Well, it`s official! I have left Piura! The department seemed to just drift behind me in the 6 hour bus ride from the station in Piura Central. It was a LONG ride. Rambo 1-4 played on the bus...kind of an annoying temptation to avoid, and since I can`t sleep and get carsick in the tiny buses...well, you can imagine how much I love riding in these big greyhound buses! However, there was an AMAZING sunset to see, and we had a great view of the beach for quite a while. Elder Sims from Iowa is one of my new ZL`s, and he and I talked quite a bit on the way. Oh! Also, Elder Littell came with me to tumbes! However, he`s in a different zone that they just barely opened this change! Exciting things are happening here in the greatest mission in the world!!!
So my new companion is Elder Panduro. I`d love to show you a photo but unfortunately the battery has died. Next week! When I got to Pampa Grande, he really didn`t talk much. I found out later that the reason is probably because he got a Dear John letter last week! Thank goodness I don`t have that to worry about. Now he`s opened up and I think we`re going to be great friends. He`s more obedient than other companions I`ve had, we even went running today! I am DEFINITELY out of shape. It felt super weird to run, and I know it`s because I haven`t done it in almost a year. Ugh...I`m OLD. Mission wise. World wise. What are you gonna do?
The area that I`m in, Pampa Grande, is pretty. If you Google it, we live on Calle Loreto, near the park Pampa Grande. The park is more of a plaza de armas in from of the Catholic church, but they call it a park. We have pavement!!! Big change from the sand of Sechura. The people are more reserved here, more protective, but that`s ok. :) They are all still getting used to seeing a very tall gringo walking down the street. My companion as well! They point, stare, make comments, and attempt to speak english...well, I think they`re trying to speak english! Many times I wonder what language it is...but my companion seems to think it`s english as well!
The people here seem to work a lot in sales. Another interesting thing is the contraband gasoline on every corner. they have bottles of coke filled with gas that has been stolen that they sell to the moto taxis. Police even buy it from them. Doesn`t seem to worry them where it came from. The area we`re in includes the university of Tumbes, which seems fairly large! Also, I`m in a ward!! Big change from a branch. On Sunday, I was able to attend a Sunday School class that felt just like Utah. They were talking about some deep stuff, and I learned a ton! Definitely different from Sechura and Negritos, where I sometimes had to correct the doctrines that they were teaching. Here, it`s different.
Mom...if you could have seen the room I walked into, you might have died. It was FULL of trash. I guess Elder Panduro was with someone else when his companion was packing and leaving, so he left all of the trash there. Today I got it all taken out, and the room is CLEAN! You may not believe it, but some of Sam and you must have rubbed off on me. Negritos, Sechura, and now Pampa Grande have all had to be cleaned, organized, and kept that way. I`ve found that I just can`t study or even be in a room with trash on the floor. I`m learning to handle my companion spitting and blowing his snot all over the floor and walls. It`s something that a lot of Peruvians do, that are from the jungle, so it`s hard for him to change. But the room is definitely cleaner than before!
As for investigators...we had a baptism this week!!! Hermana Karina was baptised on Saturday and confirmed Sunday. It was a great welcome for me! We have one other progressing investigator, Jorge Silva, that I have just immediately come to love. He reminds me of Grandpa Shaw a lot in his mannerisms. He used to be a huge mechanic in Peru, he tells us that he won a competition and was one in 2 of the best mechanics in Peru. As a mechanic, he had his women, beer, and two packs of cigarrettes a day. He said he drank a beer all day long! Right now, he has dropped the women, beer, and is down to 2 or 3 single cigarrettes a day! It truly is a miracle to see how much he`s changed.
I`ve been working to try to help him set a date to stop smoking. He has a baptismal date for the 14th of this month, but he hasn`t stopped smoking so that will not be possible. This is the first time I`ve taught someone that has had an addiction, so I`m looking to all sources for how to help him. An Ensign article from a couple years ago that talked about Pornography helped a little, but if anyone has ideas of how to do it, advice is welcome! For now, I`ve talked to him about the times he has the urge to smoke. He said around 630 to 9 is when it`s the worst. We set up a goal that he`s going to go out walking until 8, when it`s cold (it`s NOT cold here...but they think that 74 F is cold...), then he`s going to come home and immediately pick up the Book of Mormon, say a prayer, and lose himself in the stories. I have a lot of faith in the power of that book, because I know that I have left a lot of my bad habits behind using this same strategy. The key is that he has faith in God and the power of the Atonement. Hoping that that will help!
Another really neat thing about Hermano Jorge, is how humble he is. He told us that he`s been praying to God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost to help him. Well, we only pray to God. Most people don`t accept that we teach them changes to their prayers, but this last week, I had to tell him. I was able to explain the role of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in our lives, and he almost had tears in his eyes as he said thank you for explaining to him. I know his prayers will have more power to help him now.
Well, I have to go. Love you all so much! Hope to hear from you all soon!