Lima, Peru Temple

Lima, Peru Temple

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November 30, 2015 - 16 Days to go!!

Hey everyone!

Well, only 2 more weeks to go before I come home. This week was a little tough. We had a lot of appointments made for the week but almost all of them fell through. At the end of the week we had less than 10 lessons. So, needless to say we walked a lot this week. But we still kept at it even though we didn’t have the amount of success we were hoping for. But that’s happens sometimes I guess. Perhaps it could be that because I’m getting close to ending, the Lord just wants to test me to see if I stay strong and work hard until the end. But my companion helped me a lot in motivating to keep going and visiting houses. But now I just hope that this next week we will have some more success.

As for Thanksgiving, we didn’t really do anything here. I just kinda gave a woot for Thanksgiving and that was it. Seeing as how I’m the only American here, no one else really took it into importance but that’s all right. I guess we can show our thanks every day in how we act. 

Other than that, this week has been a mix of on and off cold rains and beating burning bright sun. Kinda weird weather. Every day I felt like I was just constantly taking off and putting back on my jacket. Supposedly, it’s a little more dry than it usually is around this season. A lot of people have told me that here in Espinar, that about this time of the year, they start to get a bunch of rain. Like days where it’s just raining all day and all night but we still haven’t seen much.

Well I don’t really have too much to write for this week seeing as how we didn’t visit too many people and nothing has really changed. However, on Saturday, we set up the Christmas tree in our pensionista’s house so that was pretty fun. But that’s about it for me! I’ll be seeing you guys in a bit!

Elder Halverson

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015

Hello Family!

Well this week was pretty fun. First off on Tuesday and Wednesday, we had Family History lessons in the chapel the whole day. It was kinda funny, though, because a senior couple came to teach it but they can’t talk Spanish so I had to be there with them all day for both days to translate for them but they were some pretty fun classes and we were able to do a lot of work with the members and send a lot of names to the temple. The couple who were working with us were the Johnsons (no relation to your family) but they know a lot of information about Jacob Vernon Hamblin that I never knew and so whenever we weren’t helping or teaching someone I was just asking about him. But as far as the weather, we had a few days of just burning sun and then the clouds came back but ironically, like Washington, we had some really bad winds on Saturday. But yes, Espinar is really actually a lot higher up than Cusco. Here in the mountains it’s like the higher up you are the more barren it is and the lower in altitude you are the more tropical and jungly it gets. That’s why Macchu Pichu is partly like a jungle because it’s actually at a lower altitude than Cusco. Also in our mission we have several zones that are jungle like Quillabamba and Puerto Maldonado. However, I’ve never been to those zones. My mission has been more focused in the high altitude plains. But to be honest, I much rather prefer a winter with freezing weather back home than the half freezing dry weather that I’ve seen in the majority of my mission. Plus at least back home we get snow. I miss snow. And our Christmas is cooler. 

Speaking of Oakley, Whitney messaged me this last week saying that she hopes that I don’t hop on the cat train like everyone else has done but I still am excited to see Oakley even though I’m still a dog dude. I still have not received my travel plans so I’m thinking today I’ll email the office to ask them about that. Normally I thought that you receive an email right about when you start your last transfer but I don’t have anything.

You know, it’s actually ironic that you talked about not judging anyone last week and this week. Last Monday was the Espinar anniversary with the parade where a bunch of people were dancing and it was really cool. However, later in the night I had to take one of the elders to the hospital for a test he had to take and when we got there we saw our young men’s president smoking and drinking. We walked right past him because he was in the entrance but we didn’t say anything to him. I can imagine he probably felt pretty weird, though, seeing us. A few days later we informed the bishop but he told us that he had already gone to him to confess. So it all worked out in the end. But like you said, more than anything I just felt sad for him but knew that he has his weaknesses like we all do.

I was asked a while back how we can answer someone who tells us that they know that their church is true because they have received an answer from God. But I was thinking about it a lot and this is my answer. The Book of Mormon is either true or it isn’t. And the only way we can find out is if we follow the invitation that it has to read, ponder, and pray, with real intent, a sincere heart, and faith. I have come to know and feel that when we have a testimony of this book, we can never leave the church because we know it’s true. Regardless of our trials and tribulations, it is our anchor in the storm. But to just end this part, I just want to leave my own personal testimony of the truthfulness of this book and I’m sad that I didn’t focus on reading and studying it more before I came out because I have found many scriptures that have helped me with problems and doubts that have come my way and I’m very thankful to have the opportunity to read and study this Book to try the challenge to verify if it’s true.

But before I forget, as far as the baptism went, it was good. Saturday morning was when we had planned his baptism and I swear every time we have a baptism, the power always goes out. So he had to be baptized in cold water but he was ok with that. It was also funny because he asked our zone leader who interviewed him to baptize him. So Friday the zone leaders came down to do divisions with us during the day and then Saturday morning after the baptism they left. But everything worked out fine. Sadly, I’m pretty sure that was my last baptism in my mission but at least I can go out good. 

