Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas and New Years

Singing is just talking while you move your voice up and down! (or something like that)

Well Christmas was a blast here. We didn't really do anything out of the ordinary except eat turkey but it was fun. I kept forgetting it was Christmas cause there was no snow, no decorations, and no lights. But that was probably better. Chatting through Skype was the bomb. I probably talked too much so sorry about that. On Mother's day I'll try to talk to everyone for at least a few seconds! After Skype I was a little bit homesick. That night as I was praying I thanked God for the opportunity I had to see your faces and talk, and then I thanked Him for an eternal family. Then I saw an image in my mind of everyone sitting in the basement, and I realized more powerfully that we will all be together forever. After that I wasn't homesick anymore. I also realized that I was being kind of selfish by being homesick because I'm out here having a super awesome adventure, and I'm here so that other people can have what I already do. I also realized on Christmas how wealthy we are compared to here. Our house is like a mansion compared to the houses here in San Jeronimo. Nobody has carpet, not even in Cusco or Lima. The kids here don't have very much, and don't ask for very much. It's very humbling to be here and realize how much I've had my whole life.

I don't really have any crazy stories from this week, and we talked like four days ago so there's not a whole lot to say. Although I do have one: On Christmas Eve while my companion was talking to his family, Elder Pavon and I went to stop by a member's house. She had asked if we could run to the store for her and buy wrapping paper so that she could wrap her daughter's present while she was sleeping. She couldn't leave because she was home alone with her daughter and her husband was off doing who knows what. He had left at 8 in the morning and hadn't come back all day (she's one of the ladies whose husband cheats). So we ran to the store and brought her the paper. Then we helped wrap the little doll crib for her daughter and put it under the tree. Her daughter had left a note by the tree saying thank you and I love you, so I wrote her a note from Santa saying Feliz Navidad etc. She was SO happy the next day, her mother told us. We were very sad about her husband though. He had gotten home about 11 that night slobbered drunk. He did bring a turkey for his family though so I guess that's kind of good.

Well that's about all I got for the week. We're going to baptize Edwardo this Saturday as well as our pensionista's daughter! I'll tell you all about that next Monday! Love you all! The Church is true!

Love,
Elder Tate
 
 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Baptisms and God Sons

Don't be a rabid porcupine!

Well this week was quite a special week for us out here in San Jeronimo. We finally baptized Jasmin on Saturday, and what a sweet and joyful experience it was. I was given the privilege of being the one to baptize her. AND I only had to say the prayer ONE TIME. The next day in church E. Niaupari gave her the Holy Ghost. We are very happy to have her as a member and pray that she can be an example to her sisters who we've also been teaching. One of her sisters has a 7 year-old son who came with us and Jasmin to church once and now doesn't ever want to go back to his church. His mom, Lili, told us today that he has to be part of some sort of Christmas thing in his church this week, but he said that when he's done he's going to keep going to church with the Hermanos Elderes. He's adorable and LOVES the missionaries. He told his mom that he wants to be baptized like his aunt Jasmin. It's pretty neat. His parents are cool with him going to church though. We told Lili that she should come with him and check it out. I think she will. We're also going to baptize Edwardo on the third of January.

I'm also now the Godfather of a one year-old Peruvian baby. Here they have a tradition where the Godfather, or Padrino in Spanish, is the first person to cut the baby's hair. The parents are members and don't really believe in the whole thing so it was really mostly just for funsies. Or at least I thought that until they told me they want to send him to BYU after his mission and want me to take care of him. I told them that was cool.

Well those are the two main events of the week. Elder Niaupari and I both got super sick and had to take a couple days off this week. We're good now though. I think I might of lost a little weight so that's good cause I've gotten fat. 

To end I thought I'd share some Christian Rock lyrics:

"It was hard for a while, told myself I'd be fine
My life is mine, put the old one behind and get over it
Don't beat yourself up, you got out alive, you weathered the storm
Don't sell yourself short, it's way out of line, give yourself more, give yourself time."

I like this song. I think a lot of times we think trials are our own fault, but we shouldn't beat ourselves up over little things. Instead we should trust in Christ and move forward.

Another cool thought: The Church put out a video called "He is the Gift." I bet you've all seen it by now. It's all over the internet. Well in Spanish it's El es la Dadiva. It's cool because normally Gift in Spanish is Regalo, but Dadiva is a gift that's eternal and that can never be taken away.  Merry CHRISTmas. Let's all enjoy the eternal gift we have been given that nobody can take away from us. Let us all remember Christ. 
 
 Love you all! Paz y bendiciones. Talk to you soon!
 
Elder Tate
 
 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy Birthday, Trevor!

First of all I want to send a quick thank you shout-out to all the people in the ward that sent me Christmas cards: Sister Nielson and her Sunday School class, the Langs, the Miles, and the Steinickes. They were all awesome and made my day! Brother Miles enclosed a couple pictures of some of his paintings of the Kaysville ponds and they are absolutely incredible! I want to send him a picture of Lake Pakucha for him to paint. It's a lake here in San Jeronimo that's super pretty. Also, thanks for all of the wonderful notes in my Christmas chain. Hilary's "inspiring quotes" made me laugh very hard. As well as Riley's jokes and quotes.

Well this week was really kind of a normal week. We worked hard, and today we'll play hard. We put another date for Jasmin and she's going to be baptized this Saturday! We're still working on Edwardo and a couple others. We're hoping for one or two more this change but we'll see what happens. We also have a couple new families which is awesome.

One thing I've really noticed this week is how much of an effect the gospel has on people's lives. We teach a lot of families, members and non-members alike, and there are a lot of problems. With one of the families the husband is cheating on the wife and the whole family knows it, even the young kids of like 11 and under. In a couple others, the wives are active and faithful members, but the husbands are inactive and like to drink. Being in these houses, there always seems to be a strange cloud of just plain old sadness in the air. These families can't enjoy the priesthood and the blessings of the gospel in their home. On the other hand, there are also families that live in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and you can literally see and feel the difference in their homes. Their homes are places of peace and joy where the blessings of the gospel and the priesthood are enjoyed. It really is amazing the difference that you can literally see when someone is living the gospel, and when someone isn't. How blessed I was and still am to have grown up in a home where we enjoyed all of these blessings.

As far as the language goes I'm still slowly improving. It's hard but it doesn't seem as impossible as it did before. I can get by in a lesson, but I have the hardest time understanding people. I also have been trying to learn a little bit of Quechua and it's ridiculous. I'm trying not to be as whiny anymore when I get frustrated, but instead fall to my knees and plead for help and more faith to depend on the Lord. Luckily, whereas I spent my first two transfers learning Spanish, my companion spent his first two transfers learning the lessons, and he is an excellent teacher. He fills in a lot when I fall short. I can teach but it's just really boring and not super comfortable. I'm really awkward in Spanish still.

Elder Niaupari and I get along really well. He's a great missionary and I enjoy having him as a companion.

I love you all and I love the Gospel and the blessings that it brings. I hope that this week is wonderful and full of the Spirit of CHRISTmas. Christ brought the best gift we could ever have. Let us all remember that this beautiful CHRISTmas season. Peace out!

Love,
Elder Pearce
 

 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Feliz Cumpleanos (can't find the little squiggly thing for the n)


     Well it's Christmas time here and I haven't seen a single Christmas tree. Kind of a bummer. Sounds like there's not a ton of snow back home either.  Hope you had a happy birthday! To celebrate I went out and worked all day. Fun stuff.

     So this week was actually really good. Elder Johanson left Tuesday morning but Elder Niaupari didn't end up getting here until Thursday so I spent a couple days with the other two Elders that I live with. It was good but I'm glad to finally have my new companion. Elder Niaupari is actually from Ecuador, NOT Peru, and he's the bomb. He's a good worker and he's also a lot of fun. We laugh a lot which I enjoy quite a lot. It's been helping a lot to have a Latino companion. I'm the only Gringo in my house so I don't have the option to speak English anymore. It's hard but it's helping. I'm teaching Elder Niaupari English as well. This was our conversation the other night, 
 
EN "I need to the crapper man."
Me: "Okay."
EN: "But I have a problem."
Me: "What?"
EN: "Your face."
 
I didn't teach him any of that but at least he's learned something haha. He's hilarious.

