Monday, March 30, 2015

Week in Review - Mar 23, 2015 - Mar 29, 2015

Elder Holmes and Elder Inkley both
from California
Finally on!

I have been trying for over 1 hour to login to the churches updated browser... It stinks!  But I'm on, and I don't know for how long....  I'm all good and safe... in Satipo... all is good. [About one hour after that quick email from Elder Holmes, we get a bit more from him and three pictures.]

Well, over 1 hour later, I was able to login to my Internet... Not only is the internet here super crap, but the church just came out with a 2.0 of the and it is super crap.  So... If there are other parents that are freaking out because they didn't get emails, its probably thanks to this new interface.  Needless to say, I left a very kind email for the feedback team, signed from the 88,000 missionaries in the field....  :)

So, my email will be reduced this week, but it sufficieth me to say that we had Transfers.... I am still here in Satipo.  I am totally fine with that, I love it here!  And yes, our Transfers were delayed a few days because they are dependent on the missionaries coming in from Lima CCM.  Which as you know was unable to happen because of the landslides and flooding between Huancayo (Mission Office) and Lima.  So they flew them instead, and then we did Transfers a few days later.  I am now with Elder Camacho, who is from Bolivia!  So, now I have had companions from Peru, Chile, California, and Bolivia!  Awesome!

Oh yea, and I really have to practice my Spanish more now, because there are only the sisters in my district that understand English... So yea, no breaks for the weary.

I wish I could email more but I still have to write president if this freaking computer will let me... (Don't cut that out of the blog... I want people to know how dumb the internet is down here!!!) [That makes me laugh. So there, I kept it in. lol]

Love You all, and I am doing totally fine down here.

Elder Holmes

Satipo, Peru

Monday, March 23, 2015

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

1 Week, 5 Baptisms, Weddings, a Cow Tail, and More

Before I even start this email I need to say this was by far the longest, busiest, stressful, most productive week I have had in the mission.  But the fruits of our labor can testify to that in a bit.  From Hiking to the antanae, making wedding invitations, resolving last minute baptismal issues, super Panchamanka Lunch (farewell #1 for Elder Hamblin), a special baptism interview miracle, divisions, another super lunch with all the Pensionistas, another farewell with Elder Hamblin and Relief Society, wedding cake pickup, wedding preparations, Wedding, baptism of a family, more food, cake, said goodbye to Elder Hamblin, Natural Disaster in Coverialli, service time, bridge collapsed, member re-baptism, baptism for yesterdays marriage (sisters investigators), drunk guy with a cows tail (recently cut) ward council and more.  I hope I can explain all of this in todays email!

16 March 2015 

Lego Guy enjoying the view!

View of Satipo, Peru and Elder Holmes

What fun!
Today, we hiked up to on of the local [peaks] more like a hill, but whatever... took some awesome shots of the view of Satipo from above, and was able to spot out our house.  After our lovely little stroll, came back and got our hair cut and went to internet and then called it a day. Oh yea, and I bought some chocolate milk.

17 March 2015

District Meeting today.  Because Elder Hamblin finishes his mission this week, he was assigned to do all the prayers, spiritual thoughts, everything... hahahaha... Other then that though, our day was pretty normal.  

18 March 2015

Another Item I can make for one sol (Approx 33 Cents) is Wedding Invitations for an entire wedding!  All I can say now is that Frank from {Father of the Bride} [Elder Holmes is talking about Frank, the wedding planner, in the Steve Martin movie, Father of the Bride. A family favorite] would be proud.  We did begin passing out all the wedding and baptism invitations today which also because to make everyone excited.  Why?  Because there will be food.  

We did also have to resolve some last minute issues regarding baptisms for this weekend...I will just leave it at the fact that Satan is not to thrilled on this wedding and this families baptism.  it is going to take some extra effort to pull this one through.,

19 March 2015

And off we go to prepare some more the Family Suero for their interview that they have today!  But it wouldn't be a complete day if all the Pensionistas didn't band together and make a super panchamanka for all the missionaries, bishop, familia fuerro, and a few others that we are working on as missionaries.  All of this organized to have a goodbye party for Elder Hamblin.  FYI Elder Hamblin is My Great Grandpa (He trained my trainers trainer)... Oh yea, and I am super duper full!I know this is the start of the food for this week too!  Oh no!

