Monday, December 9, 2013

Week Eleven: Elder Grow

Hey everyone,
So on Wednesday, a member of the first quorum of the Seventy came. (Sorry non-members, you've got some googling to do.) His name is Elder C. Scott Grow. All of the missionaries in Trujillo and north got to go. I am as north as it gets so my whole zone got to spend the night in Trujillo so that we didn't have to wake up at 4am to get going.

In Trujillo, they have running water, paved roads, and stores that sell things. I want to go to there.

Me with a random street donkey. This picture goes out to my brother CJ whose birthday is this week.

E Grow gave a phenomenal talk. He talked to the missionaries from 9am to 4pm. Then all of the leadership from all of our wards came and we all got to listen from 7 to 9. It was a long day but incredibly great. One of my favorite things that he said was: If we focus on re-activating the less active members on our missions, the Lord will remember the people who we convert and help to keep them active.

Me at a huaca.  That means a giant pile of dirt with cultural significance. It was way cool and we had a sweet view of Cartavio.
Something else that is awesome is that we are teaching a family! Their last name(s) is/are Portales-Atoche. We have been teaching the mom (Carmen), the son (Cristian), and the daughter (Ciobeli).  Yesterday at church, they all showed up. Even the dad who we havent even taught yet. It was so cool to see their whole family there. They are really our focus right now.

We have so many people that are so close to baptism. Get ready to hear about success.

Love you all,

Elder Gonzalez

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week Ten: Making a Branch a Ward

Howdy people,

This was a great week! We taught a ton of lessons and met a ton of new investigators.  E Leavitt has been here since May and he said that we've never had so much success or had so many great investigators so close to baptism.   His last two companions went home right after their time in Cartavio so E Leavitt is just glad to have someone who isn't "trunky" (Ready to pack their trunk and go home).
Me playing basketball with some investigators last Pday

A crazy lady this week told us about a red demon that offered her meat and then summoned a small horse from her mouth.  That inspired E Leavitt and I to start a quote wall; so that is keeping us entertained.
A scorpion that a kid had in a bottle

Our branch is really cool.  They aren't quite a ward because they need more priesthood holders but we have around 100 people in attendance every week.  Right now, they really just don't know how to help us.  I guess that they just never have. But E Leavitt and I are turning them around. We made a ward mission plan, gave talks on missionary work, we are working with the leaders in Ward Council, and we're really just slapping them into shape.
An example of how much sugar cane is in Cartavio 

Today I went to Trujillo for pday.........civilization.  We went to a mall. A mall. They were playing xmas music, I ate Pizza Hut, it was almost America.
Eating Pizza Hut
Spanish update: I understand anyone who is not crazy or a mumbler in about 85% of what they say and I can say whatever I want but maybe not in the best format but its improving quick.

Random thought of a google-less missionary: Why are copy machines so big if my printer can do copies among many other tasks?

Caio for now,

Elder Gonzalez
In front of a Christmas tree

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week Nine: Tales of Julio Gonzalez, Hashtags, and Racism

Hey people who read these,
So Julio Gonzalez is one of our coolest investigators.  We contacted him one of my first days and he said to come back later. That usually means "no" but we always come back to be sure.  When he came back, he invited us in and we had a great lesson. Our net lesson, he had read the pamphlet that we left him. Reading a 10 page pamphlet doesnt seem hard but E Leavitt said that this is only the third person in his whole mission who has actually read it.  We left him a Book of Mormon.  When we came back the third time, he had read the intro, testimonies, and up to 1 Nefi 6. The guy is a champ. When we went to pick him up for church the first time, he was running out of his house buttoning his shirt. We yelled after him, "where are you going?" He turned around and was like, "church..." We waited a moment, stunned. Then we said "...our church?" He was like "yeah...duh." He´s been to church twice and is really great but has some fear to accept a baptism date. Pray for him.

