Address

Mailing Address:
Elder Gabriel George
Peru Cusco Mission
Av. de la Cultura 2417
Frente de Urb. Santa Ursula
Capilla Mormona
Cusco, Peru

E-mail
gabriel.george@myldsmail.net



Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas - A Little Different This Year!

December 22, 2014

So yes I have been chastised and I guess that I will just have to do a better job with pictures and longer emails.

This week has been pretty good for the most part!!  We are finding lots of people that are really open to talk with us about Jesus this time of year.  We usually contact people for about 2 hours a day. So we just need people to be home now when they say we can come and visit them.  But a really good week for the most part.
Me and Elder Cueto during the rainy season!
Chuno- - "Yeah, it is so nasty mom!!!!  But I stuff it down in
like 10 seconds so that I don't really taste it."
This week we were up on the mountain contacting.  It is the rainy season here in Puno so it rains close to every day and all night every night.  We were up on the mountain contacting about 20 minutes from our house when it just started to pour. We were stuck up there.  We were standing next to this house when this little old lady opened her door and told us that we could hang out where she keeps all her potatoes.  We went into this little shack for like 25 minutes and just shared our favorite scriptures it was a grand time really.

I have been working really really hard on memorizing more words in Spanish the past couple of days.  It is starting to pay off.  I can pretty much understand anything anybody says.  It is a lot easier when you can understand the question of the investigators.

We won't have a baptism this week and we were a little sad about that.  We  just couldn´t teach all the lessons fast enough to Brayan.  We have been working so hard and are not seeing much progress in anyone and that is discouraging.  We were talking the other day in estudiar compaƱerismo (companionship study) and  we both said how disappointed we were.  I remembered a little quote in preach my gospel that says how you shouldn't measure your success by baptisms.  Think at the end of each day if you have given the Lord your all and worked as hard as you can - then you have had a successful day.  I have remembed that every day this week.

I bought lights to put above my bed.  Here we are being all festive!
Chistmas is different this year.  There is really no way to describe the feeling.  No snow.  No family.  No friends.  No tree.  No......yeah no lots of  stuff but I have watched the video that the church put out for Christmas and we all have the greatest gifts on earth.  Jesus.  His atonement and life is the best gift we have and ever will be given.

We are teaching a lady who went to church for 2 years when she was 19.  She knows so much about the church....it is kind of hard to teach her actually.  Her daughter is really awesome though.  She said that she know it is true.  We just need them to go to church now.

I don´t exactly know when we will skype.  We just found someone who is going to let us use their house so yeah.  I get to call you on christmas eve on the telephone for like 5 minutes to tell you exactally when and all that jazz.  so I will call that night will all the details.

Love elder George

My Week In a Nutshell

December 15, 2014

This week was a pretty good week.  We didn´t have a lot of work to do this week but we worked hard anyways.  No appointments and a lot of people that were not home.  This week was actually kind of sad.  A really hard long week in the mission,

First off the good.  I have recieved 2 packages and I had to open one so yeah, I opened one.  It made my week a little bit better!!  American candy cost a arm and a leg here and so I have to ration and eat only a little here and a little there.  But thank you all everything is recieved with much gratitide.

There were some really good parts to this week too.  We had our Christmas devotional with President Harbertson.  He is the BEST.  He gave us a gift.  It was a Book of Mormon.  His challenge for us was to read it this year and in every verse question why Mormon included this story or what not. I am really excited to start after I reak my Book of Mormon in Spanish.

We had kinda a bad week with investigators.  Maritza told us that she wanted to be baptized when she was her moms age or so, 50.  We really struggled with this and have been praying really, really, hard for her.  WE have a lesson in a few days and will try to explain more clearly the importance of baptism.  We are teaching a part member family and the two little kids really want to be baptized and so I think that they are kind of a blessing for us.  Yessica is hard to get with her husband and be able to teach at the same time but we are working hard with them right now.  We just visited with a family last night and they are so amazing.  They have 4 little girls and make me think of home and my 4 sisters though they are all smaller but so cute and I just love them.  The 4 little girls love me and Elder Cueto and told us that we could visit whenever we wanted.  Their parents are pretty religious and have some questions but I think that when they pray they will know.

That is pretty much my week in a nut shell.

Much Love Elder George

It's Always the Same But SO Good!

December 8 2014

Another week?  Whenever I heard some one say that in the mission the days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days I honestly thought that they were on drugs.  How can a week feel like a day?  How can a day feel like a week?  Well I know exactly what they were talking about.  I feel so blessed to be on a mission it is really one of the best experiences of my life.

So this week was really really good.  We taught a lot of lessons and a lot of people are really progressing in our area.  First off Maritza, she is awesome and really wants to be baptized.  There is one small problem.  She still lives at home with both of her parents and they want her and her older brother Jonathon to be baptized on the same day.  We have a cite......appointment (I forget that word for a minute) this week where we will talk to their parents and explain to them the importance of baptism.  Jonathan is not progressing at all and that makes our job really really hard.  We asked if she would be baptized on the 27th of this month and she said yes, we just have to work with her parents now.  Hermana Virginia is doing really well too.  She has 4 kids.  Luis, Jose, Micheal, and Jasmine.  They are so cute.  We are asking them this week if they will prepare to be baptized on the 27 also.  We have really, really, really, really, big plans for the 27th.  We hope all goes well and that our plans will all work out.  It will bless lots of lives if they do.

Last week we went out for pizza and let me tell you how insanely awesome that was.  I have to tell you something - - that was one of the most celestial experiences of my life here in Peru.  Really though, the rice and chicken is not so good for my insides and I have been, well in the john like all of the time here.  I am healthy I just well......don`t know really.  But really I am fine no need to worry.  It is normal here, at least for the white people.  And it is really only during the night that I have any problems.  When we are out and about during the day I am just fine.  I guess Heavenly Father makes sure I can get the work done that he wants me to do during the day and leaves me to deal with myself during the night.   When we went out for pizza everything got better.  How weird is that?  But I am grateful!!

Anyways it is hard to write about each day because they are all the same.  Walk around a lot.  Have a lot of APPOINTMENTS fall through and walk around some more.  Teach a little, show a little video to a family and try to get EVERYBODY to come to church.  We literally invite everyone we see to come to church. No one ever comes but our attendance is going up.  Our goal it to consistently have like 60ish people come.  That is huge for us really we have had 54 one time and that was like......awww - - I don`t even know how to explain it!!!

My testimony is the strongest it has ever been and I love Peru.  The people here are so awesome, when they are sober, and I just awww.  Don`t really have word for it.

Elder George

PS mom could you give my Andrew's Email

Dogs, Drunks, and Six Weeks in the Field

December 1, 2014

Another week!?!  So time is  crazy in the mission because we will work and work and work and then it is P-day and I get to write my family.  I feel like just yesterday I was in this gross little shack writing another letter. ;)

I just finished my first change in the field and what a 6 weeks that is had been!!  I have learned so much and my testimony is so much stronger!!  My companion, Elder Cueto, is from Santa Cruz in Bolivia.

So I was reading in the Bible and I read a scripture that I love so much!!! It is in Matthew 19:26!!  I love it, go read it!  "But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all thing are possible."

Any ways the work is going really good.  We contacted this family in the street and the mom's name is Virginia.  She is so awesome.  We taught them the night that we contacted them.  She loves the fact that you could say a prayer and really talk to Heavenly Father, not just say the same repeated things over and over.  She was more than happy to say the prayer at the end of the lesson.  She didn´t come to church but two of her little boys came.  They love us and they loved church so that is good.  Our other investigator that is coming along really well is Maritza.  She has been to church twice but hasn´t committed to baptism yet even though she tells us that she knows that is it true.  Soon, I can tell.  I will just keep praying for her.

We have problems with dogs like everyday.  The other day we were just walking down this path, definitely can´t call it a road, when we heard 10 or 12 dogs running and barking.  At first I wasn´t worried at all because what is new really here?  But after about 20 seconds I got a little nervous. We turned around, and you know how in the movies when there is a bunch of dust following fast moving objects, well I got to see that in real life.  Something new right.  But WOW.  Yeah we threw a lot of rocks and ran a little and in the end only dog got to us.  Perfect way to end a day.

