Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It´s beginning to (NOT) look a lot like Christmas!

It´s getting a little warmer here, but not too much :) I still wear cardigans all the time, and it´s cloudy most of the time, so I love it. But! In the past few days they´ve put Christmas lights on most of the trees and on the... oh man... what´s that word... columns? Poles? Anyway.... They haven´t turned them on yet, but I´m crossing my fingers they will before we leave on Monday :) Right now though, I´m craving the cold. I wish it was freezing and snowing and I could wear a coat and drink hot cocoa instead of sweating while walking through Lima on our pday. It sure doesn´t feel like it´s almost December.
This week has been kind of boring, but in a good working hard, kind of way. Lots of scripture study, lots of teaching "investigators", lots and lots and lots of rice and potatoes, lots of Spanish grammar, etc.
So, I´ve lost weight! I don´t know how much or anything, but all of my skirts are looser and some of them are almost awkwardly big. Yeah, I´m the worst kind of person. All I eat is carbs, sit in a desk all day, and I´ve lost weight. Let´s be real here, it´s probably because I cut JCW´s burgers out of my diet :)
My district was talking this week and we figured out that Elder Augat´s family lives about 5 minutes away from mine, and Elder Ludlow and Elder Martin´s families live within 15 to 20 minutes depending on traffic. Craziness! We also decided 2 weeks ago that Elder Ludlow looks like Tin Tin. Last week I had my mom and dad send me pictures of Tin Tin so I could show the rest of our district and everyone agrees :) It´s just about the funniest thing that´s happened within the last couple weeks.
(Kelly here ... I saw a picture of Elder Ludlow that his mom has posted on the Missionary Momma's Facebook page... so naturally I stole a copy of it and sent her a side-by-side of him and Tin Tin. Dead ringer!! However, when Keni emailed me today she asked how in the heck I found a picture of him and asked if I was stalking him. Well, YEAH!! She said everyone in the computer lab saw that she had a picture of him and wondered why... then laughed. Oh well, I'm good at embarrassing all of us).
 I mean, really??!!
So Hermano Davalos´ last week of teaching at the CCM is this week! We´re his last district and because we all think he´s the bomb we gave him a tie and all wrote our names on the back of it and District 111. But when we were trying to write on it he was trying to get in the class and since the best kind of prize is a su-prize (name that movie) we had a couple of Elders blocking the door and then one of the other teachers here, who is also hilarious, ran around to the window and saw what we were doing and promised he wouldn´t ruin the surprise. Eh, it´s another one of those things that was much much funnier in real life. I promise I´m not losing my sense of humor. Although sometimes it feels like it cause Hermana Russell never understands when I´m joking. Luckily the Elders and some of the other Hermanas get it, and Hermana Russell´s coming around :) Jake would appreciate my jokes. Tell that kid to come follow me around Peru so I feel like I´m not so boring :)
Last week I lost my camera cord, you know, the most important cord ever cause it charges my camera, that´s how I can upload pictures, etc. And I couldn´t find it for a whole week and I desperately needed to charge my camera so I could read your emails from last week, and I prayed and everything and was just 100% sure that I was going to need mom to send me another, and I wouldn´t be able to take pictures for weeks and weeks, and THEN! Hermana Love saves the day! After a week of hunting through the entire CCM she finds it sitting at a desk in the Computer Lab. (Almost every day we do this thing called TALL in the computer labs. It´s kind of like missionary Rosetta Stone.) Thank goodness for that! Once I get to my mission area within a week and have my pday I´ll email loads of pictures :)
Something I´ve come to appreciate so much more in the past few weeks has been Priesthood blessings. I mean, I loved them when I was home. But I don´t think I used the opportunities I had to get blessings as much as I could have at home. When I was sick a few weeks ago, I asked Elder Martin to give me a blessing, and all of the Elders in our district stood in the circle and participated in it, and then this week I was kind of having an all over sucky few days and I just needed some help, so I asked Elder Ludlow to give me a blessing and I am just so amazed at what spiritual giants these Elders are. It´s super cool to see them look in their white handbooks to figure out exactly what they´re supposed to do, and then have them give some of the most amazing blessings. I love the Priesthood. I love that I am blessed to have the opportunity to receive blessings when I need them. I love that I got rid of my pride and the thought that I could do it all by myself, and asked for a blessing. Both of the blessings made a world of difference and they each said EXACTLY what I needed to hear, although neither of the Elders knew exactly what I was struggling with.
I love this gospel. I can´t wait to share it with people! I can´t believe that in just a few days I will be on a plane to Cusco! I´m so excited, but also so terrified. Every time we leave the CCM I have absolutely no idea what anyone is saying. That´ll pass with time, I know. But the first few weeks are gonna be fun :) Haha. I´m also going to miss my district so much. They feel like family and now we´re going to be scattered all over the Cusco Mission! (And Iquitos if your name is Elder Budden).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON SABADO TO MY CUTE LITTLE BRO JACKER CRACKER. I love you baby boy, I can´t believe that you´re getting the priesthood so soon! Stop growing up. It´s freaking me out. Sorry I´m missing it, kid.
I love you all so much! Talk to you in a week or so from the Peru Cusco Mission!!
Hermana Hill

