Machu Picchu

Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 3 in Cusco

Phew, I am exhausted today--- Today we woke up, did our studies and played soccer from 10 to 1. I am so terrible but its still fun. I finally got my mission bag from the office, took them 3 weeks to make it. Apparently Elder Salazar must have forgotten I ordered a bag a month before I left for the mission!
 (The same thing happened to my companion too though).

Today, after soccer we went to Real Plaza, which is just a mall. We shared a pizza from Papa Johns , and my pepsi actually had ice in it! All of the drinks here are lukewarm or hot. Apparently the people here think that you will get sick from cold drinks. Nothing hits the spot better than a hot glass of lemonade!

After Papa Johns, we just returned here to write, after this we plan on just chilling for about 30 minutes until we have our district meeting to end the Pday.

Today we had a meeting with a family who lives way up in the hills, it was a crazy hike.

My week was pretty cool, sometimes it seems the same though.
We have a super cool investigator though, who recently moved here from a different part of Peru. He was passed to us by other missionaries from there.
He is attending church and going to like every family night and accepting all the lessons. We plan on planting a baptismal date next visit!

I am starting to get more comfortable, but there are still a few rough times.

That old lady in the picture is Hermana Juana, she is an old lady who is a recent rescue (meaning she was inactive and then reactivated), she is a little, or maybe a lot, crazy but is totally cool.

And yes, I did make a video for moms birthday, hope you guys enjoy!
Next pday, we plan on maybe going to a touristy place and getting some cool pictures.

Well, i just tried to send the video, but the file size is too big, my companion uses dropbox for all of his videos, should we try that:]?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 2 in Cusco

Hey guys, I´m going to apologize in advance for the lack of pictures this week. Today has been a lot of walking because we didnt have too many appointments except for yesterday. Im going to make a video sometime this week of our house from outside.

Today was our second pday. We played soccer for almost 3 hours, it was way fun. Im really sunburnt now though i can feel it.

After this, we plan on going to Real Plaza ( a mall) and shop for stuff.

The picture that i sent is just our internet cafe, where we email every week. I took it right outside.

[We asked if he had received the package we sent.]

Yes, I received my package, the same day you said actually. Right after emailing i went to the office and it was there.  I was confused because I had a package and my companion did not. His parents said his package arrived nearly 2 weeks ago. It must just be lost in the office. The coat is awesome, thanks! I usually dont need it, at least here, but i heard that later in the year, its going to start to rain a lot.

I actually dont have a lot of people to email this week, a lot more last week, so its okay, ill try to sum up something though in my next email

Okay here we go

So this was my second week in the field, it actually went by really quick. This week was really a ton of walking, but sometimes it pays off.

This week we went to visit a member who lives out in the middle of the hills. Its a shame I didnt have my camera with me, but it was really really far out from the city. We were literally like climbing for almost 30 minutes.

Our pension is super awesome, they are willing to make anything we want. The only real problem I have is with the drinks. Apparently they love hot drinks here, so literally everything is hot. A hot cup of Chicha doesnt really hit the spot after walking and climbing all day.

[We asked him how he was doing with the altitude -- since Cusco is at 11,000 feet -- and he appears to be doing a lot of walking!]

I didnt think it really hit me until we started doing the climb up to that guys house.
Today, when we played soccer for almost 3 hours, you can really feel it.

I think im doing pretty good, we speak a lot of english but also spanish. Spanish is still going to be a struggle for a while, ive just heard it comes with time. It seems like everyone speaks spanish a little bit different!

[We asked him if he was nervous not speaking solely English, given his next companion might be a Latino Elder who only speaks Spanish.]

No, im not really nervous because I feel like i can communicate sufficiently. Something i didnt know was, apparently we are supposed to teach all of our latino companions english, because it will like help them a lot later in life with their jobs and stuff. Not quite sure how thats going to work out, but we will have to see! I expect a latino companion after these two changes, thats what usually happens i heard.! Transfers are 6 weeks long, you get two while training. So we go until the start of november!

[We asked him generally how he was doing and if he had seen any Llama's yet]

The first day we arrived, this kid holding 3 of them walked up to us!

Yeah, everything is going okay, its just seems like a lot of rules sometimes, and definitely a lot of work! Im going to make a video this week!

Its definitely a lot of work sometimes, but the experience is really awesome too.

