Monday, November 24, 2014

Week in Review Nov 17, 2014 - Nov 23, 2014

Looking over the city of San Luis, Huanuco, Peru
Hello All!

I hope you are all enjoying your time off this week as you take time to be grateful for what you have in your lives.  For one I am thankful for all the experiences that I am having here in Peru with these wonderful people, some of which I have had the opportunity to share with you, and others I just have not had the time to.  This was an eventful week, with the Transfer of Missionaries and all, (I did not transfer), I am still with Elder Chapeton from Lima, Peru here in San Luis, Huanuco, Peru)

All is well, And I would be lying if I said I don't think of home form time to time.  

November 17th 2014

Today was P-Day ad to start the morning we finished our other service project of installing a new cement floor.  We didn't do much else today, played some soccer, but overall it was kinda boring.  

November 18th 2014

Well, today we visited a family that was actually my first family I visited and gave a blessing of Health to Hma Mesa, the wife of the house has a amazing skill to either Create from scratch plush animals or make photos 3d like so they have depth when you put them on the wall.  It is amazing what people have the ability to do and create when they have the time. Oh you, I still cannot get over how nice the people are and their culture is with others.  I'm not saying they are perfect, but if there was one thing we could learn from her as North Americans is to be more loving with talking, working, and just being with others.

November 19th 2014

So for today the big news is that our meetinghouse flooded.  So, off we went.  Turns out the Primary Bathroom (Yes, they have their own secret one) broke with there was no water, so when the water turned on the other day it flooded the whole 1st floor.  Luckily all is tile except Primary, so it was relatively easy to clean.  

November 20th 2014

District Meeting
I ate Hot Dogs on a stick with mayonnaise.  Way better mayonnaise down here....

November 21st 2014

I suppose the highlight of my day today was when I was buying toilet paper... Wait, it gets better... And I was able to have a full on conversation with the lady who owns the little corner store and just talk about life as a North American being here in Peru, Learning new things, and we both totally understood each other and it just flowed.  One thing led to another and we have a date to return and teach next week.  Yea, I have my hopes up, but at the very least I am having moment s of where I just get it....

November 22nd 2014

Today we had a Ward Activity which we missionaries were invited to participate in.  Anything from food, to you acting out a quick music skit.  First the food, we had , was approved by our Bishop/Pension, so do not worry about that and the food was actually different types from around Peru, so I got to experience a bit of it all.  All in all a lot went on, but it was a good experience to see, smell, and experience different parts of the ''food culture'' of Peru.  At the very least, I'm glad the food I had the opportunity to taste and judge came from those who we are trust by our Pension Bishop. Ahhh.. Because I know that will not happen very often.

November 23rd 2014

I'm in the Peruvian Club Now... From being told to dump dirt into the street and keep it there, to today and eating a large Hamster (Cuy) I might as well just be here for the next couple years!  I will admit that I like it, the skin is a bit stretchy, but yummy as well as the meat.  It is similar to chicken but not close enough to say that t is.  I did draw the line when they suggested I eat the Hands. I'm just glad the head was not on my plate.

One thing today that has me utterly baffled, is during all the Hymns today, In church, I just couldn't help but just cry. Not sure if it was a happy / sad but only during the Hymns.  It felt as if something was amiss but I couldn't tell or stop it. And I can tell you it wasn't home sickness, It is just something that I cannot explain. Maybe I will find out sometime, I do not know...

All in all, I am understanding more of Peruvian Culture, Language, and just how to do stuff as Missionaries. It is my hope and prayers that all is good back at home and you all enjoy your Thanksgiving, as I will be enjoying Rice. :)

Élder Holmes
San Luis, Huanuco, Perú

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week in Review Nov 10, 2014 - Nov 16, 2014

[Personal Note first, Elder Holmes received his packages. ALL 3 of them that have been sent since Sept 29. Two from his parents and one from his grandparents. All showed up last week. Miracle since they were all sent at 3 different times. This is what he said about them:] I would love to thank all of you for the packages and stuff, It all made it and wasn't broken, but only one of the chick-fil-a bags exploded within and the whole bag was compromised, but nothing else was touched... Woo hoo for Ziplocs!  Thanks for all the stuff, and the photo of the Jeep so I can show that to my friends... Seriously thank you!  