But remember how I said that we needed interviews for today? Well 2 of them were all good, but the 2 others we were waiting on a representative from the Mission to conduct this interview but wouldn't be able to come until after the wedding and scheduled baptism which would have screwed everything up, because the following week we have transfers... and yup.. huge future problem. Thanks Satan.  But, guess who just happened to be at the Church building (Taking measurements to extend the building in the coming year)  The Stake President from one of the Huancayo Stakes, which is over 5 hours away... SUPER Far in Peruvian Driving Distance... We got permission from the Mission President to have him conduct the interview, and walah!  Back on track for the wedding and baptism!  Woo hoo!!!!

Then, later in the day, we had another party goodbye fiesta from Relief Society for Elder Hamblin.  Which means more food, and more fat.  Great.  I'm done for.... 

20 March 2015

Wedding Day!  [Its a Mosquito Bite] [Elder Holmes is quoting from another family favorite movie, Big Fat Greek Wedding. The scene where the bride wakes up on her wedding day and has a big zit on her face..... and one of her cousins said 'It's a Mosquito Bite'. We were laughing out loud.]

Elder Holmes picked this wedding cake. He did a great job!

So today we had another food party with the Pensionistas... I'm getting so fat... Stop!!!  More Food, more cake... Ugh.... After this guess what we did?  Yup, picked up the cake. 3 Kilograms of Cake.  2 Levels.  Yum. So for the rest of the day we cleaned the chapel, and did wedding prep and baptism prep and what not. Just another miracle happened this week which was with the Members. This family that we had the marriage and baptism figured out for does not have the resources at this moment to have their wedding... But the ward pitched in and did all the decorations, food, and everything so we could have this party for them . The Bride told us later that she never had imagined her wedding would be like this, with the cake, games, baptism, food, decorations, and everything... She was so happy, I
have never seen here that way before and she remarked after her baptism that before everything she hadn't wanted to even talk to us, she would hide out in the corner and not talk to us... But now, she loves us, loves the lessons, and is so happy to be a member and learning so much more then she was before.... But... I digress....

After the wedding with the Alcalde and everything, we headed over to the Baptismal font where the Bishop Baptized the parents, I the Son, Julio, and my companion the Daughter.... From there they were just all so happy... A complete family baptized and ready to go!  They already have plans as a family to go to the Temple in Lima in one year from that day to be sealed for time and eternity.  How awesome!  I love this family, and Love Satipo!   Ahhhhh.....

Oh yea, and there was a bunch of food.... And the cake was beyond delicious... I'm never going to stop eating...

21 Saturday 2015

Today we said Goodbye to Elder Hamblin, and left him in the dust... SO sad... My Great Grandpa has died( a term in Spanish we use for finishing his mission) and now he is no more... But off we went to Coviriali for some service.  Oh yea.  Coviriali is an outlying province in our area with only 1 bridge to get to it..  Yup, it flooded super bad the night before and the bridge collapsed, and flooded a few houses nearby the river.  So, we went over and did mud cleanup.  I wish we had photos, but the bishop has them right now, and there might have been a news crew there... hahaha.... the water rose to 2 stories of the house, and there was over 1 foot of PURE MUD... I was barefoot and removing mud with a broom as a pushing stick to make a canal all the way to the river nearby.  I was so MUDDY.... but it was great, and everyone just loved watching the Gringos cleanup like we have never seen mud before.  We totally saved them many hours of work right there....

After that, we had a member re-baptism (their records don't exist for some reason in the MLS, so that was a re-baptism in the river, and my companion did that baptism.. so cool!)
Then, we went for Ice Cream, and I took my Ice Cream, bought some Coca-Cola and made a Coke Float.  Awesome!

Later in the evening we went to another wedding which was a investigator and Part Member Family work from the Sister Missionaries here in Satipo... The wedding was fun and great, but the highlight of the night was the drunk man who entered with a recently cut cows tail.... Yea, he was asked to leave... and it was actually a full and somewhat bloody tail... I wonder what that story was....

