Monday, March 21, 2016

Week in Review - March 13, 2016 - March 19, 2016

[Elder Holmes let us know this past week the day he is coming home.... keep reading to find out when!]

Well, luckily less out of the normal events have happened this week which was a benefit to my soul.  So I will just briefly review some of the stuff that went on this week.  

District Leaders Council
So, about every 3 months we have a Meeting with all the 27 District Leaders in our Mission and have a training you could say. Normally a bunch of problems arise when we have Leadership councils, just because there is a lot of things to do with little time, and the inability to just separate ourselves and do our stuff, we always have to be with a companion... And the harder part of that too is that many times your companion or other missionaries also have many things to do... So it is increasingly difficult to divide ourselves up.  The 25 Large Family Size Pizzas showed up a bit late for the training, but the Burger King Whopper Tejana Hamburgers for lunch showed up at a good time.  It was also fun to see the practice that President Henderson did with the District Leaders of how to conduct a baptismal interview well, and not explode on the investigator when there is an issue with Question 4, how to make them actually leave from the interview feeling uplifted and not drained.  It was really a good training.  

Bus Problem - I can talk about it...
Oh gosh.  Where do I start.  So a while back there was a contracted bus in our mission, full of missionaries heading down from Tarma, Peru to La Merced, Peru for a Multi-Zone Conference.  Well, as luck has it, this bus found itself in a stick situation when it turned a corner, and took out a drunk pedestrian coming around that corner.  And when I say took out, I mean it.  Bus was covered in blood and that guy was kinda just... well, not responding.  Police arrived and took reports and then sent the bus on their way to the Multi-Zone, as which the missionaries where a bit shocked with all that had happened.  
Well, with time I had a feeling that incident would find its way back to my office... And it did.  I received a call from the Zone Leaders in Tarma stating that the company would now like to take a list of all the missionaries that were on the bus and their immigration documentation (passport, foreigner cards, etc) because they had forgotten to do it before (usually they don't even do it on this type of bus) - I told the Zone Leaders directly that they were unable to do it... And put myself in contact with the Legal Department of the Church here in Perú.  Made some new friends, and found out that the church has a wide system of legal advisers and a very set system for problems like this.  We began doing some of the paperwork on our end with the Legal department, but received a notification from the Bus Company that they were just going to put other individuals names (that weren't even on the bus) on the passenger manifest, and they were just going to put to rest the battle because we weren't budging. Obviously there are more details that I have not included to share, but that is the jist of it. Lots of things that are odd come through the office like this, and it requires that I make new phone calls that I have never made before, but at the same time make a lot of new friends!  

New Initiative - Real Video
So, also this week we handed out copies of the New Initiative for the missionaries for this Easter.  I think there was some confusion from last week.  The video we are sharing with the world is not the video of the virtual choir.  It is the following.  All the discs are done, and distributed to the areas.  yea!

Egg Sandwich in the Microwave
As a heads up. I found out that you can microwave eggs once you have prepared them to be scrambled and they will actually come out!  But when they are in the microwave they will expand exponentially, something that kinda reminded me of the oblec project in elementary school. Just a heads up when you are in the office and get a bit hungry.  

Multi-Zone for Huancayo Area
Yesterday here in Huancayo was the Multi-zone for the 4 zones that are stationed here in Huancayo.  It was really nice to be able to just sit down (for the majority) of the multi-zone and just enjoy that.  As you all know my personality, I cannot just sit down for much time without doing something.  I usually need to be part of something or other or else I might go crazy.  So, I helped out with the brownie preparation.  ehehhehe.  I might have also imposed my brownie scooping tax. :)

New House Arrangements - New Contact, New Landlady
This last Monday I took the Henderson's over to one of our potential houses and gave them the tour with the owner of the home.  Once the Henderson's saw the house and also encountered that this house has a steady supply of water, of electricity, fits everyone, was built in 2014, fits everybody, has more ambient lighting, solar water heaters, no pool (our current house has a pool) and costs half of what we are ridiculously paying for our current house.  They gave us the green light and said go for it!  Now Elder Compton and I are working on the contract for the new house, figuring out payments, and what else we will be doing to that house (we want them to add on one more additional room for a little more in rent each month, so we have storage room.  But it looks like all will work out well for that house.  The official, unofficial move in date is April 9th.  And for that, it looks like we will require the services of 3 Zones of Huancayo to help us move out the current owner, move our stuff out of our house, and move stuff into the new house.  Many bunk beds, washers, driers, etc... Should be fun!

