I am alive in Arequipa and all is well! I got my package right when I arrived, and it’s sitting in my room waiting to be opened on the 3rd. I read all of your questions, but don’t remember all of them, so I’m just going to talk.
Leaving the MTC was fine. I was able to pack my bags up alright. I borrowed a vaccum from the cleaning closet and shrunk my blanket. We left for the airport at 4:45 Tuesday morning. We got there, checked our bags, and flew for an hour to Arequipa. President Zobrist was at the airport waiting for us. We got on a bus and drove around the city a little bit. Then we went to the Arequipa Temple site. They just finished purchasing the 7 parcels of land from 28 owners, so the ground breaking will be soon. If we’re here in Arequpia, I’m pretty sure we’ll get to go. The temple will take like 3 years to construct, though. Then we went to a stake center, had a presentation, ate lunch, got our new companions, and split off to our areas. There are 7 zones in Arequipa and 8 zones outside of Arequipa. I am in Arequipa, Zone Hunter! It’s fun, and a little weird, to see my name all over town on signs and stuff.
My companion is Elder Mananita. He is 22 and from Iquitos, Peru. He has 16 months in the mission and doesn’t know English. It’s weird always talking in Spanish and never being able to use English like I could in the MTC. I am able to understand most of what people say, but there are some times that I don’t understand. I can talk better than I can understand, though, so I do alright when teaching lessons and stuff.
Cool story about a lesson we taught yesterday. We went into this lady’s house and started talking with her. We asked if her husband was home, and she said he was, but that he didn’t want to come out and listen. She said that many missionaries had come by and he never wanted to listen. My companion tried to encourage her to call him out, but she wouldn’t, so he asked what his name was and yelled to him himself. Surprisingly, he came out and agreed to listen to a lesson. We talked for a bit and got to know him, then we taught the Plan of Salvation. He was engaged and paying attention during the lesson. We gave him the folleto (pamphlet) to read and even joked about having “homework to do,” so he seemed happy to learn more. My companion invited him to pray with his family to ask if the church is true, and he agreed to that. Then I was prompted to invite him to be baptized. I asked him if when he recieved the answer that the church is true, if he’d follow the example of Jesus Christ (Jesucristo) and be baptized, and he nodded his head yes! It was awesome! We have another appointment with him tomorrow.
My pensionista is great. We live with her and she is a member of the Church. I have a photo of my room that I will try to send. We have bread and something to drink in the mornings, sometimes eggs. Then for lunch we have rice and something. Usually chicken. Then for dinner we have the same thing as lunch. The food has been good for the most part. None of it has been bad, but some of it wasn’t great.
Thank you for the birthday package! During the welcome presentation, they said that USPS is the best way to send packages here. They said don’t use FedEx or UPS because it is a hassle and usually doesn’t make it here. I probably won’t be sending packages home because it’s usually 100 Soles. And individual letters are about 9 Soles, so we’ll see if those happen or not. Probably not.
Here are some photos. I didn’t take a lot because I usually didn’t have my camera, but I will try to take some more.
The first few are from Lima [It was actually only one he sent]. Then my room and my companero and me.