When we meet people that say that they want a lesson, we have a form to put in their names addresses, and notes about them. In the notes section, E Leavitt and I always fill it with hashtags.  We are getting great at hashtagging. Some examples: #pocoapoco, #socksandsandals, #softtalker, #maloshuesos.
Juan Miguel Atoche´s 18th.  Most of his family are members but he isnt

Also, kids here are racist.  Like a weird amount. Its kind of funny and kind of like "where are your parents?" Kids in the street yell things like, "Hello, good afternoon" and then die of laughter.  E Leavitt and I either tell them that we are from Finland and dont speak English or we make fun of them in English and both parties have a good laugh.

Service project: We thought we were going to preach because E Leavitt lost the cell phone and we didnt get the memo so we were in normal clothes.  The service project was scraping three inches of chicken poop of a roof.  I am extremely confident that a decent amount of my lungs are full of chicken poop

Also, I gave a talk in Sacrament last week and then we gave the class in a second hour combined meeting.  My talk was supposed to be 7 mins but I spoke for 15+. Whoops.

Also, I swore that Thanksgiving was this past Thursday. I even convinced E Leavitt to believe me. So now I get two.
I swore that it was Thanksgiving so I was brave and ordered stingray which was way good

Love you all and have a great Thanksgiving if you are reading this from a part of the world where pilgrims came, 

Elder Gonzalez

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week Eight: Ana Maria

I saved the big email for last this week, which in retrospect was dumb.

Dwanna hear a story? Yeah? Ok:
A couple of months ago, Elder Leavitt baptized an old woman named Ana Maria. Since then, she lost her job. She lost her house because she couldn't pay for it.  She can't afford to pay for the medicines that keep her sane. So now, she is nuts and she gets mad about the smallest things.  She calls us her Angelitos because we help her when we can. We find members to give her food and we try to convince her family to help her.

She comes to our house a few times a week and yells until we come downstairs.  Last Monday, she yelled until we came down and then started to complain that her chest hurt (she has breast cancer). She sat down in the restaurant and then wouldn't stand back up and started to fall asleep.  We straight up thought that she was dying.

We ran to one of her family members houses but they refused to help her. Three different households of her family made up lame excuses of why they couldnt help her.  I got snippy and asked one of them, "if she dies, and its your fault, youll be ok with that, really?" And this woman looked me in my eyeballs and nodded.

We went to the hospital but they said that they couldn't take her because there weren't any medics on duty  The firemen helped us by putting her in a firetruck. The rest of the night, we were Peruvian firemen because we got to ride around in a firetruck to try to find a decent human that would take this woman in.  After being rejected by the Police station, we decided that there was nothing to do.

We put our sweaters on her, wrapped her in like three blankets, gave her a blessing, put her on a bench, and went back to bed. She is fine now.  She is still sleeping on the street but she says that a family member in Lima is going to pay to send her there for treatment.

I am so grateful for the fact that the USA has policemen, firefighters, and hospitals that have the ability to help people. And I am also grateful that I have a family that doesn't want to see me die.

I have more that I want to write but that story took it all. So tune in next week for tales of Julio Gonzalez, hashtags, and racism.

Love you all,
Elder George Gonzalez

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week Seven: Investigators

They didn't have a chance to pick up letters or packages last week but I will 100% get them tomorrow. I'm sorry this is so crazy but I'll get the hang of letters soon.

I said that I would tell you about some of the people that we are teaching, so here you go.  These are just a few (We teach from 2:30 to 6 and from 6:30 to 9 everyday.) And remember them because I'll update you.

My chapel 
Michel Sanador: He is twelve and really smart.  He understands everything that we teach him and wants to be baptized but he is a lazy bum and won't come to church. We need to find a way to get him excited about going because other than that, he is a great investigator.

Soledad and Lucia: Single mother and 17 year old daughter respectively.  They are great too. They always give us mangoes and bananas and things because we aren't allowed to accept real food.  They really want to know if the Book of Mormon is true.  They have been reading a lot and last time, we challenged them to really pray and ask if it was true. We are going back tonight, so well see how they progressed.

