Growing Up

Hola, familia y todos…

So, to start off my email, in which I don´t have the greatest amount of time, but I should be able to get this all out, I´m going to start with a story. So this past week, on Monday, we got to play soccer with another zone, and it was crazy disorganized, but nice to see some certain people (more on that below, and in the pictures I attach…). At one point, there was a group of gringos talking, and I was in the circle. They were talking about when they graduated from high school.
 
“I´m class of 2012. And you?” (Turns to other elder) “Me too.” (Other elder) “Me too.” (They turn to me) “Elder Randall, when did you graduate?” (In a somewhat ashamed voice) “2009.” (Everyone) “Whoa!”
 
So yeah. That happened. As I have repeatedly but cheerfully stated, I´m getting old. 🙂
 
Now, to the bullets, all quick but orderly-like…
  • So, we got to play with another zone. And guess whose zone it was? Elder Montenegro´s. He got to meet Elder Murdock a bit more, and as attached, I took a posterity picture with my two hijos. (Can you spot the awesome assistant to the mission president photo-bombing in the back? :)) It was so weird to have them together, btw. Elder Montenegro says he misses me, haha. And he still calls me (in a very high voice), “Papá! Papá!” Oh, how time passes. We were also talking a lot about our old area, and wondering how it´s doing, and sadly, pretty much every progressing investigator we were working had some happen, and now pretty much none of them want to/can get baptized. Sad day. But according to the numbers we get each week from the mission, they had 3 baptisms this week. That´s good.
  • So the zone we played with was the zone Elder Armijo was in…but I found out, he got transferred to Tacna…funnily enough, in an area I know, but wasn´t in that much. It was closed when I was there, and I remember I went to a meeting with the bishopric there once on divisions with the zone leaders (they were covering that area then), and it was such a great experience, and I was praying a lot for that area to be opened. And now it is. And Elder Armijo´s there! And apparently he´s in the same district as Elder Valerio, who also got transferred there, I found out. Crazy. I´m a bit jealous, but well, I was already in that zone, so what can I do? 🙂
  • We had a baptism this week! It was really cool. It´s the son of our new pensionista, who is a recent convert. He´s 11 and his name is Aldair. So he wanted to get baptized when his family was being taught a few months ago…but his dad, who works out of town in Puno, wanted him to wait, so he did, but kept coming to Church, basically was a member, all that. This week we decided to accelerate things a bit, and the time was right. He was ready to be baptized. His mom signed the form, they called his dad and his dad was totally OK with it, and finally, he got baptized. He´s such a great kid…so cheerful and just fun to be around. And we see him every day, haha, because we eat with his family. So there you go. 🙂
  • I´ve recovered basically completely from my illness. It really wasn´t that bad. My companion I think I got a bit sick, but not as much as I did. He´s good.
  • So remember in my last area, I got bitten by a few horrible dogs? Here in Augusto Freyre so far, I haven´t received any. But my companion, unfortunately, has received a few…last night, one on the hand. I think my areas just go back-and-forth with me getting dog bites. Tacna, nothing. Apurimac, tons. Here, nothing. Who knows. 🙂
  • I tried mustard and ketchup this week, briefly. They weren´t too bad. I´m sure these food-related news items don´t surprise any of you anymore… 🙂
  • Ariel, this may interest you, because you know who she is. There´s a Chilean elder in my zone that knows how to play “Us” by Regina Spektor. He started playing it the last zone meeting we had, afterwards, and according to Elder Murdock, I almost kissed him. I promise I did not really do this, haha. But still. I was so excited.

And…out of time. I must depart. And aargh, I still need to share that experience. I promise I will. It was great. And for now…I love you all. Write me. I hope you´re all doing wonderfully. 🙂

Con amor,
Elder Randall
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In Sickness In Health..

