Monday, April 28, 2014

Week Thirty-One: Baptism 2.0

You may have noticed that I don't necessarily talk about the people that I teach a whole lot. I want to but the people that I focus on change every week and I feel like I just can't do them justice over email. However, I think that some of the very first people that I told you about are a mother and daughter named Soledad and Lucia. It should be around Week 10 or so.

E Leavitt contacted them in early June of 2013. He never stopped teaching them and since I met them, my second day in Cartavio, I haven't either.  They are both really great. They have been through a bunch of family problems and hardships but have really good attitudes and a great sense of humor. We have tried a hundred things to help them to get baptized but a hundred trials have gotten in our way. The biggest one was that Soledad was and is still having a really tough time giving up drinking.

One day about a month ago, E Flores and I decided that Lucia was ready to get baptized with or without her mom on the 19th of April. She really hesitantly said that she would pray about it and that we could work toward it and that if the day came, and she felt ready then, ok. 

We visited her a ton this last month but when her baptismal interview came around, her teacher made her stay late in Trujillo for an extra class and she missed it. I was super bummed because I'd been praying like nuts but we extended the baptismal date a week. Last Saturday, she passed her interview and we baptized her this Saturday.

Her 17th birthday was yesterday so without telling anyone, I arranged for a member to buy cake and soda for afterwards and also without telling anyone, I invited E Leavitt.

It was a crazy spiritual experience (everyone was crying) and I learned a lot about the Lords timing. In the last six months, there have been a ton of moments where I was frustrated with her because I thought that I knew that she was ready. But I cant imagine any better timing than what actually ended up happening. It all worked out way better than if I would have been in charge.

E Boekweg, E Gonzalez, Lucia Borgoño Roncal, E Leavitt, E Flores

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week Thirty: Museo Cao

A couple of Marinera dancers from the talent show
Last monday, after I emailed yall, we went to a really cool museum called the Museo Cao. Its the remnants of a really ancient civilization that lived here in the Chicama valley. They found all kinds of really cool stuff like walls with detailed paintings that still have color, a temple, and even the mummy of their queen, "Le Señora de Cao."
Me in front of a really old wall. Like really old.

For those of you who arent familiar with the Book of Mormon, it takes place in South America between 600 BC and 421 AD. As we were going through this museum, the woman kept mentioning things or phrases that are found in the Book of Mormon. She would say, "this line here represents the veil between this earthly life and what the ancient people of Cao called the 'Celestial Kingdom,'" or, "This mural is based around a tree that was referred to as the 'tree of life.'" Since we are all missionaries, we were all mormon geeking out and the guide had no clue why.
The site where Jabba the Hutt tried to throw Luke Skywalker into the Sarlacc pit. Just kidding.

Yesterday was changes night. Turns out that I am staying here at least another change. The next changes night is June 1st. I really really really wanted to stay here at least one more change. Im never going to want to leave Cartavio but in the last week or so we have had more success than Ive ever had. Im so excited to be able to see through some of the work that I have been doing these last six months here.

I hope that everyone had a great Easter. Love you all,
Elder Gonzalez
Me being worshiped like I should be

Week Twenty-Nine: Talent Show

I do not have very much internet time left so if I send half of an email...whoops.

We have been planning a huge talent show for about a month and it finally happened this Friday. Some of the acts are as follows:
-Two 6 year olds dancing the marinera (a traditional Peruvian dance)
-Three 9 year old boys dancing to Gangnam style. At least we understand the "hey, sexy ladies" part. They don't understand anything
-A sketch from a professional acting studio that we invited about gangsters that was hilarious
-Me and a teenager from the ward singing and playing "Soul to Squeeze" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
-The Elders quorum did a re-enactment of the story of Korihor
-A mother and son dancing and lip synching to a duet by Marc Antony and J-Lo

It was a rip roaring good time and our attendence in church yesterday jumped from the normal 80 to 101. The activities and things we do in our church are great opportunities to invite friends and show that Mormons know how to party.

Peruvian computers are silly and it won't read my camera so pictures next week, yeah? Ok.

Love you all,
Elder Gonzalez

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week Twenty-Eight: Safety and Anecdotes

Hey errybody,

You can all get up off of your knees and unpack the canned food and flashlights that you were going to send me; everything is fine. The earthquake mostly hit Chile and the tsunami hit Lima. I didnt feel a thing up here in the Great Wild North and didnt even know what happened for a couple of days. Thanks a ton for all of the thoughts and prayers. You are all the best.

Heroes in a half-shell: scripture power! (Raise your Book of Mormon in the air)

This week went by super quickly and not a lot of interesting stuff happened so Ill just share a couple of funny anecdotes:

1. We started talking to this man and he told us that he was a member of our church. We asked him if other people in his family are members and he said that everyone in his family were members. After walking with him for five minutes to where he said that his house was, we just found a long dirt road. We asked him where he lived and he told us about 20 minutes down the road. Then he says, "Hey, what church are you guys from?"

2. An investigator the other day literally looked me in my eyeballs and told me, "Your little lessons dont interest me. What does interest me is the Old Testament. I bought a new Bible and I want you to come over everynight and we can read it together from cover to cover and you can prove to me that it is bad to cheat on your wife." Sir, I dont need a Bible to explain that its bad to cheat on your wife.

Stgo. de Cao: Lazy fisherman town or post-apocalyptic war zone? 

Love you all and wish you a great week,
Elder Gonzalez

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Week Twenty-Seven:Santiago de Cao

Hidey hoe Ranger Joe,

This week, I thought that I would tell you about Santiago de Cao. Stgo de Cao is an annex of Cartavio that we are technically in charge of.  It is a little fisherman town off of the beach. Everyone is either a fisherman or works in the nearby paper factory. There is this weird radio tower in the middle of the city that plays weird 50s music out loud and since all of the men are working, the women are cooking, and there is aboslutely nothing fun for the niños, the streets are empty. Its kind of like the way the world is in zombie video games.

Around ten years ago, there were two missionaries there. They had no success for four months and then they finally baptized a woman who named Francesca "Panchita" Charcape. Panchita is, by far, the most popular person in Stgo de Cao. A little later, her whole family got baptized, and then some friends, and pretty soon there was a little group of 20 members meeting in Panchitas house every Sunday. Eventually, the church told them that they need to attend in Cartavio until they get a few more members so that we can build a church in Stgo de Cao.

That day, everyone went inactive except Panchita and her family. Long story short: There is no reason why they cant attend in Cartavio. It is a ten minute ride and it costs 1 sol (around 30 cents). Everyone just whines and makes up excuses.  Weve been trying to help by holding activites there every Tuesday for 3 weeks but so far, no one has come except for Panchita. For those of you who know me pretty well, you know how much I like it when people dont show up to things that they said that they would show up to.

So thats a struggle. On the other hand, we had a TON of success on the mainland this week (Cartavio). We taught 13 new people and the members of the ward introduced us to 11 people to visit.

I took a pic of me in Stgo de Cao to attach but left my camera in Cartavio. Dope de doh. Ill attach it next week.

Catch you on the flippity flop,
Elder Gonzalez