Friday, February 3, 2012

Birthday Letter to Mom

[From Rene:  I will share parts of the letter Mark sent to me for my birthday.  He wrote this letter completely in spanish.  I will share parts of it in English]

My Dear Mom,

I will take advantage of the opportunity to write in spanish. We will see how good my grammar is.  Sometimes my form of speaking reflects the errors of the people in my area.  For example, my landlady en Camana always said, "Ah, this costs expensive."  Costs expensive is incorrect grammar, but as she always said it, sometimes I say it too.

Happy Birthday!

I hope that dad, Eric and William made you a cake and that it was delicious.

You took a backpacking trip to the city.  Hmmm.  That's new.  D.C. is very beautiful.   I would like to be close to the capital with all those museums.

Thank you for always writing the DearElders.  I just received a group of Dear Elders.  I think that now that I am in Arequipa, it will be more constant and I won't be getting a mountain of letters every three weeks.  Also, thank you to Eric for continuing to write to me every week.

I decided during splits last week what I want to have written on my gravestone.  It will have Mosiah 29:45 with a little modification,"And our father died, at the age of ____, having lived to complete the commandments of the Lord.  There it is, my gravestone epitaph.

At church on Sunday, a member of the high council spoke about the importance of the scriptures and I remembered my primary teachers who taught us that if our house caught fire, and we could only save one thing, it would be good to save your scriptures.  I accepted that as normal, perhaps because the scriptures are not cheap there.  My teachers and other adults learned a lot, but maybe I didn't learn so much.  When I left the house in my first area of my mission, I left my English scriptures in a taxi. I realized that I was beginning to value the scriptures because I felt a little lost without my scriptures in English. The good thing was that I started to understand the scriptures in spanish very quickly.

Anyway, I hope that this year went well. From what I know from Dear Elder, it seems that it did.  I hope that the following months go well for you too, that Paul can prepare himself [for his mission].

Since we are zone leaders in the mission and are in the city of Areuqipa, we have to go to the Centro every Monday to carry baptismal dates, reimbursement requests.  It makes it so that there isn't much time on Mondays, but that's o.k.

I am finishing this letter at the Post Office.  It is a postal service here in Peru and I believe that is a government-owned service since the building is huge and the service is slow.  I believe that I will finish my mission here.  But I am happy.  Elder Stewart is great en every aspect.  He told me that his mom has continued reading my blog since we were companions.

O.k., something cultural from Peru:  En all of the city buses (for example the bus that goes from Camana to Arequipa, people frequently get on the bus and begin to talk about variou health problems.  Then, they show how their product will help you avoid the problems for example, how to avoid cancer, heart problems, or headaches or whatever type of ailment or sickness.  They talk about all they things and they pass out packages of their product to everyone on the bus who wants to see it.  They keep talking, sometimes showing photos and mentioning the sicknesses you can avoid at least 10 times.  Then, they pass through the bus and collect money from people who want to buy their product and collect back the packages if people aren't interested.

In about 70% of the buses between Camana and Arequipa that I have ridden, I have seen this if it was daytime.  It is a little interesting.  I only took the bus one time in the States and that was to New York with Kirsten and her friend and her dad to see Wicked.

[Then Mark drew a panorama of the city]

Elder Johnson

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