I sure do miss the whole mash potatoes, cranberries, turkey, pie, etc. feast. What did I have for Thankgiving? Oh wait. Chicken and rice. Yup. Wouldn't see that comin' either.
So, last week I FINALLY got dearelders from literally a month ago. I think those who sent me letters accidentally sent them to my mission address while I was at the CCM. Yup. There's difference. But thanks Jess, Chels, Kelsey, Katie, Andrea, Dad, Grandma, etc. I sure do appreciate you writin'! No really I do appreciate it so much. It's awesome to hear about your thoughts or decisions to go on missions for some of you. Since the mail system here kinda....well.....doesn't really exist in Mala, I have a hard time sending outgoing letters. I think what would be best for letters from friends would be to email my Mom at email@example.com. She can forward them to me and I can just print them off. LET ME KNOW IF YOU'VE GOT A MISSION CALL. I just want to know. Ha. For packages and special letters you can just send them to my mission address. The district leaders give me my mail and packages every P-Day. Just think about 3 weeks ahead for mail to get to me in time for Christmas.
First off, I want to apologize for my letter last week. After missing a week of writing I receive like two thousand five hundred and two letters in my email (actually more like 15) and was dumb and didn't just print them off and read them later. That's why I probably sounded rushed or undetailed in my last letter. AND the computer wouldn't let me send photos. So I'll try again today. So....yup.
Well, to be honest, this past week has been a bit rough. Both Elder Tohara and I got sick with colds and sore throats. Not fun. We weren't in the cheeriest of moods some days. My faith and positivity was really tried this past week because a couple progressing investigators haven't been meeting their compromisos (I don´t know the word in English ha!) before baptism. Hermana Cruz is now pending, and another we had to move her date up one week to the first of December. But why am I complaining? I'm in Peru preaching the gospel dang it! How awesome is that?! So yeah, today is much better.
We've been praying for more families with men who can hold the priesthood. The Lord blessed us with A LOT of references this past week, all of which are families. However, the curve ball is that only a fouth of the couples are married. So, the Lord hasn't made it all that easy for us because first we have to work them to get married, and then baptized. So yeah. Challenging times ahead for sure.
This next Saturday the whole branch and branches from other cities are coming to Mala to visit all the less actives. The senior missionary couple in our ward, Elder and Sister Price, are really hoping this will help us start to turn things around for the members in Mala. Elder Price says he has always felt like a miracle is about to happen in Mala. We have a new chapel under construction in town, and it will definitely be an improvement from having pigeons nesting above us during sacrament meeting haha. So I think that will also help attract people towards the church, and not think of Mormons as just some random Protestant church. I can't wait to see the progress over the next couple months!
We had another baptism last Saturday for a deacon aged boy named Alberto. He is such a great kid! Honestly so ready. He lives with his aunt and uncle, who are Catholics, and they came to see the baptism. They were really happy he was deciding to join our congregation despite our differing beliefs, and I think they felt the Spirit very strongly. Alberto is hoping to someday baptize both of them.
Anyway, I've gotta leave time for sending photos. I love you all so much!
Elder Lundberg (SEE THE NEW PHOTOS UNDER THE PHOTOS TAB)
Well well well, so much has happened in the past week that I barely have any time at all. They had us send letters last Tuesday but that was no help since they won't even get there for a while. So sad to here that Romney lost. My heart sank when I saw a picture of Obama smiling with a cellphone to his ear at one of the newstands. Anyway, everything is going well for me. I´m very happy here.
I've been assigned to the Canete zone of my mission. More specifically, I'm serving with my new companion Elder Tohara in a little town called Mala. I love the people here. There's a big big problem with less actives in this town, but those who do attend are very faithful and a great example to me. The hardest part is that, apart from a place like Utah, members here just don't have the same kind of influence, support, and resources that I'm used to. These people pass through many trials and many of the parents have to work on Sundays to provide for their families. That's our biggest obstacle, church attendance.
On the bright side, we are having great success. Elder Tohara and I have baptisms lined up for every Saturday over the next couple months. Pretty amazing! One sister investigator, Hermana Cruz, lives about 20 minutes north by bus near a cattle ranch. A member, Sister Prissy, lives close by and accompanies us to our visits. Sister Prissy is a single mother with several children, and I have never seen such incredible strength and faith. She is a HUGE part of the branch and gives us references all the time. Hermana Cruz is an older women and has her baptism set for the 1st of December. She's also very humble and an incredible woman.
In general, the people here are very very very poor. It's almost unimaginable sometimes. But my Quito trip prepared me well for what I would see. Our chapel is pretty makeshift, but the cool thing is that the church is building a new one for the Mala people by next summer around June. I'm hoping that will really help attract more people to the church.
I also love my companion Elder Tohara. He is such a good example to me and the trainging with him is going very well. He has about 6 months left and has remained so faithful. He's from Bolivia and speaks really good Spanish. He was impressed with how well I can speak coming fresh fromt the CCM.
I also had my first baptism last Saturday. Hermana Blanca is about 13 years old. The rest of her family are members, so hopefully they can find strength in being a complete family within the gospel.
I hope your all having as much fun as I am today! Ok maybe we don't get to wear costumes and go to haunted houses but we sure have a lot of candy! Since it's P-Day all the missionaries bought loads of candy at Tottu's (a Peruvian grocery store) and we´re doing sort of a room to room trick or treat tonight in the dorms. That should be fun! Halloween is the literally the best!
It's so sad to hear about the disaster up there on the East Coast. We literally have no idea about anything going on down here. I'm praying for Elder King up there in Pennsylvania! I'm sure this will provide him with a lot of opportunities to serve those who have been affected.
Anyway, I'll be outta here in less than a week. I'm pretty darn excited. It's been a long road up to this point and I know that once I start proselyting full-time my mission is going to feel like it's too short, but you know, that's life! Time flies when you're a missionary!
Taking a step back, I was able to go proselyting again last Saturday. We only went about 15 minutes into the more ghetto part of Lima. We knocked doors for about 3 hours and were able to hand out five Book of Mormons and get about eight references. Although there was nobody who was an on-the-spot golden investigator we did cheer up several people with our message. Towards the end of the day we were headed back to the chapel when I had an impression to teach a man in a park that we happened to pass by. When we approached he was listening to music with some ear buds and we just sort of smiled and said hello. He finally took out his ear buds and talked to us for about ten minutes. His eyes were pretty red either from feeling extremely tired or he was depressed. I don't know, his spirits just seemed pretty low so we chatted a bit and gave him a BoM. He was a little perkier when we left after having asked for his contact info. I think we were able to bring a little Christlike love into his life that day. To me, it wasn't a mind boggling miracle or a life-changing event, but it was just a simple greeting in the park that bore witness to me about the impressions we make as missionaries. I genueinely have so much love for these people here, and can't wait to get goin'!
Anyway, I love you all SO MUCH! I always look forward to mail from anybody (since I never get any haha) but I think once I get out there in my mission it will be a little better for letter writing (dearedlers are proving to be a little difficult). God bless you all!