Monday, January 26, 2015

Hola Mama

We call this party central. Although we haven't actually had any parties yet...

This has been a special week. Things are starting to pick up little by little here in Alborada. We have a goal as a zone to contact 12 families per companionship. Elder Rodriguez and I contacted 14. We only actually received like three addresses but it was still cool. We found a couple less active as well as nonmember families that look like they're going to progress. We haven't been able to do a whole lot with them yet, but you'll be hearing more in the coming weeks. We've been working with one investigator who had a baptismal date, but now we have to move it cause he's going out of town for a week. The ward here is awesome. The cool people make up for the ugly city. My biggest problem is that they've been feeding me lots of chuno. I hate chuno. Mucho. I also can't find my way around a big city, so I guess that'll be a skill of mine when I'm done here.

So every Thursday night we have what's called noche misional, or mission night. Basically what it is is people from the ward come and they bring friends that are less actives, investigators, etc. There are talks, games, food, etc. and it's super fun. This week we were planning the noche misional and our young men's leader asked if I could sing and play Be Still My Soul in English. So I did. I was finally able to put that gigantic English hymn book to use. We showed up to the chapel early and I made a quick arrangement before the meeting started. There was a talk and then I played. Before I played I translated the song as best I could into Spanish and then told them that the message of the song is that we all have trials in our life but we need to remember that the Lord is always on our side, even when we are suffering. I told them about how I struggled to learn Spanish and how people, including members and other missionaries, were mean to me about it, but because I suffered I learned so much faster, and now I talk better than the missionaries that were mean to me and have more time in the mission. After a couple other thoughts I played. I have no doubt that there was an Angel playing for me, because I didn't play the arrangement I had made. It was WAY better. After playing I looked up and saw that many in the audience had tears in their eyes. After I played Elder Rodriguez shared a thought with his voice shaking and his eyes wet. It was a very spiritual experience. I only hope that the investigators in the audience felt something like I did that night. It was awesome. Very tender. Elder Rodriguez and I also sang at a missionary farewell party this week. We sang the Army of Helaman song in English and Spanish. It was cool. I love playing the piano.

I also went to another funeral this week. That makes three funerals so far in my mission. I think I'm carrying a Peruvian voodoo curse or something. Elder Rodriguez and I were walking down the street looking for an address one day when someone yelled our name. It ended up being a less active family (for like years and years). The father/grandfather had just passed away the previous week. We went to the grave later that week and I gave a talk and Elder Rodriguez offered a prayer/dedication-type thing. Now we have like three different families to work with within this family, so that's cool.

That's about all for now. Things are well here. I like it. The cold reminds me of Utah only without the snow. Things are going to pick up. I love you all and pray for you continually. Good luck with student teaching mom. Good luck with being pregnant still Hilary. Good luck with piano and basketball Graci. Good luck with the stuff everyone else is doing. There's too many of you. If you want something personal EMAIL ME!

Elder Tate

Monday, January 19, 2015

Changes n' Stuff

Movie quote: Don't be a gooey chocolate chip cookie!

Well this week has been full of adventures. And by adventures I mean super long bus rides. So I found out right after emailing last week that my area, Alborada, is in the department of Puno. I'm in the zone of Juliaca, so basically I'm on the complete other side of the mission. If I'm not mistaken, it looks a little something like this. Eh-hem:

Andahuaylas (this is where I was)

                                                                      Puerto (the jungle)
                                                           A whole bunch of other areas
                                                                                           Juliaca (where I am now)

So yeah. I'm a little far away from my last area. In total it was about 16 hours or so of travel on about three different buses. It sucked but I'm glad to finally get here. When I got to Cusco I stayed over night in the apartment of one of the elders from my MTC district so that was fun. I didn't travel alone either. There were about 15 missionaries traveling to Puno from Cusco so that was nice. And the best part was the bus from Cusco to Puno was actually big enough that I could fit my legs in. That was the first time I wasn't too big for a bus or a car here. It was sublime.

