A lot of change

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Well this week was transfers. Elder Barreto, or Burrito as mom likes to say, is gone and I stay in Zarumilla. But I get to train a new guy and also be the district leader. So I go from only a little bit of responsibility to a lot real quick. But it is what it is.

I have no idea who my new companion is because he does not get here until tomorrow. I am staying in Piura for a few days and then heading back up to Puyango and to work.

So some interesting things that happened this week. We continually ran into the wild horses that are running around the area. That was interesting. I do have some photos of a horse itching itself on one of the walls. That was kind of fun.

It also started to rain this week. And it rained a lot. For about two days. I needed my rain boots for several days. We kept our coats and boots in the house of our pensonista and use them when it starts to rain. That is about it.

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About the pensonista, some of the pictures are of her house. She keeps turkeys, pigs, and guinea pigs in the back yard. And the cuy, guinea pigs, he raises to eat. But they still need some time.

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It was also the last week of Hermana Carrizales. It was kind of sad. And under the horrible peruvian tradition they threw eggs on her head. But that is about it. It was super sad honestly to see her go.

I am kind of rushed for time today at the office. But I will tell you guys everthing next week.

Elder Westergard

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Super Tired

This week was really tiring for me. Tuesday we hardly got into any houses, leaving us to walk around all day in the sun. The same happened Wednesday, we went and visited a member in the afternoon just so we could have a small rest and be off our feet. It was super tiring. I was about to die. But it was alright we finally made it into a less active members house and taught him a bit, while resting my aching feet. And just for kicks and giggles here is a photo of the insole of my shoe. So that is how much walking we do everyday.

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But we did have a babtism. This is Lizbeth, we have been working with her family for a while and we finally had her babtized. That is such a great moment. I love it when we have babtisms. It is the best.

We also made a huge sign for one of the investigators of the other elders that is finally getting married so that they can get babtized this saturday. That is awesome too. And then that was kind of all that we did this week.

Today we went to the beach with the zone for the last p day of hermana Carrizales. We played football and got burnt. After we hung out and then went back home. We changed, went to lunch and then we watched Saints and Soldiers at the pensonistas house. That was super fun.


I also uploaded a few of the photos that did not upload last week as well.

But this week I really want to bear my testimony about prayer. I know that prayer is direct communication with our heavenly father. I know that prayer is a tool that we can use at anytime that we need. In fact, we are commanded to pray always. This does not mean on your knees all day, but it means praying in your heart. And I know that if we pray with all the energy of heart that we have, we will recieve answers. But only if we look and study it out in our minds as well. For example I recieve most of my revelation during my personal prayers in the night time. I bring things before the Lord, consult with him and he helps me out. It is amazing. I would suggest that you go on lds.org look for preach my gospel, and look for chapter four. There is a section about prayer. It does not matter if you are a member of our church or not, this will help you develop a greater and more powerful relationship with our Father in Heaven.

https://www.lds.org/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/how-do-i-recognize-and-understand-the-spirit?lang=eng

I will see you all later. I will catch you next week.

Elder Westergard

All Natural This Week

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Well this week for p day we went to Puerto Pizarro. This is a small fishing town in one of the other elders areas. There we rented a boat to head out to a small island that had a crocodile reserve. The boat ride was fun. We took a few stops at some small islands for some pictures and to run around a bit. Then afterwards we went to the island with the crocodiles. The crocodiles were in several different pens depending on age and gender. It was actually super cool. These alligators were a bit more active than alligators I had seen back home. They were moving around and swimming. I even managed to get a video of when the dominant male fought two others underneath the water for the pool. That was neat. But it was also scary because when he won he pulled his head back under the dark green water and you could not see him at all. And this thing was three meters long and three hundred kilos, you will need to look up what that is in the standard system. It was super cool. Afterwards we went to a restraunt and we ate some super good chicken. It was a good p day.

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This week we focused a lot on Lizbeth to help her get ready for her babtism. She recieved an answer to her prayers but her family situation is difficult and thus she loses motivation at times and thus we are over there a lot. We even helped her wash clothes at one point, as she told us we could not share anything until her laundry was done. So we helped wash clothes. My first experience washing clothes by hand. And am I grateful for a washing machine. My fingers are still a little raw from this experience. So another interesting thing that happened this week happened while we were teaching a lesson with Lizbeth. We were teaching Lizbeth about the law of chastity in her home. We were seated on one side of the main room and she on the other. About halfway through the lesson Lizbeth’s two dogs walked right into the middle of the room and began to start their family. So it was perfect timing considering what we were teaching, but also a little awkward.

So the one photo with the little boy was super funny. We went to a family home evening with one of the investigators of the other elders and this kid looked exactly like my little brother. So I took a picture.

