Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hola Familia y nuestros Amigos

Here it is the middle of January, or Enero here in Peru, and I am playing catch up with the blog. One or both of us have been sick since last weekend and neither of has been highly motivated to work on the blog. We have had a few days that we needed to stay close to home. I can’t figure out why but we did nothing to the guy named Montezuma so what is his revenge about. Staying close to home would not be half bad but for the fact that our internet has been out most of the week which also made impossible to work on the blog.

When we signed up with Telefonica for internet we had to get a telephone as a package deal. At first the internet was great but the phone did not work – nada. Instead of leaving well enough alone we pushed them to get the phone working, you guessed it, the phone started working and the internet stopped working. Now I know why you have to have the phone, so you can call them when your internet doesn’t work.

I tried to reason with Telefonica over the phone but that quickly became futile. I just don’t have the vocabulary to explain the technical problems and the phone company would have had there way with me except for the secret weapon, our vecinos(neighbors). Adriana came over once in the morning and once in the afternoon each day and put the service department of Telefonica through their paces until they fixed it.

Dustin, in Calgary, had already diagnosed the problem on Teamviewer, before the service shut down altogether, as a server problem and the codes that had failed. Adriana kept telling the tech on the phone what to look for and finally they did and fixed it.

What an interesting apperception of life how someone so far away can reach out across the immensity of distance and provide an answer to a problem. If those who the message is intended for will listen, the problem will be solved. Funny how in some instances when the answer is provide people will still look for their own solution. I wonder if God finds it amusing when we ignore his messages and seek to create our own answers.

Other than being sick we have an interesting couple of weeks. Last weekend was our District Conference, mission equivalent of Stake Conference, it was an amazing out pouring of the spirit. President Manning had been contemplating a change in leadership for some time and asked that we be prepared to give our recommendations for changes. As time got close to conference we worked in concert with one of the counselors in the district providing a list of potentials for interviews and profiles for each candidate. We were blessed to see how the hand and will of the Lord is made manifest in this process and how he called our new district leaders as well as branch changes that came a result.

Along with the District changes we have received a new branch president to work with, our good and dear friend Pedro Macha. He will be presiding over the Rama de Canete.

We also received lots of spiritual guidance through President Manning for furthering the ministry of strengthening the saints in our district and we are already pressing forward with that direction.

On the lighter side of things we had what they call a companionship preparation day this week which means that we did not get together as a zone for an activity so we were on our own. Left to our own devices we decided to go to The Boulevard in Asia for lunch and then to Playa de Golf, to see the golf course, which we have seen from the highway each time we went to Mala or Lima.

Now this is going to sound 00oh sooo American and you are going to wonder what all the complaining is about, we decided to have a hamburger at TGI Fridays. Once seated in the restaurant we found several big screen TVs, in one corner was the golf channel and the other was the Dallas Cowboys and Philly Eagles wild card round playoff game from the day before. It felt heavenly for about 2 hours. (Just remember Asia is open from December 24th to February 28th)

We then took a taxi to the golf course where the first person I met greeted me and said “so Elder where are you from?” (in Spanish of course) I said so you know the Church? “Si” he said “my brother is a bishop in Arequipa.” I said “your not a member?” “No,” he said. Then his conscience got him, he is a member, not attending. He then introduced to me the golf pro, from Montreal Canada. As it turns out the course is open year round but is private and in the summer you need to be a guest to get a tee time unless of course you are a Canadian, a Missionary, and call him in advance. In the off months, which are 10 months of the year, you can walk on any time. Now, if only we had brought our equipment and could afford it.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda! Life with no regrets!

Our service project for this week! This is the multi-purpose area of the home. It is an open air space which contains the kitchen, shower, and livestock(chickens, a turkey, and cuy. We were moving a mound of dirt out of it and leveling the ground. Hermana M. in the blue shirt is standing in the shower.

El bano.

Hermana Whitney and Elder Nova breaking up the packed ground, in the background is the kitchen with stove, sink(blue) and food preparation area.

Hermana Whitney had a great idea for transitioning the level from the doorway to the kitchen so we went to work making adobe mud and using some bricks that we found.

The sister that we were providing the service for loved the idea, so did we.

This fugitive really needs to rethink his living accommodations, a chicken living in the kitchen. One mistake and you are dinner.