SORRY IT’S A WEEK LATE AGAIN!!!
Hola, familia y todos…

So I had my email so well planned-out this week. And then, once again, I am left with little time. But let´s try this. It´s been a terrific week. So many things to quickly bullet-tell you about…
  • We had two baptisms this week! A picture with them two, and all the family, is attached. Aargh, I don´t have much time. Their names are Ursula and Claudia, and they´re sisters. We started teaching them and their mom, who is a member but hadn´t gone to Church in quite a while, along with their cousin (also in the pic, with glasses…he´s going to get baptized soon…we need to get him permission, mainly by talking to his dad…), a few weeks ago. They´re such an amazing family. We were able to help their mom, Hna. Celia (she´s in the center next to her daughters, who are in white), come back to Church, and now her daughters are baptized. They were so happy…it was just awesome. Elder Murdock baptized both of them, though I helped with Claudia, because she can´t bend down too well on her own.
  • Random fun short story from like 2, 3 weeks ago: While in my first week or two here, I didn´t know the greatest how to get around in my area. I was on divisions with one of the zone leaders, and we got on a bus to go from a far-out part of our area to the main part of our area. Little did we know, there are two different buses that go from there. One goes to our area. One goes to a completely different zone (as in zone for us as missionaries). Guess which one we took? It was horrible. But hilarious. And a nice lady helped us get a taxi back. 🙂
  • Another random fun short story, but from this week…we got a ride from the police. Well, the neighborhood patrol-type police. This sounds bad. But it´s not, I promise. We were in that same far-out area, and we were starting to walk back, and they were driving by, and asked us if we wanted a ride back. We accepted it, and talked to them about the Gospel (my companion helped start it off and give me courage there…hey, it was the police… :)). It was awesome. And we drove by one of our recent converts, Ericka, and I didn´t see her face too well, but apparently she was quite shocked to see us riding in a police truck. Her look was priceless. 🙂
  • Our new pension is great. Just so you know. And…next. 🙂
  • Presidente Zobrist is absolutely terrific…we got to meet him a bit in a welcome conference this week. He´s pretty gringo, and his wife doesn´t speak Spanish, but I love them both already. I´m very excited. It´s so different from Presidente and Hermana Fernandez, but they´re really, really great.
  • I´m currently sick right now…but don´t worry. I´m getting better. (“She turned me into a newt!” “But you do not look like a newt.” “I got better.” :)) I got a cold, I´m still coughing a bit, but I´ve been putting on menthol and trying to bundle up, and it´s helping, and I´m improving. And I´ve been able to work fine. Well, sort of. More or less.
  • And…my hour just came up. Quick, quick. Oh my gosh, we had such an incredible experience this week…like it left my companion and I without words after. But…I don´t want to try to shoehorn what I want to share from it into an email in which I do not have time, so I think I´ll write it in my journal (which I totally need to start using again), then bring it next week and just summarize what I wrote there. Seriously….so cool.
  • I turned 14 months old this week in the mission. Sometimes I want to stop counting. But I won´t. 🙂
  • So the pictures: We got to go to a cool store this week and they have American sodas. And I finally tried Dr. Pepper. Yes. I have converted to the caffeine club. 🙂

Oh, and one more quick thing. The past few days, I´ve been scared twice by sheep suddenly appearing right next to me. Haha, this probably sounds very strange. Also, last night, I dreamed I got transferred to Africa. Yeah. That happened. And…besides the amazing experience I will totally share with you all next week…I think I got pretty much everything. I love you all so much, don´t be afraid to write, and you´re as always all in my prayers and thoughts. 🙂

Con amor,
Elder Randall

 

 
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Hello Goodbye

Hola, familia y todos…

So I had a lot of time to write this email this week. And then I used it up a bit. But I still should be able to get out more or less what I wanted to talk about. Maybe. And I´m sending pictures! It´s been a while. Like I believe I mentioned last week, my companion has a cord he uses for a little mini-camera he has, and it turns out, it fits my camera and works fine. It´s quite nice. Anyways, so this has been a week of changes…and exciting things. Let´s discuss them below, shall we?
  • So Presidente Fernandez up and left us. We had a terrific farewell conference with him (sadly with only 3 other zones, but still), and wow…it was crazy. I can´t believe after 10 months or so of him being my mission president, he and Hermana Fernandez are gone. There were a few musical numbers (all of which I played piano for, which was fun), Presidente spoke and touched us all…and made us laugh a ton, because that´s Presidente for you…we all got to say goodbye to him…and he gave me back my CDs that I had given him. Some of them, it´s possible that Presidente Zobrist will allow them, but a few of them, I just bought in Kansas for later, and Presidente told me to save all the ones that aren´t Church music, and not use them, so I shall. While playing the intro to the closing hymn, “Love One Another,” this may sound silly, but I totally had a “memories of Presidente and Hermana Fernandez flashing before my eyes” moment. It was so weird. “My whole life flashed before me eyes…it was really boring.” 🙂 Also, as part of the conference, we got to do something cool…but I can say absolutely nothing about it yet. You´ll find out soon enough.
  • Speaking of the conference, sadly, my old zone was not there. But a recently arrived missionary I knew tapped my back before the conference started, and said, “Su hijo!” I turned around, and right behind that missionary, to my shock and surprise, was Elder Montenegro. Yep. He got transferred 3 days after I did. Oh snap. He´s now in more central Arequipa now, and he says his new companion´s a bit weird, and his new area´s a bit hard, but he´s doing well. It was great to see him, and now my other son got to meet him. My posterity is coming together, haha. We also got to see Elder Armijo again (Ariel, he told me you haven´t written him yet…hmmm…), and Elder Murdock got to meet him, and that was a cool. There were a few nice reunions there. It was just an incredible meeting.
  • So this week…we had 3 baptisms. Plus my companion baptized the daughter of a member (they themselves got baptized about a year ago) who just turned 8. It was very cool…and dang it, I´m running out of time, so I can´t tell you their experiences too much at the moment. Quick Reader´s Digest version: Two of them, Ericka and Ericson, hey just got married on Friday. We got to attend the civil marriage ceremony, and that was a first for both of us. A picture is included. The judge totally liked us (she called us “los importados” and said we could come back afterwards if she was still single…oh kay…). Fun times. The other baptism we had, her name is Tatiana. She´s the daughter-in-law of the first counselor in the bishopric, and she was so ready. She said before her baptism, she felt so sure, so happy, and you could see that it was just a great experience for her and for everyone.

