Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sechura: The Middle of Nowhereland - Email from May 28, 2012

Well...I`m in Sechura!!!! After almost 6 months in a tiny little city, I have been transferred to one of the biggest areas in the mission. Seriously, it is HUGE. There are only four missionaries here too! Honestly, I think that it`s quadruple the size of Negritos.
So on Tuesday we got to wake up at 430 in the morning to head out. It was kinda hard to leave Negritos. I feel like it`s my hometown here in the mission now. I`m going to miss the people there. Anyway, we boarded the bus at about 6 to head to Piura. After two hours, we got to the transfers where we have a huge meeting and President talks a little before telling everyone the transfer.

One thing different that he has decided to start doing is `co-companions` where two missionaries are together, but there isn`t a Sr. Companion. They have to work together and decide things together. They could be missionaries from the same group, or they could be close together in time. I think there were like 7 or 8 co-companions. Anyway, that really kinda suprised me because normally we learn from a Sr. Companion, right? However, I think it will be a great learning experience, having to learn together. You`ll be even more suprised when I explain my companionship. ;)

So Elder Naranjo is my companion!!! He`s at least 6` tall too!! Haha, it`s definitely a big change from Elder Ramirez, walking next to him. He also happens to be from my group! We came at the same time into the field, which means that I technically have six weeks time more than he does if you count the MTC. However, he is the Sr. Companion. When I heard that, I was a bit suprised because I expected to co-companion thing, but I also felt the spirit witness to me that it was just...right. Maybe God is going to teach me even more humility, something I think is very important. Anyway, we`ve really had a great first week together. Elder Naranjo has established a lot of relationships in just 6 weeks here in Sechura, and we have some great investigators! We had 4 attend church this Sunday, and Felix de la Cruz should be getting baptized this Saturday, with Jhoselyn the next! I`m really excited.

Sechura, like I said, is way different from Negritos. It`s about an hour south of Piura by bus, and it is just pure, flat desert. Our area doesn`t have hardly any roads, and it`s pretty rocky at parts. The people here practically all work in fishing, which can make it difficult to encounter them at home because they leave for one to two weeks at a time. That means that knocking doors is more of a hunt as to which house doesn`t have a padlock on it! One day we spent about 3 or 4 hours knocking and we were only able to talk to 5 people...a bit difficult! However, President said something in transfers that I really liked. He said we need to search for the way that God wants us to work in our areas. He talked about how we should discuss as a companionship how we`re going to work, and pray for the inspiration as to how we`re going to find people. I have faith that there are a lot of people here in Sechura that He is preparing, we just need to find them!

Another cool thing about my new area is that Elder Mark Lindsay is my District Leader! Jen, you should know who that is! He really is a great DL, and after our first District meeting, I feel like I`m going to improve a lot while I`m here. He`s got more energy than many missionaries I`ve seen, and expects more. That`s the way it should be. He and Elder Christianson are also in Sechura, but they`re more towards the main part of town. The rest of our zone is spread out over Castilla, Catacaos, and I don`t know where else! This means that we four are pretty isolated out here, almost in the middle of nowhere!

As a result of the isolation...I have some bad news! Mail has now gotten even slower. :) We can only send and receive letters/packages at the end of every change. That means that you shouldn`t worry if I say I haven`t gotten anything, because it`s true! Also, don`t worry if you`re not getting anything either. I`m writing, it will just take longer.

As far as the branch here goes, I think we`re going to be in great hands! They just recently called a new Branch President, but he seems to have a lot of energy and desire for the work. We also have a great Mission Leader that they just called this week, and I think we`re going to work a lot together. I guess there`s been a bunch of issues here due to rumors and things, so that a lot of members have fallen away and are less active. However, things have turned around a lot, and I guess that on a regular basis they have about 40 attending church.

This Sunday we had a bit of confusion concerning our Branch Conference! I guess they originally had it scheduled for the 20th, but the Branch President couldn`t make it. Well, then this week the Stake President found out an Area Authority would be holding a meeting on Sunday. He thought it would be fine because he could send his councelors to the Branch Council, but then at the last minute he found out all three of them had to go! Anyway, he ended up coming to Sechura to try to work things out for the 3rd. I don`t know what exactly happened, because Saturday at 9, they had decided to postpone it for the second time until the 3rd. However, Sunday rolls around and we had our Branch Conference! Sometimes things just happen, and we get to learn from them. The Branch Conference went really well, and I think we had about 120 people come!! It was so full that we elders didn`t have a place to sit! I wish it was like that every week.

Anyway...I`m alive and well here in Sechura! The heat is hotter than ever, even though they say we`re starting into winter here! I hope all is well up there in the good ol US of A! Don`t hesitate to send me a letter or email! I hope to get a big stack when July rolls around. :)

Love you all!
Elder Schofield

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