Sunday, July 26, 2015

Weekly Email, version 6.8.2015, "The Birthday Candle Mystery Solved" Edition 6.8.15

Area: Yunguyo   Comp: Hogan

Hello everyone!

-We had interviews with President this past week! They've changed the interviews where they come to the rooms now. Among Hermana Harbertson's comments are 'really small' and 'very orange', which I think means we have one of the best rooms.

-We had a meeting in Juli yesterday for the Branch Presidents and missionaries. Juli's an hour away, and after we got there (on time) we started the meeting 2 1/2 hours late. Fantastic!

-It takes 16 minutes and 40 seconds to burn a birthday candle completely. Mystery solved!

-Elder Monson (our Zone Leader) went with Elder Hogan and I on splits while his companion went with Elder Castillo and Elder Flores. We spent the whole time knocking on doors, and ended up teaching a 95 year old woman that I would have guessed was 60.

-We ate tacos! I ate them right before I started my fast, but I ate so many that I actually was so full it hurt for nearly the whole 24 hours of the fast. Worth it though!

-D&C 101:16 "Be still and know that I am God". Just something to remember.

Anyways, things are going well here! Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Row 6 Spot 1 6.1.15

Area: Yunguyo  Comp: Hogan

Dear Everybody,

-I just have to start with Elder L Tom Perry. He was the greatest, and will be missed. In his last talk he talks about the family, and to close he talks about how, the older he gets, the more he realizes the most important thing in the world is the family.

-We had our first successful activity in Yunguyo yesterday! Which I thought was weird, since the idea was terrible and we didn't really invite anyone. But we made empanadas and had a big turnout, so success!

-The Branch President's son got back from his mission this week. There's a tradition here where the whole branch goes to meet the family as they get off the combi, then we go to the family's house and there's cake, which means that obviously we went.

-We got doors slammed in our face for Elder Hogan's first time! He's finally getting the experience!

-We played soccer as a zone last week, despite my complaints. I did end up playing though, and I scored 3 goals. Maybe this soccer thing isn't all that bad.

-There was a teacher strike this week, which only meant no school all week. That turned out fantastic for us, since all the families were home, together, all day every day.

Anyways, things are going well here! We're learning a lot. We have people to teach now. Be awesome people!

Elder Steele

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Day 5 Month 25 5.25.15

Area: Yunguyo    Comp: Elder Hogan

Dear Everybody,

-We started knocking on doors this week! We decided that, since Peru's still stuck in the 80's, we should use 80's techniques. It's surprisingly effective, and it makes me feel much more like a real missionary.

-We went to visit an elderly widow in the branch, and in the middle of a sentence she looked out the window, stopped, and said, "Someone's going to die." "What?" we asked her. "There's a dog digging a hole outside, and everytime I've seen that someone has died right after." She then told us about how her husband, her brother, and her nephew had all died right after she saw a dog digging a hole right outside her window. So we'll see if someone in her family dies soon.

-Drunk story! There were two drunks that walked up to us. One's mouth was covered in blood. Bloodface started asking us for money, while his friend explained that they were drunk and that he had been punching his friend in the face incessantly. Then, bloodface decided that Elder Hogan was Jesus, and kneeled down and beg forgiveness for his 'entire life'. The other one told him he wasn't begging well enough, and was pushing his face into the ground to help him beg better when we just left without saying anything.

-They had another planned power outage for an entire day, on a day where we didn't know and spent the morning working in the farm. So not only did we not have hot water in an apartment where you can see your breath all day, but the water is connected to the electricity and we had no water all day either. Disgusting day.

-The key broke in the lock of our door. I used the broken key to open the door, then realizing that I don't know how to remove broken keys, I just bought/replaced the door knob. Laziness!

Anyways, it's been a good week! We're doing some good work, and having a little success! Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Chapter 5, Versiculo 18, "Transfer Day" Edition 5.18.15

Area: Yunguyo    Comp: Elder Hogan

Hello everybody!

-Transfers! I'm not going anywhere. I already knew I wouldn't. You don't when you're training. Elder Estigarribia is leaving, to the closest sector possible outside the zone. I'm staying until right after Linc's birthday though!

-I gave another talk! I wrote an 8 page long talk, but we started late and the other two speakers went over, so I had a little more than 5 minutes left. It was fantastic.

-They had a planned, all day power outage on Saturday, which was potentially the coldest day of my life. Since there was no electricity, no one let us in, and because it was cold, I almost died. Fun though!

-I learned that you can't plug in a high-powered space heater and a high-powered water boiler into the same plug at the same time. It will explode. Nothing got hurt though!

