Machu Picchu

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Week 4 in CCM

[Editorial Note:  Connor is starting to settle into the email "conversation" mode of communication.  So apologies for the clunky email that follows -- but is mostly Mom and Dad asking questions and getting answers on maybe every OTHER one we ask about!  For example, when Mom asked how he liked doing his own laundry and whether or not he was brushing his teeth.  Didn't get an answer to that one!  Go figure.  So his emails today started off just letting us know he was online.  Oh and just a note to remind everyone that he is using a spanish keyboard and obviously can't find all the right punctuation marks!]

This week has been the longest week of my life. Last wednesday I woke up with the flu, and I think today is the best ive felt since then.
I only had the flu for a couple a days, but the sore throat remains.
Im just sending this one early to let you see that im on

[I was on a work call at the moment this first email came in -- so he did default to sending the email below.]

Okay this is the week 4 email,
I feel really good today healthwise, I struggled a lot with that over the past week.
After my flu passed after a couple of days, I thought i was getting better.
On saturday, we went proselytizing.
We went with an Elder named Elder Anderson. He has been out for 13 months and is in the Lima East mission. It was a really cool experience. We didnt really have a set plan on what to do, so we just went contacting the entire time. 

When we spoke to people, I pretty much mumbled what I knew how to say, and Elder Anderson did the rest.

After we were set up with Elder Anderson, we walked through the streets with TONS of cats and dogs until we got to a bus stop where we were picked up by this stick-shift bus who honestly makes it feel like he is TRYING to make you all fall over. We went like straight up hill up to these houses that are actually like carved into the mountain, because that is Elder Andersons area.
We rode in a mototaxi that day too, a little motorcylce with like a tent thrown on the back. Its crazy because it feels like its about to tip and they drive like maniacs.
I wish i could have taken pictures but they didn't allow us to for this day.

[Am a little bummed that he can't take pictures except for each P-day -- but that will change once he is out in Cusco.]

[We then asked him how the "adventure" went with a real missionary in Lima and if it was just him and Elder Anderson or if he went in a large group]

No, since there were tons of missionaries from the CCM and only like 20 from the field, it was me, elder frehner and elder anderson.
I understood some of the stuff that people said to elder anderson, but its a little bit too fast.
I can speak and they can understand me pretty well, but I am having a harder time understanding THEM.
We actually gave a 30 minute lesson or so to a guy right outside of his house, it was pretty cool.
My companion is still really struggling in spanish. I think they just teach you a lot of gospel words and how to teach, and you are just supposed to pick it up in the field, (at least thats what elder anderson told me)
What was comforting to me was how elder anderson told me that he didnt really put in a ton of work on language in the CCM (and he now felt bad about that), but he still picked up the language. "it just comes" he said

The next day after proselytizing (so on Sunday), of course, I wake up with Pink Eye.
My eye is totally crusted over and its just awful. It didnt really itch or sting or anything, it just felt like I had something in my eye for 3 days.
Today is the best it has ever looked though, its pretty much completely white with maybe a tad of pink. I am just happy that i was safe and no one else in the CCM got it from me

[We had asked him if he wanted another suit?  We had only bought him one (since that is what the mission packet had said for the Cusco mission) but could tell by looking at pictures that other Elders had more than one suit.]

I dont really need another suit, in fact, everyone at the CCM HATES suits. Every P-day, even when we are not going to the temple, we have to wear suits and everyone just dreads it.

[We asked what he had done for P-day today.]

The temple was closed today, so we couldn't go to it or the distribution center.  
We still got to go to the temple store and the grocery store though.  

Today I spent like 120 Soles in which is like $40.
I bought:
Scripture case for my Spanish Scriptures
Another Journal type thing
One tie
Big thing of Shampoo

Im attaching some pics from trip to store today, temple and my new ties and soccer jersey.

[I told him i loved the soccer jersey / tie pic!  Asked whether he liked soccer and if he was getting any better at it!]

I think im actually pretty good at soccer, I dont have a peru soccer jersey, right now this one is from a player named Gotze. I like the look of it. I have 2 soccer jerseys, but i plan on buying a peru one later

[He did say he needed a light weight jacket -- that the one we sent him with was too warm and just a white shirt was too cold at times.  So we are going to try and send him a package to be @ Cusco when he arrives.]

[We asked if he knew when he would be leaving for Cusco.]

I think August 10 is the date we leave, im pretty sure.