As for my toilet seat, we just use our broken one still. Something new I saw this week was the parade last Monday because it focused on traditional dances of Peru. I have a few videos of it but they aren’t that good but perhaps it’s on YouTube. You might be able to find it by searching Corso de Espinar 2015 or aniversario de espinar 2015. But it was pretty dang cool. The yummiest thing I ate this week is a pastry that they eat like crazy during this season called "paneton"; it’s also known as "passover bread (pan de pascua)" But it’s a fluffy sweet bread with soft fruit candy and raisins. They also make a chocolate chip version that’s really good. However, as far as a Christmas pastry is concerned, I still prefer your cranberry cake.

But that’s about it for me this week but I love you all and I hope you have a good week también nos vemos en algunas semanas!

Con mucho amor,

Elder Halverson

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015

Hello Family! 

Well this week was pretty normal; we just had a lot of rain. It’s not like it was even raining very hard but it was raining for a good majority of the days this week. But as for my investigators, not much has been changing with them. 2 of our investigators are progressing really well but they are only 12 years old and we can’t baptize them alone until they are 14 and so we are working with their parents so they could get baptized together but the big problem is with the parents’ work and so they normally can’t come to church. But hopefully we will see some changes in them. We are also still working hard in finding new investigators. The goal is 20 news for the month (or 5 news every week) and so far in November, we have 9.

I can’t remember if I said this last week but the president gave us a promise that if we go to less active members and focus on talking about their baptisms that they will be more likely to give us a reference of someone (most likely a family) that will progress. So far it looks like we are starting to see that. For example, we talked with a less active family this week about their baptisms and asked for a reference. They gave us one of their cousin and her family but told us that she is very hard and direct and that if we contact her she would probably just tell us that she belongs to another religion and doesn’t want to talk to us. But we went anyway. We were able to talk to her and she was ok with taking out an appointment with us for this next week so that was pretty cool, hopefully she will listen to our message and progress. But other than that, we have a baptism planned for this Saturday with the dad of the Yuca family (Victor Yuca) and we called him this last week and he says that he is still excited to go through with it so at least if all goes well, I can have 1 last baptism in my mission. With the rest of our investigators, there are still little things that are halting their progress. But I think that at least 2 others will be baptized in the transfer after I go home. But we also have a few rescues scheduled before I go home so that will also be nice. But I think that’s about it for those who I’m teaching.

But I did hear about the terrorist attack in France, our pensionista told us about it. But man that really is pretty dang sad. I’m kinda surprised however that they didn’t have better security at a concert. Normally it’s big group events like that that are the targets for terrorist attacks. I heard that they also closed down all the airports in France for a bit.

But the thing that I did this week that has strengthened my testimony was a fireside that we had yesterday. It was only for the elder’s quorum but it was really good. One of the counselors of the stake presidency came down to talk and we focused on the power of the priesthood and did practices to help the elders with their home teaching assignments. But I really have come to know how important home teaching is here in the mission. A lot of members think that the ward will only progress depending on the missionaries and leaders. But we can really only do so much. It’s important that every member can not only know but also understand that the progress and well-being of the ward really depends on every one of us. If we want to bring people back to the church, we need to do our visits. If we want recent converts to stay active, we need to do our visits. If we want our own testimony to stay strong, we need to do our visits. One of the best ways to feel our Heavenly Father’s love is by serving our fellow man. Because like it says in Mosiah - when you are in the service of your fellow man you are only in the Service of your God- (I can’t remember exactly how it’s worded in English because I mainly read it in Spanish XP )

The thing that brought me the most joy this week was probably being able to find new people to teach. I always like teaching new people for the first time and hearing what their needs are and to hear what they want to learn or take out from our lessons. Then we, the missionaries, can then apply principles of the gospel to meet their needs and help them in the ways that they need. It’s always a fun experience for me and to see how each time it changes in the way we start to teach people. 

The funniest thing that happened to me this week was in a lesson, some members invited us to hot chocolate. I don’t know why, but I tried to take off my gloves with the cup still in my hand and in the process spilled like half the cup all over my leg. It was hot. I felt worse for their floor though than my leg because it looked like I was a drunk trying to serve my drink to the floor.

But that’s about all I’ve got for this week. Today is the anniversary of Espinar and so I hear there is going to be a parade and so we'll see if I can get some pictures of that. But until next week, I love you all very much and hope you have a good week!

Elder Halverson 

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015

Hello family! 

Well this week has been pretty good but we weren’t able to work too long in our sector because we had a stake conference and zone meeting in Sicuani. But to answer your question, it’s not so much that our area is small, because we are in charge of an entire city and a bunch of small surrounding towns; it’s more of that the church is a lot newer here and the church doesn’t grow like it does in the states. That’s one of the biggest reasons that they don’t split it into 2 small branches because it will suffer more than it will grow so they keep it like it is now so that it can stay stronger.

You know, I think I’ll just give my homecoming talk in completely Spanish, though. XD It’s going to feel weird trying to give a talk in English and especially in front of so many people. Here in Peru, I’ve never given a talk in front of more than about 110 people so in our ward that’s a lot bigger and older; I’m gonna feel weird. Also, I’m glad to know that I’m a full tithe payer even though I’m not there, or make any money. XD At least I’m still being obedient to that.