-We worked in the farm more! We had pickaxes and dug up a potato-like plant. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

Anyways, not much is going on here. The work's progressing! And congrats to Spencer Warren on his mission call! Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Article 5 Paragraph 11, "Mother's Day" Edition 5.11.15

Area: Yunguyo    Comp: Elder Hogan

Dear Everybody,

-HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MOTHER! I love talking to my family. The fastest 2 hours of the year happen on Christmas and Mother's Day. But in honor of Mother's Day, Alma 56:48 "And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it." These 2000 young men were willing to go to war because of the faith of their mothers and what they'd been taught from their mothers. Today, there's an army of about 88,000 young men and women serving the Lord with the same motivation. Thanks for being the best mother Mom!

-The Elderly decided to invade the bank this week. We had to go to the bank to get money for Elder Hogan this Tuesday. I seriously felt as if I was drowning in old Peruvians.

-We gave a prayer rock to a less active this week, and we chose the biggest one we could find to make sure that it'd work. We asked her how it was going, and she said that it's in her bed, but she forgets about it all the time and sleeps with a giant rock in her bed. So that's interesting.

-We picked habas (a disgusting plant thing) this week at a farm, and it turns out I'm a master farmer. Watch out, Dad!

-Branch council fell through on us yesterday when we were the only ones who came, meaning that both the Branch President and the other companionship didn't come. Happy Mother's Day!

-We painted the Branch President's house on Friday. We didn't know this before, but he decided that the 5 of us (him and the four missionaries) were going to paint his whole house, inside and out, in one day. That ended up taking forever. But we did it!

Anyways, things are going well! Elder Hogan's learning lots of things. I am too. So are all the people of Yunguyo. I mean, that's the goal, right? Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Episode 5, Hour 4, "Tomorrow's 5 de Mayo" Edition 5.4.15

Area: Yunguyo    Comp: Elder Hogan

Hello everybody,

-Elder Castillo went to Cusco this week to do papers, which means we were in a trio again. Elder Estigarribia tried to learn English from Elder Hogan and I, and he can now say, "I hungry so hard", which shows how great we are at teaching English.

-We went to Desaguadero, a little city a half an hour away. It's supposedly part of our sector, but we've never been. While we were there, the combi's to Yunguyo decided to go on strike, meaning that we didn't get back to Yunguyo for a very long time. Fun day though!

-We get money on the 1st, and Elder Estigarribia is potentially the most irresponsable person, money-wise, that I've ever met. He started off the 1st by getting money, and buying pizza for all of us. He's already out of money.

-The whole zone came to Yunguyo for an activity in the plaza we had, and within 10 minutes of the 1 hour we had with them, it started hailing like crazy. So that was fun and not at all painful!

-We went to visit a lady in our branch who has no money and has 5 of her kids living with her on Wednesday. She told us that she was getting kicked out of her house on Thursday, hadn't even looked for a new house, and had no intentions to do anything for her 5 kids. That was also fun.

-A lady in Puno offered to sell her 7th child to one of our investigators this week, since she said she "has no money and doesn't even want the first 6". Crazy Peru.

Anyways, things are good here! We're working hard, and we've been doing lots of successful missionary things! Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Paragraph 4 Word 27, "Super Conference Weekend" Edition 4.27.15

Area: Yunguyo     Comp: Elder Hogan

Hello everybody!

-We had 3 days of conferences this weekend, which were awesome! The first was all day Friday, and it was a missionary conference with 74 missionaries in it. To finish off, they said, "Now we're going to have a testimony meeting. We have a little bit less time left than we wanted, so please keep your testimony no longer than one minute. The next two hours are yours." 2 hours for a testimony meeting of 74 people?! Awesome! Which we definitely filled up that testimony meeting! Saturday and Sunday were a district conference, which is like a stake conference but for districts. Since districts don't have keys, the one with keys had to be there, which was Presidente Harbertson and his wife. What a great weekend.

-A couple senior missionaries also came to the conference Sunday. After the conference, there was a 'pot luck' lunch, where people put blankets on the ground and just poured potatoes, chicken, and fish onto. One senior missionary commented to me, "The folks back at home will never believe this!" I hadn't even thought twice about this, which means that I've accustomed to Peru very much and that's probably why this email seems to get shorter (and less interesting) every week.

-The pension's son finished his mission this week, and I haven't eaten such good food since I left. She just keeps making everything that he likes all the time, and it's fantastic!

-It was the birthday of a member, so her husband made basically the whole branch ceviche de pollo for lunch, which might just be the most delicious thing in the entire universe.