And…so out of time. I´m sure there are things I forgot. Oh, other change…we just changed pensions. Already. Don´t worry, this time it wasn´t a crazy Guatemalan arguing with our pensionista´s husband, haha…she just was going to be really busy this month, so she asked her friend, a recent convert and the mother of our ward mission leader, to be our pensionista for now. We started this morning, and she´s very nice. It shall be wonderful. And the pics…let´s see if I can remember what I included…one of the baptism we had this Saturday, with everyone in white. One of me and my new companion. One the day I left Apurimac, with the parents of our old pensionista. One of Elder Montenegro and I holding a dead cuy. Yes, that happened. I look so much happier and not nervous than I actually was, btw. And one of Hermana Jenny (last area) when we went to her house for her birthday. Someone totally pushed her face in the cake. Her son Adriano, the 4-year-old who talks so clearly that I told you about, is in the corner, if you can spot him. I think those are all the ones I put…a mix of my last area and the area I´m in right now. Oh, something I heard from Presidente Fernandez…I guess it´s not OK to put pics I send on Facebook and tag me and all that. Something about privacy. So be careful with that. And…I´m over time. Let´s go. I´m incredibly happy still, we´re doing great, and I love you all. 🙂

Con amor,
Elder Randall
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In Love Being A Missionary!

Hola, familia y todos…

So much in the past, I have used a punny title or movie or song reference or something like that for my emails. Today, I´m going to keep it simple. I love being a missionary. I really do. A few reasons why below…
  • 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…

Con amor,
Elder Randall
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He Did It Again! Ahhhhh!

SORRY IT’S A WEEK LATE!
 

Sent: Monday, June 17, 2013 10:10 AM
Subject: “He Did It Again! Ahhhh!”

Hola, familia y todos…

So I use yet another random movie reference for my email title this week. Remember in “Home Alone 2” when they wake up late again for the van that goes to the airport, they run in front of the camera, scream, “We did it again!,” then run in front of the camera again, and go, “Ahhh!”? Yeah. Read my email title thinking of that and you´ve got it. So who is He? And what did He do again? All will be revealed. 🙂
 
So remember last week when I told you I´d keep you informed about how transfers went? Oh, do I have an update for you all. But first, let´s rewind about 4 months, to my last week or two in Tacna. That Sunday, I totally thought I was going to be there one Sunday more, so I didn´t say goodbye to like anyone. Hna. Yesenia bought a cool dessert recipe book that had a recipe for chocolate chip cookies in it, and we were planning to make them before I left. (Well, then they left, but you know.) And I knew I was probably going to get changed, but I was totally expecting it to be normal. And then you all should know what happened next (the Monday before transfers that next Sunday, we went to play volleyball with the zone, and that night I ended up on a bus to Arequipa).
 
Now, to this past week in Apurimac. We both knew that either one of us would get transferred, almost certainly, that next Sunday, but since this Sunday was our second-to-last Sunday, we didn´t really say goodbye to anyone yet. We have talks the 3rd Sunday, so Elder Montenegro and I were talking about how we would have a really good chance to kind of bid goodbye to the members, whichever of us was leaving. Hna. Jeaneth got a few recipe books…in the newspaper?…something like that, and there were some awesome dessert recipes in there, including chocolate chip cookies. And we knew we were probably going to get changed, but we thought it would be normal.
 
Sound familiar yet? Well, one more detail. On Wednesday at about 12 o´clock, we received a call from the zone leaders. They had some big news for me.
 
Yep. I got emergency changed. Again.
 
