Cold weather in Iquitos; send vitamins

Dear Mom,
This week has been interesting. We married Cesar and Blanca this
friday, our witty family. They’re doing much better. They sit by each
other in church now, so they’re on their way. They’re also super
excited about their baptism. I also love them a ton.

Oh, almost forgot. Also found our amazing mother of four boys binge
drinking—remember how I told you about that last week? We were like,
‘It’s okay. We’re going to smother her in love and other things, and
it’s going to be okay. We’re not going to panic.’ But she avoids us
like the devil now, and we’ve only found the house with one or two of
the little boys wandering about. Which breaks my heart. I may have
cried. All. Night. Long. Sometimes loving people is tough, Mom.

I had to teach the gospel principles class this Sunday. I sort of
speak Spanish, you know, but then they put me up in front of a bunch
of people who have really limited understanding of the gospel, and my
mouth goes dry and I forget both english and spanish, and everyone’s
staring at me, the silence overpowering, and I’m like. ‘The ayuno. You
should all ayunar. Because it’s good. Amen.’

I was also thinking about other things this week, like higher laws
and lower laws and mosaic laws and about how much I don’t understand
about the gospel. Like, where is Kolob? Abraham is a big mess of

Well, Mom, I don’t think you’ll get the chance to read this. My
internet is terrible, and I haven’t even opened a full web page. That
makes me a lot sadder than I thought it would. What if I don’t get to
write you? Or read about your monotonous week?

Guess what? Iquitos got cold. Well, cold is 85 with rain. But I was
cold. Terribly, terribly cold. I’m scared to even thing about what’s
going to happen when I come home. I don’t know what kind of shock my
body’s going to go into. A bit worried about that. Right now I have on
your blue jacket that I stole the morning I left home. That’s how cold
I am.

How’s living in the new house? Have you sent my package yet? If not,
maybe send vitamins of some sort? Peruvian nutrition standards are
pretty sketch. Potatoes and rice cannot have high nutritional value.

Love you tons,

Hasta next week


strangest urge to study swear words

Dear Mother,

(Otra vez, están recibiendo partes de mi cartas que envié a Marissa. Lo siento. I’m feeling lazy today.)


I wish with all of my little heart that I was keeping a better diary. Because I’m not. I get home and desires to actually do things other than sleep are nonexistent. It’s not there. Detailed journaling should be my goal for my last nine months. If I miraculously find a huge boost of will power, I’ll start on that. (But let us be realistic, my friend.)

I’ve also started running. Granted, I have neither beach nor great air, but I’ve somehow been waking up at 6:15 in the morning and running about in a dilapidated park outside my house for various days in a row, so I think all should be highly, highly impressed. My companion is a bit obsessed about losing weight, because we’ve gotten really good at gaining weight.

Speaking of companions. We had a bit of a spat. We’re going on our third exchange together. That’s roughly five months. We’re mostly good, but she’s. . . let us say  OCD in regards of cleanliness. I accept that I’m not generally an expert in hyperclenliness, but I swear I’ve gotten tons better. Regardless, sometimes she has mini-melt downs. But worry not. We have our bad moments, but mostly we’re good.

It also turns out that my witty Peruvian turns out to be a bit of a crazy, witty Peruvian. I’m not quite clear on how crazy she is yet, because I have learning gaps in my Spanish, and swear words just aren’t part of my daily vocabulary. I sort of forgot that swear words existed for these last months, and this week I remembered that they were a thing. Anyways, let’s just say that sometimes she makes a bit of a ruckus in our class of Gospel Principles this Sunday. I had the strangest urge to study swear words all day yesterday. . .  

We also discovered our convert binge drinking.  All day long, she drank and drank and drank. We were a bit crushed, but understood that new converts often have relapses in regards   of the word of wisdom. What really got us was when her three year old son ran up to us in the street bragging about how he’d been smoking. And we were like, ‘Well. Children smoking in the streets.’  We were a bit bummed. We told Elder Gatoa about this catastrophe, and he laughed and said, ‘Don’t worry, she’s celebrating her 2 months in the church.’ Hardly, har. 

