Monday, December 24, 2012

Ho Ho Ho!

Hello everyone!

I want to start with a very Merry Christmas to all! I know you guys will be having a lot of fun tonight and tomorrow, and while I wish I could be there with you, I know I'm supposed to be here for just one more Navidad.

We had an amazing week this week, all centered on the Christmas show in the plaza in Trujillo! You should check out the Turks blog for more details, but on Tuesday night, we went and sang with all the other missionaries in the choir. There were some amazing solos, a ton of fireworks, flying doves, and Santa Claus. I also played a special musical number with some of the sisters in the morning devotional, which was quite a treat. Thursday, my comp and I had to go back and play the number again in the morning, but afterwards were instructed to go home and proselyte the rest of the day, since our zone wouldn't be singing that night in the show. However, I marched right up and begged Hermana Turk to let us stay, and she told me "Just come to the show, and I'll find something for you to do." SCORE! We came to the plaza about 6pm, and she had me tape the whole thing on her Flip camera (which is really cool btw). Those videos of the show on her blog are taken by yours truly! Enjoy! It really was a great experience though. We touched a lot of people, and seeing everyone there happy and laughing was just a great Christmas treat.

Tomorrow, I'll be getting on to say Merry Christmas. I'm in Peru, so if the technology doesn't work, I'll just get to a phone and call you guys. We found a member who has pretty fast internet though, so everything should go well. I can't wait to talk to you all!

I love you so much guys. It really is sad to have to go through Christmas without you, but I know you all will have a ton of fun. You guys are my world. Thanks for always being there and supporting and teaching me everything I know. You are the best family in the world! Read Punchinello for me!

Love ya
PS Thanks so much to Grandma Pettersson for the Christmas gift!  I miss you and love you and hope you have a great holiday season in Utah!  You're the best!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Hot!

Dear familia!

How is everyone? It really is starting to get steamy here. Christmas is honestly the hottest time of the year in Peru. It is super weird for me...I honestly forget that we are in Christmas season until I read you guys' emails. We did decorate our room though. I say "decorate", but honestly we only have two Christmas decorations in the whole place. One is a stuffed Santa that some elders left there from years back, and the other is a Mexican nativity scene inside of a hollowed out porcelain chili pepper. Feliz Navidad! I am, however, singing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs in English, so I am sure Elder Almazan loves me for that...

We had quite a fun P-day. Hermana Turk invited the whole zone over to make some tacos at her house! I am sure you will see some pictures on the blog, but we played lots of games and listened to Christmas carols too. Made me miss home, to be honest. The tacos were delicious though. Their house is actually really nice. I like playing the piano there too, since it is still the only real one that I have found in Peru. Our chapel doesn't have one at all, and the others that do have them are all electric. You know how I am with electric pianos too, not a fan.

The week went well overall. We are just here preparing more people to get baptized. I am in what is probably my last few weeks in this area, so I am trying to leave it all on the field! It is a great place and I will miss all the people here, but after 8 months of it, I'm ready to go. I have certainly learned a lot though. Alto Moche will always have a part of my heart.

I am sending you some fun pictures this week of the cover that I had made for my English scriptures. This lady burns it in there with a metal pen thing, and she can literally do it with any image that you want. I only payed about 20 bucks for this one too. On one side is the temple in Trujillo (check out the Turks blog for updates on it!), and on the other side has our beloved San Antonio temple! Pretty cool eh?

Love you all. Hope you are enjoying the Christmas season. Can't wait to talk to you in just two weeks!
Thanks to grandma Pettersson for the Christmas money!  I love you and miss you!

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Beginning To Look Alot Like...

Dear Family & Friends,

Wow! What a week we had here in Alto Moche, Peru. We started off the week a bit discouraged, as we had so many people that we felt were ready to enter the waters of baptism, and just one who was comitted to getting baptized on Saturday. We were able to see some miracles though, as we visited an investigator, Claris, that we have been teaching for awhile, and lo and behold, she said "I want to get baptized on Saturday"! It was great to see just how happy they were to make this covenant with God. They both bore their respective testimonies right after the service, and the Spirit was felt quite strong.

The pictures you see are of us right before the service. Thought I would include the one where I'm trying to instruct the 1st counselor in the bishopric on how to use my camera. My face looks funny. Also threw a "cool guys" picture in there of Elder Vanden Bosch and I. Hope you enjoy.

Check out the blog for some other pictures of my companion and I. We had to shovel Hermana Turk out of the sand, since she got her van stuck up in there while visiting our area. Good thing I already had some experience from trying to get Dad's Avalanche out of the mud at Muleshoe when Taylor, Nathan, and I got it stuck there. Haha.

Thanks to Nathan, Garrett and Tanya for the mail! I love reading what you guys are up to, even if I can't always respond to it. Thanks to Kayleigh as well for the package.

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."

Love you all

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

13 Months

Hello all,

Well, Peruvian thanksgiving doesn't exist, but we still had a super fun week, as you can see from the photos! In our district meeting, I had everyone write on a piece of paper something that impedes them from being a good missionary (not being obedient, fear of talking to people), and then had them shape it into a weapon (I made a prison-style shank). We then put all the "weapons" in a shoe-box and buried them outside the church, just like the converted Lamanites (see Alma 24)! It was quite fun, and really helped the missionaries see the importance of leaving behind bad habits and excuses.

The assistants also came to proselyte with us, and told us that they wanted to make a bonfire on our roof after the nightly session of planning, which we did. We roasted marshmallows and listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the whole nine yards. It was a blast.

Lastly, since changes came, we said goodbye to one of our zone leaders, Elder Johnson, by playing soccer super early this morning. The picture you see is about half of the zone, sweaty and having fun. I, of course, stayed right hear in Alto Moche, but it is all but 100% guaranteed that this WILL be my last change here. Haha. I sure will miss it. We are working hard though, and should be having lots of baptisms in December and January! All the fun is coming up, though I do miss you guys and wish I could pass the holidays with you. But no matter! We must keep pressing forward and doing what we have to. Hope you enjoyed the pics and comments. I love you all more than you know!

