Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 55 - "What a good stinkin week heh" Sep 19 - Sep 25 (Trujillo)

One of Jonah's favorite places to go is a member owned restaurant called Gringo Loco - Burger Grill.  There are some pictures following the letter.  There are also pictures of them heating up the water for the baptism (story below).  He may be transferred next week and is kind of hoping he could go back to Cajamarca.  They do have to take a long bus ride but he says the buses are actually pretty nice.  He said they actually have bus line called Cama.  Cama is the Spanish word for bed.  So I guess they don't have seats they have beds.  Unfortunately the missionaries don't get to take those ones.  I guess we will have to wait and see what happens next week.  Whatever it is, he is excited and always sounds so happy!

What a good stinking week. This week was great! We've been doing a lot of stuff for the zone lately, getting everything ready for the transfers that will be happening next week. It's been pretty wild actually, but hey, I literally say the same thing every week haha.

So during this week, we found out that we need to find 4 new rooms and 2 new pensionistas within the zone. It's usually hard to find 1 room and 1 pensionista so it has been a wild race! We have 1 more week to find everything and it's actually been a super huge blessing doing this. We have found several new people to teach while looking for these rooms and we also have been able to work more closely with several different ward councils. We have been trying to receive help from the leaders in each ward, which has required a lot of communication and organization. And the power of convincement. And patience haha. But it looks like we are going to get it all figured out and find several new investigators in the process.

On Friday, Alfonso Gutierres was bapitzed!! Hahahah it was such a stressful day. He's 76, has garganta problems, and only had time that night to be baptized. And the really stinkin cold. Sooooo, we borrowed a big huge pot from the Ochoa family and also a briqueta (a thingy that you put charcoal in and then start a fire underneath and it heats the pot). We brought it to the church, and began starting fires right there in the chapel haha. We got the water all ready, and then left our ward mission leader to start dumping 10 gallon pots of boiling water into a baptismal font......never thought we would do something like this in my life. Anyway, we left to go proselyte, and then came back at 6:30 to get the rest of everything set up. By that time, we had put in 3 boiling pots into the font......enough to raise the temperature by about half a degree hahaha. But yeah, he was baptized, we had 2 people ready with a whole bunch of towels and then we warmed him up and everything. He told us''it was so cold that I almost died'' but we assured him that he wasn't going to die and that he shouldn't worry because his baptism of the spirit and by fire would be much warmer on Sunday haha. Then he got all changed and got up to give his testimony. It was the best dang testimony I've ever heard. It was so powerful and real and great. His daughter (an investigator) was there and started crying. The Spirit was seriously so strong. I won't ever forget when he said ''I testify that it is NEVER to late to repent''. What an incredible experience. Hermano Gutierres es lo maximo!! We confirmed him a member on Sunday and is ready to start going to the temple soon. We explained to him about eternal marriage, and already is very excited to be sealed to his wife that passed away over 15 years ago. Man! The Gospel is just so true. And happy. Love it.

We have been keeping busy here in Central. We have our cambios next week, right after Conference, so we will see if I stay here another month and a half, or if I'm heading out. I will let you all know by next week!!! I love you all so much!! Have a wonderful week!! Keep doing your best and if you're humble and have faith, God will do the rest. Chauuuu!

Gringo Loco!! Owned by members

Super good hamburgers!!!

So that's a grilled cheese bacon burger. A Grilled Cheese, burger, bacon, tomato, cheese, and then another Grilled Cheese. SOOOOOO good mmm

Here's the owners. She is from Trujillo, he is from Texas. They have such a wild story haha.

Elder Quispe and I had an incredible interchange Wednesday!! So much fun, such a great Elder.

Elder Reyes and I heating up the water!! So crazy haha

Hermana Alfonso!! Wuuujuuu!! 
Hermano Grados (one of our recent converts from 4 months ago) baptized him!

Hermano Antonio and Hermano Dervin! Celebrating Antonio's birthday! The 2 of them are recent converts that are getting their mission papers ready

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 54 - "I love borrachitos" Sep 12 - Sep 18 (Trujillo)

Spiritual experiences can happen at surprising moments, even with a borracho.  In this week's installment it is great to hear about how lives are changed on all sides, the quiet seeker of truth, the teacher and the drunk.  Service is also a part of missionary service.  Some photos are attached of a service project that the central zone missionaries and local church members completed.  They spent all day cleaning up and beautifying a local park in the city of Trujillo.

Hey guys! I bet you'll never guess how my week was!! Jaja, yeah it was pretty hectic, we had such a crazy day Saturday, But it has been so great!! The busier you are, the happier you are. That's the rule of the mission. 

