Refresco; Tachacho (fried bananas); ham that’s NOT ham

dress

Dear Mother,

Your youngest child has written me and informed me that he’s started 5th grade. I have advised him to stop eating his vegetables and taking his vitamins, because he cannot be taller than me when I get back. I dropped him off at the bus every day for kindergarten. This cannot be. He’s. . . growing.

In other news, everything´s swell over here in Peru. You know one has been in their area too long when a) your converts are now Less Actives and b) your converts don’t get along with your other converts/investigators. Apart from that, everything really is quite alright. Training is going splendidly. Hna. Ruiz has not proven to be in any way psychotic or difficult to communicate with. Blessedly sane.

You should always, always do family home evening. It could be something so cool. I’m going to do it when I get back. Super Cool Family Home Evening.

(I see Joy has my pants on in this photo. I’m squinting really scathingly right now.)

joy Aurora

Anyways.

This week was really hot. What else did I do. . . ? Oh! I ate rice. And chicken. And potatoes. Aunt Cynthia is a little weird—love you, Aunt Cynthia!—and always writes me about food, so I guess that’s something you guys might want to know about, right? Well, to clarify something that I myself didn’t know before my mission—not all Latinos eat beans? This was news. So, beans here are usually regarded with slight horror for the majority of the people. There are a few here and there that serve it, but the majority of the food here is rice, bananas—green, yellow, fried, mashed, cooked, baked, boiled—potatoes, chicken, and fish. I say fish, and that’s kind of general, but fish is officially my favorite. I don’t really like chicken, and in its place I eat fish. River fish. My favorite. Everything’s fried here, but sometimes grilled in jungle tree leafs, occasionally boiled. Other favorite is something called Tacacho. This is fried bananas mashed into a ball. I don’t know why I like it so much. But it’s more delicious mashed.

The people here also drink high amounts of. . . refresco? I don’t know what it’s called in English. Not juice. Like. . . real juice? I don’t know. They have a bunch of fruits only found in the jungle parts, so they make a. . . refresco. . .that’s lighter than juice. Water and the juices of the fruits. What’s that called in English? Does that have a name? I don’t even know.

There almost isn’t bread here. There is, but it’s not eaten very much. The breakfasts here are really weird, and it took me a while to adjust. Breakfast is a piece of bread with an over fried egg or The ‘Ham’ that is NOT ham. Or sometimes a hotdog that’s dyed so pink it stains. Yup. 

Aveces en cuando, como verduras. A cucumber or tomato occasionally pop up, but I gave up on real vegetables about five months back, and i’ve seen little signs of hope since. 

Anyways. Really weird food rundown. Your welcome, future Peruvian serving missionaries. And Aunt Cynthia.

Love you all tons.

Hna. Compton

(Surprise double letter. A letter I sent to Marissa that I felt you’d enjoy to have. Love you tons, Ma.)

It sounds like you’ve been braving some emotional things all summer—growing emotionally and stuff. That would be so good to do. I should think about doing that sometime. Especially in relation to siblings and stuff.

This month has been an interesting one. I’m training, which is cool, and she’s cool, so I definitely don’t feel like I’m dying, but I have had a bit of a wave of. . .disanimo? What’s that word? Discouragement? That sounds too strong. I don’t know. Of tiredness. Of a weariness.

Sometimes I sit down and I don’t want to get back up and I’m like, ‘I don’t want to. This is hard. People are difficult. I’m tired. 11 months. Too much.’ And I can almost feel Christ taking time out of his day to give me the stink-eye. Like,’ Hard? Hard? Don’t even talk to me about hard. I suffered the pains of all of humanity and died on a cross. Get back to work, missy.’ But super-selfish, humanly, natural man, all that stuff, and sometimes I don’t get out of my chair.

Someone once told me about an article comparing Christ with the modern missionary—it wasn’t you, was it? Embarrassing.—and about how he walked from city to city to share the gospel, and about how we walk the streets of our area for month after month. We walk with a bag on our shoulder and back and for forth we go, from house to house, the same eight blocks over and over. There’s a scripture in Alma 26: 27, 29, 31 that I read and I feel a bit better about life. I actually don’t know what this paragraph is about, now that I re-read it. Sorry about that.

Also, time’s up, have to go, chao, love you tons.

P.S. Also forgot to tell you about super cool experience.

This week I saw a man outside of his house coming his little boy’s hair. Strong impression to talk to him, one which I didn’t act upon. Later that day I returned to the house to knock on the door, but no one was there.

Next night, returned and the family was there. The dad is a less active and the mom isn’t member, but she said she was waiting for some change, for a way to feel closer to God, but she didn’t even know where to start. Definitely felt like Heavenly Father was like, ‘That one. That one’s ready.’ 

P.S.S. Wow, my English is bad. 
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Delicious hearts of cow; grammar’s going to be the death of me

rain cow heartsmelodywithkids

Dear Mom,

This week was good. I believe. Everything goes by pretty quickly. I sort of forget to remember important things during the week. I should feel worse about that than I do, so I’m here to send photos to help ease the pain. Not a ton, mind you. But some.