Love to all,

Monday, November 19, 2012

Piano Man

Dear family and friends,

Yes, I have turned into Elder Billy Joel these past few weeks, as you can see from the photo I'm sending. Hermana Turk asked me if I could accompany a sister companionship singing a special number for this upcoming zone conference where one of the Seventy is going to come and speak to us, and so she let me take the keyboard from the office to our room. I must say, it is quite fun. I might be jamming out too all the hymns on the organ setting, just as if I were playing for MoTab. It is a blast.

Everything has gone well this week. We are finding lots of new people to teach, and using the Book of Mormon in every single lesson. The Spirit is so strong! I love it when you can see in the faces of the people when they feel it too. I really have gained a testimony that the Lord loves all of us, each in our own individual way.

Hope you enjoy the other picture of the district on the soccer field. It's not really a field, it's a giant piece of cement, but that's what they call a field here in Peru.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Eat an extra piece of turkey for me please. At least you won't have to make so many rolls this year!

Love ya

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Hello all

Can you believe we are almost halfway through November? Seriously...time sure flies. I would like to apologize first and foremost for not sending pictures once again. Seriously, one of my big changes this week will be taking my camera with me everywhere I go to take pictures! I just never have been that guy to take a ton, but I know it is boring for you guys to see pure text, and I know I will regret not taking more pix when the mission is over (I hope it never ends!)

We had a fabulous week this week! I caught a cold, but that didn't stop us from working our ninnies off (as Dad says). We ran around looking for all the new people we met, and we were even able to committ one to getting baptized on the 24th! He is a great man named Alejandro. What is interesting is how we got him to that committment. We had interviews with President this week, in the which he told us that the mission basically wasn't using the Book Of Mormon effectively at all. He even asked us to teach the first 4 lessons in one appointment each, and then after that, read the BOM with the investigators every day until their baptism! This seemed a bit odd to me at first, but, true to the revelation, we did exactly as Prez said! We were originally going to teach Alejandro about keeping the Sabbath day holy when we went into our appointment last night, but ended up changing and just reading all of 1 Nephi 3 with him. The Spirit completely invaded the room, and he committed to being baptized on the 24th before I could even get the invitation fully out of my mouth! This too coming from a man who refused to completely committ to anything else we had invited him to do. The Lord really does work through His mission presidents, and the BOM really is the word of God!

I am excited with all the progress that we have been seeing lately. The mission is always full of ups and downs, but I feel like a young elder again with lots of time ahead of me! I think the key is really just exercising a mental discipline strong enough to keep us grounded and focused. I plan on pushing harder and harder every week.

Hope you are all doing well. Let me know what else you want to hear about in the letters! I received the Thanksgiving box! Seriously, the chips are a HUGE hit with me. I especially loved the Flamin Cheeetos with limon! You guys are the best!
Love ya

PS Stole a picture from the Turks blog. This is all the zone eating chicken at Norkys after the interviews!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall for All

Hi Everyone,

Things are definitely looking up here. It is nice and warm in the day, though since we are next to the beach, we also get a nice constant breeze which makes me happy. We actually already have a soccer ball to play with which is nice, and also we found out that the guy who owns the house where we live is going to be putting a ping pong table downstairs!! We are super pumped to use that baby on P days, though it will definitely be a temptation during study time...haha

Everything is going fine here, and I am actually starting to get used to the food. My packages are running dangerously low on goodies though, which scares me. Those Dynamite Dorito roll thingies were AMAZING btw! Send more!!

First off, I must say that the Ricky themed pumpkin is THE BEST PUMPKIN OF ALL TIME IN LEVOS FAMILY HISTORY. Seriously, a work of art. The words are nice, but the rendering of the Ricky face is absolutely exquisite! It shall be forever etched in the annals of Halloween-land. You are the best Dad.

Sounds like you had a ton of fun for H day per usual. Scaring girls is always part of the game. I think it's rather amusing that you get MORE excited about it every year, even though you're getting more elderly. How did you guys flavor the seeds this year? Was it typical Tony Saccheres? Were there any trick or treaters in Rustic Lane? Anybody else decorate? I remember it was a bit difficult to decorate for Christmas last year, since the land is so...spacious

We did have a baptism this week but I will give you all the details next week. I can't believe that half the mission is over either! It is exciting to know I will be back with my family this time next year, but at the same time, I will NEVER be able to be a missionary again, so I am definitely trying to soak up every moment.

Thanks to the Owens for the great package!  I miss all of you and appreciate all that has been done on my behalf. The goodies are great and the kids in the village love the toys.
Much Love,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another Week

Hello all!

It was another week- another week of work, another week of closed doors, another week of dusty streets and sunsets and dirty dogs and greasy food and testimonies and happiness. It was also another week without pictures, so please forgive me. I will definitely be trying to improve on that front...

Elder Almazan and I are working hard here, which is all you can do when you have a year in the mission and want to do what is right. We are actually finally starting to find good people though, and...wait for it...we are finally starting to find some FAMILIES! I have never been able to baptize a family in my mission, and it is my goal to find at least one in this area before I leave. Though, seeing as I  have been here since May 1, I shouldn't think that time will come very soon...

We were able to finally committ an eternal investigator to being baptized this coming Saturday! He has been listening to the missionaries for 6 months now, and the Spirit has worked in him little by little until this point. It really is interesting how the Lord helps His children come to the truth in His own chosen time.

It is starting to get a bit warmer here, which is nice. I do wish I was able to feel the Texas fall weather though, and more than that, eat the Texas fall food. I know you will all enjoy it for me.

So sorry the letters are boring, but there is simply not much to report this week. Hope you are all healthy and happy!
Much Love,

Monday, October 22, 2012



I can't believe that I really will be completing a year this week. I don't have any plans to do anything crazy. In fact, it should be a normal Friday, but at the same time, it really is surreal that I have already hit the halfway point. I almost wanted to cry thinking about it all the other night. At the same time, I am quite excited that I will be able to give my all in this last year. Things are definitely looking up.

