Friday, August 28, 2015

Week Ninety-Nine: Last Forever

Wow! If every week of my mission was a bottle of root beer on the wall, we would have drinken them all by now!

This week was a roller coaster to say the least. Elder Thorpe and I have been working REALLY hard to pull off a group wedding and a big ole baptism. Those efforts have included a lot of lessons, a lot of phone calls, and a lot of problems and miracles. Just to give you an idea, we had to send missionaries to Aija, Ancash and Namora, Cajamarca to get birth certificates out of a small Catholic church (feel free to Google maps those places). It looks like we are going to do it though.

It is weird to be doing the "lasts." They have been a quick two years. They have been amazing, and life changing, and indescribable. It's strange to be ending my service here but I have a lot of stuff to do at home as well. I can't imagine what not serving a mission would have been like. I am so glad for these experiences that I have had. I know that this is the Lord's work and His Church and it has been amazing to be a part of it.

My family will be here Friday. We are going to be here in Moche through Sunday. Monday, we are going to Cartavio. Tuesday, we are going to eat lunch with the Marlers and going to the temple. Wednesday we are going to Chimbote and Thursday, we are going to Chao and then headed home by 10:30pm

Once again, you are all more than invited to my homecoming talk on Sunday Aug 30th at 1pm and to my house afterward. I can't wait to see you all soon!!!!!

Elder González

Ninety-Eight: Buster's Back

Well, after this one there are only two more of these. Weird right?

This week was a great one. Elder Thorpe and I gave my last zone training which was bitter sweet because that is one of my favorite responsibilities. We talked about how to better invite the Spirit to our lessons and how to really "teach" instead of just "informing." To help that point hit home, Elder Thorpe and I did an example where we contrasted reading Where the Wild Things are out loud to someone and really painting the picture and relating it to someones life. We want them to always remember that the missionary lessons are not informative seminars, but rather spiritual discussions to foster real growth.

Also, can I just say that I love having Elder Meaker as the assistant to President? He called us up on Friday night and said, "What are you doing tomorrow?" "Teaching people like normal," we told him. Then he asked us "Do you want to go to Chao for Herminias baptism?" Of course the answer was yes. We went down to see the baptism of the landlady/food lady that Elder Thorpe and Elder Meaker had when they were in Chao and we got to swing through the place where we ate everyday and visit the Salinas Durán family. It was super neat.



As I was thinking and reflecting about what it will be like to go home in a couple of weeks, I thought about the first episode of the third season of the PBS cartoon, Arthur. It is titled, "Buster's Back." If you can find it on Netflix, I would invite you to watch it and to know that I won't even mind if you all like Kresplain or something else crazy when I get back.



Love you all and hope to see you soon,
Elder González

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Week Ninety-Seven: Preparing to Come Home!

Hey there everyone. It's weird to write you on a Tuesday evening instead of a Monday morning. Are you all still there?

We had a great week full of lots o lots o lots o chores and things to do. Elder Thorpe and I have been as busy as bees with training and baptisms and other tasks. We are working on organizing a mass wedding, planning a big baptismal service, and in a very delicate relationship with our landlady about the fact that our power went out a week ago and nothing has been done.

We had a baptism on Saturday of a really cool lady. Her name is Marta and she was the only person who wasn't a member in her whole family. Her son got back from a mission a few months ago. She has been hearing the missionaries for 4 years. She loves listening to the Elders but since she has a hotel and usually takes the night shift she is always tired and has trouble focusing sometimes. Elder Thorpe and I realized, however, that if we really keep things interesting and ask her questions, she not only understands but actually gets excited. Turns out the secret was just her being awake, haha. It was a neat baptism. Even Elder Meaker came down for it.


ANNOUNCEMENT: I realize that I haven't fully disclosed a lot of information about me coming home. So here is the run down. My family will be here on the 21st of this month. We will go around to all of my old areas and visit a lot of the people that I have come to love here. We will be in the Trujillo airport by 10:30pm on the 27th, the Lima airport by 1:10am on the 28th, and the Seattle airport by 1:30pm on the 28th.

