Monday, April 28, 2014

Espera Un Rato . . . Tiene RISK?

Hello my friends,

As the sun dawns on another dreary day here in the happiest place on Earth. That was a lie, It's not extremely dreary today, the sun didn't just dawn, and the happiest place on earth is in La Molina, not El Agustino. 
The hill we climb everyday
So, the big news is that I received my package! Finally! I've already eaten almost all of the Jelly Beans! The Sweetart Jelly Beans are officially my new favorite thing ever.
Soooo... Let's give a quick run-through of a few things that have been happening in my life recently. 

We've just come out of the Easter week, or La Semana Santa (the holy week), so things are starting to go well again. The people aren't drinking as much, so it's started to smell better too. 
On Monday, it was P-day and what we were supposed to have done was watch a Disney movie with the zone, but our zone leaders got to the stake center at like 5:30, so we didn't have time to watch it. It ended up that we just played futbol instead. 
After that, we went and had an interesting family home evening with the Bishop of the Agustino Ward. We talked about the Book of Mormon, and everyone made fun of the gringo. It was pretty alright. The bishop's son actually has a guitar, keyboard, and drum set, and I wanted to jam out, but we didn't have time. I only cried for five minutes.

Tuesday was terrible. We only had one lesson, and we spent the day walking around our area looking for members to teach, old investigators, or really anything that moved. It was one of the longest days that I've ever had.

We were supposed to have our ward council on Tuesday too, but our bishop didn't show up until almost an hour later than when we were supposed to have the meeting. When he got there, we had to leave, because we had to be in our room at nine. Luckily, we had the meeting on Sunday, so it's okay... I guess...

Wednesday was awesome and made up for Tuesday, because we had four lessons. It's interesting how fast the days pass when you're actually doing stuff.

So, just about every night, we've been playing the card games that I have, namely Uno, Phase 10, and a few others using Face cards. But on Wednesday, I saw that in our room, the other elders had Risk. RISK. I had been here for two weeks, and they hadn't even said anything about it. So, I played Risk like a boss. Twice. I may or may not have won. 
On Thursday we had divisions, and I went with my district leader to visit a few people in my area. He told me that this next transfer he thinks that I'm going to train AND be the new district leader. I don't think so, but we'll see in four more weeks.

On Saturday, we went and did a service project for a member in El Agustino. Guess what we did! We mixed concrete! Using shovels and brawn! It sucked! However, the member's house looks a lot better now, so it was worth it. However, it took soooo much time, so we missed a few appointments. Freaking concrete...

And Domingo, I was so tired from all of the work that I'd done that week, that I slept like a log last night.

So, yeah, that was my week.

I've seen something interesting. Now that I know two languages, I've noticed that I've had an easier time understanding other languages too. I've seen that German is super close to English, Portuguese and French are super close to Spanish, and I can almost understand all of them. The gift of tongues is awesome, right?

Well, I have to go now, But I wish you all the best of luck in all of your endeavors.

OH! And tell Nate Hopkins that I'm super excited that his papers are almost in! That's awesome! And, congratulations to Kelsie!  That is great news too!

Well, Good day, Good luck, Goodbye.
-Elder Dañel Jacob Smitho

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Muchos Huesos y Ramen

Feliz Día de la Pascua!! (That's Easter.)

Hey, errybody! It's me, your favorite Elder Smith serving in Peru Lima East (I may or may not be the only Elder Smith in this mission). It's my favorite time of the week! The time that I can pester you all with my boring missionary life, and there's nothing you can do about it. :D

Well, let's get started today by giving a better description of my area. I just moved to San Cayetano, a small ward in between El Agustino and La Victoria. My entire area is sidewalks, streets, and buildings. We have a giant hill in our area that is entirely covered in houses, and we have to hike up and down at least once a day. There is hardly any green here, other than the abundant garbage that lines all the streets. The people here are pretty much all really poor, and are super closed in the way that no one accepts us. 
Our ward has a few problems. Okay, not a few, it has a LOT of problems. None of the members care about doing Mission work, we don't have a ward mission leader, nor do we have our Elder's Quorum president. About 2/3 of the members are in-actives, and it is super hard to work even with the active members. This is probably going to be my hardest area in the mission.

