Wednesday, September 3, 2014

1 Week Down!

Hey everyone! So, since I am limited on time, and the keyboards over here in Peru are in Española, my typing speed is heavily reduced. [Mom (Jill) here, I am editing posts so that it is easier to read and throwing in my 2 cents. :) ] So, I will just type you my Journal stuff that I want to share. Anything between the lines can be used for Blog Posts. I CANNOT Send photos until I am out in the field in another 5ish weeks. So.. Here we go.


Peru CCM (MTC) Photo Credit www.lds.org

1st Day in Lima, Peru CCM!

Whoa, Where do I start? What felt like a million hours on 3 different flights and finally ending up in Lima Airport I felt like I was back home in LA. After we got our Luggage figured out, all 20 [found out it was 22 missionaries] of us got on a bus or two and drove through Lima to the CCM [MTC - Missionary Training Center] and had a chance to witness Lima at night which was definitely a reality check that we are no longer in California anymore! Police were standing on sidewalks with Semi-automatic weapons, some awesome surveillance, and even jaywalkers crossing right in front of the bus! Eventually, we ended up at the CCM, where the entire facility is walked [I think he meant 'blocked'] in. Beautiful, and secure, like much of Peru thus far. We entered and got our assignments {at around 2 am local time} and found that we have a companion set in our dorm that are natives. We are using them as human translators [at first I read that as 'human shields', yikes, I need to read slower. lol] for words that are hard to look up!

Woke up around 6 AM, [I must add, he is totally used to that early time. He is an early riser] unpacked a bit, and the day began!  Breakfast, ID Tags, the works... so far I love the people, and my companion Elder Bell, who is a somewhat recent convert who is literally a super strong member. We received our goodie bags today which included many language books which will occupy much of my time as well as and additional water filter, Spanish PMG [Preach My Gospel Manual], Mission rules, etc... All good for us, but bad for our suitcases!  I barely fit on the 3 way here, the trip to Huancayo in 6 weeks will be very interesting.  Today might be the first day, but it feels like we have been here a week.  So, here is to many more days of Language Training in the hopes we can one day actually teach someone in Spanish and have it all make sense. ... So here is to the Next two Years!

2nd Day in CCM:

Hola!  Day two in the Peru CCM, and it was almost as long as the first.  Our native companions and us are communicating a bit better, but some things are still tough.  Wake up at 6 AM they said!  5:45 comes around and their large metal alarm clock scares the poop out of us and I stubbed my toe on the bed.  ANYWAYS, DAY TWO, AND I AM ALREADY SEWING THINGS....Today we started our official language classes which included computer training and a few hours of instruction for Spanish Daily.  Today's lesson included how to pray in Spanish, both personally and in a group.  So we now know how to pray!  Yea!  Well, I still need my paper and instructions, but it is possible now!  As a side note it was my companions Elder Bells Birthday today and we had a ton of candy in his bag, so we all had some but our local Peruvians saw it and about collapsed on seeing that much candy!  They are really loving it from what I can tell, which is great!  Food is mostly good, starting to find out we have eggs for every morning's breakfast.  NBD [I think he was saying Nothing Bad Yet] yet, oh Yea... Prayers for everything, maybe that is why my Spanish is improving so quickly!

3rd Day in CCM:

Just another day at the Peru CCM!  Day 3. My Journal entries for the next 5.5 weeks will probably get somewhat shorter as we are all doing now is language study.  But it is all good!  My companion and I went to do a fake/real investigator lesson with the security guy at the front gate.  We were very bad (in the Spanish part) and the officer was nice enough to compliment us on the parts we did right.  I will admit, it wasn't much, but we had to start somewhere.  I think right now we are doing about 7-8 hours of Spanish study daily in different forms of study. Whoa!  No wonder the language is already beginning to make sense, I'm spending more time now, then over 1 week back at home!  Not to mention the added inspiration to learn enough before we leave here sometime at the end of September. I know that for a fact our expedited language learning skills is being greatly enhanced by one thing, the Spirit of God.  Praying before every session, ending with prayer, asking specifically for Gift of Tongues, oh yea, and prayer together and singular in Spanish has something to do with it too!  So yes, basically Spanish for everything!  Food is remaining a mystery at every meal, but even with that I think we are all being fed very, very well, and are all gaining at least a little bit of weight.  Weird Food?  Yes.  Good food?  Mostly.  But overall it is still great here!

4th Day in CCM:

Well today actually felt shorter GASP.  All except for Tall [?] of course!  We had eggs for breakfast, again.  We have had eggs everyday since we arrived, and if it keeps up like this... I won't like those eggs from our chickens at home much anymore!  Tomorrow is our first Sunday here, so I am curious how our 1 million meetings during the day will go, whether it be in English or Spanish.  Hopefully, I don't have to give my talk in Spanish!  I had a conversation with another Elder (Elder Bush) about the length of time here at the CCM.  It seems almost physically impossible that we can accomplish all that we do each day within the hours we are doing stuff each day.  No, its not because we plan well, but we both think it has to something to do with our purpose here.  Its kind of a joke right now how God Slows down time within the CCM so we can get every possible moment needed to study the language, which is something we all desperately need.  What an honor to go to the Peru CCM from the United States! There is only about 120-150 missionaries here vs. the many many, many more at Provo.  Food, Class, but most of all the spirit of revelation and teaching is strong here.

5th day - Sunday! 

