Stay on Target, Stay on Target

Well, my training has almost come to an end.  I am fairly confident with the things that I’ve learned from my companion, and I’m ready to get going.  All I need to do now is “Stay on Target,” just like the X-Wing Fighters from Star Wars.

This week has been pretty interesting as we’ve had a few days that were just off the walls.  Monday and Tuesday were very normal days with really nothing super interesting to report, minus a few drunk people that asked for some money to “get a glass of water.” Yeah…  right…

Wednesday was pretty cool, as it started out as a regular day.  We went to visit some of our investigators, some of our contacts (not a whole lot of success on that front), and meet with some members.  We also had to meet with Hna Feliciana so that we can actually finish up her baptismal record, which we still haven’t been able to do since she can’t remember her own birthday, let alone her parent’s names.  We might just have to go to the government building to get her information.  Anyway, we then headed to La Merced to have a Zone meeting, in which we came up with a sketch (took me about two minutes to understand that it was actually the same word in Spanish, but with a weird pronunciation since they have a hard time with multiple consonants) for our Conferencía Navideña with President Ardila.

After we came up with the skit, Elder Espinoza and I headed back to San Ramón to meet the Elders from Cerro de Pasco, all twelve of them, to spend the next two nights in our room.  It was a mess.  They’re all pretty cool elders, but 12 people in the same room for two nights was awful.  Our beautifully clean room was trashed (luckily I put all of my stuff away before they came) and our bathroom was almost destroyed.  Not super fun, but I made a few new friends that are just two transfers before me.

The next morning, we headed to La Merced for our Christmas Devotional.  We had a great message from both Hermana and Presidente Ardila about various topics of Christmas.  My favorite was a literal interpretation of the Wise Men that came from the East.  They followed the Star of the Morning (not Lucifer, as we can read from Revelation chapter 22) to their destination.  We were then asked which type of star we were following, the Star of the Lord, or other stars that want to destroy us.  Very good messages.  Then we received our gifts, everyone got the same tie and an awesome fleece blanket with our names embroidered with our logo.  Super comfortable to sleep with.  We also got a cool three-fold card with all of our pictures inside (I look fat…), which they gave us an extra to send home.  Then we presented our sketches, and ours was the best.  The others were just too long to be entertaining.  One was a Kung-Fu Panda outlook on mission life, and the other was about a trunky missionary that has A Christmas Story experience.  Funny, but too long.

After that, we changed into P-Day clothes and headed off to Pampamichi, a little village where people are trying to live like their Native ancestors (called the Pampamichi, not the Incas).  We got dressed up and had a pretty good time.  Their language is super weird…  Elder Skenendore, Elder Wiscomb, and I were considered the 3 Nephites among a group of us as we looked pretty good in our native attire.  I’ve attached a picture of us as well as my companion and I.  After they told us their story, we danced with them.  Really kinda awkward as a woman just walked up to me, saying “Let’s Dance! After we dance, we can read Bible and you can teach us.” Pretty funny, but really kinda weird…

Elder Skenendore, Elder Wiscomb, and I looked like the Three Nephites in our “native” dress in Pampamichi.

I think Elder Espinoza looks more authentic. I’m going to miss him after this next transfer.

After that, we headed to Henry’s place, Recreo Tiro, to eat some lunch.  We had fried chicken, roasted turkey, potato salad, and you guessed it, rice! It was pretty tasty.  After that, we headed up to Catarata Tirol, again…, as a big group.  It had rained all morning, so it was super duper powerful.  It was pretty cool, but meh — I’ve seen a lot of waterfalls by now.  However, by our bus was a cool looking monkey tied to a tree.  One of the elders gave it a water bottle, and it drank the whole thing.  Unfortunately for the elder, the Monkey then decided to mark its territory shortly after.  He just barely missed his companion!

Naughty monkey! Enjoyed the water bottle, but then disrespected the elder who gave it to him.

Then, we headed back to our rooms to get ready for bed.  We were all sooo tired, but it still took forever to get to sleep since there were 12 extra elders in our room.  However, it was short-lived as they left early the next morning.  Really long night and I was very tired the next day.

Well, that’s pretty much all I have to report.  Hope things haven’t been too too busy at home preparing for Christmas.  Don’t forget to take some time to really ponder the true meaning of Christmas.  Some chapters to really reflect on what the Savior has done for us are 2 Nephi 2, 9, as well as Alma 7, 34, Mosiah 15, Helaman 5, and many other chapters.  The Book of Mormon really testifies of Christ, and for the first time, through careful study and pondering, I am really understanding and feeling the power that comes from this marvelous book.  I have so much more to learn, but I have learned so much.  This book is true.  It changes lives.  It influences others to do good.  It testifies of Christ more than any other book in the World.  Men really can get closer to God through study of this book.  I testify that this Church is true.  After the time that I’ve been on the mission, I have absolutely no doubt that it is true.  The Lord lives and loves each and every one of us more than we can possibly imagine in this life-time.  I love this Gospel.  I know it is true.

Love you all and talk to you later.

Elder VK

PS:  This is how our sketch (skit) went:

Our Sketch was a twist on the story of Ammon and King Lamoni with the sheep.  It started out with my companion, Negroni addressing the people by reciting Doctrine and Covenants section 4 with a handful of changes to reflect himself.  Then the guards brought in Jamón, one of the Elders from Panama.  Then the king had to test Jamón to see if he was obedient.  After his obedience was tested (raising various body parts, jumping around in circles, etc.), King Negroni offered one of his two beautiful Daughters for wife.  Pancha and some other name.  I was Pancha.  He chose me first since I was a Gringo, but when I stood up, he got all disgusted and then chose the Latino.  After that, he was about to walk off with the other daughter to marry her, when he is stopped by the Holy Ghost.  He did the two times from the heavens thing, and then smacked him.  He was told to state his purpose (bautizar y confirmar semanalmente, our lema or motto of the mission) but was then told to tell it to the King, and to remember that we can’t have girls on the mission.  Jamón shoves the daughter away and declares his purpose.  The King tells Jamón that he is already baptized, but will think about it.  In the mean time, Jamón was to go and guard the sheep.  A much better alternative to being banished to Cerro de Pasco.

Act two begins, and the three of the four Gringos enter as sheep.  I was a possessed one at the beginning, but the other sheep knocked it out of me.  Then a bunch of the other Elders came running in to attack us.  They were successful and we had to drag ourselves away to the side lines again while hurt.  Then Jamón showed up and was ready to fight.  The ladrones returned for the fight, but Jamón was ready with pistols.  They dodged it all Matrix-style.  Then he started to throw grenades.  One of the ladrones hit the grenade away.  Then Jamón started to go all Kung-Fu on them, but they just walked up and knocked him over.  Then they dog-piled him, but Jamón escaped.  Then, the huge Gringo, Elder Jones bursts out of their ranks.  Jamón tried to kill him like David and Goliath, but Elder Jones just stood still.  Finally, Jamón charged up like the characters in Dragon Ball-Z to shoot a beam of energy at Elder Jones.  However, Elder Jones simply blocks the beam and they fight it out with the beam.  Jamón then told the sheep to give him their chi.  We raised our arms and baaaad like crazy and Jamón was able to conquer all of them.  Then Negroni came out into the battle field, and told Jamón that his family was ready to be baptized.  Jamón celebrates by getting on his knees and shouts “goal complete! 300 baptisms this month!” It was quite the awesome skit, and way better than the others.

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