Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Saludos a Nuestras Familia y Amigos

Seven weeks, that’s all, nada mas!

Time is flying along and we are running as fast as we can to help our friends meet the goals they have set with us. We still have three weddings to accomplish in the next 60 days with 10 baptisms and 4 families to take the temple for the first time and two families to return after a long absence. What a blessing when it all comes together.

It has been so long since our last blog and time is particularly precious so I will not be overly wordy and will leave most of the history to the pictures.

Debbie’s wounds have substantially healed but totally, she still has one more shot to get, and she is continuing to be cautious around dogs.

We had the youth conference the last week of February and it was a great success. We did learn some lessons about logistics and they should be better prepared for the next time. Like all excellent youth conferences we concluded with at testimony meeting. It was outstanding.

The new capilla in San Vicente was turned over to us in March and we were able to have our district conference in the new building. Notwithstanding the capacity of the new building we still had to put up a tent in the courtyard and seat about 100 people outside where they watched the conference on closed-circuit television. It was a record attendance for district conference.

President Manning gave the dedicatory prayer for the new building which was the spiritual highlight of the weekend. Everyone was touched by the experience and the spirit and it was a life changing experience for several of the investigators that were in attendance. For some of the rest of us as well.

After the conference President Manning and I went to a prison in Penal just outside of Nuevo Imperial to visit a couple of inmates. This was also a life altering experience and gave me an immense appreciation for the freedoms I enjoy. The mother of one of the boys is a very dear friend of ours and she had asked us to visit. Both young are in prison for murder but not the same one. It is forever imprinted on my mind how one wrong turn can ruin one life and take another. Over crowded and unsanitary is just the beginning of a description of what we experienced. We visited in one of their cells, approx. 9 feet by 12 feet, which housed 16 inmates. Fortunately or not we not able to take pictures, we could not take our belts, ties, a pen, or anything in our pockets and were thoroughly searched and screened prior to entry.

Renee and Jenny our friends that we have mentioned many times it the blog are following through with their commitment and have been attending every week, paying tithing, hopefully will receiving a calling this week, and planning to attend the Temple with us.

Asia (Ahseeah) is closed for the season therefore our source for familiar food is gone. We sent to Wongs, that is the super market, on Saturday to purchase enough of the staples to see us through. When we were finished shopping we said good bye to the staff many of whom had remembered us from last year and told them that we are going home to Canada and would not be seeing them next summer.

We went to Asia with Juan Carlos and Adriana in their car which made bring home the heavy load possible. We celebrated the closing by having Jack Daniels Ribs at TGI Fridays and then Sushi at Mr. Sushi. I know it sounds crazy but we did it anyway.

I am not sure if I will get one or two more blogs off before we get home we will just have to see how much time we have. Thank you for following our adventures and hope to be seeing you soon.

Absolutely everyone in the District was invited to the Youth Conference, here they are called conventions, including this young chick. Swimming in the pool was a real treat for our young people. For most of us is sounds hohum but for them it was special.

Talent shows are really big and had for just about every occasion. What passes for talent is questionable but it is always fun. This group of young men are from the Cañete branch all are converts to the church and we have at least a small part in their lives in the church

These are some of the youth leaders that chose not to get in the pool but kept an eye on them from a safe distance.

On the day the OEM turned the capilla over to the members we had an inspection with the engineers and facilities group. Pres. and Sister Manning came and we did a tour of the building and we had demonstrations of how everything worked. After they provided a lunch that was surprisingly good.

This the district Presidency in our new office. We did not tell Presidente Borda (sitting in the chair) that we would have an office in the new building and this was his first chance to see it. The other hombre is Pres. Raul Huarhua. I am still chuckling about the day President Borda called me concerned that the plaque on the front of the church said "visitors welcome."

A group shot of all those that attended the walk through taken in the salon de "sacramental" which we were permitted to take since the building was not commissioned or dedicated.

Elders Merrill and Perez found and activated this brother, David, and his family then baptised his daughter. We were blessed to participate with them. An interesting side note was that David served his mission here in Cañete fourteen years ago.

This irresistible looking pizza was made right in our own kitchen. Helen our neighbor invited us over for homemade Pizza one night, she told Debbie how to make her own dough. Ever since we have been eating delicious pizza in the comfort or our own home. We served pizza to President Manning this last week after his interviews in Cañete.

I spotted this Dear standing on a bridge over the Cañete River and immediately knew I had to take a picture. It is the rainy season in the mountains and the river is running fast. From this point it is less than a mile to the ocean.

The above photo and this one we took on the same day, we visiting a family that live somewhat remotely in the chakra.

