Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Week Two in Piura, Peru - 9/9/13

In front of my apartment
English and Espanol
Week 2 has been pretty good here in Piura. I have learned so much in the little time I've been here. This has been a hard week for me though—emotionally, physically, spiritually, and languageally. But it's okay. I didn't come on a mission expecting it to be easy. I expected difficulties. I expected heat. I expected to be tired. I expected to have sad times. And I expected some difficulty with the language.

This past week I have really become good friends with the three other Latinos in my room. It is pretty fun being able to have people to talk with. They really are helping me with my Spanish a ton. They always let me practice teaching them and give me lots of pointers and help with everything. I'm sure they make fun of me behind my back but I would probably do the exact same thing if I was them. I would definitely take advantage of the fact that someone could not understand me. They're all super cool. I'm going to miss them once some of us get changed to other areas. I will be here for 3 or 4 transfers, so up until Christmas. I'm completely okay with it too. I love the area. There are great people to teach and the ward is great. I could really go for a nice bathroom though. That's the one thing that I miss most from home right now. I feel like I'm getting diseases every time I walk into the bathroom.

One of the reasons this last week was so hard was because I was sick from Monday to Saturday with the runs. There is nothing worse than when you're sitting in a lesson with investigators and you have to go to the bathroom—15 minutes seems like an eternity. Literally. It was so hard! I'm feeling better now though. Everyone I talk to says that it is completely normal and happened to them several times a month their first few months in the field. One more thing to add to the list of ¨joys of living in South America.¨ I really enjoy it here though. When I'm feeling good, I absolutely love being out here.

On Thursday we had our first zone meeting. It was so nice because there are others there from North America that I can talk to in English. It really is tiring being around only Spanish all day long because you really, really, really have to focus on what people are saying if you even want to have some kind of clue as to what they are saying. But I feel like the Spanish is coming along. I still have good days and bad days though. Sometimes I can understand and follow a conversation, and some days I might as well be asleep dreaming about food. I'm trying my best though and I can definitely see a difference. Yesterday afternoon we were teaching this guy who is a fisher and works at the sea from Monday through Saturday, so Sundays are our only days to teach him. It was the first lesson we had out here that I really felt like I contributed a lot to the lesson. I have really been practicing teaching the lessons with my companion and I was able to explain the things to the investigator without the help of my companion. It is so cool when you just start to try to talk not really having a clue as to what you are going to say and the spirit helps you. There have been so many experiences like that out here. It has really increased my confidence in the language. Even if I don't know what I am going to say I try to say something when I feel like I am supposed to.

On Monday night my companion had to go to Lima for his visa so I got to spend Monday and Tuesday with an Elder from Guatemala. He is a really cool guy. He came to our area and so that meant that I had to direct everything and show him where to go and introduce him to our investigators. That was pretty nerve wracking. I barely know the people, let alone the language. It went well though and I feel like he helped me a lot with the language. One thing cool that we did was that while we were just walking around we would go over the words of everything around us. From perro to casa to cables to basura to perro to carro to calle to moto to perro. There are honestly so many dogs here. It is ridiculous. I get so sick of having to kick dogs away from us. There are hundreds here. And they just follow you everywhere! I had a great time on Tuesday with this elder even with being sick.

The rest of the week went pretty normal until Sunday. Sacrament meeting was good. We walk in and sit down like normal. During the sacrament the bishop looks at me and mouths the words asking me if I will bear my testimony. So right after the sacrament he gets up and says "we will now hear from Elder Baker who is new in the ward and will bear his testimony." Of course he would ask me-- not the other Elder who is just as new as me here. So I got up and bore my testimony and probably said things wrong but it's definitely okay. It was a great learning experience. And it taught me to always be prepared for sacrament meeting because if someone isn't there that is supposed to talk they are going to call on one of us to take up some time.

This morning for P-day we were able to go play soccer at a church. All the churches have cement soccer fields. There were like 16 elders there. It was super fun. And hot. At ten in the morning it was already 10 million degrees. It was a great way to relax from the hard things of missionary work. I can't wait for this week though. I’m ready to work hard and teach the gospel. 

This is just one of the many cement soccer fields they have here. They are everywhere!
Thanks for all of the love and the support! I know that the church is true. I'm grateful for the testimony I have and for the opportunity to share the gospel! 

About our pensionista-- I really have no clue how she does laundry. I would assume she does it by hand. These houses here don't seem like the kind that would have a washing machine. Most of them don't even have microwaves. Luckily we do. It's tiny though-- like 8 inches tall.

Time really does fly by out here. Want to know something crazy we figured out here. Since we sleep for 8 hours every day, I will sleep for 8 months of my mission! Crazy! It makes me want to make great use of the little time that I have awake!

Elder Baker

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