Sunday, March 21, 2010

Saludos a nuestras familias y amigos

Well it is late Sunday afternoon and I am getting my first chance to write a few words for the blog and we have an appointment tonight at 8:00 in Imperial. My father always said that the road to hell (infierno in Peru) is paved with good intentions and based on that my road must have two lifts of intention on it by now. When I wrote the last blog I was determined that I would write one smaller issue each week and in the long run it would save me time, so much for good intentions.

Many of the people that read our blog will be familiar with the church hymn “I stand all amazed” and that is exactly how we feel much of the time about the experiences that we have here. Some of the experiences are extremely positive and some not so much, nonetheless we stand all amazed.

Two weeks ago the Mission President sent a late Saturday night email telling us that mission application papers had been sent for one of the young men in one of the branches we are assigned to and that he had not completed the necessary medical requirements and asked that we track him down. We were not sure we new him and if it was who we thought we had not seen him for months. The next morning we met with the District Presidency and asked them about the young man and we were surprised to hear them report that Mariano was not going to serve, he was not attending church, and was not keeping his interview appointments.

We were disappointed to say the least because we new that his mission had been paid for by another person from Canada. Notwithstanding we sent a response to president and advised him of the same. We were troubled by the report but did not know what to do, there were obstacles, like we were not sure we knew him, the always present language thing, we did not know where to start looking for him and if his leaders could not find him how could we?

The next morning was preparation day, the day we have for recreation and fun with the missionaries, so as we left the house with a prayer on our lips and in our hearts that we would find some way to contact Mariano we started out. It takes a couple of minutes to walk out of our community and then we usually have to wait for a while until we find a ride in a combie, moto, or taxi. This day however, as we walked up to the gate at the entrance to the barrio, we immediately waived down a moto that was empty and passing in our direction. It was unusual for that time of the day to catch a ride that quick unless….

You guessed it, we found Mariano, he was driving the moto. What are the chances of that? We did not know where to find him but someone did.

We got his phone number and told him that we were looking for him and how blessed we were that he stopped for us that morning. We put the President in touch with him that day and we now have a young man back on track, what a joy to see him in church today.

We wish that everything turned out that quickly and that well.

This week was transfer week which is always an exciting time for the missionaries as a transfer means new companions, new adventures, and a change of scenery. For us, we never have a change of companions, we know that we are not changing areas, and we will have to say good bye to the friends we have made when the missionaries move. I think Debbie really was hoping for a change this time because she decided we should move apartments (then said it was all my idea) so this weekend we are moving a couple of blocks away but in the same barrio. (Pictures next issue.)

Two missionaries that we have really grown to love were on their last transfer and have gone home to resume civilian life. Hermana Labeau went home to Logan Utah and Elder Servan went home to Peru.

Hermana Labeau, who we can now call Shauna, was with us for our first three months of our mission and helped us through many of our early challenges and taught us many lessons. Most importantly she demonstrated how to care about people. It is a trait that eludes most men and comes more naturally to the sister missionaries. I really notice it in my companion as well and not as much with her companion. We were excited that we could go to Lima and see both Shauna and Elder Servan at the Temple and wish them well in the next phase of their lives.

Going to Lima is always an adventure because once you are of the bus you are at the mercy of taxi drivers or pickpockets on the combies. When it comes down to it they are about equal. The taxi drivers always give us the gringo pricing to see how much they can rip us off for. On the bus if you have to stand you are luck to still have your pants by the time you get off. I prefer the taxi because I know that it is my hand in my pocket giving away my money.

The funny/sad thing about the free market taxi system is that often we walk away from sever gringo pricing and the driver will go 10 or 15 more minutes without a fare. (Fare, funny name for a transaction that has nothing to do with fairness.) Not that integrity is even in the lexicon of the majority of the taxistas but often they are willing to trade it for what amounts to a buck and a half. Tuesday I had a driver quote an amount (you always settle on the price before you start or you will be sorry) that was two thirds of what we normally pay for a ride that we have taken several times for a moment I thought the pendulum had swung the other way and I was on the winning side. When arrived I paid him the customary fare because he had either treated me fairly and I did not want the crooks to be better off than him or that we had always been treated fairly and he made a mistake that would cost him in the end. Either way it was fare/fair to me.

The other big plus in going to Lima is our visit with Elder and Hermana Cleverly. They have the inside track on everything in Lima and this time they took us to a new restaurant discovery just a few blocks from their home. Chifa food (Chinese) that was outstanding. Good food, good friends, who could ask for anything better.

Our photos storey tells a lot of what we have done in the past two weeks. You will see that we have been to the beach a couple of times and partied with our friends.

We were passing the Plaza de Armas in San Vicente one afternoon and saw this group of traditional dancers. It was very colorful but the tall dancer in the middle had makeup that gave us nightmares for several days. We stopped thinking that they would perform for a while but they started around the park, then, down the street and off into the sunset.

This one of our trips to the beach. This is one of our special families in Mala that are waiting for the opportunity and ability to get married so that the whole family can enjoy the blessings of the gospel together. Five of their children have accepted the gospel. We continue to work with the missionaries, Elder Bearnson and his new companion, and the parents.

We have developed a great friendship with Zulma since we met her with Elders Nova and Garey a couple of months ago and were delighted when she accepted the invitation to be baptized. We had a very special experience assisting her through challenging questions that she had.

