Called to Serve in the Peru Piura Mission

Monday, November 24, 2014

Life is Like a Day at the Beach . . .


Que tal :)

Sounds like you guys had a great weak! Doesn’t sound like much has changed back in Alpine!

This week was great here in the desert of the world. I don’t think there are any trees here.  If I see anything green, I’m happy. I miss the mountains and the trees in Alpine. We sure are blessed. PLEASE SEND ME PICS OF THE SNOW.

Last week we went to this beach called Capullanas. It was BEAUTIFUL and we had so much fun. We repelled down rocks, such an adrenaline rush. I needed that! We also got to see some flamingos on the beach - not something you see every day.

Last Monday, we also got to help the Peña family set up their Christmas tree. It looks horrible.. but hey we had a good time doing it. :) They’ve been like a family to me since I’ve been here!
On Tuesday, Elder Martinez was sick so we didn’t go out until the evening. Sooo I studied. A lot. From 8 am until 6 pm. It was a long day... :)  While we were out, this lady tried to convince us that Jesus was black. haha we weren’t buying it....

On Thursday, we went to Piura again. We had the same schedule as last time. We slept in the zone leaders room again... 4 people on 2 mattresses . . .  another LONG night. We woke up at 3:30, ect. The meeting was great, it was only for the "newbies". We basically just talked about obedience and the life of a missionary. 6 and a half hours long!!! from 8 30 until 3. Coming back we were starving so we got some food.... off the street. NEVER. AGAIN. 

Which brings me to the next section of the crazy food of the week dadadadadda COW HEART! We also ate mackeral (fish with face again) and sardines. 

When we got back to our pench, we realized it was darker than usual. haha We didn’t have any power in the city. It was great! It made the sunset and the stars SOO pretty. I felt like I was in the back of my truck up AF canyon again!

Before we went to our room, we went to our pensionistas house, and Hermana Veto was ever so kind to make us dinner. A candle light dinner. Haha!  It was great besides I felt like I was on a freakin date with my companion but we enjoyed it. 

We didn’t have any power in our room so it was pitch black so we put on some church music and it was actually pretty cool, I felt the spirit really strong. 

When we got to our room, we also realized we didn’t have any water.  We thought that was pretty funny.... it’s not........ I never thought not having water would be that bad. I’m surprised with how much water that I use, and how much I take it for granted. Humbled.  So it gets worse, keep in mind that I haven’t "washed" in 2 days because we´ve been in Piura so I was a little disappointed about that. We figured the water would turn on in the morning... it didn’t... we kept hoping.. but it didn’t. Luckily, we got some water on Sunday morning before church. But I’ll tell ya, not washing yourself for 4 or 5 days is a LONG time! I’ve never been more dirty, sweaty, sticky in my entire life. And our room smelled HORRIBLE because we didn’t have water and we couldn’t flush the toilet. I guess I’ll just let your mind imagine the smell after 4 or 5 days of 2 boys that got sick from a cow heart. 
Our power and water finally turned on Sunday morning, thankfully and we haven’t had any problems today either.

Sunday was a alright. Not a ton of people came to church.. only 2 investigators. I think we had 37 people so we’re hoping for next week. 

We also got to teach a lesson on Sunday to the Dioses family. ON THE BEACH! It was soo amazing... we were just kickin back, enjoyin the sand, the sound of the waves, and the SPIRIT!  They’re progressing great, we invited them to pray to God to know if this work was true... to be continued....

We´re teaching a ton of people. Less actives and investigators. We’re working SUPER hard every day. Blanca and Alonso are still on for their baptism on December 6th. They have their interviews this Friday so stay tuned. 

I’m getting somewhat use to the culture here, but it’s tough. I’ve been here for a month and I still feel culture shocked.  The food is.... well its food - just rice and bread. My favorite thing is a fried banana! ahh it’s so amazing. And of course, onions :)

Mi castellano es mejor cada dia. estoy trabajando super duro siempre y he aprendido mucho en esas cinco semana pasadas. Eentonces, les extraño. siempre estoy orando para ustedes. espero que ustedes tienen una buena semana! 
love you, miss you! 