So I left on Wednesday and got here Thursday at around 6 or so. I met my companion and he took me around to meet some people. I'll explain more about my companion later. Anyways, we have two pensionistas here. One for lunch and one for dinner. We make our own breakfast. The lunch pension's name is Roxanna. She's pretty cool. I'm still getting to know her and her family. I don't remember the other pension's name. It's all weird and spanish-like. She's nice too. The food is good, basically exactly the same as in Andahuaylas only more people eat chuño here. And for those who don't remember, chuño is a potato that has become too rotten to eat, but rather than throw it away they stick it in a freezing cold river until it turns white and what they consider edible. It's fantastic! NOT! It really just kinda tastes like bum.

I've also gotten to meet a lot of the members here the past few days. The members here are the bomb. The city of Juliaca is really kind of a hole so the cool people make up for it. It's a couple thousand feet higher than Cusco but I haven't had any problems with that. The members all respect me a lot because I came speaking Spanish. They also think I'm the shiz because I speak a little bit of Quechua. I told Elder Rodriguez (my companion) on Thursday that it was my birthday on Friday and he got super excited and told me we were going to do something awesome. We were at a ward meeting later and he and a couple other leaders called all of the YSAs in the ward and told them that there was a surprise party for Elder Rodriguez's new companion the next day. It was funny. We showed up at the church the next day and all the YSA's were sitting in a room waiting for us. The young men's president walked out of the room with all of their money and went and bought a cake and some juice. Then they sang Happy Birthday and shoved the cake in my face. I pretended to be surprised. Normally the tradition here is they throw eggs (amount of the number you're turning) and flour in your face. I was glad not to have that. It was a fun day.

My new companion's name is Elder Rodriguez. He's from Honduras. I told him that I'd been there and he was super stoked. He and I get along well. He's goofy and fun, so I enjoy that. This is his second change here. He told me that the last change the work was starting to slump because he had a companion that was finishing and didn't want to work and then went home a couple weeks before the change ended so Elder Rodriguez got sent to another zone. He really wants to get things going again though so we're going to to our best. I'm slowly starting to gain the confidence of the members. The past couple days we met with some less actives and a couple old investigators. That's about all we have right now. We're going to have to build this area back up from the ground. We do have one less active couple who aren't married yet but when we went to talk with them on Friday, they said they want to change. This Sunday the husband came to church and had an interview with the Bishop and now we're going to plan their wedding!

Yesterday we had dinner with the Bishop and his wife. They're awesome. The chapel here is huge! I'm still the designated pianist for sacrament meeting which is cool with me. I'm also going to start teaching piano and English here as a contacting method. We'll see how that goes.

Well that's all for now. I'm excited to be here. I miss San Jeronimo, but it's in good hands. The Lord has been with me as I have made this transition. It actually came surprisingly easy. I wasn't that scared to be on my own in a foreign country traveling for 16 hours. The Lord is helping me grow. Peace and blessings. The church is true!

Elder Tate

Monday, January 12, 2015


No funny movie quote this week. I'm running out and super bummed.

Well it looks like I'm shipping out of San Jeronimo tomorrow. I'm going to a place called Alborada. I have no idea where it is other than that it's in Peru. Our changes were all mixed up this week. I got an email that said I would keep working with Elder Niaupari but then on the missionary website it said I'm leaving. I'm upset. I don't want to leave San Jeronimo. I was hoping to stay to see the baptisms that were going to happen this month. Yesterday we had a family tell us they want to be baptized. It's the family of Jasmin's sister. We were stoked. It's okay though. God knows best. I will go where he wants me to go. I suppose God has prepared the people in Alborada for me. My new companion's name is Elder Rodriguez. I don't know him, but I hope he's cool. Elder Niaupari told me he thinks he's from Chile.

