Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Where do I start?

[Forgive the formatting of the blog post and fonts. When published, it changes for some reason. And I don't like it. But I want this post to go out to be read. I will try and fix soon. Thanks for your understanding.]

Well, two weeks later, and here I am, in Huánuco, Peru.  Took a few busses, Taxis, and everything to get here, but here I am! 


Last full day here at the CCM!  And what do we do?  Pack and get ready?  Well after we got to immigration's all day then sure !I am officially a Peruvian religious, education, service, citizen!  ID card and all.  I would show a photo but I have had to turn it into the mission office before I could.  Let's just say their flash wasn't on, and they wouldn't let me smile! I look like a sad puppy! 
We had the opportunity to say goodbye to one of our favorite teachers, Hermana Villa Nueva.  Not gonna lie, I think everyone in our district was a bit sad after that. 
Got a Haircut!  First one that wasn't from my Mom.  Long time, I know... He did an ok job, but I had to do the front part and top by myself which isn't that great, but it has grown back in a week. 

Said a bunch of goodbyes and if we both knew Spanish well, then it would be great to continue being companions with Elder Bell, but we both need the Spanish only a Latin can bring!

At the Top of the Pass about 15,000 feet

And we are off!  Left the CCM at 7 am in a really nice tour bus where there was like 4 seats for every 1.  Great way to see Peru for the next 7 hours to Huancayo, Peru.  I took a bunch of photos, most of which are geo-tagged for your convenience.  All of the locations are correct, while I didn't get the altitude corrected until the photo with snow in the background.  Which should have the altitude in one of the photos.  Once you have all the photos, just load them up in the Geosoftware [This is a learning processing for me. I haven't loaded the software and haven't learned how. My project this weekend, to learn the new software.] I left you and all these photos should show on a Google map with the Altitude, Direction, and Barometric Pressure. 
Nobody got sick to the point of throwing up, some were close tough. I was fine. I'm sure all the times I changed altitude at home, even a little bit helped.  I felt great. I will admit though, the bano in the back wasn't fun during speed bumps and dark tunnels with no lights.  Sorry... No photos for that...

We arrived at the Presidents home for a welcome to Peru MTG and interview as well as writing home for 5 minutes.  We didn't stay here though, only the Hermanas did.  Beautiful home, felt better than many homes in the states!  President and Hermana Henderson are awesome!  Seriously, how they take care of us, and the best part is that they are real people too!  Joking around about Peruvian things and informing us about things was very nice too.  We ate some KFC and pizza that which was very filling and definitely felt out of place!  This night, we stayed nearby at a Missionary Major apartment with a bunch of other missionaries.


Elder's Chapeton and Holmes

Orientation day in the field!  I met my new companion who is Elder Chapeton.  He is 22 (I think) and is a convert of 3 years.  Most of the people down here in Peru are converts, very few are born into the church in this area. [The Peruvian people are on the shorter side of height. Andrew being 5' 7", his companion is small but mighty.] He doesn't know much English, so this will be great for both of us!  I received my ecclesiastical card, and can begin using it soon.  Oh, yea... My new area is Huánuco!  No, that isn't a typo, of Huancayo.  It is Huánuco.  Super Excited!  We stayed at the Missionary House again because our area will take another day to travel to.  Others who are closer left after lunch.  Because we don't travel at night, we went out proselyting... They people here are so awesome!  We ran into a members house and now it was Elder Chapeton (My Comp) Elder Whitaker (From my CCM District, and my new district as well) and his comp.  And I are in this members house.  She was so so so exited to see us she sent a relative to the tienda nearby to buy us Peach Juice. [Ok, so now I need to buy some peaches and put them in my Ninja and make some Peach Juice, probably not the same.]  Best juice ever. I think like it here in Peru.  :)


Help.  Packed all my stuff away. Again.  That wasn't fun the first 4 times, it wasn't fun again.  And I have about 3,000 more books, (All good but still more) and LDM and more clothes also.  Where did I put it all? Good thing each bag was 65 pounds and the busses don't care! 

