Wednesday, August 5, 2015

First Week in Peru

I left for Peru a day later than my scheduled departure because of plane delays, but then left smoothly (more or less) the following day. There was, unfortunately, a two-hour delay leaving from Atlanta to Lima, meaning I groggily made my way through Lima's airport at about 2 in the morning. I began to panic as I looked for the people who were supposed to pick me up. How would I contact them if they had forgotten the extra Elder who showed up a day late? As I stumbled forward out of baggage claim, someone asked in a thick accent if I was Elder Burt. Gratefully, I nodded si, and left with him and another man to a car waiting for me. As one of the men began to drive me through the darkened streets of Lima, I clung on to the sides as we careened through the streets with no speed limit or real traffic rules. Outside, the city's sleepless lurked in the doorways of pastel buildings. I again began to panic as I looked at my driver with his unkempt shirt and the cross hanging from his rearview mirror, not knowing a bit of English. Was I in the right car? Luckily, I was, and we arrived at the walled fortress of the CCM (missionary training center) at about 3 in the morning. It was a long night.

Here at the CCM, we eat rice and chicken for every. single. meal. No exaggeration, and luckily, I love it. I had a bunch of stories I wanted to share, but I'm actually running into overtime on the computer, so I'll keep it short.

Elder Burt and the Random Parade of Cats: We went to Interpol for fingerprints and such, and the place was infested with cats wandering about. We sat in the courtyard, feeling extremely foreign as we went through the lines getting our passports checked and whatnot. Sitting next to a man, I began in my broken Spanish to start a conversation. Luckily, it turned out he spoke English and so I gave a quick review of the first lesson, and he talked about his faith and whatnot. I placed my first pamphlet, so it felt great. I went to sit by the other Elders, who were reading as well as they could Spanish scriptures in the Book of Mormon. One of them looked nervous, and said, "You know what? I feel like we've gotta talk to that man over there. It's like Elder Holland said, right? We just have to open our mouths." They talked a lot and we felt victorious.

Life is good as a missionary. Life is BUSY as a missionary! Every moment of every day is well-utilized. I intended for a lot more details, but I'm out of time. I love you all! Write to me, please!