Sunday, January 26, 2014

Surco? Donde esta Surco?

Hello Friends and Family! 

First off, Let's answer a few questions.

Nope, I'm not used to the humidity. I am currently dying of heat. I sleep okay, it's just super hot. 
Bugs, Ha! Bugs, HA! Yes there are lots of bugs. The mosquitoes make a meal of me every night. They especially like my feet.

And now the bigger news. I've been transferred! I am no longer in Stake Vitarte, San Francisco Ward, but now I am in Stake Surco, Villa Alegre Ward. Yes, that's right, I live in Happyville (Villa Alegre).  Another thing is that I went from one of the poorest areas in the mission to one of the richest, so there's a huge contrast between the two. The only thing is that the people aren't as receptive here, so we're going to have to work really hard.

Villa Allegre

So that's the first piece of news. The second is that I have a new companion, Elder Ortega. Elder Ortega is from Chile, He's 25, he has about the same time in the mission as I do. 

This week was mostly spent getting to know my new area. It's a lot bigger than my area in San Francisco and the people have so much money. The houses are huge, and really nice. I even saw a personal swimming pool.
This is our room in my new apartment

Our Study Area

So, the only other thing that happened was that we had Stake Conference. So, I got to see how gigantic the Stake is. I've also heard that our ward is huge too, so I guess I'll see next week.

Oh, and it was my companion's six months, so we burned his tie. So that was fun. Pics included.

Sad to say, that's about all the time I have this week.  But I'm praying for you all!

Until next week,
-Elder Dañel Jacob Smith

Monday, January 13, 2014

Migraciones . . . Todo el Dia

Hola, friends and fam! 

You should know that you are officially reading an email for a real live Peruvian. That's right, I'M LEGAL. I finally have all the right paperwork to be a citizen of Peru. Yeah, it only took like eight months.

Anyway, before I talk about anything else, here are the answers to last week's questions.

1. The language is coming along fine and dandy. I can write, speak, understand and read in Spanish. I still have a long list of things I'm missing, but I have Spanish at about 80%ish.

2. Yes, we are still having English classes. However, I won't be teaching them anymore because... (Drumroll) I have transfers this week! (Probably. I still haven't received the call about where I'm going, because they always call the night before the change, but all things are pointing to a transfer and I'm going to be leaving this area.)

3. It is very hot here and it is veeeeeery humid. In the afternoon, when I step out of the shower, I immediately start sweating again. (Pleasant, right?)

4. And no, the buildings are not air conditioned. However, cardboard walls do provide for really good ventilation. Our apartment is concrete, so it usually is pretty cool in the mornings.

But the afternoon and at night, it's always pretty hot. We sleep with a fan on at night because it gets so hot.

6. For proselyting, I try and always wear a short sleeve shirt if I can, because the sun is relentlessly hot.

7. We had a really good experience in a family home evening with a family in our ward who are only partially members. We had two return missionaries with us, one who served in Mexico, the other in Utah (Salt Lake City).   We all expressed our testimonies of the church. It was really spiritually potent, and a little hard to explain.

8. Wow, my faith has increased tenfold. One of the biggest things about a mission is that your own personal testimony is one of the first things that changes. With all the experiences I've had, and all of the miracles I've seen, my testimony has grown more than I could have imagined.

That's all the questions from last week. Now, Vamos a explicar un poco mas acerca de la tema de este e-mail.

On Tuesday, I had to wake up a five in the morning to go to La Molina, because I had to go to Migraciones (Immigrations). We waited at La Molina for about 45 minutes for the van to get there.
Then we went on a 2 hour ride to the immigrations office. 
At the office, we did a lot of sitting, waiting, some fingerprinting, and some document signing, but after about three hours, the process was complete, And I got my little card that says that I'm allowed to live in the country. I also got my passport stamped with my visa, so everything's official. After that, we headed over to a Burger King, and had (almost) American Hamburgers. 
After that, we had a two hour ride back to La Molina, then we headed back to our area. So, that was the big adventure this week.

Well, that's all I have time to write this week, but I love you all! Stay safe and watch out for chipmunks.

With lots of love,

-Elder Dañel Jacob Smith

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hey! That Thing's On Fire! Oh Wait, No, the Police Put It Out!

Hola! Hey, everyone!

So, this week was pretty fun with New Years Eve and everything. And I can honestly say that NOW I have never seen more fireworks in my life than what I saw this New Year's Eve. The people down here take their pyrotechnics seriously.

...But there was something else more interesting that happened on New Years. 

Apparently, it's a tradition down here to make big scarecrow type things, consisting of old clothing and wood shavings, and putting them out into the street at midnight on New Year's Eve, covering them with gasoline and lighting them on fire. It looks pretty gruesome, because it looks like there are a bunch of people lying in the streets ON FIRE. 

There were two burning in the street in front of my apartment, and one ready to start, until du-du-du-duh-bah-dah!! The police, with a huge truck which had a giant water tank and giant hose drove by and put the two out. Right behind, a police truck stopped at the one that was ready to light, took the doll, threw it in the back of the truck, and drove away. Thank you, Municipality of Santa Anita!
Other than this, our week was pretty boring. Because of the fiestas, booze, and possibly illegal amounts of fireworks, no one wanted to receive us, even the members. The only things that really happened this week were that we had our English classes. Other than that, It was really just knocking on doors, attempting to contact in the streets, and crying . . . (Not really).

I have been eating A LOT of paneton recently. It isn't that I like it, because I don't really like it. It's that I can't say no when I'm offered. 
We really didn't have many lessons this week. I'd like to share more about what's happening, but nothing's happening. If you have any questions, write me and I can respond to those.

And yes, I think that transfers are going to be this coming week. And I'm almost positive that I'm going to be moving to a new area.  

Oh, and Elder Salazar was asking me if they sold Books of Mormon like the originals, with the brown cover, the type that doesn't have verses, etc., like the kind in the time of Joseph Smith?

I love you all, thanks for all your support! Until next week,

-Elder Dañel Jacob Smith