Elder Cueto and Me
We had some problems with drunks this week too.  One tried to fight us.  Elder Cueto was ready and told me if it happened again he would take care of him because he didn´t want his little baby to get hurt.  He loves having a white "hijo."  I am his "son" in the mission and he is my "dad" in the mission.  He love that I am white.

I am a little sad today because one of my friends from the CCM, who I really love and  that was in my area when home.  He hated the mission and the language.  It was really really hard for him.  But who isn´t the mission hard for right?  The Zone Leaders gave me his package that came today and I felt really bad opening it and seeing the pictures his family had sent him and all the things.  I emailed him hopefully he will get it and feel of my love for him.  He really is a great guy and I am blessed because he was with me in the CCM.  He will always be my friend!

We are working hard and are seeing the blessings of it!!

Love you all keep praying for me I can feel of you love and support the 8000 miles away!!:)

Much love,

Elder George!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Children - I LOVE the Children!

November 24, 2014

This week was really good!

Last preparation day we went to Julaca, Elder Cuetos first area, to visit with his first baptism.  It is a pretty large family with 6 kids.  They baptized the whole family!  And they were just the nicest people.  We were sitting on the roof when we were called down to a little room.  At first I was a little scared because they all stood against the wall as I walked into this room.  Once I got into the room I could see the whole family was there with party hats.  Everything was green because I am a "greenie" and a "greengo".  They told me that because my "father" of the mission, my trainer Elder Cueto, is part of their family, I am part of their family too!  If I ever need anything call them and they will help me in whatever way that they can!

This week there was a big strike!  Everything was closed for 3 days.  It is so hard to work and teach during strikes.  No one is in the streets and no one is home.  I really don't understand it.  Where do the people go?!?  I honestly have no idea.  But it was fun to just pretty much hang out with a few of the other missionaries for 3 days.  We mostly just hung out and watched Mormon movies and Mormon messages on the little portable DVD we have on one bed.  Oh the life of a missionary.

We helped out at the hospital this week and it was so fun.  There is a group in Lima who has kind of teamed up with the church to help kids with cleft pallets.  They give operations for free.  Cleft pallets are a big problem in this area - lots of children have them.  So we moved boxes up and down for about 2 hours and then finally got to spend time with the kids.  That was the best part!  They were all so cute it was really hard for me to understand them.  We had gone out earlier and bought toys and things for the kids.  They were so surprised when we started giving them the toys.

We have been having a lot of success here lately.  I am so thankful.  All it really takes is work and obedience.  We have been wanting to have at least one baptism next month and have been working really hard towards that goal.  Isabel and Luis are progressing and they told us about their daughter this week, Maritze.  She is a really awesome investigator and follows through on all of our commitments.  She came to church with us yesterday and told us she keeps having dreams where she is baptized.  She said that she knows that everything we say it true and so we are working with her a lot!!!  We are going to ask her to be baptized on the 27th of December.  We are also working a lot with Yessica.  She brought her husband to the last lesson, and even though he said that he wasn´t interested  at all he participated a lot.  He even said the prayer at the end of the lesson.  The spirit can change people and their hearts.

I love Peru and promise that if you get me the vitamins that I will take them!!

My testimony has grown so much and I have grown so much as a person!  The old Elder George was good but I am such a better person now.  Okay I am still me but just a little different.  Nothing has changed changed, but I have changed.  It's really hard to explain.

Lacey, tell Nawrocki that I love her and that I help the little kids with their math in Spanish!

Love Elder George

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Every Emotion in the Book!

November 17, 2014

What a week it has been!  I have experienced just about every emotion in the book this week!  I don´t know why, but it has been kind of a crazy week!  We are working so hard to build up this sector.  When we arrived we had one "investigator" and to be honest we really aren't too sure about him.  We are working so hard with Andres and still nothing really seems to be going our way!  He came across a documentary on CCN about Joseph Smith and decided to look into it more on the internet!  Why?  I don´t know -  - well I do, it's because Satan will do everything in his power to stop somebody from being baptized!

So yeah we have been working really hard in this area of ours to find people.  That is really, really, hard when your ward is not super helpful and won't help by giving  referrals.  Still we have knocked on sooo many doors and are starting to find people.  First, Yessica.  She is really awesome, she won´t bring her kids to the lessons and her husband doesn't want anything to do with the church.  However, she is really progressing.  She asks so many questions because she has family members who are active members which helps and she is really curious.  She didn't like me at the beginning because I don't really say much.  She didn't know I was a new missionary and just thought that I didn't like her or something.  When she was asking about missions she asked how long we serve for and what not. Then we talked about our lives and how long we had been out.  When she found out that I was still pretty new she felt really bad and cooked us this way good.....I don´t know what it was but she owns a restaurant and so it was safe.

Another family we are teaching is Luis and Isabel.  They are progressing but it is still really hard to visit their whole family because Luis is always working.  So we are trying to find him a job that will allow us to teach their who family at the same time!

This week I got really sick for about 2 days.  We would still go walk all day and work all day but I felt TERRIBLE!!!  One night I didn't get much sleep because the whole night I spent......well not sleeping!  It was the worst.  I finally had the bright idea to ask for a blessing.  My testimony of the power of the priesthood and of the gift of tongues was strengthened.  I understood every word of the blessing and started to feel better later that day!!

Oh my, I have lost weight and all my pants are starting to feel really really big - -  hahah!!  Our pensionista thinks that it is really funny and piles the food for me because she thinks that I am not healthy.

One thing that I hate down here is something called Chuno.  It is potatoes.  Not just any potatoes.  First you dig us the potatoes and take them to a some place that they can rot.  Let them rot for a long time, like wine the longer they rot the "better" they are!  MY HEAVENS!!  Let them rot for a long time and then put then in running  water to wash out all the bugs and "nasty" germs.  Then you serve them in soup or plain.  Not as bad in soup but TERRIBLE plain.  So is my life in Peru!

We have been having a lot of problems with robbers down here.  They other night we heard someone and they were trying to break into the house next to ours.  The next morning we went over to the church and somebody had broken all the glass windows in the church and so we spent the whole day cleaning us broken glass in the church.

Elder Cueto is becoming one of my good friends here!  One night this week we were talking about the beginning of his mission.  He said in the CCM he was always happy and never really had any problems, but once he got out into the field it was different.  He said that for the first 2.5 weeks he cried every night.  He then asked me how my first 2 week were.  I was pretty honest.  Told him that they sucked pretty bad, that couldn't understand anybody and he wasn't really all that patient.  I said it in English and realized that he couldn't understand what I was saying.  So I just asked him how much harder would it have been if he couldn't understand anything.  He told me he was proud to have me as his "hijo."  Son of the mission and that I would make a great missionary!

I love it here and my testimony has grown so much!  I love the people and the kids are SOOOOOOO cute!  I love when, in sacrament meeting, one of the little kids comes and sits by me!  There is this huge hill where a lot of kids ride their scooters up and down.  Whenever Elder Cueto and I pass we buy a little thing of oreos and give one to each of them!  They love us and they all come to church now.  Not because of the oreos but because they never had anybody they felt like loved them and wanted them at church.  They think it is funny when I talk in English to them and always ask me for different words in English.  They think white skin is funny and love that I am taller than 5 foot nothing!!

Much Love Elder George!

This was something that he sent to his Dad!  They worked the last couple weeks pouring concrete from a pump much like the ones in the pictures.
Not going to lie, when I saw this I teared up a little bit.  No matter what I said, I really did love those days where it was just you and me!  We were not always golfing, but I will forever cherish the memories that we made the last few weeks before I left!  I felt like our relationship grew a lot and that. . . well I don't exactly know but it was always good for me to just be with you!





Thursday, November 13, 2014

Easily The Best Week Yet!

November 10, 2014

HELLO!!!!!