     I don't really know what happened but something seemed to click this week and I feel a lot more comfortable with the language. I think it's just because I have to speak it, which maybe is what I need. I don't mind. It's kinda fun. I realized this week that all God was trying to do was bless me. The sharpest swords go through the hottest flames. I had a thought yesterday of what God would say to me about the language if I could talk to Him right now. I think it would go a little something like, "I promised you that I would help and you would speak, so why didn't you believe me?" Not a very fun conversation to have. I only wish that I would have been a little more patient from the beginning. But I can't go back, so now I will go forward with more trust than I had before.

     So as far as our investigators go we have a lot but a few in particular are progressing. Edwardo started working on Sundays so we don't really want to baptize him until that's resolved. We did, however, put a new date for Jasmin which is the 20 of December. We are very excited for that. We also have another investigator, Nelly, who hasn't received a single lesson yet but has attended church twice and wants to be baptized so we're going to teach her.

     So I'm pretty much living the Best Two Years right now (like the movie). We contacted an American! His name is Mike and he's been living in Peru for almost 25 years now! He runs a home for kids with bad home situations. I actually met him in a taxio awhile back with Elder Johanson and he told us we could come by his home any time, so I stopped by with the other two elders and with Elder Niaupari as well. He told me the first time I talked to him that I'm never going to convert him but I was free to come by and chat anytime. I just took that as a challenge. The first time I was at his house he told me that he used to be a Catholic priest and had come to Peru on a mission but one thing kind of led to another as far as the children's home went and the church wasn't super nice about it and then he got married to a Peruvian and never left and now he's not a catholic. Wow. So the second time I was there he told me that he had done all kinds of religious research blah blah and had come to the conclusion that he couldn't be part of a religion that says that he has to go through the pope or the prophet to get to God, and that says if you don't do it my way you're going to Hell. So I asked him if in all of his research if he'd ever read the Book of Mormon. He told me he'd read little pieces. I told him that if he really wanted to know all he had to do was read and pray, and that he could receive an answer for himself through personal revelation.Then I told him that I don't believe that he's going to Hell at all, but that there is a way that he can live with his family and God forever. Then he turned to E. Niaupari and said, "El esta me convertiendo!" or, "He's converting me!" We'll see where it goes. We're going to go by again this week.

     We also taught a crazy dude that couldn't remember what we said about five seconds after we said it. We had to explain how to pray like five times and then ultimately had to write one down for him. It was hilarious.

     Well that's all for now I suppose. Love you all! Peace and Blessings!

Love,
Elder Tate

Monday, December 1, 2014

Changes n' Stuff

You let them do this to me! I look Heeeeedeous!

     Well don't really know what to write. Pretty much nothing exciting happened this week. It was kind of a rough one. We didn't baptize anyone which realmente chupa. Pero esta bien. Estaran listos en su propio tiempo. Neither of our investigators were ready yet so we didn't hold the service. It was partly our fault for not being around enough the past couple weeks to teach them and help them enough.

     When we went to visit Edwardo he said he was confused. His brother apparently told him that everything he needs to know is in the Bible so he wanted a bible to read because he didn't have the King James version or whatever it's called in Spanish. So he at least still acknowledges that we have the truth. I showed him my Bible and he was like "Ah there's a TRUE Bible!" So that's good. We've been working with him and trying to teach him to recognize the Holy Ghost and understand it's role so he can be truly converted and not just depend on the one dream he had to carry his testimony. We're also trying to help him understand that the BOM is central and he needs to have a testimony of that. He's improving and wants to set a new date for his baptism. Jasmin just hasn't been taught everything yet. We're also teaching her sisters and their spouses and kids so it's awesome.
     We got a new investigator this week. Her name is Lucero, which means bright star. She's actually the daughter of another investigator. She just moved here from Puno. She's progressing as well as her mother Gladys. They're living with Gladys' sister Yolanda and her son Ruben, who are super strong members. Ruben is our ward mission leader. It's awesome cause they are super encouraging and Yolanda is almost always present in our lessons.
     That's really pretty much it because we only had Wednesday through Sunday to work. My language skills are improving but it's really hard. I can speak pretty okay. I can sort of hold my own in a lesson and I can converse more or less. The problem is that I can barely understand anything anyone says. It's hard cause with some of our investigators their first language is Quechua so they have accents. It's rough. 

     So we got our changes today. Elder Johanson is leaving for Cusco to be a district leader. He's going to be in a trio! I'll miss him. He is a very good elder and I learned a lot from him. I owe him a lot. I'm staying here in San Jeronimo! My new companion's name is Elder Niaupauri. He was in my MTC group and he is an absolute stud. I was actually kind of hoping that I would be companions with him one day. I'm hoping he'll help me a lot with the language. Hma Harbertson also wants all the Latino missionaries to learn English so that will be fun.
     That's all for this week. I love you all and pray for you lots! The Church is super duper true! Next week I'll try to share something more spiritual LOL.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Tate



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Baseball

It's an experimental program. I'd say the results are mixed.

     I am terribly sorry that I didn't get to write yesterday. I was at this little place that you might have heard of. It's called MACHU PICCHU! And it was the bomb. Like probably one of the coolest things that's ever happened in my life. This email is going to be short so I can send like 100 pictures. 

     So we didn't teach a whole lot because we've been traveling so much. We left the conference with Elder Evans on Wednesday, worked Thursday and Friday, and then went back to Cusco on Saturday. It was a lot of travel and sucked really bad but it was worth it. Most of the mission was at the conference so I got to see a bunch of my MTC buddies, including Elder Black. I had to play prelude and stuff so I didn't get a whole bunch of time to talk but I got enough. They're all doing great.

     This Saturday we're having a baptismal service. We still need to finish a couple lessons with Edwardo and Jasmin before then so we're hoping we can get them in there. 

    We won't be celebrating Thanksgiving but I hope you all have a good time! We actually couldn't remember when it was so I'm glad you reminded me.

     I got your package but I haven't opened anything that was wrapped! I've been playing the crap out of the Christmas music! IT never feels like Christmas time here because there's no snow. It's the rainy season now so it's usually in the 70's during the day and then rains at night. It's the bomb. I'm getting an awesome watch tan-line. I'm still finding new bug bites on my body every once-in-a-while so that's cool. It keeps life interesting.

     My Spanish still sucks. You'll get to see in about a month! Crazy. I hit four months this week. Weird. We have changes this coming Monday. I hope my next companion is a Latino. That way I can learn Spanish and actually start helping people.

    I love you all. I love Jesus. I'm GRATEFUL for the opportunity I have to serve a mission here in Peru. It has blessed me so much and still is blessing me. Happy holidays! Munankuiki tukuy sunhuyhuan! (I love you with all my heart)

Love,
           Elder Pearce

**Tate attempted to send some pictures of his adventures in Machu Picchu, but they come through as thumbnails so they aren't very clear. Hopefully we'll get some good ones soon!! Gotta love him for trying!
 

 
 

Monday, November 17, 2014

More Duties

Maybe it's time I get some new duties!

     Okay so this week's letter is going to be short because not a lot happened and I'm going to try to send a bunch of pictures! I'm writing late again because we had to travel to Cusco today for a conference with a GA tomorrow. We left at 5 in the morning and got here at about 3 in the afternoon. Long drive!

         So this week there wasn't a ton of progress. Only one of our investigators showed up to church this week so that was a bummer. We're having a baptismal service the last Saturday before our change but the investigators have to attend three times before they can be baptized, and since Rody didn't come he won't have his 3. Kind of a bummer. The other one with a date has 3 though, so that's good. We have another investigator named Jasmin who has 3 as well and we challenged her yesterday. She was a little apprehensive so we left her a reading assignment in the Book of Mormon and told her to pray to have her testimony reaffirmed, and we're going to follow up with her this week when we get back from Cusco. We're also going to try to call a few of our investigators like Edwardo while we're here. Edwardo is the bomb. He likes to accompany us while we work which is cool. It doesn't count for anything as far as statistics go but it's good for him to see it. He told us he is considering serving a mission after his baptism. So is Jasmin actually. Cool stuff. Hopefully we get to throw those lamanites in the pool this month.