And…let´s go to the bullets for some more info on this crazy situation that I´m actually pretty calm and happy about now…
  • So on Wednesday, the zone leaders called us, and informed me that I had an emergency change. I was once again freaking out a bit, but I had been through it before, so…I guess it´s all old hat for me now or something. 🙂 There wasn´t as much of a time crunch…I got transferred to another area here in Arequipa, the zone leaders said to just call them when I was done packing, etc. Elder Valerio called me a little bit after and said he was getting transferred to the same zone as me, which confused us greatly and gave us a feeling that it might be a joke, but we later found out his transfer was cancelled, and yeah, it was real. We actually got the chance to eat lunch one last time together, and also say goodbye to Hermana Jenny. She gave us pizza and ice cream, because it´s Hermana Jenny and she always gives us food, haha. I was calm through it all…but when the dad of Hna. Jeaneth, our pensionista, started crying, that flipping almost got me. I can deal with people crying, but when they´re 80 something years old and talking about how they get so attached to the elders that come, and then they have to go…aargh. It was tough. But besides that…that´s how the mission is. We change.
  • So I went in a taxi (about a 20-30 minute ride, no más) to my new area (that was so much nicer than a 6-hour bus ride from Tacna to Arequipa, btw), conveniently with a member from Apurimac that drives a taxi and does lots of favors for the missionaries. So that was a little helpful transition there. I used my package to put some of my stuff in, and all that. And then other crazy arrival stuff happened, but for now, I´m going to go directly to how my area is, who my companion is, etc., before I run out of time, because I think my new zone is a bit stricter on keeping it to an hour, and I need to be a good boy. 🙂
  • My new area is Augusto Freyre, a ward in the Hunter Stake. The zone is also called Hunter. Weirdly enough, Elder Serrano was actually in this area right before he came to Tacna. So I´m technically walking in his shoes, haha. So far, we´re still getting to know the area, so we´re kind of lost…so my companion just got to Peru like a week and a half ago, and his previous companion didn´t keep him too up-to-date on the area, and so we´re basically both completely new to the area. Once again, I´m more or less opening an area. Nothing new by now. 🙂 But anyways, even though we´re kind of feeling our way around a bit, holy cow, this area looks extremely promising. The ward is large and strong (definitely a change from Apurimac…being a branch, even though the members and leaders were amazing, it had its challenges), the members give referrals like crazy, we actually had 2 investigators come to Church on Sunday without even trying, the bishopric is incredibly supportive, our ward mission leader is new and just got baptized, but he´ll learn well, we already have 2 people that are going to married and baptized the next week…just wow. I´m excited. And our room and pension are nice. The area´s a bit large and crazy, but yeah. Wow.
  • So quick like a bunny, my companion. He´s a gringo named Elder Murdock, from St. George. And he´s pretty awesome. Definitely way different from my other son…oh yeah, I´m training again. So now I have two sons. But anyways, way different from Elder Montenegro. And though I learned so much from him, and I miss him a lot, this is kind of a breath of fresh air, I´d have to admit. Like…we already get along so well. It´s so nice. Also, I´m not district leader anymore. I´m guessing if I¨m not horrible, I´ll probably be one again after I´m done training, but for now, this break is nice. What I miss more than anything is my district in my other zone. They were amazing. But we should be having a big meeting to say goodbye to Presidente Fernandez in a few weeks, so I´ll probably get to see all or most of them pretty soon. That´s nice.

I´ll have to tell you more about my companion, my area, cool experiences, etc. next week. My time is like pretty much up. I love you all so much, and know that even though once again the mission has brought some crazy changes my way, I know the Lord´s behind it all, and that I´ll be just fine. He loves me, and He´ll take care of me and my companion here in this amazing, crazy new area. You´re all in my prayers and thoughts, and I hope everything´s going wonderfully. 🙂

Con mucho amor,
Elder Randall
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I Ate Guinea Pig, And I Liked It…

