(hello from dust and dirt to the sand and the sun )
Melissa told me to guilt trip every once in a while, so here’s number 1, love ya sis. Go ahead and let it extend to Kolby too. He looks great in the dodge ball uniform, we actually had a tourney here in Peru during the mission Christmas party, so tell him to keep practicing for the international league :)
In answer to the questions, yes you hid that letter in my suitcase, but I already read it once, something like 8 months ago. I´ve resealed it and I think it will probably wait until I get home to be opened again. You mentioned the new new film at the temple...is that different from the new film that I saw a month ago?
They have national sports here but I think all three national teams are based in Lima: (all three are futbol) Alianza Lima, La "U", and Crystal. Then there’s national volleyball. That’s it for sports, soccer and volleyball. They know what basketball is, but they don´t really play it. Oh that’s right winter olympics. I doubt there are any Peruano athletes, there really isn’t the infrastructure or the climate for winter sports here in Lima, or for Peru in general.
As for the civil unrest part, the worst I have heard of was that there was a signboard protest outside of Tottus, a Chilean based superstore in the other part of the stake, but that’s just because there is a gigantic push to buy Peruvian right now. It was completely non violent. Other than that, a good sign for those worried moms out there is that the Peru Lima North mission should end up 40/60 sisters to elders by June or so...that means it´s super safe here, and it means the elders are being sent into the hills at an ever increasing rate. Hooray for a fantastic workout every day. That’s something I´ve actually found to be grateful for, the fact that my area right now is huge and full of hills has put me in the greatest physical shape probably since the BEAST days. I feel good in the mornings when I wake up, and I focus more of my exercise on my abs and arms, because my legs are fine. Just working off the little chub I’ve got going from all the rice and bread :) Also, yes we are still autopensioning, mostly because at this point I know that I eat better when I am providing my own breakfast (mmmm… fiber doesn´t really exist too much in the Peruvian diet, so I eat a lot of fiber cereals) As for dinner, we eat lunch at 1 and they feed me enough to count for lunch and dinner, so I usually just have a supply of juice or flavored waters and crackers, and sometimes I buy bread to go with my jam that I have. It´s almost always something light to keep the energy until the morning.
That (my diet or the chub) is not the reason I had to get my baptismal pants mended. What happened was that I lent my pants to another American elder in my zone because his pants had gotten fungus from the font water, the Saturday before changes in my first zone, 6 months ago, but then I got changed and the elder had sent them to wash, he gave them to the zone leaders to pass along to me, but they got lost somewhere in the exchange. Since them I have been borrowing from other elders, but back in December I went to the temple and bought myself a new pair of white washable baptismal pants...but they come in infinity length so I had to send them with a member to shorten.
Other general announcement: I took out 100 soles from the bank at a rate of about 2.83 soles to the dollar, just so you know. I used some of it to buy a tie during p-day today and the rest will stay in my wallet as my personal emergency fund. Also, I turned the page on my Calendar and found out that February is the last month that I have...are you planning on sending me another calendar? I´d love to have one, This calendar has been a permanent fixture of my desk space and something that I can look to quickly to figure out baptismal dates and budgeting of the assignment of money I receive from the mission. Basically I´d just like to have a new calendar for this year and I am rambling to give you a few reasons haha
This week we met a few new investigators and kept preparing a few others, but we are noticing a pattern in how the new investigators are. They are almost all children/youth from 9 to 14 years old. We don´t get as many new investigators from strictly contacting because that isn’t the focus of the mission. We still contact, but our main focus is in activating members who haven’t come for a long time, and helping them to complete their families. The problem is that the majority of the less active families we find are all members except for those children that weren’t old enough to be baptized when they were members. It´s interesting to teach kids because they are innocent of a lot of things. They believe right away what you are saying if you can say it in a way that they understand and it´s incredible the effect that a child can have on the rest of his family. If he gets up on Sunday morning and tells his parents he wants to go to church, they first want to know why, and so they come to church as well and start to remember what church was to them, they remember the process of listening to the missionaries when they were little and a lot of the time remember "their" missionaries.
Joe wrote me this week and mentioned how the mission is a big or small part of every single day of his life since coming home. It ought to be true of every returned missionary. I hope the returned missionaries who read this letter take time this week to contact their converts in some way. Let them know that as they are spiritually begotten of you (Pablo spoke a little bit about that in the opening of several of his epistles) you remember them, you love them, and hope that they remember the covenants you helped them to make. If they haven´t remembered, maybe hastening the work is also a call to pass the references of your converts to the mission where you served, so the full time missionaries can go on a rescue mission, to find this family and bring them back to the fold of God.
I know that this work is His work, He guides it and Hastening the Work of Salvation is His program designed to find the lost sheep and in so doing share this great gospel message. As His representative, I testify that His Son, Jesus Christ, came to the earth on one purpose, to save his brothers and sisters. I love Him, He is my example in all things, and the love I have for Him motivates me to work even hard every time things get me down. Keep the faith, He will strengthen you if you find yourself lacking.
No specific stories this week, but I promise I will write more this next week. I love you all, I hope that you are making correct decisions and trying to mend the incorrect ones. The atonement works, but only when we try. Pray for missionary opportunities, and then act on them with valor when they come to you.