Im just more ready to get out and go because I feel like out in the field, my spanish will pick up at like 5x the rate.
I really hope I get placed with a north american trainer, so he can help me out, or i get placed with a latino who is patient, because im going to be like Elder Frehner [his current companion] for my first couple months.
I will say 2 words then pass it back over to my trainer

Oh, Elder Noel and Elder Williams were called to be the Zone Leaders at the CCM. Pretty cool to have them in our district.  

[I asked re: Zone Leaders in the CCM and if they were picked because of something special?]

Elder Williams and Elder Noel both speak spanish well, but no better then me. Elder Noel is really just going to be a great missionary. He already has given out like 6 books of mormons just on p-days in the MTC. I think they just called him because he really is friendly and will talk with anyone and wants to help anyone out.  Elder Williams is his companion, and also really good at spanish.
Elder Hafter is the third one in their tri-companionship, but he is already the district leader.

Okay my time is up, love and miss all you guys , i think a lot about stuff at home and friends, but everyone here does. Its a super unique experience being out here for sure.

[I asked him if he had tried to give out any Books of Mormon on his p-day -- or was the language barrier still freaking him out.  I also asked for any old picture on his camera or to even just take one final selfie in the computer room!]

I havent given out any books of mormon on p'day , its just harder for me to be confident, i know that will come though. On the proselytizing day it was really easy.
Anyways, we have till 6 to do whatever we want, but my internet time is up, time to go play soccer and ping pong. love you guys! its so cool to see how many people are reading my blog, and i get emails from friends as well (Mitch and Roger have sent one each week!) look forward to talking to you guys next week!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

3rd Week in CCM (1/2 way through)

[Editorial Note:  After waiting anxiously for his once a week email -- to hear he was sick and not feeling well (and not sending many pictures) was a bit of a bummer!  Is pretty obvious he was / is not feeling well when writing his message!  We had asked him some questions regarding what he does for church on Sunday; when does he leave the CCM grounds and go on "real" appointments with Elders from Lima; and how his language / testimony was coming along.]

This week has really been the same schedule every week,
I have only met latino elders going to Cusco, they say more North Americans will come when I am on week 4.
On Sundays, we have a sacrament meeting at 9 till 10 with just the North Americans, (also called the Manti Branch). We later have sunday school and priesthood.
This saturday, we have our first opportunity to leave the CCM(apart from P-day) and go out and teach. They bring us all into a chapel and pair us up with a missionary in Lima.
My spanish is still so-so, we are obviously learning a lot of new words but we all still struggle with grammar.
I have been having a rough time trying to feel the spirit when the lessons are in spanish, but that truly is a work in progress. Yesterday we had our first 45 minute lesson, they brought in volunteers (members) from outside the CCM to be fake investigators.
It was really hard because my companion spoke like two words every 15 minutes. :/
Today was our third P-Day, and of course- I wake up with the Flu.
It didnt really hit me till we got to the temple, and it was terrible. By the time we got back, I had to go talk to Hermana Gonzalez (CCM presidents wife). They gave me some pills (not too sure what they are), and pretty much just told me to take this after every meal.
Im sorry because I dont really have too many pictures this week, CCM rules are you can only take pictures on p-day, and I had the flu.

[I did reply right away giving him some words of encouragement and hoping he felt better.  Is just amazing to me how strong he is for taking this plunge as an 18 year old -- not even 2 weeks out from graduation -- moving to Lima and immersing himself in Spanish and gospel lessons!  He replied with one picture at least.]

The Elders in my district with our teachers

[I asked about his teachers]

Yes the teachers are super nice, they are only like 22 years old. They returned from their missions like a year ago

The Lima CCM from the front

A person from the 70 came and talked to us for a fireside on Tuesday, it was cool, but it stunk because my headset didnt work so it was all in spanish.

On Sundays, everyone has a chance to get called up to give a talk.
They pick 4 people, ususally two Intermediates and two Advanced. 2 elders 2 Hermanas
Me and my companion were asked by the zone leaders to give the sacrament prayer, so I thought we would be in the clear, but apparently not
My companion got called on and he had his talk only half translated. I let him use my talk and he combined it with his and in the end, he survived.
I really hope I dont get called on.

[Mom joined in the email fun and asked whether he had ate something bad, or if the illness was going around training center.]

I just thought I have it, because all the symptoms from when I last had it are the same.
Sore Throat
Shivers, but feeling hot
My temperature has not been tested, but I feel like I have one.  Yes other elders have had this same thing, seems its going around in the CCM.

Well my time is at a couple minutes left, the time always flies so fast when you are emailing.
Love and miss all you guys!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Second week in Lima CCM (MTC)

[Editorial note from Dad:  Since I work from home and at my computer, I am able to see Connor's emails and basically have an email conversation with him back and forth for about 20 minutes.  I love it!  What follows is his initial email and some back and forth.  His initial email is in direct response to a request to let us know what his day looked like in the CCM.]