Well, hello All!  All is good here, we have a bit of fear because our Transfers are coming up this Wednesday and as of right now we have no clue who is going and or where... So here is for optimism.  I received a total of 3 packages from home which all made it, 2 from my Parents, and 1 from my grandparents with a letter... Thank You!  [I was beyond excited to hear that he received not only the one from Sept that we sent but two others. Wow! Miracle! Prayers answered.] If any of you wish to send letters see below because My mom knows the correct information that will make it to me.

For Letters:

TO: Presidente David Y. Henderson
Elder Andrew Holmes
Misión Perú Huancayo
Jirón Cucso #278

For Packages:  Go through US MAIL. 4 lbs for about $25.

TO: Presidente David Y. Henderson
Misión Perú Huancayo
Jirón Cucso #278

Click on picture to see the example better

Same address as above, but in the return address, you MUST put Elder Andrew Holmes in the return address. You still put your address for return, but his name MUST be in the return address not in the TO: Field. Otherwise, the Mission President must obtain a Power of Attorney to open the package without his name on it, to find out who it belongs to. Crazy, I know. Any questions, please comment and we can help you out. Here is the PERU REQUIREMENTS for mailing. Please follow those guidelines. Most Post Offices do not carry the Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelop. So follow that link to order them. They are FREE.

A note of service I would like to include but not sure which day it was. [Now I read this and reread it and I am not sure but this must be a cultural service. I can't tell if the man was already dead or not. I am going to email Andrew to see if he can clear this up.] We passed a man who was being carried in a bag by 4 elderly women which had to go to the eternal staircase to the top houses in the area.... The Man was injured but I don't know what or how... So as missionaries, we helped out, and I took the front... It was a very humbling experience to carry another man not only in a bag, but Up 300 stairs and for about 1/4 mile total up the mountain where there isn't a path... Always remember who we serve in the end... it is not our fellow man, but it is he who created man. 

And so with that, here is my journal entries for this week!

November 10th, 2014

Well, its P Day once again!  Today we had the opportunity to "Eat Out" so in typical Peruvian Style I branched out an my flavor pallet.  I ordered Chicken.  But here is the shocker, it was BBQ with French Fries!  I even ordered Yucca Fries (Which grows wild in California) and it was probably the best thing I have ever eaten as a fry, also sprinkles with sugar. So worth the 4 soles for just the yucca fries. 

After all this we had a multi-zone Play day in a recreational area right next to a large stream.  The location of this is important because we all have a million bug bites (Even with everyones bug spray) It is inevitable, when there is literally thousands...Anyways, we played some soccer and Volleyball which is where most of the North Americans flocked to because any game we normally play with other local missionaries is soccer, so this was an awesome change!  I have sent some group photos of my Zone Afterwards...

November 11th, 2014

Tuesday, which means District Meeting, and English Class.  Woo hoo!  This week I focused on simple sentences like, ...I like this food... or ...I want to buy Ice Cream... Because I have found it common for those learning English to want to say ...I like me her jacket...Because the word I like translates to (me gusta) which actually means (this pleases me) which obviously can show some confusion.   And it is really funny when they continue to say ...I like me... (Hesitation) and then the object... Its hilarious.

Later in the evening, we had seminary where I received a seminary manual for Book of Mormon in Spanish which includes all my diagrams for Book of Mormon in Spanish!  Now my job is to find a color copy machine to make new glue ins! [Glue Ins are great. They are quotes or commentary from General Authorities and you 'glue them in' near the scripture it is talking about. It gives your scriptures additional insight while you read or study your scriptures. Very handy.]

November 12th, 2014

Another Baptism today!  I came more prepared for this one with LDS Hymns in Spanish to sing with, (No functioning piano) and Mormon messages... Attached is photos of both the ward and me and my companion with Hna. Yuli, our new convert.  I just love baptisms so much because it also gives us a chance to recall and review our eternal covenants that we have made with God.

November 13th, 2014

So, we have divisions today, so I was with Zone Leader Elder John (from Idaho) in Amarillis to for today and tomorrow morning.  All was good, and it was a very nice time to talk with another North American who is totally adjusted (As much as possible) and was able to share a bunch of insight with me that I really appreciated, because lets face it.... There are questions and things that you just need to relate with on your own language and culture to understand the proper point of view.  So, with these divisions I also ate with another Pensionista, which this food was also really really good as well... I will take it any chance I get because I know, that one day... I will have a pensionista [cook] where they won't be a very good cook, and then they wont stop cooking....