The Melcado Family: Mauda (mom), Segundo (dad), Abel (son), and Jenny (daughter). When Mauda was 17 she took lessons from the missionaries and wanted to be baptized but her parents wouldn't sign the waiver. Then the missionaries never went back. Right before I got here Elder Leavitt had found her and started teaching her again.  Then we knocked one night and she wasn't home but her husband and kids were and they listened to us.  Segundo is awesome. He is really quiet, asks a lot of questions, and really wants to fully understand. Their schedules are nuts so we have trouble teaching them, but they are a really cool family.
Our room

I don't know what else people want to know so if there is a question that you want me to answer next week, email it to me.

Love you everyone.
Elder Gonzalez

Friday, November 8, 2013

Week Six: In the Field!

I´m alive!!!!
Story time, here we go:

So on Saturday morning, I had to wake up at 2:45 to get ready and leave for the airport at 3:30.

The plane landed in Trujillo around 7. The Mission President and his wife (The Marlers) picked us up in a charter bus and took us to a local chapel to drop off our things. (There are pictures on their blog at

We ate breakfast in the cultural hall and then we each had an interview with President Marler. He is incredibly great. We talked about my family, the gospel, and folk music because he is a fan as well.

Then we all walked to the mission home for lunch.  The mission home is super nice and has a really nice guitar so I played that until I had a blister on my finger.

Then, we walked back to the chapel where all of the trainiers were waiting for us.  One by one, they called out the names of the new missionary and then announced their area and companion.
My companion is......Elder Leavitt (pronounced Leh-vit). I know that I said that like everyone´s first companion is a Latino but Elder Leavitt is a redhead from Utah, haha.
The view from our window

Our area is Cartavio. Cartavio is a small pueblito about an hour north of Trujillo.  Elder Leavitt has been on his mission for seven months and he has spent all seven in Cartavio.  Therefore, he knows like every person and street which is really helpful.  He will be training me in Cartavio until February. After that, he will probably leave and I will stay here with a new companion. It is really weird that I am going to be in one place for that long. We are excited for "Christmas in Cartavio."

Cartavio is a very small dirt town that is centered around two factories.  (See if it is on Google maps). One is a milk factory and the other is a sugar factory.  Everyone in the town works for either the milk factory, the sugar factory, or owns a small shop.  The people are really humble and friendly.  When we are walking from one appointment to another, people often yell "Elderes!" They are all really shocked that there are two gringoes in Cartavio.  Kids especially like to talk to us.

We have a "pensionista" that cooks all three meals a day for us. She owns a small restaurant and we live in a room right above it.  It´s like Wizards of Waverly Place except we are South American missionaries instead of New Yorker wizards.

We have a decent size room with two beds, two desks, and a small bathroom.  When the restaurant is using water, we don´t have any. And even when we do, we don´t have hot water.  We keep two big five gallon buckets in the shower full of water to shower with when we dont have any water.  We are real Cartavians, we are fitting right in.

The temple in progress
After the taxi, bus and then mototaxi that it took to get here, I threw my things in the room and we got to work. We went to the houses of our investigators to apologize for missed appointments and to introduce me.

On Sunday, we went to church and then spent the whole day proselyting. I will write more about my schedule later.

Today is Pday! So Mondays will be when I email. The time will change but it should almost always be Monday. Today, I bought a speaker so that I could listen to music because man I missed that. Then, we took a bus to Chiclin to get lunch with the district leader.  Then as a district we made a cake which is in the oven while I am writing from this internet cafe. And since we are allowed to watch Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks movies, we are watching Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 tonight.

Dont worry about my Spanish because my companion is American. He is fully fluent and I am already expected to teach half of the lesson. Elder Leavitt is fantastic.  He is super obedient, super diligent, and super patient.  I expect to be fluent by the end of my training.

I want to write a lot more about our investigators and the members but I dont have time so expect that to be almost all of the next email.

Tomorrow, we are going to meet with the zone leaders and the have all of my letters :)

I love it here and I love you all there,

Elder Gonzalez
Our room

Week Five: Last Week in the MTC

Hello everyone,
This will be my last email from the MTC because I am leaving very early on Saturday morning.  I have no clue which day will be my Pday in the field so be patient until you hear from me again.  It may be when I arrive or not until my Pday.  Pretty much every rule in the mission is up to the mission president, so once I meet him, Ill be able to tell you all a lot more.

