Saturday, August 23, 2014

Capitulo Ocho Versiculo Veinte 8.20.14

Area: CCM  Comp: Elder Luster

Hola Familia! And anyone else who might actually read these!

Anyways! Crazy week! Super short! Doesn't make sense, but lots of things don't make sense in the CCM. Especially Spanish. Entonces,

-I went to the templo today! It's a TINY temple and it was very strange but at the same time an AMAZING experience! I used a translator at first but after a couple minutes I realized I could understand the Spanish just fine.

-Did you know Texas has a pledge of allegiance?!

-You know that picture when Jesucristo appears to the Nephites? The one with the crumbly buildings? Look in the top left corner. It's Macchu Picchu.

-Mom-There's a "Peru Missionary Moms" FB page, that has a lot of my friends' moms on it and also supposedly some pictures of me. Also if it becomes necessary, I'm in the Peru CCM Distrito 110

-I bought a paperback Quechuan BoM today and it's so cool! The title is "Mormonpa Qelqanmanta Aqllska T'Aqakuna" so look for it in the Mesa Temple Visitor's Center! Also apparently about 30% of the Cusco mission has people that exclusively speak Quechuan!

-So one of the first things they tell you (100% serio aquí) is that if you're sick DO NOT TELL MOM so I'm breaking that but yesterday there was only one person who wasn't sick! Like we were all ok enough to attend classes but we had to have VERY frequent bathroom breaks and one guy (who actually lives in my room) was on the toilet with his face in a trash can for 6 ENTIRE HOURS STRAIGHT. I don't think anyone's ever gotten so many blessings directed towards them (except the prophet potentially). Also we pray 1500 times a day here and I love it. Have I mentioned that yet?

-I finished a pen. Like, a new pen, that I started using day one, ran out of ink yesterday. I was actually a little sad about it, so I had a funeral for it. It was a small service (just me), but it was good. Surprisingly Castaway-esque though.

-Elder Powell (the Palmer one) is our new DL, and Elder Black (the Gilbert Cultural Celebration one), who was our last district leader, knighted him. It was really bizarre but we had flickering lights and non-Satanic chanting and it ended up hilarious. I guess you had to be there though.

-I know you're insanely curious (I am speculating 100% there) about what I miss most, so here it is. In order of most to least: Driving, Disney movies, Physics (didn't expect that), the flashlight part of my iPhone (another surprise), Robin Williams, Rowan Atkinson, English, and not being around guys 24/7 which is disgusting.

-My whistling is increasing leaps and bounds, despite the strict whistling ban.

-People quote Nacho Libre here constantly. I never realized how relevant that movie is to my life.

-For my birthday, could I possibly get a Spanish mini black quad with tabs? They don't carry any of those things in terms of Spanish scriptures here. It's sad. Also wait, do I get birthday presents? I'm realizing more and more that I don't really understand this whole missionary thing.

-Sorry Mom, I spent SO MUCH money today. I bought this awesome bag, and a tie made out of alpaca fur, and lots of scriptures, and food, and it ended up being like s/.200...

-The Spanish is going well! I'm at the point where I'm considered fluent enough that I can join a Latino district for the last two weeks, but I prayed about it and felt really bad about it. But they count me as fluent! No dreams in Spanish yet, but I can basically think and talk in it. And the LdM makes sense in Spanish.

-We got 4 new principios in our room. They're really cool!

-Dad-That secret thing we were talking about in the Jordan River Temple? I learned a LOT more about it! Remind me when we're in the temple in 2 years and I'll tell you!

-So we were teaching an investigator and it was running kind of short (not my fault), so I decided I was going to share a scripture with him. Our investigator's 'thing' is that he is a student and thinks we can help him be a better student, so I looked at my nifty seminary card with all 100 Scripture Masteries on it, which is wonderful to have 99% of the time, and I chose 2 Ne 9:28 because the description was "learning is good with God" but that is NOT what it said. It was funny though!

-They have these cookies called Casinos here which are like drugs to us mishies. They're amazing! Oh I bought some of those today too. Sorry!

-People pee on the streets here. Not Missionaries obviously, but the Peruanos do constantly.

-One guy in my distrito is named Elder Bodily and he's been doing chiropractic services with us and it's amazing. He's the best chiropractor I've ever gone too (between him and the hippie one)

Anyways, I hope you guys had a fantastic week! Do lots of good things! Go to the temple! Be missionaries!

Elder Steele

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Semana 2! 8.13.14

Area: CCM    Comp.: Elder Luster


¿Hola? ¿Comó estan?

So first off, I forgot a LOT of things in last week's email, so I'll rattle them off real fast:
-We have 'physical activity' like 5 times a week. Most people play soccer, but I usually run or play foosball.
-We have this gate around the CCM that belongs in Jurassic Park. It's about 15 feet tall and a foot thick.
-There's this fruit here that they call grenadas and they look like alien spider egg sacs, but people love them. Also they have freshly squeezed juices here that are 90% pulp but are SO GOOD
-Palmer special! I have a surprising amount of news for the Palmers! Wait, Justin went to Colombia, right? Otherwise this isn't great news. But our CCM Presidente (Presidente Gonzalez) is a convert from Colombia! And my morning maestro (we have one in the morning and one at night) served his mish in Colombia! Also that guy from their stake? His name is Elder Powell and he's so awesome and I mentioned that the Palmers were my cousins and he said "Ty Palm's your cousin?! He's way cool!" (People say things like "way cool" because it's still the 80's in the CCM). He's in my distrito too!
-I didn't have any hangers for the first week, but I got some! Though I didn't get enough, so now I'm doubling and tripling up clothes on hangers.
-As a bustling CCM of like 120 people, there isn't a choir. Also since there's no choir, there's no need for free time. So that's stressful. Also we're not allowed to listen to music here unless we make it ourselves by singing or on the piano, and luckily my friend Elder Pearce is like a professional pianist or something. By far the best I've ever heard.
-Earthquakes, all the time
-We only get to study like 3 hours a day at the most which sounds like a lot but it really isn't. Read the BoM while you can, kids!
-We get ice cream every other day and it's the greatest I've ever had. Nielsen's doesn't hold a candle to this stuff.