My brand new comp, Elder Almazan, is super cool. He is from Ecuador (you can see a nice big picture of us on the blog), and is really humble and teachable. I am trying really hard to train him in the right way and help him in any way that I can. He loves learning, and has really injected a new sense of energy and happiness into the work. It is something that I really need.

We are working hard to find some new investigators and get them to the font! Looks like we won't be seeing any baptisms until November, but we have found a few awesome families, so cross your fingers and pray hard for us! I still have yet to baptize an entire family in my mission, and it is my goal to find one before my time in Alto Moche ends. This area has really won my heart, and I want to give my all to the people here.

Thought you guys would enjoy the photos from last week's baptism. We are still working on getting Maria's mom married and baptized. She is a great lady, and I know it will happen. Also have a fun picture of Elder Vanden Bosch and I in the work visit that we did. I got to work for him for an entire day in his area, which is a really cool country place full of farms and stuff. I am holding up our favorite Peruvian chocolate bar, Wazzu, and he is holding up some DELICIOUS dill pickle flavored sunflower seeds from home.

You guys are all awesome! Can't believe I will be seeing you all in one short year.

Much love

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Alto Mochero, Forever

Dear family

Changes came...and I AM STILL HERE IN ALTO MOCHE. Yep, I can't really believe it either, but I will be training a new missionary, supposedly, and I will be doing it here. He is going to come tomorrow though, so at least it's for sure this time. I really am shocked that I'm staying here for more time, but President said that he has received council to keep missionaries in areas for longer time periods. Following the Lord I'm sure!!

Yes, both the packages were from you guys and No, the shoe box did NOT get smashed!!! Thank you so much for everything, especially the Texas tie and tshirt!!! They are both so cool. I even wore my Texas tie to the baptism that we had, and everybody commented on how great it looked. It is easily the prettiest tie I have. I also LOVED all the chips!!"! Seriously, every single kind is so delicious. I am also intrigued by the Dorito tube looking things, though I'm trying to save the best for last. Your packages are always the best of any other missionary's.

Running a bit low on time here, but just wanted to tell you that Maria did get baptized! We are so excited for her and working with her mom so she can get married and baptized too. We also have a great big family now that we are teaching and are VERY excited for. Pray for them!!

Love you all

PS Happy late birthday Ryan! You are still the man.

PPS I actually have photos this time but the computer is Peruvian and isn't letting me see them. I'll definitely send them next week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Conference Fun!


How was conference? I definitely LOVED it, especially because this year I got to see it in English! Such a blessing. Spanish translators can only do so much, especially when it comes to personal stories and jokes. I especially loved President Eyring's and President Monson's talks on Sunday morning. I actually kinda felt like Joseph Smith after having received the First much spiritual learning in such a short time period (I saw all 5 sessions, Saturday and Sunday), that I was basically sapped for strength at the end, even after having just sat in a chair all day. Can't believe that they will be building another temple in Peru (let's hope that speeds up the progress of the one here in Trujillo), and that the missionaries will now be leaving at 18 and 19 years old.

Had an awesome experience that I thought I should share with you all this week. We had an amazing lesson with an older lady named Ofelia, who is listening to us with her 10 year old daughter, Maria. Ofelia can't read, and so giving her the Book of Mormon and inviting her to start reading was a very tough moment for her. However, she faithfully enlisted her daughter to read to her at least 1 chapter every day, and Maria has kept up the pace. We asked her this week if she had prayed to know if the Book was true, and she exclaimed promptly, "Oh Elders, I KNOW it's true! Even though I haven't been able to read a single word for myself, when I prayed and asked God I felt so good inside, that I can barely describe the feeling to you. I know with all my heart it is true." I almost burst into tears to be honest, seeing the great faith of this woman. She couldn't read the Book of Mormon herself, but the fact that she took the time and effort to get her daughter to read it to her was amazing. I know that God saw that effort and has blessed her with a strong testimony of the book because of that. By the way, Maria will be getting baptized this Saturday, and we are working to get Ofelia married so that she can enter the waters of baptism too.

President Turk has challenged us all to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, and I want to invite you guys to do the same. I too know this book is true, and that it changes lives. I hope you will always remember that there are people out there who don't know what we know, and simply need an invitation to do so. Share the Book of Mormon with someone today!

I love you all. Sorry that there aren't any pictures this week!

Monday, October 1, 2012


Hello all!

First, I know you are probably tired of just seeing baptism pictures, but they are definitely the coolest part of the mission (and the reason why we are here), and what's more, at least this one was inside at a different place! You can actually see a little bit of what the inside of the chapel looks like in Alto Moche, Peru.

Anyways, this week was pretty dang crazy! I got emergency changed into a district leader, since our district leader, Elder Cerpa, got bumped up to be a zone leader. Being a DL basically means that I am in charge of two different areas, and basically supervise the work that is going on over there with the other missionaries. It is fun, because they are both my friends and we all get along great. Stuff isn't too different to be honest, but at least I have some new interesting responsibilities and whatnot!

Haven't gotten anything yet in terms of your packages, but I will definitely be on the lookout! I can't believe I have almost a year sure has passed by super fast. Time flies.

The young woman we baptized in the picture is named Melissa. She is super awesome, and simply chose to get baptized due to a friend who referred her to us! Never forget how powerful your testimony can be to family members and friends! This girl chose to enter the waters of baptism due to just such a testimony.

My new comp should be arriving from the UNITED STATES this week! I am so excited that I will have a gringo once again. There will be lots of things to talk about and lots of updates that he will have to give me on what's going on in my home country.

Miss you and love you all!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hello All

Hey guys!

I've definitely missed you all this week, just because I suppose it hasn't been the easiest one in the world to endure. I will apologize in advance for the lack of pictures, but I was so busy this week that I couldn't take any. I will definitely start improving on that front.

