Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 15 "Box Brand jaja" December 13 - December 20 - (Cajamarca and Trujillo)

A great week with a Christmas program in Trujillo and a visit to the Trujillo temple. The Christmas program took place in the Trujillo Plaza de Armas a famous central square in Trujillo (one of the first places Peru declared their freedom from Spain).  After the two nights of concerts they collected about 900 names of people who would like to hear more about the church.  Every word is filled with excitement and we are looking forward to a Skype call from Jonah on Christmas afternoon!
So this last week was full of a ton of stuff. Like a lot. It was super awesome! So as you may remember, we traveled to Trujillo on Thursday of last week. We left at about 10 in the morning and got there at around 6 at night...all on a big sweaty bus with no air conditioning. It was awesome! Really, I could be doing anything with my zone in the mission and still have a good time. Well almost anything jaja. Anyway, we found out when we got there that we weren't going to be staying in other missionaries rooms. We had something way cooler for us jaja. We stayed in the Mission Temple Hotel!!! We were the first missionaries to be able to, and lemme tell ya. It was nice. First of all, it's like 30 seconds walking distance from the temple, and then the rooms are killer nice :) Best shower of my whole mission, and it'll probably stay that way unless we go there again jaja. Anyway, Thursday night, we had show de talentos in the casa de mision and it was way fun! I played the piano which was pretty lame, but there were some hilarious skits! Plus, Presidente Marler, is like super way good at playing the guitar. And singing. And both at the same time. But yeah, that was an awesome day :)

Then, on Friday, we went to the Temple for the 7:00 session and it was amazing. The temple is actually pretty big! It had a room that fit all of the missionaries from 3 zones, Presidente y su esposa y el presidente de templo y su esposa (50ish people). Then later, we had a 3 hour practice for our show that night..jaja which was way too long but whatevs. Then we had the show in the main plaza de armas en el centro de Trujillo! And like 400 people came! I got the play accompaniment for an Hermana that was singing, which was pretty fun :) But serioulsy there is soooooooo much talent in our mission. There's an Elder, Elder Manly, that before the mission was in a band as a guitarist and lead singer. And right before he turned in his papers, he got an offer from MTV (something like $100,000) to play for them, but he turned it down to go on his mission. And he sang and played! It was tear jerking jaja :) But yeah that was an incredible day. But because I accompanied someone, I had the opportunity to stay for an extra day in Trujillo for the concert the following day which was way cool!

So on Saturday, we basically did the same thing, but with the other zones that weren't there the day before. But because it was Saturday, there were about 150 more people that came to watch! It was so crowded :) Also, I finally got to see Elder Wynn, Elder Herde, and Elder Mead!!! My hometown brotha! It was just another incredible day. But yeah, we stayed in the Asistentes room that night, and had a way fun time. Then we came home on Sunday on another big sweaty bus with no air conditioning, and right now I'm completely wiped. Hopefully I'll catch up on some sleep this week.

Well that was my week! I'm so pumped for Christmas and the all of the joy that we can experience celebrating the birth of Christ! It'll be super awesome to be able to share the words of Christ on the day centered in Christ. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas! From the bottom of my heart! Y una Feliz Navidad! Y prospero año en Felizidad!   Great song by the way :)   ¡Viva Perú!
One of the families Jonah is teaching had a calendar of Idaho! 
At President Marler's House

President Marler "shreddin' it"

Trujillo, Peru Temple

Reunion with Elder Mead
Can you Find Jonah?

