cloudy days so we can get some lessons in. Or just some way to keep
the investigators in their houses. We'll have to figure something out.

Spanish is still coming along greatly. It's now feeling more natural
to speak the language. And I'm certainly able to think in Spanish now.
I'll just be working on expanding my vocabulary each day and I feel
like I'll progress a lot in the next month. But now that the language
is more natural, I find myself talking a lot during the lessons. It's
feels great to be able to share my own thoughts and feeling and really
put in my own spin.

I'll miss all of the awesome Chilean slang, though. Words like
"anti-nice" and "anti-boom" just to mean lame. That was always really
entertaining. Especially with the accent.

I got to see the actual effects of a charity project! People donated
clothing to some children in my area! Including to children of several
of my investigators. Some people came down with tons of clothes and
shoes and shuch from the US. I always wondered why all the kids had
clothes with English on it, but now I know why. Anyway, I got to see
how it really affects people and how appreciative they are for the
help. So that was pretty awesome. You can actually touch lives with
stuff like that.

I actually had to give a surprise 10 minute talk on missionary work (every member a missionary) yesterday. It was my first ever talk in Spanish and my first ever talk without any preparation. That was super crazy. Good thing I'm a missionary and can talk for 10 minutes about any Gospel subject, lol.

Oh, and my last companion knew Invader Zim. GIR is just as funny in Spanish.

There's a dog that reminds me of Mr. Furious for Mystery Men. He gets
super angry over nothing and has the sideburns too.

I FOUND ROOT BEER TOO! Did you know that it actually tastes amazing? I
really missed it.

But that's about all I have for now. The work'll pick up next week, hopefully.

Hope all is well and you're enjoying the cold!
Elder Seth

Monday, February 6, 2012

Done With Training!

Well, I'm officially done with training, though I still have a whole lot to learn. I'm only just getting started, but I guess that's the point. The more and more I learn and work, the more I get excited to teach and share the Gospel. When things get hard, I just remember the importance of my message and how it can really change the lives of those I teach. I'm teaching for eternity, that's about all I need to remember. I'm slowing learning the importance of my message, and I now can't imagine heading back and leaving these people. I get moments where I feel that I just HAVE to teach these people, becuase I know what happiness they'll have. And that alone is what drives me to teach and keeps me happy here every day.

One thing I think that marks my progress the most is the fact that I can teach with my own personal spin. Before, I just struggled to say things and didn't really have my own attitude in my limited vocabulary, but now I do. I'm more comfortable with Spanish and teaching itself, so I can express myself and the importance to the Gospel to ME. And not just in simple testimony, but from personal experience and feelings. I think that takes a whole lot of struggle out of my life and purpose right now. I feel less and less like I'm fighting, and more and more like I'm enjoying myself.

We had another baptism this week! David was baptized and confirmed. I'm super excited about him, because he goes to church and keeps his commitments really easily, which shows that he actually wants to follow Christ. Not only that he wants to, but that it's a priority. I felt the Spirit really strong during the baptism, especially as he shared his testimony of the Gospel. I'm super happy that I was able to teach him. And he's a very large testimony to me that the Lord prepares people.

Now Elder Olivares is going to leave and I'll have to teach my new companion the area. That'll be a trip. I've been working super hard to learn where the members and investigators live and where all the roads and such are. It's a big area, so it's pretty hard, but I'll be able to manage. It'll just be weird to be with a different companion for a while.

So my companion had to interview a Psycologist. He said it was probably one of the hardest things he's ever done. She was really analyzing everything he was doing and all the questions and everything, and she wasn't 100% convinced of all the commandments, so he had to use a lot of care in all of the interview. She really didn't mean any harm, but Elder Olivares was super nervous about it all. But in the end, she had confidence in him and wanted him to be the one to baptize here, which is cool.

This next week should be an adventure, though. I'll be running the area for the most part until my companion gets used to it.

Hope all is well!
Elder Seth