Monday, July 9, 2012

July 2 and July 9

July 2
 Elder Pereyra, President & Sister Chipman, Elder Farmer

Training is awesome so far.  Really.  The mission is so enjoyable when you have a companion that really wants to work and you can make the calls. My companion is Elder Pereyra from Huankayo, Peru. He’s 20 years old and super short. At the transfers meeting, President took advantage and invited practically the whole mission to make it his farewell. He and his wife shared a lot testimonies and gave some good advice and then said bye, one by one. President Chipman flew home on Saturday at 9 in the morning and the new President took control. We still haven’t heard anything from him but we’re pretty sure he’s in the mission home getting to work. 

Its fun being a trainer and its really forcing me to dedicate myself more to the work. I now have more desire than ever to teach and have good numbers. We are waking up on time, having our companionship studies, leaving at the right time in the afternoon, and really concentrating on teaching with the spirit. We also baptized Edu yesterday!  (The 18 year old that we found a month and a half ago that really has great desires to change his life.)  And, many other investigators are making great strides. I have so much desire to help these people become members of the church and have a really a great relationship with all of them. Aracely and Wilder should finally be getting married on the 14th because the relief society did a fundraiser and we finally have money. Clara Torres is another that is progressing great and has such a big heart. Really, family, the mission is the greatest when you can just focus on the people and ¨lose yourself¨. 

President Chipman and Sister Chipman are going to have a meeting for all the family members of missionaries here in Piura and RM´s that they got to know here.  It’s going to be in Utah in a church building in Salt Lake City on July 15th. I don’t have the address right now but I’ll send it soon. Brandon and Jaclyn and maybe even Scott should definitely try and go! I told President Chipman that he will recognize my brother right away because he looks just like me, only taller. Hope all is well family. Enjoy the heat!

July 9 (Trip to Catecaus)

Things have been going well here training. Me and Elder Pereyra get along really well and he is very enthusiastic and willing to learn. I’m learning a lot personally too and we are doing a lot of great things. This week we found a family of 3 very prepared to accept the gospel. Alejandra, 34, and her two sons Fernando, 15, and Brando, 12. They have been struggling as a family to stay unified and we were able to enter their lives at just the right moment. The only difficulty is that they are looking for another house because the renter asked them to move and we are hoping they find one inside our area. Pray on their behalf, please! We are also finalizing the last details of the wedding of Wilder and Aracely. The relief society did a fundraiser a week and a half ago but still don’t have any of the money that people owe them. But, once we get it, we’ll be able to marry them in no time. They are also a couple very willing to change their lives and I have grown to love them quite a bit. We have other young kids that are also progressing and just about to be baptized. Every change I’ve had here has started out with HUGE potential. I’m hoping that this one can actually end well with all of the baptisms that we have possible.
On Thursday we met the new president and his wife.  President Rowley still remembers quite a bit of Spanish from when he served in Argentina, but Sister Rowley has forgotten the majority after serving in Columbia many moons ago. They are a couple from Nephi, Utah.

Elder Farmer shopping in Catecaus
Today we went to Catecaus and I went a little crazy buying stuff for the parents. One thing that I bought was an original painting by a very cool guy that has a gallery there. I’ve entered 3 or 4 times before but never left when anything. I would just go and talk to the guy and observe his amazing art. But this time I walked away with one. I’m including a picture and the one that he is holding is the one I bought. There was another one that I wanted but decided to go for one a little more basic (the one of the Peruvian Indian).  I also got measured up to get a suit made. A brother from another ward makes suits at a great price and I figured I’d take advantage of it and get myself a fitted suit.
But, life is good out here family. Love you all!
Elder Farmer


Peruvian Tan...
The view...
"We'll bring the world His truth!"

June 2012

June 4, 2012  The mission is truly enjoyable when you are working hard and can visibly see the blessings of the Lord through baptisms. For that very reason, this last week was a bit tough. ha. We started off very strong on Tuesday, but little by little we taught less and less people each day. This is one part of the mission where I feel like we´ve got to reevaluate our strategy and mindset and get going big this week. We need to find new people to teach! On Thursday Elder Salmon went to Lima to get his eye checked out. If you reference to the emails from february, you´ll remember that when I was with Elder Salmon in Lopez we went to the doctor three times to get his eye checked. Anywho, its still red and inflamed so he went to Lima for 24 hours to get it looked at by a specialist. So, i spent the day with the pensionistas son, Franco, who just got back from his mission 2 weeks ago.
It looks as though once again, the wedding of Wilder and Aracely is going to fall through. The wedding is going to cost 180 soles/about 75 dollars and they still have not been able to save up the money along with all the necessary forms. They are supposed to get married on staruday and get baptized on Sunday but we`ll see. There is still a lot of hope for this month, but every person progresses so slowly and requires so much attention. It´s like a big puzzle trying to find them all, teach them all, and help all of them understand the truthfulness of our message.