     So the reason we didn't see a ton of progress this week as far as numbers go was because Elder Johanson and I participated in 6 service projects! The first one was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. We went out even farther into the boonies and hauled tree trunks down the mountain. And by tree trunks I mean entire trees with the branches cut off. The way they had us do it was by putting smaller sticks underneath and then pushing it with those. It worked more or less. We got there around 1:00 and got home around 8:00. For the second we just mowed and edged our neighbor's lawn. And by mowed and edged I mean Elder Johanson cut the crass with clippers and I edged with a fun-sized pick axe. Another was hauling dirt from someone's front yard to their back yard. That one wasn't too bad. We had a wheelbarrow. For another one we helped out an English teacher who is teaching all her kids American songs. There's actually a school course where kids just sing English music. Kinda cool. We had to tell them the F-word is a swear word and change some of their lyrics for them though. That was funny. The last one we did topped the first one we did for the hardest thing I've ever done. We went into the other side of the boonies and helped some people carry wood across a river. The bridge across the river was just three trees that someone chopped down from one side. Kinda sketchy. The way we carried the wood was fun. They gave us all potato sacks that were cut open so we could put the wood inside and then haul it on our backs like a panai. We were there for like five hours. My body still hurts and my knees started acting up for a day or two because of it, but it's all good now. I like service though. It's fun and there are a lot of people that need our help.

Elder Pearce's spiritual thought for the week:
     As I carried wood and hauled logs, I thought of the Savior carrying His cross to Calgary. When my body hurts and begins to beg for rest, I think of the pain he felt as He was whipped and scourged. When people laugh in my face because my Spanish is bad, I think of those who spit in His face and mocked Him. When I feel homesick or alone, I think of our Lord as He atoned for everything in the Garden without the support or help of His own all-powerful Father, so that He could know what it was like to be completely and utterly alone. This all gives me the strength to press on.

     I love you all and pray for you every day. Peru is the bomb. I want you all to see this beautiful place one day. Look for the small miracles every day and you will find them! Peace and blessings!

Love, 
Elder Tate

Monday, November 10, 2014

Death N Stuff

Dead guy Duty

      So last week you asked me if I'd eaten anything weird and I told you not really. WELL right after that we went to help out a lady at her restaraunt and as a thank you she fed us kidney. I think it was from a chicken. Or a cuy. Not sure. Then the next day someone feed us soup with stomach in it. Also probably chicken or cuy. It was fantastic. Both were terribly horrifyingly nasty, but not quite as bad as liver. Actually I lied, Kidney wasn't that bad. Elder Johanson had a hard time with it though. We're still eating great with our pension (who is the bomb.com. She's my Peruvian mom) and drinking our fill of Inca Kola. Practically everyone we visit feeds us. I'm still getting fat. Today I started my new regime of working out extra hard in the morning cause I don't want to come home looking like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.

     We got five new investigators this week so that was cool. Elder Johanson and I were walking down the street one day when a guy passed us and yelled, "Jose Smith!" I replied with, "Exactamente!" which then led to a conversation and this guy inviting us to a little shop to drink Coke and talk about the Bible. He might have been a little bit drunk, but he sure knew the Bible! He was super friendly. His name is Nixon, and after he made us drink about a liter and a half each, he told us to come by again another day. We then contacted the lady in the store and came back and taught her mom a couple days later.

     Another one of our new investigators is Elvis. We found Elvis while trying to visit another lady named Norma who ended up not being home. Since we were there we just decided to go around the corner and knock a couple doors and we found Elvis while knocking doors and he was very open to chatting with us and discussing religion. He has some very good beliefs about God and I think He'll progress. We actually have about 30 investigators but I'll just keep talking about the ones that are progressing the most.

     We're also still teaching our other investigators that I mentioned last week, Edwardo and Rody. They're both progressing a bunch, and I think will both come through with their baptism dates. I taught my first chastity lesson to Rody this week. He actually took it really well. We also taught Edwardo about tithing and he accepted it with aplomb.

     As far as the language goes I'm starting to get the hang of it. NOT. More like I'm getting the hang of sucking. But that's okay. I'm still improving I suppose. I can kind of have a conversation and teach, I just can't express myself or speak very intelligently or understand everything people say so that's a little frustrating. A member of our ward told me I don't have an accent though so that was cool. I think he was lying but it was still nice.

     So this week we had two deaths in our ward. They were both older gentlemen who were very ill. One was actually the father of a member of our ward but it still counts. Funeral traditions here are very odd. When someone dies, the family holds a viewing at their house for three days. During those three days everyone and their dog comes over and just sits, talks, and eats their food. The family spends the three days cooking for everybody that comes over. Kind of a sucky way to morn. Then for the actual funeral the pallbearers carry the casket to the cemetery, only they take the longest way possible so everyone in the city sees that someone died. Then at every corner they set the casket down and they sing a kind of music called Gwayno (not sure how to spell it). Gwayno is very authentic Peruvian music that is absolutely appalling. They sing half in Quechua and half in Spanish, but they switch off at really random times. Like mid-sentence sometimes. If you're Mormon though you also sing hymns so that's cool too. Elder Johanson got to speak at one of the funerals. He was asked about five minutes in advance. Also, No one is actually buried. Their cemeteries are all full of tombs that are above ground. Not sure why. Maybe that's why Peru smells so bad all the time. That, and they poop in the street for funsies. I love this country.

     Well, that's about all for now. I love you all. I know the church is true. Keep your heads up and your backs straight. Posture is important in the work of salvation. Or something like that. Don't cite me on that quote. Peace and Blessings! Solo tienes que sonrier.

Love,
        
Elder Pearce, or as the Peruvians call me because no one can say my name right, Elder Payarce

PEACE!

Monday, November 3, 2014

High in Fiber, Low in Fat

Hola to those back in civilization!

And now, I'd like to turn the time over to Elder Pearce to answer mom's questions:
 
     So as far as investigators go, we have a ton. We got two more new investigators this week. One is an older gentleman named Arturo. He is actually a reference of another investigator, Isabel, who's husband is the doctor. Arturo is very intellectual and loves to read. He told us that he was looking to add a more spiritual element in his life. We told him about our purpose as missionaries and about the Book of Mormon. He told us he used to have one but lost it. Luckily, I had an extra one to give away. When I gave it to him his eyes lit up and he held it with such care, and turned the pages with an almost reverent touch. Then he hugged it in his arms and thanked us. He told us he would read it so that we could talk about it next week. He's going to progress well.

    Another investigator we have is a 22 or so year old guy named Rody. Rody is a street contact that Elder Johanson made with his previous companion. He lives next to a less active that they had been teaching (who is also progressing). One day there was a small earthquake (not really though. Peruvians make a big deal out of EVERYTHING). Elder Johanson and his companion were looking for the other guy when they bumped into Rody. He told them that he had just thought of God for the first time in two years, then there was an earthquake, and the missionaries showed up. Pretty cool, He's very intellectual as well. He's a university student and is super smart. With some people this could be hard because intellectuals challenge everything, and that's kind of how he was at first. But slowly his heart has been softened, and now he uses his intellect to find reasons why the church is true. Yesterday at church he told me he'd looked up how many LDS churches there were in the world, and he was amazed at the number. He told me that's how he knew this was true, because the work is progressing and has been for hundreds of years now. When we taught him the law of tithing he said it wasn't something he wanted to do, so he was going to pray for the faith to do it. It's amazing when you can see changes in these very special people.

     As for transport, we take taxis almost daily. At least when we go down to the actual city of Andahuaylas. Our sector is called San Jeronimo. It's a small town (a little farther into the boonies) outside of Andahuaylas. So when we work in San Jeronimo we walk everywhere. There are some GIANT hills that we walk up. Our sector goes part way into Andahuaylas though, so when we go there we take a taxi or what's called a Convi. It's just a giant van that functions as a taxi that you can cram about 500 people in if you want. And they do. They're both super cheap and fun.

     The food is really good for the most part, and I eat a LOT. There really aren't that many weird dishes. I can even buy ketchup here! And Twix! Usually for meals we just eat rice and chicken and potatoes. Every meal. Rice. Chicken. Potatoes. I've seen some pretty creative ways to throw potatoes into a meal. I actually really like cuy, or guinea pig. It's like KFC. I really don't like mozomora, which is like hot jello made out of purple corn. They also make drinks out of purple corn that aren't fantastic but it's doable. The worst thing I've ever had here is a drink called Leche Puro. It's just milk STRAIGHT from the cow. And I mean STRAIGHT. Unpasteurized, untreated. It tastes exactly like bum. It's usually served hot. Other than that I haven't eaten very many weird things. Lot's of fried stuff, like potatoes. The desserts are always good. I miss fast food and mom's rolls. I'm in a pretty good area as far as food goes, and really everything else. It's a great area. I hope I get to stay a little longer after my training.

