Monday, November 30, 2015

Week in Review - November 23, 2015 - November 28, 2015

[This past week, Elder Holmes was short on time for his weekly email. So he answered some questions we had asked prior. Enjoy! I realized as I was putting up this weeks blog, it is nearly all about food. lol But if you know our Elder Holmes, nothing more to expect and it is Thanksgiving week too.]

In your new area, do you have any pensions (cooks)?

I have 2 pensions.  One for the breakfast and dinner, and another one close to the office for the lunches.

Are your pensions good cooks?

The ones I have now?  The lunch one is pretty good... and the dinner one does really good... It's still a hard change to not eat so much here for the breakfast... here the tradition is.

What is your meal schedule for the day?

Small Breakfast 7:30 AM
Little Dinner... 8 PM

Why so late for your dinner?

That is how it is throughout the whole mission.  Its an Area rule set by the church... for safety and stuff...

It's better.. Because technically we still have to work until 9 PM.... So... The best place to be is at the pension, then out in the streets contacting, or in a lesson...

Do you see any Llama's while on your mission?

Llama's, yes.. many We asked this question because we haven't seen one picture of a Llama and so we requested a Llama selfie... we shall see.

How was your Thanksgiving Dinner? [Elder Holmes, his companion and the other office Elder's were invited to eat at the Mission Home with Sis. Henderson as cook.]

Thanksgiving was a full blown dinner, with Pecan and pumpkin pie and everything.  It was beyond delicious.  There are pictures, but I need to get a few copies of them first...
It was wonderful...  But there was sweet potatoes, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, potatoes, stuffing, homemade bread, BBQ turkey, fruit salad (with strawberries) [They usually aren't allowed to eat strawberries on their mission unless they know where they came from.] the works.... It was a very fulfilling Thanksgiving dinner.... [We also heard that Elder Holmes had KP duty and peeled potatoes.]

What is your computer situation like at the Mission Office?

We do all of our internet from the Misison Office... I have my own computer...

Where is the Mission Office located based on the location of the Mission home?

The mission Office from the Presidents Home is about 8 minutes by car... our house, which is the mission mansion [This is where Elder Holmes lives now.} is about 5 minutes from our office.

Do you finally have a microwave in your room?

We do have microwaves in both the mission mansion, and the office.  Its great!

Do you want us to send you microwave popcorn next time?

Well, I can actually buy microwave popcorn here... with more time in Peru it is becoming WAY easier to find things that usually the people here don't even think exist..... You just gotta look....

Did you feel the 7.5 earthquake near the border of Peru and Brazil?

Yes, I did... it shook my water... I only noticed it because I was at my desk...
but it was really really small over here... it's like 30 hours away by bus... its kinda far...

Did you get any packages yet?

I got the two by the way... and It is taking all of my energy to not open them early... I really really want to!!!! [We had sent Elder Holmes his Christmas Packages 8 weeks before Christmas, as that is how long it took last year. But it only took 4 weeks this time. I asked him to promise that he wouldn't open them until Christmas. (Last year he opened them early!) So now he has to stare at them until then. lol]

Well now I have to go... I have to go and place the orders for all the food for the new missionaries coming in a a few days, and all the missionaries that are coming in as well.. Burger King, Popeye's, China Wok, Pizza Hut... it will be good...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week in Review - November 17, 2015 - November 21, 2015

New Week, New Assignment, New Area

Well hello there!

It might seem odd that I am writing to you all today on Saturday, but it has a bit of reason…I have received a new assignment that doesn't allow me to write on Mondays.  Its kinda an office thing.  A few days ago when I was waiting in the Clinic for something, (I was also on divisions at the time) My companion (I’m in another area, not in my area) gets a call from President Henderson, and he is all like… Elder Holmes, you answer it!  No way man, its your phone!  So, he answers it…. President Henderson says, Hello Elder Castillo, could you pass me to Elder Holmes please?  Dang it… Hello, President?  How can I help you?  
President tells me there is good news and bad news.  One, is that I am leaving Elder Schreiner, and the other is that I am coming to the Office…. To be his Personal Secretary. [I did confirm that this is his personal secretary and not assistant to the president.] Oh.  Well. Um… Ok.  When do I leave? (I'm like a 15 minute taxi ride away)  Well, he says, you needed to be here like yesterday, and the Area really wants him to get all of his secretaries in, so that means we should’ve all been in there like yesterday, but its ok if you come in tomorrow morning.  Oh…. Let me get my stuff together then.  I'm only in a division, so I will have to get back to my room and pack up all my stuff again, and shuttle over to the new house.  