All goes well with the new companion. She’s pretty chill, which makes me happy, because I’m pretty chill. She’s from the coast of Peru, and doesn’t like the fish here because it’s river fish and not ocean fish.

So we’ve been preparing the Magali for baptism, the young single mother with a handful of children, only now there are problems because the catholic school which the kids attend now say that if they’re baptized, they’re going to stop giving them lunch in school, and sometimes this the only meal of the day for these kids. So. . . it’s all been a bit complicated.

Note: I’ve sent you all various photos sin captions, so I’ll give you a basic rundown of things happening.

We went to look at a river one day,

Ate hearts of cow (delicious, by the way) with my wonderful friend, Hna. Rojas, companera anterior.

Baptized a family

Mopped up water from said baptism

Ate aguaje, a rather interesting fruit-like thing

Got rained on

Wrapped my head in a dress to stave off the crippling heat

Good luck matching it all up.

I feel like I have more to tell you but I don’t think I actually do. . .sorry.

Until next week, family.

P.S. My District Leader called me today and later told me he was confused because he thought he was talking with Hna. Ruiz. He says my Spanish has improved, which I think is false. I can just fake a good accent, but my grammar’s going to be the death of me.

P.S.S. What I would do to eat not-previously frozen, shipped fruit. Plums. Raspberries. Que glorious.

Casi olvidé a decirte–recibí mi package. Chutas, don’t know how to spell that in Spanish. But I recieved it about, oh, two weeks ago. Thank you very much. Started taking the parasite pills and my hunger levels suspiciously evaporated. . .

Super Cool Week; feeling useful

Super cool week!

Super cool week for various reasons.

Reason Number 1:

Friday Morning

This Friday I started the day marrying a family. It was chaos all this week running from one end of this blasted island to the other for all the paperwork we had to do. At eleven o´clock the couple signed papers, kissed, and were declared legally married.

Reason Number 2:

Friday Afternoon

My Zone Leader called me and told me I had to be in the Iquitos General Hospital at two o´clock sharp to translate. I was like, ‘Translate? Translate what? I don’t speak Spanish or English anymore. You can’t put me in a hospital to translate because what if I mess up and somebody dies?

Obviously this was an overly dramatic response and I arrived at the hospital to find a bus full of The Gringos. They were second year medical students from Michigan State, and they’d put up a free medical clinic to help the good people of Iquitos. The only problem was, was that only three or four of them actually spoke Spanish. That was where we suddenly became important.

Two by twos, all the missionaries that spoke English—be they from the U.S. or Latinos who studied it—glued ourselves to a Doctor and went around roughly translating everything. I got stuck in the general part of the clinic which consisted of really old ladies coming in saying that their bones hurt or that their eyesight is bad. There were various whom we had to just tell that, ‘Well. These things are really normal for people of your age. Here’s a multivitamin and some TUMS.’

But it was mostly cool because I got to look at white people all day, and while I do realize that sounds really, really strange, it’s true. I looked at their hair—various red-heads—and their eyes—beautiful—and I listened and sympathized with their blunt, clumsy Spanish.

And if I’m being really, really, really honest, I just felt useful. I’d completely forgotten what it feels like to have people appreciate so much something I do. But that would be a really egotistical part of me talking, so I’m going to change the subject now.

Reason Number 3:

Saturday Night

We baptized at family. A mom and a dad and three of the six children. We baptized them and everything was really hard but also really worth it. If I’ve been walking around like a zombie for the last twenty-four hours, it’s because I’m exhausted.

Apart from all those cool things, everything is going well with the training. I’m learning a lot, and she’s pretty capable. She was a life saver when we did the papers for the wedding because legal terms just aren’t part of my daily vocabulary, you know? But as for what we do all day. . . well that would be a good question. I don’t really know. I wake up and I eat and I study and then I go from house to house, place to place, teaching and organizing and meetings and papers and other things. Missionary things. I don’t know. I have ten months out here and I really have no idea where the time is going. That’s actually one of the goals this month—figure out How to Slow Time Down or How to Manage My Time Better. I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

Lima Norte, eh? Iquitos was part of Lima Norte antes, but now it’s separated. I only know that they’re big on numbers—good numbers, bad numbers, things like that. There are tons still going out in the mission, right? Sometimes I forget the world is still going on over there.

Well. Until next Monday

Hermana Compton

Hma. Ruiz; gum in my hair; Hola Br. Blackmore

Aug 4, 2014

Dear Mom,

Life sounds blessedly tranquil over there in the US. How glorious that would be to relax outside with you and Keith pulling weeds. . . Promise to save me some for when I get back. I forget what it feels like to touch dirt without mild germ fear racing through me.

Well, how went my week? I started training Hermana Ruiz from Piura, a place of Peru that is beaches and fish and sun. She’s a good little soul.

Algo mas? Well, les quento. This week, a Wednesday night, I believe, I was in the house of a very loved family, teaching, content with my work, actively ignoring their little boy loudly calling my name next to me. He started playing with my hair, singing songs, and doing everything in his power to have my full attention, of which I did not give.