     So Halloween STUNK. Everyone here thinks that Halloween is Satan's birthday, and all the other churches discourage people from celebrating it. The Catholics all dress up like angels for some reason. Elder Johanson and I went and bought a bunch of candy and soda and a pineapple after proselyting hours and ate it. Next morning, felt fantastic.

     My Spanish is improving so that's cool. I've learned a few quechua phrases too. Other than that I'm doing good. Just trying to work hard. The harder I work the better I feel. I love you all. The church is true. Munanquiki!

Love,
Elder Tate

Monday, October 27, 2014

Infections and Such

Do you not realize I have had diarrhea since Easters?
     Fun week this week! I started feeling sick a couple days ago so we went home and used that thermometer to take my temperature. I had a fever of 102! Luckily, the husband of one of our investigators, who is also our neighbor, is a doctor. We stopped by their house and he told me I probably had an infection either in my lung or my stomach. I've also been experiencing a lot of the same stuff I had before my mission with my lungs, etc. Anyways, he gave me some antibiotics and told me the amount to take, etc. Peru is awesome, you could get anything over the counter. Literally, anything. Anyways, he didn't tell me if I should eat first so I just ate some crackers, took the pills, and went to bed. I woke up about an hour later so Elder Johanson could go eat dinner, and my stomach felt like it was being scraped at from the inside with a dirty Peruvian fork. It was honestly the worst stomache pain I've ever felt. E. Johanson and our pension's son had to basically carry me back to the doctor's house. That was when the real fun started. One thing about Peru: There is literally a home remedy for ANYTHING. The treatments from the investigator (not doctor) were as such:

Cotton swabs soaked in alcohol placed in my armpits
Some sort of drink which was just herbs mixed into fish oil. She had me drink about 3/4 and then rubbed the last of it on my belly. It actually kind of worked. It was just disgusting
Wet rags placed on various places on my face and neck
Matte, which is just herbal tea

     Then her husband (the doctor) gave me a shot in the butt. I have no idea what for but at the time I was just glad he sterilized it. Whatever it was I'm feeling much better now. I stopped taking the antibiotics though.
     In other news, we have five new investigators and three investigators with baptismal dates! We have one new investigator named Edwardo who told us that two years ago he talked to his neighbor about the gospel, and I believe even talked with the missionaries. He had a dream where he saw a light and heard a voice that said, "continue receiving my sons." Pretty cool stuff!
I also gave my first talk in church yesterday. Nailed it! Not really though. I tried not to notice the blank stares from the audience and the fact that no one said anything to me afterwards. Later that night in a lesson a recent convert told me he didn't understand any of it.  LOL.

     We have two new missionaries training here in Andahuaylas now but their both Latino and already speak Spanish. 
     I'm not really sure how they celebrate Halloween here. I just know they do somehow.
     My favorite Spanish phrase I learned this week is "al amor del agua," which means, "with the current or, with the flow." I use it like a hippy. I don't know if it makes sense that way though haha.
Well, that's all for now. I love you all and wish the best for all of you! The Church is more true than it was last week. 
"The sharpest swords are put through the hottest of flames." -Cougar Einfeldt
Love,
Elder Tate

Monday, October 20, 2014

Still in the Boonies . . . but they're MY boonies!

I gave my first blessing of comfort IN SPANISH this week. It wasn't very long and was incredibly grammatically incorrect but I did it. I wasn't expecting to have to do it, but Elder Johanson and I showed up and a lady's house and Elder Lundell and Elder Haro were already there visiting with another lady. Elder J and I were invited to sit down and then out of nowhere Elder Haro says," Elder Pearce can practice giving a blessing of comfort right now," and I was like, What? Apparently there was a little kid there (I'm assuming it was someone's child) that had been having bad dreams and wanted a blessing. So I did it. It was great fun. Elder Lundell said I did a good job and that he gave a blessing when he had the same amount of time I do and completely slaughtered it. It's weird to think that I'm coming up on three months next week!

We also are starting to see some more progress in a few of our investigators. We have one with a date (soon to be three), and yesterday we got two new investigators.

So this week has kind of an interesting story. Our pension, Hermana Justa, is currently married and has five kids. However, she is separated from her husband. They've been separated
 for years, and she wants a divorce, but just to mess things up for her he refuses to sign divorce papers. The big problem is she has a boyfriend right now, and two of her kids are his. He is an awesome guy, and helps support her family because her husband also refuses to pay child support. The problem is she can't take the sacrament or anything like that because she's committing adultery, and Alcidus (her boyfriend) wants to be a member of the church but can't be baptized because he's not married. Kind of a problem. So this week after teaching a lesson in their house Alcidus came to us and said he had a question. We listened as he poured his heart out to us. He said he wants to be a member of the church with all his heart. He doesn't know why he has these trials in his life, and from what I understood, he said that he has all kinds of blessings in his life, but the one he wants the most (marriage, baptism, etc.) isn't coming. Or coming too late, or something like that. It was so sad to listen to him, with tears in his eyes, ask over and over, "Porque elderes? Yo no se por que." Which means "why elders? I don't know why." We didn't have an answer other than that sometimes we're given trials so that we can become closer to God. We promised him that one day he'll be blessed to be married and baptized. After we talked to him he told us that our presence was a strength to him, and that since we didn't have family in Andahuaylas, that his family would be our family. Then he said, "Por favor elderes, ayuda mi familia." or, please elders. Help my family. We told him we would do what we can. That experience will forever stay with me. There are so many people in this world that have problems bigger than mine. It also made me that much more grateful for my own family that I have for forever. If there's one thing the mission does, it makes you appreciate your family so much more. The thing that drives me to keep going is that I have a family that I love with all my heart, and I can be with them forever. I want other people to have the same thing.

Aside from the spiritual stuff I'm also gaining weight, and fast. Everywhere we go people feed us. We pretty much eat like five meals a day, and you can't reject food here or people get SUPER offended. Our pension cried one day cause Elder Haro said he wasn't hungry and didn't eat. Also, aside from eating with the people we teach, our pension makes sure we eat ourselves sick every meal. And I'm not joking when I say eat ourselves SICK. If she doesn't think I've eaten enough she'll give me more (basically enough to feed me and my companion if I wanted) and then I have to eat the whole thing. She loves me though because I eat everything and then tell her that I'm getting fat because her food is too good. I'll have to take some pictures. Basically, there's going to be a whole lot more of me to love when I come home.

I still suck at Spanish. Nothing new there. I'm starting to teach more though so that's nice.

That's all for now. I love you all super tons and stuff. The Church is true I promise.

Love, 
Elder Tate

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meanwhile, in the Boonies. . .

Don't you want a taste of the glory? Just to see what it tastes like?

     So I think all your weather bug apps are broken. It hasn't been raining hardly at all here. It's usually really sunny and in the 60's during the day. I usually only put a coat on after lunch for when it starts to get cold. It rains a lot in the evenings or at night, but for the most part the weather is really nice and I quite enjoy it!

     So sorry I haven't been writing enough. I haven't told you about all the amazingly cool stuff here. I'll give you the typical layout for our days:

     So after studying, breakfast, etc. We go out to teach and stuff (duh). We're actually starting to see some progress in some of our investigators. We're teaching one guy named Rodi who read 20 chapters of the ELM (El Libro de Mormon) in two days, plus the introduction! It was awesome. He's really smart and asks lots of questions but Elder Johanson is just as smart and always answers them well and he usually accepts whatever we teach him pretty well, too. We don't do a lot of knocking on doors. It's not effective here. Everyone has a gate or an adobe wall or something around their house. A lot of them have like three or four apartments with families living in each one inside the wall. Most of our investigators are referrals.

     The ward here is awesome. Everyone is very friendly and inviting. The people are interesting as far as authenticity goes. Most of the young people dress pretty modern-hipster like. Some of the old ones do too, but usually the really older people wear very traditional Peruvian clothing. Especially the women. There are lots of Panais (I think that's how you spell it) here. Panai is Quechua for Hermana which is Spanish for sister. The Panais all wear very traditional clothing and usually their first language is Quechua. Some of them don't even speak Spanish! The people have a lot of different jobs. Some own restaurants, some run internet labs like the one I'm in right now, some run stores or shops, some sell cakes and pastries, some are farmers, some are herders. There's a very wide range of income too. There are lots of very humble living conditions here, with even humbler people. I've never seen a house with carpet, and only a few houses with actual tiled floors. The rest are either cement or just dirt. Most people don't have cars and if they do they're pretty crappy. If you have a nice car that means you probably have a LOT of money. This is one of the coolest places in the world. I wish I could be here until I actually can speak Spanish or be able to come back again during my mission so the people can really get to know me because they are incredibly special.

