Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 8 - Teaching Herman Reina and Mochica Art

This was another great week here in Esperanza. This week we made a lot of progress teaching one of our very dear friends named Hermana Reina. As a profession she makes hand made ceramic sculptures of the Mochica culture (an ancient people in this part of Peru). She has been meeting with missionaries here for over 2 years. Her daughter was baptized but she still is not exactly sure what exactly Christ wants for her in this life. She is a real joy to teach and read scriptures with and she is really making progress. We have reached the point where we have taught her as much as we can and now she just needs to ask God through prayer to find out if what we teach is true or not. As missionaries we talk to people all day but really people can only know if the things we teach are true or important if they ask God themselves through a prayer with real intent and he can respond to them or anyone with feelings of peace and happiness. It sounds cheesy but it actually works. Her daughter has been helping her read the Bible and Book of Mormon (a lot of adults here have eye problems) and I am confident that if she asks God for a confirmation that what she is reading and learning is true, that she will receive an answer for herself. It is pretty exciting stuff.  In addition to that she also gifted Elder Barboza and I our very own Huacos!!!!! (see attached photo)

This week we also had the oportunidad to teach a wonderful family from Cajamarca (a famous city in the mountains that every missionary wants to visit). They are great and this morning the guys in the family went and played a little soccer with us at the park. 

Just like last week it seems like every other day we end up working on someones roof. It is a little funny, but service is one of the most fun parts of being a missionary. When you serve others you are doing the Lords work and every once in a while they give you treats as well :)

Well that is all for this week, just remember that God can answer our prayers and that service is important. 
Elder Vassau Out.

Elder Vassau

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Week 7 - Rap, Trujillo Temple and 15 discussions

This week was great. We have this investigador named Frank who is about 17 years old. He is super interested in our lessons and always has lots of questions... but his questions are not really questions... they are more of songs. He has a favorite rapper named Jeremiahs who raps about scriptures and God and stuff so every time we go visit him we always respond to questions about lyrics and what not in some of his favorite songs. It is pretty darn fun. This week we helped him to understand why God allows bad things to happen to good people (This a favorite theme of this rapper). We explained to him that God never wants to punish us but rather wants to bless us as much as he possibly can and rather these bad things that happen to us are results of us or others not doing the things God wants for us. God does not look to punish us but rather these challenges are the results of actions. We also got to explain to him a little bit about how it is impossible to know what joy is without having challenges and feeling the opposite. Teaching off of rap lyrics is a little strange but he is really interested in what God wants for him. 
This week we had the opportunity to visit the temple here in Trujillo which is always lots of fun and it is always fun to get together with other missionaries. 

This week we also had the wonderful opportunity to do some random service for a few families. While we were walking around the streets in the middle of the day we saw an elderly man trying to climb a ladder to get up to his second story roof. He was a little too old to be doing this so we decided to go offer him some help. We ended up spending the next 2 hours up on his roof placing wood planks to build a temporary ceiling to protect his family from the sun all of this while dressed in slacks white shirts and ties. (Most houses here only have ceiling over parts of the buildings because it is nice nearly year round). Service is really one of my favorite parts about missionary work. It is a time that we have to show Christ's unconditional love for everyone without any hidden agenda. Simple service can really change someones life. 

Well that is all for this week.


Elder Vassau

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 6 - Teaching and Baptizing (almost)

(The view from my apartment window)

Another great week her in Jordan! The weather is really starting to get hot but our proselyting always continues. This week was a little dissapointing that we had two baptisms fall through. Both of our investigators have testimonies and read the Book of Mormon everynight, but there families all belong to other churchs and they are scared what might happen. Here in Peru there is a ridiculous number of churches, and they all have very different teachings... It kind of reminds me of when Joseph Smith was a kid. In some ways the number of  churches is helpful though because the people are really religous here, which means they are always willing to talk for a few minutes about God and Jesus Christ, whether they want to hear about our church or not is a slightly different story. 

This week we had a "lesson" with an Hermana Angelita who is a devout Eventista (type of church here in Peru). Every time we come over she is already readying various books about the Holy spirit and the bible. Its great and she insists we sing for her before we pray. The first time was a little awkward because I do not know any hymns in spanish but after a few visits we have got it figured out. She really does not let us talk much but we just read the bible with her and share our thoughts. Who knows maybe one day she might listen a little more :)

Last monday we had a fun pizza party with our district. Papa Johns Pizza! it was awesome. 
My favorite moment from this week was during our lesson with Hermana Genoviva. She is great and everytime we go visit her we get to take a look at her guinea pig pen... still getting used to the idea of eating this little guys. This week we began teaching her the plan of salvation and how families can live together forever. She has a son who has some mental and physical disabilities named Jesus. He is the coolest little guy, and this week she shared a story with us about how it is a miracle that he is alive at all and because this she named him Jesus so that she would always remember who to thank for his life. It was a really spiritual lesson and she is really curious to learn more.

