Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saludos a Nuestra Familia y Amigos

I know that it has been awhile since the last entry and those that check regularly are probably tired of the old entry, perdóneme por favor.

We sort of pride ourselves in how we have created a routine that we can follow and it gives a certain amount of order to our lives. A certain portion of our weekly schedule is allocated to visiting people that we see regularly for ecclesiastical and missionary purposes, we have a regular meetings for capacitación(training), presidency meetings (Hermana Whitney is now the primera consejera en la Mujeres Jovenes distrito presidencia), noche de misiónals, baptisms, ect. ect. ect.

Not found in the white missionary handbook of rules and regulations we find one night a month for “date night,” on which we do not book appointments. Instead we make some popcorn and sit down in our theater room and watch a movie. Before you get too excited about our theater room it is the same room we do everything else and our movie screen is our laptop computadora and a small set of speakers that we bought for about $30, notwithstanding it is our theater room.

All movies here are pirated movies and cost about $1.20. We get movies that have just hit the theaters in America, that it the good news, the other news is that some of them are video taped in a theater and you can actually see people get up and go get refreshments, ect. You just never know what quality it is going to be until you get it home. It makes it that much more interesting.

I know what you are thinking, “Wow, is that ever exciting. They are really living on the edge.”

Last week we were in Quilmana to support Elder Parker and Elder Sardon and make some visits with them. These two Elders are highly motivated and very motivation missionaries that have been given a big assignment to stimulate this area that had been closed for about 8 months. While we were there we did an apartment inspection to assure that they were in acceptable quarters, comparatively speaking, and we found their electric shower head was not installed. When we asked why it was not installed we found out what we expected and that was that they had the neither the wherewithal or knowledge to get it done. Later we decided that for our next service day we would take care of it for them. So this past Thursday we set out to Quilmana with our tool box, a Book of Mormon, and our good intentions.

A book of Mormon, por qué? Because, we had made an appointment to meet Sandy, who is one of our contacts, at 10:00 in the Plaza de Armas in Imperial to give her the book.

Now, we have made this trip many times, in fact we would call it routine for us in fact we had been there the night before to talk to a young couple that were to give us a commitment for their wedding date, which we did get.

Trust me this all comes together. Really!

The trip is straight forward we take a combie to Imperial, walk two blocks through the Plaza de Armas, and catch a colectivo taxi that drops us at the missionaries apartment, simple. The combie picks us up at the front get of our community and usually takes about 5 minutes to where we get off, but not today. The roadway into Imperial divides into two one way streets, one coming and one going, and as we were approaching the point where it divides we could see that there was some sort of trouble in the traffic. Some vehicles were stopped, others turning around and scattering. The bus slowed down then suddenly veered up the wrong way on the one way street with the pedal to the metal. As we turned we could see through the side windows that there were mobs in the street throwing rocks and bricks. (This is the part that is just like in the movies)

We got about a block and half up the wrong way where the traffic appeared to grid locked, we could see the trouble and hear the gunfire at the other end of the street and I started thinking that we would be better off on foot and hot foot it out of there. Debbie was in the jump seat in front and I said to her, “let’s get out of here.” She jumped out of the door and about as quick as she got out so did the cobrador and pushed her back into the seat and the bus jumped forward through the traffic.

They took us another two blocks and let us out where there was no trouble.

Now we had a some concerns that we did not have when left home that morning, Sandy was to be waiting for us at the Plaza which was one block closer to the tumult, we had four missionaries that we could not be sure of there whereabouts, and just how much trouble was there going to be?

Oh yeah, our cell phone was not working! Go figure.

We realized that we could pass by the meeting place with Sandy on our way to the missionary’s apartments so we took off on foot. Sandy was waiting for us, grabbed us and the book, and looked straight into our eyes and said get out of here you are white and they are killing people over there in the next block. Dramatizing, she put two fingers to head like a gun and then pushed us down the street away from the trouble. It was okay with us as it was the right street that went straight to both missionary apartments.

We found both sets of missionaries were not in their apartments and one of their landlords told us that they had left for there service project which was out side of town.

At that point we were satisfied that they were likely alright and there was nothing more we could do except a quick prayer for their safety.

We hustled through the streets to where we knew we could catch a combie to Quilmana.

Once on the bus we started to calm down and got back to the tranquilo day we started on.

Elder Parker and Elder Sardon now have hot showers and a shower curtain.

When we got back to Imperial that afternoon things had simmered down, the riot police were still geared up and present, and we discovered that although shots were being fired no one was killed. We also found out what the disturbance was about, construction workers from San Vicente were taking jobs in Imperial away from union member there. I guess we were lucky here because in April or May the miners in the south got mad about the same thing and 16 people went missing, really missing.

Just a comment about our friend Sandy, she lives in Lima but travels around selling gloves, socks, toques, scarves ect. in public squares. She has children that are members of the church, even has a missionary out but because of her common law relationship and inability to get married is not in a position to receive all the blessings that her family enjoys, todavia! The Book of Mormon was for a friend that she is sharing the gospel with. I think I sense a deeper message somewhere in that.