This week has been really really good!!  I am feeling so happy and I don't really know why because I am always tired!!  Like really - always - tired!  We work and work and work.  AND when I say work I mean walk!  We have been really trying to find some people to teach - and the way to find is to contact - and the way to contact is to well.....WALK!!  We live on a mountain and so when I say walk I mean HIKE!
This is what a long day of walking and working for the Lord looks like

Puno from one side looking towards the other
 It is so tiring but we are starting to see results which is the BEST!!

So last P-day (the one day of the week given to missionaries write letters home, play soccer, shop, have a little break in "walking" etc.) and there was a big parade.  Their version of a parade is a little different than in the United States.  Elder Heslop, one of my really good friends in the zone, was talking with me when we were at the stake center.  The parade was going by and he said that the parade is all the Victoria Secret model rejects using a lot of energy to walk down the street.  Everybody was drunk and it was impossible to do anything so all the companionship hung out at the Stake Center all day.  Really good P-Day though!

We have a mission goal to contact 12 families a week, per companionship.  THAT IS A TON!!!!  We contacted 3 this week and we literally talked to every family we saw.  The most awesome contact of the week was a little family who literally has nothing; they are so humble and nice.  I love them!  Hermano Luis is really interested and his wife is too.  It is PERFECT!  Hermana Isabel was sitting down on the road with 6 or 7 HUGE bags of potatoes and was dividing the bags into smaller bags so that they could hike up the big hill to were their house while hauling the potatoes.  We simply asked if we could help them in any way and they insisted that they were fine.  We knew they could use help so we proceeded to pick up half a bag of potatoes and carry it up the mountain.  We continued to make trips until all the potatoes were at their house.  They were so grateful and wanted to pay us.  We told them they way they could "pay" us was to listen to a message we wanted to share with them that could change their lives.  They willingly accepted and we taught them yesterday.  The lesson was perfect.  They were so happy when they found out that they could pray and not say a recited prayer.  They could ask for blessings that they needed and show their gratitude for that which they have.  It is really hard to find a time to teach them though because Hermano Luis is always working, because they have so little.  He has 3 jobs in order to keep his little family afloat.  We will figure something out!

Andres was supposed to be baptized this Saturday and we went to go visit him on Thursday.  He didn't seem like his normal self.  When we asked him if he was okay he told us that his girlfriend dumped him.  CRAP!! (Although he probably learned this word from me, his mother, I really don't like him using this word!  Especially as a missionary!)  But we were able to work things out and he is planning on the 22 of September!  Hopefully something bad doesn't happen again!  I have faith that it won´t.

10 DOGS!  This guy that lives on a hill owns 10 huge dogs.  They are terribly scary!  We were walking along minding our own business when they started to chase us off what later we found out was this guys property.  The owner of the dogs just sat there and watched as we ran for our lives!  The owner called the dogs back after about 200 yards and just proceeded to laugh at how scared we were.  What a jerk!

The language is starting to come!  I can understand just about anyone.  I have been studying so so so so hard.  I felt like I wasn't really improving at all - but the other day it all kind of started coming together.  I still make lots of mistakes but it is starting to come.  It is really hard to explain if you have learned another language.  If you have you will probably understand exactly what I mean!

I´m happy and the work in good!  Today Elder Cueto and I marked all of the changes and that was crazy to see how fast time goes.  I feel like yesterday I was in the Idaho Falls Airport with my awesome family giving hugs goodbye!!
♥Three very sad little girls saying goodbye to the brother they love♥

 But the Work is coming along great!!!

Finally here is a list of 10 things I miss in no particular order.

Carpet
Cold drinks (everything here is hot)
English
Grass
Family
Sierra
Water
Hot showers - all the time
A car
American Food!!

Love Elder George!

Monday, November 3, 2014

My THREE Greatest Fears


 November 3, 2015

What a week it has been!  There is soo much that has happened!!  Elder Cueto is better.  Our relationship is starting to grow and he is starting to like me more(I think).  But it has been really good.
What's not to like?
Holy cow!  We have a lot of work to do in the area.  We were left with one investigator that has a Fetcha(date for baptism) and that is all.  It is really hard to build up an area, but we are doing it!!  We went contacting on Tuesday and had honestly had no success.  I contacted 4 poeple.  All in Spanish.  It really wasn´t that hard.  I talked to a lady named Jenny.  She is going to be a really awesome investigator.  We are planning to meet her this week and teach the 1st lesson.  I really really hope that it all works out!!

Elder Cueto had to go to Lima for some visa stuff.  He was gone for 4 days this week so I was with E. Enriquez and Chota.
Elders Chota, Enriques, and George

"When you don't have 3 beds you just make due."
Halloween is pretty crazy down here.  Nobody goes to work and so everybody gets drunk.  Bad stuff!  Bad for us too.  When the old guys here get drunk they get a little crazy and really like fighting.  So the 3 of us are walking to teach one of their investigators and we walk around this corner and this guy is standing there with an empty bottle in one hand and walks right up to me and tells me to give him all my money!!  I wasn´t scared though it was really kind of weird.  He then proceeds to smach the bottle over his head and tries to chase us down.  The only problem was he was WAY drunk.  He decided to take a nap in the middle of the street!!  TIMBER!!!  It was like all those Youtube videos in real life!  We were all laughing for a long time!!

The next day we were walking to teach another one of their investigators.  And keep in mind that we are living in the mountains - there is NO oxygen.  I can never breath.  There is a large problem with dogs; all kinds of dogs - big, little, and crack dogs.  The big crackhead dogs (we have no idea what he means) are the real problem.  We walk around this corner and what looked like a Rottweiler was staring us right in the eyes.  I really was not too scared untill it started to growl.  We then proceeded to back up slowly and RRRRUUUUUNNNNNN!!!  I don´t think that I have ever been so terrified in my life we ran and ran and ran!!  When I couldn´t run anymore I thought of my family and friends that I wanted to see after my mission and ran some more.  SOOOOOOO SCARY!!!  The three thing that I fear are God, hights you can fall from and die, and big fast dogs you have to run from when there is no oxygen!!

Teaching is going really well!  We, like I said, don´t really have investigators but are going to try contacting this evening and  find a few more.  The language is starting to come.  I can´t speak it at all but I understand really really well. A few words here and a few words there and I can get what you are trying to say to me!

We had 42 people at sacrament meeting!!!!!!!!

I love this little black name tag it means so much to me.  I don´t know what I would do without it!!

I hope all is well.

Love Elder George

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I Am White And Don't Know Spanish

October 27, 2014

So when we were getting talked to about travel to Cuzco at the end of last week, before we left the CCM (Lima's MTC) they assigned me to be the group leader!  That meant I was in charge of making sure all the Elders were packed and ready to go that night.  I was up really late myself packing and up even later making sure everybody else was packed.  We had to board the bus the next morning at 4.  The meant that I needed to be up extra early to make sure everybody was awake and on the bus.  I got only 2.5 hours of sleep that night and flew into Cuzco the next morning.  I was soo exhausted.  And that flight was actually really hard for me...I thought about so much stuff.  My family, friends, and maybe most of all my terrible Spanish!  We made it safely and President and Hermana Harbertson were so good to us.  They were just like grandparents to us.  I was really sad for some reason in my interview and he could definitely tell.  He asked me about it and we just talked for a solid 20 minutes.  He was really comforting and knew exactly what to say.

We got to find out who our companions were the next day and I was really excited to get a new companion.  My new companion is Elder Cueto.  Latino.  He speaks NO English at all.  It make things really hard.  I can tell he really does try to be patient will me but he does a really really bad job of that.  He has never trained and has never had a companion that is not fluent in Spanish.  To be honest, he and the other Latinos are kind of rude to me.  They do not understand how hard it is to learn a different language.  He told me that I should know more from the CCM.  It is really discouraging and I work as hard as I can all the time but he just doesn't understand.  I have been studying constantly and trying to get better.  He doesn't really want to take me to lessons or contacting because  I don`t know Spanish that well.  Today was the first day that he helped me in companionship language study.

