Monday, February 23, 2015

Week in Review - Feb 16, 2015 - Feb 22, 2015


So, this week was a crazy week, and with all that I fell asleep last night before I had a chance to organize my letter for today... So with that in mind... here we go...]

NOT IN ORDER OF DAYS... Just fun events that happened this week...

So, one of the days we were in Mazamari right, which remember that a bunch of Mazamari is farms, and so with that my companion and I tried finding a way out of where we were and take a shortcut through one of the farms by where the cows were.  Problem one.  There were dogs and cows.  Two, it was a rice farm. If you know anything about Rice you know that the terrain is very, squishy and unstable.   We were falling in that. Fun. Then we made it out of the rice fields into the Citrus Groves which we thought would help us in our search for the shortcut, which I will tell you right now NEVER Existed. Anyways so off we went through the Citrus grove which they haven't weed whacked in what seemed like forever, but it was probably only like 2 weeks at the rate that things grow here... It was as high as we were, which is an important part of this story.  

So in this section of the grove we reached the edge of this section which started into a new Rice Farm.  So, right as I was changed from one farm type to the other, I neglected to see under all the grass that there was a canal of water as tall as me, so accordingly I fell in.  Yup, all the way to my waist, and I didn't touch the bottom, what stopped me was my hands when I hit my head on the ground on the top of the canal. And yes, it was before the first appointment of the day in another area away from home.  I was wet and muddy all day.  All in the line of missionary work I guess right?  Oh, and after that I just gave up on avoiding the water so I probably killed about $5 worth of Rice in the farm, which is a bunch... But yea, it was a great day in Mazamari!

So, one of the other Companionships here in Satipo had a wedding and a baptism here in the Chapel, but the baptism was in the River.  How awesome!  My Companion played the wedding march for the wedding on the piano, which I am almost positive that was the first time it was ever played there, and just had a great time.  My Investigator showed up to the party as he usually goes to all the activities and announced that he will be getting married in que with our goal we have for him for the end of March before transfers... Yes!  He wants a river baptism too which will be awesome for whoever gets to baptize him...  I did promise him that since I cannot help him with his wedding, I would buy him the wedding cake.  I will admit, I didn't think that on my mission I would be going wedding cake shopping, but it is the least that I can do for all the work we have put through here... Also, I just want another reason to eat cake!

SO, the other day we had Ward Council... More or less a Missionary Council because there were more missionaries then there were Council members... Yup, I brought that up as well as a few other things... If it were possible for missionaries to grill ward council I guess you could say that I did... It was a very interesting meeting.  I told them that we CANNOT leave until we actually plan something, make an assignment, and hold people responsible for stuff they do not do!  My lack of fluency in Spanish did not hold me back on this one... Let's just say that there were things that needed to be said.  And they were said.  :)

So, the reason why this email is super early at home is because I am leaving for a Multi Zone Conference and P-day in La Merced right after internet... So next week, if I can the photos should be awesome!  I'm so looking forward to these conferences that we have every 3 months, its just a great time!  

Not much other to report on. I did get another package, which everyone just loves because they know I will share... So on behalf of all, thanks for the Girl Scout Cookies! [Anyone that knows Andrew, knows he LOVES Girl Scout cookies. I was able to send him one box, Peanut Butter Patties, to Peru.]  This package is basically our snack package we will be using to get to La Merced today on the 2 hour Shima ride...

Love you all, and thanks for your continued emails!

Elder Holmes
Satipo, Peru

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week in Review - Feb 9, 2015 - Feb 15, 2015

Ok, so this week will be an email just summarizing all of the stuff that has happened, because a bunch did.  From water balloon fights, to crazy drunks with machetes, to our room getting a makeover, it was an eventful week, but I will start off with P-day.  

So, for P-day we just stayed close to home today, and had some water balloon activities as missionaries, and made brownies with M & Ms, and even went down to the ice cream lady and introduced her to the brownies and Ice Cream, and she said she will learn how to make brownies so she can add that option to her store.  Yup, there will go another 3 sols.... See what happens when you send 5 North Americans to the same ward?  Ice Cream and Brownies!  Oh yea, and the sister missionaries have an appointment with her to teach her and her family as well. [I taught my son well. We ALWAYS have brownies in hand at home. You just never know when you have to bring a dessert to some activity or food assignment. Love this.]

