Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week in Review March 20, 2016 - April 2, 2016

2 Weeks in Review

Woah!  I thought that every once and a while we would have little breaks in the routine here in the office.  BIG FAT LIE!  Hahaha... Sorry I did't respond last week, but there just wasn't time with all the stuff that was going on.  So, this email will involve the items of the last two weeks.  I will try to put it all into order....

Surprise Birthday Party:
This last week it was Elder Comptons Birthday, and of course, we had to throw him a birthday party! Surprise Birthday party, or he wouldn't have shown up.  So, we had President Henderson call us over right before breakfast saying he needed to talk to us, and we had to come over right about now to his house.  Check.  Went into his office and talked about transfers and what not.  Check.  The other Office And Assistants came into the house and decorated it while we were distracted - Check.  Video attached showing Elder Compton being surprised?  Check!  It turned out to be a great surprise party, and the Paneton French Toast prepared by Sister Henderson (Notice her wearing her traditional cholita outfit to celebrate) was of course a big hit.  

Hike up to some unknown peak:  
So, for our P-Day, we wanted to do something fun, but also something somewhat quick, because we had transfers starting that afternoon (those who were finishing their missions showed up in the afternoon with all their bags and what not).  So we went and climbed a hill with the Henderson's.  And boy was that a climb!  I have attached some pictures of our travels along the way.  A cholita sheep herder, hung up birds on houses, tourists from Lima, rain, and local dogs accompanied us along our way.  I will tell you though, that was a really good calf workout...

Transfers:  Oh my.
Start off with Saturday.  This group that came in that were finishing their missions were many in number.  12.  3 North Americans, and 9 Latin American missionaries returning home.  Luckily, they were all traveling for airplane from Huancayo (jauja, 1 hour away from the office) which meant they really had overweight problems.  This lovely airport will ONLY accept (EVEN IF YOU PAY THEM OFF) up to 50 lbs for 2 bags.  MAX:  Nothing more.  And that was because we only sent 4 missionaries on each flight.  So, because of extreme weight limitations we had to send them on 3 separate flights (which meant 3 separate trips to Jauja, including some at 3AM) divided between 2 days.  2 DAYS!  This is the worst airport I have ever had the bad luck to work with!  And they don't even sell snacks! 

We had missionaries that arrived to the mission office with over 15 kilos of overweight baggage, above what we already allow them to do as missionaries!  So much stuff was left behind, it wasn't even funny.  But in the end, on of the best parts was the following...

In our lovely international airport of Jauja, Perú, we transport Presidental Candidates!  As you might remember from past posts, this airport WILL NOT FLY under rainy, thunderstorm conditions.  We were freaking out, because we had these conditions and we had 4 missionaries, of which had connecting flights with this one.  And if they couldn't make it, that would have been the end!  But while we were waiting outside the airport for news to strike. There it came.  Police Force to the rescue!  Then, a few numerous cars showed up, Keiko came out of the car!  Just an FYI, she is the running and winning Presidential Candidate here in Perú, of which the elections are in just a short week.  She steps out of the car, and does a quick interview with a million reporters which came out of nowhere (Remember that Jauja Airport, is literally in the middle of nowhere) - And the interview began.  I might have been caught on camera, considering I walked up right behind her (like 3 feet) and just stood there during the interview, and waved at the camera.  If I find that Video I will send it to you guys!  Then she got into the airport, and got checked in.  Yea!  It was in that moment we KNEW that the flight would take off.  And it did! 


But. When Keiko and all of her committee came, it required that half of the plane got kicked off, and postponed until the following day for weather issues.  Ha.  Our missionaries (4 of them scheduled for this day) flew with the Presidential To Be - Candidate on the way back to the Lima Capital.  We knew they would get there.  If something happened to Keiko, that would've been very bad, so it looks like our deals and friendship with the small airport got us through.  Woah, that was a close one!  

I have attached a video below (in Spanish) showing what happened about 1 hour after we left and Keiko left with the missionaries in the small plane.  About 25 people had their flights changed, and were extremely upset, of which our missionaries luckily didn't get stuck in. Whew.  [Click here for video. Keep in mind it is all in Spanish.]

All the missionaries in the end made it home. A few either missed their flights, or had passport problems, which required that I sleep in the office one of the days (brought the sleeping bag) and get those issues resolved.  But it looks like everyone is happy, and made it alright.  Woah.  I hope we never get stuck with plane tickets from landslides EVER AGAIN. But, a plus was I got to meet the President to be of Perú! 

April Fools!  
President wanted to get us good for April Fools, and He did.

First.  President sent us the letter Titled First Presidency Letter.  He had us going!  With the official letterhead and everything.  He had us going for about half an hour!  Told us he wanted to meet with us later in the day.  Then we realized it and began planning our April fools joke to get him back.  

Later in the day Sister Henderson called me to plan her personal flights for when she finishes the mission (when they are in mini vacation mode from Cusco to Lima) but all of that is based off of when the New Mission President and his family arrive to the mission. We have a rough understanding of when the Silvas will arrive to the mission, but nothing official yet.  So, we got right away to making something (official).  I work all the time with Church Travel and flights and fabricated a fake ticket (Identically looking, only fake numbers of flights, and other codes) for the Silvas getting here from Salt Lake City through Atlanta, connections, then getting to Lima.  All, planned for 2 days later (subsequently eating up 2 days of their vacation to Cusco).  Oops.  All I can say, is we had them for about 3 hours, they were very sad, and it got to the point where they wrote the Area offices asking why it was so!  Attached my fake documents and all and sent them to the area, not knowing!  

When we came back in the evening to Presidents house we had a good laugh about their April Fools joke they had played on us, and then changed the subject to the Silvas and how we had received their itinerary.  They were just bummed. Then I said it was good they were bummed.  They asked why.  I said, well... Because today is April 1st.  Gotcha!  

I wish I could've video taped their reactions!  They about died!  A solid 10 minutes of laughing our guts out.  They thought the tickets were the real deal!  So bad, that they wrote the area!  We were awarded for our ingenuity and received brownies. I guess you could say that April Fools day was a success!   

So.  All in all,
We have been having a good time here in Huancayo.  Working like none other, processing documents, Immigration's, Newbies, guys going home, etc... But every once and a while, especially with all the stress you just have to let it out somehow.  

I hope you all had a good few weeks, and that you April Fools day wasn't as emotionally loaded as our was.  

-Elder Holmes
Perú Huancayo Mission