- Elder Harris IV

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bowling, Crazy Food & Church


What’s been happenin! haha 

Ahhh Mommmm... I love you so much. Thank you for sending me the stuff.  I don’t need a ton... just peanut butter. I’m not kidding, it’s like the holy water down here. People go absolutely nuts over it. The members and the missionaries. haha   Funny story - this family found out I had some... so they asked me if they could have some... of course I said yes, but.. I didn’t know how to transport it to their house so their son came over to our apartment and we couldn’t think of anything so we just threw some spoonfuls in a grocery bag hahaha

On typical day we get up at 6:30 and work out. Then shower in the arctic water and eat breakfast. I usually start studying about 7:45 until 11. It seems like a long time but it’s really not much. At 11 we leave the apartment and work until 1. Then we have lunch for an hour and at 2 we have language study.  We leave again at 3 to work and get back to apartment about 8:45 or 9. We plan for the next day, eat dinner and finish up about 10. We chill for 30 minutes and go to bed and wake up and do it all over again :) Yes, my ipod works and it’s glorious.  The district meetings are always in Talara, so like 20 minutes away.  Our apartment isn’t much. There’s a little 1 circle stove on the ground. but the problem is that we never have water to use. To get drinking water  we have to walk like half a mile to get it and we just don’t have a lot of time. soooo we just eat bread. THANK YOU FOR OATMEAL MOM! I LOVE YOU.

Hey wow I saw you changed everything in the house! It looks great! Why such a big change? You must be going through a mid life crisis or something. Don’t worry mom it will get better. Just give it some time. :)

This week was awesome. Last week for p day we went to this bowling alley.  It is the oldest in South America. 103 years old. haha It was like throwing a rock down a wood floor and you had to set up the pins by hand. Haha!  It was fun though :) I also cleaned my apartment and it took me 2 hours but I actually feel somewhat clean now. Haha! Before I continue, I better tell you that when I was washing the dishes this week and I cut my thumb open with a knife. I better not send a pic......

Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder Campo from Ecuador. It was awesome except for the fact that in my real area, 2 investigators that we’ve been teaching told us that they know the church is true and they want be baptized! Soo yeah boohyah. December 6th. Save the date! I guess it’s not about me though so I should just be happy for them. All this hard work is really paying off!  haha

On Thursday, their son cooked us dinner. It was great. He literally chopped a chicken right in front of our faces and mixed it with some rice. It was great besides the fact it was still bleeding. Please take me to the hospital when I get home to get my stomach pumped. Thanks.

We also ate masamora this week. It’s black corn in liquid form. Goopy liquid form. It’s weird. It makes my stomach sick. Also the crazy food of the week... drum roll bababa… QUAIL EGGS!!!! Like literal quail eggs.  Like who eats that? And they were fresh too. Like the quail had just dropped them out moments before and I had to eat like 5. 

On Friday night we slept in the zone leaders room cause we went to Piura on Saturday. There were 6 people in a tiny room and 4 of us on 2 tiny mattresses. As you can imagine, it was a long night. We had to get up early (3:15 a.m.) to get to Piura.  We left the room at 4 and walked to the bus station and left Talara at 5. We arrived in Piura about 7:30 AM. It was nice though because I just slept on the bus. Well what I could, it’s hard because its hot and there’s a lot of smelly latinos. It was so nice to see all of my homies though. Beidleman, Haws, Hanvey. ahh GLORIOUS. We started the meeting at 8:30 and Elder Evans of the 70 spoke to us. It was great. He talked about hastening the work, repentance and obedience. It was very long and the meeting didn’t end until 1:30 and keep in mind that I hadn’t eaten ANYTHING.  No breakfast. Nothing. They finally gave us a sandwich around 2. We left Piura the same day and got back around 5:30. 

Yesterday at church, it was amazing. Almost ALL of our investigators and less actives came. And like we have no idea how they all came but dang were we happy. Usually we have about 36 to 38 people come but yesterday, we had 56!!! It was like a big family reunion! Everyone was just so happy to see each other. It was amazing, I wish you could’ve seen it. I just felt happy. Pure happiness. 

