Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Saludos a nuestra Familia y Amigos

Thank you to those of you that wrote and expressed concern as to whether we were near or affected by the huge earthquake in Chile. Gratefully we are sufficiently far away from the destruction that ravaged that part of Chile. Since the major event on Saturday morning there has been more than 20 aftershocks ranging from 4.5 to 6.3 and yesterday there was a quake of 4.5 in Peru about 450 kilometers north and east of where we live. Again we did not feel anything here.

Saturday morning we went to Mala for a baptism and as soon as we arrived two mothers in the branch were waiting to ask if we had news about the missionaries in Chile. They both have sons serving in Santiago, which was essentially the epicenter of the quake, and were understandably concerned. All we could do was to assure them that the mission president there would be on top of the situation. And he was. By noon all of the missionaries, save two, had been located and through the emergency channels of the Church all families were notified by there respective priesthood leaders. It is amazing to see how effective the leadership network is inside of the church.

Our work here continues, one step forward two steps back(or at least it seems), but it continues. Traditions and habits are difficult to change with the leaders and they easily revert to the old practices. We frequently tell them that we are sure that at the time that whom ever started doing what ever it is that they are doing it seemed like a really good idea, to them, however we now need to adjust to the prescribed way as we find it in the general handbook of instructions. All we can do is love them and try again.

We had heard about the “Norteamericano” that owned the casa next door and we wondered who, what and why they would have a home here, well we found out. A couple weeks back our neighbours, John and Carmen, came to visit their Peru home here in Cañete. They live in Houston Texas now and spend a few weeks here every year. They met here, some years ago, when John was working in the Peace Corp. Carmen was born in Cañete and much of her family still lives here so a few years ago they decided to build a home with a view to perhaps spending more time here in the future.

John and I were sharing some ideas about water purification and water quality. I told him about some information that my sister, Marilyn, had sent to me and that she had said that bleach (here we go again another bleach story) has saved more lives than almost any other chemical. John is an engineer and he concurred and said that he pours a half a bottle of bleach in his water cistern every time he arrives here just a precaution. As I thought about it I thought that it sounded like a pretty good idea.

The water cistern is an 1100 liter tank that sits on the roof of the casa and as I thought about the formula for purifying water with bleach it would take 4400 drops of bleach. With that, theoretically if not actually, the water would be pure enough to drink. How tedious would it be to count out 4400 drops of bleach, in the scorching sun, if you made a mistake there is no way to start over, but John said, “half a bottle.” Instantly that seem like the right thing to do.

On the weekend we started to experience and infestation of ants and the trail lead to the roof so while I was on the roof spreading the lethal dose of DDT and other toxins I decided that today was the day to bleach the water cistern. I called down to Debbie to toss the bleach up to me so she did. I added about half a bottle of bleach to the tank. Regretfully John and Carmen left for home last week before I could ask him what size of bottle he used.

My eyes are stinging, the house smells like a swimming pool, my tan is gone, but our shirts are really white.

We have a few picture to share which tell more of the story of what we have been up to.

Remember the familia Chambergo/Libon? They are one of our special familias in Canete that we have come to love very much. Kiara, front next to me was taught by the hermanas and I baptised her in November. This picture is at the baptism of her half brother, Jean Pierre, Rosa's son. We have visited in their home many times over the months and have experienced the change that they have gone through. You will see more of them in this issue.

But first a little divertido (fun) with our mission familia. Note the kid in the middle with the long blond (rubia) hair. Where she fits in best, in the middle.

It is hard to tell the missionaries apart from the statues as all of the colors mix well. This is our preparation day and we have taken the combie to Quilmana to the Zoo. It is always great to have a little time to relax, visit, and get to know the missionaries outside of there role as missionaries. We really have a special group.

Elders Novoa, Bearnson and Walker taking a walk on the wild side as the four of us went scrambling in the rocky hills next to the park. From the top of these hills which feel like mountains we can see where the real mountains are, the Andes, with peaks surpassing 19,000 feet.

