Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Week #8 - Last email from Peru, if you can believe it!

Family!!! Ah i just love hearing about your lives!!! It sounds like everyone is doing fabulous and im so excited about that!!!! I love you all so very much. happy birthday to everyone who has had birthdays recently!! You{ve been in my thoughts and prayers all week!!! :)

Well there wasnt really any big events this week, so i'll just try to write about just some individual things that happened. This week we werent able to go out on saturday which was super sad because thats what i look forward to all week long! the reason why is because we are being moved to a new ward area- something about the last one being way too dangerous. haha. I never saw anything super dangerous. The people here are just so great! but anyways the new ward wasnt ready for us yet, but they will be this coming week :)

So thanks for letters family!!! I got some more mail this week which was fun :) I love getting updates! So if you are gunna send a package please send some more floss, c drinks, and eucalyptus. but really, packages are so expensive! so please dont feel like you need to. also, the next time i send an email it will be on my pday in bolivia!! sooo i have no idea when that will be. also i have no idea when my flight is. I think its next wednesday though. Can you believe it???? I have fallen in love with Peru.

Ok so my new district has just been so great. last night we did one of those things we do in the car, you know where someone starts a beat and everyone joins in with different things??? Well yeah my whole district is amazing at rapping and beatboxing hahaha so pretty much it was amazingly cool! we are a pretty musical group. Hermana Cardon the presidents wife who is directing the choir says this is the most musical group of elders and sisters theyve ever had- and she knows its because we are singing for Elder Christophersen.:)

So language wise i finally started getting impatient with myself this week. I just wish i could know spanish before i go out! But i know itll be ok. Ive learned so much!! My favorite mistakes this week were both done by Hma Kimes: she said pescados (fish) instead of pecados (sins) and esposo (husband) instead of obispo (bishop) in two different lessons. hahaha gooood times. oh and i accidently blessed my district with health AND sickness one day.... oops. haha.

So this week we had hamburgers for breakfast twice... haha. we{ve actually been getting more vegetables because they have this suggestions book and a bunch of us write that we want veggies, so weve started having salads available for dinner!!!! so thats been cool. Also, North america doesnt know what churros are. Um, here they are AMAZING!!!! Also, today we had a quinoa salad for lunch!!! I danced around the lunch room and all the Peruvians laughed at me. They dont really like it this way- most of them only eat it with this purple corn syrup for breakfast or in drinks. But i loved it!

So one elder in my district is from the jungles of Peru and kills anacondas all the time- his case for his hymn book is made out of anaconda skin. Isnt that insane??? Everyone in my district comes from families and lives that are pretty unimaginable. All of them are the only one in their family that is mormon, or only like one or two other people are mormons. But they are all so strong and love the church. It changes lives and its a beautiful thing! I am probably going to come back home and cry easily at things though- every time the spirit is strong, all Latino girls just cry and cry and cry! Its adorable.

Theres an elder here that looks a ton like President Obama. Everyone knows who Obama is and they all know our elections are coming up. its weird to think i didn't even know where Bolivia was, and they all know who are president is, and often whos running against him. They say that a lot of what happens in thier countries depends on ours. Which speaking of that, two elders in my district are from Bolivia, and alll of us are serving in bolivia except hma Kimes and hma May! they are all serving in la paz, but all missionaries in bolivia go to the temple together once a year together. So anyways i talk to Elder Arancibia (from near santa cruz) about bolivia all the time.

Anyways we play soccer like crazy here. I might play for an hour or two... or three today. hahaha. I may or may not be getting really good.... according to my peruvian district haha. They are amazing. Like, i wish i could describe the things these elders can do with a soccer ball. I feel like im watching a magic show whenever I play soccer with them!

Anyways I love you all so very much. I know this gospel is true- i see milagros (miracles) every day. Multiple. Its amazing the power the Lord has, and I'm so grateful that i get to be a part of His important and life changing work!!!

Have a great week family!!! This is my last email from Peru and I can hardly believe it! Its been so amazing here. I seriously am so grateful i got to spend time in the Peru CCM. Its helped me to grow so much in my life!!!

much love always,

Hermana Black

Friday, August 24, 2012

Week #7 - Peru CCM Week Four

Hola familia!!!

I love you all so stinking much! so i have started to get  a little mail which is nice so thank you so very much!!, But probably dont send anything to peru anymore, since I’ve only got two more weeks! Can you believe it?! I’m so excited to leave. I mean i dont know spanish, but i am just ready to go out and share the good news!! I’m so sad about not being able to get chichis awesome blanket. I wish i wouldnt have left it!!! but I”ll buy one when i get to bolivia. Also I’m happy to hear about how well Tali’s tests came back! I hope everything works out for her hearing. i pray about it lots everyday. Also good luck with school everyone!!!!