Peru is so awesome.  I love the people here to the moon and back.  Seriously!  They Bishop of the word that we serve in is partially inactive and to we have to work with him and get him coming to all his meetings and stuff.  So the President of the stake here pretty much runs everything.   He is the nicest man in Peru I am honestly convinced of that.  We were over at his house trying to figure something out, I don`t really know what because I am white and don`t know Spanish, when he made us hamburgers!  He made us HAMBURGERS!!!!!  I felt like a king!  It kind of felt like Christmas.  Sooo delicious!

We live in this house with some members.  They two younger boys and mom are members but the dad is not.  She is our Pentionista.  Cooks, washes our clothes and so forth.  They are the nicest family but the dad, Marko is a drunk.  I can hear him every night screaming and yelling!!  We ask him every morning when he is going to get baptized and he always says, "Maybe tomorrow!"  Hopefully one day tomorrow will come!!  They have two younger boys who love us.  They are always hovering around us and talking to us!  They love English and so I teach them something in English every day at breakfast and they teach me something every day in Spanish.  It is a pretty good system actually!!  I only had to take a cold shower 3 out of the 5 days here, not too bad!  I haven`t been sick and continue to try to be better every day!

So yesterday in church I reached into my suit pocket and pulled out the letter you  wrote me, thanks for wrecking me in the middle of sacrament!  But really thank you for the letter it makes all the conflicts with my companion worth it!!!

I love you with all of my heart!!!

Love Elder George  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

HE CALLED!!! HE IS NOW IN CUSCO!!!

October 21, 2014

Okay this is Elder George's mom and if I can make it through my tears of pure gratitude I will share our tender mercy and time with Gabriel this week.

He had told us in his last letter that he may be calling if it all worked out.  I had already had my most tender mercy ever when I got pictures and video of my two favorite missionaries in the world getting to hug each other in the Atlanta Airport!  Really that one will last a solid 2 years!

This morning at 5:30 my cell phone rang.  Now first, that I even heard it is amazing as I NEVER bring my phone into my bedroom at night (definitely gotta change that).  But last night as I was trying to complete the Book of Mormon, so as to be done along with him in the two week time frame he had given two weeks ago, I had it in my bathroom as I was brushing my teeth listening to the last chapter in Moroni.  I left it on my counter.

Total side note:  I love Moroni.  I am so thankful that he included the "epistles" from his father.  Moroni 7:2-3 are words that I could speak to my son.  As are the beginning words of Moroni 8.  I love how Mormon says, "But behold, my son, I recommend thee unto God, and I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved:"  As I read the words in these verses I was pretty weepy.  My two faithful missionaries were foremost in my thoughts.  My most distinguished honor is that Father entrusted me to be mother to my 5 children.  There are truly no honors that can be bestowed by man that will ever equal that of motherhood.

Anyhow, back to my phone ringing at 5:30 this morning.  I didn't make it to the phone in time.  I looked and saw that it was totally definitely a wrong number.  But I pick it up as I walked from my bedroom to let our dog out of our daughters bedroom.  As I was walking back into our room the phone rang again.  I look and there was that wrong number.   I said, "Hello."  A young man's voice that I didn't recognize, as of course I wouldn't since it was a wrong number, said, "Hi, who is this."  My response, "Kelly."  The stranger on the other end said, "Hi."  Still in some cobwebby confusion trying to figure out why this young man didn't just say, "Oh sorry I got the wrong number."  I said, "Who is this?"  He said, "Your son."  Not gonna lie it still took me a solid 5 seconds to wrap my head around what he had said.  Then I was such a mess I did know what to say.

I think I managed, "Oh, oh, um, how are you doing?"  Then it took longer than it should for me to put it on speaker phone so his dad could listen in.  I swear I must have had a frontal lobotomy while I was sleeping.  He sounded so good.  But I think we text WAY too much these days because somehow it still didn't sound like my Gabriel!  Not for a little bit anyway.  He told us that he was really tired.  That they had put him in charge of the travel for all of the missionaries from Lima to Cusco.  He said that he had gone to bed at 11:30 and had gotten up at 2:30 to get everyone else up and going.  As we were talking Sydney walked into our room to listen.  Then he said, "I am going to call you back.  I have to go get some more soles.  He said, "I love you."  We said, "I love you."  And he was gone.

Hannah walked in and said "I am really glad I woke up early and was sleeping on the couch so I could hear Gabe."  I told Sydney to run down and get Lacey as she would never talk to us again if we left her out.  In mere moments all three girls were in my bed.  And there we waited.  Hoping that he really would be able to call us!  It seemed like forever, but I know it wasn't before the same number popped up on my screen and the phone was ringing.

I said, "Hi Gabe!  We are all here."  He gave a quick laugh and I said, "Here's Sydney."  He said, "Hi Syd," and her little voice cracked with tears as she said, "Hi Gabe."  Then we went to Hannah.  They said hi to each other.  No tears, just happiness in both voices!  When we got to Lace there were once again a sad voice in Idaho but the happy voice in Peru remained!  Brad asked him to say the name of the church in Spanish.  That was a little joke between the two of them.  Brad had practiced with him for a couple of weeks before he left for Peru and Gabe could just never get it.  Brad later told me that he could tell that there had been lots of practicing of that and Gabe had said it well.  He talked a little with his dad as we all listened in.  Then Lacey, who had cleaned the bathroom the night before, as well as the drawers he used said, "Gabe, can I ask you a question?"  He said sure.  She explained that she had cleaned the bathroom and that she had found 7 or 8 empty body wash bottles in his drawers and asked why.  He said, "I don't know.  I just didn't want to bother to take them upstairs I guess.  But Lace, I am a changed man!   I would never do that now.  I have had to do all of the cleaning for these guys because they just . . . oh it is not very clean.  Really yucky."  We all got a little giggle out of that.

Because of the letter about the Latinos stealing pictures of Molly, Lacey and Sierra, I asked if we needed to send him more pictures.  He laughed and said, "No, I gathered them all up but man they are crazy for white girls.  Just last night I had to go get one back.  There is a Latin elder who has only been a member of the church for 2 years.  Before that he was a thief.  I had to go to his room and there was my picture of Molly.  I told him that I was leaving and that I really needed my picture back.  He picked it and said, (the only word I remember out of the sentence Gabe said the elder said). . . matrimonio?  I said, 'NO!  You can't marry her!'"  He then proceeded to tell us that they really love to look at his pictures.  They think Hannah is so cute.  Lacey and Molly he told us they think are gorgeous.  And Sydney is just at that age when she is trying to decide if she wants to be cute or beautiful.

There were a group of 20 that was coming from the CCM (Spanish for MTC) in Lima but they were waiting for a group that was coming from the Provo MTC as well.  We talked for just a little longer and then he said, "I only have 5 more seconds and I just want you to know that I love you!"  That was it.  He was gone.   And I cried.  Not because I was sad but because my heart was truly full.

October 25, 2014

So our dear friends from Sandy have a daughter who is Miss Molly's age who has been serving a mission in Cusco.  Of course she would be leaving to go home the same transfer when Gabriel is coming into Cusco!  For 10 amazing years my children were partially raised in their home.  Our children match each other age wise, except all Irvine children are just a few months to a few days older than the George children.  Kenzie and Molly, Kaitlyn and Gabriel, Zach and Lace, Ashleigh and Syd, - - Hannah is odd man out.

Anyway, Kenzie's family went to pick her up.  We have all been waiting for Kaitlyn's mission call.  She got her prayers answered as she wanted to get her call right before they went to pick up her older sister so they could open it in Cusco.  Yesterday I got this text from them, "We just opened Kaitlyn's mission call on the Mount of Saqjuam in Cusco.  She is going to the Morris Town New Jersey mission.  She leaves February 18.  Oh and we haven't ran into Gabe yet.  He got sent to Puno with an Elder Lazuli (I think that is the name)."  Kenzie served in Puno, I remember that from her blog.  Thanks Irvine's for giving us an update!

Then a little later I got an email with pictures attached!  Thank you office elders of the Cusco Peru mission!