     We do TONS of service here. We usually do at least two service projects a week. So far we've carried sticks (more like trees) like a mile through the Andes to someone's house for firewood, we cut out a bunch of grass and weeds for someone's yard, we've helped a member move, and a few days ago we carried giant bags of dirt up three flights of stairs to someone's roof so they could use it to mix cement to build onto their house or something.

     We finally got to watch conference this weekend and it was beautiful! I loved every second of it!

     Oh and I don't see very many llamas. I did see an alpaca running through the street one day though. They're cuter than llamas. I want one.

     As far as the language goes, it's coming but slowly. I'm trying really hard to be patient but it's not really working. I'm not improving as fast as I would like to despite all my efforts to learn. It doesn't help either when people treat me or tell me that I'm stupid because I can't speak Spanish very well. Sometimes the members or people we teach or even other missionaries laugh or tell me I'm dumb because I can't speak well. I even had one lady tell me after a lesson that my prayer was too short and that in order to succeed I need to be adding to my vocabulary. I wanted to be like "What the heck do you think I'm doing here? How about you try to learn English in two months!" But I didn't say anything because I'm a representative of Christ and I didn't want to offend her. . . and I can't speak Spanish LOL. I know it's just because people don't understand how hard it is. It's also just a cultural thing to be very abrupt and say things how they are. It's my fault that I get so frustrated, but it honestly is hard to be happy a lot of the time because I feel so alone and isolated not being able to communicate. I'm the only missionary in our entire zone and probably the only person within 100 miles that can't speak Spanish. I shouldn't complain though, because I also have people that are very supportive and very kind and understanding with me.

That's about all for this week.  I love you all! The church is true!

Love,

Elder Tate

PICTURES THIS WEEK!!

First apartment -- yuck!


ELM in Spanish and Quechua  -- check out the pink llama tie!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Remember When I Used My Strength to Rip My Blouse? (Nacho Libre)

     Not a terribly exciting week as far as the work of salvation goes. We went to a multi zone conference in Abancay last week. It's about four hours away so we stayed in a hotel overnight. The president was there though and told me that I read Spanish like a pro. I told him, "Thanks! One day I'll understand what I'm reading!" It was nice though. Elder Johanson told me that I pronounce things really well and read better than most of the other new missionaries, I think I pronounce things well because I've always done music and I have a good ear so I can hear how it's supposed to sound.

     We also got a new house that is probably one of the nicest houses in the entire mission. It has two stories, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. It's pretty legit.

     It rained really hard the other day and our pensionistas house and backyard flooded so we spent about two hours just trying to keep the water from getting any higher in their house. Their puppy also got hit by a moto taxi earlier that day and they're still not 100 percent sure if it will live, so it wasn't a very good day for them. I felt really bad.

     We've been teaching English to one of our less actives and I gave an entire lesson by myself this week and shared a spiritual thought at the end so that was cool. I can understand about 40 percent of 20 percent of the people we teach. haha! I also gave a spiritual thought at a family home evening and I don't think any of them understood me LOL. Peruvians are funny. They're very direct when they talk to you. Most of them just think you're stupid if you can't speak Spanish, and some of them aren't afraid to tell you that. The worst part is if you don't speak Spanish you can't prove them wrong.

     Other than that we're still working hard and doing our best! I love you all! The Church is more true than it was last week!

Love,
Elder Tate

Monday, September 29, 2014

Andahuaylas... still... 22 fast sundays left!

     So not a lot happened this week. We did a couple service projects where we basically just carried trees down the Andes. It was great fun. I have tons of flea and spider bites cause our apartment is gross but we're actually probably moving out within the next couple of weeks so it's all good. I tried Cuy for the first time this week too! Cuy is guinea pig. It was actually really good. It was fried, and it still had the feet attached.

     We're teaching a lady right now named Hermana Chilis. She's a less active. She's probably my favorite lady that we teach. She's freaking crazy but in a hilarious kind of way, and for some reason I always think that if Hilary were an old, back crap crazy Latina, she would be Hermana Chilis. I mean that in a very good way.

     Sorry it's short this week. Not a lot really happened. I love you all. The Church is super duper true! God watches over all his missionaries. Peace and Blessings!

Love,
Elder Tate

Monday, September 22, 2014

You Know It's a Good Day in the Mission When Your Poop is Solid

     This week has been pretty sweet. I've been introduced to about everyone Elder Johanson knows, now the trick is just to be able to talk to them. I'm slowly starting to be able to understand a few of our investigators. We've also been teaching a lot of less actives. That's where Pres. Harbertson wants our main focus to be. There are tons of inactive members here. There's also tons of people that live together and have kids but for some reason never want to get married. I think part of the reason might be because they don't want to pay for a wedding. We have one investigator with a baptismal date and a couple others that want to be baptized but they have to either fix some stuff (like the marriage thing) or work out some family issues. 

     Everyone we teach is very nice to me about my Spanish. Usually in our lessons all I do is share a scripture or two and then bear my testimony at the end. I always tell them that even though I don't know Spanish I am here because I know that this Church is true, and that through faith in Christ all things are possible, including learning Spanish. Then they always tell me something like, "You will speak spanish one day! You learn little by little." It's awesome.

     I pretty much have a calling as the ward pianist now, which is kinda fun. Peruvians aren't very musically inclined. At all. I led a hymn in Sunday School but it was pretty much me just singing a solo and waving my hand in the air. It was great.

     One of the less actives that we've been visiting me has a guitar and he asked me to play it for him. By Peruvian standards I'm pretty much a professional. He was so impressed with the one song that I know that he wants us to come back so I can teach him how to play it. I'm hoping that music will help us be more successful with visiting him and his brother because sometimes they're hard to get a hold of. Music has played an awesome role already in my mission, especially since I don't know the language. One of the members that helps us out a lot wants me to teach group piano lessons at the church as a way of contacting. As soon as I get a little better at Spanish Elder Johanson and I are going to try to get that going.

     Elder Johanson is awesome. We get along swimmingly. He's an excellent trainer, he's obedient, and does his best to follow the Spirit and do what he feels the Lord wants. He's been helping me a lot with my Spanish as well. We live with one other companionship, Elder Lundell and Elder Haro. Elder Lundell is from Montana and Haro is from Lima. They're both super cool and we all get along well and have good times at night before bed.

     This place wasn't built for my large body. I have to bend through just about every doorway, including my own bedroom door. It's awesome. I love it. Our apartment is very small, very gross, and very cold, but I love it. Every missionary in the mission have what's called a pensionista, which is a lady that cooks all our food for us. Our pension is super awesome. We live next door to her. Her name is Hermana Justa.

     I'm still homesick, but I know that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I realized last night that the only reason God would ask an 18-year-old boy to leave his family and everything else behind is because that this work is true. Don't worry about me, I'll be okay. It's not really that cold here except for when it's dark or it's raining. Or both. But I've been able to keep warm and my stomach is adjusting to the food.

I love you all! Until next week!

Elder Tate

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cusco! Andahuaylas!


Dusty, how far would you say we made it before we had to turn around and ask for directions?



I'd say about two, three miles.

     So on Tuesday all of the Cusco elders left the CCM at about 5 in the morning or so. Our flight left at around 6:30. Not much really happened during the flight. It was super beautiful. Also, I didn't call home because the MTC president said not to but some missionaries did anyway. I was really tempted because I miss you all lots!

     After we landed in Cusco we met Pres. Harbertson and some other missionaries and got to do a bunch of training. We also got to go see the Cristo Blanco that overlooks the city of Cusco. The city is beautiful. We all stayed in a hotel that night and the next day we all met our trainers. My trainer's name is Elder Johanson. He's from Boise. He's the man. We're not allowed to say how long we've been out on our missions but I found out how long he's been out because he told me that he's 18 and then some other missionary was surprised that he was training because he just finished his training. He's been out three months. He's awesome at Spanish. He learned a bunch when he was little so it all came back to him. He's a good teacher and he's very patient with me and he's very obedient. The first day I met him he was sick though. We went contacting in the plaza in Cusco and afterwards had dinner at a restaurant and he threw up all over the table. Luckily I was done eating and I had an empty soup bowl for him to use. 