This week I had a companion change, thanks to the fact that my local companion went home because his time was up, and another elder in the mission received an emergency change to my area. I have no idea how much time he will be here, but hopefully it isn't long. The new missionary that I'm supposed to train still hasn't come...I'm pretty sure he's from USA but not sure.

We have been looking for a lot of new people to teach lately. We have one young woman who is supposed to get baptized this Saturday, but has been having some serious doubts about the law of tithing. It is tough for the people here in Peru, because they have almost nothing. They just don't understand all the blessings that come through faithful tithe paying!

I'm finally used to the food and all...just gotta make sure I don't get fat!  I have definitely gained a pound or two. I basically feel like a Peruvian to be honest. I am totally used to the language and speak very little English.

Hope you guys are doing well. I will be working hard to have a better week this week. Stay close to the gospel no matter what, even though sometimes it will be hard. I know this work is true and that the Lord loves us all. I miss you and think about you every day.

Much love

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Raining Baptisms!


We really our happy here, because we are finding ALL of the people in Alto Moche who are ready to be baptized. This week, a great man named Cesar was baptized by our bishop after we taught him all the lessons! He has definitely had his struggles with everything, but he has repented, made it through, and now is a member of the church! We are so excited for to get him a calling! In the picture you can see my local companion, "Elder" Castro. He is an awesome dude, though he doesn't talk to much. I guess I got used to Elder Acuña talking alllll the time. Haha.

It is starting to heat up again in Peru. The hottest months of the year are November, December, and January, so we are just prepping I suppose. Can't believe I'll have a year in just one more month. I've realized that the mission really is just a blink of an eye in the eternal scale of things. For that, we need to keep working hard and ALWAYS doing our best! You feel a lot more happy when you do that anyway.

Hope everyone is doing well and staying safe! I miss you all more than you know.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Still Kickin'

Hello all!

I just want to apologize first, because I didn't take one single photo this week. Expect double next week!

It has been another week at the grindstone here in Alto Moche. I am currently with Elder Castro, a young man from a part of Trujillo called Palermo. He is a great little dude (and I mean little), with a lot of energy and a big heart. He already knows a lot of stuff in regards to missionary work, so it has been quite fun to teach him and help him get better. However, it can be a bit difficult at times, just because all of our efforts fall on my shoulders, simply because I am in charge here. I feel like I kinda understand what it feels like to be a new parent! Always in charge of someone else and their gets tiring!

We are still teaching a lot of young people here in the area. It is actually great because all of the young men and women that we are baptizing are bringing their friends to church and helping them come into the gospel. It is exciting!

Hope you guys are all doing well. Sorry my group letters are starting to kinda be boring, but the mission becomes a routine at a certain point after a lot of experience. Just know that we are working hard and are waiting for my real kid to arrive! Love you all.


PS Thanks a million to Christy for the Bucees nuggets. It's nice to have a taste of Texas in Alto Moche, Peru. You're awesome!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I'm A Missionary Father!

Hello all!

Yes, I received some shocking news today...but don't worry I'm not REALLY a father (though in terms of mission slang, I am). I was all packed and ready to go last night, thinking that FOR SURE I would be leaving Alto Moche this change, but not so! My leaders called me and informed me that I will be staying to train a brand new missionary! (In the mission, they call the trainers "Dads" and the new missionaries "Sons" I will be having my first son in the mission). I am pretty excited, though a bit apprehensive to be staying here all the way until December! Oh well, we will definitely have a fun time and learn a lot together.

I actually won't get to meet him for a few more weeks because he is not Peruvian (I don't know where he's from), and apparently is having some trouble getting a Visa to enter the country, so I will be with a local missionary, in other words, a priest or elder from Trujillo who is preparing for a mission and is going to come with me and be my stand-in companion. Needless to say, it will be an interesting next 6 weeks.

To answer the question on food - chips and salsa DO NOT EXSIT HERE!(can you believe that I've gone 10 months without eating chips and salsa and I'm not dead yet?!) so if you can figure out any way to send me some I would die of happiness. By the way, the Combos pretzel things were definitely the MVP of this package. So delicious...send more please!

Hope you guys enjoy the picture! We had a baptism this Saturday of a great young man named Milton. His mom came to the service and said that she wants to get baptized too! The Lord is really blessing us here in Alto Moche. Keep us in your prayers!

Love you all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Week In America

Hey everbody!

I just want to say that this week was a week full of joy...thanks too all the food I received! To Ben and Becky, Papa, and of course you guys, I love the combos and the cheez-its! And the candy was super good!  THANK YOU FOR THE FOOD! You really have no idea how much it comforts me. The way to a missionary's heart truly is through his stomach. Though mine has been hurting this week, just because I have gorged perhaps a bit too much.

You will also see from my picture that your sweets weren't the only American things I was eating this week...that's right I got some Pizza Hut pizza! We went to one of the few malls in Trujillo with the whole zone for P-day, and lo and behold Elder Vanden Bosch (one of my real good buddies and the only missionary that I have known since day 1 in Provo) and I spot a PIZZA HUT. So we throw down 36 soles each for a family size pizza and dug in. Truly, it was one of the best afternoons of my life. I miss America.

We are geared up to really do some work here in what is most likely my last week in Alto Moche. We have two people ready for baptism this upcoming Saturday...please keep them in your prayers! I really am going to miss this place. I have definitely made a lot more friends than I did in Huarmey. The members here are great! They give us references all the time, and most of the time those people get baptized. (If you have a friend that wants to hear the gospel, refer em to the missionaries!)

Hope you all are doing well. I love hearing from everybody (thanks to Tanya, Garrett and Charlene for the constant letters and cards), and I hope you guys like hearing of what's going on in Peru, complete with pictures! (Sometimes)
Keep up the good work. Don't forget to read and pray!

Love you all

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Dear family

Well, I apologize that I have been really bad at time management once again, and so only have 5 minutes to write the community letter, but I hope you enjoyed the personal ones!