22 Sunday 2015

4 Confirmations (The Family we baptized and married on Friday) as well as another baptism from the sisters marriage that happened yesterday.  Also went to Mazamari, and attended ward council.  Yup.  That it what sums up the week...

Woah.  I hope you were able to get though my summary as well I was able to try and write it in my short little time here....If you cannot tell, things are great here, busy week, but a good week.  I'm ready to just take chill and relax day here with the district as we have all had a week like this.  

This is a very tired, but excited Elder Holmes, from Satipo, Peru.

Love you all!

Elder Holmes
Satipo, Peru

[PS: Elder Holmes gave us some additional pictures for last weeks post. So check it out!! Large spider shadow puppets, waterfalls and of course, The Lego Guy makes another appearance. CLICK HERE to view them from last weeks blog.]

Monday, March 16, 2015

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

Truthfully, I have absolutely no clue what to write this week.  I don't know what I am just so brain dead right now, nothing bad has happened I am just so blank!

If you want, you can spice up the answers I sent to you for my email, but the following below will just be bullet points, I'm seriously not quite sure on what to write this week, I didn't get a chance to pre-write.... [We asked him some questions in a separate email and I will add them at the end. He has some great answers.]
Love the Lego Guy

The search for the perfect wedding cake ends this week as we are finishing wedding planning and also planning for the subsequent baptism.  We are all just giggles down here....

Just like the monkey in the 1st Indiana Jones movie

Today for the P-day we went to the local hill and climbed it... Pretty fun, we packed a lunch and took it there.

My bug bites are going down... I only have like 30 now... only the ones on my feet itch me right now.....

English Class is growing, this last week we had over 20, and I ran out of copies... Maybe its time for me to make a how to English Book.... Hahaha....

Spanish is coming better for me.  From the words and conjugations that I know I am able to speak those pretty well and fast... From what I am still learning that takes time....I will admit, I cannot wait to talk with a few of my friends from work and school in Spanish when I get back.... 

Received a package from my Grandparents and I love it.  Pure Easter candy.. And  A letter of course..... Candy candy candy!  Peanut M&M's, I can tell you we were happy missionaries in Ward council on Sunday...... hahahaha!

We are still collecting rain water to shower, poop, and everything.... Its just lovely... You can know that one of us is showering because there will be a sharp scream of OHHHHH  Cold water!!!!   hahhahahaha.... [This whole time I totally forgot that they can't heat the water. Wow!]

All is well here in the Jungle, I do miss my family, my work, and my friends... but for the things I am doing, and Experiencing, I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Love you all!

Elder Holmes
Satipo, Peru

[Questions and Answers. I sent him an email with some of these questions and he answered them. Enjoy!!]

Note: He just got his haircut this morning and was talking about how itchy he was. I asked if he missed getting his haircut from his mom! He answered, Yes, yes I do!

1. What kind of phone do you guys have, smart or dumb phone?
We all have dumb phones. Nokia something.... It's super dumb, but we do have phone credit and a part of our number has a # which means that anyone else who has that in front of their phone number we can call each other for free.... without using our phone credit! Woo!!
The Elders were playing with that large spider and making
spider shadow puppets. This is the large one mentioned.

2. We see a lot of bright colored birds and butterflies when we do searches, have you seen any of the birds or crazy insects? Like jungle bugs, like you called them.
There is a bunch of cool birds, butterflies, and other weird things that fly into my room at night.  Flying Cockroaches are one, spiders that are bigger than the palm of my hand are another.....

3.How often do you have zone and/or district meetings?
District Meetings are every week, Zone are every month after the Zone leaders get their training they train us...

4. How far do you think you walk everyday? He didn't answer this one. We will try again.

5. Do they still call you gringo?
Every once and a while I am called Gringo here... but there are 4 others here in Satipo, so not much anymore...

6. Do you do splits in your ward?
Splits every once and a while... But remember that we are all trying to do that sometimes, and so that makes it difficult for us to find enough for each sets of the companion.  So, no, not really...

7. Do you get harassed by local government or police?
We don't get harassed by government or police, in fact  from what I have seen and talked with, they are fine with us, no big deal...

