This is part three of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.
The building I am in has fourteen apartments in it I think. We live in the basement. Out the window we look into a hill which ramps up to the car dealership behind which you can’t really see because the hill is steep and tall. The Hilltop english ward is the exact same chapel as the rock gardens with a different color scheme. Our apartment is in the Hilltop Bay View complex. These computers are really locked down tight! Sarah’s email has a little bit of news for Mom. Tell her to get well.
The Malara family has three more weeks until their baptismal date. We taught them a third discussion yesterday. The Dad is really neat because he somehow managed to learn everything correctly from the Bible and already knows all of the doctrine. Usually if you run into someone that knows the Bible they fight every point and nothing gets accomplished. He is working on changing around his work schedule so he can come to church.
[Sarah,] what is happening at your work? Mom said you were working full time. Have you moved out of the grunt work yet? How is your new computer working? School started didn’t it? What classes are you taking? Do you have one more year left after this one? Ok, talk to you later.
I am well. The apartment locks the packages in a closet and puts the key in your locked mail box. My indoor soccer shoes are in there right? Put in my allen wrenches, the two sets that fold up into a metal handle if you can find them. The missionary work is good. This past week we had a big party in the Centro de Estacas, I think it is called the Inter-Stake Center in English, where all of the Spanish wards and branches in the mission came. There was a lot of food and a dance after. It was good, the Malara family came and my Colombian bike racer friend came with his two teenagers that are not members.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, we are going back to the ISC (interstake center) to watch the BYU ballroom dancing company. The Malara family is coming again and hopefully William the Peruvian will come too. The Colombian former professional bike racer is fun. His name is Don Carlos Vargas, a recent convert and 50 years old. My companion and I went on a bike ride with him. 48 miles with a 7 mile uphill at the end to the top of a mountain. It was tiring. I couldn’t keep up with Don Carlos but I came in a couple of minutes behind him, the first missionary to ever make it up the mountain at the end. Our branch president, President Gomez, as well as another member named Walter are the only ones from Chile. There are not very many people here from the countries that are well off like Chile and Argentina. Most of the members are from Mexico and El Salvador.
It drizzled for a couple of days, not too much rain. For Christmas send me those laptop speakers that Steven has with a power adapter and will run them and the cd player. If someone has an old one that will be perfect. I think Daniel has one that he might want to sell. If not there is one here for 12 dollars, nothing fancy, it only has to play the Book of Mormon cds. Also if you can find the Hymns in Spanish that would be really neat.
I can usually understand people pretty well if I focus. Like this Spanish guy who is talking to his friend sitting next to me using the computer. When I read I understand a lot. I’m not too bad at reading out loud, however, I don’t speak very well. Those pictures sound interesting, how did your camera work out? It has been good. We are currently teaching the Malara family and committed all three of them to baptism yesterday. We are also teaching William, Miguel, Eduardo, Jarbaf and Ayuso. I buy a little bit of food like bread milk and cereal but we usually have dinner with a member so I don’t need much. There is a Food Max across the highway that is close. I usually buy my cereal, bread, and milk from Costco. You just missed the letter I sent to Jake C, I’ll have to him to go to YSA next time. I’ll write it in my planner.
This week it was a little cold in the chapel when we got there. I didn’t think much of it and went to Sunday school. A few minutes later my companion called me out and we went to the heater room. He says to me,
We’ve got to get the some heat in that chapel before everyone leaves. The chapel was 57 degrees. I tinkered with the thermostat computer for a while until I figured out that everything was good to go on that end. I felt the vents and they were cold. I felt the pipes going into the heater and they were cold as well. We followed the pipes into the boiler room and the temperature gauges read 60 degrees, no hot water. I tinkered with the boiler a bit and got the pump motor to start humming but not turning. I pulled out my pen and jammed in in the shaft to start it turning and it fires up. I cut the heat to the rest of the building and had the chapel up to 68 degrees before sacrament meeting. It was good.
I like C better than Java. The Java class I had with Jaren was fun though. [Dad,] if you would spend a couple of minutes with your typing program every day you would be typing in no time. If you can learn to type without looking at your fingers you’ll be set. Everything goes a lot faster after you learn that. They are working on home teaching a lot in the branch here. Home teaching and tithing are holding it back from becoming a ward.
