Machu Picchu

Monday, September 28, 2015

Working in Cusco

Emailing a little late today,

Everything with my companion has been great! We definitely get along well, ive heard of some pairs of missionaries who dont get along well, that seems like my worst nightmare.

I still havent received my package, but hopefully Ill get it today. Its just such an annoying process because it arrives at the office, and then eventually the zone leaders have to pick it up when they are there and bring it to me at like our district meeting, it really sucks.

As for our studies, they are pretty easy, I usually study Preach my Gospel, read my patriarchal blessing,and study any scriptures we plan on sharing that day.

Here is a picture in our house, near the front door. I have heard I am starting to look different, but Im not too sure.

Me and Elder Ludlow made those cookies using peanut butter his mom sent him and chocolate chips too, everything else our pensinos family had.

This week, lesson wise, was super sucky.
The Zone Leaders set a goal for contacts way too high for our zone, so me and Elder Ludlow had to spend a lot of time contacting 77 people this week to reach the goal.
Its alright though, the Zone Leaders realized it was too high and it wont be like that next week.

We had literally nothing with investigators this week, but we did have 8 lessons with recent converts with is alright.  Also, on Saturday during ward council I was told I would be giving another talk because they forgot to assign people.

Although I accepted then, I was just super angry because of how like..."lazy" you could say, the bishopric is here. They forgot to assign people to talks!
Being here has given me a greater appreciation for how much more organized things are in the states.

But when Sunday came around, I literally had my talk ready about to go up there when they announced it would be a testimony meeting. (I didnt even know you could do that when it wasnt fast sunday)

I still bore my testimony along with all of the other missionaries, but I didnt completely luck out

I have to give another talk in 2 weeks on the Word of Wisdom, how fun! :)

Contacting means.....we introduce ourselves, give them our number, say we are missionaries and why we are here and try to set up an arrangement. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt. We have had a lot of people to visit recently, but of course, none of them are ever in their house, hah.

For food, I really dont understand why they call everyone in the united states fat. They literally eat such big portions of food it is unreal.
I always ask for less food from our pension so its usually alright, but occasionally it is really , really hard to finish. For luch today, we had chicken breast with tomatoes and french fries. 
For the drink, it was a hot glass of mate, which is like a nasty herbal tea. Me and elder ludlow secretly dumped most of it down the sink. I dont know why they give us Mate though to be honest, she knows I dont like it :)

They just think Mate is like super super good for your stomach and just cures everything, its super funny hah.

As for soccer, Im still horrible compared to latinos
We played today for Pday, at a turf field we rented out for 2 hours with the zone. There was like 18 missionaries and a couple investigators, we rotated playing with 3 teams. Im definitely not the best player on the field but not the worst.

I didnt get the opportunity to take too many pictures , I need to get better at that, but here are a few we took last night after a family night in a members house.

[We asked him if this week was better than last -- and I told him that one of my first "landmarks" on my mission in terms of time out -- was passing 6 month mark and realizing now that Sister Missionaries wouldn't come out after me AND leave before me.]

Yeah I guess this week was better hah, theres actually a new hermana in our district who is just beginning her training. Her Spanish is so bad right now but it will get better. But yeah, its definitely not comforting to know she will be home 4 and a half months before me still lol.

My companion has literally told me the exact same thing, " I think the first big hurdle for me was passing 6 months -- knowing that now all the new sisters coming out wouldn't go home before me!"

This pic is from last week, just forgot to send it, A member here that knows how to make waffles made waffles for a going away party for the missionaries that already left last week.

My Spanish is getting better I think. The latinos always tell me my Spanish is good, but I feel like they are just being nice a lot of the time.

I can understand close to everything people say to me (assuming its in Spanish, not Quechua), but I cannot talk with that same ability. I often struggle for words and feel like my prayers in Spanish might be a bit repetitious. But yeah, its still improving. Jeff left for the field today, but I havent heard from him yet, super cool though. I cant imagine him speaking that language , hah!

Love you all!

Monday, September 21, 2015

1st Baptism -- and a little homesick

[It looks like Connor is feeling a little homesick lately -- I guess that is to be expected -- we are hoping and praying that he will get more comfortable with the mission life, the language, and his new environment for the next 21 months!]

Hey guys!

This week has been really rough in some points but its alright. I still havent received my package, just because the process from getting it from the office is painful, but hopefully I will receive it today,

This week I had my first baptism, Ulises. It went well (thankfully I didnt mess up), but the attendance really was small. On the same day we had a talent show in the night for the ward, which had about 4 times the attendance as the baptism but still not too much.

Bad news though, Couple days before the baptism I searched for my baptismal clothes and literally cant find them anywhere in my suitcase or in the room, but im 100% sure that I didnt leave them in the CCM, because my closet was totally clear. 
I am guessing someone in my room in the CCM must have accidently packed them up.
Although it sucks, its not too bad because all the wards have clothes and stuff.

[We told him we would send some white pants and another white tie in next package and asked him what made the week "rough".]

Yeah, but no rush on sending new clothes, because I will probably stay in this area for another 1 or 2 changes AFTER my training. That will be sometime early next year.

This has just been a rough week because a sister missionary in our ward ended her mission today, and its just been rough thinking how little time in the mission I have compared to everyone else! Everyone tells me it starts to fly by after your training, but we will just see about that.

But it hasnt been too rough, nothing I cant handle,hah!

[We tried to cheer him up as much as we could - and I told him from my own mission days that I understood the feeling of 2 years to go, the homesickness, etc... but told him we loved him and knew he was in the right place doing the right thing!  We asked him what were the BEST / WORST and WEIRDEST things he had seen this week.]

The BEST thing that happened this week was the baptism of Ulises, I was so nervous but im thankful that I did it right.

