05/11/2014 - (post made by Elder Ollis' mom)
We were told to plan on skyping between 3:00 and 5:00. At exactly 2:14 Tom received an email from Elder Ollis announcing "he was trying to connect." Needless to say, we bolted from the ward building (church ended at 2:00) and raced home. It took about 20 minutes to finally make the connection but we were able to see and hear him in living color! And what a wonderful visit it was! Here are a few things we learned from our time spent together….
- We got to see the hole in his second pair of shoes….two down, how many more to go?
- Even in Cerro Verde, Choloma, which is a more developed city than his last area, he gets municipal water through a hose into a 50 gallon holding tank at his home. The water is delivered sometime between 3:00 am to 2:00 pm and is available every 3-4 days. It is very unreliable and they have gone as long as 8 days without water to fill their empty tank.
- The people regularly protest the government because of the water situation. On the way to their baptism on Saturday they were unable to drive to the church building because of a mob of protestors blocking the street with fallen trees. They had to park the investigator's vehicle and walk to the building.
- He is blessed to have a 3 ft tall refrigerator, stove and microwave. However, they can only use one appliance at a time because there is only one outlet above the refrigerator.
- He recently purchased fishing line and hook and is determined to catch a fish the next time they visit the beach on P-Day.
- He learned how to sew and has repaired two shirt pockets, a hole in one shirt and the hem of a pair of pants.
- White shirts and ties are the current forest fire gear! Forest fires are very common due to the hot season and the irresponsible use of cigarettes. Elder Ollis and his companion have helped put out fires on two separate occasions dressed in their missionary garb.
- His Spanish is coming right along. We laughed at his "accent" and his regular use of Spanish and English in one sentence.
- According to Elder Ollis his teeth are getting yellow because he eats so much lard!
- Chicken feet is the most exotic thing he has eaten. He refuses to eat "mondongo soup" which is made from cow feet and tripe (the last stomach of a cow).
- And although he is many miles away, he still asked Tom to report on whether or not he has had a colonoscopy.
It was very apparent he is feeling more at home and comfortable with the language. We met his companion who is from Peru, only six weeks in the mission, and speaks no English. A friendly wave, hola, and como estas were enough to feel how much he loves Elder Ollis. Or maybe it was the kiss he gave Elder Ollis on the top of his head and the two thumbs up.
Elder Ollis loves his Mission President, fellow missionaries, and especially his companion. The work is hard, but very rewarding. He gave loving words of counsel to all of us and challenged us to "talk to more people and share the gospel." He sends his love and best wishes to all and appreciates the continuing support he receives. And one thing is for sure….he is still the funny, jokester, man of many faces we miss and love!
We wish to thank all of you who keep him in your prayers! We love you!
Tom & Leslie and Family
Tom & Leslie and Family