June 11, 2012  …Anywho,   Esta semana fue muy dura. Estamos luchando cada dia a encontrar nuevas personas para enseñar. Tipicamente la gente aca en Piura nos recibe al toque, pero recien, no hemos tenido ningun exito tocando puertas. El barrio tampoco esta apoyandonos con referencias o actividades, pero vamos a esforsarnos mas en estas ultimas semenas para ensegurar que se envelocran en la obra. Tenemos un nuevo lider misional y muchos planes para mejorar el barrio. La iglesia aca en Sudamerica es muy diferente en cuanto a como se funciona. Extraño la iglesia en los estados pero tal vez solo me siento asi porque veo las casas diferente ahora que soy misionero. Este cambio solo tiene 5 semanas en vez de 6 porque el nuevo presidente esta por llegar y no quiren que el tenga que hacer los cambios. Entonces, el proximos cambio va a tener 7 semanas y el nuevo presidente llegarà en la segunda semana. Muy cortito el cambio y todavio no hemos tenido un bautismo, pero esperamos que una joven se bautize el domingo. Ojala.
Bueno, gracias hablantes españoles por traducir esto a sus esposas. Ahora, algien por favor ayuda a los padres para que entiendan tambien. Me falta aprender y perfeccionar mucho del español pero, por ahi estamos.  Cuidense.   Les quiero mucho. Que tengan una buena semana.

English Translation by Justin:
June 11, 2012. . .Anyway,  this week was very difficult.  We are struggling every day to find new people to teach.  Typically the people here is Piura will receive us when we knock, but lately we haven't had any luck knocking doors.  The ward isn't supporting us with references or activities either, but we are going to make an effort in these final weeks to make sure that we "something" in the work.  We have a new mission leader and many plans to better the ward.  The church here in South America is very different when it comes to how it functions.  I miss the church in the states but maybe I feel this way because I see things differently now that I am a missionary.  This transfer will only have 5 weeks in it instead of 6 because the new mission president is going to arrive and they don't want him to have to handle the transfers.  Thus, the next transfer will have 7 weeks in it and the new mission president will arrive during the second week.  It is a very short transfer and we still haven't had a baptism but we are hoping that a youth gets baptized this Sunday.  Hopefully.  Well, thanks Spanish speakers for translating this for your wives.  Now, something please help our parents to understand this too.  I still have a lot to learn and a lot of perfecting to do with my Spanish, but there we are. Take care of yourselves.
June 11, 2012  Mom and Dad,    It sounds like it was a wonderful week with the family. I was thinking about you all every day and imagining what activities you must have been doing in that moment. You should have brought the slip and slide here because even though we are now in winter, there is plenty of heat during the day. Thanks for including me in your toast dad.  That was very special to hear about. The whole day sounds like it went quite well with all the visits from old friends, family, and a beautiful luncheon.   I miss you all tons and being able to relax at Scotts or go and see the animals at the Savages, but I wouldn´t want to be anywhere else but here at this point in my life.  Every day is a challenge but also a learning experience for when I’m a husband or father.  I feel the love of my heavenly father more than ever as a missionary and I see the people in a completely different light now that every second is devoted to sharing this gospel.  How amazing is it that the apostasy is over and that God has given us his power and authority again in the earth do perform is work. The restoration is real and I testify of that. It was a tough week and we are struggling to find new people, but we have plans to get the ward more involved in the work and have a select few investigators that have a lot of potential.
 June 19, 2012
This week was an improvement. We had a baptism! It was the fourth time that I personally have gotten the old chest wet in the sin filled waters of another person. Diana, the daughter of Wilder and Aracely, got baptized yesterday on Sunday.  We’ve now been teaching them for about 12 weeks and even still, their understanding of the restoration and the gospel is very minimal, but the Lord has a way of preparing the people if they are willing to exercise the faith. The ward is planning an activity to try and help Aracely and Wilder raise money to get married on the June 29th.  There are many others that have almost received a testimony, but they don’t keep their commitments.  
We now only have one week left of the transfer.  I’m praying that I can stay in this area. I don’t want to leave behind so many people that are just about to progress or be baptized. And I want to see the ward progress as well.
On Friday we had a huge activity that the President and his wife planned with three stakes. Piura, Miraflores, and Castilla. It was a music themed activity and every zone presented a song. There were other performances and testimonies and we ended the night by singing a song called Faith in every step, with about 100 missionaries from 5 different zones. It was great because after the activity, all the families that I got to know in Lopez Albujar were there and I got to talk to them for a bit. In January we baptized Diego and Yieko, two brothers who have parents that are inactive. On Friday, the whole family was there and told us that the two younger kids, ages 9 and 8, are going to get baptized on Saturday. Lopez Albujar is baptizing quite a bit and many of them are family members of the people that I baptized with Elder Iribar.  It was an enjoyable week but the ward still needs a lot of work.
 June 25, 2012   Re:  I’m Pregnant
I´m going to be a dad! haha. At 10 months out.  I got a call yesterday from our zone leader saying, ¨I have good news, you`re going to train¨. So last night I went to the mission office to get trained to be a trainer by the assistants and the president. There are 6 new missionaries arriving from the CCM tonight, and tomorrow in the main transfer meeting, they`ll announce the companionships.   So I will be in Ramon Castilla until October because training is an automatic 2 transfers and due to the new president coming in, I´ll have 13 weeks of training instead of the typical 12.   It´s going to be a very interesting first week. I just need to remember in every second how I felt when I was new.
We should be having a baptism next sunday if all goes well. On Friday, a foundation out of Utah called Cause for Improvement ((or something like that) came through Piura. They have been in Peru for the last week and will be making their way down the map for the next month giving out free glasses. The Lions Club, which is also a group out of Utah, has various members throughout the world and they were responsible for giving certain people tickets to this charity event.  I went with 5 other elders to translate. They have 40 suitcases filled with donated glasses and a specific process of filing through the people and giving them glasses that fit their eyes. I was put at the last station where we raise awareness and check for something called Carnosidad. Look it up.  Its pretty much just a sun disease that causes nasty spots to form in your eyes and then you go practically blind. It’s a problem here because we are so close to the equator and people don’t wear sunglasses. It was a fun experience being able to talk to Americans again but i realized how extremely awkward it is to have a conversation in English. We were there from 8 in the morning until 3 helping out. About 10 of the 15 were members.  This week the relief society is putting on a fundraiser to raise money for Wilder and Aracely so that they can get married. Then later on they`ll get baptized - Aracely for sure, and wilder if he can stop going to the bottle.  It’ll be fun having two more changes here in Ramon Castilla being able to train.