He has that cherished black name tag!!!
I count 30!  Thirty new missionaries!  Pray for all Mission Presidents!  I do!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

One of My Best CCM (Peru MTC) Decisions

October 15, 2014

YO YO YO!!!!

Holy smokes time is seriously flying by here.  It honestly feels like I just got here yesterday.  We were talking the other day about that and how we really don´t want to leave, even though we sometimes claim to hate it here.  I really do love Peru sooooo much.  The people here make it the best.  Really though Latinos make this place the best.  It isn´t like America, all of them are really genuinely nice people.  They all care about you so much, even on the bus. Today I had a really old man on the bus, probably a member, offer me his seat.  Not that I took it but like seriously that would never happen in America?

Last P-day I asked some of the guys if they wanted to go sit with some of the Latino elders.  We were all a little scared to, considering how much Spanish that we don´t know.  But we thought that it couldn´t hurt if we just tried to be their friends.  That was one of the best decisions that I have made thus far in the CCM.  I mostly talked to one specific Latino named Elder Fuentez.  He is my FAVORITE.  I learned so much about him during dinner time.  He has 9 brothers and sisters - 10 kids total.  He is 26 years old and has been working construction for 12 years to help support his family and pay for a mission.  I got to know him a little better and continued to sit with him.  At one point I noticed that he wasn´t wearing a garment top.  That made me a little concerned.  I didn't know if he just honestly didn't have enough money for enough to last him through the week or what.  I asked him if he had been to the temple and he said no but that he would get to go in 5 days.  I found out that his family literally has nothing.  He showed me a picture of their house and 6 members of his family.  We were up in my room with the pictures and I asked him where the rest of him family was.  I got really teary eyed when told me that his parents split up 8 years ago when his dad got baptized.  All he wants is for him mom to talk to him and support him on his mission.  The night before he got to go to the temple I thought how selfish it would be if I didn´t help him out.  I asked him to come into my room and I just sat him down and told him my family had a gift for him.  It was only enough soles to buy all his garments but I could tell it meant the world to him.  He gave me a huge hug and told me his family was forever grateful to mine.  I love him.

So, on Sunday morning I was down in our class room getting ready to go to Sacrament Meeting when Elder Harris walks in the room and asks for my talk.  We all have to write a talk in Spanish and then they call up 4 random elders and sisters to give their talks.  I totally spaced it on Saturday and forgot to write one.  I explained that to Elder Harris and he said that I really needed to have one.  I thought that I would be fine and told him that.  He said that I really needed to at least have something.  So I sat there and busted out a pretty darn good talk on the Book of Mormon.  It was surprisingly really really good.  We get into Sacrament Meeting and while the Sacrament was being blessed and passed I just picked up my talk and went over it.  Really didn´t know why because the odds are that I wouldn't get called up, right? WRONG!!!!  Got called up and my whole district just starts laughing.  They weren´t laughing when I came to sit down because my talk was the BOMB!!!  I talked about how it is so important that we use the Book of Mormon in converting people come unto Jesus.



We had a video to watch later that day and I fell asleep and started snoring it is seriously the weirdest thing because I never snored before the mission.  I think that the Lord is trying to humiliate me out of sleeping.  That night we had a testimony thing where we all shared our conversion story.  Like when we really knew the church was true.  It really brought us together as a district.  I really do love all those guys.

I showed all the Latinos my picture and the were all in love. ♥♥♥  They were going crazy over the pictures of Lace and Molly.
The picture Elder George has of Molly

The picture Elder George has of Lace
 They asked me how I came from the same family because I was ugly.  They all also wonder why Sierra likes me, I just laughed it off.
Prom with Sierra and Gabe (aka Elder George)
 They love white girls!!!!  After they were all done I looked through all my pictures and noticed a few were missing.  I went into the Latinos room.  One of them was holding the picture of Molly.  Another was holding the picture of Lace.  And another was holding one of the picture from prom night.   They all thought that they were so funny.

It is CRAZY to think that next time I e-mail I will be out in the field.  I don´t feel ready or worthy of the great message that I get to share.  I have grown to love the gospel so very much.  I am ready to help others come unto Christ.

Here is a random page from my planner.

Breakfast 645-730
Personal study 730-815
Language class 830-930
Choching missionary study 930-10
Teaching investigator 10-11
More language class 11-12
LUNCH!!!!! 12-1245
Tall (Mormon rosetta stone) 1-2
Physical activity 2-3
Shower and get ready time 3-330
Additional study 330-430
Grammatical instruction 445-6
Dinner 6-645
Practice teaching in Spanish 645-8
Teaching investigators 8-9
Planning 9-930
Prepare for bed 930-1015
Quiet Dignity time 1015-1030
Lights out 1030

By the time I go to bed my brain is fried every night.  I feel like my head is going to explode.  I HATE Spanish by the end of the night.  But the next morning I just want to go to class and learn a ton more.

Love
Elder George

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2 Week to Race Read the Book of Mormon

October 8, 2014

HOLY COW!!!!  This week has seriously been so dang good!  General Conference was honestly the best thing since we have been here.  I love listening to revelation from our prophets.  Anyway, I will start with the beginning of the week.  On the first, our afternoon teacher had us do this exercise to get us motivated again.  He has said that a few of us are really looking like we are not having fun, mad at the language (which we are), and want to leave (which I don't).  I know that I am not always the happiest here, but I don´t think that I look that bad really.  He had us all close our eyes and draw a picture in our head of 10 people back at home.  He had us do that for at least 15 minutes, just all sit there in silence dreaming about home pretty much.  Then he had us all imagine the people of Cuzco and what we wanted to get out of our mission.  He then told us about his life and mission.  It really made me excited for the field.  It is crazy to think that in a few SHORT weeks I will be serving the people of Peru!!!!!  It gave me that spark back.!!!  He also showed us a video called Missionary Work and the Atonement.  It is such an awesome video.  It talks about how hard the mission is going to be, President Eyring and Elder Holland do a great job!!!  I would advise you to watch it.  It has made my days here sooo much better since we got to watch that video.  Also, a really good Mormon message is Mountains to Climb!

At the beginning of the week we got our new morning teacher.  He was sooo awesome.  Almost as good as Hermano Ruiz.  His name was Hermano Salcedo.  He has really good English but will never use it in the classroom.  Definatly a good thing.  We all had to piece together these sentences that make no sense in Spanish but he figures out what we are saying.  The other teachers took Hermano Salcedo and put him with the new kids that came in last night.  They think because he speaks English that he needs to be with the new missionaries.  Our district is going through teachers sooo fast.  They gave us two sister teachers which is really good.  It calms some of the other Elders down a lot.  Neither of the sisters speak any English.  It is SOOO different.

I can understand Spanish!! When we go out for P-day I always get to choose where we go as a companionship becasue E. Ard isn't too sure what anybody is saying.

So what do you know?  More high school drama in District 105.  The boys here are sooo dramatic and I grew up with 4 sisters!!!  So like I've mentioned before, E. Harris, E. Belliston, E. Larkin and I pretty much best friends.  We do everything together.  This is what sparked it all.  During conference we were in the big hall/auditorium type place and there were no tables or desks to write on.  So I asked E. Ard if he wanted to go sit in front where I saw a table we could pull up to write on.  He said he would rather not.  So then I asked E. Belliston if he wanted to come with me.  He said sure so we just went to the front row and pulled up a table.  E. Harris and E. Larking joined us.  At the end of conference we all went to the back to meet the rest of our district.  They were all in a room talking about how we do everything together and how big of a problem we are.  However, we are the ones who are working the hardest to learn Spanish and I really think it shows.  They all approached us like we were the biggest problem in the district.  They said that we need to pretty much stop being friends.  I told them all that wasn´t going to happen and our district had lots worse problems - like respect.  One of the guys went to president who called me into his office.  I wasn´t worried because I had done nothing wrong.  He was sooo funny about it.  He pretty much told me that he gets an email form our teachers daily and that none of us, the 4 best friends, had ever made the email.  He wasn´t worried and told me to have a good day.  All the other guys were so offended when I wouldn´t tell them what President said.  But it was better to just keep it to myself.

