On the outside it looks like an orange pomegranate but on the inside it´s filled with this gooey stuff with seeds in it. It looks like fish eggs or fly maggots but once you get over how gross it looks it´s really good! You pop it open and scoop out the goo with a spoon. You swallow the seeds whole. It’s really sweet and yummy and a favorite among the missionaries.
Okay so this has been both the longest and the quickest week of my entire life. I can`t believe I`ve been en el CCM for an entire week but at the same time some days go by kinda slow. Not that they`re boring, we just do sooooo much in one day it feels like each day lasts a lifetime! I will tell you though, my first day here, last Wednesday, was literally the longest day of my entire life. We didn`t get to Lima until 2 in the morning and I didn`t get to bed til probably 3:30 or 4, and we had to be up by 6:30 that morning. That morning we were given all our scriptures, study materials, nametags (so excited to have nametags!), we met the MTC president, President Gonzalez, and his wife (they are really nice. They´re from Colombia), then the new group of North Americans taught two (fake) investigators, then we met our branch presidency, and had interviews with them. It was just a jam-packed busy day!
Excited to get my nametags!
Mi compañera got here on Thursday (her plane in Las Vegas had been cancelled so she missed the connection to Lima in Atlanta) and I love her so much! Her name is Hermana M and funnily enough we actually met on Instagram a couple months ago. We found out we were both called to Trujillo leaving June 16 so we started talking and now we´re companions! She´s from Las Vegas, 4th of 6 kids, and goes to BYU studying math education (whoop whoop we´re math nerds).
My companion, Hermana M, finally arrived!
The other two girls in our room are Hermana W from Minnesota, she goes to BYUI, and Hermana C from northern California, she goes to BYU. They´re both going to Peru Lima West. We´re all in the same district so we have all our classes together and we spend pretty much all day together. I actually met Hermana W on Instagram too, about a week before we reported. Small world!
So on Thursday we got to go into the big bad city of Lima (the CCM and el templo are actually located in a suburb of Lima called La Molina). We went into the city to exchange all our US dollars to Peruvian soles. One dollar is worth about three soles. One Friday we went to Emigrations to get started on getting our permanent visas and oh my goodness what an adventure. First of all, everyone in Peru drives super crazy, like cutting each other off, honking, speeding, braking, pedestrians running out in front of cars, motorcyclists weaving in and out of everything – it´s CRAZY. So we had about an hour drive through that to get into the governmental center of Lima. So we get to Emigraciones and we sat in this old, dirty, rundown building. Literally it didn´t even have four walls. One entire side of it was just a huge tarp and we sat in these old rickety chairs to wait. Then we got through that building and we walked about two blocks to this place to get our pictures taken for our visas…if you didn´t know what you were looking for you never would have found it. It was a little place squeezed in between two other buildings. So you walk in and it´s a long dirty hallway that leads you to a small back room (it didn´t even have a ceiling – once again, a tarp) where some man in a wifebeater took our pictures with a little handheld camera. These are government facilities! It´s just so crazy that some countries are like this! But I really am enjoying Peru, living in a foreign country is such a cool experience.
Hermana M y yo tenemos un investigador, Manuel. He´s actually one of our teachers but when we teach him he´s Manuel. The Peru CCM is really cool because it actually has little casitas in one of the courtyards where we teach our investigators. Each casita has a couple couches, a coffee table, and a lamp so it feels like a real person´s home and it´s more authentic of teaching a real person. Manuel is a Chilean man living here in Lima. His wife, Carmenluisa, and his two kids, Benya y Benjamin, live in Chile. I don’t really understand why they don´t live in Lima with him but they´don´t so whatever. His wife´s cousin is a member of the Church and she has gotten him interested in the Church. But, the rest of his wife´s family are Jehovah Witnesses. He is interested in how the gospel can bless his life and especially the concept of eternal families but he still hasn´t told his wife that he´s seriously looking into the Church. He hasn´t read the Book of Mormon yet but he has prayed about our message and he says he feels good about it. He went to church on Sunday and he enjoyed it! AND he accepted our invitation to be baptized! So now he is preparing to be baptized on July 11 and we told him that we can send some missionaries to his wife in Chile. Our next lesson with him is tonight so hopefully he continues to progress.
Oh, I don´t think I mentioned that we teach all our lessons in Spanish (Mommy I told you I speak español muy bien! ;)). Spanish is coming along, it´s hard, but it´s coming. I’ve had the most experience of all the people in my district with Spanish and I think I am doing pretty well. Right now I am reviewing por vs. para and preterite vs. imperfect and next I plan on mastering all the future tenses!
I really like las latinas! They´re fun and loud and funny and they help me speak Spanish better. They say I speak good Spanish and always ask if I´ve spoken it before the mission. They´re a lot nicer than I expected them to be, at first I was kind of scared of las latinas, but really they´re so kind and we just want to help each other! We teach them English and they teach us Spanish and everybody´s happy.
The food here in good, lots of rice, potatoes, bread, and always some sort of meat and lots of vegetables. I always ask for “un pocito de arroz” and the meat and I am trying my best to avoid the potatoes and the bread because that´s just a lot of carbs. I eat a lot more vegetables here than I do at home though, which is good. They also have crazy types of juice and fruit! My personal favorite juice is strawberry juice. THEN there´s this crazy fruit called a granadilla and I swear this is the weirdest fruit I have ever seen in my entire life. Here is a picture of it.
Yesterday we were to Interpol for the second step in getting our visas. We had to leave super early to be the first in line and it was almost an hour drive away. So we got there and it was this open courtyard and we walk in and there are like three shrines to Jesus and the Virgin Mary in the middle of the courtyard. This is the National Police Station! And then there were cats everywhere. Literally everywhere, like 6 cats just wandering around the place. So we waited in line for like an hour just to get a number and then we were there for another 3 hours just getting everyone through Interpol. It´s worse than the DMV. Once your number was called you went into this office where this man asked us a bunch of questions and then they took our fingerprints and THEN – this is the creepy part – we went into this teeny dark room where some policewoman/dentist sat you down in this old rickety dentist chair and shoved her fingers down your throat. That experience just really makes me hope I never end up in the hospital here!
Today is Pday (preparation day) so I got up super early and did all my laundry and then we went to the temple which was so special. It was so cool to go to the temple in a foreign country. I had a headset on for translation this time but my goal my the end of my time in the CCM is to go through in Spanish. Then we went to the temple store across the street and I bought myself leather Spanish scriptures! They are super cheap here in Peru, way cheaper than in America, and I am so glad I got them! The scriptures they give you in the CCM are flimsy and not very good. Then we went to the grocery store where Hermana M, Hermana C, Hermana W y yo met this man who is preparing for baptism and we talked to him and be bought us a cake! That made our day.
So all this cool stuff happened this week but the highlight of my week was definitely the dedication of the Trujillo temple on Sunday. Hermana M and I are the ONLY ones in the whole CCM going to Trujillo so we got to sit in the very front row of the broadcast of the dedication. We got to see the very first session of the dedication which was so special. I wept the entire time. I am just so grateful to be called to a place where the people are so faithful and so strong in the gospel. I know this temple will bless their lives. I know, I know, I know that it is not by chance that I am called to Trujillo and I know it is not a coincedence that my very first Sunday in the mission field was the dedication of my mission´s temple. I know that much of the work I will do on my mission will be bringing the members of Trujillo to the temple. I am so grateful for this temple and so grateful for the opportunity to serve during such an exciting time in Trujillo. I love Trujillo and I love Peru and I love all of you! Have a wonderful week and be sure to thank Heavenly Father for all your blessings!