Saturday, March 5, 2016

2/27 The rains came down and the floods came up...

Well, the weeks just seem to be going faster and faster. I cant believe that I have already been here for 3 weeks!!!! If this were a normal transfer, it would be half over already. But.. its as 7 week transfer so its not. But still, time continues to go at warp speed. This week was full of trainings, companionship exchanges, and rain. We headed down to Tacna, which is like a 7 hour bus ride from Arequipa, on Monday afternoon to get there in time to go on exchanges with the zone leaders there, and it went super well. I went with Elder Andersen, and it turns out he also lived in May Hall before his mission, but he lived on the 3rd floor on the other side. It was a lot of fun actually, we talked a lot and he´s a really good guy and a fantastic missionary. That night, President took us out to eat at this nice steak restaurant in Tacna, where they import their beef from the United States... oh my heck is was delicious. I got a bone-in ribeye that was seriously amazing. I dont know if its because I havent had good meat in 18 months or what, but dang... good stuff. Cooked well, served piping hot. The zone conference we had on Wednesday went super well, and I think my part went better too. We had to end at 2, and I am the last speaker, and had planned for like 45 minutes, doing role plays, analyzing Preach My Gospel videos, everything, but I only had like 20 minutes because everyone else went over their time, so it ended up being more of an extended testimony of the Book of Mormon. People said they liked it though. 

Thursday was the district leader training in the morning, then we ate lunch and drove back with President in the afternoon. It was actually really cool, Elder Orbegozo was watching Finding Nemo on the laptop in the back seat and i was in the middle and President and Sister Zobrist and I just kind of talked for like 5 hours. He is such a cool guy, and I really feel like I am getting to know him a lot better. He is super worried to make sure the hand off to the new mission president goes smoothly, so he was pretty much telling me that I have to help him know how to get places, where to eat, how to do things... it sounds stressful but I think its going to be a really cool experience getting to help a new mission president transition in to his new calling. 

Yesterday we finished off the week doing yet another zone conference here in Arequipa. It was actually the best one I´ve done yet. I had enough time to do what i wanted, the role playing went super well, and the spirit was there. One of the elders came up after and told me, "in my whole mission, i have never left a zone conference as inspired to work as i did today." 

So, as the title says... it has been raining here in Arequipa. We were in Tacna most of the week, but President said it rained so hard on Monday that the ENTIRE city of Arequipa (more than 3 million people) went without power. We went to work Friday in the afternoon and got to the house of a member who lives in front of one of the huge irrigation ditches they have to control flooding, and as we were in the house, the floor started to shake and I was thinking "another earthquake," but then we realized that it had rained so hard that the ditch turned into a massive river that was literally carrying giant rocks like they were pebbles. The street a few blocks up collapsed into the river, and so we helped the family get their emergency backpacks together and then we got out of their. As we were leaving, a two story house near the collapsed street also collapsed and fell into the river. We dont know if anyone was hurt or not, but the river was literally like a class 5 rapid. If you fell in there..... probably not making it out alive, especially with all the debris in their. We cancelled out appointments last night and went to help a ward member whose entire house had filled up with like 3 feet of water. Its a mess right now in some parts of Arequipa. there is no drainage system so everyone who lives at the base of the mountain gets hit with a ton of water. I´m going to attach a link with pictures from around Arequipa and the flooding that has happened. And dont worry, where we live we are fine, and we are fine. I havent heard of any deaths or anything like that, just property damage.

Well, there ya have it, another week down. We have another busy week next week, going to Camana and then to Pedregal for zone conferences, and i think we might be going to Colca Canyon for Pday next week, so we´ll see. Have a good week everyone!

Elder Matheson

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