Tuesday, April 30, 2013

More Photos

 A Pic of Me and Elder Pérez Albela writing this letter right now!

Attn: Tsunami Evacuation!
Elder Allasia in the background 

LOTS of stairs in Peru.
These are the bottom half of the old stairway leading down to the beach. 
Halfway up some stairs, with the beach in the background, on the "short side" of the cliff. 
 Me with random statue
Pretty Flower 
 The View from the Cerro (hill) in my new sector (area)!

Ahh yes, and these gems:
Elder McKell, Me, and Elder Bradley on the plane(ita) on our way to West Virginia Charleston Misison (WVCM) 
 Elder Hernandez and I leaving a note in ENGLISH for Elder McKell
Elder McKell and his Inca Cola (aka agua)

I believe in you

Wonderful to hear checkups on everyone! Glad to hear spring is on its way. We've got plenty here to go around. In fact, if you could lend us some of your cold, that would be great. Actually, I’ve adjusted completely, and I think it dropped to around 65 last night, and I shivered a little bit during one of our lessons. Crazy. I’m going to come back in the dead of winter and die. BTW, all of my Zone from last transfers says you need to start saving now to come and pick me up and take me to Machu Pichu. I have to say that I agree that would be the bomb.

Renen! Its great that youre looking to get a job early! The biggest thing I regret is not having a government official job that I can put on my résumé and whatnot until college. And combined with teaching drum lessons, that’s about as good as it gets! A piece of advice, it may seem like 40% is a lot to save for a mission sometimes, but it isn’t enough. When it came down to it, I was saving 100% for my mission for much too long, and I sacrificed more and more things that I wish I could pay for in order to pay for a mission. So my advice is save as much as you possibly can for your mission until you have it all saved up for (and some extra to buy souveneers) and then you can start spending whatever you want on whatever you want. Just a suggestion that I wish someone had told me when I was your age, ‘cause I love you and I want the best for you in the future.

Kai, swimming is tough. And swimming and singing, and playing the piano is tougher. And swimming, piano, singing, and doing homework, and having friends (especially you-know-who), and a life, and church, and a calling.....life is crazy, and sometimes you have to realize that we can only do so much. I wanted more than anything to make state in swimming my senior year and get one of those sweet banners, and be able to say that I went to the state competition, and all that cool stuff, but I began to realize that I wasn’t ever going to be a key player for the team in the pool. So I decided I needed a better way. One that I was better at naturally, and that I could become essential. That way was with administration. You have your own talents that are God-given. Some of our genes are made to swim, but a lot of them aren’t. When there is a door that is shut, sometimes there is a window that we have been trained to climb through. Just a thought. But this doesn’t mean stop trying. Just remember that you’ve got a lot more set up for you than a high school swimming career, but swimming can and should be a big part of it if you want it to. Also remember that you’re a lot like your older brother, and I may be a few thousand miles away, but I’ve got a computer to read emails, and a heart to love my family. So chin up and smack em where they weren’t expecting! I love you bro!

Sierra! You’re so awesome, I don’t know who raised you, but you've got skills. Just keep doing what you’re doing and remember the quote that I love from Marianne Williamson! You’ve got a lot of light, and the only thing you need to do is keep it shining, and find people who you can brighten up, and can brighten you up too! Keep it up, Shiner! I love you!

Lily Lily, bonanaphanafophilly, fee, fi, fophilly. LILY! You are just growing up a storm! It's so great that you are developing your talents like playing the piano and reading! You are going to be so smart when I get back! I can’t wait! Just remember that Mom is your best friend, and she will always be your best friend. Also, don’t forget that Renen loves you like crazy, and he will always be there to watch out for you and keep you safe. I love you too and I hope you are showing all of your siblings, cousins, and parents how to have fun!

Alright, so this week we had transfers! Cambios! I knew I was changing because I was paired with a Zone leader, but I didn’t want to acknowlege it, haha. So now my new companion is Elder (Jair) Perez Albela and he is waiting for a visa for Argentina, which means that once he leaves I’ll be introducing another Elder into this area. Better know it well! It's going great though! We are both mas o menos greenies, and so we work hard. He has been a member of the church for only about a year or so. We just are still learning the gospel and how to preach it (and I'm still learning Español) so imagine two Deacons trying to preach the gospel. Yep. Its a blast.