Every one has interviews with the president once a transfer. He asks how are you doing, ask Steven about them. Every 4th Sunday is missionary Sunday, I’ve only spoke at church that one time so far. I’ll ask around on the floor and let you know next week. A lot of the Elders have worked in construction before. Just one of those handheld CD players and my old alarm clock would be great. We are not supposed to have radios. Elder Jordan was fun. He was an electrician before and had to sell his house to come. They fixed the boiler this past week by putting a new motor on. It is on upside down but it is working well. I’m transferring to a new area tomorrow but I’m still in the same apartment. It is the area to the south of the one I am in right now. It covers Richmond and north Richmond. It should be fun, there are a lot more Spanish people there.
We had interviews with the president yesterday so we came today. I don’t know how voting works. It would be easier if you sent a cheap CD Walkman with the speakers of Steven’s and power adapters. I have plenty of money, but I don’t have a lot of time. Please send the projector alarm clock of mine with them as well. That would be great for Christmas. Also the Spanish hymns if you can find them. All of the Spanish people like Kerry better, they don’t seem to like Bush very much.
We go to a correlation meeting before church, then to Priesthood, after that gospel principles, and finally sacrament meeting. We are on the same schedule [as you] in the priesthood manual. When we showed up at the church for this last conference all we had was a TV with fuzz, they weren’t getting the signal. We played with the TV for a while until we found the right channel which said, You are not authorized to view this program. I went looking around for the satellite receiver and found it in a closet at the side of the stage. It was locked so I couldn’t do much with it but I called the support number on the side. All of the satellite support lines were full, I could only get a recording which mentioned that power-cycling the receiver usually fixes most problems. I found the breaker panel and started flipping switches until it lost power, fired it back up and like magic we had conference in the middle of the opening hymn. They still haven’t got the boiler fixed. We went early to church to start it going this past Sunday.
The baptism last Saturday went well. Hugo was baptized by Elder Smoot, Tanchito was baptized by me, and Jessica was baptized by Karl Miklich, her boyfriend’s dad. The family is doing well and are excited to do baptisms for the dead for their ancestors. Tanchito and Jessica were confirmed Sunday along with Juan Ventura, a convert in my new area. The new area that I am in has a lot more Spanish people than the other. Elder Rivera and I have been doing a lot of tracting. I have been reading Jesus the Christ but there are a lot of funny words in there, for instance opprobrium, so I’m going to buy a dictionary today. I was wondering if you could send some sort of atlas of Central and South America with some of those little post-it note arrows. I am always asking people where they are from but I never know where it is. The smaller the better, I just need the countries and the main cities. I think I am 20 pounds heavier but I’m not sure, the scale might have been off. The last time I checked on a good scale I was up 15 pounds. The food is tasty and they always dish it out for you in ridiculous amounts, then they give seconds.
For Thanksgiving we have a few appointments throughout the day, we are planning on reorganizing and updating the area book for the rest of the time or if we can find some place to do some service we will do that. This week in church the young women did a presentation for sacrament meeting with songs and short talks, like the primary does. We sang the last song with them, the Army of Helaman and the Daughter of God medley in Spanish, Sarah will know which one they were constantly singing it in seminary. There isn’t as many members in this new area so I’ve been cooking more lately. I received the letter Mom sent. The pictures are interesting, the one with Steven floating has really confused the room mates. Just remember to let the ink dry on the back of the photos before you put them in. Those maps will do nicely. I need someone to find a form for me. The church has a locate a person form where you fill out your information and the information of the person you are looking for. They then send it to the person and they can choose to contact you if they would like. One of the people we found in the dead file wants to get a hold of the missionaries who baptized him ten years ago in Mexico named Elder Bar and Elder Monson. I was helping Brother Pratt fill these out with his computer a while back when he was organizing a mission reunion. If someone could email a copy or tell me how to find one before Friday in the afternoon that would be great. I’ll come check the email during lunch Friday and go to the appointment later in the day. If not, the following week will work as well.
I don’t know about your new hair cut [Mom]. I’ve always liked it longer. We ate some turkey for Thanksgiving, tomalies, rice, Inca cola, beef, gravy, and potato salad at Sister Bueno’s house. It was good. The scale reading was 25 pounds up, must have ate too much for thanksgiving, 175 pounds. In the new schedule we have exercise time in the mornings so I tried to go running one day. It felt like I was running through water, I’m getting a little out of shape. I found a jump rope so I’m learning a bunch of jump rope tricks with my room mate Elder Gardner, it is a lot of fun.
Yes I received the file in time and was able to fill them out with the member. I had the hardest time printing it out on these locked down computers. All I had was Wordpad will all of the printing options disabled but I managed to get it printed out with 2 minutes left on the computer time limit. Thanks for the help.