Anyways, things are good here! My companion keeps pointing out 'ridiculous' things to me. I find none of them ridiculous. I might have a hard time adjusting when I get back. Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Movie 4 Chapter 20, "Happy Half-Birthday Logan!" 4.20.15

Area: Yunguyo    Comp: Elder Hogan

Dear Everyone,

-Happy Half-Birthday to Logan (and me)! Doesn't time go by fast? Before you know it it'll be our 3/4 Birthday!

-We divided Yunguyo in half this week, and we ended up with the half on which no one had investigators. That means that now we have no investigators, and we've been contacting all week. My favorite!

-I was sick yesterday and listened to all 10 hours of this past General Conference, in English. What an amazing conference!

-Yunguyo has decided that it's finally going to live it's dream of being the coldest place on earth, which is fantastic. In other unrelated news, I've loaded up on winter clothes and I can't put my arms down.

-The Branch President's wife is a cake maker for a living, and occasionally shows us how to make cakes. This week's edition? She called it 'frozen cake', and it's a cake that's half jello and has to be frozen for 2 hours before eating it. Who's idea was that?!

-I have once again been blessed by my affinity for Disney, after not watching Toy Story 3 during a Toy Story 3 activity, then teaching an extensive lesson on it in Spanish, quoting parts of the movie. Success!

Anyways, this has been an interesting week! We're working hard, and doing lots of great things! Have a fantastic week!

Elder Steele

Month 4 Day 13, "I'm a Father" Edition 4.13.15

Area: Yunguyo    Comp: Elder Hogan

Hello everybody!

-I have my son! His name is Elder Hogan, from Logan, Utah. He's awesome! His Spanish isn't bad, he's super nice, and more than anything he's super ready to learn. I'm already a proud father.

-I spent essentially half the week in Cusco, which was just the greatest. Cusco, as it turns out, is a fantastic city. Of the 6 Elders that are training, 4 of us are from the same group, so we were together the entire time. There were also 4 more from my group just around. It was a party. A lot of the week was spent just sitting in chairs and telling mission stories. Can you believe that? We already have mission stories! I feel so grown up!

-One of the first things we did when we got back was paint these tiny chalk toy cars blue for hours. That's the kind of service we do here--Welcome to the mission Elder Hogan!

-Yesterday, the Plaza de Armas was fuller than I've ever seen it, and every one of those people had a crate of beer. I've never seen so many drunks at one time in my life, and I've been in this part of Peru for like 7 months. Welcome to the mission Elder Hogan!

-As part of the 'picking up your trainee' process, we go contacting in Cusco's Plaza de Armas, which was exclusively filled with European tourists who neither spoke English nor Spanish, so that was a blast.

Anyways, a lot happened this week, but it can all be summed up in 'I went to Cusco this week', so sorry for the shortness of this letter. Everything's great! We're doing great things! The work's progressing! Have a great week!

Elder Steele

4/6th Session of General Emails-- Birthday-Transfer-Pday-Real Christmas-General Conference-Easter-Master Jedi Edition 4.6.15

Area: Yunguyo     Comp: Elder Hogan

Dearest Everybody,

-First thing's first! TRANSFERS! I'm staying in Yunguyo, but Elder Salas is going to Cusco. That's kind of strange, since I have more time here than he does. Almost never happens. The reason that this is happening is because I'M TRAINING! I'm going to have my own Padawan! Which means I'm a Jedi Master! I don't know who it is yet. I'll meet him this Wednesday, and on Thursday night I'll be back in Yunguyo. I'll let you know in a week!

-Remember the 5 things necessary to become a real missionary? I think I mentioned them a long time ago. Anyways, I finished the fifth last week! As soon as I did, I said, "I'm officially a Jedi Master!" I think that's why I'm training.

-General Conference! I watched it in Spanish, which worked out much better than I thought. I understood it all. I now believe that it's just better to hear the talks in the speaker's own voice, which means that I really enjoyed the 3 talks in Spanish.

-Merry Real Christmas! Maybe we don't celebrate April 6th nearly as much as December 25th, but we should still remember it. It's another day to remember our Savior, who gave everything for us. Try to give him a present of obedience today.

-The Easter tradition here doesn't include Easter Eggs, so after describing them to my pension (who is also the first counselor in the Primary), she loved the idea and decided that we should do them for a Primary activity last Wednesday. They only had brown eggs and red food coloring, but it still turned out much better than expected and the kids love it. Success!

