Culture

So for this week I actually decided to write out my blog before hand so I could have some more time to respond to people this week. And it gave me the opportunity to talk about some interesting things that happen here.

Transport

To start off: motos. Motos are three wheeled vehicles that are kind of like a motorcycle. They have the front half like normal but the back half is different. You have the taxis which have a bench sitting on a back axle and the front where the driver sits that acts like a normal motorcycle. And this is what we use to get from appointment to appointment. Some are new and some are older and always come in different colors. You can get the thug motos that are usually completely enclosed with a plastic over a metal frame, and usually have a gaint speaker right above the passengers head that blares regatone, essencially peruvian rap. And then you can get the flashing epilepsy lights on the inside, colored wheels, super long ateneas, the works. Then you have others that are just like a normal motocycle like we know. But these two have gaint speakers on either side right in front of the feet where they blast regatone. Bad Bunny is the main artist if I remember right. But when it rains they cover the speakers with the striped plastic bags so they do not get wet.
Cars are only used if you have more money. Some are super nice and others not. Mainly we only use cars to get to Tumbes or Puyango.
Combis are the gaint vans we use to get to tumbes from zarumilla it is much cheaper than cars. They are huge, and hold about fifteen to twenty people depending on how much they want to stuff in the van. And they always have a “caller” that stands outside and screams tumbes or puyango hoping to find people. They will get out and kind of push you into the combi too if you let them. And if they leave without being full they will scream at people on the side of the road hoping to find more.
They also have these giant buses, think what a school would use to go to DC or something like that, from different companies such as EPPO, El Dorado and others. You can get anything from economy which is super old, cramped, stinky bus. To Prime which is a double decker bus with leather seats, footrests, and if you leave at three thirty, movies the whole way. We use prime to go from Piura to Tumbes and economy to go just about anywhere else.

People
People are interesting. Most of my experience with them is about religion, duh, but I do talk with them about other things. Most have a catholic background and a small knowledge of the bible. But most who say they are catholic have not been in years. Others go to Jehovah’s witness, adventistas del septimo dia. and many others. It really confuses the people. I thought there was some confusion back home but it is nothing like here. But most everyone likes to talk and listen. But some are a little strange. Some prohibit dancing, others prohibit women from praying. I am also asked to interpret dreams fairly often. We found a lady who had a dream about meeting two people in white, I wonder who that could be? and then she burned them with fire she threw from her hand. She was also super stubborn and would not listen to a word from us. But I did try and look at my MTC schedule but unlike hogwarts, dream interpreting was not on my list of classes.
Oh and I had a lady tell me to turn off the fan in the church during the 90 degree weather because the air was going to hurt her newborn baby she brought to the babtism. Don’t understand that one at all but ok.

Food
Rice, chicken, oil, noodles, crackers, juice, more juice, oh and more rice and oil.

Schedule
We are up every day at seven. I say my prayer, my companionship prayer and then workouts. I have a gym close by but at 4 soles a day and not really knowing what to do with all the machines I do pushups. Lots of pushups. Then from 7:45 to 8:30 it is getting ready a shower, which I fixed by the way. I stuck a cut broom handle and stuck it in the hole in the wall so thus the water comes out like a garden hose. But better than the bucket I was using. Then at 8:30 it is planning. And then at 9 it is personal study for an hour. Then we are outside at 10. Then from 10 to 9 it is visiting people. We have lunch at 1 with the pensionista for a half hour. Then it is out to visit people for until 9 at night. We can go to 10 but we normally arrive at nine thirty or so. During our day we have an hour of companionship study, a half hour for 12 weeks a training program for Mayuri. And a half hour of language study, spanish for the gringos and english for the latinos. But most of the day I am just outside trying to visit people.

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Just a picture…

Elder Westergard wrote a blog post, but forgot it at his apartment, so hopefully it will be 2 for 1 next week! Here is a current picture.

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He said it was the most powerful conversion he has witnessed on his mission.

Another cambio

Well the other cambio finished and I am still here in Zarumilla, the forgotten of the forgotten.

I am staying in this area for another month and a half at least. It will be nice to get out of here. This is a really hard area. We get almost nothing in church attendance. That is what kills us. But we will keep working and trying something new. The good thing is that the district should be babtizing every week for the next six weeks. It is just stressful though. But hey the new missionary that came this week is another gringo. But the thing is I cannot speak english very fluidly.

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The cool thing was that this week was the first part of the month so we took out all of our money from the atm in tumbes, twenty five minutes away. But the atm was out of one hundreds and fiftys so I took out my five hundred soles for the month in twentys thus letting me have my little bed of cash. So I thought that would be a fun picture. And to celebrate the cambios and the little bit of money we went to norkys a polleria in tumbes. a polleria is the best thing that peru has done for food. Imagine a rotisserie chicken but fifty times better. Man it is soo good, with your inka cola and aaaahhhh.

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Afterwards we hung around tumbes and took pictures. Afterwards it was back to the apartment to get the stuff to write home. And that was my day honestly.

¬°Arrepientanse!

