Monday, November 24, 2014

Act 11 Scene 24 - "Do You Hear the People Sing 'Happy Birthday'?" Edition

Area: Juliaca     Comp.: Elder Ayo

Ok, I'm sorry that this edition is so lame. But it's hard to pass up such a fitting Les Miserables reference, and only once a year is it MOM'S BIRTHDAY!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHER! I can't believe you're turning 30 again! Thank you for being born! Otherwise I would've had a different mom, and who wants that? Anyways, I hope your birthday's fantastic!

Preface to this letter: Potentially, of the letters you'll get from me, this is the worst one to send home for my mother's birthday. But I'm sitting down at a computer right now, happy and reasonably healthy. And nothing even happened! It's fine! Plus, the people here are SUPER superstitious, so even if they don't believe in our religion, the fact that my nametag says Jesus Christ on it makes me safer than anyone else in the city. Really though, nothing happened.

-Something happened on Tuesday and Wednesday! The Spanish word that they used to describe it means both 'strike' and 'riot', which I think is just a perfect description. It was a strike in that it was pre planned, had a clear purpose, and not even a little bit violent. It was a riot in that it was an angry mob of people travelling through the city, and that it was kind of violent. But not really! Basically what happened is that gas here is $5 a gallon, which compared with the price of living is just ridiculous, so what they decided to do was a forced boycott of roads/vehicles. To accomplish this, they smashed bottles and bricks in lines across the street to act as spike strips, and to anyone stupid enough to drive those two days they did what they could to destroy their car/combi/mototaxi. So on Tuesday I was in a combi, sitting in the front seat (which means I could see everything), and we were driving down the road normally when out of no where there was a line of people across the street holding machetes running straight at us. Within like 3 seconds our driver had made like 5 turns onto some obscure neighborhood street and made us all get out. It was super cool!

-One of the Seventy, Elder Evans, is in charge of the missionary department and came to our mission this week. There was a conference scheduled with him for us on Wednesday in Puno, but we weren't able to leave the city. So that stinks.

-Ok I admit it, I don't really understand Thanksgiving. I was under the impression it's just the 3rd Thursday of November, but apparently Thanksgiving hasn't actually happened yet. Regardless, I've already celebrated it. We ate mashed potatoes with gravy, PB&J's, chips, and beef. And later, Elder Buehner had turkey jerky that he brought from home. It was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

-Spiritual thought! Alma 14:12-13. Here Alma and Amulek are watching a bunch of women and children from the church burn to death, and Amulek asks Alma, "Hey, do you think we'll die?" And Alma responds, "No, we'll live. We've still got stuff to do." Essentially this is my super-lame birthday scripture for Mom, since I still have stuff to do in this life so I can't die. Happy birthday!

Anyways, I hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that Mom has a wonderful birthday! Do fun things! Celebrate for me! I'll see you in 20 months!

Elder Steele

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chapter 11 Versiculo 17--Thanksgiving Edition 11.17.14

Area: Juliaca  Comp.: Elder Ayo

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Assuming I did my math right, it should be Thursday, right? I hope so!

-I put up Thanksgiving decorations yesterday! I'm kind of limited here, so it's a hand-turkey that says "I'm thankful for..." and sticky-notes denoting the things we're thankful for. I'm actually really happy about it.

-We had exchanges this week! Last time Elder Wagner went with me, so this time he went with Elder Ayo. That was especially awesome since that meant I went with Elder Bodily, who's just as new as I am and neither of us really knew what we were doing. But we taught 2 lessons, got cake from a menos activo, and contacted 15 families! And even better, it was just ridiculously fun!

-Elder Ayo and I were in a mototaxi with the old Bishop when a Panai rode by on a motorcycle, and the Bishop pointed and said "Look how ridiculous! A Panai on a motorcycle!" That's what's ridiculous about Juliaca Bishop?!

-Spiritual Thought! This is from the hymn "Brightly Beams the Father's Mercy", which has become one of my favorites since I came out. It goes, "Trim your feeble lamp my brother; some poor sailor, tempest-tossed, Trying now to make the harbor, in the darkness may be lost. Let the lower lights be burning; send a gleam across the wave. Some poor fainting, struggling sea-man you may rescue, you may save." Even if you're not a missionary, you're still a missionary, especially with less actives. Let your light so shine, that they can find it! They might actually want to come back, and they just need someone to show them the way!

-We were in a lesson and I said the opening prayer, and right after our investigator asked what language I had just prayed in. Elder Ayo told her, "Spanish, he just sucks at pronunciation." So that's where my Spanish is at apparently.

