****PRE-POST-NOTE from Hannah: Hey guys, it’s me! I’m finally writing on my own blog again!! Crazy, right? Sorry that we’ve not been able to put stuff on here for a little while. We have been just so tight on time: things have been pretty crazy lately but they’re going really well. I’m going to be putting some last things on here to wrap all of this up. Just so you guys know, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you and your support. You are all the BEST!!! Also, second side-note, we’re having a little technical difficulties with the photos on here, so we’re going to have to put the ones from this week into a public Photobucket account and link it from here so y’all can see ’em until we’ve gotten everything straightened out here on this end of things. The link will be at the bottom of the post.
I HOPE THAT YOU ALL HAD A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! I sure did. Things have been NUTS this week—every day, we’ve had something crazy.
Monday — We had our zone practice for the sketch we did at the mission Christmas party! A blast.
Tuesday — Mission Christmas party, all day! It was so fun! Unfortunately, this time we had to break it up into two halves of the mission at a time, but it was still awesome. We got to play a lot of games and watch some Christmas short films.
Wednesday — Zone Christmas breakfast and games. Afterwards, we went to a place called Mini-mundo and played our GUTS out. I’ve never been more exhausted in my life. Then we spent the night visiting a ton of members! It was awesome. We ate soooooo much though.
Thursday — Pretty much didn’t eat anything today. We were still full from yesterday! We went bowling in Larcomar and it was awesome. We also got to do skype with the lovely family!!! So great to see you all!!!
Friday — Zone temple trip! It was a really great, as always… :) In the evening, our mission leader invited us over and we got special permission to go up San Cristobal (the huge mountian/hill with a cross on it) and see all of the Lima light nights. It was really scary at night, being up so high! But very, very cool. Neither Hermana Choque nor Elder Gonzalez had been before.
Saturday — Got one more thing crossed off of my bucket list. There was a member who was cool enough to find us real SURI, which is like this huge, fat tree worm from the jungle. Peruvians eat them fried and also… alive. As far as I was aware, we were going to eat it fried, and I was down for that, but when we got there…. they were ALIVE still!!! Agh!!! There were four of them — one for each missionary. It was AWFUL! but we did it. And we kept the heads. I did it only to be able to say that I did. Wow haha but I’m glad it’s over with. I ate mine the fastest. It didn’t really taste like anything but it was pretty watery inside. We’ve got a TON of priceless photos and videos….
Sunday — We went up and attended church here in San Silvestre. Got to see a ton of my old pals. The bishop totally caught me by surprise and called me up on the spot to bear my testimony during sacrament meeting, but it went fine. It was really great to see a lot of them again. In the afternoon, we also visited a family from Pueblo Libre and one from Magdalena.
Even though this week has been a crazy blast…. the last couple of days have been pretty melancholy. Hermana Choque and I have both been feeling a little blue. I love this mission. I love this world. I love these fiends here and I love the work that we’re doing. When I came out here to the field, I had to leave one world behind and establish another from scratch. That was hard. And now, I have this world established. I’m so happy here. I have friends here. The members are even like a family to me, even though they don’t replace the friends and family that I have back home. But it’s like they say in my favorite book series of all time, ”Neither can live while the other survives.” (Harry Potter) I have to live in one world, or the other. And now it’s time for me to go through the same process again. I have to leave this world and return to the old one. I told Hermana Choque that I kind of wished that this all was a dream, that I woke up and it was still November and we were still working as if everything was normal again and I still had more time… I’m not ready to go home yet. If my family could come down here and stay with me in Lima, it would be the perfect life. I would live here for years and be a missionary forever. A perfect combination between the two worlds. But, nope! It can’t be..
But the key is that even though my environment is changing, I can’t let myself be changed. Peru will always be a part of me. ALWAYS! :) I love it too much. Man, I’m going to fill my room up with SO MUCH Peruvian stuff!! And it’ll keep me remembering all of the people that I met here, all of the things that I learned and how I personally grew during this time. I am NOT going back to the person that I was before the mission. No way, José. Sorry. It’s not part of the game plan. Those weaknesses are staying in the past!
So here we are, in my old sector in San Silvestre, right now.. We just visited a couple of members here (the mission gives us our last two days to go pass around) and we’ve got to visit a handful more right about now. Then from there, we’re going home, packing the whole night, then getting up, getting the last few things into order, and then I have my final interview with President Borg and off I go to the airport to pick up my parents at about midnight. From there, we’ll be staying here for a little while longer to visit more people and to also visit around a bit. I’m so excited to see them. It’s going to be fun. Man, leaving the mission is the weirdest, bittersweet feeling ever!! As we say here, ¡¡asu maquina!!
Sorry I can’t write very well today. there’s just too much that has happened and too many photos to send, but no time at all to do it. But there’s just one more thing that I would like to touch on: the miracles that we’ve seen this week. On Saturday (after we ate those worms), we got talking a lot with those members and sort of reflecting back on how far that we’ve progressed. I remember just sitting and feeling so overwhelmed with happiness, joy and gratitude. Every single cambio, there’s been a different lesson that I’ve learned. Every transfer, every ward. There’s always a theme. And these last two cambios have been just full of blessings and happiness. Before, I guess my testimony of God was strongest when it came to adversity — or in other words, I had felt and recognized Him most in my life through the most difficult things that I had gone through. But these last couple of months, I’ve really gained a testimony of the fact that He’s with us too even in the happiest, most rewarding times! Even though I feel like this last week we’ve really gotten a break, I still felt the Spirit with me and I felt like it was just the biggest tender mercy and greatest way to finish off a mission — feeling so many blessings and having fun too! It seems like everything has just been falling into place. And one of the greatest blessings was finding my camera! Last Monday, we had to write in a crowded, tiny, dirty market, and we were in a real hurry too. I’ve always been really careful about my things, but this time, I left my camera behind, still plugged into the computer, as we had to dash out like lightning to meet someone. And that’s a heartbreaker. I had my last week in the mission ahead of me! Now guys, let me tell you, with Lima being one of the most dangerous cities in South America…. if you ever lose something, you’ll never get it back. It’s just the law of nature. I mean, a crowded market? Forget about it! Well, I was quite sure that I would never see it again, after I realized that night that it was missing, and I knew that it would be pointless to go back, so I didn’t make a hurry of it. Plus, we were like SUPER busy and that market was kind of far away. Sort of out of denial, I waited to go back until Saturday (I know….. don’t say it!!) . I wandered in there and as soon as the shop owner saw us, he jumped up and said, “Hey!! You guys forgot —-” and pulled my camera out. He had kept it for an entire WEEK. He didn’t even sell it on the black market after a couple of days. Hermana Choque and I just stood there with our jaws on the floor. We took it back, thanked him profusely and started to walk to lunch. I mean, we couldn’t even talk to each other, we were so surprised. We literally walked in silence the entire way there. Talk about a Limeñan MIRACLE! Wow.
Well, I’m sorry for writing an entire book this week. It’s just because it’s my last week! Well, I’ve gotta run!!!
Take care mom and everyone! See y’all soon!!!!!
Click on the link below to see the photos!!