I was reading the C.I.A. intelligence report, of nearly useful information, that there are more than 17 million cell phones in Peru with a population of 33 million people. There are easily 500 place to buy a cell phone in our little area and because they are all on a pay as you go plans there are thousands of places to add minutes to your phone. It is actually a career path that many follow, on every corner there are four to eight people with yellow vest that sell minutes for your phone. A person walks up to them gives them 5 bucks, they dial a number on their cell phone and download minutes to the customer or you can pay them .50 centamos and you can make a call on their phone.
Cell phones that are out of minutes can still receive phone calls so many people carry the cell phone without minutes as their mp3 music player and if they want to talk to some one they go to a pay phone and call the person and tell them to call back. Payphones are everywhere, four or five per block, except where we live it is a twenty minute walk to a pay phone.
I mention all of this because in the land of muchos phones I can't get one. Because I don't receive a bill from a Peruvian company they don't believe I will pay.
Ironic, I have a bank account with a balance(most don't), have my legal residency certificate, and I am willing to pay six months in advance(which many can't) and as soon as I bring in my utility bill with my name on it they will gladly sell me a phone. Oddly, we have to pay our utilities in the name of our landlord because the utility company wont recognize us either. YOU ARE IN PERU NOW!
Aside from that we are alive and living large in Canete and having amazing experiences in our service. Some of the experiences that we have happen to us so frequently that we forget to stop and be grateful and give thanks. Frequently we find people and they will ask how we knew to be there then. Usually we don't know how or why either, Dios sabe.
Our second week here we went to a small coastal resort town (Cerro Azul) to prove to ourselves that we could be at least a little independent in our movement without the missionaries protecting us(interpreting for us). We ventured out with a prayer on our lips and in our hearts that we would do someone some good that day. We managed to get where we were going by mumbling a few words and charades. While waking down a dusty roadway we came across a group of men conversing on the side of the road as we greeted them with friendly "buenos dias," which was wrong because it was in the afternoon, one of the men noticed our missionary plaques and ran over to us. He started to talk so fast we had no chance to understand, we explained that we could not speak very much if any Spanish. That did not stop him and he pulled us to his restaurant and sat us down and went to get his book, which thought was to be his Book of Mormon, and brought back a Santa Biblia. We really did not communicate very well, we gave him one of our brochures (it was the salesman in me when in doubt give them a brochure) and tried to convey that we would have some missionaries that could speak the language come back and see him, which we did ask them to do. They didn't.
You will see in our pictures that we have gone back to Cerro Azul and we took all the missionaries for our Preparation Day. We found Marcos and we finally have been able to communicate with him and we now know why he was so excited. He had not seen the missionaries for 15 years, he had joined the church up north as a young man and moved to work in the south where he and his wife (with child on the way) now live. Tonight we will making our 4th visit to them and will be teaching them with the Hermanas in there home in Cerro Azul. I don't know why we just did.
We had another similar experience on Friday in town named Asia (ah-see-ah) which is about 40 miles from our home. Why were we there, we just were.
These are Elders Grossman and Fuentes with a phenomenally intelligent young lady named Pamela at one of our baptisms held that week. Pamela is so afraid of the water that it took ten minutes to convince her to step in to the water then three attempts to get her complete immersed. She really took a liking to Hermana Whitney and was disappointed that she would not be able to attend her confirmation the next day.
Elvis has left.... No he hasn't this is Elvis and we have been very privileged to attend discussions with him and the Hermanas (Lebeau and Mendoza) in the picture. Elvis is 23, a great fellow, and has a desire to go on a mission in one year.
Here we are in Cerro Azul with the whole district of missionaries. Here we at the very end of the pier. Just to our left a pod of dolphins were playing and big waves were breaking behind us. Yes, I wanted to go fishing. There was guy fishing on the pier and not even he wanted to catch a fish as bad as I wanted him to.
We hiked to high advantage point above the town of Cerro Azul. In the summer this is a very active place we are told and there are many surfers. We saw a number of Australian flags flying on apartment balconies and surfboards on the decks. Note long pier at the top of the picture, the ocean end is where the previous picture was taken.
This is the view to the south of the advantage point. Miles, hundreds of miles of undeveloped beach. Desert and beach.
As group we are always on the edge, this time the edge of South America.
Hermana Mendoza and Elder Fuentes whopping up something sweet in our kitchen. We went to the market for this Prep. day activity and bought chocolate (sort of) and nuts and plastic molds to make some Peruvian treats.
The delicious finished product. Note that Debbie did have pumpkin for Halloween. Even though I said no, she said yes, and we carried it back from Lima.
This picture we call love at home!
The favorite security company in Peru is DOG. DOG stationed on the top or you casa is a significant deterrent to would be thieves entering from above.
DOG at the iron gate is also extra security.
The DOG pictures and this one were taken on our recent service day where we went to assist some members by cleaning a pig pen. Which when I heard about it imagined a farm and country setting. This little chancho lives in the house and is more tame than a cat or dog.
This is the pigs roommate the duck which is nowhere as clean as the chancho.
This is the DOG security detail for this street and they are investigating the suspicious disappearance of the chicken that used to live in the chicken coup they are surrounding.
Sorry, fellas, we had pollo for lunch (Chicken).
Have a great week, we are off to a meeting with a new branch presidency for the Mala Branch, then to our discussion in Cerrol Azul and if that is not quite enough we are doing some marriage counselling in Montalban at 8:00. All in a days work. YAIPN!
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