8. how has your health been so far
Good... I'm not eating a whole bunch, but other then dumb little things I'm totally fine....

9. What is your favorite topic to study in the scriptures?
Favorite topic in the scriptures, I don't have one yet.... I kinda just go all over the place and am studying for the different topics we are teaching...

10. What do they serve for breakfast? What is typical?
Breakfast here in the jungle is usually their version of toast or bread with bologna inside of it. 

I will admit, I am eating SO MUCH LESS than I was before this area... SO MUCH LESS.  I am only having juice for dinner, and my breakfasts are small too!"    Its weird... Maybe my metabolism is slowing down!!!

I guess you are losing the weight that you gained in your first area??

Nope.  I'm the same.. That's the weird part... Did I mention that a few weeks ago, I ate cow stomach as part of the meat for my plate!  Yup... I was visiting another pensionista [cook] here......

How does cow stomach taste? 

I swallowed it whole... I almost gagged.... Well I actually did, but I didn't let the person see it.....  Never again.....  UGHGHGHGHG

Note: Here at home, last week, we had some trouble with our main sewer line (roots growing in the main line) so for 24 hours we had to 'practice' some the techniques the missionaries need to use in Peru. We shared our sympathies with him and this was his reply:

Yuck!   It totally reminds me of the plumbing here!  There is so many times where the plumbing just goes into the street, you pass it and smell.. Then you are 100 percent aware of what that is....

Monday, March 9, 2015

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

So, if you haven't been able to tell from my other emails, when it rains down here everything shuts down.  No Joke.  If people have an appointment to go to and it begins to drizzle, all plans are canceled because of rain.  And no.  This is not because it is super duper heavy rain or anything, that is just how it is....  I'm sure that if somebody didn't show up to work because of the [rain] their boss would probably be alright with it. Ahhhhhh.... So many people just don't want to work or do anything when there is rain!  That is the excuse that just bugs me so much is we will ask something of someone, and will ask them why they didn't do it, and they will be all like, "Elder, it was raining..."  Do you know how annoying that phrase is!!!

For P-Day we just stayed close to home and made Sugar Cookies as a district and I added some of my M&M's to the cookies to make them super delicious.  But other than that, we just hung out that day and watched some church films. 

Another topic worthy of mention is that we have found a new person to teach.  I won't go into super details, but it is a clown with all that is entailed of being a professional clown.  There is a drinking issue and double that with the fact that this individual is also a clown... Reminds me of a movie....

Anyways... We are working with this individual to help out and do whatever we can...

Tzancuvatziari.  Music to my ears.  This is the name of the Government office for one of the outlying provinces in Satipo that we will be using for the wedding that we are planning for March 20th 2015.  So much cheaper over there than it is using the local government building.  Go figure!  Part of that though is that as a church we always strive to make sure that couples living together are married as to not obstruct the Commandment found in the scriptures right? So, the Government office knows that, we kinda get a deal with them as members because they know that we will always be bringing people in to get married!  Something, that is less than common down here in Peru, where it is just so hard and expensive logistically to get married!

So, the search continues for the perfect wedding cake!  I will tell you, I didn't think for a second that part of my mission would be planning weddings!  But, this is just one of the many things I have learned how to do on the mission!

English Class is progressing well as we still have a steady stream of faithful students who will come, however there were a few less this week for reason of the Youth Temple trip to Lima. About 20 or so people went to the Lima Temple from Satipo to go and do Proxy Work *Mom, if you could insert the video from the church on Why Mormons build temples*  

So, with them all leaving I just collected a bunch of my money, gave it to a youth that I like, and had him go shopping for me in Lima at the Distribution Center.  Loaded up on some of the DVD's, Church Gospel Art Book, Audio Book of the Book of Mormon to copy to flash drives for members, etc... It was like Christmas!!!

Ward Council is always fun, as new drama comes up every week.  Just love telling them what we need, and watch looks on peoples faces... But in reality, things are looking up, and things are working well...

All in all, things are great here in Peru, Still catching water for my showers, to use the toilet, to drink.. hahaha... Planning weddings, Learning more Spanish, Teaching English, rain, waterfalls, using Honda Moto taxis, buying soft serve ice cream every time I pass one, the works...