I wish I was there to have helped you move. I know how hard it is. How detestable it is. I’m glad you like the house. It’s  lovely, no?

I’ve felt insufferably tired this week. Probably a direct result of running all week. I think if I keep it up, the exhaustion will go away, but goodness I’m tired. Nine months of this teaching thing and one gets tired. I have days where I just want to be buried in blankets and beds and never surface. But I don’t, because that’s not the way of things here.

 I think the cure would be a mom hug.

Hey, by the way, I know you haven’t sent my package yet, because I know how things work in our house, but that’s okay because I’ve thought of things I need.

  1. New garments would be nice.
  2. There are those ballerina socks that I bought at Wal-Mart. They don’t sell them here, and the superficial part of me that doesn’t like smelly feet needs them.
  3. Licorice. Please send me licorice. I need it in my life.
  4. Anything else you´re willing to send.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Love you all, chao

Loan shark; witty, snarkiness; Hope for Humanity

Dear mom,

This week has been good. We have two families that are progressing well, and who’re amazing. The work is well. We send our laundry to a lady in the ward who washes and folds it. The food we have to buy, but we usually buy it in the Center, because it’s the only place where there’s decent fruit for sale. I’m feeling really lazy today, so I’m going to copy and paste part of a letter I sent to Marissa that talks a bit about an Hermana in the ward and one of our new families.

Okay, here it is.

Speaking of real life experiences that could totally be in a movie, I’ve been meaning to tell you about Mama Betty. Mama Betty is a sister in the ward who is our unofficial caretaker. She periodically invites us over to eat real, live cheese, which would be pretty cool in the USA, but here it’s three times as cool. But what’s coolest about Mama Betty is that she’s a slightly overweight, well kempt, middle aged woman who is a personal loan shark. Well, maybe not a loan shark, but when we went go out to proselyte with her at night, she always had to leave at seven o’clock sharp, and walk off into the night. And it turns out she gives out loans to people. And picks people up in the night in motokars to remind them about their debts and drops them off at street corners. She may be one of the coolest people I’ve ever met.

I’ve also met the wittiest Peruvians ever. Wit doesn’t seem to be very high on the priority list down here in the Amazon, but I’ve found them. They’re this really fantastic couple that we’re going to marry in July. She’s whip sharp, this woman. Hermana Blanka. She’s hilarious, and we met her through Mama Betty. Hermana Blanka sells fish on a table outside her house to pay off her debts, and Hermano Cesar is a motokar driver. They bicker all the time, but they bicker about the silliest things, and then they actually start to get mad, and my companion and I are dying of laughter on their couch, and at the end of everything, they’re like, ‘Well. We have to leave now. We’re going to go on a ride around the park and eat ice cream. Chao.’  

They’re like this big haze of insta-love. I just adore them. So much. They’re so snarky.

But I adore you lots, Mom, and I’m glad that you’re taking Sam with you for all the good stuff. He makes a loyal little friend, no? Tell Richard and AesaLina hi from me. And tell Keith Happy Father’s Day. I sort of forgot that that was a thing, if we’re being honest.

Also. Scripture of the week DyC 50: 40-42. It helps me when I’m low on my Hope for Humanity juices.

Hasta Lunas,

p.s. Tenemos cambios hoy. Escribiré a decirles si me voy o si me quedo. 

Gato & Leon; Fishing in the Amazon; Thanks, Grandpa!

Dear Mother,

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—I’m so spoiled. But tell Grandpa thanks for the clothing donation. I’ll try and put it to good use.

The missionary work continues. We’ve had a new change recently in the mission that people need to attend church three times before they can be baptized. Before it was twice, so now it’s a month long preparation for people. We have monthly goals for how many people we’ll baptize, and so it’s been a bit rougher lining people up to attend church and then be baptized within this month. Let’s just says it’s only the ninth of June and we already know we won’t be baptizing any new people.

That said, we did have a baptism this Saturday. An adorable little lady named Elisa, and I swear she’s just an aged, Peruvian version of AesaLina. With 12 children. And goodness, how I love her. If everyone had the heart of this lady. . . well, it would be a really good thing. She’s an amor. She’s more punctual than we are Sunday mornings, and showed up for her baptism at four o’clock in the afternoon when it actually started at seven. She’s such a sweet heart.