This week, as you can see from the picture, was another baptism week! Brayan is a special story. He was a reference from his girlfriend actually, and he is a PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER here in Trujillo. He plays for UCV, the big professional team in the city. That's right, my dream is officially come true...I baptized a professional athlete. He is an awesome kid though, honestly. He had a few struggles and problems during the lessons, but he took the step of faith anyway. We are so proud of him. The sweetest moment was afterwards in the bathroom when we were changing out of the wet clothes, and he looked straight at me and said "Elder Levos, I really am clean aren't I? All my sins are gone huh?" With tears in my eyes, I told him YES! It is all gone and all washed away. He then told me how he plans to change the public image of the professional soccer player here in Trujillo (everyone sees them as womanizers, drinkers, etc.) He told me he wants to show people that there can be good soccer players too. What a great and happy story.

Thanks so much to the Siller family for their package! I got it this morning...and I might have eaten  half of the stuff inside already. Thanks to my boy Ryan for his letter as well. I will write you back ASAP my man. Hope everything is well with your family!

I love you all. Hope eveyone is staying safe and doing what they should!

(For those of you who don't understand exactly what the importance of baptism is...PLEASE visit to find out! It will change your life like it did Brayan's!)

Take care

Monday, August 13, 2012


Hello All,

My apologies for some pretty crappy letters this week. I am feeling pretty darn sick today, so I'm just kinda spaced out. For that, there are also no pictures. However, I will definitely send them next week. Sorry for being a bum.

Everything is going great here otherwise. We had the baptism that didn't end up happening last week. It's a young man named David, who was pretty nervous, but is a good guy. Next man up: a professional Peruvian soccer player who told me that he wants ME to baptize him. Yep, baptizing a pro athlete on Sunday... basically my dream come true.

Sounds like you are having a ton of stuff to do with all the animals. My companion always laughs because every once in awhile we will see an animal or two in the street here in Alto Moche and he will always ask me "Does your family have that thing on the farm too?" And the answer is almost always yes. Haha. Chickens, ducks, burros, etc...

Time is going by so so fast. I probably only have 3 weeks left here in Alto Moche, and it is anyone's guess where I go from here. It could be further in Trujillo or farrrrrr away. I just hope it is somewhere cool.

Miss you and love you all. Keep doing good work.
Love to All

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Dear Family & Friends,

That is definitely the word that described our week: bittersweet. We had a baptism run away from us this Saturday. He supposedly had a giant test that he "forgot about" at the last minute and therefore didn't show up on the prescribed day. We went to look for him and even sat outside his house for an hour waiting, but he never came. It was certainly frustrating. He didn't go to church the next day either, and when we finally found him, he expressed some doubts and concerns. We of course will continue to work with him, but when people break their commitments, it can certainly be tough for us as missionaries to keep pressing on.

However, the sweet also came. We found an amazing young man named Elmer who wants to get baptized. I was actually in a different area on a work exchange, but Elder Acuña tells me that he and his temporary companion were walking along the street heading to an appointment when they saw a really old lady carrying a giant bag of sand. Of course, they stopped and offered to help her. She accepted, and they took the bag to her house, telling her who they were along the way. Just then, her son, Elmer walked up with a wheelbarrow to help her carry the sand. He listened to them, accepted a visit, and here we are one week later with a baptismal date and a very excited young man who wants to change his life. The gospel plan is perfect, and when we are always trying to be servants of the Lord, He will help us find the people who are ready for His truth. I am glad my companion and the other missionary were being examples of Christ at all times that day.

Hope you like the picture of me with the old car! Love ya


Monday, July 30, 2012


Hello fam!

This week I got to see a ton of beaches, for one reason or another. (Don't worry, I am working hard...the entire zone I am in is surrounded by beach.) The one I am sending the picture of is in Moche, where my zone leaders are. We went contacting in their area for a day, and my companion and I passed an entire neighborhood of super nice houses and the beach as well. Living here wouldn't be so bad, minus the food, I suppose.
We have had a lot of new investigators this week! We have focused our efforts on finding new people and befriending them in church with the members. Oddly, that is one of the hardest things for people to get used to.

Here's a story from today that might give you a little peek into life with a Peruvian every day. I found it funny and thought you would enjoy it dad, since you are the one who gave me my love of sunflower seeds:

(Me eating sunflower seeds)

Elder Acuña: Hey, whatcha eating?
Me: Sunflower seeds
Elder Acuña: Give me some!
Me: You won't like them.
Elder Acuña: Cmon I just wanna try em.
Me: Well, you have to eat them in a specific way.
Elder Acuña: Just give me some!!
(Hand him a seed)
(He chomps down and chews the whole thing to pieces immediately)
Elder Acuña: This is disgusting and it cuts my mouth. You Americans eat some weird stuff.

Needless to say, I laughed. The culture barrier can be pretty funny sometimes, but you learn to get used to everything. Send me some flavored seeds! Ranch and dill pickle especially are delicious.

The area I am in, really is beautiful, at least if you look out to the east. Where I work and proselyte every day is just a giant sandy hill, but the people are nice. I am finally starting to hit those middle months of the mission where things are starting to run together. I hope my letters aren't too lame. Throw me out questions for what you want to hear!

This picture is of me and my comp in front of an old abandoned city of the Incas. Pretty cool tour!

Love you all

Monday, July 23, 2012

Changes, But We Didn't...

Hello all!

It is true, the changes were given to us last night, but nothing changed here. I am still in Alto Moche with Elder Acuña for 6 more weeks. I was happy with the results, but not really surprised I suppose. We figured it would happen, because I have only been here for 3 months. However, I will almost assuredly be out of here after this 6 weeks.

Everything really is going great here. I wish I had more to tell you guys, but we are just working hard every day and doing what needs to be done! We are actually teaching Kevin's family (the kid who got baptized last week), and also some of his friends. He has really been a great help for us.

It is finally starting to cool down here! The weather really is crazy, because some days it is hot as all get out, and other days it really isn't bad. It is always like that in Peru though. You have a ton of different climates here all the time.