Some of his old Missionary District from Banos del Inca
Christmas concert in Plaza de Armas, Trujillo
One more Concert Picture

 Elder Quiroz, Elder Rareba and Elder Babbel good to see all of the missionaries together.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 14 "ay está" December 7 - December 13 - (Cajamarca)

Jonah had another incredible week.  His letters are so inspiring, they make us want to do good things, be better people - Thank you Elder Babbel.  He seems very happy in his emails that he sends.  He says being a missionary is the greatest thing he has ever done in his life.  He enjoys it more than anything (except maybe running and eating good food).  He is looking forward to Skype with us on Christmas afternoon (I would venture to guess that we are looking forward to it even more).  We have figured out that his letters are transitioning from the interjection "haha" to "jaja" - which mean the same thing.  Factoids - Jonah says that Cajamarca (the city he is in) translates to "Box Brand" and the area he is in is one of the few that has a waterfall (picture below)

So this past week was a week of miracles! It was super incredible to see the fruits of our labors this past week in church. As you may recall, or may not jaja, the asistencia in Baños Del Inca is slightly below par as of right now. We were usually getting around 80 to 90 people at church every week, which is almost enough to take us from a ward to branch. But anyway, this past week, we worked our buns off. And in church we had 114 people show up! It was pretty jaw-dropping jaja. So yeah, I guess work does work :)

This past week, we also saw one of the coolest things ever happen. So about a week ago, we taught about the Sabbath Day to one of our Menos Activas. She has been struggling a lot and hasn't been able to find work for a long time. But when we did teach her, we gave her a promise. That if she would come to church and sanctificar el Dia de Reposo, she would find work. It was a super spiritual lesson, and I really felt like she was going to come to church. And she did! And then this week, she found work! It was super sweet! We've been learning a lot about having confidence in our callings, and part of that was having faith in our promises that we give to people. The mission has made me have more confindence in this every day. Jaja, I'm believing less in casualidad every day too :)

Also, our fellow missionaries in our ward had a baptism, which was super cool! I'll send pictues of them in just a sec.

Oh yeah! And on Thursday, we all travel to Trujillo for a 4 day Christmas program! All of the mission! It's gonna be out the hood and off the chain :)

Yeah that's all folks. Love ya bunches! Besitas! ¡Viva Perú!

One of the few waterfalls in his area

Always the goofy one!

Jonah's district of missionaries on the waterfall outing

Behind the Waterfall

Another baptism - and no those Elders are not super tall.

Because they were running late getting to Church, Jonah thought it would be quicker to give this youngster a lift!

Week 13 "Spiders, Baptisms, and Spider baptisms :)" November 30 - December 6 - (Cajamarca)

During the last week Jonah had quite an experience with playing the piano (you can read about it below) so the moral of the story is, In Peru if you let people know that you play the piano be prepared to play frequently and with little notice and if you are not 100% confident in your skills a faithful prayer will go a long way!  Jonah tells us about the difficult situations and poverty that face many of the people that he meets and says that he is constantly humbled by their meager ways of living.  He is so happy to help and serve the people of Cajamarca, Peru.

Hey everybody! So this week was super great! And full of tons of changes! And super duper stressful! But it was awesome! This week, I've really learned to rely on prayer this week. My own strength is not going to carry me through the mission, and definitely not the rest of my life. Turn to God! He'll help ya out :)

So first, the area closing. The Hermanas always said that they had a tiny area with almost no people to teach. But, as I've learned, the Hermanas can exaggerate sometimes hahaha broma. But anyway, their area is huge! And there's tons of houses. And it's been a ton of work to get to know all of the people they were teaching. And it's even harder because all of them were in love with the Hermanas, so when they found out that they were gone, it was heartwrenching for a lot of them. But we're gonna get them to love us just as much haha. But yeah, now our area is flippin ginormous. We can literally walk for 2 hours in a straight line and still be in our own area. We've got a lot of work to do!

Also, this week, we had our ''5 Semana'' training! In week 7 hahahah! But yeah it was super fantastic. It was just in Cajamarca, rather than in Trujillo which was kind nice cuz we just had to travel 30 minutes instead of 7 hours. So anyway, we had one on one training with the Asistentes and Presidente. Just about mission stuff, but it was so incredibly spiritual. I love the presidency here, they're phenomenal. It was super good to have that. Por fin jaja.