But that doesn’t really surprise me that people have gotten upset about the policy that the church made. The thing that I think is funny is that I bet you that the majority of the people who are mad about the change aren’t even members of the church so I don’t really know why they would even care if they don’t share our beliefs. And as for those that are members that don’t agree, well, they just have a weak testimony then. I don’t remember if I told you this but when I had about 8-10 months in the mission an elder who was in my group in the MTC wrote a member saying that he was home because he didn’t agree with some of the teachings of the church and that he couldn’t preach something he didn’t believe. I don’t know what things he had trouble believing, but as for me, I haven’t found anything. I feel like even if it came to a point where I go inactive because of my decisions, that I would ever say that this church isn’t true. It’s sad to see people who lose their testimonies but I guess all we can do is have hope and faith that someday they will be able to listen to it again and regain their testimony in the simple truths of the church. 

Well, the weather here doesn’t really change that much; it’s just like it gets windy and dry or rainy. Right now it’s just rainy and cold whenever it’s raining. When the sun’s out, it heats everything up super fast. It’s pretty crazy, though, today because I just figured out that in my last week on the Thursday, our zone is traveling to Cusco for a Christmas dinner with the president and other zones of Cusco. We figured that it’s very possible that while I’m there I might just bring all my stuff with me and just stay there until I end to not have to waste a bunch of time and money traveling back to my sector to only be there for about a day and then go back to Cusco on Sunday. But we'll see what happens with that. I just really hope that it snows when I get home. I’ll at least know that there will be a ton of snow in Rexburg (hopefully). 

But I haven’t heard from my bud yet where he is going to be living. I also don’t have his email with me right now but I think most important is signing up for classes.

Also, for your questions, something new I learned about myself this week is that I need to work out more here. When we made the biscochos, I got tired super fast. It’s just hard to work out here with the altitude and the cold. Also, I can’t gain weight so that also doesn’t help. My testimony this week has grown in the work with less active members. That’s something we are focusing on right now in the mission and the president has given us some pretty powerful promises if we use half our time in the day to find less actives, talk to them about their baptisms, and then ask them for a reference. I think like I wrote before that we are trying to help them remember the simple things they felt when they were baptized. After all, this is a simple gospel, so simple that a child could understand it. And so I think that’s actually something everyone should do is remember and focus on the simple feelings they have when studying the gospel and usually those will be the most powerful building blocks in our testimonies. The funniest thing that happened this week with me and my comp wasn’t really anything big but while we were making the biscochos we were just flinging the dough everywhere because you have to mix it fast and hard because you have to make the egg whites rise and so by the time we were done, we had a ton of batter on us. Something this week that made me say hmmm was while I was listening to a talk from our president and he was saying that when people disagree with the rules or the teachings of the prophets, it doesn’t mean that they are bad people but it just means that they aren’t obedient and if we aren’t going to be obedient to the commandments, then we aren’t showing our love to the Lord who says if you love me then keep my commandments. Food for thought.

But that’s about it for me this week but I love you guys and I’m glad to hear that all is going well back home!

Elder Halverson 

Mixing biscochos 
 Yes, the batter flings around when you mix it fast!

 Baking the biscochos
 The final product

Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2, 2015

Hello Family!

Well this week was pretty basic. The biggest events that happened this week were a Halloween party that we the missionaries did here, and also the baptismal interview that Victor Yuca had and passed. But other than that, nothing big has happened. 

As for our investigators, there isn’t really much new that has been going on with them. With Sister Luz Marina and her husband, we tried to make a marriage date with them but we were only able to have them commit to talk about it but hopefully our visit at least helped them be a little more encouraged to do it. Also, we are still planning on putting a date with 2 girls we are teaching. For their parents work, we won’t be able to do much with them for a bit but we are at least working on getting permission for them to be baptized. The 2 are really good friends and want to be baptized and they are coming to a lot of activities in the ward as well as attending but we’ll see what happens with them.

For this next month, we are hoping to be able to have at least 1 baptism and maybe 2 rescues. One is almost definite who is a lady from a family we are teaching called the Yauri family and she has a calling, attendance, and her interview but she just lacks the lessons. It’s just a little hard to teach the family though because they normally only have time once a week but they are really nice and always give us food or candy bars whenever we visit them. With the rest of the family, it will take a little longer to rescue them because one of the daughters and her partner aren’t married but they are living together but they are both members and pretty active at church. The parents, however, are working or traveling a lot and so it’s a little different for them.

But as far as everything else, nothing much has been going on. On Thursday, we had a Halloween party that I thought was going to be a disaster but in the end worked out pretty well. What happened was that one of the elders here was traveling and so we weren’t able to do things as fast as we wanted because we were just a trio for a few days. The elder got back around the middle of the day but was sick and so they weren’t really able to do much. My comp. and I were left in the chapel trying to get everything ready in time when a small lightning storm passed through the city but it was just enough to make the power go out and so we were left in a dark chapel trying to get things ready still in the dark. The bishop told us that the power shouldn’t be out for long which is why we kept working. However, the power was still out at the time that we said the activity would start and nobody had come and we were still getting things ready. I was feeling really stressed at this point that the activity wouldn’t happen and we had gone through a lot of trouble for nothing. However, at about 6:45 - 6:50 P.M., the power finally came back on and we were able to finish preparing everything and people started to come. In all, we had about 30 people attend the activity (which is good for here) and the activity was a success. So that would also be my greatest triumph and trial for this week.