E. Belliston and I were talking the other day during personal study, we were talking about the Book of Mormon.  He is really good at Spanish, he took 4 years before the mission, so he was reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish.  I have been trying to read it in Spanish, and can piece together what it is saying.  I just didn´t feel like I was getting out of it what I need to.  I feel like I don´t know the scriptures that well.  E. Belliston said he felt the same way.  So we got on the topic of trying to read the whole Book of Mormon before we left the CCM in English.  We both then decided that that was literally insane.  With all of the other thing we have to be studying and learning we felt like there was no way.  The next morning we were talking and I told him I prayed about it, he said he had too.  I told him I felt like we should really try to finish it, he said he felt the same way.  So it began the race to the end of the Book of Mormon with little free time in just over 2 weeks.  I found out that it is very do-able.  I feel like when I read faster I get more out of it.  I can piece things together that I have never seen before.  The way the stories work within each other is sooo cool!!!

Another group of Elders left yesterday and I am really sad.

One of my FAVORITES!!!  Elder Rodriguez!
 I have grown to love a lot of them.  You can really come to love people who you meet so fast.  I really do miss them already but they were all WAY ready to get out of this place.  I am too ready to try to survive in the real world of Peru!!!

Much Love
Elder George

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

5 Perfect Stones

October 1, 2014

HELLO!!!!

Well the weeks are starting to feel like days and the days feel like weeks.  I am starting to really, really like it here.  I am learning  so much.  It is pretty much like school!!  Every day - all day - in a classroom learning.  The days just seem to blend together.  I will be writing in my journal and write, "Well I can´t remember if this happened yesterday or today but it was spiritual and a really good experience."  So yeah the CCM doesn´t ever change.  Same meals.  Same people.  And the same dang language!  But it is really good. :)

This Sunday it happened again.  I started snoring.  It was soo embarassing.  I fall asleep in this weird position that makes me start to snore.  All the DL´s said that they could hear me and talked to me telling me that I should try to stay awake but that everybody sleeps.  I couldn´t quite tell if they were being serious or not.  I hope they were joking around because I was laughing as I walked away.  They didn´t act any different so I think they were not offended.

E. Harris is still my favorite.  He's told me a lot about his life before his mission.  He was telling me about his family life.  His home situation was way different than ours.   It really, really, humbled me.  He is so spiritual and gave up a lot of things in his life in order to be able to be out here.

Fast Sunday almost killed me.  I found out that they don´t serve a dinner on Saturday.  But of course I didn't find that out until after I had skipped lunch because I had other things that I had to do.  Elder Ard and I were so hungry.  I honestly thought that I was going to die.  But then, when we went into lunch the next day, we were pleasantly surprised when there was a feast of American food.  IT WASN'T RICE AND CHICKEN!!!  I started crying a little bit.

So we got new kids this week.  Elder Monson and Elder Suckeje.  I really like Elder Monson.  He is really awesome and from Utah.  He is super humble and a nice kid.  Elder Suckeje I am not so fond of.  He pretends like he knows everything about this place when he has only been here for a few days.
Our district has the drama of a large group of high school girls.  One is "always right," his way or the highway.  So last night right before this great devotional I was explaining to one of the other guys that I really don´t find it to be a compliment when I get called a gangster or a thug.  I explained that I HATE it that we are glorifying something that is so ethically and morally wrong.  The "I am always right Elder" proceeded to jump in telling me that I don't know what a true thug is because I grew up in Idaho.  He told me none of my friends were thugs.  He was right about that.  I don't have any friends who I would consider thugs.  Elder Ard tried to back me up and told him to just shut up.  It turned pretty scary at this point...I just stood back and whistled hymns the whole time.  I had to go talk to the district leaders and tell them what happened.  It was a little nuts.

However, on a better note the devotional following all the baby drama was amazing.  We had a Member of the 4th Quorum of the 70 that lives in Lima come talk to us.  He talked about David.  David hand picked 5 perfect round stones to arm himself with.  He told us we need to pick 5 things to arm ourselves with.  He doesn´t care what 4 of them are, but he wanted us to understand that the most important thing to arm ourselves with was a strong powerful testimony.  He basically told all the North Americans that we are going to stink at teaching for the first 4 months and that we need to be able to rely on our testimonies to convert people.  I realized how true that was.  That was literally the first thing they taught us here - how to bear testimony.  It is crucial that we learn that when a investigator stops progressing we need to bear our testimony and let the spirit do the rest of the talking.  He also said something along the lines of, "one more effort, and a failure can turn into a success."  I have felt like I have failed a lot at the CCM lately and so that really made me happy.  One more day, one more effort, and it will all be worth it.  I will wake up one day and know Spanish.  All of those fake investigators whose lessons were total failures will be all worth it!!

On Saturday Hermano Ruiz came into class and told us his last day would be on Tuesday (yesterday).  I just got really sad in my heart.  I honestly love that man.  He knows so little English and we know so little Spanish that it was hard to put into words what I felt for him.  But I am really happy for him.  He is graduating from the University down here and will be an engineer.  We aren´t allowed to take pictures unless it's a P-day and president wouldn´t make an exception.  However, we told him we would pay for his bus if he would come to the temple today with us.  We did.  And he did.  He was able to come and go through a session with us.  I love him so much.  We got a picture with him right outside the temple - is there a better place.  NOPE!!  So take that President!!!!!!

I am doing good, I am all healthy for the most part, only got sick for 3 days so I am feeling rather accomplished!!

Much Love,

Elder George

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Placing My First Book of Mormon

September 24, 2014

So yeah the first weeks was probably one of the longest weeks of my entire life.  Honestly.  It was not that fun.  I am really starting to get into the swing of things here though.  I am really enjoying that we have time set apart in our schedule to just study the scriptures and Spanish,  It really does make a difference if you just sit down and study.  The language is really hard and I don´t feel like I know anything.  But when I look back on what I knew before I came and what I know now, the difference is crazy.

We also watched a streaming of a devotional from Provo and it was M Russel Ballard.  He said that he didn´t even write a talk.  Instead he was just going to talk to us like he would if we were his grandson.  It helped soooo much.  He explained something I already knew but, something that sometimes you just need to hear it again.  He said that you should just put your head down and plow through.  But don´t forget to watch everything that is happening and write everything in your journal.  I have been keeping a really good journal I don´t want to forget ANYTHING!!!

The food here definitely does not fall in the, "Oh boy I can hardly wait to eat" category.  I have to admit that I am getting a little tired of the eggs.  They never really have been a favorite of mine.  There are eggs in everything we eat.  Seriously - eggs every meal.  The rice at lunch and dinner is really bland.  On P-day we all bought a bunch of different sauces to put on the rice in order to try and pep everything up a little.  But the rolls are really good - I probably eat 4 at every meal.  They are the only things that haven´t gotten old.  Chicken or beef are the regular meat selections.  We had pizza last night and it was TO DIE FOR.  It probably wasn´t really all that good but the rice and chicken made it taste like heaven.

I loved the Latinos that were here at the MTC (or CCM) when I first got here.  But they all left along with the other elders in our room.  I miss them quiet a lot actually.  They were all way more mature than many of the guys in our district.  And they were nicer too!!  Anyhow, my district has 5 companionships in all.  Not a sister in the mix.  Four are just a little too obnoxious for my taste.  I am really not a fan of what I will term locker room behavior.  I just  really believe that some thing are not all that funny.

E. Belliston(Detroit) and Harris(Atlanta) My 2 favorites!!
E. Allen and Freestone
E. Shoaf and Larkin (who is my other favorite)
E. Kline and Beaner

My teachers are Hermano Ruiz and Cesar.

I like Hermano Ruiz the most.  He is much more understanding and talks a lot more slowly.  He doesn´t know like, any English.  But he has got Spanish down.  He brought his family to meet us one day.  His daughter is 1 and is sooooo cute!!!!