This is my arm and the marking that they put on me at the prison. In addition they also fingerprinted us before we entered so that they could positively identify you should there be some kind of a mix up. It was a scary place.

This year for Carmen Villalobo del Macha's birthday Debbie fixed dinner for the family in our home. A traditional Canadian meal of Lasagna, tossed salad, and garlic bread. That is Canadian isn't it?

On the 23rd of March, which is Elder and Hermana Reich's anniversary we went to the Temple with these two couples from Mala. Edgar and Cecilia (on the left) are newly weds and Cesar and wife (on the right) have many years together and three children. Both Edgar and Cesar have been apart of our lives since we arrived in the mission. Thanks to Elder and Hermana Reich they were prepared to receive their Temple blessings.

The Sunday after District conference we attended the San Vicente Branch to supervise the ordination of new Elders. To my surprise all four asked that I ordain them. I took the time to teach the Priesthood about Priesthood Line of Authority and Priesthood Line of Ordination. I ordained Jaime first, then Frolin, next was Santo. Santo is standing on my right and as I finished ordaining him I ask him to ordain his son Alex that is standing next to him. His eyes just beamed and said "for real." We had another little teaching moment and he did an awesome job. The spirit was so strong you could cut it with a knife. Every once in a while you get something right and it feels so good.

Look at the size of those pieces of cake, how are those three going to eat it all. Not even missionaries could do it. They didn't, it was Elder Ewing's birthday and he shared the cake with the whole zone. Hermana Whitney has become famous for her baking in these parts.

Hermana managed to con May and Chantele in letting her hold their brother Walter. These are the children of Renee and Jenny our friends in San Vicente.

Yup!! goofing around again with the worlds shortest fishing rod at Cerro Azul. We had gone to visit a less active member that owns a little restaurant in town, we were early so we took a moment on wharf to enjoy the ocean.

I didn't catch anything but funny looks from the locals. Luckily I did not lose my sun glass again.

They say the fish like these little guys but you can't prove it by me but all the locals were using them. They seemed to be catching fish. Sadly the fish they were catching looked like the fish we use for bait when we are salmon fishing.

Sunday of General Conference none of the missionaries received invitations for dinner and none of the missionaries out of town had a place to eat so they all ended up at our house between conference sessions. The night before I slipped over to our favorite Pollo al Cylindro restaurant and purchased 16 plates of dinner. We have done it quite a few times and they love us there and are disappointed if I only order two dinners.

If we weren't home sick before we certainly were after Thom, Cheryl, and Phoebe Evans stopped over in Lima before returning home to Calgary after vacation. We got permission from Pres. Manning to make the trip to Lima and see them and have dinner. We are very grateful that they took the time and hassle to meet us (and buy us an awesome dinner).

Elder and Hermana Jone de Nazca were passing through Cañete on their way to the Dentist in Lima, since it was preparation day we made a side trip to Lunahuana. They don't see very much moving water in Nazca and it was treat for them to see a moving river.

When you are in Lunahuana it is hard to believe you are still in the driest desert in world.

We went to the hospital to get Hermanas second to last rabies shot and the hospital that we had received all the other shots at said they were out of vaccine so they sent us to Imperial to the maternity hospital. After sitting and waiting for close to an hour in the maternity hospital, imagine two aging gringo missionaries sitting the waiting room at a maternity hospital getting strange looks from everyone, they informed us that they only had enough vaccine for an emergency with a child and we would have go elsewhere.

Thankfully they called around to the different clinics and found one with enough vaccine. One of the nurses gave us directions and off we went. We had no sooner got on the street and another nurse came running after us, she was very concerned. She said the place you are going is very dangerous, she meant for people like us, and for us to be very careful and told us not to walk in the area. She stopped a moto and gave him specific instructions on where to take us, not to leave us in the street, and told him how much we would pay him.

We thanked her, very much.

It was in this clinic de salud that we took the picture of this little girl on the stairs. We became instant friends especially when we took her picture. The clinic was in terrible condition, every door looked as if it had been broken into, it looked as if it had once had a tv mounted on the wall but now is gone, and the concept of cleanliness had long since been forgotten. The staff were surprised to see us there but they were pleased to give Debbie the injection.

When the nurse told us about the dangerous place we were going we wondered where it might be. As we soon found out we were not strangers to this area and have made many visits, both day and night, in the area. We are never reckless about where we go and what we do but more than once we have felt the protection of angels in our labors and boldly testify that the Lord does watch over his servants and all things are done for a wise purpose with the Lord.

Thanks for hanging in with us and until next time remember who loves ya!

Los Whitney Gringos in Cañete