Also the grossest thing that happened this week also had to do with our activity. For a starting game and to be a little halloweeny, we made a big bowl of noodles and just put a bunch of different things in it, also a ton of different kinds of fruit. In the end, the thing smelled like someone ate a fruit salad and then threw it up. We had 2 teams and each had to choose a representative to play and they had to find little eyeballs that we made and put in there but they were blindfolded so they had no idea what they were feeling. It was petty dang gross. At the end of the game, one of the kids that was playing wiped his hands all over my arms. Sadly though, I forgot to take a picture of it.

But that’s about it for this week. But I also have heard of pisco but not that many people drink it here (from what I’ve seen at least). Normally, they just drink beer. The most popular one here is called Cusqueña which actually has a really cool design to the bottle and the cap is a picture of machu picchu. Also today, we are spending the whole day with our pensionista to make a type of bread called bizcochos, which is a type of bread that is traditional to make in the first week of November but this is also the only time they make it the entire year. It reminds me a lot of angel cake because it’s fluffy and sweet but it’s still not as good as angel cake. Also as for the transfers, I am going to end my mission here in Espinar so I’m pretty excited for that. But I love you all very much and I’ll talk to you next week.

Elder Halverson

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015

Hello family!

Okay, well I’m going to try and keep this email a little shorter because I’ve been using a lot of time getting a few things figured out for college.

Anyway, as for this week, everything has been going pretty good. However, we are finally starting to get rain so it’s been mostly cloudy this week. Because our water heater is a solar heater, our showers have been a little colder than normal. As for your initial questions, my companion is from Trujillo in Peru, he doesn’t even have a year yet but we work really well together. He’s a good teacher and we joke around a lot. He is the oldest in his family and so he’s the first of his siblings to go on a mission. It’s funny though because he’s usually pretty cold here because his home is pretty hot. But also because all the other elders here are Latinos, I’m really teaching all of them English but they are learning really fast. But yea I think I am improving a lot with my Spanish seeing as how I only speak English when I’m teaching them or we are with the rest of the zone and I get to talk to the other Americans there. But speaking of English classes, I also started to teach English classes at the chapel for everyone. This last week there were just a bunch of girls that went which was a little awkward but hopefully we can grow the assistance a little more as we continue to do it and also have some guys come. XD

As for the other activities of the ward, they are not exactly the same because of the size of the ward and the working circumstances of the leaders and schooling circumstances for the youth, but they still hold activities. It’s not the same kind of activities that we have like weekly mutual but at least we are doing them. I’ve been in a lot of other places where rarely the ward holds activities. Also as for our lessons in Quechua, we don’t really talk in Quechua very much. We don’t really have too many opportunities to use it and so the missionaries here don’t focus very much in learning it. We mainly just learn phrases. Normally, if we need to teach someone in Quechua, we just take someone along who can translate for us.

As for everyone we are teaching right now, it’s all going great. We had some good lessons with Luz Marina and her husband Walter and we plan to put a date with them for their marriage. We are also progressing with her mom who came with her this week to church as well as her little sister. As far as the Yuca family, the dad comes home this week and we plan to have his baptismal interview for his baptism next month. We are also teaching a lot of youth who really want to get baptized but because of their parents work, it makes it a little more difficult. But all’s good and tranquil over here. I am a little concerned though. This next week we have changes and I have a feeling that the president is going to put me somewhere else to finish my mission which I have seen him do with a lot of other missionaries their last change. I would really prefer to have my last change here in Espinar though because I really like this sector. 

Hey but I’m glad to hear that everything is going well back home and that you’re having fun with your new hobby, and the cat. Who by the way I’m super excited to get to know. But perhaps dad understands a little better now why I love art so much. I just love being able to make things with my own hands.

But yea as for your questions something new I learned about myself this week is my determination. Right now in the end part of my mission I’m starting to feel a little tired and worn down yet even though I feel like that we are still working really hard here and that’s how I hope I will be able to finish off. My testimony has been strengthened this week a lot in family history. Yesterday we had a multi stake conference/broadcast for Peru and Bolivia and they talked a lot about temples and families and stuff. But it made me think of my patriarchal blessing that says in a part the work for the dead is just as important as the work for the living and that it will be included in my callings. It just makes me grateful that in our family we know of our heritage and we have done a lot of work for our ancestors. In contrast I see and teach a lot of people here who many times don’t even know their own grandparents. But the funniest thing that has happened this week wasn’t really anything in particular but we have just been joking around like crazy in our district. There is an elder here from Lima and he is really short and so we always make fun of him for that. (I got to do it while I can because when I get home I won’t be able to do that to anyone). But one time we were talking about Ratatui (the Disney movie with the cooking mouse. I don’t know how to spell it) while he was helping cook and we were referring to how they cook but he thought we were comparing him to the mouse and his size. Plus he was standing on a stool as he cooked so that made it all the funnier. 

But yea that’s all I got for this week, I love you all very much and I look forward to seeing you here pretty soon.

Elder Halverson

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015

Well I guess I’ll just tell you a little of how my week went. Well, first off, last Monday was our zone P-day and we went to some ruins above a little town that are called Machu Pitumarca. They were really cool; we just had to climb up a mountain to get there. They basically look a lot like a bunch of other ruins I’ve already seen but it was kinda cool because they had 2 peeks of ruins. Also everything is still yellow. We also found some kinda kiln or something that looks like a face with its mouth open. I’ll send you a photo of that.

