Monday, December 8, 2014

I'm definitley not in Kansas anymore

Hola Familia!! 
    Wow it has been such a long week and half!! I have so much to tell you guys and even less time than I had in the CCM. Where do I begin?!  Well I am in ABANCAY! It is a city about four hours away from Cusco and it is literally on a HILL! But its called the city of eternal spring, so the weather is lovely.  My companion is HERMANA HOLLAND. A gringa from Portland Oregon!  I love her already so much!! She and I are opening a new sector, which means niether of us have been here before.  She just transfered from Ayavidi. A super cold and high place.  She went through a lot there.  She is an amazing hard worker and her spanish is perfect.  She has been out 7 months.  Opening a new sector has been really hard.  There are no house numbers here and we do not have a map.  So figuring out the area has been really hard, but its slowly coming.  The Sandbergs are a missionary couple here and they were kind enough to show us around one day.  Also the members are way nice to offer and make plans to accompany us, but usually something comes up.  Anyway we are really lucky because Elder Sandberg is also the branch president here.  We did not have church this Sunday due to elections in Peru, so we haven't met a lot of members yet.  The ones we have met have been really nice.  
    We live on the top of mount everest.  This is not a joke! its the biggest and steepest dirt hill you have ever seen. Our pensión or pensionista lives at the bottom of it.  I will make sure to take a picture of it.  Lets just say that my calves are eternally burning here.  Our pension is awesome though! Her name is hermana rene and she cares so much about our health! I have not gotten sick yet from her cooking or sick from anything here.  She gave us watermelon one day and it was like heaven on earth.  Also the mangos here are to die for! So So Good!! She makes really healthy food.  Her husband works in the mines so he is only home for ten days and then he is gone for 20 days.  They are great members and they have two little kids.  Diane and Sebastian!  They are super cute and even though i have a hard time understanding them, they always make us laugh.  
   Spanish! Well its very frustrating but I have only been here for a couple days and I can already see the improvement.  I dont feel like its a different language than what they taught me in the CCM so thats good.  Its frustrating because I just want to comunicate with people.  Hermana Holland is a big help though.  She suggested I read every word of the Book of Mormon outloud in spanish each day, so that is what I have been doing. i can already see the improvement.  
   Lets see,  Thanksgiving! We had a thanksfiving devotional from Provo MTC which was really good.  We got pecan pie for lunch which may have been the best pecan pie I have ever had.  It didnt really feel like thanksgiving, but i never felt sad or homesick that day.  Although some girls did.  I feel like I have been really blessed with no feelings of homesickness or being trunky.  I had a really good thanksgiving and it was reallly relaxing.  Because of all the down time we had the last week in the CCM and the first day in Cusco, I was able to finish the Book of Mormon in one week for the last time in English.  I love that book and I am so grateful for the fullness of the gospel it contains.  
  I have learned a lot in these few days.  I wish I had time to tell you guys every little detail, But some of the stories will have to be saved for later.  People are really humble here.  They dont have anything.  Their houses look a lot like our food storage.  Cement and unfinished parts.  Each house is different.  Our apartment is really small, but very nice.  We have really good shower, although I did take my first bucket shower this week.   
    Well I love you guys! I miss you guys a lot but I know this is where i am supposed to be.  Its really hard to open this sector in abancay but I know that there is something here I need to learn. I will be here for 12 weeks for sure and then who knows what.  
    Oh yeah I forgot to mention.  My president and his wife are the best!! They are so nice and kind!! My favorite night was when we had a testimoney meeting at their home with all the new missionaries, and at the end of the night President Harbertson played the closing song Called to Serve! He played it so fast and loud and it was the coolest thing!!

Con Amor,
Hermana Russell

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