Hola, familia y amigos…

So, once again my time is short. But I have a few interesting things to tell you. One of them is an affirmative answer to a question that Livi, you have often asked me. Another is something I forgot to talk about last week. And then another involves a long-awaited arrival. And…things. Let´s talk about them a spell.
  • So…Livi, you have asked me a lot if I´ve eaten guinea pig. Before this past week, I have had to tell you no. That has now changed. This past week, they killed 3 guinea pigs they had in the backyard…and we ate them. Fried. Oh my gosh…it´s so delicious. You guys will be lucky that I have no idea how to prepare cuy (that´s what guinea pig is called here), nor have the desire or ability to kill one, because if I did know or want to do these things, none of your guinea pigs would be safe. 🙂 Seriously…it´s amazing. They don´t have much meat. But the meat there is…heck yes. Yeah. I´m in Peru. 🙂
  • The thing I forgot to talk about last week…so the 4-year-old son of Hermana Jenny, the hermana we helped come back to Church for the first time in 18 years, and her son Leo got baptized, and I hope you all remember me talking about her…anyways, him, his name is Adriano, and as I mentioned before, he talks like an adult. Not necessarily with the subjects he talks about. But with impeccable grammar and so clearly, and he loves telling stories (complete with actions), and he has tons of energy, and basically, he´s amazing. You all have to meet him someday soon. Amen. I might try to get a video of him or something. Anyways, the week before this past one, he sang the opening song from “Cars.” In English. I had no idea what he was singing at first, because it was 4-year-old Peruvian boy trying to sing in English, but then Hermana Jenny told me, and I went, “Oh!”, and he sang it again, and it was awesome. Sadly, he has since forgot it, but still. It made my day. 🙂
  • I finally got my package! On Thursday. And wow. It was big. (The missionaries in our zone were marveling. And opened it and were looking through it, haha.) Mom and everyone in the family…thank you guys so much. Mom, like I mentioned in the email to you, you always think of everything…and then more than everything, haha. So a few of the things you always send, they have here, but that always means I don´t have to buy them, so it works out. And holy cow…I´m eating so much candy. I´m trying to make it last. It´s sort of working. 🙂 And, the scrapbooking supplies you sent…see below and see how perfect it was that they got here when they did.
  • More about Hermana Jenny…her birthday was this Friday, and we bought her a stuffed dog. And made her cards. So the stickers…we both used them generously. It was perfect. I took pictures of her gift and the cards that I´ll try to send you all later. But yeah. We gave it to her, we ate cake, it was very nice. Also, she bore her testimony on Sunday, and wow…it was amazing. I think it was the first time she´s borne her testimony in Church since she came back…thus, 18 years or so. And it was very powerful. She even thanked Elder Montenegro and I personally, and that was really special. Her testimony is stronger than ever…her son is baptized…and she´s just really happy in the Church again. It´s wonderful to see. Along with her sons, you totally have to meet her too. Just so you know.
  • On Thursday, weekly planning, coincidentally the same day I got my package, Elder Montenegro and I had a bit of an ugly argument. But afterwards…we were able to make up. It was interesting how it happened. The gringo zone leader I´ve mentioned that I don´t like was talking to each of us individually, because Elder Montenegro first went to talk to him about me and how he was frustrated. Then the zone leader talked to me…and it was ridiculous. I won´t go into details, but basically he was just complaining about how I was making problems and doing things wrong. Not trying to help at all. Ugh. But then afterwards we were with the zone, and the other zone leader was talking about how we shouldn´t let companionship issues get in the way of the work…and probably directing this to us…and it clicked with both of us. We were just fine afterwards. We enjoyed looking through the package, we worked much better, it was all good. And that´s something I´m incredibly thankful for with my companion now…that even though we still have issues, now, we´re able to get over them so much easier. Even when it gets really bad. I´m so grateful for my companion…he drives me crazy like 90% of the time, but he´s amazing. He´s the companion I need right now. Period the end.
  • Now speaking of me and my companion…we have probably 2 weeks left together, because we´re in our third transfer together here in Apurimac, and it´s almost a given that one of us will go. It´s dang sad to think about…and wow, how far we´ve come, because honestly, when we were going through tons of issues, I was waiting for us to finish up as a companionship. But now…dang it. I´m going to miss him a lot. I´ve gotten really used to him too, because we´ve been together so long (he is now the companion I´ve had for the longest, and it may stay that way all my mission, since our first transfer was longer than usual, and usually missionaries are only together 2 transfers at the most). And the thing is, neither of us know exactly who is going. In a bit of a rare situation, we both have pretty much the same time here in Apurimac. And various other factors that make it even more confusing as to who will go. I don´t like this. Dang transfers. We´ll see how it goes…but for now, we´ll make the very most of the time we have left together, and Hermana Jenny says she´s going to go on strike if we get transferred, so that might help. 🙂
  • I turned 13 months old yesterday. I think I´m just going to not believe this. 🙂

And for now…I´m a wee bit over time as usual, so I should probably wrap this up. And I´m going to give my email a title this week, haha…lame that I totally forgot to put one last week. (It probably would have been something punny like “Just A Kiss” or “A Kiss To Build a Dream On.” :)) Remember that I love you all so much, I´m praying for you every day, never fear to write me, because I love getting emails and letters as always, and that you´re all amazing. 🙂 Hope things are going wonderfully for you all…

Con amor,
Elder Randall
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Sent: Monday, May 27, 2013 10:32 AMSubject: Hola, familia y

Sent: Monday, May 27, 2013 10:32 AM
Subject: 