Well, a while ago I told one of my super investigators that if he gets married, I would buy him the cake.  Every time I see him, he brings it up, and even talks about it to others!  This guy is awesome!  He even took us in his MotoTaxi to a few of our appointments and accompanied us for our lessons!  That's more than a bunch of the members even do!  

As my collection of LDS Church materials in Spanish grows, so to does the desire of all the ward members for what I have.  People I don't even really know will come up to me and whisper like its a drug deal or something... Ï hear you have a bunch of church videos and hymns and stuff.... ¨could you pass me all of them please?!  hahaha.....I respond with sure, but only if we can get a lesson in with them... so there we go!  I feel so bad, the church has so many resources in so any languages, but the internet is so painfully slow here it would be frustrating to even try.  Which is why I am slowly collecting the stuff from the church on my flash drives so I can give all of them copies of what they need to help out.... [I have been helping out Elder Holmes and downloading Spanish Bible Videos and Mormon Messages and sending them to him to share. They have access to a DVD player. He is now requesting some of the manual's that are available in pdf, which the church has a ton. I guess we have a new project and start burning CD's.]

Ok, there for the crazy drunks with the machetes story.  So first off, living here in this part of Peru, it is quite normal to see people walking around with machetes.  So with that in mind, I was sleeping.  Then at 12 in the morning, we hear super fool yelling right outside our door with the sound of people throwing beer bottles and what not... So, Elder Inkley and I rise up to the 2nd floor to see what is going on below.  We get up there and my companion sees the guys with machetes swinging and trying to get at each others bodies. Eventually the serenazgo [police] gets in and I think they took them away. The only people that I saw them take away were some other drugged up hooligans hiding in the bushes next door.

On Tuesday we had a district meeting I wont easily forget.  I twas in English, so part of this is because we were waiting for Elder Sebando to come in, our other Zone Leader, but nobody could get in or out of our area because they closed our bridge.  Yup, they closed our only bridge in and out of the area for like a week, and there were rebels.  Yup, so the reason they closed the bridge is because they think they have found petroleum, here which would drastically change things here.  Anything from the economy, jobs, pollution, river run off, and fish production., you know... the works... There came some people fighting for both sides, but during all this mess there were some individuals who were injured and subsequently perished.  I wouldn't worry though, it was only those who made a stink about everything and tried changing it all up , its just an inconvenience for us is all... Sup you, we had our district meeting in English which is basically the best, and felt super weird and a bit difficult to actually teach and pray and do normal things in English.  It is almost like another language to me.  I'm in that halfway stage of Spanish right now... I understand basically everything, and now am improving my responses, which accordingly my English is changing to how I would directly translate things back into English. Its a mess..

Speaking of English, my English classes are going quite well, we always have good attendance for these, and I really enjoy teaching them as well, its just fun!

I said we got an extreme home makeover - Peru Edition, so for a few weeks ago our room leaded from the floor, so they added a layer of cement and tiled that side.  We thought that was all, but nope!  We got new paint, a new light, and will be getting more window panes here soon!  Things are looking up!  But, we still don't have water... Here I go to put out the buckets for the rain.  

Mazamari is always fun as usual, exploring through farms to find members and what not is always a blast, it is just hard over there sometimes because of the lack of member support over there...

So my favorite part of the week was Sunday.  Went on our normal route to scoop up people for church right, and i went over with a ward member on splits to see a sister in the ward that  is totally bed and wheelchair bound and physically cannot get herself to church.  So, I went over and convinced her that we could go to church, yes even with the rain... and with a bit of help from her husband, I got her in to the wheelchair.  And off we went!  I will tell you though, dirt and mud streets are not my favorite, but about 20 minutes later we got to church (she cannot get into the Moto Taxis here, we walked it) were about 15 minutes late, but it showed to the ward that even with the rain, and a broken umbrella, we made it to church:  She was beyond grateful, and I complete an experience that I will truly never forget. It is my hope that the ward can learn from this and begin to help out these individuals a bit more.  It is super interesting, whenever it rains, people just shut down.  No more work, taxis, church, everything just practically shuts down.

So we are also working on a few smaller projects here like training them how to sing hymns, but also how to do their home teaching and visiting teaching visits with them as that is now part of our assignment as missionaries.  Things are really moving forward here in Satipo, Peru, and I am loving every single bit of it.

