Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last two Weeks of 2011

December 19, 2011
Merry Christmas!
Wow, December has gone fast and Christmas has crept up out of nowhere. On Saturday we will have a big activity with the 6 zones around Piura. The president will give a little devotional, then each zone will do a talent or sketch of some sort. My zone decided to do a parody of 2 brand new missionaries trying to teach snow white and the 7 dwarfs. It’s a lot of fun planning it. I was given the part of dopey, of course, so I just make ridiculous faces and act like a wild idiot the whole time.
Last Thursday, me and 8 other North Americans went to Lima. Usually we take care of all of the customs/visa/government stuff in the Lima MTC, but many of us were only there for 3 weeks or less and only finished one part. They told us one Wednesday and we all flew down Thursday night. It was such a blast being with some good friends from the MTC and being together. I hate to say it, but it was really like a mini vacation. They put us in a really nice hotel for the night with hot water and even gave us some Papa Johns pizza. The next day we went to the Government Agency place for 5 hours. The majority of the time was just waiting for our turn and then for them to process stuff. Much like the DMV. But it was a blast cause we all talked and shared experiences. After that we got McDonalds, and to the Lima Temple to take pictures before heading back to the airport. It was a short trip but an amazing memory for the mission. When I got back, Elder Iribar had to break my heart and tell me that Luis, the 19 year old, went to Ecuador to work without telling us. All is well though, and he’ll be back the first week of January to get baptized. He had to go to make money for his family. The work is going well. We have great successes but also, great struggles as well, but that’s all part of the work and I’m just taking it day by day. Love you all and I cant wait to hear your voices on Sunday.
Elder Farmer

December 26, 2011
Yesterday was great. So good to talk to you all . . . The weirdest part is now understanding what it’s like to be on this end of the line and remembering when Justin and Brandon would call. It was great relating to experiences of Dad, Justin, and Brandon and getting the advice of my brothers. One thing I noticed... before the mission Justin and Brandon’s accents always appeared perfect. But now after being in the culture and hearing nothing but Spanish, their accents were exceptionally gringo on the phone. Maybe they were just talking really clear so I could understand but it was funny.
Anyways, it will be good to get back to the work after a nice relaxing Christmas weekend. I’ve officially hit the same amount of time in the field as I had in the MTC.
Oh, I forgot to mention in the phone call, but I’m becoming quite the beat box champ. Okay not really. But Elder Delgado is insane and before the mission was in a group down in Lima. I’m trying to pick up some skills. Haha. Maybe Jaclyn can explain to the parents what beat boxing is. Love you Family, I’ll write you again next year,
Elder Farmer

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 5 and December 13

December 5, 2011
Hello Family!
Yesterday I had my first baptism. It was a special experience to see this little 9 year old girl so excited and giddy to be baptized. Also to see how the gospel had strengthened the relationship between a mother and her to kids. The mom was beaming. It was a great experience but we didn’t have to work at all. It was a Christmas present from the Lord to send this family our way.
The calendar has switched to December and all the families here are excited about the Navidad. Christmas lights have showed up in all the windows and even Christmas trees in most houses. It will be a great month to find families to teach while everyone is in the spirit of the holiday. We hope and pray that many of our investigators will progress that last extra bit to commit to baptism in the month.
Today marks the completion of one transfer too! On Wednesday we get 16 or so new missionaries. Also, our area is getting 2 more so we’ll have 6 missionaries in the ward. It’s exciting to see the changes that happen and it feels good to finally have one cambio (change aka transfer) under my belt. This will be Elder Iribar´s last transfer in this area because this is his fourth one here. Once he finished up training me he’ll leave to another area for sure. So the next change will be particularly interesting to see what happens as far as who my new companion is and if I stay in this area, etc. Today we went to the market and I bought my first of many soccer jerseys. They’re so cheap here. I got a legit Uruguay jersey for 15 soles, which is about 6 dollars. Life is good down here. The work is tough because we walk a TON, but the members made us 3 meals this week (expect a recipe soon mom). This change should be great. Love you family. Enjoy the cool weather.
Elder Farmer

December 12, 2011
Hello Family!
Every week gets a little better as I get more comfortable in the work and improve little by little at Spanish. The baptism was a great experience and great news and we’ve got another one next week! This one will mean a lot more because he is someone we found knocking doors and we’ve grown to really know him. He’s a 19 year old guy that we found about 3 weeks ago and ever since has been super willing to change according to God’s will. This last week he asked us what the qualifications are to be baptized and if he could be baptized. Yes! He’s got a great desire and even says that he wants to be missionaries like us one day. It is so good to see how the Lord has prepared someone and they were so ready to here the gospel. We are hoping to make Christmas an especially special day with a baptism on that domingo as well. I have seen a drastic change in how much have enjoyed the work this past week. I don’s even mind knocking doors all that much. The Lord is blessing us a lot and I’m very lucky to be here serving Him in this time of year. On Christmas we will have a big missionary activity and members will be feeding us well.
Love you all! Life is good down here in Peru.
Elder Farmer

