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