Monday, July 27, 2015

Week in Review - July 20, 2015 - July 26, 2015

Hello home! This weeks email will be divided by topic, instead of days so you can stay with the theme.  So to start out..
Elder Holmes and Inkley
This week was Elder Inkley's last week in the mission. Yup, I'm gonna miss that guy, it was super fun to be his companion in Satipo, and have him be my ZL [Zone Leader] here in Huanuco.  

Something that was pretty cool this week that I got to do was go on divisions with him, one of his last days.  And I can tell you, did he feel the stress or what!  That is something I am not looking forward to. But it is ok.  I just finished 11 months yesterday!  Woah!  At least, that I am almost halfway done, things are going way faster, It is so hard to believe how the time is just flying, but only if you keep yourself busy!  There are a few times however when time doesn't pass to quickly and that's when you are at a Restaurant named San Felipes.  It's a chicken Restaurant (Surprise!) I will just say, terrible service, goofed up my order, messed up my receipt, and I sat next to a completely exposed chicken cooker exhaust pipe.  Yup. It was camouflaged  with paint to make it look like one of the pillars of the restaurant.  

Well I bumped into it, my arm was battered with Chicken Grease, and If I had stayed it would have burned me.  With all of that, they have us our soda without means of opening it (Glass bottles without means of cap opener).  I will tell you, with all of that, I went and asked for the owner. First they told me he wasn't in, then I told this little miss nobody if I went downstairs to the first floor if I would find them.  Sure enough I did. And in a very politically correct manner let him have it, and told him that I will NEVER recommend that anybody eat here.  I'm sure that hurt, as one of the few gringos that eats there now tells people not to eat there.  If I was in the states, I could have easily sued and won on this sinking disguised exhaust pipe and poopy service.  Did I get a new shirt form them, a coupon, something free, or even a mint?  No.  So that is for the world to see , do NOT eat at San Felipes.  Thank You.  Oh yea.  and this as the day we went to eat with the Bishop and his wife, and we took them out to dinner. He loved that I said something to the owner too.. Many times here the people are afraid to talk to the owner, or they just blame it on the fact that they just don't know better.  Well, they will never learn if nobody tells them.  

Talking about the bishop, funny story, Somebody bailed on Saturday night to give a talk, so bishop came over to me and asked me if I could give a talk about the Sacrament for 10 minutes.  I asked him if he was sure because this is the 3rd time I talked in 6 weeks, he said sure!  I love how you talk and don't hide anything and you burn the people when they need it.  Your example and your manner of talking with the members in the ward in this manner has really helped us, so Elder, I would like it if you could lay down the law with the Sacrament because there are always people who are late, and don't get to participate if they are late.  Oh bishop No problem.  I accept.  Whoo... Bible Book of Mormon, and I didn't call out by names, but counted how many people walked in late after the blessing.  30.  30 People.  I used scripture and laid the law.  I saw jaws drop, and right after they were shaking their heads with me in accordance. I hope they apply this to the following weeks.  Ugh... I am definitely developing different manners of speaking to the people here based on their needs.  And let me tell you, I can speak faster and cleaner when I am in the burning mode.  Haha...

Speaking of burning, the stake called a stake ward council meeting last minute, and nobody knew, but the majority went.  Basically the stake called everybody in just to burn the missionaries because there hasn't been baptisms in a few wards for more than 2 or 3 months.  They are comparing our numbers to a few years ago when they had more, but now they are less.  The thing that they have yet to understand is that we do NOT Baptize people who will become less active.  They just want us to baptize, and that's it. And this is something that the members finally understand, and it was a beautiful experience to see our members depending on us in the meeting. And these baptisms the stake has, they were all investigators that were taught for 5 months and it wasn't something fast and easy.  Here in the Huancayo Peru Mission, we try to baptize converts, not numbers, and I'm sorry if a few leaders don't yet understand that:  What I would love for them to show, is how many less active members we have rescued every month and how recently since President Henderson came, the attendance in all wards are climbing, and the wards are strengthening.  It's because we are as missionary here to fulfill our goals.  Baptize, Confirm, Retain, and to Activate. If they want to know where our progress is at them, maybe they should look at the other in forms we send in weekly. Ugh. As missionaries, we all understand our role and with the same help and clarification from the Seventy Elder Waddell, we were able to defend our position a bit.  If they only look at the Less Actives that are progressing, after 3 months that we have been teaching somebody, this individual is finally in their interview.  And interview for 2 hours! THIS is what I like to call progress.  The spiritual and temporal progress of one individual cannot be a number sometimes. Sorry.

To finish this off, this week a little girl that has down syndrome got lost this week.  So needless to say we went to help when we received the information the same evening.  We went for a few hours and helped out.  As of yet, I do now know where the little girl is, but I hope that they will be able to find her.

Woah.  So here is the sneak peak into the life of a missionary here in Peru.  Less Actives, that are finally progressing after 3 months, the struggle to find new investigators that keep commitments, stake meetings that makes us want to throw up.  And grass filled skirts with poppy service.

But this is what I signed up for right?