This past sunday I gave my first talk in spanish. I think it went well but who knows if everyone understood me or not hahahahaha. I talked a bit about how one of my favorite scriptures mathew 17:20 relates to missionary work and how if we have faith a mustard seed, we will grow and share the gospel with the world. 

This was another great week here in Jordan and I am excited for the week to come!

Elder Vassau

NOTE: details on fotos:

1. xmas party (will send more at later days)
2. Jeffrey (host family son 17 years old)
3. My room
4. Papa Johns Pizza party with district
5. Elder Lavado- Elder Fernandez - Elder Barboza during companion exchange

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week 5 - Walking, Talking & Teaching

Another great week here in Esperanza! Spanish is coming along nicely and I can speak pretty fluently with most people now, but I have found out I have a problem with older people. Most of our investigators I can communicate pretty well with, but a few of the older ones I can not understand a thing they say. It seems they like to talk a lot more and in a way that I am not used to, so I find myself just sitting and listening for 20 minutes and only making out a few words... but It is still great, that is what a companion is for. 

This week we taught so many lessons, and if everything continues to go well, my first convert baptism will be this week. Hermana Zoila! We had a few dissapointments this week with baptisms falling through, but everything is still going well. I do not think I have every been this tired in my life... walking all day everyday in the peruvian heat... but the people are so nice, almost everyone we talk to invites us over for a bit to talk about God and our message. 

This past week I had to chance to actually see down town Trujillo which was a bit of a change from the area I am currently in. The first week I was basically just dropped in my area without much info about where I was... it was a little disorienting... but I think I have got a grip on our area and where we are now. 

Our host family is the best. We live with Jeffrey (16), his mom, a cenial blind dog, and Jeffreys abuelo who cooks all our meals. The food is incredible and they feed the elders so well. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at 9. All three meals... humongous... it is awesome. 
Spiritual thought for the week-- Alma 37: 6-7-- The little things make a huge difference in our lives both spiritually and temperally so make sure to be diligent in everything you do. 

Hasta La Vista,

Elder Jack Vassau

Monday, January 2, 2017

Week 4 - Learning the ropes in Esperanza! What did they say to me?

Week 4 in Trujillo - Esperanza now!

It has been around 2 weeks since I have been able to really email so I will start by talking a bit about Christmas in the CCM which was very fun. We had two days full of devotionals both broadcast and local in addition to a devotional where all we did was sing Christmas music, WHICH I ABSOLUTELY LOVE. It is not quite the same in Spanish but it was still really fun. We also had a little 45 minute party with food... so that was nice. On Tuesday I entered the mission field. We left the ccm at 2 am that morning and I arrived at the tiny Trujillo airport around 10 am. We met up with the mission president and the assistants and had a nice morning of introduction to the mission field. 

After lunch and a nice nap I got to meet my trainer Elder Barboza. He is awesome. He is from Lima and does not speak any English, but we are doing just fine only communicating in Spanish. He is 21 and has been in Esperanza for 7  months (his whole mission). The Peruvians all make fun of me for being pituco (rich) because i have three quads... as in my scriptures... it is pretty funny.  It is a little difficult with no English in my life, but my Spanish is already so much better. I have been swapping back and forth with him while we teach our lessons and it is great. My only problem is understanding some of our investigadores that do not speak super clearly so sometimes I will ask questions and will have no clue what there respond was... Oh well... that is why we have companions. 

My area is a part of Trujillo called Esperanza, specifically the area of Jordan within Esperanza. It is very humble here... and very dusty... basically sand everywhere...and dogs (2-3 stray dogs on every street). HAHA. All the houses are made of brick and are basically just built one ontop of the other. The nicer houses are a little more outfitted with walling and flooring, but some of the more humble do not have rooms or often times roofs.  All the houses are made of brick and are basically just built one on top of the other. The nicer houses are a little more outfitted with walling and flooring, but some of the more humble do not have rooms or often times roofs. All the houses are made of brick and are basically just built one on top of the other. The nicer houses are a little more outfitted with walling and flooring, but some of the more humble do not have rooms or often times roofs. 

Since I have been here we have taught over 15 lessons and I have already had one investigator accept my invitation for baptism on the 14th of this month. IT IS AWESOME. She is an elderly lady Hermana Zoilla and is just the sweetest thing. She loves to pray and basically everything we teach her is just a formality because she is so ready to baptized.

New years eve here was crazy... we basically did not sleep because of the firework show... literally a humongous firework show on every street... everywhere you look. These are not the little fourth of July fireworks either, these are the big boys. It was a bit overwhelming and really really loud but so much fun. The next day was a bit rough because of thr lack of sleep with the fireworks and such but there were still plenty of people who wanted to hear about the Gospel. Esperanza is great. 

Everything is Chevre and Bacan hope all is well there.  Talk to you next week.

Elder Jack Vassau

BTW - I do not have anyone's emails so they have to initiate the emails.