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Wow what a week! It´s been crazy busy. We teach  our "investigators" all the time, and we never write down the sentences we´re going to say anymore, and because of that, every lesson we´re 100% relying on the Spirit, and it´s so great. And heaven knows I can´t figure out Spanish without the Holy Ghost :) haha.
So! News. I got some wicked cool pants and a Peruvian soccer jersey as well as a USA jersey :) Oh, and Hermana Russell and I are the Sister Leaders for our last two weeks at the CCM! We´re both pretty excited about it :) I love the amount of opportunities I have to serve when I´m in a leadership position. Tonight we´re going to start the interviews with all of the Hermanas, and I´m so excited to get to know each of them a little bit better!
Remember how last week I said someone cool was coming and I was in the choir and hoped I´d be able to sing because I´ve had a frog voice and a cough for nearly two weeks? The cool person who came is Elder Evans, he's in the first quorum (originally misspelled, but Mum fixed it... it's a HARD word even for English-speakers, c'mon!) (i. hate. english.) of the seventy and besides a couple of apostles he´s basically in charge of the missionary department. Him and his wife spoke in church on Sunday, and then again in our devotional after lunch. It was AMAZING! I didn´t bring my notes with me today, but next week I will for sure because his talk on tenacity during church was just about the most amazing thing ever.
On Saturday we had an earthquake in Lima! It was so crazy! We were just sitting there having a grammar class and the ground kinda starts shaking a little bit and then Hna Villanueva was like "oh... my... gosh.....It´s an earthquake get outside!!" We almost started to book it and then she said "slowly, slowly" at us in Spanish a few times. We walked to the earthquake safe circle thing outside and waited for a few minutes to make sure there was no aftershock and then we were able to go back inside. I´ve never felt an earthquake before so that was so cool! It wasn´t bad at all, so don´t panic :) We couldn´t even feel it after we went outside and you could barely see the buildings moving.