Anyways, I'll be spending a good amount of time this week in Cusco! Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Chapter 3 Verse 30- "Post-Birthday Pre-Transfer PDay" Edition 3.30.15

Area: Yunguyo    Comp: Elder Salas

Hello everybody!

-There was a meeting for all the Branch Presidents and District
Presidents in the whole mission in Cusco this Saturday, which means us
four missionaries were the leadership of the ward (again). We had to
set up the General Women's Session of Conference, watch it, then
un-set it up. Maybe the session wasn't directed towards us, but I'm
not complaining about watching more conference!

-As a missionary, my focus should be the investigators, which means
there's a new rule that I have to watch conference with them. That
means that I have to watch conference in Spanish, so that'll be fun.

-One lady asked us to do some service for her, which involved removing
everything from a big storage room, mopping the floor with straight
gasoline (I'm still not sure why), then turn that big, gasoline-d
empty room into a gym. That basically means moving things that were
created with the purpose of being heavy.

-We played charades in an activity we had, and I chose the words. I
chose words like "honesty" and "gratitude", which are essentially
impossible to act out, then I gave them 30 seconds to act it out. I
was very happy with that.

-We went to the country to visit one very elderly, widowed member, who
was so happy to see us that she gave us 30 pounds of potatoes. I don't
think I'll ever be able to eat another potato.

-I measured my entire apartment, and it came out to 12 feet by 14
feet. That includes our beds, desks, dresser, a rack for clothes, and
our bathroom. Living the dream!

-2 Ne 26:28-"Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not
partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are
privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden."

Anyways, not a bad week! This is the last week of the transfer, and
Conference is this weekend! Watch it! Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Episode 3, Jedi Counsel 23-- ¨HAPPY BIRTHDAY FATHER¨ Edition 3.23.15

Area: Yunguyo      Comp: Elder Salas

Dear Everyone,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!! I haven´t a clue how old you´re turning, but whatever it is, I think this is the specific age in which it is commonly accepted to give up gardening to focus exclusively on watching Star Wars and letting yourself go (ice cream). Anyways, have a wonderful birthday tomorrow! Do good things! Celebrate! I´ll be celebrating here on my end!

-We have a group of very elderly members who come to church every week, and they´re just hilarious. One of them brought a gigantic bag of potatoes to church, carried it around the whole time, then right after church we were all in the Branch President´s office and he came in and tried to sell it to us. The Branch President told him, ¨You can´t sell that on Sunday!¨ to which he responded, ¨Why did I ever get baptized then?¨ I thought that was pretty hilarious.

-Spiritual thought! ¨Search your feelings, Lord Vader, you know it to be true.¨ -Darth Sidious. Despite the setting in which this was said, the principle is true. If you really want to know that the church is true, say a prayer, and search your feelings. You´ll know it to be true.

-We did a service project this week, where a recent convert family had a two story adobe house that they didn´t want anymore. We started at the top and tore it down, brick by brick, with our bare hands. It turns out adobe houses aren´t that strong. Also, there was a strip of concrete along the base of the house, and I was given a very Thor-like mini sledgehammer and I destroyed it all. I don´t know if I´ve had so much fun in a service project.

-The pension´s husband went out of town for 2 weeks, bringing an abrupt halt to the chuño disaster of 2015. All involved are grateful that the massacre has ended.

Anyways, things are going well here! The branch has gotten to be consistently double the size it was when I got here, we have some actual investigators, and I´m not sick! Happy birthday Dad, and may the force be with you!

Elder Steele

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Month 3 Day 16 3.16.15

Area: Yunguyo   Comp: Elder Salas

Hello Everybody,

To be perfectly honest I thought nothing about what I'm going to write this week, so we'll see how this goes.

-The Punishment continues, with chuno now almost every other day. I'm getting used to it, but that's like saying that I'm getting used to getting slapped in the face every 5 seconds. It's never going to be a pleasant experience.

-We had a Video Night, where we watched Finding Nemo. We're not allowed to watch that, and miraculously I had the self-control to read my scriptures the entire time, and I remembered enough from all the times I'd seen it before the mission to teach a lesson based on it to the people who'd come. Success!

-We taught Book of Mormon to someone who had a ridiculous amount of doubts. We just told him to read it. When we came back, he'd read more than the assignment that we'd given him and he wants to be baptized. Success!

-We celebrated the birthday of Leonor, a 65ish year old less active. She served us a plate of chuno. She was ecstatic that we'd come though, and just to see her that happy made it worth it.

-Yesterday there was a very big branch lunch activity, where they had a ton of very delicious food. The pension told us that our food was in the house, and that we had to eat there (although she stayed). They'd made us chuno.

