Monday, September 28, 2015

Week in Review - September 21, 2015 - September 27, 2015


There are just some days where you are just tired and just need sleep. But cannot get it.  There is no (going to bed early) or waking up later because you want to.  That just doesn't happen. So, it adds on everyday, and then you get to P-Day when you try not to think to much about what is going on, and then there are problems in the Zone.  Woo Hoo.  Not like they are big things, but things that are sufficient to bug the poop out of you and just ask, WHY THE FREAK are you asking me that question!  You know the answer, you just want me to give you permission to do something that you know you shouldn't do!  And so with that, that is why I am writing a bit late today, but don't want to get into specifics, just that sometimes, people can be dumb.  The End.

This week I am just going to do Highlights and things I wanted to say, because not a whole lot has gone on this week here in Los Andes.

The Elevation of Huancayo is actually around 9,400 something feet.  I looked it up on my GPS Camera, I was just so busy these last few weeks I never actually looked at it...

This last week we went to a local park for P-DAY and bought a few things and took a few photos. I have begun the little trinket shopping for people at home now.... Ugh...

This week I hit 13 months... Woah.. Every Month, every transfer just goes by faster and faster!!!!  But a bit faster for my companion, Elder Ottley, who this week has to weigh his bags to make sure that everything will be able to go home.:: Yuck.  He doesn't like it, I will tell you that!!

This week we did some service at a members house that was moving form one block to the other.  Might I add, a HUGE Upgrade from where they were living before.  I really enjoyed the opportunity I had with my companion to help this family make this upgrade in their lives.  She is a widow, and has 3 kids, who all work or do something to support the family.  The son is also studying, and frankly I have no idea how they have all the time to do the things they need to, AND they still go to church.  Later on the next day, we sent over some of the ward members to give a blessing to dedicate the home.  I really hope they appreciated the gesture, we will go over to their house this week to see if there is anything else we can do for them in the meantime.  Here in the mission, whether you are moving missionaries, or somebody inside of the ward, you will probably have at least 1 moving project weekly.  But it's all good, you are just super tired afterwards!

This week we did a set of divisions.  I went over to another ward that is in our Stake to see how everything is going on over there.  Seems like it is going well, a few problems with following the schedule, but overall it looks good.  While we were over there it was HAILING for a good 30 minutes, and I won't lie.  All the Peruvians told me I would get sick and be in bed for days If I stayed outside (was in short sleeves and pants, but still shirt and tie) and they about flipped out on me!  They couldn't understand that I was ok!  They wouldn't even walk outside with us, we had to wait for the hail to let up for a sec so we could keep going!  Jeesh!  I loved it!  I wanted more, but it only hails for a bit.  Later on in that day we went over to a house that they said was leaking and there was no hope for it.  Well, I wasn't liking that answer.  Found the leak, they told me it was for something else and it wasn't fixable (A BUNCH of water was coming in their house)  I got a plastic bag, and a metal pipe.  Shoved it in the right spot, and not only stopped the leak, but redirected the water to another direction.  I could hear them yelling from the other side of the wall,,,, how did you do it!  It stoped!  What!   hahahahaha....  I was soaked after that day, because afterwards we also (I) dug a ditch for all the water to flow AWAY from the house because it was soaking everything.  A BUNCH of rain.  All is well.  I hope the laundry lady doesn't kill me.  Those pants are SO SO SO MUDDY. 

You will find a few pictures this week that says  Piense en aqui.  It means, 'think in here'.  This basically represents the people (Stake and Wards) that think about BAPTISMS BAPTISMS BAPTISMS without thinking of retaining the people they baptize.  Well, we have over 500 basically in every ward, and only like 120 actives.  That shows a problem.  The Red Handbook... It just a suggestion to use it here... They say it doesn't really apply here.  So.  All the logic we try to use, is represented outside of this box.  Because logic and thinking just doesn't enter... hahahaa... I will explain more next week.  

Oh yea, I had a talk this week.  Didn't really phase anybody, because the reverence levels here are bar none.  Ugh.  I can just breath a little deeper and keep going.  