Hope everyone is doing well. Can't believe that the summer is almost over for everyone. Time sure flies right? Feel free to throw me some questions about what you guys want more information on. As a missionary, things that would be crazy for you guys become totally routine for me. Weird, I know.

Love ya

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Awesome Week!

Dear Family,

We had an AWESOME week this week, not only because we had a baptism of my favorite convert (to this point), but we also are now teaching his whole family (picture enclosed) who are MARRIED and willing to listen. Does it get any better than that?? The young man's name is Kevin, and he also received the priesthood on the same day. We are so excited for him and his progress. He looked awesome in his white shirt and tie.

Other than that, we are just working on finding new investigators. It is a bit hard these days, and winter seems to be making people's hearts a little colder too, but they are still listening well enough. We only have one week left in this change, but I believe that I will be staying here still. Wick!

Hapy birthday to Papa!! 70 years old is a long time...but you're still going strong and you are still the best Grandpa ever! Thanks for all that you have taught me!

Love you all. Hope you enjoy the pics and that you get this on time.

Pics aren't working. I will send them next week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Your Summer...Our Winter

Hey all!

We have had a great week with lots of work and lots of fun. Our top investigator, Kevin, passed his interview to be baptized! We are so excited for him, and he will be baptized on the 14th, so expect some pictures! He is a great young man of 17 years old, and through him, we have met a lot of his friends who are interested in the gospel. It is amazing what a friend can to to help someone find the truth!

It has actually started getting cold here. Our area is right next to the ocean, so the breeze at night is really nice too. I enjoy it a lot. Sometimes I even feel a bit cold! The people here are ridiculous though. Lots of heavy jackets and beanies. It's probably 55 degrees.

Thought you guys might like the pictures of me at my desk and my desk space. They were taken a couple of weeks apart, so it looks a bit different. A couple of people have wanted to see my desk, so enjoy! I guess. Haha.

We are doing great in general. Wish I had more exciting things to tell, but a missionary's day is pretty standard: find, teach, baptize! We are working with the members and making friends. Everything is great.

Love you tons! Hope everyone is enjoying their summer! I'm enjoying my "winter".


Monday, July 2, 2012

Just Relaxing On The Beach

Hi Fam!

Well the biggest news of the week, as you can see from my pictures, is that we got to go to the beach today!!! There is a beach right next to my area in fact (I can see it from my room) but this beach that we went to today was called Huanchaco, and it's the most famous one here in Trujillo. The special occasion was the fact that President's family came into visit him (more pictures of course will be on the blog), and he chose our zone to come and play some volleyball and other beach games! It was a blast. It's "winter" here now, so the beach was a lot more cloudy and whatnot, but it was still beautiful. There were some huge waves too, big enough to surf! Hope you like the pics.

We are doing great in Alto Moche otherwise. We are working a lot through our most recent convert, Diego, to teach his friends. He is so excited to be teaching the gospel to them, and it is especially helping strengthen his testimony to hear everything again. We even had 7 investigators in the chapel yesterday, which made us reall happy! Missionaries really aren't pleased unless they are having success haha.

My companion and I get along great. I really love this area and what I am doing. It is quite different than Huarmey, but I feel like it is a lot more fun. I love you guys! Hope everything is going great. Can you believe it's already halfway through 2012?

Love you all

P.S. Congrats to Katherine Watts and her new husband on their wedding! I suppose her last name isn't Watts anymore, but I don't know what the new one would there ya go. I wish you the best!

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Life Seems Boring

Dear Family,

Really, my life seems boring compared to the week you guys had! I am so jealous of all the Smuggs fun! To be honest... I miss nature almost more than anything else.  Seeing all the green just made me drool.  Keep sending the pics!

The weather is kinda funny at this point. Some days we are in really cold, dark weather (which I love), and other days it is hot as Texas in July. What's funny is the Peruvians bundle up like crazy when it's like 60 degrees. They have their snow hats and heavy coats on, and refuse to go outside. It's pretty funny. They all look at me like I'm crazy walking around with my short sleeved white shirt on.

Finally finished the Book of Mormon for the first time all the way through in Spanish! I am reading it again now, just marking it in a different way. Who knew that reading the scriptures could be so addicting?

Everything is going great here. Thanks so much for the package! Hope you like the picture. It's me standing in front of a burning field, though it didn't turn out too well. This is about as green as it gets in this part of Peru.

Love you tons!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hello Family!

Feel free to check out the blog, because I AM ON IT! Haha. For like the first time ever I think. I look fat though. And really red. Anyway...

Obviously though, as you can tell from the blogsky, the big news this week is that my comp and I got to proselyte with President Turk! It was amazing. I put a few of the extra DTs in TAylor's letter, but the assistants basically just called us one morning and said, Hey President wants to go out with you guys this afternoon! It was a great experience. We felt the Spirit so strong in all the lessons, and President commended us on our hard work. I wish we could do it every week!

Anyway, everything here is going great. We might have a baptism this week if we are lucky, and we keep finding new people and teaching them. Hope you guys have a ton of fun in VT! I am jealous I am not there, but take lots of pictures please!

My pics: These are in front of a wall in La Campiña, a neighboring area in our zone. Trujillo is actually a brand of beer...but don't worry about that. It is still a great picture.

Love you guys!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Changes, Changes, Changes...

Hello Family & Friends!

We have had an awesome week here in Alto Moche! We ended up baptizing the young man that you see in the photo. His name is Diego, and I had the privilege to baptize him. It was actually my first ever baptism in a baptismal font in the mission, which is kinda funny. Everything else has been in rivers and the ocean. Pretty cool. Anyway, Diego is a great guy who will end up being a teacher in the priesthood! You can also see some of the other people in the ward, which is fun.

Changes came! I am staying here in Alto Moche, but I will be getting a new companion. His name is Elder Acuña, and he will be the first companion that is younger than me! I am now senior companion, which is pretty nice I guess. It basically just means that I lead all the activities we do. Should be fun! We are really enjoying working here. The people are nice, the weather is pleasant, and walking in the sand actually isn't tiring anymore!