I hope I can get in better shape on my mission, but our pension here is truly awesome in her cooking.
Also, one family gives us food every time we go over there! I am somewhat hoping that my next pension wont feed me that much, because I want to take this time to try to shape up both spiritually and physically!

Thanks a lot for the package, the coat and the ties are awesome.
I know its really expensive to send packages, so thanks!
After this internet session, we are going to go to the Mall and shop.
I am hoping to find:

1. A stain remover marker that my companion has, its really handy for removing stains in like ties and white shirts.
2. Me and my companion are considering buying a soccer ball, so we could have a decent one to use when we want to play
3. Perhaps more ties, I really like the look of ties called "Paisley". Im not sure if i can find them here though, im going to try!

That is a picture of what one looks like

[Note:  Although Connor might not be aware of this -- but Mom and I in fact lived through the 70's and 80's and know what a paisley tie looks like! :)]

Im not sure why, but I love ties now, I guess its because thats about the most exciting thing we get to change from day to day, ties and watches.

Anyways, our time is done, i am off! Love you guys! Will make a video this week!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Connor in Cusco - First Area

Hey guys, havent had the opportunity to write in a while, seems like forever!
Anyways, this first week has been really interesting, fun, and challenging.

When we arrived in Cusco, I dont think the weather was too bad, at least where I am, it was just a little chilly and a little rain.

I have been assigned to labor in Cusco for my training. My companion is Elder Ludlow from Sandy, Utah. Im happy I got a trainer who speaks english but also spanish, he has been out for about 10 months.

These are pics from the cusco airport!

The house we live in is pretty nice! Its really different from what im used to, but its cool. The bathroom situation is a bit wierd, because you cant flush, so its a bit musty

[Pictures of Cusco] 

These are a few picture of cusco and of the Cristo Blanco. Its a huge tourist thing , we visited it the first day we got there.

Our housing situation is pretty awesome. Our pensions also do our laundry, and we live with them. They cook really good food, but its a little different. I have yet to try chuno or anything really wierd. Yesterday we had rooster though.

For the first 3 days in the field, Cusco did not have water (I have no clue why). Every morning we had to bathe ourselves using a bucket of water that was heated up, (phew Im happy thats over)

Talk about suprises, we got a lovely call from the bishop saturday night around 10:00 PM to give talks the following morning at 8:00 AM, How fun! I thought it went pretty well though, I only had to talk for 5 minutes on missionary work.

[I replied and asked him whether he spoke spanish for the full 5 minute talk!?]

I feel like i can speak spanish decently well, but it seems like everyone speaks it a little different. We did teach a couple lessons this week, and i taught a lot about the restoration and about prophets, prayer, and a little more.

Sometimes i feel like im struggling to communicate though.

Yeah it was okay, the talk went suprisingly well, i used a lot of scriptures and a lot from preach my gospel

This is my favorite picture of me so far in the mission!

[I asked him if he was cold / needed anymore clothes as he looked to be wearing sweaters everywhere!  Also asked if he had received the package (light weight jacket) Mom had sent.]

I havent received the package yet. From what ive heard, packages take like a month to arrive, but they usually always do. Apparently the mail just SUCKS here

Actually ive been enjoying the weather here, its definitely not too cold.

Apparently my spanish is really good for how new I am, I guess i can thank my spanish teachers for that

These two pictures are our district in the CCM. I miss a lot of those people. Look just how happy the MTC president looks! Isnt he jolly

[Connor next sent like 3 emails with various pictures attached.]

[I asked about the random motorcycle pictures and about his house / place he was staying.]

This motorcycle is from a recent convert named Gustavo, its super super loud. He was baptized like two weeks ago and loves the gospel!

Not too sure how to describe it, but our house is REALLY close to the airport, we hear planes all day. Its actually a pretty big house i would say, because a big family of members lives there, but its just super weird because they dont have the things we have like water whenever you want it.

They are super kind though, and one of them is ALWAYS listening to english music.

I dont have any pictures of outside of our house, i will make sure to get those and send them next week.

We are in "Cusco, Cusco" just in the absolute center. I think its also called San Sabastian. Its crazy being this close to the airport all the time.

I dont know our actually street address, i will find that out by next week.

There is a huge street that goes by our house, it is called Velasco Astete.

My companion says to put in "Kennedy B, Cusco" in google maps. Anyways, thats about as close as i can get.