Seriously.  In all of the things I am learning here in the mission, Patience is definitely one of them!  Patience, and the ability to work with people who for some reason, logic just doesn't click.  The manuals for the church are just (suggestion boxes) which makes everything just more difficult.  I hope I will be able to write a better email next week, this week I was just caught off guard with all the things I had to do and the things that didn't even make it into this email.  I hope that all is going well at home 

I think that is all.... My comp and I are getting along well, we made pancakes the other day... Well, like every 3 days we make pancakes, they are so much cheaper... and the N
utella is a great touch!  Thanks!

Elder Holmes
Huancayo, Peru

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week in Review - September 14, 2015 - September 20, 2015

Peruvian Plumbing, More Effective then I thought

Monday, September 14, 2015

Does anybody remember the saying, "10% of the members do 90% of the work."? Well, does that not only apply here in South America, but very much for the missionaries on P-Day. Today we had planned a big 'ol BBQ and told everybody in 2 of the 4 zones here in Huancayo to come to our stake center at 1:30. So we could do the BBQ. We rounded up the meat, sauces, charcoal, BBQ grill, the works, because we are sick of people not following through the majority of people (missionaries) show up at 2, and a few even later than that. I will admit, with all the late people, the food event still turned out well, the soles [?] from each zone got together and made salads of different types to give us more variety of food, and  it turned out pretty well. 

We almost forgot about the drinks, so I called in for a delivery of a 20 liter water jug, and we bought sufficient Tang powder for 20 liters of Tang. Yup, there was leftover of the meat and the Tang which we ended up taking home. The only bummer of everything [even with the rain included] was that after everyone finished eating, they went to go and play soccer. Only the sistas offered to help clean up, with us [zone leaders planned the activity, and like 2 other elders] but that's it. It appears that all had forgotten that they really good meat, salads, and Tang still had to be cleaned up. About 2 hours later we finished cleaning, and there went the day. I'm not so sure we will be scheduling a zone BBQ anytime soon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

In Boy Scout Camp, there are with frequency campsite inspections to make sure that everyone is not living like complete pigs. Normally part of the fun of these inspections would be sabotaging another groups campsite with trash or other items to lower their points, while on the same hand doing something in your to get in good terms with the inspector, or a something special for the them when they finish inspecting. Well, today we had room inspection s and I didn't have enough time to go to another room and destroy the chances of another room, so we had to do something to make our room even better. So, to model a few Peruvian customs - in front of the kitchen we put a white board which says "Hoy Menu" [Not sure what he wrote?] Which translates to - there is a menu. Normally here in Peru they don't actually put what is on the menu on the menu [weird huh?] but we figured we would we also "assigned" President Henderson to the cleaning responsibility of which he denied saying there are others who do it better, but got a kick out of the Menu sign. 

All in all they really enjoyed our room, our mini house [we rent out all the 3rd floor] and told us that of their were ever new married couple of missionaries, they would probably live here. It's a beautiful complex [3 stories with double roof access], a kitchen and a few rooms. Sister Henderson as far as I could tell was very pleased with our level of cleanliness, especially because there are 4 of us living here together. As many like to point out to us, the is not a whole lot of people or places when you could trust 4 guys to live together and not destroy the house. We have been told that so for, the house we are renting right now is the nicest rooms in the mission. And from the history of rooms I have lived in, and seen, I would have to agree. After we finished our inspections we made some  jokes about taking off our shoes before coming in our house and we have a box of socks ready for 'the visitors' to our house....[That's what everyone had to do to enter in Presidents house]. 

After our inspection, we went around driving with President and his assistants showing them other rooms in our zone. I'm not going to lie, it's nice every once and a while to just talk to President like normal people, and see that he makes jokes too, all of which is a nice change to the daily routine. For the rest of the day we had a mini-district meeting, and met with a few of the local families in the evening. The lesson that I loved teaching today was to a family that is in the process of being re-activated and we are putting goals for them to go to the temple to get sealed. He were able to teach not only what we do in the temples, but the importance of the sealing. Shared an example with them of a photo that was laminated with hard plastic and a piece of paper that wasn't. I explained you can do basically anything to the lament but nothing will change what's on the inside. While, on the other hand, the piece of paper couldn't withstand anything. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015.  Day of Everything.

So, today started out normal, Church.  Sacrament Meeting.  