Plane Tickets - My Flights Home
One of the odd duties that I have here in the office is that I am in charge of all travel to and from the mission.  And as standing policy it is suggested that we purchase tickets with a window of at least 3-6 months tickets purchased ahead of time.  Well, that put me within my own responsibility to purchase tickets.  Yup, I received my tickets this week.  Mom, you received an email stating that the tickets were processed and sent to your email. [HE COMES HOME ON AUGUST 3rd, 2016 - WOO HOO!] Yes, those are official, and technically all the other moms up until August should have received an email with their tickets as well.  (except a select few which are requiring additional work for special ticket needs) - So yes, those are real.  But don't freak out, still a good amount of time awaits until I can use those tickets.

Trip to Ingenio, Fish Farms, and Climbed a Mountain...
Today for P-Day we just did it as just us two.  Elder Compton and I.  So, we first went over to haircut land and Elder Compton got his cut for a few soles, and off we went in a Combee. About 40 minutes later, and after talking to a few just lovely little ladies that were about 78 years old, and just couldn't get over how ¨cute¨we were.... ha-ha.  We get to Ingenio, had a Cordon Blue Fish meal, which was probably one of the best meals I have had here, or ever. Just really good food.  

After we finished our food, with a touch of BBQ Sauce... We decided to go to the fish farm. Here in this part of Huancayo is where they grow all of their rainbow trout.  I have included a picture which explains the story, but basically what it is is that Gringos came a long time ago, and brought California Trout from Sacramento and began to grow them in various parts here in the main center region.  And it worked!  And it is doing very well to this day!  This was over 80 years ago!  

Once we finished with the enormous fish farm we found a guy who sold Honeycomb.  I finally ate it!  It has been on my bucket list for such a long time to eat Honeycomb straight from the hive!  3 soles!  Nothing!  Was so good!  

After we finished our adventures over there we decided to climb the mountain.  Yes, the large mountain next to us.  We maxed out at 12,600 feet and made it back in time for ice creams.  I have included photos of the trip, the cholitas in the background, sheep poop, rocks, and great views. 

The day is not complete until you go to the Milk Center of Huancayo and buy ice creams. We passed by one of the main processing plants of Boxed Milk here in Peru.  Gloria!  

Hope you guys all like the pictures!  

-Elder Holmes 
Misión Peru Huancayo 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Week in Review - March 6, 2016 - March 12, 2016

Well, this week has been more relaxed.  Just multi-zone meetings within the mission, meaning that President Henderson and his wife went around the mission and handled the meetings.  We didn't have to go!  Yea! I'm tired of traveling!  Especially after doing a quick little trip to Lima.  I'm done for a bit.  

A new sister came into the mission this week, ahead of schedule.  Sometimes what happens is they find out that there is a missionary who makes it to the CCM and they already know something of Spanish, so they speed them up to the 2 week schedule and put them in the mission earlier.  Luckily for us, that landed on Multi-zone schedule.. So we sent her to Huanuco by plane, had a fun time there and then she went with the Henderson's and she did her welcome to the mission training in the car.  

Its been raining pretty good this week here in Huancayo... Oh yea... I forgot to mention.  I went to Huatapayllana again.  There were two more zones that wanted to go from Huancayo so we took them up.  One of the standing rules is that missionaries can only go there if they have a tour guide.  Well, everybody is way to cheap, and why get a tour guide if all the mission office staff knows the mountain?  So Tour Guide Elder Holmes and Tour Guide Elder Compton took them up the mountain.  It was raining a bit though, and because of that I got a bit sick... Just a flu type thing.. It has already passed now, now I'm just messing with the whole nose thing.  

President Henderson passed his birthday this week and we had to celebrate.  I had the missionaries in Huanuco throw him a surprise bash at the end of the multi-zone (which fell on his birthday) and when he got back we made breakfast burritos Mexican Style using Elder Islas´s cooking skills one more time.  And, we acquired the extract to make Root Beer, and surprised everyone with root beer floats.  Wasn't as fizzy as it should've been (finding Dry Ice here is harder to find than a married couple here... I'm not even kidding)  We got so desperate we were even looking at buying CO2 Extinguishers and making mini reactions to create Dry Ice from scratch, but it ended up costing to much.... So we settled and bought Agua con Gas, which basically is just carbonated water.  Added the extract and the sugar, and wam bam.  Root Beer!  

This week we had a rebar fall through our roof with the lovely building that is constructing near us.  I have to say... I might not have exactly spoken to their Boss with the highest amount of Christlike Attributes.. But they understood what I needed to say.  I am attaching fun photos of what falls through our office, and what damage they seem to do on a weekly basis.  Within a few hours I had our Church Legal Council come and visit the premisis and talk to the owners on our side.  A new contract was revised, new forms of security were put in place, and they even put (get this) beds on top of our roof, so if people or things fall on us we wont hear it as much or the rebar will just bounce.  Oh how comforting...