November 14th, 2014

Divisions ended this morning, which made me kinda sad, but back to the grind.  Not much happened today, our pension [cook] is traveling to Lima, so we had a substitute pension, and I am realizing that they name their foods kinda funny, but it matches the description.  We name it like the Entre with the side dish... Chicken with Rice right?  Well... here it is exactly like they say it... Rice with Chicken, and it totally works... Always so much rice!  But i am still good with it... For now...

November 15th, 2014

Ok, not our normal day for service, but this was a good one.  Today we and another from the ward helped prepare an area for a new foundation for a part of somebodies house... Tons of work for a small part, but totally worth it (Mosiah 2:17) In typical Peruvian style, we were fed (which was OK, our Pension/Bishop approved the food) and the mother of the house (which totally reminds me of Mami from Holiday Inn) [She was the cook for Bing Crosby in that movie.] asked me if I wanted more food... I finished First.. That was my first mistake.  I said hesitantly but graciously Oh, just a bit more potatoes please" That was my downfall. The Dish returns with a full meal all OVER AGAIN.  My Gringo stomach hurt afterwards, but I was successful!  I think I ate 8 full potatoes, 2 bowls of soup, and Onion, and 2 parts of a chicken.  I don't know which parts... No More food for now...

November 16th, 2014

Today was church, and meetings galore, which included a Broadcast for the Area, Something Like a Leadership Training Broadcast for the North Western Part of South America... Focusing mainly on our Ward Council Meetings and how they are suppose to run, and how they can be improved. All the members and samples were from South America...  Anyways, We also met the 1st Counselor of President Henderson and had a meeting as a zone with him before our Ward Council Training Meeting...

Elder Holmes
Huanuco, Peru
San Luis

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week in Review Nov 4th, 2014 - Nov 9th, 2014

Oh the life of a missionary... Working, Studying, Service, and more... When will I ever get to sleep in?  Oh wait.... In 21-22 months....Ok... So here we go!

November 4th, 2014 

P-Day. We didn't do much today in regards to P-DAY... And No Ice Cream... More of just a quiet day....

November 5th, 2014

So one of our many roles as missionaries is being teachers.  Actually, a main role, but in this case we also teach seminary about 1 or 2 times per week. Since the school schedule is different then ours, we are currently in Ether and the Building of the barges for the travel.  Little by little I can express more of what I would like to, which is coming in handy for seminary. [Seminary is early morning church for the high school aged kids. Each year they learn a new book of study, from the New Testament, Old Testament, Book of Mormon or Church History. Elder Holmes attended and graduated from 4 years of early morning seminary while he attended high school.]

November 6th, 2014

District meeting today, which meant another English class from yours truly for the native Spanish speaking missionaries.  I taught the phonetics of how to say English letters and words, using the sample sentence ¨The Quick Brown Fox Jumped Over the Wall¨Among others with Elder Whitaker.  Then it came, I put them all on the spot and began their English Tests.  Next week will be all of them, oh this will be fun.  After lunch, Elder Chapeton, Hermano Luis (Ward Mission Leader), and I Cleaned the building from Entrance to the baptismal room.  All tile.  All dirty.  I will just leave it at this.  Habits and techniques for cleaning are very different than ours.  And we also filled the font today just in case we don't have water tomorrow. [This was also the day he found out that none of our packages have arrived yet. We continue to pray. We sent his first package on September 29th. We hope that at least one of the several we have sent will arrive before Christmas.]

November 7th, 2014

Just a side note: Elder Holmes is only 5' 7" - unless he had a growth spurt, you can see how much taller he is among the Peruvian people, including his native companion.

Went on a contacting blitz today which basically meant huge Spanish practice-embarrassment for me FOR THE RECORD I actually have no fear of approaching and talking to the people, but I do have a fear of not understanding their answers to my questions.  Agh... But onto better news..: We had a baptism!  Hmas Samaritana!  I sent some photos to family for the blog, Yes this is my 1st official conversion baptism, and it was great!  Everyone felt the spirit, yup there were tears, and of course, we finished off with refreshments!  Typical Mormon Style anywhere in the world!

(Note for the photos, I will always smile despite the culture which I don't think they like to be very happy for group pictures because before and after they were totally good, laughing and having a good time.) 