I also got to speak in church yesterday. I talked about faith. It was like 10 to 12 minutes long in Spanish and its crazy cause I don’t speak that well and my Spanish was near perfect. I spoke with power, and I truly felt like God was speaking through me. My testimony was strengthened yesterday.  I know that when we do put our trust in God that miracles can happen. I gained a stronger testimony of the power of God and the gift of tongues. It was an answer to my prayers because I was so nervous about it. ahh so crazy.  I wish you guys could’ve heard it - with a translator, of course :)

It’s great being here and I’m having the time of my life but it’s hard, really hard. I’m just trying to push through one day at a time. I’ve truly never been more humbled in my entire life. Sometimes I feel like I just keep getting punched and punched in the face time and time again but I’ve had such an amazing experience coming closer to my Savior because I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve got down on my knees and just said help me.  I can’t do this on my own and every single time, I’ve felt Gods love. I’ve felt him next to me. 

I’m doing great family, and sounds like you guys are too. Thank you for supporting me, it truly means the world to me. 

I love you guys more than anything! Always praying for you!

-Elder Harris IV

Monday, November 10, 2014

Chicken Lungs


Que tal? :) I can’t believe It’s already been 2 months!! Yesterday at church, I was thinking that exactly 2 months ago we were driving to the airport, saying our goodbyes, and I was starting on the adventure of a lifetime. I feel like I’ve been here for 3 years but on the other hand, I feel like I just got here. It’s a good feeling :) 
This week was awesome. I felt like just yesterday was p day. The weeks go by super fast when you’re working hard I guess :) 

How was the birthday?? Tell me more about it! What did you buy yourself? :) The family looks pretty lonely without me and Cody... how is it with only 1 kid at home?  I’m sure you guys are pretty bored....? :)  But sounds like you guys had an awesome week though! PF Changs? I don’t even know what that is...? Have we been there before? American food seems like a foreign concept to me over here. Man I would really love some right about now. Rice does get old......

That’s awesome though for Kenz. I hope she gets better... I’m praying for her every day. But and dad worked in the yard for 6 hours?? To be honest, I’m a little jealous.  But hey, 6 hours is a ton. I’m proud of you guys :) Looks like  you’re not as old as I thought :) nahh I’m sorry. Just a joke. I can’t believe you have the 40s?? And snow?? ahh dang you’re so lucky. It’s hot here, yeah.  Be grateful for that snow :) I always ask all the kids if they’ve ever seen it and they like don’t even know what it is. It’s so funny cause they ask if we have snowball fights and build snowmen. haha man I love it. 
nahh there’s no gatorade here. Just caffine fruit drinks. Guarana. There’s not any stores here.. just little markets that sell bread and soup. haha but yes, there is Coke here and its BOMB. 

It was a great week. Last week for p day we went to the most west point in South America. It’s a lighthouse that comes off the coast. It was about a 4 mile walk on the beach and we saw about 8 lobos del mar. I don’t know what the animal is called in English. Super cool though. To get to the lighthouse you have to climb this big sand mountain and it was awesome.  I felt like I was back home again climbing horsetail or Timp. It’s just more deserty here.  :) Seriously so beautiful at the top though. I wish you guys could’ve seen it. Ocean in every direction you look. But coming back, my black Arvo broke. Kinda sucks. 

This week we calculated the cost of our room per night. 11.5 soles which is about 4 dollars. We have 2 people so for me to live there is 2 dollars a day. Pack your things family, were moving to Peru! 

The interview with president was super chill. He just asked about my family, comp, area. I told him they were great and that was it :) 

We got a ton of new investigators this week. Eva. Haha! It was hilarious. Her daughter was eating this fruit I had never seen before and I asked about it and she asked if I wanted to try it...  I said yes, because it’s polite. She took the half eaten fruit from her daughter, and the spoon she was using.. and GAVE IT TO ME! It was..... good.

We’re teaching the Peña family. Harold is my age and he’s a member but the rest of his family isn’t so were working together to progress his parents and his siblings. They’re super cool and we have so many powerful spiritual experiences with them. His mom said that she wants to be baptized so yeah –WOW! Great news! Also there’s Carlos and Shirley. They came to church this week with their kids and they’re progressing swimmingly :)

Our branch is awesome. It’s mainly run by the Branch Presidency. We have 1 priest (Harold), 2 teachers, and 1 deacon and all of them are sons of the 2nd counselor.  We don’t speak every Sunday . . .  but I am speaking this coming Sunday.  Great. 

