¡Buenos días! Espero que estan muy feliz porque hoy es lunes y recibirá una carta de tu hijo amado, Elder Schofield. Negritos esta calor hoy, pero no mucho calor como Arizona. Es muy bueno aquí. La gente esta muy amable, especialmente in mi rama. ¡Son muy feliz tener un norteamericano quien es muy alto! Note from Dad: I understand it but I pronounce everything with an Italian accent :-)
Well, I bet you´ll need to use google translater for that, and since my grammer still isn´t the greatest, I´ll leave it at that! :) However, my Spanish is getting a lot better since I was at the MTC! Looking back at how I was the first day...wow. Haha, I´ve learned a lot! Negritos will be great for my Spanish too! My companion has been really helpful in showing me how to say things properly. I don´t think I´ll ever be able to roll my ´rr´s´ but that´s completely fine! They´ll still understand me! It has been kind of frustrating at times during lessons, because I simply can´t understand what they´re saying! After an interview last Friday with President Chipman, I´ve really noticed a change. He told me to just trust that God is going to help me. It´s amazing how much more I can understand now that I´ve really begun to rely on Him. Before, I thought I was, but I wasn´t really relying on Him as much as I need to. Even now, I know that I am prideful and think I know Spanish when I really don´t, and I´ll continue to learn to rely on Him, but things are going better. :)
Elder Turcios is AMAZING! He is the best first companion anyone could hope for. Since we´ve actually taught a couple lessons, I´ve seen how incredible of a teacher he is. He´s so straightforward and sincere. Exactly the kind of missionary I want to be. He´s helping me to improve on that too. The first lesson where I talked didn´t go that great because I was focusing on trying to get across my message using words that I know in Spanish. Since then, I´ve started to learn that I need to focus more on the feeling of the message, and just say it as simply as I can. I´ve always had the tendancy to be long winded, this is something that I´m going to have to learn! With the help of God, I know I can do it. I´ve already felt the spirit so strong here...Negritos will be a special place for me.
Elder Turcios is also learning English, and it´s fun to help him! They have a test that the latinos can take from BYU to get certified in English. I guess it´s pretty intense, but if they get it, they have a lot more opportunities in jobs and things. My companion actually said the prayer at a meeting in English last week! I was so proud of him! Also suprised...maybe he´s understanding more than I think when I say things in English! Haha, but the pronunciation is difficult. Oh, by the way...English STINKS. I guess I am beginning to understand how frustrating your job was mom, at ESL. How do you explain the word such? Kind of difficult. Also tried to find the difference between these words: ward word world. When you´ve got a Spanish accent, they´re pretty much the same. I admire the latinos that can speak good English. They have to work 10 times harder than I do.
Negritos is pretty small, like you said Dad. The bigger city is Talada, that´s the name of my zone. The town here is nice though! It´s really safe, which is nice. The people are friendly, most say hi back when I talk to them. They all talk to us at the door when we knock, unless they see us through the window, then they don´t even come to the door. My gringo accent is also a deterrant, so Elder Turcios told me not to talk when we knock. Haha, I think that´s funny! Sundays aren´t very good days to procelite...everyone is drinking. We just visited members, which was definitely good. The people here also are very poor. We painted the inside of the house of our mission leader, and I really got to see their whole house, and they´re pretty well off. The walls are just particle board, except really thin. REALLY thin. I think it might be 1/8 of an inch thick. They use 2 x 2´s to nail them together to form a wall. Although it looks like the roofs are metal, it´s some sort of plastic thing. Haha, thankfully while we painted, I could reach the ceiling, so we didn´t have to use a ladder much at all. They did have a concrete floor, most homes do, but their bedrooms were mud. They put particle board on the floor to try to keep it clean. Their toilet and shower were in the backyard, out in the open. The shower didn´t have a shower head at all, just a pipe. We are so blessed in the states...it´s amazing. I haven´t even seen the half of it, I´m sure.
The branch here seems to be doing ok. We have a TON of less active members that we´re trying to get to come, but those that are active seem to be great! The Elder´s quorum president is really great, and a funny guy! He taught all of priesthood, and he has a very strong testimony. You can tell he´s been through a lot, but he´s just the greatest guy you´ve ever met. The branch presidency are all really nice too. I haven´t really gotten to know all of them well-language barrier makes it kind of tough-but they are all really strong in the gospel, which is what we need! I think the reason we have so many less actives is because they haven´t had missionaries for a long time. Now they have four! I don´t know if you can see from Google, but there´s an elevated area where Elder Fouz and Elder McDonough are working. We´re more in the center. If you can see the town square, and the HUGE Catholic church, just south of there is where we eat, in a restaurant called Bumeran. Our pensionista owns it. North of the square, there´s a huge building that has a court in it. It´s actually pretty nice-we played soccer, volleyball, and basketball on it today! To the east of the building is our apartment, just up the hill. It´s nice, but DEFINITELY needs to be cleaned. Hopefully we´ll have time this afternoon.
We don´t have a ton of investigators, or really a lot of contacts. My companion actually opened Negritos, and he said that not all the people are very accepting. They let you in once, but when you come back, they won´t answer. We have a couple that I´m hoping will progress! There´s a mom and two girls that we found. We taught a super quick lesson about the apostacy, and she seemed interested. We´re going back tomorrow to teach her. Then there´s another girl that we taught with two members there! One of the members is a recent convert, and she is just so enthusiastic about the gospel, it´s awesome! She told us this girl is a ´snake´ but I think that she actually felt the spirit strong when we talked about repentance and the Atonement. She has a little boy, and he´s pretty cute! She´s 21, and is working nights at a restaurant. After the lesson, we asked if we could ´practice´ teaching again. She said, yes, I´m free every day in the afternoon, and I´d like to hear more! Someone actually taking a real interest! I think we´ll be able to help her a lot. I can´t remember how to spell her name...names are tough here.
Another random fact for you...I counted 33 dogs in 2 hours of tracting. Yep. 33 dogs. I don´t have any clue how many cats there were...too hard to see! The dogs are pretty mellow here, so I´m not too worried about them. I was at first, not going to lie! The doctor at the MTC has us all kind of freaked out, he said they´re all aggressive and all have rabies. Well, only one or two have even barked at us!
As far as the phonecall for Christmas goes...that´s up to you! I am 2 hours ahead of Utah here, and I have all day the 24th and 25th. I think specifically from 8am-7pm Saturday and 11am-7pm on Sunday the 25th. That´s Utah time, ps. :) I hope I´ll be able to talk to all of the family if possible! I´m pretty sure we´re just borrowing a phone from someone in the ward and calling with a card, so let me know which phone you want me to call...
Packages haven´t come yet...I talked to the ZL´s today and they said they actually are getting a few today, so maybe those are from you! I hope so, cause that would be nice! I also don´t know if any of you had sent letters...Jen had mentioned in an email that she was, but I haven´t gotten any mail since I got to Peru, except a DearElder from Jen. Oh! I lied, I actually got a poem from Sister Izaat! Tell her thank you, it was really cool!
Well, I hope you enjoyed the slightly longer email! Elder Fouz said that letters take about a month from Peru to the States, so I´m not sure how many I want to send...unless you really insist mom!
I love you all so much! Christmas will be weird without you all. We´ve started listening to a ton of Christmas songs of course, and it reminds me of Christmas caroling with you all! Those are some of my favorite memories. Have fun with the snow! Don´t make any peppermint bark mom, that´s fine. Make everyone suffer until I get home. ;)
Con mucho amor de su hijo,