So, this has been another great week here at the Peru CCM. The two higlights of the week were last Saturday when we went proseltying in Chosica (a suburb of Lima) and today when we went a mini tour of the old parts of Lima. Oh yeah......and a third highlight, there was a plague of food poisoning throughout the whole CCM and I had a real fun time a couple nights ago. Like if I could probably say how fun it was I would probably say.......zero. But first, some of the good news.
Last Saturday all of the "Norte Americanos" were paired of with Latinos to go proselyting in Chosica. I was paired with Elder Villacrés from Guayaquil, Ecuador. I thought it would be nice to get out of the main part of Lima but the poverty only got worse as we headed East. The people here are very humble, and it´s hard to imagine that some of those houses are even houses. Some families that the missionaries taught that day lived in homes made of bags full of trash, cardboard, sticks, and plastic bags tied into ropes to hold it all together. All in all, if you ever think America has it bad......don´t. But the huble circumstances of these people never keeps them from being happy, and that´s what makes America "bad" I guess you could say. People here are much more willing to listen to what you have to say.
The first part of Saturday we went out to visit less actives. The whole experience was exciting and eye-opening. First, because I realized how fun it is to preach the gospel in Peru. Second, I realized how much I really don´t know Spanish when listening to the people speak. But that´s ok, I´ll be speaking like one of them by the time this whole mish thing ends right? Anyway, we first visited a middle-aged woman up in the hills of the city who was less active. She was so excited to see the missionaries, which is actually pretty surprising because many of the less actives are resistant when the missionaries show up. She welcomed us in and we taught her about the importance of reading the scriptures and I was able to bear a simple and powerful testimony about how the Spirit will guide her in taking care of her family if she reads the Scriptures each day. It was cool to look out her window, see all those poor makeshift buildings dotting the desert hillside, and realize that the gospel really is such a universal and all-welcoming world religion. She certainly felt the Spirit like I did, and said that she would attend church the next morning with her husband and kids (they´re all members but weren´t home).
After lunch, we were able to just knock doors. The cars can no longer go up at a certain point up the hills, and so the dirt paths between homes are very narrow. We placed two Book of Mormons and got a few reference cards. The first woman we talked to was very interested because although she was separated from her husband some 15 years ago, he was actually an inactive member. She didn´t know much, but we all bore testimony to her and she willingly accepted the invitation to go to church! We also found another man walking home and he also took a Book of Mormon. Family was very important to him, so we talked about the Plan of Salvation, and I had a hard time understanding, but that´s why they pair us with the natives thankfully. Anyway, chosica was incredible and I loved the whole experience!
Yeah....so about my sickness. There was a rampage of food poisoning, but just know that I´m perfectly fine! I had it Sunday night, but I was better by the morning so it´s all good. It wiped out many of the Norte Americanos, but we´re all good!
I sent some pictures of our tour today. The first few are of the cathedral where we visited the catacombs. The next few are of the plaza and the palacio. The kids making the weird face is my companion, Elder Wilcox! He´s pretty awesome. Hope you enjoy!
I´m overtime so I should go, but just know that I love you! Have a great week!
Hey, everybody! It´s been another marvelous week here in Peru. The blue sky and sun came out in full array for a few days here during General Conference and it was so nice! Even though it´s cloudy here most of the time in the city, the weather is still really nice. I can´t wait to get our of the city after my time here at the Peru CCM.
So yeah.....what´s up with the age changes?! We were all so excited when they announced that. A lot of us went to BYU for a year before coming and so we were all talking about how the whole nature of BYU will change as far as the student ward atmposphere will go. It kinda just depends if 18 becomes the new norm for leaving on a mission. That would be SO incredible if Deni and Jade served missions. It could mean that we could get back around the same time too! And that way neither of them will get married before Elder See and I get back too. Also, I´d love to hear from all my friends who are now considerig maybe going. I get dearelders about every Thursday or Friday. So to answer your question momma....nope. I don´t get them the very next day.
Anyway, I would like to send some pictures this week so I´ll end with a quick spiritual thought so I have enough time. Of course, it´s from General Conference. Like most everyone else, Holland´s talk really touched me as well. Like you Mom, I too got a little teary-eyed. Instead of writing ¨Peter, lovest thou me?´´ I wrote down in my notes, ¨Davis, lovest thou me?¨, and that really put his message into a personal perspective for me. I got too thinking, ¨how much would I sacrifice to preach the gospel?¨ Of course I´m serving a mission write now, but if I had too, I would honestly give everything up just to have all my family and friends who have not yet joined the gospel have the same conviction of the truth that I do. I love my Savior, and I know that whatever I give up to him in this life, I will receive a hundred fold, and even more in the next life, as the scriptures teach us. I have never paid so much attention to GC before, and that was just one of many impressions that I received throughout the weekend. Elder Lundberg
Unfortunately the internet was down on P-Day and yesterday so we were delayed a couple days for writing emails. Wednesdays are P-Days for the next little while just so you're aware. Dearelder is still the best way to contact me but they haven't arrived yet from last week. Also, I still have't had a chance to send pictures yet but I hope I can by next Wednesday for sure.
