Okay so I arrived at the president's house in Huancayo on Tuesday after over an 8-hour bus ride. He’s a really cool guy. I was the second to last Elder he met with. We talked about my family, and then he asked me if I had a question to ask him. I wasn’t ready for this, but then I asked him how could I be effective as a missionary without speaking Spanish. He told me pretty much that you won’t be. Nicer, but that was a direct quote. Then, he talked about were I was going to be serving and who with. He said I'd be serving with a Latino companion and that my area is the most physically demanding area in the mission—Cerro de Pasco. He said straight up that in two weeks I will be thinking what in the h-e-double hockey sticks am I doing here? While he was saying all of this I just started to smile really big and almost laugh to myself because I couldn’t think of a worse situation to start my mission in. But then again I couldn’t think of a better way—the cold, the altitude, the Latin companion all just give me a reason to work harder and enjoy my mission. Because well the situation may stink but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it.
Getting to Cerro de Pasco was a 4-hour bus ride. Honestly, the altitude and cold weren’t as hard to deal with at first as the food. Camron may be right in that the best food I eat is in the CCM. All I’ve eaten is stew twice a day.
My comp is Elder Contreras, and he is awesome. He is 20 months in the mission and is from Ecuador. His family are all non-members. He was a Zone Leader before training me, and seriously all of the members in Huancayo (we got one day to proselyte in Huancayo to help with adjusting to the altitude before going to Cerro) and missionaries love him. He is super loving and likable and kind. I’m learning a lot from him.
What you need to know about Cerro. First, is bigger than you might think. There is a giant mine in the middle of the town, and the town is all around the enormous mine. There are a lot of people here, but doesn’t even make sense why they are here. I guess they are just stuck there. The altitude (over 14,000 feet) and the cold and the ugly mine make the town kind of unpleasant to say the least.
Cerro is cold. It’s bitterly cold. It’s the kind of cold that numbs the limbs and pierces into the very soul. It’s weird though. Sometimes is will be cold, and then it will be extremely cold. And it will switch between these two during the day. It’s very temperamental. Haha. But don’t worry about me mom I sleep with 8 blankets at night so I’m fine. And I’m probably about as cold as you are in Las Vegas. haha. I think I finally understand you, Mom. My toes are always cold like yours, but I don’t have Brody to warm them up :( ohh and heating, I don’t have a heater too. Haha.
Holy cow I’m writing a lot this week. Also after my interview with President Henderson I knew I was going to Cerro, but that night I realized I lost my little baggy with my passport, wallet and temple recommended. It was funny before I was like wow putting all these important documents is a good way to lose everything at once, and I did. Long story short it fell out of my suit jacket pocket in the bus and the other elders unpacked the bus while we went to eat that first day in Huancayo, but IT was FOUND. Yeah! They called the bus company that night when I figured out I was going to Cerro, and they said they didn’t have it. So that night was rough because I was so worried, but then they found it on the bus the next day. It stinks though because I still don’t have my money right now.
Last thing, Elder Bednar describes three different ways to receive revelation. He calls them the pattern of light. One is like a light switch. Instantaneous knowledge and conviction of the truth. The second form is like a sunrise. At first nothing is visible, but almost imperceptibly things start to come into focus. The Third way is like walking down an alley on a super foggy day. You can only see far enough to take maybe a few steps. This fogginess describes me right now, not for revelation but for faith, and I don’t know hope of things. I don’t know everything, but I know enough. I knew enough to come to Cerro, and I know enough to take the smallest of steps forward.
Yep, I've got a shirt for the Cerro de Pasco zone. I can’t send the picture. But the joke is that the shirt is the best part of going to Cerro. Love you so much. I’m not going to give up.