This week I talked to my gringo friend again but we didn't really get anywhere. He just argued about the bible and a bunch of garbage research that he'd done that conflicted with what we were trying to teach. I was hoping to continue with him but I guess it will have to be someone else. The biggest event of the week was the family of Jasmin's sister, Lili. Yesterday we stopped by just to see how they were doing and share something short, but they ended up asking all kinds of questions and ended with the question of how they can be baptized in our church. It was incredible. Elder Niaupari will have to send me the picture.

Other than that not a lot really happened. The two sisters that we're teaching are still progressing. One of them has a date for the 24th of January. The same day as Elder Niaupari's dad! As you can all probably tell, I'm super bummed to leave.

Edwardo has attended church both Sundays following his baptism. Jasmin left for Lima to work for a couple months but is going to church there every week. She still wants to serve a mission.

Next week will be a longer letter. I'll tell you all about my new area and my companion, etc. I love you all. Have a good week. Keep up the good work with your student teaching! The Church is true. Sometimes God asks us to do hard things, and all we can do is do what he asks. Every cloud has a silver lining. I'm looking forward to a new sector. Peace

Elder Tate

Monday, January 5, 2015

You Look Really Good in White

That ain't the language they taught me in the MTC!

What a fun week it has been. To start off, yes we did baptize Edwardo on Saturday, but that in and of itself was an adventure. So here's what happened: So a couple days before the service our branch president and the young single adults leader (a girl in our ward who just got back from her mission like a month ago) pulled us into the president's office for a chat. They tell us the the YSS leader wants to "talk to Edwardo without our presence (which they don't have authority to do, by the way)." We asked why cause we were worried that he had done something that we didn't know about but they did or if they knew something else that we didn't. They said no, and that the reason was because they thought Elder Niaupari and I were only baptizing him for the number. I don't know where they got that. It's okay though. We worked it out with them as well as some other weird Peruvian issues they had. THEN, at the service hardly anyone showed up, including Edwardo's family. They didn't really want anything to do with it. The member that was supposed to baptize Edwardo also didn't show up, so Edwardo asked if I would perform the ordinance. I happily obliged, but the problem was I didn't have any other clothes for after the service, and the water was FREEZING because our ward mission leader didn't show up early enough to heat it up, so I was walking around in wet clothes for like an hour after the service. And then it rained so I was walking home in the rain in wet clothes. I got a little sick but I'm good now. Edwardo bore his testimony in church yesterday and it was absolutely wonderful. He will be a strong member. Unfortunately I can't send a picture of the baptism this week because I forgot the thingy to put the USB because I was in the hospital with my Zone leader. He had his appendix removed a couple days ago. FUN.

So I was reading my scriptures the other day in 3rd Nephi where Christ is teaching the people. There it says (a few times) that Jesus prays for the people unto the Father or something like that. Well the cool thing is in Spanish the word in the scriptures is the word ROGAR, which means TO BEG. Jesus literally BEGS for us unto the Father. Cool stuff. It made that story a whole lot cooler for me.

Not really a whole lot else happened this week. New Years was pretty boring. People wear yellow all day and then shoot off fireworks and get drunk at night. 
We have two other investigators with baptismal dates for this week but we're going to move it to next week because we haven't taught a few lessons and we want them to be more prepared. They are two sisters. Their names are Dona and Lucero. Lucero in Spanish means bright star. They are both awesome and are progressing very well. We have changes this next Monday so I'm praying I'll be here to see their baptism. Maybe on my birthday!

As far as the language goes I'm doing fine. I was talking with the Latinos that I live with and asking what I should do to improve and they were only helping me with my accent because they said my grammar is perfect. That made me feel really good. Really from here I just need to learn vocab now, haha. They tell me I speak better than a lot of the other missionaries here. I realized how much I've been blessed here, and that maybe because I suffered a little bit I was given a bigger drive to learn. I'm also working on learning Quechua but I don't have a lot of materials to learn with. I'm going to buy a dictionary today and just translate the Book of Mormon from Quechua to Spanish. We'll see how that goes. I'm very happy though because of all of the blessings that I've received.

The Church is true. I love being here. I love you all and pray for you very much. Until next time!

Un Beso,
Elder Tate