Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Saludos a Nuestra Familia y Amigos

Hola a todos! The second hardest part of every task is starting, first is finishing and it is the especially true of authoring an edition of the blog. The next hardest part is uploading the photos to blog spot with an upload speed of .3 megs. The good news in the LAND THAT TECHNOLOGY FORGOT is at least we have the internet, cell phones, skype, magicjack, and text messaging. I guess when you think about it you should always stop to count your blessings before you start to complain.

Today we are stopping by one of our friend’s home, Rosa and Hubert, to drop off some authentic Canadian cuisine. We have been in their home on several occasions and they have offered us Peruano comida(food). The last time we were there Rosa said that we needed to fix them some Canadian food as kind of a cultural exchange sort of thing. So when we were in Lima this week Debbie purchased the necessary ingredients and spent part of yesterday fixing Canadian food for them (I was sick in bed, yeh again). So this afternoon we will drop off some Lasangna!

I ask you, what is an authentic Canadian dish? Buffalo, pemmican, popcorn, tuna casserole. If you know please write and tell us.

In any event we hope they like it and we also hope that they don’t tell anyone else that we fixed a meal for them because there will be no end to the requests for authentic Canadian dishes.

Sunday evening we went to visit a family with the Hermanas and I took several picture that would have been really great if I had a memory card in the camera (I should give the camera back to Debbie shouldn't I). Miguel the father is not a member of the church, todavia (yet), so our visit was specific to him. We have know he and his family almost since we arrived in CaƱete and have witnessed how Susana, his wife, and their children have changed and embraced the gospel. In fact Susana a member of less than one year is the president of the Sociedad de Socorro (Relief Society) and is so diligent and faithful.

They could be South American poster family for self sufficiency/reliance. Miguel is an Abogado (lawyer) and works for a branch of government which means that as far as the socio-ecomomic scale they do alright. They have their own automobile, a 1975 Volkswagen Beatle, but they live in house with only three outside walls, grow their own bananas, grapes, and papas (potatoes). They raise guinea pigs (cuy), chickens, and turkey. They own the land they live on and are saving to build a new home (one with all the walls) and will own it when it is done. One of the other things they do to live providently help save money is they live without electricity, not because they have to, because they choose to in order to achieve their goal.

Delayed gratification, what a foreign concept! The world really is not ready for this idea.

We met by candle light in their meticulously clean three wall home and with aid of our minimag flashlight we were able to share a few scriptures and our message of the restored gospel. We feel very blessed to know people like this.

Those of you that are reading our blog that are members of the church will be able to identify with this next relato better than some others but the principle applies to most walks of life:


Being couple missionaries (we are not senior missionaries) we do not get a lot supervision, which is good because we don’t like a lot of supervision, but rather we are given a letter of priorities that we can work on in our area of assignment. In reality we have to make it up as we go, it is a self starters dream or a management nightmare, depending on the type of person you are. It’s perfect for us.

Anyway, we had become really comfortable in the routine we had created for ourselves and felt completely in control of our little world. We were experiencing a degree of the joy and peace we tell people that they will experience through living gospel principles and keeping the commandments of God. Then it happened.

I had recommended a change in leadership for one of the branches and the Mission President asked for recommendations for who should fill the positions, so had given him my suggestion. So when he called to check if I was still in favor of the suggestions it was not surprising to me when he confirmed that they would make the changes the next Sunday. The surprise came when he said that he wanted to make changes in District Presidency and that I was being called to be the first counselor in the that presidency.

That comfortable joy, peace, and control just went out the window.

The new assignment is causing us to shift our focus and we will not be able to do as much of the missionary work that we have grown to love so much and is putting us in a more hands on position with the members and leaders in the district. Notwithstanding we will still be working with the people that we love, sharing the gospel that we love, and doing it for the Lord that we love.

As usual we have a photo journey to share with you that we hope you will enjoy.

This little lady is so sweet and is so genuinely excited every time Hermana visits her tienda in the mercado in San Vicente. Debbie picks out the same type and quanity of flowers every time and then asks her the price. They always agree on S/ 4. then when she wraps up the flowere she puts in one or two pink roses and says it is for you hermanita. I had always thought she was taking advantage of us but we went to buy the same flowers in Mala last week and they were four times as much.

This Elder Powell clowning around again. He played the Grinch in one of the Christmas plays at our Mission Christmas party this year and was awesome. This particular night we were teaching in the home of Angie la Payaso. Angie is really Cesar and he makes his living as a Payaso or clown. Those are just a few of the costumes that he uses in his work.