This past week has been super lleno of great experiences, more than anything with Alfonso Gutierres, the investigator that will be baptized this Friday!! He is so sweet! We just love him so much, and has been able to progress a ton. This last week, we have been working with him a lot, and getting him prepared for his baptismal interview. The interview was scheduled for Saturday, and on Friday, we had a super cool experience with him. We were teaching about a few principles just to get everything cleared up for his final interview, and he was understanding everything, but we just didn't feel REALLY sure if he was going to be ready to be baptized. He's kind of a quiet hermanito and has always been that way, so we didn't really feel his excitement about baptism. But we continued with the lessons, asked him why he wanted to be baptized, and at the end, we still didn't feel super certain. But we asked him to say the prayer at the end, he said yes, and started right off, just like any other normal prayer. Near the end of his prayer, he choked up a little bit, and said, ''thank you God, for letting me know the truth. Thank you for letting me baptized in Thy church''. It was such a special moment, and the Spirit hit us really hard. It was such an incredible blessing to be in that room and here the pure gratitude that Hermano Gutierres had for finding the true church of Christ. He might be timid and quiet, but his testimony is bright and burning. We are excited for his baptism this next Friday!!

So on another note...we had several encounters with drunk people this week. It was hilarious! They always yell either one of two things. ''Mormones!!'' or ''Gringo!!''. They usually ask if we can ''preach them the word of God'' and then they just can't leave without getting a hug from a gringo. So yeah, I've hugged several borrachos this week, it's been wonderful. Haha, I hope I don't offend anyone in saying's just kind of new and funny to me. Love you all!

Okeydokeyartichokey!!! I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week! Busquen el EspĂ­ritu!! You'll find and feel it if you really look. Les amo con todo mi corazoncito!

The Obispo and I went on splits! That happened on our crazy Saturday

The Obispo, Alfonso, and I

The Crew

We did Mormon Helping Hands!!!! It was so cool!! We cleaned a big huge park with the missionaries in our zone and a ton of members!! I didn't mention it in the email, but it was sweet! Saturday morning!!

Almost the whole zone with the selfie stick yahhhhh

Me and Elder Miessner. We're goons

It was somebody's birthday. Not sure whose. But yeah we took a picture so that's cool

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week 53 - "Hello everybody!!!" Sep 5 - Sep 11 (Trujillo)

So we are back on track for a full email from Jonah.  I'm not sure what Vagaso means but we are glad that Jonah is no longer one.  He was very happy to go to Chile's restaurant last week.  Apparently every meal in Peru is rice and "something", so a burger or sandwich and fries was amazing.  For those of you who wonder if he is still running, his advice is to look at a picture of his companion and you should be able to tell if he is running or not.  He also assured us that he still loves to run and will be doing more of that when he gets home.  Right now his heart is set on working hard and being the most obedient missionary possible. have you all been?? Sorry, I haven't written a big email in 2 weeks, I was just being a vagaso.  But hey! I'm back! I love you all so much! 

So just today, something kinda funny but really special happened. So Elder Reyes and I are always taking taxis everywhere. Like EVERYWHERE. We have to go drop stuff off, pick stuff up, and we're the closest Elders to the Mission Office in the whole mission, so we're always running over there to do stuff for the office elders and stuff. Anyway. We were chapping a taxi heading over to the office and I always like to talk to the taxi driver so I always jump into the passanger seat. I started talking with this guy, Eduardo, and he was super great! We were just talking normally, and then he asked me where I was from (like everybody does because I'm super gringo), so I asked him what he thought. He told me...''I don't know...maybe a different planet''. So I laughed and asked him why and he just asked. ''Why are you so happy?'' I told him sometimes I don't really know why I'm so happy but I know that's it's because I follow Christ and that I belong to His Church. He said that it was almost weird how happy I was, but I thought that was weird because I felt pretty normal. I kind of realized in that very moment, that we are just so blessed and sometimes we kind of forget. There are sooooo many reasons for the world to be sad and grumpy and serious, but there are sooooo many MORE reasons for us to be happy if we have Christ in our lives. We're sending the missionaries to Eduardo's house, and hopefully he can feel and experience his own happiness. Missionary work is so great. It's just a happy work.

So in these past few weeks, things have been going great! We found a few more people that are progressing towards baptismal dates for this 24th of September so that's great! Daniel is 24 years old and is from Colombia but lives here in Trujillo. He wants to be baptized, has come to church twice, and might even be thinking about serving a mission. He's wonderful. Also, there's Alfonso, he's 62, has come to church like 30 times, and was being taught by the other missionaries. We went there the other day and found out the reason why he hasn't been baptized yet.......he's worried about getting sick for being in the water for too long. We had to explain to him that you're in the water for literally less than a minute and the water is lukewarm and isn't even cold. He got all big in the eyes and said ''I can get baptized then!''. It was pretty funny!! But yeah, he will be baptized this 24th of September as well.

I love you all so much! I'm doing and feeling great here in Trujillo, just loving every minute of it. Be happy! Follow Christ! Read the testaments of Him and say your prayers every day. It's the best way to be happy! Love you!!!!