I leave very early on Saturday morning to take a little plane to Trujillo.  Ill stay a night with the mission president and his wife and then I will get my first area and companion.  There is like a 99 percent chance that my companion will be Latino and speak, on a scale of 1 to 10, absolutely no english at all in the world.

This week, I got to go to downtown Lima to the immigration center to work on my visa.  I have no clue of the state of it, but I am still here so thats all cool.

Im sending several pictures so that you can see because it was way cool.  It was colorful, crowded, way clean, and a ton of fun.

Im a little anxious to be thrown into a place where no one will speak English or be able to help me.  But I feel like the amount of time that I have been here was perfect.  I feel comfortable teaching all of the lessons.  I feel like I know how to teach people instead of lessons.  I feel like I know that Gospel a LOT better than I did before.  (I finished the Book of Mormon this week. Now on to The Libro de Mormon!!!). And I feel like my spanish is to the point that I can talk about whatever I will need to talk about slowly and with help from a companion. 

I grew way more attached to the MTC than I thought that I would. Im a little bummed to leave it.  Its gorgeous, everyone is nice, and the food is good.  But it was cool to feel like I could just settle in and be living in South America like it was no biggie.

I cant wait to tell you all about Trujillo.  Expect a big email next week. I love you all.

Elder George González

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week Four: Proselyting

So at the beginning of the week, I was worried that I wouldn't have very many things to talk about because I am sort of starting to fall into a routine in the MTC.  But no problem, I have a lot now.

First of all, I think that the address that you have been sending letters to (assuming that people are writing me, haha) is for the field and that I will get them when I get there which will be in like a week and a half.  So that is fine to send letters to.  Even if you receive a letter from me from Lima, just respond to the Trujillo address.

Also, there is a big meeting of mission presidents on the day that I was supposed to leave the MTC so I will likely be leaving the Saturday before.  (I believe that is the 2nd).  So I will email from the MTC next week but that may be the last one until I am in the field.
These are some of Elder Grover and my absolute favorite people. In order: Elder Grover, Elder Quilcat, Elder Chavez, Elder Gonzalez

On Saturday, all of the missionaries got on a bus and went to North Lima to proselyte.  What an experience.  They tried to match North Americans up with Latino companions so that they would have the slightest clue what was happening.  When I went to see who my companion was it was.....Elder Grover.

We got assigned to Canto Rey which is a slum in North Lima next to a high security prison (sorry, Mom shouldn't have mentioned that). Since we were both North Americans, the 1st counselor in the local bishopric accompanied us.  We had a list of less active members or people who haven't attended church recently and spend 4 and a half hours walking around to check up on them.

First we visited Hermana Rosa and her family.  They were very nice but mumbled terribly and talked around 3 times faster than any person ever needs to.  I understood a little of what was happening when she told us that she has trouble getting to church because of her health.  I was able to share 1 Nephi 3:7 with her and explain that the Lord only gives us commandments that he will help us to keep.  It was a really spiritual experience to be able to communicate with her.

This was our room until this morning, when the Latinos left: Elder Dart, Elder Gonzalez, Elder Grover, Elder Arias, Elder Quispe, Elder Larson. Elder Larson is too big and his muscles scare me.
Next we visited Hermano Jorge Garcia.   He is eighteen and wants to serve a mission but has a lot of family issues.  We taught about the pure love of Christ.  The counselor in the bishopric guided the conversation but Elder Grover and I were able to bear our testimonies, pray, etc and were understood well.

Finally we taught Hermano Vladimir who was extremely friendly and has a dog named Lucifer. (He calls her Lucy.) He served a mission but has trouble making it to church.  We didn't have a lot of time with him but we said a prayer for him and committed him to come to church the next day.

The town was really fun to walk around in.  The people are very friendly and will talk to you even if they don't want to.  I don't think that many people hide or pretend not to be home like they do in the US.  All in all, it was a great experience and only one person slammed a door in our faces.

