First off, sorry I wasn't able to write last week. It's been a pretty crazy two weeks. Here's what happened:
Our last morning in the MTC, we had all of our stuff packed and ready to go. We took it out to the bus and drove off to a capilla (chapel) somewhere in town. We had a meeting with the mission president, President Ardila.
And, we got to meet our new companions (our trainers). My companion's name is Elder Christopher Campos. He is from Chile.
After the meeting, we got a taxi and rode off to our apartment. I live in a district or area of Lima that I think is called Santa Anita, and everything out here is dirt. These are some of the poorest people I´ve ever seen. It does vary however, because I´ve been in both really nice houses as well as tiny shanty-houses. Nonetheless, everything is dirt. There´s always a layer of dirt on everything.
To get to our apartment, you have to go through a big metal gate, and up a set of stairs to this little brick courtyard that's only about fifteen feet across, and there's a wooden door to our apartment. It's probably only about the size of a hotel room, and is split up into three different rooms. The bedroom, our study, and the bathroom. Oh! and there's no door to the bathroom, only a curtain.
Anyway, that same night, we went to the chapel of our ward and I was set apart as a missionary for the San Fransisco Barrio (Ward). The next day, we went straight out to work. It's difficult, lots of walking, and extremely hot. And, the language is killing me slowly. However, it's definitely rewarding. That same day we got a baptism commitment! And since I arrived here, we've gotten four more and we have baptisms lined up for the next four weeks.
Because we had all of this going on the first day I went out, I didn't get a P-day this last week, and I've been wearing thin a bit, but it's nothing I can't handle.
I had one of the most spiritual experiences last night, we were teaching a man named Frank Ching-Gonzales, who we met earlier that day. Everyone has stories of their "Golden Investigator´" and this is mine. He attended the church meeting earlier that day, and said to one of our friends in the ward that he wanted to be a part of this church. We set up an appointment for later that night, and when we had him say the prayer, the spirit was so strong, and it was such a fantastic experience. I may get more investigators like Hermano Frank, but this is as close to the best one as I could have down here.
Learning this language is definitely the hardest thing I've ever done. I know it takes time to learn a new language, and I probably won't be able to understand anything that's said to me for a couple months, but it's hard to concentrate when I can't understand, it's hard to teach when I can't talk, and overall, everything about this language is kicking my butt.
We had an... interesting experience the other day. Me and Elder Campos were out tracting and we came to this one house, and understand this about the people of Perú, some are humble and receptive, some have never been part of a church and don't want to, and others are super-super-super-catholic. This man we met at this house was the latter. We were explaining some scripture about baptism to him, and he asked for my Bible. I thought "uh oh... this isn't going to be good.." but I couldn't refuse him, and he thus proceeded to attack us with scripture that we agreed with, and we (when I say we, I mean mostly Elder Campos), tried to explain how we agreed with him, but he wouldn't let us get a word in. It was ridiculous.
Anyway, I don't have anymore time to write, so I have to stop, but I'll tell you more next week. I love you all!!
-Elder Dañel Jacob Smith