Tuesday, December 30, 2014

As you can probably guess from the subject line......It was a fairly uneventful week...

We had 3 P-day's which was fantastic......hahaha like really awesome. But other than that.....things went along like normal.

On Tuesday we had a giant Christmas party, where half the mission got together in our stake center and we had a giant party! We had a nice Christmassy dinner, played soccer, and watched skits that the other zones put together (We had one too, but it was absolutely terrible and I'd rather not re-live it by describing it in this e-mail). We had a secret Santa too! I got a giant bottle of C-fruit (think giant bottle of sunny D) and A bunch of cookies! It was a pretty generic gift, but I honestly couldn't have been happier!

Anyway....that was the Christmas party, and then on Christmas eve, we just kind of wandered around from house to house eating fruitcake (I didn't think it actually existed until I came her...) and hot chocolate. Until we eventually stayed in one house and watched fireworks from their roof, going home at about 1 in the morning (with permission from the president of course).

And then Christmas day we hung out in the mission leaders house and got to skype our families! So, that was incredibly awesome!!!

I hope you all can take a moment before this year is over to appreciate your families!

And I also hope you can forgive me for this scattered e-mail! (I'll do better next week)!

I love you all!!!

Happy New Year!! !!

-Elder Winn



                                                                    Mission Seal

With Luana on Christmas

Monday, December 22, 2014

Not a whole ton to talk about this week, but it was awesome!

To start off, this past Saturday the ward put on a play of "A Christmas Carol"

Elder Isaguirre was Scrooge, I was the ghost of Christmas present, Villarruel was the ghost of Christmas past, and Elder Fitzmorris was the ghost of Christmas Future.

We practiced all this week, it turned out really well, we had about 200 people come! It was funny and fairly well put together! We had a lot of fun! I'll make sure to send all the pictures next week!!

As for Christmas.....it's weird here. It's the middle of summer, 80 degrees, and sunny everyday. But that doesn't stop them from drinking hot chocolate....so far I think I've eaten 1 metric ton of fruitcake and about 10 gallons of hot chocolate.....aside from the weather though....it's about the same....they still have Christmas Tree's, and presents....it's certainly odd....

Finally, I'll tell you about La Cachina.

You know how we've all heard about "The Black Market" but it's more of just a myth kind of thing?

No it's not.

Hahahaha "la Cachina" is this magical place where they sell everything.....and like 90% of it's stolen so they sell it for almost nothing!!!

Anyway, that's where I got my camera, but I just as easily could have bought: An anaconda, a shopping cart, an Xbox, fried chicken, a telescope, or a gun.

Those are all things that I saw with a price tag at "La Cachina"......don't worry, I'm sure I'll be going back soon!

I love you all!!!! Have a Merry Christmas!!!

-Elder Winn

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014

So, this week we had a random baptism.....like, really random.

Last Sunday we were waiting in the hall after priesthood, when a woman comes up and asks us if we'll arrange a baptism for her grandson. We tell her we'd love to, but first we'll need to teach him all the lessons, and he'll have to come to church at least 2 more times.

She explains that that's not going to work, because he needs to be baptized before Saturday, because after that he goes back to his house in San Luis.

It then starts to make sense, she's his grandma, and wants us to baptize him this week before he can go home to his parents.

But we don't say anything to her, we tell her that we'll see what we can do, and we'd stop by later that day.

So after church, we stopped by.

Turns out, he'd had all the lessons before.......And he lived in the ward, he just went to school in San Luis.......And his parents lived in the same house and were members.

The only reason the baptism was urgent was because the Grandpa (who was going to baptize his grandson) was leaving to Argentina on a business trip Sunday morning.

Anyway......after a whole lot of talking we got it all straightened out. The Grandma was just terrible at explaining things, and we would have a baptism that Saturday.

Anyway, here's a picture of us with Pedro, all we did was have one gigantic 3 hour lesson with him :)


Carlos finally got his birth certificate!!!!!!!!!!

We're going to the municipality with them tomorrow. If all goes well we'll baptize them this Saturday.

It was honestly a miracle.

We went to his house after we'd heard the news and he said "Elders, you'll never believe it, I prayed and asked if this church was true, that I might receive all that I need to get married, and baptized."

"Elders, two days ago my old job paid me the two hundred soles they owed me from over 5 years ago. And just today my neighbor gave me one of her husbands’ old suits......All I'm missing now is the birth certificate”!

Words cannot describe the joy I felt when I told him "Actually Brother. ....We 've got your birth certificate right here".

It was an experience I'm never going to forget......

Which brings me to my last point......

 The people down here don't have a lot.....most of them don't even have roofs on their homes. I've seen a good share of dirt floors and plywood walls......but through all that. I've yet to meet a single member who wasn't willing to give it all for this gospel.....

Just the other week an investigator asked me if he had to be a member to pay tithing. And yet another asked if after tithing and fast offerings if there was another way he could give.

It's been completely amazing to see......Even when they don't have anything. These people are still willing to give.

Anyway; I love you all, and I hope you all remember, it is truly is better to give than to receive.