This week was super fun. We had a really good time this week. We worked really hard on getting new people and also trying to visit all of the people that we have with a babtismal date. That is stressful. Trying to visit these twenty some people we have with a date for babtism, and also finding at least seven new people every week. A little stressful but it is alright. We also kind of got cut short this week with our multizona and our interviews with presidente this week. However it turned out fine. I was super happy with the district this week. We had three babtisms in total, two for the sisters and one for the other elders. And because the sisters cannot babtize Elder Calla babtized one of the little girls and I the other. There is no other experience in the world quite like babtizing someone. That is just a heavenly experience.

This week we had our multizona which was super fun. The topic was repentance. Man that was something so wonderful. I cannot say that I understood before my mission. But with my experiences here and seeing people change and seeing myself change and then with this multizona it all came around for me. I finally understood it. God has literally given us the way that we can change, erase, and start fresh whenever we make a mistake. That is such a wonderful blessing that we have in our lives. Just repent, why carry around that weight of a sin for the rest of your life when you can just get rid of it. Christ already paid the price for our sins, so why in the world would you want to keep your sins and pay the price for them yourself?! It does not make too much sense. So this is my invitation for all of you, repent, change, and be happy.

So today is a really short p day because we are going to go to piura today in the afternoon, a six hour bus ride.

That is about all that happened this week. I will catch you guys later.

Elder Westergard

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I Hate Choir

So I do not love singing in the first place. And then when the zone leaders tell me I have to come for a choir practice that is a five sole round trip that is not reimbursable twice a week, it annoys me a bit more than usual. I do not feel as if I can actually get better when I “practice” but I am here.

So something funny that I found out this week. The hens at the pensonista like to peck the turkeys that walk around. But when they attack the turkeys all that the turkeys do is a fall down and scream. I am unable as of yet to get a video but I will do my best this coming week.

We also had the birthday party for elder calla this week. He got the cake in the face like normal and then when he left the room to wash his face I waited beside the door frame with the egg. And when he came through I got him right on the back of his head. It is a horrible tradition when it is your birthday however, I will admit it is quite enjoyable to smash an egg on somebody’s head.

Other than this our pensonista made this awesome crab soup this week, soo good. It was also entertaining as I gave myself predator pinchers with the legs.

not much else this week. See you guys later.

Elder Westergard

Stress

This week was extremely stressful. We worked hard but it is stressful. We found 15 new people this week which is a lot. I was pretty happy with that. But the problem is which of these people will choose to progress towards babtism. And that is super hard. We have all of these people that we work with and none of them progress, they do not come to church, they do not read, they do not pray. And thus they do not gain a testimony and do not get babtized. And this makes me really sad. It really does. Out of the twenty people that I have with a babtismal date four or five are possible babtisms. And only one of these people is coming to church on a regular basis. I am doing my best to help them out. We passed by the houses of those that we could in the morning before church and none could come. The people that do come to church that I really do not even have to call in order to make sure they come have problems. One from each couple first needs to get divorced from an old marriage after twenty years of seperation and then get married to the person they are living with. And divorce is 500 soles. And for a peruvian that is a ton. So I am looking for news and praying that they progress.

Training a new missionary is also stressful. He does not know much at this point, and trying to help him out without making him super stressed is difficult. Especially when I am fairly blunt. And he is not used to walking all day, leading to blisters all over his feet. And I do not really know what to do other than let him use all of my moleskin for his feet. So here I am, trying to keep an area afloat while playing doctor and dad to not only my companion but the other four missionaries in my district.

And then we finally got a fan from the zone leaders this week for the apartment and it does not work. And so we have to wait another week to get a new one. But yeah that is that.

And this was my week

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My Firstborn in the Wilderness

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So this week felt actually super short. And that is actually really nice. These next three months I will be training a new missionary here in Zarumilla. So on Monday we went down to Piura on Monday, six hours in bus, wonderfully horrible I might add. Then we chilled out in Piura for the day. I was with Elder Bechaver who is also training right now. We wondered around Piura for a bit and it was insane. We went to this place called Real Plaza and it was like a normal mall but a little smaller. It was the craziest thing ever; I felt super uncomfortable in there, but as we wondered around there was a burger king. I blew ten soles on one of the worst hamburgers I have eaten but probably the best thing I have eaten in 2018.

From there we went to the office and spent the night there with all of the super trunky, or lazy constantly thinking about home, missionaries who are all dieing. (When you go home you die. And when you get to the mission you are born.) After that we spent the morning with presidente having some training which was super helpful. Afterwards we had an amazing lunch of tacos, oh my goodness that was the best thing ever. Much better than the cheeseburger I might add. Afterwards we all met our children. I was the last as my area is the farthest from the center of the mission.

From there we stayed the night in Piura, contacted all afternoon and then we went back home early the next morning. And then we got up early for the bus ride back. We then got back just after lunch and got to work. We actually did really well this week. We got back Wednesday afternoon and between then and saturday we found nine new people and put a bunch more with a babtismal date. It was good.

Other than this not much has really happened. Just a whole lot more responsibility which is going to make me lose hair faster than I already am. But we will see where it goes.

Elder Westergard

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

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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