The other photo is of my companion. He bought a paneton last monday with some yoghurt with which he then sat down to chow down. So this was a funny photo of him with a liter of yogurt and his hand in the paneton bag. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We were also supposed to have this super awesome missionary night activity this week, as we have one of these activities every Friday. We planned a Cincana, like a game night or something like that. We fought all week with the young single adult leader trying to get this set up and he just would not do anything. He even called us Friday afternoon and said that he would not be able to make it. So it was super frustrating. But when we showed up for the activity and set up the sacramental hall for the activity the power went out. Not only where the church was but the whole district of Tumbes. So it was a bust. We waited for forty five minutes or so as it started raining and then we called it a night. It was eight thirty and we had nothing else planned. So we cleaned up the chapel as best as we could in the dark and then started walking for the hamburger stand in the center of town. As this lady is so dedicated to her hamburgers she has her own battery lights for when this stuff happens. So we bought hamburgers and then the light came back on. So it was all around just not the best. But the hamburger was good.
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Peruvian Birthdays Suck

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Well for this week Sunday was my birthday. And Birthdays in Peru kind of stink. I got up all normal and got everything ready for church that day. Sadly we only had four investigators come to church, our norma de excelencia is five. But it was also a little strange because it is now our job to count the attendance at church every week. This week we had one hundred and seventeen people come to church. It pretty much filled up the chapel. Afterwards we managed to get to lunch all normal. Then we went to work for the afternoon visiting the members. We tried to find this one family but ended up finding this little girl, which I will mention later. But we worked until about eight thirty when we showed up at the pensonistas house. When we showed up it was all dark and our pensonista just walked out of the dark and told us that nobody was home. I was pretty bummed, as I had told her daughter that it was my birthday and I wanted cuy for dinner, which I did not have by the way. When I walked in the sisters jumped out with a cake and the rest of the pensonistas family jumped out of the dark.

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I then sat down with them and had some arroz con leche. (rice, milk and sugar, if you were wondering.) And then the we sat down with the cake. And they sang happy birthday, in english and spanish. And then I blew out the candle. Then they told me that the tradition is that I have to take a bite out of it. And trying to avoid it, but knowing I could not I took a bite. And the pensonista shoved the cake up into my face. So we ate some of the cake, I had the huge face smash part. And then I went outside to wash my face off with some water. And while I was bent over washing my face, the other elders came in with the eggs and flour. After cleaning up a bit we went back to the apartment. And that was my birthday. (cleaning egg and flour out of my hair was a pain, as we do not actually have a shower. We have a bucket that we take water out of with a cup and bathe with that.)

Today we had a huge water fight at the church for p day. We got the whole zone together at our ward building in the morning where we filled up water balloons all morning. Then we made hamburgers, watched Sing on the projector in the chapel, and made a heck of a mess outside with water balloons. I got one in the face that kind of hurt but hey, I threw some around as well. The Hermanas did get hit with eggs by one of the elders and they would not let me take a picture. That was amusing. And that was what we did today.

Alright so about the little girl. This little girl was small, she looked about six, her legs small twigs and her ankles bent inwards as she had never walked before. Her face looked as if she had a large burn scar on one side, with her teeth crooked. She did not speak the whole time. She also acted very strange always pulling on everything and whatnot. But the first time that I saw her I felt something strange, I knew that something was not right with this girl. We asked the mom after the lessons and she told us that she was ten and had a heart condition. I am not a doctor but the spirit told me that this was not a heart condition, at least not all of it. So we gave her a blessing and the whole time she was trying to pull our hands from her head. But after the blessing she calmed down a lot and seemed to just sit in the chair. So we go back this week to see if we healed her or not. If not, we fast and we try again.

Another interesting thing that happened was that a whole bunch of horses ran past our investigators house this week.

And that was about it honestly. I will catch you guys on the flip side.

Elder Westergard

Another Multizona and a Day in Tumbes

Well this week was pretty fun. It kind of flew by actually. Monday was normal really. We had our few hours of proselyting and then we went back to the apartment. At the apartment we ate the chocoton that we bought that day at market. This thing was sooo good. It had chocolate chips and cranberries in it. We had it with some of the super good hot chocolate drink they make here. Man it was great. But making this chocolate was a little strange. You boil a bit of water, dump in this chopped up chocolate bar, add milk and then boil it for a bit and then add sugar as desired. But it was the best hot chocolate I have tasted. Or maybe it is just that all the food kind of sucks here so this was normal hot chocolate, no clue honestly.