     I didn't really experience any altitude sickness which was nice. I felt a little light headed and had a hard time walking up the four flights of stairs to my hotel room, but other than that it was good. I'm super sick today though. I think I ate something funny. I woke up around 4 in the morning today and threw up a bunch of times and then had diarrhea. It was awesome.

     So the area that I've been assigned to, and my home for the next three months, is a little town called Andahuaylas (and-uh-why-lus). It's pretty sweet. It's not even close to Cusco though. It's about a twelve hour bus/van ride from Cusco. We went over a couple mountains and then into a valley to get here. The elevation is slightly higher than Cusco's. The ride was super fun. It was kind of like driving up Farmington Canyon only twice as dangerous, in a giant tour bus (and later a van) in the amount of time it takes to get to Disneyland. It was super beautiful though!

     The past few days my trainer's mostly has just been taking me around to meet all of the members and investigators, etc. They made me play the piano in church yesterday. That'll probably be every week now. I'm okay with it though.

     There are still a lot of traditional looking people here. The older generation still wears super Peruvian clothing. It's awesome. There's also a large population of people here that speak Quechua, which kinda stinks because in order to learn Quechua you have to be able to speak Spanish which I can't do. I pretty much just sit quietly during our lessons because I can't understand anything anyone (including my trainer) says. I've had lots of chances to bear my testimony and pray though. We try to only speak Spanish in the streets, which will probably prove to be very helpful. Maybe one day I'll know Spanish.

     I'm loving it here, but I'll be honest. I've been pretty homesick. This is the most out of place and uncomfortable I've ever been in my life. I don't know my way around and I feel stupid because I can't communicate with people. I'm trying really hard to depend on the Lord in all things, and I always remind myself of what Hermano Velasquez told us: If your mission is easy your life will be hard, but if your mission is hard then your life will be easy. I know that this has already changed my life forever.

     That's all for now. I love you all and I miss you tons! Tell Graci happy birthday for me and that I got the letter she sent me a while ago. I'm working on sending her one for a late birthday present, but it'll probably take even longer now because I'm so far away from Cusco. At least until the Zone Leaders go to Cusco for something and bring back mail. Oh and congrats to Hilary, Brian, and Legend! Tell Kami Dixon congrats on her call. Love you all! The Church is more true than it was last week! Peace out homies!

Love,
Elder Tate
P.S. We were teaching a lady yesterday and she started breastfeeding like four different times. It was a shock haha. Anyways, I love you and I love getting pictures! Two years isn't that long, right? Miss you tons!
http://web.mail.comcast.net/service/home/~/?auth=co&loc=en_US&id=720789&part=2
Tate and Pres. & Sis. Harbertson the day he arrived in Cusco






http://web.mail.comcast.net/service/home/~/?auth=co&loc=en_US&id=720789&part=3
New missionaries - Tate is in the back

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

He's Not Just Famous, He's Infamous!

 
     Okay so again, not a lot of new things happen here because we do the same thing every single day. I do have a couple cool stories though. So one of my nametags broke so I went to the janitors to see if they could fix it for me. It was just the little pin part that goes on your suit or sweater or whatever. Anyways, so the janitor was like, "I can fix this one but I'll just make you a new one too." Or something like that. It was in Spanish and I don't actually speak Spanish yet. So he takes me and Elder Black to this room where they have a sweet little machine that they inscribe the tags with by hand, and starts to make me a new nametag. I thought that was pretty cool so I was like, can I do it? And he was like, sure, so I got to make my new nametag. I was super excited about that. Then he superglued the other one back together so I have three nametags now.
 
    So I was asked to accompany a musical number again last Sunday which made that my third week in a row of participating in a musical number haha. It's okay though. It's a blessing to get to play music so much. Also, after this fast Sunday, I only have 22 fast Sundays left! Holy cow!
 
   I'm super excited to get to Cusco next week! I'm ready to do work. We haven't gotten any travel plans yet other than that we'll either leave really early at like 4 in the morning or around like 9 am on Tuesday.
 
     I got to go to the temple again today for the last time for probably at least a year. It was awesome.
 
     I was playing soccer the other day during physical activity and another player caused an accident. I ended up rolling my ankle really bad and I felt something pop. It was my left ankle. I thought it was okay but after I hobbled off the field and sat down for a minute it started to swell and I couldn't move it or walk on it. Elder Black helped me up to our room and when we got up there he and another elder gave me a blessing. The next day It was a little swollen but there was barely any pain and I've been able to walk on it with no difficulty whatsoever. I got a brace from Presidente Gonzalez's wife, and life is good. The priesthood is real. I'm still gonna have a doctor look at it though just to make sure everything is okay. The CCM has a doctor so that's convenient.
 
     Hermano Ruiz thinks I'm like Murdock from the A team LOL
 
     Did I share my chicken lady story from proselyting last week? If not I'll write about it next time. I'm going proselyting on Saturday so I'm sure I'll have even more!
 
    That's all for now. I love you all! I pray for you every night! This time next week I'll be in Cusco! The Church is more true than it was last week! Peace and blessings!
 
Love,
Elder Tate

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I Ate My First Sour Patch Package Today!


     I still do pretty much the exact same thing every day, and I've eaten rice and some part of a chicken (drumstick, breast, eggs, mystery body part) for at least two meals every single day since I've been here. Still love it though. I've also been buying lots of cookies on P day called Casinos. They're basically a Peruvian version of the Oreo and they're really cheap. I also bought a couple ties from the temple store that have llama's on them that are supposedly made from alpaca fur. Also cheap.
 
     Crazy story about Elder Powell though. So I was talking to another Elder in my district and he asked me if I knew a kid that went to his high school (Viewmont) that I reminded him of. The kid's last name was Thornock so I was like, I might be related to that dude. My grandma's maiden name is Thornock, and then Elder Powell was like, You're related to Thornocks? Me too! So we both whipped out our little fan charts and found out that we're both descendents of John Thornock which makes us fourth cousins! Crazy stuff! Cool though right? That's why we do family history before the mission.
 
     So every two weeks we have a group of missionaries that leaves, and a group of missionaries that arrive. So every two weeks we get a new group of Latino missionaries. Well the last transfer, after I'd been here two weeks, I knew enough Spanish to be able to kind of converse and I made a couple friends. Their names are Elder Martinez and Elder Vento, who are both now serving in the Bolivia La Paz mission. Anyway, Elder Vento actually spoke pretty good English, but Elder Martinez had never even heard someone speak English before his mission, except for in movies. It turned out the only English words he knew were swear words so Elder Black and I had to tell him that they were bad. After awhile he realized that he knew nothing useful in English so if he ever had a question he would come up and whisper a word in my ear to check if it was okay to say to people. It usually wasn't. The cool thing though, was that even though we could barely speak the other person's language, Elder Martinez ended becoming one of my best friends besides my companion. Elder Vento also became one of my best friends. It's awsesome having Latino friends though because it helped my Spanish a ton. Elder Black and I are working on making some new friends with this new group.
 
     On Saturday I got to go proselyting again, only this time I had a Latino companion who didn't speak a lick of English, and the members that came with us knew even less English than he did if that's possible. It was rough. I had no idea what he was saying most of the time because he talked super fast and he mumbled. We still became buddies though. His name is Elder Cordova. Anyways, Proselyting kinda sucked this time. Pretty much everyone we taught (mostly less active members) just made fun of me for not being able to speak Spanish, and in the middle of the lesson my companion would just stop and look at me and want me to say something but I had no idea what they were even talking about. In one house we were teaching an active member and my companion hands me a word of wisdom pamphlet and gestures for me to say something to her but I had no idea why she needed it. After each house I got a little more flustered. My companion could tell and he would just put his arm around me after I apologized to him and say "It's okay" but it was in Spanish so it was more like "esta bien." He was really nice to me the whole time so that helped. He just kept telling me that I needed to practice more. I realized though that it's not all going to be easy. It's hard when I see these beautiful children of God and I want to express to them how much I love this gospel and Jesus Christ and I just can't because I can't speak their language well enough. I know that I'm not going to learn a whole language in a month though. When I have a hard day I just like to think of it as God's way of reminding me that I have a lot more work to do so I'd better work a little harder. I really do have a whole lot more work to do, but I know that God will help me do it.
 
