Lots of advice from a Peru Missionary's Mom Veteran
We stayed pretty much on track with the packing list in the packet but the one thing I am sure is helpful to all the Peru missions is a dog dazzer to scare off wild dogs. You can buy them on amazon. They have some really mangy dogs that are around on their own and are diseased. He used to throw rocks at them and was bitten lightly twice. But not after I sent the Dog Dazer. He said it works. We also sent a little album of family pictures and things Brandon was involved in. Snowboarding, LaCrosse, motorcycling, etc. We got one of those simple little $1 albums and filled it with 4x6 photos. Brandon didn't get too homesick and so maybe this helps. We also laminated a family photo for him to carry in his scriptures and share with the investigators. They love to learn about the missionaries family. The laminating helps it last and keeps it from curling with the humidity. We also laminated several pictures of the prophet and Christ from the Dist. center. He gives these to newly baptized members. ...A great place to store his missionary cash he's supposed to have is behind another framed family photo. If his apartment gets broken into theives probably won't to steal a family photo. Both of my other sons had a apartment broken into in Brazil and Uruguay, but not in Peru (at least he hasn't told me about it.)
As far as the garments and thermals, we sent what it asked for. They have a couple of towns way up in the mountains where it gets a bit cold. Lima temperatures are fairly stable and don't change as much. The weather and the country outside the city is very grey. The sun doesn't shine much until you get in the mountains. Brandon compared Lima to Iraq. Most of the pictures he sends home from the city are very grey. Most of the mission areas are around Lima. It's such a large city that 4 missions have parts of Lima.
He doesn't need a coat. The Pres. won't allow them to wear coats and they can only wear sweater vests when they have their suit coat on. Brandon took a couple good sweaters from Mr. Mac that have been great.
They should take a hoodie to wear around the apartment. They can get cold. He sleeps in sweats and a hoodie in the winter. Because it's on the ocean it's very humid and gets pretty hot in the summer.
Don't send boots, they don't need them in this mission.
They can get clothes from places there for pretty cheap so if you miss something it's not hard to get it. My son gave a older suit he took away to a new member and bought another suit coat for $5 at a thrift store. He said it's great. We just sent his older suit and 1 new 2 pant suit. I sent a pair of those stretch knit gloves, but he hasn't said anything about them if he's used them, maybe for sleeping. They can only wear P-Day clothes if they are doing service or playing soccer, so don't worry about sending many of those. Many P-Days they stay in their shirt and tie. We sent him an Arizona Diamond Back shirt with Webb on the back and that's the only P-Day shirt I ever see him wear. He loves it!
He keeps finding such cool Peru things that he buys I'm sure he will give a lot away when he comes home so he can cart home all the stuff from Peru. He loves the beanies and all the colorful things. Make sure he has a debit card that you can load money into and he can take out there. They have a hard time making it on the money the mission allows and he's had to draw out money occasionally. I just tell him to buy for his comp. whatever he buys for himself. They always have Latino comps. in the East mission and many are very poor. They'll see other American missionaries when they get together for District activities on P-Day. They really love that and the chance to speak English. Most comps only know Spanish. It really helps them learn the language quickly. They all go to the same internet place on Monday's and have 45 min. to read what we write, write the Pres. and their family. So he's always typing very fast. He prints out our letters and takes them home to read later. He's really good to attach 6 or 8 pictures most weeks. He has to downsize them to attach several to his email, so that takes some time too. We love the pictures as much as the letters!
There is a website that a couple missionary in Peru Lima East mission put out when they were serving in Peru. It's wonderful to read his narration and see the pictures and get a feel of the mission. He did an awesome job. You'll want to look it over. It's couplemissionaryinpreu.blogspot.com They describe and show the beauty of Peru.
There is also a missionary moms website that is amazing to help you out. There is a lady that manages it for all Peru missions and everyone emails into her and she sends them out. It's a great resource to ask questions and get answers by experienced moms with Peru missionaries. It will help you a lot if you just sign up and watch the questions and answers that come along. You can ask any question you have there, although I'm happy to answer any I can. With missionary #4 and the 3rd in S. America I'm feeling pretty comfortable about missions. I love having a missionary out. As hard as it is to let them go it's just amazing to see their growth in the Gospel and watch their testimonies increase as they go through trials and triumphs. I get so excited for those weekly emails.
You can also email Betty at email@example.com to enroll. She does this for many missions around the world and keeps things going great.
Brandon loves us to send cookie mixes (they don't have cookies there) and other sweet treats he loves. We did send multi vitamins with him and I only hope he's taking them. I made up a small first aid kit for him and labeled things. Also an office supply kit in a ziploc bag so he has highlighters, small notebooks, tape, pens, etc. They say not to send immodium as it can mask symptoms and make it worse. I did send Pepto Bismal tablets.
Yes the Pencionistas cook and do their laundry for them. That's a great blessing as they know what the missionaries can eat and it gives them a little job to help support their family. Each one is approved by the mission Pres. They go to the Pench's home for each meal. They cook mostly rice and eggs and some meats. They are usually pretty good to adjust to the missionaries likes and dislikes. Brandon was a very picky eater and he's adjusted, but sill loves the sweets when I send something.
On mailing items you can't send anything to the CCM, so if you want him to have a package in Peru just send it to the mission home and he'll get it when he leaves the CCM. The CCM is very nice and they take such good care of the new missionaries. It's a great place to adjust to a new country. Don't ever send any packages except through the regular mail and under 4 pounds. We sent a Fed Ex and it took 3 months and a million phone calls to get it released. We sent the largest flat rate box and it sat in customs for 2 months. So now I send padded envelopes through the regular mail and they get there in about 2 weeks. Then the zone leaders take them out to the missionaries. I like those plasticy type envelopes and just tape them up tight. I usually put a Jesus or Mary sticker or a cross on the outside, but I don't think it's needed. You do need to put a declaration of contents. I usually put missionary supplies, toothpaste, and treats. (I hope they don't know that word as good as candy.) My padded envelopes have gotten through every time. The FedEx boxes and flat rate box had the cash I hid inside stolen.
I usually try to tuck a $20 inside something hidden in the package. Then when he gets the package I tell him where to look.
He burns his photos to a CD and sends them home. He took 2 or 3 large memory cards for his camera. When he hears that I have the CD and it views ok, he will erase the CD and use it for next time.
That's about all I can think of for now. It would be great if Dane studied Preach My Gospel and Spanish. Those are 2 things that Brandon wished he had done more of. He really recommended this to a friend coming to the same mission.
You're welcome to email or call with questions. I'm happy to help you all I can. I know it's kind of overwhelming to send the first one out. The missionary Mom's group will be a great support too.
Good luck with getting him ready and enjoy the time you have with him. It will go fast! I think most missionaries to Peru have about a 5 month wait so they can get the Visa's, shots, and passports, etc. It's a hard wait, but worth it! I hope this info. helps you out.
I hope our son's have the chance to be in the same area sometime. We'll alert Brandon when he should be out in the field. That would be around Jan. I guess.