So that’s the story.  I’m in the office now, President Henderson’s Personal Secretary, and when I came to the office with all my bags still in my hands, it must have been perfect timing or something…. I walk in and the current secretary puts his keys and secretary fund in my shirt pocket, hands me the phone and says (I'M DONE!) and I am suddenly found talking to the local area representative for our mission on the phone, and I have no idea what is going on, or who I am even talking to!  Man 'o Man, did I have some questions for this guy on the other end that was in Lima.  But, things are all working out…  I’m soaking up all the information that I’m supposed to be soaking up, Apparently President Confides in me, well at least enough to not mess up all the plane tickets, bus tickets, transfers, Immigrations, Hotel Reservations… We shall see with those.  I have already bought a bunch of bus and plane tickets, organized trips for migrations, and that is just with the few days I have here… Since Tuesday Afternoon.  Woah.  So, from now on, my P-Days are Saturdays, unless something comes up or there is something else planned for the week.  

So, my new companion is Elder Islas, from Mexico, but the funny part about that is that because I am in my training for my new assignment, I haven’t really been with him very much, mostly with Elder Livingston, who is my Personal Sec Trainer (He was-is right now) So I am assuming I will be with Elder Islas when the real transfer comes up on December 2nd.  So, for the meantime I am in my training for this, freaking out every once and a while about what I need to do next, who to call, what mission needs information from us, or who we need to send through other missions… Ugh… It’s not that hard, but there is a lot to keep track of, that is what I would say is the hardest thing right now.  Oh yea, and I think I receive like (NO JOKE) over 40 calls every day right now for little and bigger things that have to get resolved.  Once I get my hand on everything and I understand what it is that they want or need to get done, that will be much much much easier.  

I hope all is well at home, that you are all enjoying your Holiday Season, and that you are all able to do the things that you want to in this time of year.  

*Side note.  I have already bought a batch of bad bus tickets from Huancayo to Lima, and had to get those fixed.  Luckily it wasn't a hard thing to do…. 

Love you all!

Elder Holmes
Huancayo, Peru

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Week in Review - November 9, 2015 - November 16, 2015

5th November 2015

Today was the long awaited multi-zone that we had been planning for a bit now... in short we had one of the pensions come and do a BBQ for the 70 plus missionaries that were in attendance.  To change things up from the normal of which is the guys play soccer and the sisters play volleyball (because we cannot play contact sports with the sisters) so we change it up a bit.  The sisters had the opportunity to play soccer, the Elders played (capture the package) which is where I filled up 2 of my packages and used those to play capture the flag.  That was a hit, something that alt of the missionaries had not yet played.  Later we all ate, then had a few different types of races of which included potato sack relay races, 3 legged and 5 legged races, and tractor tire races.  The day ended well, all were happy, all had something to do, and were filled.  All in all, it was a very good activity.

6th November 2015

[This portion was omitted as I couldn't read it at all. Elder Holmes had taken a picture of his letter home and he got some water on it and so about 4 lines are unreadable.] As one of the lovely perks of the trainings we had the Henderson's delicious brownies and continued with the training. All in all everything went well, a few Elders from our zone showed up extremely late, (to being there early as instructed) but everything worked out. Talk to Pres. Henderson about planning the Christmas Devotional and I have now begun my quest for a Christmas tree. Real or fake but, I have located some mini forest, we will see if I go out one day and take out a few trees...