This group of elders love to play football (soccer). It is played on a court like basket ball and is about the same size. Debbie in the middle of this play although she is usually picked first to play goal because they know that the other team will be afraid to drill the ball at her because she will likely kill them.

Thursday is our service project day and today we are assisting the familia Chambergo/Libon level an area at the bank of the canal that passes there home. Rosa wants to plant a garden and with our help she will reclaim an usable piece of ground that has a built in water source. It is interesting to see how as the gospel changes lives it changes the desires and wants of people and they want to better themselves, proving that all motivation comes from within.

Our group photo, missing hermana Whitney as she is the photographer, in front of one of the piles of fill that needs to be moved to build up the bank. We used the fill to make sand bags retain the earth as we built up along the canal. We then placed concrete chunks and rocks to tier back from the sand bags, then back filled the retaining wall compacting with water as we went. Project manager and leader, Debbie, was in charge. The heat was sweltering and everyone kept asking how she managed to keep working.

The project was not quite finished as we ran out of fill but we managed to raise the bank about 4 feet and moved about 10 yards of fill and carried a couple thousand pounds of rocks and concrete.

Later that same day we went with Presidente Huarhua to visit less active members of his branch where we met Vincente and Angelina. We asked her when the last time she bore her testimony was and she answered that she has never had the confidence to get up in church to do so. She then bore a sweet powerful witness. It moved her husband that has not been attending church with her. It was a powerful conclusion to the day.

Earlier in the week we met Rosa and Hubert(Chambergo/Libon) at the Civil Registry in Canete to do the paperwork and application for them to be married. As their padrones we were also the "testigos" (witnesses) which meant that we needed add our fingerprints to the documents before they could be approved for marriage. This is one of the small milagros that attends every thing we do. In order to be the witnesses we needed to have our government ID (Carnet Tarjeta), which they have required of us every time before, which was in the mission office in Lima getting our annual approval stamp. We had nothing offical for ID except for a photo copy of our passports so we took those and with a prayer we went. The first thing they asked for was our carnet so I handed them the photo copies and as the registrar was looking at them the other lady in the office says, oh, they are okay I know them they live in my barrio. Well, we don't know her, never met her. But that was all it took.

Friday at noon we joined the familia Chambergo/Libon at the salon de ceremonies and witnessed them take a very big step toward realizing one of their new dreams.

Huberts parents joined us in this picture with their familia. They were very happy for them and one day I believe the will find out how this blessing will have a big impact on them.

The next morning, Saturday, we attended baptism at the ocean with the elders from Mala. I know that it looks like we got caught not watching and a wave hit us but in reality Elder Bearnson and I were witness and we had to go out to where the baptism was done which meant that we had to go out to waist deep water with Elder Servan and Harold.

After the baptism in Mala we had to catch the bus back to Canete where we had a date with the familia Chambergo/Libon. What a rich experience to culminate the week by baptising Hubert and Rosa. This was also a first in Canete, the meeting started on time, you will never understand how significant that is to have a meeting start on time until you experience it life here.

I know that this picture looks like it should be post scripted with "And they all lived happily ever after." This the end for this family but it is the front end and they are now on the path to happily ever after.

I know that I have said this before but I can't help but to say it again. "I don't know why we are so blessed to have the experiences that we are having, we just are."

You will never see the hand of the Lord until you look for it.

Les amo mucho!!!

Los Whitney en Canete


  1. BHAHAHA . . . "she will likely kill them".

    Great post THANKS.

  2. I truly love your blogs. I must admit to having tears in my eyes as I looked at your photos. You both look great!
    I love your comment about never seeing the hand of the Lord unless we look for it. I will always remember it!
    Doug, that was so nice of you to email Wayne when he got released. It was very thoughtful of you and he was really touched.
    Keep up the good work. You are always in our prayers. Love, Meg.

  3. La Familia Whitney,
    Ya llegue a casa y necesito su correo. Ahora puedo leer su blog cuando quiero. Gracias por todo lo que hicieron para nosotros. Les amo

  4. now, now, mom wouldn't KILL the missionary who drilled a ball at her in net, she would just put gum in their hair, hehehe ;)