I Have Reached My 2nd Decade and I’m Serving the Lord

Well, that’s right. This week was officially my birthday week. I am now 20 years old, and I feel rather old. I can hardly believe that I’ve had this wonderful (yet rather corrupt and very-easy-to-get-sick) mortal body but that’s just the beauty of mortal life. You get sick, and I did that with a vengeance after my birthday. But, as the owner of our room (a super awesome guy named Berto) told me —  at least I’ll know what it feels like when one of my loved ones gets really sick and doesn’t just have a cold. Man, Thursday night was a LONG one.

Anyway, the work is going pretty well. I’m loving being here in Cerro de Pasco. After some prayer, observation, and discussion, my companion and I decided that our main purpose here in our ward is to establish Zion more than anything else, because even though there is a stake, there aren’t that many “converts” and they certainly aren’t “living up to their privileges”… Seriously, over 1069 members in just one ward with only 80 actives? There’s work to do, for sure. So,Saturday and Sunday, we went out with a super awesome lady that’s a little older. She’s been a member for over 20 years and is one of the only true converts that we’ve found here. She took us to visit tons of members that haven’t been coming to church for a while and we have a ton of appointments to help them out. I really believe in Grandpa’s community philosophy that he sent me a few months ago — we’re bringing people to the Lord and there has to be a community for them to be a part of. If we don’t help that community to be formed, then what are we doing? So we’re doing our best to help with that now.

Other than that not too much to report from normal experiences. We should have a baptism this week and we’re teaching a ton of families that aren’t complete in the Gospel. So, we’re excited.  And the missionaries in San Juan and Yanacancha both had baptisms.

Baptisms in San Juan with Yanacancha to save water. We’ve got myself and Jhonatan, Elder Urrea with Jazmine, and Elder Nuñez with Junior

Now for my birthday celebration. First and foremost, Elder Nuñez told me that nobody was going to be able to celebrate my birthday in the morning, so I felt pretty sad and rather alone. We headed to Carhuamayo to do some teaching. We knew that the Family Peña had a cake waiting for me at about 7pm, so we headed over to their house to eat the cake and have a good time. Irma Peña is the “old pioneer I’ve talked about. I was still feeling pretty alone as we talked, but it was my birthday so I tried to be happy. Then, I heard something in the other room. Elder Nuñez said we should go check it out, so we did. The lights were out and then everyone jumped out of the dark and surprised me! They were a handful of other missionaries from the zone that could make it. We then proceeded to eat an awesome vanilla cake and just talk for a while. Then they brought out another cake for me to blow out the candles then they did the typical… they smashed my face in it. Then we had a Piñata to break open and they made me super dizzy. Then the awful part… the egg smash on my head, a Peruvian tradition. They each said something and then smashed an egg on my head. It was pretty cold, but rather fun. Then we headed off and bid farewell. We went to my Pension Sarita, and she had another cake. It was nice and I was really really full after that. So, that was my birthday. It was very different, but it was really nice.

Irma Peña, the sweetest sister

The vanilla cake the Pena family made. It was delicious!

a gigantic birthday card from other missionaries

A fun Peruvian tradition — push your face into the cake!

Cake face!

All clean after the cake and egg situation!

My pensionista bought this birthday cake to celebrate.

She and her girls wrote Happy Birthday on a cookie

Well, that’s it for the week. Elder Nuñez and I are getting along swimmingly — we both really like being together. One of the Zone Leaders, Elder Udall goes home this week, and then next week are transfers, so we should all know which mission we will be in after the split. It’s exciting.

I love you all loads and sure do miss you, but time is going by so fast. Life is good! Well, off to an adventure!

love, Elder VK

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