7th November 2015

Saturday is a special day, its the day we get ready for Sunday. Just kidding, that's everyday for us. Today a missionary in our zone had some complications of health, to the point where we had to drop everything, go to this individuals room and take the directly to the emergency room, get the fun shots, x-rays, blood tests, the works. I signed my life away a few times during that trip let me tell you. Whoo, and doing medical negotiations with emergency doctors and lab tech wasn't the funniest thing ever. And getting their results back weren't very fun either - he ended up doing that part on Tuesday but I will just explain it right now -- Agenda list...

This week.  Ok. So I will basically just focus on like 3 things.  Rain.  Huaytapallana.  And Hospital Visits.

Rain.  This week we have been having an increased amount of rain.  I will not lie.  Before the mission I hated using umbrellas, and even now, I'm not a fan, but I will tell you, I am using my umbrella so much here, because you have NO IDEA when it will rain next here!  They say the weather here is like a woman, impossible to predict, but you know its coming.. Hehe.

Huaytapallana. [Click Link HERE to see on Google Maps.] So, as you can see from the 20 some odd pictures. (I took like 300 pictures, but these are the best) we went to one of the highest mountain peaks here, and the highest here in the mission. It is technically still a glacier, as you can see from the photos.  33 missionaries from our Zone, another Zone, and another district attended, and we arranged a bus to take us from our Stake Center here in Huancayo, to this mountain.  Check!

Fogginess and rain, and snow?  Check!  Solar Panel and Camelbak?  Check!  Go!  All in all it was a great activity, wont lie though, there were some sisters and elders that were having a tough time, and as one of the 3 zone leaders that went on the activity, we had to stay behind the last group and help them make it to the top, because it was an easier way back if they had made it over to the other side.

The snow didn't help, and the rain, and cold feet and fingers, but it really did make it a good experience!  PB and J sandwiches, with chips and a drink really made that lunch worth it when we finished the day.  Everybody fell so many times with all the mud that was made with the snow and the slick hillsides of grass, but all is well, it went very well.  There was one group however, that believed they were following another group, and were really just running forward to nothing, because this group had never been to this mountain before, and it had begun to snow.  So, what did we have to do? Run super far, and super fast when we found out they were over there, and take them back to the right path (a path that we had never used before and was covered with snow and fresh mud, and we weren't quite sure at first where we were.)  In the end it all worked out, we got the groups back together, and got back on the path.    I was able to take some pictures of the Lego guy on the lagunas, but... He had an unfortunate end to his life.  He is somewhere still on Huaytapallana Mountain still, somewhere at 15,200 feet above sea level here in Peru.  Hope Brother Scullin likes the photos! Hahaha...  
Poor Lego Guy - Adios

Thanks Elder Holmes....

And lastly... Medical.  So this week we had to go to the Hospital to check up on one of our Missionaries that had to go to the Emergency Room.  But, this hospital is not my favorite, and won't help us get an appointment until something that was 2 weeks later!  So, what did Elder Holmes want to do?  Well, he might have entered the Regional Hospital and taken out the analysis results (something that you usually can NEVER DO) and make it possible to take these results to another clinic that would actually help us.  So, after trips to the following:

Emergency Room
Medical Records Room
Emergency Lab Result Room
Lab Fluids Testing Room
Lab Central
Rights of Documents Claims Office
The Boss
Lab Central - Blood Division
Emergency Lab Room,
Found the original Document, Printed.

What had happened between each of these steps is that they had lost, or redirected the information, so nobody knew where it was!  I was just walking around with the Identification of another individual, who wasn't even my gender, and I was able to take out these results like no big deal... It did take a while, and I did have to talk to the Boss, because it had really frustrated me that they had possibly lost these records.. So here it comes, Gringo making fuss of things... But all of that worked out, I was able to get the results, and I felt like the Ikea commercial, START THE CAR!  hahahaha.... this missionary now has a new appointment and new analysis scheduled for another day.  woo hoo!

So, all in all, everything is good here in Huancayo Peru, Elder Schreiner and I are doing great, there is nothing to complain of here in our Area.  Yes, sometimes doing the things we have to do is stressful, but it all works out, and we are having a great time doing our stuff..  

Hope all is well at home, and that you are doing well!
Love you all!
Elder Holmes

P.S. The reason we all wrote late, is because we had to leave for the Huaytapallana Visit Yesterday at like 6:30 AM and when we got back ALL The internet's were full!  Dang it!  But now we are doing pretty good..... all better now... ahhh....