My Spanish is to the point where I can talk about roughly any topic really slowly and with a dictionary in my hand.  I am getting really excited for Trujillo because all of the teachers and Peruvians say that it is gorgeous.

Family, friends, kith, kin, I would like to introduce you to my new favorite pants.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week Three: The District

We got new computers! They are like by far the nicest machines that I have ever used.  I feel like I'm in the future. But the keyboards are the same so I guess I'll use apostrophes again in two years.

Our new roommates are cool. Elders Dart and Larson are from Utah.  They are both wrestlers and a scary amount of buff so that's cool.  The two Latinos are Elder Arias from Argentina and Elder Quispes from Bolivia.  They are extremely nice and a lot calmer than the last ones were, haha.  I really like playing futbol with Elder Quispes.

There is a lot of cool stuff to buy in the stores by the temple.  I bought a couple of llama ties, a Peru jersey, a Libro de Mormon case, and some off brand TOMS.  I also got Spanish scriptures and a Spanish hymnal at the temple store.
This is some of the stuff that I have bought in Lima. A scripture case, some Alpaca ties, a coin purse, and a jersey. 

Our district is so much fun.  A district is a group of missionaries that pretty much do everything together in the MTC.  There are 141 missionaries in the Peru MTC but my classes are just the same 13 all day.  Which is fine by me because they are probably my favorite 13 people here.

Elder Couch is our district leader.  He's from California.  He is hilarious, makes extremely great faces, and handles leadership really well.  He has two companions because there are an odd number of people.  Elder Randolph is from Utah and gets along with Elder Grover and I really well.  And Elder Pincock is from Texas.  He has the most ridiculous laugh that I have ever heard in my life (sorry Maria).

Elder Richmond is from Michigan.  I get along with him really well and he is going to BYU when we get home so I imagine that we'll be friends.  His companion is Elder Toomer from Wyoming.  Elder Toomer is always singing Shakira and makes great The Office references.

Elder Taysom is from Arizona.  He is really clever and funny and takes amazing notes from devotionals and other meetings.  His companion is Elder Gardner from Louisiana who literally brought a Duck Dynasty poster with him to hang in his room.

Hermana Wickline is from South Carolina. She is really cool, listens to good music and is going to BYU as well. Her companion is Hermana Abbott from Maryland.  She plays piano and is really funny.

Hermana Dillon is from Idaho and makes some pretty strange faces, haha. Her companion is Hermana Osgood from California who wrote a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel just for fun.

A Latino in the last group taught Elder Gardner the phrase "Vos Papo" which is slang in Honduras for "you're crazy." So, that pretty much became our districts favorite phrase.  We always try to use it in example sentences and our teacher, Hermana Chipena thinks that it is hilarious.
Front Row: Hermana Osgood, Hermana Dillon, Hermana Wickline, Hermana Abbott.  Back row: Elder Taysom, Elder Pincock, Elder Gardner, Elder Grover, Elder Richmond, Elder Gonzalez, Elder Toomer, Elder Randolph, and Elder Couch.

The other day, we were leaving from dinner, and a table of teachers called us over.  One of them told us that President Cardon had heard us saying "Vos Papo"

and was furious because it meant something extremely offensive.  We got really nervous and started to try to explain what we thought it meant (because it was all in Spanish).  She yelled at us for like five minutes before she told us that she was joking.  Hermana Chipena had told her to do that!!!! Hermana Chipena laughed at us for the first 15 minutes of class and still likes to bring it up.  She is such a fun teacher.

All of the teachers are recently returned missionaries so most are mid to late 20s and still remember what it was like to serve really well.

My Spanish is doing really well.  I can feel myself speeding up and I'm starting to work on some more complex aspects like prepositions and things.

I miss everyone a ton but I am having a blast!

 The closer you look, the better it gets.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week Two: The Routine

Okay, so today is weird and they cut my email time into two half-hour segments. So if people could please send me their addresses ASAP, I might be able to write them down in my next chunk and send a letter on Monday. So here is part 1:

So if you want to send me a letter while I am in the MTC, the best way to do so is through "The Pouch" which is a church mail service.  You can just use a US stamp.  Google how to send a letter to missionaries through the pouch and you'll figure it out.  Or if you can't, make sure that you use an international stamp.  Also it takes a couple of weeks, so be patient.