Elder Garay and Elder Novoa having a little fun with our only piece of heavy equipment on this project. This passes for a dump truck in these parts.

We have not had a proper get together until we have a group photo with the benefactors of our service. This Sister is really grateful for what she has, she has a little garden and is trying to grow a little patch of grass. When you see these types of things it puts a different perspective on things and helps you to understand that regardless of what we see outwardly that inside this sister has hope, and aspirations for a better circumstance if only incrementally. We really are concerned for this sister and her children as this home is built into a very unstable hillside with insufficient retention and the next earthquake, well we don't want to think about it.

When you talk about how the other half live this is about as stark a contrast as you might find. This is banking Asia (Ah-see-ah) style. It is a bank cafe, stop by do a little banking, a cup of jo and spend a few minutes and connect to the internet. It is a completely different world.

This is a view down the boulevard, it looks like a ghost town right now but the rich and famous that live in these parts don't get moving about until much later in the day.

This is the Ripley's department store and is so totally different than the Mercado that we are used to. It is hard to believe that the whole place closes down and moves back to Lima in 8 weeks.

Who is that caliente Gringa strolling the boulevard?

I know this looks bad but one pizza really is Debbies and yes that is the good Dr. in my hand. Papa John's and Dominos both have stores here, I will miss this when they are gone but that won't stop me from enjoying it when I can. Choose your poison I always say and today it is Mickey D's for an ice cream treat.

A nice view of the Playa and the golf course. The homes you see in the back ground, and thousands of others on the coast, are vacant 10 months of the year.

Feliz cumplea├▒os!

Debbie celebrated her birthday this week with the missionaries. They arranged for the pensionista in Imperial to fix a lunch for her and they picked up a cake for her. She put on her best happy face for the event but inside I know she was longing to have lunch with her crew back home. That and the fact that she was so sick she could hardly hold up her head most of the day.

Notwithstanding, I know that she will look back fondly on this day and remember the day she had her birthday with these friends and remember the love they have for her.

They told her it is a custom for the celebrant to take the first bite before the cake is cut. It sort of is but the reason is so that they can push your face in the cake. Debbie was born in the night but not last night so they did not catch her on this day.

Meet Iber, Chabella, and son. They are a wonderful couple that live in Mala that are in an all too familiar situation here where circumstances make it so difficult for them to get married. On this day we were meeting with them to share our message of eternal families and the blessings that they could enjoy. They have four walls and no roof in there living quarters, a dirt floor, a couple of chairs, and HOPE.

So many people in the world have so much of this worlds goods but have no HOPE. If I had to choose between the two I think I would choose HOPE.

Thank you for reading our blog and please feel free to leave a brief comment we really do appreciate hearing from you.

Les amo mucho!

Los Whitney


  1. I'm happy you really DID have a birthday cake, Deb. Feel better...

  2. Always eventful! I'm glad you're both feeling better!! !Feliz Cumpleanos, Debbie!
    I agree with you that sometimes those with very little actually have more, of the things that really count.

  3. I love your blog...thank you so much for making the effort to keep us informed. And happy birthday cuz, hope you are both feeling better.

    We are headed to SLC in a couple weeks. Dad turns 90 and he is wanting to party! Susan says he invites everyone he meets to the event! I guess when you turn 90 you can do anything you want, huh? The gathering is for both he and his twin sister, hard to imagine they have both made it this long! Hope to see Mark and your mom there. I haven't seen either one of them for a long time.

    I found out the boy from our ward in Peru is actually in the oposite mission as you. Too bad his mom would have loved to know someone else there with her boy.

    We are well, working and doing our thing. Keep up the great work and know that you are in our prayers. Love Diane and Bruce

  4. Well... Asia still be open until Easter so you can keep enjoying Papa Johns! wright Doug? ;o)

    We should go any tuesday or thursday to take the 2x1 offer!! more pizza for everyone!! yum!! :oP

    See ya!!

  5. Mom is always coming up with brilliant ideas!! The brick step looks great, and have just the right kind of flair to make me miss having you around more then usual.

    How fun to have a completely differnet world to visit a few months each seems so weird to me to have such poverty right next door. I guess that is really not much different from any of the other countries we have been to with resorts for travelers next to huts with dirt floors and withou running water, it is just kind of i don't know...

    Did someone from our house chat with you on your birthday...I'm really loosing my mind, sorry if we didn't :(