Hey everyone! Until January 2013, I'll be serving the Lord preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Perú. I can't access this blog directly, but my mom will post pictures and updates here as I send them. Thanks for keeping in touch!
For Easter, church was really crowded; we had ten investigators that came, and I felt pretty good about it! The chapel is about 1/3 as big as ours in Iowa but there were more than 150 people there! They're going to start building a new chapel for this ward later this year, and it looks like it might even be a stake center for the future, so hopefully there'll be more room because we had to stand outside, it was so crowded. Most of what seems to be the tradition for the Holy Week here is that everyone watches Bible films like the Ten Commandments and the like all week. It was kind of funny. We did a zone/stake service project cleaning up a school for special needs kids. This turned out to mean gathering various bits of litter into piles and burning them. By the way, here are some pictures from a work visit with our zone leaders. Their apartment is really nice.... the other two missionaries are just from the area. Our zone leaders get a kitchen, so we made mac and cheese. It was amazing, but I couldn't summon up the appetite to eat the rest of the pan. One box next time.
We have just one ward [in our area] but it's really large. People have to stand up to fit in the tiny second-floor chapel. The Church has land in our area to build a new chapel but hasn't started building yet. The members are really friendly and kind. I've gotten to know a few of them from eating with them weekends and it's nice to see familiar faces. We have a lot of investigators who are coming along, but they aren't coming to Church on Sundays. Not much else to write today; I don't have time.
First of all, go back to the March blog entries. Kristian has now sent some photos of things he talked about before, so you will want to check out the pictures.
Beyond that, here's what Kristian wrote for this week:
This weekend we weren't supposed to be out much because they're having presidential elections and sometimes things get ugly. I've been really tired this last week. I've eaten a little fish, but it's just been straight up cooked fish on a plate with eyeballs--and rice on the side. I still can't eat that very effectively. Our pensionista [the woman who cooks for the Elders] has a little kitten. I give it a lot of meat.
It rained this weekend. Rain is really rare here. Everywhere was muddy for a while and then it smelled weird and got really humid. I felt bad because a lot of the roofs here aren't prepared for rain so people would just have some water coming in on their floor, which sometimes is just dirt. Our pensionista's house had rainwater leaking for most of the weekend through the brick roof. Our apartment has no problems, but Elder Zaugg and I spent an hour or two feeding flying ants to the spiders....We regret it now.
Well, I have a lot to learn, and need to work a lot harder this week!
Here's a view of Piura from the plane. Let me tell you about piura. It is HOT. It is DRY. Most everywhere is sand except the nicer roads and sidewalks and whereever people water their dirt. Although it doesn't necessarily bother me a bunch, the people here are pretty poor, or so it seems. Some of the houses are nicer, but most have tin for roofs, a lot have dirt for floors, and some have straw for walls. There's a lot of bamboo here too (in construction). I didn't know they had that. It contrasts pretty sharply even from the poor places in Lima.
Kristian accompanying Sister Chipman at the mission home.
We're in a decent apartment with two other elders, which is apparently kind of uncommon. Their names are Elder Melo and Elder Matencio. They're both from Peru. The apartment is hot except during night, and the shower is always cold but it's not too bad. All in all, it's a nice place, especially compared with some of the investigators' places.
Ok. So we flew in as a group of 16 plus one RM we met at the airport. The airport is smaller than Waterloo's, just one room with open doors on both sides. As soon as we got in, the assistants and President Chipman waved from outside, and I felt thrilled! We got our bags, went out and drove to the mission home. It looks kind of like an old Mexican plantation mansion, but it turns out it was built since 2000. Go figure. We met and interviewed, and sang songs while waiting, and then the elders all went to the "office" which was the office elders' large apartment and stayed the night. The next day we had more meetings and met our companions. My companion is North American (which is surprising, because there were only 2 North Americans in our group coming in) from Idaho Falls, Idaho. His name is Elder Tyler Zaugg. He's been out for 18 months and we get along really well. Our area is called los algarrobos, it's a district or some kind of division of Piura, and it's pretty big. Lots of walking through hot dusty roads to spontaneous shacks that house all kinds of people. We had three or four appointments that first day after we ate lunch, so we went to and had a new baptismal date after the first one! Things haven't been quite like that since then but it was pretty cool.
Kristian arrived at the Piura mission home on Wednesday, 30 March, and met his mission president (President Chipman), who is from Indiana. His wife is in the middle of this photo. The rest of the missionaries in this photo were with Kristian at the Lima CCM (MTC) for the past three weeks. All but one other Elder are from Latin America.