November 2011

November 13, 2011
Family: Three weeks down in the first transfer. Things are picking up and I feel like once I’ve got just 1 transfer under my belt the mission will be under way. There are really cool missionaries here that make it very enjoyable. The other companionship in our room is Elder Campbell and Elder Delgado. Campbell is going home in 3 weeks and is a riot. He makes things a lot of fun and it’s nice having a English to Spanish human translator near by. Its just the little phrases that are going to take a while to get in my head like ¨all of a sudden´´, etc. After writing last week we went to a milkshake place in central Piura and it was cool actually seeing the city. Then we went to the market, which you can only go to like once a month because its not the safest place. Today we had an activity as a zone and played soccer at a nearby chapel. Love, Elder Farmer

November 21, 2011
Happy thanksgiving family!
Your emails inspire me to try harder and enjoy life every week so thank you. This thanksgiving actually marks 3 months for me. Can you believe it? The mission will get faster and fasters as I learn the language. Thanks for the emails everyone.
We had good success this week in progressing our investigators but I’m still hoping for the first baptism. We know they’ll happen sooner or later we just need to be patient with each person. It’s frustrating not being able to converse with people still and understand what they’re saying perfectly. But that will come eventually.... somehow. Love you all family, I am Thankful for you all this thanksgiving. Also for Joseph Smith and the restoration, and Jesus Christ. We really do have the best family ever. For real.
Elder Farmer

November 28, 201
Sounds like another awesome holiday took place at the farmer household. Games, food, plenty of laughter (im sure), and a super cute baby to steal the show. This week was some of the most enjoyable times I’ve had so far in Piura. For thanksgiving I woke up and asked Elder Campbell (who is going home in a week) what he was thankful for... and that was that haha. Just a normal day. I’ve been able to see how much the lord has blessed me by putting me with a solid companion that works hard. Also, the ward is probably the best you will find in the whole mission. They are very helpful in the work. On Sunday we had a little training activity to discuss ways that the members can help share the gospel and give us references. I gave a 10 minute little part and I feel pretty good about my Spanish. We made great strides this week with investigators and even had 5 people attend church. We’ve got 1 baptism this coming Sunday of a little 9 year old girl whose mom baptized 15 years ago but went inactive. Last Sunday they showed up and the mom told us she wanted to be back in the church and have her daughter baptized. A missionary’s dream. The daughter is excited every time we go to teach too.
There really isn’t anything ¨special¨ about Piura culture wise, but the people are great and all have a good faith. So that makes teaching the restored gospel even better when you can explain why there are so many churches and that Christ restored his. The gospel is an incredible blessing that our family has had thanks to amazing parents. Love you all. Hope your lives are successful and filled with awesomeness. Elder Farmer

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 7, 2011

Family: What a glorious 20 minutes I just had reading all of your emails. . . . I can see that the ability to enjoy the language will only increase more and more every week as I pick more up. But the language isn’t TOO bad. I feel pretty comfortable as far as imperfect and subjunctive and stuff go, but now it’s just being able to understand, know the words/verbs, and sentence structure. I’m still in the translating every thought from English to Spanish phase of course but with time that will switch over. It’s just insane to comprehend how I will know every word or phrase without having to think of it one day.

This week went by much faster than the first. The weather is getting hotter and hotter but this past week we worked really hard. We found a bunch of new investigators, taught 24 lessons, and contacted 100 people (this only includes people that we were able to talk to long enough to invite to church or share a brief thought with at their door or in the street). Our area is pretty small and secluded from central Piura so I don’t know much about the city but I can tell you about a place called the polverines haha - a housing development that is very poor, and yet to have electricity, and is pretty much where people have built a bunch of forts in the desert sand. We’re working hard and should have a baptism by the next time I write. The ward families here are very welcoming and helpful . . . Thanks for the thoughts and words of encouragement – your words mean a whole heck of a lot. Love – Elder Farmer

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hello From Piura Peru!

