Monday, May 17, 2010

Saludos a nuestra Familia y Amigos

We have just finished one of the busiest and most fulfilling weeks of our mission, so far, and the thing that I find most interesting is that I am at loss for words to describe the experiences that we have had. Partially because some of it you would had to have been there to appreciate the story and some because the experience is so very special to us that sharing all of it would diminish the sacredness of the events.

The most important thing/news that we have to share we are saving to the end of this installment with the pictures. It is nice to be the editor of my own blog/newspaper and I can put the headline story anywhere I want.

It is always such an epiphany when the final piece of one of life’s puzzles drops into place for you like this one; We have been wondering what the main reason for so many motorcycles on the roads here. Clearly they are more motorcycles than cars but what is the real reason. Safety can not be the motive because traffic rules are not rules at all they are merely suggestion (my personal two favorite traffic rules, one way streets which are which ever way your moto is facing regardless of the direction of arrows, and the other is the concept of lanes, the number of lanes depends on how wide the vehicles are and who yields first in the game of chicken). We thought maybe it was the economy of a motorcycle the lowest cost per man mile – I call it lowest cost per man mile because we see 4 and sometimes five people (including nursing babies) on one cycle. Another aspect of cost was we see hosts of cycles that are almost as old me, Honda S90 (has not been made for 40 years) Cub 50’s and 90’s that went out of production in the 70’s. Maybe other things like cheaper insurance, ease of storage (as most people park them in the house so that they are there when they want them). Many of them don’t have lights of any kind so maybe they don’t need safety inspections. It was just hard to say for sure.

Well today one of our friends, that owns a motorcycle shop, saw us walking down the highway stopped in his car to give us a ride and I told him we had been thinking of buying a motorcycle and I wanted to know how to get a license. Now I already knew that getting a car drivers license was really difficult and that you have to go to Lima to get it. He said don’t worry when you want one I will take to the town office and you can buy one, it is cheap. All the pieces fell into place and it explains where all the lousy motorcycle drivers are coming from. Mystery solved.

Just as a footnote, many of the operators to these cycles are women.

Two weeks ago we notified by the Assistants to the President that our zone was to attend a special Multi-Zone conference in Lima, events that we always enjoy but wish we would get more notice of. These conferences always work well for the missionaries from Lima because it has little impact on their schedules but for us we need change and cancel our full day. In order to be at the bus station at 5:00 am to make a meeting for 9:30 in Lima means a wake up at 3:45 in order to get ready, find ride to town and the bus station at that unholy hour, and wait for the rest of the missionaries to arrive. Considering it is a trip to Lima and a spiritual recharge it is a small inconvenience.

It is all good unless when you arrive you find your name printed on program for a 10 minute presentation on the restoration. What a shock to have the first person to greet you be the Mission President thanking you for willingness to participate in the program. In reality it was not much of shock for me because it was Hermana (Debbie) Whitney that the Assistant to the President forgot to call and invite to participate and whose name was on the printed program. (Those two will have to think twice about turning up at her door hungry hoping for a meal at 8:30 in the evening as they did the week before.)

I would have had trouble doing it in my native tongue let alone in Spanish but she did it and did it well in Spanish and she points out that she did it with our crying.

All in all it was an amazing meeting with some incredible music provide by the Presidents family that were visiting from the USA.

The zone meetings and conferences are a great diversion from our daily work and sometimes a change is as good as a rest but it is meeting with the people that warms our hearts and touches our soles.

We have a few photos to share, and oh yeah, the big news!

Two Saturdays ago our scheduled activity got rescheduled so we found ourselves with some bonus time so we went to Lunauana with our Peru family to sample some local food. Debbie commandeered the camera and took lots of pictures.

Pictures of trees at the resort we stopped to eat at.

Pictures of point setter plants that are really trees.

And more lovely flowers.

Alright, no more flowers give me the camera.