Anyways, interesting week! It was surprisingly successful. Also I didn't have to give a talk yesterday! Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Hour 3, Minute 9- "This Week We Had Interviews" Edition 3.9.15

Area: Yunguyo   Comp: Elder Salas

Hello Everybody,

-Zona Juli had interviews with President this week in Puno! Which means several things, including that I went to Puno and also that I found out that in this last cambio Zona Juli shrunk from 16 missionaries to 10. We had interviews on Saturday morning, which means we had to travel on Friday night and stay the night in Puno. We all met up in the terminal and went to a pizza place that was deliciously fantastically good, so success there. Also in Puno, Elder Salas and I put all our stuff in one suitcase (it was one night), and that suitcase was left in a taxi. I really didn't have much stuff though, and I've already replaced everything I lost. Also the interview was great!

-Presidente Gallegos is back from his month-long vacation, and we mistakenly thought that he would start doing all of the stuff for the branch, and he mistakenly thought we would continue doing it all. Long story short, we realized Saturday night at 8:00 that no one had been asked to give a talk. Elder Salas, Elder Castillo, and I gave talks. It went surprisingly well! With 12 hours of advance notice, we went 20 minutes over in Sacrament meeting.

-The husband of our pension is inactive, so we decided to teach him, disguised as a "Family Home Evening". He caught on, and although he's said nothing, we know he's punishing us since he's given us liver, lung, and chuno twice. It's even hard on Elder Salas.

-"And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off." -2 Nephi 10:20. Just remember that. You are never cast off.

-We were teaching a family, and after talking to them for a good 10 minutes, they made the comment that the church that they attend is in Aymara (a local native language). They then followed that with the comment that they "speak absolutely no Spanish." Elder Salas asked them, "Are you sure?" To which they replied, "Completely sure. We don't speak a single word of Spanish." We then asked them, "How are we communicating right now then?" They didn't have an answer for that.

Anyways, things are good here! The work's progressing, we're finding people that will be very strong members, and I'm not sick! Thanks for everything!

Elder Steele

Game 3 Quarter 2 -- "Happy March!" Edition 3.2.15

Area: Yunguyo   Comp: Elder Salas

Dear Everybody,

-It's March, which means I've succesfully survived Carnavales without
getting water-ballooned once. According to the other Elders, that's
because Yunguyo is horrible at Carnavales.

-Cambios! I stayed here with Elder Salas, but Elder Cedeño left. He's
now the Zone Leader in Puerto, and his replacement is another
Ecuadorian named Elder Castillo.

-We taught a less active named Elder. He's actually a convert, his
parents named him Elder because the missionaries always bought food in
their store about 20 years ago, and they liked the name. I'm also not
actually sure why he went inactive.

-I ate liver! It wasn't as horribly gross as I thought, but it doesn't
taste good. But the pension told me that, since I ate it, the next
time we have pizza (we've never had pizza) she'd give me double pizza.
I don't want to get my hopes up, but if that actually works out that'd
be amazing.

-Last Monday the District President invited us to eat ceviche de pollo
in his house for lunch, then right after we went to the pension and
she made us tacos, which I ate 6 of. I don't think I've ever been so

-There's this weird influx of people from Argentina here in Yunguyo.
They're kind of awesome, because they're hippies and they make
fantastic pizza.

-There's this old member that comes to church every week, but he's
very old, lives half an hour away, and is almost completely deaf. He
said the closing prayer in Elder's Quorum yesterday, and he said,
"Please give me a calling! I want one so bad, but they won't call be
because I'm deaf!" That was absolutely hilarious, to start, but he's
now the official preparer of the sacrament.

Anyways, it's been an OK week! We've been keeping busy! Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Year 2 Month 23, "Birthday Transfer PDay Edition 3" Edition 2.23.15

Area: Yunguyo       Comp: Elder Salas

Happy Birthday-Transfer-PDay! Admittedly, I don't know whose birthday it is, but it's got to be someone's, right?

-I know nothing about transfers. Not my fault. Potentially I'll be writing from a completely different place in a week. I just have no idea.

-Sick week! I had consecutive sick days, Sunday-Thursday, meaning that I really have no stories at all from this week. I left for a little bit on Friday, another little bit Saturday, and finally Sunday I felt well enough to be a normal missionary. I'm fine right now though, don't worry!

-I discovered that I can buy hard candy from stores here for 10 centimos (about 3 cents). With that wonderful discovery, all my teeth are going to fall out, but at the same time my life has become the 1920's. I'm not complaining.