When I step off of the plane I will still be a missionary and living mission rules (which includes not hugging females). Due to that potential awkwardness and the many things that I will have to do that day, I am asking for there to not be a big group at the airport. (Sorry, I know that that is a very idyllic scene).

I have about a million and a half things to do that day and the next like renewing things, fixing things, and buying normal people clothes. So the first opportunity that most people will have to see me will be Sunday, August 30th.

At 1pm on the 30th, I will be giving a talk relating stories and learned lessons in my church. I would love for you to all be there to hear some of the things that I have prepared for that day. At two, when the meeting ends, we can all go back to my house and catch up for a minute. We can all talk and gibber and gabber to our hearts contents. It'll be kind of a party/reunion/gathering.

So now you are all caught up on my return, haha. Like I said, it's weird and it brings a lot of mixed emotions and although there are about a million things that I will miss to death about Perú and about being a missionary, I'm pretty excited to see you all as well.

Well, see you later.
Elder González

Week Ninety-Six: Independence Day

Before I forget: next week we are going to the temple to do an endowment session for Pday but since the temple isn't open on Monday, we will have pday on Tuesday. So I will be writing Tuesday the 4th instead of Monday the 3rd.


So last week, I said that I was going to get a tour of the inside of the lighthouse. Not quite. The guy didn't have time to walk all the way up there with us so instead, he gave us a tour of the port. He showed us all of the ships and machinery. Apparently, like thousands of tons of sugar are exported from that port every year. It was pretty neat. It made me kind of want to get a job down at the docks in Seattle. Not one of those jobs where you have to be really strong and lift cargo. Maybe one of those jobs where you just clean the poopdeck or something.


Tomorrow is Peruvian independence day. What does that entail you may ask? Fireworks, alcohol, and a lot of marching bands. It'll be interesting. Elder Thorpe and I celebrated last night by flying our Peruvian flag, eating a Peruvian cake that we bought a couple of days before, and cooking the only thing that makes us think of independence: hot dogs.


We have a baptism this week! Her name is Marta. I'll tell more about her next week when I send the pictures and stuff but she is really neat.

Well, I love you all a bunch. Have a great fiestas patrias!
Elder González


Monday, July 20, 2015

Week Ninety-Five: Beautiful Scenery

So last week, Elder Thorpe and I controlled all of the transfers from our cell phones and spent the P-day with the elders from Salaverry. Salaverry is a really cool area in our zone that has a really neat character to it. It can only be described as a "bustling sea port village" full of driftwood and broken boats. We climbed a big dirt hill to take pictures with the lighthouse that is up there on the hill.


Then this week, two of the sisters from the zone met the owner and got us the hookup to go get a tour today of the inside of the lighthouse. So that's what I'll be doing today.


There really isn't a lot that I can write about this week that would either be interesting or make sense but let's just say that it was a good one. And that there are some good ones to come.


Elder González




Week Ninety-Four: Ancient Perú

Howdy campers,

Last p-day, we went to La Huaca del Sol y de la Luna. It is a very old Mochica temple from about 100 years after Christ. We talked to the director and she got us tickets for half price for the zone. We saw all of the ancient ruins and got a pretty good tour. All of the murals and colors are original. The area that I'm in (Moche) has been populated for like ever. It has a very old and interesting culture that I would like to get to know more about later.



Last night was my last night of transfers. So it is official: I am finishing my mission here with Elder Thorpe. Could not be more excited about that. I'm going to get to see a lot of the people who we are teaching progress. We sent a lot of missionaries to Huaraz (the new part of our mission). It sounds really pretty.



Not a ton of other stuff to say. Today and tomorrow will be crazy trying to get everyone to where they need to be when they need to be there. Also, an area in our zone got shut down so we will probably have to clean it out and paint it and stuff.