Rebar to the left, looks like an arrow

You can see, very small the rebar on the left

This is the rebar if you were inside the building looking up
to the ceiling

We have received the new initiative for the Church for Easter.  Hint.  Its name is Hallelujah. Already making those DVD'S because in our mission many of the areas don't have reliable Internet access, or the homes in which they want to share these videos don't have computers or Internet access within their house.  So yea, 90 discs later...

This last week I purchased the flights for t​he following groups of missionaries in the next 6 months.  Yes.  I bought my own ticket.  No mom.  I won't share it yet.  Maybe in a few weeks.  hehehe... [I'm thinking he has to wait for the notification of all families first. But it does drive me a bit nuts that he already knows. Maybe if I ask him certain questions, that could narrow down my choices. Like a game of Battle Ship. lol]

It looks like the missionaries going home in this group and coming in will need to come in by flight from Lima to Huancayo.  This is something that we DREAD.  the flights are so darn small that in order to send the missionaries home and make sure all their bags go with them, we will have to send the missionaries in 3 different flights, because the planes wont accept all their  bags or all the missionaries at once!  Ugh!  And the airport is over 1 hour away from the Mission Office City!  And, on top of everything, this dumb airport only accepts 15 kilos per person.  As a rule the church allows and will pay 23 kilos PER BAG.  Total of 46 KILOS.  Yup, we are going to be forking over a bunch of Overweight baggage fees.  Usually we send the missionaries by bus... Reason being... it is way easier, and even more cost affective.  In the end, a plane ticket from Jauja (The only airport) will cost us $120 (Without overweight fees) for a flight of 35 minutes.  A bus, will take 7 hours, and only cost $25 but will work with the rain!  If there is rain, they cancel the flights from Jauja, subsequently causing problems with all their following flights and connections between nations.  A mess I tell you!

Again, sorry with all the junk of the universities.  I am currently working it out with BYU Idaho so that I can use my application approved for January to be admitted for also Fall so I can take 3 consecutive semesters in place of only doing 2.  It looks like everything is working out... 

Well, it was nice to have a tranquil week this week.  Hope all is well for you guys at home, that the snow is keeping things interesting and that my emails are still interesting too.  

-Elder Holmes
Misión Perú Huancayo

Monday, March 7, 2016

Week in Review - February 28, 2016 - March 5, 2016

Landslides, Layovers, and Laughs Continues this week.

So, We finally get approval of how we can send the missionaries back to Huancayo Mission, but requires that it stops raining.  Why you  might ask?  Well, the only 2 airports we have in the whole center region of Peru will not fly if there is rain... Luckily for us there were thunderstorms in one, and rain in the other..  But we were able to secure tickets for the 6 missionaries that were stuck in Lima for the day of Wednesday.  But, when the missionaries got to the airport, the airport officials would only accept 3 of the 6 documents for the missionaries... We tried everything.  Area office went over, we had our Local Travel Agencies try and work it out, nothing.  Up until now I am convinced that they sold these 3 tickets and that is why they denied our missionaries entry to the plane to Juaja, Peru.  So, what do we have to do?  The documents they were requesting we send to them were impossible to send rapidly, due to the landslides on the roads.. 

So, Elder Holmes flew from Jauja Peru to Lima, and back from Lima to Jauja the following morning.  

Click image to enlarge. Elder Holmes turned on his GPS
on his digital camera and was able to capture his flight pattern.
Secured their flights and brought enough documents to bring them home..  First wave of missionaries from Lima made it back on Wednesday, and the second set on Friday morning when I came back with them.  I can tell you, they were tired, dirty, but very o so very happy to return back to our lovely mission.  Even with all the landslides, and other weird problems we have, I can tell you they were genuinely happy they made it back to the mission.  Also, the Dunkin Donuts and McDonald's Breakfast I bought them in the Airport might have lifted their spirits too.  ha-ha. The images below are first a map of my to and from (GPS Recorded from my camera) from our Center of the Mission, to get to Lima, where the missionaries were, and the route I used to come back to the mission. 

This two pictures were taken from the companies website.

Here are the stats I pulled from their website,
in case you were wondering. 

Bombardier Dash 8-202
Manufacturing: Canadian
Capacity: 37 passengers
Crew: 2 pilots + 1 crew
Speed: 550 km / h.
Service Ceiling: 25,000 feet
Aircraft STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing)
In the end it was a good week, very busy.. Very stressful, I only slept like 4 hours a night... But when I got back yesterday, I got permission from President Henderson to sleep for a bit. I slept... 7 hours later I woke up... Worked for the evening and afternoon, then I slept like a rock again for the evening.  But I am doing well now.  All is good.

Leave it to Elder Holmes to share a picture of his in flight snack.

I won't say that I hope you week isn't as eventful as mine, because I know that means something else will happen this week.  So, I just hope that you don't have your only main road be told be closed for the following months, grounded flights, and documentation problems.

-Elder Holmes
Misión Perú Huancayo