Ok so wednesday we got to go on a tour last week because all of our latin companions were gone so it was just us gringos. I am really bad at bartering!!! this lady was trying to sell me something that i didnt want, but she lowered the price so i bought it anyways. My President laughed at me haha. It was only like 2 US dollars but still. I need to get better. I did buy a cute headband though! People collect different things from countries. Would it be weird if I collected headbands?? Anyways it was way cool. I am not allowed to send pictures this week I dont think or I’d show you. we visited the capitol and like there were so many people interested in the gospel! but we didnt really bring stuff like books of mormon!!! booo... Seriously everywhere we go, everyone is just ready for the gospel its insane!!!

Thursday we got our new district. I have only one companion and its Hermana Kimes! Its really fun because we are funny together. our whole district is Latino which has been fun. Of course they all beatbox and say que en el Mundo by now. They think Hma Kimes and I are hilarious. Well everyone does so whats new. There are only 6 latina girls, and 10 Norte Americana girls! Its waaaaaay different than last time, but we are having fun. Its just usually in english which is weird. haha. two elders in my district are from Bolivia which is way cool! plus most people are serving there, so thats awesome.

Friday-- this day i got selected to sing in the choir for when Elder Christopherson comes! well seeing as theres only 16 girls thats not that wierd haha. theres 8 girls and like 30 elders in the choir. ha. Its exciting though. Also this day, i was looking out my window and an elder from my old district told me to watch. He did this cool thing where he jumped upside down onto a pole. sorry i can't really explain it. He calls himself spiderman haha. But, he dislocated his shoulder. the moral of the story: dont be dumb- God is less likely to protect you from something you could have easily prevented yourself haha. But God does protect us a lot here- i could fill twelve letters with stories about that from the days we go out into the field!!

Saturday-- unfortunately we didnt get to go out to the field because we had all the new people come in. But I did have a cool experience in a practice lesson. I learned that for me, when people say just open your mouth and the spirit will guide your words doesnt mean that you should just start talking and you will magically have words to say, all though ive tried that and its awkward. ha. to me, it means, just use all the words you know, dont worry about it just say what you want to say, and the spirit will use what i know to get through to the people im teaching. it was a powerful experience.

Sunday everyone got sick but me, because i have oils and all that good stuff. Seriously, a lot of people are still sick today. Some people have started believing me and taking my oils, and they are getting better. I kind of feel like Moses with the Serpents. Ive got a way to heal everyone if theyll just try it! ha.

Monday all of my roommates and companion were sick, so i was the only girl in class. when i first got here i really struggled to understand when people talked to me one on one. when hma kimes was around and i knew i could trust that she was understanding better than me, i would be fine. but as soon as i was being counted on to understand, i'd freeze up a lot. But ive gotten so much better this last week!!! So i'm really happy about that. But because I’m in a latin district, i am probably going to have to be a ´senior´companion for a norte americana girl on saturday... which will be interesting seeing as i cannot understand people outside the CCM because they talk super fast and quiet and barely move their mouths. I’ve been told that that is just the way people talk in Lima, and that it should be better in Bolivia. I just hope saturday isn't a disaster. ha.

Tuesday was pretty fun for our district. We had the lesson on stress, which i already had in Provo. but it was way funner here in Peru. In provo, we had to run up and down 7 flights of stairs three times. i was hurting for a couple of days after that. Here, we did like all these relay races and stuff at 8 at night and it was super fun. ha. But its good that they teach about stress here- your first week is way hard. your first day out is terrifying. But the second time, things just get great. So you just have to have that 20 seconds of courage or that just do it once. Its way hard, but after that first time, its just a blast!!! I seriously love Peru so very much and going out and teaching so very much. Except, my companion was trying to talk to someone at the store today in spanish. And well they said please stop talking to us in english, we dont understand. so.... yeah. its tough, but those moments where you see someone feel the spirit makes it worth it!!! 

love, Hermana Black

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Week #6 - Peru CCM Week Three

Hola familia!!!!!

Ok first off- theres a strike going on at the post office, so thats why i havent received any of your letters at all via snailmail. i do receive dearelders though. I might receive things via snail mail in a couple weeks, but most likely i won't. :( Im glad you got my letters though! i sent another one, hopefully you'll get it. But anyways how is everyone??? I love you all so much! This week was a great week.

