Another week of fun, laughs, emotions, etc.
First off, a scripture to share from my readings in "Jesus the Christ." This is about a man Jesus healed and it is in Juan 9:25. The man says, "una cosa sé, que habiendo yo sido ciego, ahora veo." I will leave you to do the homework of translating that, but I really liked that because it was a simple testimony of a simple truth, and I feel like that is sometimes what we need in order to truly be mighty in spirit: know a simple truth in the Gospel. For me, it is that God loves and knows personally every one of his children on this earth. That has been such an important fact for me to know as I have been out here, as it has helped me in every lesson I have given, either in practice lessons at the CCM or actually out in the field during proselytizing. (Mom, sorry for my spelling) I always bear my testimony of: "Yo sé que Dios es muy amoroso y sabe cada persona personalmente en la tierra." I´m glad I can also share that fact with everyone back home.
Well, now that I have mentioned proselytizing, I might as well talk about it. This 2nd time around, my companion and I were sent out alone without a Latino elder to translate, and we were so ready to just get to work. However, we ended up with a Latino member who asked to come along and help, and although we did not get to try teaching just on our own, we did both find that we have grown tremendously in our Spanish. I could follow about 80% of the conversations and I even was able to talk for 5 minutes straight every time with my excellent Spanish (excellent being a very relative term in this sense). The cool part of this second round of proselytizing was that even though we only taught 6 lessons, we only met 7 people. We had literally 30 minute lessons with 6 different people and only one person turned us away. I was blown away at how kind and receptive people in Perú are to other religions and to people who just want to share a message of their faith. I love these people, and I cannot even wait to get out to Piura in 2 Tuesdays from now.
Also, we are getting one of the twelve apostles, Elder Cook, to come to the CCM in two Sundays from now. Everyone is going crazy, especially my district because it will be our last Sunday in the CCM, so we just barely made it. We also had a devotional yesterday that was broadcasted from Provo, and was the first ever broadcasted devotional at the MTC to other MTC´s around the world. So, it was kind of a big deal. We all cheered when they mentioned that of the many MTC´s included in the broadcast, the Lima Peru was one of them. The talk itself was alright (but it was word for word the same talk that this apostle gave at another time and we had all heard it just two days ago, so we all just looked around every now and then), but the cool part was when we all sang "Called to Serve." As I sang, I realized that literally all over the world, missionaries were singing that exact song with us, and that thought was amazing. It was just a cool experience.
So, now to the misadventures:
My maestro said he wanted to have a pizza fiesta for us, but he knew that we could not bring food into the CCM, so he strategized a plan for us to sneak in 4 boxes of Papa John´s Pizza into the CCM. He had 6 elders distract the maestros near the front gate, 2 elders clear the hall leading to the dormitories, and the rest he had clear out the dorm halls. He paid off the guard at the front of the CCM, and he then literally ran the 4 boxes of pizzas up to our room, where we all locked ourselves in and had a pizza party fit for gringos. It was truly worth remembering.
The other experience was getting the exotic food of Perú, which has been called the 3rd best country for food in the world behind France and Italy. My companion and I decided to get empanadas and churros from the vendors in downtown Lima, and my brains fell out of my head. The churros have a delicious caramel inside filling and are fried like nothing else, and the empanadas are filled with maravilloso pollo y queso. It even had an egg in it, and if anyone knows me at all, they will know I hate eggs, yet I loved the empanada even with the egg. Perú is already getting to me.
I have so much to write and always have like no time, so once again sorry if my emails seem scatter-brained. In sum, I am doing well here. Spanish is coming along, I am learning so much about the gospel, and I am making such good friends. As I continue to read the "Book of Mormon" and study the life of Christ in "Jesus the Christ", I constantly find myself feeling the Spirit and feeling such a sense of peace and hope. I literally could not be doing anything better than being a missionary right now, and I am very glad I came out here. I am going to change so much, as I have already changed a lot in just one month. Thank you for reading my updates and for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I love you all so much and pray for everyone siempre. Otra vez, please just know that I know God loves you and knows you. He really does.
Elder Dax Rich
Elder Dax Rich