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!

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!

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!
Tate and Pres. & Sis. Harbertson the day he arrived in Cusco
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!
Elder Tate