This Is Peru!

This Is Peru!

February 4, 2011

Last week in the CCM!‏

Hey everyone!

How's it goin back in the United States? Its been fantastic here! Perú
is lovely, like it always has been. I am loving my mission more than I
could have ever expected. I have made friends that I will have for a
lifetime! I have already learned a lot about myself and I'm starting
to learn who I am. I have never loved the scriptures so much in my
entire life. I honestly look forward to reading them, and finding
scriptures that help to answer investigators questions, every day. I
have been so incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to serve. I
would not trade this experience for ANYTHING. Mom and Dad, you
understand because you've been on missions. It's just fantastic and I
love it.

This last Thursday, we had kind of a fun opportunity. We heard on the
intercom that on Saturday the 23rd, we would be traveling to Chancay
to proselyte! What?! We always heard about proselyting, but we never
had the chance to because of conference, or some other reason. But
every Saturday were supposed to have this opportunity, and the 23rd
was our first time... And wow. Okay, lets see. I'll start at the
beginning. So we woke up and had breakfast really early, left the CCM
at about 7am. Chancay is a little under 3 hours away, north of Lima.
This is interesting... We were the first missionaries from the CCM to
go to Chancay to proselyte. They have always gone to another place
before, I'm not sure what its called. But our main objective last week
was to go with a member, and visit the less actives in the ward and
invite them to come back to church. We board this run-down tour bus,
and were on our way. For the first hour or so, I passed out or I'm in
and out of sleep. I woke up as we pull up to this checking station,
and the bus driver tells everyone to put our seat belts on. So we do,
and were on our way again. I didn't know how close we were to the coast
until we came over this hill, and saw the ocean. Man, was it
pretty.... then I realized we were on the edge of a 200+ foot cliff.
Woahh.. It was kinda scary at first! Think about it, were in this huge
tour bus on a two lane road that doesn't even have side rails. The only
time side rails were on this road was on the corners. As I look out
the window at the waves crashing against the cliffs up ahead of us I
see quite a few memorials where people had passed away. Pretty
comforting! This road just snaked up the coastline right along the
edge for a good 45 minutes or more. At times the fog would be so bad
that we couldn't see the ocean. Let alone the road ahead of us. All you
could see was maybe 40 yards ahead of you and two little yellow dots
that ended up being the headlights of the car in the other lane. We
end up in this big valley with the beach bordering the west and
mountains on the east. Lots of farms, actually and lots of palm trees
and such. But what was really sad to see was the poverty. Man, the
people that owned these farms really had nothing. I cant really
explain what they were living in to be any more than a shack. Made of
scrap wood and metal, with cloth over the "windows". Trash was
everywhere in the dirt roads, and wild dogs were running around back
and forth. It was bad. I wish I would have brought my camera, but I
didn't! So anyway, we arrive at around 9:45, meet the members, and get
our list of less actives. Then were on the street. Our member was a
returned missionary from 2008. He was pretty cool! This town wasn't at
all like the poverty we saw, it was pretty normal. So were walking
around and we turn down this alley that had some addresses of the
less actives there. Elder Denhalter and I start playing soccer and
volleyball with some kids I set my scriptures down so I could hit the
volleyball and we had a blast. The kids LOVE us! Its so fun to play
with them. We asked if their parents were home, and they went inside
and told us no... Even though we saw the mom peek through the window,
haha. Oh well. So by now we had gone through the entire list of our
inactive members with no luck. We had talked with a few, but none were
interested, or they were busy and set an appointment for later next
week. Now we start knocking doors! We knock for a good 45 minutes
going down this street, and set some appointments for later that
coming week. (Which is this week, bummer!) While were walking down
knocking doors, we come to a house with the door already open. So we
walk up and we can see the lady doing dishes inside. We call to her
and she comes to the door. We introduce ourselves as missionaries and
we talk for about 5 minutes and she invites us inside! These houses
literally are built touching each other, and they are small. So we walk
in and sit down on this couch that had to have been made of some type
of bamboo, with zero cushioning, and about 6 inches off the ground. So
here we are, starting my first discussion, my knees are up by my
chest, and I cannot stop smiling. I am loving it. She had some
questions about Joseph Smith, and she asked why we worshipped him..
Haha. So we explained to her very clearly that we do not worship him,
and explain that we was a prophet. We give the first lesson and
changed some things according to her situation. We were coming to a
close, and I bore my testimony to this 60 some-odd year old Peruvian
lady. I felt the Spirit so strongly, it was amazing. We had taught her
about the Book of Mormon, and I asked her if it would be okay to read
some of it right now. She willingly agreed, and we opened up to 3
Nephi 11. We had her start, thinking that we would all take turns, but
she kept going.. and going.. and going! We had to stop her before she
finished the chapter, and we could just tell that she was so
interested in this other testament of our Savior Jesus Christ. We left
her with a copy, which she was very grateful for. We asked her if she
would read it that night, and she said "Oh of course, during the day
as well." How awesome? Man, that made all of the walking and sore legs
worth it.