(Question from Mom: What is hard?)
Hmmm, what is hard. Hard is talking about things other than the gospel in spanish. It's supposed to be that way, but I sure wish it were easier. Today we’re at the clinic for a checkup and I don’t understand anything because its all medical terms, and I think E. Perez Albela isn’t used to the big city life. So we’re both pretty confused. Again, two deacons. It's also hard to have a companion who doesn’t understand what its like to learn a language. He doesn’t speak a lick of English (besides the days of the week, ta-da!) so I can’t ask him definitions or anything. But we do have a Zone leader from American Fork, which is great. He's awesome. Elder Eklof. We live in an apartment with 2 other sets of Elders. One is our ZL and the other is the other DL (not ours). Hmmm, other things that are hard...the toilets are not only hard, but cold. Because they don’t believe in toilet seats. Our apartment has one, probably because some American Elders bought it, but most everywhere doesn’t. I’ve seen a couple of places that have them put on wrong, but just having them is a blessing.

(Question from Mom: Can you see the stars very well from the city? Have you seen the Southern Cross?)
Stars? They’re different. We can see a ton of them, faintly. You might be able to see them in the pictures. You probably can’t see them from the city itself, because everything is lit up, because anywhere that is dark at night is saturated with satan. Literally, its gross. Southern cross? I don't know exactly, but we have one that is pretty big. You can see it in the pictures. We are on the north side of the city though.

I’ve got lots more to write, but no time to write it! I’ll write again next week!

Monday, April 22, 2013

More photos

Breakfast of Champions:  Cereal from a bag, in a cut down bottle, with milk from a bag. 
Our Rearranged Bedroom 
Elder Hernandez tinkering around on the piano -- he always asks me if I want to go play the piano, but we get there and I play for 5 minutes and then he gets bored and takes over for 15 while I write in my journal.  ha ha :)

 One of the many advertisements that are planted into the grass on the side of the highway --  so cool!
I wish they did this in the United States.
Just a street...and a flower. 
 Steps, steps, and more steps up to the city.
...and THIS (below) can show you why:
  The mountains are made of houses!

 View of the beach from the mall on the side of the cliff.
View of the city from the beach 
 At the beach
 Elder Bradley
With our 'soccer ball' 
Elder Bradley, Elder McKell, and I on our first day of church 

The church dog, Mango, and his -- uh, best friend! 
Ahh, good dog!
 Eloy with me and Elder Hernandez
Eloy  and his family 
Eloy and Elder Hernandez, right after the baptism
This is an old picture from the MTC I just found :)
This was our teacher, Rachel Curtis....notice all of our llamas -- our ties AND her shirt:)

The strength of investigators and converts

[In Sunny's previous letter to Talon, she wrote:  Alas, I still haven’t been able to write a family letter. We have the Fredericks kids here this weekend while Janae & Enoch escaped for a few days, and I just finished vacuuming the kitchen, hoping I got all the broken glass and no one, especially Jayda, finds a sliver of it in the morning. Of course Dad was at a meeting. Like this morning getting ready for church when poor Cameron lost his balance using the potty, and just as he pulled up his underwear he fell in the used toilet. Dad & I went to Trek training Sat. morning and when we got back, Kyler had thrown up, Ryden had gotten a black eye and a inch cut right next to it, and Aspen sliced her toe open.]

This is what Talon had to say:

 Broken glass, huh? Sounds crazy! And I am glad I'm not alone with my potty balancing trials. For a week here our toilet seat was broken off, but I didnt want to sit on the gross, hard, cold ceramic, so I just placed the broken seat on top and balanced on the slippery ceramic. I have to say that although I never fell in, I did slip once or twice. As for the black eye, throwup, and split toe, I'm glad to say I can't sympathize. Haha, crazy!

You can send me whatever in these emails. It is just gmail. And I'm sending 4 pictures at a time which is the max in the US too.

Hmmm, missionary experiences. We have found one new investigator, but we spend most of our time with solving problems and training and what not. Problems with missionaries, obedience, training ward mission leaders, and even our high council member. Lots of work to do outside of proselyting these past few weeks. We're teaching 3 progressing investigators. Eloy (who was just baptized),
Me, Eloy, and Elder Hernandez

 Abel, who has a date for this coming weekend, and la familia Villarde, who is just a family of baptisms waiting to happen. The first two times we met with them I didn't understand what we were doing because I thought they were members, but we were teaching them the lessons. So they are amazing. Not on date yet, but amazing.