Really, I have no stories from this week. With Elder Salas getting his wisdom tooth out, and me being in bed for 5 full days, really nothing happened. But potentially there'll be a lot to talk about in a week! Thanks for everything!

Elder Steele

Version 2.16.15- "That One That's Not Overly Exciting" Edition 2.16.15

Area: Yunguyo    Comp: Elder Salas

Dear Everyone,

-Carnavales! It's actually a lot tamer than I thought. There's this unspoken rule that guys can only get girls wet, and vice versa, and the biggest threat are these packs of 10-15 Teacher-aged boys, which means I'm essentially safe. Only one person threw a water balloon at me all week, and they had terrible aim, so so far I'm doing good! The biggest thing about Carnavales is that everyone's drunk. It makes it really hard to teach them.

-We were walking around on Friday, and we ran into this elderly widow from the branch, sitting on the side of the street, horribly sick. I'm not sure why, but she had decided not to mention it to anyone. Within a half an hour we'd got her medicine, food, and we gave her a blessing, and on Saturday she was 100% better.

-We had activities all day on Saturday. Literally all day. We had a break of about an hour. They were successful activities though!

-We invited one of our recent converts to come to the Saturday activities, one of which was a sports activity. She told us she couldn't come, because, "I'm terrified of soccer balls."

Anyways, not a super exciting week, but still! And next week is Transfers! Have a great week everyone!

Elder Steele

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Chapter 2 Versiculo 9, 'That One With All the Idol Worship' Edition 2.9.15

Area: Yungyuo   Comp: Elder Salas
Dear Everybody,

-Candelaría and Carnavales have started! Carnavales is Latino-America wide, as far as I'm aware, and consists basically in carrying around spray cans of foam and water balloons and making everyone's day miserable, especially since it's still the kind of weather where I can see my breath during the hottest part of the day. Candelaría is only in Puno, and to put it simply, it's idol worship. During these 2 weeks, Puno drinks more beer than the rest of Peru the rest of the year, all to celebrate 'The Virgin of Candelaría'. We're not even allowed to go close, but the effects are much longer reaching than the literal party in the middle of Puno.

-On Tuesday, we had so many appointments that we literally ran to make it to appointments on time, which is as successful as I can imagine.

-The Branch President left for the month of February, leaving us in charge of the whole branch. It's exhausting. Also, I'm not sure why, but since he left, the District President has changed essentially every other calling in the whole branch except for his. That'll be a surprise.

-Elder Salas needs his wisdom tooth taken out, and the dentist gave him 2 options: Remove the tooth, for 150 soles and (supposedly) 1 day of recovery, or come to his office every 15 days for the next 8 months, paying 1500 soles, to do a small surgery every time to align his tooth upright. Elder Salas actually asked for my advice, to which I told him he's crazy if he's even considering the second option.

-Spiritual Thought! D&C 136:31. I chose this almost a week ago and don't remember what it says, so just read it and let me know what you think.

Anyways, really nothing else happened this week. I was in Puno Wednesday and Thursday for a conferencía, I'm in Puno right now for a Zone Meeting, and this week I'm expecting to get drenched with water balloons almost constantly. Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Playlist 2, Song 2, "That One Where It Rained Every Day" Edition 2.2.15

Area: Yunguyo  Comp: Elder Salas

Dear Everybody,

-It rained all week this week, with the exception of 2 hours this Saturday, which corresponded exactly with a baptism on the beach. Miracles!

-I had my 6 months this week! I decided to treat it like my birthday, because, why not? I'm an adult, I can eat cake for dinner! It was great. Everyone sang, "Happy 6 Months", which is a variation of Happy Birthday. I blew out a candle. We had a chocolate cake with Coke for dinner. Everything I could have ever wanted! I didn't burn a tie though, because I kind of like all my ties. So there you go.

-We taught the lady that had the hugely heavy bags! She told us she was afraid of praying in public, so we just disregarded that and asked her to say the closing prayer. She said the most emotional prayer I've ever heard, then told us that we'd helped her overcome her fear, and she gave us just a ridiculous amount of potatoes. We gave them to the pension, and we're still eating them with every meal.

-Spiritual Thought! "For behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction"
1 Nephi 20:10. Heavenly Father allows us to have trying times, because he's refining us. He knows who He wants us to be, and if we just roll with the punches and do what we can He'll make sure we become that person.

-This weekend, I had 6 hours of meetings. I never want to be in 6 hours of meetings again. But, in these meetings, we set up home teaching and an activity and a bunch of other stuff! And attendance yesterday was double the attendance when I got here, so I guess it pays off!