As for contacting and teaching people, people here don’t really close their doors, and because it’s so blistering, humidly hot everyone just sits outside on their dirt porch fanning themselves. We mostly walk by and start talking to them. I was thinking yesterday how this is so not like me, to just walk up and be like, ‘Hey, can I talk to you for a minute about the gospel of Jesus Christ?’ This is not like me, but it’s now quite normal. I actually did knock on doors once. Well, one door. It ended pretty awkwardly, so now I just stick to people who are outside their houses.   

We have a new elder in our ward whose name is Elder Gato. His companion is Elder Leon. Elder Cat and Elder Lion. You have no idea how much they are mocked, but they play it up. Anyways, Elder Gato was in my first zone, and knew me when I arrive in Iquitos, and he was like, ‘Do you still speak English? Wait, do you even remember English?’ And I thought about it and I was like, ‘No. No, I do not.’ So I’ve officially forgotten English, more or less. I think this is a good thing.

That is a picture of me carrying my companion’s laundry up the three flights of stairs in our apartment. It was about as painful as it may look.  Why I had her laundry and she was taking photos, I don’t really remember.

This week there’s a photo of a river. I can now say I went fishing in the Amazon River. Well, it wasn’t actually the Amazon River, and I didn’t actually catch anything, but I have a photo, so I say it counts. Not that the photo does it justice. What you can’t see are the floating hut houses where people live or the sky here that stretches and stretches on and on and on . . . it’s ridiculously beautiful here, by the way.  

I’m sorry I’m not there to help you pack everything up. But you and I know that I probably wouldn’t be that much of use anyways. Please attempt to keep my things mine, and not gradually siphoned off into the hands of Nathan, Sam, and Joy. I know how this younger sibling thing works. I’ve been there.  

Please keep walking 45 minutes a day. I’ll feel a bit better when I’ve been walking for three in the afternoon till nine at night. I always feel a bit happier when I’m not suffering alone.

But seriously, tell Grandpa thanks and that he’s so appreciated. I feel ridiculously blessed in that everything’s put nicely in my hands whenever I lack. I’ll go buy a skirt in honor of Grandpa, yeah?

Love you all,

Hna. Compton

P.S. Today I complete eight months out of the house. Whoot!


A castle

Dear Mom,

Richard’s buying a castle. They told you it was a house, but that is a castle. Like, a castle.Tell them felizidades.

I hope Keith’s feeling better. Tell him to take a day off. He’s going to only get worse if he doesn’t take it easy.

Various things happened this week. Elder Argentina went home this week with almost nine months in the mission. It was a very strange and painful process to watch a happy Elder turn into a withdrawn teenager. I remembered quite clearly that the majority of us are all quite young the other day. I don’t know how, but sometimes I forget that.

I’m pretty bummed to be missing Sam’s birthday. Tell him hi, and that I miss him, and hope that he has a great birthday tomorrow. Joy says you guys went to classic skating the other day. I got her letter. Her handwriting is officially better than mine now.

If I’ve spent what might look like an inordinate amount of money this week, it’s because, well, I needed things. Like shampoo, and fried rice, and other things I didn’t actually, actually need. But I’ll also be buying clothes within this month, I believe, because my clothes are now officially dying. I’ve been keeping some things put together with my little

sewing kit that you and I bought that day in Wal-Mart, Ma, but I think the time has come to splurge a little.  

(But seriously, a CASTLE!)

The work is going. We have a baptism of an adorable lady that has twelve kids. She refers to them as her 12 disciples. I love her so much. She’s named Elisa.

They’re officially taken out almost all the puentes, and a muddy wake is left in its path. It stinks horribly.

We have transfers the 16 of June. June. How is it already June? How did that happen, exactly? I don’t understand how it’s June. But yeah, we have transfers the 16 of June, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they sent me out of the city of Iquitos to one of the smaller cities. We’ll see.

Love, Melody