Piura, Peru: "La Primera Ciudad"

October 31, 2011

It sure feels good to finally be able to write! The last 7 days have been quite the journey. The last Saturday in the MTC we went out tracting. They bused three different groups to different stakes around Lima. It was a good experience and it’s amazing how much poverty there is. Down next to the street the houses are quite nice, but then up above and packed into the hills are shacks just crammed in. We left the Lima CCM (MTC) on Tuesday and arrived at the small, one runway, one baggage claim airport at 3 in the afternoon. The President and his wife and 6 other missionaries were there to greet us and take us to the mission home. The mission home is a beautiful home that is well gated in a rich neighborhood. What would honestly probably cost up to 650k in Colorado only costs 50,000 here. No joke. Anyways, we ate a late lunch, did orientation stuff as far as health and finances, had a testimony meeting, then had burgers and went to the office down the street to sleep while 3 hermanas slept in beds in the mission home. The next morning we went to the home for breakfast, then to a chapel to meet our new companions and head out to our areas. How’d we get to our area you ask? Moto taxi. Probably 1 in 3 houses or more has one. It’s essentially a motorcycle with a cage attached to the back that seats two or three. Everyone’s job out here is a moto taxi driver it seems. My companion is Elder Iribar from Uruguay. He’s only got 6 weeks longer than I do, but 12 weeks longer in the field because he only spent 3 weeks in the MTC because he didn’t need language training, obviously. But yeah, I never thought I’d have a trainer that only has 2 transfers but he is great. We’re serving in Piura Central in the area called Lopez Albojar. It’s only about 10 minutes in the taxi to get here. Our apartment is one of the nicest in the zone apparently, but that’s still not saying much. We live in the upstairs apartment. Two rooms and a bathroom and another sink. We don’t have cooking stuff because everyone in the mission has a pensionista (sp) that serves 3 meals a day and does laundry once a week. Everyday has its ups and downs. Learning a new language is more than you can really imagine until you’re actually out here trying to do it. I did expect most of it though having seen Brandon and Justin do it. But little by little it will come. We work really hard out here. We’re in a very successful area that is safe. areas have to be inside by 6 and some cant even knock on doors. But here, we never get the door slam and we usually get people to agree to let us come back some day. So we wake up, go to our pensionista´s house just across the street for breakfast until 8, study until 10 and then go out until lunch at 1. We study the language from 2-3 then go out again for the rest of the afternoon until dinner at 8. Right now we’ve got 2 baptisms coming up this weekend and probably around 6 or 7 other investigators. I’m sure I’m having very similar experiences to Justin. Dogs everywhere, the walls of houses are concrete but sometimes made out of whatever people can find, with dirt floors, dirt streets, trash everywhere. While you all are just starting to get snow, summer is just beginning here. It’s about 85 during the days and the people say that it’s just warming up and it’s going to be really hot through March. But, despite the language and the fact that I’m always tired, at the end of the day it isn’t so bad. The members are really nice, the people are humble and my companion is a great worker. This area has a lot of success, which makes the work fun and exciting but it’s hot as hatties. I love the people and members and my companion but can’t understand them or talk to them yet. I can feel the help of Heavenly Father every day and it’s a pleasure to serve the Lord. Today was p-day so we had a zone activity. We drove about 10 minutes down and then a 30 minute walk to a zoo. It was only 20 cents to walk the park and they had about 10 cages with your typical animals. In one decent sized metal cage was the most ferocious of them all: a house cat. haha. Then we played soccer, rested in the apartment, and now we’re emailing in a cafe just minutes from our apartment. We’ll go out to work at 6 again. Love you all so much, Elder Farmer

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 21, 2011

Hey - This letter is going to be shorter than the rest, most likely, because time is ticking and they really crack down on only 30 minutes here. They posted agenda sheets from mission presidents a couple days ago. There are about 20 of us heading up to Piura and we’ll leave on Tuesday. We’ll fly up and land at 3 where we will meet the president and his wife before driving to the mission home. There we will have ¨lunch¨, go over introductions, have dinner, do a testimony meeting, spend the night in the office while the sisters sleep in the mission home. The next morning we head out to our specific areas to meet our senior companions. They doing a new program too where we’ll be with our trainer for 12 weeks, or the first two transfers. So for the first 3 months I’ll have the same trainer. It’s good because that way you just progress better and one person can really focus on getting you prepped in the language and teaching, etc. The big question for everyone is whether we’ll get a Native companion or North American. Both have their ups and downs. With the latino companion you would be forced to speak the language all the time and would help those that are disciplined in speaking it as much as they can. With a NA trainer, it would be a lot easier to ask him out to say something, ask him what someone said on the street, etc. So we’ll see.