Anyways, not a super exciting week. But a successful one! And this week I'm going to be in Puno for 2 days, and potentially I'll have stories there! Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Paragraph 1 Word 26 1.26.15

Area: Yunguyo   Comp: Elder Salas

Dear Everyone:

-My dreams of being the greatest, unpaid, missionary graphic designer living in a rural Southern Peruvian town are finally being realized, based on the fact that I designed multiple flyers for upcoming activities this week and, in the words of Elder Salas, "Not terrible."

-We were talking to a woman, and we were trying to explain that, as missionaries, we don't just teach, we also offer service. She wasn't really getting it, so we said, "Really, anything, anytime, anywhere, just let us know and we'll come and help." She responded with, "There is one thing I need. Could you two come with me tomorrow morning at 6:00 to an illegal marketplace in the mountains of Bolivia to help me carry all the contraband I'm going to buy?" Didn't expect that one.

-We encountered an elderly woman at the side of the road with two gigantic manta packages, each weighing (not exaggerating) about 50-60 pounds. She insisted that she didn't need help carrying them the half-mile to her house. Obviously we ended up doing it, which with one package each, was absolutely exhausting. What in the world was she planning on doing?!

-There's this chihuahua that the owner of my building has, and it's always wandering around. I didn't know this, but apparently there used to be two. One of them fell down the same hole that Elder Vargas fell down, but the dog died. Why haven't they done anything about that hole?

-This week I have successfully learned how to install an electric shower head, and (unrelatedly) how to fix a badly installed electric shower head. That's a skill I'll need in the future!

-Spiritual thought! "The time has come to test your courage" - Great Deku Tree. I don't know why this strikes me so much, but it does. I just kind of think, it's always the time to test our courage. That's kind of why we're here. Remember to keep up your courage. Don't give in to temptation. Be strong.

Anyways, things are good here! We had 60 people in church yesterday, which is double what it was when I got here! Everything's great!

Elder Steele

Monday, January 19, 2015

Month 1 Day 19, "The Continuation of Perceived Normality" 1.19.15

Area: Yunguyo   Comp: Elder Salas

Hello everyone!

-My new companion (as I previously mentioned) is named Elder Salas. He's from Arequipa, which is very very close to here. It's as if I was called to the Tucson mission, in terms of physical distance. He's a great guy! People really like him, and he's a hard worker, so that's basically all I could ask for. I'm excited though!

-I hadn't really realized, with a companion confined to bed and all, but we don't really have very many people in our teaching pool. We knocked on doors all week, which is both uneffective and exhausting. It's good though! We're making the first small dent in our 860 inactive members!

-I gave a talk again yesterday! 3rd time in the mission! It went ok. President was also out of town, which means I presided in a Sacrament Meeting for the first time. Interesting experience!

-Elder Cedeño had to go to Cusco a couple days, which means that I was in another trio for 3 days. No comment.

-"Your continuing exercise of faith will forge strength of character available to you in times of critical need. Such character is not developed in moments of great challenge or temptation. That is when it is used." Richard G Scott

-There's a Sister in the branch who had a baby a week ago, and almost died during the birth. That leaves her a bed-ridden, single mother of 5 children living in a one room apartment about the size of my bedroom back home. She also doesn't have running water, and only uses rainwater that runs off the roof into buckets that she has strategically placed. As missionaries, and as a member of the Branch Presidency, we've been visiting her quite a lot, and yesterday we went over with 10ish other people to build her a kitchen on the roof. My job was both to hand corrugated tin to the people on the second story, while simultaneously using my umbrella and a rock to make sure a surprisingly hostile dog didn't attack anyone. It was awesome in every kind of way!

Anyways, things are going well here! Our numbers are really low right now, but we're working like crazy and I feel like we help at least someone every day, which is success in my eyes!

Elder Steele

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Capitulo 1 Versiculo 12, "Today's Important if You're Counting Down" edition 1.12.15

Area: Yunguyo   Comp: Elder Salas

Hello everybody!

-I have a new companion! His name is Elder Salas. I know nothing about him, and I'll meet him tomorrow. I would assume he's Latino, based on his name.

-THE TRIO'S FINALLY OVER! Nothing against the other two elders, but I now have a firm testimony in going out 2 by 2 with a companion chosen by inspiration. Which means I'm very thankful for the existence of Elder Salas.

