I'm a field missionary now! Crazy!
First off, my new email time is 45 minutes, so I don't know how many emails I'll be able to write....
Now the good part! At least in my opinion. My companion's name is Elder Ayo. He's Ecuadorian and SUPER awesome! He's been out for 18 months already, and he's obviously a Latino. But he's great. We're stationed in Juliaca, which is near Puno and Lake Titicaca. We're in the coldest part of the mission, which kind of sucks. Also Cusco is 11,000 feet, which is about the height of Mount Timpanogos, and Juliaca's at 12,000 feet. So breathing's really fun! But I'm adjusting. The only real side effect is that I sound like Darth Vader 24/7, which is actually really cool. We get 3 meals a day from our pensionista, which I actually really hate. Like, her food's good and all, but I feel bad because the only payment she gets is reimbursement for the food cost. Also she gives us so much! I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I decided to be healthy when I entered the CCM, and I lost like 15 pounds, which is great except now my stomach is the size of a baseball and they're feeding me basketball sized portions. On my first full day here (Friday), for lunch she gave us this plate of rice and quinoa, and I was trying to eat it all but I was having a very hard time, so I told the other gringo (oh yeah we live with a companionship of another Latino and another Gringo) that I couldn't make it and he told me I had to so I said a prayer that I could just possibly do this and I had the strangest tender mercy of my life happen--I was about halfway through my plate and my stomach was about to burst and I threw up. Which I count as a tender mercy for 3 reasons-1. I didn't have to finish, 2. My stomach was empty, and 3. it gave me the opportunity to tell our pensionista that I couldn't possibly eat that much ever again. So that's good! So we spent the first two days of the field in Cusco getting trained and stuff, and the AP's told us that there are 5 (unofficial) things that need to happen before you're a real missionary, which are: Chuno (look it up), double-headed dragon, crap your pants, get bitten by a dog, and Plano Alto (which is where Juliaca is). I've so far done 2.5 of them, so that's good! So me and my comp are opening a new area, so we didn't have an area book or investigators or anything so we've been contacting and it's awesome! We have 1 investigator family and we're teaching a couple more Wednesday! The only thing is that activity in our mission is like 25%, so Presidente wants that to rise more than he wants membership to rise, so before someone can be baptized they have to come to all 3 hours of church 3 times, they have to pay fast offerings, and one other thing... Sorry, this email is really scattered (a million things have happened and also altitude). Anyways, our apartment is interesting. There's mission standards for the worst apartment you can have and ours breaks it--we don't have beds, dressers, lights, hot water, or desks, and my companion's super mad and now the ZL's are finding a new apartment for us I guess. It's fun though! For showers we heat water in our neighbor's stove then pour it over ourselves with a pitcher! Fun stuff! Anyways, there's a million other things and I can't remember one.
President and Sister Harbertson
All the missionaries from the CCM that went to Cusco together.