Also, for those who don't know: P-day is Preparation Day.  I get to email, do laundry, get a haircut, exchange money, go to the temple, go shopping, etc. So I email every P-day.  I'll email again on Tue so look forward to that, haha. 

I thought you might want a run-down of my schedule so here you go.

I wake up at 6:30 every morning :(
Then I have to be in a suit and ready by 7 for breakfast
Personal study at 7:45 to read scriptures, plan lessons, etc.  Elder Grover and I decided to try to read the whole Book of Mormon while we are in the MTC and we are already in Alma 9!!!
We have classes with Hermano Granados at 8:30 until 12 which is lunch
Then we have two more hours of study time
At 3 we have an hour of physical activity, in which our entire district (our group of 13 missionaries) plays fútbol with Latinos.  How cool would that be if I just got way good at soccer while I was here?
Then after we shower and stuff, we have classes with Hermana Chipena who is like the funniest coolest teacher in the whole wide mundo!!!
Dinner is at 6 and then we have more classes/ teach fake investigators until 9.
At 9 we plan for the next day.
9:20 we get either fruit or ice cream
And we are supposed to be asleep by 10:30

The schedule is so busy that I hardly get a chance to think but I try to keep a bullet point list of what I want to email about.

Last Tue, we had a Area General Authority from Perú come and speak.  I think that his name was Hermano Colorre? He was phenomenal and talked about how much we sacrificed to be here.  It was really cool because the way he phrased it is that we left our school, friends, family, country, language, food, etc. to follow Christ which is exactly what the disciples did.  It was crazy to think of it like that!

General Conference was awesome of course. We got to watch all of the sessions and it was by far my favorite conference ever! (I'm going to use a lot of Mormon words in my emails so feel free to have Google in your next tab.)

Our district is awesome and I am so glad that I am in the one that I am in.  I'll send pictures of them and write more about them next week.

The Latinos are only here for two weeks so they left Tue morning.  We had two days of emptiness and the cafeteria served pizza and burgers, haha.  This morning, new people arrived so Elder Grover and I have two new roommates.  Two from Utah (their everywhere), one from Argentina, and one from Bolivia.

Anyway, I'm doing great. My Spanish is improving rapidly.  I'm studying a lot and learning how to teach.  Overall, I really like it here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Week One: Settling In

Okay everyone, here we go! 

A few items of business:

-The keyboard is wiggity wack so forgive any errors (there's a cop-out)
-I will write every Tuesday but the time will vary so don't worry if it's late.
-Next Tuesday is a holiday so they aren't letting us have a P-day (because we go to the temple, stores, etc. on P-day) so next week I will be writing on Thursday.
-Do not send any items here. Letters are fine but items will probably take longer than I will be here. No biggie if you already did but wait until I get out into the field. 
-I can't find a slot for my SD card so I am going to send pictures that Elder Grover uploaded from his camera and emailed me. Someday, I'll figure out how to send all of mine.

The MTC (here it is a CCM) is really nice. I think that it is pretty new so it feels really clean and well organized. It is very small. There are three buildings on the grounds around a courtyard. A building for classrooms/ dorm rooms, a cafeteria, and an administration building. There is a f'utbol field to the side. 

Overall, I packed really light. Most people have three suitcases. But I seem to have everything I need so I think that I am ok. I guess that I am just a minimalist, haha.

Elder Grover is awesome! We get along really, really well. He is pretty neat, keeps his things straight, and makes sure that we are on time to things which is good. Our personalities just seem to work really well together. 

The Latinos in our room are Elder Villarroel from Argentina, Elder Yamberlo and Elder Avalos from Ecuador, and Elder Pinedo from Per'u. They are only here for two weeks because they don't need to learn the language. They are hilarious but speak not even a single word of English. I have been able to communicate with them really well though. My Spanish is already to the point that if they talk slow and repeat a sentence two or three times, we can talk about almost anything. They are really curious about our lives and ask us a million questions about how things are in the states, how our families are, how we like Per'u, etc. Elder Pinedo from Per'u told us everything about our missions. He says that Trujillo is the best. He says the food is great, the weather is great, and the people are very humble and receptive to the Gospel (this is all in Spanish of course). They also keep joking and telling us that we will eat elephants, rhinos, spiders, children, etc. on our missions. 