-So in this branch there's three activities a week that the missionaries are in charge of (I thought that was absolutely crazy when they told me), but I've never gone to any of them because of my handicapped companion. This week was the first time I did. The first was a movie night, which totally breaks mission rules, and had an attendance of 1 person. The next was a mission night, which means we just teach people. Again, it went terribly, and had an attendance of 1. Then we had sports in the church on Saturday, and we had an attendance of 3, but we didn't have keys to the church and couldn't actually do that. So that's great!

-This week, of the 3 talks in Sacrament meeting, 2 of them were assigned to recent converts. That means that I wrote 2 talks for yesterday, and apparently the 3rd Sunday of every month is the missionary's turn to talk, so I have a talk this Sunday again. That'll be the 3rd talk in the field, which is just exactly what I wanted!

-We have this menos activa that we teach named Leonor, and she's great but whenever we invite her to church she laughs at us. But yesterday SHE CAME TO CHURCH! Miracles do happen!

Anyways, there's really nothing to report this week. Sorry about that. It seems like the longer I'm out here, the less strange things seem (and the more stuff I pass over that potentially you would find fascinating). Have a great week!

Elder Steele

Episode 1 Chapter 5, New Year's Edition 1.5.15

Area: Yunguyo   Comp: Elders Cedeno/Estigarribia

Happy New Year's Everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic New Year's! I celebrated by going to sleep at 10:30 and waking up at 6:30, which makes me feel both very boring and at the same time very happy.

-Transfers are next Monday, but Elder Vargas had an unexpected transfer yesterday and is currently en route to Puerto Maldonado. That means that for this week, I'm in a trio with Elder Cedeno and Elder Estigarribia.

-Peruvian New Year's Traditions! The tradition here is that you decide how the year will go based on wearing certain colors and running around at midnight. Yellow is money, white is peace, and if you carry around a suitcase it means you'll travel a lot. Basically everyone was wearing yellow all day New Year's Eve. Then, on New Years, they all pile into trucks and wear bread (bread hats, bread necklaces, bread canes), while throwing more bread to the people. This started at 8:00 in the morning, and continued until 10:00 at night.

-The lady we gave the death blessing to passed away on New Year's Eve in the morning.

-I went on splits with Elder Zohner, and we had a lesson planned with a guy he's visited a million times before. This time, though, we couldn't find the house, and in our lost-ness we ended up running into a member who had a son who desperately needed a blessing. As we left, she commented, "It's amazing how the Lord guides His servants right where they're needed." I thought that was pretty cool!

-Spiritual thought! D&C 121:1-8-- this is one of my favorites, it starts off with Joseph Smith in jail asking God where He is and why He's not helping, then God responds and basically tells him don't worry about it. It's great though, read it.

Anyways, things are good here! I get to be a normal missionary this week for the first time in forever, and next week I'll know who my new companion is! Stay awesome!

Elder Steele

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Series 12 Episode 29, The One Right After Christmas 12.29.14

Area: Yunguyo   Comp.: Elder Vargas

Merry Post-Christmas everybody!

-Christmas! What an awesome thing! Except, no offense to millions of people, but I really dislike Latino traditions. I mean, they take the Christ right out of it. They believe that Jesus was born at exactly midnight, so they celebrate Christmas Eve very much like New Year's, and they don't read Luke 2 or anything. I did like the fireworks, but at the same time, our pension didn't let us leave until 2 in the morning, which I am 100% against. But Latino's don't have any traditions for Christmas Day, so they let me do what I wanted, which was wake up at 5:30 (I kind of did that on purpose because I was mad at them for making me stay up late) and open presents! I gave them all lots of stuff, they gave me a giant bird stuffed animal, and I opened the SUPER AWESOME package from my family! So good times!

-Christmas day! Elder Vargas didn't want to leave to work because 'his foot hurt' and he was really tired, so I went out with Elder Estigarribia and Elder Cedeno. It was great! We didn't have any appointments, but we taught a lesson every hour of the day! And, in our little pueblo we have about 850 inactive members, and on Christmas they all greeted us with "Merry Christmas Elders!" Every time someone called us Elders we would stop them, because how would they know that? And they were all inactives! Little miracles there!

-The death blessing lady! We visited her again, and she was in bed, unable to talk, with weird tubes stuck in her arms. Her extended family was all there to 'see her off'. We gave her another death blessing and taught everyone the Plan of Salvation again. It went well! And I'm pretty sure she's passed on by now.

-We went to Ilave on Tuesday, and we found out there was no way to get back to Yunguyo until Wednesday, so we had a sleepover with the Zone Leaders and barely made it back in time to talk to our families.

Anyways, fun times! Things are pretty normal here! I see little miracles every day! Happy New Year!
Elder Steele