The next day we had class we asked Hermano Davalos what he was doing when it happened and he said he was just cooking, and he didn´t even go outside but his wife ran outside as soon as she felt something. He said she´s pretty panicky about things like that and he had turned around to be like "honey, can you hand me the... wait, where are you??" It was another one of those stories I have to tell you in person, because the accent and Spanglish just makes it hilarious, when writing it down sounds out right boring. But trust me, these people are the funniest souls alive.
So practically every day we play grammar games outside with Hna. Villanueva and generally it´s hilarious because we all know how well I can throw a ball, let alone throwing a volleyball at a specific target, and she´ll grab one of the baseball bats and fake-threaten us with it if we say something incorrectly. Her English isn´t fantastic, so generally she´ll just say Punishment! and it´s so so funny.
Wow. Reading this again makes me realize how quickly my English skillzz are leaving me. Who would have guessed from this email that I wanted to be an English major for most of my life?? Craziness, I´m telling you.
Today when we were at the distribution center at the temple I got a Quechuan Book of Mormon!! So. Flipping. Cool. And when I was in line to buy it, a cute little lady leaned around my shoulder, read what version of the Book of Mormon was in my arm and asked me if I was going to the Cusco mission!! We chatted for maybe 10 or so minutes in hard-core Spanglish (thank heavens she spoke a little bit of English and my Spanish is improving so much!) and she said she lives in Puno, but her and her daughter are here visiting and they wanted to come to the temple. Puno is in the Cusco mission boundaries and she said she had missionaries living with her several years ago and she was just absolutely THRILLED to see my whole group of Cusco missionaries :) She hugged me about a dozen times and kept saying how much she hoped I´d be sent to Puno at some point. I loved her. So much. You could see the love she had for all of us in her eyes and she was just the sweetest thing. She read my name tag about a million times so she could remember me if I ever get to Puno. I´m hoping to get sent there at some point too so I can meet her and her sweet daughter again! Straight up the coolest thing that´s happened to me this week. I love Peruvians.
I just want you all to know how much I love and believe in this gospel. Without the gift of tongues, the help of the Lord, and so many loving people here, I wouldn´t be able to succeed as much as I am. Spanish is coming. It feels like it´s coming slowly, but it´s definitely coming. And considering how I´ve never even studied Spanish outside of the CCM it´s a miracle that I´m as good as I am now. Every time we leave the CCM I´m so completely aware of how far I still have to go considering 75% of the time I have no idea what anyone´s saying, but I know it just takes time, practice, and patience. I know this gospel is true and every day I´m more aware of exactly how perfect Peru is for me. I know it´s where I´m supposed to be! Mission calls are inspired, my friends. They are absolutely 100% from God. For those of you serving, or who are about to leave, remember how you felt when you opened your call :) I know that for me, it was the most overwhelming thing because in that one moment I realized exactly how important this work is, how much I love these sweet Peruvians already, and how much God loves them too. That´s why we´re here! To invite others to come unto Christ :) 2 more weeks in the CCM. Oh, how time flies.
I love you all! Be safe, have fun, don´t get eaten and remember who you are!
Hermana Hill

Oh. Dude. I totally left the baby-face part out. One of the teachers here calls me that. EVERY. TIME. I see him. His English isn´t good enough to explain why he calls me that, but I´ve put together a few of his explanations in Spanish and it has something to do with my cheeks (there´s a shocker) and a missionary that used to be here. It's pretty much the greatest :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Clam Dip and Shoe Shining

It´s definitely been a week! First off, I´ve been sick all week. Which is fun. I´m basically better now, just a little cough that´s on it´s way out, so don´t freak out mom and dad! I went to the CCM President´s wife and asked for some meds and we found out I had a fever of like 101 or so. I got to go to bed at 7:30 that night :) which made the fever almost worth it! Apparently it´s a cold-type thing everyone gets down here. Love it. Somehow Hermana Russell has avoided being sick, even though everyone in our room is. That doesn´t make sense, especially cause I was the sickest (most sick? I hate English grammar recently) Hermana in the whole CCM. It was great, everyone in the entire CCM found out I was sick so all I´ve heard is "How you feeling today, Hermana?" which is embarrassing and sweet all at the same time. Being sick has hurt my Spanish learning a little bit, cause my brain has been fried the whole week and I can´t understand anything, but I´m coming back around! Onward and upward my friends.
Clam Dip: One of our Elders, Elder Budden - the Iquitos Elder, tells these outrageous stories about the most random things and this one was hilarious. For some reason in high school he took a pillow to school with him one day and when his friend asked why, he responded with this: "I don´t know man, I´m just so tired and was planning to sleep in class cause last night at 3 in the morning a Native American snuck into my room and was trying to put clam dip down my pants! And obviously, I wasn´t going to have any of that, cause who wants clam dip shoved down their pants? That´s just uncomfortable. And the only thing I had to fight him off with was my pillow, but eventually I was able to get him out of my room. But then he snuck in again at 4 and tried to shove clam dip down my pants AGAIN! And I was like what in the world man, I don´t want clam dip down my pants! And I fought him off, but I mean. After that night? I´m totally sleeping through class." My entire district was laughing their heads off, and none of us had any idea what to respond with. More than half of the hilarity is also how he tells these stories. Oh dear it´s funny. You´re missing out, I´m telling you.
Shoe shining: Hermana Russell brought a shoe shining kit with her and the Elders asked if they could borrow it and after we were finished planning for the night but couldn´t go upstairs yet they spent near a half an hour shining each others shoes and I swear their faces were like Christmas. It was so so funny. They were walking carefully, and when Elder Augat accidentally ran into Elder Martin´s shoes, I swear there was almost tears. Needless to say, Elder Martin had Elder Augat shine his shoe again. Those Elders. They crack me up. How about I´m always in the same district as them? I feel like that would be great.
On the 11th I nearly cried myself to sleep because Bastille was having a concert in Salt Lake. Oh my loves. Why couldn´t they have come a month sooner?!
Not too much else to report this week. I made it halfway through the CCM! Today when we were out and about in Lima showing the new Elders and Hermanas around we took a ton of pictures, laughed a lot, and Elder Ludlow was probably the best and most patient leader we´ve had so far. He didn´t even complain about taking 4000 pictures of us with several different cameras, when we all knew that´s not his favorite thing.