This past week went fast. Oh, and you’re probably wondering why this letter is coming today and not Wednesday. On Wednesday a guy visiting that works with all of the MTC´s around the globe. So they changed the day of p-day to Friday because he was here from Tuesday to Thursday and wanted to see how it functioned on normal scheduled days. The language is progressing as much is it can. Some days I really wonder how it is possible to do it but I know it’ll come with time and pain, haha. I’m not sure what more to say, but I love you all and am truly enjoying my experience out here. I don’t enjoy every hour but I enjoy everyday when all is said and done. I’ve never been so tired in my life and I know it’ll only multiply times 10 once I start walking for 8 hours a day, but I guess that’s a good indication. It’s weird to think that my MTC time is up and now I’m about to be an actual missionary, teaching real people. It’s go time I suppose. I must admit though, it’s not as scary as jumping of a 75 foot ledge, so I’m glad I got that experience.

Friends, be sure to send letters to the Piura Mission now because I’ll be out of the MTC.

Love ya´ll. Elder Farmer

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lima, Peru Week 1

Hola Granjero Familia!

Granjero is farmer in Spanish... and thats my response when latinos here have a tough time pronouncing farmer. ¨Elder granjero! oh!¨

Good week. It didn’t take long to get in the groove. After the first day I was a little nervous about the food, but that has since changed quite a bit and I love it. Lima has become a big cooking capital. I’m not sure what sparked it but there are a lot of chiefs that come out here and lots of inspired dishes in the city. So, we get fed quite well here. It’s rice and chicken with every meal but the flavors are what they change up. They also give us good appetizers and soups and bread. Every once in a while you’ll get some good pork or beef and then twice a week for desert we’ll have delicious cake that the president orders in. Then every night at 8:30 we get have a banana or orange in the cafeteria or even ice cream bars. I’m not speaking as much Spanish as I thought I would. With the North Americans we mostly speak English. Sometimes we try to speak Spanish but we’re so tired of battling through a conversation with latino companions that we just speak English to each other. But I am learning more things from the latino campanions in my room. My comp is elder Parra from Columbia - 19 and has been a member his whole life. We teach together probably 3-4 times a week and so far it’s been really good. Bostidas is also from Columbia and is the latino companion to my north American companion Elder Woodburn. He´s 24 and the only member in his family. Good guys. Woodburn is from Spokan, WA.

Today we got to go out and enjoy the city a bit on our way to the temple. We cram 17 missionaries onto an already packed bus and go about 5 blocks down to the temple. Afterwards we get to go to a local store called Tottus which is like a Walmart. Very nice. Then we headed up to a little member store where I bought a cheap tie. For the first p-day they don’t want us taking our cameras because they want us to concentrate on getting our bearings on the location rather then just take pictures. So next week I’ll take pictures at the temple and other places and send them to you. These computers aren’t as locked down as the mtc in Provo so we can hook our cameras up to the computer and send them. Ill send a separate email of a few pictures right now.

The schedule is more broken up here than Provo in that we could change activities every hour. Every day we have an hour of gym time here too, so of course we play soccer. There is a pretty nice turf field, probably 3/5 the length of an actual field. It’s a really fun way to connect with the latinos but it{s extremely difficult to play when all you can say is, Ă„qui! Aqui! And, the more we play, the more crazy the latinos go. Some don’t have any sportsmanship, bend rules, FLOP and act injured (which is quite funny), and it gets really contentious between them. But it’s a blast nonetheless. I’ve noticed outside of soccer how even with a language barrier, humor, the spirit, and comradery can still translate. And the teachers have the same passion, and sincerity as those in Provo. The gospel is the same everywhere. I love it.

Its a roller coaster through out the day. Some hours go really well, the next you’ll feel like you cant say anything, but all in all the days are good. I just want to know Spanish already! haha. And sometime I really wonder how it’s possible to learn it all. But I’ll get there someday.

Love you all. Hope your lives are going well. Things are just peachy here on the other side of the equator.

Elder Farmer

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lima, Peru MTC

October 6, 2011

Hola! Buenos dias!

