Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week in Review - May 22, 2016 - May 28, 2016

Well, usually I have stories for you guys each week of how we, (and here in the office) adapt to normal missionary life here in Perú, with Local Customs, Traditions, and Gringo Personalities react with each other in harmony.  So, with that little introduction, I will present the following.

They have been working on our office nonstop for the last 2 weeks now.  Finally finished with the painting, both interior and exterior we are ready to move on.  Carpet tiles.  Yea!  I had 72 carpet tiles 1m x 1m dropped off yesterday to the office, and bright and early Monday morning they will be installing (with our help) at 6AM, starting by removing EVERYTHING we own from the office, then quickly installing the carpet tiles one by one until we are done.  I'm not sure yet how the weird Blue Carpet will go with the new Yellow Walls, but we shall see.  

Next door, they have been continuing on building that monster of a building, leaving nothing behind.  As you can see in the far out picture, progress seems normal on this building. Until you zoom in a bit.  And see what is really happening.  Toothpicks holding up the building that is currently drying (Those aren't screwed or mounted, simply put as sticks to hold up the roof) and men standing on 2x4´s  while installing new rebar at that height.  I seem to remember a story of New York when they experimented with Brick Buildings at these heights, and how after a certain number of floors, the base floors began to give out. Hmmm... Well....

The house.  Oh my.  I thought I could escape all of this and come home, and you know - take a good poop (Sorry mom, but it is necessary for the story) - Well I was wrong yet again! As shown in the pictures, they are working on our street, working on installing a new one, which means new Sewage lines and water lines need to be installed (There are no underground gas lines or Electricity Lines, so no problem).  Well, I think we missed a community meeting or something, because they disconnected our Sewer (Without us knowing) and suddenly we noticed all of our Houses Waste (7 Elders, and kitchen waste)  in the street. Yum.  Truthfully, we thought that there was just a leak, I didn't have time to look at it in great detail, until the evening. 

Well, in the evening we get home, and begin doing normal cleaning in the Kitchen to prepare for the next day.  We turn on the water in the kitchen sink.  Mistake #1.  After turning that on, we hear a large flow of water in another section of the house.  We head on over, and find out that our reserve tank of water that is underground (off, but functional, we have yet to activate that additional tank of water, good thing too!)  is filling up with our waste that the house has been producing!  NO!  Our poop water, kitchen sink water, etc, has begun filling that tank below the house!  But how!?  We thought that our pipe that was leaking would at least send it to the street, not back into the house.  Well, what happened was the following.  I have attached a picture of a pipe filled in with cement.  

Yup, that is our sewer line.  They filled it.  So, all of our waste has been building up in our house, until it found its way into an unknown emergency line in the house - the same emergency line that the underground emergency water tank uses if it overfills with water. Great.  So, thanks to that we have shut off our water to our house and deemed it a dry zone. Nothing.  And I asked how long, and in Peruvian time (oh no!) they said a few days... That's not good.  I'm worried. So, once we get this all figured out, we get to go into the underground tank and start cleaning that lovely thing up too!  And, in the meantime, all of our poor little stomachs at 6:15 AM need to use the bathroom. So what do we do?  Well, here in Perú there are many little hotels all over the place (very convenient for those who wish to break the law of chastity) but also convenient for us that need a bathroom to shower and poop.  So, we pay the guy rent for a room basically just so we can do that.  Ugh.  The things I have to do here to poop!  

This last P-day we went over to Concepcion and decided to climb the little mount where the Peruvian Version of the Statue of Liberty is.  Her name is, the Conception Virgin.  Oh how lovely.  Like the Statue of Liberty, you to can climb up inside her body to her majestic crown, of which you can get a beautiful view of the valley.  Warning!  This statue is NOT a cement or copper statue.  Following tradition, it is a mud Statue created in the early 2000´s.  Hmm... Along the way we went past a few Statues that represent the war between Chile and Perú and the victories that were had here in the Concepcion valley.  

Outside of that, I have been working on Immigrations like a madman. So many things to do in the next few weeks, and so little time.  But, today we are going to escape and climb another mountain.  Hope you guys like those pictures!

Love you all!
-Elder Holmes
Misión Perú Huancayo

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week in Review - May 15, 2016 - May 21, 2016

Woah.  The time is flying even faster.  What am I supposed to do!  This week we have been in REMODEL mode for the office, as they are cleaning up, partially in preparation for the new mission president, but also simply because we have a heavy duty renovation planned now every 3 years for the office itself.  New Paint.  New Carpet.  Working on a new roof (part of that lovely lawsuit) New Front Couches, etc... it has been a nightmare to coordinate, especially since we have to be here for all of this, but cannot simply leave when the painters or roof workers are here.  And the worst part is that we have had to put all the boxes, mission supplies, pamphlets, books, etc on the small parts of tile we have here in the office.  I will tell you, the bathrooms are full of boxes to the roof, and so are all the hallways. 

I am currently writing this email sitting in the kitchen area of the office because that is the only spot that has internet access (right next to the server)  Ugh.  

Well, our office is now yellow as seen in some of the pictures, and on Monday they should be installing the new blue carpets.  They say that the new colors of the church have changed (at least for the area) which includes the older color of Yellow, and that the new blue carpets are the same as they are in the area offices.  Yea!  Hopefully it will all turn out well, and I will have my office back next week, having only been away from my real desk for 3 weeks during all this remodeling.  Ugh.  I have attached for all your fun and pleasure pictures of the before/during pictures of this lovely remodeling process here.  

