Monday, April 25, 2016

Salvation is Free

Why hello there.

The other day, we were in our pensionista´s house for dinner. She was channel flipping, and just happened to stop on ESPN 2.  Who knew they even had ESPN 2 in Perú, honestly?  As luck would have it, there was a commercial for the NBA playoffs on.  I think the adversary was trying to distract me and it totally worked.  I wanted to be an informed fan so bad!  It´s all good, I´m over it now.  Go Golden State.  I was on the bandwagon before they were good everyone, I promise!The Ciruela Fair was this past weekend.  It was a little harder to find people in their homes, so it was a little slower week.  I did have the opportunity to taste Ciruela Ice Cream however, which was quite good.

I´ve eaten some other crazy things too these past weeks; guinea pig and rabbit to be specific.  The guinea pig was super good actually.  The rabbit...I didn´t love haha.  It was all dry and hard and gross.

We had the District Conference this past weekend.  It´s like a stake conference but since we have branches instead of wards and districts instead of stakes, it´s a district conference.  President Rios came and talked which was pretty good.  He likes using the New Testament which is a little different and cool, I like it.  The church is interesting here.  Obviously the church is the same everywhere, but there is a tiny bit of a different flavor here.  Many of the people are converts or come from a family of converts, so there is a little bit of Evangelicalness mixed in.  A little more gloom and doom, the congregation nodding their heads emphatically in agreement, some people who bear their testimonies going a little crazy.  It´s kinda funny.  The stake president for example, talked about being harder on our kids.  He was right in everything he talked about, but maybe could have been a little lighter and more hopeful haha.I also played the piano for the conference which was sweet.  No mess ups, so that´s always a plus.  I also played for the "choir."  They sang The Lord is my Light.  They aren´t the best singers, but they sing with such passion! That´s one thing I really love about the people here, people sing whether they have talent or not, and they really believe that the song of the righteous is a prayer unto the Lord.

The phrase in The Book of Mormon, "the traditions of their fathers" sometimes with the addition "wicked" or "incorrect," takes on new meaning as a missionary in Perú.  The culture and beliefs about the Bible, about marriage, about church, about baptism, really make it hard for people to accept the restored gospel!  I look forward to studying a little more about that and how missionaries were able to help people overcome those traditions.Read the statement in 2 Nephi 2:5, "Salvation is free," this past week.  I realized it´s true.  Every sin has already been paid for.  The only price for us the restored gospel.  That´s no price, that´s a blessing! If the only "price" for salvation is to trade my heavy yoke for Christ´s light one; trade corruptible treasures here for those incorruptible in heaven; lose my life, only to find it; if that´s the "price" for salvation, then it really is free.  I´m so grateful for that blessing, and the ability Christ gives me to simply choose salvation through Him, the Great Mediator.  Love you all and have a wonderful week!

Elder Hart
My area from that mountain we climbed a few weeks ago
Chocolate chip cookies in Peru

The batter...yes, there are chocolate pieces.  Just not very many. ha ha


Monday, April 18, 2016

Ciruelas and Chinese People

Hola amigos!  Time again to give the weekly update on life in Virú!  The week was yet another good one.  Let´s talk about it:

For one, I had my first dream in spanish this past week.  Then numbers 2 and 3 in the following days.  I don´t remember what they were about, just that I was home with my family and friends and everyone was speaking Spanish! It was a wild feeling...
There are these fruits in Virú called Ciruelas.  They grow on trees and look like cherry tomatoes, and kind of taste like them too but way sweeter! They´re so good! There´s gonna be a big festival this coming week all centered around them, kinda like Bear Lake and raspberries I think.  Jam, yogurt, cake, pudding, everything. And music and dancing and all sorts of stuff.  So that will be interesting.
One interesting thing about Peru is that 98% of the people are Peruvian.  The other 2% are Chinese or Japanese.  Asian. (Numbers not exact. According to my own estimations;))  But there´s a lot of that culture here! Like Chinese restaurants and stuff.  The person who won 39% of the vote last week in the elections is Asian, in fact! 
Me and my companion have been working super hard on his English this transfer.  He´s improved a little which has been sweet.  English would be so hard to learn! "Do you have the keys?" is "Dyav the keys?" Pay attention to our language and you´ll realize how hard it is to learn and pronounce and speak for a non native speaker! I´m super grateful I went from English to Spanish and not the other way around haha.
We´ve got three marriages on date for May 7, then one family to be baptized on the 7 and the other two wives in the two other marriages on the 14.  No one gets married here, everyone just lives together! So for Mother´s Day, they have a big marriage that´s gonna be super easy for people to get married without hard to find documents.  We´re super pumped for that.  Satan starts attacking super hard at this point though, so pray that they´ll be able to be firm in their desicions!
Love you all tons, have a great week this week!! 

Elder Hart
This kid entered the CCM the same day as us and left after two weeks, he´s in the north mission right now.  We saw him last PDay in Trujillo.

