Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Week One in the Campo - 9/2/13

Hola! I honestly don't even know where to start. What a week it has been here in Peru. So much has happened. I don't even know if I can remember all that has happened. I´m so glad I'm done with the MTC. That was fun and all, but it is so much better here. I miss my district from the MTC though. We were all super good friends because we had spent so much time together. Of the 10 of us there are 5 in Bolivia, 3 in Cusco, and 2 in Piura. It was weird saying goodbye to some of them because I knew I would never see them again.

Lima, Peru Temple
Cousins at the Lima, Peru MTC - Elder Baker and Elder Schouten
Tuesday morning we got to wake up at 4 in the morning and go to the Lima airport. At the airport, I got McDonalds for breakfast. McDonalds is the best. I wish they had it here in Piura. Our plane left Lima at 9 am and arrived here at 10:30. The airport in Piura is tiny-- 1 baggage claim, 1 check-in desk and 1 bathroom. It is literally so small. After getting all of our bags, we headed over to the mission home. It is so nice—probably the nicest home in Piura. Okay, probably not the nicest but it was pretty nice. There we met President Rowley and his wife. President Rowley is super cool and super nice. We had our interviews and went over the health, financial and general stuff in the mission. At about 5 pm we went over to the mission office and hung out there for a while. The assistants to the president walked us around and showed us some stuff in Piura. That night I got to sleep in a hotel. There were 18 new elders and only room for 10 of them in the mission office, so the rest of us got to go over to the hotel. My companion for the night was Elder Bradshaw. He was in my district at the MTC so we already knew each other super well. They brought us pizza from Pizza Hut which was super good and just hung out there for the rest of the night.

Plane from Lima to Piura
 Wednesday morning we woke up and went to one of the chapels and had breakfast and had some more instruction with President Rowley. At about noon we met our companions. My companion is a super cool guy from Chile and he has 13 months in the field. He was secretary of finances in the office for 3 months and knows his way around Piura. My area is called Lopez Albujar 1. It is in the middle of Piura. So, after lunch at the chapel, I packed all my suitcases into a little moto-taxi and we had like a 5 minute drive to our room.

There are literally thousands of these little moto-taxis here
So, about my room. Mom would definitely refuse to live here. It's not the United States of America. The one thing that I don't like about it is that the toilet is super duper dumb. For one, it is right by the shower so it gets soaked every morning. And number 2 (literally number 2), it doesn't flush. If you put the toilet paper in the toilet it gets all backed up. Lots of times it doesn't work even without toilet paper. President knows about it and right now we are looking for another apartment. The problem is though, that there aren't many that are in good condition for rent, and most of the ones that are for rent are either way too expensive or way far away from the pensionista. Oh well. I guess it’s just another one of the joys of living in South America. Our pensionista is super nice. She is an older member and cooks super good food. Every day we have rice and either chicken or beef. It's a mission rule that we are not allowed to eat any pork or ceviche, which is definitely something that I'm not going to complain about. She does our laundry every week, which is really nice. I hate laundry.
Our Room. Yeah, I do sleep under a net. I have gotten like 6 bites here.
Not too bad though. Mosquitos are worse in Utah.

The view from our room
So I'm sure you want to have an update on how my Spanish is. This one time on Saturday we knocked on this door and a little boy opened the door and started talking. He was probably only 2 or 3 years old. When he started talking to my companion in Spanish and I had literally no clue as to what they were talking about, was really when I realized how little Spanish I know. A little tiny kid that is a fraction of my age knows infinitely more Spanish than I do. I have definitely learned a ton of Spanish while I have been here though. Every once in a while I can follow parts of a conversation. I can talk with people if they talk super slow. One thing that is encouraging is when we talk with members and they always say to me, ¨You know way more than Elder C did when he came here!¨ Supposedly Elder C was a gringo that was trained here before I got here and knew no Spanish. In every lesson that my companion teaches, he always turns to me and makes me teach part of the lesson. I sound stupid the whole time because I don´t know how to say what I am trying to say, but it is okay. It's doing things like that that help me get better at talking. In our apartment, there are 2 other missionaries that are in the other half of our ward. They are both from Iquitos and I try to talk with all of them as much as possible. I can't wait until I can say what I want to say, and understand everything. It will make everything so much easier!

The ward here is super good. There were about 200 members that attended sacrament meeting yesterday, so it's a super good ward with super supportive people. Every Saturday they feed us lunch because the pensionista only does Monday-Friday. The area that I'm in is honestly so poor. There is like half of the ward that is in niceish houses, and then the other half that is just a giant block with houses made of plywood and some of them have roofs. We do most of our teaching there. The people that have the least are always the ones who are most receptive. It's good. I like the ward here a lot. It's kind of sad seeing how these people live. Even though our roof in our apartment has a ton of holes in it, I'm grateful that we have a roof.

Proselyting is going good. We have a few investigators and a couple that I think will be baptized for sure. Most of them just have to get married before they can be baptized. We have also been working a lot with less actives, which has been good. Yesterday for church we had multiple investigators attend and multiple people that were less active come. On Friday there was some kind of holiday so teaching was pretty hard. No matter where you went you could hear the music all around the city. It was so loud the entire day. And when the sun went down, the music got louder and louder and everyone kept on getting more and more drunk. We spent most of that day working with recent converts and less actives. We didn't dare go and try to talk to people on the streets. Sunday was the same way. Supposedly every Sunday is like that too which makes proselyting really hard.

Today we went to the city square which was fun. Downtown Piura was fun. We did all of our grocery shopping at Tottus. All the missionaries in the city were there doing shopping. It was fun being able to see some of the kids that I knew in the MTC and being able to talk to people in English. I love being here in Peru, it is great!

At a museum in Piura
Peruvians don't like Chileans - The ships are from each country
Proselyting to a statue
My companion and me
Four people in our apartment
Yeah I'm being careful about what I'm eating. Luckily I haven't gotten sick and my body seems to be handling the food well. The one thing that I buy off of the streets is bread. Almost every day I buy bread from the panaderia. It is super good and super cheap. Definitely one thing I wish they had in the states.

Just as you're starting to cool off from the summer heat, just know that things are just heating up here. Today is still winter and I think it's like 102,028 degrees.

Peru is definitely nothing like I expected it. I love South America though. Life here is so different than in the states. I'm learning a lot. Wish I knew the language though.


Elder Baker

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