Monday, July 21, 2014

Physical and Spiritual Nourishment

The food and water in Peru are a big problem, especially for foreigners who are not used to it. It is horrible to see what some of the American missionaries suffer because of it. We have an hermana who has had parasites, salmonella, stomach infections, etc. for the whole year that she has been here. We have another hermana in the hospital right now who has been throwing up for three weeks as well as dizzy and light headed. She was just diagnosed with a parasite. Last weekend we were staying in a hotel in Jaen. I rinsed out a glass in the faucet and left it sitting on the counter. By the time we got back in the evening there was already mold growing in it. The water is contaminated with bacteria and parasites.

The food here is very different than in the United States. The supply and variety are very limited compared to what we are used to. We are so very blessed in our country. Foods not available; lemons, lemon juice, berries, frozen vegetables or fruit of any kind, chocolate chips, cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, good cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and tortillas. I am afraid I will discover more. I already miss Mexican food so much! The dairy aisle has milk, yogurt (which you drink), butter and margarine. It is a struggle to come up with of ideas for what to fix. We do have spaghetti and pasta. Mark would be lost without that! The canned fruits are pears, peaches, pineapple, cherries, and apricots. Our purple smoothie with spinach has become a true green smoothie in some strange lime color of green. I am substituting pineapple for berries now. I tried to buy four cans of pineapple at the grocery store and they said I could only buy two!? They did not say why.

There are four foods here that missionaries are never supposed to eat; ceviche (a favorite food here that is a cold soup with raw fish), strawberries (the only berry availabe here), pork, and lettuce, so no salads. The staples of the Peruvian diet are chicken, rice, chicken, eggs, and chicken. I have always loved chicken but I am pretty tired of it right now. They are also obssessed with french fries, which are usually greasy and soggy. I used to have a weakness for french fries, but it is gone now. And here is the killer; I have not had one peice of chocolate that I have liked and wanted more of. Is anyone getting a sense of the items that are on my wish list? That is if you happen to be sending a package. Sees Candy and chocolate chips are pretty high on the list!

I have to mention what we did last weekend because our schedule was insane. We made another six hour trip to a city called Jaen. Jaen is in the jungle part of the country, so it is quite hot, humid, lush and green. We traveled a lot of windy roads again. It is not as touristy as Cajamarca, so a bit more primitive. Our hotel was interesting. No electricity in the bathroom, no blowdryer and crunchy towels. People in this country are very frugal and dryers are considered a luxury. Our maid does not believe in drying our towels in the dryer or using the dishwasher, in fact, she is literally the dish washer in our house. She insists on washing everything by hand even though we had a new dishwasher installed just before we came here. It is the first thing she does every morning and she gets very upset if I even try to rinse a dish off. My body is literally going to pot because I never do any housework.

We arrived in Jaen at 5:00 pm and did interviews from 5:00-9:00pm. The role of the Mission Presidents wife has changed in recent years and I have the priviledge of interviewing the missionaries also. We finally had dinner at 9:30 and then to bed at 10:30. The next morning was zone conference at 8:30 am, then more interviews from 2:00-7:00 pm. Dinner at 8:00. Home by 9:00. The next morning we left Jaen and drove to a city called Bagua Grande where we have a branch and interviewed six missionaries. Then drove three hours to Chachapoyas, another branch, and interviewed eight missionaries. Both of these branches meet in very humble circumstances. The building in Bagua Grande is not even completely enclosed. Next, we left Chachapoyas at 6:30 pm and drove back to Jaen. Home at 10:00, dinner and bed at 11:00.

                             This is mark eating his first Peruvian hamburger. They were disgusting,
                               but we were so hungry! I am not sure what we were really eating!

We have felt a lot of opposition since starting this new calling. The parking situation at these hotels is always very cramped and enclosed in a locked gate. All of the churches here have locked gates around them as well. The morning of our zone conference, the car parked behind us had a dead battery. We were twenty minutes late. Then on Sunday, our credit card would not work so we could not pay our hotel bill and check out. That was another ordeal and again we were twenty minutes late for church. That seems to be our standard time now, always twenty minutes late. By some miracle, they were just beginning to pass the bread and we were able to take the sacrament. That was very important to us. We felt it was a great blessing.

 After the sacrament, the bishopric welcomed us and invited us to come and sit on the stand; then informed us they would like us to speak for fifteen minutes. Panic set in for me. Speaking on the spur of the moment is not very easy for me in Spanish. Somehow, I managed, with the Lords help and a little bit of time because of a youth speaker, to get my thoughts and words together. Mark said it was one of the best talks I have given. When I thought back about it, I could not even remember exactly what I had said. I know I was blessed with the gift of tongues in the very moment when I needed to open my mouth and speak. The Lord has been so merciful to us despite the great opposition we have felt in doing this work. That is what gives us the strength to carry on: The love and help of our Lord Jesus Christ in doing His work, the work of salvation.

                                          Just another road trip! Elde Noriega is not Saudi Arabian,
                                          he just hates the sun! That is a pillow case on his head.


  1. Thanks for sharing your adventures, we love you and are praying for you.

  2. You both might appreciate reading this. Some excellent advice for
    mission presidents in the comments.

  3. I can't even begin to say how much I enjoyed reading every word of this post. The comforts of the US cant be fully appreciated until you venture out and live in a different country like Peru. Most importantly I know that you are both on the Lord's errand and there is no more worthy cause than that. You are both in my prayers!