Monday, November 28, 2016

Pollo a la brasa (part 2)

Dear family and friends,

What an insane week! For real, it was a wild week.  I can barely remember all that happened.  Tuesday was a crazy day.  We got a few fun calls from the offices informing us about new rules, just basically about food here.  We can´t buy refreshments for zone conferences anymore, and we can´t eat together as missionaries for any occasion...shoot.  So we were kind of mourning about that all day;) But we didn´t let it stop us!  We knocked this one door on Tuesday, and a 27 year old guy named André walks out.  We kind of had a little discussion, and then get on the topic of religion.  The first thing he said was, "I´ve got to get baptized, I just don´t know in what church!" Haha we were pretty surprised! So we had a good lesson with him about the restoration and he committed to coming to church.  He didn´t make it but we´re excited to work with him anyway! 

That night, just as we were finishing planning, we got a call from the health secretary telling us that one of the sisters was sick and throwing up and needed a blessing.  So we threw our church clothes back on and rushed over there with her district leader.  I honestly felt kind of like a superhero; getting the call, putting on the uniform and getting to the scene as fast as possible, etc.  It felt pretty sweet haha.  So that was a crazy day!

Wednesday, we had our zone conference, the first one that I´ve taught in.  Man it´s a fun thing.  I have so much more to learn about teaching and leading discussions but I like doing it.  One of the assistants was there and dropped the bomb that we couldn´t eat ANY FOOD outside of our pension.  Not even if it was wrapped! So there was a big hullabaloo about that.  We were getting calls from members and missionaries the next three days complaining and asking clarifying questions and special permission.  Haha it was nuts.  We called the other assistant to clarify and he said, "No, nothing has changed.  Just no prepared food."  So now everyone is more content.  All these food rules!

Thursday was, of course, Thanksgiving!  Which doesn´t exsist here.  So it was just a good old normal day.  However, that night we asked our pensionista for pollo a la brasa to celebrate the special occasion.   It was a good ole Peruvian style Thanksgiving dinner! We did do a little "What are you thankful for?" ceremony before eating, which really brought the holiday spirit too. ;)

Hmm...had an interchange with an Elder Weeks this week.  He´s so awesome.  He earned every merit badge possible and had his Eagle when he was 14!!  He´s pretty new in the field (9 weeks) but he´s just got the missionary spirit, it was super fun to be with him and learn a few things.  

Wow, what a week! Sometimes I get kinda frustrated because of the darn apostasy!  There are so many different ideas; all religions are right, choose the one that fits you best,  true religion is loving others, "church" is just a building where people go.  It´s such a challenge figuring out how to overcome those false beliefs!! Every once and awhile I let it get me down, but I know I can´t do that.  It does, however, make me so grateful to have the restored gospel in my life.  To have restored priesthood authority by which saving ordinances can be perfomed and covenants can be made.  To belong to an orginization led by the resurrected Jesus Christ through His prophets and apostles, an organization designed to help families be happy and eternal.  To have received the gift of the Holy Ghost from an authorized priesthood holder! Unbelievable blessings that we often take for granted.  There are people in Bellamar that are searching for these things!  We´ve just gotta find em.  

I love all of you so much, happy late Thanksgiving and have a great week!!

Love, Tanner

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pollo a la Brasa

Dear family and friends,

In reading my last email, I realized something might have been confusing.  I said, "I hit my one year mark this Thursday."  When I said that, I meant this coming Thursday, not this past Thursday! But now, a week later, I can say I hit my one year mark this past Thursday! It´s a pretty wild feeling.

We had mission leadership council this week which was sweet! We analized the talk "The faith to find and baptize converts," which Elder Anderson gave at the most recent Mission President Seminar.  It´s such a good, motivating talk!  But as good as that was...the lunch might have tied it haha.  We went to a "pollo a la brasa" place after for Sister Whitney´s birthday.  Pollo a la brasa is basically rotissere chicken with fries and tomatoes and carrots and mayonaisse and pepper sauce.  It´s a Peruvian classic, and it´s pretty tasty if I do say so myself.  So that was also a bonus.

Another first this week: a dog bit me! Not actually bit though, more like grabbed on with his teeth and then let go.  It just felt like someone grabbed my calf for half a second, it didn´t even break skin.  But it still scared me to death, I shook that thing off like I was doing the hokey pokey! But with adrenaline.  That old dog.

Also, I got a haircut this past Monday.  All was well, until she combed all my bangs down in front of my forehead and just gave them a snip! I was trying to calculate in my head, thinking, "Wait a second.  If I´m imagining right, that´s gonna be pretty uneven!" And indeed it was.  But it´s not too bad, you can´t really notice.  Perú is so unique! :)

I love the war chapters in the Book of Mormon! I just finished this week.  The verse in Alma 48 about Moroni is great by itself, but I was using that verse to learn so many other things! Just using Moroni as an example and looking at what he did as a leader and disciple of Christ.  For example: a Christlike leader prepares against a time of need; a Christlike leader strengthens weaknesses; a Christlike leader does all he can to help the people, but even then feels sorrow when they don´t obey; seeking positions of leadership and power for the wrong reasons is from the adversary!! Tons of true principles, I was loving it.  On to Helaman!