There was another baptism in the church building today.  Needless to say, the other elders were incapable of filling the font themselves, and scheduled the baptism for a Sunday,  That was dumb strike number one.  Two.  The baptismal font wasn't emptied completely, and it was dirty.  We had to do all of the following in our suits.  

Clean, Empty, Fill, the Font.

Fix the Water Heating System that takes the water back out of the font and replaces it with hot water. (It is a multi step process that uses gas, and is a pain in the but to get to work). Also, fix the pump that pulls and pushes the water from the font to the heaters, as it was leaking excess amounts of water. (Super glad I have my Leatherman Multi-Tool, saved the day on that one.)

While we were fixing all of this, we opened up one of the drainage tunnels.  I was looking inside, and of all things, My Beautiful little USB (The 64 GB) fell in.  Naturally I went in after it (Yes, it was the Peruvian Poop Tube)  And tried to snake it out with some items.  Didn't work.  it is gone. Forever Gone. I'm beyond sad about that, but do not think i will be asking for a new one.  It is EXACTLY For reasons like this I make multiple copies of all my photos and videos, and know that they are safe at home, and also on my camera.  Ahhh... That is basically what saved me from exploding on everyone. Everything on there is what I have had backed up on other places.  So, I'm ok.  I'm happy.  

The day doesn't end with that.. Today seems to be just poop filled.  We were walking on the EDGE of our area, and my companion looks at me.  I have to go.  There isn't time to get to the room.  What do we do!  We don't know anybody over here very well!  The Taxis weren't there, and we were out of luck . The whole walking and pacing wasn't enough.  Basically Dancing.  i know that feeling... I have done it way to many times.  We broke down and got to an investigators house.... They didn't have a toilet seat, and only a tiny bit of TP, but it works.  When you have days like this, with the change of food, and your stomach wants to just take off like the space shuttle, there aren't many options. We made it.  We lived.  And it was all good.

So basically that is what happened this week. Hope all is good in the motherland!  Loving Huancayo here, it is a bit cold, but just enough for a light jacket at times.  Sometimes it rains pretty hard, but not for too long...

Love you all!  I'm doing great here, and I will tell you, the mission is teaching me a whole bunch about Patience, and The ability to listen.  not only to investigators, but members, and other missionaries who sometimes will just give me the biggest load of crap that I cannot even believe.  But it is all good.

Elder Holmes

Huancayo, Peru

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week in Review - September 7, 2015 - September 13, 2015

A Week of Changes

Every 3 or 4 transfers there are a lot of changes in the mission.  Well, this last transfer there were a bunch of things that went on.  So, I will try to explain it in the following days...

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Today we had our P-Day in Huanuco.  Super chill, played some speed Monopoly, made a few purchases in Metro, and just hung out in the afternoon.  But, in the afternoon, I got a call from Presidente Henderson.  ugh Oh... One of two things... My Companion Elder Cano will get an assignment, or something will happen with me.  Well, I picked up, President Asked me if I would accept a new assignment.  oh poop.  Well, here it is.  Zone Leader in Huancayo with Elder Ottley.  I will be helping Elder Ottley finish his mission., He finishes this transfer.  Ok.. So this evening, we did our goodbyes for me, and what not, and told everyone don't worry, because my companion Elder Cano would be staying behind to do everything too. Ok.  Monday.  Done.  Time to Pack..  Ugh.  I hate transfers for this reason!

September 8th, 2015

So, The highlight of today was when we went and had dinner with Bishop, but this time he invited us to pizza.  Yum!  Said my quick goodbyes to Bishop, his wife and a few others, then we went straight to the Chappel to do the transfers as a zone, and find out who is going where... Well.  A few surprises.  I knew I was going ahead of time, because they call you ahead of time for the Zone Leaders, which makes it super nice.  But, what the surprise was, is that my companion Elder Cano, also has transfers! He will be going to the same zone that I am now Zone Leader.  Woah!  We are closing an area!  I didn't think that would be happening!  So, really quick, we left, said goodbyes, round 2 for my companion, and also started searching for new rooms for the sisters that will be coming in our place!  It will be good though, because the sisters can visit with the people that we couldn't because we never had enough guys to go on visits with us.  So, they should have some good success.  Oh yea, and packing madness continues.  I will tell you, I now have more than 2 bags worth of stuff.  Most of that is for the problem of clothes.  Ugh.  But, that is only a problem for transfers.  When I will finish in like a year, that won't be a problem, there will be so many things left here in the area.  Hahahaha.... 