I am officially in the southern hemisphere. All the traveling was smooth sailing. We had to meet at the travel office at 5:00 am, hopped on the plane at 8:00 and landed in Atlanta by 12:30, but 2:30 E.T. We walked towards our gate and decided to stop off at some pay phones. I only managed to call Mom and planned on calling more after getting some food. In the panda express line a lady approached us with a huge smile. Turns out she was born in Venezuela and was converted in Washington, D.C in the 90´s. She bought me and another Elders food (Elder Wright who just got his flight plans on Monday, and who I knew from BYU-I) and then shared her conversion story with us. She told us about how she felt the spirit and that you don’t need to know the language perfectly, as long as you look the people in the eye and talk with sincerity and have the Holy Ghost. We even practiced some horrible gringo Spanish on her. After 30 minutes or so we headed down to the gate where they were already boarding at 3:45. We scarfed down as much food as we can, but then assuming I had time to spare I went over to a pay phone and gave Mom another call (I had no time to look in my back pack for other numbers). When I got back to the gate they were all frantically trying to hurry us on board, and I almost missed the flight! Phew. The flight was long but we were spoiled and they served a couple snacks and a meal and plenty of drinks. We talked to a really nice guy next to us who lived in Lima but was visiting his kids who go to college in South Carolina. He only spoke Spanish and we talked to him off and on and even a little bit about what we would be preaching. The older folks here talk really low and mumble, its ridiculous. But it’s still fun. We landed at 10:30 Peru time after a 7 hour flight, and the airport was packed. We found our bus driver and headed out. The streets were packed and people drive INSANE here... The weather is perfect - a mild 65 degrees with breeze and light humidity. But it’s going to start getting hotter. I got into my room at 12:45. There are 2 North Americans in one room and two latinos. My latino companion is Elder Parra from Columbia. He just arrived yesterday too with another Columbian. It is their first day so they’ve been in meetings all day. I’ll spend a lot of time with my North American companion, Elder Woodburn, because latines and americans have separate classes.

Life should be good here. I’m excited to start picking up more of the language. I was put with a district that has been out 6 weeks as well, but they all got their Visas at the scheduled time. So they’ve been here for 3 weeks. They’re all really cool guys. The food is mas o menos. They serve chicken and rice every meal apparently. There are 3 big buildings here. Administration, rooming, and then the cafeteria and computer lab. Next Wednesday is our p-day so I’ll email then. We get to go to the temple and then go shopping at some stores. I’m excited to get a Peruvian soccer jersey and everyone always looks forward to stuffing their face with as much sweets and other food as they can before they have to return to chicken and rice.

But, all is well. I´m just happy to be out here and to have reached this next chapter in the mission. The next four months will be all about tackling the language barrier. We´ll see how I am by Christmas. Dearelders don't come here too often, so I’ll most likely just see your e-mails.

Time is up. Hope all is well

Love from Peru, Elder Farmer

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Semana 5

September 28, 2011

Hola Familia,

Hope you're enjoying the pictures. Notice the light saber pictures. Pretty cool that the MTC would provide such things, huh? The tall, tall guy is Elder Duda - definitely the best friend I've got here. He's legit. The other good friend is Elder Bartlett.

Exciting news this week! The Lord has definitely been dishing out blessings to me. Friday, I got my VISA! There was a note in the mail saying to visit the travel offices ASAP. It was an overwhelming feeling thinking that it finally came. I've heard of people having less than 12 hour notice too, so I was mentally preparing myself to leave the next morning. Luckily, I found out that I don't leave until October 5th so I’ve got some time to mentally prepare and spend more time with the district.

Friday night Elder Duda was talking to someone in line in the cafeteria. They were talking about how 40 Visa's have made progress but only ONE guy has gotten word. That lucky guy is Me. Only downside is I'm traveling solo. I have to be at the travel offices of the MTC by 5:00 Wednesday morning. I fly out of SLC at 8:30 and land in Atlanta Georgia at 2:20. I then fly out of there at 4:40 and land in Lima, Peru at 10:30 p.m. So I think I'll actually be landing at 12:30 a.m. Peru time. It was definitely an answer to my prayers. Then, on Sunday, I was assigned to District Leader. I hadn't had the chance to tell any of the branch presidency about my flight plans so I told them that I only had 10 days left at that point. The 2nd counselor (who is AWESOME by the way – a former mission president in Chile) was a little hesitant at first but that assured me that a call is a call and the Lord had a purpose no matter the time restraint. So I quickly dove in to leading the district.

Man, the spirit here is nuts. One is music. It's amazing how you're away from music for a while and are so desperate for the spirit that once you get to hear an awesome hymn or anything you just get all giddy. At devotional and stuff it's funny when they announce what song we'll be singing for preludes and there's a big buzz of excitement over a hymn! But it's good. And, there is a Sister in the district that just pounds those ivories. We'll go find a piano after meals sometimes and one day she played Clair de Lune, which is what I listened to pretty much every night at BYU-I, and it was awesome. Two is just the study time. I started marking up my scriptures quite a bit more. I’m always finding myself going crazy over an awesome scripture (Alma 8:7 - I think). Just in general, the spirit has been powerful this past week.

