Sunday, September 16, 2012

August 2012

August 6
“Una semana muy normal‏” – A very normal week

This week was incredibly normal. The only interesting thing that happened was on Thursday when we had training in the mission home for trainers and trainees. There were about 12 companionships there and it was an opportunity to see how things are going for senior companions and the new missionaries. We then ate lunch and were given something similar to the roast mom makes on Sundays at home, and then ice cream. Food that you´ll only find in the mission home because the meat that they give us at members houses is barely even chewable.
Spanish is going great and I am now 95 percent fluent. I stumble every once in a while on how to ask a certain question or phrase a few things, but now I am starting to get a little worried about my English. I hope to really increase the amount of verbs I know in this last year and perfect it even more. We are now on the last week of the transfer.
Life is going well. The families here are wonderful and really make us feel at home. I’m working hard, but could be working harder. Story of our lives, right? There are always things we could be doing better. Thanks for the love and support family. Hope all is well.     Elder Farmer

 August 13

Transfers!  I´m staying in Ramon Castilla for my fourth transfer.  Two missionaries from the district are heading out, Elder Arestizabel, from Chile, who has been the DL here for four transfers, and Elder Manayay from Chicalayo who has been here for four transfers and just finished up training. Elder Arestizabel is a super good friend out here on the mission and in these last 3 changes being in the same district we´ve had a lot of good times. It’s tough seeing people leave because it´s likely we´ll only see each other at Christmas conferences from here on out.  Good times but changes are always necessary.
Today for p- day we ate lunch as the same house that we ate at last week. This time, however, we ate the famous dish of Piura, Ceviche. (Se-vee-chay). It´s a super odd looking meal but I´m sure Dad and the brothers would love it. It´s raw fish, but not really. You cut the fish into little tiny peices and then put it in a bowl with red onion, peppers, and another type of seafood called pota - im things its some sort of muscle. You´ll have to look it up. As a final step you throw in a ton of lemon juice which is so acidic that it turns the fish white as if it were cooked. Put in some tomatoes and wha-la. Scrumptious. Technically, we are not supposed to eat this meal as missionaries because the poor gringos get sick from the raw fish a lot, but.... just consider this my confession. So far my stomache feels fine and it was for a good causë: a goodbye lunch for elder Arestizabal.

Hope all is well out there family. Thanks for the emails! Even a short short hello is worth all the effort.
Love, Elder Ryan

August 20
Hump Week

It was a pretty low week but we worked hard. We hope to be able to baptize Clara Torres (who I met my second week here and has been progressing little by little), Alexandra (Fernando and Brandon’s mom), Hunberto (a 22 year old who was found by the missionaries in December), and Raul (a 19 year old whose brother is member and grandpa is a Piurano pioneer).
On Sunday we gave talks again. It was my fifth one here in the ward. I talked about a topic that was on my mind all week. On those days that we couldn’t find our investigators, we were at least finding 2 or 3 less actives to teach and it got me thinking about our faith. I recently realized that the first principle of the gospel goes way further than just having faith, but constantly cultivating it and making it grow. I don’t think that a single less active had plans to go inactive one just kind of happens.  So, how do we strengthen our faith and cultivate it even more? Simple. Keep the commandments. And hey, did you know that it’s a COMMANDMENT that we read the scriptures every day?  Alma 36:8 (or something like that) says that for small and simple things God works BIG miracles amongst the children of man. So, Im pretty sure that every less active would still be active in the church had they been reading their scriptures every day and therefore receiving the blessings of God to have more faith. But yeah, that was my message to the ward. I hope you all can think about that too. Where is your faith, and what can you do to make it even stronger?

This Friday I compete one year. It didn´t go by all that slow to be honest. Only one more year until I see you all again, but just like mom told me, one year to help even more people change their lives and have the blessings that OUR family has!

The family downstairs has a daughter that lives in LA and recently got her green card so she was able to come and visit after 6 years. On Tuesday she made us hamburgers. Real, American burgers. I could tell she paid a good price to get that quality of beef because frankly, I didn’t think it existed here. It was delicious.

Then today we went to Catecaus with the zone and I saw a sweet leather hat that I juts couldn’t pass up. It’s actually quite awesome and only cost 7 bucks. Woop.

As far as the ceviche that I ate last week.... I woke up on Tuesday with some serious stomache problems – live and learn  Love you all! Have a good week.        Elder Farmer

August 27
Falta uno‏  - Missing One

My hump day was... uneventful. The tradition amongst missionaries is burn a tie at 6 months and a shirt at 12 but i didn´t do it because I´m supposedly I´m just too practical for that. I’m not going to waste a shirt! Maybe I´ll burn a shirt right before heading home and then tell my kids that I burned it when I completed one year just for a good story, ha.
We focused a lot this week on the people that have baptismal dates. If all goes well, we will have 3 this coming Sunday. Clara Torres, Alexandra Valle, and Hunberto Anastacio, who I mentioned last Monday. Your prayers would be appreciated because even though they have progressed a lot and all have a sincere desire to get baptized.  Time is going by quite fast here in Ramon Castilla. It is weird to think that I got here way back in April. It does not seem like very long ago at all but here we are almost in September already. This coming Sunday is stake conference.