I hope and pray that you are enjoying your time that you still get a kick out of my emails every once and a while!  Sorry, there is no photos this week, partially because of the internet!!!

Elder Holmes
Satipo, Peru

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week in Review Feb 2, 2015 - Feb 8, 2015

Satipo, Peru (The Jungle) - Click Photos to see them larger
How am I not Sun Burnt?

Hey there!  So, to start everything off, this last week has been a hectic one at that!  So, as usual I will highlight some of the days during the week that were most eventful...  Between Singing in English to Waterfalls, to activities I am most definitely keeping myself busy here in Peru, especially in the Jungle.  So much work to do here!  Its great!  And, I am learning how much the English Language is screwed up!  I am going to talk so differently when I get home!!! [We also found out that he received two of his packages from home. One that was sent over 10 weeks ago. Woo Hoo! And some much needed black socks, not the 'church kind' he wanted them to athletic type, the 'church kind' are just too thin. So so glad he got them. He had requested his retainers and so he finally got them and he said his teeth hurt after just wearing them for two days. lol]

2 February 2015

The 'Lego Guy' saying Hi
Most important entry of the week right? P-Day! Today I was able to send a few photos which made me beyond excited, and I'm sure for my family too! After normal P-Day [Preparation Day] morning stuff, we went just us 2 and Benjamin (member who lives in our house-pension) because the elders are in Huancayo for a conference and the sisters decided to have a sister P-Day in La Merced, so we went solo. Off to the waterfall San Andres we went! Beautiful, and nice and full because we just had some rain, so it was at 100 percent!  On the way back through our Taxi wasn't there, so we walked for 45 minutes before we found him... At which he

only took off 3 soles from the 15 for his being super late with his Girlfriend.  Yup, I know what he was doing during that 45 minutes while we were walking... But today was great, awesome photos, and yes, the Lego guy has found his way to another part of Peru.

5 February 2015

So, today is our time of the week, we go to Mazamari, which I really enjoy because there is a lot of work to be done there in Mazamari when the people are home.  The tough part about the work there is that we cannot heck up on them as we can here in Satipo, and bring them to activities and such, which is a bummer.  Also, the pensionista [cook] we have here in Mazamari loves to serve us hot soup before our Entree which is so tough to eat and then also enjoy even when we like it, because it is so stinkin hot!  Sweating during Lunch is NOT Fun....

6 February 2015

Ok, so as usual we are teaching one of our investigators who is doing everything that a member is.  Studies Gospel Principles Book-Class, teachings of the Presidents of the Church, attends activities, the works... Only fault is that he isn't married.  He is in a couple relationship, and for baptism to be permitted one must be completely committed to their decision as well as the individual he is living with.  So, we have been trying with his wife for a while, but she was so tough to us, wouldn't open, for over 4 weeks!  And today she was part of our lesson and agreed to come to church!  Finally! I cannot tell you how happy her husband is right now with this decision, she has made to at least listen!  

Later this evening we had our ward mission night which my companion and I put on called, ¨Travel to Paradise¨ which starts out with everyone entering the chapel (seats and all is set up like a planes interior) and we had the sister missionaries as the flight attendants doing what they do before each flight.  After which we began the flight, lights dimmed, and a video showed in the front a calm plane, and then one of the engines, explodes and shows a clip from and airplane movie of everyone on board dying.  Welcome to paradise!  hahahaha. so from there my companion and I explained the Telestial Kingdom as well were all dressed in white explaining how those who repent not will be there, in the Glory of the Starts (we had Christmas lights at this point dimly lighting the chapel((Super duper hard to find Christmas lights))) From there we moved them to another room to represent the Terrestial Kingdom with the Glory of the moon. My little flashlight uncapped putting one beam of light in the room to show a little more glory, but not complete.   There we had the other elders explain that there were those who would follow Christ, but fail to make covenants with the Lord will eternally live there. 

And finally, we make our way down the hall to the room that represents the Celestial Kingdom. Here we had a family dressed in white who are converts of many years, and are also sealed in the temple.  They explained that those who will live here int he glory of the sun are those who make covenants with the Lord, become married, and Preserver to the end.  I was beyond thrilled with the outcome and the turnout of the event, and we had our investigators show up as well!  Score!  And of course, it wouldn't be a proper Mormon activity without refreshments!