Hope that you all have a great week!

Week Ninety-Three: Investigators and Mission President

So I am now writing to you from the Perú Trujillo South Mission. So that's different.

On Friday, we had our leadership council which was the first time that I got to meet Pres. Rios and his wife. They seem super great. They are really excited about this call. They have two daughters. Ani is 17 and speaks like 5 languages and another daughter whose name I forget and who is 6 years old. It's pretty different that they are still parents but it's also cool. It's like being a part of their family. I won't be with them for very long but I feel like they are going to do really good things for this mission and for the people who I have loved and will leave here.


At the council, we had the privilege of being able to go to the temple to do an endowment session. I hadn't been to the temple in over a year and a half and I've learned so many things since then that it was a really special experience.

For the fourth of July, Elder Thorpe and I celebrated by eating hot dogs with chips and Kool-Aid for lunch and soup and sandwiches with a vanilla coke for dinner. Was it easy to find all of those ingredients? No. Was it worth it? Yes.

We are having a TON of success recently. Elder Thorpe and I seem to be teaching the best people in the whole world. Here are the bios of a few of them.

José and Vilma: The parents of a girl who left on a mission about 5 months ago. They aren't members and didn't like the church. However, when their daughter, Yersi, left, they had a lot of questions and came to church. They haven't missed church in like 8 consecutive weeks and this week are going to travel to the jungle to get her birth certificate so that they can be married and baptized here soon.

Daniel: A really nice man with a pretty bad case of OCD that stops him from working or living alone. He reads his Book of Mormon and loves it. His biggest problem has been attending church because he really has trouble being in large groups of people and over 200 people attend the Moche ward but we had a big breakthrough this week and he made it to church yesterday and loved it. He did so well.

The Lescano family: A family that has been sealed in the temple but due to a few problems has been inactive for a couple of years. We have been working with them a ton. They introduced us to a really good family friend of theirs named Geovani and so we have been teaching them all together. We had a family home evening with them this week and all of them made it to church yesterday including Geovani. Everyone in the ward ran up and hugged them. Even the bishop came down from the stand to shake their hand. I think that they felt really welcomed.

All of those people made it to church this Sunday and all were there because they really wanted the blessings. They are all trying so hard to come unto Christ. It's something really neat to see.

I don't know if anyone is going to send me any letters or anything but if you think that they can make it in time, my new address is:

Elder George González
Misión Perú Trujillo Sur
Urb. California Calle Los Tilos #440
Trujillo, La Libertad
Perú

Well that is the most that I have written in a long time. Hope I didn't bore you all. Love you all a ton and hope that you have a great week.

Elder González



Week Ninety-Two: Mission Perú Trujillo South

Well, this Wednesday, the mission Perú Trujillo becomes the mission Perú Trujillo North and the mission Perú Trujillo South. President Marler is going to stick with the north and President Rios will be our new mission president. President Rios is from Chiclayo Perú. I'll be able to tell you more about him when he gets here this week and I meet him. Right now he is in Utah at the MTC taking English classes and receiving training from the prophets and apostles.


The only really big thing that happened this week was our goodbye with President Marler. We had a meeting where we talked about the history of this mission and why it's being split. Then President and Sister Marler gave us all some last advice and then took us all out to eat chicken. It was a really neat goodbye. Everyone is going to miss them a ton and it will be hard to adapt but we are all excited to meet President Rios.

I'm sure that I'll have a lot to inform next week but until then, have a great week!

Elder Gonzalez


Week Ninety-One: The Pinnacle of My Mission

I feel completely inadequate trying to describe the temple dedication over email. It's like trying to describe a live stunt over AM radio.




