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 CedeƱo 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