It's Sunday! You thought you had a bunch of meetings back at home on Sunday? Try living at a place where it is a training center all day, everyday.  Yup.  Meetings from Breakfast to Bedtime.  But they were pretty good today.  We watched the Restoration of the Gospel. [To view video; CLICK HERE]

Yup, we all cried.  I sincerely believe that when they showed the scenes of Brigham young and all the Church Apostles working together and heading west, I could literally feel strength and comfort and pure joy from my ancestors that crossed the plains. [One side note: Andrew's 6th great-grandfather is Apostle Charles Coulson Rich, who was an apostle to President Brigham Young, hence the comment he made.]  I really could.  I hope and pray that as I continue my work as a missionary and after I return that I can have that connection of souls again.  

So, no official language training today because it is Sunday, but Elder Bell and I practiced our Spanish during dinner tonight.  We might both be super greengos, but we are both advancing at the very least.  Its been 5 days, and we feel like because of all the tings we have accomplished we have been here for many weeks.  Still learning some of the CCM rules, it is taking a while to learn them all.  Today we also watched a recorded broadcast from May 2014 from the Provo MTC, and the speaker was Elder Holland.  From all of Elder Holland's talks, I have never heard him speak to a group people like this! If possible, look it up!  One of my favorite things he said was that salvation is NOT a cheap experience, so don't treat it as such.  He went on to say how inspired the Missionary program is and how PMG took years to develop, but was well worth it.

Basically that's it most missionaries are awesome, while others you can tell have the potential to be prideful.  Already!

P.S. I have used superglue 2 times already, [Andrew was insistent on taking superglue with him. Looks like I might need to send him more already.] and plan on using it again tomorrow.  I love America.

6th day:

Eggs for breakfast!  Rice for Lunch!  Rice for Dinner!  Well we had stuff with the rice but that's not the point.  Its far enough time in Peru where this batch of missionaries is trying to use the restroom and cannot.  It is probably all jammed with the bones in our meals.  Meals taste great!  But they are different enough that our insides do not agree.  Some haven't gone in 4 days.  4 DAYS!

So, always remember that if a teacher says be 5 minutes early, that does not mean 3 minutes early.  Elder Bell and I had to stay outside and get a lecture.  It was awesome..  P-Day is in 2 days.  Heck Yes. We also get to go to the LDS Peru Temple in 2 days!  Woo Hoo!  When we first arrived at the CCM I was wondering why the whole CCM is enclosed with HUGE Gates and very high (but very fashionable) walls.  Just like every single building in Lima, it is for safety.  I can tell you I am very grateful that the CCM is 100% Enclosed while we learn about the people and the area. I'm starting a list of things I think I forgot, so Hopefully I can get it on P-day.  I did however get a compliment today on being like the most prepared before leaving home as a missionary.  I guess the filters, superglue, duct tape, scissors, Camelbak and Guide to the Hymns in Spanish do come in handy!  I fixed a guys glasses yesterday. Yea!  I haven't even told anyone about the Solar Panels-Flashlights yet.  :)

We are also getting really into the knitty gritty of the language.  While most of this is in our mind course, much of what we are learning is very useful.  Talking with strangers on the street, and discussing gospel of Jesucristo is the main vocab.  When they said 12 pounds of language material, they meant it!   But this is the BEST Teaching style and material I have EVERY received.

7th Day:

The days are getting shorter here, not because we are having more fun, but because we are getting used to the schedule.  Today as companions Elder Bell and I taught a fake lesson to an investigator.  But did  everything including Pray and Pray in Spanish.  Took many hours, and the Grand Lesson was only supposed to be a simple 10 minute lesson, on how God Loves You-Restoration of the Gospel.  (We had to prety [I think he meant something like he had to customize the lesson] the lesson to what the investigator need to hear) It was awesome.  Our lesson translated fairly well, but the real help in translation was from the Holy Ghost - the master teacher.  If only the spirit revealed to us a bit more quickly though, our lesson turned into a 20 minute lesson simply because of a NO ENGLISH language Barrier.  We will follow up on Llucia (Her name) tomorrow after dinner.

Dinner.  We are still getting fed massive amounts of food.  Which is great, bit it is impolite to even here atht eh CCM to not eat everything given to you.  Wall, small, fat skinny, All the same, amounts - unless you want more!  Examples of food tray for the day.

Breakfast - Eggs, Rolls, Butter, Local Fruit Juice-Milk, Cheese, Chan, Breakfast Hot dog meat?
Lunch/Dinner - Fish or Beef, or Chicken, 4 rolls with tons of butter, Local fruit juice, TONS OF RICE, Dessert.  Always Dessert.  Jell-O, Inca Cola [I tried Inca Cola, not bad. Tastes like bubble gum cola] Flavored/Orange Too, weird but yummy fruit.


Lima, Peru Temple - Photo Credit www.lds.org

Today:

We went to the temple today!  Lima Temple is Awesome, but the bus ride there is less than desirable.  about 25 cents I think for each bus ride, but that isn't the cool part.  All the cars here basically swerve and merge as much as you take a breath of air. [Sounds like how flatlanders drive in the snow at home. lol] Buses were CROWDED, and we know very little Spanish so that was interesting.  Waterways going straight though town, and people digging trash out of it.  It is a truly humbling experience, even here in the Main Capital City.  No Pictures to send until I get out into the field, but trust me, I am taking them!

We also went to a shop or two here in Peru, and ate some Chicken Bread Thing served from someone's trunk of their car.  It was delicious!  And somewhat scary, but heck..: It's Third World... It was fun!  

Thank You all for sending me emails!  While I do Not have anytime to really customize them, I wanted to let you all know that you all mean a bunch to me.  So Thank You!

Elder Holmes
Lima, Peru
LDS Missionary