On Saturday, there was a cultural celebration. The youth of the north of Perú have been working on this for over six months. The format that they gave it was so cool. They had a kid sitting and reading the Book of Mormon and wondering if it was really the stories of his ancestors. Then, several ancient Peruvian royalties from the time period of the Book of Mormon (the Mochica, the Señora de Cao, etc.) presented themselves and explained their cultures. During their presentations, youth from different stakes all over the temple district performed traditional Peruvian dances from that culture. Then at the end, they connected it to the temple and all of the descendants of the Lamanites that will be able to receive saving ordinances. It was so well executed. I am in love with ancient Perú.

The actual dedication was in three sessions and was broadcast to all stake centers all over the country. The stake centers were transformed into extensions of the temple needing a recommend to enter. Each session contained some similar aspects but had different speakers. President Uchtdorf came accompanied by Elder Bednar of the 12 and Elder Teh of the 70. The area presidency was there (President Uceda, Elder Wadell, and Elder Godoy). All spoke as well as the new temple presidency and their wives. It was absolutely life changing and ultimately the pinnacle of my mission. Everything that I have done in the last 20 plus months has been to help families arrive at that dedicated temple and be sealed.

I was very surprised when one of my converts from Chao, Geheydi, arrived at the stake center that I was at instead of her home stake center. What a special experience to watch the dedication seated next to one of my converts. Geheydi understands very well the power of the temple and I hope that yesterday changed her life and cleared her vision.


I also saw Elder Leavitt and his family, Elder Boekweg, and Elder Meaker in the stake center. It was a joyous day full of the Spirit, old friends, and great memories.

Info on Elder Thorpe: He is 19 years old, six feet and four inches, and from Lehi, Utah. He got to the mission when Elder Craft did roughly a year ago. He is humble, hilarious, and fun to talk to. We are doing great.

I love you all a ton and cant wait to see you all soon.

Elder González

Week Ninety: Alternative Light Fixtures, Home Grown Fig Plants, and Slack-Lining

Sorry that I am emailing so much later than normal. A missionary with a soy allergy ate a bunch of pancakes, swelled up, turned red, and was having trouble breathing, so I was in the hospital all day (he's fine now).


So last night was the change call. Actually, we didn't get it until this morning. President Marler actually called us personally with the changes because Elder Meaker has been called as the first assistant of Mission Perú Trujillo South. He is excited, scared, and the best choice that Pres. Rios could have. I am staying here to finish my mission with Elder Thorpe. He is going to be a new zone leader. He was companions with Elder Meaker for two weeks and a great guy. Super tall, super blonde, super righteous. I'm super excited!


So I guess that these are the last Seattle inspired pictures. But they are good ones:
I Alternative light fixture
II Home grown fig plant
III Slack-lining



Have a great week everyone. I'm planning on having a stellar one here with Elder Thorpe!

Love you guys!
Elder González

Week Eighty-Nine: Mexican Corn and Hammocks

Hello.

I kind of mis-managed my internet time and am therefore left with very little.


It has been a really great week. Now that the open house has finished up, we were able to teach a lot more lessons. We have really seen a lot of people here with some really strong desires to progress. Sometimes, Moche is a little hard because it has some very strong traditions but we have found a lot of families that we see a ton of potential in.

This is the last week of the change (Elder Meaker could be changed). You'll all be updated on that this next week.


Love you all a ton. Thanks for all of the emails, letters, and prayers.

Elder González

Sunday dinner: Home-made Pad Thai (this is really just getting silly)


Seattle pics: Mexican corn and us in a hammock that we made out of a sheet and some cables.



Week Eighty-Eight: Greek Yogurt and Wind Chimes

The open house is over now. Over the last three weeks, Elder Meaker and I have shuttled over 38 people to the temple. They were all brought into a tent, split into groups, shown a 10 minute video explaining the purpose of temples, and then taken through every room of the temple. At the end there is a tent with a bunch of sister missionaries to answer whatever questions people have. I attached the official pictures of the temple, the baptistry, the creation room, the celestial room, and the sealing room. It is a BEAUTIFUL temple. On Saturday (the last day) there was a massive amount of people there.