Thursday we had a consejo de barrio. I don’t know what it is in English. Like a meeting with everyone? it started at 7:30 but the President didn’t show up till 8 35. Haha! Anndd he was the first one there.  Like it’s ridiculous. 

ALSO . . . the crazy food of the week was............. drum roll please........ dadadadadadadadadadada Chicken lung! Don’t worry, it was deflated :) It was hard... and chewy. 

We’re having a great time. So many spiritual experiences. My testimony seems so much stronger to these people than I ever thought. Every time I speak I can just see them being filled with the spirit. It’s amazing. Also yesterday, I had the opportunity to fast. I fasted for my famiy and for the gift of tongues because it’s hard learning a new language :)  It was HARD. No water, it’s hot outside, walking all day, headache, you name it.  By the 23rd hour I was about dead. But President Gutierrez pulled me aside and just told me that its going get better and that I need to trust the Lord and the language would come. I truly felt like he was an angel in my life.  It was like God was speaking directly to me through him. So cool. Every time it gets hard out here I think of a quote that was shared to me. "The road to salvation leads to the edge of Gethsamane and in the shadow of Calvary".  If we plan to live with our Heavenly Father again, we need to experience some of what Jesus Christ went through for us and that seems to get me going again. 

I know I’m so blessed to be out here and I’m so grateful for all the support at home. Thank you for wanting me to be out here – it’s such a blessing. 

The language is coming though... I have learned so much these past 3 weeks because it’s all I speak with my companion. A lot of the time I just feel lost in conversations. But hey,  it will come. 

Anyways, I’m glad you guys had a great week and I hope you have a better one this week :)  Things are great here so you don’t need to worry about me. Keep me updated on all the things that are happening at home.

les extraño! les amo!

- Elder Harris IV

PS:   I also had the opportunity to play the game "how many Latinos can you fit in a van?" I think we won. 22. And it was like a 45 minute ride. Yeahhhh I’m becoming real close to these Latinos.

PSS: All the teenage boys grow up their pinky fingernail really long. It’s something that has to do with drugs. But anyways, I’m doing it too. I need to fit in somehow :)

PSSS: The water is still freezing and it’s still horrible. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 2 in Piura


I’ll skip a couple of those questions and just put them in with my whole email. I can’t answer them directly :) too much stuff happened. But my bed is fine... its small. haha. I can feel 2 wires run down my back but if you sleep right in between them it’s not too bad. nah we don’t live with the pensionista, she lives about 3 minute walk from our house.. so it’s not too bad.  She’s super dope. She makes us lunch every day and does our laundry. It’s like my own personal mom :) Don’t worry though... she’ll never replace you :)  You Googled it?? Are you in the right place cause I don’t actually live in the city of Talara. I live about 20 minutes outside of the city.. I don’t know in what direction... but yeah its windy here so that makes it a lot cooler. The Elders said that it’s the coolest area in our mission because there’s so much wind so I got hooked up with that. But dang it’s still hot.  And the worst months are still ahead of me!  hahaha Air conditioning? hahahahahaha. yeahhhhh good one... nahh.  The mission president is awesome, such a good guy. It helps that he’s from my area.. but super chevere. 

Our branch isn’t super strong but our president, his counselors, and our relief society president are like the only ones that are good and actually show up. We run a lot of it though. well,.. we try to at least.  My district is cool. There’s only 4 other missionaries - Elder Campo from Ecuador, Elder Hamblin from Arizona, Hermana Meakjfsdñj from Mexico and Hermana Garlick from Texas. She’s tight but this is her last transfer so she’s going home next month.

This week was bombski.  Last week for p day we drove like 20 minutes to this different beach and it was BEAUTIFUL too. There were all these caves and cool rocks to climb on right on the shoreline. There were some killer waves that I wish I could’ve body boarded or surfed. We played soccer on the beach and I got SUNBURNED on my neck. It was horrible the next couple days cause my collar kept rubbing on it but its better now. :)

One of the members made us rice pudding and it was amazing. It’s like the only thing that somewhat reminds me of the US.  The problem is here, when you eat their food really fast, they think that you want more. So they just keep bringing it, and bringing it, and bringing it and it’s rude to say no. Sooooo you just say yeah sure. It’s horrible, I probably had 5 cups of rice pudding. Note to Braeden; eat slow.  It’s alright though, I’m not gaining much weight because we walk like 8 miles every day and I sweat a lot so I’m burning it off :) 

On Thursday, we had a district meeting and you’ll never guess who showed up... President Rowley! haha and I was the one who had to give the spiritual thought. In Spanish!. yayy. We also have interviews with the president this Wednesday. 