After we had left, my heart sunk. I didn't have my scriptures with me.
They weren't in the lady's house, and I don't remember having them while
we were knocking doors. Then I remembered I had set them down to play
with those kids in the alley! So we book it back to this alleyway, and
they are nowhere to be found. We knock every door and no one says that
they had seen anything. I honestly wanted to cry. How careless do you
need to be to forget your scriptures? It was time for lunch so we left
and went back to the capilla. (chapel) I told the leaders about it and
all we can do is pray that they will show up. Mom and Dad, I'm so
sorry. I know they were a present for my mission and I feel horrible.
We are going back to Chancay on Saturday to proselyte again, but this
time were focusing on finding new investigators! During the morning at
least. And then the afternoon, I think its just less actives again. So we
have hope that they will turn up. If they don't, you will need to send
me a new set. :( There is nothing in English here. Ive asked the
President of the CCM, and he says that I wont find anything here. I
guess I will have to go without English scriptures for a good month if
they don't turn up. I do have an English BOM though, just paperback.
The president said that you guys shouldn't worry about sending
scriptures, just buy virgin Mary stickers and of Christ and stuff and
put a few on the package. Honestly, the people here are very
superstitious. The only problem is, it that you wont know if I found
them until next Wednesday. So pray that they will turn up. I had my
patriarchal blessing in there as well as my 8 color mechanical
scripture marker. So if you end up sending something, please send a
copy of my blessing. I can find scripture marker things here. Again, I
feel SO bad. Of course I lose them as I'm loving them more than ever.
Its hard, and sad, but I know that whatever happens will happen. If I
don't get them back, I hope they aid in helping someone in their life.
Someone that can speak English.

Dad, I will be flying to Cuzco on the 2nd of November. Other than
that, I know absolutely nothing. So... yeah! I'm just as lost as you
are! I am feeling much better. Ever since that first sickness, I have
been perfect. If you know any remedies for altitude sickness, I would
appreciate it because I am almost expecting it! I am so unbelievably
excited to get to the field! You have no idea. But at the same time
I'm quite nervous for it! I don't know what to expect... how my comp
will be, where my first area is, and hopefully my mission president is
awesome! Its all going so fast. I cannot believe I'm on my 9th week of
the MTC experience. It really feels like I got to the MTC yesterday.
And now I'm already going into the field. I am prepared for the worst.
I know we have been sheltered, you are absolutely right. I hear the
food is really weird, and who knows how the living will be. Oh well,
its all apart of the experience right?

I haven't received the package yet, unfortunately. But I bet it comes
this week. Maybe you got the wrong address? Or something, because I
don't know why I haven't received it. It seems like Tuesdays and
Saturdays are when the mail comes. So I guess we'll see!

Anyway, thank you for the support and love that I get every Wednesday!
I love reading the emails and hearing from everyone. Bridger, bro.
Think of Mom and Dad as your best friends. Honestly, they are. They
need to be. I would always tell mom and be honest with her when she
would ask about girls and what not. Well, at least most of the time ;)
I am already feeling that they are my best friends more and more with
time out here on my mission. All they want to do is to help you. They
were once kids ya know. They know how things work! Anyway, I don't have
much time. I love ALL of you. Thank you for your prayers. I sent Tate
and their family a letter on Monday so hopefully they will get it!ly

Much, much love...

Elder Jordan Van Christensen

P.S. Next time you hear from me, I will be in Cuzco. :)

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