Thursday, May 27, 2010

Saludos a nuestra Familia y Amigos

We finished our appointments a little early this evening so I thought I would get this edition of YOU ARE IN PERU NOW ready and get it posted. Every day seems to be an adventure and I muse sometimes that every day would provide great material for an L.D.S. sitcom complete with insider jokes, potty humor, and spiritual antic dotes.

Por ejemplo(for example) yesterday after our district meeting at the capilla in Imperial we took Elder and Hermana Reich (Rich) to the Mercado so that Hermana could look for some material to sew with. The Mercado in Imperial is nice compared to some and it is the kind of place that you can expect to find almost anything, except for 70ish year old gringos. After we went to our favorite sandwich shop just off the Plaza de Armas(sounds kinda cool like it should be in designer district in a European city) which is just a space between two other buildings with a bamboo roof. I remember the first time we ate there, I was sure I was going to die, but sandwich tasted delicioso.

I would elaborate on some of the things I have seen in the shop but then you would be asking “why would we go back.” Anyway, we ordered our sandwiches, pavo on a bun(turkey is the house specialty) and they made a place for us to sit. As we were sitting there I looked at Elder Reich and then Hermana Reich, thought of my first visit to the sandwich shop, I knew what was going through their cabezas(heads) and said “A year ago would you have imagined that one day you would be sitting in a place like this doing what you are doing?”

I really didn’t know what they were thinking but Hermana managed to utter, “no, I sure didn’t.”

Our day was packed with appointments so we had to leave them there with the Elders to finish their lunch and go back to Mala. We sent them an email today to see how they are doing, we are not sure but maybe they are not talking to us because we did not hear back from them. Maybe tomorrow.

We are reopening the area of Quilmana with missionaries this transfer so today we went there to look for an apartment for them and a new casa capilla for the branch to meet in. The Presidency in Quilmana had been scouting around already and had some leads for us to follow up on. We are glad that we are not being transferred to Quilmana. Elder Powell and Elder Arajou were assisting us and after we had viewed one of the apartments I asked them how would they feel about the apartment if they were the ones being transferred to Quilmana. They both responded that they have lived in much worse, we just cringed.

The trip was cute short by an acute attack of “welcome to Peru.”

This last week we visited and taught in a few pueblos we had never been in before let alone knew existed. One is known as San Isidro pequeno (little San Isidro). We had to walk a fair distance down a dusty road through the chacra where the corn was about 7 feet tall on both sides of the road. It was impossible to see the place until you arrived. We had two appointments there the first is a single man, which today committed to baptism in two weeks, and the other was a first visit with a very nice young family. Well we did not finish until after dark and I mean after dark, it was pitch black, crossing overflowing irrigation ditches on wet stepping stones. The walk back to the main roadway was scary, kinda like Sleepy Hollow.

Sunday afternoon we had a very moving experience while we were visiting in Las Vinas. I need to set the scene of Las Vinas, as our new camera person took hardly any photos this week, it is nestled in a valley between two hills about 300 meters high. The hills are comprised of essentially pit run sized stones covered with about half a meter of sand. One side has been excavated to build homes into the hillside and this has been done with absolutely no retention.

This was our second visit with Dehlia in her adobe home with dirt floors and tarp and bamboo roof. As with all of our meetings we start with a hymn and prayer and Dehlia asked Hermana Whitney to pray, almost everyone asks her to pray, so she fervently offered a wonder prayer. When she was finished Hermana Romero in a slightly excited voice says, “Muy Fuerte” (very strong). Debbie said “why thank you.” Just as the ground started to shake again even “mas fuerte” than the first time only this time with a quick look around the table everyone sprang to their feet and ran to the street.

The whole community was in the street and mothers we crying out to their children to gather in. It truly was a moving experience that made our little hearts go pitter patter.

We have several families that we have visited in this pueblo and we have commented on other occasions that if there were ever much of an earth quake the whole community would be buried. Fortunately we did not have to find out if we were right or not.

The other thing that was shaken was Debbie that it was an earth tremor not her prayer that was “muy fuerte” but on the other hand who is to say but what that it was her prayer that stayed the hand of the destroyer for that community that afternoon.

That visit turned in to a lesson on emergency preparedness as Dehlia lost her home and everything in it in 2007 when the big quake hit Chincha and Pisco.

The other thing about Las Vinas is that it is a daylight only community, not safe for gringos and Hermanas traveling alone and it was not after dark. We had been there before after dark but always with Pedro Macha. Not wanting to leave the Hermanas alone we put them on the first moto(not many taxis like to go there) that came along hoping that another would come along soon. We walked to San Vicente before an empty moto would pick us up.