They are called Honda Moto taxis...look them up... that is what we use to get everywhere... so fun, and I'm sure that dad will now want to make one!

Hope all is well back at home!  I'm loving the jungle!

Elder Holmes
Satipo, Peru

[PS: Andrew had some extra time to answer some questions that we had. So we will post them here. Enjoy!!]

Question: Do you have a favorite fruit that is down there? 
Answer: MANGO!  MANGO Juice... or maybe the Banana Juice... You would love these cooking bananas they have here... they are tough and only used for cooking or for drinks... not the ones from home...
Question: How are your clothes etc holding up? Need anything?
Answer: Clothes are doing good.. I will admit though, I do NOT Like these shoes... The traction stinks!  I have slipped and fallen, and almost fallen so much!  When I find a good shoe guy, Im having him resole my shoes..... they are super waterproof though!
Reply: Sorry about the traction on your shoes, but glad they are holding up.
Answer: Oh yea, they are doing pretty good, just am going to get them resoled here soon... Shouldn't be an issue, there are a bunch of hole in the wall stores here...
Question: Do you have running water yet? Still catching your water in buckets? I bet U use your UV filter a lot.
Answer: I do use it actually, and we did get water turned on today, but the presure is so low that only one faucet in the house can work at a time... We will see how long it stays on, becasue we have been teased with this before!
Question: Will you be able to watch [LDS] General Conference LIVE, or will it be recorded and you will watch it later?
Answer: We will be watching conference live.. All the church buildings have Satellite, so it won't be an issue... And if they don't, they have pretty decent internet.. I will be watching it wherever I am... Since transfers are before the Conference....
Reply: I'm glad you can watch it live, cause we can watch the same thing at the same time. Love that.
Answer: But, I will be in Spanish!
Question: Do you think you will be transfered this next time at the end of the month?
Answer: Well, my companion has 2 weeks less than I do here in Satipo... but he only has 3 transfers left after this.... so wherever he goes next will probably be where he ends his mission.. my guess... We really have no clue as of right now....

Andrew told us that he has a little extra time on the Internet because of the slow connection and that we can ask him a few questions. So we will post what we find out. Until next time...]

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week in Review - Feb 23, 2015 - Mar 1, 2015

Elder Holmes with the Ashaninka people and his new friend, the Boa!
6 Months!?! Are you kidding me?!?!

So, its official.  I have been out in the mission field for over 6 months!  What is this!?!  While I would love to recap all of these last 6 months with you, I barely have enough time on this precious computer with internet to share this last week.  So, we will start with that!

Elder Homes and Elder Inkley and their new companion
I am just loving being in the Jungle!  So, we will start out with our adventures in the missionary force of Peru on this last Monday.  So, we had a multi-zone conference in La Merced which consisted of Missionaries from Satipo, Pichinachi, La Merced, Tarma, Oxypampa, San Pedro de Cajas, just to name a few.  But of course we also did a Multi Zone P-Day!  Off we went to a place called Pompa Michi where a local tribe called the Ashaninka live [Click Here, for more info on this tribe] -  they are sort of like our version of Native Americans on their little reserve and sell gifty things afterwards -  which was a bunch of fun. Started out there with getting dressed up in the Tribal clothing, and our faces painted to match. Yes, I can hear you getting jealous, but it doesn't stop there... from there we learn about their history and then are part and learn of one of their ritual dances.  After that we were able to buy stuff, but that wasn't even my favorite part either.  My favorite was the Boa. Yup, the boa snake.  I would say it is about 8 feet long, maybe a bit more... I hate snakes with a passion, so the following will surprise you.  I held the snake around my neck and held it by its head.  And I got a photo!  Wasn't a huge fan of the muscularly snake playing on my neck, but thats another story.  We finished the day by going to a a very fancy Ice Cream Shop, where I easily spent 10 soles on Ice Cream, something which is almost unheard of, because you can buy dinner for a good 7 to 10 soles.  Well, let me just tell you this Ice Cream was worth the American equivalent of $3.  It had brownies and syrup, and all the good stuff... [I have a feeling he will be visiting Cold Stone as soon as he comes home.]