The badge that says "Elder Gonzalez" is both a blessing and a curse. Everyone assumes that I should be completely fluent. So I have to explain my entire life situation a lot. But that is good because it makes me practice. 

One weird thing is what people thing when I tell them I am from Seattle. When I introduced myself to a Latino Elder named Elder Sanchez and told him I was from Seattle, he said, "Ahhh, si. Como iCarly." Apparently, that is what we are famous for, haha.

The food is super good. There are a couple things that I haven't liked but for the most part everything is great! They have passion fruit which is a way crazier fruit than I was expecting. You should all Google an image of it. It is what it would be like if frog eggs were delicious, sweet, and not a weird thing to slurp out of a rind.

Something that I wasn't expecting is that the focus is about ten times more on the Gospel and missionary work than the language. I guess that should have been obvious but it didn't really click until I got here. It is really cool though that we are learning Spanish for a purpose and with a really specific curriculum. Like lesson one was a street contact; how to introduce yourself as a missionary and start a simple conversation. Lesson two was how to pray in Spanish. So from now on, we have to introduce ourselves in Spanish and pray in Spanish every time. It is a really effective way of learning. I feel like I will be very close to fluent by the end of my time in the CCM.

We are teaching a return missionary who is playing the role of an investigator (someone interested in learning about the church) named Elisa Tejanda. She is great and really fun to teach. We taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel yesterday and it went really well so we set another appointment for tonight. 

P-day has been really interesting. We took a bud to the Lima Temple today which was great. The temple is really small but really beautiful. It was really neat to go through a new one. I am really excited to go to the one that will be done soon when I get to Trujillo. After the temple, we went to a store to buy a few things including Inca Kola which I am a big fan of. We did all of our laundry. We wrote a few letters. We swept our room. We switched our sheets and towels. It is our day where we can wear T-shirts and jeans but it feels crazier than the rest of them, haha.

Well that is as much as I can write right now because I only have an hour but I'll write more next Thursday! I love you all.

Elder Gonzalez

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day One: Arriving at the MTC

I only have ten minutes today so I'm going to be as brief as possible.
We got into Lima around eleven last night and had to wait for a while for everyone. Then we had a 45 minute drive to the MTC. So by the time I got to sleep, it was 1am. In Atlanta, I met up with around 40 other English speaking missionaries that were also going to the MTC. It's a great group. My companion is Elder Grover from Utah. He's great and we've been getting along really well. There are 4 other missionaries in our dorm that speak no English at all so communicating is a challenge but they are very nice.
I don't know how old the MTC is but it is mad clean so I expect that it isn't very old. 
Today we have a ton of things to do, books to get and teachers to meet. I just got my badge so I am feeling really official. 
I will send pictures when I get a chance but I can't figure out how to get the card in the computer.
I promise I will write more when I get more time. I'm sure it stinks that this was so short. 
I love you all,
Elder Gonzalez

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

T Minus 20 Hours

Hey friends and family,

     Tomorrow morning, I am flying to Peru to serve a mission for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will be in Lima for about six weeks at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) to study both Spanish and how to best teach the gospel. Then I will go to Trujillo to begin doing so.

     Once a week, when I get an opportunity to send an email or letter home, my sister will post a portion of it here so that you all can keep updated on what I am up to.

     I would also love to write you personally so feel free to send a letter to:

Elder George Arthur Gonzalez Jr.
Perú Trujillo Mission
Avenida Larco 849, Piso 3
Urb. La Merced
Trujillo, La Libertad

     (This is my physical address until I get my first assignment in the mission field so make sure you stay current.)

     Or if you would prefer to email, you can reach me at

     I can't wait to hear from all of you.

-Elder George González

Postscript: Yes, the background of this blog is from The Emperor's New Groove.