On Tuesday, we just had a conference with the president of the mission which was really good. He talked a lot about cleaning out our cups interiorly to be able to be better teachers in the work. At the end he showed us a few power points of his mission and of his life after the mission. It was a little trunky. Especially because he was showing some pictures of missionaries who have ended and what they are doing right now. I saw a few photos of some of my old companions and other missionaries that I knew. Then we had to travel back to Sicuani that night to be able to be in our sector as soon as possible. 

On Friday, we saw a rally race pass through Espinar because Espinar is one of the checkpoints in which they had to stop. We started by watching the winners get into the plaza in Espinar. We then walked way out of the city where they were taking the times of the cars as they were arriving into the city so they were going their fastest at this point. That’s the most people from Espinar that I’ve seen in one place since I’ve been here. We didn’t have any appointments that day and needless to say that basically no one was in their house so we used the opportunity to also contact a bit. However, I forgot to put on sunscreen that day and we were in the sun for quite a long time and I got burned on my face and arms pretty bad. They are now peeling terribly.

However, on Saturday, we had our baptisms! Woot! For me and my comp we just baptized the mom and daughter of the Yuca family and the other elders here had a baptism as well of a girl who is about 14 years old but has been going to seminary for quite a while. It was a pretty dang sweet day. Also that night the Young Single Adults had a movie night and asked us to help out in contacting news who were there. However, it was a disaster because the sound system they brought didn’t hook up to the projector and so they only had very quiet sound coming from the projector. 

But that’s about all that happened this week. Oh yea, also we started teaching the parents of one of our investigators. However, the mom doesn’t really understand very well when we teach in Spanish so we had some members with us in a lesson we taught to be able to translate what we were teaching to Quechua to help the mom understand better. As far as the daughter of them who we are teaching, she is progressing really well but she needs to get married. We were able to talk to her boyfriend? (I can’t think of how to call the partner of someone who’s not married in English). Anyway, he seems to be understanding really well what we are teaching and we think that we will be able to have them get married here in a few months. 

Elder Halverson

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12, 2015

Hello Family!

Well first off my official last day working is December 13th. Then Monday is our interview and we travel the next few days and I should be home sometime on Wednesday, probably. I still haven’t gotten any information on my flights yet. And I hope the only person who is using my room is Oakley. I’m okay with that. I want him to be accustomed to my bed so he will sleep with me XD.

Anyway, this week has been pretty good; however, I still haven’t been able to see the conference yet because I need to convert the videos so they work on our dvd player. But I’m going to do that this week. As for mainly women listening to our message, that’s true. Mainly the men are either working or are just too stubborn to listen to us, or they just like drinking... With a lot of people I’ve taught, we usually don’t start out teaching the family but after a time they start to listen to us. That’s something we have seen with the Yuca family, who by the way now have a baptismal date for next Saturday (well, the mom and the daughter). The dad has a date for the 21 of November just because of his work. Also the other elders had a baptism this Saturday which was pretty dang awesome. Also, they have another one planned for this next Saturday with our baptisms. I gotta say that in Espinar we have work and success, a good pensionista who cooks good, and a good ward so I’m pretty content. Oh yea and for the strike, it’s been lifted because they were able to come to an impasse (I think that’s what it’s called). Only for a few days we just had to walk around with our ID always with us and be back in the house a little earlier.

Something I have learned about myself is my patience. There have been a lot of times, especially recently, where I just feel exhausted and stressed and I just want it to end but I just pass through it and later I feel fine. Now at the end of my mission I think I have become a lot more patient. Something funny that happened this week was we had to chase a dog out of the sacrament meeting and an old lady just wacked it super hard with her bag and the dog was a little smaller so I was afraid she might have killed it. Something I learned this week was you should never tell jokes in Spanish because they don’t come out right. My testimony has grown this week with the leaders of the church. I was doing some studying on President Monson as well as leaders from the Book of Mormon and I have been able to feel more grateful for leaders that God gives us and the council that we can receive through their teaching. Also it’s very important that we can have a strong testimony for the leaders to know that they are here to help us and that we can hear the words that Christ himself would say if he were here on the earth.

Well that about it for me this week but I love you guys and I’m getting excited to see you all. (Mainly because my zone leader goes home in 3 weeks) But until next week!

Elder Halverson

"It's wabbit season!" 

Monday, October 5, 2015

October 5, 2015

Hello everyone.

Well there isn’t really much to talk about for this week because Wednesday morning I had to travel to Cusco to basically sign a paper saying that I am definitely leaving the country here shortly (weird thought). But then I only had about a half a day back in my sector we had to travel again but this time only to Sicuani for conference.

Something that sucks right now for Espinar is that we are in an emergency state because there is a riot going on with the miners in Abancay and so because Espinar is also full of miners we are also affected. Basically an emergency state just means that the government makes it so this area can hold meetings to prevent them from getting fired up and rising up to help the riot in Abancay. Right now there are also increased police in the area to help. But because of this, we currently can’t have any meetings (including conference) so we all had to come here. However, as for how our work goes, it doesn’t really affect us too much, we just have a few new rules to protect us such as be home by 8:00 pm, always have identification, and don’t travel at night. But nothing too bad. It would only be bad if Espinar had a riot. But also it’s only a 2 hour bus ride to Sicuani and then 2 hours more to Cusco.