That night we all stayed in a hotel called (yes in English) Texas City, which was actually pretty nice, we got a complimentary soap and toilet paper.  Life was good.  Spent the night there , next day for breakfast we just ate yogurt and some drink and called it good.  Then off to the conference.  The building we were in, in La Merced was beautiful, and it had Air Conditioning!  1st building in 6 months i have seen with AC.  Must be because it is in the jungle too!  I just wish ours had it too in Satipo.  Anyways, my comp was asked to play piano, and i was asked to direct music.  Surprise!  All in all, the conference was great, President Henderson and his wife did great as they always do, brownies were yummy, assistants to the President did a good job, and it was a very nice conference.  After the conference all the zones got together and did our usual photo shoots, which if internet goes well today, you get a copy. Then we all said our goodbyes, had lunch.  I had Chifa [Fusion Cooking, Chinese food meets Peruvian Food. When I looked it up, just looks like something you would find at Panda Express, lol], then off to Shima, our taxi service that the mission uses for the missionaries to do distance traveling.  We got back in Satipo about 2 hours later which was enough time for us to go to 1 more appointment before dinner at 8 pm.  

Wednesday was our usual day to go to Mazamari, the other city that we visit so long as we have references.  So, we continue to go, because we do have references that trickle in, its just hard because we aren't there all the time, it is difficult to check in on people.

Thursday!  6 month mark!  Woah!  6 months in the mission, and 6 months since the CCM!  25 % done with my mission?  Already!?  There were times where it went painfully slow, but looking back that was super fast!  No, I (haven't burnt my tie as of yet, I am searching both Satipo and Mazamari for used ugly ties of any type.  Let me tell you they do not exist!  I do not have it in my heart to burn one of my ties as of yet  So, when I find one it will be burnt in memory of the 6 months.  Today was a pretty normal day, did our stuff, hit up the Soft Serve Ice Cream place, and taught English class.  The works.  However, I don't know what happened at English Class today, I was just about to start teaching and like 20 kids NO JOKE came into my class.  Id swear it was like the scene form the Santa Clause where all of them knew he was Santa and swarmed him.  It was like that for the English Class, on the upside though, I made a new English Cheat sheet and have begun distributing them at my classes.  

Also today, I had the opportunity to try a mix of products from a brand name OmniLife From one of our investigators.  Basically it is a nutrient supplement powder drink mix.  Well, he wanted me and my companion to try this mix we call the Bomba.  Yup.,  The Bomb.  4 packets, 1 bottle.  My face  tightened up so quick and I almost threw up.,  I felt nasty for the rest of the day!  OmniLife my butt, it was disgusting!

Friday!  Weekly Planning and our appointments after lunch!  1st off I will start of with the Hno. Arturo, the Investigator who I am buying his wedding cake... well he announced to us he wants all of his family, including his wife, his daughter, and his son, to be baptized and in the river, in the same day as his marriage!  Woo hoo!  Off to find all the baptism clothes!  Also, today he brought his mom to this lesson.  So we taught her as well, she liked it, and came to church the following Sunday!  You should have seen it though, he announced to his mom while we were there that (it was a secret before to her) that he was getting married because he knows he was living in sin.. I was so awesome to see this family announce that and move forward as a family now!

Today on this Saturday we stared out with our district meeting, then headed off as a district to Mazamari to do a district attack so we can use less time to find more people - the investigators that the other missionaries had before they closed this area.  It helped us quite a bit actually, we found some members, and investigators, so it was a success.  Ended the day in the chapel with our Ward Mission Night.  Not to bad.

Fast Sunday was today.  The most interesting part of my Sundays are the Ward Council Meetings.  I along with the other missionary have adapted for our use the philosophy that nobody leaves ward council without an assignment, or something to do for the week.  And so we assigned things.... and things start looking up, we are beginning to get the ward involved in their own activities, just needed some direction is all..

All is going well here in Satipo, and there is so much more that I want to share but am Limited by time and email space!

Love you all back home!  25% down, 75% to go!

Elder Holmes
Satipo, Peru