Friday, December 30, 2016

Week 3 - Finally Arrived in Trujillo - First Area and Trainer!!

(NOTE:  this is a brief message from Jack's Mission President letting us know he arrived safely in Trujillo.  Now he's off and running with his new companion.  More details to follow soon...)

Dear Brother and Sister Vassau,

We wanted to let you know that Elder Vassau arrived safely in Trujillo Tuesday morning.  We are so excited to have him here.  We already love him and know that he will be a wonderful missionary.  He and his companion, Elder Barboza, left that afternoon for their assigned area in Esperanza.  We have included a few pictures of his arrival.  We invite you to continue enjoying pictures of your son and our missionaries on our private group Facebook page “Peru Trujillo North Mission”.  As you know, this is a private Facebook page for parents of our missionaries and for returned missionaries from our mission.

Much love to you,
President and Sister Marble
Peru Trujillo North Mission

PS - here's his mailing address.  Please note that packages generally are not advised to be sent through regular mail due to theft, but instead through a special courier service.)

Elder Jack Vassau - Mission Peru Trujillo North
Teodoro Valcarcel 512
Urb. Primavera
La Libertad

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Week 2 - the Gringo is Starting to Understand Spanish!

This week in the CCM has flown by, and it is crazy to think that my next email will be from the Trujillo North Mission field! I am so excited to get out in the field and actually teach people. My spanish is far from perfect but it is at a point where I can teach the basics and have pretty regular conversations.

This week for some reason the Latinos in my district have been talking a lot about spirits and ghost. The south americans are an extremely superstitious bunch and have been warning us all about certain places and things to avoid. It is pretty funny but some of the elders get really freaked out... one of the elders in my district was so freaked out we all had to sleep on the floor with him ahahahhahahahaha. What a superstitious bunch.

Well this week we had the opportunity to go to the Lima temple and attend a session in spanish. One thing is foresure, the spirit is a universal language that everyone can understand. The temple grounds are so beautiful, a bit smaller than some of the tempes back home but beautiful non the less.

Here at the CCM we have been teaching some fake investigators and it is pretty fun. There are these mini houses that we go knock on the doors of and talk to a teacher who has taken on the role of various type of characters. It keeps us on our toes. We have a lot of lessons on teaching and such but no language classes which is a little bit of a pain, but I guess everything I do is a language class so maybe that makes up for it. My district has so much fun, it is going to be hard to say goodbye to all of them. Luckily 4 of the latinos in my district are going to my mission so they won't be too far away.

This week is Christmas which is so exciting! It does not quite feel the same with it being so hot out and all the christmas music being in spanish, but I think they have some fun activites planned for saturday and sunday. I wish everyone back home a very merry christmas from Peru!

Elder Vassau
p.s. I have been teaching some of the latinos Jingle Bell Rock so I have people to sing with

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Week 1 - Made it to Lima Missionary Training Center (CCM)!

Well I am here in the CCM (Centro de Capacitacion Misional) and it is crazy. I have a 16 hour work day and I am in the 3 week program which means... out of the 50 plus people in the 3 week program... there are 2 (including myself) white kids. There are 4 of us who are from the U.S. and speak english but other than that no english has been spoken. I speak spanish at breakfast, lunch, and dinner; I learn to teach in spanish; I read the scriptures and am tought doctrine in spanish; I pray in spanish, everything I do is in Spanish... and I am not that good at spanish. Out of the 4 americans two of them have peruvian parents and the other white kid has been working all summer with some mexicans who taught him to understand a lot whereas I might be able to read and write in spanish but as far as hearing and understanding what people is not easy. 

My district here, the group in which I have all my classes with, has 4 other latinos in it that are all going to Trujillo norte. It is quite the hilarious group of guys. Elder Riojas is an argentine who is also in my room... an absolute clown. There are also Elders Torres (Ecuador), Elder Moncada (Peru), Elder Guitierrez (Peru), and 4 Hermanas from Peru, Ecuador, and Honduras... and let me tell you... the Hermanas are so hard on me. They always lecture us gringos about how we need to immerse ourselves in the language and there cannot be any english spoken because we wïll not be teaching anyone in english. It is a bit frustrating how hard they are on us, but they are so sweet and spiritual as well. They have such powerful testimonies it makes it easier to forgive them when they yell at me in spanish that I do not understand.

The first couple of days here in the CCM were so stressful. Everything I did and every question i was asked was in spanish, and I could barely understand anything that was said. A couple of days ago I think I crossed the first hump of the language though and now can understand the majority of things that are tought and said. It is still pretty hard though but getting easier.

I flew into Lima with 30 other missionaries that all met up in Atlanta but other than the 3 other american spanish speakers the rest are on the 6 week program where they basically learn spanish from the ground up. I see them at meals and while playing soccer on occasion but other than a few hellos most of my leisure time is spent jokiing around and playing soccer with my latino boys. Now that I understand the majority of things, spending time with some of the guys is so much fun... it is hard not to be laughing all the time when we are in class or anywhere we go. Some real great guys.
Currently my companion is Elder Respicio from San Diego. He is half peruvian and despite being from the US is our district leader. He understands and speaks a lot more than me but I have been helping him a little with Grammar habits.

Today we had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Lima temple, it was so fun having the service entirelly in spanish, and it was a very spiritual experience.

My time here so far has been a little overwhelming at first, but despite being so busy, I am having so much fun with these guys and I am so excited to go teach and serve the people of Trujillo. The weather and grounds here are so beautiful, sunny and warm everyday! A little more humid than what I am used to... but I better get ready for that.

I am pumped to be a missionary!

Until next time,

Elder Vassau (A.K.A Elder Vaso)

p.s. attached are some picture from my first week here including a picture from the trip to the temple and a picture of the MTC christmas lights.