But to be honest, I haven’t seen all of conference yet. Normally we have a separate room for English because we receive both broadcasts. However, this time, the guy didn’t come to make it where we could watch it in English apart so we had to watch it online in the secretary’s room. However, the internet was so slow that we didn’t have time to see all of the sessions and talks because it was buffering. So we decided to just download the sessions to watch them later so I’ll be doing that here this week. However, from what I did get to see, I really liked the talk from Richard J. Maynes and the story of the ceramic teacher. Also, it was cool to see the new apostles. But from what I was able to see, it was good.

The ponderize thing is kinda something as missionaries we already do in a way. But it would be pretty cool to start doing, and for me it will be in Spanish. However, I have been doing that once a change with my favorite scriptures or scriptures that have a message that apply to me. I then have it written on my agenda so I can see it every day. 

I can’t believe after so many years about saying how much you hate cats you got one. And with animals in general. However, I am happy. I need a nice clean animal to go home and love and sleep with. XD But you have given me quite a few surprises since I’ve been out here but this is definitely up on the list. 

But that’s about it for this week. Next week we have to travel again to Cusco as a zone for a multi-conference with a 70 and the mission president. So I’ll be sure to tell you how that goes in 2 weeks (because its next Tuesday) But I love you all and I’m glad to hear that everyone’s doing well!

Elder Halverson 

English room for general conference

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2015

Hello Family! 

Well this week has been pretty dang sweet. My new companion, Elder Delgado who is from Trujillo here in Peru, arrived on Tuesday. The altitude gave him a nice slap across the face but nothing too bad. He just had to rest a bit. Funny thing is that he also came from Juliaca. We were there together but I just couldn’t remember who he was until I saw him. But even in Juliaca, I didn’t get to know him very well. Also, the other elder who stayed with me, Elder Alan, is training a new elder from Chile who is super excited. He is also trying to learn as much English from me as possible right now because after the mission he wants to go study at BYU and then live in the states for the rest of his life. Speaking of which, it’s a lot different now going from three Americans and 1 Latino and speaking a lot of English to now only 1 American and 3 Latinos whose English are very limited. But I like it this way because it will allow to really better my Spanish before I go home. But other than that, this week has been pretty awesome. Even with the changes we were all able to work really hard and we had more success than these past few weeks. 

Also, Saturday we had a talent show which went really well. The young women and young men did a few dances that were really cool and then the other organizations just did some skits that were funny. We were able to have some of the people that we are teaching assist as well and we were able to contact a lot of people that came from being invited from friends that are members. As for those who we are teaching, nothing big has changed with them. We have had to move some people’s dates back a bit because they have been traveling. But as for the Yuca family, the date we have set with the parents and one of the daughters for October 24 is still holding. Actually, if all goes well for this next month, we are planning on having around 5 baptisms. As for the ward, it’s still slowly getting better. This week we had an attendance of 114. It’s funny because we actually have the strongest ward out of the whole Sicuani stake with the best attendance even though we are so far away from everything else. A lot of our success has to do with our bishop who is working really hard.

But it kinda sucked this week with one of our investigators named Gladys. She has attended 2 now and is a relatively newer investigator but is really excited to learn. However yesterday we had a really good lesson with her but at the end she told us that she is going to move to Arequipa for the next few months to work and so we are really hoping that we don’t lose her in this time. She doesn’t know exactly where she is going to live so we are going to have to wait until next week to call her to be able to pass her information to the Arequipa mission. But with another investigator we are teaching, Luz Marina, she attended for her 3rd time yesterday and this is her second time attending on her own. But she is progressing really well and we are thinking about putting a date with her the next time we go to visit her so that will be pretty awesome.

Man that’s crazy though all of the people going on missions right now. Most of which are sisters. But as for Richard G. Scott, I did see that this morning on lds,org. It really surprised me. Especially so soon before conference. But me and my companion will be going to Sicuani to watch it. Mainly it’s all for me just so I can see it in English. The other 2 elders are staying here in Espinar so they can watch it with the people who they are teaching. 

Hey but dad should try and learn how to not just cut glass but bend it to make little glass statues. Of course we would have to get a blow torch but that would be cool to see him get into something more, arty. XD  It’s funny though, because Aaron sent me one of those invitations a few months ago when they first made them. Actually, I think he said I got the first one. Aren’t I just pretty dang special. XD  

But I’m still working hard here and trying to stay as focused as I can with the time I have left. It’s really starting to scare me though with how little time I have left. But I’m glad to hear all is good back home and I love you all! But until next week!

Elder Halverson

All pictures from the talent show:

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015

Hello Family!

This week has been a bit strange. Almost all of our appointments fell through and for a big part of the week the power went out from a bad transformer. (And no I’m not talking about a Deceptacon.) But regardless of that, we still had the highest attendance here in Espinar since I’ve arrived of 123. The only investigator we had come this week was a mom and her 2 kids who also came last week. She is also married but like most people here, he works in the mine and can only be in Espinar sometimes so he’s hard to get in contact with. The interesting thing about this investigator is that she was an old investigator who the elders had dropped and never before had come. So last week we went to her house to go pick her up for church but this week she came all on her own. So it will be interesting to see if she progresses much. Other than that we had 8 less actives come this week as well. 4 of them had come for the first time in forever.