November 8th, 2014

Well, we cleaned the building again today, but a different section, and it also took a while... But we had some help from the youth in the ward.  Then I bought some cookies and my companion bought soda for those who came and helped.  Inca Kola is way better here than in the states.  By Far.  I actually like it here. [Before Elder Holmes left for his mission, we both (his mom) went to a Peruvian restaurant and tried Inca Kola. It wasn't bad, tasted like Bubble Gum. The color yellow. It is their soda like we have Coke and it is safer to drink than water. Glad for his sake it tastes better in Peru than in the USA.] Also, we had the opportunity to speak with some of the local Jehovah's Witnesses, and the conversation (which was totally good and civil) got to the subject of kingdoms of glory and Celestial States.  Basically who will live with God (Cor. 15) and they believe that only 144,000 out of all the people in the worlds history will be able to live with God.. Well ok then, if that is what you think, how do I feel now?  Their lesson took a spin form them teaching us to us teaching them and one of them agreeing with us. Once that happened, the other companion decided to end the conversation and leave happily... Hmmm.... A future Contact?

November 9th, 2014

Today was Sunday, and started off with missing breakfast.  Woo hoo. But it was for a good cause, helping a family get to church.  Also worthy of mention, this is the first week I haven't been asked to pass the sacrament (Not a bunch of youth to help out)  

My most important note for today is from Matthew... Ask and ye shall receive...
Well.... I asked today who the Ward Temple Preparation Class Teacher Was... And I received... I am also the Ward Temple Class teacher for the next duration.  Woo hoo!  No I just have to translate what I don't have for materials...Ahh the life of a Gringo Missionary.  

Thank you for your continued emails and support, and as promised I will write as often as I have the chance!

Elder Holmes
Huanuco, Peru
San Luis

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Week in Review Oct 27, 2014 - Nov 3, 2014

Mototaxi in Peru courtesy of
Google Images
Hello All!  As Promised, I would make a list of all the things I took for granted in the States, especially being here in Peru.

-Toilets that graciously accept toilet paper
-Laws Regarding Fires in the streets
-Paved Roads for when the rains come down, and the floods come up...
-Food that is the same texture that agrees with my stomach.
-Piano Players
-And For now.... Moto Taxis...that have 4 wheels:: All these that have 3 wheels kinda freak me out when we go over speed bumps or other obstacles....

Monday, October 27th, 2014
Elder Holmes with the monkeys

P-Day!  So it is obligatory.  Sorry! These slow computers copied with a bunch of missionaries makes it slow!  So, I will be uploading this last weeks ending on the 26th and for this week starting the 27th.  And, Monday was Multi-Zone conference which is why I am typing on Tuesday and not Monday:  This weeks photos are placed in the correct spot, but include 2 weeks.  So check the dates.  (If it works this week)  Went for some ice cream. Something which I always look forward to every week.  Shared a banana split with Elder Whitaker, which was to die for.
Later on in the day, Elder Whitaker, John, and Yhon, and I went on exchanges to a Zoo about 45 minutes away.  Fed a monkey and played a bit of tug of war with it and was able to enjoy just being in a different area with some others for a bit.  The city we traveled to was somewhat small, and for a bunch of them it was like his was the first time they have seen North Americans!  A bunch of flies, and my legs are destroyed by the carnage they ensued upon me.

All in all, it was a great day, I mean, we had ice cream twice, what is to complain about?

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Had our weekly district meeting, all is good.  As a side note, at the district meetings we also picked up our filtered water jugs and swap them out with our empty ones. Today was a jam packed day afterwards!  Starting today, I am part of a Trio as we have another Elder who joins our ranks (until Sunday, then he is off) so now we all do stuff together.  Yea, it is not as fun as it sounds.  Teaching with 2 is great because you can ping pong the lesson back and forth, but with 3 it becomes basically a free for all.  Also today, I taught an English Lesson for the Latins and requested an additional manual, the same manual by the way that the Locals use to prepare for the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages Opic Test and Certification. So I can more adequately teach that as well.  All in all, I don't really have a whole lot of time to do other things, so in this instance I really will see how the next 22 months will fly!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Forgot to mention we had the opportunity to do some exchanges this week and learn from each other... Oh yea, and I know a bit more Spanish than I thought I did... I don't know what it is, but when you exchange who you are with, even for a bit, you feel more free to talk in the other language.  So needless to say, exchanges went pretty well, and I know my large area of San Luis pretty well!