P.S.  Ward council.  I bought everyone who fulfilled with their duties a little chocolate.  Out of the 10 assignments, 6 of them finished, so these 6 received their chocolates.  And look, I received a reference of a family from one of them, and the rest  were joking that they would do what ever we need if we just bring chocolate.  Hahahaha....

Elder Holmes
FĂșanuco, PerĂș   

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week in Review - July 13, 2015 - July 19, 2015

Lima, Peru Temple
Darn it!  I left my letter all written out in my room, so I will have to write it as I remember it this week. 

Monday -  Today we had a relaxing P-Day, not to much to write about, we played some Monopoly, and went to the chapel and played some games with the other missionaries.  In the evening though is when we had a great lesson.  We were teaching one of our Less Active Families that we are in the process of reactivating, and I decided that we should do something special for them this week.  So I invited the Family History Director for our ward to our Family Home evening, and also made a few laminates of the Temple in Lima and the Family Proclamation to the World for them.  But, with a twist, we laminated dates for when (If they remain active) do Proxy Work, and also Seal as a family in the Temple.  And they are laminated, so that they cannot change the dates.  It truly was a great family home evening, and the daughter who is like 25 came up to me a few days later in the church and told me that this is the first time that her family has desires to do anything with the church, and they have desires to go to the temple now, as before they didn't really place the importance, or the desire to go because it was to far.  But now, there are desires for them to go, and they really are happy for the little gift we made for them.  Their only homework from us this week was to put it up on their wall so they will see their goals daily.  It was a great night. 

Tuesday - Today we had our District Meeting.  As usual, because I am the district leader, I give a quick little training on something.  So this week, we did a training on the importance of the temples, and how we can help our investigators and the less actives to really understand the importance of the temple. 

After the District meeting we had lunch, and then went off to a lesson with another Less Active, spur of the moment.  And we found her husband there as well!  Usually that doesn't happen.  Quick background is that he knows a BUNCH of stuff about the gospel, a BUNCH, but still remains less active.  We had a lesson with them today about the 10 commandments, and how the Sabbath Day is mentioned in more scriptures then anything else in the 10 commandments.  I think we struck a nerve with them, because for the first time in the 10 weeks that I have been here he came to church.  And stayed for the 3 hours!  It was a great change to see in this last week. 

Wednesday - Only one big thing happened today.  We were teaching a family in the street because we usually don't teach inside of her house.  Well basically what happened is an old man, the father of the person we are teaching (The investigator is like 40 years old) came out and yelled at us in a very unprofessional way telling us that we shouldn't teach, and that she shouldn't listen to us and a bunch of dumb stuff... Yup.  She didn't come to church this Sunday for the first time in months.  Not quite sure what we are going to do with her, she loves church, but doesn't keep the commitments because of her father.  Well.....

Fursday (With the Accent that they say Jueves here they say it Fueves)
The highlight of today was our lesson with a lawyer that is a less active we are teaching.  I will be brief.  This has taken many cases that are shady in the first place, and that is still following with her with some of this individuals cases. Anyways, we were teaching this individual, and this individual was very exited that they were going to win this case.  Out of curiosity we asked what it was, and found out that there were some moral issues that this lawyer was avoiding to tell the judge which could drastically change the outcome of the case, and very well the well being of the child that is in this case.  I won't get into the details, but Satan worshipers, and prostitutes.  I never thought that I would have to remind a lawyer about their responsibility.  I asked this individual straight up what their responsibility is as a lawyer, and they told me.... To Preserve and Find Justice and the Truth.  And I straight up asked this individual if they were fulfilling with their responsibility to the common good.  And the answer was no.  I can tell you that this lawyer went to their case with the determination to lose, because they finally realized that some of the actions that this person was taking will very possibly have eternal consequences.  The case hasn't ended yet, and this lawyer has dropped this client as they do not want any future problems.

I will note we did not make the advice to her, merely we taught here about the morality of the situation, and that this individual should do all that is possible to find the justice and the truth, and not hide what this individual found out int he investigation from the judge. 

Woah.  Never thought I would be doing that in the mission either!  Just another thing to add to the list I guess!  And this person is now attending church, and has their interview scheduled with the Bishop. 

Friday-Saturday:  NO Pasa nada. 

Not sure if this is the Patriarch and his wife, they don't
look that old. lol

Sunday - Today was the day of Chicken Here in Peru.  So naturally, unlike any other day, we ate Chicken.  Surprise!  We were invited to eat with the Patriarch and his wife, they are super old, like 90 years old this week!  We had permission to eat their because our new pension that we will be changing soon was preparing the food, so there wasn't any issues there.  And I will tell you, it was very delicious.  Maybe because all day we didn't have even 1 grain of rice.  Ahhhh... No Rice.

Also, worthy of mention, I had a talk today.  15 Minutes.  Guess what the theme was!? The Mission Work.  Hahahaha..I took the theme and modified it a bit.  Plan of Salvation, and that now we know this, and are refreshed, what will we do with this information.  We need to share it.  It was super difficult to squeeze all of the Plan of Salvation in 15  minutes, but it is possible for me to do it, and speak very fast.  Woo hoo!!!  