Notwithstanding where we were we knew that we had not deliberately placed ourselves in that position and had the assurance that if we were careful that all would be well, and it was.

Last Friday there was a conference at the CCM (missionary training center) in Lima with Elder Jay Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy and we and the other couples in our mission were invited to attend. This is Los Jones the mission couple serving in Nasca, which is about 6 hours south of Canete, they had been on the bus for 8 hours. At this moment Elder Jones mission was to get some real food. We met them at the bus station so that we could help him fulfill his mission of the moment.

We completed that mission at the Chili's restaurant at Jockey Plaza. It was great for the three couples to get together and share a few war stores and for the Jones to get some real food. Where they live it very difficult to get american type food and they live on rice and canned tuna. Terry hates rice.

When I was relating the story of our turkey sandwich in Imperial I was thinking about this picture that I took of Los Reich at the temple last week. This is more of the setting that you would expect to find this great looking couple.

This couple looks great anywhere, no everywhere.

When ever we are at the CCM we check for misisonaries from Canada just in case we know someone that knows someone. This is Melodie Mathieson, her mother Kasandra, had alerted us to the fact that she was in the CCM. Mathieson's lived in the 8th Ward for awhile when she was growing up and somehow her mother got our blog address had had been keeping up with us. When we arrived at the CCM we directed into the auditorium to be seated and we wondered exactly how we would find her. It was uncanny like a spot light was on her, I walked directly to her and said buenos dias Hermana Mathieson your parents asked us to say hello. Ella esta muy feliz. Hermana Mathieson is one happy, prepared, and enthusiastic missionary. She sends her thanks and love to her family.

This random shot was taken along the highway, of sorts, to Quilmana, where were to meet Elder Powell and Arajou. It is a paradero (bus stop) between somewhere and nowhere.

Later that night we meet in Quilmana with a few members the branch, unfortunately there are only a few members left. Six months without missionaries has just about wiped out this fledgling branch.

This was a visit that we made with Hermanas Romero and Ajmac to meet Banet. Banet is a new contact that they have started to teach but her novio(boyfriend) is not in a rush to get married and it is preventing her from progressing in the lessons. She lives in another little pueblo called Progresso, in this house where she is raising her two young brothers. Both parents have fled the scene. Soon, next month, she will be raising one of her own.

The Hermanas were very late getting to a family home evening apointment on Monday so we decided that they should have to preform a castigo for their tardiness so they danced the "el pato" but before we left we all did.

This is the Palamino family that we were visiting that night. Samuel and Jesusa on the left and Daisy on the right are members, the other daughter whose name eludes me and her daughter love to meet with us but favor another flavor of religion. After left their home I found out the reason for the Hermanas being late, they had to walk a long distance to get there because they had run out of funds before the end of the month. I felt bad, they can ride now.

Like we said, everyday is an adventure; we are doing and seeing things that would never have imagined a year ago. It is ever clearer to us that all of our experiences in life have been preparing us so that we could do what we are now doing and we are glad that we are not wasting our life’s experiences by doing the easy things. It is an interesting musing to me, but what are these experiences are preparing us for?

Thanks for reading this edition of our blog.

Les amo mucho!

Elder and Hermana Whitney

Los gringos in Canete


  1. Dear Whitneys...THANK YOU for posting that picture of you and my Mel! She mentioned in her email that she had seen you and that you took her picture so I was so excited to see it. Had a little cry, made me realize how much we miss her. It's been so good to read your blog so we have a bit of an idea what she is going through! Her emails are enthusiastic and fun, she sounds so happy, so I am glad you found her that way too. She sounded so excited to see you, it must be so good to meet other Canadians. She mentioned that her Spanish seems to be coming along and she is happy about that, I know she was worried about it.
    I laughed when reading about the Jones wanting real food! We are so spoiled here... I am sure that this has been such an eye opening experience for you guys that way. We have so much here in Canada and we still complain.
    Thanks again...can't tell you what it means to get just a little glimpse of our Hermana Mathieson, we are so happy for her!!

  2. As I read your relato about the terremoto I was only thinking how lucky you had been that it wasn't stronger. However, when you wrote that perhaps it was Debbie's prayer that had kept it from being worse, I realized that it might very well have been a blessing for this little community that you and Debbie were teaching in their area. What a blessing to have a testimony of God and Jesus Christ!

  3. The Sister's name of daisy is Mery. Thanks for posting that picture of them. Iwas thinking about them alot today!!! Good thing you survived the temblor!!!! Those were also an adventure!
    love you lots

  4. You guys do look great anywhere, no everywhere! I sure miss having you home but loved your comments about using your life experiences for good instead of doing the easy things in life.