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!

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!

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!

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