This week we also had our multi zone conference with Tumbes. That was super fun. The theme was obedience. Presidente burned us a little bit with just the little things. But Elder Barretto and I are improving. I actually love Elder Barretto as a companion. He is super fun and works hard. I do have to explain the photos with the missionaries kneeling and their companions “shooting” them with bananas from behind. These missionaries on the ground are dieing, as it is their last transfer before going home. And in mission slang their companions are killing them this transfer. So that is the fun joke about these few photos. The other photo with me and the elder with the shaved head, this is my abuelo, or grandpa. Your trainer in the mission is your dad, and so Elder Aquino trained Elder Gilliland, my dad, hence my grandpa.

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Oh and the guy with the baseball cap. That hat is for the charlotte hornets basketball team. Never thought that I would see that here. I mainly took that photo for Brother Salisbury, another fan, quizas, in another continent.

The investigators are doing well here, it also nice to have a little more help from the members. We visited one part member family and they happened to have a parrot that has its wings clipped. So I tried to make a new friend however he bit my ear, thus we are not friends.

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Today we went to Tumbes to play football in the morning. That was alright, vixen playing in the convoy for the twenty five minute ride was not something that I expected but it was kind of cool. I did have to climb over the stake center wall and then squeeze through the fence as one of the other elders kicked the ball over the wall. But the ground for the other lot behind the church is at the same height as the wall so I did not have to jump down on the other side. But the ball did land in a goose pen. Thus I needed to enter in and retrieve said ball from about 10 geese or so. That was interesting, but at the least the geese were only scared, not angry that I trespassed for a few seconds. After a few hours of playing we wondered around Tumbes for a bit. This is where we found that giant mural that was pretty fun. And then we went to a polleria for lunch. That was super good. Pollo a la Brasa is one thing that this country does well. Think of it as rotisserie chicken on steriods.

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That was about it for this week though. In two weeks you will need to look for the blog post. Because that is when we have the zone p day planned where we can go see crocodiles out near the ocean. That should be sweet.

I will catch you guys next week.

Elder Westergard

¡Bats!

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Well this week was my first week in the new area and it was pretty fun. We had a good time. I am enjoying the area although it is a little harder to navigate as it lacks the giant main road that Sullana had. But it is a nice area. The members are super nice and want to help. It is super fun to spend some more time with them and get to know them a bit more.

So this week on Wednesday we came back to our apartment and in the darkness moving around in the air. Elder Barreto and I were super confused until we saw that it was a bat. So we then tried to shoo it out the window until it flew into our room. There we tried to catch it with a sheet and a towel for about ten minutes. It was actually quite tiring. But we finally managed to get the thing caught in our towel, and yes I had that towel washed the next day by the pensonista, and we then managed to let it go out the window of the other elders after we went and showed them. So that was pretty interesting.

I also had a profound experience with the book of mormon again. I was in the other elders apartment hanging out and found an old book of mormon in their stack of liahonas. I mean old, it was a hardcover but the title was completely worn off and the spine was held together by tape. I opened up to third nephi and I just read for a few minutes. Only three chapters or so, but the words of my Savior echoed off those pages into my soul. I felt such a strong witness at that moment that my Savior lives, that he loves me , and that the Book of Mormon is true. It was a profound experience. I would invite you all again, to read the Book of Mormon, it will change your life, I testify of that.

Today we also went to the border of Ecuador for p day that was super fun. There is this gaint market all along the street to the border. It is massive and you can buy whatever you want. I bought some new flip flops, some new sunglasses as my other ones broke, and a new hat. The sunglasses were oakley’s too, only fifteen soles, not that bad. Five dollars in american money by the way. Afterwards we came back and watched Coco, which was awesome. We are going to watch that one of our missionary nights and then have a small class on family history and Family Search afterwards one of these upcoming weeks. And that was our day really.

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But all is normal up here in the middle of nowhere. If you want to look at a map of where I am at look up Zarumilla Peru and that is the city where I am at right now. Until next week.

Elder Westergard

From the prior weeks….

Transfers, To Tumbes and Beyond

Well this week was my last week in Sullana, it was kind of sad. Saying goodbye to everyone was super hard. I mean it was hard but it was also nice to get out of Sullana. I was a little tired of all the sand and whatnot.

We had another baptism this Saturday. Hermana Minerva a little girl of nine years old was baptized. She has the mind of a seventeen year old. It was super awesome. It is an amazing feeling to baptize someone and know what that means to them and what it means to our heavenly father. It was so cool.

