Hola, familia y todos…
- We´re doing really, really well in our new area so far. We have 3 baptisms planned for this week…and they´re all ready. 2 of them will get married on Friday (when I arrived in the area, they had just gotten their papers finished and now their marriage announcement thing is published). This is kind of amazing…as of today, I´ve been here only about a week and a half, but there are quite a lot of prepared people here. And I´d like to think we´ve been working really well. All 3 people are really excited, and Elder Murdock and I are really excited, and it´s just amazing.
- So last night we had a special worldwide training featuring President Monson and the Quorum of the Twelve. They called us on Saturday night at like 10:30 and told us about it the next day, and we had no idea what it was to be about…it turned out to be about missionary work. It was mainly directed to ward and branch leaders, I believe, but I guess we were also invited, so that was nice. It was incredible. Just getting the chance (yet again) to hear Apostles, our prophet, etc. was great…and it was just a cool meeting. They talked a lot about some changes that will be happening…the craziest is that apparently we will soon be able to use computers much more as missionaries. Elder Perry even mentioned Facebook. 🙂 I have no idea if I´ll still be here when those changes make their way to Arequipa…or how it will go down…but wow. This will be different. Elder Perry was talking about how it´s a changing world we live in, and these changes…missionaries using computers much more in the work…will help accelerate the work. We´ll have to see how it goes. They also talked a lot about how members and missionaries can work together, there were some very excellent video segments, and then at the end, a huge choir of missionaries from the MTC (which, funnily enough, my companion just left like a month and a half ago… :)) sang “Called To Serve,” and it gave us all chills. And then afterwards I decided that I´m just not going to go home. Well, I guess I have to. But seriously…that meeting pumped me up like crazy. I remember that you, Dad, in one of your emails said that I sounded like I could stay here 5 years if they let me. You might have been on the right track about that. Not that I don´t miss you all, a lot…but wow. I´m just so happy to be a missionary right now.
- So I wish I could send you pictures, but I have to find a way to do so. I think my companion´s mini-camera thing might have a cable that works for mine, but since I´m short on time right now, I´ll have to check with him for next week. I haven´t taken that many here yet, but a few of the really nice view from our room (I´m pretty sure I can see my old area, but I´m not sure where it is…just close to Misti, the big volcano in the middle, is all I know), and of me and my companion, that kind of thing.
- Oh! Something I forgot to tell you all last week. So did I ever tell you that I came to Arequipa with another Elder Randall? He´s from Washington and in the group after me, and as you hopefully all know, I came with that group due to my staying in Kansas for my visa issues. He is now my zone leader. And when I got here last Wednesday, we were in a trio together, with Elder Murdock and him. We did divisions with the zone leaders last week, and sadly, we missed the grand opportunity to have Elder Randall together with Elder Randall. But we will be sure to do sometime. It would confuse people so much. I love it. He´s a really great missionary, and it´s fun/weird to have missionaries call his name, I think they´re calling me, and it´s him. It happened in the training we had with Presidente too…he called me Randall 1, and him Randall 2, if I remember right. 🙂
- Speaking of Presidente Fernandez…the next time I write you all, he will be back in his home in Lima. He leaves on Saturday. This is so crazy…and a bit sad. He´s been absolutely amazing. And I didn´t get to have one last interview with him, which is lame, but ah well. He´s yelled at us quite a lot over this past year…and he´s intimidating…but he´s terrific, he´s done so much for the mission, and I will miss him like crazy. There´s a lot of changes coming…and I hope Presidente Zobrist will be just as great. He´ll be way different, for sure. For starters, he´s a gringo, y´know. He definitely can´t replace Presidente Fernandez. But I have faith that, with the same calling that Pres. Fernandez had, he will be able to be the exact mission president that we need. He´ll be able to help us improve, and be the missionaries the Lord wants us to be. I have a strong testimony of how mission presidents receive revelation for us, and I know without a doubt that that will continue with Presidente Zobrist.
So there´s probably a few random things I could tell you, but my time is ending…let´s see. Um, our pensionista made fried banana this week, I tried it to be a good sport, and…sorry, Mom. I couldn´t eat it. But our pensionista was totally fine with it. And my companion ate some of mine. 🙂 What else…I don´t know. You should all ask me questions. And I´ll try to remember more things next week. Just for now, know that I´m incredibly happy here. We´re feeling the Spirit so much more, and I´m so excited to keep working in this area. Know that as always, you´re all in my prayers, and I always love to hear from all of you. Keep moving forward…