Hermano Ruiz is about 5 foot nothing and laughs at everything.   So the other day we were stitting in class with him, he is seriously the best guy in Peru.  We always tell him that he is going to be the president of Peru by the time we leave and he just shakes his head and gives a face palm!!!  Anyway, we were talking about his mission and the subject of the Jehovah´s Witnesses came up.  He told one of the funniest stories we have ever heard from him.  He told us that he had a whole family with a set baptismal date.  On the week that they were supposed to be baptized a member of Jehovah Witnesses talked to the mom.  When he and his companion went to check on them the mom of the family wouldn't answer the door.  For 3 days they tried to talk with this family.  Finally he just looked us all right in the eyes and said "Freaking Jehovah Witnesses" and then just smiled at us.  Oh my gosh it was so funny and unexpected, we were all rolling on the ground!!!

We went prozolyting( burchard that one) [Editors Note: Usually I correct his spelling as I am getting his blog ready but this one made me laugh too hard to take away from anyone who is reading this.  I was totally giggling at both the word "proselyte" and "butchered,"] anyways, us newer elders were paired up with one of the elders that was going to be leaving soon and I got put with Elder Kelison.  He was totally nice but didn´t seem to know anymore Spanish than me really.  I felt bad for him.  Anyhow, we were paired up with two members.  We had one who was 13 and the other was 66.   For whatever reason the younger one LOVED me.  He always wanted to be talking with me and would push Elder Kelison up with the older guy so he could walk next to me and talk.  He was sooo excited about missionary work and he showed me how excited I should be.  He has a few hundred soles saved up for his mission and is sooo excited to go.  I loved gaining that excitement through him.

I also placed my first Book of Mormon with a security guard on that evening.  It was exciting to see that he was actually reading it when we passed him the second time.  He was really impressed with the little Spanish I knew for only having been learning Spanish for 10 days.  I don´t really even know what I was saying to him.  It was really the Holy Ghost making me talk and making me say whatever I said.  I´m so very grateful for that experience.  It also helped to remind me why I am here!!!
Talk to you next week!!!!

Love tons,

Elder George

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Longest Week (for us at home too)

September 17, 2014

Okay a quick story for today.  On Monday night we had to teach the Latinos in Spanish for 15 minutes using NO English.  WHAT????  So Elder Ard spoke for a whopping 1 minute and 42 seconds and then turned the time over to me.  I was so mad.  Mad at everybody, myself, Ard, my teachers and quite frankly Heavenly Father!  It was so bad, that after about 8 minutes of trying, I couldn´t do it any more.  I honestly just broke down into tears crying all over the place.  We were teaching Elder Martinez, he flew down here with us but he is fluent and so he is only here for two weeks.  He is one of the nicest guys here.  He honestly knew exactly what to say.

My teacher came over and took me out into the hall. He is so very kind and drives 2 hours a trip to teach us.  He is just so humble and loving.  I was a mess and he spoke to me in Spanish the entire time.  If I didn't know about Heavenly Father the Spirit, I would have no idea how I could understand everything he was saying to me.  He explained that he could see how dedicated I am to the work and that I am working really hard.  He told me that Heavenly Father loves me and that he knows I will be a good missionary.

I have kind of felt lonely since that night because everybody saw me and I feel like they judged me HARD CORE.  I don´t care because I know why I am here.

So here's the deal I will be one week behind you guys because we only have an hour on the computer. The older guys in my room say the best thing to do is to take a picture of our letter and read them in our room. Then write out-ish what we want to say for our next letter so we can just type as fast as we can.

Love you TONS,

Elder George

In the last few minutes I just wanted to tell you thank you for being my mom.  There isn´t anybody in the world I would trade you for.  You were always there as a shoulder to cry on and now I can´t really do that but you are still with me all the time.  I carry your and dads picture with me everywhere I go.  Thanks for putting up with me all those years.  It has truly been a privilege to be your and dads son.   I love you with all my heart and when the going gets tough I just think about you guys back home and it makes it a little easier.  I really haven´t gotten home sick yet - just home sick for your cooking.  Rice and eggs are already getting really really old. Anyways, keep on keeping on.  One of my favorite Elder in our district says that and it is getting to me.  We can't send picture at the CCM (the Spanish initials for the MTC) they will come later!!!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Made it to Lima

September 10, 2014

So I made it to the MTC safely and I am super, super, tired.  We didn't make it into bed until about 2:30ish.  It was a really long day.  I felt like it was dragging on and on.  The people I sat next to on the flight to Georgia were not interested in talking at all.  We had only been on the plane for about 5 minutes and this guy is snoring right over my shoulder!!  Haha!  Well, my companion is from Rigby, Idaho.  He really didn't want to get up this morning, but he is really cool and fun to be around.  he reminds me a lot of Parker.  I don't really know what is going on ever as they only talk in Spanish.

Love,

Elder George

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Greatest of Tender Mercies!!♥♥

September 9, 2014

Well that was the quickest night ever!!!  We all got up early and headed to the airport.  One of the little blessings of living in Idaho Falls is our airport is not quite as busy as most other airports.  We got there and truly, there were not many people there.  Gabriel check in.  His bags were right on the edge when it came to weight.  He was less than 2 pounds away from the limit on one and within 5 pounds on the other.

We had 3 pretty sad little girls.  All of this became just too real.  Each knows that she has the best brother ever.  Hannah said it best once when we were teasing Gabriel about being everyone's favorite brother.  She said, "Nope, he's not mine."  We were shocked for only the briefest fraction of a second before the grins all started to appear.  "Jesus is."  Like I said it only took a brief fraction of a second before we knew where she was heading.  I guess if you are going to be trumped by only 1 person he is the guy to trump you!  Gabe really is in good company.

There was a kind lady who offered to take our picture, although I think none of us, with the exception of our missionary of course, was looking their best!

 
All grins!!
He was pretty much all grins.  There were no other missionaries just him.  The rest of us?  Well his dad is just jealous of him.  He is so excited for his boy!  For he truly knows what sort of experiences await him.  Me, of course I am delighted for him but miserable for me.  I am not a fan of the growing up and leaving home thing.  I know that the saying, "Grandchildren are better than having children" is a lie.  Nothing will ever be better than being a mom!!  Not that I won't love that other part of life but there is NO WAY it can be better than this part of my life!  I love it most of all.  But I can let him go because I know how I love a couple of countries called Belgium and The Netherlands and the people who call them home.  I could never be so selfish as to keep my child from such a gift given from a loving Heavenly Father.  So I smile as tears slip down my cheeks.  Lacey, oh dear, she is as big a mess as I have ever seen.  She is always so put together and sure of herself, and now?  Now, her best friend in all the world is going away for 2 years and it is more than she can take.  Her heart does not just feel broken, it feels as if it has been yanked from within her very being and demolished in a most torturous fashion.  Life just seems to be crashing down around her.  Sydney is perhaps the most stoic of our children.  Her silence screams volumes to the rest of us.  Finally, as she just silently sits, it too much and tears stream down her face.  Our little Hannah, our gift, is so little, and so sad.  Yet, none of them would have it any other way either.  For truly we love Jesus more than we love the natural man part of our desires.  We love Jesus.  That is really what this is all about for us!


Finally, it was just time.  Our Elder was so ready!  He hugged us each goodbye and then he headed toward the gate.  We watched as a he took off his belt and shoes and watch and emptied his pockets.  We stood as he walked through the gate and put everything back in place.  A kind TSA person walked from behind where our young man had just walked through and brought us kleenex.  She said, "He said that he was pretty sure his parents would be okay but, maybe not his sisters."  Then we moved so we could watch him go up the escalator and turn the corner out of sight.  The whole way up the escalator Lacey was quietly muttering what my heart was pleading, "Please just turn around, just one more time."  He did.  He grinned, and waved, and was gone.

Now you would think that that is the end of our day.   But it isn't.  Not by a long shot!!!