The ward is great, one of the biggest in the stake--probably the biggest. The members are awesome. 90% at least are converts. This past Sunday they had all those who were converts stand up, and I couldn't see anyone besides our investigators who werent standing.

Economic situation is comfortably poor. Dirt poor. Dirt poor because everything is made of dirt, or at least covered in it. But they don't know what they're missing, or at least it doesn't bother them.

The language is great! It's interesting because I think in mostly english, with spanish words where there aren't english ones to describe it, but I can write fine in english (I think...haha), but I can't speak english without having to try not to use spanish. The worst is right now, because I'm writing in english, but I'm talking to my companions in spanish. Hard stuff.

Shoot! Time is up! The internet is slow today, I'll finish this next week. And I have a list of stuff to send next week.


Monday, April 15, 2013

A Photo Tour of my Peruvian Living Quarters and the Temple Trip

Awww. Home Sweet Home in Perú.  Here is our living space.  We're grateful that the microwave in our kitchen is strong enough to hold up our closet :)
I get the bottom bunk :)
Our desks.  Mine is a la izquierda (on the left)
 That's better.  My desk -- My Style
 Our sparkling bathroom -- notice the electric showerhead that is SUPPOSED to warm the water...which is broken.
View from outside our bathroom window
Same view, but zoomed in ... notice the little houses all up the side of the hill
The soccer field we pass on the way to the church building

And we got to visit the temple this week!
 A view from across the street.
Sorry about the telephone wires.
We wanted to take them down, but the white handbook said no.
(Glad he's obedient!) 
 Me outside the temple entrance
Elder Hernandez and me

 As the sun goes down

 Sporting the Peruvian Flag at the Temple
 Loving it!
 And bringing a little bit of home -- the Colorado flag -- here to the Peru temple

Hola de Perú: Slowly weening INto caffiene ;)

Finally! Getting a letter out! It may be short, but at least it´s here! Is it just me or does it seem like forever since the last one.

Speaking of feeling like forever, I feel like I´ve been here for a month. Probably because so much is new, but so much is the same.

Hmmmm, what would you like to know. 

Spanish is great. I´m learning enough every day that I can tell I´m progressing each day individually. I had an exchange with another greenie, though native, this past week, and that was great. I recited the first vision for the first time with him. Elder Allasia.

The food is heaven. Though I did have to eat fish on the exchange. And I think we also had dog in that same meal.  And I had tomatoes yesterday for Elder Hernandez´s birthday. And they eat everything you can swallow. But not everything I can swallow. They also don´t have sanitary water, so everyone drinks either chicha, which is basically a tea, sometimes made from corn, sometimes from barley (which tastes like what beer smells like, which is weird) or Inca Cola or Cocacola. Unfortunately, that means that the no-caffine rule is kinda shot. Not that it´s a rule, but...I try to stay away from it, but everyone we eat with thinks I have something wrong with me.

Well that´s all for today folks! Come back next time for another great update from your Elder in Lima Central! (bit by bit I´ll be getting more and more time to write these as I get more practice and become more accustomed to the flow of things)

I love all of you!

-Elder Hicken

PS...My family asked if I missed American food, and if I could get things, like Peanut Butter...and well, Ive been told that we can get everything American if we look hard enough. Ive had KFC and Pizza Hut and BK already. But we dont really go to the stores very often because there are tienditas every half block. Im the only that calls them tienditas, I dont know why. Probably because their supermercado is an Americans local grocery shop. What I really miss is honey, because its a little expensive here, and nobody really uses it. Its like trying to quit smoking.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Welcome to Peru Photos

 Here you have it:  The first photos from Peru!

Remember these guys from my MTC district? 
Elder Bradley, Elder McKell, and Me
This is the first day back together at church on Saturday for General Conference (4-6-13)
 Elder Bradley in the AP's apartment on the first morning

Now it's my turn to pose -- the morning view from the AP's apartment on our first morning there.
 Elder Bradley's companion, Elder Cuttiani, el otro líder de zona.
 With our companions:
Elder Hernandez y yo, Elder Bradley y Elder Cuttiani
Of course, we had to include Elder Mckell!
These are the zone leaders and the "nuevos" at zone training.