May 2012

May 7, 2012  
I am getting fat.  Alright, not really, but you’d be surprised as to how much we eat. I’m a little ashamed to say it, knowing how poorly Justin ate in Mexico with delicious cow stomach tacos, and Brandon losing about 25 pounds in Ecuador, but it’s true. It is a huge blessing to have a pensionista that gives us 3 meals a day and great members that feed us lunch on the weekends.  One thing you need to understand is that here, if there isn’t rice, it’s not a meal. They eat rice at least once a day with lunch and sometimes for dinner as well. The members always give us an unhumanly mound of rice and other stuff. I guess you could say I am getting a little bit of a gut.
Good news this week... we had a baptism! There is an investigator named Jesus that was supposed to get baptized my first week here but he suddenly started working a ridiculous amount and we couldn’t find him until two Saturdays ago. He still had the desire to get baptized so we talked with him again throughout the week and baptized him on Sunday.  It was great for us to finally get a baptism in this transfer. It is very fun to testify everyday that, because God loves us, he has put prophets and apostles back on the earth, along with the power, authority, and truth that we need to return to his presence. Spanish is good. Some days I feel like a pro, whereas in other moments I can still feel quite green. My companion says I speak well, I just need to work on the little things - the articles of la, lo and el for example. 
May 14     It was nice to see your faces and be able to talk to all of you. It was especially amazing to be able to see the view from the deck and remember sitting at the table, eating a nice steak on those Sunday afternoons with the family. You all look quite well and I am motivated to work hard every time I hear of the successes and happiness you are having. As you all know it is the last week of the transfer and we will be praying hard so that Walter, Hunberto, Hansel, and Ronald can get baptized on Saturday.  We’ll also be doing plenty of knocking so that we find investigators for the upcoming transfer.
May 21      We ended the change pretty well with one baptism this weekend. Walter is a 16 year old who has 2 friends that are members. He’s been attending church ever since I got here and even seminary at 6 in the morning for the past 3 weeks. He’s a real solid kid who has great desires.

This last week we had a district service project and helped our pensionista paint her house. We were there for 4 hours in the morning trying to paint every wall white, sweating gallons. But it was fun to be with the other elders from the district and have some laughs.
In other news, Elder Saavedra is getting transferred. We were pretty set on having another opportunity to work together and baptize those that didn’t get baptized this change.  Tomorrow I will receive a new companion.  The start of a new transfer is always an interesting feeling. There is a lot of encouragement that comes from having the opportunity to improve on things you’ve been slacking on and having 6 fresh weeks ahead.

May 28
Monday night Elder Saavedra said all of his goodbyes.   He looked at me and said `you better work your tail of too. Don’t blow it’.   I was ready and excited for the challenge.  At the beginning of the transfer meeting I saw all my past companions, one of which being Elder Salmon.  I was with him in Lopez Albujar for one transfer and I taught him the area. While I left and went to Sechura, then came to Ramon Castilla, he stayed in Lopez.  So anywho, president started announcing the changes. ` in the zone of Castilla, Elder salmon will be returning to work with - because they didn’t do it right the first time (laughter) - Elder Farmer in Ramon Castilla``. woah! It was a big surprise.  Having the same companion twice doesn’t happen often and it happened.  We already know each other and right away I told him we were going to work are tails off.   I commented to Justin how some nights you walk back to the apartment feeling great because people listened to you and respected you, but last Friday was a tough day because we lost various golden investigators.  I was feeling pretty down and wondering why those kind of days happen when my hopes and attitude is so high.  I opened the bible and randomly turned to Mathew 10.  It was an incredible motivation and testimony builder on the scriptures.  It is when Christ authorizes his apostles and instructs them on there missions.  I invite you all to read it and compare it to you personal lives.