Monday, April 28, 2014

Its raining. Its pouring. My companion is snoring

My dear family and friends,
First off, my companion doesn't actually snore, it was just a convenient ending to a catchy subject. But he does teach lessons in my sleep. I told him that during this first cambio, if I start teaching lessons in my sleep that he is definitely the best trainer there has ever been in the mission field. It hasn't happened yet, but maybe I'll learn to teach in my sleep further down the road. 

The true part was the raining and pouring. Let me tell you about flash floods. I never believed in flash floods until it started to rain on Tuesday. Fast forward about 3 hours and there weren't streets any more in our little area of La Merced. There were rivers. Not streams, rivers. Elder Chavez and I, being the 19 and 22 year olds that we are, decided to go.... ´Teach Lessons´ a little earlier.... Well... no. I can't lie. We went to go play in the rain. We were running around when we met up with the other 2 missionaries in our area who were also ´teaching lessons´ a bit early too. After about 5 minutes of walking we realized this was a great opportuinity to serve. At first this was all fun and games but we soon realized how dangerous it was becoming. The first scary thing was seeing a young girl walking in about ankle deep water and falling into a drop off of 2 or more metros. Luckily there was someone to jump in and help here. At this point I realized how real flash floods are. We were walking trying to find people to help when we turned a corner and saw a school with kids ages 5 up to about 12 or so. They were stuck in their school and needed to cross a large street which was the only way to get home for most of them. This street, just like most others, was a river. About waist deep for me, and very fast, and very strong. We decided this is where we needed to be. For the next 3 hours we carried every one of the school kids acorss this river. I can't begin to describe this to you all. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, but the most humbling thing too. I was so scared the whole time and I can't imagine what the little kids were thinking. I could see the fear in these peoples eyes. These kids were helpless but we had the chance to help them. With each trip back and forth, I was more and more tired, my legs felt like giving out at every moment but I know we had help from the other side. The Lord loves every one of his children and miracles are real. At one point a taxi, up the road a ways, got caught in the current and lost traction. It came rushing towards us as we were carrying these kids across. I dont think Iv'e ever been so scared. Luckily everyone got out of the way and no one was hurt. Miracles are in our lives every day. Some bigger than others, but the important thing is to learn to see them.

We got home that day, ate lunch and slept until the next morning. Talk about being tired. But the rest of the week was amazing. The crazy thing about flash floods is the next day, just as fast as they came, they are gone. The streets were a bit wet but all the water was gone. We worked hard and had a successful week. 

 Some interesting things happend this week. One, I witneesed a Rooster Fight. People here raise roosters to fight other roosters... I didn't know this was a real thing when Elder Chavez told me about it. I thought he was kidding but nope. Its real. Also this week a family in our ward gave me one of their shirts that they make for their job. Its a Tommy Hillfiger but a fake one. Everyone has super expensive designer clothes here but they are all just home made with the name brand on the front. Hermana Jimenez (the mom in the family) told me she can see a shirt with a brand on it for double or triple. And it costs her about 50 cents more to put the brand on. Its crazy. But its still pretty cool that I have a shirt homemade. 

I had my first encounter this week with someone who didn't speak spanish too. She was probably 150 years old but she only spoke Quechua. It was so hard to communicate. I think I had more luck talking to her when I switched to my English. Which right now is as bad as my Spanish. I'm in the middle where I can't speak spanish and I haven't heard English out loud in a long time so I'm terrible at that too. I hope this changes. I don't have any funny mess ups with my spanish but Elder Chavez had a hard time this week with the word pizza. He asked me if I liked ´peexa´and I had no idea what he was talking about. He then repeated it several times which didn't help at all becase it sounded the same every time. Then I finally figured it out and realized he was saying pizza. I told him how it should be pronounced and he couldn't hear the difference. It was nice to be on the other side of the language barrier when it wasn't me who couldn't hear the difference between 2 words in spanish!

 As far as lessons go this week, we had a hard time. Its so hard to get people to fulfill their commitments and its so hard to get people to actually be home when they say they would. Our baptism and matrimonio fell through again. They had a big fight and now they don't want to get married. We as missionaries can't do anything to sort out their personal problems so all we can do is pray for them which trust me, we have been. We did though meet a family who came to church. She is a mother of 3 ages 12, 10, and 3. Her husband claims he doesn't want to listen and hear about the gospel but we told her don't worry, we are going to change that :) Her kids loved church and she loves the teaching every week in sunday school and they want me to teach them piano lessons too. I'm excited for the future here in this area. Great things are happening. 
I had my first. I miss home a lot moment this week. We were walking down a street towards a members home where a huge family lives. A mom and dad, their 3 kids and their 12 or so grandkids. The grandkids love the missionaries and they were playing down the street a ways when they saw us walking toward them. They all came running and screaming. I could see in each one of their smiles, Melanie, Ethan, and Carly. I just about lost it there in front of a bunch of little kids. That would have been embarrassing. They are so precious and so loving just like everyone back home. It made me miss you all, but at the same time it made me feel like I'm part of a different family here. I love them all like family. But don't worry mom, I still miss you guys. 

 The work is going forward, and its amazing to see the Lord work in different ways to open the hearts of people to hear the Gospel. I love you all. I miss you all. I pray for you daily. Keep the Lord first in  your life, and you will be blessed more than you can imagine. Hurrah for Israel! 

 Con amor,

Elder Gehring

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