Ward Council was also very good this week.  We talked about everything that we needed, and nobody complained.  It was great!

Oh... and this week I was shocked by the shower head 2 times.  It hurt.  I don't have much desire to use hot water right now,.... But sometimes, you just break down and do it....

Hope you love the photos, and the info from this week, all is going well here, and My little son Elder Cano is learning a bunch.... We will see if there are transfers next week or not, I don't think so, because I have to finish training, but we will see!

Elder Holmes
Huanuco (City of Dust), Peru

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week in Review - July 6, 2015 - July 12, 2015

Moroni 9:1
"My beloved son, I write unto you again that ye may know that I am yet alive; but I write somewhat of that which is grievous."

As usual, there usually isn't a normal week here in the mission, but I will do my best to describe the week we had here.  I'm sorry if there are many errors in this email, the keyboard doesn't respond very well to my typing here.  There is probably some squished up drugs or something stuck between the keys....

Starting with P-day, we went to a place named Pilcomoso, and as you will see in some of the photos it was a fun climb.  We did pass through some weird stuff, like witchcraft, candles and a million beer bottles offered as some sort of sacrifice... Yup, we pass though that part pretty fast so we could get to the top.  I uploaded some photos of that adventure , as well as where in the world went my little Lego guy.  Hope you all enjoy those!

This week we also had interview with President Henderson.  No big deal, I really like our President, the interview you always leave feeling a bit better, and ready to keep working. And it is a nice time to talk about our areas, and the needs that we have as missionaries in our areas, and our needs personally.  

So, this week we did a service project, we took apart a 50 year old couch so that a member could refinish it as part of his job.  All I could think about was the Frasier episode, this disgusting couch that nobody wanted, and Frasier accidentally tipped it over the edge and it was destroyed, and there was absolutely nobody who even made this material anymore. Well, this couch was like that, and As Frasier said, it is now the most expensive piece of furniture in his house.  Hahaha,,, this couch was so disgusting!  But we took it apart, and now it works well so that he can repair it. 

There were a few other things we did this week, but they weren't that big of items, I just wanted to make sure I got that in.  

Elder Holmes

Huanuco, Peru

Monday, July 6, 2015

Week in Review - June 29, 2015 - July 5, 2015

Well, here we go with another week...

Well, I wont do a playback of everyday, but this week was an interesting week.  Not because anything big happened, but you can tell that even when your numbers are low, if you are really working or not, based on how stressed you are.  So, with that, one could say that I am a bit stressed.  But we also need to remember that this is normal, because there is a healthy level of stress that helps us to do the things that we need to do every week.  

During this week we did a Zone Attack in my Area which is really helping us out, because the Area Book is not updated for anything, and there are people that I should be visiting but I have absolutely no idea where they live, or a phone number, and trying to give directions here in Peru is just the worst.  Through this Zone Attack we were able to locate about 6 more people that we can supposedly visit now, so this week we will be going to their houses.

English Classes are doing well, we are having people show up from other wards, so that is always a good sign.  Hahaha... What I am doing to get people to understand that I am a Gringo and that I can really teach English is that I am teaching them HOW to say the words and that I can teach them the Pronunciation.  

This week we also did have a chance to do some service for a family we found in the super high up section of Huanuco, where we basically demolished their path to their house so we could construct a new one. I'm not kidding, this dirt path to their house you would have to jump on parts of it so you wouldn't fall off the hill.  So, we showed up with a few picks and we got to work .I showed them how to make a proper path, and moved rocks, and finished it in less then 2 hours.  I can tell you it brought back many many memories of me digging the wall in our house every year when the dirt would fall. Guess that was for something, no dad? haha

I won't lie on another part, we are having a tough time finding new people to teach, and I am dropping a bunch of the people that we were teaching, and that we were teaching before in the previous transfer.  Sometimes, you can just tell that they don't want it, they avoid you, and just wont tell you to your face that they don't want to do anything.  Its harder when they know, and you know that they know they need it, but they still refuse it.  I guess that would be part of the reason I am stressed.  Another part could be that we are teaching a few people, that have some problems with the 10 Commandments, and it is our job to help them resolve their problems.  I guess that does mean that we are doing our job, if we are worrying so much about the welfare of others.  Sometimes it becomes overwhelming, but then I realize that it is only overwhelming when we don't have our priorities inline.  

All in all we are doing good here, there aren't any problems with us, I am teaching my companion the ways of the force so that one day he can leave and train another. 

Don't worry about us over here, we are doing good, some days and weeks just stretch out a bit sometimes, something that I know that all missionaries understand.

Elder Holmes
Huanuco, Peru

[Elder Holmes added this to our personal email, and we thought you would enjoy this.]

P.S. I will tell you, on July 4th I totally called my Zone Leader who is Elder Inkley my ex companion, and we sang the National Anthem.  I didn't have BBQ, it was difficult, but I knew that there was somebody at home eating some for me..  Hehehe