View from Elder Holmes first apartment
looking over Huánuco

2 Taxis, and 8 Hours later we arrived in Huánuco.  I met my Pensionista who is also he Bishops wife.  We as missionaries pay (out of our fund) these pensionistas to take care of our food for us.  It is a new rule in South America for Missionaries that they are required to cook for us and that missionaries are not allowed to eat at members homes unless it was prepackaged.  Apparently way to many illnesses.  They are also now required to cook with clean, filtered, contained, water... Relief!  Hahaha... We also went around, I was introduced like a new horse to all the members in the ward, and already assisted in a Blessing.  Oh yea, I also did the anointing in Spanish.  Without a card.  Yea, I needed help, and remembering the names is very very difficult.


How many times can I be called Gringo from the rooftops of houses.  Apparently not enough!  Later today we began practicing a song as missionaries for 2 of these 4 zones for the upcoming stake conference this weekend.  Somehow it turned into Elder Whitaker on the Piano and me directing.  The newest missionaries on the block are now in charge.  Woo.  I will tell you, I say this is no distain for anyone down here... it is evident that they do not use their pianos (Which are player pianos btw) very often because it is evident in their singing of the hymns.... 

So, with my limited vocab of Spanish commands and some help from Elder John, we got the band together.  No joke, it felt like the Mayberry band on the Andy Griffith Show (Insert Video Here [Andrew asked me to insert it, so there it is. I fun quick 5 minutes clip]) it took a bunch of work, and we were just about ready to sing (Oh my Father) in Spanish....Only like 8 gringos and the rest of 26 were Latin, someone had the idea to have the last verse in English, and I took care of the rest.  1 Hermana 2- Elders 3- both 4- English.  Yup, I had an English Pronouncing Class that I did following this activity.  It felt great to be on the opposite side, especially trying to see them sing (Approbation) but some how, it all came together and it sounded great!  Can't wait for Sunday!


Today we had the family session of the Stake Conference.  I met Elder C. Scott Grow [For those not members of our church, that really is his name. I remember hearing that for the first time in conference and we chuckled. The C stands for Cecil] of the 1st Quorum of the 70 there and he put me on the spot... 1st question was how long was I in the field.  When I said, Solomente tress dias, he responded in English (Oh, you are good, you are off the hook!)  Met with some of our investigators and it was nice that for the most part I could understand them, and they could understand me.  For dinner I had one of the best meals so far.  The Bishop (Pennsionista Husband) brought us dinner saying this is an authentic Peruvian dish.  I will admit, it freaked me out a bit.  But it was delicious!  Rice and Chicken and fried bananas all wrapped up in a big big leaf.  Yum!  Let me know the next time you eat out of a leaf!

Rice, Chicken and Fried Bananas wrapped in a BIG leaf


Today was Sunday session of Stake Conference.  A new stake presidency was instituted and because I let the Special Musical number, And Elder Whitaker played all the music we both sat on the stand.  On the spot they asked us to do an additional 40 minutes of prelude music.  Oh yea... Did I mention we didn't have power at our room or the church.  So accordingly the Piano (Which we desperately need) was off.  We did get a generator so we at least had the piano and the Mic. Elder C. Scott Grow and President Henderson and His wife loved it. (If they read this, thanks for at least pretending...) :)

The Missionaries were great, and we even got matching ties from the stake which we actually get to keep!  Woo! 

So far eceryda [?] has had something extra built into the schedule.  Today we had our every 3 month interviews for the Area.  Not much new to report to President Henderson because it has been less then 1 week since I spoke to him, but all is well!

Today is the first real P-Day in the field, and I feel it is a long time coming because we haven't had one in 2 weeks.... Hopefully all my photos send....

Elder Holmes,
Huánuco, Peru
LDS Missionary