I've enjoyed having him as my companion thus far; these two weeks have flown by. He was trained by another elder in my group. He cooks pretty well, and he wants to go and do things, take advantage of the city, and be anxiously engaged in exciting activities. All good things.
OUR WARD. For finding here, we usually go to a park pretty close to our apartment. I haven't spoken in this ward (congregation) yet, except for the initial introduction/testimony. And I don't expect to, since there are about 150 people in church, not including tourist groups and BYU study groups. It's great.
iPad is fine as is...I can still type about as fast as I can think of things to write. And the big secret of writing multiple people is...I'll tell you later. But in any case, I can do some writing throughout the week and then send it Wednesday.
It's neat that you could go to the temple with family, to do work for family members. We figure they're about out of baptism names unless people bring their own, but for other ordinances there is always more work to be done.
THE IMPORTANCE of BAPTISM. So an interesting encounter we had last week was with a man named Greg. We met him in the park, and had contacted him by phone, so we didn't know what he looked like. As we were looking, the nearby homeless man called us over. He said he wanted to be baptized, and had read the whole Book of Mormon. So we started to explain all the standards and prerequisites and he says, "No, no, I just want to get baptized."
REUNION OF SORTS. Also, we had a church conference last Saturday, with members from about 10 cities in this area. This meant that the missionaries from those cities also came, and I got to talk to a lot of friends I've made here. Some people I've met during layovers when we're going to different cities. Some people have been in my zone before. Others are friends of other missionaries, so I got to know them. But it was nice seeing about 40 missionaries (out of about 220 in the mission), and being able to chat/recognize about 15-20 of them. It was also weird to realize that, of the people there, I've been out longer than most of them. I will hit my halfway point next Wednesday. I'll have been gone a year on June 25th. I know I have almost a year left, but it feels like it's flown by, in retrospect.
SUNDAY JOBS. We're working with a Peruvian man named Henry. There are a lot of Peruvians here, and many, when you talk to them, already know who Joseph Smith is and have had a couple of lessons with missionaries back in South America.
He has been taught most of the lessons before I arrived, but he works on Sundays, like many people here, which prevents him from coming to church. But we're hopeful for him, to be able to change his work schedule.
SMALL OBSTACLES. We have had a couple of other bike problems, but nothing a patch couldn't fix (for me, anyway). My companion's brake cable snapped, so he took one from another bike and re-wired it to his bike. Our house key also broke, fortunately not IN the lock, so we went and got the spare from the other Elders' apartment, then had it copied. So, nothing too bad.
Love, Anziano Whitesell
P.S. Pictures next time. For now, here is the cemetery across the street, viewed from our balcony.