Hey! This is kind of odd to write, because it seems like it was just yesterday that I was talking to you guys. I feel like you probably already know the majority of what’s happened around here but I’m going to recap it for those of you who have maybe forgotten.
So, I had a transfer! Hermana Zumba stayed in Barranco and is finishing up the last 6 weeks of training for a sister named Hermana Byrd, from the United States.
I got sent out here to a zone called Las Flores. It’s in the largest district in Lima, called San Juan de Lurigancho. My ward is called San Silvestre, and our boundaries are incredibly tiny.
In Barranco, we were the border with the Lima South mission; now, we’re the border with the Lima North and the Lima East missions! Literally the farthest I could have gone within our mission. This sector just got opened up 6 weeks ago so it’s still in pretty rough shape. We don’t have any progressing investigators. But it’s ok because basically my entire mission I’ve been opening or whitewashing sectors, so I don’t know what life is like not starting out that way. But it’s awesome because there’s a ton of potential here. The ward is INCREDIBLE — it’s just so warm. It’s tiny, but it’s full of love. It’s a serious blessing. Barranco had some challenges going on in the ward and it’s nice to get a bit of a break. This week we’ve already seen some miracles. We also got to teach a couple of first-cousins who had 3 kids together. That was weird. I also found out that I’ve eaten the equivalent of cow placenta before and I didn’t even know it.
My companion is Hermana Castillo (‘castle’) from Trujillo, Peru (my first peruvian companion!).
She was actually Hermana Zumba’s MTC companion so they’ve been out in the field for the same time. She’s a really sweet, very spiritual hermana. It’s always interesting having to get used to somebody that’s new but Hermana Castillo has a big heart. She has been through a lot, and she’s been so strong. When she had been in the field for a little over a month, her grandmother (who was really her ”mother” because she raised her) suddenly passed away. It’s been really hard for her but she’s doing well and working diligently.
We also have the pleasure of getting to share houses with Hermana Brudnicki (my companion from the MTC!!!!) and Hermana Loayza, who also came and joined the mission in the same group as Hermana Zumba and Hermana Castillo. It’s only going to be for this cambio though. They’re waiting for a room to be finished a floor or two above us in the same apartment building, but in the meantime they’ll be sharing a room with us. Heh heh, one thing that’s nice about going to a poorer district in Lima is that you can get a way higher quality house for the same cheap price as in the richer sections. So our house has more than one room!! SCORE!! Hermana Brudnicki started out her mission in Carmen de la Legua which is the only part of Callao (the most dangerous and one of the most poor districts in Lima) that has Hermanas in it. When she got here, she told me, ”Yep, this reminds me of the Legua days. This is exactly what it’s like.” Unfortunately, I won’t be able to take a lot of photos out in the streets because I’m new here and people haven’t started to recognize me yet. That makes it pretty dangerous so I’m going to have to be laying low on the local camera stuff this week. But I promise I’ll try to do what I can for next Monday!
Last Friday we got to cross the border to renew our tourist visas. It was certainly an adventure. Turns out, the reason that we never got our real visa was because of a simple error in the area offices. But it’s ok though because we’ll get them really soon, now that they’ve fixed it! Hermana Brudnicki and I and about 10 other missionaries from this mission had to go and be in the mission offices at 7:30 in the morning to meet and to go to the airport together. From there, we ran into a couple of missionaries from the Lima East mission who were in the same situation. We flew to Tumbes, Peru, which is a border-town with Ecuador. The entire airport could have fit in the cultural hall of our ward, no joke. It was the first time in my life that I’ve gotten to actually walk off of a plane! As soon as we opened the plane door, it was like we stepped into a sauna. I have never experienced such strong humidity in my life, paired with terrible summer heat. We were so close to the equator. It was a shock because Lima is getting pretty cold these days.
From there, we left the airport, stepped out in the parking lot (which was also smaller than the Bonneville ward’s parking lot) and had no idea what to do. Nobody had told us anything more. There were a ton of taxi drivers (complete strangers) trying to get us to go with them. Then, one of them comes up and was like, ”Hey I’m supposed to take you all and cross the border in this van, let’s go.” It was exactly as sketchy as it sounds.
But yeah so we went with him, drove 15 minutes, hit the border, went into the immigrations office there for Ecuador, filled out papers to leave Peru, filled out papers to enter Ecuador, flipped a U-turn, went to the Peruvian immigrations office, filled out papers to leave Ecuador, filled out papers to enter Peru, and that was it. They were super suspicious and they almost didn’t let us do it, but in the end everything worked out. We couldn’t board the plane to go back to Lima because there was only one in the whole airport and it wouldn’t be ready until 9:30 at night. So the van driver just basically just dropped us off in Tumbes and was like, ”Meet us back again in this plaza at 6:45.” So we went and hung out for a while, got stuff to eat. It was good. Except that Hermana Brudnicki literally got fleas somehow while we were there. No joke. It’s like a serious problem right now that we’re dealing with.
Then we went back to the airport, had to wait around for a few hours because our flight got delayed, flew back to Lima, and Hermana Brudnicki and I had another one of those ”now what” moments. Once again, we faced a wave of taxistas who were offering to take us back to our sector. But it was almost 1 am, we were in Callao (the airport is there), we were two gringas…. It was bad news. Our zone leaders had told us that there was a member of his ward who was a taxista and was willing to pick us up. But we had no idea what he looked like. Out of the blue comes a little man who was wearing pretty slouchy clothes and had a piece of crumpled paper that said ”Hermana Brudnicki” on it. He offered to drive us home. I was like, ”Hey, wait, any guy could have just written that quickly on a piece of paper because you have a name tag on. We have to make sure it’s him.” So we talked to him for a while and asked him enough questions to be statisfied that he was really the member we were looking for. We got home safely at about 1:30, 1:45 and collapsed into our beds. It was not exactly a normal missionary day…. haha! Certainly something to remember!
Having transfers is always a pretty hard thing because you have to once again leave everything that you’ve ever known or gotten used to and be dropped off in the unknown. But your guys’ encouragement works wonders for me. Like really. I’m so grateful to have been blessed with such a great family who takes care of me and really supports me in what I do. Skyping was such a blast. I can’t believe that next time we’ll be skyping, it’ll be Christmas! Time is flying so fast.
Sure love you all to peaces and hope you have a wonderful week! Happy Late Mothers’ day to all of those Mommies out there!!!