There you go! Basic summary of the CCM, so now I can focus more on stories.

I went proselyting for the first time on Saturday! It was great. My comp was Elder Olsen, who's an American in the Latino district. We were supposed to get a list of menos activos from the bishop to visit, but he never showed, so we just street contacted for 3 hours. It was awesome! They gave us folletos to hand out but we ran out! We ended up having mini-lessons on the street with 15 people. Everyone's super humble and receptive here.

The strangest person I met during proselyting was this woman who was mopping the sidewalk and then she couldn't believe we existed because we were the wrong skin color and height. She was really receptive, but it was hard to understand her because her teeth were nubs and she slurred a lot. Also, she didn't know how to write or what street she lived on so we had to ask her neighbor.

Also on Sundays (which are the best, along with Wednesdays) we watched a talk by Elder Holland from Jan. 2013 in the Provo MTC and it was the most inspiring thing I've ever seen. It's missionary work based, but HUGELY inspiring. Also he threatens to beat us up, so that's cool.

I went to migraciones and interpol this week, so basically I have my visa. The only problem is that they had my birthday down as April 28th and I didn't know enough Spanish to fix it or care enough to care.

Anyways, I hope everything's great at home! I haven't read any emails yet, so if this is totally not the email you wanted, sorry about that!

Oh, also the whole "pictures" thing is really hard because we can only take them outside on P Day and starting yesterday we aren't even allowed to send them home.

Elder Steele

P.S. I wore black yesterday to mourn the loss of Robin Williams, don't worry.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Semana 1! 8.6.14

Area: CCM     Comp.: Elder Luster

Hola familia!

I can finally write you guys! Sorry about the email last week, they gave everyone 3 minutes...

First: the essentials:

Bathroom-Good. The water temperature is moody but semi controllable.

Shower-Good. Again, moody, but super private. The only problem is the drains suck and they're sunk into the floor a little and if you don't shower fast the water rises to your ankles which is disgusting.

Food-Ok. They try to serve us American food and end up with this strange pseudo-Peruvian comfort-food type stuff that's just rice and chicken basically. Also there is one cereal dispenser, but it has this kind of unfrosted, unsweetened Frosted Flakes, that look suspiciously like mini tortilla chips. Also there isn't any milk, so you have to use yogurt or just eat it dry.

Room- Good. Sleeps 6, but there's only 4 of us, so that's awesome. It kind of smells, but the other companionship in my room are the funniest people I've ever met. I end every night crying laughing, they're so funny. Also we can set our AC to whatever we want, and we set it to like 19/20 degrees Celsius, which is super nice. We don't know how hot that really is though.

Companion-Jock from Texas. I know I said Utah, but it's really Texas. Long story. He's a great guy and I really like him, but at the same time we're very different people.

Lima-Beautiful! The city has a very strange smell, but not necessarily in a bad way. The weather is perfect, like 60's with not at all bad humidity, the only problem is that we have only seen the sky for two out of the seven days so far, and only for like 15 minutes at a time. VERY cloudy. Also the drivers are crazy. They never leave more than 6" of clearance on EVERY side, all the time. And if you get into an accident and the cops get involved, both people lose their licenses for life, so people are constantly crashing then just driving away. Strange.

That's basically it! The only people who speak English here are the other Norteamericano elderes, so it's interesting to see what Google Translate tells our instructors to say to us. In our welcome presentation, they told us "Don't put fruit in the urinals" and "Don't put paper in the cup" and we still don't totally get that. The Spanish is good! By far the hardest thing I've ever done, but I'm doing well! Back in school our Spanish class was set up in like 2-3 week units, and here each unit is called a class and we have two classes a day. But we can retain it like crazy! I can't take credit for that though, 100% el don de lenguas. But now I can understand and hold a simple conversation with Latinos, and we teach our first "investigadore" tonight in Spanish! And we go real proselyting to menos activos this Saturday! I'm excited!

I'm sorry I made you all sad! And also I have some devastating news. The internet here SUCKS, like, worse than anything we ever had at home, so it takes about an hour and a half to upload a picture and I have an hour to email... So there's that. I'm sorry! First week in the field, 100s of pictures! And when I got in the computers were down, except for one which is why we wrote for 3 minutes each the next day. My district is good! There's 6 companionships, which makes us the largest district, and we're all Elders. Of the 150 people here, there's about 10 Hermanas and 20 Latinos, and as Norteamericano Elderes we're not allowed to associate with either of them (like, we can't even acknowledge the Hermanas. Crazy, right?!) We went outside the CCM for like 20 minutes to exchange money, which we're in by far the nicest part of town and it would be the ghettos of Mesa. The CCM is the second nicest building in Peru, excluding the temple of course. No money spent, but soon! They have peanut butter here!

Oh hey! I thought you'd find this interesting! The water here is 'safe' but it tastes really sour and they gave us these REALLY NICE like military grade water bottles with filters built in! Like these filters will remove radiation! They said that you could drink straight out of the Amazon with these and it'd be fine, but they don't recommend it!

Hopefully I can write more next week!

Se amo ustedes!
Elder Acero (Elder Steele)