We went to Chilesssssss!!!!


Elder Turner and I

Elder Reyes getting his hair cut

He's really enjoying it jajajaja

Elder Meissner from Georgia! He's a new missionary and we had an interchange.

He's lighting his hand on fire with handsanitizer. It was a great interchange

Elder Turner and Elder Meissner had a baptism!!

Hermanita Rosita!!! She gives us breakfast and is the most converted lady to the gospel I've ever met!!! I love her so much!!!!

Peru Problems..... I can never see my face in the mirror dangit

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Week 52 - "1 year" Aug 29 - Sep 4 (Trujillo)

This week's letter from Jonah was extracted from an email to Leslie.  I added in the questions that he was responding to to help clarify.  A few other interesting stories.  Jonah met a man who works with 

Did someone teach you how to speak Quechua? it just is pronounced how it is written which makes it easier. I don't know what it says haha. Yeah the time is longer, it's just we are usually so busy that we have to go early anyways...kind of a bummer. The week was great!! We had a lot of work to do.. We had the concilio for the whole mission on Tuesday which was great! We learned a whole bunch about using the Book of Mormon more in our teaching. It was super helpful, and we've been applying it a lot in the area. The investigators are understanding a lot better the Restoration. Then we had our Zone Conference (the one where Elder Reyes and I teach everyone) on Wednesday.  On Thursday we went looking (door to door contacts) It's been a crazy week jaja. What do you do on P day? Pdays are write the family, eat a cool lunch, and then do stuff for the zone haha. That's usually how it goes, but it's super fun! Have you visited any ruins or interesting places in Trujillo? No...there's not any ruins's just the city. But that's okay. I realize now that Cajamarca is just the best place ever for P-Day. We saw some pictures of Pacasmayo do you think you will go there? Pacasmayo is super great! Super pretty, but soooo stinking hot. The new missionaries are doing great! From your last pictures it looks like you bought a selfie-stick?  Yeah..haha it was only 7 soles...which is like 2 bucks. Everything is so cheap here jaja. We heard that you have to watch out for girls looking for cute Americans (referred to as snakes)? Yeah if you're not careful the Peruvian non-members mostly are creepy. Especially for gringos. Yep jajaja snakes. I know why I'm here, I won't have any problem with anyone don't worry.  I love you so much!!! 

Elder Babbel

So here is the small world story (Que, pequeno es el mundo, No?)

So you are not going to believe this. But I'm here in Trujillo, and there's this guy named Alexis who is in charge of all the water and repairments of apartments for the whole entire mission. We happened to see each other in the baptism of his old companion's daughter. They served in the Lima mission that includes Cuzco, so I said, hey! There's a guy in my ward that served in Cuzco and he told me everything about Peru and how great it is here. His name is Tom Blaisdell. Alexis, kinda stood there..thinking. And he said....''I know him!!! He lived in my room!! He lent me his suit coat when I was a Zone Leader heading to the Concilio!!!'' Do you remember an Elder Valdiviezo??? He says he totally remembers you!! He said you were a brand new missionary and was just starting to learn the language. He says you were hilarious when you got frustrated with Spanish hahaha!!

Alexis is doing great! He just got married in the temple last month (haha took him a while)

Jonah and Alexis Vadiviezo

Buscando cuarto!!

Ward Baptism!

Ward Baptism!

Tomy!! My favorite dog.

On the Internet - email

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Week 51 - "?" Aug 22 - Aug 28 (Trujillo)

In this installment Jonah attached a video of himself reading the scriptures in Quechua.  What he neglected to attach was email about his week!  Leslie was able to get a bit of information from him in a short email that he sent to her.  Part of that will be posted below:

For right now, there's just two of us in the room. Mostly, it's about the ward. The ward has less members here so there's less work to do, so there's only two missionaries. We are most likely staying in the room because during cambios, a whole bunch of missionaries from other zones usually stay the night with us so we need to keep a bigger room for those cases. It's going a lot better with Elder Reyes. We are working hard and learning a lot. Dennis and Pablo are doing great....Dennis felt the spirit sooo strongly in our last lesson. We talked about eternal families and she cried like a baby watching a video of the Trujillo temple. They said that they want to have an eternal family really bad and that they will work hard to have one. WOW. They are incredible. Great that you can get that better insight!

Yeah, but I'm still at 11 months for right now jaja love you. Great to hear about Seth!! He beat me dang it.... that's okay, he can beat me for Freshman year. But for Sophomore...that's not okay jaja. (Seth raced in his first high school XC meet and beat Jonah's time from his freshman year - Seth has bragging rights now)

Playing soccer with Elder Reyes, Elder Carmen and Elder Turner.

Familia Ochoa!! Leaving to go proselyting together!
In the dirty room jaja

Quechua!! Pronunciation Guide not included jaja