Machu Picchu

Monday, October 26, 2015

Connor @ 4 Months Out

This week has been alright. Today we played basketball and I got schooled by all the gringo missionaries because they are actually tall, I think I might be better at Soccer hah.

[I had asked Connor whether the strike in Cusco Peru had impacted him much.  Here is a link to a story about it -- basically was hard to get public transportation for tourists.]

The strike this week was the most interesting thing, and we were told by our zone leaders that we wont be able to leave the house if it is too strong. But no, the strike was super lame, just a decent amount of people walking in the streets, we didn't see any breaking or burning or anything like that!

On Saturday, there was a "multi stake" service where we walked for 3 hours picking up trash of all kinds it was super gross haha. And it seemed more like a ward activity with the amount of people that actually showed up. We saw a couple of dead dogs on the side of the road, hit by cars. it was gross.

It didnt even seem hot, but we woke up the next day and were just absolutely fried. It was so hard to sleep with that sunburn on my neck.

So the week before last week, we had a fast as a mission. All 200 something missionaries fasting at one to find more investigators. This week, we have really received blessings. We had 0 new investigators the week before, and last week we had 7, while still maintaining good numbers with recent converts and less actives.

Package still hasnt arrived, today we were at the office, and I asked the person in charge if my package has arrived, he said there are a lot of packages right now in the office, and that he needs to organize everything this week and start sending them out. I have my fingers crossed.

But yeah, after this we plan on going to the Molino. The molino is pretty cool because everything is like super cheap. Last week I bought nike indoor soccer cleats for $10 and a soccer jersey for $6 lol. This week I really want to try to find an electric razor. It makes stuff so much easier, I dont really like using a normal razor that much. But if I cant find a decent one, I will just not buy it.

This picture E.Ludlow hit the one year mark in the mission. The tradition is that you burn a shirt on the 1 year mark.

We are already finishing our time on internet this week, we played basketball for like 3 hours this morning which was a bit longer than planned so we have to rush everywhere now to get everything done!

I really liked this sign someone had on their door, it translates into :

"Here we are Catholics,
We love the mother of Jesus, and dont accept other religions because many false prophets walk the earth, thanks for respecting our faith." I just had to get a picture with it.

E.Ludlow and I speak English most of the time when we are walking, we sometimes speak spanish though too. It sure will be interesting if I get a latino companion next week!

Our time is up though for this week, I will try to use the audio thing this wek lol. Going to continue praying for the packages :)

Till next week, love you guys!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Another week in Cusco

Hi.  This week we are writing a little late, and after this we have to go to the Molino, do some shopping and be back in the church by 6 so we are really rushed.

Today we played soccer for p-day, there were like 25 of us, a little bit too much for my liking but it was alright, we played from like 10 to 2. We returned to our house ate and showered and ran to internet up until now!

But no, my package still hasnt arrived as much as im aware, it could be there but im not sure. Ive heard tons of stories of packages taking like 3 4 months to arrive and randomly showing up at the office, so we will just have to wait and see. Also, there might be a customs tax on it, if so, i will have to pay like 8 soles to the office when they found out there is one.

But this week was okay for me, it was a little dry and a lot of walking. We had really poor numbers this week, so we are just in a little of a drought.

The people in my district are
Hna. Jardine
Eld. Day
Eld. Arias
Hna. Chavez
Hna Viricochea (or something like that)

Here are some pictures from a family night with ward members this week.

[I asked him about the little brown pouch on his belt that we have seen in various pictures.]

Oh, i just realized i havent told you guys about that, thats my coin pouch. I bought one in Lima, but it wasnt one that attaches on the belt, so it was nearly impossible to pull it out of my pocket while in a crammed bus. It costed 6 soles so it was really cheap but was an awesome buy.

I saw my camera when I woke up and took another picture lol.

More pictures from Family Night! Bought that scarf for 8 soles :) [I had to look up exchange rates as he really only quotes prices now in Peruvian money.  So 8 soles is like $2.48 US]

Lately it has been pretty cold here :(

[I asked him about how work was going -- if not having "good numbers" for that week.]