Hola, familia y todos…

So, before I start off with my bullets, I have a confession to make. This week, I enjoyed the kiss of a gentlewoman. It was delicious. I savored every moment of it. It wasn´t too expensive. I am not ashamed. And…before you start freaking out some more, let me explain…along with other hopefully less scandalous-sounding things that occurred this week. 🙂
  • So, the kiss of a gentlewoman, “beso de moza” in Spanish, is actually chocolate. I realized this week that it`s pretty much all the ingredients of a s`more…but in a different form. It`s a medium-sized bell-shaped chocolate with marshmallow creme (but like good marshmallow creme…like it tastes fancy and amazing and probably because it has more sugar or something, I don´t know) and then on the bottom, graham cracker. And from what I have heard, they only sell it in Arequipa, and also from what I´ve heard (but in Tacna, not Arequipa, so who knows, but then again, the couple in my ward in Tacna that told me were from Arequipa, so they should have a bit of knowledge in the matter…), only during the fall/wintertime. They started selling it at a little store down the street from the chapel in our zone where we have meetings twice a week, so I´m probably going to take advantage of this and buy it every Tuesday and Thursday. I also bought one for two other gringo elders in my zone (my companion passed on having me buy one for him…), and I believe that they too were converted. Though I just remembered, I haven´t asked them what they think of it yet. But yeah. I might have to order them from Arizona every May or so, because I´m not sure if I can exist without having besos de moza in my life. (I suppose when I get married, I can have real besos de moza, but that´s another story. :))
  • And…now that I went on a little awkward tangent there, haha, our numbers have continued to improve, every week we´ve been doing better in our area, and this week, we have 2 baptisms planned. We have to work pretty hard to make sure they are, for sure, going to be baptized this week, but they´re both doing well. I´ll have to tell you their stories a bit, but for now, we´ll just be making sure that their baptisms happen. They´re both excellent.
  • We had zone conference this week…and Presidente Fernandez informed us that it was the last zone conference we would have with him before he leaves. (He told us we´ll have a farewell conference with him, but that happens next month, and it won´t be quite a zone conference, really.) The zone we had it with turned out to be the zone of…Elder Armijo! Yep, I already got to see him again, haha. It was a nice little reunion. So Presidente kind of went to town on us…we need to improve as a mission a bit. But the things he said/yelled were all great things that will really help us out…it was an excellent meeting. And holy cow, I cannot believe that Presidente Fernandez is already leaving next month…like I said last week, this is going to be quite different and weird. And sad. You just can´t replace Presidente Fernandez. We´ll see how it goes.
  • As companions, we are still doing very well. As always, this week, we had tiny little differences. But that´s the thing. They´re tiny. They don´t last long. And we come out of them even stronger. For example, yesterday, after we resolved a disagreement we had, we had a terrific Sunday and were able to do extremely well and accomplish the goals we had set for the day (and some of them for the week). It was great. 🙂
  • So, on Friday, I had one of the strangest days of my mission. It was crazy. I´ll try to recap it a bit, in a chronological form, and hopefully I won´t get too caught up in the details (yeah, I know, it´s me, it´s unlikely…):
    • So that afternoon, at about 3, I went to the area of the hermanas to talk with one of their investigators (kind of like pump him up a bit, I suppose) with one of the zone leaders (the gringo that I´ve told you a bit about). My companion and the other zone leader went back to our area to have the zone leader interview one of our investigators and help her out. We went to find the hermanas´ investigator with the hermanas (they are now a trio…another gringa hermana arrived early this week, right after she got her visa, and now the hermana that is training is training two American hermanas…that don´t know much Spanish…and she just got done being trained herself…honestly, they could make a movie out of this, but they´re doing pretty well, it looks like… :)), and they ended up staying with us even though they were supposed to go to another appointment, because at first their investigator said he didn´t have time, and then we talked at the door a little bit with him, his sister, and his amazing, hilarious member aunt. (She joked that she´s apparently going to open an Arequipan restaurant in Arizona someday now. I´m not opposed. :)) Then we went to look for another investigator that was supposed to be baptized the next day, but was having issues, and we went to her work and she wasn´t there. The hermanas left because they had an appointment, we waited a bit longer…and then we started walking back. The zone leader bought us two little ice cream bars…and then, almost all the way to the chapel, we found their investigator. We talked with her (well, I didn´t have much chance to talk, but that´s OK, the gringo, in his own way, helped her quite a lot), I eventually just threw my ice cream bar on the ground because it was almost finished, and it started melting on my hand and dripping on the ground, and it was awkward to hold it, and yeah. It was crazy how we were able to find her…we were walking past, and because I had interviewed her a few weeks ago, I was able to recognize her in time. Sadly, she didn´t get baptized Saturday, but the hermanas are still working with her and helping her out.
    • And then we went back to our area and had a very nice lesson with the niece of one of our investigators (she had given us the referral). We went back to the room because we were going to call the son of a less-active member we were going to visit. The investigator we had just taught, I thought I saw her name in our area book, and my companion sat down to look through it and see if she had a teaching record or something (hopefully I´m not using too much missionary jargon here… :)), and then all of a sudden, the zone leaders call. It was about 7:30, a bit before we´re usually in our room. The zone leaders were calling because they needed someone to interview their investigator that was going to get baptized the next day…he was all ready, his mom´s a member, but he still needed his interview really quick. They had already called their district leader (Elder Valerio), but it being 7:30, he wasn´t in his room yet. If we hadn´t thought to go to our room to call, and even if I hadn´t thought that I saw that investigator´s name in the area book…we wouldn´t have been in our room when the zone leaders called and needed us. Crazy. 
    • So we hurried over to their area, I interviewed their investigator while my companion was with the gringo zone leader and teaching a lesson in the chapel to a part-member family. We hurried back to the chapel from the interview, and the lesson was still going, so my companion and I stuck around for it, even though it was getting a bit late (being with the zone leaders, we would have been fine). Then all of a sudden, and sadly right before they were going to challenge them to be baptized, a crazy lady who´s apparently a member walked in, started yelling at us about how a missionary a long time ago called her a dog, and she´s not a dog, and a bunch of other angry things that had absolutely nothing to do with us, or something along those lines. It was awkward. Some members eventually escorted her out, after she had started arguing with part of the family the zone leaders were teaching. And yeah, there went the Spirit. Right before she came in, another area called the zone leaders…they were supposed to come to try to interview 3 of their investigators. Since the lesson with the family was still going (well, after the crazy lady left), I went with one of the zone leaders to the other area. This was about 9 at night. (They called and got permission from Presidente to be able to go.)
    • We went to the other area, it was so weird because it´s one of the areas right next to us, but the only area I hadn´t been in in our zone (I´m not exactly sure how I´ve been able to be in all 7 areas…), and was across the ravine for us, and it felt like another world, haha. In addition to that, we were all out way past we usually are, because of the whole special permission to do the interviews thing. The area is huge. We had to do a lot of climbing to get to one particular investigator. None of them were there, and at almost 10 at night, we had dinner with the elders from the area in the…broastería? Basically a place that sells fried chicken and other sorts of Peruvian fast food-type stuff, I guess…that their pensionista owns. (They have quite a cushy pension, to be honest. :)) That was weird too. But delicious. And then, at like 10:30, we went back to the zone leaders´ area, met up with our companions, and Elder Montenegro and I traveled back to our area, and had dinner again.