My personalized desk!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Keiko 2016

Hey everyone! Hope you´re all having super great weeks. It was another great, fast week here in Viru! I´ll tell ya about it:So Perú had presidential elections this past week which was nuts! Their elections are a little different, everyone has to vote or pay a fee, so everyone votes.  You can go from 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.  There can be no church on the day of voting.  The venders go crazy cause everyone is out in the streets.  The taxis charge way too much.  And that was just in my little town of Viru! I can´t imagine how it was in Chimbote or Trujillo, let alone Lima.  A girl named Keiko won, but they just narrowed it down to the top two, then they vote again in October.  So we´ll have a round two in six months!I had an interchange with an elder named Elder Herget, which was sweet.  He´s from Connecticut and was the volleyball player of the year there last year! Look up highlights on YouTube of Todd Herget, and lobby for him to get into BYU to play volleyball haha;)  It was sweet though, we developed a good friendship and got some good work done in his area.  Also, his room has three couches! It´s so fancy! I took a laying down lazy position on a couch that I haven´t taken in five months and it felt so nice haha.There are so many bugs in Viru, it´s so annoying! Ants and flies and cockroaches and mosquitos...especially ants.  And they´re fumugating the mosquitos because there have been all these cases of denge fever and three have died! So that´s insane and annoying.Yesterday, Elder Anco and I were in a lesson with a lady who was going to be a new investigator.  It was our first lesson with her and we were teaching the restoration.  All of the sudden, her drunk husband walks in and is like, "I´m Catholic! I´m Catholic!" Honestly...I was scared out of my mind that he was going to start flipping tables and smashing bottles on our heads.  But he just got dizzy and started being weird and shaking our hands and telling us he wanted to change.  He was drunk, so it doesn´t really mean anything, but at least he didn´t kill us!  We had a good laugh about it after.
Birthday party in the chapel.

Singing primary birthday songs to Elder Hererra.

We climbed a hill this morning by our house for exercise.

This isn´t my companion.  His name is Elder Herrera, we live with him and his companion.  He and his companion are the other elders in my branch.  I just realized that you still haven´t seen Elder Anco, my companion, but I don´t have a picture of him right now!
I have been working a lot on my motivation and attitude.  Not only doing the things Heavenly Father wants me to do, but doing them for the reasons he wants them done! Because of His love for his children!  So I´ve been praying with all energy of heart for charity.  The other day, we knocked a door and attracted the attention of a family outside another house in the neighborhood.  It was obviously their house.  The dad moped over to us, obviously annoyed to have the missionaries at his door.  The other neighbors laughed, making fun and pointing that he had to deal with us.  One of them yelled, "Tell them that we´re catholic!" which got a good laugh out of the group.  We just stood there and smiled, but what pain I felt! Not for me, but for Heavenly Father.  These people don´t know what they´re missing! They don´t understand what Christ did for them, and they don´t want to understand! If we really understood as people the Atonement and our identity, I think things would be a whole lot different.  I realized in that moment the sadness that there must be in the Celestial Kingdom,  Heavenly Father is probably the saddest person in the whole universe! If he´s willing to leave 99 sheep to seek after just 1 that´s straying, He´s clearly not satisfied with a high percentage! He wants every single one of His children to have his blessings, and it must kill Him when even one of them strays!  With eternal progression and an infinite posterity, it´s evident that at least a few won´t make it.  "Strait is the gate and narrow is the way" teaches us that the number of those who won´t make it is more than just a few.  But with that deep sadness comes the capacity to feel even more happiness.  It only makes sense that to have the most possible happiness in the Celestial Kingdom, we´ll have to have the most possible sadness too.  But light always beats darkness, and happiness will always be more aparent than sadness.  Thanks for letting me tell you all the gospel thoughts of a missionary in Viru:)So that´s the week!  I keep praying for all yall and thinking about you all the time! Hope everyone is doing well, wherever you are! Nos vemos!Elder Hart

Monday, April 4, 2016


Whoa, first week in a new area!  It´s always crazy getting to know a new companion, new people, new streets, new houses, new district, new zone, new everything really! A few of the most important standouts of my new area:

It´s pretty poor.  There´s like a city center place, but the outskirts are all dirt roads and little huts.  It´s pretty sad to see some of the living conditions!

My new pensionista cooks unbelievably delicious peruvian food.  It´s so fattening though! I´m scared to death of getting fat.  TERRIFIED! So me and my companion have started to run every morning on top of our pushups and such.  I feel a little better haha. 

My companion is Elder Anco from Lima.  He´s super funny, and I´m way excited to be able to work with him for at least this next transfer! His trainer was my zone leader so that´s also a cool little connection we have.

We live on the third floor of this apartment type thing.  Right below us live a Senior Missionary couple named Elder and Sister Whitney who are super nice! It´s been cool to talk to them a little bit and form a bit of a relationship.

Elections in Peru are April 10, and the country is going crazy.  There are no church meetings that day, and I don´t know if we´ll proselyte either.  It´s super heated and almost all anybody ever talks about right now!

Conference was sweet, as usual.  We watched it in English which was a huge relief! And another temple in Lima!!  We freaked out in our little room and heard the dull roar in the chapel across the building haha.  My favorite talk of the conference was Elder Renlund.  I´m gonna love him as an apostle, something about his style just gets me goin´! His talk was so good.  But then Elder Bednar spoke and pretty much tied him.  As a missionary, we invite to baptism and to church all the time! A reminder on why that´s so important was awesome, and it was cool to listen to his talk from a missionary perspective.  Then of course there´s, Elder Holland, Oaks, Christofferson, Stevenson, Anderson, President was so good haha.

Also, a story.  Like I said, we ran as a companionship saturday morning, and I was super thirsty after the Saturday morning session.  We went to a little store and I asked for a cold water.  The lady said "I don´t have water, just ...." And that´s where my lack of spanish came into play.  I was like, "Well as long as it´s wet it´s fine."  She came back with this energy drink called Volt.  I should have just declined then and there, but I just took it cause I was thirsty.  My first ever energy drink, and it will also be my last.  It was horrible haha! I had a headache, I was hot, I was tired, my heart was pumping! Never drink energy drinks and try to watch conference! Haha lesson learned...

Well, that´s all my thoughts for this week!  Hope everybody enjoyed general conference and can, like Elder Holland, make tomorrow the day that we improve and put the things we learned in practice!  Love you all tons and tons!

Elder Hart
The Ocean

Plaza de Armas Chimbote