Conference this weekend should be a great way to spend my last few days with the district. Look for a new General Authority speaking on the Saturday morning session. He's from Mexico and just so happened to sit next to us at a meal one night. Another gentlemen that was with him told us the news and so we turned to the new GA and congratulated him and greeted him. We're all stoked for it because, of course, as missionaries we're always anxious for more spiritual things to feast on.

We did a temple session today and when we got out, families of new incoming missionaries were everywhere taking pictures. It's weird thinking that 5 weeks ago I was doing the same thing with Brandon, Jaclyn, Mare, and Scott. Every time I see these anxious families dropping off their kids it takes me way back to when I was just a new missionary. Oh wait... I'm only 5 weeks in. I know I’m still a noob, but it is amazing to see how much better I am at Spanish and how far I’ve already come. And now in just 7 days I'll be off to the Peru MTC and then 19 days after that leaving to the field. The next time I write a big letter with probably be from Peru! Exciting.

Hope all is well for everybody!

Love, Elder Farmer

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Semana 4

Family: It will be one month on Saturday. Crazy. Today was another great week and it flew by.

Last Thursday the dearelders were back up again and I got 11 letters. ELEVEN. It feels so good hearing from people. I've got a lot of writing to do today though.

The barbershop rocks here. NOT. I went to get my haircut on Monday and told the lady, "I usually do a 7 on top, 5 on the sides or 6 on top and 4 on the sides. They usually do it with scissors but whatever is easier for you." Without any clarification the lady just started going like the Tasmanian devil. She started blasting off the sides and I thought it looked super short but I just didn't say anything. 4 minutes and 33 seconds later (not the actual time) I was left with a buzz cut - practically. My hair has not been this short since 6th grade. It's probably about 3/4's a centimeter in length and then even shorter on the sides. Everyone in the district had quite a laugh at it. But seriously, how do you mess up so bad?! I even said at the end jokingly, "So what if I were to say I want it longer?" "Well then that's your fault." Pff! But it turns out my head actually has a nice shape and it's not that bad, I guess. On the bright side, I won't need a haircut for 4 months.

Last night we heard from Elder Russel M. Nelson. It was a unique devotional that was more of a MTC wide discussion and learning experience rather than a magnificent edifying feeling that happened after Holland.

Still no word on the Visas. Apparently Peru got a new government in July so it will be heavily affecting missionaries in August and September. I’m thinking I’m going to just finish my training here but I want so badly to experience the Peru MTC. Either was that’s God’s plan. Me and my great friend Elder Duda tell everyone everyday that we love the MTC. My teachers are bomb and a great example.

It’s hard to tell you everything but hopefully you all get a taste for what I’m doing and feeling. I love this work and I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. I look forward to getting started in Peru and helping establish hope through faith in the Savior. This last week I took a lot of time to ponder and study prayer. It’s real and available to everyone. If we could just get the world to pray, a lot of pain would go away. Personal revelation and a real relationship with God is available through prayer.

Love you all, Thanks for the love and support that keeps me going.

Elder Farmer

(I also forgot to mention that on Saturday we went outside for gym and could clearly hear the stadium cheering for the Utah vs BYU game. But in the end I don't think we missed much.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Week 3 - September 14, 2011

Hola Familia,

Another solid week. Here are the highlights:

. . . Sunday night’s fireside was quite special. President Brown did a surprise commemoration for 9/11 and we watched a short clip of the events that took place that day, and then watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance that Tom Brokaw narrated. I was excited because I saw that that event was happening from an ad on the home page and was upset I'd have to miss it. But I didn't have to. It was a little weird watching the clips though after watching "Loose Change". It still was a terrible tragedy though and something only this country could recover from so quickly. I can only imagine the amount of TV and news that was devoted to 9/11. Ten years! Crazy. And I'll be gone for 1/5 that amount.

There is still no word on my visa. One sister in my district got hers and left this morning. She got to call her family because she found out 4 days ago. There are a LOT of Peru missionaries here and some have been here for 6 weeks with no visa yet, some are leaving as scheduled. It just seems to be the luck of the draw. But I know that Heavenly Father is keeping me around for a reason. Class is going really well. Our district gets along great with the teachers and they are both amazing. One is Brother Zimmermen who is like 24, and the other is Sister McEwen, who has been back for 7 weeks and served in New York. They're both very passionate about the language and the mission (just like every missionary i suppose) and do a great job teaching. . .