Oh! Someone cool... whose name I currently can´t remember, is coming to talk to us this Sunday and so they set up and CCM Choir and I joined! Ha. Should be great. Especially with my frog voice I´ve had for the last week. Hermana Russell said I look and sound like death. Thaaannnkkkss Hermana Russell. We´re singing Senor Te Necesito (I Need Thee Every Hour) and that song is the only reason I haven´t punched the Spanish language in its throat. It´s beautiful. They even found a violin for one of the Hermanas to play. I´m looking forward to this Sunday! Hopefully I won´t still be a frog by then.
In a week the Advanced missionaries are leaving for the field and then I´LL be an Advanced. Hahahaha. That´s a joke, right? I can´t wait to leave the CCM, but I also don´t feel ready to leave these people or to speak Spanish in the field. Craziness, I´m telling you.
The work is hard. It wasn´t meant to be easy, but I think sometimes we forget just how hard it´s going to be. But the amazing thing is, we can handle it because we have the Lord on our side. We´ll never fully understand what Christ went through for us, but as missionaries, we learn a tiny little piece of how it might have felt. In the CCM we´re sheltered from many things, so we don´t understand too much of that quite yet. But I can´t wait to do my part in bringing others to this gospel. Even though I will be rejected. Even though it will be hard, there will be days when I feel like giving up, I don´t understand the language, etc. I can´t wait to bring happiness to the people who need it. I´m already so so in love with these people. I can´t imagine leaving in a year and a half.

Love you much.
Hermana Hill

Also, someone go watch Peter Pan, listen to all of Bastille´s music, the If I Stay soundtrack, and eat a really good piece of pizza for me. I´m craving America this week. Love.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I think there was a brain in my soup...


Seriously. Most of the time I LOVE the food (rice and limes for daaayyyss!) but this time the soup had some chicken in it and a piece of the meat honestly looked like it was a brain. And the meat definitely didn´t look like it was like part of the chicken breast. Needless to say, I didn´t finish that soup.

Look up granadias. They´re this funny fruit and you have to like swallow the seeds, no chewing, and they´re slimy and kinda look like troll snot from the first Harry Potter movie, but they´re soooo good.

So this week we had to go to Immigrations and Interpol. Which was.... fun :) We´ll go with fun. The immigrations day we had to spend almost six hours sitting and/or standing in line for a lady to do our immigration paperwork for us in like five minutes. At one point I slept for like 20 minutes. #sleepanywhere But luckily we went with all of the Elders and Hermanas that we flew into Peru with, so it was just fun to chat and laugh our heads off. One of the Hermanas, Hermana Mitchell who´s in a different district, and I made up these weird creatures that I´m not going to explain because it would take too long, and frankly, we sound like crazy people. That´s what the CCM does to you, kids. It teaches you to be awesome missionaries, but you completely lose your normal brain in the process :) Interpol day was cool, I guess. One of the Elders who is two weeks ahead of us, Elder Quesne - he´s from England, taught us a bunch of riddles and we just laughed our heads off again. I also got fingerprinted at Interpol, which was kinda cool.