Monday, November 9, 2015

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

[No pictures this week.]

Woah.  This week flew.  So much stuff, so little time. I will try to resume it all.

Monday:  An Elder in my Zone got stitches. 15.  Yea.  Today wasn't P-day, because what we did was we had our P-DAY on Thursday as the multi-zone, so on Monday we only did Internet, and had to do normal missionary stuff on Monday.  So, if anything, today was ANTI P-Day.  But everything worked out well.  At lunchtime we got together as the zone leaders of Huancayo, and planned out the last of the stuff for the Multi Zone P-day on Thursday, ate a delicious hamburger, and were off.  

Tuesday:  Today was a kinda slow day. From lunch on, we had a Zone Leader training for all the zone leaders in the mission, in the mission office, ate lunch there, had a salad, yum yum..... It was great.  Anything out of the ordinary no, just a normal training, got to hear a few fun stories from President Henderson, and Sister Henderson, and got the scoops on applying to BYU while I am here in the mission.  Looks like I have some work to do.  yea. 

Wednesday:  Today we had a Family History Training Meeting.  It is kinda funny the way they do it.  It is an Area training that they put together for the local leaders, and it gets distributed and taught even to the missionaries, because they know that here if there is anything that the area wants, they give that responsibility to the missionaries.  So, that is why we found ourselves in this training.  It is kinda funny though because they are teaching us the doctrine of Family History... almost like we don't know it!  Ha-ha-ha. 

In preparation for the Multi-Zone that we will have on Thursday, we had to buy a few Potato Sacks.  30 to be specific.  They just looked at me in the market like... Gringo, why on earth would you want 30 potato sacks?  I tried explaining some of the games we would be doing, but they didn't get it all the way.  I don't think.  

Thursday:  I will send you pictures and info from Thursday on in the next weeks email.  I will probably write it down and send it in a picture or something. 

Love you all!  Hope all is doing well at home, I do miss you all, and hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!  

Love: Elder Holmes
Huancayo, Peru

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week in Review - October 26, 2015 - November 1, 2015

[No pictures this week]

Monday 26th 2015 

Today I have completed 14 months here in Peru. Woah.  I wish I could say we had some awesome lesson or something, but the 3 firm appointments that we had scheduled for the nighttime after P-Day all decided they didn't want to be home. But our afternoon was an interesting one at that.  A missionary in my zone got a type of infection from a bug bite and appears it was contacted by dirty water when he was showering or something, so it just kept getting bigger, so we went to the clinic to get it taken care of.  So, the Elder lifts up his shirt, and the doctor pokes it and goes OH MY, thats quite big.  There, buy these drugs and take them, and if in 3 days it (the swelling) doesn't go down, return here. Well, we returned in 2 days as it had begun to get so large it exploded and the lovely doctor accepted us back, shot it up about 10 times with a thick numbing agent (did NOT) look fun.

Then the doctor went in this Elders infected area began cutting, gouging, etc, to remove it all.  Got it all on video. [Really, Elder Holmes?? Why?] Then I received training on how to clean the new wound (about the size of a nickel-dime) daily, and change the dressing, and the gel net that has to be inserted daily to keep the structure together or something.  So, I have been Dr. Holmes for 5 days cleaning, and dressing the wound.  I even bought surgical gloves, Hydrogen Peroxide, Surgical Tape, the works.  I'm actually enjoying this a bit, ha-ha.  We will see how this progresses, wasn't too expensive, and the mission covers these expenses, so there is no worry there...

Tuesday 27th 2015
Another busy day. Today we had a district meeting with the 2 districts in our zone, and right after had to go to the bus terminal to send off 3 missionaries to Lima, get them a disposable phone so they can communicate with us for these 3 days of immigration junk, and send them off.  Well it would've been great if all 3 got here on time. Only 2 got here on time, and we had to buy another ticket for the other missionary and send them off at a later time, because they HAD to go to Lima for their immigration junk.  So, we got that all figured out, I even bought that missionary a cheaper seat.  Sorry, you get late, without an excuse, you WILL NOT be getting a nice replacement seat.  After lunch, we found a few less actives to teach a few eternal investigators, and finished the day with 2 great investigators.