The temple has been such a focus of the mission right now that there isnt much more to talk about. Elder Meaker and I have just been trying to take advantage of this great opporitunity.

Yesterday, we decided to try and eat as well as we could on our food budget using a water boiler (the only approved kitchen appliance). We had quite the menu.
Breakfast: Deviled eggs
Lunch: BBQ chicken sandwiches with baked potato salad
Dinner: Homemade chicken noodle soup (including homemade noodles)
It was delightful.

The Seattle inspired pictures this week are: 1. Greek yogurt and 2. Wind chimes

Hope that everyone has an incredible week. Its been a great school year (probably) and I hope that everyone is ready to start a great summer.

HAGS,
Elder Gonzalez

Week Eighty-Seven: Pita Bread Sandwiches and Wool Ties

Hey everyone!


It's been another 7 days here in Moche. They were quick ones and crazy ones. Remember when I said that no one should feel bad for me anymore? Well, that was a premature statement. All this week, we have had problems with light, water, and cell coverage.


It's been another great week of the temple open house. I can't even begin to explain what it means to missionary work to be able to take a family through every room of the temple and tell them, "This is why we are teaching you." This week we brought several great families. On Saturday, Elder Meaker and I went and ran into the Chao branch. It was so neat to be able to see the members and our converts going through the temple. They were happy to see us and surprised that we were companions. I also ran into my ward mission leader from Cartavio.



So since our pensions restaurant doesn't open on Sundays, we fend for ourselves. We aren't allowed to have any cooking equipment in our room except for a water boiler but since Elder Meaker is a chef, we were able to pull of fettuccine Alfredo with home made garlic bread. It was divine.


This weeks Seattle inspired pictures are: I.) Whole wheat pita bread sandwiches with lean turkey and low fat cream cheese. and II.) Wool ties


Love you all a ton! Have a great week.

Week Eighty-Six: Frozen Yogurt and Recycling

Hey folks!

This has been a great one. For the zones in Trujillo, we can go to the temple with the people we teach up to three times a week. Elder Meaker and I have been taking advantage of that and taking all of the most important people. This week we took the Lescano family (a wonderful family who is a little less active), the Casana family (the parents of a girl who is currently serving a mission in Ecuador. They aren't members) and Blanca, Gloria, and Victoria (the three women who work at the restaurant that we eat at.) Taking people to the temple completely changes their perspective of what we do.




Elder Meaker and I are working to collect pictures of us doing things that are inherently a part of Washington culture. I think that I'll send like 2 a week. This week is frozen yogurt and recycle tshirts.



Love you all a ton. Finish the school year strong everyone. Do your homework!

Elder González

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Week Eighty-Five: Moche and Pics of My Pad

So I know that you have all been feeling bad for me for the last like 20 months because I have been living in really small little towns far away from Trujillo with a ton of dirt and like no water but the good news is that that is all over now, haha.


I'm in Trujillo now. Not like the center but a little suburb called Moche. Moche is way cool. It is VERY Catholic which is cool because Catholic people are a lot nicer that some of the people from the other little teeny churches that are told not to listen to us and that we are evil.



When I got to Moche, Elder Meaker looked at me and the first thing that he said was, "I've got bad news. Our room is huge and we have a mini fridge." The room is huge and on the fourth story of a building. Finally, I have a place where my bedroom, study room, and bathroom aren't all just the same room. Our pension is a restaurant that is not owned by members. The restaurant doesn't serve breakfast and doesn't open on Sundays so we have to cook for ourselves which is awesome because Elder Meaker is a chef and it gives us an excuse to eat American food (Yesterday, we ate Top Ramen for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch, and taco salad for dinner).



We had the opportunity to go through the temple open house this week and it is beautiful. Like ridiculously beautiful. The detail is breathtaking. The coolest thing in the world happened to me as well. Elder Meaker and I took a man named Moisès and his family through the temple and as I stepped out, I saw Ligia (my pensionista from Cartavio), and Lucia, Cristhian, and Cesi (three of my converts from Cartavio). Cesi was there with her husband who recently got baptized. It was so neat to see them and to hear that they are active and doing well.