September 9th, 2015

If you had a transfer of 8 hours raise your hand.  8 hours in a freaking taxi.  Ugh.  I will admit, it was shorter than one of my other transfers that was 11 hours by taxi.  This is one of the advantages of a Geographically diverse mission.  Woo hoo.  Basically that was today.  At the end of the day I met my new companion Elder Ottley, and we got straight to work that night. 

September 10th, 2015

Today was basically appointments, and Zone Leader Training... Here and there in dumb things.  Get to know the investigators, the less actives, and what not.  Pretty good day, just a bit tired thats all.  Not much more to report from today.

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Today also was just to get to know the area.  Planning Session,  Correlation. The Best Correlation I have EVER HAD here in the mission.  I will like this part of the ward at least, it started me with some pretty good hopes for this ward.

September 12th, 2015

If you are ever stuck in a situation and cannot find the ancestor you need for the Family History project, have no fear.  Reneic is here!  The International Database for information is at your fingertips if you just have a few connections.  Head Secretaries, Officiators in Lima, Notaries, Journalists, Bankers, Etc.  Just search with ease the international database of records to find the names of your family!  Now solving problems mission wide with connections to the information you need!

Love doing the family history work when you have connections to people who know stuff.  All the people I mentioned have access to the international database for free, so we can use them to find some of the ancestors we need to do the family history work for the less actives and the recent converts.  AHHH...  Much easier... Did that once last week in Huanuco, and now here as well in Huancayo.  Just need to find the connections, and life is much much easier.

September 13th, 2015

Church Here starts at 8 am.  Ugh, so hard for the members to get there on time, but it works out pretty well.  We have one piano in this building, and it isn't a player piano.,  I thought.  WERE DOOMED:  But, there is somebody in the ward giving music lessons, and half of the hymns were played by the little youth of the ward. Give it a few years, and they will have a few more.  It is awesome to see the programs growing here in areas were the church has only been established  for a maximum of 35 years, and to watch their progress and learning throughout all of this.  

Church Building fun facts.,  Almost all of the building is Wood Floors.  Maybe because of the cold, and the fact that they will only put carpet in the bishops offices.  There are 3 wards assisting in our chapel right now, and its pretty squished right now.  But all in all its great.  Finished the day today with taking in the weekly key indicators for our Zone.  Each Companionship has to send in to us like 35 different indicators. Next week maybe I will send you an example of the numbers we need to send in to show you how the mission work here is different than the missionaries 1.0.

Thats about it for this week.  A few notes as well, in our room, we live as 4 Zone Leaders, and we cook our own breakfast.  Yes!  I get  to cook! Love it, pancakes, eggs, bacon, omelets, and food without rice!  YES!!  Hahahaha...  I will send some pictures sometime of our room.  Oh yea, and one of the bathrooms has a hot water heater (first I have seen in Peru so far) so that we can shower with hot water without the risk of being shocked.  Woah.  Somebody was thinking outside of the box on that one!

So yea, all is good, I some pictures of goodbyes in Huanuco, and me coming in to Huancayo.

Thanks, and love you all!

Elder Holmes
Huancayo, Peru

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week in Review - August 31, 2015 - September 6, 2015

Dust Levels are rising here in Fuanuco, Peru

September 1st 2015

So, out of today, there are two items worthy of mentioning.  We challenged a couple to get civilly married, after 6 years of being together, and a kid, the mom wants to get married, she knows that she is breaking a few of the commandments with this one, but her partner, he doesn't want to get married quite yet, he says he requires more time before he will get married to her, he says he needs more (time) to get to know her... well thats a load of crap.  Called him out on that one right away. Side note.. In the mission we try to have lessons with a member present,,,, well, in this lesson we had this guys mother in law present... anyways, we put him with a goal, so that he could prepare for a marriage... he doesn't want to!  Makes one think... If he doesn't want to get married to someone that he (Knows quite well) what would that reason be... I will leave that to the imagination.

