There and Back Again

Hola, familia y amigos…

So remember the other week when I said it was probably one of the shortest emails I´d send? Yeah. This week will probably be shorter. So I´m writing on Tuesday rather than Monday because I was in Lima to get my Peruvian ID card. Quick explanation of what the trip consisted of: I found out on Saturday night that I´d be traveling to Lima the next afternoon, and got on a bus from Tacna at about noon or so. I was the only one coming from Tacna, and I got into Arequipa around 6. They picked me up, I worked with another missionary in an area around the mission office for an hour (it was a pretty fun experience, actually), we then went to the airport, and got together with the 6 other missionaries (5 elders and una hermana) that were going. Elder Armijo and Elder Randall (the other one) were among them, and it was really cool to see them again. Our flight from Arequipa left around 8:30 and took about an hour, we went to a hotel in Lima and stayed the night, woke up early to get some breakfast and then spent pretty much all morning and most of the afternoon in the immigration office. Meh. (But now we have our Peruvian ID cards. Well, an elder from the mission office actually took them from us, so he can send them once they send duplicates, but still, we officially have one now. :)) After that, we went to the airport, ate McDonalds (!!!) and Dunkin Donuts (!!!), our flight left about 7, we got into Arequipa…and then they dropped the bomb that I was going to have to take the bus back to Tacna (6 hours) that night. After they had told me earlier that I was going to stay the night in Arequipa instead. But I guess that´s mission life…nothing ever goes how you expect it to. I left at like 9:30, got into Tacna at 3 in the morning (yes, you read that right), and got picked up, and now here I am. Basically, a really fast, crazy trip. But lots of fun, and a great chance to reunite with some awesome people. So, I´m going to save pretty much everything else I planned to talk about for next week (when I have more time), but quickly, a bullet or two or three or so:
  • Mom, my companion should have sent you information (in Spanish, para tu conveniencia…OK, more like his convenience, but still :)) about voting. I would like to be able to vote, and like I´ve said before, there´s no need to send me the actual ballot…like he explained, just send me all the stuff that´s on there, and I´ll send you my choices on Monday. Then you can just take it to the polling place on Tuesday, I believe (it will be too late to mail it, most likely). Anyone else reading this email, if you have any info about the elections, propositions, etc….I´d love to receive it. (Even if it´s heavily biased towards the Republicans…cough cough, Dad… :)) I´ve heard the presidential election is crazy close…it will be very interesting to see what happens.
  • Elder Flores also said he sent a picture of our baptism this past Saturday to you, Mom. I´ll try to send a few next week, but if you could pass that on to all the family/etc., that would be awesome.
  • I´ve mentioned this before…but I´m still missing a chunk of the pictures I took in the MTC. I sent the memory card home a few days before I left the MTC…I really should have just kept it and gotten them printed in Kansas, but I didn´t really think ahead there (I think it was like a day before I found out I was going to be reassigned, anyhow). I sent a letter/captions with them and specified exactly which photos I didn´t have. Mom or Ariel or Dad or whoever can, could you please send them whenever possible? If email is easier, I have a flash drive I can load them on. If mail is better, then that works too (obviously that will take a bit longer, but that´s alright). Anyways, I´d love to have those pictures ASAP, because I haven´t seen them since the beginning of July. 🙂
  • So I neglected to mention this last email, but I performed a special musical number at the baptism of Pilar…singing and playing “Abide With Me, ´Tis Eventide,” in English and Spanish. It went really well, and for our other baptism this past weekend, I once again sang and played a musical number, this time “Be Still, My Soul” (two hermanas in our district requested it…they also had two investigators they were baptizing at the same service), only in English, since it´s not in the Spanish hymnbook. Both times, I kind of rearranged the songs a little bit (mostly on the spot), had little time to practice…and I know for a fact that without the Spirit and the help of Heavenly Father, I would have been in huge trouble. It´s great to see the power that the Spirit can have…even in little things like a musical number for a baptism. 🙂
  • I. Am. SO. Tired. Just so you all know. (But I´m on a mission. It happens. :))

Two quick little experiences to close that I had in Lima. First off, when I got to Arequipa, I had to call the personal secretary to get a ride from the bus terminal. I was looking around for a payphone, and I found one in one of the terminal buildings, but it ended up working really badly, and I lost some of my money. After that, I wasn´t sure where to find a phone, and starting to get just a tiny bit worried…and decided to keep praying in my mind and keep looking. My intention was to not leave the bus terminal…but I had a feeling that I should look outside of it just a little bit. I did, and I found a much better-working payphone across the street, was able to get in contact with the mission office, and everything went fine from there. I´m very thankful for that…it was a little thing, finding a pay phone, but like I said above (more or less)…Heavenly Father´s there to help us with the little things as well as the big ones. 

Another ´little thing´ He helped me with this weekend? So I took a Dramamine pill before I left from Tacna, because I know from experience the bus ride is crazy. (The buses weren´t that bad…not as nice as the plane from Arequipa to Lima, and vice versa…honestly, LAN continues to impress me, as I said in my letter home to you all…but the roads are very twisty, and there´s not much interesting to look at, besides lots and lots of desert. :))  I got a tiny bit sick on the way to Arequipa, but I was fine thanks to my pill. However, while we were getting driven to the terminal Monday night…I started looking for my pills…and I couldn´t find them. I was getting a bit frantic, because I knew that without them, I´d be in trouble on the bus ride. I kept looking for them while I was on the bus, and getting more and more worried…and then once again, I decided to pray. It was a bit of a desperate prayer (I was already tired and a bit frustrated about the whole “Hey, you´re traveling to Tacna tonight! Surprise!” thing), but a very fervent one too. I prayed to help calm myself down…and basically for a miracle…to be able to make the whole bus ride without feeling sick. (My prayer was rather specific…since I knew I´d pretty much need to sleep the whole 6 hours to not get sick, I prayed for that too. :)) After that…I kept calming myself down…and discovered afterwards that the bus seats convert into a kind of bed. On top of that, there weren´t many people on the bus (I had a lot of empty seats around me), and it wasn´t too noisy or crowded. Plus, I was insanely tired and it was, you know, 10 at night. My sleep wasn´t wonderful, but I was able to get some rest, and apart from a few moments…I didn´t feel really sick at all. That was yet another testament to me that Heavenly Father answers our prayers. Always. Even with things like needing to stay healthy and non-nauseous on a bus ride in Peru. I have a firm testimony that He´s always there for us…He´s certainly always been there for me, even when I can´t exactly see it at first. He was there with me (in the empty seat to my right :)) on that bus, He´s been there with me in every moment on my mission, and I´m so grateful for that.
(Also…I found out when I got back to Tacna that I had left my pills on my desk in our room. Why, Elder Randall? Why do you forget these things?!?!? :))
OK, so I guess I wasn´t quite as rushed as I thought I would be…but I need to skedaddle right about now. I hope you all enjoyed this week´s update…however all over the place it was. I´m doing very well, the trip to Lima was nice (tiring, but nice), I promise I´m not mad or anything at the missionaries from the office (they´re awesome, and do their best), and overall, I´m having a great mission experience. Holy cow, it´s Elder Flores´ last week here. Like I said last week…we´ll be just going crazy over here. No big. 🙂 I love you all so much, I love hearing from you, and always remember that I´m thinking of you and praying for you. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts for me in return. I know they´re one of the many reasons that my mission has been such a great one. 🙂
Con mucho amor (y mucho sueño),
Elder Randall
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