7 February 2015

Today we had our Zone Conference in Pichanaki which is about 50 minutes away by Taxi, so we all went over there and it was really nice to see the new chapel over there.  I think this chapel only has like 5 or 6 months of being used, it is SUPER NEW.... Nice time to get together with other missionaries and discuss missionary junk, and also say goodbye to 2 more missionaries who are terminating their missions this week.   One day... wait... stop it!!!

8 February 2015

So, its Sunday, and Oh yea... I have a talk... And I remembered it yesterday... But it all went well, and guess what the topic was?  Missionary Work!  So, I used some personal stories from Charles C. Rich [As mentioned before, this is Elder Holmes 6th Great-grandfather and he was an Apostle to Brigham Young.] and compared the people here to being pioneers since the church is so new, and what not, And it was really great.. I actually was apparently talking past my time limit, and I got the (tiempo) card telling me to finish up. [Oh how I wish we could use the Tiempo [Time] card in the states. lol] Once we finished that the Bishop wanted to take advantage of having 5 North Americans so we all had a special musical number Be Still My Soul, which is a song that does not exist in Spanish, so they all loved it. Didn't understand it, but they loved it! [I bet that was the best.]

As usual, photos will be on the blog in a few days!

Elder Holmes
Satipo, Peru

[Some of the pictures below I believe were from last week but we just got them today... he can only send so many at a time.]

It says 'Welcome Cock of the Rocks' which is
Peru's National Bird
Love those bridges, a must have with all that water

Peligro means DANGER

Satipo, Peru - Gorgeous

Not quite sure what they are rigging up here, but since they don't
have running water, it looks like they collect the rain water
and might use it for bathing??

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week in Review Jan 19, 2015 - Jan 29, 2015

[If you are keeping up with Elder Holmes travels, you know that we didn't get our usual email last week. We got one line that stated he received a package from us and it was waiting for him at the chapel. But that was it. He informed us earlier in the month that the Internet is painfully slow and it was good to know that because I had a feeling that is why we didn't get our weekly email. And sure enough as he will explain below, that is what happened. Enjoy his travels and the pictures. He did good this week.]

[The following each line is emails he sent this morning and the one lines were in the subject line. We have found that we can do quick Q &A this way and it works. Just type one line in the subject line, it is like texting but with email.]

  • SO Sorry... Google Didn't save the draft from last week and didn't tell me that the email failed.  The internet REALLY Stinks over here... I have been waiting for the last 25 minutes for the gmail to load to this point.... [Um, that seems worse than dial-up.]
  • I am trying to send this weeks block email, but it wont let me.. I got the Reese's peanut butter spread packages, Thanks! And the internet wont let me send more than this.... [I had asked him which package he received from us. This is from December. He still hasn't received  his package from November. We shall continue to pray for that one.]
  • I don't think I can send more... I am super mad that the internet here stinks... I do love you all and know that I am keeping all this so that one day I can send it.....Elder Holmes

[Then this little email came. As you can see it was chopped in mid sentence, but hey, we will take it. See below...]

This last week has been one for the books!  

Jan 19th 2015 

P-day, interviews with [Mission] President, and a haircut.  Oh yea, and we went to the Zoo. So, to start off the day we went to the internet Super painfully slow.

Jan 20th 2015

Started the day off with our weekly district meeting, which I always look forward to not only because it is a time for us 6 missionaries to get together, but it is an opportunity for us to get together and discuss future plans we have for what we plan on doing in each of our areas.  

Later in the day we continued with our lessons, 2 of which involve trying to get 2 different couples married in preparation for their baptism.  It is not that they don't want to get married, it is that it is so darn difficult here!  And the cost of it is not very friendly either for them!  We have ways to accrue funds down here, but it is a bummer that I or anyone from home cannot help *mission rule that we cannot solicit funds* because it is way less if we were to pay for it here.  

We also started teaching the family of the person who I baptized the other week, which is really inte

[The email stopped there, then we got these two very quick emails.]

  • Woah.   I did not know that internet could stink this badly here in Peru, but I was horribly wrong.  I guess my email from last week not only didn't send, but didn't even save the draft... SO SORRY. 
  • I will try to send photos from another internet connection, but no guarantees on that... Sorry... Gahhh.... [He sounds a bit frustrated.]