But to be honest, Peru has kinda ruined dogs for me. I still love them but at least most the dogs here I don’t like. They are mostly super mean and dirty. Even if they are owned by someone, they look like they may as well be street dogs because most of the people here don’t care about their animals. However, my pensionistas' husband is a German Shepard fanatic and he also breeds his dogs. The nice thing is that he actually does take care of his dogs and they are super awesome and nice. Currently he has 2, one a male named Binxes (I think that’s how it’s spelled but it’s pronounced like Been-xes) and a female one named Pastora. Right now Pastora is about a month pregnant and will probably have her puppies sometime in late October or early November.

As for all of our other investigators, I don’t really have anything else to say about any of them because for whatever reason they left or were busy or something and we weren’t able to meet with them. But a few of them are most likely going to get baptized in October. Also, as for changes, I’m staying here in Espinar like I thought. My comp has a change to Cusco and another elder from my district is going to Puno. The other elder that’s staying with me is going to be training but I’m not going to train. So sadly I never will have a son in the mission :T  My new comp that I’m getting is a Latino I think who I’ve never met before but I imagine he will probably be my last comp. However, my old comp from Juliaca, Elder Bordon, is going to be in my zone here so I’m pretty excited to see him again. Also I did hear about the earthquake, a family here has a son in Chile near there so they were a little concerned but they heard that none of the missionaries were killed so they were fine.

But I love you all and I’ll tell you how everything goes with my new comp next week. Until then-

Elder Halverson

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 14, 2015

Hello family!

Well this week was pretty good, too. Sunday night, like I said, we traveled to Sicuani for the interviews with president. Then for the next 3 days we were also in Sicuani. Monday was the zone meeting. Tuesday we were just doing divisions in Sicuani so we wouldn’t have to travel more. It was funny, while I was doing divisions, I was with a North American named Elder Steele. While we were out working, he had hot dog to throw at dogs that would bark at him because he was so afraid of dogs. I just told him that if dogs tried to give us any problems I would just kick the dog in the face like I have done here in Espinar. Actually, there was a dog that looked like it wanted to bite us and would always bark at us like crazy. However, one day, I was getting tired of it and ran at the dog and kicked it in the face so hard that it flipped over backwards. Ever since then I have only seen it twice and when it sees us it runs away.

Anyway, Wednesday we had our interviews with President and it really helped me out understanding how I can be a better district leader. Also, I talked to him again about my ecclesiastical endorsement and he said he would go in probably this week to try and do it again. If it doesn’t show up, that means that my application isn’t showing up. Also, I was able to talk to his wife about my health and she was able to tell me some pills to take that I have taken this last week. So hopefully they will work but for right now I’m feeling fine.

As for this week, even though we were only able to work for a few days less, we were still able to do some good work. Also, we had 6 new investigators that attended for the first time. They were all made up of 2 different families with whom we are starting to work. Also, as for the Yuca family, we are still working with them on their dates. At least for Sandra, we may possibly have to put her date in October because she may not yet be ready, at least with her understanding of the teachings, but she still has a desire to be baptized. 

The funniest thing that happened this week... I actually can’t think of anything really funny that happened this week. My most spiritual experience was probably while I was with the President in my interview because it kinda refreshes my desires for working. He also really helps me understand my purpose a lot better. Whenever I go to him with concerns, he really knows how to help me understand my trials and use them to help me get better.

This week, or at least today, we went to a Catholic church that was in the middle of nowhere. There is a little spout that comes out of the ground with fresh water that apparently is blessed from some virgin but it wasn’t anything exciting and was actually really boring. The others wanted to go because they thought that there were going to be a lot of people there but there wasn’t anything. But I got to see more of the area around here. This week my testimony has grown with respects to the Priesthood and its authority. I have been studying the book Our Search for Happiness and it has been talking a lot about why the priesthood is so important and it really just helped me understand it better.

But that’s about it for this week. Next week we have changes and I’m really hoping that I will be able to train to finish my mission. But I love you all and I hope that your week goes well.

Elder Halverson 

Monday, September 7, 2015

September 7, 2015

Hello Family!

Well, first off, I’ve gotten a lot better now so don’t worry. I talked to the zone leaders for some pills I could take and now I’m not having any problems. However, I would like to take that bomb pill thing when I get home just to make sure. I don’t think they give that to you in the mission when you end but I’m not sure.

Anyway, this week has been a lot better than my previous few weeks this change. We worked like crazy this week and got some pretty good results out of it. We were able to get 9 new investigators just between me and my companion. We also have 2 new people with baptismal dates. I don’t remember if I told you this last week but we have a date with the dad and mom from the Yuca family (the family we have been working with whose kids got baptized). Also we have a date with the one daughter who hasn’t gotten baptized for the end of this month. We also put a date with an older lady whose kids are all older and she has been coming constantly for a few months. The problem was that she wasn’t married to her husband but he has left the family and has another family in another little town so they don’t have any relations now. Her date is also for the end of the month so that’s going to be pretty exciting. Also it was pretty crazy because we got a new investigator this week who is also a middle aged lady named Juanna and she was telling us how her ex-husband would beat her all the time and started showing us some scars on her arms and face from the beatings. The guy even broke her wrist and she had to get nails put in to fix it. Anyway, she separated from him a few years ago but it’s just crazy the things I hear and see here sometimes. One of the biggest problems is that most of the men don’t have any respect for their wives or other women. Here you could even say that it’s worse because of all the mines around here. 