The second item worthy of a mention would be one of our Ward Members.  He is working on doing his family history tree, but cannot because he had the bad fortune that on the day of his birth, his mother also died.  Here in this culture, everybody has at least 4 names, based on parents and spouses, and he never got to know his mom and he doesn't have his birth certificate, so this became very difficult to find out what his moms full 4 part name was.  He remembered 2 parts, but the other parts were mysteries to the family.  We thing, through a major help from a ward member that we have found his moms names and records.  Ahhh... it helps to have friends that have friends in high places in Lima.  Hahahaha..

September 2nd 2015

Today we went on a little tour of our area with a missionary that was finishing his mission, which was nice for us, because we found a few more new people to visit and teach.  All in all, today was pretty chill.  I bought a chocolate milk bottle of 1 liter, and drunk it with some Oreos I bought.  Yup, it knocked me out.  My body went into Milk Shock, and I ate way less today.  And no, it wasn't expired, it still had another good 6 months before it was set to expire.  That's another story... I don't want to know why it can live for so long.. but whatever, I'm not buying myself milk for a while hahaha...

September 3rd 2015

Today we had our monthly zone training, which was a very good demonstration on how pride can affect us, and others in ways we usually  don't have the ability to see. After our Zone Meeting, my district went to the center of Huanuco to take out our money for the month for the Pension, Laundry, Rent, and travel fund.  I will tell you, the residents do not like it when a bunch of missionaries take up a bunch of time and the banks to take out money, the money we need to pay our bills.  Sometimes it takes time, what a mess.  But we finished, went to another bank, got it all changed out into smaller bills to pay it off, and take the first taxi available out of here!

September 4th 2015

Weekly Planning.  Only one lesson we had today was worthy of mentioning was in the evening, when we taught something called The Articles of Faith which are the basic beliefs of the Church Members around the world.  Written a long time ago in a nation far far away, this serves as a model that we can quickly use to show everyone what our basic beliefs are without going overboard.  Makes it way easier to respond to questions and resolve doubts in respect to questions that people may have, but are afraid to ask...

September 5th 2015

The highlight of today was that we (Even the bishop) forgot that it was time for our monthly fast as church members (Learn more about the fast here from  I know that the bishop forgot as well, because he invited us to a restaurant with his wife.  Yup, that was an awkward call for both of us to reschedule that appointment.  woo.... To finish the day , we went to our ex-pension (who is pregnant) so that we could visit her husband.  Now.  It has been an off and on joke that she would go into labor pains when we would be passing by (note, she lives on the 5th floor of her complex with only stairs) would you be surprised that today when we passed by for our appointment at 8 pm that her daughter that recently turned 8 years old opened the door and tells me that her mom is in labor., and the mom looks at me and says that she is having contractions every 10 minutes.  No!  Ok gotta go!  Hahahaha... In the end, her sister came, and her husband met her in the hospital,.  She wanted us to give her a blessing of health right before she went in so everything would turn out ok.  She gave birth the following morning.  Woah.  That was a close call!  no!!! ! ! !

September 6th 2015  

Church, and Fast Sunday!  Not much to report on today.  We took a photo at the end of Ward Council so you can see some of the members I am working with down here in the Colonial Ward.  Finished the day doing a question and answer day with an investigator.  He wanted to learn more about Revelations.  Well... My companion didn't know how to teach that and so he just looked at me.  Oh great.  But yup.  I taught it, and we even taught somebody else in the house and they totally understood how I taught it, and explained the symbolism and even incorporated the Restoration of the Church in the proper places in Revelations.  It was a very good day.  Although a few members didn't show up to church (less actives we are teaching) its ok... We will correct them with Love another day.. he hehe he..

Colonial Ward, Peru - Ward Council
Thats about it!  You should be getting some other photos... I made some smores in my pancake machine, as well as a few other photos of dumb stuff... Feel free to upload it all, because if you guys don't recognize something, past missionaries will!

Love you all, and hope you enjoy your Labor Day!

Oh yea... Transfers are Wednesday... We don't know anything yet... I could really go either way... we will have to wait and see....

Elder Holmes
Huanuco, Peru