The WORST thing was that the talent show started an hour and a half late. But thats just the way of Peru, people dont believe in punctuality.

The WIERDEST thing was one day, we had 3 dogs that followed us the ENTIRE day. They followed us for like a mile down to an appointment, would wait outside then follow us again when we got out. It was just weird because most street dogs usually just try to eat us.
We found another one of the dogs the other day, and he followed us again that day, it was just strange.

I dont have a picture of the dogs following us around, my camera was charging that day :( But here is a picture of just a normal street of Cusco, where usually 4-5 dogs can be seen.

Recently, we havent had a lot of new investigators, and if we do, they fail us. People here, as i said before, are just super flakey.

Our normal schedule is 
6:30-7 wake up and physical activity
7-8, shower and breakfast
8-9 personal study
9-11 companionship study
11-12 language study
12:30-2 Lunch or just do whatever, this is usually just a little relax time
2-8 We usually have appointments which fail us and then we just visit members, ask references and contact people in the street, knock doors or pretty much do whatever we feel like doing hah

My time is about up, Bye family, love you guys!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Another week in Cusco

Hey guys, we are emailing early again today, so hopefully you guys are on!

This week seemed pretty long to me, but its okay. I dont think anything too special happened, except having to accompany our crazy friend "Juana" to the hospital twice!

I have made a video for addisons birthday, will you show it to her just on that day? thanks!

Here is the video, and also a picture of our street where our house is. Our house is the small wood door next to the garage!

Im still not sure if i will receive the package today, hopefully, but we plan on looking after email.

[Here is the video for Addison's birthday -- which is this Friday / September 18th!  Since Addie isn't a big internet user yet -- can safely post this for everyone else!]

Ulises is still set for the baptism next Saturday.
This Saturday the hermanas in our ward had a baptism (which Elder Ludlow did)
Sending some pictures from that

The guy with the blue zip up jacket on the right of the picture is Ulises -- he is our investigator and should be baptized this week!

[We asked him if he was an "official" non-resident with Peru now.  Evidently when that paperwork is finalized things like transit passes, bus fare, etc.. drop significantly.  The cost for tourists can be into the $30 to $40 US dollars while the locals / residents pay literally under a $1.]

Ive had my carnet for a while, meaning im an official resident of peru, the office has it though, still waiting for them to make me a copy!.

Yes, as always, we are doing a lot of walking, on most days my feet hurt by the end of the day!

Here is my mission bag!

Well my time is up, and I finished writing everyone that wrote me!

I hope you guys have a good week and everything is going well in the family
Hopefully next week is better! This week was a bit rough for me but it was alright, just missing friends and stuff.

For the rest of our P-day, we are going to go buy some minor things that I want, and then play soccer if we have enough time.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Week 4 in Cusco


This week has been alright, Its definitely been a lot of walking! This week we did a service for a family in the ward, we helped them move. We thought it wouldnt be too long but it actually took nearly 5 hours!

I had the opportunity to use a scale that the family had though, it turns out Ive dropped around 8 pounds since I left for the mission, I guess its just all the walking. Ive heard most missionaries drop a decent amount in the beginning then begin to rise back up :/

This Sunday I woke up with the flu (again!) It was a really hard day but I feel fine today, guess it was just some 24 hour thing!

This week a member also invited us to eat at a restaurant called Fuegos (translated means "Fires") Apparently it has a super huge hamburger that all the missionaries try to eat. (Picture attached)

This week I also had the opportunity to go and do exchanges with one of the zone leaders, Elder Day. It was a little scary at first but the day went alright!

Things are going good! Some days are just better than others right now, and sunday was definitely the worst day of my mission so far!

I was in the bathroom at like 3AM just dying, bah it was terrible! Im not even sure what to blame!

Today we had a zone meeting in the morning instead of our studies, and we are planning on going to a bigger soccer field and having a game as a zone at around 2. Sometime in the future we are going to go to ruins though, because there are just tons of places here.

My spanish is getting better and better, I can pretty much understand everything if it is written, but people just speak so fast its terrible to understand!

Also, one of our investigators who i was talking about before accepted his baptismal date for the 19th of this month, and I will probably being the one doing it, not too sure how i feel about that yet!

We really only have the one progressing investigator. We have another family who is really cool but they just arent really doing anything on their part. They arent reading or anything because they are always just so busy with their work. The mom has 6 kids and the dad works in construction.

For the past couple weeks I have always been sharing testimony and teaching, but I feel like im talking like a toddler because I know nothing!

There is just tons of dirt everywhere, my clothes are literally never clean.

The weirdest things here are the dogs, I have already had some experiences where ive almost been bitten, they are just everywhere, every street you look there will be dogs.
Usually you just bend down and act like you are picking up a rock and they run though, (hopefully)

From what Ive heard, some have rabies, so if a missionary ever gets bitten, and they cant trace the dog, he will have to a get a rabies shot.. (IT GOES IN THE BELLYBUTTON ) Some are just annoying though and just bark. I miss actually having domestic dogs! There are a few members who have cool dogs though, none as cool as Kobe though!

The other day we were walking and saw just a pile of fur in the road, it was like a dog used to be there...but all that was left was fur.

Usually at nights it can get pretty cold, I have hardly had any experiences with rain though. I have heard tons of different things about the time for rain in Cusco, but I think its around the end of october.

This week was pretty normal, except for one guy we met.

We were just walking, said "good night" to an old man as we walked by him and he started talking to us.

This guy was just a lunatic, he started talking about how everyone in Peru is just drunk and that we need to go study science because we are "smart". At this point me and Elder Ludlow are just trying to not laugh as he continues to ramble on about how science is the cure to everything and then he rambled on something about some story about a cursed guy that i didnt understand, he was just a complete lunatic. He took like 30 minutes of our time just talking to us.