Friday, March 23, 2012

March 6 - March 19

March 6

Tuesday morning all the people that received changes and their companions met in the stake center of Piura Central. My new area is Sechura, the southern most area of the mission. It is about 1 hour and 15 minutes in bus. The next area is about 35 minutes from us and then they are another 40 from Piura. Sechura is a pretty cool town. We’re 6 minutes from the ocean and so there are big wooden fishing boats in front of the majority of the houses that they have built themselves. The sun is stronger here and its a bit more dry. There are 4 missionaries here in total and our areas are gigantic. Sechura is also only a branch and has church in a casa capilla, aka a big building that has different rooms that we use as needed. Sechura is known as a very difficult area. There are only about 60 members that attend on a consistent basis, and very few baptisms happen here. My companion is Elder Young.

We had interviews with the President on Friday and he expressed a lot of confidence and trust in me. He said that he put me here to strengthen this branch and help prepare it to one day be a strong area. The branch president is a very cool guy and there are some great youth that will be fun to work with.

March 12

Things are still going slow as far as the work goes due to a trunky companion, but this week was made great by one event alone; the baptism of a 19 year old named Carlos. He’s only got about 1 month knowing the church. He attended church with a friend one Sunday, then played soccer with the missionaries and members on a Monday about 3 weeks ago and from then on he’s had the desire to get baptized. The next step was just giving him the lessons and he was set. This weekend was Stake Conference so on Saturday we took a van down to Piura (where the stake center is) with about 8 young men and Carlos. On Sunday we had the baptism at 12:30 after the general session. More of the branch was able to attend this way, and even President Chipman and his wife came! They spoke at the conference so afterwards we invited them to join us and they did. I’ve never felt the spirit so strongly in a baptism. I was able to conduct, the president gave a brief message, and there was a reverence throughout the whole meeting that was quite moving. Carlos also bore a very powerful testimony. So it was a great weekend. A seventy visited the conference (Elder Pino) along with an area seventy and gave some great messages. I feel motivated to not only find more people to teach, but help the branch president strengthen the members and branch as a whole. I need to remember that it is still MY mission, and what I do in my free time to be productive is up to me.

March 19

It was a fairly good week. We placed a baptismal date for a 23 year old named Edwyn. He’s got great intentions and we hope he can keep progressing and get baptized in two weeks. On Sunday, the president of the branch was unable to attend church, so the first counselor was left in charge of directing the meetings. No one had been assigned talks so 5 minutes before sacrament meeting he said, Hey Elder Young, can you and your companion give 10 minute talks? Thanks. Haha. I talked on humility and was able to use various scriptures to deliver a message. Afterwards I was actually grateful for that opportunity. This is a tough area and branch that is going to stretch me a lot in situations like this and help me grow. The branch here continues to struggle. I’d say about 45 people attended church on Sunday. The Priesthood has about 8 solid men that attend. Sounds like this summer is going to be another busy one and it is just around the corner.

Love you all, P.S. this Saturday I complete 7 months. Woah.

February 2012

February 6

This week was good. We visited the grandma of Kiara and Luis and got her excited for a baptism and she came to realize the real importance of it. She’s 82 and is the type of lady that is just a super women. She has 10 kids and to this day is still full of energy. She was good and ready to be baptized on Sunday, but then decided she wanted to wait just one more week to be able to invite more of her family. She has a ton of grandkids that all live close, so I can definitely see more members of the Culquicondor family getting baptized in the future. Today we got permission to go to a popular place called Catacaus. It’s south of Piura where its actually really green and full of rice fields and cotton fields. It’s got a sweet market with lots of touristy stuff to send home and buy to remember the mission. I’m sending a picture of me and Elder Perero (from Ecuador) in sombreros. I feel comfortable, but there is still a LOT to learn as far as gospel and the language. I’m at the point now where I can communicate sufficiently, but there is still a lot to practice and learn. All that snow looks amazing. I’m sure after the mission I’ll be freezing because it gets up 95 when we’re out in the morning and its not TOO bad for me. Hope all is well up there in the North.