Well, we werent too dry, we had 10 lessons with recent converts but 0 new investigators. E.Ludlow is also the only one who knows how to play piano in the ward, and this sunday was the primary presentation so he had to play for them and they had to do a couple practices during the week. I have no clue whats going to happen when he leaves, maybe we just wont have a pianist.

[I asked him about his "pension" [the family they stay with and who basically feeds them / takes care of them.]

Our pension is great, but i am just not a HUGE fan of the food here, but its alright. They always give us TOO MUCH food, and I have asked for less and it seems like I get 2 grains of rice less. Our pension is super cool though, we live with them, they do the laundry, buy the water, and literally do everything.

I already miss so many things from the US already though hah. The other day we were walking and saw a Porsche and it made our day. Every single car here is like a Suzuki that seems like its about to fall apart.

[I asked him if his trainer Elder Ludlow would likely stay in Cusco past another transfer / change.]

E.Ludlow is very likely going to be changed, because this is his 4th change here, meaning he has close to 6 months here. Everyone else in the district should stay though, so I will probably just be the junior companion of the district leader again :)

I dont really have anything cool on my camera this week (video wise), and we are going to leave right after this email, because we have only an hour and a half to go and shop, and then make it back to the church , Love you guys!

Till next week!

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Week of Service & Hike to Balcon del Diablo

Sadly no, my package has still not arrived. Im not sure if its sitting in the office , or just lost. Ive heard some elders that say they got like packages 2 months after they were supposed to arrive.

But yeah, this week was alright for us, all of this week we have been doing a special service. Some group called "OneSight" came to Cusco, and its like a group of 50 people and they are doing eye checks and giving out glasses for free to everyone who needs them here. But the group is from like the US, England, and Canada so they all speak english, so we have been there for about 5-6 hours a day translating from their english to spanish, it was pretty fun though.

But work wise, not much this week, but like 30-40 hours of service so thats alright hah.

P-day was pretty cool last monday, we went to balcon del diablo, gonna attach some pictures. When we were there, we were just walking and ran into like 400 animals in the middle of the path, it was super weird

It was a fun hike, it was like just out in the middle of the mountains.

It was a really fun service project, I learned a lot about the eye haha. But yeah it helped a lot with my Spanish too. In like the 5 days they have been working here, they have already had like close to 3000 eye checks done for people and glasses given out and stuff.

[I found a blog from OneSight re: the Cusco Clinic.  They mention and thank the help from "missionaries": blog entry here]

But yeah, there was one person who was a member, she was pretty cool, and from Canada. She was actually from the same ward that an elder from Canada that was translating was from haha.

Yeah, the whole zone was there translating and also some missionaries from another area, we had about 40 missionaries translating in all I think. The people working there pretty much already knew why we were here, but they were all super surprised to find out we were 18 and 19, they thought we were like 20s haha.

But yeah, after this we plan on going to Plaza Vea and eating at Chile's because we havent eaten something too good in a while. I also am hoping to find a better blanket there because the blanket that is provided is like ......some kind of like super itchy material, but its not too bad. Im sure ill be able to find one there. I usually just wear my jacket and my pajamas to bed because its really itchy if I have like my legs showing.

This picture, idk why I have it, when i woke up, i just saw my camera next to me and took a picture lol.

This Sunday, i was supposed to give my talk about service, (they changed the topic on me again the day before in ward council) but literally I had a talk prepared, and they didnt call on me to come up and talk. Im literally so confused on how disorganized some things are here, but its whatever haha.

We don't have any big plans this week, we have a little bit more translating just on Tuesday, then we finally finish that service.