The second week at the CCM was pretty routine. Here is rundown of my daily schedule.
 We wake up at 6:30, shower in showers that change from hot to cold quicker than you can react, and get dressed and down to breakfast by 7. After breakfast, from 8 to 9, we have personal study, where you can study anything you want, but I usually take the time to start on one of our "lessons" that we teach to our "investigators". At 9, class starts and goes all the way until 12:30, which is lunch. This morning class is usually the hardest because I´m not really fully awake. The lunch, (which usually consits of rice and chicken), is from 12:30 to 1:15. After lunch we have TALL, (technology assisted language learning). This might be the most boring thing I´ve ever done in my life but it helps a lot. After TALL, at 3, we have physical activity till 4:05, where we play soccer. After that we go and shower again, and then back to class by 4.45. Class goes until 6, then we have dinner (once again, rice and chicken-beef). At 6:45 we return to class until 9. At 9 till 9:30 we have companionship daily planning (planning the schedule for the next day even though its the exact same). From 9:30 to 10:30 we can pretty much do whatever we want, although we are usually always tired.
As I said before, this week was really the same day after day but it was alright. P-day was fun because we got the opportunity to go with just our district (13) to the temple and then shopping. I bought a soccer jersey, and lots more athletic socks, becuase I didnt bring enough.
Im going to write more, but just sending this now to make sure I can get pictures in first

[I responded with questions re: how he was doing with language]

The language learning at the CCM is really different from what I expected.
They dont really teach you that much on actual grammar, or sentence structure. They teach you just tons of things like how to bear your testimony, and how to give lessons and what not. I cannot describe how many times I have given lessons. My companion is really struggling with spanish so It´s mainly just me talking during our lessons. I feel like I know a lot more in spanish, but there are still so many tenses that I knew at what point but forgot. This week i got a lot of emails from friends like Mitch, Jeff, Roger, and even Elder Yazzie.

[I responded that I felt bad to monopolize his limited email time -- but I wasn't really honest there -- so told him he should reply to his friends -- but that in between those emails to friends to send more pictures]

[Picture of him and Companion on bus to temple on P-day]

[Picture of Connor and the Elders in his district @ Lima Temple]

[Note from Connor re: picture below]

This guy was Elder Tonga, he was one of my favorite elders that came in with us, just a really cool guy. He already spoke spanish, so last night it was farewell, today was his first day in the field

[Note from Connor proving he is my son]

Cross eyed cat at immigration

Not sure  if you already saw this, but this is my shopping I did today. Got tons of like candies, a jersey, and socks. For cheap too!

[I asked him if Elder Tonga (above) was going to his Cusco mission]

No , not any elders in the CCM I know are going to cusco, a batch of newbies just came in today so some of them are , will have to get to know them.
The ones going to cusco in the picture of our district are ----Hermana Morris and Hansen, They are the two in the farthest back in the right, just had to look at the picture

Here is a picture of our district in front of the temple this morning.

[I laughed at cat picture and broke the news to him that his little sister got his iphone 6 in his absence.  Then told him Jake (from our ward) was entering Provo MTC today for his mission training for Baltic Mission -- Estonia]

That is crazy, and jeff in another two weeks. Im hoping to just learn to speak spanish well, I hate not being able to communicate.    My friends just sent me a couple pictures and one was of his new Mustang. Hah, I´m going to miss my car , and alt-nation

Alright my time is about up in 5 minutes, thanks for the support. I never know what time my email time is so I cant really have a set-time to email you yet, so i guess you have to keep checking.  Till next wednesday!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

First Week in MTC

Hey guys,they dont give us much time here, so I am just uploading all of my pictures, whether they are good or not. I am also typing on a spanish keyboard, so its really hard because the shift and other things are not in the normal places.

This week has been pretty crazy learning the language. I think it may be the longest week of my life.
My companion is Elder Frehner. He is from Hurricane, Utah. He did track in high school and is pretty tall. I think we get along well because we are really similar (regarding attitudes that is).

My Room is Me,
Elder Frehner- Hurricane, Utah------Iquitos Mission
Elder Hafer- Orange County, CA ----Lima Central
Elder Williams- San Diego, CA-- Lima Central
Elder Noel(Also our district leader)-- Ogden,Utah.----- Lima Central
No other elders that I know and talk to are going to Cusco, only a few sisters.