(Kelly here: I think this picture must be from her flight to Peru)

Halloween just wasn´t Halloween, which was sad, but at least I´m missing it because I´m serving a mission in Peru!! We didn´t do anything. Except we gave some of the elders cookies and they gave us some different cookies. Kind of like trick-or-treating, right? :) And it was also some random Peruvian holiday, so we got cupcakes at dinner and traditional foods during lunch. Good stuff.

My teachers are the best people ever. Hermano Davalos FINALLY started speaking to us in English, and we were totally right. He´s practically fluent. He wanted to wait until we were no longer the beginners (which happened this week! I´m now an intermediate! Yay!) and then he´d speak in English to us occasionally. He´s absolutely hilarious. One of the riddle things we´ve been talking about for days is this shape you´re supposed to draw without picking up your pencil or tracing over a line that´s already been drawn, and Elder Budden (the solo Iquitos missionary in our district) says it´s possible, but we´re all fairly certain he´s lying to us, and when we asked Hermano Davalos he was like "It´s impossible. I spent my WHOLE CHILDHOOD trying to figure that out!".  Well, it was much funnier in person, promise :) And we´re the last district he´s ever going to work with! His contract here ends as soon as we all leave for the field.

Hermana Villanueva, our afternoon teacher, is just the cutest person ever. I love her to death. There just aren´t words (or time, frankly) to write about how hilarious and amazing she is. But trust me, she´s the best! I have a picture of me and her at the temple, hopefully I can get it to upload today, but it´ll be sent eventually.

Hermana Villanueva and Hermana Hill

Pdays here are awesome. We wake up earlier than normal, go to the temple, and then we can shop around Lima for a few hours. Which is slightly scary, and I don´t love the bus systems here, but at least we always have like 6 elders walking with us who are overly concerned with our well-being. It´s really sweet, actually. They´re amazing missionaries. I know I´ve said it before and I´ll probably keep saying it, but my district it THE BEST. And I love all of them so much!

So, I´ve seen about a million and four Spider-Man things here. Posters, magazines, action figures, etc. and it´s my favorite. I don´t know why Lima seems to have a thing for my main man, Spider-Man, but I´m super loving it. They also have fake Christmas trees and decorations for sale now! I. Love. Christmas.


A couple of you asked, so here´s the weather report. It´s never very hot, maybe like in the 70´s at the very hottest, and that´s only happened a few times. It doesn´t really rain in Lima, but occasionally it "mists" which is kind of what their rain is, but it just feels like you´re walking through a spray bottle mist. It´s not very humid, kind of perfect actually, but my hair is still trying to get used to the slight humidity. Messy hair for the win!
So, other random thoughts before I get to the spiritual stuff.

I miss jeans and American food. I miss music. The hermanas in our room that are in the other district, Hermana Christianson y Hermana Mitchell, left sticky notes all over my mirror and it absolutely made my whole day. They're so funny and I wish they were going to Cusco with us! Piura is lucky to have them though! We got new Elders and Hermanas yesterday, so we´re officially not the newbies! So weird, but so exciting.

Hermana Russell and Hermana Hill

Hermana Russell and Hermana Hill

So in our investigator's lessons this week, one time I spoke Spanish without even realizing it because it was entirely the gift of tongues. Spanish is crazy hard for me, and the only way I´m doing any of this is with the Lord´s help. I know that this church is true and I´m thankful every minute of every day that I made the decision to serve a mission. It´s hard, don´t get me wrong. I cry a lot (for every reason possible - I´m the cryer, remember?) and I´m tired constantly, Spanish isn´t coming quite as fast as I wish it would, but I´m also happier than I ever expected I would be. I LOVE this gospel!

I´m also already losing my English, so don´t judge if there are typos or grammar mistakes. I can´t speak Spanish, but I´m already losing my English. It´s a fun conundrum. (Does that word even fit in that sentence??)

Te amo!

Hermana Hill