They told me that they sometimes read this blog which was something that I hadn't really thought about before. Here's a little shout out to them: 



A todas las personas que leen mi blog desde Perú: Gracias por tomar el tiempo de leer lo que escribo. Las personas que he podido conocer y enseñar aquí en mi misión son muy especiales para mi y quiero mantenerme en contacto con ellos por toda la vida. Lo siento si el Google no siempre traduce las cosas a la mejor manera pero, en verdad, el esfuerzo que hacen para poder leer esto significa mucho para mi. Les amo y les escribiré cuando llegue a casa.



Hope that you all had a great Mothers Day. I sure did talking to my family. I love you all a ton and hope that you have a great week!



Elder Gonzalez 


Also, when Jose found out that I was leaving, he asked me for my ship in a bottle so that he could finish it. So he finished it over night and gave it to me. What a great souvenir!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Week Eighty-Four: Y'all Are Good At Praying

Well...you are all really good at praying. You should all try praying more.

This week was what Elder Bernuy and I called, "La semana de los tercos" (The week of the stubborn people). We worked a lot with Jenifer and with José, each of whom was the last non-member in their family and seemed to have some kind of doubt that we couldn't find. We worked a lot with both of them as did the ward and we were able to resolve their concerns. Jenifer was baptized on Saturday and José on Sunday.

I have loved my time in Chimbote and I love the families that I was able to work with here. El Carmen is one of the best wards on the face of this planet. However, it's always when a missionary is happy and having success that they change him.




Tomorrow, I'm going to the Laureles Zone. This will be the first time that Im in Trujillo. My area is called Moche and my companion is...Elder Meaker. Yeah, the same Elder Meaker that was in my district in Chao. Elder Meaker is like one of my favorite people in the whole world. We are going to have so much fun. He is from Blaine, Washington which is right by the Canadian border. He is hilarious and a great chef. He just sent me an email that says, "DDDDDDUUUUUUUUUUUUUDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #washingtonswag #inspired #nochildleftbehind #what?!"

This does mean that I will be in the Trujillo South Mission and that my new mission president will be Presidente Rios starting in July. I also don't know the exact date that I go home anymore either but it's all good. I'm excited to be in Trujillo for all of the temple hub-bub. The open house starts Friday!


Well...I have packing to do. Love you all. have a great week.

Elder González

Friday, May 1, 2015

Week Eighty-Three: Baptisms, Weddings, and Swine

Well, this week is going to have a lot of pictures.

I could not even begin to describe how stressful, hectic, fun, and spiritual this week has been. There are more stories from this week than what a few minutes of email time allows me to send. So if you ever want to hear some crazy stuff, just ask me: "Hey, what happened the third week of April 2015?"


For starters, last Monday, we went with a family that we are teaching (Yesenia and Hilder) to his field in a town called Cachipampa which is like an hour and a half from Chimbote. It was super fun because we went with the Bishop, his counselors, the elders quorum president and all of their wives. It was beautiful and a ton of fun.


Then, on Thursday, was Yesenia and Hilders wedding. She was inactive but now she's back and he got baptized that same afternoon which was way neat.



Saturday, was another wedding. José Chozo married his wife, Elva Gutierrez. She was baptized on Sunday and he will be ready for baptism here soon. (She just didn't want to wait).




We spent the whole week filling out wedding papers, teaching lessons, giving interviews, setting up interviews, there were work visits, a missionary's mom came to visit, and a bunch of other crazy things. I wish that I could say that this week will be more calm...but I doubt it.

If you all could pray for: José Chozo and Jenifer Cornejo. They are two of our investigators that are ready for baptism any day but just need a little help from the Lord.

Love you all so much!
Elder González