Saturday- out in the field again!!! Man this is just the best day always. i had an amazing experience this week. We were teaching an inactive lady who we met last week, but she didnt let us in. today she did! Well we started off the lesson fine. i wasn't understanding anything at all really. my companion would just look at me every once in a while so id ask a question, hoping it had something to do with what was happening. after a little bit she started to be a little heated and just talked and talked really fast. our member with us kept talking back super fast and seemed to be taking the defense a little. i had to do a lot of reading facial expressions and stuff because i literally was totally lost. my companion, being the celestial material she is, was saying scriptures, talking calmly, and being amazing. after a while she nudged me and showed me a paper saying "testimonio". i was like ok.... but i have no idea what to say. the whole lesson i was praying hard though. anyways when the conversation died down for half a second i jumped in- this was a difficult task because everyone was talking so fast with little or no breaks. i felt like i should talk about how people in the church arent perfect, but the gospel is. Patricia really calmed down after that and was smiling really big- mostly she just thought me talking in spanish was sweet i think. she wanted my contact info after haha. anyways i dunno what happened after that because i couldnt understand. it wasnt until i was on the bus later that night that my north american companion Hna Kimes could translate to me from hma Odar my native companion what happened. the reason that Patricia was inactive is because someone offended her at church. so the spirit definitely prompted me to say those things in my testimony, because i had no idea what was happening!!! Its so awesome. I dont have to be perfect- all i have to do is try my best, and the Lord can use me to help His children :)

Lets see other things that happened this week... Theres an elder who looks like Luke Skywalker. And my district leader looks like Will Ferrell. Like I mean exactly like him. Its freaky.

One day at lunch my north american companions and i were talking in english (this doesnt happen a lot at lunch). afterwards, one of the sisters that was listening to our conversation said "que significa 'like'"? haha I was like oh dear the one word we say more than any other. haha.

Tuesday- Hma Odar and all my wonderful hermanas left early this morning!! Monday night we sang and all of the Latina Hermanas bawled their eyes out. haha I love it. I was sad to see them go because it is highly unlikely that i will ever see any of them again on this side of the veil.

The Hermanas
The first hermanas started leaving around 5. Before they left, each one would climb my ladder (we sleep on bunkbeds and the North Americans are always on top because they dont have bunkbeds here and they dont want to freak anyone out) so that they could kiss me goodbye. So I was pretty much awake at 5. but its ok im getting used to their culture and loving it lots and lots! at least it wasn't as bad as the elders- their latino companions woke up at 4 and started yelling goodbyes and turning on all the lights. hahaha i just love it here so very much.

So the Ipad (did i say ipod in my last letter? definitely Ipad) was never found sadly. Because of this, we will only have one companion from now on, so that there isnt changing companions all the time and confusion. this is too bad because i love getting to know more hermanas. but anways Hermana kimes is now my permanant companion. hermana May will have a permanant native companion but she hasnt arrived yet. Some girls did arrive last night and I got to meet two. One is from Chile and she is going to Santa Cruz, so its very likely we will be companions!!!!! aaaand, after her mission she wants to go to BYU and study animation!!!! So Mal, you might meet her too! She is hilarious and knows english well! shes just nervous about speaking it. im sure after she spends some time with my spanish she'll stop feeling nervous though haha.

If you get a chance and theres a way to do this, you should really watch Elder Bednars talk to the MTC in 2009. um its hilarious and so inspiring and you need to see it! but i dunno if its possible.

Oh did i write about how I taught one sister to say "Que en el Mundo?" (what in the world?) and then the whole CCM started saying it? hilarious! seriously everyone would say it. i said it infront of the new sisters last night though and they just stared at me. haha they will soon learn. :)

Starting Thursday i will be in a Latino District, where I will be expected to keep up with the class. Wish me luck!!

Elder Christophersen will be coming my last week i am here!!!! WOOOT! im so excited. This work just gets better and better. I absolutely love Peru!  I love the gospel! I love you all so much!!!!

much love always always always,

Hermana Elisa Black

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Week #5 - Peru CCM week two

Hi family!!!

So i get mail on fridays and i got the two dearelders from mom and dad. thanks so much!!! I really hope you got my pictures from provo. please please please let me know if you did. also, any idea whats going on with the sleeping bag? i do have a little time to check an email on wednesdays, otherwise i only get mail on fridays and it looks like it takes a while to get them. so an email with info might be the easiest fastest way to get me info... though i dont get them any day but wednesday. anyways...