One of which is reading the Book of Mormon for her own desire, and we acquired a picture Book of Mormon for her kids and is studying them both as a family in the mission, there are a few, but very rare instantaneous where prepared people will find you.  This is about what happened with this family.

They searched us out, and now they are beginning to understand (The Why) behind why they felt the impression to search out the missionaries.  When you teach families like that, then you feel the spirit even more, and just tell them you know there are blessings they can receive, that they aren't even aware of that exist, and can ONLY exist in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  We finished off the night by teaching another investigator the story of the Tree of Life, and ended up asking him where in the photo he felt he was, which really helped us to understand in what way we should continue in teaching him.

Wednesday 28th 2015
So, a while back, I have my Pensionista a coupon for 100 soles off stuff in an electric store, but it is only valid if you spend over 500 soles.  We happened to be commenting a week before that if she had bought a microwave, we would teach her how to use it, and how it can help her save time in all of the kitchen.  Well, today we showed up to the pension, and she had bought the nicest Samsung Microwave I have seen so far!  When we got there she told me, Elder!  I had to use your coupon, it was only good for 2 days, so I bought a microwave!  Now you have to show me how to use it! Hahaha...,, yes, then we will, don't worry about a thing.  :)  I'm not so sure her husband was so thrilled with the purchase, but really they are financially ok.  We finished the day off, fixing a washing machine issue with an older couple, getting 100% soaked because it poured super duper today, even hailed, all for about 1 hour, and we weren't anywhere near cars, and our umbrellas can only protect us from rain from one direction, not from all of them.  In the evening, we had our English class, ya with the rain only 2 showed up, but it was a pretty good English Class.

29 Thursday 2015
So, today we had a lesson with somebody that we had thought was a less active (they found us in the street) but turns out he is an old investigator who was getting ready to get baptized about 1 year ago, but a few things happened and is now ready to listen to us again.  Woo!  Later on, we did an office visit, picked up 2 packages for me!  Woo hoo!  Halloween packages, thank you!  I can tell you that my comp and my roommates and Pension were very happy to get the two Halloween packages!

30 Friday 2015
Fridays sometimes can be a bit boring.  Weekly planning all morning, and sometimes there are days you cannot find anybody:  Today was that day.  We did finish up today visiting one of our investigators, that is progressing by herself, and is taking her family with her.  I just love teaching people who when they just get it you can see their faces light up with understanding.  Its awesome! Today it also rained a bunch, and we got soaked all over again.  Usually, when it is raining, the thing to do here is close your corner store, and not answer the door, because it is raining.  ugh.

31 Saturday 2015
As far as lessons go today, it was a pretty normal day today.  not much to report.

1 November 2015
Back to the Sunday routine.  8 AM in our chapel.  Fast Sunday.  I will not lie, but this church meeting that we had today was the most spiritual I have had in a VERY long time.  Not going to lie, in the mission, you catch yourself dreading Sundays because you are worried about getting your 5 investigators, and your other 5 less actives to come to church, and stay for the 3 hours, answer all their questions, help out in Gospel Principles, attend Ward Council, and help run that meeting as well.  It can become very stressful and tiring.  All in all, things are getting better in our ward, and we are learning to think outside of the box on a lot of things.  For example, I took this example from my mom from home.  There are a few sisters in the ward that don't come to church for a few traumatic events that happened in and outside of the home.  Won't even see the members or as of yet us, in the houses, because of embarrassment for the accident.  So, we have applied the following.  Letters.  We now have a few sisters in the ward assigned to just write letters to these sisters that need to understand that they are still cared about, even if it is difficult to visit them in their homes, I really hope that with some time, this also can bear some fruits.

Woah.  This week passed by really fast, and I'm sure that the following week will pass by even faster.  I love you all, and hope you had a Happy Halloween!  Loved the two packages (grandma-grandpa, and Home) the candy is great, and the pension loves it too.  Hahaha!

Elder Holmes
Huancayo, Peru