February 13

Hola Family: The rains came this week. Apparently February is the month of rainstorms for Piura. The first one came while I was writing you all a week ago, and it caused all of us to finally bust out umbrellas and waterproof jackets that we never thought we’d use. It’s funny because sometimes a little piece of a rainbow will come out for 20 minutes and the people go crazy. OOOOH how pretty, look! And I just can’t help but think of the full double rainbows that Colorado makes in our back yard. In other news, we got a little ahead of ourselves and did 3 service projects this week. On Wednesday we helped a member build a little fence for a garden in front of her house, then on Thursday in our white shirts and ties we ended up helping an investigator move dirt to the base of the walls outside of her house to prevent the rain from entering, and finally on Saturday all of us elders went and helped a member paint inside her house and move a bunch of stuff. We then scrambled to get everything ready for the baptism for Eva Culquicondor at 4:30. It was a great experience. She is very content and we started teaching one of her granddaughters in her house this week too. I`m really enjoying life here in Lopez Albujar. I know the members who are awesome, we’ve got great investigators, and having 4 other missionaries in the same ward is a blast. I’ve mentioned in the past that we teach a lot of unmarried people, and now this week we’ve seen great progress in three. Remember the 9 year old girl that we baptized in December? Well, we have been teaching the dad now for about 2 weeks. We just found out Saturday that he wants to get baptized and they’re in the process now of getting married so that he can!

February 20

Hello Family: I’ve recently lost my trust in all dogs that we pass by, because some dogs are just the devil here. But the simple act of picking up a rock shows them your serious and they scatter. It was a good week. I think I told you all last week about one man who wants to get married so that he could get baptized. This last week we tried really hard to get them married and figure out the papers necessary to get him baptized on Sunday, but at the last moment it didn’t work out. But, we have plans for them getting married on Friday and him getting baptized on either the same day, or Saturday or Sunday. It has been a beautiful thing watching this family grow. I´m enjoying the time we have with the investigators, but even more so the time with the members. There are some very wonderful people here that do a lot for us and it’s fun to just spend time with them talking and joking. Next week I will be able to tell you if I have another 6 weeks here or if I am changing to my second area. I do feel like my Spanish has excelled a lot in this change and I’m able to remember words a lot easier than in the start. Miss you all ton! Que Dios les bendiga. P.S. It is now the middle of summer. During language study at 2:00 it is 95 degrees in our room and the sun is a scorcher.

February 27

The news is, I’ll be changing areas tomorrow. The zone leaders announced it this morning that me, Elder Johnson, and Elder Perero will be leaving Lopez Albujar. – It’s not a surprise to anyone that I am leaving because I have the longest time here. I said a lot of goodbyes yesterday at church and will spend the night saying goodbye to my converts. It is a weird feeling knowing that I’ll have to get to know a whole new ward, area, zone, and companion, but I’m really excited at the opportunity.

We had the wedding of Juan Alberto on Friday in the chapel. The weddings here are very interesting. And by interesting I mean quite unromantic and nonspecial. A representative from the city comes with a bunch of papers, he reads some legal terms and stuff, then the couple signs a few papers, and they are announced husband and wife. Right afterwards we moved everyone into the room of the baptismal font and baptized Juan Alberto. It was a very happy moment for the family and I have been very blessed to see them transform into a unified family. Then, after wards, we had a mini party for us missionaries in the room. Me, Elder Johnson, and Elder Perero all completed 6 months so we got a cake, ordered hamburgers, and burned some ties. Then on Saturday, the ward had an activity that was a fulbito tournament (soccer). They invited us missionaries to play and we beat the young men. It was really fun. It’s tough to say goodbye to this ward because there are some really awesome people here that I got to know quite well but it is time to move on and see what else is in store.

I just got an email that announced the new President that will be coming in July. Chad and Lisa Rowley from Santaquin, Utah will be the new President and wife.