[Here is link to Google Maps for the "huge street" Velasco Astete" going by Connor's house.]

[Here is a link to the "Kennedy B, Cusco" in Google Maps. I assume Connor lives in one of those houses on either side of the street.]

[I asked him if he had taught any gospel lessons, had any investigators learning about the church.]

We have i think 4 or 5 investigators right now, but we are just working with a ton of less active people.

We do a lot of asking for references from the members here.

I think we taught around 4 lessons or so this week, but a lot of little scripture sharing and stuff

The members LOVE giving us food, and we are supposed to accept it and eat it when they do.
I had my first experience with that this week, it was right after lunch and they gave us a big plate of rice and beef, it was really hard but i managed to eat it all with a smile!

[I asked him about his trainer -- Elder Ludlow -- and how he was getting along with him.]

My trainer is super awesome, he is actually cousins with someone that i knew in the CCM.

I have yet to try to voice recorder, but Im going to get it going, our days are just so busy!

Our cool experience for the week is

We were supposed to prepare a "lesson" for an activity at a members house. We showed a video about missionary work, (Una obra en progressa) or something like that.

We then talked about the video, and apparently, from what we have heard from the sisters-- one of the investigators that was at the meeting now wants to serve a mission!

Anyways, my time is about up for this week, I love you guys a lot and miss you guys.
We have a lot more on our schedule this week teaching wise, so hopefully my next email may be a bit more exciting.

Love and miss you guys a lot!
I had tons of emails to respond to today and actually went a bit over time, but its all good, talk to you next monday!

We are going to go play soccer now!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Connor in Cusco

[We received this email and picture from Connor's mission president and his wife.  We haven't received any email / communication yet from Connor, so don't know where Connor he is actually going to be serving for his first area, who his trainer is, etc..  I assume that will come next Monday.]

Dear Parents,
As you can see in the attached photo, your son has arrived safely to the Peru Cusco Mission! We are thrilled to have him here! He looks great, a bit tired from the travel, but ready to go! Thank you for allowing us to watch over him for the next two years. He has promised that he will be a missionary we can trust, and we have now given him that trust. As well, you can trust that we will do everything that we can to care for him and to help him to become a successful missionary.
Con Gran Amor,
Presidente y Hermana Harbertson

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Week 5 in CCM -- Ready to get to CUSCO!

[We aren't sure if this is the last email we will receive from Connor in CCM or not.  I think what happens is he leaves for Cusco next Tuesday (so before his pday on Wednesday in CCM) and arrives AFTER the pday in mission field (Monday).  So we might not hear from him until two Monday's from now.]

So this week has been really long for me because of the repetitive schedule, I am so ready -- and super excited -- to just have a different schedule every day in the mission field. I can't imagine trying to learn a language as hard as what Jake [friend of his who is learning to speak Estonian] has to do, but I think it will come (eventually).
One of the biggest things they talk to us about in the CCM is how the gift of tongues is not an easy thing, you must struggle and put forth effort to receive it. I cant say how many times they have talked about this, definitely in the last few weeks as people have been struggling with spanish.
Im pretty excited to get out into the field, I actually hope I have a North-American trainer who understands the struggle of learning spanish. If I am placed with a Latino trainer, I just hope he can be patient with me as I struggle with the language. One thing that is comforting to me is how kind all of the latinos in the CCM are. 
Im going to write more, just sending this one for now.

[We asked him what he had done on that pday since the Temple in Lima was still closed.]

Im sorry to say that I dont even have any pictures this week, we didnt have an exciting p-day and we are only allowed to take them on p day.
Im super excited to get out into the field and work and be able to take pictures whenever you want.
From what ive heard from a supervisor here at the CCM, Puno [one of the area's in his Cusco mission] is like 5 degrees right now, crazy!
Today we went to Papa Johns for pizza. Just our district decided to go there, all pitch in like 8-10 soles and buy some pizzas. It was really good. In the CCM, we hardly ever get any considerable amount of cheese.
Next, we went to the store where i bought one more soccer jersey. I have 3 soccer jerseys now, and thats like on the lower end of the spectrum compared to most people.

[I found this picture of the district @ pizza and Inca Kola from another Elder's blog.]

[We are sending him a package which will include a light weight coat, some more ties and some American candy / other stuff that is hard to get in Peru.]