Well, that´s about it for this week.  Love ya tons and hope you have perfect weeks! Keep studying your scriptures!! (I thought that would be fun to put;))

Love, Tanner


Monday, November 14, 2016

Looking for Jasmine

Dear family and friends,

Another week has passed in Perú.  A fun little bit of information: I hit my one year mark this Thursday! I can´t believe that it´s been a year since all that goodbye stuff.  I can testify that that was truly the hardest part.  It´s a relief to have it all in the rearview mirror, and I´m pumped to have one more year to give it all I´ve got as a full time missionary! I have a feeling that it´s gonna fly.

Here´s a pretty randomg thing: they don´t use 8.5"x11" paper here! It´s all like a half inch bigger, which is pretty bothersome.  All my papers poke out of their folders by just a little bit and get all wrinkly.  Things that never in a million years I would have thought of at home when I thought about the "culture change."

We had kind of a funny experience this week.  An appointment had fallen through and as we were walking to our backup plan, we saw a house with the name "Jasmine" painted in big letters, right on the front of the house.  We thought, "Well, here´s a great referral.  Let´s knock and ask for Jasmine!" So that´s what we did.  The lady yelled from inside the house (as is custom here), "Who is it?" Us:"Excuse us, is Jasmine home?" Lady: "Who are you?" Us:"We´re missionaries, representatives of Jesus Christ, and we have something that we´d like to give to Jasmine!" Lady: ", you´re mistaken! Jasmine doesn´t live here!".....Well, that´s fine.  We might have been mistaken.  But painting JASMINE on the front of your house, when there´s no Jasmine that lives there, seems pretty mistaken too.;)  We got a good laugh after.

I read a statement in Preach My Gospel chapter 1, that goes something like this: "You have been called to represent Jesus Christ in helping people become cleansed from sin."  It really struck me this morning.  What an unbelievable responsibility! We are to stand in Christ´s place, as his authorized representative, and use our priesthood authority to cleanse people from sin! Lessons, family home evenings, fellowshipping of members, or extending commitments, don´t cleanse from sin.  They´re all means to an end.  BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION.  Priesthood ordinances do cleanse from sin.  How grateful I am to know the restored gospel and have the chance to make and renew covenants every week, covenants and ordinances that bring the Holy Ghost and cleanse from sin.

Well, I hope you all have wonderful weeks, and I'll talk to ya next Monday!

Love, Tanner

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Lots of Other Missionaries

Dear family and friends,

First of all, happy Tuesday! Our P-Day got all switched up because our zone got to go to the temple today! It´s about a 2.5 hour ride in bus, so we got up at 4:00 AM to get to the terminal in Chimbote, then Trujillo, then the temple and make the 8:30 session.  So it´s been kind of a long day, but I love being in the temple! We´ll see if I have enough time to add a pic or two...

But the week has been pretty long! We changed houses on Tuesday, and when I say house, it´s literally a house.  Most missionaries here have just a room or two that they rent, but the missionaries before me were lucky enough to find a two floor house for about the same price! So our house is ginormous.  We had all the elders over on Tuesday morning to help us move, which was really nice.  Also got to know a certain Elder Bischoff.  Like many of my relationships with people, it began with a discussion about BYU sports.  He´s a pretty big fan, so we got talking about that, then the NBA, then a little golf and high school sports and high school and Utah and the conversation was just a rolling.  If we would have gone to the same high school (he went to Pleasant Grove), we would have probably done lots of stuff together.  Always fun to meet new people right?

There are lots of Peruvian jigs that really make you want to dance that have been coming out lately.  I´m honestly excited to get home and add Peruvian music to my playlist! It´s kinda weird...but it says in Preach My Gospel chapter 7 to adapt to the culture of your mission too! 

Also, with the enormity of our house, it makes it fit to house more elders! The secretaries of the mission, Elders Velasquez and Millett, were in town to get a few things done and stayed with us for two or three nights.  It was fun to get to know them a little more, Elder Millett is also from Pleasant Grove and Elder Velasquez is from New York.  I proselyted with him a few hours on Thursday as well which was a neat experience.

Oh, but another thing with the house (it´s gonna seem like I´m obsessed here).  We have yet to install the water heater, and the water is SO COLD! Three times as cold as in Virú.  It´s extra motivation to exercise in the morning and heat up.  At least I´m not totally missing the Winter in Utah in November feeling, though! 

And Friday, we had room inspections! The Whitneys came to Chimbote and first surprised us by visiting our room with no notice.  Then, we went with them to all the other missionaries in the zone on surprise visits, just basically making sure it was clean and seeing if they needed anything for their rooms.  It was uneventful, but it´s always fun spending a morning with the good ole Whitneys.

I´m loving the mission.  One thing I´ve really learned here is how to seek personal revelation.  How grateful I am for a Heavenly Father who wants to reveal his will to us! We´re so uncapable of doing it alone, but with prayer and fasting and scripture study and pondering, the Holy Ghost really guides us and impresses upon our minds the courses to take! Again, things I KNEW before the mission but never really understood or experienced.  If that makes any sense.  

Well, hope you all have wonderful weeks, and I'll talk to ya next Monday!  Thanks a bunch for the letters and pictures!

Love, Tanner