The food at the CCM is really, really repetitive, and Im only in my first week. The portions are pretty small and theres no seconds, I dont think its that similar to the provo MTC in that regard.
My usual meal consists of...

White Rice
White Bread
Some kind of Soup

Some of the meals are pretty tasty, but some, not so much.

During phsyical activity, (3 to 4), I usually play soccer because thats where everyone else is, even though im not that good.

I think Mom would be happy to know that I have had 0 urges to play video games ( because I remember how she was scared of that).

The main thing in my prayers is the gift of tongues because I feel like they definitely expect a lot of us.

From talking to some missionaries, and from personal experience, I think I can conclude that you are ALWAYS tired on a mission. You go to bed at 10:30 and wake up at 6:30, but I am still always exhausted.

On the 4th of July, they had an¨North American meal for lunch. Everyone was pretty excited. It was pretty good, but I dont think it was very "North American" because it may have been the smallest burger I have ever seen. That was also the last meal we had before we began our fast, not eating until lunch the next day.

We had to go to "Immigraciones" twice this week. It was very similar to the DMV, but speaking Spanish. On the bus people saw a women using the bathroom in the middle of the street.
On the second trip, I really appreciated getting out of the CCM. When we were out, Elder Noel and I actually gave out 2 Book of Mormons and got contact information for 3.

It´s really crazy to see how interested people are in the missionaries, like people taking pictures and stuff.

One of the people went up and gave Elder Noel a hug, and actually gave him their food. He was pretty reluctant to accept (because it looked like her lunch), but she really wanted him to. The picture that you see is their first person they ever talked to.  [This picture didn't come through! :(]

Today was P-Day. It was pretty awesome. We took a bus (not provided by the church) to the temple. It cost .50  nuveos soles. Or about 16.5 cents. It was about a 5 minute ride. It´s hilarious riding in the bus, its jam packed full of missionaries and random people, and its just chaos. Stop and start and stop the bus is just lurching because people drive like maniacs in Peru.
That´s on of the biggest things that has stuck out to me, the driving. People are crazy here! 100x worse than California.

The temple experience was pretty cool, because they had headsets in english. But the last part was really hard because it was 100 percent spanish. The temple is really small but relaxing.
After the temple, we went and bought some Llama Ties and a coin purse (they use a lot of wierd coins here). I will send you pictures of my ties and coin purse in my next email.
After that, we went to the grocery store, and bought whatever we wanted. I got a big bag of doritos, a bag of chips ahoy and a bottle of Inca Cola.

I was going to get the 1L Inca Cola, but the 3.3L was half off so it was only around 3 Nuevas soles. ($1). Stuff is really cheap here. I think I got all of the food for around $6. It seems like a lot but since we only get to shop once a week, + im sharing it, I dont think its even going to last.

My district is District 111
Everyone in it is
Hermana Morris
Hermana Hansen
Hermana Steward
Hermana Anderson
Hermana Scarlett
Hermana Eckman
Elder Noel
Elder Hafer
Elder Williams
Elder Frehner
Hermana Barfus
Hermana Harris

As my time comes to an end, I just wanted to give my overall thought about the CCM so far.

I think it does a really good job preparing missionaries, but I can see why people get sick of it, fast.
There are some really cool people here, especially the Latino´s who only speak spanish. They are super friendly and always try to mess around with the gringo elders and our spanish skills.
I really am going to continue praying for the gift of tongues. I need it.

Although it seems like the time is going fast, 2 years still seems like a LOT to me. I met a missionary in the temple today as I was leaving who said he leaves next week. He said, like I´ve heard a dozen times before "Time Flies". I just dont really see it that way, but I hope I can. Anyways, I love and miss you guys a lot and hope you are doing okay with the kids. I also hope mom is having fun in London, can you please send this to her? I dont really want to try to figure out how.
Love Ya!
-Elder Barry

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Arrived in Lima MTC! First email from Connor

I sucessfully arrived at the MTC at around 3AM yesterday, was settled and in bed by 4 and back up at 7 30 for breakfast. I have been given nametags and a schedule. Im on the third floor with 3 other Elders, one is the one from San Diego. I was shocked how humid it was when we first arrived, I hope the weather is not this hot in Cusco. 6 weeks in the MTC seems like a long time for me, but I guess I need it because my spanish is not so great (no thanks to public school spanish teacher). Anyways, I only had five minutes to write this email, so I have to go now. I will try to write emails as much as possible, my P day for the MTC is wednesday,  i get to go to the temple too, love you guys!
His travel day started early -- San Diego to Atlanta -- and then from Atlanta to Lima.  VERY long flight!