This is the family de la Cruz, Cesar and family. Cesar is the Payaso but it is really a family business. Birthdays, holidays, and special occasions are a much bigger thing here than at home and it is very common for people to hire entertainment for such events. I had never considered Clown as a career path but here it is a good way of life. The show must go on!

This photo is taken from the second floor of our casa capilla in Mala but these are not members of our church. The church across the Park, in the picture, has be come very competitive about some of their members changing sides of the park. So, every Sunday while we are have our Sacrament Meeting (equivalent of Mass and Communion) they bring this procession to the front door of our church and the brass band plays and the people pray. I sounds annoying but it is actually better than the loudspeakers that they used to aim at us.

Elder Powell, Elder Arajou, and Hermana Whitney in the Mercado in Mala as we starting a photo scavenger hunt. It was our dia de preparacion and was our last activity before missionary changes.

I was speaking Spanish, thank you very much!

This is the familia Zamora, Juana and Maurizio their 5 children and Juana's Mother and this is their wedding day.They have been together since they were about 14 years old, we met them one day while we were working with Elder Servan and Elder Bearnson in Mala. We helped them overcome the obstacle of understanding the necessity of getting married and working toward an eternal family. Getting them to this point was a great team effort with lots of assists - Great Elders, familia Bearnson, familia Reich, and familia Whitney and the Mala Branch.

And.... Every good wedding helps us to have anther great day at the beach. Not withstanding the calm looking ocean in the picture the waves were ferocious and took both Elder Reich and Maurizio under when he was baptized.

Since it is winter now and there are no people on the beach and so the people don't catch pneumonia we carry our portable change room. We did ask Elder Reich how much would pay us to keep up the good work.

We knew that the day would come that Elder Bearnson would get to move on but that did not make it any easier for us when he did. We have enjoyed his diligence and great work ethic and we were not surprised to find that he was made zone leader in his new area.

We also said hasta manana to Elder Novoa this change so we had a last cita together with Juan Carlos, Adriana and Elder Granados. Elder Granados is a talented musician he brought his guitar and he and Elder Novoa sang for us as parting message for us.

This is another one of our friends, Patricia, and this is her 6th birthday party. She and her family live here in Los Reyes where we live and we were excited when she brought us an invitation to her party. The colorful backdrop is a party tent that covered their front yard, the party was complete with entertainment and food. No payaso but singers, music and magic.

This is our friend Miguelina.

This is Miguelina's neighborhood. All of the little whitish buildings that resemble garden shed are actually homes so are the ones that look like they are made from sticks. This pueblo is built on the side of a hill where nothing grows, nothing. The whitish homes are pre-fabbed kits that they build in about three hours, the sheathing is drywall with nothing more on the inside.

Fourteen members of the Imperial Branch came out on Saturday to level a new place for Miguelina to move her home. At the one end we had to cut through three feet of rock using chisels and sledgehammers.

This picture tells a story that words can't do justice. We took down her home that was around all her worldly belongings which are in the middle of the picture. Lying flat, in the upper left hand corner are all the walls and roof for her home and the level place top back part of the picture is where we rebuilt her home.

After the excavation was complete and the broken rock was packed to level the site we had to bring the flooring in, that is what President Borda is spreading with wheelbarrow. I got a little I excited when one of the brethren said wouldn't it be great if we could give her a concrete floor and I thought now we are talking. But I soon realized that is was more like "I wish we could." Regardless of what it looked like to me this is Miguelina's home where she lives with her daughter, she saved to make a one time payment equal to about $50 US and now she owns the land. She worked and save to buy the pre-fabbed kit so she could have her own home. It has a dirt floor, no water, no sewer, and no power and it is hers.

When I saw this little family of goats huddled nearby her home I could not help but feel that this scene was incredibly symbolic.

Our new Zona de Canete: Front left - Elder Arajou, US, Hermanas Ajmac and Romero. Back left Elders Parker, Vivas, Anibal, Sardon, Schoefield, Ponciano, Granados. Elder and Hermana Reich were not able to make down from Mala for prepartion day as they teach early morning Seminary 5 days a week.

Saturday as Juan Carlos were at the service project at Miguelina's we had time to reflect about our experience that day and commented about how easy it is get so caught up in the thick of thin things and forget to stop and count our blessings and give appropriate thanks for all that we have. As we walked back to town I was grateful for the experience of viewing life throught the lens of anothers persons eyes. I was very humbled when I thought about how thankful Miguelina is for everything she has and realized, perhaps for the first time in my life, that life is not about how much you have got rather it is about the attitude that you have about what you have got.

Les amo mucho!

Los Whitney, Gringos in Canete