Elder Nova is getting ready to bite into this hamburger. This was on our preparation and we all went to Asia to have lunch. This is at the TGI Fridays restaurant, we had to bring our own Dr. Pepper but they supplied the Jack Daniels burgers, Heinz ketchup, and french fries. No pollo and arroz today.

Good food, Good friends, and the good Dr. what more could we ask for.

By now you should recognize Iber and Chabella and this is their wedding day. They were two happiest people in Canete at this moment. (Maybe not when they find out that this is the only picture that turned of their wedding.) We consider ourselves fortunate to be a part of their lives and see them taking this important step in their lives.

The next day we went to the beach with them and took another important step with them.

Elder Servan and Elder Bearnson are the next happiest people on the planet as they experience the fruit of their labors. This past Friday we visited Iber and Chabella and Nicholas and we taught about eternal families and we set a date to go to the temple one year from that day.

Most people don't know this but Debbie is a magician, she can make 5 Kilos of spaghetti disappear. She just needs to invite the Zone over for diner the night before transfers. This has become a tradition in our zone and is one of little things that we do to give something back to the missionaries that share so much with us.

Elder Servan with two more sleeps before he sleeps in his own cama(bed) after two fantastic years.

Hermanas Mendoza and Huertes. Hermana Huertes is temporary misionera from a ward in Lima and was with us for about 5 weeks. Although she is not planning a full time mission she has a plan and it is to get married in just a few months.

We managed to get this picture with Hermana Labeau at the Lima temple taken prior to finding out that we weren't to take pictures in this spot. She has been serving in Ica since December and we had a great reunion.

That is a slight look of fear on Elder Servans face as it sinks in that he will be home in Chiclayo for dinner that night. He has been "un misionero ser obedientes" it has been an honor to be with him.

In between the trips to the beach, the weddings, and lunches at TGIF we always manage to find meaningful service to perform. This was a rather large stack of adobe bricks that we moved from the from of this home, through the home, to back of the home.

Our group photo with the benefactor of our service day in front. This wonderful 80 year old sister was so very gracious for our help and went and purchased a little package of soda crackers for us and while we were carrying the bricks should stood at the door and told some relato (story) that not even the Peruvian missionaries could follow.

Saturday night we invited to Juan Carlos and Adriana's for a Peruano meal fixed by Juan Carlos' mother, sitting between Juan Carlos and I. We even had Peru Cola to go with it. It was delicious and fun. I am not sure how it was Juan Carlos' mother as the conversation flipped from Spanish, English, Spanglish, and bad Spanish.

One thing is for sure she will not have any doubts as to whether we are crazy or not. After dinner we all played a civilized game of UNO. Okay it was cut throat UNO and anything but civilized.

They did not take me seriously when I said that after such a good meal I like to take a siesta but you just have to ask my kids what dad does after Sunday dinner.

Every day is a new and interesting experience for us and most of the time it is a wonderful experience. We have learned that we can expect the unexpected. We have learned that things are only as difficult or easy as we choose to make them. The hand of the Lord is revealed only to those that look for it.

We enjoy hearing from each of you so feel free to drop us a line.

Until next time, WE ARE IN PERU NOW!


  1. You both look terrific. Thanks for the update.

    P.S. I met your granddaughter today. She was adorable and personable and smiley - I wanted to eat her she was so cute. :)

  2. Hola Mi Peruana Familia,
    Cual misioneros estan en la zona ahora??? Escribeme por correo!
    Les amo

  3. Great post! Thanks again for sharing.

  4. As always, entertaining stories and great photos.
    How is it that you two always looks so crisp and fresh? I've been to Peru - and my white shirt stayed white about 37 seconds.

  5. It is so unfair!!!! I´m not in any of the pictures!! hahaha

    And Doug you always hide your cards so we can´t see when you have to say UNO! Cheater!! :oP

  6. Dear Doug and Debbie:
    Not sure if you remember us, the Mathiesons when we lived in Calgary 2nd Ward with you guys but I was so excited to find your blog and read about your missionary work in Peru!!
    Our second daughter Melodie was called to the Lima East, Peru mission. She received her call just before the end of the year and she leaves tomorrow, April 6, for Provo for 3 weeks and then to the MTC in Peru for 6 weeks after that. She is so excited and thrilled...and I am too, but also rather nervous as her mother! She doesn't know any Spanish but was set apart yesterday and was given some wonderful blessings in regards to that. I know she will do well because she is dedicated and has a wonderful testimony of missionary work,but I still worry as you can imagine. We are so happy for her!
    Not sure if you guys get to Lima very often but will you look her up if you are there! I think she will be there sometime in June. You may recognize her but she's probably pretty changed since Calgary!
    Sounds like you are both doing wonderful, love reading about your adventures and will look forward to reading more!
    Kasandra (and Don Mathieson)
    Kamloops, BC

  7. Hi Whitneys,

    Just spent some time reviewing your blog. You are such spiritual, fun people. Who knew those things could go together!

    We are having a blast in the Philippines too and loving these people. So glad we met you two in the MTC and we are looking forward to playing some golf and reminincing with you about our missions in Sept 2011! Kep on keepin on!

  8. Love your nueva casa. Thank you for sharing your experiences. This is such special work and you are doing it very well. Thanks for keeping up the blog!

  9. Aww, I miss all you boys getting down on the floor for a siesta after sunday dinner!