So, now that you know a little more about my area, you might have already guessed that I'm pretty stressed. It's okay, nothing that I can't handle, but still, this is not an area that I'd want to be in forever.

So this week was pretty alright, it started out pretty fun. Remember when I went to the catacombs a few months ago, when I couldn't take any pictures? Well, that's in my zone now, and we went again this past p-day. I took lots of pictures. I'm attaching a few so you can see how it was, more or less.

The majority of this week, we've been spending trying to train the families in our ward and get referrals. It hasn't been working very well, because the members don't want to let us in. I've wanted to kick a few doors in, but it's okay, if the members don't want to help, I can't force them to want the salvation of others. Sigh, I'm so tired.

So, on Thursdays, we've been going at 6 in the morning to play soccer against another district. I've been finding out that I'm really not half bad at soccer (fútbol). I'm going to want to play when I get home. EVERY. DAY.

So, the way that the people celebrate Easter down here is a little different. Okay, It's really different. Since everyone down here is super Catholic, they celebrate "The Holy Week" (La Semana Santa) or better stated, the passion week of Christ. I guess this is one of the reasons why nobody's accepted us this week. BUT! What they do is for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, everyone closes their stores, and goes home to watch their videos of the life of Christ, or anything that has Romans fighting. Others actually go to church, but the rest spend their days inside sleeping. 
So just about every morning, our pensionista gives us Ramen to cook up in our apartment for breakfast. I don't know why, but it makes me feel right at home, (since that was my favorite after school snack).

Well, that's about all the time I have to write today. Stay cool, don't do drugs, and don't run with scissors until I can be there. Chau! 

-Elder Dañel Jacobo Esmitho

Monday, April 14, 2014

El Augustino, La Victoria

Hello, friends, family, and everyone else! 

Here we are again on this beautiful and hazy day here in Lima Perú! Well, the biggest news for this week is that we just had transfers! I am no longer in the comfort of Surco, and am now back in the dirt and grime here in the Center of Lima. Well, the zone is called Center of Lima, but I'm in an area that's called El Augustino, with parts of an area called La Victoria. Oh, and I don't want to scare you or anything, but I just might be one of the more dangerous parts of the mission. Maybe.

So, on Tuesday is when we had the transfers. We all went to La Molina to meet our new companions. I am now with Elder Gomez, he's from Argentina. He's about six foot three, and he is really skinny. He has three months in the mission. I'm finally the senior companion, so this transfer is going to be interesting. 
Elder Gomez

My new area needs a lot of work. Our bishop doesn't really do anything, the ward is always super late to everything, and more than half of the members are in-actives. 

I now live in a little apartment with my companion and two other missionaries, so in the nights things are a little less boring. 
Something funny is that when I first arrived in the area, I could smell the distinct odor of marijuana. Oh! another funny thing is that our zone has about 24 missionaries, and I am one of three gringos. I've been having to give English classes to the whole zone, so that's been... Fun.

I regret that I don't have any more time to write, but I'm definitely going to write a big long letter next week.

I love you all!
-Elder Dañel Jacobo Esmitho

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mis Cuatro Tortas

Hey guys,

So um... I feel pretty fat this week. Why you may ask? Because I ate four birthday cakes. Four of them. I guess there are some people that actually love me. So, you might have guessed that this week was pretty flipping awesome for me. You guessed right. There's so much that happened, I don't even know where to start.

Well, lets start off with Monday. It was P-day as usual, a zone P-day. So what was different? We had it with our Mission President. It was weird to see him in street clothes. What happened was because our zone had reach our goal of 20 baptisms in the month of March, our President decided to spend the p-day with us and buy us pizza! 
So we went first to a few monuments that are close to our area, one of which was a giant statue of Jesus, (kinda like the one in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, just a lot smaller.) and a couple other national monuments. 

