Monday, November 24, 2014

Week Sixty-One: Living in Zion!

So... I think that I am in Zion.

I am in the city of Chimbote. It's a larger city. I pertain to the neighbourhood of El Carmen. El Carmen is cool because it goes up a hill. Half is nicer than Cartavio and Chao (I sit on couches when I teach instead of plastic stools) and the other half is way more ghetto. It is really fun to have the contrast and it is really fun to walk on hills. I missed it.

The ward is incredible. We get between 150 and 190 every week. The members are extremely converted and always introduce us to their friends and references. Example: On my first day here, I was given a slice of tres leches cake on three different occasions. Our ward mission leader takes us around in his pick up Sunday mornings to round up investigators. Being a zone leader, I get to work with the stake president a lot and I am told that he is the best one in the mission.

Being a zone leader is pretty different. Our zone is HUGE and has 11 companionships in it. It's so big that we each have to have a phone to manage it. I do a lot less tracting. My schedule is the same but I OFTEN get calls of things that I have to attend to immediately. Meetings with President (I have to be there), broken showers (I have to fix them), sick missionaries (I have to get them medicine), packages sent from Trujillo (I have to sign for them at the bus stop), weekly indicators (I have to send them in), etc. I thought that that would bug me but the Lord lets you teach the most important people and everyone else just kinda slips away or taken care of by someone else. It is really rewarding and a fun change of pace.

Elder Boekweg is my ideal companion. He is 20 years old and he is a pig farmer from Lincoln Utah (a town of 150 people). That kind of gave him Kurt Cobain disorder and he turned to music. He is a great guitarist and singer but above all a fantastic song writer. I am going to learn a lot from him. He is patient, experienced, exactly obedient, and hilarious. He is going to BYU after the mission as well. He finishes the mission at the end of March with E Leavitt so there is a good chance that I just stay with him here until then which we would both be way down for.

Everyone always tells me that these emails are always way upbeat and I guess that's true. But it's because the Lord has just kept blessing me with great areas, members, companions, and experiences and I'm just super happy.

Hope that everyone has a great week. If you have any questions about Chimbote or about leading zones, shoot 'em on over. Love y'all

Elder Gonzalez

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week Sixty: Moving...

So Im moving....

On Friday night, I got a call from President Marler and he asked me to be one of the zone leaders of the mission. It was a HUGE shock and I was bummed to have left Chao so fast but I was really excited to get the opportunity to do something new but I still didn't know where I was going.

Then, I went to a meeting in the mission home yesterday which was one of the most spiritual meetings of my mission and I was given my assignment. I'm going to be serving in the zone of: Chimbote Perú. It is a really cool part of the mission and I'm going to be in a ward for the first time in my mission where about 150 people attend. That'll be really different for me. I dont know that much yet, I'll tell you next week.

My companion is going to be Elder Boekweg (Bow-kweg). Get this: He is Elder Leavitt's companion from the MTC and was then Elder Leavitt's companion in the office. If you back about a year on the blog, there are a lot of pics of him. He is from Utah (thats 4 out of 5 comps, haha) and he is a great musician. We are already really good friends and I literally don't think that I could have picked a comp in this whole mission that I would have wanted more than E Boekweg.

I am bummed to leave Chao and E Craft but I COULD NOT be more excited about where I am going. I am going to LOVE it. Can't wait to tell you all about it next week.

Also: About the picture, a man wrote that on a pamphlet that we gave him. It says: Mormons don't believe in the word of God. That same man went to prison for having an illegal weapon the very next day. #dontmesswiththemormons.

Love you all,
Elder Gonzalez

Week Fifty-Nine: Random Waterfall

We had a phenomenal week here in Chao.

Last Monday, after I wrote y'all, we got in an old van and drove an hour and a half up a mountain. We then found a random girl up there and payed her to take our whole zone to a waterfall that she knew about. The hike was about an hour and a half as well and my legs got rallied with bug bites but it was really pretty and really fun to hike again. But I still miss the Pacific Northwest.

We taught the Word of Wisdom to Aurelia and it turns out that she had heard a rumor about it so she just started living it because she decided that it must be true. She also instituted family prayer without any prompting from us or anyone else.

A woman who has attended church for 4 years but whose husband has refused to marry her finally got her husband to agree to marry her as soon as someone sends him his birth certificate from the mountains.

Our angelic pensionista Flor gave us 9 referrals to visit.

We had an attendance of 87 people in church (it was 51 when I first got to Chao)

We have been going around teaching the converts of the last year and seeing if the Lord has prepared any of their family members and we found a really cool older sister of a convert. The convert'
s name is Antonella and her 24 year old sister is Marilu. She is keeping her commitments and accepted a baptism date so well see what happens with her.

Elder Craft and I are working hard, excited for Christmas, and pumped to be here.

Love you all,
Elder Gonzalez

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Week Fifty-Eight: My Halloweenery

You Americans go so hard in your Halloweenery. Halloween is just starting to get here to Peru. Trick or treating isn't here yet. Creative costumes aren't here yet. All it is is that most high schools put on a Halloween party and everyone goes wearing the same scream mask, haha.

Since the four missionaries in the Chao branch are Americans, we put on a Halloween movie night where we showed Corpse Bride and made a bunch of popcorn and passed out a bunch of candy. (Hope you're proud, Lillian). We had a lot of people there and everyone loved the movie.

It ended up that Halloween was the first holiday that I was gone for so it is the first one that I have already spent two in Peru of. So see you all next Halloween.

We had a pretty good week this week. One of our very coolest investigators made it to church for the first time and stayed for all three hours. She is the BEST. We gave her a Book of Mormon and the very next day, she had already covered it in that plastic stuff. Her name is Aurelia and she is pretty great!

Love you all!

Elder Gonzalez