But yeah, this week is Jeff´s second week in Bangkok, and apparently he is just loving it from what I can read in his emails. This is my favorite excerpt from his email

"This is the greatest work in the world and I truly wouldn't want to be doing any other thing in my life. Thailand is absolutely the coolest place ever and the people here are ready to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. When I try to just see others as Christ would and look at them as if they were dressed in white, I have no fear and just go talk to anyone and everyone. I actually walked right into the circle of this sketchy group of like kids my age who were all just yoked Khon Thai's who all could probably kill me. They were all tatted up and smoking and I was like "hey wanna learn about Jesus Christ and how we can have eternal life?" and they all got like way serious and just stared at me and were like no. So then I was just like "Well do you want to quit smoking" They all said they wanted to. SO I told them the truth, that through Jesus Christ they could quit smoking and also receive baptism. They kinda looked at me like I was crazy but they excepted my invitation card or whatever with the church address and our # on the back. So hopefully they will show up or give a call. But I am learning quickly that obviously not everyone is going to have any interest at all. But we are here to plant seeds for later generations of Missionaries too. What an honor. "

He is a bit more confident than me, but I am working on it :)

Yeah. my times up for this week, next time we talk, October will be more than 1/2 over!


Monday, October 5, 2015

General Conference

I just got on today

This week we had the opportunity to watch General Conference in English which was cool. We watched all 4 sessions and priesthood too. It was only a bit annoying because tourists where in there with us in the English room and they had so many noisy kids.

This week has been really dry mission wise, we dont really have any news.  We went out and bought dunkin doughnuts this week which was good, but they went by way too fast.
Our pensions family also took us and the sister missionaries out to pizza, an actual real pizza place. It was like a 70 sole 16 piece pizza which was pretty good.

I guess this week has gone by pretty fast, and I would say I can understand mostly everything in Spanish. We had a zone meeting this morning and everything is in Spanish and it was alright!

Cusco has a Dunkin Doughnuts in PlazaVea, the mall here. In that mall, they also have KFC, Popeyes, Burger King, Papa Johns, some other burger place, a milkshake shop, Chili's, and some other places.

Here, everyone has a REALLY strong belief in Christ, pretty much everyone says they are catholic. I have yet to have an investigator that wont read the Book of Mormon. I have had a lot that say they will, and then "dont have time" though.

Conference was really awesome, and I think this is the first time in my life I've ever watched all 5 sessions. It was still pretty hard with crying babies and such, but it was awesome. We listen to a lot of conference talks on our little DVD player in our room. I think my favorite ( which i copied onto my USB i bought here), is from April 2015 by Jeffrey R. Holland.  He talks a lot about the Book of Mormon, I really like it.

We have a zone meeting on every change (transfer day). It just takes the place of our studies in the morning from 8 to 10. It sorta sucks though because the Zone Leaders always go over their assigned time and cuts into our P-day.

I still havent received my package, but it might just be sitting in the office for all I know. Its been a little bit longer than usual though, and I expect to get it hopefully by next Pday, The guy in charge of packages in the office is a latino and has a lot of work on his hands, so I think he just forgets sometimes, hah!

The tourists who attended our General Conference session did talk to us. They were mostly from Utah here to do some humanitarian project , like building houses or something. They were pretty cool.

These pictures are from a family night. Apparently here, everyone knows Barney and they always accidentally mispronounce my name and call me that. The family where we had the family night rents out costumes for a living, so they have a room just jam packed with everything you could think of.

Our week was a lot of failed appointments, but also a lot of service. All of Thursday we did a service activity for a now inactive returned missionary. He told us he still has his testimony, and is never going to forget his mission, is just "passing through some problems" or something like that.

When we have downtime, we usually try to visit less actives or visit "antiguos investigadores" (old investigators I think that translates into).

Today, with the rest of the zone for our zone p'day, which we have whenever we have the meeting in the morning, we are going to go to the "Balcon del Diablo". Ive never been, but apparently its like a hike up to a place with like some river and some cave or something, I dont know, ill take pictures.

Hah, I wish it meant Devils Bacon, I havent had bacon in what seems like forever. Sadly we cant eat any "Chancho" or pig products.

But yeah, its super cool the power the gospel has to change lives.

Our ward mission leader was inactive like, a year ago, and now has a super strong testimony about the changing power of the gospel. He is a pretty weird hobbit looking guy, ( who most of the time doesnt understand his calling), but even with all that -- he is awesome!

Love you all!