Thanks to Aunt Charlene for the wonderful scripture markers! I use them all the time! Also thanks so much to the Owen family for the awesome package of all kinds of goodies. I gave the two little race cars to the grandson of our pensionista, and he screamed with joy and never stops playing with them.  I also taught Hermana Maria  how to make black refried beans into tacos, and so I eat that every night.  It is like my little piece of Mexican food!  Thanks again - You guys are so awesome!

Love you tons

Monday, June 4, 2012

Is It Really Cooling Down?


We have had an awesome week this week! We have actually found some miracles among the great people in Alto Moche. We will be able to finally see a baptism this coming Sunday of a young man named Diego, who is the younger brother of a less active member. He basically came up to us one day in the middle of a lesson and introduced himself. Two weeks later, and he is ready and happy to be baptized. He even asked if it would be possible to do it before he had even gone to church for the first time! He has a lot of faith.

Hope you guys enjoy the pictures. The picture next to the Michael Jackson graffiti is kinda a Peru Trujillo mission tradition: everyone has taken at least one picture with it. It's basically just a wall on the side of a pizza parlor, kinda like the Hi How Are You frog in Austin on 21st. (That street is called 21st right?)

Things have been going great otherwise. Some days it is cold, and some days it is hot. All of Peru (on the coast at least) stays hot in the day and cold at night. I imagine it is kinda like living in Vegas, Dad. Desert climate.

Other news that you might find interesting...the First Presidency has declared that all worthy young men in the Sudamerica Noroeste area can report to the mission field at age 18! How crazy is that? I don't know if it will spread worldwide, but you guys could soon be seeing 18 year old elders everywhere! I definitely was not ready at 18...crazy stuff.

Thanks to Aunt Charlene for the package! I haven't opened it yet, but I am excited to see it nonetheless. I have her Mormonad posters all over my room and taped onto my stuff. They are very cool.

I miss you guys and love you so much! Keep Peru in your prayers!


Monday, May 28, 2012

El Altooooo

Hello all

Another week of the usual: finding, teaching, walking, eating strange Peruvian things, and having a lot of fun. I don't have any new pictures from this week, so I just sent one that I took of the giant central plaza in Trujillo, and one of me with one of my good buddies in the zone, Elder May (that one is still from last week when we climbed the giant sand dune).

We have had a lot of success this week! With some extra effort, we were able to find some families where all of the members aren't baptized (we call them PF's in the mission) and other very good and ready investigators that we didn't even know we had. It is amazing what the Lord will give you if you just try a little harder. We were also able to go to a very cool multi-zone conference with a bunch of other missionaries where we got to hear an awesome talk by President Turk on repentance and also got to eat...wait for it...PAPA JOHN'S PIZZA! It was amazing. I don't think I have ever eaten that much pizza before in my life. It was absolutely delicious. I was sad when it was over.

Other than that, everything is great! Hopefully everyone is doing great at home. Shout out to Garett and Tanya who will be having a very fun week on the ranch this week! Wish I was there to see you guys and enjoy in the summer fun! However, I am enjoying the wind and sand of Peru. Take care all.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Still Working...Never stop...


We are still working hard here. It really feels like it never stops. However, the work is good, and I feel good. It is nice. Pictures!! These came from our experience today for P Day. We literally hiked up a gigantic sandy hill (and I mean HUGE) to go see this lighthouse that ended up having barbed wire all the way around it. How's that for irony? It was still fun though, and I got some nice pictures of me on giant rocks again.

Not too much news going on here. We have been working really hard in the area, mostly because the people before me here did'nt do much. There has been a lot of different things to sort out. We also had interviews this week, so I actually made the blog. That also meant that we got to eat CHICKEN!!! It was so delicious...and free! I love chicken with aji (spicy sauce). That will be just about the only thing that I miss from Peruano cuisine.

Thanks so much to Tanya and Garrett for the package!! The Cheez its are my favorite. The individual bags was a great idea too! Thank you!!

Keep working hard everyone! Always keep us in your prayers, because we need it.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Miss you all!

Dear Family

Wow! It was so great to talk to you guys. Thanks for filling me in on everything, even though Skype was a bit difficult to communicate through! It was awesome to see you all. Sorry that my English was terrible. I can't believe that it has suffered that much! Oh well, I guess that is the price of learning a different language right?

Anyway, everyone looked great! I am so glad you are all having so much fun and growing up so fast! Things here are fine. I am still getting used to the new area and trying to get everything in order. Our room and pensionista is way better than it was in Huarmey, so I am rather happy. We don't have too many great investigators right now, but I will definitely keep you updated! Since we teach all day every day, we should start improving! We really are working hard.

Thought you would enjoy these two pictures. The first is with me and my first convert and his grandson when I said goodbye to them in Huarmey. He is a great guy and I will miss him a lot! The other is my view from my room here. In the distance you can see the beach! Pretty cool eh?

I love you guys a ton! Thanks so much to Ben and Becky for the AMAZING packages they sent. Also, I thought I already updated her on this, but Kayleigh, I did get your little 6 month package! I wrote all about it in the letter I sent you :) Love you all!


Monday, May 7, 2012

All New All Over Again

Hello family!

I am here in the new Alto Moche! It is a fun little area, and I must say that it was really nice for a change. I am actually writing you from Trujillo itself, because we come here every P day. It is super fun to see the city for the first time. I was really out in the boonies there in Huarmey. Anyway, Alto Moche is quite literally a giant hill made entirely of sand 20 minutes south of Trujillo. I am not kidding. There are no streets, just sand. It is nice and soft to walk on, but let me tell you, your feet are tired by the end of the day.

My new comp is named Elder Zapana. He was born and raised in Peru until the age of 14, when he moved to Utah with his family. So, he is fluent in both English and Spanish! It is super fun to talk Spanglish all day. I think we will work well together.