Hello how is everyone??? i love you all so much!!!

have i told you about how much i love that there is so much ACTING that happens in the CCM or MTC? its wonderful! People are constantly pretending to be investigators and missionaries and well the way we learn is by practicing and its just conformation to me that God loves acting :)

The flags are for each country represented in the CCM
Anyways there have been two more earthquakes since ive been here! Actually we call them temblos because they aren't huge. both of them happened in the early morning. Even though most of the girls here live in Peru and this is a normal occurrence for them, they run into our room at 4:45 am and turn on the lights and ask us if we felt the temblo. I always get up and say yes, then i turn off the light and they go back to their rooms. haha. I love all the hermanas here so much.  We have good times. :)

Saturday was the best day of this week. Why? Because we got to go out and preach the word!!! Oh man best day ever. So we took a bus to a part of Central Peru. We went to a church, where we met up with a ward member. Then me, hermana odar, and this sister from the ward went to find inactive members. Most people did this, some people went tracting. Tracting? is that the word? anyways Peru is so cool! There are dogs everywhere, but i imagined them to be all mangy. They are all beautiful! and all so different! mostly they just lay around. The houses are all different colors and different shapes. Every house has a gate around their yard probably because of all the dogs. There are soccer games going on everywhere and its awesome!!! Anyways pretty much everyone we went to find wasn't home. we did talk to a few though. well actually i stand there and smile, the other two talked. i am understanding much more spanish, but they all talk super fast and quiet here. Anyways, i was being patient with myself (which is something i work on a lot- its really hard not being able to communicate when i want to so bad). After we went to all the houses on our list, we had about 30 minutes left. So i said i really wanted to just find someone, even though i dont speak spanish. Mostly i communicated all day by praying for my companion to say stuff. Anyways i know that my role isn't to speak verbally right now. So i prayed that id be given the role of finding someone for us to teach. i have a role to play even if it isn't to speak spanish yet- i refuse to be dead weight. Anyways as we were walking back to the church, there was this lady sitting in front of her house. i went up to her, and said HOLA!!! and then i forgot all spanish. Luckily my companion was right behind me. Anyways to make a long story short, we gave her a book of mormon, and set up an appointment for her to meet with the actual missionaries in the area. I said like three words later... mostly i just tried to talk to her little three year old :) it made the whole day worth it though. My job isnt to speak yet, but im finding the lord can use me in other ways and its incredible and wonderful and amazing!!! We were all so sad to have to return to the ccm. ha. oh also i saw my first cockroach out on the street. oh man oh man....

Sunday--sunday school was on cleanliness. this isn't really a probably a problem for the N americans, but washing hands is hard for a lot of latinos to remember. they dont really get germs i dont think. but its all good it gets better every day. i wouldnt mind that much, except the women give hugs and kisses constantly haha.

On monday, a teachers ipad was stolen. This ipad had a lot of important info for the ccm in it. There has never been a problem with things being stolen in the ccm, but earlier someone stole 100 soles as well. anyways its hard having such a difference in money, but this isn{t usually a problem. Someone really needs help at the ccm right now and we still havent figured out who it is, despite much searching for the last three days.its too bad.

Tuesday i played soccer with peruvians! i was flattened to put it nicely. The only thing i had going for me was the fact that im much bigger than most of them. haha. The elders in my district say that they feel like the hulk when they play soccer- the peruvians will run into them and fall over, and they wont feel it haha. Otherwise we get slaughtered.

Anyways i am loving this place more and more each day. And by this place i mean peru. Because i am starting to be tired of the ccm haha. I am ready to go out and teach!! Teach the gospel. If necessary, use words. The language of the spirit is all i need. ha. no i really am getting much better at espanol. The things i have to do on my mission are often really scary and hard the first time. Like the first couple of times i taught at the Provo MTC were terrifying and really hard. Now, i look forward to those meetings and am sad when they are cancelled!! I was nervous the first time to go out in peru on our own in a group. Now, I cant wait for the rollercoaster buses, the running across streets (cars have the right of way here) and the people, the spanish, i now understand the money haha, and its just amazing being here. Im super sad Hma Odar will be leaving me next week. I seriously love her so much and shes been so amazing.

Ok well I love you all so very much!!! Sorry i didn't sign off last time, my computer kicked me off haha. anyways much much much love, Elisa :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week #4 - Peru CCM week one

Hola familia!!!

Ah! One week in Peru can you believe it?????? I cant!! Holy cow. First off quick reminder- its next to impossible to receive packages here, but i´d love to get some mail!! I haven't received anything yet but it might just be because i don't understand how to get mail... everything is in spanish here so if i dont understand something (ok everything) i'm lost for a while haha. did you get my email last wednesday? hopefully.