Well that's all for now. I love you all. I pray for you every day. I love the emails I get from you all when you actually send them LOL. The church is true. If you have time read Romans 8. It's one of my favorite chapters of scripture ever. The last like four or five verses are very powerful. Until next week!
 
Love,
Elder Tate
 

 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Do you have anything besides Peruvian food?

     HUMP DAAAYY! As of today (at about 3 AM) I have officially been in Peru for 3 weeks, which means I'm half way done with the CCM! Sweet!
 
     So this week's been pretty cool. The days are kind of blending together, and when you have the exact same routine every single day with no real life investigators there aren't a lot of new things that go on. It's good though. I'm still having an absolute blast.

     Our district was asked to do a musical number on Sunday so they assigned me and Elder Powell to sing. We sang an arrangement of homeward bound that I had brought and Elder Day accompanied us. It was awesome. I'm super grateful that I have Elder Powell in my district. We're always singing something together, and he likes to beat box so he does that a lot while I sing. Without him I'd probably go crazy. He was just called as our new DL and he's going to do a great job. We had a whole knighting ceremony for him and everything. Then a couple days ago I was asked to accompany the sister missionaries this Sunday in sacrament meeting. They're singing Come Thou Fount so I made an arrangement of it yesterday that turned out pretty good. I'm loving all of the opportunities that I'm getting to play music!
 
      Everyone here has had lots of diarrheas this week. There was some bad food or something one day and everyone got it. I only had it for about a day. Elder Black had it for two. Yesterday there was an elder on the toilet for like six hours with it coming out both ends. You could hear him hacking from across the CCM, and he frickin sat next to me at lunch today. Hopefully I don't turn into Elder Firebum/face.
 
    We got to go to the Lima temple today. It's absolutely beautiful. Amazing. It's really small. The endowment rooms only holds about 25 people. They also gave us headphones with the English video soundtrack so we knew what was going on. Every once in a while I would take them off just to see how much I could understand. It wasn't very much haha. It's okay though. I know way more than I came with and it's coming poco a poco. They say that most people are fluent within 2 months after leaving the CCM so I hope that's true.
 
     Well That's about all that happened. My teachers are awesome. Mostly Hermano Velasquez. He always tells us awesome things about his mission that keep us excited to be here. I wrote them all down in my journal so I'll try to send you a couple because they are FREAKING CRAZY!!! Like the kinds of stories you wouldn't believe because they sound like Mormon myths but they came from someone I know and trust. They're legit.
 
     My district is full of a bunch of goofballs. We all are super duper close. They're a bunch of bros.
 
     Anyways, love you all! I pray for you every night! I miss you but Peru is cool too LOL. You're all wonderful. The church is true. Thank you for your prayers. Still loving the food even though it gave me diarrhea and kinda looks like diarrhea sometimes LOL.
 
Love,
Elder Tate

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Um... Excuse me. We're not Mexicans. We're from out of Town...


      I'm pretty sure that Tarzan is a lie. That part where he teaches Jane how to speak gorilla? I'm pretty sure that's all Spanish vowel sounds. A E I O U, but instead it's just U E I O U. Tyson can explain it to you guys if you don't get it.
     My district is the bomb shizzle! Seriously these guys are awesome and hilarious and it's a new adventure every day. Even though we've only known each other for two weeks we already know each other so well because we're pretty much forced to be around each other 24/7. Their names (in companionships) are Elders Powell and Whitlock, Asay (pronounced A.C.) and Bodily, Henderson and Webb, Jeffery and Day, Luster and Steele, and of course Pearce and Black. We call ourselves Cuscotopia because we're all going to Cusco! Crazy stuff. We're the only district that has everyone going to the same place. Our motto is Solo Sonrie, which means only laughing (kind of). Our night teacher Hermano Velasquez came up with it. Our theme song is Come Thou Font because we've heard that song a bunch for some reason. Elder Black and I are still getting along swimmingly.Ilast night a bunch of other Elders and I in my district buzzed our heads. It was a grand old time.
     So our district has two teachers. Hermano Ruiz in the morning, and Hermano Velasquez in the evening. I love them both. They both speak hardly any English, but somehow we still all learn from them. Hermano Velasquez is the coolest guy I've ever met. He's like 24 and he's from Lima. He's actually really tall for a Peruvian. He's like 6 feet tall. Anyways, he helped me out a lot during the first few days. Whenever I would get discouraged or impatient he would always say something super spiritual and uplifting that would make me feel better. He's so encouraging and I love it. And him. Ruiz is cool too. He's just a goofy little Peruvian from Chiclaillo. I think that's how you spell it.
     So crazy story. Here in the CCM we teach a lot of mock investigators. The teachers like have whole characters with background stories and everything and we have to get to know them and stuff. It's super fun. Each one of them has something in their life that we need to find out and help them with.  Anyways, so a couple nights ago Elder Black and I were asked to teach a new investigator on short notice. We asked what to teach and Velasquez just said, I dunno, so we decided to say a quick prayer. We started working on a lesson and we were both leaning towards the plan of salvation, but then Hermano Velasquez told us we only had five minutes. We didn't know how to teach the lesson in Spanish so we just decided to teach the first vision because we had done it before. So we go in and start talking to her and asking her questions and then ask her about her family and she tells us that her "brother" just died of Leukemia and that the Catholic church couldn't answer her question of where he was going and what was there after this life. So at that moment we decided to wing a quick lesson on the plan of salvation. Elder Black drew her a picture and I had her read Alma 28:12 and then we both just testified that we knew that God had a plan for her and that she would see her brother again, etc. It ended up being a way cool lesson and a testimony builder for the both of us that the spirit really is very much involved in our lives and that when we feel a prompting we need to have the faith to follow it. So cool stuff.
     Apparently every Sunday we have to write a talk in Spanish and in sacrament meeting they just randomly call out missionaries from the crowd to speak. Kinda scary. I just thought of that.
     So last Saturday We got to go proselyting. That was the coolest thing. It made me realize that the MTC isn't really you're mission. Well kinda but not really (like Trevor said). They paired all the beginners with advanced missionaries and then split us up into areas and we visited less active members, knocked on doors, and did street contacting. My companion and I were assigned to a pretty poor part of town. Very dirty. People just pee in the street and dump whatever they want. It's gross. It was kinda scary at first but once we got going it was awesome. The people are so friendly and anyone will listen to you. We handed out a bunch of pamphlets. Knocking on doors proved to be kind of hard because literally every single building in Lima has a metal gate around it with some sort of pointy thing on the top. The rich people have electric wires, less rich have metal spikes, and the poor people just poor cement on top of a brick wall and put shards of glass in the cement. It's pretty scary looking. Like haunted house, horror movie stuff. So it was kind of hard to get to the doors to knock on them. And a lot of the places we went were like apartment complexes so the door was like the front door to 12 other houses so no one answered. It was still fun though! We did get a few doors and we talked to a bunch of people on the street. At the less active members home their grandma wouldn't let us leave until we drank a pint of Inca Cola. All those rumors about people getting offended if you don't eat their food are so true it's ridiculous.
     The language is coming poco a poco. I just got to remember not to mix up my hombres with my hombros and hambres, and my ohos with my rohos LOL. Right now I know enough to hold small conversations with the Latinos, to explain about a pamphlet, to bear my testimony, and to pray. We learned how to pray and bear testimony on like our second and third day. Crazy shiz. I'm also to the point where I can understand probably a little more than half of what my teachers are saying, but outside of the CCM I can't really understand much. It'll come though. I've got four more weeks and I definitely know way more than what I came with. There's one elder in our district that is struggling a little with the language and was getting really frustrated with himself and getting kinda depressed. The other night he asked me to give him a blessing. I wasn't really sure why he asked me in particular but I was honored to do it. It was cool to feel the spirit giving me words to say in that blessing. It was a neat experience.
     I've had a few opportunities to play the piano since I've been here. In the CCM they only want us to play hymns, but when we went proselyting and were waiting in a church for our assignments one of our instructors let me play whatever I wanted on the piano. He was loving it and kept asking me to play fast songs and stuff. I told all the missionaries in my district (and a few other missionaries) that I would play at their weddings. I'm pretty sure Elder Powell is going to get married like a month after his mission. Elder Powell and I sing together a lot. He did a bunch of theater and choir and stuff in high school. One day we sang You Raise Me Up while Elder Black and Elder Bodily did an interpretive dance. It was hilarious.
     Well that's all for now. I love you all. Keep me posted with all the junk going on at home! The church is true! I hope Jake knows how lucky Atlanta is! I'm excited for the rest of the crew to get out there! And good luck with the new baby coming up pretty soon! I pray for you all every night. Keep it real. Until next time.
Love,
Elder Tate

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hola from Peru!