Hope you enjoy the Beds found on our roof that was a requisite from our neighbors that are destroying our roof.  I swear, this last week we have just been doing and having weird things happening to our office!  We also got the neighbors to repaint the walls in our chapel because they have been destroying them as well.  But now, we are finally on the road to getting what we have been waiting for, for a long,long,long time. 

Some of those pictures are interior pictures of what we had to do with our office, and how all of it had to go into one room, while the rest was emptied.  What a mess... 

This last week for P-Day, we just decided to climb a mountain called Torre, Torre - Tower Tower.  What an original name!  Along the way we found people making prayers/monetary sacrifices to the mountain itself, a few huts, and even some wild berries that were very good.  We made it to the top, and wow!  A great view from the top of that mountain (13,080 Feet)  Mr. Lego also was a hit with the camera at the top of the mountain!  

This last week we have also finished on installing new photos in the new Mission Home of the Missionaries.  I have included some photos of those in our new home so that you guys can see how they look.  

Well, hope your week is not as paint filled, beds on your roof, Tower Tower Climbing, with free Liahona Giving opportunities.... I hope you guys just have a good week.

-Elder Holmes
Misión Perú Huancayo

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week in Review - May 7, 2016 - May 14, 2016

Good Morning!

Well, this week I was trying to figure out what I would send you guys this week - I felt like nothing had happened.  But actually a lot did!  Lets see if I can get this all down.

Remember a while back I said that we were teaching a few people? Well, one of them surprised us a few weeks ago and told us that he wanted to get baptized!  Long story short, he is the only person in his immediate family that isn't a member, and his son is even on a mission in Northern Perú - but for the time, he didn't want to get baptized.  The sisters in our ward were visiting the family for a while, but he simply didn't want to hear it.  Maybe for timing, maybe the sisters vs. elders, don't know.  But time came, we began visiting him, and we extended to him on the second lesson the opportunity to become baptized (He had originally told us he would only do it when his son came back from his mission so that he could get baptized from his son) and he said yes!  We had originally decided to put the date for the end of the month in May, then he said earlier?  Well, maybe in 2 weeks... No!  Can we do it next week!  Um... well, you have been attending church for a good while, and we are just missing a few lessons... So, if you want, we can do it next week if you like.  He said Yes!

And a very funny side note, he didn't want to tell his very active family until the last moment. He told his wife and family 1 hour before his baptism, and then told his son in the mission the following day during his call for Mothers Day, which was also his wife's birthday.  I can tell you that the family was just as happy as they could be that day.  I don't say this often, or try to think in this manner, but I think we baptized a future Stake Presidency Member.  This family now has the goal instead of getting baptized when the son returns from his mission, but they now have their own personal goal (That they put themselves) to be sealed in the temple when their son comes back. Yes!

P.S. Peruvian Baptismal fonts are the worst!  First you fill them up for an hour, then you have to heat the water up (AFTER) through a complicated piping system which takes about 2 hours.  And, it makes it EXTREMELY Difficult to heat up the water if there is NO GAS! Here in Perú there is no central gas piping system whatsoever, so whenever you want GAS, you use the same system you all at home use for your BBQ´s.  Propane Tanks.  Each Church Building has two large tanks, of which provide an internal Gas Piping System for each chapel for the kitchen, and hot water systems for the baptismal fonts (Except in the jungle, the water just comes out hot, because it is in the jungle) - We ran out of Gas while we were heating the tanks - but luckily we have a good system with the Gas Guys and they came and replaced the tanks within half an hour.  Not to bad!  

All went well, and we are now working with Hermano Juan to get the Priesthood this next week, and will see what comes with that.

Outside of that this week has been filled with a Multi-Zone, Zone Leader Trainings, Transfers, New Office Staff, Building Lawsuit (we are still winning, photo attached) being our breakfast pension, etc. Pretty good week!

Love you all!

Élder Holmes
Misión Perú Hunacayo

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week in Review - April 26, 2016 - April 30, 2016

As you guys saw, I sent some pictures of Huatapayllana this Monday with a few other zones.  I will tell you, the sun was BEATING down on us, and I got TOASTED.  Burnt.  I am peeling pretty darn bad, probably the worst sunburn I have been here in the mission.  

This last 10 days or so we have been accompanied by another Elder here in the office which is undergoing rest treatment for his knee.  Another factor, of which makes it difficult to leave and do some necessary things...

We have started here in the office to get the transition ready for the new mission president, and how all of that will go down.  I have acquired Plane tickets for both the Henderson's and the Silvas who will be replacing them.  We are also in a large battle right now with our neighbors of the large building next to us, of which is dropping many more building materials (the size of me) and literally breaking our building, and we really have a fear that one of these days these materials will fall through the roof onto our heads!  So, I decided to take a few actions..

We contacted the local Government Agency (Through FM) and got permission to begin taking action on a possible lawsuit that we have started this last February.  Yup.  War has begun.  :)  I had a sit down meeting with the Municipalidad and gave them all the evidence, damage reports, photos, artifacts, etc.  

They are totally on our side, agreed to fine the company that is creating that monster building, and will fine them, gave them the order to repaint our office, repair/replace our roof, new roof tiles, etc.  They have 5 days before we get more.... Its just a mess. But we will come out winning.  The church always comes out winning. :)

Oh yea, and this morning we lost power on our street, so the new Electric Showers that we have installed in the house (Very nice Electric Showers that actually protect against electric shock!) didn't work today because the city decided to turn off power to our street or something.  Yea.  But our shower in specifics still worked well today as it is hooked up to the Solar Water Heater, of which I had enough Hot water, and so did the other 3 who were able to use it before it ran out of hot water.

That should be it!  Hope all is well at home.

-Elder Holmes
Mision Perú Huancayo