Well this week was just kind of normal. We did manage to reach all of our key indicators by Friday so I was able to visit people Saturday and Sunday. But the bishop was not super happy when we forgot to give the keys to him after the baptism. Only us elders showed up, because the ward gives us almost no support. So we locked the capilla and went back home. There we helped our pensonista move into her new house down the street all afternoon. Then we forgot to give the bishop the keys and we accidentally left our cellphone at the apartment. So when we finished moving we had fourteen some missed calls because they needed to clean the church. Which was a first; we clean the church every Saturday we have a baptism. So I was frustrated because they want to clean after I spent three hours in the morning mopping the purple sticky glops and picking up trash such as candy wrappers and popsicle sticks off the floor from all the members.

And then the photo of Elder Tinta and I with the guy in the black shirt is an interesting story. His name is Carlos and he came to our english class this last week. So it started off a little rough because he asked what some curse words meant in English, with which I responded that he should not say that. I then taught the class, but he asked some questions and then we just talked. We talked about how he is a biologist and teaches in Piura. He is also learning English online. I talked with him for about an hour. It was a truly humbling experience that I cannot fully explain. It felt like I was waiting to know him my whole life.

That was my week. I hope you guys are doing alright. I will see you later.

Elder Westergard

Sorry – none of the pictures loaded, hopefully I can get them up next week.

A great way to start the new year

So this week we had new years which was pretty fun. I took one of my shirts that had a pen explode in it the first week here and sewed it to some white leggings our pensonista gave us and we burned it. But we also put firecrackers in it so it was super fun. I have a video of that as well. It should be up.

But the day after we were walking back from an appointment and I had a small accident with what I thought was a fart. We were also about twenty or twenty five minutes from our apartment walking. I grabbed a car really fast and then I showered and turned our laundry in early. That was not the most pleasent experience.

So this week was just really hard besides the first experience. So many people were drunk and contacting was a pain. But it was fun to burn our muñeco this week. I also found our that more than one of our investigators cannot read. So we are visiting them as often as we can to read the book of mormon with them. That has been a big focus of ours this week. Was getting that taken care of for all of our investigators. Because they are not reading really.

Today for p day we went over to the other elders apartment and we made some chicken on a grill. I did not eat said chicken, because I have zero confidence in elder Uribe who was licking the marinade off his hands as he is slapping raw chicken on the grill. So I just did not eat it. Peruvian cooking is just kind of crap.

And that is all for this week. I will see you all later

Elder Westergard

My first area, Sullana, that I have been at since the end of July since leaving the Lima, Peru MTC.
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This one is for you Te’ah 🙂
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My Christmas Packages – I was so excited I couldn’t wait for Christmas
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New Years celebrations.
prepping to burn my effigy – a Peru tradition
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Yup, those are chicken feet.
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A nasty sunburn!
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Another Cupa

Well this week we again went to Piura for the cupa de la piura vida. That was alright. I actually only played a little in the goalie spot so that was fun;that was about it for our cupa de la piura vida.

If the pictures will upload I have some pictures of when we went to the childrens hospital with the santa suit that was just super hot. It was alright though.

We also had the christmas party for the mission that was super fun. We showed up early in the morning at a restraunt in Piura where we met presidente and his wife. It was a super nice restraunt too. I ordered a pizza and then we went to the mission home and we watched it’s a wonderful life that was super dope.

A fun story this week about a toad. Here they have giant toads like as big as my fist. Giant things that I pick up and then kick in the air when we are walking around at night. This week I kicked one that just happened to hit a electric wire above us. I heard a zap and the toad dropped to the ground completely stiff. So I am thinking that it is not that safe to touch them.

But this week was alright just normal stuff. Even being asked to interpret dreams but hey whatever.

That is about it this week guys I will talk to you later.

Elder Westergard

Some of the pictures from Elder Westergard uploaded and some apparently did not, here are the photos from the past few weeks that did successfully upload.

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Construction Week

I apologize once again I cannot get my camera to function on this computer. It just says that it does not recognize my camera and is not very fun. So this week was just crazy.

For several days we did this service project at one of our investigators houses. And this service we started at ten in the morning and went until one in the afternoon for three days. The original plan was that we would move up the roof on this one part of her house and then that was it. However this turned into a need to raise the roof, put on a new roof, rip an old roof off another part of the house, and then put on a new wall. It was a little annoying. But she gave us lunch for these three days. That was alright.

Today we went to Piura for the cupa de la Piura Vida. A huge soccer tournament that Presidente does. I enjoyed it alright, even if I am terrible at soccer. But I am not a terrible goalie I just cannot be in the concha, whatever the word is in english, I also find this happens more and more often words in english are harder to find. And I could not spell babtism or barley this week. I do not even know if I spelled them right here.

Everything else is going alright we did not have a babtism this week but that is alright we have several lined up for the end of the month. We had an alright week it was just that we had the service project and it ate too much of our time.

Other than this not much happened. I will just have to keep trying with the camera and see what happens.

James