[UPDATE: Okay, at this point, I felt his frustration and I was reading all this at work. My daughter was with me waiting to catch the bus and I whispered to her, "We need to pray for Andrew, he needs to be able to send an email to us. Pray quietly and I will too." Then one hour later we got this email below. Jennifer, his sister, was already at school. But I texted to her our little miracle. She was excited. It doesn't hurt to pray for those things that you feel that are important for you. He will answer.]

Hey!  I was able to use another computer for just a bit so I could send some photos. I have all the stuff I wanted to send, but I will send that next week probably in a Photo so you can type it out later if you would like.

Please make sure everyone knows that *through Facebook (that my internet stinks, so If I don't respond it isn't because I hate them... and I would like you to say it like that please....  :) [He is so funny, like we would hate him. lol]

26th January 2015

Awesome day today!  Started out with 1 hour of internet as usual, but after that we did something I have been wanting to do for a very long time.  Cook!  IT is difficult to cook because we have our pensionistas who cook for us for all of our meals all the time.... So, today after internet we went shopping. Believe it or not we found Betty Crocker Pancake Mix as well as a few other essential ingredients, but alas no syrup anywhere in Satipo...  So, off we went to prepare our Lunch of Heroes.  Oh, I also forgot to mention that I kept one of the giant bags of M and Ms from Grandma for something like this.  Yup, thats right... I cooked us (our district) Chocolate Chip Pancakes. So delicious!  

But you think the day ended there you are wrong! Off we went to one of our local waterfalls named Bird of the Rocks... It was about a 1.5 hour convey bus ride and was totally worth it.  The only expenses here to view waterfalls is the transportation. 

There is no entry fee for the bridges or the path to the falls.  Took some awesome photos of all of us sitting on a log in the middle of the pond below the waterfall, but as we all predicted the log broke with 6 of us on it, and the sister missionaries fell in first!  Oh no!! Lets just say that we got the pictures of us before and after!  Brought my Camelbak UV Water filter and drank some of the fresh waterfall water.  You bet that was probably the best water I have had the opportunity to drink in Peru. After we took all of our photos, we headed back home, and had a few family home evenings, and in transit to one of them (we were running a bit) 2 appointments a bit far away... and it was raining horrible.  Horribly. And yup, I fell bad in the rain, Totally soaked as well as my companion.  Welcome to the Jungle I guess!

27 January 2015

District Meeting today, you know.. the norm.  After we met together my companion and I headed down to a sister in the ward who has a disability in which makes it impossible for her to move around the house, let alone go to church. We have been visiting her every few days to see if there is anything more than our company that we can give her.  Then an opportunity for Relief Society came into place.  Basically everyone in her house is gone this week, and has nobody to move her from her bed to her wheelchair or to feed her, or do just the little things like that around the house.  Like a super mom, our pensionista kicked into gear and started organizing meals and visits all week.  About 2 weeks ago nobody knew her, and now we have our Ward Council scheduling visits and assistance (with the help of us of course, no ward is perfect down here) so she can be taken care of.  I can noticeably tell a difference in her attitude and energy, something that she did NOT have when I first met her.  Just little selfless acts of service can make her week!  At the end of the day, my companion Elder Inkley had to leave for a District Leaders Meeting in Huancayo, so I will be staying with the Other Zone Leaders and be doing a few divisions until he gets back. 

28 January 2015

Trio day!  Not much went down today, we looked for a new pensionista for the sisters and found one and talked about for a while what the pensions do, which I also snagged a bunch of recipes from Sister Henderon's [Mission President's wife] Big Book of Pension receipes both Peruvian and American,  yes, P-days here we come.  For the evening and the other meals, i ate with the other elders pension and slept in their very tiny room.

29 January 2015

Must show the Lego Guy
I will end it here to the emails can send... I REALLY REALLY HATE THIS... the internet here STINKS.  I will try to send from this day on for next week... [I'm not sure, did you all get that, the Internet Stinks.... I wasn't sure if you got that. haha lol]

Elder Holmes
Satipo, Peru

[PS: These pictures were supposed to be posted for the last blog, CLICK HERE to catch up. This are photos of his first baptism. But since they are new, I am posting them here also. Enjoy!!]

Elder Holmes 1st Baptism
If you look really close, the water is a bit yellow/green. They
collected it from rain water.