Sunday, January 17, 2016

Week in Review - January 3, 2016 - January 15, 2016

At the Mission President's home - All the office staff in the
mission office, Elder Holmes in the background.
Sorry I didn't write last week, it was kinda for two reasons.   It was beyond busy, and two is that there was nothing new to really write you all.  I will kinda explain why..

So, the reason we were planning to go to Lima was to do immigration documentation for the Entire Mission, because it is the new year and it is a requirement that we pay a tax for each missionary in person.  To avoid the whole IN PERSON Thing, we did Power of Attorneys for the whole mission in my name and in the names of a few other individuals so that we could do this extensive process for them.  However, when President was informing the area presidency that we were all leaving the mission and going to Lima to do the paperwork, and President was as well to do his own paperwork for another reason in immigration, they only responded saying that President Henderson had permission to go.  This debate of how we will do these documents went back and forth until it got up to Elder Hugo Montoya and then he contacted the Area Offices and got us what we wanted.  Woah!  But, as a result of that only President needed to go to Lima and we hung out here in Huancayo.  Its ok though, I had a mountain of paperwork to do for the following group coming into the mission and the group leaving to go home.  

Basically, my job here in the Office as the Personal Secretary consists of a bunch of immigration paperwork, mini legal stuff if it shows up here - like our house which I will explain in a bit, as well as any other item that finds itself on my desk.  Special Interviews, Elders or Sisters going home early for many different reasons, Area Homework Assignments, etc...

For example, as you might have heard, we have received informal instruction from the Church that all of the transfer dates after March have been moved forward 1 week because of new changes in the MTC'S worldwide. So in all of our records in Global Visa Management, or IMOS or anything else we use here in the mission, they have to be updated so we can have the ability to purchase plane tickets, and many other items that we cannot do if they are not updated...  

One side note about that, I received a training this last week in the form of a Webinar - of which they used the California Redlands Mission as an example for how to use the new and updated program of IMOS. I got to see the missionaries in my home mission, as well as our Ward and Stake Assignments when we were doing the webinar.  This webinar was worldwide and I had to take advantage of it.  So I called in with our webcam and microphones.  It took 4 different chances to finally make it work from here in Perú, but I got it to work!  Asked my question, and it was heard worldwide!  Woo!  It was saved on the records of the training videos so I can go back later and watch it if I desire to do so...Fun little bragging note to be able to say.  haha.  I think with my question that I made, I might have stumped them.  We will see in the next version of the program that comes out. Version 3.4501  Elder Holmes Edition.  hahaha

Another topic that we are trying to address this last few weeks is that of our house.  Where we live is considered the Mission House.  Where the office elders live and sleep, and also where all missionaries that are finishing their missions or coming to the mission stay and eat and sleep. This house is also used for the days each month in which the zone leaders come to the office and receive training for one day and then return to their areas.  So, in maximum this house needs to have a maximum capacity of beds for 35 persons.  Finding a decent house of this size is a difficult challenge in any circumstances, even a bit harder here in Perú. The house we are currently staying in we are spending a pretty Peruvian penny every month and the house truthfully isn't worth what we are paying for it, we many times do NOT have water, even with the two spare 600+ liter each tanks.  The power shuts off constantly in the mornings, and the house itself is so old it needs a remodel that we simply cannot give it.  So, I am adjusting the Peruvian Contract that we have with the house and just this week began negotiations with the Landlady so we can break the one year contract early.  This is the 3rd year that we are renting this house and it is time to leave.  We believe we have found a new house, but in order for us to make that contract we have to cut the current one.  
One of the most fun parts of this is that the house is fairly destroyed based off of elders that come and visit, break something and then leave without telling anyone.  We have pulled up wood tiles in multiple rooms, additional water pipes installed by ex-elders that are against the contract, broken windows, broken doors, etc... It needs some help and love, something we are trying to resolve by leaving early, paying a bunch and just cleaning our hands and running like wolves after that contract is signed.  Ugh... Fun, but at the same time a bit stressful.

Another legal thing we are finding ourselves in is a problem with our office building.  As seen above, we have a HUGE Tower of a building being built AGAINST our building.  the Mission office.  Just as a note, Setbacks DO NOT EXIST HERE.  They use our own walls to built up their buildings.  It is just crazy.  Anyways, right where all that stuff on the roof is is right over President Henderson's head, and yes, stuff does fall with surprisingly frequency.  So, we are also working with that as well.  

Food Note.  So for all the training we have to buy food.  I usually go to Real Plaza and buy all the food.  But as always, maybe as part of the new culture involving being on time with Fast Food Orders, we are trying to help them come more on time as we make probably the biggest orders they have ever seen, and with much frequency.  I mean really though, when they come over 1 hour late, that is when I just become a bit angry.  So, I call them.  I talk to their owners in their stores in the food court.  All of them.  My name has gotten around, and they know that the Gringo is coming it could mean he will buy a lot of food, or he will get a bit angry and ask for free food or free stuff because of their tardiness.  Well its working... 

They are all calling me ahead of time now, and if they come late, they bring free stuff, we even had this last week the manager of KFC come to our office and apologize for coming late in the past and that they are trying to fix their errors and make it better for the future. And they have given me 9 additional liters of Inca Kola for free because they wanted to help mend the wall with us. Great!  If anything they are learning that the hour is to be respected, especially with the hour of food!  

All in all that is what is going down here in the Office.  A bunch of immigration paperwork, sending people home early, coordinating Flights, eating packages from my grandparents (yes, I got them all, thanks!) and from Home as well, new Lego guy to replace the other one left behind on Huatapayllana.  yup.  Pretty Normal.  

Hope all is going well for you all!

Elder Holmes