Elder Winn

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014
So, this was an incredibly exciting week!
It started off with changes. I know we were all hoping for a change, but alas, it was not meant to be.
But that's ok! I talked with Villarruel and I think now things are looking up!  Which brings me to my next point.
I have completely changed in the past 7 days.
I decided at the change meeting, right after I got assigned to Villarruel a second time; that I shouldn't just obey the rules, and go through the lessons because I have to, I should do all that because I want to. So, starting the next day, I woke up at 6:30 with a smile on my face, and have been happy since.  It's been rough on Villarruel keeping up with the new Elder Winn, but I think it's better this way!
Anyway, completely contrary to what I just told you. Here's this story.
There's this scene in "The Shawshank Redemption" When Andy Dufresne gets into the warden's office, locks the door, and starts blasting this Italian opera music over the loudspeaker.
Obviously the warden gets angry and screams at him to turn it off. He leans over, puts his hand on the volume knob.....and thinks, he then cranks the volume and reclines back in the warden’s chair with a smile on his face. Proud of the beauty he has created in this prison.
A member downloaded the soundtrack for me the other day (because he's a saint and my district leader gave me the go ahead) and I was listening to it in the shower, when that opera song comes on. So, I start laughing and appreciate it for all it's worth when Elder Villarruel says "What is this? Elder Winn this sounds terrible turn it off"!.....so I stick my hand out......put my finger on the volume and think......"What would Andy Dufresne do".....so I turn up the volume....then he starts pounding on the door, saying "Elder Winn, turn it down" perfectly recreating the scene from the movie. It was glorious.
(Dear family, feel free to edit this if you want, if you think that you shouldn't send it to everyone else, I understand....but I felt like you'd enjoy it. P.S. I told him about the movie afterwards and he laughed, we get along great now). 
As for today, we went to Larco Mar! It's all the beautiful pictures you see of Peru! Chances are, if you've googled images of Peru, 9/10 of them were from Larco Mar, it's right next to the ocean and it's absolutely beautiful! I would send you pictures if my camera hadn't have died......but yeah! We played beach soccer and essentially went window shopping! Not a bad day!
As for a spiritual update.
We're getting references left and right!
We've got Mirah, a 21 year old woman who has approximately an infinite number of questions about the gospel and who wants to learn it all.
David Y.-  a 15 year old who thinks the church is super cool and wants to be baptized.
Hermano S.- Who is the only non-member in his house and knows that the church is true. 
and Jorge and Carolina- who have had drug problems in their past and want to know if they can be forgiven.....
I don't know about you but those sound like future converts to me!!!
Hahahaha It's another change with Villarruel, but I'm as happy as can be!!! 
I love you guys more than anything!
-Elder Winn

Monday, December 1, 2014

Elder Winn and the Super-Incredible-Very-Good-Day

December 1, 2014
Thanksgiving in Peru, Elder Winn and the Super-Incredible-Very-Good-Day
Well as I'm sure you're well aware, this past week was Thanksgiving. I didn't even realize that it was Thanksgiving until 6:00 Thursday night when I was told that we would be fed by the members in a different ward! It was fantastic!!! 2 members who were very wealthy (comparatively that is) invited all the gringos in the zone, and their companions  (about 20 missionaries) to come to a Thanksgiving dinner! They prepared a turkey, potatoes, and fruit salad (made mostly of apples and mayonnaise, about as good as it sounds), accompanied by generous amounts of cake and Inca Cola. Everyone in the room said what they were grateful for. I said I was grateful for moments like these, that I would get to take home with me, the moments that are just so incredible you couldn't forget them if you tried..... haha it was just so ridiculously spiritual...... anyway, definitely the highlight of the week!!!
I'll have all you know that while I completely meant what I said that night, More than anything I'm grateful for all of you praying for me back home. I'm grateful for the memories that I have of all of you that I could take all of those memories with me on my mission!  And of course I'm eternally grateful for this wonderful gospel that has been restored to us.
Aside from the Thanksgiving, I had another incredible day this week.
This past Friday I went on interchanges with Elder Brown, our district leader, in his sector. I started off the day knowing 1 thing.
1. He had repeatedly told me that his sector is the worst. Nothing ever happens there.
But, I didn't really have a choice so I went anyway.
The day started off normal....studying, practices, praying, But then we left to go teach (Something that doesn't usually happen with Villarruel because we have language study and the first 12 weeks study in the mornings. Anyway, we went to a less active who hadn't gone to church in 10 years because her husband cheated on her with a different ward member who still goes there. (Yikes!). He said his hope was just to try and see if she still had a testimony.
She reluctantly let us in and we started talking, when her husband came in, and we were assaulted by waves of awkward. Clearly she had not forgiven him, they sat on complete opposite sides of the room and tried to berate each other with insults whenever we weren't talking......after about 5 minutes of this, Brown turned to her and said "Sister, We're going to pray, and after that prayer, we're either going to leave you two to continue arguing, or you will stop shouting long enough to let us teach you something". They stopped arguing and we proceeded to teach. Towards the end of the lesson, Elder Brown said "Look, the members in this ward are terrible (which they are, you wouldn't believe half the things that go on there). But that shouldn't stop you from partaking of the sacrament. If you don't take the sacrament and renew those baptismal covenants in all reality, you will be condemned......I affirmed what my companion had said and told her that we cared about her and we just wanted to see her there this sunday. That she should come for her desire to live according to how god wanted.
She agreed, and this Sunday after 10 years of inactivity she came to church.
We had 3 other lessons that day, each as spiritual and life changing for the investigators and less actives as that one had been.
It was probably the best day of my mission so far.....
Well, I'm grateful for all of you. Thanks for everything. I love you more than you could ever know.
Elder Winn