Last night we were spoiled with another apostle. M. Russell Ballard talked at devotional about a lot of awesome stuff. One awesome thing he said was a quote by Joseph Smith, "Round up your shoulders and bear it, always sustain and defend the church, and the Kingdom of God." He also talked about always focusing on the atonement and striving to be more like Christ. I'm always left with a comforting feeling after hearing an apostle because the emphasize how important us missionaries are to the church. I have so many people that have my back - Heavenly Father, the apostles and First Presidency, family and friends. I think about the bungee jumping analogy a lot.

But, the days are really flying by. Apparently we were one of the first Spanish groups to test out some new program. They've redone it a little where now we are given three red books with a new style of teaching Spanish, and in the future they hope to send out Spanish missionaries in 5 weeks! As much as I know, I wouldn't be completely against just going out now, but it's nice knowing I've still got a whopping 6 weeks left to enjoy the mtc and practice more and more. . .

Love you all. I'm loving life, and all the people I'm serving with.
Elder Farmer

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 7, 2011

Hey family!

First, some news. I got an update in the mail yesterday that said, "We have not received your visa clearance and you will be unable to travel to Peru on your scheduled departure date," which was supposed to be Sept. 14th. "You will remain at the MTC and continue your training until your visa comes. We will let you know when you will travel." Apparently there are some elders here that have been here for 6 weeks waiting for there visas. So you never know what could happen. I am not heartbroken though, because I love everyone in my district. If we learned as much as we laughed I'm sure we'd be fluent by now. So if staying here for a little longer is what God wants that so be it. I would appreciate the prayers though that my visa will make it soon. Although it would be tough to say goodbye, I know the Peru mtc would be an awesome experience and give me an advantage with the language.

We got two more investigators this week (our teachers playing the part of an actual investigator that they had on there missions). The big focus in missionary work today is teaching people, not lessons; which is why they introduced Preach My Gospel - to give the missionary more options and flexibility. That aspect might just be harder than the language, or just as hard. We taught one investigator for 40 minutes, trying to explain the atonement and help him understand that Christ is the way and that he did everything for us. But we did nothing to get to know him as a person. So that's what I'll be working on the most this next week. Developing skills within spanish that let the person know I care for them and want to get to know them - not just shove a 40 minute lesson down there throat and leave. Everyone has a need for the gospel; it's just about finding the best way to show them Gods love and plan for them.

We've now covered imperfect, preterit, and I forget what the third one is called, but the 'ing' form of spanish (brandon and justin will know what i'm talking about). We've learning subjunctive next which is what Justin told me to pay particular attention to and to not become one of the missionaries that never uses it. It's very interesting how spanish lessons are structured. Rather than spend a lot of time explaining simple spanish concepts, they just jump right in to teaching you how to pray, testify, and explain the gospel. Then from that, you learn some of the patterns and concepts and begin to branch out. It's nothing like high school where they spend two weeks teaching you how to describe the weather, and so on.... So learning the language through the gospel is definitely the best way to learn.

We get to go to the temple every P-day, and then go on temple walks every Sunday in between meetings.

One other quick highlight from the week - for some reason the Orange juice here has gotten a repuation for being a laxative. I got it the first day to get over my cold and the other elders advised me to stop unless i wanted to spend my day on the john. So, I decided to start of little competition and test the theory and 5 of us drank two full glasses of the potent OJ. You should have seen peoples faces as we walked by them with OJ on our trays. haha. First to "go" would lose. Turns out, we busted that myth and the OJ is safe to drink. Haha. It's just weird, fun little things like that that keep the day interesting and going.

Thanks for all the letters. There was no mail on Monday because of the holiday, so I was really hoping for some mail to read and it happened. One elder has gotten like 25 letters since being here - more than half being from his girlfriend - so it's nice getting some every once in a while. I even heard from Shivani and David, which was really awesome. Dont hesitate to just send sports updates, politics, other news, short messages, etc... It's weird to think i've been in the same square 1/4 mile for two weeks, but at the same time i don't really have a longing to be back in the real world. it's weird. I'm where i am supposed to me and want to be. There was a talk last night at devo by Elder Jenson of the seventy about the process of missionary work and the revelation and inspiration that has gone into it. it's comforting to know that I'm part of a truly extraordinary and grand work. Life is good.

Love you all,

Elder Farmer

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First E-Mail - Recieved August 31

From: Elder Ryan Farmer
Wed. August 31, 2011 10:03 AM

Hello fam!

Sorry it has taken so long to write but it is finally my p-day (every Wednesday). This e-mail is going to be a huge ramble, because I don't even know what to talk about... so prepare yourself and try to keep up.