Not every bus trip is exciting in the same sort of way but they can be exciting in a different ways. One bus trip that we took back at the end of July was with 39 young single adults to a conference in Nazca. Nazca is about 6 hours south of where we live and famous for a number of things like the Nazca Lines, if you don’t know anything about them Google it, it is interesting. We did not see the lines as the are best visible from the air and travel in small charter planes is surprisingly against mission rules(which the President frequently points out that I breaks too many of.)

The first known civilization in the area dates back to 400 years B.C. and we are including a few cool pictures of what we saw.

Aside from spending three days with all the YSA in the district we also got to spend some time with Elder and Sister Jones the mission couple from Malad Idaho that serve in Nazca/Marcona district. I marvel at the impact that they are having in their area and they are a real testimony to what a couple can do in the mission field, it is miraculous.

We are a little jealous of the winter weather they have there because everyday is sunny and hot with cold nights but I would not want their summers which are exceedingly hot day and night.

We had another exciting bus ride just yesterday and it was yet another type of exciting but none the less thrilling. A few weeks ago, while skirting around another rule, we met a really great lady working at the G__f Cou_se in Asia. In the course of our time there Hermana shared some of our message and gave her a brochure and asked if she would like to receive the discussions. Friday we went to her home in Mala with Elder Ponciano and Elder Scoefield, who work in Mala.

Gracia and her husband (married) live just a few blocks from the casa capilla in Mala. We had a great visit with her, she has a deep testimony of Jesus Christ and knows that her current church, although good, is missing the mark. She not only had read the brochures but knew them and had researched her questions. Although her husband follows “the traditional church” is less interested in religion he is very supportive of her. What a special experience it was for us share our common beliefs and the message of the restoration.

Now that is excitement!

Here is our photo journey of the past few weeks.

It was a little weird to say to the elders, okay let's get into the bathroom to take a picture but Elder Sardon and Elder Parker were more than happy to show off their new 220 volt shower. (My daughter-in-law Melissa would be so proud of my handy work here.)

Gustavo and Nati are our friends in Quilmana that will be getting married in two weeks. They are a really neat little family and although we will not be here to go to the temple with them in a year we know that they will make it.

Debbie says that my teaching has a similar effect on both the young and the old.

This was at a family home evening (noche de hogar) that we had in a members home. The two hemanitas in the middle are Kati and Nancy neighbors of the familia Taya where we were visiting.

A couple of weeks ago we were waiting for the Sister Missionaries to go to an appointment and we saw these two boys trying to guide this young bull. It was true slapstick comedy, at first they had one rope and boy behind and one rope and a boy in front. The bull charged at the boy in front and then there were two boys behind being drug by the bull. When the bull stopped and the boys dusted themselves off they assumed this position, pulling the bull. A moment later it was the previous position with the bull pulling the boys.

This was the our group of Jovenes Adulto Solteros (YSA) as we were awaiting the bus before our trip to Nazca. Oh how they like to dance!

Valle las Trancas is a valley of tombs dating back to 400 years B.C. where thousands of tombs with mummified remains have been uncovered.

A few of us standing over one of the larger tombs, grateful to be out of the sun.

The tour guide, who is one of the JAS members in Nazca, pointed out that all though they have tried to make sense of all the findings it is just conjecture as there are no records and their are no descendants of this civilization. In this tomb there were many mummified bodies of babies, back left. because of the hot dry conditions they have been preserved very well and on of the things that was most interesting was their hair was still intact. Note on the mummy in the center that male pattern baldness was a problem back then as well.

In some instances their braided hair was more than 6 feet long. One tomb that was of the pre-Inca era had mummies with blond and brown hair leading to some interesting conjecture.

These remains were in a small museum that is on site in the valley.

Elder and Sister Jones took us to see some aqua ducts that were built by the Incas more than a thousand years ago to bring sub surface aquifer water up hill underground to irrigate the fertile ground in the valley. They are still effectively used for that purpose today.

This water comes underground from high in the Andes Mountains. Chains of these duct systems are found throughout the area. It is amazing that they could find the water so far below the surface and without mechanical pumps lift it to the surface. The water is supposed to be as pure as you can find on the planet so we drank it.

And a good time was had by all.

Some missionary mayhem at the zoo park in Quilmana. I made them promise if they would take us lunch I would not show the picture to the President.

What are the crazy people doing now?

Preparation day chillin at the mini Machu Pichu.

When I said out to lunch I really meant it and so they took us to the pensonista where she had prepared a very special lunch for the whole zone. Great food, great friends, and a great work!

Thank you again for taking the time to read about our adventures in our little part of Peru. We continue to be amazed at the experiences that we are blessed to have and for the people we are blessed to meet. Please feel free to drop us a quick note and let us know how you are doing.

Los Whitney Gringos en Cañete