After that we went and ate at Telepizza. I ate so much. I had a small competition with two other gringos. That was a bad idea. Anyway, in the night we had a really fun Family Home Evening with some other members.
Luckily on Tuesday, nothing really happened, because I don't have time to write about nothing.

On Wednesday, we had lunch with a member again, and I made hamburgers, again. It was awesome. Then I found out he'd gotten a cake for my birthday. Well, that was my first birthday cake this week. After that, not much happened that day.
On Thursday, I woke up and when I went downstairs, my pensionista had decorated the dining room with ribbons and balloons for my birthday. We had pancakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast. After breakfast we had our Zone conference, but at the zone conference, I got a package from an old convert, and guess what it had? PLAYDOH!!!! YAY!!! It was awesome! I also got a present from an old companion that had more chocolate than I am ever going to eat. After the conference we came home and for lunch our pensionista had prepared lasagna. We also got a birthday cake from her. We spent the rest of the day visiting members and investigators, when I got another cake. So, yeah, the day ended in our house, and our pensionista bought us pizza. Papa Johns. Best day ever.
On Friday, my companion had to go to the office for immigrations. So, that day I went on splits for a few hours, and waited in the office for a few hours. After that, we went back to our area to visit with some members, when I found out my companion had planned a surprise birthday party for me. And that's when I got my fourth cake. Whew! 

Saturday and Sunday we had General Conference, and that was awesome. I regret that I didn't see Jeff or Adam, because we got to the chapel a little late, but I did see Mark Schraedel! 

So, that pretty much sums up my week. Pretty boring right? But one of the best birthdays I have ever had.
Well, that's really all the time I have to write today, but I want to thank everyone for their birthday wishes. I love you guys! 
Until next week,
-Elder Dañel Jacob Esmitho

Eight Months!!!

Hellllloooo family, friends, and anyone else who decides to read this beautiful letter!

Has eight months passed already? It seems so. Happy Eight Months!!! Today is exactly eight months from the day I left. I'm a third of the way done. That's pretty alright, I guess.

First of all, thanks mom for el dinero, I went and bought my new camera this morning. It's a SONY Cyber-shot, and it's pretty cool, I hope that this one doesn't get stolen too... I'm kidding mom, don't worry. I'm not going to lose this one.

Thanks to everyone for their birthday wishes, I feel a little closer to home, especially with singing minions. This week's going to be a blast, I know it. 

So, because I don't have a whole lot of time, I'm going to give the brief outline of my week, as usual.

On Monday, it was companionship P-day, so what we did was after Internet, we went back to our pensionista's house, and she took us to go get some ice cream with her two kids, Juan(cito) and Maria José(Ma-jo for short). Juancito is 11, and has more personality that I've ever seen in any person. Ma-jo is 7 and is really sweet. So, That was awesome. 
After that I got around to making those sugar-cookies I got in my valentine's day package. Also, my pensionista may or may not have let me drive her car. Maybe.

So, on Tuesday, we went to have a lesson with a referral we'd received and contacted. The thing is, one of the families in our ward who knows this referral kept telling us something interesting about him. His name is Juan, he's super Catholic, He's 21 years old, and he's crazy. I don't mean the fun-loving type of crazy, I mean the crazy type of crazy. It's not super bad, It's just that he acts kind of like a 9 year old, he doesn't have any retention, and he constantly asks weird questions. We tried to have a good lesson with him, but it didn't really work. So, maybe there's a future baptism in him, but it'll take a lot of work.

On Tuesday, we had another lesson with Hermana Emma. Well, she had another lesson with us. This time I learned that if you don't do your family history, you don't get exaltation. Thanks, Emma.
On Wednesday, we had a really nice Family Home Evening with a family in our ward. We played Mafia, and everyone was racist against the gringo.

Sad to say, that those are really the only significant events this week. We did also have our fast with one of the inactive families in our ward, and that was cool, but other than that, not much happened. 

But don't worry, next week I'll have LOTS to share about. 

Thanks everyone! You can continue on with your lives again!
-Elder Dañel Jacobo Esmitho