This week, i have been feeling great. There are tons of sick people here though, I guess thats just what happens when you put tons of people in one place.
Im happy that mom found a light weight jacket, hopefully all goes well with the shipping.
Im super sick of the CCM food, but ive been talking to a supervisor here who i really like
He tells me the Peruvian food outside of the CCM is like 100x better than inside, thats good to know. I usually just give my rice away to someone else and eat the meat, im usually always full though.

[We asked him if he had used / tried the digital voice recorder we sent with him -- as frankly we were missing the sound of his voice!  We also asked him to just take a few pics while sitting in the computer room.]

I havent really tried using the voice recorder, because I actually dont know if sending voice recordings is allowed in the CCM. There are a lot of funky rules in the CCM that arent even close to the rules in the field. I will definitely put it to use though when we are in the field, or use it this week and send it when im in the field.

[We loved this picture!  Connor is looking good!  I don't really get why all the Elders love to do the hang loose sign -- but guess they just feel silly posing without flashing some sort of hand signal!]

This week, we watched a LIVE broadcast from Provo MTC. It was Elder Nelson talking. It was cool because this was the first live broadcast we have ever watched. It always like pans over people singing during it, and tons of people here see their friends from Utah. I didnt see jake or jeff though.
It was crazy to think that there were 8 other international MTCs watching the broadcast all singing "called to serve" at the same time. 

I cant even guess how many missionaries where watching that broadcast.
It was like Utah, Peru, New Zealand, Mexico and just tons of others, he rattled them off way too fast.
We watched another one that was earlier in the month on tuesday, it was by Elder Holland, i liked it a lot.

The Elder taking the picture is elder Noel. He is the zone leader from Utah and also in my room. He is elder williams and hafers companion. The sister is Hermana Eckman, shes from utah, i didnt even notice she was in it until just now hah.
That might be the case im not sure regarding the transfer [our question regarding whether or not we will hear from him next week]. They actually really keep us out in the dark on that, it makes a lot of elders frustrated.
i will use try to use the digital recorder
One thing that i am looking foward to is buying ties because i have been told there are some stores in cusco. The most exciting part of my dress is what shoes to wear and what tie to wear :P

[We asked him if he had met any more missionaries actually going to his mission -- Cusco -- vs. other missions in Peru.]

I have met a few -- but none are north american elders!  There are 2 latino elders, me, 4 north american hermanas and 4 latino hermanas, its a bit wierd to be the only north american elder!
Looks like im going to be the only north american elder incoming to cusco, but i bet that means theres going to be a big shipment of them either after me or sometime before me. Right now, theres a huge shipment of people going to Piura [which looks like a mission way up north in Peru] or however you say it. Like 1/2 of the elders are going there.

[Mom told him she loved the pictures and that he looked handsome!  She did ask (again) if/when he was going to get a haircut!]

We will be getting haircuts before we leave the CCM. Its a bit wierd and i dont feel like its too professional , but it works haha.
[We asked him how things were going overall and how his spanish was coming.  His honest answer is below!  I actually totally understand him and had a very hard time (and still do) with the "role playing" method of teaching something.  My brain just realizes that this is pretend and I can't seem to really master the teaching / exercise.  Looks like Connor is like his Dad in that regard!]

I only got 4 minutes left :/
Anyways, this week has actually been long for me. Its really hard for me to try to teach these fake investigators that they have in the little fake houses / teaching bungalows on campus, because they are actually just our teachers ;/
Im super excited to just get out in the field, because I know my spanish isnt great, but its just going to be such a unique experience.
I have not been called to give a talk yet in church, this sunday is the last chance I have.
We only had one opportunity to go out of the CCM for proselytizing sadly -- and that was last week.  I wish it was every week though, that was crazy fun.

[Picture of teaching bungalows]

Lately ive been praying a lot to just continue to have a desire to serve and a desire to read the Book of Mormon.
My goal was to actually finish the entire book in the CCM, but it seems like they hardly give us any free time
I am actually in like Alma 52 or something right now though and going strong, on like page 350 or something.
My favorite part was when Ammon sent an epistle to Ammaron, that was really cool haha.
Anyways, my time is up, im sure i will be able to write to you guys some time.
I miss you guys a lot, but its cool to see that I have so much support, i have gotten emails from every one of my friends.  Every week without fail Mitch has been emailing me.