Last night we had to travel to Sicuani for a zone meeting. However to save on travel money we are going to stay here till Wednesday for the interviews we have with the mission president. Then on Thursday our day is completely filled, and I’m not joking, with appointments for every hour except for like 2 hours in the morning so we are also going to be working our butts off when we get back.

Also speaking of sweets, I have begun making a list of American foods I want to eat when I get back so I don’t forget. But you should definitely send me some of this [Dad’s] delicious fudge. I think that’s the only medicine I need. Currently I am buying a box of chocolate bars at the beginning of the month to try and put on some weight but I end up eating them all in the first week.

But I’m glad to hear that your friend finally got baptized. I think I’m going to start working on my friends a lot more when I get home. Especially Ryan cuz I feel like he will probably be more likely to listen to me more than some of my other friends. But it’s been crazy how much I have realized how important this work is. I think especially now more than ever I am getting more desires to work now that I don’t have much time left but I feel like everything just makes so much sense and it’s just logical to try it out. Especially because now I can really testify of how real it is. This was something that we kinda touched on in the zone meeting, our purpose. A few of us in the zone are about to end so it was good to hear that we got to really live obediently now more than ever and make sure we leave it all on the court. Anyway I feel like I’m ranting about this but I really am little by little coming to love the work.

But I’m glad to hear all’s well at home and I hope everything continues to go well. Until next week!

Elder Halverson 

 Well, this isn't really anything special but I know you love pictures so here is a picture of my district with some dang good fruit drinks.
 Also, here are some purses/bags that we found so you guys can each pick one out that I'm gonna get for your Christmas present.

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015

Hello everyone!

Well, this week wasn’t too special either. We had a bug or something go around our zone but we all got a little sick. I’m not sure what caused it but I couldn’t really leave bed for the first 2 days and then the third day I was just weak from not eating plus my bum hole was like a broken dam. Speaking of which, this allows me to tell you the thing that made me laugh this week. So one of the elders here was also a little sick in the stomach and I think it was Wednesday night as we were walking home from dinner and he just demolished his pants like 2/3 of the way home. He was very distraught to say the least.

Speaking of fires, we also had a little fire here in the outskirts of town. However, it’s a traditional thing people do here each year. Plus it’s so cold and high up here the fires can’t survive for very long. But it still looked cool at night.

But yea with my comp, he had to go renew his visa in Cusco. He told me that I’m going to have to go next change some time to start the work to cancel mine... :/ kinda a weird thought.

Also, speaking of baptisms, the dad of the family we are working with is back in town and so we are planning on putting a baptismal date with him and his wife (because she wants to get baptized with him even though she’s ready now) in October. That’s kinda far away, but unfortunately, because he works in a mine, that’s the closest date we can put with them. But at least we can have a goal with them. Also, with the other daughter, she told us that she wants to get baptized in September so we are also going to put a specific date with her. We also had a new investigator this week. It was funny because he came up to us last Sunday and told us that he had a friend who told him about the church and he wanted to come check it out. Also, he is learning English because he wants to move to Australia for the work of his wife. We were only able to visit him once this week due to the sickness that has been going around but he seems like a pretty sincere guy who is interested in the family teaching of the church. Also, he said that his wife is a member but hasn’t attended for a while now. Oh, and his name is Luis. I still don’t know his last name, though. But that’s about all I have to say on what’s going on here more or less.

As for the rest of your questions, something that made me sad this week is we got word from the bishop that the mom of a really strong family has been apostatizing a little bit. Apparently from what he told us, she has been saying that we shouldn’t go to the temple and has been encouraging her older children to live with their boyfriends/girlfriends without marriage. However, I am a little skeptical on these claims on her. Ever since I have been here, she has only been helpful with us in finding new people and building the ward. Also, she let 2 of her kids go to the temple with all of the youth. Not to mention her oldest daughter, who is our pensionista, has a goal to get married to her fiancé by the end of the year. However, they have been living together for a while now and already have 2 children. But they also are excited to get sealed in the temple as well. To me, it seems like the bishop probably heard rumors and wants it to get verified or something. But if it is true, that would be super sad.

This week I could probably feel the spirit the strongest with that new investigator, Luis, we have. When he was telling us about his desires to learn more, he just seemed really sincere about it and I could really feel the spirit in that lesson. Something I learned new this week was my pensionista’s dog (Benxis) gets really bored when there is no one else to play with him. Normally me and her "husband" are the only ones to play with him but I’ve been sick and he fell down some stairs a few weeks ago and he broke some toes so he can’t really use his foot at the moment.

Also, as far as my testimony, I just want to testify about your little quote [“It’s easier to avoid temptation than to resist it”]. Through all of my personal experiences I have had throughout my whole mission and also through teaching it, only a thousand times. But I can really testify of the strength that comes from that and now it’s gotten a whole lot easier to avoid temptations when they come. I don’t remember who gave this example but I’m pretty sure it was one of the apostles when he said he just got into a habit of humming a hymn when temptations came (however I don’t hum). But it’s true, after a while you just build up a wall of resistance whenever it comes from just avoiding it so much.

But yea, I think that’s all I got for this week but I’m glad to hear from you and I love you all very much and until next week!

Elder Halverson