Finally, discouraged, he stopped playing with my hair and sat quiet.

At the end of the lesson, he gently tugged on my arm and whispered, ‘Hermana, I stuck my gum in your hair.’ With any other five year old Peruvian child, I would have shrugged it off as a joke, but with Ronni, this particular powerhouse of hyper active energy, I knew better. Low and behold, upon raking my hands through my hair, I encountered a medium sized piece of gum well-stuck in my hair.

The only option was to cut it out, and thus we did, right then and there.

I send photos to testify of this catastrophe.

Apart from hair cutting events, we’re preparing another family to be baptized this weekend. The eighth, we’re marrying them, and the ninth baptizing them. They’re a good sized family—the parents and the six kids. They’re a really humble family—economically and spiritually.

Miracle of the week. Well, of the month, really. We’ve been teaching a young mother of six children off and on for about three months now with little signs of progress seen. (She later admits that she only accepted us out of mild courtesy.) One Friday night we invited her to a family home evening that a member was holding, and she agreed to come. We watched the video of Joseph Smith and the Restoration with her, and she had the most confused look on her face about the whole thing.

And then she started going to church on her own, and accepting us with more grace, and, at the end, agreed to be baptized the 23 of August, because she felt something that night. She says that it’s true. She says she just felt it. True. It’s all true. She’s a bit scared, because her Mother nor her children aren’t all that happy about it, but she’s quite a strong little thing.

So that was my week. Started training. Another miracle. Cut a part of my hair. New companion.

Love you all.

Hna. Compton

PS. I see my Peruvian friends have officially found my facebook.

PSS. Had a group of new missionaries hit the field right? One of them came up to me and was like, ‘My dad reads your blog.’ That was embarrasing. Hola, Brother Blackmore. I know you’re out there.

Insecurities; Training

Dear Family,

Today we have transfers—well, better said, tomorrow we have transfers.
Today we find out about transfers. And I now know that they’re sending
off Hermana Ponton, my most loyal friend–and occasional enemy–of
Peru. She’s going to Pucallpa and I’m being given the lovely
opportunity to train a new missionary.

Training.

I’m so full of my insecurities right now.

What if I get her killed? What if she doesn’t like me? What if I can’t
understand anything that’s going on and I botch everything up? Don’t
they know I’m prone to making questionable choices? For example, I
have a sweater on right this momento! Questionable! I’m sweating so
profusely right now!

But we all know I’m really good at supressing panic attacks, so worry not.

This week was a little bit of a blur. Well. This month has been a blur
really, so I don’t really know what it is I should tell you about.
Spanish has been a bit shaky this week. I hit little planks of
spanish progress, and I think I’m in one right now. The weather has
been overcast and sunny at the same time. This is the worst because
there’s blistering sun with high humidity. But it’s going to rain
later today, because this is the way of the selva.

(Note: There is no spell check in this computer. I’m so, so sorry,
everyone. Please don’t think badly of me.)

Why on earth did we never go to the Redwood forest when I was in the
state of California? I’m so jealous right now.

Love, Melody

Prideful parent moment; level Adult

melodyDear Mom

I’m here to share the marvelous, glorious news of the pair of witty Peruvians that we baptized last week—Blanca and Cesar. Well. Hna. Blanca now has a calling as Primary President. I don’t think I’ll be able to express how happy this makes me. Because it makes me really, really happy. Like, whenever I have a bad thought, or want to just sit down, ‘No, no. Hermana Blanca now takes care of the children.’ And everything’s okay. I think it’s somewhat like watching your own child accomplish great things. A Prideful Parent moment.

But seriously. It makes me unnaturally happy. So happy. This explains why, when they were receiving the lessions, anything that possibly could go bad, went bad. Satanas! Was working to stop them for getting baptized, I just know it.

Other than that, I’ve had a few rather interesting epiphany moments these last few days. One: I’m a horribly disorganized person. This was a pretty hard blow for me, for some reason. I feel like everyone’s been telling me this for a really long time, but I’ve always just, well, ignored them. But it hit home this time. But I think it was disorganized coupled with incapable or something like that, and I felt bad for a day. But now that I’ve come face to face with parts of me that I don’t like, I feel like I can take that part of me and try to fix it. Or upgrade it. Or make it a little better. But goodness, growing pains are. . . well. A pain. Like exercise, but decidedly worse.

Other than that, nothing has really happened. The last four and a half months with Hna. Ponton have literally disappeared so quickly. We have transfers next Monday. While I don’t really understand how everything’s going by so quickly—running theory that time runs differently on this side of the equator—I feel like I’m getting a little bit done, at least.

I also cut my hair this week, which I felt like was a rather brave, grown-up moment. Just the split ends, mind you, but I felt like it was a big moment.

I’ve also taken—wait for it—to folding my own laundry. I know. I’ve now reached level adult, Mom. You must be proud of me.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve also sent photos this week, so I feel like I’m getting a lot done in my seventy-five allotted minutes of internet time.

Hna. Compton

P.S. Package? Socks? Please reasure me that I am loved.