Anyways!!!! ok. so Peru is amazin!! i love it. The Peru ccm has some differences: the showers rotate from cold to hot, and doesn´t really go in between. so thats fun to try to deal with haha. The electricity is a little bit slow it blinks to turn on. Meals are basically some kind of grain ( usually more than one) : rice, bread, noodles, etc. With a large serving of some kind of meat.  Every once in a while we get fruit and vegetables. It all tastes super super good and is seasoned and prepared differently, but i do miss fruits and vegetables. Every night at 9:20, we have fruta time, where we get a snack which is usually a tangerine, a granadilla (similar to a pomegranate but orange outside gray inside. it took me a while to get the guts to try it but its super good!), or ice cream. So thats usually my fruit for the day. sometimes theres a side salad for lunch. they have a tea here that you can get for your meals that helps with digestion. I don't really like it but i drink it anyway!

Theres lots of earthquakes in peru! my first word i learned here was sismos, which is earthquake. there's signs all over the ccm that say we are in an earthquake safe zone so dont worry! there's only been one since ive been here, and it was tiny. The latinos know when they are coming though its cool.  

Other differences: not even my teachers speak english!! Its difficult and confusing a lot of the time, but i feel like i'm learning spanish much faster this way. My Companion is actually Hermana Odar for when I'm not in class so for meals pretty much. She does not  speak one word of english!!! Its difficult to communicate but we are pretty close. we taught our first investigator on monday together and it went super well. it was my first time teaching with someone who actaully knows spanish, and we got done 5 minutes early. usually we go like ten minutes over when im teaching with my north american companions. My N. american companions who are my companions in class are H. May from Colorado- she was in the three some with me my first day in provo! and H. Kimes who is from Georgia and i just laugh when she talks because i love her accent so much. All the Latinas absolutely love us. At meal times basically the three of us try to talk to each other ( they speak better than I do) and they think its hilarious. Haha we have lots of good times. The three of us all deal with stress by laughing, so we laugh together all day long. its the best i love them so much!!

ok so on thursday we went to the temple!!!! Its going to be closed for the next couple of weeks. It was tiny but awesome. I had to wear a headset to understand what was going on. i felt like a giant there because lots of the women came up to no joke- my elbow. Yeah its nuts. They talk to me, and i feel really bad because i have no idea what they are saying. I have learned that i absolutely love understanding whats going on. speaking of which, we took a van to the temple. when we got out, our driver said some stuff in spanish and drove off. we pieced it together- he gave us directions for walking back. hahaha. we had to walk 30 minutes to get  back to the ccm through the middle of peru- praying that we understood the directions. haha it was awesome.

Well Saturday was Peru´s independence day!!! we had a special celebration at lunch and all the Peruvians stood up and sang. they all love peru so much, some of them were close to tears. H. Odar is from Peru. H. Kimes is serving in Peru. H. May is serving in Ecuador. I{ve met some Bolivians here! everytime i tell people here that im going to santa cruz, they all say oh mucho calor! which means it's gunna be super hot. which is funny because all the hermanas make fun of me because i always say its so hot outside and its winter for them so they are all in jackets. i sleep with only a sheet and gave my blankets away because they all are freezing. I'm hot, and its winter, and bolivia santa cruz is hotter than here!!! Im gunna die haha.

Ok so on sunday i straightened a bunch of hermana's hair that was fun. Basketball is my favorite thing to play here because i'm like super amazing compared to everyone. its hilarious watching all of us hermanas play basketball. the facilities are super nice here- we've got this beautiful futbol court thing that i'll have to take a picture of. the sand volleyball is fun. lots of great things to do for gym.

I haven't gotten sick or anything at all which has been super nice. i take all my meds and things :) Ive even had to help my n. americana companeras, both have needed a lot of arnica for different things. also one of the oils really cleared up a rash she was getting. call me doctor Elisa! haha.

I beatbox for my hermanas one day. big mistake- now the entire mtc does it or tries to haha. Between my beatboxing, amazing singing (no one here can carry a tune not even most of the n. americanos haha its hilarious so they think im amazing) and my name being super easy to say and even translates into spanish, i am pretty popular here haha. well theres only 100 people here haha.

Its good that i brought sweaters though it gets a little bit chilly at night. we got to walk around town today for pday which is weird because you don't leave the provo mtc. we had to take a bus today i was so scared to do that because its insane. it was like riding a roller coaster haha i ended up enjoying it a ton.

My companera H. Odar loves David Archileta and was super sad she wasn't called to Chile- haha he's super big down here.

things are not super organized like provo but its good because its teaching me how to deal with things that aren't perfect. like one day im walking to class and the intercom says my companions and i need to get on the van and leave the ccm. we were super confused. it turned out to be that we needed to go exchange our money at some place 10 minutes away. always new adventures here its so much fun and i love it and i wish i could tell you more!!!

but i love you alll soooooo much!