     Wow what a crazy week! Please excuse my writing. This keyboard is going to take some getting used to. I'll do my best though!
     Okay, so before I get into answering all your questions that I was totally already planning on writing about anyway, I have a crazygonuts story! So whle I was in the SLC airport security line the guy standing behind me struck up a conversation. He could tell I was a missionary (we kind of stick out) so he asked where I was off to. I told him I was going to Peru, etc. and he told me he had a couple kids on missions, etc. and that he had served a mission in Italy. That's when I said, "Oh cool, my best friend's dad served in Italy," and he was like, "what's his name?" and I'm thinking to myself no way this guy knows Isaac's dad. So I said, Oh you probably wouldn't know him. His name is Rod Willyerd. Then the dude was like "Rod Willyerd? He was my MTC companion!" (insert mind explosion here) I totally met Isaac's dad's MTC companion in the security line at the SLC airport! Whaaaaat! It's crazy what a small world we live in. Everyone here seems to have some sort of connection to someone else. Trevor's seminary student, Elder Day is in my district LOL.
     So I guess that according to mom's very first email that she sent me that you all know that my flights were both delayed. But what you DON'T know is that the first one broke down halfway down the runway... or something like that. We don't really know what happened. It started speeding down the runway and then the pilot slammed on the brakes all quick like and then we sat in the plane for an hour and a half (I took a nap) until they made us get off and reassigned our flights. That made our 5 hour layover in LA a 1 and a half hour layover which was pretty okay. After security I ended up meeting 5 other missionaries in Salt Lake and 2 more in La so there was 8 of us flying to Peru together (duh). Almost all of the Elders I flew with are in my district which is pretty crazy because my district only has 12 Elders. No Hermanas. When we were in LA our flight got delayed a little bit too but they wouldn't tell us why. We all boarded and then they made us get off for like 10 minutes and the let us get back on. It was lame. We arrived to the CCM (Spanish letters for MTC) at about 3 in the morning on Wednesday. They let us sleep in until 7 30 so that was cool I guess. It was weird though because no one really told us what to do. We just showed up and they gave us our room assignments and then we went to bed. No orientation or anything. I didn't meet the CCM Pres. or my companion until the next day. There were 2 other companionships sleeping in my room when I got there. They left a note saying not to turn on the lights or wake them up so I didn't get to unpack or make my bed or anything. I just found a pillow, my extra jammies from my travel bag, brushed my teeth and went to bed. They didn't really tell me much the next morning either. My companion had gotten there at about 2 so he was already asleep when I got there.
     My companion's name is Elder Black, and he is an absolute staunch. I love him to death. He's from Gilbert Arizona. He's pretty much a body builder but he's like 5 feet 8 inches. We get along really well and we both are here to do work. The other Elders in our room are nice too. They're weird but nice. There are only about 150 people here at the CCM so everyone can get a chance to know each other. It's pretty sweet.
     The food here is fantastic. I love and at least sort of recognize almost all of it. Breakfast usually consists of eggs, toast, some sort of weird drink in a mug that changes every day (some of them are yucky but mostly it's not bad) bread with cheese, juice, and cereal in yogurt. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day. It's usually similar to dinner but just with bigger portions. These meals consist of rice (every day without fail), chicken or beef, some sort of dessert like jello, cake, or whatever else they can come up with, veggies, and juice. We get potatoes pretty often too. The juice here is great. It's usually apple, mango (If you're early) cantelope, pineapple or passion fruit. My stomach is doing fine.
     Life in the CCM is a little monotonous but it's good. We pretty much just sit in the classroom all day until we eat. Then we go back to the classroom. We have an hour for exercise from 3 to 4 where we can work out, play soccer, volley ball, ping pong, run, etc. It's a good time and everyone here knows how to have a good time. We have devotionals and stuff pretty often. Yesterday we had Elder Wadell, who I think is an area 70, speak to us and boy oh boy was it good. We do some sort of language study every day (duh) and lots of time for personal and companion study. It's crazy when I look back and realize how much I've already learned in one week. It seems to me that the Peruvian accent is similar to an Argentine accent but a little softer with more of a y sound than a sh sound on a double l. I'm not fluent or anything but I can see that it will come. On the first day we had a four hour crash course in Spanish and I was super frustrated and overwhelmed because they just kind of acted like I was already supposed to know how to conjugate verbs and stuff, but I just tried to remember the blessing Pres.Taylor gave me and how he said I need to be patient. It will come. I just need to remember to be patient and that the language will come in the Lord's time. I've realized that the gift of tongues isn't just being able to all of a sudden speak a language (at least not always'). It's being able to learn the language with the spirit right by your side every step of the way. To be able to learn without other things clogging up your mind, and it's awesome.
     I've been able to leave the CCM twice. Driving here is just like driving in Guatemala. My life flashes before my eyes every time. It's a riot though. I love the city of Lima and I can't wait to see Cusco. Lima is huge! It has 30 districts with 9 million people total. The weather is a lot like the weather in the Guatemala highlands. Lots of clouds with mild rain every day but the temperature isn't too cold. Lot's of the natives have been telling me that Cusco is really cold though....
    Church on Sunday was way cool. Everyone has to bear their testimony in Spanish so I didn't go. All I know how to say so far is a very simple testimony but I'll do it next month! We had a good Sunday school lesson, too, that was in English.
Well that's all for now because my time is running short. I love you all and I'll try to send some pictures next week! I am trying my hardest to be exactly 100 percent obedient. I'm having a blast.
     Please don't worry about me. I hope you are all doing well. I love you all! Yo se que La Iglasia de Jesucristo De los Santos de los Ultimos dias es verdadero.
     Love,
                  Elder Tate.
 P.S. Oh and neither of my teachers speak English so that's fun. Good guys though. I'll tell you more about them another time.

*Another missionary mom posted this of her son on FB and Tate was in it. Happy day!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Happy Landing

We arrived at the airport at 5:00 am to check Tate in for his flight. It was a strange feeling dropping him off at the airport all by himself instead of in Provo where you safely drop them off curbside with hundreds of other missionaries where an "experienced" missionary takes them in to welcome them and show them the ropes. They are never really alone.

At the airport they are pretty much on their own to manage through security, find their plane, handle customs, etc. Luckily, we met two other elders at the airport that were also heading to Lima, so we were a little relieved knowing he wasn't alone and that they would figure it all out together. I didn't like the fact that he was whisked away into the security line and I was only able to give him a quick hug. Maybe it was better that way in the long run, but I had to hold back with all my might to not run through security to give him one last hug!  Tate kept looking back to see if we were still there and waving. He was happy and determined, but I could see a little fear in his face. Two years is a long time to be away from family, friends, facebook, texting, girls, etc. It takes a lot of faith to leave everything you know and everyone you love and go to a strange land to preach the Gospel in a new and unfamiliar language. It takes a HUGE amount of courage.

I found a flight tracker online and followed his flight from LA to Peru until I knew it had safely landed. I think they invented flight tracker apps just for missionary moms!  I had a hard time concentrating and paid for it the next day with the amount of homework I had to do!! Luckily, my professor extended the deadline and I had a couple of extra days to complete it. Tender mercies for sure!

I heard later in the day that his adventure started off with a bang! His flight from Salt Lake to Los Angeles was cancelled. Luckily they had a 6 hour layover in LA, so they had plenty of time to get to their plane headed to Lima. He arrived safely around 1:20 am the next day. I'm sure it was long and exhausting, but he is there at last.

He was allowed 2 minutes to send us an email to let us know that he was still alive and in Peru! Here is his email:

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Hola from the MTC! I only get a couple minutes today. My P day will be next Wednesday. I   will get an hour to write and read your email. This keyboard is weird. Food is great. My companion is the shiz. Love you all.


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I will use this blog to post his emails each week. If you are interested in reading them, just subscribe on the "follow by email" link on the right by inputting your email address and hitting the submit button. You will automatically receive the updates in your email in-box.

Let the adventures begin!!