And with that…I´m pretty much out of time. Maybe my story sounds boring, I don´t know, haha, but it was just…so weird. But a great day. We got stuff done. It went quite well. And it was a bit of an adventure. 🙂 Anyways, for now, I love you all so much. You´re all in my prayers, every day. Be sure to write me…I love hearing from each and every one of you. And hey! Ariel, I got your grad announcement. The day it happened, haha. It was so weird to think at like 9 PM here, you were starting to graduate. I showed it to the other missionaries, and basically, they all think you´re attractive. Just cutting to the chase here. 🙂 Anyways, I´m so proud of you. And I can´t believe you´re already done with high school. This is just…whoa. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY Wednesday! I hope your birthday goes amazingly. You´re not allowed to turn 18, so I think I´ll just have you turn 12 again or something. I´ll be thinking of you. 🙂 I love you all so much…and until next week…

Con amor,
Elder Randall
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Raindrops…An Other Things

SORRY IT TOOK A WEEK TO POST! 
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 10:38 AM
Subject: Raindrops and…Other Things.

Hola, familia y todos…

So…I kind of had a bit more time than I usually do this week. But I didn´t have many emails to write back to, so I wrote a few people I´d been meaning to write, and I had no idea what to do with myself, and I can´t think of anything terribly special that´s happened this week…so here I am with like 10 minutes left to write. Oops. But let´s try to talk about some stuff. Some stuff that will be interesting. Yeah. Let´s go. 🙂
  • First off, I heard that Sister Monson passed away this past week. It´s definitely sad…but she lived a great life. I had no idea it happened until Sunday…our branch president mentioned that one of his sons had told him. I´ve been keeping President Monson in my prayers this past day or two (I should really have him and his family in my prayers much more than that)…but I´m sure he´s doing well. He knows exactly where Sister Monson is.
  • We continued to improve this week in our numbers…though it wasn´t as consistent of a week as we had last week. But we did nicely. My companion and I had a few snags, but as I said last week, we´re working extremely well together. Things are still quite good in that regard.
  • I had my second baptismal interview to do as district leader this week, and for the first time, the investigator passed! The elders in that area taught him well, and he was pretty much ready already to be baptized, and the interview went very smoothly, and he was able to be baptized this past weekend. Not quite as cool as a baptism in our area, but still very excellent. 🙂
  • So Mom, I hope you´ve found out exactly what is pastel de papas. Because we ate it again yesterday, and it´s so amazing. If you still have no idea what the heck it is, try looking it up on the Internet or something along those lines. And then learn to make it, because I will definitely be asking for it when I get back. 🙂
  • Update on my package! So I´m pretty sure it has finally arrived in Arequipa. They gave me three cartas de poder (power of attorney so the people in the mission office can pick up my package for me) to fill out, just out of the blue, so chances are that means that my package is in the post office now, and they just need me to get those letters signed and notarized to be able to take it out. I´ll be doing so today, so hopefully I should have it by the end of this week at the latest. As always, I´ll keep you posted.
  • Um…wow. This has been a nice week. But I just don´t have much special to tell you, off the top of my head. Watch, right after I sign out of my email, I´m going to think of like a billion things… 🙂
  • I made scrambled eggs this week. It was delicious. Yes, I know, family, that you´re still all shocked I love eggs all of a sudden now. But I do. It´s crazy. But amazing.
  • We´re getting our new mission president pretty soon…he starts in July. It will be quite a change.
  • So the rain returned this week for a little bit. They were saying that it was the first time in forever that it had rained this time of the year. I wasn´t that thrilled to see the rain again…like I said before, when I wasn´t a missionary and didn´t have to go out tracting in the rain and all that, I loved rain. Now I´m not a fan. But it wasn´t too strong this time around, and it looks like it´s disappeared for the most part, for now. The cool after-effect is that Misti has much more snow on it. It looks pretty majestic.