After our meeting, we went on intercambios. I’m sorry I don’t know what the word is in English but it’s like trading companions. So I went with Elder Hamblin up to the high part of Talara. "Talara Alta". It was sooo nice to speak English! We didn’t have much success. In fact, no success. We walked around for 8 hours and no one opened their door or listened. We knocked on this door and no one answered, and we were just about to leave until this man walked up, literally walked right in between us, opened his door, and closed it without saying a thing. We just laughed.. we thought it was pretty funny. Another house we went to, Elder Hamblin was like watch this, they’re going to say that the boy is showering. Haha So we walk up and knocked on the door and the mom answers and before we could even speak, she says sorry... he’s showering. I was trying to hold it in at the door but I couldn’t.  I’m sure that left a great impression.  

HALLOWEEN! Pretty good for you guys huh? All the kids came? But hey, the first holiday away from home! Didn’t feel very different, but I sure was thinking about you guys! We went to this guys house, named Franco and he has 2 little siblings. Santi is 2 and Azul is 1. They’re sooo cute. Anyways.. when we were trying to leave Santi stood in front of the door and just said NO. It was so cute, I took a picture.

Ahhh this is a good story.  So we were teaching this family.. they’re a great family.. bless their hearts. Anyways we finished and they offered us dinner. They were having fish and it sounded like a great idea.. I mean, I love fish! haha  Man I didn’t think they meant a literal fish. I about died…skin, fins, head, face, spine, EYES!  I was counting down the time until I was done. We finished.. eventually and I felt sick after. The fish was called chula and it was big too.. like 8 inches long. 

We’ve had a ton of spiritual experiences the week and even had the opportunity to give 2 blessings and they both were awesome. We have this family that we teach named the Olivares family and the mom was telling us about how her sons have a drinking problem and E Martinez promised her that if they attended church for a month, that they would see a change. I could tell that it was the spirit speaking through him. Such a cool experience. We told her that we would pick her up for church and they were ready to go at 8:35! AMAZING. It’s moments like that, that make all this hard work worth it. 

Elder Martinez and I are getting along soooo well. We’re actually very similar. We have the same sense of humor and you bet we have a dang good time. Always laughing. He LOVES music!  He’s the number 6 DJ in South America!  Like he’s unreal. He got to play with Skrillex. Live. If you don’t know who that is, ask someone. It’s a big deal. Anyways, because of that love for music, he makes EVERYTHING he hears a dubstep or electronic song. Cars... church hymns in our appartment... SNEEZES. ahh man its hilarious.

Church yesterday was great. It’s just so different from our ward at home because people just like walk around during sacrament meeting? Like what?  Sit down. Our church is very antique. The ceiling is woven palm trees. It’s dope. I’ll take a pic this coming week and try and send it.  All the kids love us here.. they always ask for my signature. I feel like a dang celebrity. They call me "chewy". I dont know why... 

The food is either getting a lot better or I’m just getting used to it. I forgot to mention that we eat onions and cucumbers with everything and i love it. It’s seriously like my favorite. It gives the food some flavor.  I’m getting used to the culture here because dang that first week I was definitely in some culture shock. I’m getting used to being dirty :) Just accepting it now. 

My Spanish is coming along well.. I get bettter every day but it’s still hard and I still don’t understand a lot, but it’s better :)   It’s funny, they change their V and B sounds here. ha. 
I love the members in my barrio. They’re amazing.. but always busy. All the people here are fisherman so they aren’t ever home. 

We’re working really hard. Reallyyyyy hard. I’m exhausted every day but I know that this is where I’m supposed to be. I love being out here and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. 

I love and miss you guys... and have a great beginning of November :)

Happy birthday mom, and have fun! I’ll be there in spirit :) 
Talk to you next week!

- Elder Harris IV