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