Pretty much, life is good. And my experience thus far has been nothing short of amazing. It's funny, because the first 3 days you're here, every missionary (even the ones that have only been here 1 week) tell you, "It's okay, things get much better," as if we're supposed to feel like killing ourselves. And all I could think of was, "Okay great, but I seriously feel fine." Haha. I'm in district 40 E. We have four sister missionaries, two are coming to Piura with me and my companion, Elder Miller, and the two others to Minnesota. Three Elders are going to Guadalajara, 1 to New York, and 2 to Odgen, Utah. It didn't take long to get comfortable around each other. Pretty much all we do is quote movies, a favorite being Nacho Libre. I really lucked out because everyone is super cool.

The first 3 or 4 days it was really hard to get out of bed, but it's getting easier. I wake up at 6:30, get ready and study until 7:30 when we head to breakfast. We have 6 hours of class per day, 1 hour of personal study, 1 hour of language study, gym, TALL (a computer program that helps you learn Spanish), and then either a workshop or service assignment. Sunday was the best because we finally got to take a break from the language and just concentrate on reading the scriptures or just relaxing and getting talked to. The Sunday fireside was awesome. At the end we did a special number that the presidents wife kind of came up with. We don't do it a lot, so we were lucky to get to do it our first week here. Everyone sings Called to Serve and we act as though we are marching far away and slowly get closer. For the first verse we sing very soft, the next verse medium, the last one loud, and then we all stand up at "called to serve OUR king" and practically scream the last verse. It gave me insane chills. It was incredible. I also met up with Elder Fairchild after that and got a picture because he flew to Honduras on Monday night. We talked about post mission BYU-I and how we'll know the language and play soccer all the time.

We've taught two separate investigators twice already... in Spanish. It's actually not too bad because we of course know that they are just pretending and it's all for the experience. But wow, it is so painful trying to get a message across with 1 weeks worth of Spanish. My companion is pretty quiet and not too confident, but we really do work great together and there have been times when we just get so in sync with the spirit. Yesterday we taught our investigator on the Holy Ghost, because we challenged her to pray for it's guidance but she didn't know what it was. It sounds cheesy, but that's when I really noticed the gift of tongues and I was able to say everything that I wanted to - sometimes even without a 3 second pause in between each word. Spanish is tough, but I'm already loving it. There are two elders that already know a lot, so they're a great help. I just wish learning a language came without the pure mental exhaustion headache that comes every once in a while.

Lastly, yesterday was the best day yet. 1, we were pros by then and are no longer the "noobs". 2, devotional. They never release who the speaker is, but everyone was really hoping for an apostle. About 10 minutes before it started, a guy announced that out of respect you always stand for a member of the 12 and first presidency. There was an insane buzz in the room wondering who it could be. And then out walked Elder Holland 5 minutes later. He was amazing. He talks with such power and yet love. He spoke for an hour and 20 minutes and it felt like 5. The last 45 minutes he took questions from the audience like, "What is the most important think Christ wants us to know right now?". His answer: that he told the truth. It was so powerful and motivated me so much. I wish I could just tell you everything he said.

But, times up fam.
I love you guys and really appreciate the letters. Always use DearElder because nothing feels better then getting a letter at the end of the day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Letter - Received Tuesday, August 30

Branch President – President Mortensen
1st Counselor – Brother Evans
2nd Counselor – Brother Russon

My Companions Name is Elder Miller
He is from South Jordan, Utah


This place is awesome. I already feel right at home. The spirit is powerful and I am in good hands. The goodbye at the curb was actually quite painless and I even ran into Elder Fairchild within the first 5 minutes. There are 12 in my district and everyone is really sincere in being here and are all really chill, cool people. 3 are going to Justin’s mission, 1 is going to New York City, 2 sisters to Minnesota, 2 sisters are going to Peru with me and my comp, and 2 are going to Ogden. 386 missionaries came to the MTC on Wednesday and a LOT are going to Peru. I know I have a lot more to learn but I actually feel very prepared as far as the gospel. When you think about it though, it really is quite simple. Heavenly Father loves us, so He sent his Son to atone for us and show us the way, through love for the Savior we can live righteously and live as families forever. Boom.
On Friday we have to teach an investigator in Spanish. Yep. Already. It will be a great experience though. I’m already loving the work. I love you all. My p-day is not until Wednesday, but I should have pictures to send by then. Talk to you more then. Love, Elder Farmer
P.S. I laugh at how EVERYONE we meet dishes out so much wisdom and advice. Even those who got here last week…C-mon guys, we are all noobs here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011