-A 15 year old less active we're teaching told us that someone had graffitti-ed something really mean about her on the wall of the church. As soon as Elder Ayo and I heard that, we said "Heck no!", stood up, bought spray paint, and painted over it. The colors don't match at all. I'd feel bad if this wasn't Juliaca.

-We got a new Bishopric yesterday! I'm excited, since currently our Ward Mission Leader and Young Women's President are inactive, we don't have a Young Men's organization, and we sing all of our hymns acappella despite the fact that Church Headquarters gave us a radio and the CD's of all the instrumental versions of the hymns.

Anyways, things are good down here! We spend most of our time teaching and jumping drunks, which is a blast! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Elder Steele

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Building 11 Room 10, The Edition Where I Don't Have a Ton to Say 11.10.14

Area: Juliaca    Comp.: Elder Ayo

Hey everyone!

This week wasn't super exciting, especially now that we've kind of settled into a routine of sleeping, studying, and teaching, as opposed to having weeks of ridiculous experiences. Sorry about that, I know it makes for boring emails, but it makes for stronger wards! So that's good!

-Primary put on an activity 'for the whole family' on Friday, which was bizarre. It started two hours late, at 8:00 instead of 6:00, and went on until 11:30. That seems strange for a family activity to me, but whatever. They also had our High Council Representative choose the music, and despite the fact that he's 40 and was there with his wife and two kids, he exclusively chose music that was ridiculously innappropriate, so that was fun. They split everyone into two teams, and it was basically just relay races, but it was strange in that the first 3 were for kids and the rest were for adults. And these games got gradually worse, until at one point we as missionaries couldn't play without breaking mission rules.

-I cooked food for my pension's family! I decided to cook Philly Cheese Steaks, and that was the plan until I woke up that morning and could tell that it was a Spaghetti day. It went well! The noodles were kind of low quality (Peru), and the Parmesean cheese was expensive and also didn't taste right, but it was good!

-We had interviews with President Friday! Have I mentioned I have the best mission president in the whole world? I have the best mission president in the whole world. Every transfer he visits every zone, even though our zone is a 6 hour drive from Cusco and the farthest zone is a 12 hour drive from Cusco in the opposite direction. Every other transfer is either a zone conference or interviews with every missionary. He's awesome!

-The hand sanatizer here "kills 60% of germs!", so basically I'm going to die.

-Spiritual thought! "Walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as He walked" -President Monson. Jesus didn't just come to pay for our sins, he also set the example for how we should live our lives. Try to follow it!

Anyways, the work's going good! We had 9 investigators and 2 less actives come to church yesterday! Stay awesome!

Elder Steele

Series 11 Episode 3, Halloween Edition 11.3.14

Area: Juliaca   Comp.: Elder Ayo

Hey Everyone!

-Despite what Elder Stradling told me, there is Halloween here! All the kids dressed up in costumes and we ate candy and s´mores. I went as a Gringo Missionary. I thought I was pretty convincing.

-Along with Halloween, Sunday was Peru´s Day of the Dead, which means that everyone in Peru went to the cemetery and got obscenely drunk, which makes it different from other days in that they were at the cemetery. Also at church, we only had 31 people for Sacrament, 20 for Sunday School, and 7 for Priesthood/Relief Society. We also couldn´t get any lessons yesterday, which was great.

-I finally tried chuño! I´ve mentioned it, but now that I´ve tried it I´ll actually describe how it´s made! What they do is they take the potatoes that they can´t use because they´re infested with worms, and they step on them until they get all the potato juice out, then they leave it to dry for a couple days. Then, when it´s dry, they stick it in the river for 2 weeks. Once that´s over, they stick it in a dark, damp place to grow mold. Once it´s black all the way through, it´s ready, but it´s like wine in that it ´only get´s better with time´, which I think is a strech to say.

-There was a Relief Society activity where they invited a ´health expert´ to tell them about how to eat healthy, who turned out to be an Adventist who told us all about how the Sabbath is Saturday and how it´s a commandment to not eat meat (D&C 49:18). I´m still not sure why we even went to a Relief Society activity.

-Murcielago is Italian for ´Bat´, which means the Lamborghini Murcielago is essentially the Batmobile!

Anyways, things are going great! One of our best investigators told us how he can talk to cats, I GOT MY PACKAGE!, and we´re trying to re-activate our Ward Mission Leader! Hope everything´s good at home!

Elder Steele