Me and my companion are getting along great and are trying to get better. Being in the mission for a year, I have developed a fear of the world. The temptations and challenges that we face are just too difficult. It is the most interesting thing to see someone 15-20 years older than us open up and tell us about all the things they have gone through and I can’t help but think what we would be or where we would be without the gospel? Fewf.

I hope all is well. Dont forget to pray. Thanks    Elder Farmer

July 16 - July 30, 2012

July 16 

One of the oddest experiences happened this week. On Saturday morning, we left to knock on doors and find new people to teach. We knocked the fifth door and a young girl, 15, with brown hair and dark skin opened the door. My companion started the conversation ¨hey we´re missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ, and we´d like to share a message with you if you have some time¨. She responded (in Spanish), ¨sorry I don’t speak Spanish very well because I’m from the United States¨. In that moment I thought she was being very sarcastic and that she was kidding. I thought she was just saying that because I was obviously gringo so I said (In Spanish), ¨oh well... maybe there is someone else in the house that could talk with us.¨ She called her brother and he come to the door and said ¨lo siento, no entendo muy bien. somos de estados unidos.¨ And it was in the moment that I realized she wasn’t kidding and they were in fact from the US. We then proceeded to have a 10 minute conversation. They were from California (brown hair and tan skin. They look like they could be from Peru) and come down every 2 years to visit their dad. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done to try and preach the gospel in English. I couldn’t think or say anything.  I felt ridiculous. I know Justin can relate after having a similar experience in Mexico. On Sunday I was able to tell the ward about the experience in my talk and got some big laughs.  I never thought I’d find to young Americans in the middle of Piura knocking doors.
Our numbers are getting better every week and we are improving as a companionship. Always being in the lead really gives you the opportunity to learn a lot about the work and about yourself. Yesterday in church we had 2 people come for the first 2 hours of church, then at the last moment just before the sacrament meeting 9 others showed up. I´ve never had 11 people in one sacrament meeting! It was a great thing to see and a big number. 
Finally, two random things. I can now whistle very loud. It’s pretty helpful when trying to flag down a moto-taxi. Also, Elder Pereyra taught me how to solve a Rubix cube. It’s pretty mind boggling.
Hope all is well,    Love, Ryan
 July 23
¨Loco mata 12 en colorado¨ (madman kills 12 in Colorado) 
On Saturday night we went and visited Wilder and Aracely and when we sat down Wilder said, ¨Wow Elder Farmer, you people from Colorado are crazy, huh?¨ It must have noticed that I was a little confused because he then said, ¨What you haven’t heard? Some crazy killed 12 people in a movie theater¨. They brought me the newspaper and showed me the article describing what happened in Denver, Colorado. I can’t tell you all how weird that was to see my hometown in the newspaper here in Peru. I’ve talked with a bunch of different people about the incident and everyone is pretty concerned at heartbroken at the world we live in.
It really is difficult to see how much some of the people out here struggle to provide for their families and put bread on the table because they live in such poverty and by bread I really do mean just bread.  I got a letter from the Culquicondor Family last week (I baptized Luis and Kiara and then their brother got baptized when I left Lopez albujar). The parents got married last Saturday and the baptism for them is going on as I write this letter.   I sure do miss all of you but the mission can be really fun.
Hope all is well!    Elder Farmer

July 30
Eramos cinco vestido en ropa blanca‏

(We were five dressed in white clothing)

What a great week. On Friday we were able to have the baptism of three young men: Fernando, his brother Brandon, and Boris. Fernando and Brandon are two kids that are very excited to be in the gospel and have found the true church. The other guy that baptized, Boris, has been coming to church for the last 3 months but we never baptized him because he really doesn’t live here.  He lives in an area without missionaries near the mountains and has a lot of friends in our ward so President Rowley gave us permission to baptize him. It was an exciting experience to have 5 of us dressed in white and I know it helped Elder Pereyra a lot as well. It was his first baptism of the mish.

I completed 11 months last Tuesday, on Friday we had the baptism and then I picked up my new suit (it turned out great. I just need some more formal shoes but it still looks nice), then today we played soccer with the young men and I sported the green wig that mom and dad sent me for Saint Patrick’s day.

Hope life is swell for ya´ll. The mission is great and I I’m happy to be here!
Elder Farmer

Fun Pictures

Mothers Day - May 2012  
Elder Farmer Skypes with Family in Colorado

New Mission President Chad Rowley