The CCM here is absolutely incredible! You wouldn´t believe how nice it is. It really is an oasis in the middle of a poor, shanty neighborhood. But there are huge walls around to keep us all protected. They have a really nice soccer field made of turf, sand volleyball, and a big courtyard. I can't wait to send photos because it really looks almost heavenly with all the white buidlings and green trees.
Also, tomorrow is General Conference!!! How cool is it that I get to sit for ten hours on a hard plastic chair in an auditorium?! Way.......not cool. there's something in the air here that just enhances my ability to fall asleep. Every morning is such a struggle during personal study time because everyone in our district just can't stay awake! But I'll do my best to watch GC. It's kind of cool to be so far away for the first time during these types of moments.
On P-Day we get to go to the temple in the morning to do an endowment session. I was the only missionary who chose not to use the translator because I wanted to listen to it in Spanish. I sat next to this really ancient man with crutches who was missing a leg (pretty humbling actually) and the coolest part was that I understood almost 100% of it. My Spanish is REALLY getting quite good as far as comprehension, reading, and writing goes. My speaking is getting better everyday, and all the missionaries in my district are jealous haha ; ) But, I see it as an opportunity to help and teach them because I can answer most of their questions and sometimes I have to translate between our teachers and the "Norte Americanos". In a couple of weeks I'll have the choice to be in one of the native speaking districts and I think I'm gonna go for it. I also will probably end up being a translator for some of the weekly devotionals. There's another elder who lived in Mexico for a while and so he knows Spanish really well and does the translating, but once he leaves in a week, I'll probably be asked to take over......
Anyway, I don't say any of this to boast about myself. In fact, like Ammon says in Alma 26, I do no boast in my own strength, but in the the Lord my God who strengthens me. I am so grateful to even have this privilege in the first place. I love that fact that I get to volunteer two whole years to serving Him and the people of Peru.
Anyway, I pray for you, and I hope that I can be the missionary that y'all want me to be.
Love you all!
P.S. Also, I praise all those who took the time to work down at the BYU football game for Mr. K. Way to go Mom and Ash for putting it all together! I wish that man the very best and pray that he can make a full recovery soon.
All my travel plans went really smoothly yesterday. We had no layovers longer than 45 minutes and the flying was magnificent! I was kind of emotional landing in Lima because this is where I will be for the next 23 months! The city here goes on for miles. Driving to the CCM (or MTC) gave us an even closer look. Going to Quito really prepared me for what to expect before I got here because the culture and the driving is essentially the same. The sky is always gray here, sort of like Seattle or something. I've read in several books that Lima has been named the most depressing city in the world or something along those lines. However, I don't think so because the gospel has a light of its own in my life. I'm just excited to be here to spread that light!
The CCM is a complete oasis. The facilities are way way way nicer than Provo. The grounds have some incredible plants and flowers that no American like me would have ever known existed. For breakfast we had french toast, yogurt, and this really weird fruit that I didn't know existed. It looks sort of like an orange pomegranate and you peel off the hard shell leaving a soft cotton-like cocoon. Then you puncture a whole in the top and the inside looks like a bunch of caviar or fish eggs. At first I was shocked and disgusted, but you just suck out the inside and swallow without chewing and it tasted really good! A couple of the elders in my district are also American and have been really helpful in telling us what to do. They've only been here for three days but they said that they've learned more Spanish in just three days than the whole time at the Provo MTC. I'm so excited for my Spanish to really be put to the test! Also, the food I've heard is SO much better, so there's another plus.
My new companion is Elder Wilcox. He's from Layton, Utah and came from the beginner Spanish group in Provo. I'm glad that I can help him learn Spanish because it will only fortify what I know by teaching him. He's really great and I think we'll get along wonderfully!
Anyway, already I'm experiencing many new things just in the few hours since I woke up. It turns out, Peru is only an hour ahead of Provo instead of two hours like I thought earlier. So just a heads up. Also, DO NOT send any packages to the CCM. Dearelders or email are the very BEST way to stay in contact. If you do send a package, send it to my mission address for when I get there in six weeks. The mail office is four hours away.
Well, gotta go! Everything's great and I'll try to figure out a way to send some pictures soon!