Finally, pictures with people. After a lunch of Camarones, which the locals catch in the river in the first picture, we took a walk through the resort to the river. They call them Camarones and they are prepared whole and all though they translate Camarones as shrimp they are Texas crawdads. This is Juan Carlos, Adriana, Octavio, and Adrian walking the lush forest. Just for the record I did not fare well on this local delicacy.

I recovered and on the following Monday we went a zone to the beach for a cookout. Elder Bearnson and Elder Ponciano arranged for Aravelo to pic us up in his combie in Buhama and take us the beach.

The picture you saw of Aravelo was also at the beach but he was dressed in all white. The picture before that was at his wedding.

The neat thing about the beach at this time of the year is that it is like a private beach, we were the only people there. Yes, that is the YMCA they are doing in the picture and on the make shift grill there is prepared meat in form of patties but no one was going out on a limb and calling them hamburgers.

Later that night we went to Rosa and Hubert's home for "noche de hogar" (AKA family home evening). When we arrived Rosa and Hubert were at the hospital with the little fellow on Rosa's lap and only Kiara and Jean Pierre were at home. We told them it was there turn to give the lesson, at first we were just kidding, but they said sure and pulled out some books. Kiara taught about the creation and Jean Pierre about the Book of Mormon form Predicad Me Evangelio. We were blown away by them.

What is there not to love about people like this. Then again when they love you it becomes very easy. We are working towards a temple with them in November of this year. Jean Pierre with the white beard was the winner or loser of the game we were playing and had to use his tongue to find the prized candy in the dish of flour.

Nicolas was just to cute to not put his picture. We up in Mala on Friday visiting his parents Iber and Chabella. We took them a copy of the booklet "House of the Lord" as we prepare them the temple as well.

This is big news that we have been dying to tell everyone about. Saturday evening Juan Carlos and Adriana were baptized and Sunday they were confirmed members of the Church. Believe it or not but I don't have the words to fully express how we feel about this marvelous event. Simple stated, we love them.

What a privilege it has been to see the hand of the Lord in the lives of our friends and watch and experience with them as they began to conform their lives to cast off the natural man and begin to be spiritual people. Good happy people recognizing that they can be better and happier.

We continue to be amazed by the blessings that we receive as we serve here. We marvel at the words that come out of our mouths and the things that we understand that are normally beyond our comprehension. The Lord truly takes weak things and makes them strong for his own purposes. I know that in D. & C. 4 it says that if ye have desires to serve ye are called to the work and that faith, hope, charity, and love with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify you for the work, but I am convinced that the Lord will take it one step further with us and if we just show up He will qualify us for the work.

I don't know why we have been so blessed, we just are.

Until next time!

Les amo mucho

Los Whitney


  1. Juan Carlos and Adriana look SO happy. How awesome to be a part of that and witness the process. Terrific.

    Also, Debbie, I knew you could do that. Without doubt. Still, I wish I saw your face when you saw your name on the program. :)

  2. I'm sitting here at LAX reading your last post wishing I could change my flight to Peru instead of going to Hawaii. Love and miss you guys mucho! Good work!!

  3. What a great post! Loved the "give me the camera" face. So fun to read your experiences and good for Debbie, for putting her talk together in minutes! You guys must be learning to work at a moment's notice on your mission! Bless you both and how wonderful to be there for your friends baptism! We had a wonderful young man here in Kamloops baptized last fall and he is teaching and converting his family, it IS wonderful!

  4. we feel blessed by God. Thank you both for teaching us the gospel. You will always be in our hearts. we love you.

  5. Querida Famila,
    Good Job Sister Whitney for your presentation on the restauracion. Wow! The zone BBQ looked awesome! Lunahuana incredible and you saved the best for last!!! I love you!!! Thanks for all you do! Tell the Familia Chambergo hello!

  6. Hey, some of us like flower pictures! Love the "boo-face", Doug. Priceless!
    And Debbie, look at you - speaking in public - en español. ¡Awesome!