And…I am seriously not sure at all why I don´t have that much to write this week. Sorry about that. But I´m doing well…I´m still happy and excited for my area and I know things will continue to get better if we keep working hard and in unity as companions, and with the Spirit as our companion. I´m very grateful to be here, I still can´t believe I´ve been on a mission for more than a year now, and I love you all so much. I hope you´re all doing well, and make sure to write me when you can. I love hearing from each one of you. 🙂

Con amor,
Elder Randall
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Don’t Worry ‘Bout A Thing

Hola, familia y todos…

So first off, Mom, Dad, and Ariel, I sent you guys a quick note about my Mother´s Day call. Hopefully you can all get it before I log off, because if not, I may just have to tell you a time I´m going to do it. I´m probably going to be calling through Skype again…hopefully it works a bit better than Christmastime. I kind of wanted to call by phone, because being around for more time, the sound works better. But Skype is free. Anyways…so the title of my email this week is “Don´t Worry ´Bout A Thing.” (Based on both the Stevie Wonder classic and an awesome SheDAISY song of the same name…) A few of the things I´m trying not to worry about…and which you guys are not allowed to worry about, because I said so:
  • I have a foot infection. In both feet.
  • I cut myself in the finger.
  • Our numbers were awful this week and we´re in a spot of trouble.
  • Elder Armijo got transferred.
  • Like I alluded to last week, I have a year in the mission.

So, a bit more explanation about all these things. Also, I´m attaching pictures. (We´re borrowing the adapter of our pensionista´s husband.) Happy times. 🙂

  • So the foot infection. Please don´t freak out. A few days ago, I noticed a bit of pain when walking, and there was something in one of my shoes poking into my feet a bit. The next day it got worse, and so I called the zone leaders, and they called the mission president´s wife, and they had me go to the local clinic down the street. There they diagnosed me with a little infection, and they prescribed me a cream to put on my feet for the next 15 days twice a day, and…this is really boring, so long story short, the cream is helping (especially with the pain), I´m using some other shoes for now, and I should be just fine in a week or two. No worries. I promise. 🙂
  • The finger cut wasn´t that bad. On like Monday or Tuesday, I was trying to open a package of hot dogs, and I poked the knife through the plastic, and for some dumb reason, I had my other hand behind the plastic a little bit, and I cut myself. I wanted to call this email “The First Cut is the Deepest,” but then the whole foot thing happened, and I thought of my other title idea, and you know. 🙂 Anyways, that too is doing better…our pensionista made sure to get care for my finger pretty quickly, I have bandages that I used, and it´s all fine now, more or less.
  • Well, our numbers (key indicators) were abysmal this week. Last night, before we had to report them, I was somewhere between trying to calm down and soul-crushing fear. Yeah. It wasn´t great. But this week…we´re really committed to doing better. We need to do much better, really, because we can´t get much lower than we´ve been doing.
  • So Elder Armijo got transferred to another zone in Arequipa. It´s disappointing, because he´s amazing and he always made all of us in the zone laugh (all the time…he is one of the funniest people I have ever met in my life, and I love it), and it was so nice having him and Elder Valerio here in the zone with me when they were with me in the MTC, but it´s alright. Him being here in Arequipa, we´ll most likely see each other the next big meeting we have, or something like that, and as well, we´ll obviously see each other when we get done, us being in the same group and all. What bugged me a bit was that Elder Montenegro was all excited about it…he didn´t really understand/like Elder Armijo too much. But I don´t give a darn. I know Elder Armijo is awesome. 🙂 (And Ariel, like I wrote you…write him. ASAP. Constantly. :))
  • Yeah. A year in the mission. It happened on the 2nd. I´m just going to keep working, keep being a missionary, and be happy. I´m doing well with my companion still (he´s still crazy, but still good), and there have been changes that have happened in the zone here…but I love my area, my companion´s good, and I know the Lord will be with me…all I have to do is seek His help.
  • I think we´re having lasagna today for lunch. Our pensionista and her husband went downtown to buy the ingredients. This may be completely awesome. 🙂 (They´ve tried to make it before a bit, but this time they´re actually going to use the recipe, I believe.)

So, an explanation of the pictures, if I can remember which ones I attached off the top of my head…one, where we´re in our room, is Elder Montenegro and I, when we first started. The one of the baptism with just a woman is from Elizabeth´s baptism last week. The one of the baptism with a family is Hermana Jenny (the sister that hadn´t gone to Church in 18 years), her son Leo who got baptized, my companion and I, her little son Adriano that talks like an adult, and conveniently, the baptism we had before that, an awesome 12-year-old named Kevin. The one with the fish and Elder Montenegro displays his personality very well. 🙂 And then there´s one of Misti, the pride of Arequipa (it´s an active volcano/mountain…never call it a hill, because the people of Arequipa will hate you forever). I wish I could send more, but here´s a few for now. I love you all so much, and I hope you´re doing great. And…I´m going to call at 5 PM Peru time, which should be 3 PM Arizona time, but check just in case, and I hope you´ll all be there. I´ll call using Skype…make sure you have your accounts ready and everything. I can´t wait to talk to you guys! 🙂

Con amor,
Elder RandallImageImageImageImageImageImage
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B’s Mission Photos

B's Mission Photos

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