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
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.

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!


Elder Tate


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!

Elder Tate