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Not because of who, but being in a Trio, isn't very fun all the time.  One more person for everything... Showers... Eating... Walking... (If they are beyond slow) but yea... I am really learning patience here.  Our lessons with our investigators are progressing very well, and now we are teaching our investigators father, which suddenly became very interested!  Wo!  I love being able to talk and share a little bit more every day!  It is amazing.  Missionary work here is totally different focus also.  Obviously the goal is as missionaries to bring others to Christ, but down here we have a large duty to the less active members and to help and assist them in anyway possible.  Many of our appointments are these families and our goal is to strengthen their families and provide whatever assistance or support they might need.

Friday, October 31st, 2014

In case you are wondering we didn't do anything fun for Halloween.  I miss our community candy bowl [In our house, any candy we get from Trunk r Treating, all goes in a 'community bowl' in our home and we all eat from it.] and the Ward Trunk o Treat with our Cheesy Music! [Years ago I found this CD of Halloween music and weird sounds. Never replaced it, but funny, we couldn't find it this year.... maybe, just maybe Andrew took it with him. I guess we will never know. lol]  I think my body is finally as adjusted as it possibly can be to Peru.  I like the food, but some of the textures and repetition of items like rice, potatoes, bread, soup, begin to get to you. [In America we have those cookbooks, 101 ways to cook..... maybe they a series of books just like that. Andrew asked me to send him two pizza recipes because they just don't make them very good there. I sent him one with a yeast dough and one not. He is going to give them to his cook and see what they can come up with. I will let them convert the measurements.] Very Surprised, I think I have only had beans a few times here in Peru.  No Burritos or Tacos. Sad Face... I would love an Angie's California Burrito right about now... [Near our home, we have a Valero gas station. Inside that gas station is a fast food place called Angie's Mexican food. He is craving on of their burritos right now....]

Also worth of mention is our weekly planning session which I despise for one reason.  The names of everyone .  At least here in Peru, when everyone is married (if they are married) they keep their names. [Good genealogy training, don't you think?] So 2 family names for each family, to add to that it is have it down here to call the brother or sister, and then their 1st name, not their last name..: So come planning session, It looks like I do not know anybody!

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

Today I went contacting with another Elder because my companion was holding Baptism interview with another companionship.  So, off we went.  I have never seen someone teach the Entire Restoration in complete detail in the street on a first contact... Maybe a bit to much... But that is just my opinion for the future.

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Sunday!  Also, I was able to pay my fast offerings for the first time here in Peru.  The tithing forms are a bit different down here, but all the same.  Also, I believe that we will now be receiving digital receipts of our Tithing, as we received a notice about it down here...

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Today was Missionary Training for the 5-ish Zones in the Area from Cerro De Pasco to A bit outside of Huanuco.... Had the opportunity to chat with Elder Bell, Elder Bush, and again Elder Whitaker (In my same district here) as we were all in the same district in the CCM.  It is nice to be able to speak English and relate some of the English-Spanish Difficulties and Getting used to so many of the things here in Peru.  Also very worthy of Mention is Hermana Henderson's (President Henderson's Wife) Brownies.  They are legendary.  Their legend spans the distance of the Peru, Huancayo Mission and we have no fear of asking for them when the time is appropriate, because not only are the heavenly, but they for a moment, remind us of what it is like to be home.... [I think Sis. Henderson needs to send the recipe with our missionary when they leave from their missions to have as a great keepsake. But I have a feeling her recipe has been altered to deal with the high altitude that none of us moms will ever need to deal with. So grateful that she makes those American treats for our missionaries.]

Photos to come on my blog... [But no pictures of those brownies....]
Elder Holmes
Huanuco, Peru
San Luis

[Just adding a few extra photos that he sent in email that we wanted to share with you also. Enjoy!]

Elder Holmes sent his mom a picture from the window of his
apartment (this is NOT the picture he sent). It was embedded with GPS
and this is what she THOUGHT was his apartment (She used
Google Street View)
And this what is Elder Holmes ACTUAL Apartment.
I think mom needs to work on the software
a bit more to get it right.... lol

'Lego Guy' looking over Huanuco, Peru - what a view!

Looks like Inca Cola

Multi-Zone Conference with President & Sis Henderson