Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 85: New Area and New Companion!

It's been a tough first week here opening up the area because we started from zero but we are up to the challenge. It's a cool city called Santa Elena located in zone 18. I knew I would get sent back to zona 18 again. Third times a charm. I am close to the first area I served in on my mission, yet it is completely different here. There is not much to do here on p-days, which is quite a change from the city life I was used to before, but I am okay with it because I like the area. 

There is a lot of area to tract and explore. The ward is super and the members are really nice people. The members have given us food everyday this first week because our house was literally empty with nothing to eat inside the fridge.

We have the goal to pass by (visit) one member each day to get to know the ward and the needs within it. We have gotten lost a few times while learning the area and getting to know the people, but it's been an adventure. The area is very hilly and we walk a ton here which is good for me.

My new companion is Elder A from Peru and he is a great guy. Elder H is my zone leader now! He has five weeks left on his mission and I couldn't be happier to see him off. I am going to miss that guy when he leaves!

My companion and I have mostly been contacting day by day and have managed to find a few new investigators. I miss my old area and the friends I made there, but I am very excited for what awaits us here.

Elder Perez
My old companion Elder H is my Zone Leader now!!
Our Church Building
The area is very hilly and we walk a ton here
which is good for me.
Great view!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Week 84: Saying Goodbye is Hard

We said our goodbyes to our convert friends and to JL who was my best friend here in zone 1. I am going to miss him a ton! Tomorrow I will be leaving to a new area, possibly the last area I will be serving in on my mission.

That's awesome that all the family, extended family and his friends were able to give gramps an early surprise 80th birthday party. Do send me pictures when the antelope hunt is on? It is crazy to think about going home here soon. I feel as if I have completely changed from who I was before the mission.

I have a ton of gifts for you all come Christmas time, one suit case is full of fun presents. I am running on a treadmill every day. I feel so much better and I am glad to be in the area especially because my old companion Elder H is now my zone leader!!! We have such a good time together!

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts. I sure do miss you all. I often ask myself, "What would dad do in a situation like this?" Well I am trying to finish up strong. Thank you so very much for your advice and the scripture you shared with me dad. I have meditated on that same subject for awhile now, ever since you first shared your experience with me a few months again. I will be sure to read and re-read that chapter in Alma 31 in the Book of Mormon.

I love you all!
Elder Perez

Saying goodbye to our converts
JL was my best friend here in zone 1.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Week 83: Re-reading the Book of Mormon as a Companionship

Our zones got together to play soccer. I didn't play with the zone today because I was feeling sick, but it was fun to watch the others play and I met up with a lot of friends from other zones. We had a great time and everyone kept playing even through it began to rain. The zone is all wet now, but I stayed dry!!

Lets see, highlights of the week include building a tin house with some members down in the cliff of our area. No worries, there are stairs there it's just a big hole in the ground. We also stopped by all the members homes and invited everyone to re-read the Book of Mormon as a family just like President Hinckley challenged us to do a few years back. Our mission president is inviting all to do the same and to read two chapters a day as a family to bring the spirit into their homes. We have begun reading the Book of Mormon over again as a companionship as well and are learning a whole lot from our studies.

The zone leaders held an emergency exchange with us to check if our apartment was in order. I went to their area and my companion stayed in our area. Well funny enough, we had just deep cleaned the house and I packed up all of my personal belongings in case I get changed in a week, so the place was spotless and super neat. I had even hand washed laundry and the dishes. Of course we didn't know about the exchanges for the day so I am very grateful our apartment passed inspection. 

Mom and dad I'm so happy that you two are able to go to Canada and have a good time together. You both sure did deserve a fun trip. Congratulations on the 29 yrs of marriage. That is a very impressive thing! 

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts. I sure do miss you all. I often think, "What would dad do in a situation like this?" Well I am trying to finish up strong. 

Sure do love you all!
Elder Perez
Our Zones got together to play soccer 
I didn't play because I was feeling sick, but it was
fun watching everyone else play

Monday, August 8, 2016

Week 82: We Have an Amazing Ward Mission Leader

You would be super proud of me mom. I have become quite the pro with hand washing my laundry, the house we live in is cleaner than it ever has been before, and I have saved mission money so that I can buy a higher quality shampoo and soap and it really has made a difference. 

Elder C and I have had some unforgettable experiences together and have really picked up the area despite how huge it is. It turns out that our whole area is like 20 blocks by 20 something blocks. It is so big it makes my brain hurt. We have finally been exploring the cliff areas were people live. It's like everyone just built stairs leading down a cliff and a ton of people live there in tin houses. It's awesome and people are a lot nicer down there. The sight from up top is awesome as well. I am super impressed by what people can do together. I will send a pic of the scene next week.

We have been stopping by as often as we can to visit the new converts we baptized. It's a little harder now because we are still expected to find new people to teach as well as re-teach all the lessons to these new converts. My companion likes to be pretty goofy sometimes which is fun. During the last visit we made he danced a little jig with the kids. Everyone was impressed because he is actually a really good dancer. 

This weekend our mission leader went out with us as normal. That guy never looses his interest in missionary work. He is a real example to me and sure has helped me rethink things as a missionary. Well we found a new family which went through a very difficult trial. We contacted them Wednesday but couldn't teach them because there was no man in the house. Our ward mission leader came with us for the appointment Saturday, and it turns out that the husband passed away the day before on Friday which was super sad. We taught his wife about the plan of salvation and shared our testimonies of Jesus Christ and of the atonement he made so that one day we will all be resurrected and live again. 

Much more happened over the week, but I have got to go. Talk with you all next week.

Love yous all a ton!!!
Elder Perez

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 81: We Had Four Baptisms!!!

The baptismal service was great! I sent you all the photos I took. We went to the church at 10 AM to fill up the font and to warm the water. I bought a super cheap and tiny water heater here and for some reason I told myself it would warm everything up if I left it in all day. Well it actually did nothing and the water became colder than it originally was due to sitting all day in the cold chapel building. By night time it was freezing. I wish I had filled up the water a little bit higher too. At least for the two little guys it was the perfect size. 

I was sooo very nervous baptizing three of the four baptisms. When I baptized the mother she of course was heavier than the boys, and with the water being so cold she gasped for air right before going under the water which really startled me! Thankfully, I didn't mess up at all according to the two witnesses. We asked the newly called 1st counselor in the Bishopric to give a talk on baptism and my companion gave the talk on the Holy Ghost

Well the cutest thing happened before I baptized M.E.. Right before entering the water he tells me, "Elder I don't want to do this anymore." I said, "Why what's wrong?" He tells me, "I'm nervous." I bend down until we are at the same height and tell him, "Don't worry, I am new at this too. I have never baptized anyone before and you are going to be the very first one!" He asked, "Never ever?" "Never!" I replied. "What do you say?" He clenched his fists and said, "Va lets do it!" I swear he is such a champ! I was so proud, it was as if he was my little brother.

Well sure do love you all!
Elder Perez
He is like my little brother and a champ!
Love this Family

It was a happy day!