The ward is also very big and very helpful! This is a nice change from the rather dysfunctional branch that was in Huarmey. We have a bishop and members who love the work. I am excited to be here, especially since the 2nd area is usually where you spend the most time. I will most likely be here for 6 months or more! Crazy!

So sorry, but in the change of everything, I forgot my camera cord! I will definitely send pictures next week!
Also, I received your "gas station" package!!!  IT WAS DELICIOUS!!! I loved especially the Cheetos and the flavored nuts.  Thanks so much.

Love ya,

Monday, April 30, 2012

I Will Always Love You, Huarmey, Peru


It is true, I am leaving. We got called for changes last night, and I will be heading to a part of Trujillo called Alta Moche. I really know nothing else about the area than that, so you guys will have to look it up on Google Earth or something and check it out! I am heading out tonight, and should arrive there sometime tomorrow morning. I will miss Huarmey dearly, but I feel that it was about time for a change. 
 They say missionaries can feel the changes; I definitely did this time.

I did finish the change strong with two baptisms though! We baptized the two young men that you can see in the picture- the little guy with the hat is named Jose, and the older 18 year old is named Erick. I baptized Erick, and while I fell down with him in the river, it was still a great experience. We were originally planning on baptizing them in the brand new font in the chapel, but there was no water in the whole town thanks to construction. Welcome to Peru. For that, we went to the river, just like in my first baptism here!

I love you guys alot. Thanks so much to Papa for the great package full of delicious candy! Thank you to all who write letters and send packages. You truly do not know how much it means to me! Support the missionaries in your ward!

T               (just a note - these are how the pictures were taken -decided upload anyway)

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Love You, Peru

Dear Family and Friends,

I am writing to you at the beginning of what will perhaps be my last week in Huarmey, where I was born in the mission. They always tell you not to anticipate changes, because if you do, what you guess will happen surely will not. However, they also say that missionaries can feel changes, and I think I can right now. I think I am out of here.

However, we do have two baptisms planned for this upcoming Saturday, which makes me super happy! Erick and Jose are two great young men who will be good additions to the priesthood in Huarmey. I love them both, and hopefully they will be the first two to ever be baptized in the new font that they are building in our chapel. It is being built on the third story of the little house that we call a chapel, and it is tiny, tiny, tiny, but still pretty cool. They have had a lot of fights with the landlord about its size, so I suppose it will be the best that they can do. Welcome to Peru eh?

Everything is going great otherwise. It is still hot as all get out, which is apparently weird. Someone told me that April in Peru should be like October in the States, but from my recollection, every October in Texas was hot anyway. So I guess it is all normal.

Pictures: Me with one of my good friends, Elder Hargis. He goes home this change. Sad to see him go.
I don't know if I sent you this one from when I went up to the mirador, but here it is. Overlooking my hood.

I love you all! Thanks for all the packages and letters (Grandma Pettersson, Charlene, Tanya and Garrett). You have no idea how much they m ean to me!


Monday, April 16, 2012

We are Huarmey...We are the Gringos...

Hello all

It really is funny how many people just stare at you in the streets when you are literally the only white guy for a hundred miles around. Some test their English on me, which is actually rather funny. One dude said Good Fight! the other day. Pretty sure he meant so say good night.

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TESS! Can we believe that she is 17 already? Seriously...when did everybody get so old?! I thought this day would never come. Sheesh, I am 20 for crying out loud. Anyway, hope it is a great one Beaux.

We have been having fun here in Huarmey. We committed to great young men, Jose and Erick, to baptism on the 28th of this month (consequently the last weekend of the change...just sneaking them under the bar eh?), and both came to church yesterday, which made me a very happy man! It was awesome to see them both there, listening and interacting with all the other church members. We really are working hard, and I think the Lord is finally letting us see the fruits of our labor.

On P-day, we climbed a giant dirt hill which overlooks the city, hence the pictures. You may notice now that it NEVER EVER rains here. Literally our entire surroundings are those dirt mountains, without a lick of vegetation on them. I imagine that it reminds Dad of Nevada when he was growing up. But really, in the 4 months that I have been here, it has never rained even once. Weird huh?

I have not been eating too many treats from Peru, since I have been snacking on the Easter candy you guys sent!  It is delicious!  I love the chicks, ducks & bunnies, but you were right, it was weird that they were mini.  Delicious, nonetheless.  I rely on the candy a lot because our new pensionista is even WORSE!  I know, I am having bad luck with food lately.  We eat a lot of pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken) in the streets.

I  miss you guys tons. Thanks for all the letters and stuff! I love hearing what you guys are doing.
Love to All,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Just Hanging in There

Family and Friends,

Well, I am not one to lie (especially as a missionary), so I suppose that I will just have to tell you the truth. We have had a bit of a tough week here in Huarmey, seeing as we won't be able to baptize the young lady Luz that I told you about last week. As I described in more detail in the letter to Taylor, we mostly baptize kids and teenagers here, because, as it is a requirement to be married (not just living together) to be baptized, we almost never baptize adult couples. However, because the kids are underage, the parents have to sign a permission slip to give consent. Luz' mom did not want to do that, and now has left town for 3 months. It's been tough these last few weeks, but we are still working hard with other people. Pray for us here in Huarmey!

Today, we should be going to hike a giant dirt hill to see all of Huarmey. I know, there's not a lot to do here, but hey, we have to have fun somehow! In the pictures that I sent, you can see one of my favorite places in this area. It is located in the Puerto of Huarmey, and is basically a giant lookout rock where you can see the ocean and everything. Don't worry Mom, the drop isn't...uh...that steep behind the rock! Hope you guys enjoy them.
Afterwards we will get to play a little soccer.  That will be fun.  I will probably get to do more activities once I get
closer to Trujillo- I am still out in the middle of nowhere.  There aren't a whole lot of attractions...though I would
love to have an Exxon here right now!

Got to go to the beach this week to see the baptism of the other elders here! It was amazing. However, the waves started kicking up hard literally right when the lady entered the water to be baptized. Scared the wits out of her, poor thing. 

Love you all!