Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter from Peru - Elder Jake Avery

Written by Elder Jacob Avery, serving in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

(Note to reader: Clicking on highlighted words links to additional information. Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

This is our 21 year old Elder's Quorum President!
(Referring to the photo of the burro he sent last week, his baby sister said she will give Elder Avery "a little more time to find a llama," haha!) I've seen a llama but yeah, I'm not a real animal person. There's pigs, llamas, 1 horse, chickens, donkeys, cows, bulls and absolutely no wildlife. Everything is domesticated, besides the dogs of course, haha!

My two investigators are on track but they're ''snakes.'' Snake is the term we use for serpents (serpientes) know, the ones who beguiled Eve :) You need to say it with a Spanish accent though, ''esnakes.'' They're two young adult women, so we need to bring a member of our congregation every time we visit them. The went to church, so they're on track to be baptized. They're a little shocked that they can't drink tea or coffee, but I've lived 19 years without either and have nothing to complain about. I'm sure they'll get baptized in May though. We'll finally get to go to the river!

My companion, Elder Aldana, is really awesome. His last companion was Elder Larsen (my companion from the Missionary Training Center). He loves soccer, Chile, and good food, so we get along great! Some might consider him immature, but he's hilarious and puts a little sunshine in these people's lives. He's focused in lessons and teaches very well. He's good at remembering people (I'm descent, which isn't very good because if you don't greet someone you know in the street in this country, they will hold a grudge against you to their death bed, haha!). He likes English music and likes to practice English and Quechua. To sum it up, I'm very happy he's not leaving this transfer!

Street art during Holy Week
We got to move 500 bricks! We were walking by a house and saw two kids moving bricks (brother and sister). We offered to help them but they said no. We didn't care. We went by our room to grab t-shirts and moved all the bricks with them. Service in Peru is awesome! In Lima you get to chisel away boulders, and in Huaraz you get to move bricks. Their dad came home and fell in love with us. We made an appointment with them at 6 this afternoon. They're just so curious about what kind of organization gets young kids from all over the world to voluntarily read the Bible and help people move bricks :)

I'm reading the Book of Mormon twice a day now. I'm following the Area Seventy's counsel by reading fifteen minutes a day starting from the beginning. And I just got to the war chapters in my personal study, so I'm not stopping that!

Holy Week Parade
I never heard that story, Dad (Doug shared a story from his mission in his letter to Jacob this week). We had an anti-Mormon in priesthood meeting. I didn't argue with him, but he kept trying to move the lesson away, so I steered it right back. We read about how the church is the kingdom of God, so I found it sad that this guy felt compelled to destroy a meeting that is supposed to be led by the Spirit. Something really important, that I'm trying to never forget, is that love is everything. Even if someone feels like railing on a church that is led by volunteers, it's better to just be nice to him than show him he's wrong. The Spirit really does leave when there's contention, so I try to avoid it. It's a work in progress ;)

I missed Easter a ton. My companion did too. The celebration of Easter doesn't exist here. They have what's called "Holy Week," and they do re-enactments of the crucifixion of Christ and parade around town with idols. It was a great time to find our old investigators we haven't seen in a while (they were in the parade). On Easter Sunday, they all go to the market to buy and sell vegetables all day, then they go to Mass at night.

This was the middle of the night on Easter Sunday. We
couldn't sleep because people were carrying the figurative
"body of Jesus" through the streets, blowing trumpets.
They finished with fireworks at 5 a.m.
This might sound impossible, but I lie not, there are 0 Easter eggs, 0 marshmallow peeps, 0 fake grass, and -12 chocolates. They ask us, ''Does your religion keep the Holy Week?'' Keeping the Holy Week means you don't eat meat (only fish), wash your feet on Thursday, parade through town with a statue, and go to Mass. Our answer, ''We celebrate the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but not the same way you do.''

My companion and I were so home sick (in Chile they celebrate Easter like we do), and we craved chocolate. Sister Carr got Easter eggs and Reese's from her family and shared with us. It was the nicest thing ever. I ended up making a German pancake in the microwave that morning :)

My package hasn't arrived, nor my ATM card. I'm fine though. I love you a ton! Wish everyone good luck at home. Tell them to work hard and play hard. See you guys in 3 weeks!

Love, Elder Avery

Esto es Guerro (This is War) (April 14, 2014)

Stuff Keeps Happening (April 28, 2014)

These are missionaries from my district. The Sister and
Elder on the far left are being transferred today.