Kacy talks about what it was like leaving the CCM and entering the actual mission field in his first area:
Elders Villegas, Navarro, Trelles, and I, along with Hermana Tracy, got on our bus to Lima Central with the mission assistants. I was sad to see the rest of my amigos go, and I could probably talk about just about everyone in my branch, but I´ll leave it at that for now. So the first thing we all noticed was that the assistants both frequently used the word ¨bacan,¨ which is basically slang for dope, and which our CCM teachers told us never to use. I figured they told us that so we wouldn´t act immature in front of investigators and stuff, but it was still weird.
When we made it to the president´s office, we had some last-minute training, had an interview with the president (who seemed like a pretty cool guy), ate some pollo a la brasa and selva negra, and split up with our trainers. Elder Villegas and Elder Trelles ended up in the same district in Rimac, and Elder Navarro ended up in Limatambo. I ended up in San Martin de Porres with my companion, Elder Navarro (the elder, you might say). He´s from Cochabamba, Bolivia, and prior to the mission, he was quite the ladies´ man. He used to dance in a famous group in a bunch of different clubs, and he would get hundreds every night he performed. However, he ended up getting sent to Bolivian boot camp, where he learned to eat raw dog meat and trained to be a sniper and knife fighter. After his training, he apparently got super fat (not my observation, this is what he and everyone else tells me), and his old dance group wouldn´t take him back. He is in the process of getting in shape again, and he plans to form a better dance group with some of his homies.
Anyway, we took a taxi to San Martin, where I took my bags into our room, went on sort of a tour of that part of the city, and went into an internet house, where I wrote my first letter of the mission field. Shortly after that, I met Aldo, an investigator who has a girlfriend in the ward and was preparing for baptism. He said he had a lot of stuff he wanted to change in his life, and he´d been in that repentance process through several missionary companionships. I ended up giving him the baptismal challenge, which he accepted. He ended up getting baptized that same Saturday by my companion.
Everything else that has happened over the past few weeks has just been trying to memorize the streets (still no luck on that one), getting to know members and less-actives, and working and studying a lot to contact and teach people. Right now, we´re focusing on strengthening our relations with the ward members, since so far we haven´t been receiving many referrals and very few ward members can accompany us to lessons. That last point is super important because we have a lot of lessons with women whose houses we can´t enter unless we have another guy over 18 with us.
Just this Saturday we had another miraculous baptism. A few weeks ago, my companion and I were fasting for investigators to attend church, and lo and behold, we met Claudia. She had been taking lessons from the missionaries in San Juan de Lurigancho, where she came to know the gospel through a friend´s family. She´s been attending institute for over a year, and she´s been attending missionary prep classes as well. The missionaries here call those kinds of people ¨Cornelios¨ because they´re like Cornelius from the New Testament: ready for baptism. I had the honor of performing the ordinance of baptism, and my companion confirmed her with the Holy Ghost the next day. The work is progressing, and we´re working hard to hasten it.
The Church is true, boys and girls. I know it, you know it, and if you don´t know it, you can. Moroni 10:3-5
p.s. Luckily I haven´t had to eat any aceitunas (matagringo, they call them).
p.p.s. We´re having a lesson this Saturday with a 7th-Day Adventist who thinks he can Bible-bash us. I´m not one for arguing the Bible, since the Bible can be weird and arguing the Bible does nothing to bring the Spirit into people´s lives, but maybe we can politely convince him of the error of his ways and help him become humble enough to receive our message. My companion once Bible-bashed an anciano of the Jehovah´s Witnesses (apparently that´s equivalent to a Seventy in the Church) and ended up humbling him enough that he was baptized. This Adventist guy interprets the Bible very strangely. He thinks that Saturday is still the Sabbath because the law of Moses is still in effect, yet he only follows that law as far as it is convenient for him, and he thinks that God doesn´t answer prayers. Oh well. His church isn´t the weirdest in Peru.