We have had a busy couple of weeks since the District Conference and the last blog entry and I have to admit that some of it has been more fun than work and the work has been more fun than work. The pictures tell the story best so that part we will leave up to the them (the pictures).
In the last issue I mentioned that we were having district conference and our concerns about how it would turnout. To say the least it was a rich out pouring of the spirit and I know that everyone that participated was blessed by it. Oh, that is not to say that we did not have our wrinkles because we did but all in all it was fantastic.
Our concern about the possibility of people not fulfilling their assignments was realized, five speakers did not turn up for their assignments, three of which were assigned to a meeting that I was conducting. It turned out fine as President Manning was speaking and he always needs more time that is allotted. People even said that they understood my talk which was surprising but gratifying.
Saturday activity of visiting members that I had been worried about went very well. The Imperial branch was a little light in attendance but San Vicente was very well represented and a lot of families were visited and some excellent training was given by the mission.
The Sunday session of conference was exceptional and very well attended with a total of more than our combined sacrament meeting attendance. It was great to see the Mala branch arrive on large bus with 68 members attending and a strong contingent from Quilmana. After the meeting Hermana Whitney gathered together a number of the families that we have assisted in one way or another to get married and we have included a photo.
Immediately after the district conference we left for
This last week in most of our meetings we have been sharing a message about the crossing of the plains to the “largo salado valle” and bearing testimony of how much we owe to those early saints and sacrifice they made. I have always referenced the pioneers of the church in
Notwithstanding I have been surprised by how little of our pioneer heritage is understood and appreciated away from the center of the church.
My heart strings always get a little tight and my vision gets a little blurry when I contemplate the sacrifice of the early saints and my ancestors made. I think of the hardships of crossing the plains, the handcart companies, the cruel elements, scant food commodities, and the hard labor. Not to mention the religious persecution and opposition to beliefs.
Early this morning, while I was doing the laundry up on he roof top, I was contemplating the reasons why the sacrifice of the early saints seemed to be lost on many of the people here. As I look down to the roadway I saw the usual line of Peruano quad X 4’s (four, 4 legged donkeys pulling carts) going to the fields to collect the first loads of yucca and the vendors pushing their carts to the mercado, which they do seven days a week. I then looked out to the field to the south where they were already picking cotton by hand and then to the field to the north where the fields were planted and harvested by hand and ploughed by horse or mule with a single blade plough. Many sleep every night on a dirt floor and/or in an enclosure that has no roof and running water is what is poured from a bucket or bottle. They always have washed their clothes on a scrub board next to the irrigation ditch.
With complete respect for my pioneer ancestors, whom I am forever indebted, it just maybe that their story is a hard sell in third world countries where their experience sounds like just another day to them.
For reasons other than Pioneer Day this week marks a couple of other milestones for us. The first and most important is that it is Mother Gibbons birthday today, she turned 90 years and although I might kid her ask how it was crossing the plans I won’t. I will just wish her a great big
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM”.
The program in Quilmana has really picked up since we have Elders there again. Elder Parker and Elder Sardon have really made a difference and when I say a difference I mean a difference to the people that live in Quilmana. We love visiting and support the missionaries and members there.
Juana and Michael(his real name is Florencio, ya me too) on their wedding, which was yesterday. We have really come to love this family and have been so blessed to be a part to there progress and transformation.
We have never been fingerprinted so much, which is a good thing, before we came to Peru. Most legal documents here require your finger print and everytime we do this we get to. In an interesting sort of sense you could say that we are signing away other peoples lives. I hope they never hold it against us.
Not withstanding that is almost impossible to get people to smile these two were honestly excited about getting married.Tonight we were able to see them baptized taking that entry step toward becoming an eternal family. Tonight Juana bore her testimony about how she became converted and because she was not married could not be baptized and could not take the sacrament until she was. She told how it seemed like it was going to be impossible because Florencio did not want to get married and even if he did they could not manage to finacially. She fervently prayed daily for change and help and how her prayers were answered.
This weekend also marks the midway point in our mission, it does not seem real that we have been here that long and in other respects it seems like we have always been here. Weird isn’t it.
The young missionaries have strange traditions when the reach their halfway point like burning a shirt or a tie, I wonder what their parents who have to buy that stuff think of that? We aren’t burning anything but I have been saving one new pair of trousers and couple of shirts for the second half so that I have a few fresh things to finish with.
We often have to remind the young missionaries that when we are finished we don’t have to go home and worry about who we are going to marry or what school we are going to go to.
But we do have to worry about where we are going to live and where we will work when we do get home.
Thank for reading this edition of “YOU ARE IN PERU NOW” and if you feel so inspired post a message or send us an email and let us know how you are doing.
Los Whitney, Gringos in Peru