Alsoooo.. we had a stake wide fireside on Saturday with Presidente Marler, and our whole zone (now 30 missionaries instead of 14). It was awesome! And super stressful! Here's the back story. So on Monday of this week, I was asked to play a solo for it. Not a problem, already had something prepared. Then on Wednesday, I was asked to accompany an Hermana on her violin. Not a problem, I can handle this with a couple days of rehearsing together. Then on Friday morning, I was asked to accompany a singing duet. Little nervous at this point. Saturday morning of, I was asked to accompany another singing duet. At this point, I was pretty stressed out. I had never even seen the two new songs until the afternoon of the event, and all three accompanies were pretty tough. So we get to the rehearsal on Saturday late afternoon, and I'm asked to accompany the choir. 3 more songs. And I am just sweating freaking bullets haha. 2 hours to practice my 7 songs, and then showtime haha. But this is where I turned to prayer. Sometimes, it'll seem like the smallest, most insignificant things in the grand scheme of things, but our Heavenly Father is going to listen. And he WILL answer. Everytime. Listen and look for the answer, and it'll be there. Everything went nice and smooth that night. I was tan cochino by the end of the night from all of the sweating, but everything was a-okay and everything was according to plan.

I love this gospel. I love it so much it's crazy haha. We have a Heavenly Father! Literally! A Father in Heaven. And he loves us so much, that despite all of the wars, contentions, presidential elections, and really huge important things, He will take the time to listen to your prayer. And answer it. Even if it's just a couple of dumb songs in a fireside. Talk to him. He'll listen. I love you all! Stay beautiful :) ¡Viva Perú!

Baptism of Nicolas - His family and other Church members

Nicolas his family and Elder Salinas

Some sights around Cajamarca

Jonah says the area around Cajamarca reminds him of Idaho

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Week 12 "Woahhhhh yeah" November 23 - November 29 (Cajamarca)

Jonah did not end up traveling to Trujillo last week.  They had a conference in another part of Cajamarca so he only traveled 30 minutes.  He will be going to Trujillo for a Christmas program.  They may actually have some kind of a broadcast concert but we are not sure.  He also said that he may have the opportunity to start teaching piano lessons as a means to meet more people and find investigators.

So this last week was kind of a roller coaster.. A lot of good and some mas o menos too. But everything turned out okay, and in the end, there's two more children of God that have entered into the fold of Christ :)
So on Friday, we found out that the Hermanas in our area were leaving. But not only that, they weren't being replaced..their area was closing. I think it was because of the low asistencia in church. It was really tough because they bring a different spirit to the ward that the Elders just can't bring. Plus my Idahomie left :( But then later that day, Nicolas (our 8 year old investigador) and Haime (the Hermana's 60 year old investigador) had baptismal interviews and they both passed! So that meant that they were going to be baptized the very next day! So Saturday came, and we had to clean the baptismal font and fill it (which took 3 hours to figure out..) It was actually kinda fun ''baptizing the spiders in it''. Then I had the opportunity to baptize Nicolas! And the Elder Wirthlin (in our ward) baptized Hermano Haime. Super fantastic day. It was so incredible to see both of them all dressed in white. And their clothing wasn't the most pure thing about them. They have a clear countenance, and pure spirit now that they have been baptized. It was so incredible to see the changes in them because there was literally a difference in them. They were both beaming ear to ear :) Oh yeah.. haha so the water in the font isn't heated like it is in other places. So it was freazing cold. And Hermano Haime about died when he got in. After he was completely soaked head to toe and was leaving the font, he yelled ''¡FRIASO!'' before we could close the doors. It was hilarious! Everybody was dying laughing haha.
So yeah, that was my week! We had a tough time saying bye to the Hermanas, but they have been called elsewhere for a reason. Just trust in the voluntad de Dios y todo serán perfecto! I love you all! ¡Viva Perú!

Not sure where these were taken? 
Some kind of tunnel

There are some ruins nearby

Looking down at Cajamarca

Another view of Cajamarca

Feeling Good

I think he may be imitating a photo that David took on his mission?

That's right! 1989 - Sao Paulo, Brasil!
Cajamarca Missionaries 
Pizza Peruvian style

Clean Baptismal font and no Spiders