We all walked back to the car after that.  It was a pretty wet ride home.  I was a bit surprised that they didn't have a flash flood warning in Idaho Falls.  As we were driving and the girls were crying, Brad glanced at me and said, "You're just going to head to work and really come back to watch his plane take off, aren't you?"  He hasn't been married to me for the better part of 24 years for nothing.  We got home and the girls pretty much headed back to bed.  Brad said, "I'll come with you."  Secretly he really wanted to go, not so much as a support for me but because he just wanted to see the last seconds of his boy in Idaho Falls too.  He and I went back and found a spot to watch our boys plane take him away for the next 2 years.  I got out and took a picture as I watched the plane carrying a huge chunk of my heart begin to climb into the air.
That little white thing in the middle that is perhaps a blur to you is clearly that chunk of my heart I was talking about! 
My computer had a tab open to flight tracker the entire day.

This part of the story actually began about a year ago.  Our missionary daughter is serving in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission.  She left on her mission on July 10, 2013.  Her story is fun too but is told in a different blog.  Yet this part is something that is a shared blessing for both of my missionaries.  When Molly, Sister George, to all in Georgia, got to Georgia she figured out that Atlanta was a hub for Delta.  Years ago, before 9/11, she had an aunt serving a mission in New York.  Her uncle was called to serve in Spain while his sister was in New York.  Well, during his layover in New York, on his way to Spain, they got to see each other.  Of course, like I said, that was before 9/11 when you could still go into the terminal and wait at the doors.  Yet the gift they were given was still the sweetest of miracles.

Well, I remember when I got a letter from my Molly that told me that she had told her trainer that her greatest wish was that her younger brother would have a layover in Atlanta and that she would be able to see him.  Her trainer told her to get that wish out of her head because it would never happen.  That even if he did have a layover she would never get permission to go see him.  Yet I believe that my daughter never ceased to pray for her miracle.

The day after we got his flight plans, only 6 days before he left, I got a text from a member in ward where she is serving.  She said that my daughter wanted to know what her brother flight plans were.  I was crushed because I knew of her wish and the thought of her not being blessed with it crushed my heart just a little bit.  I hoped that maybe knowing that he was in the same state as her would be enough.  I reluctantly sent his plans to the member with the message that hopefully knowing that they were in the same state as each other would be enough for my little girl.  Well, maybe 3 hours later I got a text that said, "She got permission to go to the airport!!"  Oh my!  I was not sure how I felt.  I wanted her dream to come true.  I knew my son would be stressed, his layover was only 2 hours long, and Atlanta is a HUGE airport.  And so plans were made to try and help from our end what was going on in Georgia on her end.

So most of the day was spent with our missionaries' parents silently praying.  I watched as Gabriel's little animated plane flew across my screen and landed in Atlanta.  He landed a full hour early.  I knew that if they saw each other I would get a text picture; for my little Sister George and enlisted the help of one of her choicest members in Georgia.  Sister Watkins was sure to send a text picture of the two of them together.  After an hour of him being there I still hadn't received that picture!  Then suddenly my phone rang, it was Sister Watkins!!!  She has been known to be a little naughty and call me when my child has been in the car with her.  She said, "Kelly, his plane landed an hour ago and he still hasn't called!"  I was so frustrated and so very helpless.  I had given him her cell number and told him to find a phone and call if he had problems.  There was nothing I could do.  My heart was breaking just a little for my little girl.

I hung up and not 10 minutes later there was a ding from my phone that said I had text.  And there it was!!!  There was my picture of my missionaries together!!  There was the answer to many prayers!!
Sister George and Elder George!!!

And their Momma's joy was full!
When my daughter had first gotten to the airport with her companion, Sister Hulme, and Sister Watkins they saw a few Georgia missionaries in the airport.  They went and spoke to one who was with his parents and little sisters.  They found out that he was headed to. . . well the Lima Peru CCM (a.k.a. MTC).  So there was obviously a little bit of discussion about a certain brother who was also headed there.  With two hours to go this elder turned to his family and said, "I gotta go.  I don't want to miss my flight."  My Georgian missionary was left waiting, hoping, and praying for her miracle.

Well, as they waited, Sister Watkins looked at them and said, "We need to say a prayer."  And they did right there in that busy Atlanta airport.  They appealed to a loving Heavenly Father.  My cute daughter said in her letter home, "Momma, after that prayer I just felt peace fall over me like a blanket.  I didn't know if I would see Gabey or not but I knew that it would be okay.  I knew that everything would be fine."  Sister Watkins later told me that Molls said after the prayer, "Maybe it is just too hard for him and maybe it would be too hard for me.  It's okay.  It is enough to know that we are both in the same airport."  Molly continued, "But Sister Watkins went into Mama Bear mode and went over to some airport guy and was trying to find out if they could page a passenger.  As she was talking to him, Molly looked down the hallway where she was hoping to see the face she loves, the hoping was over.  He was there.  He was coming.  Accompanied by the Elder from Georgia who they had talked with.

Our favorite Georgian Peru headed elder had gone and found the other missionaries who had flown from Salt Lake.  He found Elder George and asked if he had seen his sister yet.  Shocked, Gabe said, "No. I don't know where she is.  I don't know how to find her."  This sweet young man looked at Gabe and said, "Grab your passport and your boarding pass we will need those to get back through the gate."  Then he looked at the other elders and said, "We are leaving our carry-ons with you.  No matter what happens take them with you."

And so my joy was full!  My missionaries got 15 cherished minutes!  The Watkins, both Brother and Sister, will forever be a blessed part of the George family.

Just one last note, we watched as Gabe's animated plane flew over Ecuador where one of his best friends, Parker Kuhn, landed earlier that day to start the proselyting part of his mission.  I was not by the computer when my boy landed in Lima, but his dad was.  He came and told me, "He just landed.  He is in Peru."

Monday, September 8, 2014

FINALLY

September 8, 2014

So after waiting, and waiting, and waiting, it finally came!  For some of us it was way too fast in coming, and for others, and one in particular, it couldn't happen soon enough!  We will let you decide who was in what camp.

Last night, Gabriel was supposed to be set apart at 8:00 pm.  We went to Panda Express.  Maybe it was in remembrance of when he received his call, we went there after he opened it.  Or maybe it just seemed like a good idea because the boy is a fan of orange chicken!  Then we headed over to the stake center.  We were there a little early but not much.  Still we were the first arrivals.  Everyone, except mom piled out of the car and soon started making laps around the stake center.  Slowly but surely the girls got back in the car and Gabriel and his dad kept lapping the church.  I am pretty sure those were cherished last moments for both of them.  Time passed (SLOWLY TO BE SURE) as one by one Gabe's grandmas, bishop, and young men's leaders showed up.  We decided that the guest of honor was present but the host, President Hathaway, just was not making an appearance.
Waiting for President Hathaway

I know that most of the people there didn't mind that the host was not there but here is a picture of the guest of honor.  Finally our bishop called him.  I am not sure what happened but he apologized profusely when he got there.  Gabe was cute and said, "That's alright you are only 35 minutes late."  I think Gabriel was trying to be gracious but poor President Hathaway kind of got a stricken look as he hung his head and shook it a little and said, "Oh man!  You've been watching the clock."  Gabe quickly assured him that it was alright.

We all went to the high council room while President Hathaway took our young man to his office for his final interview before setting him apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  When they finally came in, the good men who have been a part of Gabe's life, one from the beginning, and others throughout his youth assisted as President Hathaway fulfilled the long held desires of Gabriel's heart and set him apart as a representative for our dear Savior, elder brother, and friend - Jesus Christ.  As Gabe's mother, I understand the Saviors mother a little more.  For most of that night's proceedings I will do as she did when, she "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."

I envisioned the little babe I held in my arms not really all that long ago.  He was perfect then and he is "practically perfect" now.  I adore him and am more thankful than I have words to express for the past 18 and a half years that I have been privileged to have him in my home.  I must say I am thankful that he is only "practically perfect" for if he had reached perfection already he would have been taken from me before I could send him to Peru.  I am so thankful for him and for Peru.  For I truly believe that he, much like Esther, could answer the question in an affirmative, ". . . and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"  Esther 4:14  In the deepest part of my heart I believe that Gabe was born unto this call.  He was born to be a representative of sweet Jesus.  I know they love each other.

And thus begins our, okay his, great adventure!